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Don McRitchie
10-31-2006, 01:14 PM
I've been keeping a rather low profile on this forum of late due to work issues and the fact that I have been busy in the background on website upgrades. First, thanks to Ann Cantlow and John Nebel, MySQL and PHP have been upgraded on the server to version 5. Initially, this will allow the forum to be upgraded to V3.6.2, which I plan to install at 12:00 am CST on November 5, 2006. This upgrade is mainly a security upgrade, but also adds some minor functionality that I will elaborate on when the upgrade is complete. The forum will be down while the upgrade is underway. Assuming that there are no unanticipated problems, it should be down less than 1 hour.

After the upgrade, I will be implementing the "MySQL full text search" feature to replace the vbulletin search engine on the forum. The MySQL search engine has more versatile support for wildcards and Boolean operators in comparison to the vbulletin engine. The main reason that it wasn't implemented previously was that our database was set up to index words no smaller than 4 characters. This meant that any 3 letter acronyms (such as JBL) would not be searchable. Ann has changed the minimum word size to 3 characters so that this restriction should no longer apply.

I am also intending to replace our guestbook this weekend with a new purchased package available here:

http://www.esoftpro.com/product.php?pid=eguestpro

Due to spammers, I had to change our guestbook to a moderated format. However, even with this format, I was not able to keep up with the sheer volume of spam as evidenced here:

http://www.audioheritage.org/guestlog.htm

This new application uses a "captcha" verification system that I hope will foil the majority of spammers. It also adds considerable new functionality due to the MySQL backend used to store the guestbook data.

Beyond all of this, most of my time has been spent on the first major upgrade to our library in years. I have a backlog of submitted product literature that is finally is ready for posting. I have formatted all of the updates, organized them in my off-line archive and updated the database that I use to track all scanned literature. The final publishing will occur this weekend with the above updates.

My next task is to move the data that is in the reference section of this forum into the library as well. Before embarking upon this, I need some input from the users. Some have requested that these documents be posted as PDF's instead of the jpegs normally used library documents. To be clear, the use of PDF's would not change the fact that the underlying documents are jpegs. In other words, unlike most documents initially created as PDF's, the text will not be selectable or searchable since the embedded information remains an unintelligent jpeg image.

The advantage of PDF's would be that there would be one thumbnail image that would download an entire document. This is obviously advantageous for people that want to keep their own private copy of documents on our website. However, it carries a number of disadvantages. First, it would significantly raise bandwidth. It would no longer be possible to view a single page of interest. To see any part of a document, the full PDF file containing the entire document must be downloaded. Further, it will no longer be possible to link to a specific page from such a library document in a forum post, nor will it be possible to have a page from such a library document embedded as an image in a forum post. For these reasons, I am reluctant to go this route. However, I am open to discussion.

Titanium Dome
10-31-2006, 03:40 PM
Thanks for all the upcoming improvements. I'm looking forward to the new and improved experience.

Don, as far as JPEG vs. PDF, unless they're pure PDFs, I don't see any benefit over keeping things JPEG. So, I'd say keep the JPEG format, which I find very useful and easy to work with.

moldyoldy
10-31-2006, 03:54 PM
Don, your devotion and efforts never cease to amaze. Thank you, thank you, thank you!:applaud:

Regarding the conversion to pdf, my vote would be to remain jpg, mainly to make life harder for the #@&*%^% info resellers that copy free web info to sell. If the pdfs were OCR'd to allow searchable text, I'd lean that way, but my experience with OCR, whether Adobe or otherwise, indicates that proofing/correction takes nearly the effort of typing in entirety. Whatever you choose, it will be greatly appreciated by all.

hjames
10-31-2006, 04:58 PM
Don - thanks for all you do keeping the site humming and useful - great work!

I do webwork with DoD - posting documents and such and I'd be keen to make life as simple as possible for ya - no need to redo any documents - JPGs are fine and are quite printable. PDFs are just a pain, unless you get them in original text form (word docs and such).

Take care - and good luck with the upgrades!

boputnam
10-31-2006, 07:26 PM
However, (using PDF's) carries a number of disadvantages. First, it would significantly raise bandwidth. It would no longer be possible to view a single page of interest. To see any part of a document, the full PDF file containing the entire document must be downloaded. Further, it will no longer be possible to link to a specific page from such a library document in a forum post, nor will it be possible to have a page from such a library document embedded as an image in a forum post. For these reasons, I am reluctant to go this route. I'm betting that those that want to archive stuff have the ability to convert things to pdf's from jpg's.

I concur with your instincts of NOT going to pdf's unless there is a compelling (copyright edit protection) reason to do so. Saving bandwidth while (I'm guessing...) avoiding latency is desirable.

moldyoldy
10-31-2006, 09:37 PM
After thinking about it, I'm waffling. PDFs can have the same single-page w/thumbnail format as jpg, and additionally can really be nailed down by the creator as to what the viewer can and can't do with it via document security settings. For example, check the pdf library on the Film-Tech site. Although they've chosen book-style over single pages, the security settings are restrictive, and the document clearly and permanently identifies its'source, in obvious as well as not-so-obvious ways. With a semi-current reader, they're not the slow-loading dogs of yesterday either.

Guido
11-01-2006, 12:09 PM
Beyond all of this, most of my time has been spent on the first major upgrade to our library in years. I have a backlog of submitted product literature that is finally is ready for posting. I have formatted all of the updates, organized them in my off-line archive and updated the database that I use to track all scanned literature. The final publishing will occur this weekend with the above updates.

Thanks Don!
Looking forward to it :bouncy:

scott fitlin
11-01-2006, 03:54 PM
Sounds good to me!

Ducatista47
11-02-2006, 07:19 AM
Don,

Please add my personal thanks to the chorus for your work and devotion!

As for file formats, PDF's main advantage for me has been print readiness. While the newer versions of Acrobat keep adding functionality, printing is still the main appeal. Limiting editing capability might not serve the legitimate uses members might put the information to. It would add protection from nefarious lurkers, if that is an important concern.

As for wasting bandwidth, banning me from posting would be a good start.

My two cents, Clark

boputnam
11-05-2006, 10:27 AM
...this will allow the forum to be upgraded to V3.6.2, which I plan to install at 12:00 am CST on November 5, 2006. I'm noticing marked improvement in response time - most of this from page refresh that occurs almost instantaneously. For instance, using the "Mark This Forum Read" link (a handy thing for moderators once we see everything is on-topic and well mannered... ;) ) the page refreshes by merely de-indicating unread forums - it no longer requires a complete refresh (layman terminology here...).

I'm sure there are much deeper improvements, too...

JBL 4645
11-13-2006, 04:32 AM
Don

Thanks I was unaware the site as been bombarded with spam I hate spam! And thanks for getting the JBL Picture Gallery open again indispensable viewing over there it is.:applaud:

sonofagun
11-13-2006, 06:42 AM
I have nothing but trouble viewing pdf documents with my system. Avoid them whenever I can.

My $.02