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1) Get a posting setup for LUGNET. This will allow you to post via NNTP (newsreader), SMTP (email), or HTTP (the web) as an individual, provided you give your real name and email address.
2) Get a personal membership to LUGNET. This will allow you to keep track of your sets on LUGNET, let you host limited web content, post via HTTP without using the email verification system, vote in LUGNET polls, and prevent advertisements from appearing when logged into LUGNET. I believe this costs $10, and you should complete (1) first.
So, if it's worth it to you as a person, go for it. But there's nothing about having a LUG "join".
If you want to create a discussion group on LUGNET for your LUG, you can ask the administrators to add it, but there's no cost involved-- you just have to convince them to add it. Then people can post to that group assuming they've got posting ability there.
There's also the LUG map that LUGNET hosts. That's a service that hasn't been updated in quite some time (to my knowledge). Again, it's technically free, you'd just have to let the LUGNET administration know that your club should be added, and get them to add it. But I don't believe it's in frequent use, so don't get your hopes up!
Today, the definitive Set Guide is probably either BrickSet or BrickLink (previously it was probably LUGNET, and before that the Pause Guide, which LUGNET purchased).
For LEGO discussions, it's pretty scattered (used to be LUGNET). Probably the most active discussion forum for hobbyists is EuroBricks, but there are a ton of them out there (FBTB, Classic-Castle, Classic-Space, now BrickSet, Trains-n-Town, Classic-Pirates, Forbidden Cove, and tons more).
There were a few other tidbits of functionality that LUGNET had (web page "hosting", Mosaic Maker, LUG finder, etc), but those were never really very widely used.
Primarily, the best reason to still use LUGNET is if you're an old-school NNTP user. If you want to use a newsgroup to discuss LEGO, LUGNET is the place to do it. ATL and RTL are still technically "alive", but they're even more dead that LUGNET.
I had never felt comfortable navigating around the LUGnet site, so I didn't know if it'd be worth my while. I have enjoyed the other outlets that have been set up over the past couple of years (Brickset especially) so I think I'll stick with them.
Thanks again fellow builders!
I am rather disappointed that Rene Hoffmeister (of 1000steine) has let LUGNET run on cruise control (last main page announcement is nearly 2 years old)... perhaps running both LUGNET and 1000steine is too much work?? I am also disappointed that Dan Boger has let PEERON run on cruise control as well. Last year I was trying to add some catalogs to the PEERON catalog database, but nothing became of it, and no replies. This is still the case today as someone recently complained on Bricklink. The irony is that both of the websites "significant others" are still involved in LEGO.
Bricklink, on the otherhand, with the untimely death of Bricklink owner Dan Jezek (without progeny or spouse)... has continued on without "Admin Dan" as he is fondly remembered, and continues to thrive.
With both Lugnet and Peeron, Clark Stephens, the database Admin has been trying to do the best without help, but alas, it's not enough.
The situation with both LUGNET and PEERON is sad indeed... and one bad side effect is that there is no central catalog repository for "all" LEGO catalog and instruction scans.
Funny thing is.... there are about 1/2 dozen of us AFOLs that could put together a library of virtually every LEGO catalog going back to 1950 (1st catalog).
I get the impression that some 'old school' AFOLs resent Brickset and don't acknowledge it as a useful resource. Maybe they remember the tiffs I had with Todd back in the day when the Lugnet database was the only one out there and it was the new pretender.
I recently asked Dan B if I could licence the Peeron set inventories (for reasons you will know following unsuccessful attempts to get permission to use those from another site) but I didn't get a reply and I haven't pushed it. It would be a shame if they were 'wasted', but the site is so slow and unusable that they just languish there, unloved and uncared for :-)
I'll be more than happy to set up a repository for catalogue scans: It has been suggested before and I could contribute UK ones from 1969-77 and 89-2011 but at the moment I don't have the time to scan them.
As for why there would be resistance, well, two reasons:
1) People want the tools that they put together to be useful and timeless. Nobody wants to see their own hard work get trumped by the "next big thing".
2) It's arguably counterproductive to have multiple sites with the same data. If LUGNET says a set came out in 1971, BrickSet says 1972, and BrickLink says 1969, who do you believe? Maybe someone at LEGO was able to confirm one of the dates with (say) BrickSet, but then it's a logistics game to update the other two sites accordingly, and nobody will want to do it.
The argument there is that it's better to have ONE site that does (say) inventories, and let them be the PRIMARY source for all the other sites. That way, once its fixed in one place, it's fixed everywhere.
Downside is of course then you've got a single point of failure. If Peeron's the primary source of inventories, and then the site dies, there's no system in place at other sites to maintain the data on their ends.
> It's arguably counterproductive to have multiple sites with the same data.
There's nothing wrong with a second opinion and in many cases there is no right answer and probably never will be to things like dates because half the time LEGO doesn't know.
> The argument there is that it's better to have ONE site that does (say) inventories, and let them be the PRIMARY source for all the other sites.
Agree entirely with this. This is why Brickset has web services and so on, to make it easy for people to use the data so (a) they don't have to create their own, and (b) they don't create their own (if you see what I mean...). Unfortunately other sites don't see it like that and by not making their data available, they risk others competing with them.
I see no reason why we can't start up our own catalogue scan repository regardless of the others out there. I can't do everything at once, that's all that's stopping it.
Also, everyone should know that technology keeps moving forward. If you don't keep up, you'll be left behind. If you don't evolve, you'll become an ancient dinosaur. The biggest problem with these older sites is that they seem to have given up on being kept up to date. I like that Brickset is in a constant state of improvement and I hope this continues into the future.
Also, for those people who want their work to remain relevant, the best way to do so is to open it up to as many people as possible. That means if you're Peeron and someone wants to use your data, you should let them. Openness with information gives it wider distribution and more relevance.
The 'drama' can be read at http://www.bricklink.com/messageThread.asp?ID=102699&nID=487128. I won't pass any more comment on it here but suffice to say that I don't hold out hope of ever displaying BrickLink inventories at Brickset due to the nature of the community there. The crux of the problem can be read here: http://www.bricklink.com/message.asp?ID=487185. Many of the more community-minded members there came to my support but I felt the strength of negative feeling was such that I could not proceed, and risk losing access to their minifig images (although that is less important now)
Having said that, all the code is in place to retrieve and display them but I'm not going to make it publicly available. However I will enable it for anyone who PMs me with their Brickset user name. Brickmatic, I've saved you the trouble. See if you can spot any differences :-)
People want the tools that they put together to be useful and timeless. Nobody wants to see their own hard work get trumped by the "next big thing".
I can certainly appreciate the emotions involved. However, if the data is stagnating and the site is simply withering, I say that the right thing to do is open it up for others in the community to find ways to make good use of it. Personally I'd rather see the legacy of all my hard work live on than simply have it decay and waste away.
Resistance in this regard would seem to only contribute more to the conflict and disjoint comunity. Can't we all just get along? :)
Cost to BrickLink? Bandwidth. That's variable depending on whether or not BrickSet caches and/or hosts images, and how often it caches set data. Probably pretty minimal given the amount of traffic that BrickLink gets, but worth a look. But there's no developer cost, and no maintenance cost.
Sounds like a win-win to me for both BrickLink and BrickSet, unless BrickLink actually winds up hosting tons of bandwidth. I don't see how free advertising on BrickSet is in any way detrimental to BrickLink.
The "image" ownership issue gets resurrected every 6 months over there... which always makes me shake my head in disbelief. Had image ownership been determined 10 years ago... from day 1 when some of the reference sites were established, it would have been easy to concur. However so many images on LUGNET-PEERON-BRICKLINK (I can't speak for Brickset, since I haven't referenced it that often) have "undetermined" ownership (or images gotten off of public auctions)... that it becomes impossible to determine who owns what. But they like to keep pounding their heads against the wall... even though Bricklink Admin will do nothing about it (it would be akin to opening Pandora's Box).
Also, another way to look at it is that some users wanted to leverage the parts database as a bargaining chip to have a publishing enterprise severe relationships to those users' competitors. This is completely unreasonable because they overestimated the value of the database and underestimate the value of the opportunity to gain exposure at the publishing enterprise. Just stupid on their part.
But both of those issues can be effectively solved by caching. Once-a-week (or whatever) request inventory updates, and request updates to images. You could probably even make the image updates even less frequent, since they're not likely to change (they're just likely to add images that they didn't already have).
For the sake of reference, I've done that before (pulled BL images), and I got about 28.6 megs for images of parts used from 2009-2010. I'd guess in the ballpark of 100 megs if you downloaded ALL the images. And BrickSet already allows download of their complete inventories, which wind up being several megs (I don't have the info in front of me). So, bandwidth cost would be something like:
1-time download of 100 megs
once-a-day/week download of (say) 10 megs
Also, caching solves the outage problem. BrickLink goes down every night at midnight USA Eastern time, for about 10 minutes. Not sure whether or not the inventory is accessible at that time, but caching would guarantee that it wouldn't be a problem for BrickSet.
Anyway, I'm baffled by people's adamant stances on the subject. They bemoan bandwidth costs without even trying to get an estimate on what those costs might be-- obviously, if BrickSet is causing 50 gigs of traffic every day, that's significant! And if it's causing 10 megs per day, that's peanuts. The stance OUGHT to be "if the bandwidth is guaranteed to be less than X, we're OK with it, and if it's not guaranteed below X, it's not OK." Then the onus is on BrickSet to guarantee the bandwidth load.
Anyway, as a developer, I'd vote for caching because the data isn't very volatile, and it's a more solid solution in case there are changes to either system. Plus it should help to shut up all the naysayers at BrickLink :)
I could cache the images too, and host them along with all the others at 1000steine.com, but there are arguments for and against.
As an aside, kudos to Huw for behaving with commendable courtesy and restraint through all this; most people would probably have just gone ahead and made the data available. Let's just hope that in the sad absence of Dan (R.I.P.) some clear leadership somehow emerges within the Bricklink community and that whoever it is will be able to see beyond the end of their nose and realise that there's a wider community out there and its in everybody's interests to foster cooperation.
"...the BrickLink Catalog and Inventories are and have always been freely
downloadable for members of the community to use as they see fit. While we may
not always like how the info is used, this was Dan's perogative and it will not
That sounds rather like a creative commons intention and if it is documented somewhere perhaps sufficient to allow the use by Brickset. Would the admins over there be able to confirm that or even agree to Brickset's request without 100% member agreement for the overall good of both communities? Perhaps even via a BL member referendum/poll?
Personally I am puzzled and disappointed by the stance of the 'no' voters on BL. If indeed the set inventories are a 'sales tool' as suggested by Timothy_Smith on the BL thread then they should use it as such... Agreeing to it would add links to BL from just about every page on Brickset and as Huw has said it would undoubtedly bring in new buyers that would otherwise not have heard of BL (where as I suspect they have already heard of and most likely used eBay and Amazon!) and make it easy for people to identify missing elements and click through to buy them from BL. It seems to me the 'no' voters are playing a dangerous game of brinkmanship which will sooner of later result in a, likely Creative Commons, effort to replicate the set inventories and allow re-use without the benefit to them of driving additional people to visit (and buy from) BL.
There are obviously some people in the BL community, and I am not surprised about this as it is counter-intuitive, that have yet to realise that in the new world order of open-source, creative commons and mashups it often makes better financial sense to allow free reuse of your 'intellectual property' than it does to prevent its reuse and hope that people will come directly to you to get it - they won't unless they know you exist and you are offering all the functionality they require - which BL doesn't as it is foremost a marketplace rather than a cataloging tool.
Hopefully a resolution can be reached with BL and I can start simple click thru buying of my missing elements shortly after!
I'm not going to ask their community again, but if those of you reading here want to start the discussion in their forum again, then please do.
As for a set list & database I now use BASEBRICK, as you may know it's linked to Bricklink & Peeron.
As for LUGNET, any one finding it for the first time is put off with the very out of date content of the front page & dated layout.
A) When I got LUGNET years ago, absolutely no further agreements were made between Todd and me, which results in me having a site with an almost broken community, a trademark which I don't own (LUGNET) and a mountain of code. And I mean really, REALLY a Mount Everest of code. To be honest, I never inquired, so don't blame Todd, blame me instead :) Anyway, the site was going to be closed, so I offered my help in taking it, maintaining it and paying for it (which I still do month by month by month). There were first plans which turned out to be impossible to do with the existing code "construct", so it was pretty clear from the beginning, that it would be a lot of work to develop the site further. I kept it running, esp for the NNTP people, biggest mistake was probably leaving the homepage as it is in 2009. Still, you can consider the LUGNET site just "sleeping", not dead. Time will tell, soon enough :)
B) If you right-click any set picture here on BrickSet to see where it comes from, you might be surprised. But Huw is doing such a great job in maintaining this site, that, for me, it is taken-for-grantedness that I do that. I always did and always will do, as long as Huw is happy with it. I even let my provider set up a brand new dedicated server a few weeks ago, just for hosting images from BrickSet and for running 1000steine.de (LUGNET has its own server). If you ever wondered, why Peeron and BrickLink are slower in loading images than BrickSet, though BrickSet has an HUGE amount of traffic, well... it's because BrickSet is simply worth it, but tell me about it, you all know that :)