Revenge of the Database
... So ... that happened. [Cue uncomfortable foot shuffling]
We carried out a RAM upgrade to our main database server last night, but it went a little bit wrong. While the RAM itself is fine (and always appreciated), there were a few knock-on effects that were none too pleasant. Soon after the upgrade we went down again during last night's peak time.
As for today ... we've seen it all - corrupted database tables, diskspace issues, monumentally slow rebuilds, cats and dogs living together. Stuart's computer even went out and crashed in sympathy for our database.
We're back! Hopefully you all haven't missed us too much. :)
Huge thanks to the kind folks at Rackspace for helping us out - we heart you guys very very much (especially the snappy dressers among you ;))
News From The Lab - Fridae Fresh + Tribes
If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a ... well, fairly interesting at least ... surprise. That is, if you think of our Fridae Labs area as ... the woods.
Let's ignore my slightly-flawed metaphor for the moment. :)
New Stuff! Fridae Fresh
We know it can be hard to find the newest content on Fridae, so we've added a new section to the site recently, called Fridae Fresh. This is where you'll find all the freshest content users have posted to their profiles, showing the latest photos, the latest profile updates and the latest blog entries.
The pages are updated a few times an hour with the latest content.
Fridae Fresh is considered beta for now.
Fridae Tribes Update
So far the response to Tribes has been great! You've created lots of new Tribes and we've seen some surprising groups forming. (1JAPAN - we had no idea you guys would grow to become one of our biggest Tribes!)
Today we also added some new goodies to Tribes.
A new menu option - Subscriptions - is now available in each Tribe. This allows you to subscribe to various emails and notifications for the Tribe. At the moment you can opt to receive the daily email of all the Tribe's activity (who joined, new messages, new photos and photo albums), but in the future there'll be other options.
Tribes now display the identities of their Tribe Masters and Administrators in their pages, so you know who to contact if you have any problems.
Member profiles now display the Tribes that the member belongs to (only showing public, listed Tribes). This is a function we were putting off deploying, but with such a great response to Tribes, we felt it was important to start displaying them in your profiles.
Lastly, we've added some featured Tribes to the right hand side navigation of the Tribes pages. From time to time we'll update the featured Tribes list. There's no formula here, its just Tribes we find interesting. (Everyone should go join Gaymers now!)
Remember, these features are both considered beta
- we want your feedback. Let us know what you think in the comments section on this post, or use the Contact Us
page to report a bug.
Finally, on a personal note: thanks to everyone who listened in to Technogaze last week. :)
News From The Lab - Tribal Vibes
It's been a while since a tech update found its way onto the blog. Rest assured we've been working hard on some new goodies! Today we've introduced a new feature called Fridae Labs.
Fridae Labs is where we experiment with some new features. We've been having fun playing with them in the office, and thought it would be nice to offer our users a way to play with these features too :)
Lab Experiments can be considered "beta" - they're very experimental, and there are likely to be bugs. We'd appreciate your feedback (and patience, while we fix bugs).
To access Labs and check out our current Experiments, click on Settings > Fridae Labs in your user console. The Labs page will tell you what's currently available and show you how to access it.
Our first Lab Experiment is "Tribes", a major new groupware feature for Fridae.
A Tribe allows Fridae members to arrange themselves into a group around a common cause or interest.
You can use a Tribe to find other members who are into the same things as you, and if you can't find one you can create your own.
Each Tribe gets its own discussion board and photo galleries for members to interact with each other, and it can also have private Agenda items visible only to its members.
A Tribe can be public (anyone can join), or private (an invitation is required to join). You can hide the Tribe's contents or the Tribe itself from anyone who's not a member.
The Tribe page also has a distinctive new layout style which can be customised by the Tribe Master.
Fridae will maintain a public "Tribe Index" which will list all Tribes that have opted in to be shown to the public.
Anyone can create a Tribe, for any reason! Here's a few off the top of my head:
- Australians in Singapore (that's me)
- Transformers Fans (again, me)
- Hamish and Andy Fans (yeah, its me again)
- People who go to the same gym as you
- Fridae Members who attend the same college or university
and so on - the sky's the limit!
Joining or creating a Tribe is a great way to get involved with and get to know other Fridae members who might not necessarily be looking for Personals - give it a go today!
UI of the Tiger
Today we've introduced a change to the Fridae user menu.
When we updated to our current site design, we used a 4x4 grid of icons to convey menu options and action information:
This presented us with a few problems:
- Adding new menu items was problematic - we could only add 4 buttons at a time!
- The graphics contained the text in whichever language is needed. For future translations, we need to create new graphics.
- Because of size restrictions in the design, the text in the graphics was quite small - almost too small to read.
- Users are often confused by the numbers added to the icons - we never really explained the difference between red and blue tabs very well.
I think it's safe to say that we were really going for a menu design reminiscent of an iPhone home screen, but we didn't quite achieve what we wanted.
With today's updated menu, we hope to address these issues.
Our new menu is simpler and easier on the eye - it's a better match for the site's color palette, and as a straight top-down vertical layout it's simpler to comprehend.
We grouped menu options into functional areas, many of which expand to provide additional options when clicked:
- Actionable items (ones that require an action or response from you) - messages, hearts and requests - remain at the top.
- Lists of users - friends, favourites, tracks, blacklist, etc - follow, with a separate section for your friends and favourites currently online.
- Tools for modifying your profile and related data are next (Add/Edit) - you can find options to jump directly to new Travel Plans and Blogs, and finally an option to manage Directory listings.
- Next you'll find Settings - preferences related to your account and how you use Fridae. You no longer need to click through to an interim page to see all the options in this area.
- Finally, we've added a link to our new Referral System - we'd like you to invite your friends to come and join you on Fridae! (if you didn't already know)
We'd like your feedback on the new menu design and layout - did we do something wrong? Did we do something right? Click here to contact us and let us know what you think, or add a comment below!
PS: If the new menu's a bit confusing, you can click on the icon below the menu to switch back to the original menu. You should let us know your thoughts, though - we don't plan to keep the old menu around for long. :)
Baby When iCal Your Name
We've added the ability to export events from Agenda as iCal files (.ics extension), so you can set your own event reminders. This format can be read by Outlook on Windows, iCal on Mac, and Thunderbird (with Lightning extension) on just about any other format.
This is a bit experimental (but seems to work ok), so if you find any problems please let us know.
Homework assignment: Are there any other calendar export formats you'd like to see on our Agenda events?
RSS Feed Me, Seymour!
This is just a quick note to let you know that we've updated our RSS feeds - they're now being run through FeedBurner instead of just being a file on our webserver. This lets us track some statistics (like the number of subscribers), which we couldn't do before.
Some homework assignments for those of you who are watching:
Have you subscribed to a Fridae RSS feed? If not, why not?
Is there some other content on Fridae you'd like a feed for?
Introducing Tech Updates ... and Photo Galleries!
Hi there, welcome to the first Technology post on the Fridae Blog. I'm Jason, Fridae's Senior Developer and I'll contributing posts from time to time, letting you know about changes to the site and other items related to the stuff that goes on behind the scenes here at Fridae.
To kick us off, you probably noticed that we removed photo functionality from the site for the last couple of days. This allowed us roll out a new feature - Photo Galleries!
Fridae has alays had an arbitrary limit of 10 photos per profile (and another 10 in your Vault if you have a Perks subscription). As we move forward, we wanted to address this limit and give you a way of grouping photos together. Now you can put your holiday photos in a gallery on their own and keep them separate from the photos of your pets. ;)
You can still customise the thumbnails for your photos, and you can now click "Make Main" to use any photo as your main profile photo. Delivering on a much-requested feature, you can now rearrange the photos in any gallery by dragging and dropping them in the list.
When someone views your profile, they'll now see the photos in your "default gallery", and then a list of other galleries in your profile.
For Perks subscribers, a Gallery becomes a part of your Photo Vault if you tick the box to restrict access to users with a Vault Key. We've removed the upload and management functions from the Vault section - your Vault Galleries' contents are now managed using the "Photos" icon along with the rest of your photos.
If you notice anything wrong with your photos after making these changes, please get in touch with our webmaster for investigation.
Update: Apologies - the Make Main and Edit Thumb functions had problems for a little while today - this has been fixed.
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