RocketReviews.com

Archives

The RocketReviews.com Community

After a false start a few months ago, I’ve reintroduced the RocketReviews.com Community. RocketReviews.com Community adds a new layer of social interaction on top of RocketReviews.com.

The most obvious new feature is the collection of Forums where members may discuss various rocketry topics.

The RocketReviews.com category of the Forums includes content originally posted to RocketReviews.com. Currently, it has just one forum, the Reviews forum, but more will be added later.

When a review is published at RocketReviews.com, a topic is automatically created in the Reviews category containing a summary of the review and a link to read the full review. You can comment on the review by posting a reply to the topic. This replaces the review comment feature which was a part of RocketReviews.com. Replies to a review’s topic will be displayed on the review page at RocketReviews.com along with a link to the Community forum.

For example, look at the Scratch – Uranus

Continue reading The RocketReviews.com Community …

Performance Improvements

I’m aware that the RocketReviews.com web site has been performing slowly at times, but I’ve addressed the issues and the site is performing much better now.

If you found RocketReviews.com to be slow in the past, please visit the site now and let me know if you are still having problems. You can use the Contact Us link at the bottom of any page at RocketReviews.com to contact me.

For those interested in the details, a number of issues were causing the problems. These issues came together in a “perfect storm” a few days ago causing the site to be down for a few hours.

The main issue was that the database engine’s parameters were not tuned very well. It was using more memory than physically exists on the server. Combined with some inefficiencies in the way the database was being used, this caused a high load on the entire server. A monitoring program rebooted

Continue reading Performance Improvements …

RocketReviews.com Site Updates

Look for more designs to be indexed in the Rocksim Library and the OpenRocket Libray. I updated the “spider” which searches the internet for designs. It now also looks inside zip archive files. This has already added dozens of designs to the indexes.

I made the “thumbnails” displayed in Photo Albums larger. The pages will take longer to display, but the photos look much better.

I added a “Search” tab to the Rocketry Plans and Instructions index. This will make it easier for you to find plans or instructions without having to search the entire site.

A Sneak Peak at the Flight Log Updates

Here’s a quick sneak peak at the new form that I am currently developing for entering flights.

Please click the image if you wish to see it full size.

The first thing you that you’ve probably noticed is that it’s more attractive than the current “wizard” and multiple-flights form available at RocketReviews.com. And this is before I’ve spent any time on the “look and feel” of the form. It’s appearance is based on a standard template. But, it already looks very nice.

Besides looking better, the new form will work better. For example, as you type the name of the rocket into the “Rocket Name” field, the form will display a list of matching choices from rockets you’ve previously flown. The same “autocomplete” function works when entering other information, such as the launch site and types of motors.

The input form is divided into sections. The

Continue reading A Sneak Peak at the Flight Log Updates …

Help Determine the Future of RocketReviews.com

I’ve begun working on a major update of RocketReviews.com. The main goal of the upgrade is very general – to make things work better.

I’ve adopted the Invision Power Services Community Suite (IPS) as the basis for the new version of RocketReviews.com. The IPS architecture is similar to the one I developed for the existing RocketReviews.com web site. Like the architecture I developed, IPS makes it easy to expand the site by adding new features (IPS calls them “applications” and “modules”) on top of the existing framework. IPS’s architecture, though is more robust and capable than the one I developed.

In addition to providing a framework for custom functionality, IPS ships with a number of full-feature applications including a discussion forum, an image gallery, a blog, and a chat application. IPS implements hooks allowing the existing application and custom ones added later to work together.

I’ve installed IPS at Community.RocketReviews.com. You can log into the

Continue reading Help Determine the Future of RocketReviews.com …

RocketReviews.com Web Site Update

Just a quick update on the status of the RocketReviews.com web site ….

I’ve been fighting back-to-back colds or the flu since Christmas and it’s caused me to fall behind in doing things like posting reviews that have been submitted and in answering emails. I’m working on catching up now. I apologize for the delay in publishing reviews that have been submitted. There are about a half-dozen in the queue right now.

The site’s Rocksim and OpenRocket Libraries currently have some problems. When I added the OpenRocket Library, I based it on the existing Rocksim Library and I discovered a problem. To fix the problem, I had to delete entries for many of the Rocksim files. The entries are being re-added over time, but some of the meta-data describing the entries is still missing. I’ll update the entries as time permits. Eventually, though, I need to revisit how the design files are stored and indexed.

Continue reading RocketReviews.com Web Site Update …

RocketReviews.com is Back!

A few days ago, the server on which RocketReviews.com and other sites are hosted crashed. Since I was already in the process of moving to a new server, I decided it was better to get RocketReviews.com working on the new server than to give CPR to the old server.

The new server is a dedicated computer which is much faster than the old one. It also runs newer versions of the web server, database, and other software. This made it challenging to transfer RocketReviews.com to the new server. But, after a few days with little sleep, I have RocketReviews.com up and running on the new server.

Since moving the site to the new server, a few problems have been discovered and corrected. For example, some people were having a problem logging in over the past few days. But, I think I’ve fixed that and most of the other problems.

If you have any problems using

Continue reading RocketReviews.com is Back! …

April, 2011, Newsletter

Don’t Forget the Reviews!

With all the other features available at RocketReviews.com, reviews may not have been getting the attention they deserve.

Rocketry reviews, after all, are, and always have been, the heart and soul of RocketReviews.com. So, I recently made a few minor changes to the RocketReviews.com web site to help make the reviews a little more prominent.

On the home page you’ll now see an excerpt from the “Today’s Featured Review.” As the name implies, the featured review changes every 24 hours. Check out the home page periodically to discover interesting reviews from the past.

In the menu block on each page, I’ve added a direct link to the Reviews home page. In the past, the link was grouped in with all the other “Features” in the menu block’s drop-down list. Now, it’s also available in a more visible and accessible location.

Finally, I added a “Random Review” feature which is

Continue reading April, 2011, Newsletter …

RocketReviews.com is Moving! But, our address is staying the same . . .

RocketReviews.com is moving. But, with any luck, you won’t notice. We’re moving the web site to a new server. The current server is a few years old and one of the hard drives has started to act up. The drive hasn’t failed, but is giving “SMART” reports that indicate problems.

So, before the drive fails and causes real problems, we are taking the initiative of moving RocketReviews.com to a new web server. The transition will be made over the next couple of weeks. Once the site has been copied to the new site, the Domain Name Service records for the site will be updated and the current server will be set to redirect visitors to the new server. This should allow the transition to occur without any interruption of service or loss of information. But, it is possible that you may experience some minor problems or brief periods of time when the site is not

Continue reading RocketReviews.com is Moving! But, our address is staying the same . . . …

Photos in More Places

It’s a minor update, but I think it adds a little class to the RocketReviews.com site ….

I added large photo to the start of Kit pages and Rocket Gallery pages. The photo displayed is selected at random from the photographs attached to the kit or rocket. If no photographs have been uploaded for the kit or rocket, the site chooses a random photograph from a flight associated with the kit or rocket or from the kit associated with the rocket.

To see an example, visit the Hawk’s Hobby Super Mark page. The picture displayed at the top of the page is one randomly selected from the flights of the rocket.