RyeAds.com – A Little Bit of Payoff

After my first week back in class, I’m exhausted. For various reasons I’ve been staying up later than I should have, and then waking up very early to make it to class on time. I was going to reward myself tonight with an early bedtime and a late sleep-in, but I think the early bedtime will have to wait.

Just before I was about to hop into bed, I checked on my Google Analytics and saw a slight increase in the number of visitors that RyeAds.com has been getting this week. This was pretty cool. I hadn’t checked the site out for a few days, and didn’t expect to see a jump at all. I had an interview with the Eyeopener, one of Ryerson’s school papers, and I had made an announcement to my fellow Aerospace Engineering students, but that’s it.

Then I checked my email account (where I can now receive feedback messages from RyeAds), and saw that I received two messages from new users! One was a lovely comment on the visitor’s appreciation for the site, and the other, was feedback on some display issues (for some reason, the site doesn’t display well on Internet Explorer – I’m gonna have to fix this soon).


In addition to that, RyeAds.com was mentioned in the Ryerson Today Bulletin today! And, after checking the back end of the site, I’ve also found that there a little over 20 ads on the site now! Hopefully this trend continues!

*For those of you just tuning in, I am speaking of a labour of love I worked on this summer called RyeAds.com. It’s a Ryerson University-specific classified ads website. Only someone with a ryerson.ca email can post an ad there, but anyone on the web can view and reply to them. Currently, it’s most popular category is for used text books, but there are also some ads under electronics, tutoring, and Groups & Services.


RyeAds.com – The Big Push

So RyeAds.com is pretty well done now. The site functions. Ryerson students and staff can post ads, edit them, and delete them. Anyone can see posted ads, and anyone can reply to them.

The idea is that RyeAds.com will be the first place any Ryerson student or staff member goes when looking for some used item they need: text books, bikes, cars, rooms to rent, anything. I think it can be a great boon to the school community, and even be a place to find on-campus jobs and events easily. The problem now is getting the word out.

And I thought programming the site from scratch was hard! I’ve been contacting school groups, departments, school papers, resurrecting my twitter account to send some carefully targeted tweets… I’m trying to think of anything I can to get the word out about this site.

I’m noticing a lot of page views, but not a lot of ad posts. Well, I’m away for the weekend. Maybe I’ll come back to see a little blip of burgeoning activity on Ryeads.com. Maybe some new classified ad will be posted and replied to by the time I get back. That’s three days Ryerson. Let’s see what you can do in that time.

RyeAds.com – A New Project

This summer, I new I’d have a lot of time. Not in the usual sense, because my summer job would keep me indoors from 11am to 7pm every workday, so the days were pretty much shot. By time I mean, brain-time. Having just started back at school last year, I was in the zone. The go-go-go, no time to sleep, constantly working/studying zone. That’s a hard place to snap out of.

So this summer, I set myself a few projects to keep myself busy and mentally active. One of them was Ryeads.com.

What is Ryeads.com you ask? Well, back when I was a student at McGill, and I wanted to find a good price on a used text book, I’d check out the school’s site, scroll down, and click on Classified Ads. It was perfect. A school run site that only faculty and students could post to, and nine times out of ten, I could find the book I needed at a reasonable price. Maybe there were a few dog eared pages, but how else was I going to figure out what pages to read, right? Anyway, RyeAds.com will fill this classified ads void in the Ryerson University bubble.

Once the word about the site spreads and people start using it, it will have more and more ads on it, and so will be more and more useful to the students and staff looking for things to buy. The more people use it, the more useful it will be.

It has the potential to be a very useful resource for everyone at Ryerson University. Now I’ve just got to spread the word…


So I had this goal when I started this blog, or shortly after starting it. WordPress had a ton of stuff re new years resolutions for blogs: writing every day or writing every week. I took up the challenge. I tried. I was very ambitious, and the time I had my blog focused on new online things that I would ‘review.’ But that was back when I had free time. Back when I was a bus boy and was trying to fill the rest of my days with… something. I kept the ball rolling for a good long while, but truth be told, I think I’ve been faking it for most of the time. I decided when I started that the week would begin on Sundays, and for a while, I would write my posts on Friday or Saturday.

It didn’t take long for the habit of “oh crap, it’s Sunday and I haven’t written anything!” to carve out its own groove. And yet, I tried to keep it up, even with this slightly shifted, one-post-missing “Post a Week 2011 challenge” goal. But I think it’s time to face facts. I’m now writing on Monday, and my blog no longer has any focus besides being a writing outlet for myself. Not necessarily a bad thing, but certainly not what I started with.

Maybe goals are good for more than just completing. I think they can be good for other things too. That goal, thought not successful in getting me to write every week, has set me on a roughly once-a-week pace. I enjoy writing, but it’s never been something I enjoyed being forced to do. I like to do it at me leisure.

I suppose some goals can also be good for not completing at all. It forces you to try something out that you might not otherwise do. If you don’t like it, fine. You gave it a shot, and now you know.

And on the topic of goals, I just got my Sketchbook Project 2012 sketchbook a few days ago. I haven’t done visual arts lately, so this will be… interesting. I’m excited to try it though.


I took most of this week off to visit home and spend time with my sister’s family. My twin ni (my plural for niece) had their birthdays this week, so I got to celebrate it with them. It’s hard to believe how old they’ve gotten. I still remember when they were born while I was at summer camp. And now they’re little people. As always, it was awesome to spend time with everyone, and it went by far too quickly.


Speaking of milestones… Tomorrow marks the final voyage of NASA’s shuttle program. Atlantis, barring any weather restrictions, will lift off tomorrow for a roughly two week mission to resupply the ISS. It will be the 135th, and final, shuttle flight since the first launch on April 12, 1981.


Thirty years is a pretty long time for a vehicle to be in use, let a lone a reusable space vehicle (a brand new concept at the time when the shuttle was first conceptualized in the late 60’s). I know public interest has long since stopped focusing on travels to space, but I still believe that it has the power to captivate everyone and anyone. I hope our love for exploration and revealing the unknown doesn’t retire with the shuttle tomorrow. I hope we keep dreaming of what could be, and where it could happen.


If space is a sports stadium, we are like an ant exploring the crack below the door. There are so many things still for us to see. We can’t turn back now. We’re just getting started.

Commitment to the Game

That’s exactly what a great majority of my teammates on my just-finished recreational softball team did not have. We had seven games for the spring season. At only one of them did we have a full team. Thanks to our competitors having abundant team sizes we were able to borrow a few players to have a game for fun, after forfeiting the real game of course.

There were probably only two of us on the entire team that came to 6 out of 7 games. I missed one because I had planned a trip for one weekend long before signing up. There was a husband and wife couple that signed up, who had a newborn baby, who signed up and they only came to one game. That’s totally understandable – you have a newborn, so you don’t have the time or energy to play softball. I get it. So why did you sign up?

When you sign up for a sports league, please have the decency to think it through and make sure you can commit to the schedule. Don’t think of it as optional to go to your games. Your teammates, and opposition, are counting on your presence so they can have a ball game.

Here’s to a better summer league. And kids, don’t sign up and bail.

Dreaming Mondo Beyondo

Click to get the real deal

A little while ago I was catching up on reading the posts my sister has been making on her blog and was struck by this one in particular. First, let me say that my sister is awesome. Like all of us she has doubts, and maybe, Big Sister, you experience them more intensely than others. But I don’t think you have any reason to be hard on yourself. You’re a great person with beautiful dreams that are realized in beautiful ways. Though I don’t often comment on your blog, your posts are often thought provoking, and this Mondo Beyondo one kinda struck me.

I started thinking about what kinds of things I would put on an “I really want to” list, but didn’t get too far. Then I started sifting through the plethora of posts by The Bad Astronomer. Usually I just peruse his frequent posts, because he writes often and I don’t have enough time to read everything he writes. However, the BA posts a lot of beautiful pictures of the stars, galaxies and other cosmic phenomena that surround us in the night sky. And as my thoughts of my sister’s post were fading, I came across a very special post. In it, Dr. Plait has posted a picture taken of the space shuttle Endeavour docked with the International Space Station. It’s a beautiful photo, though I prefer the one I’ve posted above (which is now my computer’s desktop as well), taken from the same disembarking Soyuz capsule.

Pictures of stars, galaxies, nebula and the like can be beautiful, but after a while, they can become old news. Only the rare exception will make you say wow and look twice. To capture the wow-factor again you would need to be looking through the telescope’s eyepiece yourself. But this picture.. OK. I’m going to slow down for a second, because what’s even more captivating than this picture, is the video that is linked to from the BA’s post. The video, taken by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli, is of the ISS docked with Endeavour. The video isn’t so much different from a photograph, but something about the motion of the camera makes the ISS and shuttle seem more real.

Many people might find the video boring. There’s no sound, the lighting isn’t always great. But if you feel that way, let me try to convince you otherwise.

Thousands of years ago, the edges of maps were shrouded in mystery and the stars were looked upon with superstition. It wasn’t for another 1500 years that the New World was discovered, and the maps of the world began to fill in. Hundreds of years later, the interiors of remote locations, like the Amazon, were still being mapped by the Western world. Then the world began to shrink as the steam engine, and then the combustion engine brought everyone closer together. Yet even though the world was more traversable, we still could not venture outside it. Only in the last hundred years, first with flight, and then finally with rockets, have we been able to even begin leaving our small home. To think that we now have the ability to propel ourselves into the stars, and to sit there, high above the ground – what is more inspiring than that? This is certainly one of the most exciting times of frontier breaking to be living in. I hope there are still many more to come, but for now I am simply awestruck with inspiration and admiration at how far we have come. We can now visit a place that used to exist only in our dreams of what the night sky might be.


So, Big Sister, in answer to your Mondo Beyondo list, there are a great many things I could put in mine. But right now, a dream that I wish for above so many others is to visit space.


It’s hard to put into words how breathtaking the idea is to me, but Carl Sagan reading from his book, Pale Blue Dot, does a pretty good job.

P.S. The photo at the beginning of this video is indeed of Earth. It was taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft after it finished its mission and flew out of our solar system. As it was leaving, it turned around, snapped a picture of us from far far away, and signaled it back to us (how cool is that?).

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