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Please Help Track Some Weird Problem

A reader reports that he is having problems entering the site’s URL manually (i.e., http://www.bsreview.org) or any of its subdomains (/blog, /forum, and so on). Internet Explorer 7 (under Windows XP) displays the banner image and some text, but then an error message pops up (“IE cannot open the Internet site http://www.bsreview.org. Operation aborted.”), and the page cannot be displayed. Also, with Firefox 3 (under Fedora) he is unable to see the New Topic button when he logs into the forums.  And this is all happening from a Comcast connection.

Now, I cannot reproduce any of these problems. The site, the blog and the forums have been extensively tested under IE (versions 6 and 7), Firefox (versions 2 and 3), and Safari, and found to work just fine, as far as I can tell. Since I have not received any other reports from visitors about display problems, or any other problem for that matter, would you mind reporting back to me what your experience browsing the site is like? If you do, it would be helpful to know your OS and browser, and you can either leave a comment here or contact me directly. I will update this entry as I receive your feedback. Thanks a lot!

Update (August 11): The issue is fixed now. Some obscure configuration setting related to the custom style I am using for the forums was the culprit. Everything else seems to be working as it should. Let me know if you come across any further glitches.

Forums Open

Bible Software Review forums are now open, and I am hopeful that the new anti-spam measures will keep spammers away. The goal is to build a strong community of Bible software users and developers where people can interact with one another, so please feel free to register and participate. Your comments and ideas will no doubt benefit others and, as usual, there is an Announcements section for official press releases.

Among the many new features is the ability to actually write in Greek and Hebrew quite easily, add attachments to your posts, show images, etc. Also, keep in mind that other forums will be open as needed. Why not give them a test run and discover all the potential they hold?

Meanwhile, do let me know if something is not working properly. There have been so many changes in the last few days that it is difficult to get it all right the first time. Please be patient as I process registrations. Believe it or not, I do sleep every now and again 😉

Finally, I would appreciate it (in fact, we all would) if you use your real name, rather than some cryptic nickname, if at all possible. Thanks!

New Design and Improvements

As you can see, the site and the blog have undergone a major redesign. You may or may not like it, but I think they look much better than before. But don’t get fooled by the appearance. The real improvements are to be found in the code. You can’t see it, but it will make my life a lot easier, and you will be able to profit from some streamlined features.

I will not bore you with all the details, but I do want to mention a few of the improvements:

  • A number of system-wide anti-spam features have been implemented. This means that the website, the blog and the forums (soon to be reopened), will be easier to manage. It also means that the time saved in running them can be devoted to creating new contents.
  • The calculations used to assign an overall rating to the products reviewed have been changed, so that even if a certain area is not applicable, the merits of the available features is what counts towards the final score (see a real example of the kinds of problems I run into in the past.)
  • The new layout is more readable, and leaves plenty of room for the use of audiovisual media.
  • As far as possible, links have been thoroughly updated. As for incoming links, please notice that any links pointing to the old blog URL (“domain/weblog/post.html“) or the first incarnation of BSR (with static htm files) will not be redirected anymore. There has been plenty of time to update those links, and the server structure was getting very confusing trying to keep this sort of “backwards compatibility.” I’m sorry for any inconvenience, but it is something that had to be done.
  • Most changes have improved the “team-friendliness” of the site, so that it will be easier to have others involved in writing, blogging, participating in the forums, etc.

Last, but not least, I am greatly indebted to my son Andrés, without whose help these changes would have not been possible.

Finally, I want to encourage you to keep supporting this project by emailing me news, links or any other information that you think might be useful to the many readers of BSR. Okay, enough for now. Have a nice day and see you around!

Blog Software Change

As the most perceptive among you may have noticed, I have now migrated to WordPress. To be honest, Movable Type was a pain in the neck, and I had all sorts of technical problems trying to update it.

Changes will be introduced gradually. For one thing, the website and blog are going to undergo a facelift, but that is not quite ready yet. For the time being, as far as the blog is concerned, I am still working on getting the permalinks and archive files properly formatted, so please do not link to any of the current pages until I get that sorted out. You may, however, comment to your hearts content. :-)

Update (July 17): I think I’ve got it right now. You may link to any post or comment as usual. Thanks!

Still Alive!

Bible Software Review readers are amazing! Even after such a long blogging and writing break (October 2007, no less!), my stats show that I get well over a hundred visits every single day. And that does not include those who read the blog through a web-based feed reader.

There are many circumstances when blog writing has to play second fiddle to other matters. All I can say is that I’ve been through a number of them. It feels weird, but as time goes by, you just begin to fear for the worst. These past few months I’ve toyed with the idea of quitting several times. I contacted a number of very capable people and tried to convince them about taking over BSR. But despite all my efforts, I had no success. So it seems that I am “stuck” with this project, and that there are lots of reasons out there to press on.

Anyway, here we are again. It’s so good to have people like you around this place. Thanks for bearing with me, and thank you to all those who have emailed and shown a sincere interest in the current state of affairs surrounding the website and weblog.

Short Fact List

I happened to look at BSR statistics for the first time in months, and based on the previous seven days, I see that 54% of the visits come from the United States (but I find 60% from North America under Continent Share). 83% run Win XP, 35% have IE 6.x as their browser, and 52% use a 1024 x 768 screen resolution. Last, but not least, the most common referring page is Google (what a surprise!).

Does all this show any interesting trends? Maybe not, at least nothing that I didn’t know already ;-), but it was fun to see all those nice graphics displayed by sitemeter.

Paid Ads

I just want to let you all know that from now on, and until further notice, Bible Software Review will only be accepting paid ads and PayPal donations, rather than engaging in various sorts of affiliate programs.

This move is necessary in order to help cover the increasing costs involved in running the site. So, if you really want to help but are unable to send a donation (there is a Donation button on the left side of the main page), you can always click on the banners. It will not cost you, and you will be directed to reputable websites with interesting offers on Bible software.

Thanks for your understanding and continued support!

Spam in Forums and Blog Comments

Forum spam and blog spam are on the rise. Ideally, we would all like to keep spammers out of our virtual life, but absolute protection is impossible if you want to have some degree of feedback from your readers and interact with them. For instance, it would be very easy to put all comments on moderation, or force everyone to register and get approved before posting a comment or participating in a forum thread, but since I don’t want to do that at this point (at least not right now), I have to spend some time every single day cleaning up the forum and some blog comments, which is quite unfortunate.

Receiving lots of spam emails every day is a real pain, but getting spam in forums and blog comments si simply nauseating. I really hate it, and since I don’t read any of those messages – be it emails, forum threads and/or registrations, or blog comments -, please be sure to use a real name and a meaningful subject line, or else your post will be immediately and unmercifully trashed.