Author Archives: Yancy Lent

Server Upgrade Issues

How about that new server?

A few issues have risen over the past few days that have had me up until well after midnight. They seem to be under control with a band-aid but wanted everyone to have something to look to if they/you were/are affected.

Issue 1. Encoding. I just spotted this so i’ll discuss first. I know the fix but just don’t have the cycles right now to fix. The band-aid is changing:

$title = htmlspecialchars($blogtitle, ENT_QUOTES);
$title = htmlspecialchars($blogtitle, ENT_SUBSTITUTE);

The bigger fix will  be a total revamp of how encoding is handled with both php and mysql. I’ll fix this over time. For now blog posts that use special characters in the title will look funny or fail to insert. There are very few cases of this happening in testing. The more you use them, the greater the possibility.

Issue 2. Dates. More specifically the posts published date stamp and how it’s presented in the 262 different ‘takes’ on the rss/atom standard. The time suck was two fold, one to identify the problem and two, stop my self from fixing all the bugs i found along the way. The problem had to do with the PHP function strtotime(). “Parse about any English textual datetime description into a Unix timestamp.” The return value changed. Previous to PHP 5.1.0, I’m pretty sure the old server was using an older version.

The bugs this effort dredged was the silver lining. As a result there is little need to use feedburner to ‘clean’ feeds. This includes atom feeds, connection feeds, etc. Pretty amp’d about that.

Here is a list of blogs that still have issues with their publish date. This is about 1% of the total. I’m pretty sure that if the owners of these blogs do a little magic to the feed schema or tweak the feeds somehow, they could fix it on their end. Until now they’re sort of ok. Going forward, if  the code can’t parse the date it’ll use the current time, then it’ll make you a sandwich.

Radu Cadariu | |

Tommy Valand | |

Sasa Brkic | |

Issue 3. A fun one, if you’re a developer i guess, and it was all me. I had a cron job hourly pruning aged blog posts (+365 days). Every hour or so a another job would go out and poll for now posts. In the process it would look for and compare all posts. Given the large number of feeds with posts over a year old.. you can see where this is going, can’ t you? Well add this loop to the few batch of blogs that were never able to be parsed because of the improvements in the parser,  it opened a whole can of worms. They would be posted, then disappear shortly after. . Yup. all me. Good times. Old posts are now ‘unpublished’ to be used as a stub to prevent future inserts.

In summary, if you own a blog listed above, please tweak and get back to me if it worked. Also, use special characters in you’re titles and you’re own risk; for now.

Favicons on Front Page

I’ve added favicons to the front page to liven up the branding of blogs. There is no override to this enhancement. If you see the default icon for your blog, do some searching of Googles favicon rendering service to troubleshoot.


2 months of free front page advertising on Planet Lotus!

In an effort to raise donations for my favorite charity I’m trading ad space on Planet Lotus for donations. All you need to do is make a donation directly to the charity and I’ll place your ad, any ad on the front page. The more you donate the higher your ad on the left hand navigation bar will be placed.

The charity:

The PMC donates 100% of every rider-raised dollar to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund. Founded in 1980, the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) is an annual bike-a-thon that today raises more money for charity than any other single event in the country.

The details:

  • Ads will be in the form of 125/125px images stacked in the left hand navigation of the front page.
  • Placement of the ad is determined by how much you donate, top ad = most donated. Dollar amounts will not be published.
  • I will publish almost any ad image/URL. Promote your blog or your favorite product, site, etc. But please, NO animation.
  • All ads come down on Sept. 30th.
  • The ad image should be exactly 125px / 125px.

To buy an ad:

  • Donate here:
  • Email me your ad image and URL along with the name you used to donate.
  • If you already donated to this years ride, do the same thing.
  • Change of URL or image will require a second donation.
  • Ads will be posted in batch at end of business day EST.

Thanks in advance for your consideration!

Lose, Lose Situation

I feel I made the correct choice last week. I was presented with a situation where a sensitive post was brought to my attention and I acted quickly in delisting the blog pending further investigation.

I’ve spent the last week reading everything I could and don’t believe the action warrants removal from this site.

I will go ahead and remove the 2 blogs that requested to be removed if said blog wasn’t removed.

The two blogs involved in the boycott of this site will be missed and I beseech both of you to reconsider.

Last weeks blog post

Last week I was informed of a blog post that was said to contain information that could adversely affect programs that bloggers on PlanetLotus are a part of. I acted on that information, informed the author and delisted the blog pending further investigation.

The investigation is ongoing.

The complaints went beyond the single post, mentioning that the blog had become very negative for some time.

This negativity combined with the post mentioned above lead some bloggers to request their blogs be removed from PlanetLotus in protest.

I want to do what is best for the community and in the process establish some guidelines that will work in the future.

Please give me some time to read through the blog and get a feel for the extent of the negativity.

Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. If you feel this blog should be removed please take a stab at writing up that rule so that i may add it to the site for future possible occurrences.

Change Log

10/16/2012 – Fixed a lot of mobile issues, thank you for your help in finding / testing!

10/16/2012 – Fixed many areas that were still showing unpublished blogs, there is still work to be done there, but i’ll get there. Fixed Front Page, Search, Top Blogs so far.

8/21/2012 – Inflation, the ad at row 50 has moved up to row 35.

8/8/2012 – All myPL authentication will be moving from the forum to the blog, so become a subscriber today.

8/8/2012 – Deprecation of the forum has begone. All mention of it navigation has been removed.

8/7/2012 – Created this blog. The forum will be closing down soon and this will take it’s place.

Blog Widget

The Planet Lotus Satellite has arrived. Copy and paste the following code in to your blog to get the most recent blog posts. The sizing and setup has been modeled after the IdeaJam.Net blog widget so as to not cause any clashes.

Preview it in action here.

Options are as follows:

Parameter Available Values
Based on the keyword filter.example: