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Welcome to the new STSF.net!

The year was 2002...  Halle Berry became the first black actress to win the Academy Award for Best Actress, Ben Affleck was People’s Sexiest Man Alive, and Michael Jackson caused an international controversy after he dangled Prince Michael II off the balcony of his hotel room in Berlin.  It was also the year in which I launched the first release of the STSF website.  In 2002... the rebels were in the process of launching their revolt against it's AOL overlords and there was not much time.  So I had to whip up something quickly to get us started.  Time was short and we needed a competitive advantage or all hope would be lost.  

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The site may not have been pretty, but it got the job done.  The rebels found a home and now were armed with the tools they needed to wage their war against the oppressive overlords that sought to destroy the online role playing world.  It was not until the next year in 2003 that I had a chance to go back to the drawing board and try again at making a site that reflected who we were as a community.  Version 2.0 was a bold statement for us as a group...  it told people we were here to stay and that we had what it took to make it on our own without having to live within the sheltered world of AOL.  We had everything that we needed, including sponsorship from StarTrek.com, our own message boards, chat rooms actually provided by StarTrek.com, and of course the people with passion and love for the game.  

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Over the next 14 years, there were many changes made to the site such as upgrading the technology that we used for the forums and chat rooms, introducing a new logo based on the Federation rose logo, and more.  However at the end of the day, the general framework itself for the site remained.  It was a source of comfort and familiarity for the veterans who survived overthrowing their former overlords.  

As much as the site and its design was liked, the time has come to refresh it once again.  Much has changed over the last decade and the underlying code of the site was not built to run on the latest and greatest technology.  Java has been depreciated by all of the major browser makers, the site was built during a time when no one had a mobile device or tried to access the site on-the-go and updating content on the website itself was a major pain as it involves manually editing raw HTML code potentially across dozens of webpages.  

Today I'm proud to introduce Version 3.0 of the STSF website.  It has been rebuilt from the ground up with a fresh/modern feel while still retaining elements of its nostalgic past.  I've focused on user interaction and hopefully managed to give users the ability to better express themselves.  

New features in the 3.0 release include:

  • HTML5-based chat rooms
    • An embedded chatroom that is folded right into the STSF site to quickly get started chatting.
    • A floating chat window that can be popped open and resized for those that like a little more space.
    • A mobile chat experience for those that want to chat from their mobile devices.
  • Chatroom logs are automatically sent nightly to each sim's GMs, if their room has had any messages entered into it within the last 24 hours.  
  • The website is fully responsive and displays nicely on mobile devices.  
  • A new simple/clean skin with the ability for users to pick from 4 different available backgrounds.  (Just click on the paintbrush on the upper right hand side of the screen to pick your background.)
  • Users have the ability to be more expressive with custom profile pages.  While users have always been able to pick avatars, they can now more fully customize their profile page very similar to how you might if you were using Facebook.  
  • The About Us page now automatically updates to display GMs based on those who have had their user account flagged as a GM.  
  • The Schedule page and side bar schedule on each page are centrally managed from a single location.  (No more editing dozens and dozens of pages in multiple places if a change is made.)
  • Each event on the schedule page can be customized with its own cover artwork and description.  If a GM would like to customize their listing or add additional promotion text, let @Atragon9 or myself know.  You can see an example of the customized cover art at the RES Talon schedule page.  
  • Within the forums, a new and improved editor is included.  If you copy/paste something, its formatting will by default be retained, however you can remove it by clicking a notice at the bottom of the window.  
  • Much much more...  

There are so many little things, it would be impossible to document them all.  I hope you enjoy not only the look and feel of the new site, but also the new capabilities we have.  If you run into problems, or spot something that I missed in the transition, please let me know.  

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First and foremost, a huge THANK YOU to Webbie for all the work he put into the new layout/design/back-end support!!!

And now, to play "bad cop," let me clue you in to a few small "gotcha"s:

  • We would like to think we thought of everything, but... we haven't.  If you find something isn't working correctly, please let me know (on the Boards or to [email protected]).  Please keep in mind that some things you may think are "broken" just cannot or will not be supported in the new version.  We will do all we can to provide answers for all questions, but please remember that you have two people - the Brains (Webbie) and the Huckster (me) - and a free website that is supporting chat, message boards, schedule, mobile support, automated chat logs, etc.
  • If you had a saved URL that took you directly to a sub-page from the main page, you will probably have to update that, as a number of the page URLs has changed.
  • If you are a GM and had previously been set up as a chat room moderator in the new chat rooms, those settings were lost during the conversion.  I should still have all of your e-mails designating your Mod account name but, just in case, feel free to let me know again.
  • The new chat rooms will not be able to support some of the tweaks we had in the old Java version - no sounds, no colored text, no pop-out window for IMs/PMs
  • Last reminder for GMs on the automated chat logs- if you have not yet told me what sims you need the chat log for (and confirm the e-mail address when it comes to you from GMail), please do this right away.  We will be automatically providing chat logs to the command team for each sim - if you have let me know the sim and address to receive the log.  If you are a GM and wish for a chat log for a sim where you are *NOT* on the command team, I will contact that team for approval.  As a reminder, every chat log will come out in two flavors, one with line-by-line timestamps and one without.


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