A catastrophic hardware failure of TORn's server
October 15-19, 2007
TORn's Main Website Goes Down | October 15-19, 2007
October 15, 2007, around noon (US CDT), it was reported on the message boards that TORn's Home Page was not accessible. 1 The problem had apparently been happening intermittently since the previous evening. 2 By midday, October 16, the Home Page would load but with a new screen--a mostly blank green page with a TORn logo and the message: "Apologies for the Inconvenience! TheOneRing.net will be back shortly. In the meantime, jump over to our boards!" The word "boards" was a link to the message boards. It was also noticed that the Home Page loaded under a subdomain: newtorn.theonering.net 3 and the title tag had changed from the old one, "TheOneRing.net™| Lord of the Rings Movie News and Rumors," to "Hobbit Movie News and Information - TheOneRing.net - Forged by the Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien." 4
Many message board members speculated that a redesign was coming that would follow a shift of focus from LOTR to The Hobbit and that TORn might even break news about a Hobbit movie (visit Hobbit Film Timeline to see project's status at this point in time). (reference this thread and this poll) But Altaira announced it was a redesign, "At least not a big one." She added that, "there *is* a revamping in TORn's future, much of which will be behind the scenes: we've revamped the (message) boards, but we're still on the same old servers and the same underlying format which needs updating to avoid a rehash of the LOTR growing pains. This current downtime is for some much needed maintenance. So, again, please be patient and enjoy the boards!" 5
On October 18, Altaira provided more information in a message board post. The site experience some "major server problems" and "Due to the timing of these problems, what started out as maintenance/repair has morphed into making some changes that have been planned for some time to update the site. This is causing a longer period of downtime, but it will be time well invested." She reiterated that "this has nothing to do with getting, preparing for or otherwise having any updates or news on The Hobbit. Sorry." 6
TORn Returns as "New TORn" | October 19, 2007
Information in this section is derived primarily from the TORn News Article: Welcome to the New TORn
On October 19, TORn came back online with a new design and an explanation of what had happened. Three days earlier, TORn--including its sub-sites such as "TBHL" and "KongisKing.net"--had suffered "a catastrophic hardware failure." Staff members split into two teams. One attempted to retrieve old data and the other set out to create a new website with a new design and features and, in the end, both teams were successful although tweaking and developing would continue for awhile. (The Scrapbook was restored on November 7, 2007 7)
Home Page Design
Although every design aspect of the new Home Page skin was different than the old Home Page skin, an attempt was made to tie the two together stylistically by featuring an organically shaped section of imagery that ran across the top and left hand side of the page. The shapes of the sections and the images they contained, however, were different; the rotating LOTR images in the left hand corner used for previous design were removed; and the colors were moved from a greyish palette to greenish one.
New or Improved Function Features
The new system/server provided: a more accurate and stable poll, an improved search function, a system of tags that could categorize news articles, an event calendar of Tolkien events, and an easy way to share news with friends, other blogs, or news services via a "Share This" link.
The new server/platform set up would provide for a much quicker and more stable website and the ability to easily enchance the website using WordPress widgets and plugins.
"New TORn" & "Old TORn"
The News Article that accompanied the restoration of the site was entitled: Welcome to the New TORn. That article also refers to the previous version of the site as "old TORn."
In the process of converting TORn to the WordPress platform, all the existing content developed prior to October 19 was archived in a subdomain at TORn called archives.theonering.net and the link on the Home Page that lead to this section was titled, "Old TORn Site."
Since the approach to presenting and archiving information on TORn's original 1999-2007 website platform is quite different from the 2007-ongoing WordPress system platform, this Mathom-house History Project will use the terms "Old TORn & New TORn" as needed to distinguish between the two styles of content management.
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