Thursday, 10 November 2016

Upgrading the server

We've not been offline for a while, so I thought I'd break the server.  No, not really, but we had a bit of a chug this morning, so I've been talking to support about updating some of the software that runs the database.  I was going to post an announcement, but they were too efficient and have started the upgrade without me, taking the server's web server offline.  I've been checking on the server stats since it went down, and we've got the lowest loading I've ever seen 0.02.  We usually hit around 2-8 on an average day.  The database is being processed to cope with the update, so we should be back up soon, although I can't give an actual timescale, as I don't have any experience with this particular task.  it'll take as long as it takes :)

Bear with us in the meantime, and please accept our humblest apologies if we've disrupted your lunch time browsing.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Slugs and things like them...

After our DDoS attack the day after upgrade, I'm sure we're all somewhat paranoid about the site being slow, and that's the case today.  The evidence on hand however points to a wider problem that's currently affecting parts of the UK and elsewhere, which has already been reported on by the Beeb and the like.  it's causing problems for a lot of sites, as yet again a DDoS attack has been used to target some big company and take their resources offline.

Bear with us (and everyone else affected) until we're back to usual speed if you're affected, and in the meantime I'll keep monitoring the situation to ensure that it isn't us! :)

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Upgrade Day!

Today's the day folks.  We're upgrading the forum to the new version today and once Invision start the forum will go offline until it's done.  There's a lot of new functionality coming, and we're really excited about it, but as my brain has forgotten more about running a forum than it ever knew, we decided to ask Invision do it, which is part of our service contract with them.  once they've finished their morning cuppa, they'll take the board offline and we'll have to think of something else to do until it comes back.

Remember - it's a new version of the software with lots of new features that will probably take a while to get used to it, so don't throw up your hands with woe.  Persevere, and you'll get the hang of it within minutes.  Feedback from some of the non-technical members we've asked to preview it has been overwhelmingly good.  Even people that are self-professed luddites :)

UPDATE 17:47:  We went offline a couple of minutes ago, so if you visit the forums you should now get the "offline" message. This is quite normal, and part of the planned shut-down of the forums while our Invision technician Mark Higgins gets on with doing the work.  A big thanks in anticipation to Mark :)

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Stagnation is the name of the game...

...or so it would appear.  We've been watching the progress of the new forum software over the last year (is it really a year since Version 4 came out?), and initially we weren't impressed.  It was buggy, used an awful post editor, and moved through the sub-versions with astonishing regularity.  Then 4.1 came out and we began to get a little more confident that it was usable, and started to test it on one of our backup servers.  We've been using it quite a bit now, but it is still moving through the sub-versions quite quickly, so that every time we're thinking of pressing the big red "GO" button, a new version comes out and we wonder how long before another bug-fix will be due.  We're a big site with over 1.8m posts, so upgrading is not a simple task because some of the jobs require manual intervention as a scripted upgrade would return with a time-out due to the sheer size of the database.  Pressing a button and waiting would be so easy, wouldn't it?

There's a new major-minor version change due soon, and I'm inclined to wait until that is out in the wild before we jump from 3.x, but we'll see.  The old software is quite buggy in the posting department as I think the developers lost interest in fixing the flaws to concentrate on V.4, but they're bugs we're used to, so we're in our comfort zone.  We'll have to leave that zone when the new version comes, but it's not the end of the world, and some of the new features are excellent.  We're going to do our best to keep disruption to a minimum however, so moving slowly will be the way to go.

Watch this space, but not too closely as you might die of boredom.