New direction for phereo.com

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New direction for phereo.com

Postby bo3b » Sat Apr 29, 2023 8:07 am

Greetings, I'm Bo3b Johnson and am currently working on bringing phereo.com up to date.

Phereo.com was scheduled to be turned off altogether in August of last year, as it was running on old AWS instances that were being discontinued. I worked with the owners of phereo to transfer ownership and responsibilities, so that we could potentially keep phereo.com live.

It's undergoing a lot of change right now, and will be periodically broken, but I think we have a path to keeping it live.


If you happen to see this message, please let me know at <phereo@bo3b.net>

Thanks,
bo3b
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Re: New direction for phereo.com

Postby bo3b » Sun Apr 30, 2023 11:09 am

Also worth posting here I think. If anyone happens to see this, please try posting and I can answer questions here.

I believe I've resolved the last couple of problems for the forums, so anyone who already has a valid login should be able to post. I should be able to keep the information working.

No new users can register, that is disabled for now, because the spammers and griefers ruin it.


If you have a phereo.com login, you can use your username from there to log in here. That's why my account was named 5b360d5f888428cd3c000000, but you can edit your name in your phereo.com account page, and have it work here.

-bo3b
Last edited by bo3b on Thu May 04, 2023 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New direction for phereo.com

Postby bo3b » Thu May 04, 2023 2:10 am

I'll try to add updates here as they make sense. Please keep in mind this is all work-in-progress, and I've no idea where we are headed, outside of keeping phereo online as an archive. These updates will be sporadic.

Is it dead?
Not today. Because of contacts with NVidia, I was able to get in touch with prior owners of the site, and convinced them to give it away for free. Huge, huge thank you to the phereo staff for making this possible.

I'm currently the admin/owner, because I'm the one on the hook for hosting costs now. However, we've got a starting phereo foundation on github, as a way to hopefully make it a non-profit foundation that has some longevity. Anyone with coding skill and motivation is welcome to help us maintain and improve the site. Hosting costs are the biggest risk to longevity right now, and the reason phereo was willing to pass it along. I'm willing to bear the costs for now, but probably not forever.

Lost images:
JackDesBwa worked out why we had the big loss of images 4 years ago. Anything being uploaded during that time was stuck in an upload queue, because of a broken lock file on the server, that locked out any further uploads to the S3 storage location. This is not a bug per-se, and most likely answer was a hardware glitch, as the server was reporting HD failure. Jack has fixed that design flaw to make it more robust in case we start uploading again.

State of the lost images? Irretrievably lost we believe. There was a mechanism to clean up the queue to prevent disk full errors, so anything not uploaded for 7 days would be automatically deleted. So all these files were deleted. That means they are still on the disk image though. Using forensic tools I can see that a lot of them still exist on deleted HD sectors, but there is no obvious connection to where they would upload, which account. So a random set of images can in principle be restored, but this seems not worth the effort.

If anyone has forensic/recovery skills, we can provide the backup disk image for experimentation and possible recovery. It's painful to lose all those uploads.

Uploading images:
Currently broken with no possible ETA. The old uploader used the Flash browser plug-in, which is long since dead and gone. In order to re-enable uploads, we would need to build some new mechanism/UI/plugin. Not impossible, but non-trivial amount of work. JackDesBwa has done some excellent work understanding the back end for uploads, and has fixed the back end to allow uploads from code. There is no good way to use this outside of tools, but is a key part of possible future use, and good progress.

As the site admin, I want to be clear that I'm not sure I want to allow uploads in the future. I'm not opposed, but if it's open to the public, someone needs to manage it, because the griefers and spammers will invevitably arrive to destroy it. I'm not willing to spend time managing spam and abuse, so this is low priority for me. If someone is willing to sign up for this thankless job, please let us know.

Server stability:
I'm doing a lot of back end work and experimentation to bring the servers up to date, so you can expect the server to be broken periodically. I make efforts to be sure it's up whenever I can, but it can break at any time, as there is no one that knows how it all works. Servers are running Debian 6... which is a real challenge today. We are moving them to Docker based serving as a way to avoid having to rewrite everything.

You will see some improvements as we move things around and figure out better ways to run the server. For example, all pages are now working properly with https, and should no longer show insecure warnings. The certs are automatically updated via certbot, so we should no longer have https problems. The current setup is partly on modern servers, which are cheaper and faster, so the performance of the site should be fairly good. These forums are newly moved to a docker instance, and I was able to move all prior data, and reconnect logins. I think this should be stable, but cannot be certain yet.

As I move servers around and fix things for more modern hardware and try to drive down costs, you can expect that things will break and possibly lose some info, including posts here. I'll make efforts to avoid data loss, but it's not the highest priority until we get to a stable state.


Please be patient with us, this is all part-time effort. But please do comment or get in touch via email. Knowing that people use it and their preferences can help inform decisions on the future of the site.

Thanks,
-bo3b johnson <phereo@bo3b.net>
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Re: New direction for phereo.com

Postby bulkinav » Sat Oct 14, 2023 5:24 pm

Hi bo3b,

To be honest, it's very nice to be here again after so many years. Previously, we put a lot of effort with our team for this project. I am also pleased to see that the project is still alive thanks to caring users.

You mention that the project is published (or is it planned?) on GitHub. Can you share a link? I think the community should tighten up to help with further development.
Phereo Support
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Re: New direction for phereo.com

Postby fujiw33dstuff » Sun Oct 22, 2023 5:54 am

Many thanks!
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Re: New direction for phereo.com

Postby bo3b » Tue Oct 24, 2023 6:10 am

bulkinav wrote:Hi bo3b,

To be honest, it's very nice to be here again after so many years. Previously, we put a lot of effort with our team for this project. I am also pleased to see that the project is still alive thanks to caring users.

You mention that the project is published (or is it planned?) on GitHub. Can you share a link? I think the community should tighten up to help with further development.


Great to see some of the original people like yourself back here too. I hope to be able to keep it up indefinitely.


The code is not currently public because we don't think it quite fits an open-source model where people might make forks and create their own sites. I think we are all open to contributions from different people, but we currently want to manage it as a private git repo that anyone can join if they contact me. Coders welcome.

One of the main values to the site is all the content, and that is independent from the coding. This is all stored on Amazon S3, so it's stable and reliable. The servers have been migrated to docker images running on modern hardware, so I've been able to drive the costs down to some $35/month. That stings a bit for the amount of traffic we see, but is OK for now.

The code is still in php 5.3, which is completely obsolete, but we don't plan to change it for now because it runs OK. If we open up to adding new content we'll have to revisit that because 5.3 is not at all secure anymore. Rewriting the entire site could be done technically, it's just a lot of work.

So far we have reached my main goal of having it remain online, and be stable. We still get occasional outages that I need to clean up, but overall it's been running months now without interventions. Needs improvement, but I would judge it to be stable.
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Re: New direction for phereo.com

Postby linuxluver » Thu Nov 30, 2023 11:54 am

I'm glad to see Phereo has gained a chance at a new life. I think I started uploading 3D images here in late 2011 or early 2012. I paid subs as long as I was able to. The system says I've uploaded 2,158 images. A few more recent ones appear to have been lost, but not many (I think).

Phereo was / is by far the best 3D image site around. There were a few others but they have all disappeared as far as I can tell.

I'm no coder, so can't help there. But I'm happy to contribute modestly to any fund to support the site going forward.

Thank you, Bob for saving the site. If you're worried about spammers and the like, a paid subscription is a great way to keep them out.

Steve Withers
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Re: New direction for phereo.com

Postby acem77 » Mon Dec 04, 2023 12:51 am

Glad to see the site may be back alive.
please consider seeing if you can work with Leia and their Lume Pad.
i came back to this site to test the tablet 3d mode sharing my pc display over to using there modified Moonlight 3d app.
it would be great for a team to form should cross feed traffic for both sides.
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Re: New direction for phereo.com

Postby EdwardLThompson » Mon Jun 03, 2024 4:51 am

bo3b wrote:Uploading images:
As the site admin, I want to be clear that I'm not sure I want to allow uploads in the future. I'm not opposed, but if it's open to the public, someone needs to manage it, because the griefers and spammers will inevitably arrive to destroy it. I'm not willing to spend time managing spam and abuse, so this is low priority for me. If someone is willing to sign up for this thankless job, please let us know.


I'm new here but would gladly volunteer to help out with moderation if uploads are enabled once again. I want to do everything in my power to help keep alive or revive this site.

I just got my first 3D display this year and I'm hooked! So many exciting things are happening in the 3D/VR space now that I can see a site like this becoming very useful to a lot of people. I'm waiting on delivery of my RED Hydrogen One this week and now I have thousands of images I can browse thanks to Phereo! I also have a 15" 3D display from Acer SpatialLabs that is glasses free with eye tracking and the "3D TV" parallel works perfectly with it.

I'm having so much fun and want to give back. Let me know what I can do to help.
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