We need a Geek [We need a Hero]
The following is a Thread posted as  "Andre-Norton-Books desperately needs Geek or we shut down."
under the Andre Norton Forum. 

The thread discusses the problems with converting the stand alone Andre Norton site from one version of PHP data bases and Joomla websites to another.

I have copied out the information & will post it here.    I will then close down the other thread.
July 6th, 2019, 03:47 PM

Hello Kind Folks,
Andre Norton-Books.com desperately needs some geek help or I will be forced to take the site offline.

I need a geek that knows something about PHP data bases and Joomla websites. My Web-host has basically said "sorry you're on your own".

Main Problem: (site is evidently out of date and must be upgraded) The web host where the site is located has informed me that I have to upgrade from PHP version 5.6.x to PHP 7.3.x (whatever that means). Upgrading is easy - they have a button that does that (fortunately I was able to go backwards for now). It looks like I have until October 4th, but I have 1 message that says July 21.

When I do the upgrade I get pages full of error messages that read like this (I have no earthly clue what this means) -
Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/37/000/071/030/4/user/web/andre-norton-books.com/libraries/joomla/filter/input.php on line 652

1. My Main menu goes away - replaced by a list of error messages.
2. All my images go away - and I'm left with just the file name.
3. My image galleries go away - and I'm left with the command lines showing.
4. If I use a secondary menu all the pages become "Error 404: page not found".
That's just what I've found so far.

This tells me that my menu and image generators will have to replaced, but I have no clue what to use.

Secondary Problem: I do not know how to retrieve data from the PHP database. This means I will lose all the data (text) of the site. (So yea - need help learning how to do backup also)

There may be other problems that I have not found yet. I am completely open to any resolution even if it means moving site.

PLEASE, PLEASE HELP ME. I am only interested in preserving Andre's legacy. Any grunt work (renaming, reformatting or transferring of files) I will do - I just need help in understanding what has to be done.

I posted the above so prospective help will have an idea what I need - Any other discussion about tech stuff will be by email or phone.
"Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted"
Andre Norton's website - Andre-Norton-Books.com
July 7th, 2019, 03:13 PM

Hi Jay!

I'm not an expert, but here's three things I found:
https://wp-rocket.me/blog/why-you-need-t...right-now/ - as per usual, the 'how to do it right' part is about 3/4 of the way down the page.

I hope at least one of these will be helpful.
July 7th, 2019, 07:18 PM


Thanks for the articles. Read all 3. The why update make sense but the tech stuff is way above my abilities. Might as well be in French. Lets just say that this forced upgrade is not compatible with my site and its components, everything is 7 years old and should have been upgraded several times over that span. WHO KNEW? Doing a backup wont even work for none of the old is compatible with the new.
It looks like I have 2 weeks to construct a whole new site. I might be able to get a short extension on that but I can't find out until tomorrow, customer service is not open on the weekends. I think that is why they sent notices out late Friday afternoon.

After reading those 3 articles it appears a whole lot of sites are going to have a major problem as of December 1st, my host is just getting a head start.

I do know, I have not gotten much sleep in past 48 hours. All the new stuff (controls and components) completely different from the old stuff - so it's a crash course.

Say-la-vee or whatever.
July 8th, 2019, 03:10 AM

Well, in that case, maybe these will help:

I might suggest copying pages and such to store on your computer (if you haven't already) to ensure you have it backed up somewhere until you can transfer the information to a new site.

Also, you may find Notepad++ useful to test things with.
July 9th, 2019, 05:06 PM

While keeping tech-y stuff to a minimum here is what is happening.
PHP update is on my account and covers any and all things on my account. (Which still has a couple years of paid time on it.)
Existing site platform and extensions way to old to be updated. (Even if done in steps.) And not compatible with new standards. (It's like 12 years old.)

Creating new site with AUTO Updating capabilities.
Old data cannot be dropped into new database.
Have started making HTML copies of pages - have several thousand to do. Fortunately images can be used (Have been uploading them to new site for past 14 hours, still have several thousand to do.)
Each article must be redone for every link on every page has to be re-addressed.

I'm just going to rebuild the whole site. With redone organization and look.
New site not only has AUTO Update but has full backup capabilities - so this should never happen again - I pray.

So once I've copied everything - the site will be off-line for awhile, until it has enough content to be considered a website. - It will come back!
But it will be under construction for several months. No avoiding it.
July 10th, 2019, 09:32 PM

I am no expert, but from the few websites I looked at, it's clear that you have to update Joomla, as well, if you are updating PHP. I haven't seen you mention above that you are doing that, so I thought I'd bring it up.
July 11th, 2019, 12:41 PM

I am not updating anything. To much trouble!
I am replacing everything with the latest greatest.
Results will be new site, with newer features, slightly newer look and new organization of pages.
Oh, and new address (slightly).

I just have to deal with,
1273 individual web pages.
1864 PDFs.
7438 Images.

Piece of Pie. Should be done by 2025 or so
July 13th, 2019, 02:12 PM

Contact me offline. I'm not a Joomla expert but I may be able to help you get through this quickly. I recently upgraded 150+ WordPress sites from PHP 5.X to 7.2 or 7.3. I may be able to help you move your data into a new site. You'll have to take care of the design yourself (no simple task in Joomla, I'm afraid).

Because I control our Web server I can do things you can't and your host won't.

July 13th, 2019, 02:15 PM


First, I tried to find a way to move this discussion to another forum. If MyBB has a way to do that I am not seeing it. This would be better in the "Fan Sites" forum.

Second, this kind of detail would be helpful to other people searching for answers on the Web. So while it's not about Andre Norton I would like to see the thread remain intact.

But we can always rewrite the technical description of the original problem in a new post in the other forum if you prefer.
July 13th, 2019, 03:35 PM


Thank You very much. Maybe in a year when my Host wants more money I will take you up on that offer. But I still have time on my account and they wont refund me if I leave now.

Turns out the version of Joomla I was using was so old that upgrading just wasn't doable without major problems. Even the Image generator and article editor had problems updating and the Admin side had major faults when upgrading PHP, in fact it just disappeared. And it really had no simple way to to do a backup.

So I captured each page and put on external drive. Upgraded the PHP and I am redoing the whole site line by line.
The organization of the old site was a mess because I learned how-to while collecting stuff. This time I went through what I had and organized it before I even started doing the new site. I think it will be easier to navigate, we shall see. Fortunately I did have a backup of the 753 image folders on the site or I would probably have said ef-it. (It took almost 60 hours to upload that to new site files using a SFTP platform.)

And so the old site is offline permanently (with redirects) and the new site (currently showing offline message) will be turned on as soon as there is enough content to be interesting.

I'm trying to approach this as a learning experience - but geeze how irritating.
July 18th, 2019, 04:45 AM

Here is a quick update. Jay and I talked by phone last night. It looks like I've helped him make some progress. I guess we'll know in a few more days.

July 23rd, 2019, 07:22 PM

Hello Kind Folks

Fist let me say thank you to the several "Geeks" who helped me with my dilemma. With a big THANK YOU to Michael for he helped me understand better what the dilemma was and possible fixes. (Even if they didn't work.)

After just over 2 weeks I finally feel like I'm making progress, although ALL of the Andre-Norton-Books.com site was lost forever. I am well under way in the creation of a whole new site. The address will remain the same and 99.9% of the content will be duplicated. The site will have different look and layout. In my opinion the organization of all that content is better and the look is cleaner. As for an estimate on when we will be back online, I can't say - but my goal is in a couple more weeks. I have to literally reconstruct everything. I'll let you know when it happens.
August 1st, 2019, 04:08 PM

It's been three and a half weeks ~ eeeeerrrrrrrrr! really? ~
After spending almost two weeks trying to save what I had, with no luck.
Here's where we are at (just in case anybody is interested).

Site is designed, built and tested. (So glad I could keep the same address.)

110 categories and 110 menu items created, with whole new menu layout. (Not as easy as it sounds.)

Over 7000 images reorganized and uploaded. Had to rename a little over 2000 of them to get the new Image Generator to recognize them, sure wish I had known this before they were uploaded. (Not going into details of that!) Oh yea! - The images are displayed in a much better format.

Just finished reconstruction of article number 507 (Have to recreate each page!) That's maybe half, not sure exactly how many there were. Old site did not keep track of how many got deleted over the years, but the last number assigned was 1272, and I know at least 100 got deleted over the past 8 years. (Not counting the old Windows Frames site) Plus I'm purposely deleting a few.

Maybe I'll be back online before Irene moves this thread. At least that is my goal.

Although similar ~ I do believe people will like the new site better. But hay ~ I'm bias.
August 7th, 2019, 01:31 PM
I feel a bit guilty in all this. I only very reluctantly make deep changes to other people's sites. I mean, do this for my business (SOMETIMES) but it's a big responsibility. I could have saved Jay a lot of time by just offering to do some of the work (for free). But I wasn't sure what I would be getting into in terms of a time commitment. The site is quite large and having managed large sites for years, I know there is almost never a "quick and easy" move.

But I could have done the most critical part for him. I was logged into the accounts and I am truly, truly sorry I allowed my more conservative instincts take over. I explained what I thought needed to be done to Jay and logged out. I've done this so many times for people who just want a better idea of what their technical issues are, I was acting more out of habit than something else.

Jay, I'm glad you're getting things back together.

For those who are curious, the biggest challenge was how to bring the content forward from an older database to a new database. There were other problems as well, but that was the one that had the most people scratching their heads. I believe I could have done the work in a few hours (not actually having done something like this for this kind of database - but I've done it for many others).

The content was essentially intact. I knew exactly where it was. I just didn't know if I could complete the project in a timely fashion.
August 8th, 2019, 10:23 PM


It's OK really - turned out for the better. The site really did need to be reorganized and cleaned up. I'm thinking that it would have been a real pain doing that with the old site. By starting fresh I could do a real plan and allow for additional stuff in that plan.

OH by-the-way: as of about a half hour ago the site is back online. I still have a few small things to do, but I put it online anyway. Still have to re-do the pages that make up Marron4Gateau's timeline work and the Cover-artist pages but everything else is there.

I keep testing everything, but if you find stuff NOT working please notify me so that I can fix it.
The word is whiz or techy or expert. You shouldn't be using slurs.
When this was originally posted, July 2019,  the original poster needed a Computer Geek. 

He got assistance from several people. None of these people felt that in this use Geek was any way a slur. 

Nor do I.  - though I added the parenthetical "We need a Hero".

Though in my youth a friend took a job because his job title was "Computer Wizard". 

I'm sorry if you felt this was a slur on all of us dedicated Computer Geeks.
It's a slur even if you don't think of it that way. It means simpleton.
I don't consider the word "geek" to be a slur. I was dubbed an Ubergeek by some Tolkien fans and I wear the title proudly.

I'm sorry the word has acquired negative connotations for some people. It's too easy for people to turn a word into a slur.
Wow. We are sensitive. I mean we are geeks, and care about how people see us.

I am proud to be a Computer Geek.

Of course the word has changed meaning several times, and gone through some changes over the years.

I suppose this is similar to Star Trek fans being divided on wishing to be called "Treckies" or "Treckers".

I looked up the Noun of Geek, and the first BING definition was "Unfashionable or Socially inept" and the second "Side Show performer" only as a verb did it have "geeked out" as to technically discuss.
GOOGLE had a more complete definition " The word geek is a slang term originally used to describe eccentric or non-mainstream people; in current use, the word typically connotes an expert or enthusiast obsessed with a hobby or intellectual pursuit, with a general pejorative meaning of a "peculiar person, especially one who is perceived to be overly ..."

So. I am a proud Computer Geek. I find no slur in the definition... Though I prefer to add the Adjective of "computer" to my self definition.

And Besides we are now "Mainstream" with the Bust Buy stores chains "Geek Squad".
I wasn't aware of the history of the word. I suppose this isn't the first time a word has slid from negative to more positive use. Maybe that's just a case of people owning something to make it better. Obviously that can't happen with every slur.

To go way off topic. There was a person with the family name of Weiner, who got in political/sexual trouble. Someone commented that this was related to his family name "Weiner" being similar to an anatomical slang for a body part.
My comment was that the family name indicated that the person's family was from Vienna. I didn't comment on those small Weiner Worsts being hot dogs from Vienna. As Weiner Schnitzel is Veal made the Vienna way.

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