Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday, sponsored by American Express, is on November 26 this year. This is the second year AMEX has done this. It is the Saturday after Black Friday and is aimed at bringing attention back to the small businesses. It is good to see a major corporation like American Express trying to get people back to “Mom & Pop Shops” and the Brick and Mortar businesses of USA.

–Chris–

Website Troubles

About a day ago (sometime Saturday evening) the Pennswoods.net Classifieds databases started to fall behind in serving up the data necessary to operate the classifieds. Normally this would cause a few slow page loads, maybe a few blank page loads, until things came back up to snuff.

Unfortunately this weekend my wife and both my sons were ill, and I wasn’t paying close attention to what was happening. The databases never managed to catch up, and this afternoon it got bad enough that weird things started happening. Ads wouldn’t delete, some ads wouldn’t show, etc. I’ve corrected the underlying problem of insufficient database capacity (I just added another machine to the mix), but some of my databases are still as much as 17 hours out of date as I write this. This isn’t as bad as it sounds, as now that the pressure has been relieved, those databases should catch up to date within the next 20 minutes or so. I’m going to go now and write responses to those of you who have queried me on the strangeness.

My apologies for the difficulties, and thank you for bearing with me while I get things back up to snuff.

Chris

Veteran’s Day

I hope everyone took a few moments today to think about the men and women who have served in our armed forces. Every one of them I personally know is a fine human being, and every one of them has willingly put themselves between us and harm’s way. Should you want to go a little further than a moment spent thinking of our armed troops, your might want to spend a few dollars and purchase one of Jeff Cooper’s books. Not only was he a marine who served in two wars, but he was also an elegant writer who could present a clear message that holds your attention. One of my personal favorites is “To Ride, Shoot Straight, And Speak The Truth”.

Chris

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