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Server Crash

This has been the worst web-hosting crash I've seen (normally I like JaguarPC, but they really messed up). Our website was down for a bit over two days. is up, still waiting for other sites, notably

Apparently there was one or more spammers on the shared server. Then they had a RAID hard drive array crash. During this time, they did a lousy job of communicating what was going on with users. For instance, my first support ticket request got a reply saying the server would be up shortly. The second support ticket got a reply saying they "hoped" it would be up shortly. One day later things weren't much better. Basically I had to pester support and they must have prioritized restoring my account. Support was overloaded and responded to some things very slowly (sometimes taking 6 hours).

Over 1300 Groups and Growing

Map of our Network

It's a map (using Google Maps) of some of the 1300 groups on our site.

Very slow in Internet Explorer (2 minutes). Fast in Firefox (15 seconds).

Soccer, Board Games, Meetup, and other totally apolitical uses for Activism Network software

While my goal in developing the Activism Network software was political, it could easily be used for completely apolitical goals.

For instance, I'm very interested in radio. I enjoy listening to FM and shortwave radio stations from hundreds to thousands of miles away.

Somebody could download the software, install the server and client, and create a database of radio hobbyists. The event calendar could include club meetings, ham fests, dx-peditions (trips where hobbyists go to a remote location, setup very long antennas, and listen to their radios), and others. The resources would include radio station schedules, radio-control software, propogation prediction software, decoder software, guides to building antennas, modifying radios, and more. For groups, you'd have a list of ham, shortwave listener, or other radio groups. For issues, you'd have things like shortwave, longwave, AM, FM, scanner, HAM, Morse Code, etc.

Activism Network - Testers and Feedback Wanted

I’m proud to announce that I’ve got a new release of my software Activism Network (formerly known as Campus Activism, that is ready for testing and feedback.

I am planning to develop a community of developers and users who are interested in modifying the code, suggesting features, prioritizing features, and reporting bugs. I invite you to try out the software and join the community!

The major change in the new version of the software is that you can install it on your own website, and it will access information that is stored in a central database. So users will be able to add, edit, delete, browse and search – while staying on your site. It uses webservices (the php NuSOAP library).

Activism Network - See It for Yourself

You, my loyal blog readers, are the first to read about this:
Activism Network

Mostly looks just like, but technically it is built very differently. And it has maps. Everyone loves maps, right?

Email me bug reports.

I'm testing it on XP running Internet Explorer 6, Firefox, and Opera 8.5. I don't have a Mac. Browser compatibility is especially an issue for Google Maps.

Campus Activism / Activism Network 3.0 - Progress Report

I'm testing the latest version (3.0) of I hope to do a beta release within the next three weeks.

Likely process: release beta (minor release, get it working on and let people know about it - notably other developers), test it and add more features. Then do a major release which would be stable and good enough for other websites. I'm thinking of releasing the beta before I have all the customization features implemented (that allows you to have the own version of the client - ex doing a client for your country, city, issue, language, etc -- add your own organizational logo).

Delete Button and Usability

Apparently the red X is the leading choice for the delete button. On a Google small image search for "delete" it is two to three times more popular. X's that aren't red are also popular, as is writing out the word "delete".

So I'll be switching from a trash can to a red x on this site. I'm a sucker for trends.

One difficult issue is whether to have a red x on a white background, or a white x on a red background.

Categories or Tags?

From the beginning, I figured that using a limited number of categories was the best way to organize the listings on

However recently, there has been a growing movement towards tagging as an alternative method of categorization.

Flickr lets users upload images and give them any tag they want. Livejournal lets you give any name you want for your interests. lets you choose any tag you want for your website bookmarks (which are shared with other users). Similarly, Google, the best search engine, doesn't use categories (whereas its poorer counterpart, Yahoo, does).

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