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New Webserver, disappearing archives

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New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Admin » Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:02 am

Folks, if you're reading this message, you're enjoying First Tracks!! Online Ski Magazine on a brand spanking-new server. Through countless hours of toil and trouble we're now at a new Linux-based web host in Texas. We only lost one recent Liftlines posting in the process! (annemarief, sorry about that - it was yours on kid's equipment and I reposted it on your behalf).

You may need to make some minor tweaks, such as adjusting your preferred time zone, but I'm sure that you'll find the faster, leaner and meaner FTO to your liking.

One (the only) regrettable casualty of our relocation, and switch from a Windows 2000 box to Linux, is our archive of Liftlines postings from 2004 and earlier. The software used to generate those forums is now terribly antiquated, does not qualify for support, and we were unable to get it functioning properly on this Linux machine. The old server will remain up for a couple of additional weeks, so if you want to save stuff from the archives, go to http://216.250.243.13/discus2/discus.pl now and download it.

If you find a thing or two broken, and you probably will...please let me know!

Next up, we'll start working on getting First Tracks!! Online Media's newest project, UtahSkiandSnowboard.com, up and running. It will be accessible via that URL plus UTSkiing.com and UtahSkiingOnline.com. The project was on hold until the server move was completed and will feature ski news and a forum community particularly focused on Utah skiing and snowboarding.
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re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:39 am

I do not consider this an acceptable situation with the archives. I cannot anticipate in the next two weeks what I might want to look up in the archives in the future.

Surely there are options for storing archives somewhere. For example the early season analysis I wrote for SKIING magazine's website in 2001 was removed a couple of years ago. But I found it here: http://web.archive.org/web/200605270943 ... 38,00.html
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Re: re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Admin » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:57 am

Tony Crocker wrote:I do not consider this an acceptable situation with the archives. I cannot anticipate in the next two weeks what I might want to look up in the archives in the future.


I anticipated push-back from you of course, Tony, but there is no option. I've spent countless hours trying to rectify the situation without success. As this move stands to improve speed and operation of the website overall, save us (me) literally thousands of dollars per year, and provide us with substantial room for growth, we'll have to be satisfied with what is currently three years of archives and growing to be maintained online.

Tony Crocker wrote:Surely there are options for storing archives somewhere.


If there were, I would have taken one. Moving the archive scripts from their current location to anywhere else involves the same problems encountered in trying to move them here. The system is antiquated and no longer supported by its creator, and the old server is soon to be shut down. I don't even have access to the script's documentation anymore. I can't afford to spend several thousand dollars annually just to maintain those archives on the old server.

OTOH, I'll send out the call here for the hell of it: if anyone out there is familiar with the workings of the Discus 4.00.7 CGI script, ca. 2002, on a Linux server, and/or knows of an effective way to import its messages into PHPBB2, let me know.

Tony Crocker wrote:For example the early season analysis I wrote for SKIING magazine's website in 2001 was removed a couple of years ago. But I found it here: http://web.archive.org/web/200605270943 ... 38,00.html


If you can find old postings via a web archive service, that's one solution to be decided by the individual. Note, though, that even Time Warner (Skiing Magazine) expires stuff and they have far more financial resources to throw at this kind of problem than I do.
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Re: re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Patrick » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:40 am

Admin wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote:I do not consider this an acceptable situation with the archives. I cannot anticipate in the next two weeks what I might want to look up in the archives in the future.


I anticipated push-back from you of course, Tony, but there is no option.


I guess you anticipated my response to this also?

First I want to congratulate you with all the long hours you've put in this website, but Marc....

Please, there has to be a way. [-o< I'm not the type of person to beg....but I'm begging you know, please find a solution. :oops:

Please...pretty please...not only for me, but for the Ski Universe and Ski Historians everywhere. Where else can you find ski August TRs in the East, heck, were having more difficulty to find snow in July, let alone ski on it. Those archives are a GOLD MINE...don't give up, please don't give up. [-o< [-o< [-o<

I'm pathetic, n'est pas?
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re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Patrick » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:43 am

I just noticed I cannot "edit" my spelling mistakes. :oops: :mrgreen:

Ah yes, and the pop-up when you're not registered message is out of whack. :roll:
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re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Admin » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:50 am

Well, it's not optimal, but I do have an idea. I've zipped up all of the messages into an archive. I'm presently uploading the zip file and will let you know the URL to download once it's available. It will be a 112 MB download, so you'll want to retain the file and not download it each time. You can then unzip the files to your local hard drive and have a local copy to search. The unfortunate part is that the links from index pages and between message pages won't work (they'll work only until the online copy is removed), nor will the script's search utility, but as HTML pages are just text files you can use your operating system's file search utility to search within the files for search terms. For example, I just tried using Windows XP's file search to search within the folder for "Steamboat" and it output each posting that referenced Steamboat. The good news is that photos, etc. will be included and will display within each post.

As for the other issues, thanks...I'll look into them.
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re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:12 am

I'm pathetic too. I'm willing to grovel at least as much as Patrick on this issue.

I guess the "History of Vermont Snow Conditions" needs to be moved to the top of my web priority list. Comprehensive FTO reports go back to 1999-2000 I think.

There are other applications. For example my Powder Archive Page which references several FTO reports from the epic 2001 eastern season.

Also, one way to maintain a diary of your own experience is to have a simple file with date and the URL of the reports you filed here.

People are constantly drawing rash conclusions based on recent or the current season's weather/conditions. The more past info we have to look up and compare, the clearer picture we get. Throwing out those 5 seasons of reports would be a big loss.

The downloaded zip file will probably be adequate for the nutcases like Patrick and me. But they will be less user friendly and it will be more difficult to share information widely. At a minimum I would expect admin to save the archive on his own computer before the old server goes down. Then, if a solution cannot be found soon but emerges later, the archives are not lost but can be resuscitated.

I have always been under the impression that server storage space was subject to Moore's Law, and thus is becoming more dirt cheap every year. The archives don't get intensive use and don't need to be on the most sophisticated or responsive server. Cheap should be more than adequate.
Last edited by Tony Crocker on Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Patrick » Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:24 am

Admin wrote:As for the other issues, thanks...I'll look into them.


I noticed that the "Edit" button was only missing on the post I did in this FYI discussion. :shock:

Admin wrote:Well, it's not optimal, but I do have an idea. (...)You can then unzip the files to your local hard drive and have a local copy to search.


The problem with that solution is that it will only become a personal archive. I'm might have though of this, isn't there a way to cut&paste posts? I can just you say..."Are you nuts, you're talking about &*%&?*? posts!!!!" I don't know, just brainstorming here.

The benefit would be the old archives could be into included in the new FTO format. :o

You just need to need a sucker, erhh, someone to start copying and pasting. :?

Admin wrote:As this is by far the most active of our Liftlines BBS sections, I've opted to crosspost the following message from our System Annoucements section.

First Tracks!! Online Ski Magazine is proud to announce that it will transition from a virtual server(...)
We will update you regarding the progress of the transition as it occurs.
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re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:34 am

You just need to need a sucker, erhh, someone to start copying and pasting.
You mean, like someone who is willing to drive 9 hours roundtrip and hike 5 hours in the rain to ski a 65 vertical foot scrap of snow? :P Think of how many posts you could have cut and pasted in those 14 hours!
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Re: re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Patrick » Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:38 am

Tony Crocker wrote:
You just need to need a sucker, erhh, someone to start copying and pasting.
You mean, like someone who is willing to drive 9 hours roundtrip and hike 5 hours in the rain to ski a 65 vertical foot scrap of snow? :P Think of how many posts you could have cut and pasted in those 14 hours!


:shock: :roll: :? ](*,) 8-[
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Re: re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Admin » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:08 pm

Patrick wrote:The problem with that solution is that it will only become a personal archive.


Unless the poster who wants to reference it copies and pastes the content and reference into their own post.

Patrick wrote:I'm might have though of this, isn't there a way to cut&paste posts? I can just you say..."Are you nuts, you're talking about &*%&?*? posts!!!!" I don't know, just brainstorming here.


Are you nuts, you're talking about &*%&?*? posts!!!!

OTOH, I seem to have at least one volunteer who's stepped forward. :wink: It would be a bit more than a simple copy and paste operation -- the person entering the data would also have to save and upload any included images. Then there's the problem of heirarchy -- the posts would adopt the date and time of the entry into the new system, not the date and time of the original post.

Patrick wrote:
Admin wrote:As this is by far the most active of our Liftlines BBS sections, I've opted to crosspost the following message from our System Annoucements section.

First Tracks!! Online Ski Magazine is proud to announce that it will transition from a virtual server(...)
We will update you regarding the progress of the transition as it occurs.


Yeah, well... :oops: at first that web host was responsive and delivered on its promises. Over time that faded. I'm seeing if we can get by on a virtual host again, and thus far the speed of this site since the changeover seems to support that notion. Through all of this whining, have you folks noticed the impressive improvement in speed???
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re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Admin » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:45 pm

OK, there's hope yet. I just found a support forum thread from April wherein a user created a conversion script between the two forum softwares. It's a homemade job, so it's not a polished script or anything, and given my lack of familiarity with certain programming functions involved I'm reluctant to experiment with it here. However, the author of the script took a small fee from another forum admin in my circumstance and did the conversion for him successfully. I'm just PM'd the author via that support forum to see if he'd extend the same offer to FTO as well. If so, I'll take him up on it.

In the meantime, the archived postings may now be downloaded here:
http://www.firsttracksonline.com/downlo ... 9-2004.zip
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re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Patrick » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:34 pm

Thanks Marc,

Good luck and keep us posted. :P
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re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:32 pm

It occurred to both Patrick and me that parceling out the cut and paste job is an option. There are still questions that would need to be answered. As Marc points out, the post date is going to be the new upload date rather than the original post date. Clearly the archives will need to have separate partitions created. As we all know, uploading of pictures on FTO is very tedious. This is potentially an awful job if it has to be done one-by-one (and in reverse order within post) for each archive report with pics.

I've already downloaded the archive. All the resort reports (East, West and elsewhere) are in one directory. The html file names are numeric, in the order of original post date of the thread. You can find an old thread in ~5 tries, as long as you know when it was first posted. Some of the numeric names are .jpg files. You can ignore those, because the html files do have the pics embedded.

Presumably Marc has also downloaded the archive. Thus I don't view its salvation as an emergency situation with a short deadline. Marc has time to explore an efficient solution. If he can't find one, then we need to think about reloading the reports. Marc should define the new partitions, hopefully find a better way to deal with the pictures, then send out explicit instructions to us peons doing the grunt work.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,318K in 2010-11
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re: New Webserver, disappearing archives

Postby riverc0il » Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:38 pm

While it is a noble effort to save the historical data, I will shed any tears if the achieves are lost. The cost to Marc and FTO is certainly not worth information that only a handful of users probably access. Then again, having all my personal trip reports, pictures, and historical season data dating back to 2000 saved on my own PC and my web page certainly makes me biased. Ski VT-L has a TON of first hand reports dating back well into the 90s if historical data is important (granted you will need to dig through tons of OT topics!). The full download of all the data is a super solution to meet the needs of a few dedicated history buffs. Just my opinion.
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