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July 02, 2004

On a roll ...

I can't wait to share with you a little bit about our fun trip to Bishop Mule Days a few weeks ago. At least it seems like it was just a few weeks ago, but first let me share with you some other exciting news.

Time to celebrate! I have all the classified ads moved over. All 201 of them. Now we can start focusing on making it easier for you to find what you are looking for.

I really appreciate all the good comments, encouragement and suggestions. I received a special email, special to me, which I would like to share with you.

"Why the change?
I liked the old layout and enjoyed reviewing all the different ads.
I bought a mammoth jenny through your classifieds."

I agree. There are a lot of things that I like about the old layout too. It was like a catalog full of pictures. Even though my sister, Karen, and I added the pictures and created the web pages we still enjoyed looking at all the attractive pictures that many of you sent in. And I don't want that enjoyment to go away. I just felt real bad though.

Many of you would send in ads and I would be delinquent getting them posted. I would try to devote part of a day each week to keeping them current. I knew that you were missing valuable sales opportunities by not getting them posted right away. I must admit that part of the problem is that I wanted to spend time with my longears, all 5 of them. You see, they needed my attention. And if I didn't give them enough they would "tell" me about it. They are donkeys, mammoth jackstock, and they know how to sing in harmony. Sometime I will have to include an audio file in this column for you to listen to.

Well, back to the email. I know that you needed a way to add your own classifieds. That way you can edit the text and make it say just what you want to. You can immediately tell all your friends about it. You don't have to pray that I am still in good health, and one day your ad will appear.

For some time I have been researching good computer software to do that. There are quite a few cheap packages out there. I wanted something that would be fun for each of us, something that would also have features like searching for all of a particular category within a 100-mile radius of your zip code. Something that could handle business listings, something that would be like a master directory and catalog all in one.

After a lot of searching and evaluation I located a enterprise-quality classified ads package to build the Longears Mall on. In my opinion the GeoClassifieds Enterprise Edition offers way more features than any of the other classifieds packages out there. By purchasing the optional zip code tables (12 Megabytes of zip codes!) and additional zip code search capability I can add that to your search capabilities. Check out the link above. Enterprise GeoClassifieds has a really impressive list of features! The vendor, Geodesic Solutions, is very responsive and a real joy to work with as well.

I wanted to include businesses and business listings as well. That has taken some code modification. A lot of the features of GeoClassifieds are turned off at the moment. There are also a number of things I want to customize such as the way searches occur, the way entries are displayed, giving it more of a "catalog" look like the old Longears Mall classifieds (which was all hand coded in Microsoft Front Page), paging so results are display by alphabetical letter instead of page 1,2,3 ... 46. All these changes just involve programming, however it is like an endless journey. And our goal is to have as much fun as possible along the way.

I am a professional Java web application developer by day. (My dad, Gilbert, is as well. Karen, my sister programs in Macromedia Flash and does web page graphics and design. If you need any help in that area she will be happy to help you with a quote.) Since we already know how to program in Java, it isn't too hard to program in php, the language GeoClassifieds and many other Internet applications are written in.

Over the next few months I hope you will see lots of improvements. I really appreciate your comments and suggestions, both here and through email to orders@longearsmall.com. They help me to know what features are the most important to you so they get done first.

Now for some fun! Digital cameras are really neat. We can take lots and lots of pictures and we don't have to pay anything for film. Can you imagine what happens when a person with a digital camera goes to Bishop Mule Days? That's right. They come back with lots of pictures! We have loads of pictures, and they aren't any fun if they aren't shared, so I am going to try to include one in each article.

Today's picture is about a new style of riding that I know you can't wait to try with your longears. Just make sure that your life insurance policy is up-to-date first!

2004-0601-060.jpg

These are the Wagons West (Ray Jensen) Roman Riders. Ray Jensen is a Bishop Mule Days legend that I will have to share more with you about another time. What you have here are three riders, two men and a woman that are each standing on two mules. They stayed on top during the entire performance too. For those of you that only have one mule, as soon as the zip code feature of the LongearsMall classifieds is working right, maybe you can find a neighbor who will share their longears with you. You will probably want to make sure that they are both either mules or donkeys, or you may find yourself going around in circles!

Well, this is enough for one day. Until next time, may you and your longears have a happy weekend!

Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at July 2, 2004 06:40 PM

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