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Author Topic: State of the Website Address
Mike
Memphis PC Guy

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I wanted to take a few moments to address some concerns and questions we have been receiving the last few weeks.

The two questions we get the most are... "I thought Saferacer owned the website." and "What is with all the recent commercialization, do I have to pay, because it sure feels like it?"

The answer to the first question is pretty easy, if not quite obvious. Jim Daniels has never relinquished control of the website or the specmiata.com domain. In February of 2007 he entered into an agreement with Saferacer.com that provided him with an undisclosed amount of something or other, while they became the official sponsor of specmiata.com. Part of the package included them hosting it on their server and providing administration. The announcement ( seen here ) can probably be construed as a passing of ownership, but the first sentence of the second paragraph sums it up. "Iím very pleased to announce that we have secured long term funding from a single corporate sponsor for the site."

The second question is not quite as easy but was more fun to document. As you have probably seen in more than a few places; except for 2/2007 through 12/2007 this website is hosted on a dedicated server on a dedicated T1 in a dedicated office in Jim Daniels' dedicated office building. There are approximately six pc's running the network and the website (Domain Box, 2 DNS Boxes, MySql Box, Email Box, Backup Domain Box). Jim's company website and email is actually offsite, but the office staff does utilize some of the bandwidth during business hours.

The website opened to much fanfair Janurary 29, 2001. I was the first person to register as I am the original webmaster. It ran with all costs covered by Jim Daniels until we added some banners in early 2004 ( Banner Ads Announcement 1/22/2004 )that could be purchased by what was now a growing Spec Miata industry. Now keep in mind T1's back then are $1700 a month! We never sold enough banners to cover current costs, much less hope to reimburse out of pocket expenses. All the while Jim was selling cars, he started a Pro Series out of his own pocket and so it was... life was good and everyone was riding the Spec Miata wave!

All this time we were still struggling with the advertising problem. Since day one we had made the forums a "hands off" zone when it came to advertising. The banners took some of the heat off us, but still shop owners and members a like were constantly finding new and inventive ways to sneak product placement in. It was a constant battle [Smile]

That's when the idea of promoting moderators from within came into existance and it's something we still do to this day. Jim Boemler was the first MegaModerator, I think he had only a couple of thousand posts at that time. A MegaModerator has all the powers of an Administrator except one, he couldn't access the control panel. He and the others that followed him have been a tremendous help in keeping the unwashed horde dosed in Old Spice Cologne.

In early 2004 (3/12/2004) we added PAY-PER AD Classifieds (PAY-PER ADS Announcement) and all was good. We added our first Corporate sponsors in 2005.. the Tire Rack and then The Tireshoppe and things started getting serious.

Now, there have been quite a few Spec Miata milestones while all this is going on, but that's for another post. I just wanted to highlight the journey from the NO ADVERTISING, Free website of 2001 to the ADVERTISING FOR SALE, PLEASE DONATE IF YOU WANT TO, BUY A T-SHIRT Free website of 2007. It's the same website it has always been ... just all dolled up. It's still a free website to use, although we do require you to register for some features. Oh, did I mention that every registration now has to be authorized by hand because of Spambots? And that every medal after a persons name is added by hand as well? It takes a tremendous amount of hands-on here behind the scenes to pull some of this off.

We do this first out of love for the class and it's community. But the truth is this is now a business, albeit a very small one. People count on it to sell cars, parts and find true love. We are still struggling with everything that entails.

Now, I just wrote all this off the top of my head so any omissions or issues with the timeline or facts are purely accidental and entirely my fault. Hopefully it will shed some light on the underpinnings and we can move forward with growing Spec Miata into the best place to race in North America... and beyond.

You old timers, don't let the fresh paint and ATM machines scare you, we are just trying to make it more efficient for the new guys coming onboard to get up to speed. Zoom Zoom!

--------------------
Mike
Memphis PC Guy
http://memphispcguy.com
http://www.mazdaracers.com

Evan 55 Verified Driver
put put put

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Amidst the big push for user donations, Id like to pose the question to the administration why lower cost options are not utilized for hosting?
SpecMiata.com is relatively small as far as web forums go. Compared to the figures that I have heard tossed around for running the site, utilizing offsite co-located servers (or even vps)would cut costs dramatically while even expanding bandwidth. A T1 line has its benefits, but it is NOT the ideal medium to host a simple website.
JD's own company has come to this conclusion as well, since they utilize off-site hosting, so Im curious why this option has not been investigated for the long term financial health of specmiata.com?

--------------------
'94 SM #55
2006 NASA-MA Champ
Weekend Warrior Racing
Fight ALS!

Mike
Memphis PC Guy

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Jim and I met in 1999 when he hired me to be the Network Administrator for an ISP startup. The dialup service didn't make it but we have had the equipment and T1 ever since.

The SLA on the T1 is important to his business and so it is justified by him to retain the T1. Chances are good his websites will move back in with us [Smile]

--------------------
Mike
Memphis PC Guy
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http://www.mazdaracers.com

Lance Snyder Made Donation to Website
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Evan, cheaper is not necessarily better. While yes there are cheaper options there are inherent problems with finding hosts worth a damned. First off is finding a host worth a damned. A host that is properly staffed, has warm bodies on site and available for support, proper power backup and when fecal matter hits the oscillating device handles it promptly. Some advantages to having complete control from LEC/CLEC down to boxes:

1. T1- CLEC/LEC's react much faster when a T1 is down, Mike and JD have the power to open tickets, escalate, berate and get things done when necessary.
2. Simpler network - Server farms tend to have complicated networks complete with vlan's, DMZ's and other networking pitfalls. When a tech misconfigures a switch then leaves you can be down for awhile before the issue is resolved.
3. Access to said boxes, easier to access with this setup then a server farm/colo space. Again this goes back to depending on warm bodies when necessary.

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All this has happened before, and will happen again

Mike
Memphis PC Guy

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Co-Lo's cost around $200 a month and all the pratfalls outlined above come into play. We negotiate for the best T1 price as the service agreement expires so the prices should keep coming down.

--------------------
Mike
Memphis PC Guy
http://memphispcguy.com
http://www.mazdaracers.com

modernbeat
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quote:
Originally posted by Lance Snyder:
Evan, cheaper is not necessarily better.

Yes, but you don't hire Penske to support your 5 year old's kid kart effort. There are good offsite hosting options. Lots of other forums use them. There are good fund raising options also.

For a good example, look at what the JalopyJournal is doing. All parts of the forum, including classifieds, are free. They sell a membership that gets the member a dash plaque for their hot-rod and access to negoiated discounts from a number of vendors.

Lance Snyder Made Donation to Website
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The setup Mike described is hardly Penske. Now if you wanted Penske:

1. Dual homed DS3 access, one on copper, one on fiber, divergent paths, divergent carriers.
2. Carriers each provide address space, BGP configured to ensure no loss of IP connectivity.
3. Redundant boxes in a pass/fail relationship, or even load sharing.
4. Several backup solutions including onsite tape, onsite archive and offsite solutions.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, good for JalopyJournal... glad they are doing whatever it is they do so well. Not sure what that has to do with the price of tea in china though.

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All this has happened before, and will happen again

Mike
Memphis PC Guy

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quote:
Originally posted by modernbeat:
quote:
Originally posted by Lance Snyder:
Evan, cheaper is not necessarily better.

Yes, but you don't hire Penske to support your 5 year old's kid kart effort.
Who doesn't? [thumbsup] You don't know these Spec Miata guys very well [Smile]

--------------------
Mike
Memphis PC Guy
http://memphispcguy.com
http://www.mazdaracers.com

modernbeat
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quote:
Originally posted by Mike:
...this website is hosted on a dedicated server on a dedicated T1 in a dedicated office in Jim Daniels' dedicated office building. There are approximately six pc's running the network and the website (Domain Box, 2 DNS Boxes, MySql Box, Email Box, Backup Domain Box). Jim's company website and email is actually offsite, but the office staff does utilize some of the bandwidth during business hours...

How much is "some of the bandwidth" relative to the SpecMiata usage?

modernbeat
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quote:
Originally posted by Lance Snyder:
...good for JalopyJournal... glad they are doing whatever it is they do so well. Not sure what that has to do with the price of tea in china though.

It's another similar forum that is able to do much more for their members and community than SpecMiata is doing. Look at it and see how SM can adapt some of their practices.

Jim Boemler Verified Driver
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Lance, that's precisely the reason you should host it off-site. You get all that, and share the expense with others -- it's a win/win (aside from the warm fuzzy of knowing you control it all).

jim

--------------------
Just a clown

jigou Verified Driver
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Remember that big storm that tore through Memphis a couple years ago? [duck]

As the clown says, hosting off-site means (as long as you pick a good company) that you get all of those benefits at a greatly reduced cost.

My hunch is that there is more than one person on this forum that would have a good hosting recommendation based on their professional work.

Jarrod

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http://www.plainoldgas.com

Lance Snyder Made Donation to Website
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Maybe... maybe not, I explained the pitfalls of hosted solutions a few posts ago.

--------------------
All this has happened before, and will happen again

Mike
Memphis PC Guy

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The website is not going anywhere.

There are numerous posts that indicate performance was down in 2007, which corresponds with it being hosted in a server farm.

The Cost difference is miniscule and the benefits far out weight any disadvantages, if there are any.

--------------------
Mike
Memphis PC Guy
http://memphispcguy.com
http://www.mazdaracers.com

Mark de Regt Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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For the record, a full T1 now costs only a few hundred dollars a month.

Mike
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For the record, prices are subject to provider availability and local loop costs. Naturally when the contract expires we will once again negotiate with our provider for the best price we can get.

--------------------
Mike
Memphis PC Guy
http://memphispcguy.com
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Mark de Regt Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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[Smile]

I just wanted to insert a little reality-check on the $1700/month number you left hanging out there. Unless you are doing this in the absolute boonies, it's now down to $350 - $450/month in most urban/suburban areas.

Lance Snyder Made Donation to Website
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He didn't leave it "hanging", there is a qualifier in there:

quote:
Now keep in mind T1's back then are $1700 a month!
Notice the "back then."

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All this has happened before, and will happen again

Mark de Regt Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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When you are asking for money, constantly, and you are listing your expenses, and the only number you've given for the T1 is $1700/month, it is "hanging out there," whether you have included "back then" or not. A reader without external knowledge would have no idea how much they cost now. I fixed that.

You can thank me later. [Smile]

Jim Daniels
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quote:
Originally posted by modernbeat:
quote:
Originally posted by Mike:
...this website is hosted on a dedicated server on a dedicated T1 in a dedicated office in Jim Daniels' dedicated office building. There are approximately six pc's running the network and the website (Domain Box, 2 DNS Boxes, MySql Box, Email Box, Backup Domain Box). Jim's company website and email is actually offsite, but the office staff does utilize some of the bandwidth during business hours...

How much is "some of the bandwidth" relative to the SpecMiata usage?
We check our email that is hosted with Godaddy. It will soon be back here, a hassle to get anything done. It took 2 days for my mother's password to take effect. Not the service we are use to (having owned and been an ISP).

Commercial or not the SMer gets the info for free, that will never change. The site has the ability to help companies, offer needed services to members and should be offering parts as well. While maintaining the content and programs for our members/friends we will also be working the site like the business it is assisting our friends in the business community. This is nothing more than the logical progression of any "Mom n Pop" effort (albeit a late start with many sites already in the SM business).

Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by Mark de Regt:
When you are asking for money, constantly, and you are listing your expenses, and the only number you've given for the T1 is $1700/month, it is "hanging out there," whether you have included "back then" or not. A reader without external knowledge would have no idea how much they cost now. I fixed that.

You can thank me later. [Smile]

Thanks [Smile] I see your point.

Our T1 is around $450/Month currently. I mentioned that in another thread but never actually mentioned it in this one. Our contract runs for 2 years to save the most money possible. Longer than that and prices drop past us, any shorter and we leave money on the table.

--------------------
Mike
Memphis PC Guy
http://memphispcguy.com
http://www.mazdaracers.com

Jim Boemler Verified Driver
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You buy a T1 to check your mail, and so your mom doesn't have a delay changing her password?

"Wow."

jim

--------------------
Just a clown

Jim Daniels
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Jim Jim Jim what the hell are you talking about? Your actions lately suggest the recession might be hitting some of us a bit harder than others? I suspect you will be supporting Monica Lewinsky's ex-boyfriend's wife for president.

I "beg" for donations so my Mom can have great email and the boat can have lots of midnight cruises.

Are you this desperate for attention? [duck]

Since a picture is being painted of me I will add to the background, I hope you alter that signature.

 -

EDIT: I love that picture but it was not the point. Point was an off topic comment I wanted to deflate. Only humor when directed "at" me I guess? [Wink] Picture does remind me of better economic times.

Here is another picture I love, I'm an equal opportunity political joker.

 -

[ 01-19-2008, 08:02 AM: Message edited by: Jim Daniels ]

Mark de Regt Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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The irony of the site owner taking a personal pot-shot at a member and former moderator, which, if it had been taken by an "ordinary" member, would merit moderator attention, is rich. Unfortunate, yes, but rich.

Mike
Memphis PC Guy

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It's all fun and games until someone get's an eye poked out. Unfortunately, OCP Directives will not allow me to intervene except to move this thread to Backfire.

oh, I edited your avatar and widdled it down to the correct size. You were 13 pixels over the limit.. and that simply will not do.

--------------------
Mike
Memphis PC Guy
http://memphispcguy.com
http://www.mazdaracers.com

Jim Boemler Verified Driver
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JD, you were asked why you needed a T1, and you answered -- the words are yours, not mine. BTW, I love the picture! [Big Grin]

For the record, the signature quote was not from JD, and I don't mean to paint a picture at all. My prior signature referred to being a moderator, so clearly I had to change it. In the process it seemed appropriate to say why, since people do ask. If the pixel police wouldn't delete it, I'd be happy to post the details, but I suspect the signature will have to suffice.

jim

--------------------
Just a clown

Mike
Memphis PC Guy

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You are welcome to post your recollection, unfortunately there remains the one stipulation. You can't promote the "object(s) of objection"

If you can state your case with out violating that stipulation, you are welcome to, in this public forum.

You are also free to contact Mr. Daniels directly via PM, telephone or email.

I have already stated my reason in the Oval Office, so it will be easy to compare by other moderators.

Mr. Boemler,

It is clearly stated in the above text why we had and continue to have a T1. Actually, we have had upto four T1's.

It appears to me, and I am pretty good at this game, that your recent posts are mearly to draw attention to your new signature and custom title. Apparently you feel a greater power will restore the rank you once held here at specmiata.com. As I have posted on more than one occasion, if a person is trusted with the ability to do something, they are trusted with the decision that leads up to it. There is no saving you Mr. Boemler. I should know, I fought for you the most.

--------------------
Mike
Memphis PC Guy
http://memphispcguy.com
http://www.mazdaracers.com

Mike
Memphis PC Guy

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quote:
Originally posted by Mark de Regt:
The irony of the site owner taking a personal pot-shot at a member and former moderator, which, if it had been taken by an "ordinary" member, would merit moderator attention, is rich. Unfortunate, yes, but rich.

Actually, I am to blame for this. I was unsure of my resolve on issues as you guys constantly found an angle to attack me. Jim took it upon himself to defend me which was purely emotional, but not unprovoked.

I apologise for letting you guys get to me and to Jim Daniels for owning a cell phone and a humanity chip.

--------------------
Mike
Memphis PC Guy
http://memphispcguy.com
http://www.mazdaracers.com

Jim Boemler Verified Driver
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With you fighting "for" me, one has to wonder who was on the other side; JD has shown much more restraint and humor in this, and no one else seems to even remotely agree with your position. BTW, I have never once posted the address of this "object" you refer to, nor any way to find it, nor any promotion of it. I literally did nothing more than mention that such an "object" (I love minced words...) existed.

That alone is apparently blasphemy.

As for "rank", you should remember that I never asked for it, and never cared much about it. I don't miss it in the slightest, and I wish your new minions well. You know me naught.

BTW, some will notice that I have a new signature. It's not "mine", but created by Mike, and I seem to have the singular distinction of being the only person to NOT be able to edit their sig. I don't mind the new sig, I just want people to know that it wasn't voluntary.

I'll post the details separately, not promoting any "object".

jim

PS: the last threat I received was to remove ALL 8522 of my prior posts if I didn't "try to fit in". We'll have to see what happens. I for one just want to be able talk about our class freely -- I didn't realize that made me so different.

--------------------
Just a clown

Mike
Memphis PC Guy

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These are the last two PMs I made to Mr. Boemler in hopes of coming to a peacable agreement. He continues to resist or acknowledge responsibility for his actions, which still remains undocumented to the public, but are clearly stated in my statement of fact in the Oval Office. I stand by my decision.

quote:
Jim,

If you had gave me half an out I could have saved you. Your hasty change of signature and custom title, which changed on 8000 posts almost immediately, was the wrong answer! YOU didn't even know what it meant to lose megaMod and you flambet yourself.

I just feel terrible about this turn of events, but you really left us no choice. Are you actually willing to allow all your work to be deleted. I assure you, if you flame on now .. that will happen... please either open up some dialog or at the very least remain true and straight to Spec Miata. You can still salvage this ... but you have want to. Hell, I'll buy you a $ myself, just try to fit in more or less!

quote:
I stood up for you as long as I could. You were the first megaModerator. While you never really gathered much of a loyal following, you are a great ying to the yang (or yang to the ying, whichever you prefer) and I have always admired that in you.

I have edited your profile to bring it inline with website guidelines and removed your ability to alter it.

You are welcome to continue posting as long as you do so in a respectful manner. Please consider all the work and time you have spent here, if you do anything rash every thing you have done could be wiped away. Don't allow that to happen.

Your friend,


--------------------
Mike
Memphis PC Guy
http://memphispcguy.com
http://www.mazdaracers.com

Mike
Memphis PC Guy

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It is true, the worst thing we can inflict on a member of this forum is to erase the fact they were ever here. Precedent was set by Lee Culpepper, a member who actually deleted every post he ever made.

Considering Mr. Boemlers lack of responsibility for the actual transgression it is my determination that Mr. Boemlers Account shall remain intact but his privileges shall be removed in their entirety.

If you wish to comment on this please use the FEEDBACK form. All other methods will be destroyed.

And that concludes our first public character assassination.

--------------------
Mike
Memphis PC Guy
http://memphispcguy.com
http://www.mazdaracers.com

   

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