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TIWWA Staff Blog

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Our staff blog contains news and updates about This Is Who We Are. This is a 'group blog', in which any of our staff team can post entries.

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Stability update applied 03.09.15

IPS Community Suite 4.0.13 Released 08/31/2015 Key Changes 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  

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

IP.Board 3.0 and Blog, Gallery and Downloads

With the upcoming release of IP.Board 3, we will of course be updating our components to be compatible with the new architecture. Releases of IP.Blog, IP.Gallery and IP.Downloads will be available alongside IP.Board 3.0 so that we can update everything at the same time and not have to worry about when our other components will be ready. IPS who sell our software have determined that initially for the big release, they will only be working for application compatibility between our components. They want to spend all of their time focusing on IP.Board itself to ensure maximum stability, especially given the fact that they are working on an entirely new platform. This means that you won't really notice any new features to speak of with the Blog, Gallery and Downloads updates. You will, however, notice much better integration between the applications and the board itself, and an updated look and feel for all applications. Some examples of this include: Integrated searching - one search form will search everything
Ability to show gallery or blog data on board index through hooks


IP.Blog
Proper user-customizable headers
RSS blogs - allows members to import their remote blog or news into their blogs
"Blog this post" support


IP.Gallery
Ability to crop, rotate, dynamically resize images. Use Javascript for front end, then re-generate image using GD on backend when user saves.
Fancy slideshow feature. Something like Flickr, but done completely in Javascript (no flash needed), little simpler probably.
Better album control based on friendships - only allow friends to view album, allow friends to submit to your album, etc.
Sub-albums
Image tagging
Correct category/album markers (ala IPB)
Allow users to choose album covers from images in an album
IP.Downloads [*]Better and more abstracted support for file records. Ultimately the goal would be to allow you to submit multiple files to a single file record. Uses would include "contributed files", breaking single files into "parts" (i.e. for large movies), and multiple screenshots per record, for instance. [*]Support for mirrors [*]More reliable upload progress meter [*]File tagging These are just some ideas are floating around. Final feature lists will be determined after the release of IP.Board 3.0. Shortly after the dust settles following the big releases, and everything is calmer and stable, they will be working on "big" updates for their first-party application addons. At this point, they are still discussing what new features would best serve their customers for Blog, Gallery and Downloads. Below is a list they've discussed that they think we'll like. What do you think of it so far?

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

Amazon S3 and Cloudfront = Performance improvements

Welcome to our first update for 2018! The following update isn't that exciting but may be of interest to some more than others but it heralds a faster, more responsive Millennium website experience, which I'm hoping you will notice as from today. As you might expect, our website has grown significantly over the last 15 years and our website community software has become more complex and feature-laden also. Last year, we needed to upgrade to a more powerful cloud-based VPS web hosting solution using SSD (solid state drives) with access to 48 unlocked CPU cores, which saw massive performance increases and cuts to page loading times but also permits more opportunity  to tweak performance. As a matter of course, I  regularly monitor reports from GTMetrix and other sites such as Page Speed and Pingdom to ensure the site and server is optimised and efficient. Three months ago, after learning more about the dark art of server management whilst I've been ill and waiting for an operation for 12 months, I installed and activated Zend Opcache on the server which is a database caching service.  This basically caches database queries so that the results are reused if possible when the same query is repeated again. This means pages are generated more quickly, and we saw an improvement in responsive page loading again, the site just seemed noticeably more snappy! One or two extra improvements never hurt, so earlier today, I got into my  Brian Roedecker mode and activated some significantly babe-a-licious server side changes to provide further performance improvements, and to ensure quicker page loading times in order to improve your experience at TIWWA.   Amazon S3 Cloud Storage Firstly, our TIWWA community website now makes use of Amazon S3 cloud storage to host the majority of our uploaded member's file attachments and image content.  This will free-up space and save resources on the main server. Not only does this include our theme images, CSS and theme templates, but also all emoticons, reactions, profile photos, profile blog and calendar cover images etc, and all existing and future file and image attachments have been shunted over to S3. All member uploaded attachments are now stored on Amazon's S3 service. The S3 cloud servers provide robust storage, and fast delivery of the many attachments and images that make up the TIWWA website. Since the majority of our members and visitors are based on the west coast of the US, I opted to configure the S3 storage bucket to be hosted in N California. Our much loved @beerbelch should see a huge boost! You can learn more here if you are interested, and see a neat video on how it works here: https://aws.amazon.com/s3/   Amazon Cloudfront CDN  The second  important feature we've activated is Amazon's Cloudfront which is their powerful Content Delivery Network. A CDN takes files, images and attachments and  distributes them across the world to various endpoints, where they are mirrored and cached. We've hooked it up to our new S3 cloud storage server in Northern California, so the content is effectively stored much closer to our members and visitors, where ever they reside. The Amazon CloudFront content delivery network is built on the expanding global AWS infrastructure that includes 44 Availability Zones within 16 geographic regions today, with announced plans for 14 more Availability Zones and five more Regions in China, France, Hong Kong, Sweden, and a second AWS GovCloud Region in the US. Amazon CloudFront has 113 Points of Presence (102 Edge Locations and 11 Regional Edge Caches) in 56 cities across 24 countries. What this means in simple terms, is that when say @Libby, myself or other users who access TIWWA in the UK,  will now access copies of the image and file content hosted on Amazon's S3 servers mirrored in the UK. Members based in Europe like Alex @SadEyes or @Viivi or the US like @Earthnut and @Walkabout will be accessing the same content from their nearest endpoint. This means a huge boost in page loading times, as well as many other CDN related security and reliability benefits. Learn more: https://aws.amazon.com/cloudfront/ TL;DR *Faster loading and less waiting allows more time for other nice things in life, like pizza!  The process isn't fully completed yet, so please bear with us as we complete the transfer of our remaining images and files across to Amazon S3.

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

Shoutbox - realtime AJAX powered chat coming soon.

One of the most frequently asked for facilities here at TIWWA is a chat room. We know you guys often want to talk amongst yourselves. I do honestly keep an eye out for such software that we can integrate with the board, so that you can use your existing log-in's without having to re-register on a separate database. Unfortunately most of the solutions have been very expensive, have security issues or are just plain fiddly. Enter IP.Shoutbox! Rather than a 3rd party mod add-on, IP.Shoutbox is a feature-rich shoutbox/chat system for TIWWA and other forums that use IPBoard that is supported fully by Invision as a community project. You are possibly familiar with the concept, but IP.Shoutbox will enable you to send shouts to each other and allow others can read them. Its basically a small live 'chat facility' where forum members can type quickly messages to each other. It is like a chat-room for the forums, without the need for Java, Flash or any other browser dependency! IP.Shoutbox is still in beta testing but is developing rapidly! At this present time, we do not know of when a final, stable release will be available, but when we do, we will keep you informed via this blog! I won't be installing the beta versions on this live site, but they are close to a release candidate. Here's a couple of stills I grabbed from another site that is using it. This is the board's default blue and white skin, so don't worry, it will blend it when we come to use it. You will have full control in your member settings control panel over its use and its dimensions (width/height etc). You can use public or private shouts, smilies, insert images and use BBCodes etc. I'm sure you'll find it fun and a great alternative to rapid fire PM's when you are trying to discuss something quickly - perhaps even a TV show whilst you are simultaneously watching it! Also, our Elder moderator team will have full moderation powers to track and remove any naughtiness or follow up any complaints - but you guys rock so fortunately that's never much of a problem for us!

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

Security update information and general tips

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. http://uk.pcmag.com/password-managers-products/4296/guide/the-best-password-managers-of-2018 https://www.techradar.com/news/software/applications/the-best-password-manager-1325845 https://www.cnet.com/news/the-best-password-managers-directory/ 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
 

Midnight of the Century

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!

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

The Leaderboard - Coming to TIWWA December 2016

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 codepen.io coub.com deviantart.com docs.com funnyordie.com gettyimages.com iFixit.com kickstarter.com meetup.com mixcloud.com mix.office.com on.aol.com reddit.com reverbnation.com screencast.com screenr.com slideshare.net smugmug.com ustream.tv 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 Leaderboard   Some  of the most interesting changes: Better Analytics Integration Tag Quick Edit Default Warning Notes Custom RSS Feeds Word and Link Filters Leaderboard Moderation Improvements Security and Privacy Embeds and Integration The next big feature is the new Leaderboard which we really think will enhance our community.   The Leaderboard 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: codepen.io coub.com deviantart.com docs.com funnyordie.com gettyimages.com iFixit.com kickstarter.com meetup.com mixcloud.com mix.office.com on.aol.com reddit.com reverbnation.com screencast.com screenr.com slideshare.net smugmug.com ustream.tv Google Maps 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.

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

Announcing TIWWA's Video System!

TIWWA invites you to view, add and share video content relating to Millennium, its themes, cast and crew in our new Videos System. Get sharing by posting links to external online content along with a quick description, or view, rate and comment on the latest videos shared by your fellow friends and TIWWA members. To get us started, I have imported the collection of Lance Henriksen videos from our former sister site Lance Henriksen Magic, featuring trailers and clips relating to Lance's film and TV career. Plus, I've added links to Millennium promotional content and music videos. TIWWA invites you to discover and learn, share and discuss content that you think other Millennium fans may enjoy. If you think we need a new Category adding, please let us know. We've left the Shoutbox active at the top of all Videos, so you can and discuss what you are watching! It should be noted that video content is not itself hosted on our website, our Videos System links to content on Youtube, Vimeo etc, as such M-TIWWA is not responsible for external, online content or advertising and copyright rests with the lawful copyright holder at all times. Similarly such is the way of the internet, externally hosted content may be removed or become unavailable at any time but links in our Videos System can be updated with new/similar replacement versions.

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

Happy New Year from This Is Who We Are!

We hope you love our New Year 2012 theme! All of the recent skin themes for Christmas etc are still available by using the Change Theme menu (bottom left of the page) as is our TIWWA default theme. Here's wish all of our members and visiting guests a very safe and Happy New Year! There are 355 days remaining. This is who we are

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

Don't Miss The Latest Updates And Features At 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. #6 Notifications! 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.

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

Merry Christmas from This Is Who We Are!

Its almost the Midnight of the Century and our Christmas-themed skins are back again! Simply choose from the festive themes available by using the menu at the bottom of the page. We hope you'll be staying up late at Christmas when everyone has gone to sleep, with your pumpkin bread, cranberry bread, and some very excellent, fat-free eggnog ready to enjoy Midnight of the Century and Omerta. Meanwhile TIWWA would like to wish you and all of our valued Members and Guests a safe, fun and very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

Recent new server and software updates - Progress update!

I think we've nailed all the really annoying things (bugs) since the upgrade now, like links in old posts being broken and reloading the same page instead of showing the actual linked website (all since rebuilt and working okay again). This latest version of our software framework although more powerful, efficient and feature-laden in a lot of ways, does in some ways use a lot more system resources, something the developers possibly never really made clear (at least I wasn't aware of that and I do keep up to date daily with developments), and despite us moving to a much better web host with a newer more powerful servers and superfast SSD drives, the server resource usage has still been very high which has caused some issues we're trying to resolve. I've blocked a few IP Addresses in Romania and elsewhere that were hitting the server hard and its helped, and made sure there's a 30 second delay for search bots, but 'bad bots' probably ignore that setting! There isn't a fully released version of Shoutbox yet, its being rebuilt from the ground up in the developers spare time, but when we installed a recent pre-release candidate version it was hitting the server 50,000 times a day, despite only containing about 10 actual shots per day max and some tweaks applied by the developer. So we had to remove it before our web host suspended our account! Shoutbox may return one day if the developer addresses impact on system resources, and there is another similar program we can try called Chatbox. However, all these types of programs have major resource issues by definition, so it may be we re-install the official IPS Chat app, which runs off an external server. IPS Chat has a 5 user limit on the free version but the main issue is that when you exit the a Chatroom is doesn't keep the old messages visible, like the Shoutbox does. Therefore, when we used to have it installed in the last year or so, it was rarely if ever used as everyone seemed to love the Shoutbox. Perhaps if we charged optional membership subscriptions etc to raise funds, we could possibly pay for a managed VPS Virtual Private Server or even a Dedicated Server, but they are really expensive, and since I'm facing redundancy from work on October 31st, I'm reluctant to commit to that for now. So for now we're trying to run the board at basic level without any third party add-ons to get a baseline on performance, which is still going way up to 150%-200% of available system resources during peak times of the day, but we're getting there! As you can see, the chart is coming down over the last month. I make a change and then see what the effect is over a few days, checking the system logs, so its a bit of a slow process but it could help nail down what's causing it, could be as simple as showing forthcoming calendar events, or latest topics on the main index page etc. Each software update has seen a boost in system performance too, as well as fixing hundreds of bugs, many of which we never see or experience but I thank you for your patience and I'm please that things are improving and certainly are very stable! Meanwhile, IB Themes are busy getting the Halloween themes ready, which will brighten up the board again with an autumnal season feel - always the best time of the year to enjoy Millennium if you ask me! This is who we are.

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

New software coming soon!

The latest version of our board's software is coming very soon, it was recently released and I've been waiting for the first maintenance update to be released which is always a good idea, but there's one feature change in particular which I don't like and I know will upset some of our members here... The software makers have decided in their infinite wisdom to only have one graphic to identify members, that will be their photo from their profile. Yes, avatars are officially no more. When upgrading the board's software, a choice now appears asking whether to keep avatars or photos to identify members, (if selected, avatars would become photos). I have expressed my disappointment to the developers, as have many others, but so far there has been no change of policy. However, what this means is that you can still use your avatar for your photo (but sorry no Flash avatars as far as I know) and it will appear next to your posts and messages if you wish, but you can only have one image active at a time where as before you could have 2, your profile photo and an avatar. Its possible that they may change their minds in the future, or a mod may be released to bring back the facility. Another omission worth nothing... The note box in your My Settings (UserCP) area has been removed. It is a hold-over from years past and doesn't seem to make sense in community software. If you are one of the very few people who use this: please make a copy of your notes before we upgrade.

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

New in TIWWA 4.2: Reactions

This entry is about our TIWWA Community Suite 4.2 release. It is a new feature available to all registered members. TIWWA's Community Suite software has long had a reputation system; first we had a simple up/down number-based system, later updated to introduce a Likes system, tied in with our reputation system.
We're pleased to introduce the latest updates to the reputation system, which we think you'll love: Reactions. Quite simply, reactions allow users to offer more fine-grained sentiments towards posted content than a simple 'like'.
Reactions are now in common use on many popular social networks, and so users may expect to be able to be more nuanced in their response to something they see here at TIWWA.
A little more interesting than simply 'liking' a post, blog entry, gallery image, download review or comment; but of course, 'like' is still an option! Let's see how they work in an example forum post, and then cover the options you'll have available:- At first glance it may look a little confusing but what you see above is a looping animation showing the default Reactions setup, below a post or comment. First it shows the logged-in user clicking on the React feature's 'Like' blue love button (he he - Love is blue - see what I did there?! ).
Then it shows the user clicking on it again to see the other available react options in case they want to change from 'Like' to a different one, then selecting 'Confused'.
Then it shows the user removing their chosen reaction to the post completely with the X (Remove) button. The gif then loops around to show you again. The software includes 5 reactions by default, but we can add more of our own, tailored to Millennium and our members: Like Thanks Confused Sad Haha   Will we still see a total summary for all our posts/comments like the current reputation? A user's total reputation count is still shown alongside their content and in their profile, of course. Can we see who reacted to a post, similar to how we can currently see who 'liked' our posts/comments? As you'd expect, you can click individual reaction counts (or the overall reputation score, if we enable that setting) to view who reacted to the content in a small pop-up window. (On touch devices, on-hover functionality is not suitable, and so for these devices the reactions UI looks slightly different, but works the same). Where can we use Reactions? You'll be able to use reactions anywhere on our site where you can currently like a post, comment or any other price of content. Reactions play well with all areas of the suite, including the new Recommended Replies: ...and see them in activity streams...   We hope you're looking forward to this new feature.  It's already been a hit on the developer's internal testing site, and we're looking forward to seeing how we can customise it for use on our own community. More to come soon on what we'll be seeing later this summer!  

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

TIWWA Announces our Lance Henriksen's 70th Birthday Celebrations

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. Mark Hayden

ethsnafu

ethsnafu

 

Coming to TIWWA in October - features update

V4.1 is on the way! Key Changes The next major release for IPS Community Suite 4 is now in the final stages of development. The de operas have added dozens of new features, enhancements to existing features, fixed the majority of 4.0 bugs, and made large performance gains. Changes and New Features Include: 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 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. The main show-all stream automatically tells you when there is new activity Users can create 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. Unread content Ownership 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  Time Period Any time 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 Option to serve images via a local proxy script (useful for SSL sites) Option to globally disallow remote images in posts Ability to preview email template wrapper Version number in AdminCP header Selective quoting to highlight a bit of a post and quote just that Pages application enhancements Now installs with better default content to help new users Pages menu manager removed in favor of Suite-wide menu manager. Upgrade system will attempt to preserve menu items. Blocks New blocks Members block, Blog comments, Blog List, Download comments, Download reviews, Poll block commentFeed/itemFeed based widgets have date limit (today, 7 days, etc) RecordFeed has a customisable title Calendar widget has a calendar selector to restrict events to specific calendar(s) Better selectors for open/pinned/featured selection External Widgets: Ability to add blocks to other websites via generated iFrame code Pages Larger editor box when editing/creating pages More tags in sidebar when editing/creating pages Custom error page configurable Fields Simple relational field added Ability to place fields above or below record content Simple Name: Value display format added Media Manager Ability to upload media for use within Pages pages, CSS, templates and blocks Compatible with designers mode Templates New templates for when viewing the record homepage as 'articles' Ability to export and import templates to share with other IPS4 communities Gallery application enhancements New upload image process Images and movies are submitted to the same upload field Image reviews Editor updates 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 Totally new code plugin with syntax highlighting as you type Option to make enter behave as a new line rather than with spacing 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 Upgrade process New upgrade process where new files are downloaded and installed automatically when possible. Option to set email address for notifications when an upgrade is available Banner shown to admins on the front end when an upgrade is available. It can be dismissed except for security updates. 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 ipsAreaBackground Flatten the default photo image Checkbox/radio buttons now use custom styling, giving themers more control of their style 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 Remove tab bar 'stretch' option and use CSS approach Improve attachments dialog Add more IDs to the user bar template for hook use Add X to close mobile nav menu Upgrade FontAwesome to 4.4 Select messages for multiple deleting in messenger Make leaving a conversation clearer Improve 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) Option to prompt users to re-consent to Terms and Conditions and/or Privacy Policy when you change them in AdminCP Search 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 Ability to uncheck all when adding Moderators in AdminCP Instant Notifications 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   No Longer Included Areas such as View New Content, My Content, My Followed Content, Status page and so on are replaced by the new Activity Streams

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

Emoticon alert!

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

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

New Text Editor (Part 3 of 3)

In the third look at the new Text Editor functionality coming soon to IP Board and subsequently TIWWA, chief programmer Matt Mecham reveals more about the cool new features that we can look forward to seeing later this year... This entry rounds up our series of blogs on the new text editor and how we've enhanced other areas of the interface that use it. I recently introduced the new text editor and then showed you some basic integration such as fast reply and instant quote. I want to now show you the last piece of this feature set and resolve a common issue when making a reply. Quite often you're on a busy board such as ours and you're using the fast reply to make a post and when submit the post you realise that others have posted in the mean time making your reply either redundant or out of context. To solve this, IP.Board now checks at regular intervals to see if any new posts have come through and if so, you can add them to the page. This screen shot shows the inline notification stating that there are new replies. Clicking on the link adds the replies into the topic. This video shows the system working. Note, for this demo I increased the polling frequency to every few seconds. So how does it work? Will it crash my server? It's a bit clever and no! When you start typing you trigger the polling action which checks every 3 minutes for new posts. This is a very fast and light query that requires far fewer resources than a simple page refresh. It will continue polling until you either add the reply or an hour has passed. We added this upper limit to prevent instances where a reply is started but then the member changes tabs, etc. I hope you enjoy this feature and all the new functionality we've added in this crucial area. Making posts is the very lifeblood of your forum and making it easier to contribute can only increase the number of posts made.

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

New in TIWWA 4.2: Clubs

We are happy to introduce the next major feature that will be available at This Is Who We Are - Clubs. Clubs are a brand new way of supporting fun, on or off-topic sub-communities within our site, in other words, providing new improved 'social group' functionality.  Let's take a look at the concept with a few demo example screenshots from the software developer's beta test site, and then go over what Clubs are capable of doing! (Above: The Club directory. This is similar to the main forum index page)   (Above: A Club homepage, essentially what a specific Club will look like)   (Above: Club member listing, showing a particular Club's creators and also the members of this social group.)   (Above: Example of content within a club; topics, in this case.)   There's a lot to digest there! Let's go over the basic functionality...   Club Types Four types of club are available, we may enable some or all here at TIWWA:- Public clubs
Clubs that anyone can see and participate in without joining. Open club
Clubs that anyone can see and join. Closed club
Clubs that anyone can see in the directory, but joining must be approved by a Club Leader or Club Moderator. Non-club-members who view the club will only see the member list - not the recent activity or content areas. Private club
Clubs that do not show in public, and users must be invited by a Club Leader or Club Moderator As the site staff, we can of course configure which club types can be created and by whom. We could, for example, enables members to create public and open clubs, but allow a "VIP" group to also create Closed and Private clubs. Obviously we need to give this thought and see how things develop.   Club Users Each club has three levels of user: Leader
A leader has all of the permissions of a moderator, and can add other moderators. They can also add content areas (see below). The club owner is automatically a leader. Moderators
Moderators, as the name implies, have the ability to moderate content posted within the club. We can define which moderator tools can be used. We could, for example, prevent any content being deleted from clubs, but allow it to be hidden. Moderators can also remove members from a club. Users
Anyone else that joins the club.   TIWWA's staff (Elder administrator and moderator groups), are able to moderate content in any Club regardless of whether they are a member of it.  Clubs can be created by any TIWWA user who has permission. As you would expect, this is controlled by our regular member group permission settings, so we may make available Club creation facilities to Patrons, or other specific groups. For closed clubs, there's an approval process. Users can request to join and the request must be approved by the Club's leader. Leaders get a notification when a user requests to join; the user gets a notification when their request is approved or denied. (Above: Approving and declining join requests.)   Club Content Club Leaders can add a variety of content areas to their club - forums, calendars, blogs and so on. It's important to note that these content areas are fully functional just as if they existed as a top-level admin created area. They will appear in search results, activity streams, users can follow them, embed links to them, and so on. If a user has permission to see a forum (for example) within a club it will behave exactly like other forums they see - and the same for all other kinds of content. Each content area a leader adds can have a custom title, and will appear in the club navigation. This means, for example, that you can have multiple forums within a club, and give each a different name. (Above: Adding content areas to a Club.)   Club Custom Fields Clubs also support custom fields. Custom fields are defined by the site administrator and can be filled in by Club Owners. The values they enter are shown (along with the club description) on the club homepage. (Above: Custom fields in a car-themed club.) On the Club Directory page, users can filter the list of clubs by the custom club fields if they want to. (Above: Filtering clubs.)   Club Locations Clubs have built-in support for Google Maps, allowing users to specify an optional physical location for their club. Let's say we run a community for car enthusiasts; each club might be tied to a particular region's meetup. The Club Owner specifies the location when setting up the club, and clubs are then shown on map on the directory page: (Above: Club locations.) And within a club, the location is shown too:   Club Display We offer two ways to display club headers within the club - the standard way, shown in the screenshots you've seen up to this point, but we also have a sidebar option. This is something the admin sets globally for the whole TIWWA site, rather than per-club. This is useful if our site design doesn't facilitate another horizontal banner taking up valuable screen real-estate; moving the club banner to the sidebar alleviates this pressure on vertical space.   Using Clubs There's a lot of scope for using clubs beyond allowing TIWWA's members to create their own groups. We do not even have to call them "clubs" if that does not suit our case. For example, we could rename Clubs to "Social Groups".  This would allow each social group to have its own community, with its own forums, gallery, file sharing and so on, private and separate from other social groups. We could use Clubs for special events or as a home for project teams, like our TIWWA Black Coats community volunteers. The first that occurred to me is that Members will be able to expand on specific aspects of Millennium that interests them, perhaps the bahavioural science and criminology aspects, or Legion, Angels, or perhaps an expanded Mark Snow themed area. Secondly, I can see huge potential for off-topic content, expanding further on some of the existing themes in our off-topic forums... A club for The Donut Hole, a club for Lucy's Pantry, or a TV and Movie Club. You may be inspired to create a club for The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, perhaps a club for the weather, or great 80's TV shows, or a club for horror movies or any other movie genre or sub-genre, cult television series, or for a favourite actor, artist, writer or musician. Like the idea of clubs? Inspired to create one? Let us know...  And of course, you don't need to bother with Clubs if you don't want to!

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy 10th Birthday to M-TIWWA!

I hope you like the special Valentine's Day theme! Did you know that Feb 14th is also the tenth birthday of Millennium - This is who we are! Thanks for making a very special 10 years, I can hardly believe its been a decade since the site launched! Have a lovely, special and very romantic Valentine's Day! This is who we are! http://millennium-thisiswhoweare.net/flash/valentines-day.swf

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

New improvements to TIWWA are on the way!

Work is now under way on IP.Board 3.2 (the software that powers This is who we are) and our software's creators have started to divulge some of the great changes you can expect to see in the next upcoming major release. In the spirit of keeping everyone up to date, this entry in a series of future blog entries is based upon their ongoing announcements where I'll filter out the main benefits and changes for members and staff but rest assurred there are other behind the scenes changes which will bring improved speed and functionality too. New Text Editor Featuring: New editor and auto-save Cleaner interface, quick reply, quick quoting New post alert while typing reply
We've covered the new text editor in additional blog entries, just go to the to see them now!

Member Profile Enhancements
Starting with:
New Photo Editor Calendar Improvements One area of IP.Board that IPS wanted to spend some time improving was the calendar, and this blog entry is the first of several outlining changes and improvements you can expect to see in the calendar with IP.Board 3.2. Expect to see the following Calender improvements, covered in greater detail below: [*]Improved Layout and Design[*]Improved Consistency[*]Search Engine Optimisation improvements[*]RSVP Invitations Improved layout and design. While they are not ready to go into detail about some of these other changes just yet, the software designers are making other changes that closely relate to SEO in the general structure and layout of Calendar. For instance, they have consolidated all event posting pages into one, so there is just one "Add Event" button now, and they are changing the current daily view to less-closely resemble the event view. IPS feel these two views being essentially duplicates of each other is not only confusing to the user, but may be seen as duplicate pages by some search engines while crawling your site (if you view a day that has one event, and the event directly, the output is nearly identical, even though they are two separate views within Calendar). Improved consistency with the rest of the site. IPS are continuing to make improvements to Calendar to both bring it more in line with the rest of the suite of products and to modernize the application and make it more functional and useful. Ratings With the next update of Calendar, you will now be able to rate events very much like you can rate topics now. Ratings are saved through AJAX, just like with topics, falling back to a normal page load and redirect if javascript is disabled on the user's browser. You can control on a per-calendar basis which permission masks have permission to rate events within the calendar. If the user has permission to change their rating via their user group configuration, they will be able to change their previously rating for any event in Calendar as well. Reputation As with posts within the forums, you will now be able to give the member who submits an event reputation when viewing the event in Calendar. The reputation box displays just like it would for a forum post, allowing users to quickly and easily understand the interface and functionality. By allowing reputation to be issued for event submissions in Calendar, it provides incentive to users to submit events in our Calendar, making it all the more useful for the entire community! Attachments In our continued effort to increase consistency and functionality in Calendar, we have also implemented attachments for Calendar in the next update. When submitting or editing an event, the standard attachment uploader will be shown on the event posting form. You will be able to submit attachments, just like you would be able to for posts in the forum. You can embed the attachments anywhere within the event content, or let Calendar just append the attachments to the end of the event information, again just like a post within the forum. Attachments may be useful for Calendar to share an event poster or flyer, to share coupons for an event, or to attach documentation users may need to be informed of prior to the event, just to name a few uses. Notifications Users can now optionally elect to be notified of new or updated events in Calendar, allowing TIWWA to notify users of changes to the Calendar that they may elect to be informed about. Previous versions of Calendar provided no way to push information to the user to notify them of changes in Calendar. Any user interested in an event saved to your Calendar would need to manually check on it periodically to verify any changes made to the event, which we can agree is certainly not an optimal experience or expectation. As of the next version of Calendar, users can follow both individual calendars and individual events, allowing them to be notified of additions to calendars they are following, and updates to events they follow. By letting Calendar notify users of changes, the software becomes more functional and useful in it's prime goal, sharing event-based data with the community. Comments TIWWA members will soon be able to comment on events submitted to Calendar. We can control on a per-calendar basis which member groups can comment on events in each calendar, and we can also specify whether comments must be moderated prior to becoming visible (again, on a per-calendar basis). Comments in Calendar use the central commenting class of IP.Board, meaning it works identically to all other applications (e.g., identical to the blog commenting system at the bottom of this page), allowing for a consistent interface users can understand and utilize without having to learn how to use yet another posting screen. If a user opts to follow an event to be notified of updates to the event, they will also be notified of comments made on the event, allowing TIWWA to better communicate updates to users about content they are interested in, and driving more activity within the Calendar in the process. "Like" Alongside commenting, users can now "like" calendars and events (the aforementioned "follow" capability), giving them the opportunity to either show their support for the calendar/event, to be notified of updates to the calendar/event, or both. As with our Blog, Downloads etc., the Like system is a central class within our software that is reused within Calendar, again to provide a consistent interface to members so that they can learn and understand once, and expect to use throughout the entire site. Sharing The general use share strip that you see below each topic (and elsewhere throughout our suite of applications) has been added to Calendar. This allows mebers to share events through social networking sites, through email, or even to print an event's details out with their printer. As Facebook support is enabled at TIWWA, the Facebook "Like" button will also show up for the member, allowing them to share the event on Facebook. This is likely to drive activity to TIWWA as the user's friends see this content shared on Facebook and follow it through to TIWWA, where they may be interested and join our site...a win-win! Search Engine Optimisation improvements including improved Friendly URLS, Meta Tags, support for hCalendar Microformat). RSVP Invitations The Concept Often times you will find that when creating an event on your community you want to allow users the opportunity to let you know if they will be attending or not. This is useful for both real-world events (i.e. a club meetup at a coffee shop) and for online-only events (i.e. a developer seminar). As the event organizer you may need to know how many people will be attending, and/or if specific users will be attending. It is useful to have a way to allow users to signal that they will be attending the event. In the "real world", this is usually done through what is known as "RSVP". Basically, an RSVP is a notification from a participant to the event organizer that the participant will be attending the event. In the next version of Calendar, users will have the ability to create events that request attendees to RSVP for the event. Creating and responding to an RSVP event Creating an RSVP-requested event is as simple as checking a box on the event submission form. When viewing an RSVP-requested event, a new box will be shown to the user to signal that the event organizer requests attendees to RSVP, and who has already RSVPed for the event. When you click on the RSVP button in the RSVP area, your participation status will be saved through AJAX and the attendee list will be dynamically updated. Note that if javascript is disabled, your status is saved through a normal browser redirect screen fallback. If you have permission to remove attendees (as I do in this screenshot), a delete icon will show next to each attendee, affording you the opportunity to remove them from the list. Wrapping Up While we have some ideas in mind for future versions of Calendar to possibly expand the system as implemented presently, we wanted to go with a clear, simple and straight-forward approach for this first implementation of the RSVP system that we feel will be easily understood by your users (and thus, more likely to be used properly by your users as well). Creating an RSVP event is as simple as checking a box (if you have permission to do so), and signaling your attendance is as simple as clicking a button (again, if you have permission to do so). We feel this approach will make the feature more likely to be used, while still allowing us opportunities to expand the feature in the future. We hope you enjoyed this blog entry and hope you'll keep an eye out for future related entries in our Staff Blog, some of which are already available!

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

TIWWA EXCLUSIVE: Stephen Snedden Interview

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. Mark

ethsnafu

ethsnafu

 

New Text Editor (Part 1 of 3)

In the first look at the new Text Editor functionality coming soon to IP Board and subsequently TIWWA, chief programmer Matt Mecham reveals more about the cool new features that we can look forward to seeing later this year... Nearly ten years ago, IP.Board shipped with a pretty advanced functional editor that allowed you to quickly format your text in a rough "WYSIWYG" format. This was an exciting technology. As the main browsers started adding better support for this functionality we updated our own code to keep up. The internet is a constantly evolving space and web browsers and technology rise and fall and keeping up with these changes gets harder and harder. This is why we've added a new editor to 3.2.0 that is developed by a dedicated team outside of Invision Power Services. IP.Board 3.2.0 will come with the excellent CKEditor as standard. It's a well developed and well tested editor that is very extensible. It's constantly updated which means that we simply have to update the version that comes with IP.Board to get all the latest fixes. In general use, the new editor is much better at "WYSIWYG" (rich text editing) than our own current implementation and we've extended it further. Please keep in mind that the screenshots and videos below are using a very early development copy of IP.Board 3.2.0 and the editor will likely be skinned in a little more to match IP.Board before we release. All the usual IP.Board tools are present We've written a lot of plug-ins so that no functionality is lost. Admins can still create custom BBcodes and add buttons to the editor easily and you can still use your own smilies. Switching between modes We love the new editor and as it supports nearly all major browsers, it's the first choice for replying and adding new topics. However, there are times when you want to edit the BBCode directly and with that in mind, you can switch between rich text editing mode and simple text mode without a page reload. Auto Saving Text A new and really handy feature we've added is auto save. As you type, the editor checks to see if there's any new content and if there is, it'll ping off via Ajax to save what you've written. If anything happens to your page, upon reloading you'll see it's stored your content and you can quickly restore it. You won't lose another post to a browser crash or server time out. IP.Board saves as you go. A refresh without posting allows you to view and optionally restore any content that has been auto saved. We hope that you enjoy the new editor in IP.Board 3.2.0 and the extra functionality we've added. We're excited to use it ourselves!

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

New Text Editor (Part 2 of 3)

In the second look at the new Text Editor functionality coming soon to IP Board and subsequently TIWWA, chief programmer Matt Mecham reveals more about the cool new features that we can look forward to seeing later this year... I recently introduced the new text editor in 3.2.0. This new text editor brings a robust rich text editor coupled with custom BBCode and an auto-save feature. Today, I wanted show some user interface and usability improvements we've made in this area. Firstly, where space is tight or where you don't want to be overwhelmed with the text editor, it is shown 'minimised'. The screenshot below shows this minimised state and the editor looks just like a regular HTML text area that everyone is familiar with. Upon clicking the text area to begin making your post, it'll expand into the full editor ready for use: We've also gone ahead and added 'Ajax reply' and 'Ajax quoting'. This improves the responsiveness of IP.Board by removing the page reloads and gives it more of an 'app' feel by posting and updating the page instantly. I've taken a short video of this in action. Please note that you are viewing an in-development feature so the final design is not set for both the board and the editor and also that I'm currently working in "development" mode with CKEditor which means that there is a slight pause as it loads. This will not be the case when we package it up for release. We hope that you enjoy these enhancements to commonly used areas and that it makes a common task more enjoyable. Please do keep in mind that cosmetic style issues and such will be addressed in future blog entries.

The Old Man

The Old Man

 

TIWWA Member HighPlainsDrifter's challenge to raise $500 for Cancer Charity!

We're very proud to highlight in our staff blog that Joseph McBrayer (known as HighPlainsDrifter), one of our highly popular and much-loved members at This Is Who We Are (TIWWA) has volunteered to help raise $500 of funds for children's cancer charity, St Baldricks, by shaving his head! The St. Baldrick's Foundation is the world's largest volunteer-driven fundraising event for childhood cancer research. At St. Baldrick's events all throughout the year, brave volunteers shave their heads, raising funds for research. Like runners in a marathon, "shavees" collect donations from family, friends and associates. The Foundation receives these funds and makes grants to research experts to find new and better treatments for fighting kids' cancer. The Foundation funds local institutions and cooperative research on a national scale to help doctors work together to develop the best treatments for all children with cancer. The St. Baldrick's Foundation provides grants to over 230 institutions for laboratory research and to help make clinical trials available to more children than ever, giving those children treatment that offers the best chance for a cure and long-term survival. Since 2000, St. Baldrick's has raised more than $69 million USD by hosting more than 2,500 events and shaving more than 108,000 heads in 24 countries and all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Joe's Donation page at St Baldricks's can be found here: http://www.stbaldric...cipantid/419084 Joe posts, "With having family members that had died from cancer and a close friend that survived cancer I have joined a great organization that helps the cause. They are called St.Baldricks. I am looking for donations to help children with cancer, I am shaving my head for this. If you can help by please donate to this cause." We're hoping that you can help Joe achieve his goal of raising $500, its really easy to do, just go to his page and click on the Make a Donation button. I was able to make a donation from the UK in minutes, with no registration required. If you're a TIWWA Member, you may like to use the option to display your member name instead of your real name, its completely up to you! TIWWA wishes Joe every success with this worthwhile challenge and is very proud to sponsor him!

The Old Man

The Old Man

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