Friday, July 07, 2006

CouchSurfing is Saved

I woke up this morning in Budapest, had a nice long leisurely breakfast with my host and checked email. The Collective shot out an email announcing that CouchSurfing is working again. Huzzah!

The friend links are old, so people need to start recreating their links.

I think that this event has taught many people many lessons, and I encourage people to visit the Montreal Collective or the Eidenstat Collective to participate in making CouchSurfing better (and more survivable).

Monday, July 03, 2006

CouchSurfing.com Relaunched

CouchSurfing is alive! Sort of... They've put up a new site to explain the current situation and structure of CS, as it stands over there in Montreal with the Collective.

Also, usernames and passwords are not lost. People can rebuild their networks by diving back into their old emails, which always have had the sending CS'ers username listed.

The big big news is that it looks like the idea of decentralizing CS, from organizational to technical, administration will come to fruition. This crash probably has sped up the timeline for such a change. While staying with Marcus, we've had conversations about the decentralization. He has had some very good thoughts about it. Anyways, I'm glad the CS Collective is moving ahead with it.

And a side note from me, just being a geek (Non software people skip this). CS needs to take this opportunity to rearchitect the design of the overall system. For the truely geeky, I am saying; REST, Atom, AtomPP, RelaxNG to describe semantic vocabularies, distribute data stores, improve the Search abilities using GoogleAppliance or Lucene (Nutch) to aggregate information, use PKI as a basis for trust (can be great for distributed profiles), XMPP (proxy and bridge a user's real JID with an anonymous CS JID), everchanging anon CS emails so we can just click reply (server processing can still save these emails to the websystem, and can limit emails going through where To and From fields must be anon CS email addresses). Ok, just a few thoughts... I'll probably write up something on my main blog about these geek ideas.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

CS Will be Reborn!

A Quick Update on the developments of what I've seen.

CS Collective in Montreal has confirmed that they will be relaunching the site in just a few days. Programmers have just showed up at the Collective, unannounced, after the site crashed. Way to go guys! Geek pride!

I just arrived to Vienna from Krakow. I am staying with Marcus of CouchSurfing-Phoenix, who has been working tirelessly contacting CouchSurfers. A CS Strategy meeting was held today at Marcus' place with about 20 people in and around Vienna showing up at various times in the day. It is about 10pm local time and we still have a few people hanging around and working on tasks to help rebuild. Luckily I have my camcorder so we'll have documented this work.

Progress is moving along both at the top level and at the grass roots. We all feel, here, that CS will be reborn (love the Phoenix==Reborn/Rebirth) even stronger from its ashes.

The European CS Collective will still happen here in Austria. If you can make it, please come!

The agenda will be about how CS can be helped here at the local level. And from my conversations, we are seeing that CS will be more decentralized... so this type of local meeting will be very very important.

I still need to talk to the CS Admins in Montreal, which I will be calling them in just a few moments. See you all soon.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Use the CouchSurfing Team's Endorsed Forum

Ok, I'm announcing a change in SaveCouchSurfing.org based on a new message from the CouchSurfing.com sitedown page:
Update: Friday, 6pm - Eastern Time

CouchSurfing Community,

Thank you for your continued support during this difficult period. Both the moral support and offers of technical help have been incredibly inspiring. We are currently exploring options as to what actions to take next. One way or another, the energy and spirit of CouchSurfing will certainly live on. How that takes shape is yet unknown. Please bear with us while we continue to take stock of the possibilities at hand. You can keep up with the process in CS Chat at http://chat.couchsurfing.com or through bulletin boards now set up at http://couchsurfing.hyperboards.com.

Also, we understand that this catastrophe is affecting a large portion of the membership who is currently traveling as well as those with CS driven travel itineraries later this summer. To address these needs, we have set up a series of "CouchSurfing Refugee" bulletin boards there as well. While we continue to sort things out, please have patience and know that there are many smart and concerned people working hard to assess the situation and decide on the best course of action.

It's been a very emotional time for all of you and all of the core people of CS. We want to thank you for your warm and touching emails. You give us the strength to get through these difficult times.

Thanks again,
The CouchSurfing Team
Casey, Seb, Leo, Dan, Heather, Nathalie, Dani, Rico, Aldo, Jesse, Konstantinos (Promitheus), Gretelle, Duke, Jim


So we're redirecting people to the CouchSurfing Team's endorsed board:
http://couchsurfing.hyperboards.com/

Our board will remain up for the info posted.

Let's keep the community going. :)

Thanks,
Ben

Friday, June 30, 2006

Word From CouchSurfing Collective?

The CouchSurfing Collective is going on right now in Montreal, Canada. I'm also seeing talk about people wanting to get together to rewrite the CouchSurfing source code... A version 2 if you will. I personally think that it would be a mistake to rush into starting all this work when we haven't even heard anything else from the CS Officers and word from the Collective.

Anyone have any contact with the Collective? Anyone there? Jess will be trying to get a hold of any of you, including the CS Admins, and Casey.

Community and Fragmentation

I just saw a post about other efforts to "recreate" the couch surfing database. SaveCouchSurfing.org is not about recreating the CouchSurfing database. I hope CouchSurfing.com will still be around in the future so the future database will be CouchSurfing.com, not any other site.

SaveCouchSurfing.org is here to help the community in the process of getting CouchSurfing off the ground again. Yes, there are some forum areas that ask you to post a thread for your CS Username and new contact information... But this is only to help those with immediate need... those that are currently travelling. For example, I need to get a hold of some hosts who I've only got their CS login. I need another way to contact them... This is one way.

As for the ReviveCouchSurfing's suggestion of registering everywhere... Jess suggests that we may want to avoid community fragmentation that may caused by having different forums. What do other people think?

Not Ready To Die

Hi, my name is Ben. I'm currently on the road travelling Europe for three months. I've been very fortunate to have met many CouchSurfers-- both hosts and surfers alike-- during my travels. In short, I love the concept and I love the community.

So it was a complete shock to see the sitedown message-- reproduced here-- after what I thought would be a short recovery effort by the CouchSurfing admin team. I love the sentiments that Casey gives to the entire community, but the letter seems like a eulogy.

I don't know what the future plans are for CouchSurfing. I don't know when/if it will come back. I DO KNOW that I want CouchSurfing to survive. So what did I do?

  1. A Save CouchSurfing Website (In progress)-- http://savecouchsurfing.org/
  2. The Blog-- http://savecouchsurfing.blogspot.com/
  3. The Forum-- http://savecouchsurfing.org/forum/

I will post news as I get it on this blog. The SaveCouchSurfing.org main page has some issues, so it's not quite up and...

PLEASE use the forum to try to reconnect with other CouchSurfers. Use the forum to post messages to another. Best Practice Instructions will be in the Forum post... I hope this forum will allow hosts and surfers to reconnect-- especially for those that are on the road.

Please be patient if the site isn't complete or nice looking. We are trying to get everything set up as quickly as possible.

Email savecouchsurfing@gmail.com for any service problems, but use the forum for everything else. There are a others-- Alan, and Jess confirmed; I am waiting to hear from other good CSers-- that are helping with the site so everything should go while I'm disconnected on the road.

Cheers,
Ben