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Jim's Lab Notes
— Site News, Baseball Talk, and a Bunch of Other Stuff

Friday, February 17, 2012

Upgrade Update: New Servers, Email Logins, Mobile, Feature Requests, and a Lot of Other Stuff!

New Servers
Yesterday I ordered two new servers for the site! They should be built within the next couple of days at which time I will begin moving the site. With lessons learned from my first two server migrations, I expect the move to be relatively painless. Be on the lookout for updates about the timeline.

Updates
Since I’ve been asked by a few people…as I mentioned within the previous update thread, I am completely re-factoring the data structure and back-end template code for the site. With these changes and the new servers, I’ll be able to provide many more customization options for members to, hopefully, satisfy the individual needs of as many people as possible. For example, some people are asking for more off-topic content, like football and basketball. Other people are asking for the ability to ignore such content. With the re-design, members will be able to choose whether or not to include those sports in the site-wide Hot Topics box by setting the option in their Profile Settings. Additionally, each member will have his own “My BBTF Homepage” (name may change) where he can view the content he is interested in with the selection of specific content topics using our new subscription system. Initially, members will be able to subscribe to content by blog (BBTF, Hall of Merit), subject/tag (Red Sox, Steroids), or category (Baseball, Football). Eventually, I hope to be able to also allow people to subscribe to particular writers as well.

Email Logins
You can now use the email address you’ve registered with the site to log into the site. Right now it is optional. When the new design is finished, however, it will be mandatory. I’ll be using the username to display member archives and other info that people are willing to share, so you may as well get used to logging in with your email address. Before the changeover there will be one-time chance for members to change their username, so please start thinking about whether you’d like to change it to something else or not.

Mobile
I am also making the site much more tablet and mobile friendly. Whether you are viewing on your Android, iPhone, or desktop, the redesigned site will load much faster and look much better than it does right now. I’m not quite ready to start Beta Testing but if you are interested in getting a very early look, add your name to the Beta Test Thread in the Forums.

Newsblog
The Newsblog and Newsstand pages have been consolidated. You probably haven’t noticed.

Tags
I have converted the site from EE’s native category system to a Tagging system. The principal advantage of the change is all entries may now easily be more finely classified when submitting new entries. So, if Bud Selig does something controversial tomorrow, you can can easily add a “Bud Selig” tag to the entry and other members can use the same tag for follow-up entries. Within the new site, and among other things, you’ll be able to subscribe to whichever tags you’d like. 

Feature Requests
If you have any requests for new features, please click over to the Feature Request thread in the Forums. To make it easier for me to manage, please add each idea using a dedicated thread. I will   respond to particular ideas directly so you’ll know when/whether your idea will added to the site. I am trying my best to make this site as valuable to you as I can, so your feedback is vital.

Thanks in advance for your patience,

Jim


Donate to BaseballThinkFactory.org using PayPal.com

Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2012 at 03:53 PM | 78 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: February 17, 2012 at 08:40 PM (#4063800)
huzzah! sounds great, thank you Jim!!!
   2. Justin T is going to crush some tacos Thursday Posted: February 17, 2012 at 09:39 PM (#4063822)
(start with a compliment)
These seem like some really nice changes, on the whole. I know many people will enjoy being able to choose what they see - or don't - in the hot topics and their home pages.

(subtle mention of critique)
This sounds like no more timely alterations to user names. Are you ####### kidding?

(finish with praise)
Looks like you've planned this pretty well and the end result is something I look forward to seeing. Thanks for your hard work.
   3. Good cripple hitter Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:35 PM (#4063844)
This sounds like no more timely alterations to user names. Are you ####### kidding?


That what I was wondering, but when I went into the current account settings section there is (at least now) a differentiation between your user name (which is what you originally signed up as and what you log in under, it appears above your bookmarks and cannot be changed) and your screen name (eg: Good cripple hitter hates pants). I was under the impression that Jim was saying that you could have a one-time change of the user name, but you could still change your screen name later.

Although I don't really know why you'd want to change your user name.
   4. Monty Posted: February 17, 2012 at 11:35 PM (#4063867)
With the re-design, members will be able to choose whether or not to include those sports in the site-wide Hot Topics box by setting the option in their Profile Settings. Additionally, each member will have his own “My BBTF Homepage” (name may change) where he can view the content he is interested in with the selection of specific content topics using our new subscription system.


So, so good.
   5. Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2012 at 11:38 PM (#4063870)
@Justin, after the changes you will still be able to change your screen name (Justin T contains indigenous nudity) any time you want.

What will change...

You currently login with your username and password (which is the only place username is used right now). After the changes, username will used to display the stuff you share with other users (something like www.baseballthinkfactory.org/members/username). You will then login using your email address and password.

Since usernames were previously only known by members and me, I will allow people to change member names once before I release the update.
   6. Monty Posted: February 18, 2012 at 12:07 AM (#4063875)
I'd like to change my username to the username I used to have, which got accidentally banned. Any chance of being able to do that, or is the old account still in the system mucking things up?
   7. hokieneer Posted: February 18, 2012 at 12:48 AM (#4063891)
With lessons learned from my first two server migrations, I expect the move to be relatively painless.


Not that I doubt your ability, planning, or attention to detail; but from my experience, statements like these usually result in my downfall.

In all seriousness, everything sounds great. Keep up the good work and thank you.
   8. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: February 18, 2012 at 02:34 AM (#4063913)
With the re-design, members will be able to choose whether or not to include those sports in the site-wide Hot Topics box by setting the option in their Profile Settings. Additionally, each member will have his own “My BBTF Homepage” (name may change) where he can view the content he is interested in with the selection of specific content topics using our new subscription system.


I'm with Monty in #4. This is awesome.

Jim, my only concern with the transition in username is whether users know that their usernames will essentially become public. For example, my username currently is my first name, but I'd like to change it to "Harold". I've seen this thread and will make sure to do it when it comes up. But others may miss the news, and have their usernames exposed.

I don't have a good suggestion for this problem. I mean, one would be to keep users' pages private until they opt in -- but I *love* the idea of user pages, and I don't want to make them private by default.
   9. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: February 18, 2012 at 02:37 AM (#4063914)
And I fully admit that I may be making a mountain out of a molehill. That I'm just nit-picking when there's no real problem. Just wanted to throw it out there, though.
   10. Justin T is going to crush some tacos Thursday Posted: February 18, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4063939)
Thanks for the clarification Jim.
   11. CrosbyBird Posted: February 18, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4063973)
How do you determine what your current username is?
   12. CrosbyBird Posted: February 18, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4063974)
Ignore that question: I found it. Edit function seems broken in this thread.
   13. Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4064004)
@Jolly, DP -- I'll be happy to discuss this issue in a dedicated thread after the server migration. As for the Castro thread, I will talk to Dan about it. One of the reasons I don't get into political threads on the site is that it presents a real conflict when things get heated (and they almost always do). I will speak with Dan on the matter because I agree he shouldn't be closing a thread he is involved in.

@Crosby -- edit is working. It times out after 15 minutes but, because of a bug in the default EE code, it still shows up. I have a bug report in with EE. Hopefully they will fix it soon. If not I will get around to it when I have a little more time. Sorry for the inconvenience.

@Vinay -- Once the server migration is done I will prominently display a notice on the site until the redesign is done (4-6 weeks). I will start work on the member pages some time this week. I will also post a thread about the topic so people can have a say in how things are set up and so I can make the best possible decision.

Privacy is very important to me. I haven't been a fan of some of the decisions Facebook has made in this regard. I am more inclined to have the default setting set to either hidden (like it is now) or with a very small amount of info (username and posts submitted) open to the public, a little more member data open to other logged-in members (even less than is shown now), and then more for the friends you decide to share the info with. Again, this is a very important issue that I plan on discussing with the community.

@Monty -- send me an email with the info and I will get it changed for you.
   14. Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2012 at 12:35 PM (#4064012)
BB Chick, by default (which means people who aren't logged in or who haven't changed any settings) the off-topic stuff won't show up. If you decide to subscribe to it, it will show up on your personalized page and in your sitewide Hot Topics.
   15. Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4064081)
For those of you who were discussing the recent tread closing, I have closed your comments within this thread. I originally planned on removing the threads tomorrow after giving you some time to copy and paste your comments into a new forum thread. Right after I posted my note asking for people stay on topic, two more comments were posted about the thread closing.

Although I can appreciate your feelings about this issue, I really need to keep this thread on topic to make it easier for people to get information about the server migration.

I invite you to create a Forum Topic on the issue within the newly created Community Issues forum.

As soon as I finish off the server migration and tweak the server configuration I promise to jump in on the discussion.
   16. formerly dp Posted: February 18, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4064103)
Jim,
Could you please move the deleted comments posted originally posted here to the new thread you created? Thanks.
   17. Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4064105)
dp, I am right in the middle of doing a migration test. In a little while I will email the comments to their respective authors so they can post their comments within the forum thread themselves.
   18. formerly dp Posted: February 18, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4064108)
Thanks Jim.
   19. Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4064293)
Test.
   20. Vrhovnik Posted: February 19, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4064297)
Test. Jim, I tried posting in the Lounge. Whatever you type in disappears when you hit "Submit Post" and you get the "Post Reply" screen again.
   21. hokieneer Posted: February 19, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4064298)
I second #20 issue with the forum.
   22. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: February 19, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4064299)
Oh good it's not just me. I'm having the same problem as Vrhovnik and hokieneer.
   23. Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4064301)
Sorry. I will get right on it.
   24. Bourbon Samurai Posted: February 19, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4064307)
Also forum no worky. Thanks!
   25. veer bender Posted: February 19, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4064324)
Jim -- Don't worry about moving my old post from this thread over to the new one in the forums. It would be almost completely redundant with what I've got ready to post whenever the forums are back up. Thanks for all your work on this.
   26. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 19, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4064330)
It wasn't me who killed the Lounge THIS time!
   27. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: February 19, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4064331)
Nor I.
   28. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 19, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4064332)
The archives seem to be gone
   29. Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4064338)
You can post in the Forums again. I will look at the archives after I get the url redirects working again.
   30. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: February 19, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4064339)
Posting in the Lounge is working now. Thanks, Jim.
   31. Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4064340)
jmac66, could you provide a url where you see the problem? I just checked the main archive pages and I didn't see a problem.
   32. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 19, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4064346)
I meant using the google primer search function. e.g. , if you do a search for "death of derek jeter" you get a page full of results, but if you click any of the links you get this page
   33. boteman Posted: February 19, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4064359)
Here comes my monetary donation to help the cause. Anybody who is crazy enough to move a major baseball forum on the first day of Spring Training deserves my support!

THANK YOU!
   34. Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4064361)
@jmac66, search and old pointers using "/files" are now working properly.

@boteman, today was a real pain in the ass, but the site is working very well right now. After I do a little tweaking of the server configs and roll out our new caching system, the site should be a bit faster, even with a heavy load.

Thanks to everyone who pointed out problems. If you find something else, please let me know.

   35. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 19, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4064364)
thanks, Jim--working fine now
   36. Good cripple hitter Posted: February 19, 2012 at 09:18 PM (#4064488)
I can access the main site (bbtf.org / baseballthinkfactory.org ) in Safari, but if I try to open it in Firefox, I get... actually, I'll just screen grab it.

[Edit: Picture removed. Jim]

The download prompt's what I get when I try to access the main page, the text in the background is what I get if I try to open whatever the file is in Firefox.

I can access individual stories and the Newsblog fine in Firefox, it's only when I try to go to the main page that I get the download prompt. I turned off NoScript and AdBlockPlus, but the main page still won't open normally, and neither opening, downloading, or cancelling the download allows me to reach the main page.
   37. HGM Posted: February 19, 2012 at 09:33 PM (#4064493)
Nevermind.
   38. RJ in TO Posted: February 19, 2012 at 10:03 PM (#4064496)
I can access individual stories and the Newsblog fine in Firefox, it's only when I try to go to the main page that I get the download prompt. I turned off NoScript and AdBlockPlus, but the main page still won't open normally, and neither opening, downloading, or cancelling the download allows me to reach the main page.

Which version of Firefox are you using? I'm using 10.0.2, and I'm not seeing that issue.
   39. VK_Ratliff Posted: February 19, 2012 at 10:31 PM (#4064500)
In older items with "files" in the address, I cannot access anything other than the comments sections. The original articles and/or spreadsheets seem to be missing. This is the case with at least 15+ items I had bookmarked. For instance:


http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/primate_studies/discussion/malcolm062204/

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/oracle/discussion/2008_minor_league_translations/

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/oracle/discussion/2009_zips_projection_disk_for_diamond_mind_9_final/

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/oracle/discussion/2009_zips_in_season_projections_hitters_through_april_28/

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/primate_studies/discussion/forman_2001-03-07_0/
   40. Good cripple hitter Posted: February 19, 2012 at 10:55 PM (#4064510)
Which version of Firefox are you using? I'm using 10.0.2, and I'm not seeing that issue.


Uh... 3.6.27. That probably explains the issue, I'll update later and check.

Edit: the problem's stopped without me updating.
   41. RJ in TO Posted: February 19, 2012 at 11:11 PM (#4064516)
Edit: the problem's stopped without me updating.

I blame Rogers.
   42. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 19, 2012 at 11:19 PM (#4064518)
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/framed_bbtf.html - framed BBTF acting up. Go to a thread, refresh, get kicked out back to the front page.
   43. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: February 20, 2012 at 12:17 AM (#4064545)
I can access the main site (bbtf.org / baseballthinkfactory.org ) in Safari, but if I try to open it in Firefox, I get... actually, I'll just screen grab it.

Here's what I get.

The download prompt's what I get when I try to access the main page, the text in the background is what I get if I try to open whatever the file is in Firefox.


Similar problem for me with Chrome. Go to the home page and get a download instead of a web page. Starts off with:

[EDIT: Code snipped. Jim]
   44. Jim Furtado Posted: February 20, 2012 at 07:00 AM (#4064611)
@Good cripple hitter and Teddy Ballgame, try clearing your browser's cache.

@Gil, that issue wasn't related but the server move. It's fixed now, though.

@Frank, your issue has been resolved.
   45. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: February 20, 2012 at 08:21 AM (#4064620)
Based on the various sites I go to, anytime the admin takes the site down the following rule should apply:

The first 90% of the task will take the first 90% of the time. The remaining 10% of the task will take the other 90% of the time.
   46. hardrain Posted: February 20, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4064628)
Jim...for me the right hand navigation links under HOT Topics work in IE but not in FireFox. I don't know if anyone else is having that issue or not.
   47. Lassus Posted: February 20, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4064632)
Uh... 3.6.27.

Heh.
   48. VK_Ratliff Posted: February 20, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4064633)
@Gil, that issue wasn't related but the server move. It's fixed now, though.


Thanks, Jim.
   49. Jim Furtado Posted: February 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4064663)
@hardrain, right-hand navigation links under Hot Topics? I don't understand. Could you explain a little more?
   50. CrosbyBird Posted: February 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4064684)
My bookmarks don't show up on the main page, but come back when I go into any article. Is that expected?
   51. UCCF Posted: February 20, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4064691)
My bookmarks don't show up on the main page, but come back when I go into any article. Is that expected?

I've had that for the past few weeks.
   52. Downtown Bookie Posted: February 20, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4064707)
@Good cripple hitter and Teddy Ballgame, try clearing your browser's cache.


Thanks Jim. While I am (obviously) neither GCH or TB, I was experiencing the same problem with my Google Chrome browser. Clearing the cache solved the problem for me. Thanks again.

DB
   53. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: February 20, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4064738)
I like the inclusion of tags. And I'm a huge fan of better mobile access.

Thanks for running a great site for so long now!
   54. CrosbyBird Posted: February 20, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4064750)
I've had that for the past few weeks.

I'm sure that I have as well. I generally don't close my browser so I'm always linking from a page with a discussion. I didn't really notice it until the site was down for a bit.
   55. madvillain Posted: February 20, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4064831)
Interesting you actually build and host the servers yourself in this age of cloud based apps. Old fashioned, cool!
   56. Lassus Posted: February 20, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4064838)
Jim, is there any chance that people will be able to search their own post history archive? I suppose it's pretty navel-gazing in purpose, but I admit I'd love to see what kinds of dumbass crap I wrote five years ago. Any chance, ever?
   57. SoSH U at work Posted: February 20, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4064875)
but I admit I'd love to see what kinds of dumbass crap I wrote five years ago.


From where I sit, I'd say it's pretty similar to the kind of dumbass crap you write now. Hope that helps. (-:

Actually, I'd like that feature as well, though I'd rather it include the ability to search all Primates' post histories.

   58. Lassus Posted: February 20, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4064884)
From where I sit, I'd say it's pretty similar to the kind of dumbass crap you write now. Hope that helps. (-:

SHUT UP, YOU.


Actually, I'd like that feature as well, though I'd rather it include the ability to search all Primates' post histories.

So you can search my posts, too? That's flattering. I simply want to see how awesome my song-by-song review of Weezer's Red album was here two years ago. Other people may also want to see it! Or something.
   59. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: February 20, 2012 at 06:20 PM (#4065000)
Thanks, Jim.
   60. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 20, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4065022)
Jim, thanks much.
   61. bobm Posted: February 21, 2012 at 12:18 AM (#4065246)
The news submission page seems to have a few bugs:

The "preview submission" option is gone; now one can only "submit."

Also, when I try to submit news on my Blackberry, the page loads and then instantly loads the newsstand page without allowing any entries into the blank fields. (I am using a Blackberry 9930, 7.1 Bundle 457 OS, Blackberry browser version 7.1.0)
   62. Lassus Posted: February 21, 2012 at 07:18 AM (#4065326)
Jim - That was an actual question.
   63. Lassus Posted: February 21, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4065347)
And that wasn't meant to sound as snappish as it did. I just didn't want you to think it was a joke or somehow referenced the Castro thread apocalypse, as it didn't.
   64. Repoz Posted: February 21, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4065365)
Jim, keep getting this error message on File Upload.

"Thumbnail could not be created for the image. Please make sure the thumbnail directory is writable."
   65. Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4065529)
Sorry about the bookmarks on the front page. It was an oversight. I've been viewing the site with the test design I am playing with and forget to return them to the front page.

@Repoz, I will look into it.

Lassus, viewing your own comments and posts are doable, although I will have to think about the easiest way for people to flip through all their comments. Viewing other people comments is something I plan on discussing in a future post. I can't see allowing it by default for privacy issues. I might be willing to allow it for *approved friends* using some group and friends stuff included in the redesign. Again, I'm very sensitive to privacy issues so we'll have to wait and see on that feature. In any event, would you please add the request to the feature requests forum?

@bobm, due to a change in the way EE now processes submit forms I have to redo the preview page. It's on my to-do list but it might take me a week or so to get to it. I'm not sure what to tell you about the form submission problem on your Blackberry. Is it working at all? Could you do me a favor and enter the problem into the Bug Report forum to make it easier for me to track and reply to you?

@Matt H, my not actually running the servers myself. I lease them at a datacenter. I considered moving the site to a cloud-based option but some of the issues Amazon had recently scared me off.
   66. bobm Posted: February 21, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4065554)
[65] I filled out the bug report form. Thanks.

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