Renew Your Membership in the Friends of!

Maybe you joined the Friends of during last year’s annual campaign. Perhaps you were an early adopter and got your gold star when it was a free option. If so, your membership may be expiring in April.

If you do not have a monthly or yearly subscription, email the webmaster to find out when your membership in the Friends of is expiring. If you were an early adopter, you’ll qualify for a very low rate.

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New Free WordPress Blog Hosting Service is supporting a new WordPress blog hosting service located at This will be a great way to start a new blog with reliable software or move a current blog from Blogger and BlogSpot. Here are some of the features.

  • MyPFblogs uses the popular WordPress blogging software.
  • The websites have excellent uptime, unlike other hosted options.
  • You will qualify for a discounted membership in the Friends of
  • The personal finance blogging community is close-knit, and MyPFblogs is a great way to get in the midst of the activity.
  • We have over 60 themes to choose from, and more will be added.
  • Your site will be protected by the latest Spam-Karma 2 plug-in.
  • You can easily import all of your posts if you’re migrating from another service such as Blogger.

Take a look and sign up. More questions are answered at

There are many new features coming to this year, so now is a good time to join or renew membership in the Friends of Many who were with the site from the start will be seeing their first year of membership end in April. Contact the webmaster to make sure your membership doesn’t expire.

Posted in Blogs | 1 Comment

New: Most Pages Are Cached Every 10 Minutes

The load on the server has been very high, so we have instituted a 10-minute cache on most pages on In most cases, you shouldn’t notice anything other than fewer server errors and hopefully a marked speed increase in general. The click counts for entries will be delayed, but still recorded in the database.

The time has come to look for a new, robust hosting system which will cost us some money. If you’re a Friend of, please consider making an additional donation. This will help us add features and stability.

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Some Blogging Statistics on, New Features Coming

If you’re interested in top ten blogs lists, then you should check these out. Flexo has posted the Top 10 Blogs by Total Clicks and Top 10 Blogs by Clicks per Post.

Here’s a little bit about what we have in store for 2007. Continue reading

Posted in Blogs | 1 Comment

Technical Difficulties

It seems that over the Thanksgiving holiday, we’ve been experiencing some technical difficulties. The fetching software hosted at MediaTemple has stopped functioning properly. I’m flying back in to town tomorrow, so I should be able to fix the issues over the weekend. In the mean time, I’ve been running the fetching program manually when I have a chance.

Pinging still works properly, so if you are a Friend of and you’ve configured your blogging software to ping our server, then you won’t see any problems.

Sorry for all the problems; looks like we’re (still) gonna need a better host.

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Stability in Fetching and Something New on the Horizon

DreamHost hosts the web server and database. I’ve been a customer of theirs since 2001, and the last two years or so have been rough. We’re sticking with them for now, but the fetching software will not run. The RSS parser seems to use significant CPU power, and Dreamhost kills any process that uses more than the average CPU load.

For this reason, the fetching process is now performed on a grid server hosted with MediaTemple. Their support has been very helpful, but they automatically kill tasks that last more than 15 minutes — even shell tasks. Thanks to the growth in the number of blogs, the fetching process is now split to last under 15 minutes each time.

Four times an hour, for about 8 minutes each time, half of all blogs in the database are fetched. This has been working very well for the last twenty-four hours or so. This way, each blog is fetched twice an hour. This is above and beyond the pings allowed for the Friends of, which are still being performed by the DreamHost server.

Now that we have more stability, we’re working on a new feature: free hosted blogs, powered by WordPress, for anyone who wants to start a personal finance blog. Blogs hosted on the new service can join the Friends of at a discount, but must stay somewhat active. The service is being tested as I write this, and we hope to release it to the public within the next few weeks.

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Advisory Panel: Getting This Party Started

I sent out the first email to those who expressed interest in the Advisory Panel. We could still use a few more voices, so if you’re interested (and you’ve been involved with the personal finance blogging community for a while), send an email to webmaster at this domain.

Update: Thanks to everyone who responded! The Advisory Panel team is now in place.

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Expanding Real Estate and Investing Sections, New Server Added

I’d like to focus on expanding the real estate and investing sections of during the month of November. The real estate section can include blogs about the housing bubble, Realtors’ blogs, real estate investing, purchasing a home, etc.. In the investing section, we will include blogs about the stock market, other investments, trading, commodities, brokers’ blogs, etc.

Don’t hesitate to add a blog to the massive aggregator!

Speaking of the aggregator, we are now dually hosted, with one shared server at Dreamhost which serves the website to visitors, maintains the database, deals with pings, and is the backup 30-minute fetcher. The other is a “grid server” at MediaTemple which functions as the main 30-minute fetcher. As we further test how the servers manage loads, responsibilities may move around.

Posted in Admin, Blogs | 3 Comments

More Pinging Changes

This will hopefully be the final change to the “pinging” process for a while. When a blog pings to let us know that there is an update to be fetched — a feature available only to Friends of — there is a two minute delay. If the blogger who owns the pinging blog has registered with us a Feedburner feed, the delay is increased to ten minutes to allow Feedburner time to fetch the new entry. It is strongly suggested that the blogging software be set up to ping Feedburner as well as

Feedburner may still not fetch your newest entries within ten minutes. If this is something that happens often and you’d like the behavior to change, allow to fetch your local RSS feed rather than the one hosted by Feedburner. This may take some extra work depending on your configuration.

Posted in Blogs, Friends | 1 Comment

Pinging Temporarily Disabled

A change to the pinging programming is causing a problem, and I won’t be able to fix it until this evening. Until then, pinging is disabled. Feeds will still be fetched on the regular schedule.

Update: Pinging service has returned, including the 5 minute delay for those using Feedburner. Please make sure you are also pinging Feedburner’s server in your notification configuration.

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