No SMTP with GoDaddy

As the first letter in the acronym SMTP stands for simple, that’s what I was expecting when I decided to use the Google Apps SMTP server to send out notifications for Xusix. In the end, after three days of repeatedly rewriting the mailer functions, I discovered the reason nothing was sending.  GoDaddy shared hosting doesn’t allow SMTP connections. At all. They simply block anything that appears to be sent through that protocol, or uses a common SMTP port, leaving me to the only remaining option: using GoDaddy’s own mailer. The problem with this is that their spam filter is so aggressive, few messages ever make it through. And so, notifications on Xusix, although programmatically work, will likely never reach an inbox.

Xusix Updates

Our social network Xusix has been under development for quite a while now, and we’d like to introduce some of the neat things we’ve added in recent times.

  • Live comments - When you comment on a post, it instantly send the comment out, and anyone viewing the post is shown the new comment.  The text box immediately lets you write another comment, allowing a live, ongoing conversation.
  • Mobile Access - The Xusix layout has recently been redesigned from the ground up, and although it looks exactly the same on a desktop browser, it now optimizes automatically for netbooks, tablets, and mobile devices.
  • Direct Notifications - Users can now customize their notification preferences, with support for informing them of activity on their page through both email and text message, direct to all major U.S. carriers.
  • Photo support - Xusix now allows uploading an unlimited number of photos, and each supports a caption and its own live comment stream.  The entire photo gallery system is optimized to fit all screen sizes, from a Mac Cinema Display to an iPod touch.
  • Privacy Configuration - Control what groups can see basic information about you, and mark posts as private to only display them to people you follow.

All of these, and many other features are now available for free on Xusix. Sign up today!

For those interested in the technical side of the site, see to list all of the in-depth statistics on our internal systems.

A new twist

About a month ago, I was working on a simple code project for school in some free time. It’s a web site that takes simple phrases and makes a song out of them, based on the 99 bottles of beer song.  I rediscovered the fun little script today, and you can see my song here. When you write a song with it, the URL that shows the song will always show your song, so you can send that link around to share it with anyone!

Local Fitness and Health

These links are dead now. I may or may not have the code for them somewhere, but so far I haven’t found any of it.

Billings Montana has a new place to go for health and fitness information! Inspired by the Let’s Move! Campaign by Michelle Obama, this new set of web sites helps you find up-to-date facts and resources for child obesity and general health at a local setting. Find local events and activities that you can participate in as well as local fitness centers and stores to provide what you need to get and stay healthy. Nutrition and exercise information is provided as well, and with the new Health Tracker system, you can keep track of your health easily online and on your mobile phone. This new great web service is developed specifically for residents of Billings, Montana, but works great for people anywhere!

Let’s Move Billings developed by Alan Hardman, Michael Siebert, and Tucker Downs.

Web Comics

There are a lot of disappointments with most web comics, since it’s a relatively easy hobby to get into, but every now and then someone makes one that’s simply incredible.  I’ve spent the last few years getting into reading them, and I’ve got a nice list of my favorites I’d like to share.

Least I Could Do

Currently written by Ryan Sohmer and Lar Desouza, this is one of the most incredibly well-written comics I’ve ever seen.  It certainly has some inappropriate themes, but if you want a unique, intriguing, and simply hilarious comic to read, this is it.


A largely-followed comic written by Randall Munroe, updated mondays, wednesdays, and fridays.  It’s primary focus is on math and science, specifically technology and programming.  If you’re a geek like me, you’ll learn to love xkcd.

Girls with Slingshots

Written by Danielle Corsetto, Girls with Slingshots is updated weekdays, and features a cast of mainly young-adult girls.  It’s certainly the type of comic where certain types of people will really appreciate it, but I love it and am glad to say I’ve read the entire archive more than once.

Questionable Content

Updated weekdays by Jeph Jacques, QC has a huge following, and has an amazingly well-written story.  The story circles around Marten Reed, a young adult who’s life is turned around by a girl he meets in a bar.  In my opinion, the name is quite misleading, as, for the most part, the comic is really quite clean.  It’s not one that you expect to get laughs out of each day, but the story is one that will make you never want Jeph to stop writing.

There are plenty of others that I read daily, or that I used to read, or am just getting into that I didn’t write full descriptions for, but they’re certainly worth checking out. Wigu, Treading Ground</a> (complete), Anders Loves Maria (complete, wow), Dumbing of Age, Overcompensating, and Bunny are a few that come to mind.