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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just a song before we go...

First off, we have no intention of discontinuing Thrasher's Wheat in the immediate future.

With that said, we need to give you a heads up on a couple of things coming over the next few weeks. Mainly, that blogging will be very intermittent and sporadic until after May 1.

And we'll get more into that in just a bit. We're going to cover a bunch of different topics here so bear with us.

A couple of weeks ago, we asked for your support as we continued to experience a variety of technical issues mainly involving the site going down due to excessive bandwidth consumption.

And thanks to all of the kind and supportive readers of this blog, we were able to upgrade our service just in time for the huge traffic crush when Neil Young performed at the Olympics Closing Ceremonies.

traffic-olympics-2010-crop.jpg
Site Traffic on March 1
Day Following Neil Young's Olympics Performance


Immediately following Neil Young's Olympics performance, traffic spiked far in excess of what our early service level would have handled. Incredibly, after Neil's conclusion at the Olympics Closing Ceremonies, we were seeing a peak in excess of 2,000 simultaneous unique blog visitors per minute. So thanks to everyone who contributed last month letting us upgrade service just in time.

olympics-neil-young.jpg
February 28, 2010 @ 10:12 PM EST
First Image Posted to Internet on TW of
Neil Young at Olympics Closing Ceremonies



So we have no idea what else might happen in 2010, but it seems quite evident that Neil can really "move the needle" and melt servers here at Thrasher's Wheat.

Anyways. Let's just face it. What we're doing here on this blog has really just about outgrown our capacity to administer. The complexity, comments section monitoring and editorial/writing/proofing, etc. -- while quite fun in most regards -- is quite a bit of a challenge to deal with as we go out the door in the morning and before we call it a day each night.

Our technical infrastructure can no longer handle the current arrangement so there will be change ahead. We'd like to confidently say this will all be transparent but it -- undoubtedly -- will not. Right now, Thrasher's Wheat utilizes way too many servers for the publishing, file hosting, image storage, ad serving, feed generation, scripting, etc. These factors are what cause the slow page loads -- not withstanding the fact that we've intentionally designed a "heavy load" site.

In order to help improve things, we will be integrating the publishing and file servers. This will involve a full site migration to new URL's. That's where things get quite hairy. Believe me, the last thing in the world we want to do is change around URL's and do a site migration but this is what needs to be done to improve performance.

If you want all the bloody details on deprecating FTP hosts, canonical sub-domain names, and other technical stuff, see here.

This will be the 4th complete server migration since the site was founded in 1996. Honestly, we'd rather have a root canal than go through this again. Particularly after the one we did in 2005 when we said never again.

We're going to try and make this is as smooth as possible but one thing that falls off the table is regular blogging. We'll setup an open thread just below this post where folks can post whatever news they might have. Also, be sure to check feeds in right sidebar and sources like neilyoung.org - Neil Young links - reconnecting thoughts and actions and Purple Words on a Grey Background.

With luck, things will be back to normal by May 1.

Just to wrap up, thanks again for everyone's support for what we do here at Thrasher's Wheat. We couldn't do it without you. Because we believe in you.

Be the Rain. Be the Wheat.
Thrasher & Thrashette


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20 Comments:

At 3/25/2010 12:21:00 AM, Anonymous expecting2fly said...

Thanks for describing the challenges faced here. I've heard you describe this migration process and I know it's very work-intensive and time-consuming. Thanks, Thrasher, for keeping this site going.

Mike
Expecting To Fly

 
At 3/25/2010 12:32:00 AM, OpenID insidetherain said...

Thrasher, we love you! I know it's dramatic but really! I adore what you all do here... this is Neil's true online home, for me!

I hope everything works out... let us know how else we can help...

 
At 3/25/2010 01:18:00 AM, Blogger Homesick in Paradise said...

Thrasher, thanks for adding us with NY.org as a reference source, I truly apprciate. Will do my best to deliver!

JE

 
At 3/25/2010 02:16:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

Thrash,all inane,off topic,silly jokes aside..let me be sincere for the second time in my life(don't ask me what the first time was).

As much as you think me a pain in the arse, I will miss this daily banter..it really gets me through the day and gives my receptionist something to do!. lol

Please let me know if I can support you financially again if there is a chance that we can keep the status qou..you know..I comment... you delete! lol

Ya know, maybe one day down the track, you just might like me ! lol

Doc's Prayer

Give us this day,our daily thread

Let's help him out, he needs more bread!


Help, 'our chosen one' through these hard times

These FTP's,these IT crimes!

All 'Neil' before him and stop this 'migration'

Lets keep the Wheat and Thrash's
nation

So dig in Deep, let Thrash survive

Let's keep this blog,keep it alive!

Amen

 
At 3/25/2010 02:25:00 AM, Anonymous punkdavid said...

If I could humbly suggest...

You've got too many pictures on your page that need to load every time. It takes forever, even on a fast connection. Trim down and you'll find you don't need as much bandwidth or server power.

 
At 3/25/2010 03:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the warning Thrasher and all the best for the change over - and heartfelt thanks for the hard work and sacrifice that goes into running a site like this.

See you on the other side!

John

 
At 3/25/2010 06:36:00 AM, Blogger yourisaforever said...

It's gonna take a lotta love, to make things work out right!
We sure will miss you, thank god only for a while! Lotta Thanks for your dedication!

 
At 3/25/2010 06:55:00 AM, Anonymous eric said...

Thanks Thrash, this is a daily site visit for me. Long may you run!

 
At 3/25/2010 07:32:00 AM, Anonymous Liza said...

This is what Archives Guy posted yesterday:

"Stay tuned here to TW. This site stays very current with up to the minute reports and announcements, as they become available.

We are all really excited about this solo tour, especially having the fabulous Bert Jansch on the bill.

good times are comin'...

-Archives Guy-"

And I thought, yeah, he is so right! Thrasher, I will miss this site and do hope maybe everything will be easier than you think now and it won't take as long....

Love, Liza

 
At 3/25/2010 08:17:00 AM, Anonymous SONY said...

Love is Real
Real is Love


Hang in there T ! Thanks for the tremendous effort and attention to details. Yours is THE outta-site on Neil, so here's hoping the upgrade is a smooth one.

Can barely get by without ya........

(and i gotta go see this band 'Width" you keep talking about)

SONY

 
At 3/25/2010 11:05:00 AM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

Best of luck with all the upcoming changes. I'm a systems person by trade (analyst; project/product manager) and have been through more conversions, upgrades and transitions than I would care to count over the past thirty years. Just remember: 90% is planning, and the other 90% is luck! You do great work and I'm sure the next wave will be superb!

"So my last image was as the first. A sleeping youth cloaked in light, who opened his eyes with a smile of recognition for someone who had never been a stranger."
Patti Smith
Just Kids

"I've no doubt we all have an inner spirit that makes us capable of doing things we never imagined. Setting new goals, finding new passions - these are the things that prevent us from becoming stagnant. They can lead us to accomplishments of which we only once dreamed."
Travis Roy
Eleven Seconds

"This sounds a bit
like Goodbye
In a way it is
I guess"
Alex Chilton
Take Care

 
At 3/25/2010 01:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh, in excess of 2,000 simultaneous visitors! Well Thrasher, it`s great to know that TW is so popular (and that Neil is so popular), but obvioulsly what you`ve got ahead of you now is the downside to that success.

I wish you and Thrashette all the luck in the world over the next few weeks. And THANK YOU so much for making this site the wonderful place it is.

I think you`re ready now to ride a Sea Change!

Jill

 
At 3/25/2010 01:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrasher - I think you should consider adding a couple of guest posters to the site. You can still admin the content. I think this would help free up some of your time and as well add more flavor. I believe there are a few out there that could write some great content from time to time

 
At 3/25/2010 02:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Thrasher,
I still don't get it completely...
But, hell yeah, if Neil wants to be a popular artist... why is he not taking care of you...?
And, yes, I don't think TW should change that much. It's a pretty unique thing made by a "fanatic". Changing TW is almost like asking Neil if he would like to play surf music from now on. Maybe the Beach boys got you now.
I really like that you changed the side bars recently. It's so f***kin' over the top all the way Neil information. Fantastic!!!
Ha, and while I'm writing this the TFA album starts playing from my computer...
Well, I hope you and T'ette have everything under control and if not please let us know in detail what we can do.
Because Sound Matters

 
At 3/25/2010 04:20:00 PM, Blogger Zak Claxton said...

Everything you do here is appreciated, Thrasher.

As a fellow content provider and mod/admin type guy, I know from experience that a lot of people don't understand what kind of effort can go into a labor of love like this. They can't imagine that a guy like you does what you do just for the love of the music and the artist. But most of us are aware that you put your heart and soul into TW, and we love ya for it.

Thanks, and best of luck with the migration. We'll be here when you get back. We'll save you a beer for when you're done and want to celebrate. :)

 
At 3/25/2010 06:22:00 PM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

Hey Thrash... will miss you during the migration. I also look forward to visiting this site daily, with the fun banter and consistent updates. It's truly my first source for Neil info; even the rust list comes in a far 2nd.

If you need funds, just post and I'll chip in something this time. If there's anything I can do to help... well, not sure how much I can do regarding server migrations, etc... but I'm always willing... you know my email address.

Also, for the record, I must echo punkdavid's comment - the massive amount of graphics that load in the two right sidebars likely eat up tons of bandwidth. Maybe it would be best to move a good portion of these off the main blog page, and perhaps separate them into a couple pages of their own... one with the live feeds and things, and another with the more static resources.

Anyway, good luck migrating, and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

Peace!
Matt

 
At 3/25/2010 10:11:00 PM, Blogger designschicago said...

Thrasher,

I only wish I was in the position to help.
I don't envy the task before you.

As someone suggested up list, it may help to delete some of the images to increase load time.

Look forward to the bigger & faster Thrasherswheat in May.

 
At 3/26/2010 02:30:00 AM, Anonymous Judd6149 said...

Thanks for the note and all the best with fixing the works.

 
At 3/26/2010 05:29:00 AM, Blogger Burnzy said...

The informative and exciting service you offer your fellow Neil Young fans is priceless. It's unfortunate that you're experiencing problems, so best of luck Thrasher. Keep up the good work.

 
At 4/06/2010 02:02:00 PM, Blogger Jim Breeds said...

OK. You've strummed the guilty strings and i've made a modest donation. Well what else could I do in the circumstances as an IT Manager!?

 

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