Raven Mythic Change Log

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Duvessa
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Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 09/24/10

Part the Third:

It seems a fitting tradition to start a new change log after a hack attempt. That, plus the fact that the old change log was 21 pages long, has inspired me to begin again.

Anyway, this is technical blog of all things RM and RFN. So let me begin where we began last time.

Current Raven Staff:
  • Owners:
    Duvessa
    Pyxie

    Management:
    Avith
    Jephissa
    Layla
    Melodias
    Nikatell
    Psi'a
    Sibelle

    Hosting / Entertainment:
    Domnai
    Elexia
    Lyah

    Security:
    Erithe
    Veriaen

    Chef's Staff:
    Hikinami

    Wait Staff:
    Khayte
    Lorenne
    Mistia
    Rhenae
    Yiuu

    Housekeeping:
    Mewsidora

    OOC Management:
    Audina
    Erithe
    Ethelle
    Mahamari

    Vox Populi Management:
    Darinelle
Image

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 09/24/10

Projects List:

This will be a constantly updated area with a list of known bungs being worked on, active projects, planned features, and so on. If there's something you know needs to be fixed, and it's not on here, let me know!~

ACTIVE:

BOARD: Festival of Discord - Site created, talks in progress

PENDING:

ALLEY: Two people have asked for Artist Alley forums
POST: Need to make a "Complete Guide to the Raven" post
URL: ImageBox and other shortcut URLs need to be made, tested
BOARD: Faydwer Faire (Domain Obtained, needs a re-install of their forums)
GAME: Lemmings needs to be fixed
GAME: Modesta's Tarot Table needs card descriptions restored
GAME: Zork needs to be brought back online
WIDGET: ImageBox needs faster start page, and better controls
RFN: MiniPlayer and main page both have overflow issues with long song titles

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 09/24/10

YouTube Video and BBCode in General:

The way I believe our system was hacked involved the clever use of some exploits relating to BBCode, the codes we all use to add in images, make things bold, put in YouTube videos, and so on. This allowed a hacker to insert malicious code into the database in key sections, caused the RM to become one giant Trojan horse. After eliminating the code, and adding in some IP blocking, the next step was to true vulnerability.

I have updated all of the Raven's custom code to try and combat those exploits. In the process, YouTube and Vimeo embedding of videos have been changed to not only make them more secure, but make them fit better on the page, in PM's, and in custom styles. All of this WITHOUT using JavaScript, which was causing a problem for people with the NoScript add-on for Firefox.

Additionally, tags like the IMGFlex tag (which resizes images to fit on the Raven) have been stripped of their JavaScript code too, and the same functionality achieved through the use of CSS styling.

Several codes of limited use were made invisible, and several more were eliminated since nobody really used them.

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 09/25/10

More Hacking:

Hackers have continued to exploit a vulnerability in PHPBB in order to hack the Raven. I've traced the source of these attacks to, I believe, Moldavia. *eyerolls*

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 09/25/10

The Raven Enters the Cloud:

I've begun an experiment today to try out Amazon's Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) system, which lets me create virtual machines within Amazon's uber network. If this works out, we may move ShoutBox and RFN over to this virtual server, offering enormous increases in bandwidth and listener capacity.

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 09/25/10

RFN on Amazon Cloud Test:

I conducted a test today, running RFN off the Amazon Cloud servers. I was successfully able direct the Basic Mode broadcaster to transmit to both the current RFN system, and into the Amazon Cloud, where I was subsequently able to tune in. So there's the first half of things accomplished. Moving over ShoutBox is actually a little more difficult, but just as do-able. I'll do a lot more testing before this goes live, but I believe we have a workable system here.

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 09/25/10

RFN Web Server Beta on the Cloud:

RFN's web server has been re-created on the Amazon cloud network. You can actually go there, load up RFN, and play. Only Basic Mode works, and only in the Mini-Player window. But, it works!

https://ec2-174-129-58-36.compute-1.amazonaws.com

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Audina
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Audina » 09/27/10

From Banter to Community Roundtable:

Moved: "Looking for Crafters"

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 09/28/10

RFN On Cloud:

Radio Free Norrath has successfully been ported completely over to the Amazon Elastic Computing Cloud. This gives us greater bandwidth to dedicate exclusively to RFN. The server has passed several important "all-up" tests, and is now running full time. It's going to cost me now, but that's what the fundraiser was for! It's taken a long time to come to what I consider to be a workable solution, but we finally have one!

The way RFN is working now is that the Raven is hosting the web site (images, HTML, etc) but the EC2 server is actually serving up the music, which means a nice division of labor, and much greater on-demand bandwidth for listeners.

ShoutBox on Cloud:

Ditto ShoutBox, which now runs neatly on the Amazon cloud. I really don't need to, I COULD run ShoutBox on the Raven's server, and I may eventually. The current issue is that SB requires MySQL server, and the Raven runs on MSSQL. I don't fancy running two competing SQl servers on one machine. Some day, I'll go to a 100% MySQL solution, and that will solve a bunch of problems. Also make some new ones.

In order to reduce demand on the cloud server to a bare minimum, I am going to start caching the list of ShoutBox users, and updating it every five minutes. What this means is that there's going to be some lag in showing who is currently active in the ShoutBox, though it's only going to be a delay of, at max, five minutes. Still, this should significantly speed up loading of the Raven's main page, and loading time of guild home pages.

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 09/28/10

Scythe Happens:

I've moved Scythe Happens from the General Artist Alley and into Savriel's personal art forums, since it hasn't been updated in a while. I've also adjusted the permalink for it, so https://www.raven-mythic.com/ScytheHappens still works.

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 09/30/10

ShoutBox:

I have upgraded the PHP version running on the cloud server, and made some tweaks to the ShoutBox configuration that I am hopeful will reduce the instances of time-outs that have been happening. Sadly, though, I think that ShoutBox is just not the best written piece of code in the world and is spiking too hard for it to keep running on the Amazon Cloud. It's just not a very elegant piece of software. I will likely be moving it off the cloud and to the Raven's central server sometime soon.

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 09/30/10

RFN:

RFN DJ's, you have a slight change to your settings to make, and a roll call to attend, check your forums.

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 09/30/10

Raven PHP Upgrades:

A series of PHP upgrades were applied to the Raven today in an attempt to compensate for the FastCGI errors we've been getting.

MineCraft:

The MineCraft server was shut down and rebooted after it became an excessive memory hog.

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Audina
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Audina » 10/02/10

From Banter to Motion Pictures:

Moved "Reasons."

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 10/03/10

Radio Free Norrath:

I've been having a lot of problems lately with RFN timing out on me, and I think this is a matter of my personal connection, and not the server. A last I hope so! In any case, I've configured the server to have a more substantial buffer and longer time-out parameters, so it doesn't disconnect so quickly when a DJ is having connection problems. This should, in theory, offer a more robust connection.

I'm also pondering reconfiguring the Amazon Cloud server to Linux instead of Windows Server 2008. This might help with some of the problems we've been having.

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 10/05/10

Radio Free Norrath:

I've made further adjustments to the Amazon cloud server in order to tweak performance. I think, fingers crossed, that I have eliminated the last of the issues impacting the server's ability to handle CPU load. The long and short of it is that Windows Server 2008 periodically runs high-demand CPU tasks that don't play well with services like RFN, that demand constant attention. These other tasks were telling RFN to wait while they ran. This had the effect of disconnecting the DJ's and listeners, and creating all manner of havoc.

I deeply appreciate the patience shown by RFN regulars as we try and puzzle these out. I encourage people to tune into Basic Mode during the day today, and report to me any problems.

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Audina
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Audina » 10/06/10

Character Alts:

Added to Aliee's.

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 10/07/10

Radio Free Norrath:

I've abandoned the Amazon cloud idea. It was a nice idea, and really cool, but we'd need a more powerful server for it to work, and I can't cost-justify it. Instead, I have moved RFN over to a dedicated icecast provider service. We now have a 50-user license, which should give us plenty of room for some time to come.

As before, you may need to refresh your browser toolbar in order to correctly connect to the station. If you have bookmarked the stream for use in your personal players (WinAMP, VLC, iTunes, etc), you will need to go to the RFN main page and get the new address.

A new feature of the main RFN page is that it shows but current listener count, and if the stream is live, or on basic mode. If the stream is live, it will tell you WHO is the current DJ, assuming the DJ has followed my latest set of instructions.

I've also adjusted the RM toolbar so that, hopefully, it will more accurately let you know when RFN has gone from basic to live mode.

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 10/08/10

Fucking Hackers:

At it again today. Turns out, like a moron, I forgot to turn back on the IP-blocker after a reboot, and I am sure that is how they slipped back in. I think I have everything cleaned up.

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 10/08/10

Minimal Raven:

For those of you on BlackBerries, iPads, and other minimalist devices, go to:

https://pda.raven-mythic.com/

This will give you a version of the Raven specifically coded for small display sizes on simple browsers.

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 10/09/10

AB Toolbar:

I've been making progress on the AB toolbar system that displays when a DJ is live, and WHICH DJ that is, a more unique feature.

Here's the logos I have made so far:

Duvessa:
Image

Neosia:
Image

Diera:
Image

Nefariana:
Image

Live DJ (For Dj's With No Custom Logo Made)
Image

Basic Mode:
Image

RFN Broken:
Image

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Jephissa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Jephissa » 10/09/10

Roleplaying Tradeskillers

Added Ethelle to Carpenters

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 10/11/10

RM Server Upgrades:

The Raven was down briefly this afternoon for the installation of a new drive array system to hold the Raven's SATA hard drives, and leave room for a third drive to be used in the future. This is, probably, the last major upgrade I perform on this server aside from possibly adding more memory. I'm exploring the notion of, at some point in the future, developing a new uber-Raven server, so most of my efforts are focused on that.

As a side note, the SECOND the Raven came back up, Chinese hackers started poking at it again. I high recommend any system administrators out there look into the notion of IP blocks, banning whole countries, hell, continents, where you don't do business. The Raven uses a program called PeerBlock. Originally made to protect people who use P2P filesharing programs, like BitTorrent, it's equally adept at blocking both incoming and outgoing connections to known "bad" IP address ranges.

https://www.peerblock.com/

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Duvessa
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Duvessa » 10/13/10

Posting Videos HOWTO:

I updated the sticky post in the Motion Pictures forum, as it was ghastly out of date, and needed to be heavily edited. It was VERY old. Thanks to Tanaii for pointing out how necro this post had gone.

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Audina
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Re: Raven Mythic Change Log

Post by Audina » 10/14/10

Character Alt Lists:

Added alts to Scurray, Amixa, and Damona.

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