A new Water Cooler to chat on

ares's picture

If you're still active on Ableminds, you know that for the past few weeks it hasn't been well. The latest update we have from them, as of Saturday is as follows:

The Ableminds Forum database is corrupt and we have been unable to find a way to recover it. We consulted a few other experts and there were a couple of suggestions offered, but unfortunately it doesn't seem possible to recover most of the information that was in the database.

We have a copy of the user database we created when we recently had the last crisis. It's not 100% up to date, but it provides a starting point to restore some user information. We will have to go through our paypal records and checks that were sent in to sort out any changes since then. The plan is to create a new empty database so folks can get back to posting again. Initially it will be free of charge for a period of time. We will offer refunds to anyone who asks. We will add in time for the payments we identify for those who stick around so that paid users will have posting privileges for the free period plus their paid period.

Unfortunately we have also lost information that was in the database regarding forums and privileges for co-hosts etc. All of that is gone so it will need to be recreated for those who want to keep on with the forum. There is some information in scripts that were not lost so some of the functionality of the site itself is preserved.

We researched options for a new server environment and we will be running on a new server soon that should avoid future problems.

What happened? Basically there was some issue on the old server that we don't fully understand, but it was filling up the disk on the server and corrupted the database. We had a backup at that time and were able to free up space at the time the first outage was reported, and so we started web crossing again, but within a few hours before a backup completed, the issue occurred again corrupting the only database we had on the server that wasn't corrupt. With a new server, we will be taking greater precautions to have as many backups as possible which will be possible with the larger disk drivers that newer servers now have.

First of all, rest assured that the Cooler Crew site is safe from this sort of problem. The "disc" that the database is on is less than one third full. If it ever filled more than that, I have plenty of disc space available to expand the data into. I have mechanisms in place to keep tabs on the available and used disc space so that I can take action if it gets too bad. I put "disc" in quotes above, because the site doesn't run on its own server. It runs as a virtual machine on top of redundant physical discs. If I ever had a problem I could pull a bad disc out and replace it, and no one would ever be the wiser (except me). 

From what it sounds like in this report, *all* of the backups that Ableminds had of their databases were on the same disc in the server as the main one, so that when discs filled up it was game over. I could be wrong. The Cooler Crew database and files are backed up nightly to a different server with completely different storage. If the discs the site were on should fail completely, we'd be able to "quickly" reimport the database on a new virtual machine and be up and running relatively quickly. I say relatively because it does take time to get a new virtual machine installed and configured.

As far as I know, the only backup that Ableminds has is what's available here in our archive. Fortunately, I ran my archive script relatively recently. Unfortunately "recently" means "before the 2018" Pioneer Press Hunt. As a result, the 350 or so posts that were made in the 2018 hunt thread are lost forever.

Several of you know that I've been toying around with the idea of a forum within the site for quite some time. I've been hesitant to go forward with it because I wanted to get things in place to nail the style that we had with the WebCrossing software at Ableminds, which if you've ever looked at other forum software doesn't quite match what's out there. When Ableminds first went down, I started putting a few modules together in the playground environment that I have set up. With the last update that Ableminds posted, I decided to make them live on the real Cooler Crew site, even if things weren't perfect.

And so, with that, I encourage you to check out the newly-reborn Water Cooler. It isn't perfect and there is still plenty of room for improvement, but it is there. In order to maintain some of the features of Ableminds, general users are restricted from creating new topics (what were discussions at Ableminds) or folders. If you want something, feel free to ask; there's a forum discussion thread just for that purpose. If there are features you want to see added, suggest it. This is something I won't take any criticism, good, or bad, as an affront to me. I cobbled together a bunch of stuff other people had done within the framework to get this together, so I'll blame them for any shortcomings.

One thing many of us have wanted at Ableminds was the ability to "like" a post, like you can on Facebook. Guess what? You got it here.

So how do you get into the Water Cooler? First you have to have an account set up on the site. Apart from me, 90 or so of you already do. I think all of them are related to old screen names. You may have forgotten your screen name or password. If you did, that's fine. Hit me up with a message on Facebook or through the contact link at the bottom of the page and I'll get you set up. If you don't have an account here and want one, contact me in one of those same ways and I'll set you up with an account. Gotta do this to keep spammers from posting on the site until there's a more reliable way to control access.

And please, once you're in, if you have problems, or a suggestion, or whatever, use the forum discussion board to say something!!

Happy hunting (and happy posting)!

You dig?