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UTAG - Utah Association of geocachers information


brownbag
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It's been a very rocky spring for the former UTAG.

 

Last year nobody accepted nominations to be on the UTAG board. A few people were specifically asked and ran unopposed. Bonolo did a bang-up job trying to get interest going again. In the end, it didn't work and there were no accepted nominations for this year.

 

As a sub-story two years ago I needed to move the website off a personal server used for other things. I had run everything gratis and used free services for DNS as long as I could. After a year of asking for help, Jacob (Ad0or) and James (BruteForce) stepped forward. I did have reservations about Jacob's lack of having run any sort of website as complicated as what we had built. BruteForce stepped up to use an idle server he owned. He works at a data center and it was located there. He agreed to do it for $250 a year, plus he insisted on moving the DNS from the free service to his companies paid service at $120 a year. That was not explained initially, and we didn't plan on the extra expenses. The board agreed to this. The site was moved. After 18 months, James had had enough and wanted the site moved away from him.

 

With no one willing to be on the board and no server for the forums, the current officers accepted the reality of the situation and posted that as of the May event, there would be no UTAG. After the expected outcry of wonder and professed future support, nobody stepped up to be on the board.

 

HOWEVER, Dr. Jay was willing to be on an informal committee that just ran the forums and suggested an event every now and then. Others jumped in. Jacob said he would host and run the forums. Now that the UTAG membership system and other complex sections of the web site would no longer be needed, there was no reason to believe Jacob couldn't do it. I said I'd help with the transfer.

 

ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.

 

James refused to have anything to do with Jacob. He said that since he owned everything that was running the site, and the domains, he owned it all and wouldn't do anything he didn't agree to. After paying James an initial $235, he hadn't billed, nor been paid additional money for the last few months. Unfortunately there's been problems with the bank on signature cards. With no bills, and enough petty cash to get by, the current board was lazy and was hoping to just let the next board take care of cleaning up the signature card. James has said since he hadn't gotten more money, despite not billing, or asking for it, he would hold UTAG ransom until someone he trusted would take it over. Once he heard rumors that whoever got the forum database would give it to Jacob, he shut the everything down. His last message said that he believed that Jacob would steal all the members passwords and use them for unspecified nefarious purposes.

 

James had been offered $500 upon transfer of the domains and site database. The $443 of agreed on money he was owed, plus some towards new software he claims to have purchased, but isn't supplying a receipt for. His pricing he wants is considerably more than the software costs according to the manufacturers website. I was in the middle of pulling down the messages when the site was shut down.

 

That's where we sit. The current feeling of the outgoing board is to come up with a new domain, register it and set up new forums for a new UTAG. It can be done immediately and used for preparing for the Spring meeting. Should James ever decide he wants to trade money for the database and domains the new committee can decide what to do. At this point the current board is done except for any help Jacob needs to get the new forums running.

 

SO -- what are your thoughts?

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I did run a web crawler last night and picked up the content of the site. Except I could not get the forum data. I was up until early this morning trying to get it to work. So I have a mirror on my computer at home of the old site. I just gave it a cursory glance and it looks to be there, with all the data and files (benchmark, county data). Given a lot of it is stuff we do not use.

 

Most hosting sites you either pay for hosting and they get domains free, or you pay for your domains and they will host. Sadly the data may be lost from the old forums unless he gives them up.

 

I am not sure paying a lot is worth the data. Maybe, but I rarely surfed old forum data. The domain loss would be the worst of it. It may not seem like it, but everyone would have to get used to something new.

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It is unfortunate that we lost some of the site data, but we should cut our losses and start over. Next time around the site admin passwords should be known by the board to hopefully prevent being locked out of the site. I have seen similar cases like this. See http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/148469/it_admin_locks_up_san_franciscos_network.html

 

I am willing to help in any way if needs be.

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That's where we sit. The current feeling of the outgoing board is to come up with a new domain, register it and set up new forums for a new UTAG. It can be done immediately and used for preparing for the Spring meeting. Should James ever decide he wants to trade money for the database and domains the new committee can decide what to do. At this point the current board is done except for any help Jacob needs to get the new forums running.

 

SO -- what are your thoughts?

 

My thoughts are i am totally confused as to who has control over what, or how servers and domain names etc. work. To be honest I originally thought it was kind of a brownbag & bruteforce Vs. utag thing. It was like they were saying we dont want to play any more, and we dont want any of you that still want to play to be able to do so either. Not to name call but the word childish came to mind. Now i read your post here and it is like you are a victim as well. I am so lost, that none of it makes any sense to me.

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Last I heard a few were looking at a domain or two so they could grab and use. Some want it up fast, (by today) others would like a slower approach to see if what we grab is right for the next ten years.

 

I would guess by Monday something is up.

 

UTAG may rename, most likely will organize but it will be around in some form.

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It is unfortunate that we lost some of the site data,

 

No data has been lost. It's unfortunate that Brownbag isn't providing the exact factual data on what exactly occurred. Let me restate the facts as I saw them:

 

- In 2009, I agreed to help Brownbag and UTAG out by moving the domain, data and site to my hardware and data center. I did ask and receive an initial ~$235 to cover real expenses

- In 2010, I posted several messages asking for help with managing a conversion to Vbulletin. Plumnuts responded with a private message, but nobody else wanted to help

- In late 2010, I purchased Vbulletin 4.x for $345 (Site license, CMS and Technical support <I have a receipt> ) and indciated that as time permitted, I would try to transition from the highly customized phpbb2

- In early 2011, the CAPTCHA on the existing site was compromised and we were inundated with hundreds of BOT-based SPAM accounts. I had to disable the automate activation and manually approve each account

- Again in early 2011, my work load and personal life issues prevented me from spending too much time on the site (too many projects at work, and too many renovation projects at home). The upgrade stalled.

- A few weeks ago, the current board started the process for soliciting for a new election. Discussions turned to disbanding, led by Brownbag and Bonolo.

- A message about disbanding was posted in the public area of the site and only a few voices came forward to contradict

- Jacob posted one message about being willing to take the site and within hours, I received a message instructing me (via Bonolo and Jacob) to provide full access, database exports, etc. (as indicated by Brownbag, I just don't like Jacob).

- Yesterday, I started to receive nasty emails about how *I* did nothing for the site and how *I* was holding the site ransom. Funny considering I've paid 100% of all expenses these ~2 years

 

As for cost, (and I'd be happy to cut/paste the exact discussion that occurred in the private section of UTAG), I indicated that it was never about money with me. I was glad to help, but my true costs have been:

 

$10/month for domain name services

$20/year for domain name renewal

$345 for Vbulletin (just pulled the receipt)

$TBD for hosting fees / collocation

 

I have NOT asked, nor have I received any money for my time or expenses. I pulled the site this morning for two reasons:

 

1) I was really irritated at the hostile emails directed at me.

2) I had been planning the VBulletin upgrade for ~2 months and had posted such in the General section of the forums. Site needs to be offline to get solid database exports and static user accounts.

 

As for where do we go now? I offer a few options (and am open to others):

 

1) I continue the upgrade and bring the site back online without all the heavy PHP customizations linked to phbb2 (old software) and things continue normally (but I take more ownership of the site at that point )

2) Somebody credible comes forward and UTAG reimburses me for everything BUT the Vbulletin costs (and I'll even toss in the server hardware for $100) and assume the site and relocate hardware someplace else.

3) I just shut it down, let the domain names expire next year (I just paid the renewal late Feb 2011) and recover my hardware and moth-ball it.

 

I actually find this shocking that for ~2 years (a bit less), I've covered all the expenses and kept the site running, but I'm being slandered because I thought I was trying to ensure the viability of the data. So much for helping out, I guess.

 

Where was everybody 2-3 years ago when this initially flared up? Where was the outcry then? Where was the crusade to keep the site alive and running? It wasn't until I acted and took the site down (for less than a day now) did everybody seem to wake up and come out of the wood work.

Edited by BruteForce
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Oh, and in response to Brownbag (Rod) comment on expenses:

 

"Rod: James had been offered $500 upon transfer of the domains and site database. The $443 of agreed on money he was owed, plus some towards new software he claims to have purchased, but isn't supplying a receipt for. His pricing he wants is considerably more than the software costs according to the manufacturers website. I was in the middle of pulling down the messages when the site was shut down."

 

I have NOT been offered anything. I posted my real expenses and I indicated: "It's never been about the money, pay me what you think is fair" (or words to that effect). Again, I would be happy to take screenshots from that discussion thread in the private section of UTAG. Easily rebutted.

 

The more I read this drivel and inaccurate accounts, the more irritated I'm becoming of this!

 

Almost none of you know me. Those that do, can attest to my integrity and honor. Those that want to cast aspersions (and don't know me), feel free to meet me and state it to me directly.

Edited by BruteForce
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Not going to play an inappropriate tit for tat. There's been a lot of things taking place in the background that are all for the good. Good enough that Jason (Bonolo) just sent an email to the board+ a couple hours ago and said "I think I can safely step down as UTAG president."

 

I don't disagree with anything James said and don't think I did in the original message. Apprantly his only disagreement was on an offer to pay him. I'm just assuming he didn't look at my last posts in the officers forum at 4 am this morning. The board agreement was to offer $500 without a receipt, or the full amount with a receipt. That was one of the last two messages I posted. It was 5-10 minutes before the board went down. It would have been emailed to him after the other board members agreed. However, nobody on the board was able to look at it and agree. We've now done that by email. I'll be picking up two checks tomorrow evening and cleaning up finances this week.

 

I understand there will be new forums coming up in the next few days, and that at some point the old ones will move to vBulletin and made available. How that will work out in the long run is not my issue. I'll be out the door as soon as I get the funds taken care of. I have the State business ID, Federal EIN number registration and a few other things to pass on to the new committee.

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And finally (but probably not needed):

 

uj.jpg

drjay.jpg

 

Was I protecting the UTAG site or holding it "ransom" as has been posted? Clearly, the current board just wanted to walk away and hand UTAG and the site to anybody that stuck their hand out. Just a reminder, I wasn't elected.. I volunteered to maintain the website.

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It's the background unedited private thoughts of the board that Brute has no right to make available, but it shows our thoughts as things transpired. I think it does show we offered him money. I think it shows we were willing to go along with a new organization and to let people decide what to do.

 

As to just letting anyone have the forums and just let anyone run things. Yup. Anyone at the original meeting in 2002 knows that's how UTAG was formed. The original leader got that role by raising his hand. Over time things tend to work out. They will this time. It has never been up to the person who runs the forums to make the decision. If it was, I would never have allowed them to be transitioned where they were. There's a long history of bad interactions between me and BruteForce on the forums. The board said he got it, so I sucked it up and transferred it. I can't imagine anything else I could have to say at this point, so I'll leave it at that.

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I was just reading my RSS feeds and look what was in it. Some of them came down before everything was shut down. Since we're opening the kimono. James posted below "I have NOT been offered anything." Here's the message in the officers forums. You decide -- did he get an offer?

----------------------------------

Author: brownbag

Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:14 pm (GMT -7)

Topic Replies: 4

 

Website payment

 

Here's the figures I see from what James has supplied. The website started at some point in August 2009. It ends April 1, or March 31. That's 20 months.

 

Code:

 

DNS 200.00

Domains 40.00

Hosting year 250.00

Hosting 8 mo. 188.00

-------

678.00

previous check 235.00

-------

to be paid 443.00

 

With a receipt for the vbulletin and transfer of the serial number to whoever takes over UTAG, we'd pay the costs on it. Otherwise, it's a round $500. I will get a second check written for the vBulletin when I know how much it's for. A vBulletin license is $195 full retail. A complete suite with CMS, blogs and forum is $285. I can't find that they sell anything more expensive than that according to their website (https://www.vbulletin.com/order/)

 

I have blank checks, but can't sign one. Georgia has to do that. It's a long story of red tape at the bank over the signature cards. I will be visiting her and having her write the check.

 

I'm not going to play games with semantics. UTAG was to pay James to host the server on hardware he owns. If he wants to keep everything for lack of payment, it's his. He can choose. The $500 will be delivered upon ftp receipt of the tarballs of the database and website. I will have a check by March 31 to deliver to James.

 

-----------------

Here's his thoughts on handing out Officers forum posts (before the last 24 hours apparently) and thoughts on handing the forums over. I think it matched my original post.

-----------------

Author: UTAG Admin

Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:28 pm (GMT -7)

Topic Replies: 4

 

I'm quite disappointed that others have been privy to the "private" posts made in this section.

 

As I've stated in the past, it wasn't about the cost. I've posted at least 3 public messages asking for help and nobody (short of Plumnuts) responded.

 

Brownbag can attest that the current site is very customized. I have been hesitant to modify due to the many hidden URL's and custom applications that have been developed. I ceased the Vbulletin upgrade after finding many non-linked HTML pages for custom applications tied to the PhpBB code (registration, login, etc).

 

I'll be damned if my time & money will just be handed over to Jacob Barlow. As I've stated before, I just don't trust the guy. Give him the code and he''d surely try to get passwords from the membership via the MySQL database.

 

--------------------

That's the last part of the story that I didn't think I could get to.

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A few quick screenshots I just grabbed from the Officers (private) section of the UTAG site:

 

You had my attention until this post. Posting the screenshots from a private section of a forum that you control is absolutely shameful. It sounds like UTAG has a history of bad interaction and bad blood. Of course I am commenting based on this single thread only so I don't know the complete history. It's a shame it has come to this but it sounds like its time for everyone to stand back, enjoy geocaching for what it is and leave all this politics and bad blood behind for a while. I wish you all the very best in your future endeavors as an association.

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It sounds to me, that which I saw coming a couple of years ago, has finally transpired. The attitude of who's right, and who's wrong simply allows egos to get in the way of progress. Somewhat like our current political crop. Remember, Lenny Briscoe, (Law and Order, original show) said it best.. "There's two sides to every story, and then there's the truth".

 

What you ladies need to do, IF anyone really gives a rats a**, is to get together, shake hands, grab a beer, and get the dadgum thing settled, and if you can't do that, publish your differences, and ask for arbitration. It's really obvious that there's a couple of very big ego's out there that simply do not realize that it's absolutely NOT all about them. GET OVER IT.

 

Now, if no one really cares about UTAG, than that's fine. I essentially dropped out quite some time ago, when it became more about numbers, and less about the caching experience, and it simply wasn't fun scratching the he11 out of my arms reaching into juniper bushes to pluck yet another buffalo tube and attempt to sign a 1/16x1/16 inch piece of paper with my name so a cache owner could validate my signature. I would have to say that while numbers do enter into our game, the main thing that seems to be lacking here in Utah is the game itself.

 

So, either get over it, and get the site back up, give up, and leave it down, but in the very least, QUITCHERBITCHIN!

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So, I'm brand new to geocaching and fairly new to Utah. Since apparently UTAG isn't an option right now, is there anywhere else one can go for Utah-centered geocaching information?

 

You can set up pocket queries in Geocaching.com, and see the new caches, found caches, and even (if anyone can come together again) event caches. However, a group of friends that want to get together and discuss Utah geocaching, I believe has flown the coop, so to speak. I would hope I'm wrong in that, I had a few pretty decent friends out there, but who knows...

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