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xlibman
November 28, 2007, 8:39pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator
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It has been a while since I posted here. I was reading through old rants on Fryedsoft website not so long ago and the end of calc.org one reminded me of ticalc.org current situation, with some exceptions of course.

Most of those here who are still active in the TI community probably noticed the drastic decrease in activity on ticalc.org over the past 12 months, while other sites still seems to be alive and kicking. In August they hired two new file archivers. One left, and they decided to fire the other one. He got fired because he became busy and couldn't do the job regulary like he used to, but he said he could at least do some weekly updates. After they fired him they never hired anyone again, so they're left with no file archivers to do the job anymore, so it's the other staff who have to do the job, and they are also pretty busy. Don't get fooled by the fact there is 3 file archivers while looking at the staff page, because it hasn't been updated in a while and all of them are retired now. Patrick Stone announced his retirement from the community last year, Joey Gannon just came back for a short while last summer to help but didn't stayed long and Jason M is supposed to be retired now, considering they posted a news about the hiring of new file archivers. As you can notice on the front page, there is like one update per 3 weeks most of the time. If there is more than that, there is usually only one or two programs added. At the beginning of this month I in fact uploaded Metroid II: The Last Chozo Expansion Set and AaroneusTheGreat uploaded Doom 68k one or two weeks ago, and still none of them got added in the archives. It has beeen like that for about 6 months now and sometimes I am starting considering getting all my files removed from here and making them exclusive to Omnimaga because it's impossible to get anything added here anymore in a reasonable amount of time.

Now the consequences of this: Of course, there is less news being posted on the front page. Less news and updates means that people visit less often and post less comments. You may indeed have noticed the decrease in amount of comments in the past year. Even Omnimaga get more comments on news articles nowadays. This also means less featured programs. Combined with the fact they've been pretty strict in the past 1.5 year in featuring programs it doesn't help their case either, because people feel less like posting their programs, because they never know if they will even be added in archives.

I remember the days where someone used to post their demo/beta on ticalc.org and relying on this one site to show their project preview to public because it would be added within the exact same week. Now it is no longer possible anymore. They now either rely on calcg.org or file uploading services.

Also, if you look at file upload form pending queue, it rarely goes above 150 anymore nowadays, even if the archives didn't got uploaded for months, even in peak periods. It seems like people are getting sick of ticalc.org updates slowness and decide to upload their files on other sites or their own blogs. There is also less reviews, because it can be a month before new reviews are added, and i even seen 6 months once. There has been like 10-12 programs featured in one entire year, while there used to be near 100 some years. Even last year there was twice as much as this year.

You probably also noticed that half of the hosted sites that were still online all suddently shutted down, all at once. I know there was some that were down long ago, but now it's more than half of the list. The server is also slower than it used to be less than 1 year ago, email requests takes nearly half a year, same for the deletion of innapropriate files (recently got a notice that my innapropriate file removal was accepted, even if the request was in early 2007) and now if they're gonna have less traffic, this means their new ads will pay less, thus, making the site stay online and pay for hosting even harder.

It's not that I want to be negative, but it just seems that ticalc.org is going the way calc.org did, minus the downtimes. It's getting less and less updates, and they hire no one else to take over the other staff job. And don't tell me it's the entire community, because on other sites there is the same amount of activity than last year and there is a lot of secret projects being worked on. Also calcg.org file archives increased drastically compared to what it was 2 years ago. At this rate I expect ticalc.org to close or stop being maintained completly around 2009; I don't expect a shutdown anytime soon, but I'm sure if it close it will shut down someday if paying for hosting  isn't possible anymore for the founder. Calcg.org (Calcgames), unitedti.org or tifreakware.net may become the main unnoficial TI website then.
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fryedsoft
November 29, 2007, 5:05pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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It's definetly not updating as much as it used to, but I don't see ticalc.org going the way of calc.org.

Personally, I can't see Magnus letting the site flat out die. Although I don't know any insiders or whatnot in ticalc.org, He's been dedicated to the site for over 11 years now. Any Ti site lasting over 10 years is a accomplishment in itself.

Archive wise, and I actually hate to say this, but Bryan Rabeler was probably the best archiver they ever had. As much as an a** as he was, he was a perfectionist and did keep the archives more up to date than anyone else, Although the "a**" part would cause a lot of problems with him (see Fryed's Software's News dated 01/11/99 and 03/07/99 for more info) Everyone else after that struggled with the sheer load of archiving done, especially when it came to duplicates/ripoffs which Rabeler kept at bay pretty well. I can guarantee that This Archive Screwup with the download stats wouldn't have happened since he would have seperated the vote counts or would split the Zip files for each calc instead of linking every file download regardless where it was downloaded to the 89 basic archive count. I can also guarantee that the ticalc.org CD screwup would have never happened either under Rabeler. (which is why that unappropriate box is there in the first place)

One of the things that hurts ticalc.org more than anything else is that it forgot it's original purpose, which was a Central Hub for Ti calculator programming and community. It originally was there just to consolidate program archives, ticalc documention, and community newsgroups into one convient place. (see the first site design Here. to see what I mean) Once they started seeing "competition" from ti-files and dimention-Ti (the old calc.org), they decided to expand and added things like reviews, news, featured programs, POTM, Articles, Newsletters, interviews, Program Ideas ETC. The problem that I see with ticalc.org today is it's archaic form of just about everything. It needs an update and horrendously bad. With today's scripting and dynamic page systems available today, I don't see any reason why file archive management is still so hard for them. They should be able to check a file in seconds and clean the archive out within minutes. They should replace their community offerings totally, replacing the dead (and abandoned I might add)  mailinglists with more accessible forum software. Calc.org was doing dynamic layouts years ago. I don't see why ticalc.org doesn't do the same.

I'll add more as I think about it.



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fryedsoft  -  November 29, 2007, 7:52pm
fixed some stuff
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fryedsoft
November 30, 2007, 6:14am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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I thought about other stuff ticalc.org used to do, so here goes. I don't know the accuracy of all of this, since I'm bringing this up from memory.

1) Site hosting: I honestly don't remember who started the hosting stuff, but it was either Adam Berlinsky-Schine with calc.org or ticalc.org, and something tells me that ticalc.org started first. What I do remember was as the time ticalc's host offering was inferior to calc.org's (calc.org allowed CGI scripting and 10MB of unrestricted space. Ticalc.org had restrictions on what could be on your site. Basically, My site was invalid because it had it's own archive for my own programs, and any program had to be linked from ticalc's file database. Stuff like that.) Calc.org actually asked me to join their hosting and I said yes. Hiryu also joined in on the hosting. the only regret I had was itmom, which although they pretty much hosted calc.org for free, they hosed calc.org with spam and joe-jobbers. Ticalc.org basically gave up on the project.

2) Reviews: First off... Ti-Files is all it's original glory! If you notice something right off the bat, it doesn't seem to focus on file archiving or the like, it focuses on reviewing. That's right. the original purpose of Ti-files was to review programs. A virtual Ti magazine if you will, complete with articles, columns and the like. So what happened? Ticalc.org lost it's Internet connection from Florida State university for a few months. When it went down, people started to clamor for anything that resembled a Ti program archive and Ti-files had a relatively sizable one. When Ticalc.org came back, the War Began.  Ti-files a few months later. heh it's even got a Alex Highsmith "Banging my girlfriend"™ quote it in too! Basicially, Ti-files copied ticalc.org's archive and ticalc.org copied much of their ideas, which is the review system ticalc.org generally adopted. Just for the Record Calc.org had a dynamic user generated review and voting system which was pretty much instantaneous and was a lot more useful than both ticalc.org's or ti-files systems. Ticalc.org eventually abondoned the "Dedicated Reviewers" and focused on user submitted reviews via the file archive link.

3) Columns: See above.

4) Articles: See Above.

5) Program Ideas/PUD's: See above. (repetitive isn't it?)

6) Tutorials: Dimension Ti was the god of tutorials, but I can't really say ticalc absorbed that idea. although they did make it more prevalent in later website revisions.

7) POTM/POTY: They actually started this as far as I can remember.

8) Stats: Dimension-Ti used to have a top ten list for votes and for downloads. Ticalc.org always had stats but they made them more public later. Just for fun. Dimention-Ti before it became calc.org. Look! we Submitted Slayers RPG and Nene's adventure this day!

9) Mailing lists: Ticalc.org started these. Dim-Ti used forums. Ti-files lived and died by the IRC, well actually all three worshipped IRC.

10) Newsletters: Something tells me ticalc.org started these too. ti-files may have had something at one time but I sure don't remember anyone else doing newsletters.

11) Interviews: ticalc.org as far as I can remember. I think Ti-files did one or two and possibly before ticalc, but they ususally would interview their own staff or something.

Need sleep. will add even more later...


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art_of_camelot
December 1, 2007, 3:07am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator
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I think calc.org may have had hosting first but im not sure. Geeze, it seems like ages ago doesnt it?
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fryedsoft
December 1, 2007, 3:14am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from art_of_camelot
I think calc.org may have had hosting first but im not sure. Geeze, it seems like ages ago doesnt it?

oh yes

I might have made a mistake on the PUD's Section. Something tells me that Ti-HQ (not the one now. this one was dead for years now) did that first. unfortunately they didn't exist long enough to be archived. (they got buried in the Ti war really fast).

Newsletters is definetly wrong. Ti-GCM did those years before ticalc.org. Hell, before ticalc.org even existed. I think ticalc.org adopted them when Ti-GCM went under though.

Review wise, This and This is how it should be done. This is how Dimension-Ti's (calc.org) program information page originally looked like. it had reviews, ratings, download stats, more information about the author and later on a way to submit bugs to the programmer. It's still stands as one of the best program management systems the Ti community ever had.



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fryedsoft  -  December 1, 2007, 5:52am
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fryedsoft
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Hmm. after looking at the above, I never really answered the burning question, and thats what My feeling are on the whole ticalc.org dying situation, so here goes.

Frankly, it would be bad. Period. The one thing ticalc.org did was rally the entire community into one general concensus. If it disappears, like it has in the past, that rally point goes with it and the fun begins as sites fight for userbase. It will be Ti-Files vs Dim-Ti vs Ti-HQ all over again, with many veteran programmers getting fed up and escaping while there's still time. For example, calcg.org could step out to be a dominant site, but United-ti is sitting on a larger archive, so there's a good chance they could have a battle pitting the biggest archive against the site with the biggest community. This is where the fun begins with IRC Wars, site hacking, defamation, accusations, firings, and the like.

ticalc.org dying like calc.org: Calc.org died for many reasons but the main reason it died in my opinion was the retirement of Adam Berlinsky-Schine. Calc.org was Adam's baby. He put tons of time and money into it, and was by far the most dedicated staff member on the calc.org team. He was the main reason calc.org was as good as it was at the time. When he left, it went downhill from there and it was only a matter of time. The replacement team from my point of view sat on the site, and did nothing with it until is was clinically dead. Then ITmom, which buried the domain in joejob hell, finally kicked the bucket and that was the end of that. Ti-files fell in a similar way when it started losing senior staff members left and right. Ticalc.org on the other hand still has a dedicated core staff, unfortunately they're letting the site wither by not updating and modernizing the site, not replacing staff members like they should, and not having enough staff members in the first place. Rabeler really messed with their staff policies. The CD fiasco made it worse. Now there so scared to hire replacements that it's starting to show in their site quality. So if ticalc.org dies, most likely it will be because of politics or lack of mid to low level staff/site contributors rather than their high level staff members retiring.



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Hmm. found this is the old Ti-Files root archive. It was originally written by Dan Koester who was commenting on a post by Chris Dornfield that was made in the calc-ti mailing list. Looks interesting. Dated May 26 1997. It's always amazed me how history repeats itself. Who knows, you might just be reading the future.

Emails in the file have been blacked out. doubt they would work anyway.
Quoted Text
Hi this is Dan Koester also known as Dan1son on IRC and to most people.  I used to run Dan1son's ti-83 game lair until myself and a bunch of friends decided to start up the Ti-files.  Well it seems like Chris Dornfeld wrote this letter to calc-ti mailing list.  I know he will read this since I e-mailed it directly to him.  I'm just going to respond in the best way I feel possible.  I also am not trying to flame ticalc.org or am I trying to start a "war".

Well here goes.  The writing with >> before it is what Chris wrote.

>> This letter is directed to TI followers who frequent the many TI-related
>> web pages.  I feel I am in a position to address not only many of my own
>> concerns, but those of the better part of the mentioned web audience.  I
>> appreciate your attention and any comments you have - send them to me,
>> personally, at *****@ticalc.org, and not the list.  I aim to start no
>> flames, and I no longer subscribe to the Calc-TI list, so there is no
>> excuse for continuing this thread except in private e-mail.
>>
>> First, let me introduce myself.  "Old school" TI net users may remember the
>> Unofficial TI-Calculator Home Page, which I operated on my own from about
>> June 1995 until June 1996.  I created the TI-8x icon images which have
>> appeared (and probably still do appear) on a great many web pages.  Since
>> the Unofficial page went down, I have been involved in its successor, the
>> ticalc.org project.
>>
>> This brings me to my first point.  Many people will remember the ticalc.org
>> of six months ago as an amazing, up-to-date, well-organized site - the
>> practically undisputed headquarters for TI stuff.  But let's be frank: the
>> site seems frozen in time, a run-down reminder of its former self.  'What's
>> up?' the staff is often asked.  What's up is that we are recovering from a
>> long period without our dedicated server, during which only one of us was
>> able to personally update the site.  Hey, I'll be honest: what's up is also
>> that I generally maintained the site's content and updates single-handedly
>> (excluding programming, and I mean not to take complete credit, but this is
>> indisputable), and now that I am no longer willing nor able to carry on
>> such a responsibility, it has been difficult to find anyone that will.
>> Finally, and encouragingly, what's up is that a new interface for the site
>> has been developed, Magnus has done a great job making many of the tasks
>> that so consumed my time automatic, and the site will return to be what it
>> once was and more.

Well I hope it does.... I don't want to fight about this stuff.  I've been going to ticalc.org for about 5-6 months and have liked it most of the time.  But over the last two months it wasn't updated at all.  So a few of my friends (Harper, Bill Nagel, Alex Highsmith, and others) and I decided to make a site for all calcs to sorta start where ticalc.org left off.  We weren't really expecting ticalc.org to ever "come out of the blue".  So we released the site publicly about a month and a half ago.  

>> So let me reassure and thank those who have written in
>> concern that their comments have not gone unnoticed, and that we are indeed
>> focused on delivering an excellent site once again.  The summer and free
>> time should see the launch of a better-run, regularly-maintained
>> ticalc.org.  It would be working backwards to try to squeeze new content
>> into the old mold, but I assure you that, even if it does not appear on the
>> old site, we will deliver a timely and comprehensive resource.
>>
>> Now, as is not surprising, while the "king" sleeps, someone else is trying
>> to run off with the proverbial crown.  I'm talking about an emerging web
>> site that is egocentric, flashy, in many respects cheesy, delusional, and
>> also unnecessarily competitive.

Well I know some of us and others not on the team are very competitive.  I myself am different.  I wouldn't mind if ticalc.org would be another up-to-date site as well as ours.  I don't see why you guys think we can't both be sites at the same time.  

>> Its index page regards the staff of
>> ticalc.org as "immature", for which no basis is given.  I would personally
>> ask the person responsible for this designation to e-mail me and explain to
>> what degree I am immature.  However, I have just used several adjectives to
>> describe this site, and I am willing to back them up, though it should not
>> necessary after a quick glance at the site itself.

Well it did say you were immature for a half a day.  I was at my dads and had nothing to do with it.  If it was my choice I wouldn't have let them do it.  The only reason they said it was because Bryan Rebeler (eNdocomp) took over our irc channel again.  And after 3 times it gets rather annoying.

>> Yep, you've guessed it: the site I am referring to is The TI-Files
>> (http://www.inlink.com/~dafek/ti-files/).  

That's us!!

>> I will compliment the site on
>> its use of a theme-related design, which is original, even if the theme is
>> not.  I will compliment it, also, on its apparent dedication to delivering
>> reviews and rankings of many calculator games, which are certainly very
>> helpful.  

Thank you.

>> However, the site is a mess.  It employs pre-written Java applets
>> for no use aside from advertising a "flashy" site.  Its sections show no
>> hint of uniformity; I had to twice make a request, and finally argue, to
>> have the staff remove a year-old, dead link to the previously mentioned
>> Unofficial page.  With 10 contributors, one would expect a site less
>> riddled with spelling errors and unclean graphics.  ticalc.org has kept
>> higher standards with half the manpower.

Well yeah we use pre-written Java applets.  We're high school students and we don't know how to program java.  Nor do we really care.  Yeah you did make a request twice I guess.  But if you remember when you e-mailed it to me I erased it.  Some of us aren't on all the time and it will take a couple days to update it.   We have lives ya know?

>> Moreover, I have watched as this site has systematically leeched
>> effectively every available ounce of information from ticalc.org's FTP
>> archives, just to redundantly post it in an attempt to add a notch to their
>> own belt.  Anyone who has a better word for this than LAME is asked to send
>> it my way.  Should a new version of any of these texts arise, there are now
>> two locations that must be updated instead of one.  That is unnecessary.
>> ticalc.org certainly does not own the collection of files, but their
>> organization and the time spent collecting them is (was) a feature of our
>> site which has been hastily and for no obvious gain to the end-user
>> duplicated without credit or notification.  I've been here before - many
>> people will also remember the various Nuke Ware sagas.

Leech from ticalc.org?  Well I know we did take our util and doc files from you guys but the rest of our stuff we got from Djackal's page.  Which he is on our team now and he runs the archives.  Oh and where do you think ticalc.org got all those 82, 83, zshell games when they first started up again?  I know they got them from us and Bill Nagels site.  Mostly since eNdocomp told us.  But it doesn't bother me since we all share stuff.  We take from you you take from us. No one owns rights to the files.  Except the creator.

>> Now, I criticized The TI-Files for their unnecessarily competitive nature,
>> and here I am bashing them, or so it would seem.  As I have said, I am not
>> out to start flaming.  But I would like the web audience to consider that,
>> perhaps (well, let's be a little more concrete.. DEFINITELY) The TI-Files
>> are not all they would like to be.  They are certainly not all things to
>> all people, and the staff has much to learn about being professional.

Being professional?  That's funny stuff.  We're not professional!!!  We're making this site for fun!!!!!  We're not getting paid or anything.  It's just for fun!!!  man you people should maybe make yours for fun.... and not professional.  

>> Am I whining that my baby, ticalc.org, isn't the hot spot anymore?  Am I
>> saying that God has decreed that, if there is to be one almighty TI
>> headquarters, it must be ticalc.org and not The TI-Files?  No.  I am a
>> reasonable person, and I will not turn away a meticulously constructed site
>> simply because it isn't mine.  I guess my point, then, is that The TI-Files
>> does not fit this classification (and I'd love to be proven wrong).  In
>> summary, it is flashy and unprofessional.  

Yep it is.... but we do have a lot of info there.  And different stuff than your "baby" has.  As I said above it's for fun!!!

>> By nature, TI graphing
>> calculators have required programming that embraced their fundamental
>> nature: small programs with a simple but powerful purpose.  That means
>> flashiness comes at the expense of practicality, and I see this analogy
>> clearly in The TI-Files.  I promise to once again offer a professional,
>> audience-oriented, comprehensive and concise site.  Don't let your
>> expectations, as a member of the web audience, be lowered to conform with
>> the lesser standards of negligent and self-serving webmasters.  Excellence
>> alone will determine where people go for their information.  Another round
>> of excellence, coming right up..

You can offer a "professional" site.  Ours will be much more fun to go to I'm sure.  I know we have many of people that like our site and there are a lot that like yours.  That's fine with me... we're doing just fine in my books.

>> Chris
>> --
>> Chris Dornfeld
>> the ticalc.org project
>> *****@ticalc.org
>> --

Dan Koester (Dan1son)
http://ti-files.home.ml.org



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