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Everything posted by MDGarcia

  1. I should add that if you have any feedback on the new support site, to please PM me or email me. Thanks. MDg
  2. I am in the middle of evaluating a software shift to a new support site for a fraction of the cost of our current one (trying to reduce some of our overhead). In looking at the number of tickets created last year, I think having a good/stable/useful support site is something all of you need from time to time, especially when things are dire or critical. If you would like to take a look at the new site I'm working on, you can do so at: http://aafic.freshdesk.com If my evaluation is successful, it will be the new support.adastrafanfic.com. MDg
  3. MF, does the UK school system not take you aside during Health or Sex Ed to show you where the "love button" is? Â MDg
  4. It is tracked by IP. Â MDg
  5. Thumbs up is a like. More likes than dislikes gets a thumb up. More dislikes than likes gets a thumbs down.  MDg
  6. As with the story list, these are the top 20 series as determined by the sum total of accumulated story reads per unique visitor for the year: Star Trek: Beyond by M C Pehrson Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead by Michael D. Garcia and A. J. Gertner Star Trek: Gibraltar by Sam Redfeather DS9 Season 10 by lvsxy808 Star Trek: Tesseract by kes7 Rafale - Star Trek Online by TemplarSora Star Trek: Lambda Paz by Enterprise1981 Star Trek: Sigils and Unions by Nerys Ghemor When Paul Met Sever by trekfan The Star Eagle Adventures by CeJay Arc of the Wolf by Steff Walker Kestrel by Miranda Fave Star Trek: War Aftermath by Enterprise1981 The Watchtower Universe by Miranda Fave Where No One Has Gone Before by Michael D. Garcia Tesseract: The Academy Years by kes7 Absolute Horizon by Anna Amuse Accipiter by Miranda Fave Tales of the Dominion by Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: Phoenix-X by Hawku Keep on reading! Â MDg
  7. The following are the most viewed stories of 2014 as determined by the number of unique visitors per story: Â Survival Play by kes7 Fool's Errand by trekfan Star Trek: Tesseract -- Part II by kes7 Midnight Closure by Galen4 The Chains of Error by Michael D. Garcia and Sam Redfeather Shadows in the Haze by CeJay Star Trek: Tesseract by kes7 Whispers in the Dark by Gatekeeper The Story of Icheb by kes7 Parrises Sqaures by Tiberius The Moon is Red: The Rise of the Terran Empire and the Fall of the United States of America by Mackenzie Calhoun Dominion War Timeline by Jean-Luc Picard Cristabeth by M C Pehrson Semper Fidelis by CeJay Archnemesis by TPhoenix Embers of the Fire by Sam Redfeather The Beauty of Gray by Erin Moriarty and Marian Murdoch Star Trek: Cat and Mouse by Gatekeeper Federation Day by CaptainSarine Mirror Cubed by CaptainSarine and kes7 Â Overall, kes7 had the most entries on this list with 5, including 4 in the top 10 alone! Â Way to go, kes! Â MDg
  8. And yet another year has passed as we're now into 2015, but I wanted to close the book on 2014 with a "State of the Site" post.  Monthly Costs  Ad Astra's monthly costs expand and contract based on usage, since we're in a virtual environment, but we tend to average out at around $150-200 a month.  This pays for the main web server (Washu), which is responsible for running the archive, forums, blogs, support, and other secondary applications that we rely on to maintain/backup the site, and it pays for our mail server (Mihoshi), which runs trekfics.net and also other vanity email domains for our users.  We also pay $30 a month for our new ZenDesk support site.  Semi-Annual Costs  IPB costs us $75 every six months. IPB is our forum software, which comes with full priority support as part of our payment. We save a lot of money going through route rather than having it hosted by IPB (as we did in the past).  Annual Costs  Our domain registration runs us roughly $70 a year.  This includes adastrafanfic.com/net/org, also aafic.me (for short URLs), and trekfics.net.  We also have some ancillary domains that we pay for (boldlyreading, etc).  One year of service for the entire site costs us around $3,000. Donations for 2014 totaled $267.27 (thank you for your support!)  I am looking for ways to reduce this overhead to try and keep costs down, but as we grow in size... we use more resources so we have to also increase capacity or else the site will under-perform.  One possible avenue to reduce costs may be to cancel our support system and go with another open source or free solution. I'm investigating possibilities right now.  So What Happened to the Site in 2014?  We went through a number of large upgrades this year:  Hardware: Washu: Migrated to a brand new server with better resources (cpu/memory/hard drive space). Mihoshi: Migrated to a brand new server with better resources (cpu/memory/hard drive space). Software: Archive: no changes. Blogs: WordPress upgraded to version 4.1 Support: Abandoned HESK implementation, we are now running on ZenDesk SaaS. Forums/Chat/Store: IPB upgraded to 3.4.7.  Support Annual Report:  We had a grand total of 67 new tickets for the year, with November being the busiest month.  The most often reported issue was "Forums (is/are) down."  The most often used category all year was Forums (go figure).  Total number of hours spent on tickets this year was 348.3 hours.  Analytically Fun Facts:  According to our analytics, Ad Astra received 56,942 visits with 18,936 unique visitors last year (29 December 2013 - 31 December 2014), and a total of 342,936 page views overall.  Here are some interesting facts: Most Popular User: Lil black dog with 2,849 unique views. Runner-up: kes7 (1,310 views) Most Popular Story: Survival Play by kes7 with 600 unique views. Runner-up: Fool's Errand by trekfan (397 views) Most Popular Series: Star Trek: Beyond by M C Pehrson with 680 unique views. Runner-up: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead by Michael D. Garcia (571 views) Our biggest external referral site (non-search engine or social media) is the TrekBBS, who've sent 352 unique visitors.  A majority of our users come by way of Google and Yahoo searches: 8,958 unique visitors and 19,649 total referrals.  Thanks to jespah's work in our social media, we saw a marked improvement this year with Facebook and Twitter:  Wikia (STExpanded): 247 unique visitors with 11,432. Facebook: 70 unique visitors with 1,256 page views. Twitter: 28 unique visitors with 109 page views.  For reference, last year, we only saw 22 unique visitors from social media. Obviously, if you're not using STExpanded.wikia.com, you may want to update or add your fanfic pages there, as we see a lot more traffic from Wikia.com.  The most popular browser used by visitors is Chrome, followed by Safari, then Firefox.  Least popular browser was the BlackBerry, followed by Opera Mini.  Questions  If you have any questions about the above information, or you want more information on site work done, please let me know in reply, or you can send me an email using the IPB email system (click on my profile). As always, if you have a support issue, please use the support site!  Happy New Year, and here's to an awesome 2015!  MDg
  9. The forum server software has been upgraded to 3.4.7 (current stable release) to address some security issues with the application. Â MDg
  10. An error that prevented people from entering categories, characters, and warnings appears to have been resolved with a private patch provided by the good folks at eFiction.org... if you submitted a story and were not able to add these tags during creation, I believe if you edit those stories now, they should now accept that input properly.  Sorry for the inconvenience. If you still encounter the problem, please open a support ticket.  MDg
  11. Greetings:  Every year, the people of several countries, including the United States and Canada, celebrate Thanksgiving. The notion of Thanksgiving has always been to celebrate the harvest of food and to come together to give thanks for the bounty brought in from the fields. At the same time, we give thanks for our friends and family being at our sides as we continue our voyage together upon this spaceship Earth on yet another trip around the Sun.  This year, I wanted to take a moment to give thanks not just for the reasons above, but also the bounty of writing we've enjoyed since the last Thanksgiving. Our harvest of amazing stories was most bountiful and we should take a moment to look around and realize how wonderful it is to be able to pick most any random story on our archive, read, and be thrust into the ideas and plots brewed up by our friends and family here at Ad Astra.  And so, with that in mind, I wanted to give thanks to our fellow writers; those who've been with us since the beginning and our newest friends who've joined in the past year. You have all made this community a welcome home of creativity where we warm ourselves by the hearth of imagination. I know that you will all continue to do so in the coming year, and when we come back to the harvest of 2015, we're going to be even more bountiful then.  I wish everyone a happy, safe, (belated-to-our-Canadian authors) and enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend.  MDg, shivering alone in the UK... the land of no Thanksgiving.
  12. Applied a security hotfix to the Archive site. Â MDg
  13. Made a minor change to the forum layout, including the Void background and lettering from the main archive. I was tiring of the inconsistency.  MDg
  14. I'm assuming that we're a soft target for novice hackers to cut their teeth on, or because we run a commerce package with our site that someone's looking for credit card information. Of course, we don't process CCs on our site, we use PayPal for that. It doesn't stop them from trying. Whenever you come to the forums and see a blank page, that's when you know we've likely been hacked.  MDg
  15. The forums got hacked, but it affected the main archive and the blogs. I had to restore from the afternoon's backup, which means we lost roughly 6 hours of data. Everything is back online, and looks like I need a new tactic in staving off people attacking the site.  MDg
  16. Greetings:  Beginning 8 August 2014, the Chat Server was offline. This occurred while I was in Illinois on a trip. Apparently, when we renewed our server license for the forums, the number changed and I failed to update it in time. I hadn't experienced a renewal like this before and assumed that when we paid for the renew, that the server would automatically update. This was not the case.  The chat server is online, now, with the new license. Additionally, this interrupted the Trek Rewatch events for two weeks, for which I apologize.  MDg
  17. Additionally, after speaking with support, I will be enforcing password changes for all staff accounts. Furthermore, if you haven't done so already, please change your email address password, especially if you're using Gmail or Hotmail.  Thanks.  MDg
  18. Second verse, same as the first...  Once again, we were the victims of a malicious attack. It took nearly 7 hours to work on the issue, and we had to bring the server down. The lucky part is that we lost no data, just jumped about 25 minutes back, so it should've had minimal impact.  I'm at a loss as to how it happened, but I'm having someone smarter than I take a look at the server and perhaps he'll find something I missed. Also, IPB support is getting involved for the forums side of things and they'll be poking around all day today and get back to me.  In the meantime, I had to refresh all of our files.  This outage affected the Archive, Forums, and Blogs only. Email and Support were unaffected.  And now, I'm heading to sleep.  MDg
  19. Last night, one of the other sites we host was running software that was insecure. As a result, all of the other sites on the server were affected since it used an exploit to attack every other virtual directory, including the Archives, the Blogs, and the Forums.  We reverted to our nightly backup, which lost about 3 hours of data (roughly 7pm PDT / 10pm EDT). If you made any changes, posted any new stories or chapters after that time, they were lost as we reverted back to the previous good copy.  I have summarily shut down the offending site and we will no longer be allowing that software to be run on this server again.  If you experience any issues, please open a support ticket.  MDg
  20. Link to this groundbreaking post, please. Â MDg
  21. In the future, remember that you can ALWAYS open a support ticket at:  http://support.adastrafanfic.com  That site is up 99.9999% of the time and when you open a ticket, it pages me on my mobile device(s). Please do not hesitate to open tickets.  MDg
  22. Ironically occurring during the Give me a Cookie week, the web server for Ad Astra went down at around 2am PDT this morning and was corrected when I restarted the service when I woke up at around 8:30am PDT. The following sites were affected:  - Archives - Blogs - Forums  Probable Cause: It looks like we're getting pretty popular, because the site reached its MaxClients limit and then shut down when it couldn't handle anymore. Also, we're a little overdue for regular maintenance (since I've been traveling nonstop from February), so I'll be shutting the site down at the end of the month to do a massive overhaul and expand capacity (upgrade hardware). Be on the look out for a notice.  MDg
  23. Specifically: Account Info -> Edit Bio, then scroll down to see: MDg
  24.  Thanks, xkcd.com  MDg
  25. Earlier this week (7 APR 2014), OpenSSL revealed a two-year old security exploit in serving secured data using their application. This exploit/bug made it possible for anyone to gain information about account information and more specifically passwords and password changes. Luckily, Ad Astra has only utilized SSL since we moved to our new server last month, so we feel that our exposure is not as bad as most sites out there.  Over the course of this week, we moved quickly to patch to the fixed release, which was completed yesterday night. Some of you were waiting to hear back on a support ticket regarding this issue, and this message will be posted in reply. The only site affected by this were the forums and our email server. The main archive and blog sites were not affected, because they do not employ SSL at all.  To that end, we were recommending that if you have an account here on the Forums and should you have a trekfics.net or other hosted email address here at Ad Astra, you should change your password immediately. Users who do not change their password are subject to an account hack.  Forums: https://forums.adastrafanfic.com/index.php?app=core&module=usercp&tab=core&area=email Email: https://mail.trekfics.net/postfixadmin/users/login.php  Again, please do this now to ensure your account security. If you have any questions, concerns, or are having a problem changing your password, please open a support ticket at http://support.adastrafanfic.com immediately. I will do my best to help you as quickly as possible.  Thanks,  MDg