The Internet Pinball Serial Number Database or IPSND collects serial numbers of
pinball machines and publishes a database of these on the Internet. Our goal is
to make available a registration of all pinball machines in existence and allow
tools for slicing, dicing and visualization of the data.
Games:5,724 Serials:29,233 Visitors:11,802,056 Members:3,521 Photos:9,640 Lat/Lng:12,144 Masks:3,005(52.50 %) Traits:250 Nudges:49,960 Avg Nudge:3.67
Most Serials:Twilight Zone(710) Most Submissions: John Vorwerk(2,223) Most Points: John Vorwerk(12,902) Highest Quality: Jim Butler(9.14) Most Nudges: King of Pinball(5,647)
Hey you techy people out there... Since I have released the mobile app, I personally found that it makes submitting serial numbers massively easier (auto GeoLocation, Bar Code Scanner for those WMS/Bally serial labels, built in camera, etc). However, many of the top submitters on the IPSND don't have smartphones. In this day and age, we are obviously on two year tracks for our phones.... so, when you upgrade, don't throw away or give back your older smartphone, send them to me! What I will do is give them out to our top IPSND submitters to help their cause. Keep in mind, we can use stuff that is severely old... like Motorola Droids or Pre-IPhone-3 phones. Stuff like Androids running v3 (Honeycomb, release Feb 2011) or higher or IPhone 3S, 4 or 4s' are still good. Whatdaya think? Email me if you have a source for recycled phones!! Thank you.
The site is now running on a new 4-core, 16GB Virtual Server under ASP.NET 4.5. That should solve the issues with any login problems under IE 11 now. Here over the next week, I will continue to tweak the server to get better performance and also monitor things. If you run into any issues on the site or have any general feedback, shoot me an email. Thanks.
There are some issues with Internet Explorer 11 which ships with Windows 8. I am going to have to deploy a newer web server in order to properly deal with the newest browser which I am in the process of doing tonight. There may be some intermittent outages during the evening. Stay tuned!
Pistol Pete submitted the 3,000 game serial mask today. That means that as of today, 52.47 % of the games in the database have a mask defined.
Marco Albus submitted the 29,000 serial number today. Thanks for everyone's support... Keep the serial numbers coming!
BETA Versions are on the Downloads page
I freshened up the logo a bit in prep for releasing the mobile app. I also finally moved to Google Maps API v3 which was important since Google was finally going to shut off the v2 API later this month. :-0
Had some odd photo issues today where some images where not rendering in the preview and nudge sections. It looks like the site was getting a good amount of evening traffic and the last photos uploaded were all pretty high resolution (3200x3000 px). This was causing the server to run out of memory due to a variety of 'image' processing functions that I do on the fly to resize and put on a watermark. Since my server is pretty old (Windows Server 2003) I think it is just a little bit underpowered these days. I applied a few tweaks to try and help out, so keep your fingers crossed. Anyone have a source of cheap server hosting? :-)
I have been working pretty hard the last 6 weeks on a mobile app for the site. Obviously, it will be targeted at members that want to submit serial numbers really quickly and easily as the primary function. Im adding a couple other little goodies to the site which will be a consequence of the mobile app, but Im not giving those secrets away quite yet.
Either way, for you techies, Im using Phonegap and Phonegap Build so I will be targeting I*devices, Androids and Windows Phones to start. I don't have an Apple Dev license ($99 for that... jerks) yet but I have an Android dev account and to be honest, I don't think I need anything special for the Windows phone.
If you have an Android or Windows Phone and submit at least 1 serial number a week, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know if you want to help get things running. Once things are tested, I will push the builds into the public stores, Im sure that will be at least 4 weeks however.
Please double-check your submissions. Many submissions are being associated with an improper game. Some leading examples were found in the current production run of Metallica. Eight entries were placed under a one-off custom game entry for a re-themed game. Other examples are for Eight Ball Deluxe, where there were several different production runs, each with their own unique range of serial numbers, and Captain Fantastic and Fireball where there were Novelty-only home versions. If you have difficulty deciding where your game serial number belongs you can always refer to the photos at the Internet Pinball Database at http://www.IPBD.org to help determine the proper game listing. Jess, Jay and I can also provide assistance via email. Thanks and keep submitting those numbers!
So you have all seen that blue bar on the side of the IPSND asking you to take the survey... well it has been up there for like 9 months now, so I figured I would give you the results as of now.
52% of you use IPhones while 43% use Android and 5% use Windows phones.
I was curious because I wanted to see if there was an overwhelming unbalance, but it fits most global data. Who Knew? Anyway, it is valuable to see this because I have started working on the IPSND Mobile App this past week. It is based upon Phonegap and I will be using the Phonegap Build service so I should be releasing versions for all 3 platforms mentioned above when it is done (Im not guessing on that date quite yet tho).
The app will do some basics for now...
3. Viewing serial number lists
That last one will be interesting on the small screen so things will start pretty basic for now. Obviously, the value in having the app would be for easy submissions of new serials since phones have those fancy cameras on them!
More info in the coming weeks...
Jay @ IPDB pointed out a few bugs around the serial number edit page for members. There was an issue where if you deleted your existing image, it wouldn't allow you to upload a new one unless you reloaded the edit page. Additionally, if you deleted your existing photo,the nudge close date was not being cleared so if you re-uploaded, there wouldn't be any nudges, but the nudging would be closed still. In light of that last bug, I did a query for serials that where nudge closed but didn't have any actual nudges and found zero, so luckily that bug didn't seem to have abandoned many submissions! Cheers!
Well.. go figure, I leave town for 2+ weeks and my database server decided to forget all it's allowed firewall rules as soon as I left. What that means is that it refused to talk to any other server trying to communicate with it... like the web server and my remote desktop connection attempts. So... we were down for awhile. Sorry for the inconvenience.. I hope you didn't find any other hobbies in the interim... thanks for being patient! Jess
It happened today... cheers! This technically counts bot visits too so it is a bit skewed, if there were that many pin collectors, we might be able to populate Delaware!
Petteri Kaakinen submitted the 28,000 serial number today. Thanks for everyone's support... Keep the serial numbers coming!
If you are having issues using Internet Explorer 10 and using the hover/zoom on the photos, your browser may be stuck in a non-compatible rendering mode (sounds fun doesn't it!). I made a change to the site, but you might have the information cached in your browser. You can try Clearing Your Cache. If you still are having issues, let me know!!
5000 nudges and counting... Congratulations!
It was great to see many of you at the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown this past weekend. Many of us have never met in person so it was good to put faces with names and talk about the site and what you think is the most useful path forward. I got great info from both Jay Stafford and Basil LeBlanc on some issues and a big amount of interest in the IPSND mobile app. Im not going to promise a date but I will start working on the app soon!
Thanks to Dan and Holly for a great showdown as usual. The new venue was rockin and I even got to beat Dan Gutchess on his own Firepower which was smokin fast!
Antti Peltonen submitted the 27,000 serial number today. Thanks for everyone's support... Keep the serial numbers coming!
Thanks for your support everyone.
As a first step, there is now an image editor under the submission editor that members have. It allows you to tweak your base uploaded image in several ways. Zoom, Crop, Sharpen, Brightness, Contrast etc. These are nice because you can preview each as you slide the values around and get something that shows off the serial number the best. I will be working on adding it to the main submission pages next so you can do the edits right away rather than having to go back in and edit them. Let me know if you run into any problems with it.
I just added some alerts to member MyIPSND pages that notify you when you have submissions either with missing trait data (perhaps the trait was defined after you submitted the serial) or has been Nudged downwards for some reason. These alerts now link you to a list of those serials so you can update them if you wish. I will be adding more functionality to this soon that will allow you to hide alerts if you don't want to see them or if some submissions you just don't have the info for.
If you use the site and have a smartphone, I would be interested in your feedback on a mobile app. I have been creating one but I figured that before I got too deep, that I should ask you guys your opinion first... novel really. :-) http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/65VNXD7
Im going through and auditing games with serial numbers that don't match the defined masks using this stat table. I do this about once a year to either adjust any already defined serial masks for the games so that submissions with photos are all correct. If there are serials that don't match and they are blatantly different from other submissions, then I will make a judgement call on them... if they came from the old Internet Pinball Project, they will most likely be deleted since there is a lot of garbage data that came in, but it just wasn't verifiable in any way at the time. If the submissions don't match and they came from a person, then I look to see if it is blatantly wrong... like a part number, or a zip code or a phone number from the game. Believe it or not, those DO get submitted sometimes. Anyway, Im also making new mask definitions so that people that submitted rare serials will start to get a little more points for those submissions now that there is a matching mask. Happy Friday! Go drink a beer!
On the grids that have paging enabled, it was always a PITA if you had paged a few times and then followed a link to somewhere else on the site. If you hit your 'back' button to go back to the grid, it would go back to the first page and you would have to remember where you were and page back up to where you originally were. I added functionality for most paged grids so that if you come back to the page, it should put you back on the same page where you left it. Schweeeeet!
Im not sure when, but the image rotating in the submission editor wasn't working, well technically it was working, but it wasn't saving. That is fixed now. Also fixed a problem with Nudge comments being too long caused an overflow in the database, comments are now limited to 500 characters... yes, we are 3.57 times better than Twitter. There was an issue on the nudge queue where the little 'info' icon I added was empty when hovering and that should be better now too. Happy Monday!
Im going to be spending a little more time focused on the Game Traits management so I added a new stat chart showing who has been submitting traits in recent history. Thanks to both Jay St@fford and Pistol Pete for helping me get traits defined for the vast number of games with funny nuances throughout their production run.
I added 'forward' and 'back' arrow buttons to the latest photo uploads chart so it is easy to go through recent photo submissions. I found myself having to look at the statistics table to review recent submissions, so this makes it a little easier and obviously more visual.
I added the new clustering graphics to the game trait listing on the game grids. I also updated the way the data is loaded so it loads asynchronously just like the main serial number listing. It actually seems to load much quicker now. In addition, I added the 'Country' field to the trait listings because I had a feeling that some trends were country bound. As an example, take a look at KISS, it seems that all the plastic playfields except for one have been found outside of the USA.... interesting no?
I made a substantial change to the way that the game serial listings load that will make them faster as the number of serial numbers get larger. For Doozie's like Twilight Zone which currently has 659 serial numbers, the page was taking up to 20 seconds to load while the server churned on all the data. I made the loads happen in chunks asynchronously so things are a bit zippier. I will be working on the Game Traits listing next to add the clustering graphics and also update the loading method. Cheers!
Believe it or not, these 3 GeoMaps that have been on the site since 2007 where some old but nice looking Flash based maps that I heisted from Google Analytics way back when and hacked into the IPSND. Google released public doman GeoMap controls recently so I converted over to those now. They look the same, but you don't need a weird archiac version of the Shoockwave player to view them anymore.
As with all things, there were some oddities with the new game serial number grids. Serials that didn't match a serial mask were all being grouped together into one group and serials with multiple submissions had one of those submission missing in the expando section. Also, in hopes of following in Pistol Pete's footsteps, I added about 400 more serial masks this week. The masks help the new clustering engine work better when serial numbers have Letters or other formatting oddites.
I completely re-wrote the grid that displays the main list of serial numbers for any particular game. The biggest change is that there is a graphical representation of how the SerialBot clusters serial sequences for production calculations. It should make the concept a little more clear and my hopes are to update the grids on the other tabs next. One aspect Im particularly interested in trying is to map game trait values to clusters to see if a particular trait value correlates to a particular cluster in a production run or if the trait values are outside consecutive clusters.
I finally got a Google translate drop down on the site... good thing since they deprecated translate last year, lets see how long it lasts. PS - It is all the way down in the footer, but that was the best place I could find for it layout-wise. Hope that helps some of you out there!
I just added a new snippet of information to each game specific listing in the summary area which is called 'Coverage' (hence the Total Serial Coverage headline). I have been working on this over the past couple months to start doing a little deeper interpretation of the serial data. Im not going to go into it completely but there is a handy little 'help icon' next to the section that describes what it does and how it works. In a nutshell, it basically lets the SerialBot make an educated guess on the range of serial numbers submitted and really helps us understand a potential production run, even if there are skips and gaps in the serial number sequence. This whole process is a step towards making another layer of the site that allows a graphical representation of the serial numbers and their associated properties etc. Please give me your thoughts!
EDIT: I just added extended explanations of this to the FAQ.
We had some downtime as I had to switch IP addresses from my ISP on Monday... it seems the DNS took a bit to get through to everyone and I didn't have the old IP routed to the new location. If you are having troubles seeing the site.... well then... you aren't reading this... but tell your friends that can't see the site to clear their DNS cache or reboot their computer. :-)
Thanks for your support everyone. That number includes bots and is just a counter of active sessions on the site. According to Google, we have had about 264,294 actual people visit the site in that time and that breaks down to 170,824 unique visitors over the past 6+ years. Our average visit per day was about 40 people until the IPDB started linking to us in June 2008, after that, that average visits per day jumped up to 109 and our average visits per day this past week was 198.
I have grander plans for the 'Last Photo Submitted' chart, so it is now a permanant resident at the top of the 3 charts shown on the homepage. The NEXT/PREV only effect the 2nd/3rd charts now. When I get a little more time, I will make the last photo chart a slider where you can scroll through the submitted photos in order.
On top of those changes, I made some 'updates' to structure of the site by removing some really old HTML tags and structures that were holdovers from when tables ruled the internet along with BR and HR. Also, the ZOOM window is now on the photo chart and it has been fixed in IE9 Browsers to put the zoom window in the correct place under the cursor.
After a good discussion with member Bif, he brought up the need for members to be able to skip past nudging of serial numbers if for some reason you just don't want to mess with it... maybe you can't decide, maybe you want to see what someone else thinks first, maybe you just want to pass and move on to others in your queue. Well, I think I have it implemented now and I tested it pretty quickly and it seems to work, so try it out and let me know if you run into any issues. Enjoy!
Antti Peltonen submitted the 25,000th serial number today. Thanks for everyone's support... Keep the serial numbers coming!
I just rolled out some big changes on the site... hope they make things better, if you have issues, email me.
- The serial bot scoring range got an update... since various members have been busy adding game traits to many games, any submission that gives information on the submitted traits, now get an additional point for each trait. That makes the max point value for submissions dynamic... so if a game has two traits defined, and you make a submission that gives data for both traits, you get an additional +2 points. This also makes the 'Highest Quality' chart a little more interesting. I may tweak this a little depending on how it pans out in the big picture, stay tuned and enjoy your new points.
- The Serial Bot scoring graphics have been revamped, they are clearer and hopfully easier to read by being a little crisper, plus they are transparent so they don't have an ugly block behind them.
- I moved several of the site styles up to CSS3 which should make the pages load a little quicker. If your pages look funny now, please upgrade to the latest version of your preferred browser (IE9+ suggested).
Because of the changes, it looks like John Vorwerk jumped over 10K points... congrats John!!!
Fixed a few bugs that had been around awhile. The one that is probably the most impactful is for those of you that print off the serial number certificates. On some manufacturers which had very long 'official' names, that name would run off the right side of the page. I made short names for manufacturers so this would not happen. Print away!
I also had a bug where you could nudge serials even if they were closed, I won't go into the details on how to do that tho. :-)
Pistol Pete has been helping out a bunch on the site by going through and critiquing many games to define and refine serial masks for the different games. If you don't know what serial masks are and how they help the database, here is a quick summary.
The serial mask defines one or many different formats for a serial number specific to a game. This tells the SerialBot if the submitted serials are the expected format, and shows example serial numbers on the submission page to help you all understand the best way to submit your serial numbers.
Just so you can start to see the amount of work that Pistol Pete has been doing, I also created a new statistic table that shows recently defined serial number masks.
Even if you have an 8 for a serialbot score, please revisit your submissions from time to time. As more information on games becomes available there may be new traits you can add to a game's log.
There are also some submissions where there is an obvious typo in the entered serial number yet the photo was summarily given a thumbs up. The result is a serial number that, though close to the photo, does not match.
Nudgers: Please don't look only at the serial number, but at the background to be sure the photo is of the named game. If you're not sure, check IPDB.org for additional photographs. Sometimes a submission for one game can have a photo from another by mistake.
Submitters: It happens. Late at night, distracted, whatever. The number you typed, well, it's one digit short but still passes the serial number mask. Maybe the number is from game "A" but the photo is for game "B". Please check your submission after it's uploaded. If you're registered you can make your own corrections. If you're not registered then email the webmaster who can correct the serial number on your behalf.
To all: Thanks for your efforts!
Our 'Nudge Masters' play an important role on the site. They make sure that photos match the submissions and put that critical eye on everything. They keep the data clean, which makes the data more valuable. One thing that is fun to see are the submissions where there is a nudge war, it only takes a swing of +/- 3 nudges to close out a nudge, but there have been photos where the balance stayed even up through 25 nudges with heated debates on the accuracy of the submission photo. I made up a handy little query that shows the most contentious nudges in celebration of our esteemed QC masters.
I added another stat chart showing submissions in the last 90 days by serial bot score. It currently shows some terrific numbers mostly due to Antti's awesome run of submissions all with photos and geolocations. Im going to start turning my focus to getting more serial masks defined in the coming months since only 38% have masks defined currently. I will also go through and make game part auto-assign masks for all the Data East games as I have noticed that there are lots of game parts belonging to those Data East games. Of course, for specific manufacturers (Williams most notably excluded), the PCB serial numbers can be identified to a specific game by a 'game model' prefix or suffix.
I added two new charts into the rotation which show some information on serial submissions and how many have extra information like a Photo and/or GeoLocation data... it is definitely getting more common to get both of those pieces of info with newer submissions. The other chart shows submissions which contain trait data. As the traits grow, we are collecting more and more production oddity data which allows us to understand minor differences in a game through the production run.
I fixed a bug on the Manufacturers page which was causing game counts to not show. While I was fixing it, I added a few new columns showing serial counts, production date, production run as well, this is now a pretty nice summary and all columns are sortable if you want to see the data differently. In addition, I added some more details on the specific Manufacturer pages linked off that page, a little more info on each manufacturer now too.
It is pretty common for me to get questions about why game part submissions don't let you specify the game (if you want to know more read the FAQ). In the past I sort of manually went through the game part submissions to see if they happened to be for a game that had the game explicitly defined in the serial number (generally a prefix number, see here for more info and examples). Well, I made a little routine that runs after every game part submission that looks to see if the submitted serial number matches one of these well known serial formats and it gets assigned automatically. This will do two things for y'all...
I will keep monitoring this new 'feature' to make sure it doesn't go awry, but I think it should work out okay. Upon first run tonight, it assigned about 300 game part serial submissions a matching game.
Looks like a few things were acting funny in IE9. Most notably the Zoom window on the serial number submissions and the Nudge Queue were pretty much unusable. I fixed these today and I have been working on several new stats now that the database is about to cross 25,000 serials!!! Thanks for the participation!
It's that time of year again, time for the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown... in south Denver from April 27-29th, 2012. Dan and Holly organize a great show and there are so many great games brought by collectors in the area. Keep watch on their website for updates, and start practicing for the tournaments.
Hey everyone... sorry about the downtime... I had a hard drive fail on my brand new (2 weeks old) database server and oddly, since it was raid, took a lot more time to get fixed than normal. I thought I was going to have to fall back to a database copy from 2 weeks ago, but I managed to get everything back to normal now.
Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays to all 2297 members and other pinheads out there. Thanks for supporting the site and the hobby. Be safe and see you next year. 23, 295 submissions and counting.
The site was down for about a day and a half due to some database issues. The database grew and used up my drive space so I had to give it a little more allocation. Seems to be feeling better now.
It is time... time for my mediocre photoshop logo to improve, however I just can't do it. I need your help. If you fancy yourself a pinball aficionado AND someone with graphical skills, send in your logos for the month of November and I will post them into a survey where everyone can vote on their favorites. You will get credit of course on the 'About' page and your work will be on display to everyone and something to be proud of. Logos bring demz! Email logos to email@example.com.
I put in some new functionality on the serial number submission pages and the member edit for that fixed an issue with the Google Map and also took care of some weird things happening if you put in information in a specific order. Basically, I made the photos and location sections work via AJAX which makes it a little more user friendly. Also, another thing that always annoyed me (and slowed the site down), is that the user stats in the login box now loads asynchronously and should always be accurate on your current nudges remaining.
Since I was stuck in bed for a few days after knee surgery, I responded to about 15 emails that I had sitting in my inbox and also fixed a few items that had been broken for a while. Nothing super big except I will say, some pages should look better in Internet Explorer now. Thanks.
I just wanted to remind everyone that photos can be a touchy subject on the internet with copyright etc. Over the years, many photos from the IPDB have made their way into the serial number database which is useful, however, sometimes the owners of those photos don't appreciate the heisting of the image without their permission so please don't post images that are not yours to share. I want to operate the IPSND with as much transparency as possible so Im going to implement a few 'reminders' on the submission pages and also make it easier for copyright owners to request images be removed from the site if they feel strongly about it. Some existing IPDB image will also be removed based upon some feedback I have received. However, with ~5000 images in the database you all have done some amazing work documenting serials... thanks!
It has been a crazy summer, Im getting all my pinball machines back (including two which have been down at New Belgium Brewing for the past year). I have also been working on my server infrastructure here a little. I finally have ESXi set up and will be transferring all my servers into their new virtual environment on Sunday night. Not sure this will do much for performance of the site right now, but it will help my sanity (and my backups). Im going to put the IPSND into maintenance mode sometime on Sunday night until the transfer is complete. Apologies for the interruption!
- It will get your part submissions showing up in the game listing ASAP.
- It will get you another point from the SerialBot.
Okay, this is sort of a no-brainer when you really think about it, but Wes M. beat everyone to the punch in showing his ingenuity and quick wit by submitting a serial photo that included a paper rubbing of the serial above the actual serial. As we all know, those impression serials can be much easier to read in person rather than via a photo and Wes' method helps take away any ambiguity I think. Check out his photo here... http://www.ipsnd.net/details.aspx?id=20953. Thanks Wes!
I had some issues with my NIC on my webserver this weekend so the site was down Saturday and Sunday. Im going to look into virtualizing all my servers this month to solve several issues so we will see how that improves things. Also, on a side note, I change my Internet Speeds in the past couple of weeks which increased my upload limit from 1Mbit to 5Mbit so site speed should be a bit snappier. Thanks to everyone who has given me donations recently as I am applying this directly to a new server!!
After talking to Marco A. about the Zaccaria games and their various serial number formats. He pointed me to Federico's Italian Owners List Site which has a nice collection of serials that can help me get the masks defined for these games. I have the Gen II games defined and will continue working on the earlier games over this weekend.
I queried this out of curiosity and everything is lookin good...
2006 - 1046 Submissions (doesn't include IPP serials)
2007 - 1528 Submissions
2008 - 3223 Submissions
2009 - 2849 Submissions
2010 - 3277 Submissions
2011 - 500 (as of Feb 13th)
Keep em coming!!!
Not sure what it exactly means but 20,000 sounds like a lot at least. The 20,000th serial was submitted by Bob Romeo today for Time Fantasy... ah, so close to my heart (Time Fantasy, not Bob... Sorry Bob). Thanks to everyone that supports the site and keeps it lively. We will just keep chuggin' away at these things!! :-)
We had a handful of Stern/Sega submissions that were prefixed with an 'E', seemingly meaning that it was an 'Export Game'. The problem was that the game definition in the database only had one serial number mask defined which did not give the option of the E. It seems many of the games that went to Canada or Europe and had serials submitted had the E dropped in the submission. This problem came to light because of a recent submission by Marco Albus for Viper Night Drivin' in which he dropped the E since it was saying that by including it, the submission didn't match any masks. Luckily some of the nudgers were debating the accuracy of the submission and I caught it. I added 'Export Game' masks for all Sega/Stern games so this will not be a problem any more. I also changed Marco's submission (thanks Marco, I still own you an email too) to include the E and went through and tried to find all other submissions that had a photo to verify they should have had an E and changed those. So... great job being strict on the nudging everyone, plus if you ever see 'problems' like this, let me know via email and I will gladly try and get things put in proper order for sanity. Cheers!
Based upon some feedback I received from Jim Smith, I changed the way the nudge queue looks on the screen. His suggestion was to move the comment field up above the voting buttons since it wasn't apparent that you had to put a comment in *before* clicking the thumbs-up or thumbs-down buttons. So, I think he makes a great point, so it has been moved. Additionally, I changed the way that the 'My Nudges' page works under your profile... not only does this list all the nudges you have completed but it also allows you to see what your nudge was and what everyone else has nudged. In addition, you can also *delete* your nudges if you want to change anything about your first attempt. I think this should help out everyone on the nudging front... thanks Jim!
I added a few new questions and answers to the FAQ based upon the fact that the nudging feature isn't very well explained on the site anywhere. I also added some answers to some other questions concerning submitting serial numbers multiple times (as the same person). John V posed an interesting question about re-submitting a serial again rather that editing it in the case of selling a game. What I did was allow duplicate serial number submissions by the same person as long as it is more than 90 days after the first submission. I don't think people are going to abuse this loophole and try to rack up tons of points on the same serial, but please don't try as I run reports to monitor that sort of stuff anyway. :-)
Well, Im pretty sure that the concept of members having my personal nudges listed under theirs on the MyIPSND nudge page was fairly interesting, John V. pointed out that it might not be. I fixed that issue tonight so you can actually see your own nudges. I still need to add some more fields so you can see your nudge along with the final vote for comparison.
Also, I added 'Social Media' links on the homepage and the game pages. Mostly for fun since my day job incorporates lots of social media. I was sort of wondering if we can dis-prove the perception that pinball collectors are anti-social!!?? Let the experiment begin!
ipsnd.net vs www.ipsnd.net - Both of these URL's work, but I added some code so everyone will be gently nudged to using www.ipsnd.net. Having both URL's available was really making the social media links work poorly, so now the fully qualified name is where you will end up automagically even if you type in the short version.
We crossed the 5 mil mark this past week. Pretty cool considering the site runs on a crappy old computer that I paid $300 for about 6 years ago and I did this in my free time. Thanks for everyone that participates on the site.. we will be coming to 20K serials here pretty soon... maybe that requires a pinball party at my house when it happens! :-)
I just imported over 500 serials from our esteemed friend Daina P. who had gathered these numbers from his repair jobs over the last 10 years. Remember, if you have lots of serials to import, I can help make it a little less painful. I should probably write a little Droid application to make submitting pics easier ehh? Better put that one on the development queue.
Due to a flurry of Game Trait submissions by Jay Stafford and a great discussion on how to accurately describe some of them, I have added the ability for users to upload a photo with each new Game Trait defined. After trying to describe a trait for Capt. Fantastic, using words only, it became clear that a picture can truly be 1000 words. Keep watch for some more development around this idea in the next few weeks. Thanks Jay!
The original feed only showed the top 25 feeds. After using this for awhile, it was a little annoying actually since somedays there are quite a few submissions and I was missing them in the feed and had to go back to the statistics page to see the rest. Anyway, I changed the list to show the last 100 submissions instead based upon that reasoning. Plus, since some nudgers are now using this feature, you can also adjust the feed URL to only show submissions with photos (http://www.ipsnd.net/submissions.rss?photos=1). I will be adding some more functionality to all the feeds over the coming weeks that allow better versatility on getting what you want to see. If you have any specific suggestions, let me know. thanks.
I just created a new RSS feed that shows the latest submissions on the site. I did this so that with my handy Windows 7 sidebar, I can subscribe to the feed and see what is going on pretty easily from work or where-ever. I also thought it would be handy for those 'super-nudgers' that keep watch for submissions with nudge-ready photos. The info is on the RSS Page and the direct link to the new RSS channel is http://ipsnd.net/submissions.rss
Looks like Qwest didn't quite have things set up correctly as my static IP started changing on me. Some of you may have been unable to reach the site over the course of the past 2 days. They fixed my account and I have just updated DNS again to the new hopefully static IP address. Things should smooth out in the next 24 hours. They also informed me that my 40Mb/s line is only set up for 12Mb/s so I will see if I can get that put back where it should be tomorrow. Since my connection is VDSL2 rather than ATM, I should have upload speeds around 10Mb/s (which is download speeds for you)... that is 10x faster than I had in Laramie.
If you are reading this, then the migration of the site from Laramie, WY to Fort Collins, CO has been successful. I am now running on a Qwest VDSL2 connection with a theoretical speed of 40Mbits/second down (up for you) and 20Mbits/second up (down for you). That is a pretty hefty improvement over what I had up in Laramie with ATM DSL so we will see how it goes. If you notice that the sites is better (or worse!), drop me a line and let me know.... Im curious to see if this connection is actually any better. Thanks... jess
I added a little new logic to the serial number submission page that dynamically checks the serial number against any defined serial number masks in the database. If the submission doesn't match, you get a little more information right up front rather that not knowing until after you submit the serial. I also fixed some dumb typos on the Game Part submission page and added some links to the reasoning behind not associating game parts with a specific game.
Looks like while I wasn't paying attention, that we crossed the 17,000 serial mark and also 4 Million Visitors on May 15th. I have been working on a few new charts that show the trendlines for both of these metrics since the site started, they are unusually constant which I didn't really expect to see. I should get them up here in the next few weeks into the regular statistic charts.
We had a pretty massive wind storm here on Thursday night and lost power for about 8 hours. My database server didn't come back up after that little downtime incident (looks like the motherboard is the issue), so I had to transfer to the database over to a different machine and get everything configured. Things will run this way for a few weeks and then Im planning to move to a virtual environment which will make servers a little more manageable (I think!). Everything *should* be up and running now. Let me know if you run into any issues. Thanks.
Don't forget to swing by the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown from Friday-Sunday this weekend in Golden, CO. Dan and Holly put on a great show and there are lots of unique games slated to show up this year!!!! I will be giving a presentation on the Internet Pinball Serial Number Database on Saturday @ 4PM to go over features and get feedback from all you!!!
Fixed a small issue where accounts that were locked out due to too many invalid passwords couldn't be re-enabled via the automated system of emails. I also had a fairly entertaining postfix mail server issue on April 15th due to ClamAV disabling their daemon if the version was too old. That is the problem with Linux, it works so well that you never really have to touch the box.... who knew it had been on and functional for 3 years without a reboot!!!
The statistical charts that show on the right have classically been .jpgs for maximum compatibility. Being that Google Analytics is showing that over 95% of you have Flash installed, I changed them into .swf format now. The one nice thing this give is that the data points can now have a URL associated with them. So for instance, most of the bar charts are now clickable on the bar and will take you to the page for that member or game. I will keep trying to enhance these little graphs more in the future too.
Also, I fixed an issue with the Affiliate pages that was causing an odd error on sites that linked to the 'real time IPSND data grids'. If anyone is still having any issues, send me an email and I will take a deeper look.
I fixed some issues with the login form (upper right corner) that was preventing IE 7 + 8 users from being able to just hit the 'Return' key for logging in. The old form always seemed to work for Firefox users but for IE 7 + 8, you would have to explicitly click on the login button. Either way, this should now be fixed so you IE users shouldn't be as confused anymore. :-)
It has become apparent over the last year that some users would really like to help participate in the site in various areas. I didn't have a lot of security driven functionality outside of one superuser (me) and then members having access to their own info. I have created three new security roles and assigned some users into those groups based upon conversations I have had. The two new roles are 'Mask Moderator' which allows a user to create, edit and delete any serial number mask in the database. The next one is a 'Serial Snooper' and this role allows the user to edit and/or delete any serial submission in the IPSND. The final one is a typical 'Administrator' and allows the user to do user maintenance, assign roles and run Synchronizations with the Internet Pinball Database. If you are interested in learning about these roles and their responsibilities drop me an email.
I added a new main menu item called 'Development Tasks' that shows the current queue of stuff that I am trying to work on and what I am planning on working on in the near or not-so-near future. The idea is that members can submit topics here and if they cut the mustard, they will go onto the development list. There have been some great topics coming up about deeper questions on how the IPSND should interpret and collect data and hopefully those lead to more insight and more development on my end.
I deployed new code today that has the newest version of Telerik RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX this morning. So, some of the grids look a little different at this point. My goal is to soon give members the ability to choose their skin in the member preferences which would allow members to customize the way the IPSND looks for them. The 'big picture' goal is to take this to the point where even the background images can be selected by category... so for example, a member might select 'EM Games' as their preference on backgrounds, and so they would only get older EM games showing for their random backgrounds.
We have had a total of 10,000 nudges in just under 1 year since I added the Nudging feature. It has been interesting to see how the submissions started getting photo's attached more often now that nudging can directly affect the scoring of a submission. We will see how the new commenting feature works for nudging over the coming year. Just to mark a milestone the current leading member of nudges is 'King of Pinball' who currently has 925 nudges.
One more quick feature for the evening before I start to do 'real' work. I added the ability for members to add a comment to their nudges in the main nudge queue. You can also see all the other nudges that exist with their score and comment for comparison purposes before you vote. I added this because on some of the more controversial nudging threads, I really couldn't see why some people voted a certain way. Even tho it is optional, maybe this will allow members to 'vent' along with their vote! Have fun!
I fixed a bug in the submission edit form that was changing the submission type (Full Game, Body Only, Head Only or Game Part) when you would edit any GamePart. The bug was changing the type from a Part submission to a 'Body Only' submission. John Vorwerk noticed this issue on his submissions... thanks John. Another change I made today was with the Nudges Remaining counter in the member stats box. This number was updating every 15 minutes just like the rest of the stats and was a bit misleading especially if you were in the process of nudging a bunch of serials and the box still said you had X number of nudges remaining. Im working on getting the entire stats engine to be realtime rather than batch processes every 15 minutes. The process is time consuming just because the counters require queries that span about 15 tables and as the site grows, these tables only get bigger and hence take longer to execute.
When I deployed that last 'upgrade' several of the other statistics pages broke due to a ViewState issue. I have fixed the issue and the stats should all be feeling much better now. More stats to come soon!! Keep watch!
Looks like the page showing games lists by manufacturer had a bug in it that excluded games without any serial submissions. This came to light due to a question from Jay Stafford about Alvin G. and Company serial numbers and their formats. For these games being fairly new, we definitely don't seem to have many serials registered so far. Out of the 12 games manufactured, there are only serials for 5 of those games. If you have any Alvin G. games, please register the serials so we can start to understand the formats for these games. One item of distinction is that these games sometimes have both a 'serial number' and a 'cabinet number', please register the 'serial number'!
I just added two new statistics to the stats page that show top submitters by total points and top members by most nudges. I am in the process of overhauling the stats page and the engine behind the statistics to make it more accurate. There is actually a bug in the statistics engine that a few of you have pointed out to me and I have known about it, but just didn't have the time to get it fixed. Since Basil LeBlanc is now moving up the charts so strongly, I should get it fixed as it will not give him credit for several rankings. In the past, it only affected me since I had so many points, so I didn't mind. :-)
The site was down today for 4-5 hours while I played around with some hardware issues. I thought I would improve the server a bit today by adding some more memory and it all fell apart from there.... after reboot, none of my network interfaces existed and they just wouldn't come back. I threw in a temporary one and it worked fine, so we are running on auxilliary NIC right now. I should be able to get this resolved today still. My apologies for any interruptions if you get booted from the site. Thanks for the patience.
Looks like we crossed the 3 million visitor mark earlier today. Thanks everyone for your support, the serials are pouring in at a faster rate than ever before!!
I just finished a fairly large database synchronization with the IPDB that included about 600 database updates. I try and synchronize with those guys every now and again to keep my database up to date with all the great info they collect. Overall, the IPSND gets the game name, manufacturer, manufactured date, mpu type, game type, abbreviations, production run and associated flags. Without the excellent quality and data normalization of the IPDB, this entire process would be much more difficult. Thanks again guys!
Just an update on the serial number photos... since this feature was rolled out in Feb 2008, we have collected over 1000 photos of serial submissions. That is about 1 in 4 submissions that have an attached photo. This is pretty damn nice and I appreciate all you that are taking the extra effort to get that camera into sometimes difficult positions and lighting situations to grab that high quality photo. In addition, our average nudge balance is 2 positives for every 1 negative nudge so that means the photo quality is also edging much better than it is worse. I thought these numbers were interesting enough to share with everyone... thanks all... keep the photos coming!
We had a power outage here in Laramie once again while out of town for the week... for some reason my router didn't reboot properly when power came back up so the site was down for the last day... my aplogies. All should be well now.
Pete Knoll requested that the member submission editor form allow members to update their custom game traits (for example... Playfield Plastics Artwork Style on BK2k). I finally got a little bit of time to take care of this so the edit form now has a section for updating and/or removing these fields. This should be nice as submissions that were entered prior to the trait being defined can now go back and update their trait. Thanks Pete!
I received an email from Heinz Ostlund this week asking how he could change his IPSND member password, as I was logging into the site to get the direct link to the 'change password' page, I discovered that there wasn't a 'change password' page... hmmmmm. I really thought I had done that, but low-and-behold, I apparently had not. So, for all of you members that have silently dealt with this lacking feature for so long (and Heinz too), I just got one put out there. It is accessible under the 'MyIPSND' link in the account summary box in the upper right of the screen.
There is a new tab on each game detail page now simply called 'Map' which will show a very pretty Google Map of all submissions that had a GeoLocation entered. It is pretty basic now but it does look pretty cool. This ties into the new statistic I added a few days ago showing games with most Geolocations submitted. Currently there are 517 distinct games and 1100 locations which using current totals is about 10% of the games and about 7% of the total submissions. Keep those GeoLocations coming in!!
Based upon a conversation with Pete Knoll last week about the quality of the uploaded images, it was deemed that the ipsnd image processor was affecting the quality of images even under the magnification tool. I reworked this code so that under magnification, the image shown will be exactly as the uploaded photo was without any degradation effects from processing. I think Pete made a good point in seeing this issue and hopefully it will affect nudges in a positive way. Thanks Pete!!
There is a new statistic showing games listed by number of submissions with a geolocation. You can see the stat on the Statistics Page to get an idea of games with the most Lattitude/Longitude data available. This feature is the first in a slew of related features I will be rolling out this week.... keep watch for more info.
We will be down on Saturday March 28th for one hour from 8:30-9:30PM Mountain Standard Time (GMT -7:00) in order to participate in Earth Hour. Please take the time to participate in this global event whereever you live!! As long as my servers come back up after cooling down we should be up and running pretty quick afterwards, if Im not back up, then the capacitors on my motherboards have probably dried up to the point of too much AC ripple!!
Now that the nudging has been running a while I have been looking a the data and it has been pretty nice so far. Members are doing a terrific job of weeding out the bad photos by consistently nudging them down. In some instances submitters have re-submitted a new clearer photo in order to reset the bad nudges their bad nudges and start fresh. One thing that I have noticed however is that on those submissions that are quite clear and close, that the nudging was very one-sided and it was getting silly to allow people to keep nudging since it was clear that the photo was accurate. So, I have implemented a new rule on nudging... if a serial has received more than 5 nudges and the sum of those nudges is more than 4 or less than -4, then the nudge will automatically close. This should keep things a little cleaner from a storage standpoint. We will see how it goes, Im guessing the nudge rules will still be changing in the future. If you have any questions or suggestions, drop me an email.
I went through and cleaned up the serial masks for all the Gottlieb System One games in order to better classify them and due to lots of submissions by 'Roller Disco Rocks'. The System 1 games have fairly straighforward serial formats but since it is clear that sample games start at 1000 and production games always start at numbers greater than 2000, it is very possible to define very strict masks for these games. Additionally, since the game PCB's contain the serial number *plus* the Game ROM Letter as a suffix, these serials can also be defined quite nicely.
Seems like my ISP had some issues last night and we were down from midnight until 11AM MST (-7:00 GMT). In this process I also discovered that I am still reliant on the Qwest DSLAM so I will work on changing that so I go directly to my ISP's DSLAM which will help with troubleshooting in the future. Hat's off to Visionary Communications who is my ISP and always takes very good care of me.
At the request of Mark Gibson, I have added two new ways for you to view stats about nudges that have happened. The first is a simple table in the Stats Page that shows up to 250 of the most recent nudges. The second is a section at the bottom of the detail page for any submission. If there has been a photo uploaded, then of course the SerialBot score box on the right shows the summed totals of all the nudges, but now, down below, there is a grid that actually shows all the nudges.. the date, who nudged and the nudge direction. In theory, these should always add up to the nudge total shown at the top of the form even tho they are being calculated in two completely seperate ways. :-)
Now that the nudging feature has been rolled out and based upon some stats, I have modified the algorithim for calculating SerialBot scores and adjusted the 'Physically Viewed' property to only gain the submission +1 point instead of +2 points. After looking at submissions, it was apparent that while physically viewing a serial might give some advantage to accuracy, it might also not as people are just as hasty on reading actual serial numbers off games and might even pay less attention and give less scrutiny to the number than reading a number off a photo. So, for now, I have changed this. Everyone's scores will reflect this change immediately and you can see the average pretty much dropped by 1 point.
There is a new page (accessible in the login box for members) that gives a really easy to use interface to members in order to quickly move through all the photos that a user has not yet nudged. Since I want to make nudging as easy as possible, this should really help. Remember, members get an additional point for each nudge so it is really simple to gain lots of points simply by reviewing the submitted photos to see if they match the submitted serial number.
There is a new feature on the site for members that I just deployed. I call it 'Nudging' and it basically means that members can vote on photos that have been uploaded with other people's submissions, if they feel the photo accurately shows the serial number and is correct, they can 'nudge' the SerialBot score up by one point. If the photo is innacurate or does not show the serial number clearly, then they can 'nudge' it down a point. Any number of members can 'nudge' any serial but the total points that can be gained or lost is currently limited to 3. We will see how it goes. Im still working on all the scoring algorithims so things may be a little out of whack for a couple days till I catch the bugs.
I have been added background worker processes to the website to do things like generating the quickstats at the top of the page as well as the user stats that display when a member is logged in. Unfortunately, these worker process were taking up huge amounts of memory and bogging down the CPU when they ran and conglomerated all the data. Either way, I spent some time this week learning about threading and additionally using exclude fields in LLBLGen. After some improvements the aggregation processes now run substantially faster and with much memory consumption. This should make the site snappy like it used to be and maybe even faster since the quickstats don't run on each page load now.
I added 4 new answers to the Frequently Asked Questions that dealt with some of the newer features and some member questions that I received alot. If you have other questions, feel free to email me.
Thanks for everyone's support over the last few years... the site has really come along and we are getting great traffic. Special thanks to the Internet Pinball Database as they refer so many pinheads this way!!!!
I completely overhauled the interface that members use to edit their submissions. The old way used inline forms and that was becoming slow and clunky. I moved the edits to it's own page which allows members to edit all aspects of their submissions including photos and Lat/Lng locations.
I put anther stat in the chart rotation that shows members with the most serialbot points. I thought this was fairly interesting because although 'pinballeric' currently has the most submissions by quite a bit, he doesn't have a huge lead over #2 Dan Gutchess as far as total points. This is because the serial numbers that Eric gave me (from the Pinball Price Guide) don't have any photos and were not physically viewed so that dropped the points per submission that Eric had. Dan you only need like 350 more points to catch up to Eric now!!!!
The Most Recent Submissions statistic works more like the rest of the grids now in that it shows icons next to the serial number if there is a photo and/or and Lat/Lng submitted. This makes it easy to see in that list which items might be interesting to look at. I will be removing the stat page that lists submissions with Photo's since that stat is now easily seen via this page change.
I changed the way the 'details' about submissions are viewed. I had about 3 different pages that all had something to do with showing summary information on a single submission plus most of the details were shown in-line with the sumission grids. The grids were getting slow as games started to get 200+ serials and they were just sorta clunky. I made the details link go to a new page now that gives all the submission specific info along with the submitted Lattitude/Longitide and the photo if available. This page also shows the history of a serial number in case there were other submissions in the past. Hopefully this should make things work a bit cleaner. I will be working on making the 'edit' process easier for members next. Stay tuned!
I had to install a new router today and reconfigure my firewall so the site was down a couple of hours today. All seems to be running fine now. I will keep watch for any issues. If you get any strange errors, please let me know. Thanks.
Don't let this tuesday go by without voting!!! It is your right and privilege, don't squander it. Get your ass out there!!!
There are two new 'quickstats' in the page header... Masks which show the number of games that have a valid game serial format mask defined. This is a regular expression that defines what is a good vs. bad serial number for each game. Right now we only have about 34% of the games defined and I will be working on slowly improving that number as more serials show up. If submissions have a photo, it makes defining a mask even easier as the picture never lies. The other quickstat is Traits, these used to be called 'Community Defined Fields' but that was long and boring, they are now called 'Traits', this is a count of the number of traits defined on all games. Additionally, there is a new statistic on the Stat page that shows number of games without a mask defined by the number of submissions, this gives me a really easy way to see games that might have enough serials (generally 3-4) to try and guess on a serial format mask.
Yes, that's right... for a perpetual time, you get two charts on the right side of this screen for the same low low price of the one that used to be there. You will see incredible improvements on your ability to absorb new and informative statistics about the usage of this site along with subconscious needs to submit more serial numbers. Call Now!
In my haste to deploy the new 'Lat/Lng' quickstat this morning before I went to work, I accidentally broke most of the site. All should be up and running now.
There was a problem with the query that calculated the top submitters by submission quality that is now fixed. The issue was for people that had photos submitted and was causing those SerialBot points not to be tallied properly. You will now see that our quality of submissions is drifting upwards!!! Thanks everyone!!
There is a new chart in the rotation that shows submissions for the past week. It will of course only show submissions that have a Lat/Lng associated with them, so remember that when you submit. It took me 3 weeks to get the Flash file to display the dots as blue rather than the default Google Analytics Orange color but finally it works. If anyone out there is proficient in Flash Actionscript 1.0 with massive amounts of prototyping, I could use your help. Going from C# to AS1 is not pretty!!! Enjoy!
I added the new google map locator to the Game Parts page now too. You may now submit your Lat/Lng with any game part serial submission just like full game serials.
There is a new section on the game serial submission page that allows you to set the location of the game serial number you are submitting. While there currently is not a way to view this information. I will be working on that over the next few weeks. What I hope to accomplish with this is to see how a game travels over the years as it is bought and sold etc. My next step will be to get this map interface onto the game parts submission page.
I have moved the site over to a new web server which is a bit more capable than my old Athlon XP 1900+ and has more memory as well. It was getting to the point where I had to reboot the server every week due to memory leaks (thanks ASP.NET or Windows Server). There were some interuptions this weekend while I did the switchover but I think that all is well now.
There is a new obscure quickstat listed in the header... 'Highest Quality'... this shows the person that has the highest overall average of serial bot scores across all their submissions. You have to have at least 10 submissions to get in this stat as it is easy to have a high score on one submission. I added this to give credit to those submitters that take the time to submit only 'in person' serials and accompany them with a picture (the best way to get a high serialbot score). Also, there is a new chart in the rotation that shows the top 5 highest averages by submitter!!
I threw another chart into the rotation that displays the number of servers that have been blacklisted by me by day. While this isn't probably the most interesting statistic to everyone, it is good for me to see and also gives you an idea of the number of crappy bots that are out there attempting to inject and expliot my servers on a regular basis. These logs only show the attacks that make it past my Packet Inspection Firewall and generally attempt to post data with flagged keywords such as 'Viagra' :-)
It took me about a month but I have now switched over to Telerik's newest WebControl suite which sits on top of the Microsoft AJAX framework instead of utilizing Telerik's own AJAX framework. What this actually means is that some of the skins look a little more modern and most of the advanced AJAX calls work *much* faster (especially noticeable in the member's MyIPSND edit grid). Overall, this should be a good stepping stone into the future for ASP. Since this was a fairly major overhaul, if you run into any issues, PLEASE send me an email so I can get it fixed up as quickly as possible.
I added a new chart that shows top referring sites as extracted from Google Analytics. I figured this would help show the benefit this site gets from some of the other popular pinball sites such as The Internet Pinball Database and Pinside.
I am going to start adding a few more charts and also making them available on the Statistics page. For those of you that don't want to cycle through all the front page charts one-by-one, there is now a link in the lower right corner of the charts that allows you to see them all on one page.
Special thanks to Eric Kantor who donated all the serial numbers that Steve Young compiled over the years for The Pinball Price Guide. There were over 1100 serial numbers in the spreadsheet that Eric sent me covering Gottlieb and Williams EM games. Since the price guide only tracked high and low serials, you can see that they are often the highest and lowest serial numbers in the submissions. Thanks again Eric!!
Looks like we were down for most of today due to my SQLServer running out of disk space. I apparently need to learn how to clean up my database backups a little better as I ran out of disk space on the SQL box. Luckily SQL 2005 behaves better than SQLServer v7.0 when disk space mysteriously dissapears and everything is up and running again without even a reboot.
Thanks to Wolf and Jay at the The Internet Pinball Database who have added matching links on every game in their database to the IPSND game page. This will help keep even more traffic coming our way and should encourage more people to submit their serial numbers. Thanks again guys!!
You can now click on the SerialBot score for each submission and get a detailed explanation of that score and the color code. As the scoring has gotten a little more complicated, it seems that this information would be useful to submitters or serial number compilers.
You may now submit photos directly in the game part submission form instead of having to go into your MyIPSND submissions to edit the entry. This should make it much easier than before for the couple of you that are submitting game parts with photos on a regular basis.
I have changed the way that the site sends emails due to some problems with the way the larger domains (yahoo, hotmail, gmail, etc) configure their mailservers. The update also takes care of getting mail sucessfully sent to a server that uses greylisting as SPAM prevention. As a reminder too, if you become a member, you will not have to verify your serial number submissions via email which will keep your inbox healthier!
Another side effect of the large storms that rolled through the area was that a stream washed out some qwest fiber around the Douglas area. Apparently three OC48's were cut by debris on Thursday afternoon. We are finally back up with internet service on Saturday morning.
Laramie had some tornado issues this Thursday and our power was out overnight due to those and some heavy snow. I'm bringing the servers back up right now so we should be good to go in a few minutes.
After emailing a few times with Robin at pinside.com, we have both agreed to change our sites a little to provide links off each game page to each other. This wasn't quite as easy as linking up to the IPDB but Robin and I figured out a way to make it work. You will now see links to Pinside on most games produced after 1975 on each game page. Thanks Robin!
I changed the way the site works a little based on feedback at the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown last month. Instead of mailing out verification emails for every submission for everyone, now, they only go out to non-members. So, if you become a member, your submission will automatically be set to a status of 'verified' without needing to deal with checking your email for every submission. Since members already have their identity known, it is safe for us to assume that those submissions have a certain level of integrity.
I will be doing a pin-chat at the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown next week, the chat will be a tour of the IPSND, how it is built, the database and all the interesting stuff that I can show from the site. You will also learn some advanced usage of the site features.
Well it has been just about 2 years now and we have crossed the million visitor mark. Looking deeper into the stats, most of those visits are by bots it appears but it is a legitimate session count when the visit I suppose. Thanks to everyone that has continued to support the site and keep the submissions coming!!
There is a new statistic that lists latest submissions that include a photo. A nice way to browse all the pretty pictures everyone submits!
I have updated the logic for the search results so that it does two new things. Now, the number of players is also listed in the results to better clarify the games from each other, plus the results are now sorted descending by number of submissions for that game so that the post popular games exist at the top of the list. Since I don' really have a fancy search engine, this should give back more applicable results at the top of the list.
Members may now upload photos for existing submissions by going to their member profile page and editing the submission. You can also replace existing photo uploads via the same interface. Right now, there is only 1 photo per submission however.
In the area to the right where the charts and the google analytics exist, there is a new item in the rotation that shows the most recent member uploaded photo that has been put into the database. FYI, there are currently 9 different items that rotate in the chart panel on the front page.
Members can now do some basic editing of uploaded photos, right now there are tools for rotating and flipping images. I will also be monitoring images uploaded by non-members and doing rotations etc to get them presented properly.
Based on the traffic and feedback from my post on RGP last night, I have fixed several bugs relating to the Emailing issue, login accounts and Activation processes and the Affiliate configuration script. There is also a new 'remember me' checkbox in the login control so you can keep your default email on a computer by computer basis.
There are some issues with the confirmation email going out to yahoo, gmail and other large ISP's. Im changing the code now but the site will be a bit flaky for the next 10 minutes while I deploy the updates. Thanks for your patience.
We will call this a BETA test for now, but you can now attach photo's to your serial number submissions that show the serial number explicitly. This will potentially solve so may problems over time as we get more and more submissions and error's gradually pile up. This is only the first step in a bigger picture solution but it is pretty cool to see them for now. You can either upload a photo from your local PC or specify a web URL for the photo. The image is stored in our local IPSND database so it is archived along with the submission. Submissions that have an attached photo are 'starred' in the serial number listings.
The Serial Bot has been improved to not only categorize submissions into various 'status' levels but it now assigns a point value to each submission that ranges from 1-5. This value basically shows how accurate a submission is based on several factors. More details can be found on the Serial Bot Page and this functionality will be getting more improvements in the weeks to come.
There was a bug in the serial number sorting algorithm that appeared to effect games that had alpha characters in them (Early Bally Electronics most notably). This has now been fixed so that they are again sorted in numeric order.
In several tables that list submitters, there is now a 'member' icon that appears similar to the way an icon appears if a person has given a donation. Clicking this icon will take you to the member profile page that shows some summary info about the member, a link to their website and a listing of their submissions. It is fairly similar to the regular submitter page, however I will continue to develop this page and probably not develop the submitter page beyond the basics.
You can now register on the IPSND if you are here regularly and would like a little more power over your information and ease of use. The big advantage is that you can now edit your submissions to a certain degree if you want to correct them or update them. Registration is free and we of course do not share any information.
When I started this database, I imported all the known serials that had be registered with the old Internet Pinball Project as the basis. That was about 7500 serial numbers (3/4 of where we are now at 10,000 serials). I changed the 'Status' of these serials to 'Unvalidated' since they technically have not been validated. I also wanted these submissions to have a 'lower' value than submission by people that have personall submitted games and verified them through the email link. This doesn't really change much except you now see much more 'blue' in the serial number listings.
I updated the Statistics Page with a feature that allows you to view entire datasets instead of just the top 25 or 50 rows which I commonly limited the stats to in the past. This allows you to drill down into the data if you really want to and also do full exports of the data instead of having just the top.
The site is now running ASP.NET 3.5 under IIS. Im not technically using any of the fancy 3.5 features yet (except one simple LINQ OrderBy function but Im working on it.
I sat down the other night and did a search for 'prototype' on RGP to come up with threads discussing odd features of games (generally due to someone posting that they had a 'prototype'). What came of this was that I added game custom properties to about a dozen games this week. Two examples are... Cleopatra and Sinbad: SheetMetal vs. Plywood cabinets. Bally's Wizard!: two different playfield arch artwork styles. I really encourage everyone to add more custom properties for games that you collect or are interested in... it really starts making the serial number submissions a little more interesting than doing simple existance tracking. More info on the Community Defined Fields page. You can see examples on the Games with the most Community Defined Fields statistics page.
I have given the site's Data Abstraction Layer a major overhaul and deployed it this evening. It was about a two week process but the changes should optimize the communication between the web server and the SQL server which should give better speed to the site overall.
It never fails, every time I leave town, I have power problems in Laramie and a server goes down. This time it was the SQL server due to the old UPS battery. I will get a new battery ordered this week so things should at least improve in the future. Im also not going to be out of the country for a full week anytime soon either.
I think that Dan has held the title of 'Top Submitter' for over a year now but today Ray Johnson made a dash into the front. Nothing like a healthy rivalry between my favorite submitters to get all these lovely serial numbers! Nice job Mr. J.
The original SQL database server is now back online. The site should be back to being somewhat fast now. Im in the process of migrating all databases over to the new server and things should be pretty stable from here on out. I apologize for the interruptions this past week!!
I am running the site of my backup database server this weekend while I build a new SQL box. Until I get switched back over, the site will be running a bit slower and may experience intermittent timeouts as a single proc machine doesn't do too well with both IIS and MS-SQL. :-) Someday I will move this beasty over to MySQL.
The site was down Saturday night due to some 'unexpected' server maintenance. Bottom line, don't promote your SQL server to a domain controller and then demote it. Bad Idea!
I added a new statistic on the statistics page that displays a breakdown of serial number submissions by Manufacturer. Also, on the stat pages that show IP addresses, clicking on the IP will take you to the whois record.
Dan Gutchess submitted the 10,000th serial number into the database today. Thanks to everyone who has been contributing and keep the serial numbers coming. Dan wins a free IPSND T-Shirt as soon as I get them made. ;-)
There is a new Google Analyic chart in the rotation, this one is similar to the breakdown by city but instead does the breakdown by country and color codes the various levels of visitorship. Similar to the city chart, it has fancy floating info panels for each country.
I have included the newest version of the Google Analytics geomap in the stats to the right. Basic functionality is the same but it definely looks prettier and loads a little faster. I will be working on this some more to get different aspects of analytics showing here on the front page.
Just to keep track of those pesky IP address that use bots to auto-submit web links into our sacred database, there are now two new stats on the Statisics Page that allow you to see what IP's are currently banned and a listing of all IP's aggregated by count that have been banned in the past.
In my passionate attempt to keep the site free from bot porn and viagra submissions I have deployed a few new countermeasures to prevent the bots from filling the database with crap data. I put these in place in lieu of using the 'captcha' verification images as those images were causing a few people submission grief. So, if any IP address submits porn links or lame-o data, that IP will now be banned for 48 hours from the site. Huray!!
If you know exactly which game you are looking for, you can quickly type in the ipdbid with a pound symbol in front, so, for example... #1976 will take you directly to Robocop and #311 will take you to Black Knight 2000
The validation images (captcha) were removed from both the sumission page and the parts submission page due to continued problems with some people's browsers. I had added them to prevent bots from posting invalid serial numbers but I will look into other measures for preventing that from happening.
When you click on the verification link that the site emails after every submission, that resulting page will now display all the serial numbers that were marked as verified. It wasn't very apparent in the past but even if you had submitted 25 serials, clicking any single one of the verification links would mark all 25 submissions as 'Verified'. That meant that you didn't have to click every single email that was sent to you in a single batch (defined by session which is equal to 30 minutes in this case).
I added a new front page graph that shows a pie chart of the distribution of all game part submissions on the site. I may change this to be only the last 90 days as I want the front page charts to sort of constantly morph based on time and the way it looks now, most part submissions might be CPU or display PCB's. We will see what happens with the data before I change anything tho.
There is a new statistic that shows games with most number of submitted game parts on the statistics page.
When submitting a game part, there is now a drop down that lets you define what type of part it is (CPU, Driver, Display, etc). When viewing the game part listings under each game, you can then see this information.
I have added a new tab to the game details page that explicitly lists all game parts that have been calculated to belong to that specific game. Some game part serials can be associated with a specific model simply by the structure of the serial number and others cannot. As I manually find these game part serials, I will assign them to a game and they will start showing up in the 'Game Part' lists. The concept is not quite complete but you can read more about it under any game detail 'Game Parts' tab.
I upgraded my entire Data Abstraction layer to full .NET 2.0 compliant code that takes advantage of nullable types and gives me an easy way to audit all database changes. While this doesn't technically effect the site, it will probably introduce a few bugs. I have already fixed about 4 issues tonight after watching the exception log, so if you do have any problems, bear with me and I will get them fixed asap.
There was an issue with the GamePart submission page that was causing some issues accepting submissions, this was due to some old code that tried to prevent duplicate submissions caused by double-clicking the submit button. A big thanks to John Duchi for helping to troubleshoot the problem.
The site was down for 4 days this past week due to me being out of town and Laramie losing power for more than 20 minutes. Since my UPS' can only deal with that much power outage, the servers were down until I got back into town. All should be good now however and Im going to start saving for a bigger UPS. :-)
I went through and defined a custom game property for the dozen or so Bally games that came in both English and German versions. Maybe we can start to see a trend in the serial numbers now.
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later but the web bots have officially found us and are attempting to submit all kinds of crappy information including URL's of malicious web sites. So, you will find that some submission forms will require image validation (also known as captcha images) to prevent me from getting a mailbox full of 'Improperly formed submission' errors every day.
When searching for games the results now return a column that specifiies the number of submissions on record for that game, this is helpful for games that might have been made for home use orfor games licensed to other manufacturers. Overall, it allows you to see the potentially most popular or common game amongst all the results.
I added the standard 3 charts for viewing submissions by Country, Condition and GamePart to the manufacturer pages. An example can be see at the Stern Electronics Manufacturer Page. I also added a column that summarizes the number of submissions for that game in the table.
There are now 5 different 'status' levels that a serial number can have defined by the Serial Bot. They are now a little more defined and include a status for games that don't yet have a serial mask defined.
When viewing game serial number lists, if any serials have been submitted in the last 90 days, they are now flagged with a small 'new' icon. This lets you see the activity on specific games you might be watching.
After some playing around with photoshop, I think I have improved the logo a bit for full browsers. Mobile users still have the same old 'compact & flat' version but it works better on limited bandwidth.
I'm starting to experiment with ASP.NET caching and have also been working on optimizing my database trips from the web application. This should help improve page load times in the future.
There was a problem with the submission page today due to a change I made in the code that displays example serial numbers. I have things fixed now so all should be back to normal.
I added pretty icons to the tabs within the game detail page. Also, there is a new tab that explains any known serial number format for a specific game... an example would be Sample Game serials and Production Game serials. Read the previous news item for more info.
I broke the serial masks into a seperate table that now allows me to track multiple formats using regular expressions. This allows the database to have different masks for Sample vs. Production games for example. I was having issues with making a single regular expression that covered all the different known formats since in addition to the literal format, the actual numeric range was often constrained as well. For example, 80's Gottlieb games had sample games that were typically prefixed with an 'S' and started in the one thousands; Production games did not have the 'S' but also started in the two (or greater) thousands. Hence... a serial number of 'S02438' would not be a valid serial number based on this information.
Now that we are on the virge of collecting 10,000 serials, I am starting to fully audit the database with validation masks. These masks allow me to flag serial numbers that look suspect according the best known information on the format of a specific game serial number and the range of known serials. To go along with this, I have created a new Statistics category called 'Quality Control'. There is one available statistic right now that lists the games with the most suspect serial numbers.
The GamePart submisson form now remembers your default values for 6 months using any prior submission, just the way the main submission form works.
I have just added serial number mask definitions for about 1000 games. What this gives me is a method to start determining if submitted serial numbers are in an expected format. I previously only had about 1000 serial masks defined, but we are now at a total of 1880 games out of ~5000 defined. After doing this, I now have about 200 existing serial number submissions that are showing up as 'possibly innacurate'. So, I will start cleaning those up this week.
I have purchased a new server for SQL 2005 and am running Windows 2003 64-bit Edition along with SQL 2005 64-bit. It might be slight overkill but I wanted to support AMD and since their new Athlon's are all 64-bit, I figured I would give it a go. All my drivers were good and the machine is up and running. You should see substantial improvements on the page load times now. I will be working on optimizing indexes and server cache info over the next month to get things as snappy as possible.
I added a new tab on the game detail page that is called 'Find your Serial Number' which basically is a blog style interface for posting tips on finding serial numbers for the *manufacturer*. Posts to this are global to the manufacturer so they aren't necessarily game specific.
I added a new Stats section with a listing of all the current affilate sites, ordered by ranking. GameArchive is the only current affilate so Im hoping to get at least one other site to try out the new feature sometime soon. Come on Webmasters!!!! Also, I added a new feature to the Affilate serial submission process based on a comment by Jesse at Pinball Magic. What happens is that when a new serial is sumbitted via the Affilate include, upon submission, you are now taken back to the Affiliate site to make the process much more streamlined so that submitters don't end up leaving the affiliate's site.
There are two new stats on the Statistics Page that show games with the most current Community Defined fields and then a list of games that have the most community defined field values submitted.
I modified the way the Community Defined Field data is displayed in the second tab of a game's details to show only serials with registered information. This makes the data much easier to read. Since many community defined fields have been defined after-the-fact, the resulting data was pretty sparse generally and involved lots of scrolling. This will also make pages load a tad bit faster.
On most of the Statistics pages, there is a new column called rank that shows the appropriate row number. This makes it easier to see that statistical rank, an example as of right now... 'joust' is the 7th most popular search.
This is a 'feature' that I have been working on for quite a few months now. Due to the really flexible nature, it took awhile but I think it is finally release-able. You can get substantially more info by clicking on the Become an Affiliate link at the top of the page but the basic jist is that now people that have 'owners list' pages, can actually stop trying to maintain static lists of serial numbers that they get submitted via emai and instead simply 'include' data directly from the IPSND using a really simple line of HTML that is similar to the way Google Analytics works.
For games that have Community Defined Fields, there is now a basic data grid underneath the graphs that were previously not there (see Star Gazer for an example). The grid is basic and generally sparse right now but it is a little more useful than the graphs which showed totals but no distribution data. I also fixed a bug in the graphing code that was skewing totals for each property so the grid and graphs numbers now make sense together.
I have added a new field to the serial number database that tracks if the submitter is the 'current owner' of a game or not. This came to my attention from games appearing at shows like the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown where non-owners may submit a serial number of a game that was on display. The reason I wanted to distinguish the difference was simply so that I could make a report filter to only show registrations by owners etc. All the existing registrations are marked as 'non-owner' submissions for now.
A big thank you to Dan and Holly for organizing the Rocky Mountain Pnball Showdown again this year. I had a great time and got to hang out and chat with everyone I haven't seen in awhile. The show had a great variety of games and I was happy to see a nice lineup of Bally's including a Xenon and Medusa. I have a list of about 100 serial numbers that I collected there so I will work on inputting them to the DB this week. See you next year!!
It seems like I have had a failing stick of memory in my server that was making it *extremely* flakey this past month. It is now removed and running stable again. I also upgraded the database server to SQL 2005 from SQL 2000 so we will see if that gives any performance improvements.
For everyone in the Rocky Mountain Region, don't forgot to come over to the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showndown from April 27th-29th in Jefferson County, Colorado (just west of Denver). There will be over 100 games set on free play along with a Pinball Tournament and guest speakers. I have volunteered to do the 'Pinball Shopping 101' session and will be bringing my Williams Cosmic Gunfight and Warlok to the show. The Pinball Showdown website is at http://www.pinballshowdown.com.
The game search algorithm has been improved a little by ignoring 'special characters' in game names like hyphens, colons, asterisks, etc. This was a request from Dan G. because when typing in 'Pinbot' you would not get any matches due to the official game name being 'PIN*BOT'.
I also have made search tokens logically AND'ed together so that searches like 'time line' dont return 150 matches but only game names that have substrings of both terms somewhere in the official name or game abbreviation.
Since there seemed to be many common questions about serial numbers and the database, I made up a little FAQ that attempts to give some feedback and guidance. Hopefully they help answer some of *your* big questions in life.
There were some issues with some of the statistics pages that would cause them to time out. This was because I was tracking hits in the DB from the IIS log and the table was enormous. I moved away from logging IIS traffic in the database and have stored hit values for each game in the database.
There are now some basic pie charts on the game serial pages that summarize the collected data for the community defined fields. I have changed the interface to have tabs across the top so that I can store more info here in the future. Also, I will be adding a data grid that displays the community defined field info in a table below the charts similar to the main serial number registration table.
I came to the realization this weekend that the serial numbers that Williams used for their video games are in the same sequence of serial numbers that they used for their pinball machines. This actually addresses some concerns of mine on the big gaps in their pinball serial numbers since there were large seqences of numbers missing during the 1982 era when pinball was waning and video games were still popular. Because of this interdependency, I have added the 12 video games that Williams manufactured in the early 80's. Please tell all your video game collector friends to register their serials if possible.
Okay, I think this new feature is pretty neat. You may now add additional properties to a game so that when people register a serial, they are asked for some more game specific info. A really good example is with Jungle Lord... there are two different cabinet colors that were produced from the factory... RED and BLUE, by using the Community Defined Fields, I was able to submit the property and define the different allowed values that submitters may choose. Now, we can track game specific production properties to serial ranges to better figure out when these 'features' existed in the production run. Several other examples are... Captain Fantastic... Starred Backglass or not, Twilight Zone... 3rd Magnet. For those of you that are really into specific games, I challenge you to get some good community defined fields submitted so we can track these trends as early as possible. It took me about two weeks to get it up and running so please test it out and give me any feedback you might have on how to improve it.
I created two RSS channels that are described on the RSS Feeds Page. Im not sure where these will go but I thought it would be interesting to be able to see the IPSND announcements available on my Slim Devices Squeezebox in my living room. This is also my cheap way of providing a semi 'web service' interface to the data. Please let me know if you would like to see anything else with the RSS feeds.
I added a new chart in the front page chart rotation that shows top submitters in the last 90 days. I'm trying to come up with charts that change regularly so there is always something interesting to see and you will become hopelessly addicted to visiting the site and submitting serial numbers.
If a game is electronic and has a known MPU (Master Processing Unit) board, there is a link under that game to the MPU details page. The MPU detail page lists all games using that MPU and the aggregate stats associated with it. Header columns on data tables are clickable and allow sorting. Most tables are like this but I will work to make this more consistent across the site.
In addition to the Google Analytics map that normally appears on the right side of the main page, there are now a few more charts you can view that show the following data... Submissions per day in the last 90 days, a breakdown of all submissions by country, pinball machine models produced by year and total pinball machine production by year. I will add more as I get time. Enjoy.
I added 3 pie charts to the game serial pages that show distributions of registrations based on Country, Game Condition and the Game Part. This is still a work in progress and I have to pretty up the layout a bit but they are interesting to see as an alternative to browsing the entire registration table in raw format. I will be experiementing more with the Dundas charting tools and also trying to figure out a way to pay for them over the next few months. If you have any suggestions on what may be useful to visualize, drop me an email.
There is a new link in the top navigation header called 'Serial Number Blog' that is a revamp of the old static page describing how to find serial numbers for the various manufacturers. The page is now formatted more like a blog with each manufacturer having posts from collectors that can comment on where and how to accurately find serial numbers on games by that manufacturer. I have initially populated the blog with the info that Bill Ung had written for the original Internet Pinball Project and added a couple of my own. There are lots of manufacturers to go and Im sure more info on the manufacturers that are already posted so please add as many useful comments as possible.
Countries are now shown as the appropriate flag graphic in the serial tables. Hovering will let you know what country it is if you don't know all 240 by heart. Looks a little flashier.
I have had an issue with my root partition on this box for about a year now in that it was only 10Gig and I was woefully low on space for a long time. I made lots of temporary fixes by moving the swap file and other files to 'accessory' drives but finally found a good tool to move existing partitions to different drives under Windows Server 2003. So now I have a fresh 160gig C partition with lots of space to grow. This will allow me to install Telerik Q3 2006 widgets from the Q1 2006 version Im using now. I will be utiliting ajax more to minimize page loads. Im also going to start playing with Dundas charting tools which I didn't have enough space to install previously. Now I just need to get the backups working again. ;-)
All of the statistics tables available on the Statistics Page are now easily exportable to either Text CSV, XML or XLS file formats. Once you view a statistics table, look in the upper right hand corner of the table for the export functions. If you would like information on how to automate exports, let me know.
Based on the data I have been pulling from Google Analytics it looks like only 7% of the visitors to this site have less than 1024x768 screen resolution. So, I have made the main site layout optimized for 1024x768 or larger. There are some tables I have been using that are hardcoded for the smaller screen size so I will be updating those in the next few weeks to take full advantage of the new real estate. Please let me know if you have any problems with formatting or sizing.
I added a new table that shows 'Serial Registrations by Game Manufactured Year'. It also shows the number of games manufactured that year. Plotting it gives interesting results. I will start working on an easy way to graph all statisics here in the new year. Merry Xmas!!
Im going to start adding some stats for individual games to the game summary pages. For now, it simply lists the number of serials registered against the total production and gives a percent registered. I will expand this a bit more in the future.
Yes, all my sites seem to have one... the factoid... well it is challenging for me to come up with interesting facts to put in there. While most were taken from the IPDB, some are truly original or taken from digging through all my old pinball books.
I have been converting the site to be driven more by CSS instead of classic HTML based layouts so you might see some more 'pretty' things, or you might just see more broken formats due to the browser differences, if you are using IE 7, you are on your own for a bit until I can get it installed on a computer without crashing it. :-)
I was in Las Vegas this week for a conference and got to spend hours playing pinball at Tim Arnold's Pinball Hall Of Fame. He let me crawl around and collect as many serial numbers as I could. I felt like Sam Harvey but Tim pointed out that since I was using a pocket PC to record the serials, there was no way I could be compared to Sam.
I finally got to play Pinball Circus and plenty of other favorites over the evening. Im slowly getting all the serials from the PHoF into the database.
If all went successfully, you should now see a world map to the right of this with the past weeks hits mapped on it. This data is from my Google Analytics urchin tracker, it was an interesting process to get the data and display it here since there is no native API. I will keep playing with it to see if I can publish more data here directly.
Im using Google Analytics to track visitors to my site now. The visitor hits that are currently shown in the header are unique sessions however, they include bots that scan the site and it seems that that number isn't really that accurate in comparison to Analytics. Im in the process of trying to 'extract' data from Analytics to show directly on the site but Analytics does not have an API yet, so it will be an interesting hack.
I added a stat view that shows the most popular searches now. I also fixed an issue with the 'Submissions by Month' query that was sorting the months incorrectly.
I extended the ability of my SerialComparer class to deal with games that don't explicity have a numeric range mask defined for their serials. What I did was convert the serial number into a Base36 number so that the serial strings would get sorted numerically even if there were Alpha characters in the serial. Leading zero's are trimmed off and non-alphanumeric characters equal zero. Im sure this can be improved further but this really helped and effected 4248 games.
Since the IPSND is my project site to better learn new technologies, I wanted to dynamically generate .pdf documents that contained default content along with data linked content and do that in realtime. Viola! You can now download a fancy schmancy 'IPSND Registration Certificate' (suitable for framing) that has the game details, serial number and submitter info on it. The certificates can be viewed under the 'details' section of an individual serial number.
I enhanced the page presentation for mobile devices to hopefully squeeze the content into a much smaller area and also to optimize for bandwidth saving. Don't forget to use your pocket PC or Palm device to register those serials when you are out and about.
Yes, I pulled out my 'creative' hand and made a really simple logo that brightens up the page a bit. Nothing fancy, but it works for now.
There is a new Manufacturer List page that allows you to browse all the manufacturers in the database and also summarizes total games produced. I put this in here for the bots primarily so that there was a direct path to every game entry in the database, but it is also more useful to browse sometime.
I have added a new page that allows listing of all games by a specific manufacturer. In general, you will see this on every game page, the manufacturer name (if known) is now a hyperlink. Im not exactly sure what use this will be but it seemed useful to have around.
I have created a Firefox Search Plug-in for the IPSND on the Downloads page. It allows you to easily do IPSND searches directly from the firefox search box. Enjoy!
Not only has Dan Gutchess taken over with most submissions, but he also pointed out a couple of nuances with the search functionality that didn't work quite right under IE. So, I have fixed the issue with pressing enter not properly searching and have added a little extra feature that automatically sets focus to the search boxes on page load. I will do the same with other forms over the following few days to make data entry as easy as possible.
Our fearless prior submission leader Ray Johnson has been out-submitted by Bill Ung today. Nice job Bill... Ray, you must have more serials!?
The serial bot now attempts to calculate valid serial number ranges for a particular game based on serial number submissions for other games manufactured during the same time period. Williams games were tricky since there could be sample game runs that were interlaced with other games. Im not going to go into severe detail here on how it works but as with everything else, we will let it run awhile and see what the bot can ascertain over time.
For games that have a serial number format mask defined, the submission page will no longer accept serials that do not validate against it. I was getting lots of mistyped serial numbers and instead of me trying to guess what the typo is, I figured it would be best to point out the issue at submission time and have the submitter double check. We will see how this works out.
I have created a little routine that meticulously goes through each serial number and looks for any 'oddities' associated with it. For instance, if a game submission has not ever been 'verified' by email then the bot will show a yellow icon and the tooltip will tell you why the bot has marked the serial as suspect. Other reasons why the bot may mark serials as suspect are for serial number formatting issues or serial number ranges that don't make any sense. We will see how this little beasty develops. The serial bot results are viewable on the serial number listing for each game.
There is a column the game serial number lists called 'history' that if present, will link to a page showing that the serial number has multiple submissions. This is useful if a game changes owners over time and another person registers the same game more recently. This little feature allows tracking of a games history over time if you are curious.
In the process of creating serial number masks, I have made a short summary page about some of the different formats that serial numbers exist amongst the various manufacturers over time. The Serial Number Format page has this text and is also given as a link on games that have a serial mask for them if you are attempting to submit a serial number for that game. The nice part about the mask is that on games that do have a serial mask format rule, I have added a small panel on the submission page that explains this and also gives examples of valid serials for that specific game to help make the submission process as clear as possible while still letting us have some integrity on the submissions.
I have started implementing serial number format masks which allows me to sort game serial numbers properly even if they have special characters in them for the most part. For now I have defined sort masks for all post 1984 Bally/WMS games that have a specific game prefix and optional I and X characters. I will be working on Earlier model Bally games with the 3-Letter prefix next.
Qwest had a fiber line cut today so the site was down for about 9 hours. Seems that the cut took out ISP's across all of northern Wyoming and several 911 services as well. Ironically, Im in southern Wyoming. :-)
You may now search for submitter names in order to see the details of submissions by a specific person. The search only looks at the person's name and does not return any email info.
I have started improving the result grids on other pages so you you can link to other data from page to page, for instance, in the statistics pages, the results how have hyperlinks to the various games, owners and serials that they contain. I will be working on improving this slowly over the next month as well.
The main interfaces of the IPSND are PocketPC and PDA friendly so if you have a cell phone with the ability to browse, don't forget you can submit serials while out in the field!! Give me feedback on any improvements that can be made when running a small screen if you want.
I just finished a fairly large update to the site in that you may now search for serial numbers specifically. Since I wanted the ability to let people look for 'lost' parts from their games, it was important to have this functionality. That way, if you were missing the factory tagged driver board from your 1980 Williams Black Knight game, you could type in your serial, and see if someone has registered that 'spare' part in the database. If so, you have a way of possibly contacting the submitter and making a deal (I am going to add private submitter contacting in a few weeks). So, try it out and let me know if you find any bugs or issues. Have fun.
There was an issue that Russ Jensen found with the Database download function, basically, the database delivered did not have any EM games whatsoever due to the fact that they did not have an electronic MPU defined. I have fixed the flattened view of the database that is available through the downloads section so that all games are now included. Thanks Russ!
At the request of Peter Hall and for the purpose of completeness,
you may now submit serial numbers for game parts. It is common to have game PCB's
especially with valid serial number stickers on them, for this reason, the database
now allows multiple serial number registrations per game. This basically expands
the ability of the IPSND to track not only seperate head and cabinet game parts,
but also any other part. Maybe we will hear some success stories of people getting
back an original CPU board to match their cabinet serial number. Another side effect
of this is that since a single serial number can be in the database more than once,
it allows tracking of a specific game serial number over time... so you can see
that Joe Smith owned Jungle Lord 123456 on 1/1/2005 yet that Jane Doe owned that
same game as of 1/1/2006. Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens with
There is a new section 'Downloads' that allows you to get a current copy of the IPSND database in a flattened format. Right now, I only support CSV downloads but it will be trivial to get the other two options (Native XLS and XML) working soon. This was actually a pretty cool exercise because the way the downloads work, the database is emailed to you in .zip format. So, I had to generate the datafile and then .zip it on the fly in memory. It was actually pretty easy in C#. Enjoy!!
I have completed a bulk upload form that allows uploading of multiple serial numbers per game now (up to 20 at a time). I will be working on another form soon that allows uploading of serial number data in a predetermined format so that if you already have serial numbers in electronic format, it should be quite easy to get them into the IPSND by putting them into a simple delimited format and then uploading the file.
I don't have the current list of games from IPDB yet. My list
is from about 3 years ago so I still have to synchronize with them to get
some of the more current games.
I have about 90% of the old Internet Pinball Project imported now. I will continue
to work on getting the rest imported.
If you have corrections, just send me an email for now and I will update the DB
The site was down last week because of a configuration error I had that I should
have known about but since I was in a
rush, missed it. All should be good now!
I think the site is mostly bug free for now. There isn't really much to cause bugs as the feature list is quite small. You can however add Serial Numbers to the database fairly easily and do a basic search for games by name. There are IPP serial numbers imported into the database for Level 7 games only right now. I received the complete IPP serial number list today from D.P. and will get the old serial numbers imported when I get back from Chicago next week. Thats all for now... if anyone has questions or comments you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
: The Internet Pinball Serial Number Database
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