Get out your Sam Cook records, kids… A Change Is Gonna Come.
has been in business since 1998 - I think that's like several centuries
in Internet years. Why, when we started this, it was all hand-cranked,
In the 15 years since its inception, Fusor.net has had three major incarnations. First there was the very simple BBS operated under the aegis of my 90's-era Internet music business, Songs.com. Then there was a brief interval when it was hosted by a service called "Intranets." When that enterprise faded into the digital sunset, we set up our own forums using a platform called "w-agora" - which was fairly state of the art at the time (about 2002).
So this platform has served us well for at least a decade. But now it, too, is about to go the way of the digital dodo...
A number of factors have arisen in the past few months that dictate a change:
1) We discovered that users from Australia were having difficulty getting consistent access to the site. Our host, Sitemason.com, was maintaining a fairly high firewall in order to defend their servers against bots from Asia, and that was causing problems for legitimate users on the other side of the dateline;
2) The platform that we have been operating on for the past decade has become quite antiquated and is no longer supported by the developer. Sitemason has been precluded from upgrading its services for other customers as long as the Fusor.net boards were dependent on outdated circuitry;
3) Sitemason's own business has evolved in such away that they are no longer able or wiling to devote their limited resources to keeping the wheels of one site rolling down the digital highway. I have done business with these people since, oh, 1997 or thereabouts, and regard them as outstanding in their field. It has always been a genuine pleasure to do business with them. But their business has changed, and though they personally like having a unique site like Fusor.net under their umbrella, the site is no longer compatible with their business model and they've politely asked us to find other hosting.
Accordingly, in the weeks ahead, two major things are going to happen. One will be (hopefully) transparent, and the other… well, not so much…
1) Fusor.net is going to move to new servers. This in itself should/would not be disruptive, save for the 24 hours or so it would take for the Domain Name Service (DNS) change to propagate around the Internet. But while we're at it…
2) The operational face of the forums is going to change dramatically with the conversion from w-agora to the now default standard discussion platform, phpBB. The user interface of phpBB is very different from what we have become accustomed to with w-agora; the simple one-line threading of discussion threads will be transformed into a format that will be unfamiliar at first and will probably be a source of some consternation while we're getting used to it.
The Fusor.net front page - i.e. the "blog" portion of the site, will also be converted, from TypePad to WordPress, but that will be of less concern to the regular users of the forum.
We may not know until we get there the full extent of the disruption For example, we don't know yet if we will be able to transfer existing user registrations -- user ID and password - from the old platform to the new one. We're still researching all the particulars. I will use this space to keep users apprised as we learn more.
The tentative date for the transition is April 22-25. It is likely, that the forums will be semi-closed for at least several days while all of the engineering is implemented. By "semi-closed" I mean that the existing forum will remain in a a "read only" state, and new postings will not be allowed until the site is re-opened in its new format and on its new servers.
That's the news, now HERE'S THE POINT: We're going to need to raise some money to get this done.
Fusor.net has always been a free service and I have every intention of keeping it that way. But we will need to raise something on the order of $600-$800 to to implement all these changes. So it's time to pass the virtual hat.
On the very front page of the site - http://fusor.net - in the upper right corner, there is a link to my PayPal account. I'm asking now for everybody who feels that they benefit from this site's existence to go there now and pitch in whatever you can. Please make a note on your submission that it is for "fusor.net" so I'll be able to keep track of the contributions.
Things might be a bit chaotic for a while, but I fully expect that we will survive any disruption. Once we do, the site will be well positioned to flourish for another decade or so.
And, hallelujah, by the end of that 10 years, practical fusion energy will only be another twenty years away!
OK, kids, please hurry over to the PayPal button now. Let's get this ball rolling…
(if you have anything to add to this discussion, please post your comments in the forums.)
aka The Perfesser
Founder of Fusor.net