A Message Of Thanks Relating To Scoop's New LiveryFrom Scoop Co-Editor Alastair Thompson
The Scoop redesign launched Tuesday evening has been quite a mission. It involved not only a new look, but a new server, an upgraded operating system, a new ISP and even a new home. In all respects the Scoop you see today has been renewed and significantly powered up. Phew!!!!
Pictured: Scoop's Co-Editor Alastair Thompson (the author of this note) and Scoop's Technical Director Andrew McNaughton with Scoop's new servers in their new home.
When Scoop first set out on this path it did not have the usual resources required to get a technical upgrade of this scale done in the traditional manner, i.e. bucketloads of cash. Instead Scoop has relied heavily on several people's goodwill and talent in recent months. Today the fruits of their generosity and skill can be seen by you all, and hopefully they will lead Scoop forward into our best year yet.
So now the time has come to thank all the people, organisations (and computers) involved in making this happen.
Firstly I would like to thank the final project team, and their partners and families, who have been bearing a pretty tremendous load in recent weeks.
The final phase of the project principally involved three people, with myself in a slave master-like role demanding that they work all night to get it done on time.
Andrew McNaughton the Scoop Technical Director supervised the project on the technical side working mostly out of his base in Tasmania, but recently burning a fair bit of midnight in Wellington.
My brother Finlay Thompson led an advertising server implementation project, and has done an absolutely extraordinary job, anyone out there wanting an efficient FreeBSD based adserver for their CMS may wish to check this one out.
And finally Douglas Bagnall did the web implementation of the front of house design - this is the bit you see - in his inimitably calm manner. It is also worth noting that Douglas also created the last visual upgrade of Scoop back in 1999.
The design team, also three strong, deserve thanks not only for their talent but also for their patience.
Richard Montgomerie of Prodigi3 produced the first layout drafts for the redesign.
Working in parallel Janet Gudmun, who has been Scoop's principal graphic designer for several years, produced our new identity, including the logo, adverts and colour scheme.
Finally Rachel Hamilton-Williams from Katipo melded these two elements together to produce pretty much what you see today.
And then there is the hardware and the plumbing.
When it came to implementing the new design we fairly quickly realised that the existing Scoop server was probably well past its prime.
For those of you who are computer hardware literate our previous web-server, Aurora (pointed to by myself in the image above), is a 4u, 1.4Ghz AMD Athlon with 512 megs memory and 80gigs of disc space. Our new server, Io (pointed to by Andrew), is a 1u, dual 4Ghz Xeon speed machine with 4 gigs of memory and a 200gigs of raid disc space.
Over the past few weeks it would be fair to say that Aurora has been working at the outer limits of the capabilities of a low spec serve, routinely delivering 130,000 page requests a day, plus handling Scoop's considerable mail load. As a result Aurora was till today experiencing an average CPU load of around 70% and often operated at 100% for extended periods. She was truly the wee server who could.
Io was ordered before Christmas from Quay Corporate Computers . We had intended to start set up over the Christmas break but as one crucial component arrived a wee bit on the late side, December 24th, we had to wait till early January till Simon Blake of Citylink could get the server in place in some Katipo rack-space.
Yesterday afternoon Simon also installed Aurora in her new home where her new job, considerably less onerous, will be to simply handle our mail.
One more organisation and individual on the plumbing side of the business deserves Scoop's thanks at this time, albeit not for any involvement in the redesign project.
For the past five years Paradise.net.nz - and their technical contact person Mark Goldfinch - has maintained Scoop's connection to the world wide web.
Scoop can honestly say the relationship with Paradise has been completely trouble free, and that the service received from the ISP, provided principally by Mark, has been A+ No.1 at all times. [By way of explanation Scoop's association began when the ISP was still owned by Shane and Bill (before it was bought by Telstra), and formed partly around a mutual use of the FreeBSD unix operating system.]
So cheers Mark & Paradise. It's been a pleasure working with you.
Scoop generously thanks all the above people and organisations (and computers) for their work and service in helping bring this project to completion.
I would also like to thank Scoop's editorial staff, Selwyn Manning, Kevin List and Yasmine Ryan for the extra load they have been bearing in recent weeks. And a special thanks is also due to Scoop Market Development Manager Wade Bishop who has guided so many aspects of this project's implementation over an extended period.
And finally on a personal note I wish to thank my wife Wendy Cooper for enabling this project to reach completion on time. Scoop's very existence owes itself in huge part to Wendy's forbearance, sage advice, generous financial support and faith over the past five years.
Alastair Thompson Scoop Co-Editor/General Manager