The Bulletin Boards Story
Why the BBs Were Down

On Friday the 13th, February, 2004, while I was having fun playing mah-jongg in Little Tokyo, this site (in response to a long-standing request with XO and finally migrated to a different webhost server. I had asked to change webhosts to save money while simultaneously gaining more bandwidth. The site gets a lot of traffic, and the old webhost wanted more money if I couldn't reduce the traffic.

So on Saturday the 14th I got busy uploading the site files to the new webhost (Yahoo, if you must know). And I activated FrontPage extensions so that the bulletin boards would return to being functional. There's one bulletin board in the School-a-Rama zone, where I answer questions from those interested in getting into the game industry. And there are several bulletin boards in the Mah-Jongg zone - I answer questions and other BBs allow collectors and players to communicate with one another.

So it was with great dismay that I found that the boards wouldn't function! I read the webhost troubleshooting pages, and found that Yahoo only supports FrontPage 2002 extensions - older extensions don't work, and FrontPage 2003 extensions presumably don't work either. And of course the bulletin boards were based on FrontPage technology.

I tried everything!

I tried using FrontPage 2000 (I learned that the terms "bulletin board" and "forum" were not in the Help menu - that I needed to use keyword "Discussion Group" instead), but that didn't work. I tried downloading an open-source PHP bulletin board package, but I couldn't figure out how to configure it for my purposes (I need simple-to-use boards, no registration, no passwords, no fancy stuff). I am not a programmer. I tried to buy FrontPage 2002 on the internet, but every place where I found it listed, it was out of stock. One place supposedly had it in stock, and I ordered it (with instructions that I cannot use any version of FrontPage except 2002), and the next day they cancelled the order (it was out of stock). By now it's like Monday the 16th, and the bulletin boards were still down. Visible on the site but not functional (I had put up some notices to alert the readers to alternative ways of getting their questions answered). I tried using GoLive, but even that was proving to be a challenge. But during the course of working with GoLive, I discovered the key word "Forms." And I recalled seeing that Yahoo had an FAQ about using forms.

So I monkeyed around with Forms for a few hours, and eureka! We got something that works. Now when somebody fills out a form on one of the BBs, it doesn't automatically get posted on the BB - it gets emailed to the webmaster (that would be me). But maybe that's not a bad thing! For one thing, it means no spammers can post tome-length ads for their hacked pirated warez, and nobody except me can post something on the wrong board anymore. And I don't have to check all the boards to see if anybody has posted something - it all comes through my inbox now. On the con side, it means whenever there's a post, I have to put it on the board and upload it.

The Yahoo webmaster help page says that maybe sometime by the end of 2003 they'll actually support FrontPage 2003. So now that it's 2004, maybe sometime soon that'll happen - and maybe when it does, if FrontPage 2003 is still available at the stores, I'll go get it and fix the boards the way they used to be. Or maybe I'll find that I like it this way.

So that's the story of why the BBs were down the Presidents' Day Weekend of 2004. Not that I know why anybody would actually want to read this! (^_~)

Tom Sloper
Los Angeles, CA
Feb. 17, 2004

Okay, so I'm not a programmer. Looking for an experienced game designer / game producer to consult on your project? Click here to see my qualifications and the services I offer. And after you've read that, contact me.

Want to learn about the game industry? Click here to see the articles I write every month. And after you've read the articles, you can click here to go to the bulletin board and ask questions. You'll get answers!

Want to learn about the game of mah-jongg? Click here to see the Mah-Jongg FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). And after you've read the FAQs, you can click here to go to the bulletin board and ask questions. You'll get answers! And we also have bulletin boards for folks who are looking to buy or sell mah-jongg sets, tiles, or accessories - and to find players! Click here.

Want to learn about the game of Go-Stop, played with Japanese hanafuda (flower cards)? Click here to see the Japanese and Korean rules. And after you've read that, you can click here to go to the mah-jongg bulletin board and ask questions. You'll get answers!

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