I've been preparing a new Discord server over the last week. This one is quite different from the last as its structure places a much stronger emphasis on old hardware and software and a subset of the Vlare community specializing in that field. I feel I'm ready to bring this server out to the public now, way ahead of schedule. You can use this link to join it now:
Around the start of 2017, I created my first server "Maroon Whales" which was more so centered around my channel than anything else. It was meant to be a simple server free of bots, excessive roles, and complicated regulations, but over time, it turned into a dumpster fire before shutting down on January 20th, 2019. Why is that? I stopped taking the server seriously, and following an explosive drama incident over some role being removed, ended up butchering it to a point where it had lost its original meaning. With such lax policies, awkward communication, and no clear vision of the server's future, it was basically a zombie for well over a year.
When the server was deleted, I had no intentions of running another server for a long time, thinking I couldn't possibly do it again. I mainly hanged out in a few private servers, and was handed over ownership of one of them. That server has been very stable for a long time, but it still has quite a bit of a mess from its early months. Me and my friends went along with it for a long time, but recently, I considered with hesitation the idea of starting a new server from scratch that would go public in approximately two months. Thanks to the coordination of others who helped flesh out the server, it took me only one week to say I'm ready to make it public.
Razorback has a much stronger backbone; it should be much better equipped to extinguish pointless dramas and nefarious messages of sorts than Maroon Whales ever was. This will allow the server to facilitate much more meaningful discussion about what we're here for - old computers. We do make room to discuss other subjects as well, but Razorback has a diverse selection of text channels related to computers you can post to, whether it be old or new, regardless of whether it's an IBM XT, a custom-built Pentium II tower, a PowerPC Macintosh, or even an FM Towns. So if you want to share your cool builds and what not and/or you want to get involved in Vlare's retro tech community, come on in!
So, yesterday, something happened to Vlare, I don't know what the cause was. Their Discord server basically has a paywall now, and their reason for this is that the server has made a bad influence on the community. As a result, people are flipping out, and some have even decided to leave Vlare as a result.
Please don't blow this chance, for there might not be another if Vlare collapses.
Now that we've moved into a new era where Vlare will hopefully prosper as YouTube somehow manages to continue sinking lower, I'd like to mention a few creators who have made (and/or will make) some really cool retro tech-related videos you can expect to see on Vlare.
TheOneGoofAli: A friend of mine who's already done some very cool things with Windows NT 4.0 Server in a series called "Windows NT Shenanigans". He's getting a new capture card soon, so you'll get to see crystal clear recordings of whatever he plans to do next on real hardware!
Blue Horizon: While this person hasn't made any tech videos yet, he has done A LOT behind the scenes to document many prerelease builds of Windows. His most recent review project happens to cover Memphis (the Windows 98 beta), and had it not been for his discovery of gradient title bars in build 1387, Windows 95D would've never been made. He plans to make a video of the Dell Dimension XPS D300 I'm sending to him later this month, and I plan to bring his documentation efforts along with my own to a much more publicly accessible outlet; a Vlare subchannel, so to speak.
3Dfx_Aslinger: Currently, this channel is only a visitor because Vlare REALLY needs to implement 60fps video support soon, but he has a bountiful of videos on YouTube displaying a wide range of 3dfx Voodoo accelerators in action on old hardware, including the mythical Voodoo5 6000. For the 3dfx enthusiast, this is the channel to go to, and I really look forward to seeing more 3dfx videos on Vlare.
Tonko301: Posts a variety of videos, including recordings of old computers. He has a large hoarding of old hardware like I do, and makes old-style VHS tapes here and there using real VCRs, including one that dates back to the late 70's. Some of the ways he creates organic VHS grain and distortion are insanely creative; his most recent one made use of a freezer to gradually drown the entire video output!
ktg5: Recently, this guy started his own spinoff of the Hardcore Windows videos I've made over the years, covering the often overlooked Windows NT Terminal Server Edition. It's not "a complete copy" of my series as he says it is; for one, it has actual voice commentary as opposed to annotations which I used to provide silent commentary. Running TSE on a newer system certainly is an intriguing adventure, and I'd like to see where it goes next.
The technology community on Vlare is still very small, so keep bringing everyone you can over here to help this site grow with a more balanced variety of content. I'm hoping Vlare will become the place to go for people who struggle to find good tech videos or get their own out there.
As for me, I'm still waiting around for that 60fps support as always, and renewed my premium subscription last month in the hopes of expediting it. Once it becomes available, I plan to gradually reupload the rest of the videos from my YouTube channel over here, and already have a new idea for an ambitious project that makes use of 37 different hardware configurations. I don't know when that will be finished, but you'll see what it's about as soon as it's released - mind you, on Vlare FIRST!
Also, Vlare staff: please allow more email domains for those who are diametrically opposed to Google and other large tech companies.
HIERMA is a set of Bash scripts I've been writing over the past few months which aim to provide greater control over the installation of Windows 9x by preloading your own supplied files and configuration to a hard disk or other directory. Just a couple hours ago, I released beta 1.2, which has some new bugfixes and features that should make the scripts more useful. Read the announcement here: https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=68875&p=809620#p80962
Please do me a favor and sign up for Vlare Premium. Normally I wouldn't shill so hard for paid services, but this one in particular is so important.
I've been wanting a solid YouTube alternative to become prominent for pretty much the entirety of this decade, so much so that I flattered the idea of creating my own a few months before joining the original iteration of ZippCast. So far, Vlare is proving to be that robust alternative I dreamed of, but I cannot be certain it will survive the end of next year based on the punishing cycle of pretty much every site that has attempted to directly take on YouTube.
One major killer of YouTube alternatives is that nobody ever takes them seriously, only opting to maybe throw a few things in them and forget it even existed in a week. Remember Vidme? I was convinced it would be the one site that could actually succeed, as it brought in many big names like ReviewTechUSA, I Hate Everything, and even LGR... but they were never really active on there, so there was largely nothing to watch on there, and a ton of people who were brought in ended up never watching anything on that site. Admittedly, I was never big on Vidme, either, since it seemed more purely focused on flashy commercial creators, while VidLii was a lot more fun to be on.
Vlare's spike in growth following YouTube's latest trendy controversies is a critical opportunity for a superb YouTube alternative to be firmly implanted in popular online grounds for those who are fed up with everything YouTube has done since Google's acquisition of that site. Reuploading your own videos to Vlare is good, as it will give everyone over here more things to watch. What scares me about Vlare's growth, though, is that it could turn into a dead fad after January, where people develop an attitude like "oh okay I didn't get fined guess I don't need Vlare lol". I mean, even with the clarifications the FTC provided recently along with some revelations regarding YouTube's handling of the new COPPA rules, I still hold a strong skepticism over whether I or other creators will be safe, as creators are still going to be held liable by them if they do something incorrect.
The migration to Vlare shouldn't be specifically about COPPA (or worse, treating Vlare solely as something lesser like a backup utility), it should be about everything Google did to us and an undying ambition to get this site running on titanium legs. YouTube's tyranny has been going on for too long, and in order to at least fracture it, we all need to make a collective effort to help this site thrive.
Yes, bring more of your videos and your audience here, but don't stop there. Give this site your $6 and ask others to do the same so it can survive on the limited resources it has, as ads are not a reliable source of income. At least try to become involved in this website; I know it might be difficult if you're interested in some field that has a shortage (particularly retro computers for me), but even 20-30 minutes of watching Vlare uploads and writing at least one comment every day or whatever your time affords will help immensely in making Vlare become a place where people can actually seek engagement following the deafening silence they've had to endure with their videos on YouTube.
Do not butcher this opportunity, or Vlare will become another iteration of the same cycle, further impeding the credibility of YouTube alternatives and forcing creators to tolerate more and worse garbage YouTube imposes on them. I'm counting on you.
The definitive strategy to achieving success on Vlare is actually very simple. All you have to do is talk about how YouTube's going down the gutter. People want to see videos ranting about YouTube when they come here, so you'll get more views on those than any of your other works no matter how passionate those are!