Amazon rarely screws up, when they faceplant, they faceplant big time. They still haven’t completed repairs, and they seem to be proceeding asymptotically. They got most instances (virtual servers in cloud-speak) back within a few hours, fewer in a day, and there seems to be a residue that they still haven’t gotten back on the air. There were instances like my client’s, in the same Amazon data center which weren’t touched. And then there’s my instance, which is still not back. The pattern of damage seems as random as a tornado track.
For a couple of days my data volumes weren’t available, attached to the frozen instance. I sweated it a bit whether they’d be lost forever (though I have snapshot backups), but once Amazon unfroze the instance and I could look at the volumes, I found that they were OK. In particular, the DamnTikiWiki database holding the last Zone is OK.
In the meantime I’d started setting up a new instance, in a different room of the same data center. With it taking so long to get access back to the old TikiWiki installation, I decided to take a more radical step and install a highly-hacked version of the WordPress blogging software on this new server, and get the Zone back on the air quicker. And here we are.
I’ve been developing this version of WordPress for several months for a client, and with their encouragement I’m able to use it on the HabitableZone, nicely snuffing two avians with one projectile. WordPress is, in its basic form, software that runs a single blog. While that bears a strong resemblance to a discussion forum, topologically identical in fact, it’s not the same as a discussion forum. All this hacking is to adapt the solid WordPress platform into one capable of supporting both blogs and forums, and to support potentially hundreds of each through taxonomical virtualization.
Which is a subject for a whole thread, no doubt, because it’s integral to the structure of the new Zone. Briefly, the Zone now consists of one large blog subdivided into a tree, or taxonomy, of topics. To start, I reproduced the simple flat structure we’re used to, as you see in the link box to the left. But it’s extendable. Imagine, for example, subdividing CurrentEvents into different child boards, one dedicated to serious discussions of political science and philosophy, another to rabid partisan flaming. You might be concerned that subdividing forums would result in “balkanization”, but not with this new software: Posts automatically aggregate upward, so that in that example, posts in the child poli sci and rant boards would flow upward into their parent Current Events board.
And then there’s virtual cross posting. But it’s getting late, and I just wanted to post the first message to break in the new site.