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Site down on Thurday 1/16/20

JonPurpleHaze

Site Nudger
Staff member
Pinball Nirvana will be down on Thursday and I'm not sure at this point when it will be back. I received a email from the hosting company that the PHP version that this site needs to run (5.6) will be changed to 7.2 on that day, they mention that the site can be reverted to 5.6 for a few weeks but after that 5.6 will be gone.


Upgrading the php version also happened in October of 2014 and the last time of January 2016 almost killed the site, VBulletin 3.8 or 4.2 can't run with PHP 7.2 and the 5 series doesn't support any Add Ons, the Downloads would be gone. I was advised to look into a dedicated server but that is not an option due to the cost, also was looking into a VPS environment where you supposedly can choose your PHP version, it would more than double the hosting cost but today I received this:
I completely understand your situation. However, PHP 5.6 is going to be completely removed from our servers no matter what. Even getting a VPS machine will only give a bit more of time, but in a couple of weeks it will be completely removed from there as well.
It looks like going to a VPS with a different hosting company would just be delaying the problems down the road. Today, I found a DownloadsII importer for a older version of XenFora but found out that XenForo 1 add-ons are not compatible with XenForo 2, I'll try and do some more resarching.
 
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Ike Savage

Froggy like robot
Staff member
Site Supporters
the vB5 series doesn't support any Add Ons, the Downloads would be gone.
I don't understand much of this business, and that part, the least.

So, I see that vB5.5.5 is the latest stable release. How then are sites running the 5-series without download support...? :o


Also, from WP:
In late 2017, a post by Technical Support Lead, Wayne Luke, confirmed that vBulletin 3 was now considered to be "End of Life" software, with no further development of the series planned.
So it sounds like vB as a whole is basically winding down, which I guess would suggest that other sites / forums are probably going through this kind of thing as well. Hmm...


Anyway, I'm on reddit a lot, where people with tech expertise typically chat back and forth about this kind of thing. I don't really understand this stuff, but I'll see if I can dig up anything.

Too bad there's only a day or two to discuss it here. :s
 

Ike Savage

Froggy like robot
Staff member
Site Supporters
Whoa. The vBulletin situation looks a lot worse than I'd realised. My first sign was that the vB subreddit is pretty much a ghost town, which is a terrible sign for any software project under normal circumstances.

But digging a little deeper, I see that JelSoft, the original vB devs, in fact got bought out around 2009, and it looks like it's been downhill from there.
vBulletin as a script has fallen apart ever since Jelsoft were acquired. The original developers all left, there were numerous controversies (the admin/licensing document leak, the unfinished product releases, the whole AdSense thing), and vBulletin has stagnated where other forum scripts have grown. Now, this happens*.

I remember hacking on vBulletin 2 and absolutely loving it. It had a clean interface and an outstanding admin control panel. It also had a great modding community, and the best support I had known of any product at that time. I don't run any forums now, but I moderate on a very large vBulletin forum, and from what I can gather vBulletin just hasn't moved on. It feels bloated and dated, not to mention completely unfit for purpose for those wanting to use it as a CMS.

* At the time, six years ago, vBulletin.com was hacked and the forums shut down due to news of a zero-day exploit.

https://www.reddit.com/r/webdev/com..._hacked_forums_shut_down_due_to_news/cdh4203/
Evidently after the 2009 buyout, the original vB team launched a new site/forum software that has a much better rep, i.e. "XenForo."

EDIT: Going back to the last incident, I see that Shiva recommended XenForo at the time: https://www.pinballnirvana.com/forums/showpost.php?p=106957&postcount=45
 

shiva

Pinball Wizard
Staff member
Site Supporters
This was always a huge concern, that the php version was too old. Not sure about the downloads though. If the file names are encrypted or changed it's going to be impossible to get them back up.

Not sure what to suggest here. XenForo we couldn't use because of the downloads, and not sure if there's a converter for that even if you decide to keep the site open.

To make matters worse, I'm away in feb, heading to Mexico with even more limited internet access, so lousy timing there. What ever you decide to do here JPH you have my support.
 

JonPurpleHaze

Site Nudger
Staff member
Too bad there's only a day or two to discuss it here.
The email mentioned that after tomorrow, sites can be reverted back to 5.6 for a few weeks so it should work until then. I received this email on 1/9 but it mentions that it is a followup to a previous email that was sent a few weeks before that, I can't find this email which made matters worse.

shiva did mention XenFora back then and I researched it but it didn't look like the Downloads could be imported. It's a shame about VBulletin, I have a VB 5 license but knew back then that it wasn't the same as 3 or 4 and a huge disappointment for me.
Wanted to mention that back in Jan. 2016, after the upgrade the PHP version was pretty much current and suggested.
I've done a little researching about XenFora and previously linked to a DownloadsII importer that I might try but I don't expect it to be easy or cheap and might not even work. Back in Jan 2016 I tried the upgrade of VB 3.8 to VB 4.x and the attachments were sort of screwed up, the upgrade was made in a test environment but was ditched because I liked the 3.8 series much more.

It looks like the conversion to XenFora would have to be accomplished this way to try and import DownloadsII:
VBulletin upgrade from 3.8x to 4.2x
VB DownloadsII upgrade from 5.1.2 to 6.0.9

Purchase and Install XenFora 1.5 with Resource Manager and other prerequisites

Import VBulletin 4.2x into XenFora 1.5
Import VB DownloadsII 6.0.9 into XenFora 1.5

Update XenFora from 1.5 to 2.1.6

These are just the simple upgrade steps and are listed so that I can refer back to them if needed.
 

Ike Savage

Froggy like robot
Staff member
Site Supporters
Good to hear there's still a little time to figure this stuff out.

So far the best-looking reddit resource I've been able to find in order to ask questions seems to be: https://www.reddit.com/r/webdev/. For whatever reasons, the XenForo subreddit never really took off, but "webdev" has 418k readers, a very healthy number, and should help produce answers for the many important Q's you'll need answered.

Wish I knew more about this stuff in order to pose the right questions and help with research, but I just don't.


Aside from keeping the site going as a sort of 'VP heritage resource,' I have to wonder if all this work would really be worth your time, Jon. You've already gone way above and beyond the call, keeping this place going as long as you have.

Answering the occasional VP-related questions has been fun for me, as has watching PinballDaveH answer all the machine-related issues, but traffic is so light that one wonders what that's actually worth in the scheme of things.

OTOH, this site is probably the Net's greatest pre-VP9 collection of resources, and that's definitely worth something.

Any thoughts on all this, aside from the logistical issues you covered above?
 

JonPurpleHaze

Site Nudger
Staff member
Site was down for awhile yesterday due to the PHP upgrade and then was restored by reverting back.


I'm going to try and upgrade VBulletin to 4.2.5 without losing the attachments, All of the Modifications will be gone except for the Downloads.
 
General chit-chat
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  • @ Ike Savage:
    where is the unapprove option, anyway? is that a super mod thing or something from the admin panel?
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  • @ Ike Savage:
    oh wait, I see it
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  • @ JonPurpleHaze:
    true, but they could also be invisible to users and perhaps allow the category to be removed
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  • @ JonPurpleHaze:
    Don't know, do know that if you delete a category all files would also be removed so that's bad,
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  • @ Ike Savage:
    seems like we discussed it in some length at one point and came up with the current arrangement, but I don't have a strong opinion on that stuff. the one thing I do like is that I can clear out weaker tables from the main section without deleting them
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  • @ JonPurpleHaze:
    Sounds fine to me Ike, can't disagree with ya!
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  • @ Ike Savage:
    is it that you want to declutter more of the resources section?
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  • @ JonPurpleHaze:
    No it's fine
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  • @ Ike Savage:
    also, just to be clear-- the issue with "unapprove" is that you don't know if the table actually gets deleted from the server, right? AFAIK I have no way of seeing where the tables actually lie on the server, so it's something I can't test effectively
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  • @ JonPurpleHaze:
    They wouldn't get deleted from the server, I don't think.
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  • @ JonPurpleHaze:
    Can we get back to the subdomain folders/files, the uploads.pinballnirvana.com folder is where uploads would need to be, just wondering what might need to be deleted..
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  • @ Ike Savage:
    do you mind a phone call? probably easier to discuss, save some wear and tear on my hands, too
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  • @ JonPurpleHaze:
    No problems Ike, can't talk now but will try and set this up.
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  • @ Ike Savage:
    okay, well let me know if you need space cleared up across the torrent area, because I have some ideas
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  • @ JonPurpleHaze:
    Yeah, noticed a .zip file contains many versions etc..
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  • @ JonPurpleHaze:
    Uploading a 1.34 GB Pink Floyd The Wall zip file via ftp to test...
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  • @ JonPurpleHaze:
    The file is actually on the server in FP originals but isn't public.
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  • @ Anthias:
    Um, so, Hi!. What did I miss? (he says as though he ducked to the toilet while the adds were on...)
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  • @ AnonTet:
    Hi guys, I«m asking here as it might have a quicker response. How can I check the ball size used by authors in FP? or at least the default size if anyone knows. Thanks
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  • @ Gimli:
    Most FP authors use the default size and don't know how to use BAM to alter it.
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  • @ Gimli:
    I think it may be 13.8 though
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  • @ AnonTet:
    Thanks. But while I've waited I've looked at a ring around a ramp in LotR that's 26mm so i figure the ball being 24mm. A bit short of real life ball size if that's so.
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  • @ AnonTet:
    of course I could've used my brains earlier and create a table with some carefully spaced guides and check that the ball is in fact 27mm in diameter. Peeking at fp.exe and bam.dll and there's no way to change this. you can set the colour and the id to track it though (but that's known)
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  • @ Gimli:
    With Bam custom ball coding you can create balls of any size...see my titorial
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  • @ Gimli:
    +1
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    @ Gimli: https://pinballnirvana.com/forums/index.php?threads/bam-feature-how-to-guides.19601/post-120547 +1
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