I have reached the time of the year when it’s “All Hands on Deck”. Not quite “Battle Stations” yet, that comes in about another month, but I have two main areas to concern myself with. First is making sure all that needs to be done outside before the weather turns is done. Second is to fire up the big engine that is JohnDee.com. On the first item, I am about half way there. Still on the list is to take the pool down, make a bit more firewood for the fireplace in the house and prepare the golf cart for winter storage. In the short term, the leaves that have fallen already need to be swept up and the grass has to be cut.
With regards to the second item, the best I can say is: “work has commenced”. The biggest job at hand with regards to the website is the transition of the discussion board from it’s current train wreck software to a first-class one. There have been issues with the discussion board since day one, but most of the problems were not too big and were able to be rectified fairly quickly. About a year ago, the problems started to become more numerous and dramatic and it finally reached the point this spring when it just had to go. So I have been busy the past few months researching and demoing many different forum software packages and I am pleased to announce that I found a winner.
The current board is so large and the current environment that the website works on is someone unique, it took some real digging into to come upon the best possible solution. So last Friday I got the ball rolling, but it is not going to be a “flip the light switch” type of transition. There are three main phases that are involved here at the beginning. First was to find a host server capable of handling the new forum. That took some digging and research. The second phase is to get the new forum installed on the new server and third will be to get all the current user profiles, forum topics and at least 30 days worth of posts moved over.
With regards to the first task, it is done. I just got the word from the folks at the hosting service that all is set. It took over 30 emails between myself and several persons at the hosting service to work through things. If I knew anything about setting up a domain and all the behind the scenes settings that need to be configured, that number of emails might have been 2-3! Thankfully the hosting service was super nice and had LOTS of patience walking me through my blindness.
Rather than try and install the forum software on the server and configure it myself, I have opted to have the makers of the forum software do the install and configuring. I just notified them that the server was ready, so hopefully in the next 24 hours, the forum will be out on the internet. Unfortunately, the makers of the forum do not provide the service of migrating data from one forum to theirs. They did provide me with a link to a forum topic on their website where I can put out a “wanted” notice to find someone that can do that. The migration is by far my biggest concern. I am sure it can be done, but it must not be too easy because the folks at XenForo (the new forum software) do not offer that service! It could be an outright disaster to ask everyone to re-register. I currently have over 20,000 user profiles on the old board. I realize that not ALL of them are active, but would guess that 80% of them do come to the board from time to time to check things out. So say a prayer that I can find a competent programmer that can move the profiles and some of the posts to the new forum. If you are reading this and are thinking: “Moving that data from Vbulliten to XenForo is a piece of cake!” PLEASE contact me! Needless to say the new discussion board will not be going live until the migration has taken place or I have exhausted ALL avenues to do it.
Other things going on with the site will be a relocation of the AL Cam. It is just not in a good spot for much of anything. I put it there because I was able to have the camera in my office and look out the window. Last season I switched to an indoor-outdoor camera and it has proven to be extremely reliable, so the new location will be in the backyard of our house. The view will include the snow gauge as well as a picnic table that will help to show the depth. I will also be clearing off a section of the table to show the new snow in the past 24 hours. I may even create sections where I do the last 24 hours, week to date and month to date. The woods cam will also be finding a slightly better location and will be upgraded to the same type that the AL Cam is.
Last, but not least will be a change in format for the Snowscoop Video. I am going to be re-naming it, but am not quite ready to give the name out yet. The change in format will be from a paid subscription to a free YouTube channel. I have absolutely no experience with doing a YouTube channel, let alone having it provide income. I know half the world seems to be doing it, so hopefully it is not that hard! I plan to have other videos than the daily forecasts on the channel. So if there is someone that has experience with the marketing and monetization of a YouTube channel, I will welcome any and all advice. I do plan to have the channel up within the next week or so and will announce with that happens.
As far as the goings on outside of JohnDee goes…I really have no clue! Haha, just kidding, sort of. I really have been busy with getting things ready for the new season. The color show is most certainly progressing. I have not traveled too far. I did go to Houghton/Hancock today for a Dr’s appointment and to pick up a few things. I pulled off onto a side road between the airport and Calumet to snap this shot of the colors there. I did the same while heading down Jacobsville Rd, about 5 miles from Jake. The colors are still less changed here, but that is par for the course. I would guess that the peak WEEKEND for the higher terrain south of Houghton will be this weekend. It may not be a full peak, but by the next weekend it could be past. The peak for most other areas in the Keweenaw will be that of the 9th-10th. Come on up, you will be BLOWN away!
Good Night From the Keweenaw..