Spring 2016 Community Goal 2: Biohack.me site overhaul
  • cyberlasscyberlass April 2016
    Spring 2016 Goals 
    At Grindfest 02 the group talked about goals for the community.  Themes of “Supportive not competitive” and "More tangible results"

    Goal 2: Biohack.me site overhaul
    The site needs an overhaul and the work should be done by the community to ensure there isn't a large burden placed on one person.

    The full goals doc is here - sign up or add information :D

  • AlexSmithAlexSmith April 2016
  • MeanderpaulMeanderpaul April 2016
    So something that is becoming apparent to me is the global members here. This kind of plays into the writing habits part of the goals. There are members here who may have excellent writing habits but in their first language only. Is there a way to in corporate Google translate to the site for those of us who do not speak/write fluent, non lazy, English?
  • BirdMachineBirdMachine April 2016
    If we're looking to revamp the site as part of our Spring initiatives, it might be worth looking into how much we can extend it to support our other goals.

    Is there something we can build or install as part of the new site base that can support, say, the journals initiative? Individual blogs? Events? Groups? Resource Directory? User directory with skills and a map (optional of course)? A forum base to work with is fantastic, but it might be nice to see what other sort of utility we can get from this upgrade.

    There's a lot of approaches we can take, too. Individual stand-alone pieces that aren't connected and run off of different systems, but live under the same domain (forum.biohack.me, journals.biohack.me, events.biohack.me). OR we can see if there's something we can work with or build out that has all or at least most of these sections combined.

    If we move on to a new base, it's possible to have the current forum live under archive.biohack.me and just port over the active threads. Nothing gets lost that way, and still lives somewhere for reference and wiki building.
  • MeanderpaulMeanderpaul April 2016
    I can definitely see more choices like the journals.biohack.me and events.biohack.me.

    I may even suggest a software type of one where you can access different "trusted" software to work on projects like using ruby and GitHub. maybe even a resources type choice for electronics that you can buy for projects. 
  • glimsglims April 2016
    A lot of the things mentioned required a change to the access control to the site. In fact, there is an ancient thread about site suggestions that you can read if you want to lull yourself to sleep. It looks like we may have that happening. Finally. The next few days may be big. Everyone please be patient :)

    Someone will update when something is actually done.
  • MeanderpaulMeanderpaul April 2016
    My interest has been peaked!!!
  • mmuyskensmmuyskens May 2016

    Any updates on this? I'm happy to help with anything needed as far as making this happen.
  • glimsglims May 2016
    The site owner has faded back into the mists.... attempts are being made... 

  • JohnDoeJohnDoe May 2016
    I thought you said he became a monk?
  • chironexchironex May 2016
    thats someone else. We're a community of ghosts, monks and cyborgs apparently. 
  • JohnDoeJohnDoe May 2016
    Hum surprised that AI wasn't thrown in there.... Sound a lot like what deep web community's strive for.... Who is paying the hosting fees....
  • glimsglims May 2016
    The ghost
  • As a fun side project, maybe we could have all the programmers band together and write a chat bot that can answer a lot of the questions about biohacking. Or even more ambitious. An AI that'll parse forum posts and be able to provide up to date answers about various events and developments without having to delegate that role. 

    So, are we planning on having a new member of the community host a server?
  • BenbeezyBenbeezy May 2016
    I am working on a site right now for me to be able to sell things and I set it up so that anyone can post a product on there like etsy but for grinding, I saw this thread and went in and added an extra forum thing in there because it was easy enough to make and why not. So once thats up maybe people would like to use the forum on there? maybe that project is what we use for this rebuild, that way people don't have to do the "PM me and we will talk about selling you things" kind of thing. I don't know if thats the directions that the official biohack.me site should go, but it is being made regardless of the domain that its put on.
  • Don't forget to post a link to it @benbeezy ;)
    When it's up.
  • BenbeezyBenbeezy May 2016
    so this is a super test, I just have it up on a free amazon server (so its a little slow) but here is what I have. http://biohack.s2fsk8r85n.us-west-2.elasticbeanstalk.com/forum look at everything and let me know what you guys want in the site (as function not looks yet) and let me know :) I am just basing it from drupal commerce, so it still has some of those thing in it. feel free to make an account. Should we use a forum on there instead of here? (it just sounds wrong to do so, but it is better) 
  • glimsglims May 2016
    @AlexSmith already migrated the forum to a backup. He got all the old posts and whatnot transferred as well.
  • ChrisBotChrisBot May 2016
    I don't know if anyone here is a reader/ member of the hackaday community. If not, it's a great tech blog and you should go check them out. 

    They have set up something they call hackaday.io which is a place where people setup and collaborate on projects. It would take too much time to describe it here, but you should check it out if you don't already know about it.

    Some of my favorite features include official build logs, galleries, comments, and even and official system for setting up collaboration. 

    This is obviously a HUGE undertaking, and they have people working on this sort of thing 24/7, but it would still be cool to see something like a biohack.io
  • BenbeezyBenbeezy May 2016
    @glims yeah, but he's just using an updated version of whats already here, and every seams to not like it. I can build a webscraper to get all of the content from here pretty easily. 
  • I made an account to see what the forums was like on it. It is more friendly on mobile then this site, but that's not saying much haha. I like the site though it seems smooth. The only thing that bothers me is the drop down menu.
  • mmuyskensmmuyskens May 2016
    I think it's imperative that it remains on the same domain. We don't need several smaller forums to pop up and have the community suddenly stretched out.

    There's been more talk about this on Slack. The latest plan seems to be to go with Flarum or Oxwall... @
    BirdMachine has been working on it.
  • CassoxCassox May 2016
    Yeah Mark. I agree with you regarding keeping everything under a single domain, but does it need to be this one? I'm beginning to wonder if the resistance is related to the domain name being worth something? I don't think .me fetch a high price but perhaps he's sitting on it with the hope?

    Why not consider another domain name and moving everything over? I'm sure we at least have enough access to simply have the biohack.me redirect to another domain?
  • Correct on the Flarum / Oxwall parts! I've been poking around with the later to see how it looks and feels, and what sort of things we'll be able to keep in one place vs spreading it out. With Oxwall, user blogs and profiles can be a thing, as well as an events calendar and groups with their own private or public areas. Downsides with it so far include some issues with searching, and how the mobile version is served (vs just using responsive design which really should be the default for these sort of things by now but anyway...) Here's what I've been poking at http://machinesofbirds.com/ (This domain/server is just my sandbox) (You might see errors during a search. I've been trying to fix said searching woes.)

    I loooooove what hackaday's managed to become, especially with the way it handles projects! Something like that would be really valuable I think. Pages where user projects can exist, with all of their updates and documentations and media, in a much easier to navigate system than digging through pages and pages of thread content. I am certainly not averse to trying to make something like that happen. Maybe something we can try building a plugin for in oxwall.
  • mmuyskensmmuyskens May 2016
    Cassox - yea, even another domain would be fine if it redirects so it's clear it's the official new forum.

    The current domain I don't really see as being worth much right now. The domain hack.me sold for about 1300 a few years ago and that's mainly because it's a single keyword. BioHack.me would be two keywords, not really a valuable extension, nor is the term "BioHack" really that popular or in high demand. It could be worth something in the future though.

    I'd volunteer to write a plugin for Oxwall for anything we need to add to the base. I'll actually deploy a staging install and take a look at the search issue sometime this week and see if I can crack that issue.
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith May 2016
    @Benbeezy you right, I just screen scraped the old content and used it to populate a Flarum forum. It's not that heard, but at least I'm doing something.

    Flarum is much newer forum platform, it has heaps of features that we lack in the current site, like good mobile design, push notifications, ability to follow threads, image upload etc.
    Right now it's on a box I control, but unlike the current site I'd like to give a few competent admins shell level access to the server so that the community can make any changes they want.
  • BenbeezyBenbeezy May 2016
    The reason I made the one that I did was because it had to options for a "store" and I could make it so anyone could add things to the store and get rid of this "PM me your paypal" stuff.I have everything set up an aws and could make unique keys for everyone who wants one, that way we have "blame" and could revert things if wanted.

    I am using drupal, so its very easy to modify things, I set the entire thing not even needing ssh. It also has mobile design, file uploads (not limited to images) so any of us can make a site it looks like haha how is it chosen what one everyone uses? I have no idea. I just made an option. 
  • has there been any progress on the overhaul?
  • Main point of contact to access the servers (or even just the domain, to point it elsewhere) has been more than a little difficult to reach unfortunately :( It hasn't fallen off our radar, however!
  • Good to know! When it does finally happen im sure it will be great looking.
  • JohnDoeJohnDoe July 2016
    What's the problem if I may ask?
  • Site is old code from my understanding. Like patching a tire over and over its a jumbled mess.

    That's my understanding ;)
  • I have an idea I don't know how many of you agree but we could do a group buy system where we can get something cheaper than normal by ordering in a large quantity sort of like mass drop except to biohackers.
  • JackJack August 2016
    Hi all—I'm the bottleneck to getting server access. I'm working on migrating everything off of my personal server to a server that can be owned by the community. Should be done today, but requires cleaning up a ton of cruft that just accumulated over the years.

    My goal is to hand over something that, while the software may be outdated, is at least free of as much legacy muck as possible.
  • MeanderpaulMeanderpaul August 2016
    That explains why the site went down earlier lol. Plwer to you jack.
  • JackJack August 2016
    Yes, the downtime was much longer than I expected—my apologies.
  • MeanderpaulMeanderpaul August 2016
    No need just keep up the good work
  • mmuyskensmmuyskens August 2016
    A few of us spoke about this while at Defcon this weekend. I actually came up with a new idea where we will be implementing both a master and failover server. This will allow us to avoid situations where one party disappears. If this happens, the failover will then be the master, and a new failover will be sourced - zero downtime in the future is the plan. Separate people will be responsible for providing each server.

    I think we all agree on canning the current forum software, however, if we are migrating to a new forum application, we will want to first upgrade the current forum to the latest version.

    Those are basically the starter goals - new hosting setup, and upgrading the current forum application.

    cyberlass took down the notes which I'm sure she will share more sometime soon. Plenty of good ideas were tossed around and I'm thrilled for the day it's all implemented.

    Suggestions or those wanting to volunteer to assist with this project - feel free to jump in!

  • cyberlasscyberlass August 2016
    Yes, volunteers do jump in! I put up an announcement post w/ a link to here asking for volunteers. The next step is to set a meeting for the volunteers and lay out the basic design (I anticipate much discussion). :D
  • MeanderpaulMeanderpaul August 2016
    I would love to help but I'm not well versed in anything code related. I am trying to learn it though.

    I'll happily offer up opinions :)
  • NLmaxNLmax August 2016
    Volunteering for coder, html,css,javascript,jquery,php,C#,C ;)

    Just let me know if I'm needed and when ofcourse
  • mmuyskensmmuyskens August 2016
    Coding help is appreciated. We have a lot of ideas such as wiki, forum, etc which would likely be separate systems - I'd like to see the login system unified between everything.

    Any graphic designers?

    Also, for those interested - we have a channel called #website on our Slack. Please join the channel if you're on Slack, or post your email address so we can send you an invite.
  • ZerbulaZerbula August 2016
    Would gladly volunteer for graphic design, but I'm not in the position to do it right now. >~< I'll let you know when I stabilize.

    Love playing with GIMP. ^^
  • rpykarpyka August 2016
    A bit rusty on it all, but I've got some background in server administration (including a little toying around with single sign on between a forum and a wiki, made some decent progress but the forum lost interest in the wiki before I finished.) Also have a background in PHP/JS/JQuery/CSS/SQL and Python, and a little Groovy/Grails and MongoDB experience. I'm also comfortable with Windows/Unix, SSH, FTP, etc.

    Work usually keeps me busy so I don't have a ton of time to dedicate to this, but I can help with little stuff. I've also worked on a few sites and still work in end user-facing software, so I'm happy to provide UI/UX feedback and do general testing (which probably fits my schedule better.)
  • mmuyskensmmuyskens August 2016
    Signup for our Slack at the following link; http://grindsyndicate.tk:3000

    and then come join the #website channel!
  • ShankTShankT September 2016
    I appreciate the DIY mindset- else I wouldn't be here, but its difficult to make work with teams-- especially when there is no incentive ($$) for team members to remain attentive and actively managing tasks.
    Might I offer a suggestion-- based in many years of managing enterprise software systems for a large corporation:

    Go with a standard commercial platform.

    Using Google as an example. Google is my go-to because I managed the platform for a 10,000+ employee company-- but I am not attached. There are other platforms with similar functionality.

    Cost:  $5/month (one user account)

    • Under this domain
      The web address could remain htttp://biohack.me
    • Easy set-up
      One could duplicate the functionality of the current biohack.me in an hour or two
    • Unlimited websites
    • 100% form driven - my grandmother could probably make edits and change permissions
    • Anyone with a Google account can be granted permissions.
    • + New html 5 version coming soon-- great for mobile compatibility

    Unlimited "Groups"
    • Discussion forums
    • Email distribution lists
    • Authentication/accounts handled by G
      Anyone with a G account could have permissions to post or moderate

    30 gigs of "Docs"
    (minus any space consumed by email)
    • Collaborative
      Fifty people can be working on the same doucment simultaneously
    • Only non-google formatted docs count toward storage allowance
      Word, Excel, MP3, AVI counts against space, but the Google Docs and Spreasheets do not 
    There are limitations in Google. The form based websites can be difficult, but there is a Javascript back end in everything Google that can basically do anything if you 'dig in'.

    Like I said, I dig the DIY. I understand that this approach goes against that. I have managed internet web servers (both Linux and Win) and for personal use, I use several non-commercial types of devices and OS's. I have coded in several programming languages, and built simple electronics.

    That is great-- when its just me. Nobody else needs to understand anything for the projects to succeed.

    It just doesn't work well for teams

    What it does do is give biohack.me a cheap and easy platform to communicate and collaborate that can be managed by anybody without training. The platform is stable, co-located in servers around the world, and maintained by a company with unlimited resources.

    This could be set up in less than a day.

    The most difficult piece of this would be moving threads, but I'm 95% sure we could do it systematically with that Javascript back end.

    edited for consistent formatting
  • mmuyskensmmuyskens September 2016
    I mean, I personally wouldn't mind paying $5/month, but with the community at a small size, I think the pricing would be a show stopper for some.

    We have the resources. We plan to have a primary and secondary server as a hot spare. Primary has zero costs as it's build out on my existing infrastructure. Secondary will be at a cloud provider of sorts, so minimal size, minimal cost which can expand if needed.

    The latest idea is to use Flarium. The issue is - no migration tool. I was about 50% done with writing a migration tool when I noticed another huge negative - No PM functionality. It's in the works but no ETA from the Flarium team. I'm going to be working on writing a PM module for Flarium, however, I'm back at work now after having a few months off so my availability has gone down. Hopefully have something to show within the next few weeks.
  • ShankTShankT September 2016
    Understood. but to be clear-- we don't need 5/user/month... just 5/month.

    One user is all that is required to keep the domain active in the Google platform-- 60 bucks/year

    I'm good for 10, if there are 5 more like me, we have a year of service.

    From there we could have unlimited email addresses via forwarding/routing. Unlimited forums (each has an email address), permisisons groups, unlimite websites (if we want to have community projects or something), etc etc etc.

    The cost remains $5/month as long as we only have one "actual" user.

    The downside is that everyone would need to have a google account of their own to interact-- but these can be the same free gmail accounts that most of us already have.

    Migration is going to be some work for sure, but the collaborative docs alone may make it worth the cost/effort.
  • glimsglims September 2016
    Yeah, see, I'm a little confused about the problem that this concept is solving.

    We already have a wiki, Everyone has an email, obviously. There is a pm system. There is an irc and a slack channel for those who like that sort of thing...
    and this means anyone who wants to get involved needs to get a google account. ..

  • ShankTShankT September 2016
    The issues I was trying to solve for as mentioned above in this thread:
    • Loss of administrative access:
      "The site owner has faded back into the mists"

    • Reliance on personally owned hardware:
      "Main point of contact to access the servers (or even just the domain, to point it elsewhere) has been more than a little difficult to reach unfortunately :( It hasn't fallen off our radar, however!"

    • Knowledge of specific programming languages required:
      "Site is old code from my understanding. Like patching a tire over and over its a jumbled mess."
    The added features may be unneeded, and the required Google account is not great

    If we were on a standard commercial platform this whole conversation would not exist.

    This approach requires less than an hour to implement, and basic setup a day max. Migrating threads aside, this project could have been done in April.

    I think there have been some discoveries as a few platforms were tested, but at this point, I don't think this goal is any closer to being achieved than it was back in April, is it?
  • ShankTShankT September 2016
    Maybe its not an issue... It certainly isn't for me. I like the site just fine.

    I only saw how hard this community goal seems to be and offered a simple solution that would help ensure that the same issues don't happen again in a year or two.

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