zroadster.net - new ownership

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zroadster.net - new ownership

Post by Gazza » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 12:54

It is with great pleasure that we would like to announce that the future of ZRoadster.net has now been secured and that the site is now under new ownership.

After a lot of behind the scenes activity Tim Cullis has agreed to sell zroadster.net to the new team consisting of (in alphabetical order) Gazza,Giles,Phil,Robert T,Stu.

Robert joins us as our IT guru and is currently trialling an upgraded website which we hope will be going live very soon. Please await further news on this, but it is our intention to make the upgrade and information transfer as seamless as possilble.

We would all like to take this opportunity to applaud Tim for the amazing job he's done over the last 13 years to get ZRoadster to where it is now and thank him for his continuing assistance to Robert during this transitional period of hand-over and upgrade.

We look forward to your support and hope you enjoy the site.

The Management Team
Last edited by Gazza on Thu 02 Feb, 2012 13:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by pingu » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 12:56

Good times :D .

Hopefully zroaster will be as hot as it sounds :D . (this will make no sense once you change the post title!)

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Well spotted ;)
Last edited by pingu on Thu 02 Feb, 2012 12:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by TrickyZ1 » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 12:58

Well done chaps, good to hear the site will be here for many years to come :thumb:
Last edited by TrickyZ1 on Thu 02 Feb, 2012 13:44, edited 1 time in total.
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New owners

Post by freds dad » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 13:01

Great news chaps.

Here's to the future of .net

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Post by ///M_aniac » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 13:28

Thank you Tim for all thehardwork that gave us Zroadster and kept it alive.

Congratulations to the new team, well done Robert for working on the new site and best wishes to all for the future.


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Post by G2JRP » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 14:14

All is clear now from the previous posts

Great news all the best

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Post by whiteminks » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 14:24

Fab news :-)
So glad ZR is to retain all the history and input it has accrued over the years and fab news that ZR is progressing into a new phase with a committed and dedicated admin team.
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Post by Fender2004 » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 14:26

Great news :thumb:

May this site last as long as our Z3's do, which will hopefully be forever :D

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Post by Frank.A » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 14:39

Good News, every success for the future and thanks to past and present Admin. :!:

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Post by siwilson » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 15:45

Well done and many thanks to all, especially Tim.

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Post by tom_sk » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 15:47

Fender2004 wrote:Great news :thumb:

May this site last as long as our Z3's do, which will hopefully be forever :D

Couldn't have put it better myself (so I didn't :) )

Good luck to the new admin team - hope they don't get too much flack :lol:
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Post by Zed Carer » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 15:57

Very good news - thanks to Tim for setting up and nuturing ZRoadster and good luck to the new team taking the site forward.
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Post by Brian H » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 17:38

Great news, glad to hear the site is staying in the family so to speak. Good luck to the new team. :thumb:

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Post by Jonttt » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 20:14

Thats great news and good luck to all those involved.

Ive always appreciated Tims work in setting up the site which he can be rightly proud off and I can only imagine his anguish at giving up the reins but things change and it's time for a fresh new approach to continue Tims legacy on this great forum ;-)
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Post by TitanTim » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 20:25

Good News indeed :P

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Post by unclemart » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 22:06

Thanks Tim ZRoadster is a wonderful forum and we all make use of the wealth of knowledge which has built up here you should be proud..

Good luck to the new management team .... steady as she goes....Image
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Post by Jamezee » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 22:29

Good news :thumb:
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Post by shantybeater » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 22:46

Congrats on the new ownership and agreed great respect to Tim for his 13+ years of ownership. Hopefully we can see some future upgrades and perhaps a slightly more modern design?
Progress Thread:http://www.zroadster.net/forum/viewtopi ... 32&t=36117
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Post by swamper » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 22:49

sound like you have a great team taking over .. :wink:
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Post by g8jka » Thu 02 Feb, 2012 23:18

swamper wrote:sound like you have a great team taking over .. :wink:

Well done Tim for the previous work, but its got to be onwards and upwards from now hopefully? :)
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Post by Jonttt » Fri 03 Feb, 2012 00:27

Zedonist wrote:How fickle the merry zed populace is.....................
Why, it looks like people are getting exactly what they where hoping for so how is that fickle ?
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Post by Alfie » Fri 03 Feb, 2012 00:43

Good news. Thanks to all concerned.

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Post by DC » Fri 03 Feb, 2012 09:25

Well done to all concerned in the transfer, it's great to know that 13 years of top class information and advice is now safe.
Thanks to you all.
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Post by Phil » Fri 03 Feb, 2012 09:28

Robert T with Tim's help are doing masses of work trialling and tweaking the new package and the rest of us keep playing with it to see how things gel together.
Be patient and we will reveal all soon. :cheers
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Re: zroadster.net - new ownership

Post by Titan » Fri 03 Feb, 2012 12:13

Gazza wrote:It is with great pleasure that we would like to announce that the future of ZRoadster.net has now been secured and that the site is now under new ownership
Congratulations to you all.
Znet has been an invaluable resource and will now continue to be so.
I am pleased that you have found a mutually acceptable solution to the site's former problems and that the accumulation of years of knowledge is to be preserved.

I don't see any reason for disharmony between .net and .org (other than friendly banter) :P
There is a place and room for both which I hope will continue.
Looking forward to seeing the new site when RobertT has finished his stuff :thumb:
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Post by Dave L2 » Fri 03 Feb, 2012 12:33

Firstly thanks to Tim Cullis for all hard work over the years, but handing over the reins is no reason to be a stranger.

Secondly I'm glad to hear the future of .net is assured. Good luck to the new management team, I know .net is in good hands.

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New ownership of .net

Post by EnthuZiaZT » Fri 03 Feb, 2012 20:36

Congratulations to the new team at .net,
Good to know that all the info on it will be available to all the old stalwarts as well as the future Zeddars to come. :D
Thank you Tim for a job well done and look forward to new horizons to come. :cheers
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Post by Zmeagol » Sat 04 Feb, 2012 09:16

I don't want to preempt the launch of the revised site software, but now that the upgrade path has been agreed I thought I would give everyone an idea of what was involved. These are parts of posts on the moderators' board from a couple of months ago,
The current software uses php scripts that have been heavily modified by me to provide additional features such as the entry page with its scrolling recent threads, then lots of additional fields for Z-type, colour, country flags, real names, and so forth. Many of these fields were added so that the site could perform as an online version of the Z3 Registry for the BMW Car Club, so there's other fields sitting around such as BMWCC membership number, telephone numbers, and so on. All of this of course also involved heavily modifying some of the tables in the database. I also implemented several off-the-shelf 'mods' including attachments (photos etc) which was not in the basic release.

Upgrading to a new release of the software is **extremely** time consuming and potentially prone to error as the basic code modifications from one release to another have to be manually applied to the source files I've modified. I've taken the site through nine of these upgrade cycles and it is currently at 2.0.12.

1. The latest 2.x version of phpBB is 2.0.23 which has fewer security holes. It would be possible with a lot of effort (maybe ten man days) to upgrade to this release (going from 12 to 13, then to 14, then to 15, and so on) but it would not produce any extra functionality.

2. A second option is to throw away all the custom work and upgrade directly to a vanilla version of release 2.0.23. This would improve security but would be seen by users as a downgrade!

3. The third option is to throw away the custom work and move to the new release 3 version which is currently at 3.0.9. Although I've not studied phpBB v3.x in detail I am aware this includes some improvements to security and also many enhancements, as well as an easier mod system with a wider range of 'off the shelf' mods. It might be possible to subsequently take over the custom fields in the current database and reverse engineer some of the 3.x mods to work on those fields...

4. The fourth route is the one I've spent a lot of time investigating in the last year, which is to move to a different forum system. As mentioned previously I bought a licence for vBulletin 4.1. vBulletin is the board of choice for many large scale users and it seems less prone to security/hacking problems. It has well-defined advertising and sponsorship modules. However I have found it incomplete in several areas, for example you can't print a webpage to a printer as the fonts are all the wrong sizes. Consequently many forum owners have stuck with the older 3.x version. I've been waiting for these bugs to be fixed and sticking in enhancement requests but so far without joy.

5. The fifth route is that I hand over the zroadster.net site to others to run and maintain. I am happy to discuss this as one of the options...
Reading some of the member comments on the board there's a general desire for a change of appearance, so since I wrote the original version of the above I have discounted options 1 and 2.

I'm concentrating on options 3 (phpBB v3) and 4 (vBulletin v4). In both cases this will mean losing all the custom fields. I'm still trying to assess whether I can convert over the attachments (photos etc) which were not part of the original forum software.

I was pretty certain that vBulletin 4.1 would be the best choice. A year or so back I needed forum software for my http://www.morocco-knowledgebase.net site and whilst phpBB would have been a low-cost and easy option, I chose to implement vBulletin 4.1 (spending about £450-500 on a licence and hosting contract) so that I could build expertise before trying to move zroadster.net over. It's been a difficult journey and I find the software very different.

What I would need to do in both cases is to create a new empty database, install the software, then run a conversion job to bring over the database (the database is currently 480MB and the attachments are another 650MB). The new forum would then need to be tested and potentially any additional off-the-shelf mods installed. The conversion job might need to be run several times. Given the learning curve involved, the conversion is likely to take several man days of work, plus additional time for any other mods, maybe ten days in total.

As discussed with Giles, it seems a good idea to also move the site over to a different hosting company. I think it would be better to move first, then do the coversion, but this would delay things by probably a couple of weeks?
It became clear that the best option was number #3 but to then add back all the custom work. I had forgotten a lot of the skills I had gained in editing PHP scripts and at that stage started talking to the 'new team' about taking the site over. Robert T has been amazing and has development tools that I wasn't even aware of. He was able to reimplement the custom work on phpBB v3 much quicker than I would have been.

The exisiting forum database and all the related files have been converted to v3 running on Robert's server and several of us have been testing the new forum software. You should shortly see the fruits of his work once issues such as moving to a better ISP have been sorted. And once things are on a more modern platform other functionality (such as Tapatalk) could be added.

Letting go of zroadster.net wasn't easy but things have moved on and my focus is so clearly on motorcycle adventure riding that I don't even own a car nowadays (but if I did it would be a Z3!)

I am really pleased that the site is going to the new management team and I am sure that with their enthusiasm, zroadster.net will go from strength to strength.


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Post by Jonttt » Sat 04 Feb, 2012 10:43

As someone who has developed access databases and has some knowledge of visual basic I know enough to know how utterly time consuming development work can be behind the scenes especially for a non professional and I hope your summary above puts that into some perspective for people.

It would have been nice to have had some of this background made available previously but I guess that would have only have been to make life easier for you and it was your choice not to do that.

It puts into perspective that this is an enthusiast site ran by enthusiasts for enthusiasts and the major currency involved is peoples goodwill and time.

I applaud Tim for not throwing his toys out of the pram and taking the time to be involved in the transitional process.

I can only imagine how much time Rob has / is spending on this right now but look forward to seeing the fruits of his labour.

Ps no pressure Rob but you are a Pro, pull your finger out lol ;-)
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Post by John1950 » Sat 04 Feb, 2012 20:09

TitanTim wrote:Good News indeed :P

Careful with those capitals - one too many....
And we all know where that can lead - don't we?
(note gratuitous example of a contractual apostrophe).
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Post by mrh1 » Sat 04 Feb, 2012 20:27

Superb news. :D :D

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Post by kruisn » Sun 05 Feb, 2012 05:58

Well said Jonttt, I would suspect that very few members would have any idea of the amount of time and effort Zmeagol (Tim) has put into this very popular site. It is easy to stand aside and be critical (not that critisism is a bad thing) and not realize the reasons for the way it was done. Good luck to the team and Tim.
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Post by whiteminks » Sun 05 Feb, 2012 11:38

It is great to hear how Tim and Rob and the team are working together for our benefit. I guess what makes this site so unique and special (apart from the people) are all the custom add ons that give it a character other 'out of the packet' forums simply do not have. I can see the downside is that it makes it very difficult to translate it into another format. As Jontt says we are very lucky that Tim hasn't done a 'flouncer' and that Tim and Rob are working on the techno side so well together. It must be very hard letting the baby go after it has grown up ;-)

Ps no pressure Rob but you are a Pro, pull your finger........... and your development tools out lol ;-).............
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