This will be a long post. I don't post often but when I do, I post a long rant. Bewarded. ;)
Earlier this year we invested in a new dedicated server: An Intel Core i7-3930k Sandy Bridge (6 cores @ 3.2 Ghz) machine with 64 GB DDR3 RAM and 2 x 3000 GB SATA-III harddrives in RAID 1 (mirrored). A bit over the top for our needs perhaps but I prefer to go with top of the line. We only use about 10-15% of the server's capacity. ;)
Like our previous servers we decided to go with Debian (6.0) and Plesk Control Panel and apart from the general optimizations like PHP opcode cacher (Xcache) and mod_deflate (for compressing the pages), two major changes were made:
1. Varnish Cache
"Varnish Cache is a web application accelerator also known as a caching HTTP reverse proxy. You install it in front of any server that speaks HTTP and configure it to cache the contents. Varnish Cache is really, really fast. It typically speeds up delivery with a factor of 300 - 1000x, depending on your architecture. A high level overview of what Varnish does can be seen in the video attached to this web page."
In our case we have installed Varnish in front of Apache and the result has been staggering. I actually started out with Nginx but replaced it with Varnish because of performance. So to recap:
Dynamic content is served with Varnish and static content (images, html pages etc.) is served with Apache.
2. Sphinx Search
"Sphinx is an open source full text search server, designed from the ground up with performance, relevance (aka search quality), and integration simplicity in mind. It's written in C++ and works on Linux (RedHat, Ubuntu, etc), Windows, MacOS, Solaris, FreeBSD, and a few other systems.
Sphinx lets you either batch index and search data stored in an SQL database, NoSQL storage, or just files quickly and easily — or index and search data on the fly, working with Sphinx pretty much as with a database server."
We're using Sphinx Search for all the vBulletin forums (including EmuTalk and DCEmu Forums) and normally a search takes about 0.10 seconds instead of a few seconds. Our server is capable of doing thousands of search queries per second.
3. So what's new?
I upgraded to the latest version of Varnish Cache (3.0.3) about a week ago and if it was because of the new version I'm not sure but we've had some issues with it. From time to time it crashed and looking at the syslog yesterday I think I found the culprit. I increased the storage size from 8GB to 16GB and moved it from the file system to RAM along with some other configuration changes. So far it's looking good and even faster.
For those of you who have had problems downloading some of our larger files (for example the N64 Textures), this issue has now been resolved.
The problem happened when a visitor tried to download a large file and the download was cut off. The reason for this was that the cache send timeout was set to 60 seconds so after 60 seconds the download would stop and in case you hadn't completed the download the file would end up corrupt. This issue is now resolved as the send timeout has been increased so even if you're on a slow connection you will be able to download all our files without problems.
We've upgraded the forum software to vBulletin 4.1.10 at EmuTalk, here are the changes for the new version:
vBulletin 4.1.10 was driven by customer feedback. The release contains:
A major stylevars refactor
90+ stylevars bug fixes and improvement requests
Stylevar Mapping Response to minimize impact on customized styles.
A Remove Orphan Stylevars tool to help customers clean up vB4 installs
32 Hook Requests made by customers
Additional Changes since the 4.1.10 BETA 1 Release:
VBIV-6910 Attachment Paperclip Overlap Pagination (Search Results, Forums, Settings)
VBIV-13895 Credits Update
VBIV-5472 File name in lightbox has htmlspecialchar'd HTML entities (only for old attachments)
VBIV-6910 Fix Template version.
VBIV-14029 Missing username in private messages sent list
VBIV-14041 Problem with mappings of navbar_tab_size
VBIV-10902 Wrong directional markup in Blog Entries sidebar block - RTL
VBIV-13921 Security Breach: Unauthorized Blogs Being Posted
Update template version numbers to 4.1.10
VBIV-14033 Attachment lightbox overlay re-appears after closing it
VBIV-14027 Thread Title Quick Edit Box Width Depends on Original Title Length
VBIV-14043 link_textDecoration and linkhover_textDecoration Don't Work in Forum Sidebar and CMS Widget Content Links
VBIV-14044 Extra Margin Displayed Above and Below Lists in WYSIWYG Editor
VBIV-13545 Cursor in WYSIWYG editor disappears when using arrow keys to move it
VBIV-14064 Thread Titles Clipped
4.1.10 contains a total of 300+ bug fixes, hook requests, improvement requests, and feature requests. A full list of these changes can be found HERE.
We've just upgraded the forum software at EmuTalk to vBulletin 4.1.9, here are the release notes:
vBulletin version 4.1.9 is now ready for download. This latest release contains a number of enhancements and fixes that will allow you and your members to experience increased performance and stability, the most notable of which is an upgrade to jQuery Mobile 1.0.
JQuery Mobile is an elegant HTML5-based user interface library designed to work on all popular mobile platforms, and is the framework used for our mobile style. We thank you for continuing to help us make our software better and better.
Another point of value for the 4.1.9 release is our premium mobile style. It is a no-cost addition to the vBulletin Mobile Suite (for current suite owners), which contains fully customizable iPhone and Android Apps. It brings additional functionality that ranges from thread options to advanced CMS moderation and multi-quote reply.
Most importantly, the premium mobile style gives you the ability to moderate your forum from your mobile device. If you would like the upgrade to v4.1.9 and/or get the mobile suite, go here.
Hi all, along with posting emulation news here i also have my own website DCEmu which is a website focusing on Homebrew, Gaming and Console Hardware News etc.
Last week the site was hacked on monday, the hackers or script kids for want of a better word redirected my site to theirs, luckily it was only a redirect and no damage. Bluecrab one of my admin fixed that.
However on tuesday another bunch of script kids not only redirected the site but deleted half the files on the server, i pray Martin has a decent and recent back up of the site, time will tell.
For now because DCEmu is down the site is being forwarded to Gaming and Gadgets.Com and im posting all my news there until the return of DCEmu.
Now most importantly to all fellow webmasters out there and it seems especially those using Vbulletin 4, please make sure you patch the recent exploit that these hackers breached.
We've just restructured, updated and cleaned the whole high resolution texture board.
It's now 13 pages with 251 posts in the WIP section instead of formally 50+ pages.
A lot thread were moved to our new Complete packs and tutorial sections, some deleted and others cleaned, merged and fixed!
We will continue to update all the stickies, repost packs and clean/rearrange threads, but the hardest part is finally done.
We've updated the site for the Emulation64 Network where you will find the latest network news and info. You can also apply for free hosting for your site as well as checking out the server load and services status. Have a look here:
We've now begun upgrading the forums thanks to the donations from our members. We raised the $250 needed in order to upgrade the license from vBulletin 3 to vBulletin 4 Suite in less than a day! I'd like to personally thank the following people who have generously donated:
Project 64 team
We have no successfully upgraded to the latest vBulletin 3 version which was recommended by vBulletin before upgrading to vBulletin 4 Suite. We will now progress and upgrade to vBulletin 4.
Please be aware that there will be some downtime during the upgrade.
Im sure that those who have been members here for years have noticed the decline of the site till the last few days, thankfully people are coming back and theres updated news and a real buzz is imerging around Emulation 64 and Emutalk, in these days when so many emulation sites are dead or just never updated its very important to keep this site going.
Emu64 is looking to purchase a new license for Vbulletin which will buy the premium version which includes blogs and so much more, to do this the site needs your help to raise the cash to enable this, if you can spare some cash then check out the Donation Page
Also what would you like to happen with Emu64, what changes could be made to make this the greatest Emulation community again, reply via comments with your ideas.
Well its been a while but now i have access to post emulation news on Emulation 64 again, lets get this place pumping again, with all the recent hacking of consoles such as the PS3 its a great time in the world of emulation.
Its good to be back, cant believe its nearly 2 years since the last front page post, but it wont happen again.
As I'm sure you've noticed (if you're a regular visitor anyway :P) the Emulation64.com server has suffered some downtime the last few days, meaning both Emu64 and EmuTalk among other hosted sites has been unavailable.
Before people start speculating, the server is completely fine and has not been hacked, it was simply unplugged by the server company and it took many phone calls, faxes and support tickets before it finally went online only a few minutes ago.
I appreciate your support, and I hope you understand that I have done everything I can the last few days (and haven't had much sleep, mind you) to get it online as quickly as possible. Thanks to zilmar for news post at www.pj64.net while it was down. :)
Low Lines brings some news about his Flash/XML Based Compatibility List for Nintendo DS:
In case you don't know there has been a lot of work happening in the DS Emulation Forum on emulator compatibility with two emulators in particular (iDeaS & DeSmuME).
Well I have gone and made the effort off creating a Flash/XML based database that has many useful options such as searching and ordering of list data. Though it is still a WIP, it has very much progressed and is really easy to use.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: This site and compatibility database REQUIRES the Flash 8 Web Browser Plugin. And at the moment I don't think it works on Linux Operating Systems. But I do not have Linux so somebody may need to verify this with me. Also your browsers may come up with security warnings (as I quickly found out) or may in deed block it completely (particularily with embeded URLs) but there is no bugs or spyware or anything, it's just Microsoft & Macromedia being paranoid!! LOL
Hey guys it's nice to be back after a nice long break (about 8 months) and I'll be helping out with the site once again. During my time away I have been working hard on EFx2Blogs which has really taken off .. yeah yeah shameless plug. :D
As you may have noticed the site has had a bit of a face lift with a newer design. A lot of elements are the same so it shouldn't be too much of a change. The new design is much faster when it comes to load times and cleaner looking for easier use. I want to thank all those that gave input in the designing process and helping come up with something nice for all our visitors.
I also wanted to give WhiteX a public welcome to the team and a big thanks for all his contributions with news posting and reviews. Also big thanks to [vEX] and wrags for keeping the site updated all this time. I know it's not an easy job going solo. :)
Anyways if you guys are bored or just looking for a nice community to join then head on over to our forums here at EmuTalk and join up (if you haven't already). Pop into Talk of the Town I am sure there is something there that will peak your interest, but if not we are always looking for new discussions. :)
Though the attacks were blocked by our server, too much stress was made on the routers and the server company had to take the server offline. We're currently working on getting the server up as quickly as possible, but the server company is very slow and not very cooperative, which is the reason it's taking so long.
Please bare with us, we're doing everything we can. I apologize for the inconvenience.
On behalf of the Emulation64/EmuTalk moderators and staff, I'd like to wish you all a merry Christmas! I hope you'll enjoy the holidays and time off from school and work, to relax and take a well-deserved break with friends and family. I'm off to my parents in a minute, and won't be online much in the next few days, but for those of you who can't stay away from our fantastic community, feel free to keep the spirit up in our forums. :)
We at the Emulation64 Network/EmuTalk Community have recently launched a user maintained wiki based upon MediaWiki(The Wiki software used by Wikipedia). As with other wiki's it is user editable, which is the entire point:)
We are of course looking for individuals who wish to help build up the knowledge base into a veritable encyclopedia of emulation, there is no need to apply, simply to go and do as you please, at a pace of your choosing and on issues of your choosing. We only ask that you keep things focused on emulation and avoid posting anything illegal or slanderous on the wiki, and that you be on the lookout for those that do.
Hey guys I just wanted to post up a short formal farewell and to say goodbye to the all the great people I have come across in the community over the past 6 years. This is not a sad farewell and I am happy to leave the community feeling good about what I have given back. With the recent merge of my site EmuFanatics with Emulation64 it enabled me to finally step down and walk away on good terms and to leave the site in good hands. I was originally going to fade away quietly but that's not really my style. ;)
I still have a few developer spotlights out there that I am waiting for and I will be sure to pass those on to the team once I get them back. I will also be around working on my project EFx2Blogs (yeah shameless plug) and will be here to help with the Emulation64 maintenance when something breaks or needs to be added. Thanks for all the good times it's been fun. :)
zilmar and the lads at Project64 has updated their site with a new site design, but not only that, the site has lots of new features that shouldn't be missed!
Welcome to the new Project64 site
Written by zilmar
Tuesday, 11 October 2005
The new site has been built so we can better support our user base and provide more news. You can get the latest public version of Project64 (v1.6) from the download section. Any problems, have a good look around the support section - still under development as we launch - and the public forum, where we'd also like to hear your responses. We are also giving access to the beta versions and more development news, read more about this here.
Well I was away for a week and have been kind of busy since I have been back. So the News Credit Database got a little behind but I took some time today to get it pretty much updated.
For those that don't know what the News Credit Database is, it's basically a list of sites that have credited us for news. It's our way of giving a link back to those sites in appreciation for taking the time to credit us. :)
So feel free to pop on over to the database list and give those sites a visit. Also if you see a site crediting us and I have missed it then please let me know and I will get it added to the list. (Note: Only legal sites please. I can't link to sites that have ROMS and other illegal material.)
Hey guys just wanted to let you know that we are currently looking to expand our site content and would love to have your help. So if you have a review or an article you would like to share then feel free to pass it our way. On a related note Trotterwatch has added his very nice article on emulation which you can read here.
I have been wanting to post about all the recent changes we have done to the site but also wanted to wait until we had a bunch done. So I have just finished up the latest addition to Emulation64 and figured now would be a good time to go over all the recent changes.
- News and File Search - I have added search features for both the news database and the file database.
- File Database Reorganization - I have reorganized the file database and now we have them separated into consoles, handhelds, computer, arcade and misc sections (Thanks to PsyMan for the suggestion). Along with the search engine it should be a bit easier to find what you are looking for.
- News Archive - I have added a news archive and also made a new category list so you can easily view news by either month or by category.
- Redid The Guides Navigation - When the sites merged I was short on time so I had to write the guides script in about a day so I didn't have time to come up with something nicer at the time. So I have redone the guides navigation when viewing a guide and also added Previous and Next links (uses page titles). Looks much better now and the guides can now use the wasted space.
- Added a Main Menu - I added a main menu to the top right area of the menus. We are really starting to expand a lot and there is no room for more links at the top left of the site so I needed to make a menu. The menu lists all our major areas as well as a few useful things such as the news archive and RSS feed.
- News Credit System - I have also created a new feature for Emulation64. I wanted to way to give thanks and link back to sites that credit us for news. So I figured it would be cool to make an area where we could list the latest sites who have credited us for news. It basically shows the site name which is linkable to the site and the poster, post and date. It will list the last 50 credits and eventually when have more added we will add some cool stats such as top credit posters and top credit sites as well as an archive.
Whoo .. ok thats enough for now. I have also done some admin stuff that won't be very interesting to you guys and currently PsyMan and Gent are working on adding missing files to the database as well as updating outdated stuff. Jakob is working on adding his gallery script to the site which is very nice. Dark Watcher has added in a few of his guides from EmuFanatics and will be adding more soon. So as you can see we have been pretty busy and things are going great and its nice to see the merge working out so nice for everyone. Thanks for all the hard work guys lets keep it up. :)
I have added a KlipFolio feed for The Emulation64 Network since we are a premier site for emulation news and we want to provide a variaty of ways to access our news. This is something I have used in the past with EmuFanatics which worked out great for our visitors who already used KlipFolio.
I have made a little guide on how to get started with KlipFolio and how to add our feed. I have also created 3 different klip files which offer different checking times. The 3 options are to check every 60, 30 or 15 minutes. You can of course edit this on your own by downloading our klip file and editing it in a text editor.
Well while I am posting site news I figured I would let you guys know that we are currently working on our download database. We are adding missing files, updating file information and doing some reorganization. We will post again once we are done. :)
Some of the loyal EmuHelp visitors may have noticed that I've been posting here(when possible, vex and keith apparently don't have lives;) and not at EmuHelp, well, this is why, EmuHelp is officially joining The Network, which, I think, gives it an air of completion, as the original conspiracy plans envisioned some time ago.
So, I would like to welcome all of EmuHelp's patrons to the new site, where you will find copious amounts of everything emulation, and a great community too!
This is just a quick note to let you know that our third dedicated server has been setup and it's already serving a few sites from the network, more to join soon to balance the load. A third server has been needed for a while now as weekend traffic has caused some overload troubles. New server specs:
DELL -Server SC420
Intel Pentium IV 3,4 GHz
2.048 MB DDR2-RAM (400 MHz)
2 x 160 GB SATA harddrives (7.200 rpm)
2.000 GB bandwidth per month
SuSE Linux 9 (Fedora Core 3)
100 Mbit/s connection
I am proud to announce the merger of EmuFanatics, Emulation64 and Emutastic. Our main goal with the merger is to provide you guys with the best site possible with our combined content and talents.
The main changes you will notice is the design if you are an Emulation64 regular and the expanded news coverage. The Network now covers all gaming emulation but I have added a news option to filter the NextGen type news. On the main page you will see a link that you can click to only show NextGen news. This should hopefully satisfy those that come to Emulation64 for NextGen news only. You will need to have cookies enabled and no registration is required.
With the new merger also brings all the wonderful guides from Gent's Emutastic site. Currently Gent is in the process of adding the guides to the site and already has a few up for your viewing pleasure. We will also be expanding the forums to provide you with better support for various emulators.
With the merger of EmuFanatics you will notice all the new files for the file database as well as a few articles. The merger also brings our Developer Spotlight interviews which we will have a few more new ones up very soon.
Many thanks for all the support from Keith, Martin, Gent, [vEX], PsyMan and from the rest of wonderful team here at the Emulation64 Network.