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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

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RocketReviews.com Moved to New Server

Over the past weekend, I transferred the RocketReviews.com website to a new server. One of the hard drives on the old server began showing signs of failing, so I decided to move RocketReviews.com and the other sites I host to the new server.

The new server is very similar to the one used before. It has an Intel Xeon Quadcore processor and 4GB of memory. It’s running RedHat Linux and is located in one of Softlayer’s data centers in Dallas, Texas, with direct connections to the largest and fastest internet backbones.

The only real difference between the new server and the old is that the new server has three 500GB hard drives in a RAID 5 configuration while the old server had just two 500GB drives configured individually. The RAID system provides protection in case a drive fails. If one of the drives fails, a new one can replace it without turning the system off.

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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

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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.

Here We Go Loop De Loop …..

The RocketReviews.com web site has been down a few times lately. Over the weekend, I discovered that the server’s main hard drive reported some errors causing the server to go off-line. So, I took the server off-line one evening and backed up everything from the failing drive to the server’s second drive. I then set up the system to boot from the second drive.

That went smoother than I had expected, so, of course, something went wrong later.

Earlier today, I found the server running very slow. After some debugging, I discovered that the hard drive had filled to 100% of its capacity. I had copied all the files from two 500GB hard drives onto the one hard drive since the system is now running with one drive. But, I forgot to turn off the automatic backups which used to be written to the second drive. So, the system drive quickly filled up.

Continue reading Here We Go Loop De Loop ….. …

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.

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Featured Rocketry Blog Posts

RocketReviews.com’s Featured Rocketry Blog Posts page list posts selected from rocketry blogs that are especially interesting. The page displays summaries of featured posts with links to read the entire post or to view a list of related posts. The Featured Rocketry Blog Posts page gathers the best of the rocketry blogs in one place.

Facebook Integration

Facebook Integration has been added to RocketReviews.com. If you enable this option, the flights, builds, build entries, and reviews that you add to RocketReviews.com will be summarized and posted to your Facebook page automatically. The Facebook post will include a brief summary of the flight, build, build entry, or review followed by a link to read the entire article at RocketReviews.com.

To enable Facebook Integration, log into RocketReviews.com. Select “Facebook Integration” from the “My Account” menu. Click the “click here” link as directed. You will be taken to Facebook where, following the prompts, you can log into Facebook and authorize RocketReviews.com to post to the site.

RocketReviews.com can only post to your Facebook page when you are using RocketReviews.com and are logged into Facebook. If RocketReviews.com tries to post something to Facebook and you are not logged into Facebook, RocketReviews.com will prompt you to click a “click here” link to go to

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Photo Album T-Shirts, Posters, Postage Stamps, and More ….

When viewing an image in the RocketReviews.com Photo Album, you may see a link under “What You Can Do” for ordering a t-shirt, printed photo, poster, genuine US postage stamp, or other product featuring the image. The currently link appears only under images you have uploaded to RocketReviews.com and under photos that I contributed (such as the photos I’ve taken at ROCK, NEFAR, and TTRA launches).

The link only appears under images which are large enough to print well on most of the products. Generally, an image must be more than 1000 pixels wide or 1000 pixels tall for it to print well on a t-shirt. For this reason, the site includes the link to order products only if the image is more than 1000 pixels wide or tall.

Later, an option will be added to allow you to specify if you’d like others to be able to use your images on products.

As an

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How to Advertise on RocketReviews.com

I recently received a couple of emails asking how to purchase advertising on RocketReviews.com.

We don’t directly sell advertising, but you can advertise your products or services on RocketReviews.com in one of several ways as described below.

List your products on eBay – Since eBay is an excellent resource for finding out-of-production kits as well as current kits and other rocketry products, RocketReviews.com links to eBay listings in the Rocketry Product Index and on select Rocketry Product Review pages.

eBay auction listings which participate in the eBay Giving Works program, are also listed on the RocketReviews.com home page and in the list on the eBay Charity Auctions page. Ebay listings are also included in the Rocketry Deals list and in search results.

Links to eBay are created automatically, so simply listing your product at eBay in an appropriate category (such as the Rocketry category) with a good description should result in an ad for

Continue reading How to Advertise on RocketReviews.com …