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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 00:02 on 14 August 2011.
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 Location: Greenwich, NSW
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Over the last week or so I noticed some blank posts being added on the forums, usually following a post which does contain content. Members should remember to press the "post" button only once though I can appreciate that at times either the site is reacting slowly or the button has been pressed twice accidentally.

I've added a script that will in future disable the button once it has been pressed as part of the site's error management system and this should help prevent unwanted duplicate or blank posts in future.

Tonight I have also rolled out a revised layout of the top part of the Members Sidebar. This has involved removing and/or relocating some of the less important statistical information and adding member avatars alongside the control links.

This new design moves the 'last post' links up the screen a bit so members with small screens will hopefully see all these links without having to scroll down.

All code in the revised area is now pure ASP rather than a mix of ASP and raw HTML code. (For those who don't understand the technical jargon, this simply means that part of the site's coding has been made more efficient so the extra features do not slow things down.)

Through the week I will be giving some thought to a redesign of the forum layout. At this time, due to work commitments, I am unable to devote time to the next version of this website. The project is simply too big to undertake at the moment, so in place of this there will be some visual changes on the existing site as well as some code replacement to help speed things up a bit more. Smile


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 01:24 on 14 August 2011.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3815

Brad,

One change I would love to see, and which I hope is not too difficult:-

In the forum view that lists the threads it contains (i.e the one with two columns labelled Subject and Details), could the date and time in the column labelled "Details" be changed to show the date and time of the most recent post, rather than the unchanging date and time of the original post?

That would allow us to quickly find all posts in threads that are new since we last looked.

I'm aware of the last post by username in the panel to the right, but that does not account for all posts to all threads in a given forum section since a given date.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 08:46 on 14 August 2011.
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G'day GTC,

That's not a bad idea. I'll see if it can be done this week. Shouldn't be too difficult.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 02:41 on 15 August 2011.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3815

^ Thanks.

Another thing: I notice that the new forums 8 & 9 (Grams & Phonographs, and Telephones) don't appear on the Forums page. Not sure if that's deliberate or a bug?


 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 17:20 on 15 August 2011.
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Good find!

They definitely should be there and I'm not really sure how they managed to fall off the page. Perplexed

I'll sort it out tonight.

Update: All fixed. Cool


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 17:14 on 21 August 2011.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3815

Brad,

Re the blank post problem, I note that your most recent post in the Kriesler 11-7 Battery Powered thread in the Tech Talk forum is blank.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 18:54 on 21 August 2011.
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Yes, my fault that one - I posted this comment there by mistake. When shifting the comment to its rightful thread I scratched out the original.

One of the features I have to get going, hopefully very soon, is the ability to delete unwanted posts, both for moderators and members.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 23:25 on 31 August 2011.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3815

Seems that posts to Forum #9 (and maybe also #8) are not showing under Your Recent Posts on the profile page.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 05:49 on 1 September 2011.
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Yes, this is more of an oversight than a bug as this function was rolled out before the last two forums were added. Looks like another item for the to-do list. Smile

Update: Forums 8 and 9 added tonight. Wink


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 21:58 on 3 September 2011.
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Okay, links on the forums home page have been added as requested by GTC, with the added feature of the link taking the member directly to the comment rather than the member being required to scroll down the page.

A few more things will be added over the next week, hopefully without any disruptions. Smile


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 02:00 on 5 September 2011.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
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^ Actually, that's not exactly what I meant but it's a good new feature nonetheless for that particular view. Smile

What I meant was, for a given forum -- say General Discussion -- the time and date in the "details" column for each thread listed in that particular forum would be the (dynamic) time and date of the most recent post for that thread, rather than the static time and date of the original post in that thread.

Thus, when a new thread is created, the time and date in question will be the time and date of the initial post. When a reply is posted, the time and date of that thread is updated to be the time and date of the reply, and so on.

The benefit being that you can see all updated threads in a given forum since the last time you logged in or looked (sort of like the flag that shows on BB software based on data stored in cookies, except in this case we have to remember last actual or approximate look time or login date).

I don't know if that simply involves updating the date stamp in the details column every time a new post is made to a thread, or if it's more complicated than that.






 Return to top of page · Post #: 12 · Written at 02:09 on 5 September 2011.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
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Also, while you have the hood up so to speak, the Yahoo7 search option button feature does not allow me to switch off the Web search and have a forums search only. At present the web search button stays on regardless.

Instead of radio buttons, can you use tick boxes to allow click-on/click-off? I realise that trying to search with both scope options clicked off is meaningless, and should return an error, but if error handling is too messy then perhaps just let the search fail with a null result.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 13 · Written at 10:11 on 5 September 2011.
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The Last Post function just added should show the date the last post was added though to show all unread posts + date and time for each of them would involve an extra function still. I've worked on this before but haven't been successful. I suppose I can give it another try but going by past results it seems like a complex thing to add and because of this I can't make promises relating to the outcome. At the moment the only information stored in your cookie from this website is the information that identifies you as a member.

Also, while you have the hood up so to speak, the Yahoo7 search option button feature does not allow me to switch off the Web search and have a forums search only. At present the web search button stays on regardless.

I think that is a Yahoo thing. I'll try and change the code to stop that happening but I'll have to be careful as the search engines don't like their snippets being altered.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 14 · Written at 13:57 on 7 September 2011.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
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I note that Forums 8 and 9 seem to have dropped off the Forums page again.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 15 · Written at 19:21 on 7 September 2011.
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Things look alright from here, both in IE and Firefox. Can you try a 'refresh' of the page and see if the missing forums appear? If that doesn't work try holding down the SHIFT key whilst refreshing the page - this forces the browser to reload the page and ignore its cache memory.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 16 · Written at 21:27 on 7 September 2011.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3815

Hmmm, it's back again now. If it disappears again, I'll try the various refresh actions. (I'm using FF 6.0.1)


 Return to top of page · Post #: 17 · Written at 23:23 on 7 September 2011.
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As a precaution I have just checked the code on the page and all seems well. It's quite strange that reoccurred but the Internet can be a funny place at times and the page in question is an old part of town. Apart from two colour changes and an extra six forums since, not much as happened until last weekend when the comment links were added.

I've started work on the unread threads feature but will need some time to get my head around how it works. Smile


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 18 · Written at 20:07 on 10 September 2011.
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 Location: Greenwich, NSW.
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Just following up on the recent unread thread suggestion, some of you may have already noticed the blank column on the left in the thread lists. This was originally intended for showing icons which symbolise certain attributes relating to each thread such as: unread thread, popular thread, closed thread, sticky thread, etc; and these are some of the features that for technical reasons I have never managed to include.

I am working on the unread thread feature at the moment and if I can get it to work it will show an icon in the left column in addition to the link to the thread being shown in bold text.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 19 · Written at 23:56 on 10 September 2011.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3815

^ Sounds good!


 Return to top of page · Post #: 20 · Written at 15:21 on 11 September 2011.
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Okay, I have a system working and will spend a day or two testing it as it is very complex and probably has a few bugs to iron out. This feature will not rely on a timestamp in a cookie as most forum software manages it. Rather there will be a table in the database that stores the necessary data for each member.

This has two advantages and a small disadvantage. The disadvantage is that it is a resource-hungry feature that does slow things down a tad. I will work on making things as efficient as possible. We don't have millions of members here so there should be too much worry with this. The advantages are:

1. No matter what computer you use, the settings remain the same because they are centralised in the database. On other forums if you log in from a computer you don't normally use then all threads will appear as unread - this won't happen here.
2. On some forum software if you read unread threads out of order then clicking on one will mark them all as read - this won't happen here either.

When it looks like the new feature is bulletproof I will roll it out only on Forum 1 (General Discussion) as a trial. If all goes well over a week or so then I will roll it out across the other eight forums. I will eventually add a button that allows members to 'Mark all threads as read' which will help those who have not logged in for a long time.

If anyone sees a bug with this feature they can post it here and I'll deal with it as soon as I can.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 21 · Written at 23:27 on 15 September 2011.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
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Beauty.

Meanwhile, in the new feature announced in post #9 above, when clicking on the Last thread by link we get the member's profile rather than the initial post. Was that what you intended?


 Return to top of page · Post #: 22 · Written at 05:53 on 16 September 2011.
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Yes and no. When the forums were rolled out in 2005 all links to usernames went back to the profile page but in this case the trend today is to link to the post the user was indicated to have made. This will happen as part of the upgrade I am working on at the moment.

Additionally, what I've done so far only works with replies to an original post. This weekend I will work on a script to make this feature work on original postings before giving the whole thing one final smoke test.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 23 · Written at 13:00 on 9 October 2011.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3815

Brad, just want to say thanks again for the recent mods. It's now quite easy to see threads that I may otherwise have missed. Smile

Do you still intend to action the bit mentioned in the post above this?


 Return to top of page · Post #: 24 · Written at 16:51 on 9 October 2011.
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Yep, it'll definitely happen soon. I tend to get spontaneous with updates and improvements and the addition of the new post indicators to the forums list was unscheduled but seemed easy enough to add since the database had already been modified for what was added a few weeks ago. It made sense to go that bit further.

I'll probably alter the way the above-mentioned links work this coming weekend.

In the longer term the page that displays each thread will need a complete recode - the new feature has slowed it down too much for my liking although there's been no complaints about it yet.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 25 · Written at 18:14 on 9 October 2011.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3815

Thanks.

I haven't noticed an appreciable lag in response, but then I'm on ADSL1 so I'm used to a certain latency.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 26 · Written at 16:25 on 7 November 2011.
ZScan's Gravatar
 Location: Not supplied, NSW.
 Location: Australia.
 Member since 10 June 2010.
 Member #: 681
 Postcount: 493

Hello Brad

The new post highlighting system works nicely.
But could a fine tune be to highlight (bold?, underline?) the page number of each forum to show where the posts are ie

« Back · 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9 · Next »

This would avoid having to open each page to find the new post location if it isn't on page one.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 27 · Written at 20:27 on 7 November 2011.
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Yeah, I have had the same experience - having to rummage through the paging links - up to page five in one case. Might be a good idea.

The paging system is very delicate though, which is why it has not yet been implemented in the page displaying each thread. Leave it with me though, and I will try to think of a way to add it.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 28 · Written at 09:19 on 10 November 2011.
ZScan's Gravatar
 Location: Not supplied, NSW.
 Location: Australia.
 Member since 10 June 2010.
 Member #: 681
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Sounds like a trade off between ease of use and robustness of the system. But whatever the present system is a vast improvement on poking around the new post list a the top RHS of each page.

Thanks for the effort; you are doing the right things given the membership growth rate.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 29 · Written at 17:51 on 10 November 2011.
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Sounds like a trade off between ease of use and robustness of the system.

Pretty much. Some of the features added over time have come close to slowing the site down a lot and that always worries me - mainly because nothing is worse than a website that won't work quickly, especially as a great number of us have super fast Internet connections and are well positioned to judge a site's speed. Many websites have lost me as a visitor over the years on that issue alone so it is the first thing I look for when making changes here.

But whatever the present system is a vast improvement on poking around the new post list a the top RHS of each page.

I agree. I've stopped very short of removing that from the sidebar and it may disappear when I finish the new website (whenever that may be). The new posts feature was more relevant back when there were only two forums and about 50 members and thus only an average of two or three new posts per week. I think GTC's concern was that because there's more members and about 20 - 30 new posts per week, a lot of posts were being missed and skipped. I've also brushed past new threads I didn't notice weeks after they were posted and wondered 'when was that thread opened?'.

Thanks for the effort; you are doing the right things given the membership growth rate.

It's all part of the service and it's a pleasure. There's more to come between now and the end of the Christmas break.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 30 · Written at 09:29 on 16 November 2011.
's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3815

^ I'll second the thanks for making the recent feature changes which bring the functionality of this site closer to the typical forum (bulletin board) software used by must other forums, and which ensures that we don't miss new and updated threads.

On the response issue, I have noticed that response has been particularly sluggish over the last 48 hours or so, and last night I couldn't even ping the site. Not sure if there's a server/database issue or a connectivity one.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 31 · Written at 15:28 on 16 November 2011.
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... and last night I couldn't even ping the site. Not sure if there's a server/database issue or a connectivity one.

Big problem there and not yet detectable - Last night I had an early one as I was feeling unwell (all better now though) and when I got up this morning I found that not only the web server had shut down but also the other server which runs an IRC service and my mail service.

At this stage I am not sure whether the UPS is starting to play up or if it is a case that the servers are not staying cool enough. Oddly, the other bank of servers I have did not shut down and they aren't even protected by a UPS nor do they have any extra cooling.

Because I was asleep I also missed the phone calls I got from some loyal mates to let me know something was wrong. It may be a one-off graemlin or I may have to invest in some new equipment toward Christmas.

When I tested the UPS this morning it was working fine, yet it seems to be the lowest common denominator at the moment. On Sunday I might pull the batteries out and see if they are starting to dry out. This would involve some site downtime but I will try and do this early in the morning so that the disruption causes as little impact as possible.

As for the sluggish response times: does this involve all pages or just one or two? The reason I ask is that some pages are very lightweight and only contain text whilst others contain ASP scripts, some small and some very large and complex. If the slow response is limited to a page or two, could you please paste the URL's here and I will check things out.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 32 · Written at 22:21 on 16 November 2011.
's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3815

As for the sluggish response times: does this involve all pages or just one or two?

I experience sluggishness most often when clicking on the "last post" links on the page that is displayed after clicking on Forums at the top of the page.

I've counted up to 20 seconds while Firefox displays "Waiting for vintage-radio.com.au ..." in the status bar.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 33 · Written at 10:35 on 17 November 2011.
's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW.
 Member since 15 November 2005.
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 4240

I think I know what that might be - the page that displays each thread has lots and lots of code on it as it is just one physical webpage that works across all nine forums. It's a bit slower since the unread post feature was added but the bottom line is that the original portions of code weren't really set up for the features added since day one.

I am going to re-write that page soon and hopefully this will speed things up a lot.

At the same time I might upgrade the appearance a bit. It's been a very long time since there was a visual upgrade here. Smile


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 34 · Written at 15:21 on 11 December 2011.
's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3815

Brad,

I like the new page format, especially now having a post # to refer to in the threads. Could you put the posting time and date into each post's heading (maybe right-justified in the post heading bar), and can the post # also be a linkable URL?


 Return to top of page · Post #: 35 · Written at 16:45 on 11 December 2011.
's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW.
 Member since 15 November 2005.
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 4240

G'day GTC,

Yes to both, as they were features on the old page. The link to each post will reference the line number from the database but it pretty much works the way you suggested.

Over Christmas I am going to reset all post counts and then fix that annoying counting bug that has existed since day one. After that, everyone will have an accurate post count for the first time. Smile

Permitted widths for images also now increases to 650 pixels too. Smile

In the longer term, the front page forum (this page) and the rest of the forum pages will be revised to match the theme of the new forums page.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


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