Archive for September, 2010

Billikens.com

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Today was the last major step in a summer long process for updating Billikens.com.  Every few years I do a redesign, so this summer before the “lost” third year of a PhD program I did a redesign.  Updating Billikens.com each time forces me to learn a little more tech.  This update is probably my best coded design (it has the fewest Steve tweaks of bad code to make things look right..but yeah…there are still a few tweaks).

This is what the site looks like now

I actually cannot get a screen shot of what the site looked like for the last three years (Wayback Machine doesn’t render it right…probably because of my tweaks).  I also cannot find the first version of Billikens.com.  But here is the progression between then (forgive the spacing).


My favorite design is probably this last one, but the current design is much easier to update and offers automatically updating content (e.g. imports RSS feeds).  Over the years, we have also been through three message board software packages: Talkshop, DCForum, and InvisionPowerBoard.  For the first message board, I had to manually register each user.  With the latest upgrade, people can register and post from their iPhone using a “mobile” theme.
I have been through a number of web hosts over the years…
  • Members.aol.com/SluSignGuy ~ Who didn’t have an AOL or Geocities page at some point!
  • Armnet: Billikens.com is board with a whopping 20mb for $20 a month
  • Interland: More web space, but got hacked multiple times
  • Dreamhost: Super cheap, but would crash on occasion
  • GoDaddy: Still cheap (but lessso), very few problems

This past season, the message board became more popular.  GoDaddy puts a limit of 200 on how many concurrent connections you can have to the MySQL server.  This got exceeded pretty much every game from February on.  With the Rick Majerus era, the site gets more traffic.  It still has the old boys club, but there is some fresh blood.  To put it in perspective.  In August 2010, Billikens.com got as much traffic as it did in November 2008 (meaning a month before school starts got as much traffic as the first month of a season).

With these increases, Billikens.com (and its baby brother SteveRogers.info) have moved to Virtual Private Server.  This again pushed my tech knowledge a ‘bit, but the fine folks at ServInt helped me out.  If this server can’t handle the traffic…well…I will be in a pickle.

So we have a new web design, upgraded forum software, and a powerful new server.  Now for that tournament bid…Heck, I was with Armnet the last time that happened.

3 Tid Bits, 2 Videos, Hands Tied

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

On Wednesday, three neat things happened.

Bobby B

Junior year of high school, I took AP Chemistry with Mr. Becker.  Mr. Becker is an enthusiastic little man.  He put the periodic table on the ceiling, blew things up weekly, and instituted “early mornings” for AP Chem where we got to class at 6:55am three times a week.  I was awful at Chemistry, and quite honestly that class convinced me to end the family trade (both my father and grandfather were Chemists).  This man however was extraordinarily dedicated.  He inspired many to go into the sciences.  He came in early and stayed late after school helping students.  While Chemistry was not my thing, every high school should have a Mr. Becker.

Mr. B got his well deserved props this week.  He was named Missouri teacher of the Year.  He will be nominated for National Teacher of the year.  It is simply neat that he got the recognition he definitely deserved.

The Sunday Mail

Sophomore year of college, some friends of mine had a town house.  Most of us lived in dorms, so having this venue was a gift.  The F Street townhouse was where many parties happened.  Before many of these parties, three guys in a band would play.  They were good guys and called themselves the Sunday Mail.  I was not great friends with them, but they were in my extended circle.  They kept the band together (but changed the name to Jukebox the Ghost) after college and have made a living out of it.  They opened for Ben’s Folds Five, are headlining a tour this fall to promote their second album.  And tonight…well…watch.

Hands Tied

On Tuesday, I had a bit of a dissertation rant to my friend Deborah.  As mentioned before, my advisers have pushed me to wander more.  On Wednesday, I went into one of their offices.  I returned a book I wandered in (it was actually pretty good).  We talked about it some, and I brainstormed with him on another unrelated idea, which he liked.  We talked about future readings, and I somewhat re-ranted my rant to Deborah to him.  I do not quite remember how the events unfolded, but somewhere in the conversation I said that this process is “eating your vegetables,” to which he chuckled.   Somewhere else he said: “Well, it is probably good to keep your hands tied for a couple more weeks.”  I don’t know why, but it made me feel a little better.   It made it seem like he understood a fair bit, which I appreciated.

Sorry…No video on that one.