Thinking With Portals Returns

Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby npc_msleeper_boss » Sat May 06, 2017 9:44 am

It has been a long time since the site went offline, and I am very glad to say that it is back and better than ever.

There are two main changes that our visitors can notice: 1.) The domain is now "thinking.withportals.com", with the extra DOT in there. I'll go in to why this is necessary in a little bit. And 2.) The site is now running on a TLS secure domain, which doesn't mean very much unless you are a stickler about privacy like I am.

As for why TWP went away and came back with a new weird domain, here's what happened.

In September 2015, the site went offline. There was an error with the company that handles my domain purchases, and although I did renew the domain and paid the fee, some how the domain still expired and was turned off.

When a domain expires it goes offline, but there is a short period where the owner can still renew it. Because of whatever happened, thinkingwithportals.com didn't enter this redemption period, and immediately expired.

It was then bought by a domain squatter - someone who buys domains just to buy them and/or extort people into paying for them - and there was nothing I could do about that. If I held any sort of copyright over the intellectual property I could possibly begin some sort of legal process... But since Portal is owned by Valve, I was pretty much shit out of luck.

I hoped that the domain would expire in 2016, but the squatters renewed it and so the domain sits on a parked page for another year.

So, why did the site come back?

ThinkingWithPortals, along with my personal website and a few others that I run, are sitting on a server that I own. This server started giving errors suggesting the drive would be dying - and I was not about to let 10 years of custom Portal maps die along with it. So I replaced the server's hard drive, reinstalled a new OS, and made a handful of other improvements. While I was doing this, I decided that I should try to bring ThinkingWithPortals back in some way.

It definitely wasn't easy. There is a lot of custom code that run behind the curtain to keep this site up in the fashion that it is. There are also about 300,000 links on the forum (in posts and signatures and whatnot) that all link to the old domain. Things like the 2012 Contest listings? Every link in that thread had to be updated. This process wasn't particularly time consuming or hard (I had some tools I wrote to help me) but I had to make 100% sure that every single reference to the old domain was fixed.

So that's pretty much the story. Will I ever get the old domain back? Possibly. I make damn sure to keep an eye on it when it comes time to renew. I would love if we did manage to get it back, but there's no way to know for sure. Will this new version be going away? No chance.

I have to run but I have some more thoughts I'll post up later.

Welcome back.
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby Habzs » Sat May 06, 2017 9:51 am

This is amazing. I've missed this, glad TwP is back!

Thanks for the hard work, msleeper.
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby | \_/ () » Sat May 06, 2017 9:59 am

YES! Finally!
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby Konke » Sat May 06, 2017 10:01 am

Fantastic news! Thank you for all of your hard work getting it back on track!
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby Mini-Me » Sat May 06, 2017 10:03 am

Glad to see you're back. I missed this place on several occasions, even though my activity mostly only consisted of downloading and playing maps. Thanks for the effort to bring it back online and for sending the announcement mail, otherwise I would've missed it :). Btw. in the announcement mail it btw. still reads ThinkingWithPortals.com, probably from the global phpBB setting with the name of the forum. I tried to click that link the first time around, which obviously didn't work, duh. It'll probably be the same for new post notification mails though.
Last edited by Mini-Me on Sat May 06, 2017 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby npc_msleeper_boss » Sat May 06, 2017 10:08 am

Mini-Me wrote:
Btw. in the announcement mail it btw. still reads ThinkingWithPortals.com, probably from the global phpBB setting with the name of the forum. I tried to click that link the first time around, which obviously didn't work, duh. It'll probably be the same for new post notification mails though.


Thanks, I think I fixed that.
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby Habzs » Sat May 06, 2017 10:17 am

npc_msleeper_boss wrote:
Mini-Me wrote:
Btw. in the announcement mail it btw. still reads ThinkingWithPortals.com, probably from the global phpBB setting with the name of the forum. I tried to click that link the first time around, which obviously didn't work, duh. It'll probably be the same for new post notification mails though.


Thanks, I think I fixed that.


The links in the homepage under "Latest Replies" also does the same thing.
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby npc_msleeper_boss » Sat May 06, 2017 10:19 am

Thanks, I'll get to that later today. Let me know anything else you guys find and I'll fix it. Thanks!
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby co0op » Sat May 06, 2017 10:37 am

This is totally awesome.

Thank you so much :)

I was in a pretty good mood before the email reached me, now I feel great!

Thanks again. I will make sure to contribute!

Cheers, David
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby pac0master » Sat May 06, 2017 10:59 am

Welcome back everyone,

Nice to see the website is back on.
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby BenVlodgi » Sat May 06, 2017 11:01 am

I'm finally home again
ImageImageImage

Also, I made a map just for you! Sunset
Click Here to view my Workshop and play my puzzlemaker maps
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby Sejievan » Sat May 06, 2017 11:22 am

Ya should incorporate too the Discord server =)
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby Fracture » Sat May 06, 2017 11:28 am

I didn't expect this place to rise from the grave. We have much work to do
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby wrathofmobius » Sat May 06, 2017 11:36 am

Fantastic news. Thanks msleeper! I might just have to crack open Hammer again for old times' sake.
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Re: Thinking With Portals Returns

Postby zivi7 » Sat May 06, 2017 12:03 pm

Amazing how dedicated you are to this place, thanks a lot!
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