Wednesday May 5th sees Lance Henriksen reach the grand age of 70 years young and as this is a milestone birthday the Millennium Fan Community (thanks to the inspiration of our founder, Graham P Smith) decided it was right and proper to mark the occasion in style and bring as many people together at www.tiwwa.info to celebrate the continuing career of one of the acting profession's brightest luminaries. To help the occasion go with a "boom boom" we have some super articles and videos looking back over Lance's stellar career and celebrating his achievements in various roles with a special emphasis on Frank Black. We have an exclusive comic strip bringing "Frank Black" back in his first adventure for over a decade (courtesy of artist and writer, Barry Renshaw with an ongoing series to follow), contributions from Millennium cast and crew members, Mark Snow, Peter Outerbridge, Robert McLachlan and Marshall Bell and from Movie Director and Writer, Brett Hart and Author M R Sellars. In addition to which we have games, an especially commissioned birthday anthem, seventy reasons why we love Lance Henriksen and much, more more.
Special thanks must be afforded to Matt Allair of www.x-fileslexicon.com and Laura and Frank of http://www.spooktalkular.com/ for their contributions and as the week unfolds we expect more surprises and fun.
As we look forward to celebrating Lance Henriksen's 70th Birthday, with the great and the good assembled, it is also time to announce the third outing of our Millennium Skype Chat Group, "Millennium: The Family". We are inviting each and every one of you to join us on Friday May 7th 8:00 GMT as we take a look back at the continuing career of Lance Henriksen and the plethora of roles he has become famous for creating (with a little more emphasis on Frank Black of course).
As always, we endeavour to keep the flame alive and hope that you will all join us on Wednesday May 5th to do so but, more importantly, we hope you will raise a glass to Lance Henriksen. Happy Birthday Lance, long may you reign.
Thanks to a very long awaited feature in our latest software version at TIWWA, which provides much better smiley/emoticon management by way of categories and drag and drop re-ordering, I've finally been able re-organise the very mixed up smilies at TIWWA.
We now have a General Category (for small everyday small smilies), and brand new categories for seasonal, fun, holiday etc themed smilies including Halloween, Christmas, Food themed etc.
This should make it a lot easier to find your preferred smiley of choice to suit your post and mood, and.... Millennium drum roll.... I've added dozens of new themed smilies and emoticons, as well as removing some of the more boring ones.
Simply click on the Emoticon button when posting your content to bring up the Emoticon list. You can quickly jump to a specific category and your most recently used emoticons/smilies will show at the top of the list for convenience.
I hope the new categories and emoticons make for a better posting and reading experience here at TIWWA.
This Is Who We Are
A few days ago we upgraded to the very latest version of our Community Software. Every upgrade brings new features and enhancements to make your time here more fun, exciting and useful! This blog entry contains a look at some of these latest features at TIWWA that you don't want to miss!
#1 Customise your profile!
Your profile at TIWWA is a special place all about you, and the great news is that it is now customisable if you have made more than 10 posts!
Upload or link to any image to give your profile a more personal or perhaps a seasonal look!
Here's some examples to inspire you!
To customise your profile, either click on the Edit Profile link when viewing your profile or choose the My Settings link in your user drop down menu.
From the profil tab in your settings, choose Profile Customisation from the left menu. From there you can link to an image online, upload an image (up to 250kb), and/or change your profiles background colour. Tiling an image is great for small images as they repeat across your profile. A handy tip is to have your profile open in another broswer tab or window and then you can just quickly reload/refresh the page to see what your new changes look like.
#2 Enhanced Status Updates!
Status Updates at TIWWA have been incredibly popular and have now been taken to the next logical step by allowing archived statuses and status replies.
A recent addition is the ability to locks a status update. A normal member can lock their status to prevent comments from other members, although TIWWA Staff can over-ride this and reply and/or unlock the status.
Members can receive email notifications when a reply is made to their status, or a reply is made to a status they have commented on. This will continually drive traffic at TIWWA and encourage more interaction between members!
#3 Twitter Integration!
Twitter integration is now enabled, meaning members can now link their account with their Twitter account! If you have a Twitter account, they you may use this to register a new forum account if you are new to TIWWA or to "connect" your existing account with their Twitter account.
Integrating your Twitter account allows you to use your Twitter profile picture and description on the board. You can also import your latest Twitter status onto the board, or post your board status to Twitter. If your forum status is longer than 140 characters, it will cut the status off and automatically add a Bit.ly URL pointing to your forum status update! You may note that each status update on the forum has a little icon showing where the status originated.
You can also import your Twitter background as your profile background (see above: Customise your Profile!)
These improvements should increase registrations at TIWWA and generate more traffic to it.
Facebook intergration is also available and we will likely enable this too allowing for the same use as with Twitter for those who want to make use of it.
#4 Link Sharing!
Easily share links from TIWWA to your Facebook wall, Twitter page, and more. Great way to drive traffic in both directions!
As most Facebook and Twitter users have discovered, sometimes you see a link to a great article or topic and want to share it with your friends and followers. This new feature makes this very easy to do. You don't even have to leave the page to do it.
If you have connected your forum account to Twitter and Facebook, then clicking on the share link icon for those services loads a pop-up enabling you to tailor your content before sending it. Of course, there are many more places to share links which is why we've included a few other methods by default and its very easy to add more.
Of course, if you don't have your account linked to Twitter or Facebook, the standard "share" link is launched for each service. The other services act like this too, a new window is opened with the service's share page loaded and filled in.
It's no secret how social media has improved how we share data to each other and this feature allows TIWWA to gain more exposure using existing services. The seamless integration with Facebook and Twitter lowers the barrier for sharing our content!
#5 Topic Preview!
Preview the first few lines of a topic without loading the entire topic. Whilst inside a forum, when you 'mouse over' a topic entry, you'll see a little 'pop-up' icon.
Clicking this loads an excerpt from the first post along with some data underneath.
This feature adds a little more functionality and polish to the forum index allowing you to perform your daily routine a little quicker and a little easier.
An easier way to be notified of all the various events that happen in our community! A new menu has been added next to your username dropdown in the top right corner of the page. The number of unread notifications is listed on this menu so that you can quickly see how many unread notifications you have.
When you click on the menu, a dropdown is loaded via AJAX displaying your last 10 notifications. Unread notifications are bolded to help you quickly identify them in the list.
Notifcations can be less intrusive that receiving a PM or e-mail every time someone leaves a comment on your profile! Use a notification instead!
There's a "View All" link at the bottom of the menu, allowing you to quickly go to your notifications list should you need to review further back than the last 10 notifications you received. An important note to make here - when you open your menu, all of your unread notifications will be marked as read. And finally, once you have no unread notifications, the styling of the menu will change so as to prevent it from drawing your attention as readily as when there are unread notifications for you to view.
To customise your settings, go to your My Settings page, under the Settings tab, look for Notification Options.
More features and improvements!
#7 Search Engine Overhaul
Search engine rebuilt from the ground up introducing more flexibility and power.
#8 New mobile skin!
Mobile skin for many popular devices to enable easy access to our community.
#9 Automatic Media Embedding!
Automatic parsing of YouTube and other media into posts. Post a link to a Youtube and it just shows!
#10 iPhone App! Android support coming soon.
The mobile market for communities has exploded and IPS have responded by offering a great, new mobile skin for communities like TIWWA and its applications. There are inherent limitations in a mobile skin that are difficult to work around such as image uploading, logging in, and more that are either impossible or just tedious on a mobile device. IPS have now introduced a new iPhone app to solve these issues and add new options!
You can add a list of all the IP.Board-powered communities like TIWWA that you visit and save your username/password to those communities in the app. You now have one-tap access to all the communities you visit. No need to tap out your login each time you wish to visit the community of your choice and easily switch between all the communities you visit!
Members can update their TIWWA profile status right within the app without having to navigate to any other page. Even better, if you use TIWWA's built-in Twitter and Facebook integrations, you can even update the status on TIWWA, your Facebook, and your Twitter all in one click! This allows your TIWWA to become the center of your online social experience!
You are able to upload images, videos, and camera shots directly from your iPhone to TIWWA! Members can select their source, write a caption, description, and even choose from the albums they have created at TIWWA to upload their media.
Two simple but easy sharing functions are available: open in Safari and email. Found a great topic on a community you visit and want to share it? Just click email and send it to a friend. You can also open the community in Safari to bookmark a page or perform other functions available in the OS browser.
We are happy to say that the IP.Board iPhone app will be available totally free to all! There are no ads from IPS in the app or anything intrusive that will distract from your community experience! This is the very first version of the iPhone app and IPS have tons of great ideas to improve it and will continue to do so over time.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As you know, TIWWA has recently introduced a new Skype discussion group to allow members to come together in real-time to chat with each other about our beloved show. Our next meet will take place of Saturday 17th April 8:00pm GMT and all are welcome to take part.
As our gathering focusses on Chris Carter's sublime creation, Lucy Butler, we dipped into her mythology to create a bit of fun that will allow Millennium fans to have the chance to win a gorgeous signed photograph of Sarah-Jane as Lucy Butler. Having seen it I can attest to how fantastic it is. Millennium fans will know that our beloved nemesis famously tempted Landon Bryce with her Apple Cinnamon Pancakes in Season Two's much respected "A Room With No View" and our challenge to you is to create a pancake filling befitting of The Devil's Liege Herself.
It can be scrumptious, noxious or downright poisonousness but be we ask that you put your thinking caps on and create a culinary delight of demonic goodness. If you want to add chocolate sauce to lightly flambéed deadly nightshade and sprinkle it with saltpetre be our guest. It really is up to you.
To enter, and stand a chance of winning this superb prize, simply leave your creative concoctions in the comments section here or send them to me (ethsnafu) as a personal message if you prefer.
You don't have long, the closing date for the competition is Friday 16th April 00:00 GMT so make sure all your entries are in by then. The winning entry will be announced during the chat.
Till then, love is blue!
Thanks, as always, to Sarah-Jane Redmond for her kind donation of the prize and to Graham for allowing us to use it in this way.
Once again (following the recent Easter activities), TIWWA's special team of community volunteers, our honourable TIWWA Blackcoats, have served us proud!
The recent celebration of Lance Henriksen's 70th birthday was superb and I cannot thank the Blackcoats enough. Similarly, I want to thank everyone who took part, contributed content and helped to publicise the events on their websites including the Millennium Facebook Group, websites in the X-Files community and of course Frank Spotnitz's Big Light Productions.
The feedback has been superb and inspirational! The fantastic video's Frank's Finest Moments by Dirt and 35 Years of Lance Henriksen by Josef were simply unmissable!
If you missed it, fear not, all of the special content including the birthday messages and videos from Mark Snow, M R Sellars, Brett Hart, Peter Outerbridge, Marshall Bell etc are still available to enjoy in our special and permanent archived forum.
About our TIWWA Blackcoats
The TIWWA Blackcoats are regular contributor members of TIWWA who have gone the extra mile and kindly volunteered to help create special content (fun, games, events etc) in order to celebrate, promote or highlight special events or seasonal themes. They take their name from Millennium's criminal profiler Frank Black, and inspiration from the famous Redcoats (its a Brit thing!).
It's important for us to acknowledge and highlight their support within the community, and so a special member group was created called TIWWA Blackcoats which has a higher level of upload attachment space, great capacity for PM's etc. TIWWA Blackcoats are instantly recognisable by having a special badge next to their posts, and have their own special project forums where they can plan and discuss events.
TIWWA's Blackcoat Members
The Blackcoats currently consist of the following members:
To join the Blackcoats, simply contact Ethsnafu or any other member of our Elder moderating team, and we'll add you to the TIWWA Blackcoats as soon as we can.
My sincerest gratitude is extended to Mark (ethsanfu) for overseeing and managing the TIWWA Blackcoat volunteers, and for his time, energy and support in coordinating the celebrations to mark Lance Henriksen's 70th Birthday.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pride and pleasure that two lucky winners have been selected from all those who took part in the Easter competitions. I am delighted to announce that the winner of the Millennium Trivia Pursuit Quiz 2010 is Coughcool and the winner of The Launderama of The Soul 2010 is Walkabout. Both these names were chosen at random from the many entries we received and I am sure you will join me in congratulating them.
To claim your brand spanking new DVD prizes simply send me a PM with your names and addresses (confidential of course and deleted after mailing) and I will pop this in the post to you right away.
To all those who took part and helped make this weekend the resounding success it was. Thank you.
Here's to next time.
As some of you may know, I took over Lance Henriksen Magic a few years back after the original creator suddenly removed the site. The site has been in need of a major overhaul for quite some time, although some improvements have been made and news about Lance Henriksen continues to be posted.
I'm very pleased to confirm that an overhaul of Lance Henriksen Magic is now currently under way, new financial investment will bring a brand-new modern and easy to use social website but better still, I'm excited to announce that the site will now be brought to you with the kind assistance of some very familiar and well-loved names from TIWWA, Mark Hayden (ethsnafu) and Libby!
Mark in particular will be helping me to bring you more news concerning Lance Henriksen and his career on a more frequent basis, whilst Libby will be helping oversee the brand new community forums section of the site.
I can confirm that the site and forums will be very familiar to use as we're using the same amazing software that we use at TIWWA but expect some additional features and differences:A brand new Community Forums - Chat and discuss Lance Henriksen with many more fans beyond the scope of Millennium with full Facebook and Twitter integration, status updates etc.
A brand new Community Gallery - Share photos and view images of Lance Henriksen from his many roles such as Bishop in Aliens, upload and share photos of convention appearances live from your iPhone or Android mobile...
A brilliant new dedicated Community Videos section - View, share and comment on Vimeo and Youtube video content similar to a gallery featuring Lance related videos, film trailers, video clips, convention videos, fan tribute videos etc. Post a new film trailer for a Lance film and our site will automatically create a new discussion topic for you in the forums
A brand new Links Manager - Share and discover links to other Lance Henriksen websites, official movie sites etc.
A brand new, extremely powerful but easy to use Content and Articles section which will host our new and existing archive of News Articles, all of the relevant content from the old site and which will allow forum members to rate and add comments directly and easily to news articles.
We're currently very busy setting up the site and importing older content from LHM, so far now please enjoy a few images to wet your appetite until hopefullly we will see you over at Lance Henriksen Magic, our new sister site...
It is with great pleasure that I extend both congratulations and a warm welcome to two respected TIWWA members Richard and Laura, who as of today have made the transition from Candidate to the the Elder Staff Team.
WaveCrest and SpooktalkGiGi, Richard and Laura will this weekend be recovering from their traditional blood letting riverside ceremonies (you should have seen the Health and Safety Risk Assessment forms we had to complete) that take place in a secret location near Bucksnort, following a competitive and highly traditional selection process that you may find somewhat familiar:
Possibly better known for their TIWWA Member Display Names of
Richard and Laura are incredibly well respected on the board, considered a pleasure to talk with and always so helpful to members and welcoming to new TIWWA fans finding their way here.
Their commitment and dedication to the Millennium community on this website has not gone unnoticed from their contributions as TIWWA Blackcoats and from member feedback. Their efforts to welcome new members to the forums and to get involved in so many topics has also not gone unnoticed. Laura and Richard's posts are always a pleasure to read and they are respected contributors that I receive many complimentary comments about.
At This is who we are, we are fortunate that moderator action is seldom needed thanks to the maturity and shared high values of the Millennium fan community. However, we like to make sure that there is always someone logging in each day from various time-zones who have the power to act on anything that breaches our Board Guidelines, is considered spam or junk advertising or that is harmful or disrespectful to the valued posters who combine to make up our amazing community. Elder staff members need to be able to display tact, discretion and diplomacy when deal politely but firmly with members during situations that crop up from time to time, especially when members discuss the more controversial elements of Millennium. We also look for staff who appreciate and respect that our members should feel confident that they can post and express their thoughts and opinions openly, provided that they are respectful to others at all times. Both Richard and Laura exceed these pre-requisites and they will be a huge addition to our team.
THIS IS WHO WE ARE
It's festive news for Millennium fans, as the first two of our planned Christmas themes are now available! Simply select from the skin/theme drop down menu at the bottom left of your screen...
Christmas Noel (current default skin)
Christmas Noel is a beautiful holiday skin presenting Mr. and Ms. Frosty in beautiful shades of red and green with silver and gold accents. This skin was enhanced even more this year with MANY new additions in hand made graphics and MANY new custom edits to make this skin even more amazing that it ever was before!
The White Christmas Skin is a beautiful frosty the snowman and friends skin with a nice winter effect, lots of animated sparkles, lots of hand crafted, highly detailed, animated graphics, many skin customizations and so much Christmas cheer your Millennium fans will be reaching for pumpkin bread, cranberry bread, and possibly some very excellent, fat-free eggnog! This skin was also enhanced even more this year with MANY new additions in hand made graphics and MANY new custom edits to make this skin even more amazing that it ever was before!
"Ho - Ho - Ho, Sir Black!"
As always, the standard TIWWA default theme is still available if you prefer (Bah! Humbug!)
Dear TIWWA members and visitors,
Nothing to be alarmed about, but I would like to extend apologies for any inconvenience you may have experienced with slow responses or speed with the website in the last few days.
Unfortunately we have intermittently been receiving a high amount of illegitimate web traffic, effectively hammering away at the server in what appears to be a crude attempt to knock our server or website offline.
As you may know such is the nature of DDoS or 'Distributed Denial of Service' attacks, the hackers (possibly someone who has watched too many episode of Mr Robot) often use a one or more, sometimes a whole network of compromised computers or devices to try and take random or specific servers down by bombarding their firewall and server software with traffic or hits.
Initially it was coming from Italy, then the US, then South America.
We can manually kill off the Apache server process each time and restart it, but after a while it starts up again, sometimes soon or after a few hours. Eventually they will get bored with door rattling and move on, especially since we're not a big company website, power station etc.
Our web-hosting company has elevated the issue to a more senior tier of support staff who have been working hard to resolve the issues, however we may start using Cloudflare and routing through their network behind the scenes for extra protection, as they provide a network service to assist with this sort of issue. If so, the website may be inaccessible for a short while.
We may also have to enable additional firewall rules, which potentially could cause you to receive a blocked or forbidden error messages in your browser if your use or visit to the site triggers a false positive. Such advanced rules are very sensitive, and require a lot of fine tuning and extra time to configure, so are best avoided if possible.
I want to reassure you that we have no reason to believe the website or server has been compromised or hacked in any way, or personal information taken.
We take security seriously. We also have automatic backups available, and all non-public user account related personal information such as e-mail addresses, passwords etc are fully encrypted, as you would rightly expect. This is one reason why we licence use of professional community software with regular updates rather than use free software, and we also automatically encrypt all traffic between our server and your browser when you visit our site.
We also use another company to probe our server infrastructure, encryption levels and website each week for potential security issues.
Thank you bearing with us.
Handy to know tips from Roedecker
Contrary to first impressions, he actually knows what he's doing...
Remember in general to always use ideally single use, strong passwords on your websites and devices, in particular your Google or other email accounts which if compromised could be used to change or hack your social media and website accounts. Password managers are well recommended, in particular LastPass and 1Pass are recommended.
Always use a good, up to date Antivirus software, ideally combined with separate anti-malware software such as Malwarebytes. These days, on Windows 10, Microsoft's built-in antivirus is regarded as very good. Avast is excellent for free software, I used it for over 10 years, but tends to nag with somewhat, scaremongering pop ups to buy the full version. Kapaskey, Mcaffee and Symantec are probably best avoided.
Should you have any concerns about account security in general, you may be unaware but we also support so-called 'two factor' account protection.
Did you know we support Google Authenticator!
If would like to make use of the popular Google Authenticator service which you can configure in your user account settings, it is free and optional for non-staff members. Very handy if you don't use a password manager service or tend to read-use the same password for multiple sites.
Once activated, it allows you to require anyone accessing your account from a new device or browser for the first time or after you sign out, to enter a one time code sent to your phone or mobile device by Google, either by text message or via the Google Authenticator app (if you have it installed on your mobile devices).
If the code is not correctly entered before it expires, access is denied, so without access to your device, nobody can in theory access your account.
I can't stress this enough to everyone with a Google Account these days, I very strongly recommended activating Google 2FA/Google Authenticator to access your Google Account, but you can also use it here if you want and on many other websites and apps too.
Adding an extra layer...
We also have the optional 3 Security Question/Answers option if you prefer, or you can use both. You can set up questions and answers that hopefully only you would know the correct answers to (don't share too much info on social media!),
Either of these options are are available in your Account Security settings and are useful if you feel you would like to add an extra layer of protection to your account.
You may also have noticed a new section after our last big update that provides device and browser usage history (Recently Used Devices). If you also use a VPN service however, the info will obviously be incorrect.
The Old Man
Unless you've been living under a rock, on Mars or have possibly been abducted by The Polaroid Stalker, you will have no doubt heard about changes to Privacy and Data Protection in Europe called General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR for short). The legislation in reality effects and improves the rights of everyone.
As you would expect, we have always respected your privacy and the processing of your personal data/information, and we will continue to do so.
Our community software suite recently received additional functionality and tools to better facilitate compliance with the new GDPR legislation.
There are understandably lots of interpretations, wild claims and opinions on GDPR. However, we believe GDPR isn't about ruining your enjoyment of the internet, it's good news for all of us.
We manage an awesome website, we're open and transparent, but we're not lawyers or GDPR experts. So for further information and better understanding, we highly recommend reading the guidance available at the ICO website, which you can find here.
We have also taken the opportunity to review and update our Guidelines.
Thank you for your time, understanding and for your continued use of our website.
The Elder Staff Team including myself have been very concerned about a recent bout of server sluggishness that you may have also noticed. For example, messages taking a while to post or edit, new topics taking a while before they load into your browser etc. For this I apologise, it has been very frustrating especially when you have a lot to do on TIWWA.
We have been working with our web host to try and track down the issue and today the root cause has apparently been identified and addressed. I hate to speak too soon, but already I'm seeing a marked difference in the page loading times and I'm able to whiz through the topics, blogs and gallery. Either that or everyone else on the plant using the Internet has disappeared!
Following a few months of hard work and some very late nights during which time I've been a bit of a recluse at TIWWA, and as previously mentioned in our staff blog, I'm pleased to announce that the newly overhauled Lance Henriksen Magic is now officially open, and which will make it all the more enjoyable and fun to take an interest in the career of the enigmatic Lance Henriksen.
I'm thrilled to say that Lance Henriksen Magic will now be brought to you with the kind assistance of Mark Hayden (aka ethsnafu) and Libby! Both Mark and Libby you may already know help me successfully run This is who we are.
Mark in particular will be helping me to bring you more news concerning Lance Henriksen and his career on a more frequent basis, whilst Libby will be helping oversee the brand new community forums section of the site. The new site is easier to navigate and use, contains the same classic archive of Lance goodness, but is now a new feature-laden social website where fans can discuss Lance's career, classic roles and his latest projects with like-minded individuals, who appreciate Lance's career and his amazing talent.
[/clear]We look forward to chatting with you on the new site, we hope you enjoy the facilities it has to offer and we look forward to you sharing your favourite Lance video's fan tributes/art/video compilations and clips of Lance's film moments with a potentially much larger audience that we currently have here as TIWWA is solely focussed on Lance's work on Millennium.
We hope you enjoyed Halloween and our special seasonal theme will remain the default until 2nd November. Afterwards it will remain available to choose from the skin/theme drop-down list/changer at the bottom of the page.
Thank you for your comments and feedback!
We're very pleased to announce that our Christmas themes are back at TIWWA for the rest of 2011!
You can now find a range of seasonally themed skins that are all available from the Change Theme menu (at the bottom left of most pages).
Merry Christmas to everyone at TIWWA, thank you all for continuing to make this the best Millennium community online for another year!
IPS Community Suite 4.0.13
This release primarily focuses on stability with many bug fixes. In addition to dozens of fixes, important items include:
When unflagging a member as a spammer, if any tasks are still queued to delete or hide the member's content the tasks will be cancelled. This is useful if you flag a user as a spammer and then immediately change your mind and unflag the member.
NO_STEP issue during upgrade should now be resolved
Lists were not rebuilding correctly coming from 3.4.x
Changed rebuild routines to not use internal embeds as it represents a change from the way content looked pre-upgrade
There were some infinite redirect issues in some cases when Pages was used, particularly when the gateway file was used
Fixed an issue related to core_cache and the task not running
I've just upgraded the TIWWA software suite. As with any big update, if you are visiting soon after the upgrade, I strongly recommend that you do a hard refresh to make sure your browser loads the updated versions of the files and isn't using a mix of new and cached old ones which can cause odd things to happen to your experience of our site(!). To do this in Windows, simply hold down the CTRL key and then just press F5 then let go, and it will force your browser to reload all files on the page. There, you are seeing everything as it should be.
There are some minor maintenance fixes expected over the next few weeks, which will address any new bugs etc with this latest major update and may add some new features along the way.
The developers have added dozens of new features, enhancements to existing features, fixed the majority of 4.0 bugs, and made large performance gains.
Firstly New Content (some still call it View New Content) is now called Unread Content. There is also a handy link to it as shown below...
This will take you to one of the new Activity Streams, which is like a time-line of new content.
If you don't like the way a particular Stream looks, (eg. say you want a more condensed view without the content of the posts showing), you can toggle the display between the Expanded (normal) and Condensed Views.
The new Menu Bar
The new Menu Bar represents how most people use the software suite, by browsing through the existing content to spot or view items of interest or sections of the site such as the Forums, Gallery, etc, much like the old menu system, but it also now provides an easy way to see and catch up with new activity using the Activity menu tab. We can also customise the menu, so we'll soon add useful links to the main website, such as the Episode Guide, Music Guide etc.
The image below shows the new Activity tab where you can use the default Activity Streams, or Create or Edit your own streams....
If you choose to allow Browser Notifications, you will get a small pop up and sound effect to alert you when someone has say, replied to a topic you are following or created a new topic.
When you paste content from say another website or page, if the editor detects it it is styled content (different font, size, contains HTML or images etc), you can choose to quickly paste it as plain text.
I've a feeling many will like this new feature. You can now hightlight part of a post, and selectively quote it using the pop-up option that appears. When ready, only the part of the post you highlighted will be quoted, which saves time and is much neater. It makes it easier to quote part of someone's post without quoting the whole things, especially if its from a long post when it will save lots of scrolling.
A list of changes and new features...
Some of the main changes and new features include (I've highlighted the main ones, and removed a lot of the internal stuff from this list):
New menu structure and drag-and-drop menu manager
Ability to have two menu levels
Option to create both custom-link menu items and embed preconfigured menus
Preview before publishing
All menu items support group permissions
Discovery system, a very powerful new feature that allows for both admin and user created Activity Streams
Admin-defined Streams always visible to users. Users can edit and save admin streams to create their own, custom copy if they would like to tweak them to suit themselves.
The main show-all stream automatically tells you when there is new activity
Users can now create their own custom streams
User streams can be shared but viewer will only see content based on their permissions
Filter options include:
All content or specific apps. Some apps support further refinement into categories or content-type.
Content I posted in
Content I started
Content by specific members (user can create a list)
Content I follow
Areas I follow
Specific content I follow
Posted by members I follow
Since my last visit
Specified number of days
Specific date range
Activity Streams that reference features not available to Guests such as unread tracking and follow system will auto-hide
Selective quoting to highlight a bit of a post and quote just that
Gallery application enhancements
New upload image process
Images and movies are submitted to the same upload field
Uses div-mode which is much faster and more reliable. Clicking into the editor is now pretty much instant.
Auto-linking and member mentions to use new APIs for better reliability
Quotes, code boxes, and spoilers can be dragged and moved and there is no more "red line"
When cmd/ctrl right-clicking: options to remove or break-out of quotes, edit links and edit image properties
Pasting asks if you want to convert to plain text
Editor is responsive, and ability to have small editor show in areas with less space
Member @mentions in posts can now be selected by tab key
Design and interface enhancements
Improve typography for titles
Better contrast for user-entered text (posts/comments/etc)
Brighten background colors
Pre-select text in when share popup is opened
Make positive/negative colors consistent across all uses
Better hover highlighting of 'blended' links
Better styling of mentions in posts (both the username, and the menu to select a user)
Better contrast for certain areas
Flatten the default photo image
Improve popular/selected post styles
Change popular post icon to heart for consistency with likes
Make date a permalink for sharing
Improve sidebar contrast and block styles
Improve attachments dialog
Add X to close mobile nav menu
Select messages for multiple deleting in messenger
Make leaving a conversation clearer
Improved warning panel in user profiles
Move content status icons (pinned, hidden etc.) to start of row
Improve cover photo so it automatically puts it into position mode after uploading
Android title bar inherits theme header color
Added date uploaded to Downloads version dropdown
Browser notifications for completed actions (such as large file uploads)
The main search box defaults to the app you are currently browsing unless you are on home page where it searches all
New default interface
Results now highlight and skip to search term in preview
Retina emoticons for Ipad/iPhone etc (where available)
Receive notifications via your Browser Notifications of new Personal Messages and anything in the notifications menu
Intelligent auto-polling that only polls when needed to reduce server traffic
Browser local storage used, to allow for cross-communication if you have multiple tabs open to further reduce resource use
In addition to many small bug fixes, this next release includes:
For Admins - Accounts flagged as spammers are now more visibly different on the member list in AdminCP
The Password form helper can now show a "strength" meter, and set a minimum strength required.
Added quite a few new embed providers
Google Maps (requires free Google API key)
Admin - Default location for an AdminCP tab honors the admin's ordering
Auto-saved content in the editor will now expire after 48 hours
If you load an editor that has previous auto-saved content you will now be prompted to keep or remove it
Staff - You can now set pre-filled reasons for Warning actions that will automatically populate the member notes editor when a moderator warns a user
Staff - Escape key will now cancel quick-edit on titles
Staff - Adds a setting to restrict member birthday view to admins only or to completely disable prompting for birthday to member
There are now more "save and reload" options in various places to keep your place when editing content or settings
Staff - New check all box when viewing activity on a member profile for easier moderation
Staff - You can now hide posts that are unapproved rather than just approve or delete
Staff - When a moderator changes the status of a report in the ModCP the system now puts a reply in moderator comments noting the change
Admin - When you see a "could not write file" error the file it was trying to write now shows in the error logs
You can now quickly edit tags when viewing an item without having to edit it if you have permission
If you are using multiple devices to login to a site you will be less likely to be logged out
Tags can now be quickly edited when viewing an item
Administrators can now create custom RSS feeds for various content
Staff - Enhancements to IP discovery tools for moderators
Staff - Actions for reports in ModCP now show when status is changed as a comment
Admin - Redesigned support tool
Password strength rating and requirement option
Guest terms of service alert
Minimum age requirement
Admin- Ban Filters are now Word Filters and can set words to automatically moderate
Display name history is now available on profile view
Some of the most interesting changes:
Better Analytics Integration
Tag Quick Edit
Default Warning Notes
Custom RSS Feeds
Word and Link Filters
Security and Privacy
Embeds and Integration
The next big feature is the new Leaderboard which we really think will enhance our community.
The new Leaderboard is designed to better highlight our most active members and content based on reputation and other metrics. The Leaderboard will greatly enhance both member and content discovery on our community.
First you will notice the new feature of member leaders based on a specific time frame. In the example above it is set to All Time showing those members with the most reputation overall in the community. It also shows the content with the most reputation for the same timeframe so you get a snapshot of both popular members and popular content in one view.
The Past Leaders tab (example shown above) shows the "winners" of each day in a history. The system counts all reputation made each day and logs the members who had the top reputation counts that day. Using reputation rather than post count encourages our members to post quality of quantity which is really important to any site.
Those who win the day also get a badge on their profile page (see above example screenshot) to highlight that they were the member with the most reputation for a particular day.
Top Members shows you a list of all members sorted by various metrics. By default you will see members sorted by reputation but you can also easily sort by total post content TIWWA-wide or per-app. All of these views can be linked directly to so if we wanted a menu item to show members who post the most files in Downloads, we can just directly link to that sort view.
There are various settings to control the default behavior of the Leaderboard. We can define the default view and how many members to show which is helpful to tailor it to our needs.
We hope you enjoy this initial launch of the new Leaderboard feature. We are excited about the new content and member discovery abilities this offers and look forward to adding new options to the Leaderboard as it continues to develop!
Embeds and Intergration
Our Community Suite allows for integrations with quite a few third party systems and also can embed content from external sites. We have added a whole new list of embed providers where you can just paste in a link to that site and a nice box will show up embedding the content.
You can do that will many popular sites already and we are adding a lot more:
Example - you can them just paste in a link to a Google Map location. So when you paste a link to a Google Map in an editor it shows like this:
The maps are also interactive on the screen.
We hope you enjoy all these new additions coming in December.
As we approach the end of 2016, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our amazing members, old friends and guest visitors a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
To mark the Yuletide occasion, This Is Who We Are has once again been festively decorated with a choice of two themes, Christmas Noel and White Christmas, created by Sherri at IBTheme.
For those who prefer the usual default TIWWA Theme, you can select this or any of the other themes from the Theme selector menu at the bottom of any page.
Today, I've also updated our community's software with the recently announced upgrade (see previously Staff Blog entry for more details) which sees the introduction of the new built-in 'Leaderboard' which highlights, just for fun, our most popular and active Members, and awards them with Gold, Silver and Bronze Trophies. The awards are also visible on the relevant member's Profiles.
I'd also like to take the opportunity to thank our Elder Staff Members, who assist me by helping moderate when necessary and administrate the community, in particular @Libby
For many, I'm sure it has been a good year, but also unfortunately for many an eventful, sad and difficult year; in particular for those of us who have lost special friends such as our wonderful Erin @Raven Wolf who loved this time of year, who have lost family members or who have suffered from illness or challenging times. Let's hope 2017 brings a more happier and prosperous year for everyone, no matter who they are, or where they are.
This Is Who We Are
Some information for those interested about our forthcoming software update, I've highlighted most relevant in bold...
In addition to many small bug fixes, this release includes:
Performance improvements in: profile view, sitemap generator, posting replies, and Activity Streams
More efficient license key checking to keep the keys from being checked too often which can slow the site down
Admins - There is now a column in tasks view to show the last time it ran to help diagnostics
When a member changes their email or password they now get an email confirmation
If group promotion based on date is enable the system will now auto-promote even if a member does not login
Admins - There is now a setting to change the number of topics per page in the forum view
You can now press ctrl/cmd+enter in any editor window to submit the reply
There is now logic to prevent double-posting when the initial post encounters an error on submit
Moderators can now remove all followers from an item
Contact Us is now configurable with various options
Staff - Announcements can now be restricted by member group
Admins now have a setting to have members automatically follow content they start or reply to. Members can optionally override this.
The editor will now show a message if a link that can be embedded (image, video, etc.) failed to embed for some reason. Admins get more detailed error reasons.
Admins - If our datastore (cache system) is not working properly the AdminCP will now show you a warning telling you that it needs attention.
When a member is banned/suspended the system now shows a more friendly page with information on their ban. Previously it showed a permission denied page.
Security Questions for account security
To enhance the security of our member's accounts we now have a new security questions feature where we can allow our members to put in their own, personal security questions. The member will then be prompted to answer those questions for account actions admins define.
Account Change Emails
Members will now receive confirmation emails when they change their email address or password.
Our members can already choose to automatically follow content they start or reply to, but now we can define this as the default behavior for all members. Our members can of course override this to their own preference.
Embed Failure Message
To answer a frequent question "why didn't my media embed?" we now show you why. Regular members will just see a message indicating the Suite tried to embed but was not able to. Admins will get more information on what failed.
Suspended Member Page
If we banned/suspended a member previously they simply saw a generic permission denied message. We now show a more friendly page saying they were suspended and why.
The member can click to get the full information from the Warning System as well.
Global announcements can now be restricted by member group (such as messages for Guests).
The following update after this one is still in development, but will include
Added quite a few new embed providers
Auto-saved content in the editor will now expire after 48 hours
If you load an editor that has previous auto-saved content you will now be prompted to keep or remove it
A batch of moderator improvements.
Good news, I had chance to work on the idea of a Millennium style countdown gadget for Windows Vista (see my previous post).
I'm really excited about this, because a) I think the idea is really cool and b) I got it to work without too many problems along the way.
Below is a screen shot of my desktop with the results so far:
As you can see (ignoring my busy background wallpaper and other icons), the gadget is listed in the gadget box with a brief description, but more importantly over to the top right, you'll see the first working version. I got the countdown to work okay and then it occurred to me to have it display your actual name, just like the one in the Millennium tv series. It was surprisingly easy to pull this from the Windows system, so the gadget says, "Welcome (username), There are xxx days remaining."
Its all early days, but now that the mechanics are working okay, I can go about adding some graphics and making it all the more shiny!
Hope you like the results so far. I'm thinking of having versions with the Ouro background and also the main characters Frank, Peter and Lucy.
Any thoughts you may have. I'd love to read.
The first Vista Millennium gadget is now available for download.
By now, our regular members will have gotten used to the majority of our new features on this latest release of our community software. This blog entry is the first in a series of such entries designed to identify, highlight and advise on some of the new features and changes at TIWWA in our forums, gallery and blogs, some of which you may not to be sure how to use or may have missed.
If you have a suggestion on an aspect of TIWWA that you would like to see covered here, please let me know and we'll do our best to cover it.
Our first entry covers.... wait for it... the new Member Reputation!
TIWWA now gives members the ability to rank an individual post up or down within the community forums, which encourages quality contributions and makes it easy to see for everyone which of our members have a great reputation in the community.
All members can click or on a post to give or subtract a reputation point, and the number next to the buttons shows how many points the post has received.
Points are accumulated for each member in our community, giving them an overall reputation rating which you can see in their member profile like this...
In the example shown above, you can see this particularly handsome chap has so far been awarded 7 points by members of our forums. Come on, he deserves much more rep!
So whenever you are browsing a topic and see a helpful member , friendly reply, something that made you feel warm or fuzzy, a knowledgeable or in-depth post or even a post where someone has taken the time to welcome a new member or wish you a Happy Birthday, reward them and give them a reputation boost by awarding a point!
It goes without saying, that if you see a member post something negative, perhaps a rather unfriendly or an unhelpful post, someone trying to flame-bait or stir up trouble , then you have the power to deduct a point.
Remember that you can still rate a topic accordingly with up to 5 stars, which highlights great topics for other members to see and join in, especially new members:
Radio TIWWA returns with a fantastic new audio player to help celebrate TIWWA's 7th anniversary!
Radio TIWWA is loaded with Millennium's incidental music courtesy of Grooveshark.com, so why not keep this blog page open in one of your browser tabs or windows whilst you surf around and listen to your favourite Millennium tracks as you go!
My special thanks to Mark (ethsnafu) for his wonderful apocalyptic Radio TIWWA artwork!
Besides the usual stats and figures, members at This is who we are can upload a personal photo and enable the option for friends to leave comments and list recent visitors on their profiles. This made your profile pages a little more personal and encouraged repeat visits.
With the forthcoming enhanced status updates feature in the next revision of our board's software, the profile page is becoming increasingly like a little user portal. With that in mind, the designers have extended the personalisation options to include profile page background customisation. You can now add a new background image or change the background color of your profile which instantly changes the feel of the page.
Here's an example, where the designer has chosen a beach scene, so he's not tiled the image. This allows the image to not repeat and remain 'fixed' so that when you scroll, the background doesn't scroll with it....
When the new software arrives, you'll note a new menu item in the User Control Panel:
Naturally, the administrators can control which groups have permission to do this.
When the user adds a profile background, the margins on the profile page increase so you can see the background image. If the user doesn't have a background image set, the profile appears as normal with minimal padding.
The profile page has undergone a few tweaks to make it a little neater. They've moved all the user's information into the left hand bar leaving more space to the right for other data such as the status updates, etc. and they plan to develop user customisation further in future releases.
As you may already be aware, the developers have added Twitter integration into the next release of our software. This enables you to 'connect' your Twitter account to your forum account to share links, status updates and to allow you to use your Twitter photo on the board.
They've now taken this a step further and added an option to allow you to import your Twitter background preferences to your profile.
The developers test Twitter account with using a different Twitter theme:
The background preferences (img and color) imported into the board software:
The preferences control panel:
They've also added a few handy links to the Profile Customization control panel.
These links allow you to revert all customisations, remove just the background image and load your profile to see the changes:
The developers have also included a quick way to remove your own customisations while viewing your profile, and if you are a Staff Member, then you can remove and disable customisations on any profile you view.
The developers hope that you enjoy this feature and allowing Twitter to set your background further personalises your board profile and re-enforces your own personal brand.
TIWWA is a Millennium Community. There is no doubt about that but our admiration and appreciation for all things "Ten Thirteen" is reflected in the content our members share here as well as the flexibility the forum affords you all to indulge in your interests and passions.
I am a long time admirer of "The Lone Gunmen" and, in particular, the sterling work Stephen Snedden and Zuleikha Robinson contributed to the enduring popularity of a group of geeks that the "X-Files" made us fall in love with.
This is an interview I had always wanted to see. "The Lone Gunmen" never received the acclaim it deserved as a series and Stephen and Zuleikha rarely had a chance to tell their side of the story.
I approached Stephen about the possibility of an interview and was delighted when he demonstrated a passion for the show that surpassed my own. He was a joy to correspond with, a man of immense heart, and I am grateful to him for his time.
At first I thought the results would languish on my hard-drive but knowing I couldn't be the only fan of "The Lone Gunmen" out there I asked Graham for permission to share this with you all.
If you want to take a peak behind the scenes of that show and read the words of a superb actor who was an wonderful addition to a near perfect recipe then please check out the interview here and share your thoughts.
As it was said in the show, his kung foo is best. I couldn't put it better myself.