forums now built in

May 19, 2010

I’ve added a forums feature to BookMooch. Here are a few things it enables:

* you can have open discussions about any topic.

* anybody can create a forum on any topic.

* a forum can either be an “open discussion” (everyone can post) or it can be a “blog”, where you are the only one who can post and others can comment. For example, you can create a book blog about what you’re currently reading.

* you can optionally receive email notifications of new messages from any forum.

* forums can be in any language, and are organized by language

* you can edit or delete anything you write at any time

* the forums you are active on are displayed in your bio.

You can access this feature by clicking the “forums” button on the main menu:


I’ve tried to build the forums feature to have a lot of functionality, but at the same time be quite straightforward to use.

I’ll be adding information about how each page works in the online help, by clicking the question mark icon
on the top right of each page.

My hope is for this forums feature to replace the email-only “BookMooch discussion list”.

If you’d like to discuss the design, features and functionality of the forums feature, I have a forum for that!

For those who are curious, the drive upgrade was needed because BookMooch uses a “solid state drive” for its database. That’s fancy speak for a disk drive that’s made entirely out of memory. The drive was only 64gb large (because memory is expensive), and the book database became bigger than that. Because BookMooch’s book database is almost as big as Amazon’s (but we don’t have lots of machines like they do) I use a very fast drive on the database to make everything work zippy-zippy fast.

I’ve upgraded the database drive to one that is 160gb in size, which should hold us for some time. That new drive cost about $600, which was thankfully available in the BookMooch account thanks to those who give a little.

Re: Amazon searches not working. Yes, I’ve fixed that now. Apparently Amazon rejects BookMooch’s searches if the clock time on the BookMooch server is not the same as Amazon’s clock time (sigh). Since the server was powered down for the drive swap, the time got out of sync. I *think* I’ve permanently fixed this, by setting the clock automatically whenever the server comes up.

Also, I wrote and ran a program to find “empty books” (those added during the 36h time of the problem) and re-fetch info from Amazon for them. The books I checked by hand that were blank now have data in them. If you still have empty books, do drop a note to tech support.

Re: what time zone? In the future I’ll mention that the BookMooch server’s time zone is USA Pacific, so you will know what Sunday means to me.


BookMooch will be unavailable most of Sunday, as I need to swap out a hard disk and replace it with a larger one. The “books” database is getting bigger than the current disk can handle.

Fortunately, thanks to those of you who give a little, I had $600 in the BookMooch account I could spend on a newer, bigger “SSD Drive”.