I haven't been able to update the site very much over the last few months as I've been wrestling with server-related stuff. At first it was just to be able to update to the latest version of the software the site runs on (Ruby on Rails).

Unfortunately, it's become much more urgent, as I've received an e-mail from the web host that the current version of Ruby the site uses (2.3) is going to be discontinued on their end on March 1st. The way to get around this is to make another copy of the site using a newer version of Ruby that can connect to the site database, make sure it works, and then make altopedia.org access the new site instead of the old one.

I've tried to do this a couple of different ways now, but in all of my experimentation over the last few months, I've never been able to get a new site to work. I can get it to connect to the database but it never serves up web pages correctly, which is pretty important for a web site! Every attempt takes me several hours and runs up my web hosting bill a little, so it's been tough to fit those attempts in on evenings and weekends.

For the last year or so, I've been thinking about how to turn the site into some kind of business, and this shows one tough part aspect of that. There are people who do web development professionally who could probably fix these issues easily, but that's their job and as I've come to learn, expertise doesn't come for free. I've made the source code for the site available for the entire time it's been running, but so far there haven't been any other programmers who have helped out. I remember I inquired once about a virus-scanning service someone was operating, and their only response was "we offer consulting services for $1000 US per hour."

I think the growth of the site and the numbers of awesome people who have signed up, shared their activities, or given their thanks to other teachers shows that there's an unfilled niche here and room for the site to grow. I'm trying to advance the site in an ethical way where I don't do things like flood users with advertising or other stuff that can make the modern web a bad experience.

I'll try and do my best to get these server issues resolved over the next few weeks. I'm sorry if this leads to any outage!