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Date: 03/14/11 00:03
UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: webmaster

Phase one of the site upgrade is completed and we seem to have worked out the bugs. The second phase will get underway now that will transition the 2000+ videos in the old video library into the current one.

As some have discovered we launched a new mobile discussion forum interface. More than 10% of visits originate from Android and iphone smart phones. Some people love the new layout and some people hate it. We can't make everyone happy, but we will do our best to accommodate. After the video transition is complete we will roll out some changes to the interface. Once we are happy with it we plan to roll it out to other web site pages.

The other visible upgrade is we now dynamically refresh the discussion forum index pages. What this means is if you park yourself on the main index page of any forum you can watch the view and reply counts update in real time. This was a rather tall order as it has dramatically increased our server processing requirements. We have plenty of power, but it may take a few more days to tweak the server to handle the additional traffic this feature creates. Eventually, I would like to see the entire site refresh this way.

The private message system has also become quite popular and as a result we have upgraded the system. The stored message limit has been raised and you can now search your mailbox. We also paginated your mailbox splitting the contents over multiple pages.

We rolled out an improved search feature that will offer many more return results than offered by the old system. The previous limit was a result of hardware and software imitations. Our new powerful server coupled with smarter software allows for broader search returns. This will make it easier to scan through previous postings and media content.

I have also committed to an upgrade of our camera system. Our software that runs the system is incompatible with our new server installation and will need to be rewritten from scratch. In addition, the remote software that captures the trains will be rewritten as well. We currently use a modified commercial software package named Evocam that worked in conjunction with other software to capture and transmit the videos to our server. I am having a custom Macintosh application written that will use one piece of software to run the remote systems. This will simplify the capture process and make the operation more reliable. The new software will also automatically notify us when cameras are down. For now the cameras are still reporting to our old server and the media is being synchronized to our new server. There is now an additional 2-3 minute delay for new videos to appear on the site as the media needs to be copied before it goes live. Completion of this project is probably six months out.

In regards to the Dunsmuir camera it will return. Our DSL modem died after six years and we had to wait for a replacement. That arrived, but when we plugged it in we discovered that AT&T deactivated the DSL. They have told us the line will turned back on March 14.

That's it for now. Watch the web site as we move the site forward in the coming months.

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com



Date: 03/14/11 18:09
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: SPGP9

Todd, many of us truly and deeply appreciate all that you do. Thank you for all your efforts. - Tom Dial



Date: 03/14/11 22:41
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: ironmtn

SPGP9 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Todd, many of us truly and deeply appreciate all
> that you do. Thank you for all your efforts. -
> Tom Dial

Strongly second that motion. TO is a superior site, and your efforts are very much appreciated, Todd. Keep up the great work.



Date: 03/15/11 01:36
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: Notch16

You already know how I feel. You guys have got it goin' on. Thanks for the ace machinery, and for always staying on top of the biz.

~ Bob Z.



Date: 03/15/11 07:54
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: Lackawanna484

The site's reliability is awesome, Todd. I wish the other interfaces in my life ran as smoothly...



Date: 03/15/11 09:28
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: webmaster

Thank you for the compliments. Most don't think what goes on behind the scenes as since the site works so well they assume it is pretty easy. For small web sites you can afford to write sloppy code because there is server capacity to absorb inefficiency. With Trainorders, our servers process dozens of commands every second. Something not running efficiently will quickly bog down the server and shut it down as processes wait their turn in the queue to be processed. Every new feature or piece of software has to be thought out to ensure it does not slow down or stop the site from running.

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com



Date: 03/16/11 00:04
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: MrMRL

Thanks for the smart phone friendly mobile site! I've been patiently waiting for this upgrade in particular.

Mr. MRL



Date: 03/16/11 05:15
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: NCA1022

Thanks for keeping the Trainorders infrastructure up to date and expanding its capacity and features. I agree that you have build an enviable record of reliability. As someone who has managed systems infrastructure, I can appreciate the work needed to keep things running. Doing infrastructure well is like wetting your pants while wearing a dark suit. it give you a warm feeling of accomplishment, but nobody notices...

- Norm



Date: 03/16/11 10:38
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: RyanWilkerson

Hilarious Norm!

NCA1022 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks for keeping the Trainorders infrastructure
> up to date and expanding its capacity and
> features. I agree that you have build an
> enviable record of reliability. As someone who
> has managed systems infrastructure, I can
> appreciate the work needed to keep things running.
> Doing infrastructure well is like wetting your
> pants while wearing a dark suit. it give you a
> warm feeling of accomplishment, but nobody
> notices...
>
> - Norm

Ryan Wilkerson
Fair Oaks, CA
ShastaRails



Date: 03/17/11 18:04
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: bert14

Full Speed Ahead----
Always the Best Train Website for sure!!!
Now, if only we/you/TO, could capture a new live camera--besides the Harris Tower (help me, does anyone actually watch this???--too zoomed in!!)
Contact Tom at The Station Inn---Roof Camera----Best Possible Camera for TO--- cost a few bucks??---lots of great return---



Date: 03/19/11 16:24
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: santafedan

Great job Todd. I remember how difficult it was to add printers to our school computer labs. I also remember the trouble shooting that had to be done when the school IT folks added software to the network. "It will work as smooth as glass on Monday when you start up the lab."



Date: 03/19/11 21:11
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: ross

Any news on the Dunsmuir Camera?



Date: 03/20/11 19:52
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: DJ-12

Todd, any upgrades coming to the forums for Blackberry users?



Date: 03/21/11 03:45
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: JUTower

Todd -
Thamks for the tweak that has the images spaced out correctly in the thread view (by sticking the img dimensions in the HTML)!!
-Alex



Date: 03/21/11 08:45
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: CarolVoss

I understand that there is a problem with AOL which does not allow us AOL people to follow/subscribe to threads. I hope that you will be able to solve this for us as I found it to be wonderfully convenient to have that option.
Thanks.
C.

Carol Voss
San Jose, CA



Date: 03/22/11 10:57
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: Fizzboy7

CarolVoss Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I understand that there is a problem with AOL
> which does not allow us AOL people to
> follow/subscribe to threads. I hope that you will
> be able to solve this for us as I found it to be
> wonderfully convenient to have that option.
> Thanks.
> C.


Indeed, AOL users are no longer receiving email messages after subscribing to a post. This is driving me nuts, but I'm told it's being worked on. Hopefully the fix comes sooner than later. I find myself using TO more and more as time goes on. A great site indeed, as all have mentioned.



Date: 03/22/11 16:54
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: Castle_Romeo

Is it possible to add a "Like" button to the forums similar to Facebook?

Anyways,
Thanks for the excellent website.



Date: 03/22/11 17:06
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: Telus6429

Hey Todd, will there be an easier way for people with the Android & iPhone have an easier log-in Section. When I try and log in now, it still brings me up to the main page or is it in progress making the main page more Mobile friendly...

Second thing I have noticed, is the Pictures on the Mobile area are so Small, and when you click on them, they bring you back to the normal web page, which does make some issues with mobile use, going back and forth. I was wondering if you were going to make the pictures much larger (basically fit the screen better), then smaller then a penny on the mobile version....

Ian
Windsor, Ontario
http://www.trainweb.org/swontariotrain/index.html
http://www.trainweb.org/wmrc/index.html



Date: 03/22/11 18:39
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: prr60

I'm having an ongoing issue with the dynamic refresh of the forum index pages. I am using a MacBook (OS X 10.6.6) with Safari (5.0.4). When I'm viewing a forum index page and a refresh occurs, the entire window reopens inside the existing window. I get two page headers at the top and two left menus, all inside the single window. It's quite annoying.



Date: 03/23/11 12:41
Re: UPDATE: Site upgrade news
Author: pismopete

Fizzboy7 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> CarolVoss Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I understand that there is a problem with AOL
> > which does not allow us AOL people to
> > follow/subscribe to threads. I hope that you
> will
> > be able to solve this for us as I found it to
> be
> > wonderfully convenient to have that option.
> > Thanks.
> > C.
>
It doesn't work with my G-mail account either!

Peter Arnold
>
> Indeed, AOL users are no longer receiving email
> messages after subscribing to a post. This is
> driving me nuts, but I'm told it's being worked
> on. Hopefully the fix comes sooner than later.
> I find myself using TO more and more as time goes
> on. A great site indeed, as all have mentioned.



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