Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cannot connect to synchtube! Explained.

This is a brief post explaining this dreaded message.

Synchtube currently uses 3 ports -- 8884, 8885, and 8886.

If you receive the message "Cannot connect to synchtube" it is because you cannot access these ports.

It could be for a variety of reasons:

1. You are behind a firewall, or your router is blocking the ports.
2. If you are trying to access from work or school, your network IT may have blocked the port.
3. ???
4. Profit

No, but seriously. As far as I know those are the only two reasons. If you can figure out a way to unblock the ports, you should be good.

We are working on a solution to proxy the ports, but it isn't as easy as it seems. We actually tried to push a solution a few times already but... it didn't work.

But yes, we are actively continuing to track this problem and are looking for possible solutions! If you still see this problem despite unblocking the ports, please leave a note here and paste your browser specs too (Firefox 3.6, 4, 5, Chrome, etc.)



EDIT: If anyone is a sysadmin and has any other ideas of why people wouldn't be able to connect, please feel free to help suggest a fix!

Heads up, possible playlist wipe coming up...

Synchtube has come a long way over the past half year, with traffic growing nearly 200% since January. There's been a lot of ups, downs, memory upgrades and server re-writes as we re-designed and architectural things over and over to accommodate the traffic. Thanks everyone for stickin' with us!

However these changes just aren't enough, and the unfortunately reality is that we still have code in live production from 1.5 years ago when synchtube was just a hobby project. This old spaghetti code is actually the foundation for the client, which is BAD as it stops us from being able to quickly build and fix issues that people report.

For the nerd curious, we had been persisting data on the server and client differently, grandfathering in old data through wrappers in every upgrade, performing conversions to keep everything in the same state, but we never actually took time out to root problem areas. Or more honestly, I never took the time to fix it *grin*. Hey -- I was working full time, ok?

Well, it has finally come back to haunt us, and the synchtube data just isn't sustainable anymore -- our wrappers just cause confusion and as the site grows. The good news is that we (my buddy and I) are facing the problem, have agreed on standards and a workflow, and we have been re-writing things to fit these standards over the past week. We expect these changes to go into live production within 2 weeks.

But you know how they say no pain no gain... our new flow and standards, despite being good for the future, make all the old playlists defunct. This is one of those one step backwards two step forwards moments.

Anyway, I say "possible playlist wipe" because depending on how difficult it will be to write a conversion script I might write one, but as of now it doesn't seem very likely.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Addressing the recent caps

Recently we put on a 500 character description cap, as well as a 20 moderator cap.

This was done due to increasing bandwith costs as rooms were having 80+ moderators. Images add up quickly in bandwith costs. I am working on a solution to try and lower the costs, but until then these caps will have to stay in place.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Update

Pushed a couple fun things out.

  • Search: Discover rooms geared toward your interests using the search bar
  • Tags: Room owners can now tag their rooms to be discovered in search!
  • Visits: We now track visitors, and unique visitors. You can see them in the upper-right corner of your room

Also, we fixed the problem where playlists would get wiped every time we pushed. You should see that in effect soon.

Have a good weekend,


EDIT: The fix to not wipe playlists won't be out till Monday

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Quick Update

Gotta be quick with the blog. Lot's of work to do.

Yesterday we tried some new architecture... didn't work so well so we reverted.

We also pushed a few changes:
  • Settings now in its own dialog
  • You can now write your description in a rich-text editor.
  • Force Unique: You can now force playlist videos to be only unique
  • Force Duration: You can now force videos to only be a specific duration
  • Colored Mods: Mods are now dark red. Color customization coming soon.
  • Delete Videos: You can now delete your own videos you add to the playlist
  • Delete Wall: You can now delete your own wall posts
I'll be trying to update the blog more often now that I have more time.