As many of you have already heard, ThirdGen.org is now under new management. Since we purchased this site, our main goal has been to update it and change things for the better.
So far, the site has been moved to much faster hardware, hosted at The Planet in TX, and the forums have been upgraded to the newest version of vBulletin (the previous version was from 2002). We will be the first to admit, though, that not all has gone smoothly.
While we are familiar with running forum sites like this one, we have never had to transfer a site this large to a new server, nor have we ever had to upgrade a site from the 2.x version of vBulletin to the 3.x chain. With that transfer and upgrade came some problems.
All of the avatars were corrupted. This, unfortunately, was unavoidable. 2.x versions of vBulletin kept avatars in the database. Dumping the data and then reimporting on the new server caused them all to be damaged beyond repair. The same issue would have occurred if the site went down and had to be restored from a backup. The newer versions of vBulletin, however, allow the storage of attachments, avatars, and profile pictures all in the file system. This causes less table locking in the database, and faster file access when you want to view an attachment.
Likewise, the "search" feature has been no end of headaches for me personally. At first, it was shooting the load on the server to the point where it completely stopped responding. We’ve been working for the past two weeks (including 18 hours of overtime for me over last weekend) to resolve that issue and I thought we had it. Earlier today though the site began to lag again. Examining the database load showed the search to be the problem. Our apologies, but it has again been taken down, and will probably remain that way for the duration of the weekend.
The last issue that has come up is that of the advertisements that have appeared on this site, most notably, the Google AdSense ads. With the purchase of this site, the lease of new hardware, the time spent in the move, and the time Dave and I are STILL spending in working to make this site a better place, our company has incurred significant expenses. The truth is though, none of the ads are very intrusive. On this page, they appear at the top and left side, below the menu. In the forums, they’re at the very top and very bottom of the page.
For the record, yes, we are a for-profit organization. We are NOT, however, here to strip this site of everything it’s worth and then move on. We are looking to improve the site, both through the use of newer software and hardware, as well improve search-engine rankings, to bring in more members. Yes, more members would mean more advertising revenue for us, but it also means more people contributing to the community, which will, in the end, be benificial to all of us.
We are looking into a few things though to reduce or possibly even eliminate the Google ads. If anyone knows of additional fixed sponsors who might be interested in advertising on this site, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.