1.) About the O.R.K.
1.1) What is the O.R.K.?
The O.R.K. is a web accessible database for Amtgard, a live action role playing society. It tracks player information, awards, titles,
credits and a myriad of other information. It also generates a number of reports that are useful to chapter Prime Ministers and Monarchs.
1.2) Can my chapter use the O.R.K.?
Most likely yes. Assuming you are a recognized chapter within Amtgard, all you have to do is send an email to Rewth (email@example.com) and ask
him to set you
up. Be sure to include the following information: Your chapter's name,
the kingdom you belong to (or freehold if you have no kingdom), your chapter's size (shire, barony, duchy, etc), and two passwords for your
chapter, one for the PM and one for the monarch.
1.3) What does O.R.K. stand for?
Online Record Keeper. And it comes from the Oh-So-Brilliant mind of Sir Brennen Macgregor (or so we'll let him believe).
1.4) I have a question that isn't covered here, who do i ask?
Send an email to Rewth (firstname.lastname@example.org) or go the
forum at the E-Samurai
2.) Technical Crap
2.1) What technologies does the O.R.K use?
Currently the ORK is written with PHP, an a little shell scripting and soon some perl. It uses a MySQL database on the back end. The
web server is a FreeBSD server farm running Apache.
2.2) What kind of back ups exist? How safe is the data?
The data is damn safe. Nothing short of a nuclear war will cause us to lose more than a week or two worth of data. More specifically,
the database is fully redundant and backed up on a NetApp every hour. An offsite (from the ISP) backup to another NetApp is done nightly as
well. Add to this, The O.R.K. itself makes a weekly file based backup and logs that to another server on the ISP. That file backup is setup on
a NetApp as well with hourly snapshots and the offsite nightly backup. I (Rewth) also transfer one of these files to my home network every
month and once i acquire enough of them will be burning CD copies every few months. so the data exists in some relatively recent form in no
fewer than 5 places at any given moment. It's not going anywhere.
2.3) How often does the O.R.K. get updates?
That really depends on my current job status, and amount of free time i have, as well as how motivated I am to work on it. Generally
speaking there should be a minor release every two months or so. It also depends on how many features are backlogged for me to add. also note
that i don't always announce new features or minor bug fixes. Sometimes i just add them and go about life.
2.4) How do i request a new feature?
Send an email to Rewth (email@example.com) or go the
2.5) What will happen to the O.R.K. if Rewth dies, leaves amtgard or just starts to be real prick?
I am currently in the process of putting a system in place to ensure that the O.R.K. will remain i nthe hands of amtgard and that it
won't go anywhere. I will soon be making all the front end code, and the database design/backup files publicly available. I will also be
burning copies of the backend code to cd (major releases) and placing them in the hands of a number of technically adept amtgarders across the
country. This should allow the O.R.K. to continue on it's existence under any circumstance, but still allow me to maintain control of the code
(until i decide to make it all public domain).
2.6) Why isn't all the code public domain already?
mainly cuz i'm a selfish bastard. I currently use the O.R.K. as a highlight on my portfolio, so i feel it's necessary for me to be the
sole author of it. Additionally I am not yet ready to begin the hassle of maintaining an open source project. However, this is something I
fully support, and something i fully expect to happen in the future. should any of the reasons in 2.5 occur it will happen immediately.
2.7) Why doesn't the O.R.K. have it's own domain name?
Cuz i don't have a stable job at the moment. Contracting leads to some major fluxuations in available cash. It is coming... probably
sometimes this year (2003) though. In the mean time, feel free to suggest a good name for it.
2.8) Can i set up a copy of the O.R.K. on my own web server using the public front end code?
Unfortunately no. To begin with the database connection routines won't be public (since they contain the password). secondly, for
security reasons, the ISP that hosts the O.R.K. doesn't allow connections to their database from outside their network.
2.9) what if i used the database design to set up another database server.
Well, the point of the system is to allow record transfers from chapter to chapter. if your chapter/kingdom is hosted elsewhere they
would be unaccessible to the rest of the O.R.K. and due to the use of unique id's throughout the system there is no real way to merge the data
easily. at some point i may write a offsite client that could be used for data entry that would create export files that the O.R.K. can
understand. however, i would not suggest that you hold your breath.
Front End Aspects
3.1) Why don't I see my chapter/kingdom in the O.R.K.?
The most likely reason for this is that no one in your chapter/kingdom has taken the responsibility to begin the process of moving your records to the O.R.K. The absolute best solution for this is a swift kick in the nuts to those involved. But, in the odd chance that doesn't work, send them to the O.R.K., tell them you wish your records were here. Perhaps even volunteer to do the initial migration for them providing future pm's will maintain them.
3.2) My chapter exists, but my records don't, whats up?
Your PM is slacking. they started the process but didn't complete it or keep up with it. see above for my solution to similar problems.
3.3) My records used to exist, but they are suddenly gone.
The are three possibilities here. first, they could have been deleted. This is extremely unlikely though due to the structure of the back end. They could have been transferred to another chapter. and finally, your records could have been moved to inactive status. in both the latter cases you can use the search function to find them. Then speak to your PM to have the issue fixed.
3.4) The search function finds people that aren't listed on the chapter's page that they belong to. whats the deal?
The search function very intentionally does not distinguish between active and inactive status. It will find anyone's records that exist in the system.
3.5) My records aren't correct! i should have X award!
talk to your PM. their email address is prominently displayed at the bottom of your chapter's page.
3.6) How do i get my picture/heraldry on my page?
You need to talk to your kingdom herald or heraldry committee. chances are you don't have one. in this case you need to appoint one. The admin section contains a separate login for the herald. they can only modify the images on players accounts. They need to be a fairly permanent body and need to be well organized as they will be maintaining the images for the entire kingdom (anything smaller and the O.R.K. would be nothing more than a jumbled mess of broken images). They also need to provide the disk space. The O.R.K. doesn't not provide hosting for the images, just links to them.
3.7) Does my kingdom already have a herald/heraldry committee?
possibly. Here is a list of names and email addresses for individuals who have stepped into this roll in each kingdom.
List soon to come.
3.8) Can my chapter have it's own shield rather than the kingdom's shield?
At this moment, no. chapter's use their kingdom's shield. The graphics and time and hassle associated with maintaining a separate one of equal quality for each chapter is more than i am ready to do right now. it is possible that such a thing will come in the future.
3.9) The credits appear to be calculating levels wrong.
This seems to be a common misunderstanding. I have confirmed numerous times that the calculations are correct. every 12 credits is a level. the ork tracks credits after the fact. so after you have received your 12 credit in a class you are automatically advanced to level 2. when you show up at the park the next week you will be allowed to play level two.
3.10) I just joined a fighting company/formed my own household/etc how do i get it listed on my records?
The Group affiliations and Misc sections of each player record is completely free form. virtually anything can be entered here (including html links to other sites). However, it is up to you to tell your PM how you would like yours set up. Many PM's will try to list things they think you would want here, but they can not get everything. In short, it's up to you to make sure your records are as well represented as you like.
3.11) I'm moving to another chapter. Can my records be transferred?
Talk to your pm. Ask them to transfer your records. One of the greatest parts about the O.R.K. is the ease at which you can move records from one chapter to another. It's literally a 10 second process. However, you should always remember that once transferred your old PM will no longer have ANY control of them, so wait until you are just about to leave.
3.12) But my new chapter doesn't use the O.R.K.! What now?
Two possible solutions here. The first (and my most favorite) is it gives you a VERY strong reason to help educate your new chapter on how amazingly cool the O.R.K. really is. The second is to have your old chapter flag your account as inactive. That will move your records off their main page, but still keep them in the database. you can still access them via the search page or direct url.
3.13) Can I link to my records from another page?
yes, it's actually every easy. just use the url
is your personal player ID. You can see this id in the url of your page.