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HAIF upgrade - September, 2022


editor

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Well that took a metric ass-load of time. 

Sorry that HAIF was offline for... lemme check... 15 hours!

I moved everything to a new server to prepare for future upgrades.  Hopefully I managed to piece everything back together again and it all works.

If you notice anything strange, e-mail me at editor@houstonarchitecture.com, so i can get on it right away.  Hopefully I don't have to restore the backup.

As a point of interest, HAIF is currently 16.9GB in size. 

With the upgrade that finished a few minutes ago, there are some new features.  But it's almost midnight, and I'm tired, and the cat is acting up, so I'll post about them tomorrow.

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7 hours ago, editor said:

Well that took a metric ass-load of time. 

Sorry that HAIF was offline for... lemme check... 15 hours!

I moved everything to a new server to prepare for future upgrades.  Hopefully I managed to piece everything back together again and it all works.

If you notice anything strange, e-mail me at editor@houstonarchitecture.com, so i can get on it right away.  Hopefully I don't have to restore the backup.

As a point of interest, HAIF is currently 16.9GB in size. 

With the upgrade that finished a few minutes ago, there are some new features.  But it's almost midnight, and I'm tired, and the cat is acting up, so I'll post about them tomorrow.

Your hard work is much appreciated.  I'm sure I'm not alone in this sentiment.

Even though the IT guy in me knew this was probably just some extended maintenance (based on the timing), in the back of my mind I starting thinking about the chances the site might go offline permanently at some point.

I may have brought this up before and just don't remember, but is there a plan to pass the db on to a local institution if it ever has to shut down permanently?  The reason I say this is there is quite a bit of oral history encompassed here, both contemporary to events (see the Heights Walmart thread) and from people who post their recollections on Houston of old.  This site is a unique resource for local history that doesn't exist anywhere else and would be valuable in the UH or HPL collections if it goes dark online.

Just my two cents...

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3 hours ago, august948 said:

is there a plan to pass the db on to a local institution if it ever has to shut down permanently

I've never thought about it.  It seems like a good idea.

I recently shut down the Chicago Architecture web sites, which contained thousands of articles and thousands of facts, blueprints, and other content available nowhere else.  An organization there approached me about archiving it somewhere, but then stopped responding to e-mails.  It's a shame, because I didn't feed it all into archive.org because I thought the org would be a better steward of it.   Now it's all sitting on a hard drive bit-rotting.

It would be a shame for the same thing to happen to HAIF.  I don't know that any local institution would be interested.  But I think I'll make an effort to ensure that all of the pages of HAIF are at least submitted to archive.org.  It's not much, but it's something.

As for the upgrade, there were two reasons it took so long.  First, I moved HAIF to a new sever, which is never fun.  And second, the move required rebuilding the message database, which is over 600,000 items.  Plus indicies of all of the uploaded files, and a million other things.

I kept popping in to look at the progress bar slowly inch along:  0.03% complete... 0.11% complete... 1.02% complete...

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3 minutes ago, editor said:

I've never thought about it.  It seems like a good idea.

I recently shut down the Chicago Architecture web sites, which contained thousands of articles and thousands of facts, blueprints, and other content available nowhere else.  An organization there approached me about archiving it somewhere, but then stopped responding to e-mails.  It's a shame, because I didn't feed it all into archive.org because I thought the org would be a better steward of it.   Now it's all sitting on a hard drive bit-rotting.

It would be a shame for the same thing to happen to HAIF.  I don't know that any local institution would be interested.  But I think I'll make an effort to ensure that all of the pages of HAIF are at least submitted to archive.org.  It's not much, but it's something.

As for the upgrade, there were two reasons it took so long.  First, I moved HAIF to a new sever, which is never fun.  And second, the move required rebuilding the message database, which is over 600,000 items.  Plus indicies of all of the uploaded files, and a million other things.

I kept popping in to look at the progress bar slowly inch along:  0.03% complete... 0.11% complete... 1.02% complete...

I feel your pain.  I can't even count the number of times I've done upgrades, server moves, full environment restores, etc. over the course of my career, some taking multiple days to complete.

There's a chance someone on this board is in a position at UH, particularly in the school of architecture, to archive this or has someone in their rolodex who might be interested.  If so, speak up.  It'd be a shame to lose this as I'm sure it's also a shame that Chicago has lost similar info.

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So, you may have noticed that HAIF was unavailable for the last mumble mumble mumble  hours.  Sorry about that.

I had to upgrade the server again.  The new operating system was larger than the old one.  The new HAIF software indexes a lot more information.  In short, we ran out of storage and I had to upgrade the drive.

So now, we have a really big, expensive hard drive, twice as many CPU cores, and twice as much memory as a few days ago.  That will hopefully keep everything running for the next five years or so.

Sorry about that.

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Earlier I stated that HAIF is 17GB in size. That is incorrect. It is 163.74 GB.

16 hours ago, cspwal said:

Is it a physical server in a closet? Or all AWS or similar?

It's a VPS.  Here's the details of the upgrade:

- The HAIF server is now at 5851 West Side Avenue, North Bergen, New Jersey, with a lovely view of the Manhattan skyline.  Why New Jersey, and not Houston?  New Jersey has fewer natural disasters than Houston, and is closer to both Houston and major internet connections than the other options I liked (London, Berlin, Singapore, Seattle, etc.).

Screen Shot 2022-09-06 at 8.14.27 AM.png

- The new server now has eight virtual CPUs, 16GB of memory, and 320GB of storage.

- Switched from Google's reCAPTCHA to hCaptcha.  

- Improved spammer detection.

- Upgraded operating system to Ubuntu 20.04LTS

- For the nerds in the audience, HAIF now has an IPV6 address.  

- Search bar has been simplified.

 

Coming soon (and by "soon" I mean "eventually and maybe"):

- The ability to see that someone else is replying to a thread at the same time you're writing a reply to a thread.

- The ability to search for objects in photos.  I'm not sure I'll enable this until I better understand the implications, privacy and otherwise.

- Possibly replace "Popular Now" with "Trending Now," which is somehow different.

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