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Author Topic: Who ever owns 110mb  (Read 6613 times)
oldsawme
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« on: 2013-10-31, 23:40:25 »

I just wanted to know if the thieves who own 110mb are still around
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Piotr GRD
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« Reply #1 on: 2013-11-01, 07:49:28 »

I just wanted to know if the thieves who own 110mb are still around


Jonathan Burdon (previously in Marion, Kentucky, USA, currently - according to his page - Nashville, Tennessee, USA)

  • jonathanburdon.com
  • jonathan-burdon.com
  • facebook.com/jonathan.burdon
  • twitter.com/JonathanBurdon
  • linkedin.com/in/jonathanburdon
  • crunchbase.com/person/jonathan-burdon
  • (...)

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oldsawme
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« Reply #2 on: 2013-11-01, 17:17:34 »

thank you for the info
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jburdon14
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« Reply #3 on: 2013-11-04, 19:05:50 »

Message from Jonathan Burdon:

HOW I FAILED -

I just stumbled on this and normally I do not respond to negative comments because people rightfully have a reason to be upset that their site has been down for an unacceptable amount of time.  I take full responsibility and on a daily basis stress over the fact that servers are STILL down.

However, when I saw this post that suggested that I was a "thief" it kind of hurt because I feel that people may be missing some facts..

First, I am only half owner of this site... I have a marketing/business background and a very minimum amount of technical experience. For this reason, when I enter into a new business I try to make sure that I have a technical specialist for the position to handle all of the technical problems while I solely focus on the business end.   

I thought we were prepared technically in this case due to the wealth of positive information we received when acquiring 110mb.com; however, a months months later we realized the problems were much larger than we originally expected.  The list of "to dos" was significant and it seemed like the list was getting longer even as we scratched things off. I set back helplessly watching on technical issues as my business background left me with little skill in the area when ACTUALLY needed the most help.  All I could do is contact the technical expert on the team and regularly keep them posted on what needed to be fixed.

One common misunderstanding about 110mb.com is that we only care about the bottom line and not the users.... Yes, it is true you have seen me implement and test different ways to monetize the site.. Ultimately the more that we make the more that we can invest into making things better.. However, we really never have made a profit.. At all.. We just barely make enough each month to cover all the bills required to keep the site up an running.  I have a lot of ideas on how we could make more money; however, to implement them we must first have a secure & reliable infrastructure.... Thus the major struggle.

Now... I am going to be the first to admit I have made plenty of mistakes on the business end of things as well... I am not proud of them; however, if anyone really knew the behind the scenes conversations, etc... You would know that for months on end I pressed super hard trying to get things improved...

Since most of my experience in the past was with new companies or smaller ones... There were a lot of things I had to learn along the way "the hard way".  PERHAPS the biggest mistake I made early on was not understanding or even attempting to understand the unique culture 110mb had established in previous years.  Although the complexity of problems were much higher than we originally were led to believe, I could have been more sensitive of protecting the culture that was previously built. And for that I apologize greatly.  As people grow older, they learn a lot of life lessons and I have learned plenty.  I cannot take back what has been done but I can try to make amends, show my good faith, and take steps to improve the future.

Next, it is important to note another fact.  After months and months of struggling to do all I could to keep users sites up, users in-the-loop, etc... I found myself helplessly not knowing when the issue could actually be fixed and looking like the bad guy... Now.. Again, I still take full responsibility because no one deserves to have their site down... But to say I don't care would be unfair.. I could show plenty of records of me doing everything physically possible to try to get things fixed.. Notifying others of problems that needed to be fixed etc.  But in all fairness they were just overwhelmed.

The problem really compounded when HARDWARE issues because more and more abundant. The servers were in datacenters far from our technical expert and the lack of cooperation with the datacenters have led to major logistical problems.. I thought since users anger towards me was growing (rightfully) maybe it was best that I resign from 110mb.com making it easier to make day-to-day decisions for my partner..

I have been away for well over a year and simply did the bookkeeping & making sure bills got paid.  Lately, I have been contacted from several people frustrated and I have felt REALLY bad about it... Although we have faced many unforeseen challenges it is not fair that our users are the one that have to be punished.  So my partner and I have been brainstorming for about a month or so trying to come up with a solution that was fair, but also kind of would give us a chance to improve things and gain a better grasp on problems...  Finally, we have came up with a solution.

Unlike when we first acquired 110mb.com I now understand the "legacy" users are very important to maintaining the culture of 110mb. Sure I am late on realizing the fact... As a young business person, when I acquired this site.. I only looked toward NEW ways to make money and the old 1-time payment users unfortunately couldn't help with that goal... So I looked to a new direction... I was wrong..   I realize now what I did not understand then and the new model we are working to implement will put MUCH higher value on ALL of 110mb.com's current and older users... We also, plan to restore a much more secure version of the forum and slowly but surely try to rebuild the community that was once strong...  This will include an invitation to a member who was perhaps most knowledgeable of any other member - PIOTR. Instead of getting ahead of myself and getting frustrated with Piotr in the early days (because I really was trying my hardest), I should have instead worked much harder to communicate with him and explain the challenges we faced.. And perhaps even, lowered my pride a bit and asked for help.  I don't know how he would have handled the situation at that point; however, simply getting mad at someone and banning them WAS NOT the right path.

The new direction will be "branded" the 2nd generation of 110mb.com giving us somewhat of a fresh start... Although it will take some time to get everything figured out logistically with the new system and to make sure old legacy 110mb users are focused on in the transition, it may take a little bit of time. However, it is important to note the process has already started. My business partner has made the drive to the datacenter and pulled the old servers and moved them closely to where he lives so that he may work on them much easier when a problem arises.  He is in the process currently of getting all the servers back up and running as soon as possible (including 4 & 5 which have been down an unacceptable length of time).  That is the first goal.  After achieving that, I will publicly post plans on how we hope to proceed in the future..  I will be an open book and explain what and why we will do certain things.

Again, I apologize... That is all I can do.. I have never had intention to be a "thief" and have really not profited what-so-ever on 110mb...  I did however make mistakes, failed on early due-diligence, and failed to maintain the unique culture 110mb built for itself.  FAIL.  First step to making things right is to take ownership... You must understand that I am limited on what I can physically do myself due to my lack of technical experience but the new plan will make things much easier on my partner who is indeed VERY skilled at technical issues.

For those who ever paid in to 110mb.com and had your server down for WAY too long... I am just as frustrated as you... I want to make it right... Send an e-mail to me on my personal e-mail account "jonathan.burdon(at)gmail.com... I will do what I can to ATTEMPT to make things right... And try to regain my trust with users. 

In closing, know that I have tried from day 1 to make things better... I have had a vision for success... And wanted to see everyone active with our service... But I failed.. I made mistakes... Took steps at the WRONG time... And became disheartened by the massive amount of technical issues we faced.  Please take this as my apology.  I hope by opening up for the first time, you can understand how things got to where they are now... It's not what I originally planned... But I learned.. And I am going to eventually make each of you proud.. Just bare with me..

Sincerely,
Jonathan Burdon
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ZygZag
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« Reply #4 on: 2013-11-06, 11:26:59 »

Seems legit. Why is he posting the letter here. Shouldn't it go on the main site? Most people don't even know this place exists.
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oldsawme
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« Reply #5 on: 2013-11-07, 02:01:50 »

Jonathan Burdon I do thank you for replying to me here and on your site on facebook
When 110mb site kept going down and on the forum it was a "be patient" and then finally not being able to get the forum. I did feel like we all had been scammed. After replying to me on facebook and here, I do feel as if you were trying, and I thank you for that.
Steve
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paulwratt
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« Reply #6 on: 2013-11-07, 02:11:44 »

actually I think this is the correct place for the post, but I can also see it pasted onto the 110mb forum as well (if it has not already been done)

This is the single biggest improvement I have seen since the servers started to go down , and/or were moved.

I for one really appreciate the honesty and "ownership of blame" taken by Jonathan Burdon

The thing is that even before 110mb was sold, the admins had support from the community to help maintain the servers, and thats the realization I hope to convey here, WE can help maintain them, and fix alot of problems.

99% of the servers were maintained remotely outside of Australia (where "whats-his-name" used to live), and that, along with the technical expertese, and trust gained by showing "who you were" in the community, thru the BBS, was how community members were able to get involved or be asked or offer to help keep the pressure of maintaining and upgrading the servers

thanks to Piotr for notifying me, I'll be sending an email to Jonathan Burdon with my support. I am one of those who could help maintain things and passify a sometimes unruley collection of new users (who are usually the ones that get uptight when problems are not fixed), even tho I am homeless, as I was in Oz when I firsted joined

It is a shame it has taken this long (almost 5 years now) for something to start happening (from my stand point), but I would rather support the process than complain further Smiley

Paul Wratt
NOTE: I believe the reason it might have been posted here is cos the forum is no longer available on 110mb
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oldsawme
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« Reply #7 on: 2013-11-07, 17:12:59 »

and one more thing I am sorry for wanting to know "who the thieves were who owned 110mb." I have been a member of 110mb since Jan.1, 2008 and I know it was a good company and will be again. I am very sorry for being rude in my opening statement.
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jburdon14
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« Reply #8 on: 2013-11-07, 20:58:14 »

Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement. I didn't realize that so many of you read this forum; however, it doesn't surprise me... Piotr has built a good resource here.

Just to keep everyone posted... Because we literally bring in no profit with 110mb at this point, Craig (the technical half of the team) has another job during the day in order to support his family. Every night when he returns he has been doing a great job of working on hardware one piece at a time to get everything fixed. But I promise he wants to get it up as much as I so we can proceed to our new plans.  Just understand the situation we are in... There are a lot (mucho) of hardware problems.  We spent personal money to purchase a huge bulk lot of hard drives to begin replacing bad one on these servers.. Moving data, etc. can take a little time... I think if you watch the charts on this site over the next few weeks you will witness gradual improves along the way towards getting things up.

Hopefully once hardware issues are fixed it will allow us to focus on the other issues. 

Here in a week or so I may go ahead and post on here what we are thinking (plan wise) to make things better for long-term growth. Since this seems to be a smart/technical crowd here reading this forum and legacy users I thought you could give me input on the new idea...

There really is not 100% great answer.. But we think we have came up with a fairly good one but before proceeding I thought I would talk with you guys, get opinions, make sure you think its fair for everyone, and share ideas how we can improve the new plan, and discuss some of the few logistical problems we think we will encounter along the way... Hopefully if we all put our heads together we can come up with THE perfect solution that is great for everyone.

Jonathan
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ZygZag
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« Reply #9 on: 2013-11-08, 22:35:42 »

Enabling basic stuff, such as MySQL and sendmail (with limitations of course), would make the host actually useful. Would you pick a free host that barely gives any disk space and no MySQL over a million other free hosts with at least a gig of space, MySQL and decent uptime. This has to be the only "FREE" PHP host that has mission critical features disabled. And how about a control panel that isn't ghetto rigged and has a billion security holes. cPanel is a big selling point, but 110 had a problems with it back in the day. Layered panel seems to be long dead and 110 had some frankenPanel running.

Creating a plan that's actually useful enough for a small site with an option to upgrade it a bit for a small annual fee and THEN giving an option to upgrade to a full Premium package with paid host performance on a less packed server. 

Taking off stupid, forced footer crap would be nice. Maybe starting a referral system that offered account upgrades for referring new users.
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paulwratt
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« Reply #10 on: 2013-11-11, 03:46:31 »

I payed for the one-off which gave Extra MySQL, sendmail, and something else (cant remember what)

the original idea was to not allow the hosted to be abused. But in reality the "abuse specialists" ARE willing to invest because they know the return from the user hitrate will more than pay for their outlay, even tho thay are ripping people off with scamms etc.

The CP on 110mb is archaic, but that also help protect it. The ONLY prob I ever had with is was writing my own code (being dev) in the editor, it would screw everything a dev would write, but worked OK for most other users. The workaround was to use a copy & paste from Notepad or Write on the same machine you were access in the CP (most library and cafes have Notepad or Write - standard with any windows). Another solution came along later by another user, it was available thru the forum (upto when in went down), so the only thing you needed CP for was setting MySQL users and acces rights. I use my own system that could even deal with MySQL.

The CP AND PHP security were locked down by members of the time (not previous owners). PHP was a custom build because of that, and the servers were the safest on the net (at the time).

110mb had the biggest user base on the net of ANY hosting at the time of its sale, I dont think that still applys, there were about 100k-200k urls on each machine, most of them equated to a single user. with Box 4+5 being offline for so long that is between 200k and 400k members "not in the loop" = no way to profit from them (even for 1off payments)

The other thing Craig and Jonathan are still struggling with is the maintenance. it was originally ALL remotely done. Because of that trusted members could offer or were requested assistance in helping aleviate problems. The Forum was the first line of "support" (defence of business) and 99% of it was handled by regular members who also helped put tools together to diagnose issues.

From what I saw, only a couple of peeps where still doing the support thing, and NO ONE was helping with maintenace or admin, and not servers are moved again to point not need remote admin (physically close). ALL expertise is available from members, and previous owners went so far as too have part time teams (and some full timers)  in different timezones to be able to do 24/7 uptime, handle issues, admin and maintenace. In the end old owner did more management and looked at upgrade + expansions, rather than getting bogged down in day2day hands on issues (even tho they were techies and could do it)

I may take some time for good part of core community to be willing to help, but there are still a few (like RobLleyd + others) who were/are still willing. Business need to build that relationship again. I would appreciate part time payed because I am homeless, but it is not absolutely nescessary. Even tho I cut my teah on PHP at 110mb I still had Admins recommend some of my scripts and code, just because they were so powerful in there rawness, or usability. (a set of MySQL management pages for example - not like MyPHP). What that ent is a lot of people could learn to code, rather than learn to use a CP system. We were on the path to create custom online dev environment, including remote desktop. This is still at the bleeding/cutting edge of net dev atm..

Nuf for the moment, gotta go get some food..

Paul
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jburdon14
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« Reply #11 on: 2013-11-11, 17:11:18 »

Hey guys!  Thanks for all the great feedback..  From what I am hearing I think your thoughts are kind of lining up with our new plan of action..  ZygZag - actually quite a bit of things that you mentioned are part of our plan...

The old 110mb panel was nice in its day.. But its [past] time to be updated..  The new plan of action does include a new CPANEL based server once we get all of the older servers up and running so users can access files... We learned in the past that developing our own new panel had its own logistical problems and limited us on what we could do.. Why try to reinvent the wheel when there is a product out there that is very powerful, secure, and allows easy integration for other products...  I will touch base on all of this in a few days...

Yes, there are still struggles with the 110mb maintenance.. This is not going to be something that we can fix over night.. Especially because as I pointed out, there is very little I can do to help Craig at this stage.. With CPANEL I would actually be able to help a little bit as I have worked with it quite a bit over the years.

Craig has actually been working on some pretty cool stuff.. Some scripts to help with server resources etc.  Unfortunately, due to the current setup servers are going to go down... We think with some new advancements we can minimize the time that it is down before coming back up..

Also, he was able to get the drives mounted for several boxes this weekend so that is progress... Finally, he worked on the hardware for some of the older boxes this weekend as well... In fact, he sent me an e-mail at 3am in the morning saying he was tired and going to bed BUT thought that he might be able to have a couple of the older servers up by tonight or tomorrow night.. Hopefully there are no issues in the process... But you know how that goes. 

Again, I don't expect to have everyone's trust at this point.... Or anytime in the near future for that matter.. But I do ask for one thing.. Even though I have made plenty of foolish decisions that I had to learn from with 110mb.com understand that I do care... I know caring really doesn't get things done haha...  But I am trying to get creative to make something happen.

I do have other businesses that I work on also.. That is true... But unlike the past year or two, I am trying to dedicate some extra time to helping Craig out any way possible with 110mb.  I think it is best that I still leave Craig with power to run the show/make decisions (on the server side of things)... But I am doing what I can on the business end of spectrum to help us improve things. By letting Craig keep full power, he can make quick decisions on purchasing hardware, making server changes, etc. without asking for my permission.. In the past, that caused delays...  This allows quicker decision making.. And honestly, I will humbly admit that things run better here when I leave the [server] work to the experts. A team makes things happen.. Trying to be the "hero" leader gets you no where.. Another valuable lesson I have learned.. It takes everyone working together and trusting one another. We all have things we are good at.

Ps. paulwratt - would you mind to send your resume to my email?  I am always needing contract workers periodically and I also have quite a few people reach out me periodically asking for devs.  You seem very intelligent and I think in the future I could send you some work to get you some money.  Just let me know what languages you work with, server-side skills, portfolio, etc.  I believe you have my email.
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ZygZag
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« Reply #12 on: 2013-11-12, 09:39:31 »

You should also contact D3xt3r and Piotr, they might be a big help. I know in the past they helped Andre with a few server side scripts. Maybe some other members, I know there was a bunch that helped to get 110 to where it was a few years back. Most of the loyal members moved on, but I know those two kept up with things at 110 for sure.

Find a few trusted member to help with the tickets and stuff regular mods won't have ability to help with. I'm sure there's going to be a lot user asking for help getting their sites back online once the servers are up.
« Last Edit: 2013-11-12, 09:43:12 by ZygZag » Logged
Piotr GRD
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« Reply #13 on: 2013-11-14, 19:17:05 »

From the things to do... At some point you will have to face with the necessity to change the PHP version used on the servers. 5.1.6 is not what people would like to see on the webhost, most of these days scripts simply won't run on it. So not upgrading means: "no, people, if you use up-to-date versions of your forums, blogs, CMSes - 110mb is not a place for you".

Andre didn't want to upgrade PHP as supposedly it's heavily modified to make it more secure. After upgrade obviously you will have to either re-apply all these modifications (if are well described somewhere in what you have with 110mb software and documentation and you'll find time to do it - I doubt it) or apply other forms of security having in mind that every limitation and disabled function while increasing security makes also webhost less attractive.


When choosing control panel keep in mind that cPanel is quite heavy piece of software. It may not work so smoothly on the server with tens of thousands accounts. It's powerfull, yes, though most of the people does not use 90+% of it's functionalities ever anyway. There are free webhosts with cPanel, but most of them use other, lighter control panels.

From the 110mb history... At the beginning XPanel was in use. After several months, when 110mb reached its limits (according to Andre's words at that time it could handle only up to 30 000 accounts) some change was required and decission was to use cPanel. However that choice lasted only for a couple of weeks or so, at that time (end of 2006) it didn't work well with 110mb. Another (quick, because of problems with cPanel) choice was to use LayeredPanel. After some time it has been modified into 110mbPanel (so yes, core of 110mbPanel is LayeredPanel based).

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paulwratt
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« Reply #14 on: 2013-11-17, 02:15:49 »

Thanks Jonathan, unfortunelate the only copy I now have of the sort of details you are looking for (A skills Matrix) is on box5 - The only CV I have is one of the new style "2 page max" variety, and so not much detail is actually in it (having spent many years contracting)

Zygzag + Piotr: Some where in the back of my mind is a conversaion where I asked who was doing the PHP custom security, and I am 100% sure there was a thread on the 110mb forum that answered it, cos I was trying to get details of what they were doing. All I know is Andre did not have the knowledge to do it, so I cant say if any docs for the process were ever produce for the business.

Yeah there were quite a few people who did scripts, both PHP and server, for 110Mb, the PHP ones were usuall available on a subsection of the Forum, where a group of regulars help pier-process and maintain lists for them (of which D3xt3r was one)

I myself was working towards a desktop style dev environment specifically for 110mb users, one that could also double as a control panel. It was special in that is also catered for users on platforms without Javascript, as well as some full on funky interface tech (like mac style menu/task bar)

I would like to share a link with the proto-type of that system, but the freehost I was using suddenly has no IP address as of a couple of days ago.. also due to its age and various changes in OS and browsers, it may not look the best atm (fonts are/were a problem across platforms).


Paul
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« Reply #15 on: 2013-11-27, 22:03:49 »

Hello All,

I've been lurking around for some time now but have been busy with other things so all I've really done is lurk.  That said, I had a bit of free time this week so I thought I would put my $0.02 into the ring here.

As a bit of background, I joined 110mb somewhere around the late 2007, early 1008 time frame so I've been around for a bit and seen it change over the years.  I mainly used it as a hobby site for throwing up demos of sites I was working on or proofs of concept.  Outside of 110mb I'm a Senior Software Engineer for a Technology Innovation Agency in the US.  Through my work there I've handled a lot of software architecture and engineering as well as system administration including managing the infrastructure for a client's site while they had an international TV benefit concert with an audience of nearly 1 billion people.

To be honest, I'm having trouble seeing the bright future.  I don't think it is because Jonathan or Craig aren't putting forth effort, I just think they have a nearly insurmountable task ahead of them given the current state of things.  If you are constantly playing "catch-up" then it becomes very difficult to get ahead of the game.  Realistically, I think it could take a team of people (3-5) working 40hrs a week to get things under control and you would still have difficulty getting ahead of the game. 

Regardless, let's look towards the future.  When 110mb started, free hosting was almost non-existent (as it is today) and paid hosting was expensive.  Today, free hosts are a dime a dozen and I can get a cloud server for < $30 a month and shared hosting for a few bucks.  There's certainly a market for free hosting but it has become very competitive with all the "fabulous" free hosts that give you everything for a couple months and then die.  In no particular order, here are some thoughts for improving 110mb from both an admin perspective and an end user perspective:

- Provision servers using Chef (http://opscode.com/) so that new servers can be configured easily.  Additionally, if you need to update a configuration setting across all servers you can do that via Chef without needing to manually go in to each server and make the change.
- Put Varnish in front of Apache on every server.  Advantages here are 2 fold -- end users see improvements in performance because Varnish can cache their static resources and any page that sends a valid cache control header; 110mb sees improvements because fewer requests are hitting Apache, thus lowering server load.
- 110mbPanel doesn't work, cPanel is nice but is a bit hefty.  I can see the benefits of being able to advertise the cPanel control panel with every account as well not having to deal with coding your own panel.  I'd be inclined to put cPanel on a new box and start directing signups to that server to see how well it handles the load.  If it works great, roll it out to the other servers (slowly).  You could also offer a migration service (for $$) to move people to this new cPanel based server.
- Come up with a written plan for hardware upgrades and advertise it.  Something like we replace servers every 3 years or XYZ who manages our servers upgrades them every W years, etc.
- On that note, investigate the possibilities of making someone else responsible for the hardware.  I'd try and find a provider like Rackspace or Amazon that will handle the hassles of failing HDD, hardware upgrades, etc as opposed to owning my own hardware.
- Figure out how to best utilize community support.  Community support can be a powerful tool for 110mb.  However, managing the forums is yet another task that 110mb staff has to manage.  You could consider outsourcing it (shameless plug:  I happen to run a set of forums for generic hosting support) or increasing the community moderators on 110mb's forums to help handle things.
- Be open and honest about everything
- Stick to your timelines

Best of luck to Jonathan & the entire 110mb crew.  I'd be glad to help out however possible.

RV
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ZygZag
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« Reply #16 on: 2014-02-08, 19:10:17 »

Check out 110, people. They seem to be working on it again. New theme and open letter kind of thing.
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