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June 15, 2009

UThink upgraded!

Hello everyone! This will be a quick note (since we've been at this for quite a while): UThink has been updated successfully! We are in the process of rebuilding all the blogs, which will take all night, but for the average user UThink is now fully upgraded and using Movable Type 4.25.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • If you have an older blog (a blog created before June 15, 2009) and you try to use the new features of UThink (like tagging or the new styles) your blog will not be able to handle this new functionality properly. An older blog will still be using the old MT 3.* templates, so it won't have the correct template tags to display tags, for example. To fix this problem, to bring your blog up to speed using MT 4.25 templates, you may follow these instructions. Warning! Updating your templates to the new MT 4.25 templates will probably remove any customizations you have on your blog! So be careful when using these instructions!

  • Secondly, there is a whole lot of instructions and new documentation located on the UThink Technical FAQ Wiki. It is my hope that some of your most basic questions will be answered by all the updated documentation on this wiki. So check it out! And if you've got something to add, feel free!

  • And while I say that UThink has upgraded successfully, there most definitely could still be some problems. I haven't had time to look at all 7,892 individual blogs on the system yet. We are aware that there still could be some problems and we will do our best to fix those problems as soon as we are made aware of them.

Of course, if you have any questions regarding your blog, or regarding this upgrade and all the new functionality, please let me know at uthink@umn.edu. I honestly don't know what to expect regarding the volume of questions I will receive ... could be a lot, could be a little. Whatever the case, I am expecting some, so fire away.

I'd like to thank the JaWS programmers who made this upgrade possible: Douglas Lochowski-Haney and Alina Rimbu! Thanks a ton guys! You've done some great work!

Also, the upgrade of UThink would not have been possible without a generous grant provided by the College of Liberal Arts Student Technology Fee Committee. Thank you!

Again, if you have any questions, fire away! Happy blogging!



UThink upgrade schedule

Hello UThink users! We are upgrading the UThink system today to Movable Type 4.25. Here is a high level breakdown of what will be happening today:

  1. Monday morning (6/15), access to the Movable Type will be cut off. Blogs are still accessible, but no commenting or editing will work.
  2. During the day, probably early afternoon, work will be done to get the data transferred and upgraded and all the new code in place.
  3. Sometime during the day, we will cut of access to the blogs as well as Movable Type and run the upgrade script.
  4. If all is successful, we switch the DNS so that "blog.lib.umn.edu" points at the new Movable Type configuration. We may also create a new alias at "uthink.lib.umn.edu."
  5. If the the upgrade has finished without any complications, we let people through to both the new UThink/Movable Type and the blogs.

Please note: we are hopeful that this upgrade can be finished today, but please be prepared for this process to take longer. The UThink upgrade could take until Tuesday morning, depending on the complications we run into (and rebuilding all these blogs takes time).

Thanks for your patience everyone. We are excited to finally bring Movable Type 4.25 to all of you. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments.



June 8, 2009

UThink to be upgraded Monday, June 15

Hello UThink users! I've got good news (or bad news if you prefer MT 3)! UThink is going to be officially upgraded on Monday, June 15 starting early in the morning. We hope to finish the upgrade process as soon as possible Monday morning, but UThink could be down for most of the day. It is unlikely, but please be prepared for that possibility.

Why June 15th? According to the academic calendar it is the first day of the 2009 Summer term. If we don't do it now, we will probably have to wait until August to minimize disruption.

We have spent the past three months getting ready for this upgrade. All of the issues and problems we have identified in the previous entry and in other forums have either been addressed or fixed. This upgrade won't be without its own problems, but we are confident we have prepared the system as best we can. Of course, as is the case with many application unveilings, you don't learn about all the problems until users start using the system for real. Again, though, we are hopeful that we will have as seamless upgrade as possible.

Having said that, there will be some issues, especially for those of you with existing blogs:

  • Existing blogs will not have all the functionality of Movable Type 4. This is because existing blogs are currently using templates developed in MT 3. Existing blogs will function fine in the new system and will fully migrate, but new features like tagging or page creation or custom fields will not work unless the existing blog templates are modified to include the tags that make the new functionality work.

  • Having said that, I am going to spend this week writing as much documentation as possible on how to make the most out of the new functionality available. I am going to put most of this documentation both on this blog and on the Technical FAQ Wiki Of course, since it is a wiki, it is my hope that after the upgrade other UThink users will feel compelled to write other how-to's about the new UThink functionality. Feel free!

  • The current functionality of MT 3 will be retained in MT 4, however in many cases it will work differently, or it will be administratively found in different locations within the interface. For example, this is most definitely true of the BlogRoller functionality (the functionality many people use to create lists of links to favorite web sites on their blog homepages). Again, documentation will be prepared to address as many of these issues as possible.

At this time I'd like to thank Alina Rimbu and Douglas Lochowski-Haney of OIT Academic Computing for making this upgrade happen. Thanks guys! It has been a pleasure to work with you both!

I'd also like to thank the College of Liberal Arts Student Technology Fee Committee for the grant that made this upgrade possible. UThink would not be going through an upgrade without this financial assistance, and I sincerely appreciate the committee's belief in the merits of the project. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Again, Monday June 15th the UThink blog system will be upgraded. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!