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  1. #21

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    Alright, here's the design I've been scratching together since... 4 AM? It's 7 PM now. Daaaamn.






    What you're looking at is a base install of SMF 2.0.7 with a custom but incomplete template over the top. It looks incredibly rough and it's not even close to finished, but it's the first design I've produced that hasn't made me recoil in horror when looking at it, so I think I'll continue to pursue this one a little further to see if I can make something of it. No guarantees. Consider this concept art.


    If there's one thing I've discovered, it's that SMF's configuration options are a total mess. When submitting a new post or reply, instead of returning you to the thread, it returns you to the board index. This can be changed, but it's under "Theme Settings", not Board Settings or Posting. Of course that set of options is buried under a sub-heading in the "Themes and Layout" area of the User Control Panel, and it's only visible from a down-down list, exposed by mousing over a button that has no indication of being a drop down list...

    ...I hate it.

    I never thought I'd sing the praises of phpBB but sheesh. At least their configuration options are relatively simple. I think tomorrow I'll explore re-coding this entirely for other bulletin boards, because while SMF is easy to style, it does nothing for the end user - and that's an even bigger issue.
    Last edited by iMic; 23rd August 2014 at 04:03 PM.

  2. #22

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    The name is great, and the design looks more than adequate to me. I think you're onto a great thing here. As mentioned before, there is a gap for this type of forum in Australia at the moment. If you Google "Vintage Computer Forum Australia" or something similar, there is nothing specific. A few links to Whirlpool and some to the U.S vintage computer site. I think if you get it up and running and with a little promotion and word of mouth, it will take off.

  3. #23

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    I love it
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  4. #24

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    Wouldn't something along the lines of a wiki make it much quicker and easier to find information? with a forum for discussions?

  5. #25

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    Looks great! If this is 'incredibly rough', then the final product should pop.
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  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldmacs View Post
    I love it
    Quote Originally Posted by jsarchibald View Post
    Looks great! If this is 'incredibly rough', then the final product should pop.

    It takes a lot of effort to build something like this, especially with the community software fighting back at every turn. It's easy to become disheartened, and I've tossed away more code than I care to think about. The positive feedback makes me keep at it.

    I still have some issues with SMF, and while I'm not incredibly thrilled about phpBB either, it is by far the most supported. I'd rather have to fix some issues up front and have the backing to do it than possibly have issues down the track and have no support. So far the design is coming over to phpBB rather nicely, and the code is much cleaner to boot.


    Quote Originally Posted by tkc8800 View Post
    The name is great, and the design looks more than adequate to me. I think you're onto a great thing here. As mentioned before, there is a gap for this type of forum in Australia at the moment. If you Google "Vintage Computer Forum Australia" or something similar, there is nothing specific. A few links to Whirlpool and some to the U.S vintage computer site. I think if you get it up and running and with a little promotion and word of mouth, it will take off.
    You're right, there isn't really anything in Australia that covers this kind of enthusiast community. I'm convinced that it shouldn't be restricted exclusively to Australia, after all we're working as part of a global collective of vintage collectors, but I think having local input into its operation will definitely help drive its adoption here and give it a local advantage.

    Starting these things off is undoubtedly rather difficult, since you start with a blank board that nobody wants to participate in. Starting momentum in the form of early adopters is critical, and thankfully we don't seem to be short of them. After that's covered, then we can work on making it take off.


    Quote Originally Posted by CrypticSquared View Post
    Wouldn't something along the lines of a wiki make it much quicker and easier to find information? with a forum for discussions?
    It would certainly be useful. I've been messing with DocuWiki on the side, and I do like what I see there. Once I think I have the design settled, then perhaps it'd be worth looking into bringing that design over to Wiki software as well and implementing both.



    Oh, there is one more thing worth mentioning. Even if the board software, design, rules and guidelines, forum layout and even the people come together - where do you put it? Not to be that guy, but I'm still running the numbers on my next round of utilities bills, let alone hosting space and domain name costs. More than likely I'll have to look into other solutions, even perhaps working with others to address that issue.
    Last edited by iMic; 30th January 2014 at 04:43 AM.

  7. #27

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    Quick Update. I've been throwing more effort behind making the site tick using phpBB 3. The strong start couldn't last forever it seems, because I hit some problems with phpBB 3 after a while, such as incredibly poor coding in the default template files. I considered revisiting SMF again to see if it would be easier to make that function how I wanted it to, but there's some challenges to be had there too.

    I decided to let it sit for a while. I'll revisit it over the weekend or something and see if I can do something with it.

    I think it's also become apparent from running the numbers with providers like A Small Orange that I won't be able to cover the hosting costs for this thing. It's not expensive, but it's more than I have. If I was to host it, I'd have to find someone willing to share their server. That's not to say it would be forever, eventually I could possibly arrange for it to run on its own webspace, but up front I don't think it'll happen.


    There isn't much in the way of communities for old tech in general, and especially old Macs (don't say 68kMLA, that place is developing a bad rep for valid reasons), so I'm still convinced it's a good idea, but I'm still undecided about how to act on it. It could be worth finding some reasonable webspace somewhere and slapping together a base install with a starting design simply to get it off the ground, then work out the more in-depth details later.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by iMac600 View Post
    I think it's also become apparent from running the numbers with providers like A Small Orange that I won't be able to cover the hosting costs for this thing. It's not expensive, but it's more than I have. If I was to host it, I'd have to find someone willing to share their server. That's not to say it would be forever, eventually I could possibly arrange for it to run on its own webspace, but up front I don't think it'll happen.
    I think you have made an excellent start. Is there a chance that you could run a small server off your own connection? I have no idea how you would cover the costs of a hosting/vps service. I detest the ads spamming this site. I'm assuming that there is the possibility that a couple of people might have already offered you some space. There is DreamHost of course, $15 per month for a small VPS and much cheaper for a plain hosting plan. Perhaps if people are really interested, they could contact you via PM to arrange another solution? I would be interested in visiting but I don't have extra money at the moment to put into it. I'm current in the midst of building my own site from scratch to run on my VPS as I've struggled and eventually become too frustrated with the current solutions on offer. $15 a month is quite doable for me though (even if it's just a place holder for now.) Perhaps people reading this thread could contribute in some small way?

  9. #29

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    Kickstarter?
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  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by iMac600 View Post

    • Financial Aspects. These sites cost money to run, in hosting and domain registrations. That said, we're only talking a couple of dollars here and there. I would consider this to be a rather easy hurdle to overcome.


    Perhaps, if some of us put our heads together, we could see this through to completion. Who knows? I'd be curious to find out, that's for sure.
    All of these ideas sound excellent and quite reassuring, especially for someone as myself who is relatively new to the Apple and vintage Apple scene.

    As far as financial aspects go, maybe have a membership or fundraiser-based community? For example, we could pay a nominal fee every 6 or 12 months or even hold an annual fundraiser with an association with a charity of some sort (i.e. if more than $x is raised by the community, the rest will go to a charity of choice - a type of goodwill incentive)?

    Of course, these are just thoughts. The mockups look quite good, too.
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  11. #31

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    The code absolutely looks doable. I was able to make SMF's board engine take nicely to the custom appearance, but hit additional hurdles with phpBB. Since it would be better to start with a system and change it as necessary later than not start at all, I'd throw my support behind SMF again at this stage unless a viable solution to build phpBB becomes apparent or the option to purchase a better board engine like IP.Board becomes a reality.

    Incidentally, I hate building forum and community systems. Once they're up and running I can mostly keep them ticking away, but that initial design, code, test, change, retest phase is a nightmare. No wonder so many choose to contract these out to third parties. That said, I think if the design was the only concern, I could arrange it. The more I look at Invision Power's community design, the more I'm inspired by it.

    How the site would be hosted was never really established. I have this unusual situation of having enough machines, including some older rack mounts, but no chance of connecting them up anywhere. The costs of running such a unit would blow the budget out by something stupid, plus make us responsible for hardware maintenance and backup, so there's a couple of additional costs too. That's completely off the table. Having the site hosted by a provider like Media Temple would cost significantly less ($240/year) and provide significantly more in terms of resources to boot (100GB Disk Space / 1TB Bandwidth).

    Now there's some other factors worth considering too. I'm officially a student now, having started my studies about 3 weeks ago. That doesn't mean I don't have enough time for this, because I could absolutely manage to find some time for it, but it does mean I'm still in the process of working out my financial situation. It's a little more stable now than it was a month ago, but it's still not quite there yet.

    The other factor is that I'm looking closer at MacTalk's overall situation. The number of surveys they're throwing around gives me the impression that Niche is looking to make a move with MacTalk, and I'd be surprised if the Vintage Apple forum was incorporated into that plan. I am wondering what else will be changed though, and whether instead of focusing efforts exclusively on vintage machines I should be considering picking up other areas that may otherwise be deemed not profitable enough or not important in Niche's future vision for MacTalk.

    Ideally I would be working with others on the matter so we have multiple sets of eyes on the plans and changes as they develop and multiple minds tossing around ideas to overcome hurdles, but it's taking a while to make that happen.
    Last edited by iMic; 19th August 2014 at 01:15 PM.

  12. #32

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    I am following this with interest, not out of any specific work with vintage macs, but given the changes in the 'community' here. As in where have people gone/alternatives emerging as attempts to monetise this space increases...

    The mock-up looks interesting good job. Forums are quite difficult to create an interesting and effective theme.

  13. #33

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    Hi MacTalk,

    Since this thread seemed to fall off rather quickly, I wanted to bring some closure to what happened here.


    We continued working on Australian Vintage Computer, but as I mentioned, we really did need multiple sets of hands on deck to make the project viable. We had to address some financial issues, along with questions about where to host the community. Fast forward a month or two and we hadn't really come any closer to resolving these problems.

    Around the same time, interest in MacTalk was renewed, so I started discussions with Niche about the future of MacTalk. At the time, Australian Vintage Computer was moved down in the list of priorities. We still have some talented and dedicated people working behind the scenes at MacTalk, and while my contribution has been basically nil as of late due to it being a fairly intense time of year for studies, I'm still interested in what's happening here.


    In May, we resumed discussions to see what could be done with Australian Vintage Computer. Around that time, another large vintage computing forum was in the process of making some changes to their staff hierarchy. Some of the people that left there around that time joined the AVC project. Since their background was in Vintage Macs and many of them were based outside of Australia, AVC was refocused toward Vintage Apple computers and was rebranded as ThinkClassic, a combination of Think Different and the collective name for older Mac OS releases - Classic.

    Around this time, one of our administrators graciously provided the server and domain needed to start the community off. We ceased development of any code and design on phpBB and moved across to FluxBB as the foundation of the forum. The appearance was also remade from scratch, and it certainly changed quite a bit since my last screenshot here:





    ThinkClassic launched on the 15th of May, 2014 at www.thinkclassic.org, where it currently resides. It's focused toward the repair, restoration and maintenance of vintage Apple devices. We're also interested in the support and care of most makes and models of vintage and obsolete computing gear.


    I'm extremely pleased to say the contributions and efforts as a result of this thread weren't lost. A lot happened after those last few posts, but we simply ran out of time to document it all here.


    Cheers,

    ~ iMic.
    Last edited by iMic; 19th August 2014 at 01:19 PM.

  14. #34

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    That looks excellent, iMic. Well done.
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  15. #35

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    Nice one iMic Have just signed up

    It is sad to see that MacTalk is becoming quiet these days. I used to spend loads of time on here and even remember the odd BBQ catchup and discussions about home brew beer and retro tech. I kind of lost my love a bit for mac collecting - sold and gave away a bunch of my machines, and stopped tinkering. Last major project was this http://www.mactalk.com.au/20/51665-a...e-machine.html - it IS still running though the iMac eventually died so while it has a mac monitor it runs a dirty PC for guts now.

    Anyway - I don't have the same interest in new apple gear - great design for sure, but the OS and infrastructure it locks you into these days really turns me off. So look forward to seeing some of you over at ThinkClassic!

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  16. #36

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    Have joined up too - bit over having every post I make here sent into limbo as a new member.

    Edit: And now it works for once!

  17. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by napes View Post
    Nice one iMic Have just signed up

    It is sad to see that MacTalk is becoming quiet these days. I used to spend loads of time on here and even remember the odd BBQ catchup and discussions about home brew beer and retro tech.

    ~
    It has been quiet around here in recent years, although I think it's starting to make a comeback as of late. Still, even though it's a community in its infancy, we're extremely pleased with what we've managed to create over at ThinkClassic. Great to have you on board!


    Quote Originally Posted by Washerman View Post
    Have joined up too - bit over having every post I make here sent into limbo as a new member.
    Welcome!

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