7/17/99 - Long overdue.
This year, most of the energy focused on this project has happened either in the Forum, or the Mailing lists we host here. However, more articles are being written for the Faq section, and other areas are undergoing a cleanup. Like old car projects, sometimes there is not always as much personal time to do much else but maintain status quo, but I'm trying!
10/14/99 - Catching up!
More fundraising this last Spring has improved the Server a great deal, in terms of performance and functionality. The Focus conferencing package has been running well, we are now on a PCI-based Fast/Wide SCSI device, and we are backing up nightly. See the Forum for the latest news/chatter, it's been a great year!
4/12/98- Overdue News!
OK, here's the scoop:
Our Fund-raising drive brought $530 from an amazing number of folks. Most
of them were 10's and 20's, and a few folks were even more generous!
I think it's awesome that a lot of people made reasonable donations, and this is what it's all about. In the background, I was working with UKWeb, and a very helpful Rep. Leslie Holmes of UKWeb deserves our thanks, and she managed to swing an 'Educational or Non-Profit' discount on the Focus package for us. The package cost $360, and I ordered it on Friday the 10th. I don't expect the upgrade to happen until midweek, as they have to process the Order, etc.
With the Delta, I bought another 32M of RAM for the Server, and I have my eye out for a quality PCI-based SCSI controller.
The SCSI controller we use now is an ISA Adaptec 1542, and while it works OK, PCI would make the SCSI subsystem much faster. Also, I'm on the lookout for a SCSI Tape Drive, as Backups are kinda hard to do as we speak.
The RAM upgrade had it's moments for the weekend (I got some mis-matched RAM, and it led to some downtime/worry on my part), but the machine is much snappier since the Upgrade- Joy!
In short, we have some money in the 'till, and I'm going to shop carefully so as to make the best use of the funds.
Thanks for your Support, and once I recieve the Registered version of Focus I'm going to finish this sucker off.
Any requests for new Topics? Email me, and we'll talk!
2/18/98 - Major transition underway. I've finally decomissioned the
Netforum package altogether, and all services are running on the new Focus
Once I have the new Forum squared away, I'm going to tackle the job of making the old Forum available, and searchable, but we need to get over the initial hurdle first!
I'm very excited by the new software, and I invite you to check it out at http://www.mirafiori.com:8080/forumdemo!
1/1/98 - Happy New Year!
I've rotated the logs to reflect another great year. It looks like we saw about 42,000 unique hits in '97, and repeat hits totalled 700,000+!
In the next few months, I'm going to rally for another meeting up in Oregon this Spring, and also continue to develop the Page.
The cosmetic changes you see tonight are really the first step of a Navigation overhaul that Dave and I are working on, and I could not resist the opportunity to release some of the finished bits right away. The other big focus is going to be the Forum, and how to make it more manageable. We might just have to write software from scratch.
In closing, I want to thank all that visited the site this year, and especially thank all those that contibuted Tips via the Forum or email!
12/6/97 - Some idiot decided to post his news to every Topic on the Forum,
and I'm working to remove his posts. In the meantime, the Forum has been
The architecture of the Forum makes this time-consuming and tricky, and I might have to restore from the last backup. For the record, don't Spam the forum unless you have a reason to hate me, or the group, OK?
11/26/97 - For the first time, I have successfully indexed the Forum! Please do check it out, and let me know if you think the feature is worthwhile enough to merit beating up our poor server for 10-12 hours per week! The new Serach Page is located at http://www.mirafiori.com/htdig/, and could be a temporary link.
10/30/97 - A few additions, and Modifications have occurred. First of all,
the Catalog section
has been added to Ricambi, and this should provide a good Guide for those
that seek parts via mail order. Also, I'm pleased to announce that the
Gallery section is now Dead/removed. I've replaced it with a much more
dynamic resource, the FTP Gateway
Page! This document allows easy browsing of the FTP site we house, and also
provides instuctions/encouragement for those that might wish to Submit. The
'Reader's Rides' section is nearly here, and this is an important step in
All in all, I am rolling out Pages as I can, and developing our Facelift (with Dave's help) in the Background. More Soon!
10/14/97 - Mirafiori is now on a UPS circuit, which should reduce downtime by quite a bit... Power has been our Achilles Heel in the past, and we have overcome this with an APC unit.
Attentive Readers will note that all top-level links to Ricambi resources have been removed. These links have been replaced with a Mail Order link under Ricambi, in an effort to make all links more Fair, and easily navigated. All of this is a precursor to the overall overhaul that the Page will be undergoing over the next few weeks, and I ask all visitors to watch out for falling Links!
7/16/97 - What an interesting few days. As Sonic.NET (and myself) moved
our Offices around, I've had to reboot our Server no less than four times.
Mind you, previous to this the machine was staying up 3-4 months at a
Power problems popped a breaker this morning in my New Office, resulting in the Sad state of affairs you see on the main Page. Total downtime was less than 15 minutes, but it made me Mad anyway :)
In any case, we are back in business, and the Big News is the Fiat Northwest Event. Come Early September, we plan to all meet in Portland for a big Shindig, and I look forward to meeting any and all that can make it.
Thanks for your patience with all the Downtime, and if you have an issue... Hit me with a Water Balloon on September 6th! (just don't damage the Laptop/Digital Camera I plan to bring to we can have a Feed to the Server in Real Time!)
6/23/97 - Unfortunately, Mirafiori has suffered another bout of Downtime on
Server. Our favorite Perl process (Netforum) seized this morning, at
08:24 PDT, and (to my great dismay) my notification scripts did not warn
I've repaired the problem, and I'll be re-writing the Notification stuff tonight.
Sorry folks - This happened 5.2.97, and I put a lot of effort into Alpha Paging notification, but it looks like the wily process managed to find a loophole in our scripts.
More work from here on out, and I'll keep the List informed!
6/9/97 - Majordomo Configuration, Stage 1 is complete. If you wish to
subscribe to the Notification list, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org,
with the line subscribe fiatpage in the BODY (Not the Subject line)
of your mail. You will automatically be added to the List. This is not an
interactive list, but you will recieve any additions to the News file, plus
any additional Server information as it happens.
On this subject, please send your thoughts/recommendations regarding new, interactive lists to email@example.com.
Majordomo is a tool that we can use in many ways, and I want to optimize it...
6/7/97- Some of the work previously discussed is coming to fruition. I
finally finished the '124 Suspension' information I was working on, and the
'Nuova' section has been added. This will highlight new articles as they
are created, and stop some of the Bloating we've seen on the top-level
As stated so many times before, a lot of Background planning is taking place, so keep en eye on this News file. Also - I've recieved just a few requests for addition to the Notification Email list. I've not implemented this yet, and so far I have very few submissions. I'm really excited about the new build of Majordomo on Mirafiori, and would like to hear from those that are interested in the continued growth and potential of this project.
Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org right away, and I'll add you to our List. I expect actual implementation of this List to happen by months' end.
5/2/97- Lots of work in progress, but the big news was the unfortunate
outage we suffered between 06:00 and 09:00 Friday morning.
Just before 6:00am, PDT, the httpd process seized. Unfortunately, the
process was still running, and the Web Server was answering the queries that my Network monitoring
scripts were sending it. So, my Pager did not go off! (grr)
I fixed httpd just after 9:00am.
Anyway, I'll be rewriting the network monitoring scripts. Please accept my apologies for the outage, and understand that I'll be working doubletime to make sure it does not happen again.
2/10/97- NEW motherboard. Courtney Waters and myself worked hard on Sunday
to get things happening within the Maintenence Window, and everything worked
out. Actual downtime for the site was 52 minutes during the swap, and then
a bunch of spotty connectivity between 13:00 and 16:00 as I rebooted the
machine a few times, wrestling with a Kernel that would use the new Triton
PCI EIDE controllers to the best advantage.
For the record, we got: Intel Pentium 100, 512k of external Pipeline Cache. The Linux 2.0.29 Kernel sources built nicely on this machine (it used to take 2.5 hours to build a Kernel, now we do it in 8 minutes flat), and performance is awesome. If the last 24 hours are any indication, I think the new architecture should serve us well. If you experience any problems, send me mail.
Also, if you want early notification of events like these, or just want the inside track as to what is happening in our little corner of the world, send mail to email@example.com and I'll add you to the notifiation and News lists.
1/12/97- New Search Engine added. The software is the Thunderstone
Webinator package, which is effective, and... Free. Last week, I set this
sucker to the task of indexing our Forum, but it did not work out. After
two days, it had hit our Web Server about 5500 times, and it was not even
CLOSE to being done. Since the Forum is such a dynamic document, it would
only make sense to index it once a week or so, and with the amount of time
the first one was taking, I decided to attack that project another way, and
save it for later.
But, the existing engine will at least index the site less the Forum, and is a nifty feature... Please do try it out and let us know if you have any problems with the interface!
1/8/97- Well, the Server is up. You might expect a huge,
graphics-intensive site heralding this, but the Administrator of this small
site has been too busy planning/improving SERVICES! The Forum has been
upgraded, and is now running on our new Host. Goodbye, NapaNet!
Over the last few days, I have been experimenting with a Search Engine that might one day provide a Searchable index of the Forum. This proved to be a two-day nightmare as the Web Spider hit every darned button on the Forum twelve times in a row, so I gave up. I will get a searchable index of the Page up very soon, but it will not include the Forum. Step by step, we'll get it!
In short, watch for new Services/features, and send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you encounter any broken links, or issues you'd like to bring up.
12/27/96- The Big News is the server you are using right now. This has been an enormous effort, and I have been hard at work for several hours trying to make the transition smooth. More here, and probably in a seperate document later.
10/4/96- Regarding the Forum: It is still running on the NapaNet Web
Server. This machine (and the network connections thereof) have been flaky
lately. I still have Administrator privileges on this machine, but there
are a bunch of Third Parties working on it, and I no longer work for
For this reason, please don't be upset if the Forum resource is not available from time to time. Our new server will correct all these blues, and will be handled in-house. So, please bear with us, and send any spare pennies, nickels, or dimes our way. I desperately want to consolidate the Page's resources, but I can't afford to drop $1000 all at once.
9/30/96- Well, the changes have been transparent to the average User so far, but we are ramping up to the next stage: A dedicated Server, co-located on one of the best-connected sites in California. The fuzzy tables, and uncompleted projects are being quietly worked on in the shadowy workshops that make up the Fiat Page. Dave and I look forward to this new freedom (No more monthly Big Fiat Page Bill for Eli, Whoopee!), and we are developing ideas every day. The new machine will literally open the roof on our development, and User participation will be the first issue I address. I'd like an environment where a Tip, Idea, or photo could be posted in a staging area, and eventually integrated into the Page. The Forum is great, but I feel like some good concepts for the Pages' development are passing us by as long as I house it at the commercial site.
Please read on our development, and our concept at The donations Page, give what you can, and please stay in touch with us!
7/13/96- I finally got the Forum working again. I won't bore you with the
details, but it was one serious hassle getting this package installed on our
reluctant Sparc. Also, I installed a stats generation program, just so we
can see what accesses are like.
With this hurdle crossed, I'm still thinking about a 'reader's rides' section. I mean it this time, please send your description and story in and I will create the section once I have 5 submissions. I will give FTP access to all sumbitters, and post what I get. Please participate, this section has been a long time in coming and needs to happen!
Other than that, please let me know if the Forum breaks, and thanks for your patience while I sorted this out.
4/4/96- LineaRossa has been added to the Page. Our Factory-Authorized
source for parts has been the topic of many discussions, and I wanted to
provide some exposure, and some background information on the company.
Check out the Parts Books, these provide a real resource. Furthermore, check out LineaRossa as a parts source! There is no sense in buying aftermarket parts for your car when Factory components can be had reasonably. Also, buying Genuine Parts helps guarantee a continuing supply of parts into this country.
3/10/96- More Forum news. I couldn't stand how
disorganized it had
gotten, so I revamped and reinstalled it. There are new instructional
warnings on your way in, so hopefully the Topic structure will stay a
little cleaner now.
On a more positive note, I also posted a new section in the Special Projects Area. These are scanned Fiat magazine ads from the 70's that I think are a lot of fun. Check 'em out, make them wallpaper if you want, and let me know if you have any dusty old Car & Driver magazines with ads that deserve to appear here.
2/21/96- The Forum
crashed, and hard. Actually, the Forum was
fine, but it had this annoying habit of crashing NapaNet's Web
server with it's sudden appetite for RAM. It has been replaced with new
sofware, and as a result is totally empty at this point. If I had about
a week with nothing to do, I might repost all the messages, and recreate
the old Forum... Let's start over.
Try the new software out. Please email me with questions, or comments, and let's try to get through this- If I had a bunch of money in the Fiat Page coffers, I might have tried a new version of NetForum, but at this point I write all the checks for this Page, and I can't afford an expenditure like that.
So load the Forum Up! If we don't crash it in the first few weeks, we'll probably be OK.
1/21/96- As you can see, we've started the process of making the opening
Page better-looking. I never concentrated on this in the past, and
focused on getting information up. However, the opening Page was starting
to age, and not very well!
This is just a first step- As I have time I'd like to condense it, add image maps and the like, but this will have to do for now. Write in with any comments, but please be kind: Dave & I never pretended to be professional designers, we're just overworked car nuts trying to do the best we can!
Other News: In December '95, LineaRossa International went retail. There have been some misgivings about this that have been voiced in the Forum, but I see it as a good thing. I picked up a copy of the latest Spider book, and it is an improvement on the original. I also intend to get a copy of the X1/9 book for reference.
In these times, we need to support the Factory as we can! Parts availability will only continue as there is a market for it, so buy New, Genuine parts when you can. The Parts Substituion lists aftermarket alternatives for some parts, but these are intended for applications where the original part is either long-gone or extremely expensive.
So, enjoy our efforts. Keep using the Forum, we may replace it with better software one day but I can't afford the $500 it will take to purchase some. From this end, we'll keep our ears to the ground, and do everything we can to continue developing this resource.
12/13- I finally have a handle on the NetForum software, and I'm in the
process of editing out some of the multiple responses & other messy
aspects of the Forum. To eliminate additional work: When submitting,
don't double click the 'Submit' button, and ALWAYS Reload before you
decide that your response needs to be submitted again. I'm not going to
pretend that the NetForum software is perfect, but ithas been a real joy
to use, and interact with. Let's keep exploring this resource, and I
love hearing from you!
Also: Check out the 130 Photo Shoot in the Special Projects Area, and let me know what you think! I am not an expert on the models that never saw our shores, but I invite you to check out the pictures & update me with information to better improve this section.
Lastly, I am on the lookout for Model Photos. I keep getting requests
for photos of European models that I do not posess, and I would not mind
posting or archiving photos as they come in so we can satisfy these
requests. Send me some mail first, then get 'em to the FTP site so they
can be added!
Thanks, and be on the lookout for our next feature- We are processing shots of a rare 1952 Ottovu Coupe, and a section to house them.
11/20- Some small additions. The Special Projects Area has been added, and now houses the Fiat Freak-Out area, in addtion to an article (more to come) by Courtney Waters. I also added a small window into our personal madness in the Bay Area, this being a photo shoot of a car dismantling party I hosted a few weeks ago.
Other Things: The Forum still shows the enigmatic error 'can't open message base', and I have not been able to fix it. It does not affect the operation of the software, but we'll get together & repair this annoying error soon. Also, messages are being posted several times by some users- This software makes it well-nigh impossible to edit messages once written, so please be careful when entering messages to avoid this other annoying trait of the Forum!
11/7- Big News afoot for The Fiat Page! A long-term dream of mine has become reality, this being the Fiat Page Forum! This section is hosted by NapaNet, who have become my new employer. From this new environment, I am not limited by West Coast Online's policies regarding CGI scripts, and I can work on the Page more than I have in previous months. I am very excited about this new feature, and want to hear from you within the Forum!
Other big news for November: David Voss is back online, and with a system that will permit him to fully participate with us. Use the link to send him mail!
Overall, this winter will bring a series of changes within the Page. Additional features will still be directed by user feedback, so get in touch. We will implement new features as we deem necessary, but we want to hear from you, so we can better direct our efforts.
Let's switch to those daily drivers for the Winter months, and build the Page!
The big news is that we are back online. A DNS problem within West Coast Online took a few days for me to catch, and a few days for them to fix. Sorry for the hiatus, and I can only continue to promise big things for the Page once I get the time to settle down & WORK on it again.
10/5- I plan to open an area with cars/parts for sale. Mail your addition to me, and I will post it in the section. Please note: This area is for Enthusiasts that want to share unneeded parts or sell a personal car- it is not for dealers.
Send any images that accompany your ad via FTP to: wco.com/users/isaac/ - Please do not send images via Email, as it ties up WCO's mail server & causes problems.
Any parts dealer that would like to be listed can send a request, that will be posted in the 'Ricambi' section. This section will be opened soon, so please mail me your information.
Also- David Voss has had recurrent hardware problems, and is unable to replace his old equipment at this time. Please mail any information for Dave to email@example.com, and I will forward it to him and get a reply. Hopefully, we'll get him up and running soon.
9/24- Smog time for your early EGR-equipped Twin-Cam? Check out the updated information on those enigmatic EGR thermovalves in the Parts substitution area. New parts information, and a diagram to build your own thermovalve are available.
9/4- Well, the big news is that Fiat has finally entered the Web officially. Their page, 'Fiat Bravo e Brava' is a start and can be accessed from the Go section.
Also look for the photos provided by Paul B.- He attended the 'Fiat Freak-Out' event in July, and mailed me some great photos. Took a while for me to scan and process them, but there is some great stuff there. 131/Brava enthusiasts will enjoy the Abarth 131 Sport replicas- Check it out, and download the photos while they last- Unless I get a WHOLE lot more space they will be deleted within 30 days.
8/16- Been working on some other links, options for the Page. I also started editing the Ricambi section. The State indexes (starting with California) will eventually lose the silly, double-spaced format that my inexperience burdened them with.
Be patient, I'm still trying to figure out the most efficient way to repair them. I typed the original Index by hand, so I've got some reservations about overhauling the whole thing until I'm sure I'm going in the right direction.
Thanks for your patience in this busy time- I've been thinking a lot, and doing little with the Page. Maybe after I get my personal fleet running (2 of the 3 are still DOWN) I'll have more time to get back to business.
8/8- I posted some new information about Smog legislation in California that will hopefully prove to be an alarmist article. Also, for those that wish to send images in, here is the address: Do an anonymous FTP to: wco.com/users/isaac/
Please notify me by email, so that I can check and process your submission.
7/25- A contributor from Europe sent in some great images, and I posted them today- These are from factory brochures, and very good quality- They are sized right for wallpaper use, and I'm really enjoying them! I put up another shot of the Barchetta, one of the new Cinquecento Sporting (Though I've never driven one, they just look fun, like a modern-day 128), The Coupe, and even the new Fiat Minivan offering, the Ulysse. I know that a minivan has no business on an Enthusiast page, but I like looking at new Fiat products- Been so long since we've had a new one in North America that I guess we get a little desperate... In any case, enjoy- I'm about ready to start rotating some older images out of the loop, so save them now if you want to save a copy.
7/16- Well, the move is pretty much over, and hopefully we've all made the transition. Now that all the grunt work is over, expect more changes and additions. Please mail me if you find any of the inevitable little mistakes that happen when you try to reorganize a project of this girth. Positive changes for the new site: We've plenty of room to grow here at WCO, and they really support our development. Thanks for bearing with us!
*New additions for 7/3: David has provided me with two excellent articles. The Fiat road wheels article is up, along with the long-awaited 131/Brava Suspension upgrade article. More is on the way! Also, thanks to the party that pointed out some embarrassing HTML errors in the Ricambi section. Sean, I fixed it.*
*Another glaring error has been corrected in the Ricambi file. The address for Fiat Plus was the incorrect one, and apparently had people headed for the Santa Cruz homeless shelter. This was pointed out by Chris Obert himself, and my apology goes out to him or anybody else that was affected by the error. Please bring any other mistakes to my attention!
Well, we've passed the first stage, and the Fiat Page has proved it's viability... The response has been astounding! When I started this project back in November '94, I had no knowledge of WWW publishing, a basket of scribbled handwritten notes and ideas, and a desire to condense all of that into a single resource that all might use. Mind you, I never expected much of a response, or readership of the Page, but I got it, so here we are.
The Page has drawn about 4,000 users every month. From my mail, I derive that most of you want Parts sources, Suspension and Engine upgrade information, and photographs of the cars, both current models and the cars we see here in the US. Getting permission to use the PBS Engineering information was a great step in the right direction, but I need to do more research, and get more performance upgrade stuff up.
I have plans to upgrade the Ricambi section, and would appreciate your ideas- Mail me with your favorite shop, their name & address, and why you like them. I'll include your comments (if you wish) as a tag to the shop's entry in the Ricambi area. Word of mouth is still the best way to support an honest, local repair shop/parts source- If that shop has mail-order access, you may help more people than you think!
There has also been some interest in specialty restoration shop listings, which I think is a good idea. If you have knowledge of a good business that does such work, please clue us in! All these will find their way onto the Page.
The Suspension area (Dave's Suspension Workshop) should flesh out soon. Months ago, I gave David an ancient 286 machine and the idea: Condense years of research, and hands-on modification with Fiat automobiles into documents. The output from Dave has been slow, but we've passed some critical stages... David started a family this year (beautiful girl-child), and is about to acquire a machine that will allow him to see, and edit his projects from home- Keep looking, I know this idea is going to pan out.
(Send him encouraging mail! I want this boy motivated to turn out articles for the rest of us!)
Photos are going to be a tough issue as long as I am financing the Page. If you have an image you'd like to see posted, then send me mail. I have an FTP directory set up to recieve them, and will add them to the Page as possible. I welcome your input & images, as I should probably start rotating them on a regular basis.
Other things: The Page will undergo substantial movement in the next month or so. I have moved my personal Internet account, and the Page, to a new local provider. We also have a domain name change in the works. For now, all will remain at AIS, and as before. Anybody who has mailed me directly regarding the Page willl receive personal notification when we formally move, and a pointer to the new location will probably remain at AIS long after the official move.
Some have written in requesting an area where parts/cars for sale might be listed. I think this would be a good idea, and will add it once I have a few ads to post! Send them in via EMAIL with the tag 'FIAT AD', and I'll create the section & post them.
In closing, thanks again for visiting the Fiat Page. Your input, and ideas are going to help make it the information resource I envisioned at its inception, and help make it what it should be:
An enthusiast site by, and for it's users.
Back to the Fiat Page