History of sarnworld and asianfuse

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History of the site (short version)

There is no short version! haha Read the long version and try not to fall asleep ;)


History of the site (long version)

sarn's side of the story

You can find more info on this thread

Here's the quoted post by sarn

where do i start .. it a long story really .. but the domain sarnworld was around since 1998 i believe when i sign up for a domain den some how it was close due to nonpayment in 2001 lol -- so i have to buy it again .. but it was orginal a site of my BiO .. i was kind of obuess wiht myself in the days hehe i have some weird stuff up it was quite embrassing lol i was like asaiavenue outcast lol -- anywho i left it alone for like 3 years or so got bussy wiht life and i was alway out hunting for a man but it turn out i have a better chance of meeting one on line .. so i start working on my website again in 2002 i think .. I delete all the stuff i have i make it like khmer site with news and movies preivew and song , karoke .. some other stuff .. den i never update it for a long time got lazy adn den when i start update i change the site to some chinese site one .. i have picture of kissing scene in chineser series or so and i make flash of my favorite scene blah blah i was on fire for a while but even den I NEVER HAVE A FOURM .. i left it along for quite soem time after dat lol . I never really make it active or put in more effort in my website till March of 2004 . I decided to make a thai site wiht screen cap of lakonr dat wat orginal it have and i created a new layout of sarnworld ... it was publish on my birthday March 19 2004.. den there some other stuff happen hahhaha and during dat time i STILL DON"T HAVE A FOURM .I figure nobody goin really go to my site so i never go around and post my site at every thai forum out there but i just have it in my signature to vist my site when Star2Drama was around and i ask the Webmaster of Star2drama if i can put her fourm link in my website cuz i thought since her forum is about thai stuff and so is mine so i might as well use her forum for pppl dat vist my site go join the discussion at her forum ! Welll , it turn out dat the ppl dat vist my site was making postes "TO : SARN" ...spaming her fourm so i feel i shouldn't cause dat kind of spaming in her forum so i make my own forum .. 1 month before star2drama when down ...i guess the rest is history but the one person dat really support me and acutally recuite ppl was Ann ...yes it was her .. i remeber her lol she is one of my oringal member dat started my fourm off o yeah and Samtly !!


Darvil's side of the story (before arriving at sarnworld)

This is a little like a mini autobiography so you might skip to the next portion.

When I first came to the US, I realized that I moved to the wrong place in the US for someone like me. Small town USA just doesn't work for me although these days I don't mind it as much. Basically I had to go online to get my sanity back (IE Asian Entertainment). One of the first few sites I found was one started by Jill (I think thats her name and anyone know what happened to her?) called Thaipopcrap. I went there regularly and enjoyed myself there but I didn't really keep contact with anyone there so when the site died I totally lost my Thai link. Around this time my friend in Thailand started a site based on the same thai focused idea. It was called fun4teen I believe. I went there and I had a good time there too but the same thing happened. She just gave up because it wasn't going anywhere (I think she had the wrong idea). Now I know some of you currently on the forum used to go there too ;) Anyway after this I totally didn't have anymore connection to anything related to Thailand anymore.

So the next phase happened after I learned about IRC and dropped to dalnet of all places. From there I joined asian related channels where I learned to download from fservs. From here I got into Jrock and Jpop. It was not hard because I had grown up heavily influenced by Japanese culture (as most Thai kids who live in Thailand are). From here I was invited by someone to check out this new software called soulseek. I joined the software and joined the japanese channel there. When I was there I found out that there was a Thai channel. I made a few friends there and revived my love of Thai music there. After a while, the Thai channel there started to die down so I made up my mind to start a Thai music related site. I build a really lame site using html and it was quite bad but I did have a cool phpbb forum. I wrote reviews of singers I knew like silly fools and moderndog. During this time I was approached by someone named Stacker who started a Thai Ent. site himself. He wanted me to join up with him. I obliged since I wasn't going anywhere with my site. One of the major thing I did when I was there was to develop a torrent site with Stacker. We had some grandiose plan but ultimately it didn't pan out as the base code we used hasn't matured yet (think Thaitorrents). During this time, he told me of a site called sarnworld which was a Thai focused forum. He mentioned to me that the forum got in trouble with something (I can't remember the details but it had to do with torrents). This was in a way perfect timing for Stacker because now he can help the forum and get some traffic our ways too. I was in shock when I checked out sarnworld because I had no idea such a forum existed. I was very happy because for years I've been trying to find a site like sarnworld.

Now I was just a regular member of sarnworld. Stacker was the main tech support guy sarn used. I remember that time we were using phpbb which worked but was quite problematic. I had to help sarnworld a few times when Stacker wasn't around. One of the regular issue with the forum was the fact that every once in a while some of the tables (IE session table) would get corrupted and you have to run a repair command. All I had to do was to run the repair command thru phpmyadmin but it made me not like phpbb that much because the forum would die whenever it happens. It was quite a terrible bug.

Darvil's side of the story (after arriving at sarnworld)

Now things went this way for a while and my work with Stacker slowed down because of my courses. I think Stacker started to lose interest in making things happen. I think he wanted a quick overnight success like the others before him. So basically he gave up and bailed on the forum and the project. I can understand him because he was putting money into a dedicated server that wasn't being used. Anyway basically one day the forum and all the sites went down (server got cancelled). I don't know why but I never talked to Stacker after that. I didn't even asked him what happened. I don't remember being mad or maybe I was but my attention switched to sarnworld. Site being down means all data was lost and everything had to be redone. Sarn kept contact with me since I was now the goto guy for technical things. We waited 2 weeks before we decided on what to do with the future of the site. After the 2 weeks, we were trying to figure out what hosting to do and figuring out the costs and all that. Lucky for us, I had a break. During this time I have been slowly getting into korean series. I go into this one channel in IRC to download some of the series. One of the series I downloaded was Dae Jung Gum (Jewel in the Palace) and it was hosted by this one guy. Since I was chatty in IRC, we started talking and it turned out he was interested in Thai stuff as he had some connection to Thailand. He then offer to host us for free which was a big deal.

On the new move, since we have to redo the forum all over again (because of the dataloss), I decided to switch to Invision forum instead of phpbb since I was sick of its bugs. I had the choice to also do Vbulletin but I decided IPB instead since I like it more. I also determined not to redo the forum again. I learned that the forum had been reformed many many times starting from scratch. I was horrified to learn of this because it means there have been years of data of posts that have been lost. I intend not to let that happen again and so far I am quite successful in this. At that time we were also using a pirated version of the software as it was quite expensive (around 200 bux).

Things were smooth sailing with the free hosting we got from the Jewel in the Palace guy. Awhile later though, I started feel a bit stifled by the hosting not that there is anything wrong with the hosting itself. The problem was the shared hosting which limit the user to very few functions. Sure this will work for most people but because I started getting into the experimental mode, I wasn't able to do anything. Because of this I convinced sarn to get our own rented dedicated server because the money from the ads could now sustain it (back then the online advertising market was hot, diff result with the current economic downturn). So we parted way with our free host (BTW he started aznv.tv around this time) and I had my first taste of running a dedicated server. I have to tell you it was quite difficult because although I have heard of Linux, I have no idea how to run it. It was one of the most difficult thing I've ever done as I started from zero. I spent hours and hours of reading day after day and my school work suffered. This was when I was doing civil engineering and it was also the time when I started hating it. This whole process eventually lead to me abandoned engineering after 2 years and to switch back to computers. Before I did engineering I actually tried CS but I realized that I am not interested in spending hours coding behind a desk. Well now I discovered another computer world that I never knew existed (networking) and found that I enjoyed it tremendously. So because of this I switched back to majoring in computers but with a focus on networking.

Well back to topic. One of the things that motivated me to learn was the fact that I knew people were relying on me. If I made a mistake people would bother me about the site being down ;) The funny thing is that when you go on tech forums and you see people who are obviously in over their head running a server, you tell them to hire someone who know what they're doing (there are services). Well for a long time I was that type of person and also we didn't have money to hire someone (plus I didn't want to do that). Everytime I break a server (Most of you won't know because the forum is still working), I asked sarn to switch to a new dedicated server. My reason was always that there was a better deal which was completely true but I never mentioned that the server probably needed a reformat. Since a reformat cost money it was just generally easier to just switch to another hosting provider. During this time I also found bitme.org on the web and I found quite alot of Linux nerd in the bitme IRC channel who helped me out when I had server issues (I am still grateful to this day). So we hopped servers a few times which caused some downtime as it took time for DNS to propogate.

I want to mention an important milestone during this period of the forum. This milestone was the first donation drive I ever done on the forum. The fact was I didn't want to use the pirated forum software anymore and the pirated flashchat we used (which started to suck). But to go legit would mean at a minimum cost of 500+ dollars. I felt shy about doing this drive but I decided to ask for help. I didn't want to do it because I was sure I would be disappointed. I was extremely happy when we got more then what was needed and from that day on we went totally legal on the software side. This was also around the same time I started the wiki (which has now become quite good).

The next step in the story was a drastic change. I have now manage to get work where I was able to colocate a server (I was able to sell myself for the job because of all the work I did on the server for the forum). This means total control and easy reformat if I needed as I had physical access to the server. This is where we did a 2nd donation run and we were able to build our own server to host the forum with extra investment by sarn and me. This server and this period is an important point in my life because starting from here I started really getting into some interesting technology which is now an important component of the IT world.

Fast forward a year and a half and to today, the server has seen many changes, new parts, new case, etc (which nobody knows about ;)). The forum has gone through a few upgrades from IPB 2 to 2.1 to 2.2 to 2.3 to 3.0 and now 3.1. I have to say though I love IPB 3.1. I used remember spending literally weeks installing mods on IPB 2. It was such a pain in the ass. Nowadays it just takes a few clicks and a few minutes. I actually find installing mods and running the forum quite appealing today.

Alot of old members are also gone (although a few returns once in a while). I myself faded about a year while I focus on my work and school. But now I'm in the revival mood. I'm now trying to bring back some of the old members and hopefully we can get some of the magic back.

Notable Events

First Flash chat installed

Donation drive #1 and #2

SWrecords (Albums created by DJs)

sarnie idol 1 and 2

Got hacked in 2007 due to a mistake of mine in installing an old vulnerable script. Our dedicated server sent us a 24 hours notice warning. I disabled the bad site right away.

July 2008 - The forum was hacked via an SQL injection. It was irritating as heck as I was in Thailand visiting my grandparents with my mother and sister. I had to go to pantip plaza to get on the net to fix this issue. (reaction at *Lyn's forum)

Server and Software that runs the site

What is colocation

Colocation is building your own server and sending it over to a hosting company. You can then manage the server remotely. The benefit is the fact that hosting price is cheaper as you used your own parts. The downside is the fact that the initial build of the server will cost you alot of money and you are responsible for broken parts (although in the long run its better as its cheaper)

before colocation

Before the site got its own colocated server, we rented servers which exclusively used cpanel which was installed on centOS linux. Back then I didn't know any better and I just used it because it was recommended by everyone. Ultimately it was a good move because now I am a huge fan of linux and use it at work. We went through at least 4 different rented servers (IE companies) for at least 2 years I think. The major reason why we switched servers so much was because I was always tinkering with the server and usually ended up breaking it. Rather then fixing it (which would have been impossible in some cases), I opted to move the site to a new company (it wasn't so bad because I find good server deals). Of course I never mentioned to sarn that it was because I made mistakes. I just claimed we should move to get a better deal ;)

after colocation

When the forum got its own dedicated server and I had alot of room to do what I wanted. I got into virtualization back then and went through different kinds. The first was called freeVPS which is now dead (got bought out by competitor). FreeVPS was my first foray into virtualization which was becoming hot. It allowed me to do alot of different experiments and not affect the forum. But the software had alot of issues and after they got bought out I started researching for an alternative solution. The solution was opensource Xen which worked great. I used hyperVM which helped in creating virtual machines and such. After a while (I think like a year later), there was a major incident where the software creator killed himself and the software became opensource. Since my work also used the software and the future was uncertain I was tasked with finding something else. I look through the options and ended up using xenserver (Other contenders were VMware and hyperV which were rejected because of price (VMware) and immaturity of software (hyperV)) which was the enterprise version of the opensource xen. I then installed it on the forum server and as of today, we're using the latest version. I absolutely love it and can't wait for all the hot new things coming out in the virtualization market. Latest version of XenServer is rather exciting (this is probably cuz I just installed version 5.6 FP1 yesterday). ;)


server's hardware info

The server was built about 2 years + ago using 3 different fund sources initially. First was 1K donated by sarn, 400+ dollars donated by the forum after a donation drive (thanks guys!), and about 600 by me. Server was a supermicro board which could take up to 12 gig of ram and 2 quadcores. We started off with a single quad xeon (which is old now) and 4 gigs of ram. Since then I have invested more of my own personal money into the server including buying 8 more gigs (for at total of 12 gig) and another quadcore (for a total of 8 cores). I also bought a 3ware 4 port raid card with battery backup for maximum harddrive performance and security. We also had a powersupply that gone bad and I had to order another one. Oh and I got a rackmount case for the server too ;) Obviously the forum does not use all of the resources (2 quads and 12 gigs). I host some friends' websites and do some random experiments every so often for work, for school and for fun (nerdy fun that is ;)).

For the new upcoming projects though I had to get another dedicated server. This is because the projects will most likely require me to do a long distance colocation service (if I get too much traffic). For these projects (video and radio), I bought a mini-atx board which uses my own old home PC q6600 cpu and 4 gigs of ram. I ended using an old 3ware 9500 card that was in my old fileserver with 4 500 gigs drives (spares which I have).


forum's base Operating System and softwares

Starting many years ago, I've always used cpanel on the servers. Then I switched to kloxo which was cheap (and now free). I also played with both directadmin and plesk. But after many years of doing this, I have become quite proficient with the command line portion of Linux so these days I don't really use panels anymore for the forum VPS. I've also recently switched away from apache webserver altogether and switched to nginx webserver which works much better for us.

Looking back, I could have easily been using Debian Linux or FreeBSD or windows server (back then it was expensive) for that matter but since I used cpanel, I ended using using CentOS so this is why I now consider myself a fan of redhat and a big proponent of Linux in general.


Cost and sustainability of the site

Years ago when sarn started this she paid for the hosting which I am pretty sure was not much (as shared hosting is cheap). After meeting Stacker, sarn started putting ads on the forum which paid for the hosting plus she got support from Stacker. After Stacker left the scene, we got free hosting from the aznv.tv guy for a while. Later on because of restrictions on the hosting (which was normal as shared) I started bothering sarn about moving to our own dedicated server. Back then the US advertising market hasn't crashed yet and the ads earned enough money to get a dedicated server. This went on for a while til we started doing colocation which I was convinced was the cheaper route (and I'm right as usual!). Of course donations play an important role on the site but most often its good temp solution but not for long term sustainability.

The site has never been profitable. As a matter of fact my coworkers joked to me about how much of a money pit it was (yes I talk about this at work). It has been this way for years but starting 2 months ago, after I studied techniques on ad placements, we have now started moving in the black (What a big difference a little reading did). Because of this I have pushed towards more deeper investment in softwares (IE updates and new cool stuff) and hopefully soon we will be able to build a slush fund for the forum to use for prizes (think t-shirts, ipod) for upcoming events and such.


The future

As you can see from the name change, the forum is now moving in a general entertainment focus. People misunderstand my intention as moving away from Thailand. This can't be further the truth. You're talking to someone who is moving back to Thailand and live there most of the year so this is a part of me that I am not trying to snuff away. My feeling is that most of us who are based in Thai Entertainment are in fact quite culturally diverse in our tastes. So my point was to reflect that diversity and at the same time welcome new people in. Another major point for me was the new projects that I want to do just doesn't seem to fit into the old domain anymore.

So why do this? Well I have to be honest, I was in Asia this summer and there it revitalized me. After coming back to the US I decided to go all out. I just had this strong desire to do something big inside which I can't explain myself. Before the visit, I was pretty dried out and wasn't passionate about alot of things including the forum. In those time I just made sure the forum runs fine but never really pushed it anywhere. Well things are changing now (for the better ;))