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Raking the leaves

By Steven Martinovich

(October 22, 2001) - Fall is here and like in the real world, that means there are some changes coming in the ESR world – a virtual version of raking the leaves I guess.

As you may have noticed, the search engine isn't much of a search engine. For whatever reason, it is no longer able to index the entire web site so when you perform a search, the results displayed may not be an accurate indication of the resources available. In the next few weeks I plan on testing a few new search engines to see if they can handle the demands – which in truth aren't that great – of the web site. Hopefully the changeover will be completely invisible to you as I plan on keeping the present interface out of the interests of consistency.

Also, the email update feature isn't working properly either. You can still subscribe and unsubscribe at will but for some reason the software isn't mailing out notices to everyone on the list. Again, I'm not sure why it's not carrying out its task but I'm guessing the server isn't giving it the resources necessary and the script simply shuts down or times out. That said, I also plan on testing a few new systems over the next week or so. You won't have to re-subscribe to the list as I'll take care of importing the present list.

On to better news. ESR's famous Person of the Year tribute returns for its sixth year. Starting next week, I'll have a form in place where you will be able to nominate the person you felt had the greatest positive impact in 2001. Given the events of the past year there should be no shortage whatsoever of good candidates. There will be a prominent link on the front page directing you to the form and I'll make sure to mention it in the weekly update message over the next month or so.

Outside of that, some problems have already been fixed. There were a substantial number of broken internal links (I won't vouch for any links that would take you off the web site) that have been fixed. I've also corrected a number of other more minor problems that have detracted from the web site. I've also been considering which resources are core to ESR and which others I can drop. Gone in the near future may be the Tidbits section as I think it has outlived its usefulness. There are plenty of places on the Internet to find the same information on a daily basis. I may also kill off the Water Cooler, our online forum. It began well enough with a growing crowd but since then it has languished. I'm also reviewing the future of several other sections but no decisions have been made.

Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who donated money to Red Cross relief efforts for those affected by the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C and for those who purchased something through Amazon.com or our two stores – all profits from which went to the Red Cross. The final numbers have yet to be tallied but we did manage to raise a couple of bucks for the Red Cross. It felt good to lend a hand and I hope you took the opportunity to help out some people who really needed it. Judging by the totals posted by the aid agency's campaign, I'd say it was a massive success – not only in terms of how much was raised, but in the forging of a new sense of community, not only in the United States, but among the civilized nations of the world.

Thanks for reading,

Steven Martinovich

 

 





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