Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'new features'.
Found 3 results
Latest Feature - Stock Photo Picker
The Old Man posted a blog entry in TIWWA Staff BlogWe have come a long way since the late 90s when someone had the genius idea of using a small yellow smiling face image instead of the more common colon-bracket representation of a smiling face. Within our community, there are various places that photography can be used to create visual interest. From uploads in topics, to cover photos for your blogs, calendars, clubs and profiles. Incidentally, I've recently added some lovely animation to those areas, which you may have noticed! So the humble upload field has served these areas well, but sourcing images to use can be a pain; especially when you have to walk the minefield that is copyright and attribution. Fortunately, there are more than a few online stock photo libraries that offer quality photography that requires no attribution and are not hampered by copyrights. One such library is the ever-popular Pixabay, which was established in 2012 and features a very powerful API. Pixabay has over a million images ready to use from apples to sausages, and everything in-between. This Is Who We Are now includes intergrated support for Pixabay which brings those images to your fingertips (or mouse pointer if you're on a desktop!). I'm hoping to add more integration soon. All members now have access to this new feature which can be found in various places throughout the site like this: Launches the Stock Photo Picker! Search for an image and then insert it into your content... Then just use the + button on the Uploaded Image as usual to insert the image where you like within your content! Using it for Profile Cover Images Adding a stock photo to your profile cover images is easy too! then click on Choose Stock Photo... and your images will be inserted as your cover image, ready for you to reposition, just how you like!
Drum roll please… announcing Achievements!
The Old Man posted a topic in Community NewsWe've just upgraded to the latest version of our community software. The major new feature is called Achievements! Achievements means that we can award our members Points and Badges based on conditional rules! The developers have dreamed up innovative actions for us to publicly recognize members who show up and participate in meaningful ways. It's no longer just about post count. Here’s what you need to know... Badges... they're cool. Your Badges will be displayed around the community but mostly in your Profile. Click on the Recent Badges to go to the full list of your Achievements... Points Our new Achievements Points system keeps a running tally of Points. Members can earn Points in a multitude of ways. Essentially, it’s achieved by participating in the community. Create a topic? Points! Post a reply? Points! Follow another member? Nothing. Just kidding… Points!!! This is mostly done through creating a system of Rules. Er, Rules So Rules are actionable processes set up at the backend. We're not going to give away all of the Rules, that wouldn't be much fun! Here are a few of the more obvious ways that members can earn Points to give you some basic idea: When a... Member joins a club Reaction is given New poll is created User follows a content item Review is posted Member logs in for the first time that day New club is created Content item/comment is promoted or featured Comment/reply is posted User follows a forum, blog, gallery, category etc User votes on a poll User is followed New content item is posted Post is marked as best answer How it works... So... Example: When a member posts 10 times, then a particular Badge is automatically awarded. Our Community Elders can also award certain badges. Some badges are very rare, achieved only the top x percent of our total members! But enough of that! Ranks We’ve completely revamped our Ranks system to communicate with Achievements. Our new Achievements’ Ranks system replaces our previous Ranks system and compliments the Reputation system. You'll notice we've got different Ranks based on how many Points a member earns. Effectively the higher a members’ Rank, the greater their influence because the more they’ve participated. It means a new, fun way to recognize and thank you for your contributions to our community. Wait, where's my custom title gone that I set up after reaching 1013 posts? Fear not, we've been careful to preserve custom member titles, and we've added them your Profiles. Starting from scratch... Aw Hell, no! Rather than starting everyone from today, where everyone is essentially a newbie even though they have been here almost 20 years, we've been busy and recalculated all of your existing posts and content, running it through our Rules system so you'll see in your profile your current points and badges straight away. There’s perhaps a lot to absorb here, but if there’s anything to take away from this post it’s this: We can empower all of our contributing members with fun Achievements, which in turn creates a more immersive and elevated experience for our die-hards. And hey, who doesn’t love to earn? Concerns? Comments? Questions? We’d love for you to sound off with your replies! Not only because we want to hear from you, but because it’ll earn you some sweet, sweet Points, too!
Amazon S3 and Cloudfront = Performance improvements
The Old Man posted a blog entry in TIWWA Staff BlogWelcome 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.