Monthly Archives: July 2008

Get your greek on at Divine9Online

Divine9Online is a network geared towards facilitating communication between the black Greek organizations of the Divine Nine.

The Divine Nine is made up of four sororities and five fraternities: Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority.

With nearly 7,000 members across the country, Divine9Online has certainly established itself as the hot spot for all the members of the Divine Nine! Recognizing its outstanding members, Divine9Online features a Notable Member (Morgan Freeman) and a Member Photo of the Week (Sigmafied’s) on the main page.

Besides being deeply involved in community service efforts, leadership and scholarship, members know how to have a good time! The South Beach Greek Fest itinerary looks jam-packed with awesome events. If you’re in the market for a job, reconnect with old friends and take advantage of the Jobs section Divine9Online offers. Talk it up on the active forum about anything and everything. If you prefer live interaction, use Divine9Online‘s chat feature!

Get your greek on at Divine9Online!

Life In the World of Aspergers

Asperger’s syndrome is a social disorder that is a milder subset of autism. This condition usually affects children causing social isolation and wild behavior. Parents, teachers, and therapists of children with Asperger’s have a significant added challenge to meet, dealing with the already difficult task of raising kids. For this reason Asperger’s World focuses these guardians on coming together to learn more about this syndrome and find ways to deal with it.

The best way that members of this network interact is in the forum section. You can tell this from the main page, which has a guide linking members to forum discussions that may be of interest. There is a great forum category on home schooling and Aspergers, which is a common choice for parents of children with this condition.  Some choose public school.  They also have a place to connect on how to approach this.

The forum has some good topics on it and a lot of the categories are for support.  One category deals with questions about newly diagnosed children. Frustrated parents can go here to find advice and suggestions on how to deal with this difficult new situation.

This network does a great job of providing support and encouragement for people dealing with loved ones with this condition.  If you know anyone with Asperger’s or want to see the power of support, you have to check out Asperger’s World.

Lighting a Candle 4 Tibet

Candle4Tibet is the force behind a massive peaceful protest effort to bring freedom to Tibet. The network calls on people around the world to light a candle on August 7, formally expressing support for the Tibetan people.

Although the international vigil is scheduled for August, several local gatherings are being scheduled on the Vigils section. Members from Australia, Stockholm, and everywhere in between are planning meet-ups here. Blog posts, as well as RSS feeds from The New York Times, give visitors the latest news on the Dalai Lama, the Beijing Olympics, and other relevant topics.

Whenever a network is built around an event on a specific date, the lingering question is, “What happens after that?” In the forum, members debate exactly this issue. Various ideas have been proposed, but the universal agreement is that Candle4Tibet will not rest until the main goal — a free Tibet and a free world— has been achieved.

Uptime & August Maintenance Windows

I’m Ram Reddy, the VP of Operations at Ning. As you know, we take the performance and availability of your networks very seriously. We are committed to providing you the absolute best, highly scalable platform for creating and growing Your Own Social Network for Anything.

In the past few months, we’ve done a ton to make sure that new releases and other operational tasks are done with little-to-no downtime and we’ve succeeded.

What used to require a 2-3 hour maintenance window on a Saturday night is now done with no downtime to your social network. Looking at our uptime numbers for 2008 we continue to get better and better. We expect nothing less of ourselves and the Ning Platform.

Here’s a graph of our uptime and availability since January:

We had 99.6% uptime in June and 99.9% so far in July. We’ve been steadily improving month over month since the unacceptable low of March. Our goal is to see those green bars climb even higher from here.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that over the next two weeks, we’re planning a series of network migrations and Ning Platform upgrades that require downtime. If we could do them without planned maintenance windows, we would. But we can’t.

To this end, we will be performing planned maintenance for the Ning Platform on Friday, August 8th from 9:00 PM PDT to 11:00 PM PDT.

Additionally, we will be migrating networks in batches to new, better infrastructure over the course of the next two weeks. This new infrastructure will increase the speed of your networks as well as continue to improve ongoing stability. To complete these migrations, we’ll need to take your network down for 2 additional planned maintenance windows of 30 to 60 minutes each at some point during the next two weeks.

Because we’ll be doing this work in batches, it may seem as though there is a lot of intermittent downtime across the Ning Platform. That will not be the case. While there will be interruptions of service on your network, we should still achieve between 99.8%-99.9% uptime for August, or a total of 3-4.5 hours of downtime for any individual social network on Ning.

We will be contacting Network Creators of these migrations via email. We will also be available to provide specific details about your network and answer any questions at any time from the Ning Help Center.

Additional information and updates will be funneled through Ning Network Creators and the Ning Status Blog. Lastly, we will continue to provide regular updates here on the Ning Blog as we do this work.

We appreciate your patience in advance and look forward to getting through this work together as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Fightbreed: real fans and fighters only

Fighters and fans of street and MMA fighting will want to check out Fightbreed.

As a relatively new network, Fightbreed has got some awesome stuff started: a badass look, lots of advertisements and sponsors and plans for much more. If you have some suggestions, get your punches in on the Fightbreed feedback discussion thread.

Fightbreed is planning to add some real fight videos by getting members involved!  if you’re interested in fighting or videotaping you can contact administration. Besides filming or being filmed in fights, you can show off your hard-earned fighting bod in photos and your talent in videos. If you’re looking to hone your skills or just watch a great fight, watch professionals like Rampage Jackson and Forest Griffin go at it.

Get fighting at Fightbreed!

Houstons Art Epicenter at artshouston

Houston, Texas, a mecca for art. Its burgeoning art scene, rich with poetry, photography, painting, film art, etc has coalesced at the ArtsHouston network, a network designed for people visiting the ArtsHouston.com main Web site to connect about their inspiration and work.

This network is set up to encompass all art forms. Certain art forms lend themselves to media expression. The videos section has some great examples of art that moves as well as independent films that show art experimentation.

Photography and painting have a convenient place to express themselves too. The photos section shows some beautiful portraits, still lifes, abstracts.  And the photography! I never knew Houston was so beautiful.

To get a real feel for the the metropolitan art style, you have to see a show right? In place of an events section the forum has a category for upcoming art shows, as well as casual meetings. The forum also has an art-related discussion and a jobs category.

Get the feel for the local art scene. Houston has a lot to offer! Check it out at the ArtsHouston network.

Keeping up with Kaysar

The world first met Kaysar Ridha through the reality TV show Big Brother. Now the designer-actor-philosopher is keeping in touch via his social network Kaysar.

Ridha’s personal page offers a glimpse into his diverse interests. One blog post gives updates on his upstart clothing line Sovereign Soul, and features a new motif that combines the Arabic script for “love” and “peace” to create the image of a dove. In another post, he tackles that nagging question, “Why do bad things happen?” Kaysar’s musings spur a great dialogue in the members’ comments.

Members share their passions at the groups page. Reality TV fanatics gather at the Big Brother 10 group to debate the series’ latest installment. Other active groups revolve around topics as varied as the 2008 election, health, religion, and gaming.

If you want to check out a social network — and a human being — that can’t be pigeonholed, look no further than Kaysar!

Exploring The Forge

The Forge is the Pine Forge Academy Social Network dedicated to connecting Pine Forge Academy, students, alumni, family and friends.

Pine Forge Academy is a co-educational Seventh-day Adventist school in Pennsylvania that serves grades nine through 12. Opened for school in 1946, it is one of four African-American boarding academies. Their motto, “excellence is no accident” certainly applies to their network.

For a glimpse into life at PFA, watch the promo video right on the main page. To get started at The Forge, visit the FAQs section and check out the screencasts! Network Creator Chip D. has added a chat feature to address member requests and provided a very handy screencast on how to use it. Once you feel comfortable, come inside The Forge! Find out whatever happened to old pals on the discussion boards, attend upcoming events and get connected! There are more than 600 members to reach out to and 3,000 photos to browse through.

Explore The Forge today!

Become a (financial) model citizen

Financial analysis can be a fairly secretive field. That’s why it’s particularly satisfying to find the Financial Modeling Community, a collaborative social network for people who research, develop and apply money management strategies.

While even industry veterans can pick up a few tips from the network, the Financial Modeling Community is perfect for self-starters. Recommended textbooks are listed on the main page, and the network links to several articles on sister site Financial Modeling Guide.

My favorite feature is the list of spreadsheet templates you can access from the main page. All sorts of different businesses are represented here, from a telecom start-up to an agroforestry organization. It’s a great time-saving tool for people who don’t want to start their models from scratch, and you’re bound to pick up a few new strategies along the way.

As a fast-growing network with more than 4,000 members, the Financial Modeling Community figures to become an indispensable resource for anyone in the business of money!

Keeping up with racing fools

DragFools is a virtual home designed and driven by self-proclaimed fools who are obsessed with drag racing. DragFools live life on the edge: “What’s more fun than being foolish? Making the most noise? Making the biggest burnout? Savoring the edge of disaster and insanity as we scream towards the finish line?”

If you’re itching to get on the track, browse through upcoming events like the Northwest Bike Drag race #3 to find one in your area. Before you go, make sure to check the weather at the tracks, which you can do from a quick link on the main page! Not sure what to wear? Shop the online store where you can pick up gear for the whole family: T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, tank tops and more – whatever your heart desires! Those who need a break from real life racing can satiate themselves with DragFoolsracing games.

Keep your eyes peeled for DragFools‘ Official Launching, as this is just a test run. Who knows what these fools will have in store! Take a test drive at DragFools today.