::: news

Downtime and status
In the last few months we have had to pay extra for bandwidth on a hosting plan that was already extremely generous. Therefore we decided to move the site to a different datacenter last Saturday, 29.06.2019. The move was very simple, but after we making the move we discovered that we needed to make some changes to the site's codebase to account for a newer PHP version on the new host.

The script that powers the site is from 2002, which in internet terms is very old. Over the years we have made changes to the codebase to protect against SQL injections and other security hazards, but we haven't been able to move the site to a newer system.

If you've been a long time user of the site you know that we've been talking about "version 2.0" for a very long time. But developing it takes time and resources and while one member of the team is a world-class web developer, he can only justify doing so many hours for free. We were hoping that opening a Patreon account would allow us to collect some funds to make our web developer to be able to give the migration to the new site 100% of his attention, but so far we haven't been able to do so.

The downtime that we had from Saturday to Monday was because we had to move hosts because of financial reasons. The new host had a newer version of PHP than the old host had which required our web developer to spend a few hours updating the legacy code to work on the newer PHP version. Had we been on a new system like WordPress the WordPress project would have taken care of that change for us. As of this writing everything should work, apart from the search feature, which still needs a bit of work.

We will update this text with more information as it becomes available.

Update: The search feature has now been fixed.

Making sure that a website is up and running is about lot more than the content found on the site. We know that we haven't updated the content in quite a while and hope that you will be patient while we get the new version of the site ready.

We have, however, been busy and have now removed the 3rd party analytics tracking module we have been using for the last few years and gone back to using our own solution. We have also started enforcing traffic encryption (HTTPS).

Enforcing HTTPS means that while your internet service provider can see that you visited the site, they cannot see what content you accessed and by removing the 3rd party analytics only we can see what pages our visitors are browsing, not a thirds party that might use it as a data point to deliver ads on other sites you visit.

We could write a lot more about the technical details of this change, but it would probably not be very interesting to our average visitor. If you want to learn more, please don't hesitate to contact us via the form.

We have been getting a few emails asking how to upload and that the FTP server that has hitherto been used for upload doesn't work and would like to give you an update on that.

The FTP upload was the way we accepted uploads but there were a few issues with it:

  • The uploads often couldn't be traced back to the uploader, forcing us to use a lot of time to figure out what had been uploaded when people didn't also upload text information about the talk. More often than not we would have to delete uploads like "Track01.mp3" when more information wasn't available.
  • We couldn't put the password to log in to the FTP server on the page, and we required people to contact us for the password. A couple of times we've had a 'hacker', posing as a person who wanted to upload delete all uploads other people had uploaded, their attempt to replace the upload area with a "we are elite hackers" webpage.
  • There was no way for an uploader to keep track of the status of his upload, other than contacting us and asking.
  • Even when talks were correctly upload, with all required factual information, the tachnical back and forth nature of the workflow was tedious for us. This finally pushed us over the edge in developing version 2.0 of the site (more on that below).
  • The biggest expense in running the site is hosting costs. We could have put the whole system in 'the cloud' but then we would be invoiced for every download, which could run into thousands of USD every month. That's why we run the site in a 'non-cloud service' which has a generous bandwidth plan that we don't need to worry about will generate additional expenses. It also means that we need to take care of backups and such ourselves.

All these things combined made us decide to not 'resucitate' the FTP server after the last hardware crash and rather wait until version 2.0 goes live.

Right now we're working on the import script that will import the data from the old site to the new site. The steps in doing that are a bit complicated because the new system has 'write-back' to the MP3 files (the MP3 files and the database on the current site are entirely separate) which means that we don't copy the data from the old site to the new site out-right, but use the data from the old site to trigger the new site to copy the files, read the comments, date and etc from the files themselves and the add data that is in the old database but not in the file, like 'last download', 'number of downloads', etc, from the old database.
This is a pretty complex procedure that works pretty well, but is sensitive to the data in the files. The last test run was able to import 369 of the 3.522 files we currently have before it crawled to a halt and finally crashed.

The plan is to go live with the new site as soon as the script is ready and then gradually enable new features like upload and [redacted] as time permits.

Mail restored
We have now restored mail after the hard drive crash we had.

If you have sent an email through the Contact form and not received a reply, please do so again.

Hard drive crash
We had a hard drive crash that has now been resolved.

Downloads now work normally

Progress update / server down
We have been working on the new site in the last couple of weeks. Our main focus has been on features that aren't user-facing which means that we don't have any nice screenshots to show.

While running a function that imports the recordings database from the current site to the new site we seem to have caused the server to crash, which is why you weren't able to download any recordings, even though the site was otherwise working fine.

Luckily we had copied the recordings from the old server to a new server so downloads should be working now, but we will switch back once we have the old server back up and running.

First Patreon goal reached
We have now reached the first goal of five in a little over a month. We would like to thank our Patreon patrons for their support.

We would like to thank our patrons for their patronage. Since we have almost reached our first goal (see the goals on the left for a full list), we decided to jumpstart a feature from goal #2; adding SSL security to the site.

This is a small change but an important one for the new site (the new one we're working on), as it will allow people to be sure that their login is securely encrypted. In short: the new site will feature web-logins; they have to be secure.

The site is now reachable securely via https://www.xa-speakers.org.

We will be making some fine-tuning to this in the coming days, which might cause the site to become temporarily unavailable as we test a few settings…which is why we're mentioning it beforehand.

Just rest assured that any glitches won't be permanent. After all, we're here for the long haul…

We are announcing a new way for you to help xa-speakers help others. We are proud to have joined the community of creators on Patreon, a website that facilitates the financial patronage of creative projects like ours with sustaining contributions. By becoming a patron of xa-speakers on Patreon you will be contributing to the steady stream of resources we will need to plan and achieve the many improvements to xa-speakers that our users have requested over the years. Please help us grow. We invite you to see what the future has in store by visiting our Patreon page.

Email routing problem
All emails sent through our contact form and replied to by us, in the last God knows how long, from users with Gmail addresses, have been misrouted.

If you haven't heard back from us, for any reason, please don't hesitate contacting us again.

::: latest files
Kelley W. from Gilbert, AZ, Cindy G. from Mesa, AZ, Kelly W. from Phoenix, AZ and Melissa A. from Tempe, AZ speaking on the Co-Anon panel at the Cocaine Anonymous area convention in Prescott, AZ
Quality: 96kbit
Kelley W. from Gilbert, AZ, Cindy G. from Mesa, AZ, Kelly W. from Phoenix, AZ and Melissa A. from Tempe, AZ speaking on the Co-Anon panel at the Cocaine Anonymous area convention in Prescott, AZ
Quality: 32kbit
Katherine M. from Stuart, FL speaking at the 4th National Annual Drug Addicts Anonymous Conference in Jensen Beach, FL
Quality: 32kbit
Chris R. from Ingram, TX speaking at the New Horizons group in Bend, OR
Quality: 32kbit
Chris M. from West Palm Beach, FL speaking at the 4th National Annual Drug Addicts Anonymous Conference in Jensen Beach, FL
Quality: 32kbit
Kevin O. from Calgary, Alberta, Canada speaking at Nexen Saturday Night meeting in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Quality: 32kbit
Matt C. from Long Island, NY speaking at the Primary Purpose online meeting in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Quality: 32kbit
Ben R. from Kingsport, TN speaking at the 4th National Annual Drug Addicts Anonymous Conference in Jensen Beach, FL
Quality: 32kbit
Adrian O. from Blackpool, UK speaking on the topic of surrender at the DAA 10th anniversary convention in Oxford, UK
Quality: 32kbit
Glenn J. from San Leandro, CA speaking at the Second Tradition group in San Jose, CA
Quality: 32kbit