Astroengine.com Nominated for Best Space Blog!

Wow. That was unexpected! Astroengine has been nominated under the category of “Best Space Blog” on the award site Blognet!

Awesome. Well, I’m not sure what to say about that apart from “thank you” to the wonderfully cool person who anonymously left an awesome review of my site, and then a really nice follow-up review from one of Blognet’s admin staff. Thank you!

I’m not entirely sure how the award-choosing will unfold, but more blogs will be nominated in time (for now, it’s just Astroengine, enjoying the limelight, by itself), but keep an eye open and vote when/if you can. I wont be exchanging votes for money, but I’ll try to boost the content of Astroengine so it is a contender for the prize :-)

Thank you to the anonymous lady who nominated me! You’re a star (and not just any normal star, my favourite, the Wolf-Rayet star!).

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Follow Astroengine on Twitter!

Astroengine on Twitter...

Astroengine on Twitter...

As if I’m not spending enough time in front of my computer already, it appears there’s another social web application I’ve been neglecting! I actually signed up to Twitter in August, but forgot about my Twitter account’s existence until now. After an explore, I realised it’s actually a very powerful tool, providing up-to-the second updates (in under 140 characters) about, well, anything.

First things first, I’m going to use it for personal stuff (although, “I’m doing my teeth,” or “I’m hungry” probably won’t feature) plus Astroengine article updates. I’ve now seen, that if I get enough followers, it might also be a good way to notify everyone about forthcoming Astroengine Live shows (next one is on Wednesday at 4pm PST – don’t forget! I’ll post another reminder later if you fancy tuning into my banter on the airwaves…). There will also be various updates for articles I post on the Universe Today.

So, if you are currently Twittering, follow me on the Astroengine Twitter feed, otherwise, sign up for a free account and start making sweet Twitterings…

See you there!

Cheers, Ian

Astroengine LIVE Touches Down on WPRT Radio!

Astroengine.com is about to branch out into the world of radio…

Starting on Wednesday 19th November at 7pm EST (4pm PST, or midnight GMT), I’ll be hosting my own weekly talk show called Astroengine Live! The show will air for two hours where I will discuss all the best space news, including views, opinions, phone-ins and special guests. If you want to find out everything from the next NASA mission, the status of the International Space Station, progress with the Large Hadron Collider to breaking news from small research institutions around the globe, then Astroengine Live is for you.

Ultimately I want Astroengine Live to work in harmony with Astroengine.com, expanding the reach of the radio world into the vast resources available online. Because of this, all schedules, episode content and additional on-air information will be available through AstroengineLive.com, directing you to the category “Astroengine Live” on this website.

I will announce show specifics closer to Wednesday’s debut, but in the meantime, you can check out the new home of Astroengine Live at WPRT Radio, also the home of Paranormal Radio with Captain Jack!

Cheers, Ian

PS. I’m also getting my own theme tune… now that is the icing on the cake!

Astroengine.com Selected for “Top 10 Space Blogs”

Astroengine in the Top 10!

W00t!

A huge thank you goes to Dave Mosher at the excellent blog Space Disco for adding Astroengine.com to the Blogs.com “Top 10 Space Blogs”! Not only did my site make it into the top 10, by sheer alphabetical luck, Astroengine is also right at the top. Awesome! I’ll wear my badge with pride.

Dave, I owe you a pint some time!

Cheers, Ian

The Universe Today is Unbanned from Digg.com!

Does Digg love the Universe Today again?

Does Digg love the Universe Today again?

Great news! It would appear that after only day one of the campaign to have the Universe Today un-banned from Digg.com, somebody in the admin staff was obviously paying attention (unless they are an avid reader of the Universe Today website too), and realised their mistake. Digg.com is now allowing articles from the Universe Today to be re-listed and dugg!.

I’d like to think that this was all down to blogging power — after all, this little space blogger was blamed for the whole NASA-Phoenix-Perchlorate saga! — but I’m just really happy that the guys at Digg have redeemed themselves a little.

This whole episode does however highlight an ongoing problem with banned sites, I hope it will help to refine Digg’s policy in the future.

Have a look at the first article to be Dugg after a long absence: “More Ares I Development Problems: Is it Really That Bad?” (one of mine!)

Digg Effect Destroys Astroengine (But Healing Now)

Wow, what a stressful day! On writing One-Way Mission to Mars: Top 5 Items to Pack last night, I had no idea about the consequences. This morning the article exploded onto the front page of Digg.com, sending a flood of traffic into Astroengine.com. Although my bandwidth is more than capable of dealing with the situation, the server was quite literally paralysed, causing the technicians at GoDaddy.com to pull the plug (can’t blame them, apparently all the other sites on the shared server were knocked out).

I’ll post a more detailed post soon, but should anyone want to know the best course of action when dealing with an uncontrollable flood of traffic, here’s what I had to do:

The first measure was to stem the flow of traffic from the referrer causing the server outage. Once the relentless barrage of Digg users were blocked, the GoDaddy admin staff were reassured the problem wouldn’t reoccur if they put Astroengine.com back online. The second measure is a longer-term solution until I migrate the site to a better server. WP Super Cache creates html versions of Astroengine’s php pages, thus bypassing the execution of php scripts every time someone visits the site (vastly reducing the load on the server).

Thanks to Fraser (my publisher at Universe Today) for helping me out and giving these tips when dealing with a Digg explosion.

So, now I am going shopping. It’s fantastic to have these bursts of visitors, but the time is coming when I’ll need to upgrade. I’m either going to go the route of buying virtual-dedicated or a dedicated server. Any suggestions for which hosting providers have the best service/price? I’m most likely going to stay with GoDaddy, but I’m open to suggestions.

Apologies for dropping offline today, hopefully this will be the last interruption to service!

Cheers, Ian