Updates

Just a couple of quick updates. I hope everyone out there had a good Mother’s Day weekend. I’ve made a couple of tweaks to our email system to make everything run just a bit smoother. I’ve also changed the way reported ads get handled. Now the only consideration for removing or not removing an ad is the number of reports against it. This will make it easier for the average ad to be pulled due to feedback. To balance this I’ve increased the number of reports necessary before an ad is pulled.

Thanks,
Chris

Update and Apology

The good news is that one of the most frequently requested updates to the site happened last week. The ability to edit asking price, location, and the alternate email is in place as of the middle of last week.

The bad news is that in the process of making that change, I managed to break the payment system in such a way as to charge customers 100x the expected price of the ad. Four people were thus wrongly charged. More noticed the error and reported it. My thanks to those that reported the error.

My apologies and those of Pennswoods.net to the four people who were over charged, and to those who wanted an ad but encountered the error instead. All overcharges have been refunded in full. The error was corrected on Saturday, and steps taken to make sure it does not happen again.

Thanks,
Chris

Email update

Apparently I can now send email to the small subset of domains that were blocking us. I don’t know how long that will last. In the meantime, I’ve removed ad posting restrictions based on email addresses.
Thanks,
Chris

Comcast update

For the better part of a year certain ISPs, notably comcast and its affiliates, have not accepted mail from certain hosting companies, such as the one that Pennswoods.net Classifieds uses. For more information, read our FAQ. Last night I finally seem to have found a work around that will allow me to send comcast customers their email. This is not to imply that comcast made any effort to assist in this matter. They did not.


If someone signed in under a comcast address can use the ‘support’ link on this site, and then reply to the automatically generated email, I’ll be confident that it is working. At that point I can lift the restrictions on posting ads with a comcast address.

Thanks,
Chris

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! I hope your holiday weekend is a good one.

It is a good feeling to wake up and not find a mail box full of alerts that the site is malfunctioning. Thanks again for bearing with us.

Last weekend, Saturday morning, my son had his last soccer game of the season. The coach made it a kids vs parents game. Picture if you will, a dozen screaming 6, 7 and 8 year olds matched up against a motley crew of adults ranging anywhere from their 20s to their 40s and having only one common trait. That trait being a relative unfamiliarity with exercise.

That isn’t quite fair. I suspect that I was the one most familiar with my seat being parked in a chair. At any rate by the last quarter I was assigned goal duty, a position where I find myself directly opposed to my son, who was tending goal for the kids’ team. I confess that I let three goals slide by me in the last quarter. I’m not sure if my team mates thought I was the worst goalie ever, or if they noticed that I occasionally moved my foot a bit in order to get out of the way of the ball.

The kids won, 6 to 8, and my son has told me several times that he is proud of the medals they won.

Happy Easter everyone!
Thanks,
Chris

Outage

During the last 24 hours we’ve had several technical problems that led to the site being inaccessible to a large number of people, sometimes for hours at a time. I believe we’ve worked through the technical issues and the website is stable again. Thank you for your patience, and for the kind words some of you have emailed during this time. I hope you’ve all had a quieter April Fool’s Day than I’ve had.
Thanks,
Chris

Programming as an Art Form

Recently I’ve been reading a book called “The Mythical Man-Month”, which is mostly about managing software development and programmers. It was recommended to me quite some time ago by a co-worker. Early on in the book is an interesting quote. “All programmers are optimists. Perhaps this modern sorcery especially attracts those who believe in happy endings and fairy godmothers. Perhaps the hundreds of nitty frustrations drive away all but those who habitually focus on the end goal.”

More often than not I’ve been accused of exactly the opposite. I actively try to prepare for the worst, while still hoping for the best. Sometimes, judging from the comments of those around me, I must not be coming very close to succeeding in either.

For those easily amused by webcomics, here is an example of Digital Rights Management failing terribly (Library Online).

For those that prefer to be outraged by school policy, I refer you to Bruce Schneier. Mr. Schneier is active in the computer security field, and his work partly inspired my own pursuit of programming.
Thanks,
Chris

Server Upgrades and Browsers

Over the last few months the number of people using the classifieds has grown rapidly again, and for the last few weeks I’ve been extending the ability of the classifieds to handle to greater traffic. This includes the introduction of some new software as well as the introduction of more computers to the mix. I appreciate those who have run into glitches during the upgrades (such as the few minutes where I blocked everyone who wasn’t signed in, sorry about that) and the constructive feedback.

Occasionally the issue of browsers comes up. You’re welcome to use whatever browser you like. I develop the site largely in firefox (forefox 3.6 is what I’ve got installed right now) and I usually test it in Opera and whatever else happens to be handy at the time. Internet explorer tends to be the odd one out, and while a lot of people use it, I can not recommend its use.
Thanks,
Chris

Happy Groundhog’s Day!

Happy Groundhog’s Day to everyone! My sympathies if you you were at ground zero in Punxy when Phil predicted more snow. On the other hand if you stood around sober, you obviously missed the memo.

We’ve been working to bolster the site for the increased traffic we’ve seen lately, and today it looks like it has been running better. The proof is when everyone gets off work and starts browsing the sight this evening. If it isn’t much improved at that point, you can believe I’ll be working on it again.
Thanks,
Chris

Spammers and Scammers

Over the last few days we’ve had an increase in the amount of spams, specifically nigerian style scam emails, being sent out to people. Most of the emails were sent from accounts starting with john774416@ or eagertobuy@. The perpetrators found an unshielded server farm in Chicago, where they were signing up accounts.

For those still not familiar with it, wikipedia has a piece on the scams. According to wikipedia this sort of scam has become Nigeria’s major export to replace their oil industry.

I booted several accounts that had been used to send spam or were signed up from the same source and then I blocked off the Chicago server farm from accessing our site.

Thanks,
Chris