3D Robotics


It's customary and traditional that we celebrate the addition of every 1,000 new members here and share the traffic stats. This time it's 79,000!

Despite the site being on-and-off down for nearly a week over the past two month as you can see on the right side of the traffic graph above  (the fault of Ning, our hosting provider -- you can see the sorry story of their tech issues here), we still had more than a million page views this month.  

We've known we were going to have to eventually going to shift off Ning, but it looks like the time is now. I'm been evaluating Jamroom, which has a special service to migrate Ning networks, and so far it looks good. Anybody have experience with Jamroom and would like to help with the migration?

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  • For input's sake.  I enjoy the blogs which is what keeps me coming back everyday.  But the meat is in the groups.  Often I have been looking for something and find an amazing discussion in the comments.  But it takes going through all 40 pages of comments to figure out if there is something worthwhile in there.  There usually is, but then it's really hard to find again. Whatever platform is next.  I hope the blogs still exist and the existing comments turn into something like the Ardupilot forum (discuss).  I've thought for awhile that DIYDrones.com has a dual personality that doesn't get along well together (blogs and technical discussions).  looking forward to finding all the other great information in here that I haven't come across yet.

  • Also check out this wordpress admin and user enabled easy to use login system: www.getclef.com
    It's pretty cool so far as I can see. You just hold your smartphone up to your screen and it handles
    the authentication with heavy encryption. It can be optional or forced on a user-class basis

  • I don't know Chris. I think the Wordpress/Buddypress/BBpress systems would be most ideal.
    This way, you can minimize or maximize any experience with each section/plugins system and
    not have to worry about finalizing your master plan and having second thoughts that could yield
    a potential headache. Placing all of your business presence in 3rd party services that you have
    no full control over has always been a hard one for me to wrap my head around. Sure it can
    be very convenient and many of these services get better and better, but hmm...

    The WP platform has greatly matured with more and more progress and refinement occurring
    exponentially. Also Facebook is scary if you ask me(as far as a primary communication medium).
    It forces a good many people to file into isolated thought patterns which can be a coin toss into
    realizing higher outcome potentials of one's goals, and that doesn't sound very DIY.

    With all the plugin options available with wordpress, even novice or beginners can find themselves producing
    very solid works. Discuss is nice, but as far as I know, only their comment system integrates with wordpress.
    There could be more but I haven't fully researched that service. Its one of those things you have to ask
    yourself. How much of the business end of things do you want to have under the partial identity of
    a service provider other than yourself? Well, I'll leave off with saying it cant hurt to beta test a wordpress
    install on one of your servers and have people you know or webmaster candidates produce a mock-up system
    to analyze. How much time can you spend on this decision is the question to beg.

  • Developer

    Facebook/social sites/blog's are great for telling the world about something. But it's mostly one way. Sure you can reply to blogs with comments, but every post is an island.

    The moment you want technical involved two way communication, the blog format fails miserably.

    So for me the blog part of ning is ok, but the discussion section is a bad joke. Whoever thought that using a hierarchical tree structure so that you get new posts at multiple points all over the thread, was the way to keep track of discussion post, must never have been on a forum ever..

  • 3D Robotics

    Craig: Interestingly, I chose Ning in the first place because it was a "social network" (whatever that means), rather than a blog (so 2007!) or forum (so 2000!).

    Nearly ten years later, it turns out that there is really only one social network (Facebook) and everything else has reverted to form: blog (Medium), forum (lots), messaging platform (WeChat), microbroadcast (Twitter), etc. 

    So now, in 2016, we're back to deciding which Web 1.0 paradigm to revert to. IRC! Usenet! Email lists!

    Part of me says so be it: if the worlds wants us to be a groupblog let's be a good one (Buddypress?). Or if the world wants us to be a forum, let's do that well (Discourse, the one used by Ardupilot.org is really good)

    Or maybe just stop fighting the tide and just move it all to Facebook. Which would require me actually using Facebook, which I'm not sure I've got constitution to do. 

    Such an interesting dilemma!

  • I think the key is whether the future is more blog based or forum based. Ning is more a blog with comments. That puts it closer to wordpress, although even a simple wordpress post may be harder (for community members) to do than Ning or forum thread starting.

    So many years have went by that it's worthwhile to look at it as what you want it to be in 3,4,5 years as opposed to trying to keep it as is (unless it's perfect as-is)....

    I had to move a vast site from a piecemeal of stuff I put together on ancient platforms (Expression Engine, homemade db,s, etc.) to a new system and eventually chose to go "forum style" and move to Xenforo. They don't have a direct ning importer but it can probably be done by a two-fer - that is, import into another format and then into Xenforo.

    IPB is a very popular setup also and I think they do ning imports. 


    Sample site done on IPB (crazy site, too!) is sailing anarchy. Bunch of really out-there drunken sailors I guess.


    No matter what 1/2 the members will complain and the other 1/2 will praise the new system.

  • Migration is never easy job.

    From Jamroom


    Server Plan
    CPU Cores   
    2 GB
    2 GB
    2 GB
    2 GB
    4 GB
    SSD Disk Space   
    4 GB
    8 GB
    12 GB
    24 GB
    48 GB
    Network Bandwidth   
    50 Mbps
    75 Mbps
    100 Mbps
    125 Mbps
    250 Mbps
    Unlimited Transfer   
    VIP Support   
    Free Modules & Skins *   
    $19 / Month
    $29 / Month
    $39 / Month
    $49 / Month
    $59 / Month
    since money is pocket size problem
    what matters is legalities and contract with Ning
    I migrated large oil on canvas art gallery from New York, hosted by 365 (service by IBM).
    And hosting company can easily implement security features to make migration complicated problem (broken web links).
    If such security features have been implemented by Ning and others is easy to check saving some pages to be run in off-line mode.
    If off-line modde fails, all we need is to debug code generated by scripts and debug scripts on case-by-case basis.
  • 3D Robotics

    Interesting! I do have more experience with Wordpress (which Buddypress runs on) and Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Wordpress, who is a friend suggest the same thing. Let me dig around a bit tonight and see if that does indeed make more sense. 

  • Hmm, I suppose it's time to do something. I never liked Ning due to the non self hosting nature and other limitations.
    Jamroom looks to be a great choice considering the magnitude of the existing community here.
    I like the self hostable aspect of it, although in this case since they have multiple hosting options,
    I wouldn't be discouraged from using their hosted setup if there isn't many 3DR personel to manage a self
    hosted solution. But then they have support, so any way you use their software/service, it looks
    like a solid idea.

    I could lend some of my time assessing things in the software setup and administration access for the
    end-purpose of initial advisory, however higher end development skills I am a bit lacking of. Modest visual
    design/modification skills is as far as I go. I'm in the San Diego area if you want to reach out.

    At the moment, I'm seeing this https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/ning-to-buddypress-user-importer/
    as a potentially more powerful solution to merge the ning data and allow much more simpler website configuration
    and expansion compared to Jamroom. But if you are only looking to get the stability improved plus a few perks,
    Jamroom is still looking viable.

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