Reposting and Screen Names

Way back in February I asked folks what they would most like to see added as a feature to the classifieds. The response was overwhelmingly for an easy way to re-post ads. It wasn’t an easy thing to add, but it is available as of this evening’s update.

One of the things that has held me up recently is a constant stream of foreign scammers. We always have those, and collectively, you and I, boot them from the site as quickly as possible. The report ad button in the bottom right of the ad is the quickest way to get action when you find a scam ad, and I frequently review the ads and the reports to make sure everything is working as much as intended as is humanly possible.

One thing that should make this easier is default screen names. No longer will I be working with a description like “some guy in Miami, San Francisco, and Kansas City selling cars”. Now you can still have a screen name set if you like, but those who don’t will have one assigned to them, making communication about accounts much simpler and more straight forward. The end result will be a cleaner, safer classified ad website.

Chris

Account Management Issues

Last night around 11:50pm I sent out emails to a few dozen people who had activated their accounts, but where the account hadn’t been made fully functional.

A server has been throwing errors since about Sunday. The errors would happen on account signup, activation, password changes, etc. Normal surfing of the classifieds was unaffected. Only about 10 to 15% of the account management attempts were failing, which made it take a little longer for me to find and fix the problem.

My apologies to those of you who experienced difficulties. If you know someone who tried to create and account in the last few days, and was unable to do so, the problem is now resolved.

Thanks,
Chris

North East, PA

Vaughn and I visited Valley Gun Works last evening. I extend to Mr. Edwards a warm thank you for being such a generous host. He is also an excellent gun smith. A few moments glancing over one of my pistols and he pointed out what was wrong with it. I’d had for several years, occasionally pulling it out and scratching my head wondering why it didn’t fire.

A special thanks also to those folks who came out and shared their thoughts on the site with us. It is their feedback that helps shape the direction for future features and changes.

Chris

North East, PA

At 7pm on thursday October 20 my fellow Pennswoods.net employee Vaughn, and myself, Chris, will be at Valley Gun Works in North East, PA.

You are invited to stop by and say hello, tell me what you like about the Pennswoods.net Classifieds, tell me what you’d like to see improved, or listen to some ideas on staying safe while buying, selling, and trading online.

The first 20 people through the door will receive a one of a kind Pennswoods.net Classifieds t-shirt silk screened specifically for this event. We’ll also give away some free featured ads on Pennswoods.net Classifieds.

If you think you’ll be able to attend, please let me know so I can make sure we have adequate seating.

Google Maps link to Valley Gun Works

Thanks!
Chris

North East, PA

As mentioned previously, we’ll be at Valley Gun Works in North East, PA on Oct 20. Please let me know if you’ll be able to attend, so I can make sure we have adequate seating. First 20 people through the door will receive a one of a kind Pennswoods.net Classifieds t-shirt silk screened specifically for this event.

The focus of the event is staying safe while buying, selling, and trading online. And of course as always I’ll be looking forward to hearing feedback on how you use the site.

Chris

Searching

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve changed the search boxes around a bit. We used to have two of them, and we still do. The upper left one was a search for Pennswoods.net Classifieds. As many of you have already discovered, it has been moved lower to the body of the classifieds, and more centrally located.

Shortly after making this change, one of my co-workers mentioned that the location of the search field made it appear that when you were inside a category, it would be a category-specific search. Unfortunately it was not category specific, but it is NOW! Thanks Curt!

The search in the upper right was a generic, search-for-anything google search bar in the upper right. That might have been really cool in 2001, but in 2011 it is a bit pointless. If you wantedto search for something, you’d just go to google or yahoo or where ever yourself and not need a search field on Pennswoods to do it. So this one was re-worked so that it searched google specifically for cached Pennswoods.net ads. I get a regular stream of requests for ads that have expired. Most of these requests just want to purchase something that was advertised in the past, but I cannot provide ads that are not currently on our website. I put a lot of effort into making sure google, yahoo, and other search engines index your ads, to reach the widest possible audience. This re-worked search bar can help you search google for those cached ads, which can be available through google much longer than they are available on Pennswoods.net. This re-worked search bar is now centered near the bottom of most pages.

I take pride in the fact that my friends, family, and co-workers find this to be a useful site. I hope that you have found these changes make it easier to buy, sell, and trade with your neighbors.

I’ll be in North East, PA on Oct 20. If you are in the area and you’d like to hear a brief talk on how to stay safe while shopping online, or if you’d like to share with me how you use the Pennswoods.net Classifieds, I’d love to meet you.

Chris

First Meeting 2011

The first Pennswoods Classifieds meetup for this year will be in North East, PA on October 21. Contrary to its name, North East is actually in the north western portion of Pennsylvania. I’ll be posting more details shortly, but if you live in that area, or are going to be around there on October 20, please consider stopping by to say hello.

Last year our focus was on letting people know that while we were now working under the umbrella of Atlantic Broadband, we were still providing the same online services as ever. This year the focus will be on identifying online fraud, and how to stay safe while buying, selling, and trading online.

Chris

Mother Earth News Fair 2011

No, not a men’s fair, MEN Fair 2011. Mother Earth News Fair 2011. Vaughn (a long time fellow Pennswoods.net engineer) and I just finished setting up the booth at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs resort this afternoon. I was there with one of the Atlantic Broadband techno-people last year and it was a good time. Don’t be put off by its name. There are barely any tree hugging earth worshipers there at all. There is a lot of good tech, literature, and back to the earth learning to be had there, as well as a lot of newer solar systems, wind energy, and other technologies.

Look for us directly behind the herb stage in the middle of the interior booths. Don’t forget to wander around outside as well, as some of the best simpler living seminars are conducted out side.

Chris

Cookport Fair 2011

I’ve been at the Cookport fair all this week. Today is the last day for it, and I’ll be tehre again this afternoon and evening, until they close the doors and shoo me out. The deep fried oreos are really much better than you might expect, except for their impact on your cholesterol and sugar levels of course. If you’ve never been there, it is well worth the $4 entry fee (kids 12 and under free). The price is less than Cambria and Indiana county fairs, the entertainment at least equal, and it is a good time.

Chris

September 11th

On September 11, 2001 I was employed by Concurrent Technologies Corporation in Johnstown, PA. That morning we all heard that the twin towers had been struck by an airplane. It was sad, but it wasn’t the first time a plane had collided with a building, and we got on with our morning.

A short while later we heard that a second plane had crashed into the other tower. Now something fishy was up, but we didn’t know what yet. Televsions were rounded up and we started waiting for more news.

I went to a doctor’s appointment elsewhere in Johnstown. When I arrived back my supervisor, Allan Hobernay, met me in the parking lot and told me not to bother going back inside. The plane crashes were terrorist attacks, and another plane was believed somewhere over Somerset or Cambria county. Everyone was going home, and the town was being shut down.

I raced home barely ahead of where they were shutting down 219. In fact to get onto 219 and get home I had to take some back roads past the airport. I’m told that the airport roads were closed down a few minutes after I went through.

A lot of stories and rumors circulate about what happened that day. One thing I know for certain is that we are blessed to live in a country where events like this are noteworthy for their rarity.

I think there are a number of reasons for this. An impressively strong military, with soldiers dedicated to protecting our freedom, our way of life, at any cost is one of the most important reasons. The individuals who, day in and day out, put themselves between us and our enemies deserve more recognition than just the occasional day of memorial.

Likewise the police who remain ever vigilant, routing terrorists before they can even launch their plans deserve greater recognition. The fire fighters, rescue workers, and emergency personnel who put their day to day lives on the second tier of importance so that they can stand ready to intervene in both small and large emergencies deserve greater recognition. Their ability to mitigate damage and save lives makes the efforts of our enemies so much more futile, and brings comfort to so many.

I believe that the the average American, with our strong faith in God, and our willingness to fight back, keeps each of us safer. We Americans do not make soft targets. Charlie Daniel wrote in “In America” the words:
“And we might have done a little bit of fightin’ amongst ourselves,
But you outside people best leave us alone
Cause we’ll all stick together and you can take that to the bank,
That’s the Cowboys, and the Hippies, and Rebels, and the Yanks,
You just lay your hands on a Pittsburgh Steeler’s fan,
And I think you’re gonna finally understand.”

Looking back across those 10 years, we may still have some problems in this country, but we also have each other, and that’s a lot to be thankful for.

Chris