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 Post subject: Site Updates
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:24 am 
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Location: Toronto, Canada
I figured some might be wondering what's been going on, so I'm taking a break from the following to tell you where I'm at with the following:

In the past few weeks (bracketed around 2 family vacations which used up all 7 days I took off work!), I have:

- overhauled the database security model (security through obscurity no longer cuts the mustard on this site).
- overhauled most of the database schema (knowledge I've gained over the past 2-3 years made the old design seem childish and hopelessly flawed... and hard to build on). A bunch more schema updates are required, but due to the nature of these ones they have a lower priority and will probably only be updated whenever I happen to be working on that section of the site for some other reason.

I am currently:

- rewriting the entire moderator security system to allow total control over who can access what, all tied into the forum login system for authentication. It used to be so specific it would only allow me to do stuff. It will probably take me another week or two (at my current snail's pace) to finish it, although it will require a LOT of testing, mostly because I forget the details of how it all works!

Sandy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 12:28 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Canada
On a related note, I'm seeking one or more people for each of the following volunteer jobs. Anyone interested in massively serving the community in any of these ways is encouraged to e-mail me (using the Contact link in the main menu) to express your interest. The more help I am able to get with stuff like this, the stronger our site will become, and the more I can focus on the programming and adding of new features.

LINKS MODERATOR
Description: Starting from the basic list here, assemble and maintain a categorized links list for all twisty puzzle related websites on the net these days, including a brief description of each telling what it has to offer visitors. The Links section will be removed from the front page and a new page (or a whole section, as required) will be created for this. A set of online tools will make posting and moderating this content relatively simple.

SOLUTIONS MODERATOR
Description: Creating (or getting permission to copy and indefinitely publish) twisty puzzle solutions (including illustrations, applets, animations) and maintaining existing solutions. A set of online tools will make posting and moderating this content relatively simple.

SPEED CUBING MODERATOR
Description: Maintaining a speed solving section which would include the various methods, algorithms, tips/tricks, advertising for upcoming events, results of past events, and anything else you think it would benefit from. A set of online tools will make posting and moderating this content relatively simple.

EVENTS MODERATOR
Description: Maintaing an online calendar of events going on in the world-wide twisty puzzles community. This would include information about events past and present, puzzle launches (commercial or otherwise), major news releases, and anything else we can think of.

FORUM MODERATOR
Description: Moving topics to the right forums, editing out foul language, keeping those naughty users in line, deleting/banning the occassional human spammer, etc.

MEDIA MODERATOR
Description: Capturing examples of the Rubik's Cube and related puzzles in the media (print ads, commercials, tv and movie scenes, etc), via scanning, photographing, video capturing, etc. A set of online tools will make posting and moderating this content relatively simple.

PATENT MODERATOR
Description: Linking up the large number of patents I have (thanks to Jaap) to the puzzles that are currently in the database, adding new ones as they are discovered, and updating as required. I had this job about half completed when I bailed out on the community 2 years ago, but help completing it and maintaining it would be appreciated. A set of online tools will make posting and moderating this content relatively simple.

SOFTWARE MODERATOR
Description: Gathering all the various online applets and stand-alone software programs, showing screen shots, describing what each can do, listing software costs, etc. A set of online tools will make posting and moderating this content relatively simple.

ARTICLE WRITER
Description: Writing (or getting permission to copy and indefinitely publish) an article (or better yet, multiple articles) about building puzzles, reviewing new puzzles, interviewing a community "personality", or anything else fun and related to our field. Articles are currently submitted via e-mail, formatted as required, then posted online by me. This could become more automated some day, requiring an Article Moderator.

PUZZLE MODERATOR
Description: Updating the live puzzle database with user contributions, including editing contributed photographs. This is a huge job, as there are currently hundreds of puzzles, and over a thousand photographs in the queue. David Litwin has already done a good deal of work in this area and will certainly be getting this position, but I feel that adding at least one other person would be a very good idea. This functionality has existed on this site for about 5 years, but is only now being revamped to allow multiple moderators (as described in the message above).

PUZZLE DATABASE CONTRIBUTOR
Description: People are encouraged to start contributing puzzle information and photographs once again! There are oodles of these in the queue already, but don't let that stop you from sending in more. We're going to catch up in 2008, I can feel it!

Sandy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 12:35 pm 
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Location: Marske-By-The-Sea, UK
I will do Speedcubing/forum Mod, if it's available.

Email on it's way.

_________________
List of Speedcubing methods
Speedcubing tutorial

@.=split(//,"J huhesartc kPaeenrro,lt");do{print$.[$_];$_=($_+3)%25;}while($_!=0);


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:43 pm 
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I'd be very happy to help with speedcubing & solutions, and software.
Unfortuately, I'll be busy with camp for a month, so I won't contact you.

I'd also like to work on site features: figure out a good system for applet display in posts, maybe create a solution/algorithms database...

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Nothing takes time from expanding your knowledge like doing your homework and applying to college...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 8:55 pm 
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Sandy wrote:
PUZZLE MODERATOR
Description: Updating the live puzzle database with user contributions, including editing contributed photographs. This is a huge job, as there are currently hundreds of puzzles, and over a thousand photographs in the queue. David Litwin has already done a good deal of work in this area and will certainly be getting this position, but I feel that adding at least one other person would be a very good idea. This functionality has existed on this site for about 5 years, but is only now being revamped to allow multiple moderators (as described in the message above).


Sandy, what can contributors do to their photos to make them as database-ready as possible? (Sorry if this is already displayed. I can't view the submission page right now for some reason.)

For that matter, what shouldn't contributors do to their photos.

(Am I getting too far off topic? Sorry!)

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See my blog about 3D printing puzzles at MySD300


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:31 pm 
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VeryWetPaint wrote:
Sandy, what can contributors do to their photos to make them as database-ready as possible?


I wrote a simple article about it which can be found here.

This assumes you already know a little bit about an image editing program.

Sandy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:26 pm 
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Hey Sandy,

I'm pretty good with PHP / HTML & MySQL, not sure if there is anything I could do but I might as well offer.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:28 am 
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Sandy wrote:
VeryWetPaint wrote:
Sandy, what can contributors do to their photos to make them as database-ready as possible?


I wrote a simple article about it which can be found here.

This assumes you already know a little bit about an image editing program.

Sandy

It's quite a nice tutorial, and about the only thing it doesn't cover is issues of file format. The important issue for me to know was that it is a flat image (no alpha channel) with a pure white background.

If people wish to be most productive in helping, the first thing to do is read Sandy's tutorial then apply these techniques to the highest res version of the image.
With a clean, high res image the process of converting it to the proper file format and various sizes can be automated, so you shouldn't spend time on it.

For an example of before and after take this thread:
http://twistypuzzles.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2858

Once Sandy has a chance to get things all setup for designated moderators to enter items into the database I hope we can crank through a bunch of the pending submissions and I'm sure image processing help will be appreciated :)

Dave


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:43 am 
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Location: Greece, Australia, Thailand, India, Singapore.
Regarding adding new puzzle images, I would love to help!
I have even kept some reference images of unknown puzzles from ebay auctions that I didn't win!

The guide by Sandy is excellent and self explanatory. Give me some time and I will start to let those images flow in! (including lots of magics LOL)

:)



Pantazis

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:58 am 
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Sandy wrote:
VeryWetPaint wrote:
Sandy, what can contributors do to their photos to make them as database-ready as possible?


I wrote a simple article about it which can be found here.

This assumes you already know a little bit about an image editing program.

Sandy


Oops, sorry I didn't quite ask the right question! :oops: Assuming a contributor has the skills, what kind of prep is preferred and what kind is not?

Here's what I mean, along with my best guess at an answer:

- Mask and matte the image before submitting? (Presumably yes, since that's the tedious part!)

- Submit full-size or scaled-down? (Presumably full size.)

- Preferred format? (Presumably JPG, possibly PNG, not GIF.)

- Any techniques to avoid? (Presumably anything that differs from the format of existing database images.)

For instance, I'm guessing the halo-like matte on this image would be unwanted for the database...
Image

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:00 am
Location: Shanghai, China
I'll take Solutions Moderator, if no one has taken that already.

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[02:25] <fusion> does look ahead on a 3x3 make someone faster?
[02:25] <Swordsman_Kirby> Yes.
[02:25] <fusion> maybe i should try that


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:35 am 
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Sandy I wouldnt mind being a Forum Moderator. I have been here for some time now and I have a high ranking.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:24 pm 
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Very glad to see all the enthusiasm! I've been continuing my over-hauling of the site code these past few days. Mostly non-moderator stuff, but it had to be done. I just couldn't stand writing new code on top of the old architecture.

I'm compiling a list of everyone who is volunteering, and will sort you all out in a week or two once I get the code up to snuff. Please e-mail me instead of posting here or PMing, as I'd rather keep everything all in one place.

Really late... wife is probably wondering if I got lost somewhere between the computer room and the bed room.

Or not.

Sandy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:27 pm 
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I'll be the police monitor. :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:34 pm 
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Oh, a few more things.

A tiny bit of anti-aliasing is okay, but only enough to make the background removal process pleasing to the eye. I hold the vision that these puzzles could appear in print format some day, so we're best off with the largest, cleanest image as the master, then do things to it from there. If we want a halo image later, for example, we can get that from the clean image. If we want a clean image from the halo image, we can't do that.

So, images are best in 300dpi, JPG format, square (add white background if required to make it square... this helps with the automated image resizing script I slapped together). As for file size / resolution, shoot for about 1 meg per picture, and we'll have more than enough picture to work with to satisfy all needs. If your camera can't take pictures at that resolution, just get the closest you can.

I should update that article with some of this info, but I'm seriously way too tired.

Sandy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 9:57 pm 
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Sandy wrote:

LINKS MODERATOR

SOLUTIONS MODERATOR

SPEED CUBING MODERATOR

EVENTS MODERATOR

FORUM MODERATOR

MEDIA MODERATOR

PATENT MODERATOR

SOFTWARE MODERATOR

ARTICLE WRITER

PUZZLE MODERATOR

PUZZLE DATABASE CONTRIBUTOR

Sandy


Could you please update us here so that everyone would know which ones are still opened and not being filled yet so they know which ones to ask for? I'm sorry I don't speak computer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 6:02 am 
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Sandy hasn't picked any yet, Darren. Once he finishes updating the forum, he is going to look at all the applications and decide who will get what job. :)

_________________
List of Speedcubing methods
Speedcubing tutorial

@.=split(//,"J huhesartc kPaeenrro,lt");do{print$.[$_];$_=($_+3)%25;}while($_!=0);


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 8:35 am 
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Hi Sandy :)

Since you are in turbo mode with regards to site updates i recommend looking at the following(most of it mentioned before in various posts):

-replace the main menu with one that actually always works, regardless of browser.

-make a beginners board

-thumbnail plugin for images that are too big. SMF forum is very good with images. Im not suggesting to switch forum software. It just often annoys me when people post very big images that dont fit. And clicking the link still gives an enormous image. Better to fix code for this than writing tons of tutorials that people do not bother to read or follow.

I'm willing to offer help on some stuff, but right now my summer holiday is coming up, so i gonna have to pass for the next month or so ,,,

Best wishes,

Per

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:14 am 
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I agree with Per on the menu.

On Opera when I hover over Puzzle Database, the menu expands to the right about a thousand pixels.

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[02:25] <fusion> does look ahead on a 3x3 make someone faster?
[02:25] <Swordsman_Kirby> Yes.
[02:25] <fusion> maybe i should try that


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