Spring 2016 Community Goal 2: Biohack.me site overhaul



  • 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.
  • 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    My goal is to hand over something that, while the software may be outdated, is at least free of as much legacy muck as possible.
  • That explains why the site went down earlier lol. Plwer to you jack.
  • Yes, the downtime was much longer than I expected—my apologies.
  • No need just keep up the good work
  • edited 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!

  • 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
  • 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 :)
  • Volunteering for coder, html,css,javascript,jquery,php,C#,C ;)

    Just let me know if I'm needed and when ofcourse
  • 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.
  • 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. ^^
  • 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.)
  • Signup for our Slack at the following link; http://grindsyndicate.tk:3000

    and then come join the #website channel!
  • edited 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. ..

  • 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?
  • 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.
  • The first two problems were solved when the site ownership was switched over, back in August. Keeping the biohack.me domain name wouldn't have been possible since we didn't it own it. That has also been changed at that time. The migration of the threads to a backup was taken care of by Alex about a year ago and he has a little backup running constantly to stay up to date.

    We didn't lose admin access, just access to the ownership of the site. 

    So the goal is actually taken care of. People are just kicking around ideas for how they want to play around with things now. 
  • edited September 2016
    Ok, sorry for my confusion.

  • edited October 2016
    glims - part of the issue is that the forum is currently running an old version of Vanilla, even migrating to the latest version in a development environment wasn't pretty at all. The latest idea that's being tossed around is to use Discourse. This will also allow us to still keep a similar feel to the site as we currently have.

    For those interested, you can take a look at the following development area;


    (You may initiate a password reset on your user and play with it if you wish, however, don't post anything useful as the data wont be kept)

    We are also looking to incorporate other features to the site, and hopefully have everything managed by a single sign on.

    Input from everyone would be appreciated.

  • My initial feeling is that i dont like The section showing WHOs in thread conversation. ITS a way cleaner look though which is Nice bit Almodóvar feels dumbed down.
  • Probably tweakable, the mobile view is way better then the current.
  • Definitely tweakable. a Dash of css can hide that no problem :)
    I'm also gonna see if I can find anything RE adjusting the activity display. Having the days is nice, but the date would be really useful too.
  • Now that i'm looking at it, I completely agree with Meanderpaul. Those colored balls just look fruity - I'm in for killing them.
  • sorry about the hint of Norwegian in that comment. my phone was miss behaving and changed its keyboard.

    Fruity definitely describes the look of that. I'm about to pull it up on my computer to actually go through it.
  • ok ill tackle each bit i run across.

    firstly I'm looking in users:
    First glance makes me wonder who the hell are these people. They seem to be inactive/lurkers. the first name i saw was AVIIN ( i missed alex somehow) perhaps some kind of way to filter those names simply because of the shear number there are. I just kept scrolling to see if i could find myself but only made it to aviin.

    for example filter by activity, posts, last log on. The next thing i may suggest is having a page count so you could jump to X page number, search bar for users, maybe instead of page numbers the alphabet for a quicker look through?

    Search button:
    I really like that search bar. the advanced choices seem a bit useless like the post count. The key part to me on that is the Original poster part. I don't think people always know who the original poster is which to me shouldn't happen. the original poster should be know when you are in the thread simply because of the number of posts some thread can get (see sub-dermal body armor for example). 

    This leads me to the next one....

    Many page.

    so this page bothers me and its not just the colorful dots...it just seems dull...boring..depthless. everything is very ridged and straight lined almost like a spread sheet. It needs something to really ease the eyes when looking at it...to break up the threads...

    maybe like this: 

    Spring 2016 community Goal 2: Biohack.me site overhaul
    Started by: (Person) on (date) Last Post: (Person) on (Date)

    I think that might break up the lines and give some brakes to the eyes.

    Ill make a new post to continue.

  • Categories:

    This has been bugging me and its because very rarely anyone actually posts in the correct category. I will admit I'm one of those that have posted in the wrong one.

    That said do we really need categories? everything shows up under latest ( that needs a better name)

    Sign up/sign in:

    I like the look and feel of these. The thing i would like to see is a google sign in/sign up. the current site doesn't have a working google sign in/up. 

    This is my smallest one simply cause its very smooth.


    Ok this one isa me personally. (granted all this is me personally) I think the logo should be bigger. 

    perhaps use it as a background instead of white?

    The logo shouldn't be something that hidden or pushed back. it has essentially become our symbol which is able to be recognized by anyone who has been on this board.

    Ok I've  picked at your hard work enough ill let others have some input.

    Im really enjoying this text formatting too. Im very rarely using the site from my computer. My phone and tablet don't let me do this. so in short Please add the mobile text formatting :)
Sign In or Register to comment.