Lottery Post Journal

AOL Members Finally Get E-mail

I don't know whether to shout, laugh, or cry, but after literally hundreds of hours spent working with AOL, I have finally gotten our web server whitelisted with AOL.

That means that AOL members will now get all the same e-mails from Lottery Post that everyone else gets.

It means that new members looking to receive the activation e-mails will finally be able to activate their accounts.

It means that I will finally be able to reply to AOL members who send me e-mails.


Strange Letter of the Week

Here's a message I received this evening.

I hope this sheds a bit of light on the strangeness that it is being a Webmaster of a popular web site.

It will naturally be amusing to most who read it, and possibly seem quite harmless.  But can you imagine what it would be like to receive messages just like this one day in and day out, 365 days a year?

After a while, you start to become a bit speechless, searching for the right words to respond — or even if you should respond; it's a strange phenomena.

I am a little upset...

I was on Vacation and bought 2 of your lottos.

But I am unable to find out the results.

My Lottos are for July 16 2005

But your web site will only let me look at Aprils results.

I bought 2 QP & 1 Powerball...

It looks like I will have to email ALL my family and Friends and let

them know... NOT to Buy Lousiana Lotto's... and NOT use your web-site


<e-mail address removed>


Tired of getting credit card offers in the mail?

If you're tired of receiving a mountain of credit card offers in the mail every month, I just found a service that will help get rid of most of the junk mail!

Go to the following web site, and in 5 minutes you can "opt-out" of all pre-screen credit card offers, either permanently or for 5 years.

It's simple and quick!

If you'd rather do it over the phone, call 888-561-8688.  But doing it on the web is much better, because you can type and see everything exactly as you intend.

New Editor Fullscreen Mode

This evening I added a great new feature, which will help those who feel the small editor window is a bit restrictive.

I have found when I'm entering posts with large images or tables, that the editor area is just too small, and it's hard to arrange everything.

Now, with the new Fullscreen mode, you can expand the editor to fill the whole screen, editor you post, and then switch back to "regular" mode to post it.

All your have to do is to click the new Toggle Fullscreen Mode toolbar button (in the top-left of the toolbar), and the screen toggles back & forth between normal mode and fullscreen mode.

School Phone Message

This is the message that the Pacific Palisades High School (California) staff voted unanimously to record on their school telephone answering machine because they implemented a policy requiring students and parents to be responsible for their children's absences and missing homework.

The school and teachers are being sued by parents who want their children's failing grades changed to passing grades, even though those children were absent 15-30 times during the semester and did not complete enough school work to pass their classes.

This is the actual answering machine message for the school:

"Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting the right staff member, please listen to all your options before making a selection:"

"To lie about why your child is absent - Press 1"

"To make excuses for why your child did not do his work- Press 2"

"To complain about what we do - Press 3"

"To swear at staff members - Press 4"

"To ask why you didn't get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers mailed to you - Press 5"

"If you want us to raise your child - Press 6"

"If you want us to reach out and touch, slap, or hit someone - Press 7"

"To request another teacher for the third time this year- Press 8"

"To complain about bus transportation - Press 9"

"To complain about school lunches - Press 0"

"If you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable and responsible for his/her own behavior, classwork, homework, and that it's not the teachers' fault for your child's lack of effort: Hang up and have a nice day!"

If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English, thank a veteran.

Back to Normal

As of about 1:10 PM this afternoon, things are finally back to normal with the Lottery Post servers.

My previous Blog entry noted that a power supply on the Lottery Post Web server failed last week, causing the site (and the whole server) to bomb.  With some quick thinking, I had the data center swap the drive array from the LP web server into another less important server, and that became Lottery Post's new [temporary] home.

The new power supply arrived from SuperMicro today, so we installed the new power supply and swapped the drive arrays back the way they were.

Luckily, everything worked perfectly on a reboot, and after resetting some configuration settings, we're back in business, just like before.

Glad that's over with, but now I learned to keep an extra power supply at the data center.  I ordered an extra one, and it's sitting in a box in the rack case -- just in case.

I'm also glad that (reaching my hand around to my back) I had built all the servers using the same model of components, so that such a drive array swap was possible.

Server Failure

Some people may have noticed that Lottery Post stopped functioning at about 3:00 this afternoon (Eastern Time).  It seems the Lottery Post server developed a bad power supply, so the whole machine went down, and refused to reboot.

So I worked with the data center to quickly swap the hard drive array into another server that is used for less critical tasks, and within about 30 minutes everything was back up and running.

We have a new power supply being rushed to the data center to set things back the way they were, but in the meantime at least the server will continue to function just fine in its new temporary home.

If I only had one server at my disposal, the entire site would be down until the new power supply was shipped and installed - at least a day.  But with all the technology and servers I installed about a year ago, this kind of recovery is possible.

Is it just me?

I am personally getting increasingly annoyed by the posting of one-line nonsensical posts by people who don't add anything at all to a discussion.

I am tired of putting together a thoughtful message, posting it on a thread, only to come back later in the day and find a few one-liners posted by a couple of people who didn't really have anything of substance to say.

Sprinkled in between all those meaningless posts are some gems posted by people who cared enough to actually think through what they're saying, but it all seems to get lost between the nonsense.

It is starting to greatly detract from my enjoyment of the forums.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

If not, and if there is a general consensus on this, I am ready to start taking action.  I am ready to do some or all of the following:

  • Just delete meaningless posts on the spot
  • Warn people who do this that they are posting too many meaningless posts
  • If the activity continues, temporarily suspend people who do it
  • If after temporary suspensions do not work, then impose permanent suspensions

If I can't enjoy my own web site, then I wonder what's the point of it all?

I just know in my heart of hearts that I'm sick of it, and I want to make the nonsense end.

New Browser Detection Site

I created a new simple web site for detecting anyone's browser characteristics.

If you go to the site, it shows your IP address, the country your IP is registered to, and your "user agent" string. 

The user agent string is a single line of text that your web browser sends to every web site you visit, so that the web site knows what brand and version of web browser you have.  That allows web sites, among other things, to account for any bugs that may be present in a particular brand of web browser, adjusting the web pages that you view on-the-fly to send slightly different HTML code, so that you can see the web page bug-free.

The site also has a detailed view that will test your browser and show you all kinds of detailed information about your browser, including cool stuff like connection speed.

Also, based on your IP address, it will also show you the city, region, country, and Internet Service provider of your connection.

The site is, and it can also be access at the bottom of the navigation menu on the left side of every page on Lottery Post.

The page can be used to help diagnose problems.

For example, people who are having difficulties logging in to Lottery Post can go to that web site to make sure that both cookies and JavaScript are enabled.

More Platinum Blog Profile Info

Gold and Platinum members can now include more information in their profile section of the Premium Blog by selecting the appropriate checkboxes in the Premium Blog Settings page.  (In the Control Panel menu.)

The information is taken directly from the member's Lottery Post profile, so there's no new text to input, you only have to turn on the options.

By default, the member's Homepage link (if it exists) and Interests (if there is any text) are turned on.