Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Just thought I'd mention that Ning has been deteriorating over time, and that sometimes if you experience site problems here it is due to that, it's not something going wrong on your own computer....don't touch that dial.  ;)

For example, there were some site outages with 500 errors last month.  The new thing lately is that sometimes when I come to Minstrelbanjo, I see only the 'Latest Forum posts' (the bottom section on the main page)- the main Activity Feed is not showing, and that's where all the latest videos and new comment excerpts show up.  I'm assuming others have noticed this lately as well.  

When that activity feed is missing in action, whatever happened while it was not there will not show once the feed appears again.  Thus, right now it appears in the Activity feed on the main page that the last video added was Tim's Jaw Bone...but there have been several videos added and commented upon since then.  -It leaves content gaps as the activity feed pops in and out.  Of course you 'can' see the new videos in the left hand video column, but if there was a gap in the activity feed you'll have to actually go to each video to see who may have commented.  

Sometimes when I come to the site and see no activity feed, I can jump to another page and then click the Home link again and the Feed will then show up again for me.  But the content gaps remain.  

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These are the (hosted) plan price levels of Jamroom: https://www.jamroom.net/hosting

The amount is totally dependent on how much content you have which governs your server capacity.  For example 8GB=$30/mon.  48GB=$60/mon  

My own site is about 22GB right now with 3,000 members...but that includes all the 900+ audio clips in addition to videos.  I dont know how big the content archive is on this site, but I imagine it's smaller than that and if so it would likely fit within the $40-50/mon range. 

Ooooh if we host our own it's free to use, which leaves us only paying hosting fees. Aside from photo uploads I feel most of us just use YouTube for videos yeah? I will check it out and see how much time and effort such an endeavour would require. I would be willing to donate my time and knowledge if it is doable.

Ooooh if we host our own it's free to use, which leaves us only paying hosting fees.

No.  Chris, if you host your own then yes the JR platform itself is free along with a couple of basic starter modules like the Blog function, but you'd then have to buy the two or three dozen other modules you'd need to simply keep the functions of this current site- that will add up to several hundred dollars.  It's not just about youtube.  Or, you can choose the JR Premium option: https://www.jamroom.net/premium  for $300 ...but that comes without personalized JR 24/7 ticket support and automated site backup... and you'd have to deal with any future server compatibility problems, monthly server costs, backups, and updates on your own. 

JR does have certain server requirements, which can be an issue depending on how they are configured and maintained.  Runs on Linux server for one thing. I started my JR site first on a low cost 3rd party server that promised unlimited everything, and it was simply awful.  JR hosting plan comes with VIP 24/7 personalized support- I can't say enough about the value of that.  If you use JR hosting, then all JR skins and features/modules are FREE, including future modules.  You'd only pay for the actual migration assistance (less than $200 usually) and then just start your monthly hosting payments- everything else is included.

If anyone wants to spend the energy, you can try out JR for free 7 days on a JR-hosted server if you want to:  https://www.jamroom.net/ning-to-jamroom  Or just go look at how my site is working.

Be aware that the JR Ningja skin is recommended and structured specifically for importing sites and their content from ning to jamroom. Plus you'll need certain Ning-optimized JR modules if you want to import ning content.

For the actual migrating process of a site and its content from ning to JR, you can either attempt it yourself or pay a modest fee of somewhere around $150 for the JR Team to personally manage the actual migration process.  There are often multiple .json file errors in a Ning archive that prevent pulling them over, so I strongly recommend getting the JR team assistance for the migration itself.

But this is all getting ahead of everything.  John owns this site and will decide what to do either now or when the time comes.  I just wanted to clarify a few things you were saying, Chris. And to assure people that the glitches were not due to their computers or browsers.

Could be that things will continue to function well enough for a good while.  Just be sure to keep good complete backups on hand.   ;)

Well either way I play with and blow up Linux servers, stare at terminal and work with various content management systems all day at work so my main point was I ain't scared to get my hands dirty and do a lil work if it will help get us to a better platform for less than 600 bux a year. I very rarely get to actually contribute much on here so I just want to make myself available :)
It sounds like between Strumelia, John, and Chris the site "issues" will be resolved. Wow, good information, head spinning details. Thanks!

I am a software engineer working both with Linux and Windows systems, thanks Chris for the offer.  I think in the long run we would be better served by letting an outside service manage our servers. The Ning backup for our site is 6.5 gigabytes, so according to what Lisa said that would amount to $30/month or $360 / year.  However, we are growing so that can go up.  Given we have a thousand members I don't think money is the issue.  We are paid up to next July, so there is time to do this.  The issue is whether Ning will be stable enough over the next year, and when we want to make the switch. I am not eager to do this simply because there will be people falling through the cracks.  It also does not make sense to keep two sites running, there will be a lot of confusion on the part of both our regulars and our occasional lurkers. So we need to have a roll out plan if we choose to make the switch.  We will need to have about a month of posts saying that we will be moving to the new site, and I can put a hyperlink on the ning page to the new site. This can also give me / anyone else who is interested in setting up the new site before hand so that it is ready to roll.  If we go ahead, let's take the time to do this nicely.

Hi all - it seems I can no longer access this site (or the classic-banjo Ning site, or Ning.com) on any of my devices thru my cable Internet connection. However I can still access the Ning sites thru my 3G cellular network on my phone. There doesn't seem to be a problem with my ISP since all other web sites load normally. Only the Ning sites do not load. If I can't connect to minstrelbanjo.ning thru my computer, my activity on this site will be severely limited as I will eat thru my cellular data plan very quickly... Also when I use my iPhone, many of the site's features don't work (can't "like" things, can't message friends, etc.), so using the phone to navigate the site is not desirable.

Has anyone else experienced this accessibility problem where you can't connect thru the cable Internet but are able to thru the cellular network?

Thanks for any help or insight!

This inaccessibility is increasingly widespread over ning networks.  It seems to affect some people and not others, depending on their service providers.  All one has to do is look through the public/visitor/customer comments on Ning's FB page.

I too am having the issue. Although I am for the most part logged in on phone with it set to desktop view so it isn't the lil mobile app
Yep, site has been inaccessible all weekend. It loaded partially this morning, enough so I could see Paul's message. I'm on my phone connection now.

I seem to be one of the people having no problems accessing this site or other Ning sites, at least for now.

Though I understand that money is a factor, waiting for several more months or a year may actually not be an option if a successful migration of site content to another platform is to occur.  There is no guarantee Ning will be around that long.  Accessibility may continue to be spotty- on/off/on/off.  According to other ning site owners, it's possible that Admin access to the control panel may become unreliable as well as the Ning platform continues to deteriorate.

The giant company that bought Ning three years ago and who have been maintaining it (after a fashion), Mode Media, abruptly shuttered its doors on Sept 15 and dissolved itself with no warning.  The day before this, they sold or handed over Ning to Cyndx, a venture capital company. There has been no further information from Cyndx since Sept 15, and no one knows what plans they have for Ning.  Perhaps they will improve function, but no indication of that so far.

Yes, I looked at the FB page, there was an announcement on 9/16 that problems were resolved. (Interestingly, I was having no problems then.) My issues began Saturday morning, and have continued, except for a brief period early this morning, when it loaded (very slowly) and I saw that Paul was having the same issue. Now the only way I can get on is to switch to my phone connection.

Just for informations sake, I am on Cox Cable internet here in CT. Lisa, you say you have no problem, who is your IP?

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