Posted by Phillyman
on 27 December 2016 - 09:35 AM
Retromags will be going thru major upgrades and changes starting January 9th and continuing for about a week. We currently run the Invision Power Board suite and the version that we are on at the moment is no longer being patched or provided support. The newest major revision of this software came out back in June of 2015 and I have kept us back to let all the bugs get worked out. I also kept us back to allow the third party developers time to port their modifications to this new version. So what does all this mean? Well whenever we do a major upgrade, we usually lose a few modifications. When I last did a major upgrade it was back in 2009 when we moved from version 2.x to 3.x. For those of you who have been with us since that time, you will probably remember that we had an arcade, casino and battle system. Unfortunately when we upgraded those features went away. So what may disappear this time?
Statistics - The tab at the top of the site for statistics will disappear. This is a third party modification and I am trying to contact the author of this mod and see if he has plans to port this functionality to the newest version.
Shoutbox - The current shoutbox that we use is a free one and unfortunately doesn't seem to be around any longer. I have found another shoutbox, but this one requires a one time fee of $100 and $45 per year to continue to receive support/updates.
Credits System - Another system that we really never used. I had hoped that the author would have expanded the functionality to suit our needs. This system was supposed to give credits for posting, adding images, contributing to the databases, and in turn....those credits could be used to download more magazine releases. The hang up was that we needed an exclusion for Staff, Team Members and Patrons, and it seems as though the author is no longer developing this mod.
Then we have non facing items that you guys probably don't know are mods, like the Welcome message that gets sent to newly registered members, the inactivity mod that emails members who haven't visited in 6 months. So that is everything that will be going away when we upgrade, what will we gain?
18 months - Worth of patches, upgrades and improvements. I don't believe I could even list them all in this post without making it a mile long. So in short....
Database Fields - The current version we run for our databases does not really allow for customizing who can edit certain fields. I had to really jump thru hoops to allow Team Members and Staff to edit the Year and Month fields for our Magazine Database, but not allow standard members to edit these fields. With the new version of the databases, this functionality is finally built in. Not only can I set fields to be edited by certain member groups, but I can also allow a field to only be editable if it is currently blank! Another improvement is relational fields, where we can now start cross linking between databases. Another great improvement is the ability to turn off fields in a database. Why turn off a field? Let's say we don't want to use fake issue numbers in the DieHard Gamefan section, we can now turn off that field and instead use the alternate issue field to define the August 1994 issue as Vol 2, Issue 9.
So what to expect?
On January 8th I will be contacting our hosting company and have them do a complete snapshot of Retromags. If anything goes sideways and we can't upgrade, I will have the ability to contact them and ask them to restore that snapshot. This may make the website a bit slow on January 8th and I would ask that you hold off adding new releases, gallery images, blog posts, forum posts, etc. Once the snapshot is complete, the first order of bushiness is to collapse Retromags back to 1 domain. Years ago I thought it would be a good idea to have the databases and home page run from www.retromags.com, and the forums, blogs, downloads run from community.retromags.com. This choice has just made things more complicated over the years, and I swear that Google penalizes us for doing this. Once everything is collapsed back into www.retromags.com, we will set up redirects so that pages that point to community.retromags.com, will forward correctly.
This part of the process will take a couple of hours, and afterwards we will bring the site back online. Then I am handing over our database templates to a freelancer that is familiar with this suite of products. He will work on converting those templates so that once we upgrade.....the records in our databases will still display correctly. The Retromags website will continue to be available for use while he does these conversions. Once he is finished converting the templates, we will again put the website into offline mode, contact our webhost to perform another snapshot......and then the real fun begins. This is where we will upgrade the website to the most current version, and once that upgrade is complete, we will put the newly converted templates back in place, and then test out everything before bringing the website back online.
Posted by Phillyman
on 29 November 2016 - 11:26 AM
It's possible I marked about half of those as "scanning." That's because they actually did go through the scanning phase, but not the editing phase. I wanted to see if there was anyone interested in helping to edit, so I uploaded them unedited to an external site. Also the original donor, aloram, really wanted to at least have them scanned, so I quickly obliged.
So far no one has expressed interest in editing them, which is a shame because it's a good way to get patron or team member status here at Retromags. People sometimes complain about being asked to donate to get patron status. Well no one has to! They can help edit scans.
So about two months ago when I got that massive donation of magazines, many of them were Game Players. I noticed that they were marked as Missing or just Acquired in the database. So I went ahead and decided to gather the ones I had and change the status to Scanning. Well as I was about to start doing them, It was brought to my attention that you had already scanned them and the unedited scans were out at IA. I have been meaning to reach out to you and see if I can send a USB flash drive off to you for the scans, which then I could put them on the Retromags NAS, which would let members grab them from here. I remember IA doing some weird stuff with compression of files, so I didn't want to grab the IA versions if they have been downgraded in quality for that site.
As to the Patron status, Yes, my offer will always stand that anyone who helps edit these magazines into releasable versions....will always be rewarded here at Retromags for their efforts.
I keep forgetting about this magazine site on the web. There are quite a few magazines that they list, that are no where on our radar. Some are already verified as complete listings, so before this site disappears, we should try to mirror some of the information over here. This might also be the best time to move away from the generic "International" category in the Gallery, and instead list all the countries on the top level with USA and UK.
Of all the Saturdays that I had to work, this morning I started getting alerts that Retromags was experiencing higher than normal traffic. Thought it was weird, came home later on tonight and tried to track down what was going on. We weren't getting traffic from a URL, so then I found it......it was a mention on CUPodcast. I have been a fan of the Angry Video Game Nerd for years now, and thru his Youtube channel I found PatTheNESPunk, due to the cross over with the Nintendo World Championships AVGN episode. I was always slightly disappointed that Retromags never got a shout out on AVGN when they covered the Nintendo Power magazine, but I guess it would be hard to fit it into the narrative of that type of show.
Anyways, I am honored each time we are mentioned, if many of you don't know.....we actually were mentioned in RetroGamer years back.....I think it was issue 45, it had Nights on the front cover with an Xmas theme. Well here is the episode if anyone is wondering, and to welcome the CUPodcast members, I have lifted OVERALL download limits for New Members, and only imposed a SIMULTANEOUS download limit, to prevent any over zealous user from trying to download all 1000+ of our magazines at once