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lotta readers digest

Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:29 pm
by sky
The Lotta Readers Digest is an emailed daily summary of posts to Lotta Living forums. You can sign up for the digest here:

The link above does not collect any information other than your name and email address. It only has one option at present, which is that you can select the character limit of each post in the digest. The default is 140 characters, but you can go bigger to 250, 500, or 1000 characters. (Don't count the characters and think you got me if it doesn't add up exactly - sometimes there are hidden characters in posts.)

The Digest is currently only available in HTML and only daily, running at 10pm Pacific time.

Because there is no password system, you can only unsubscribe to the Digest by clicking on the "Subscription Services" link at the bottom of your daily email. (Or you can contact me.)

The email is sent from, so you might want to add that to your safe senders list. Note that Big Dog Web Pages is in no way associated with Lotta Living. So if anything goes wrong, blame me, not Lotta Living! I've been running the Digest for a month now, and after a small bump at the start (sorry Futura Girl), it has been running very smoothly ever since. I think it's swell - very handy to have while on vacation - but, of course, I'm biased.

If you have any problems or suggestions, please feel free to contact me here on this thread, by PM on Lotta Living, or you can email me at Big Dog Web Pages is my site - it's a non-profit company, but not by design - it just turned out that way. And yes, I really do have a 200 pound dog at home, an English mastiff who is the sweetest most gentle hunk of burning drooling love you'll ever meet.

1000 character sample:

Posted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:57 am
by Futura Girl
i was just asked as to why i would allow this? that it would allow folks to avoid the site? reduce ad revenue? promote lurking? reduce interaction?

actually - i believe that the benefits will actually outweigh any risks here. any application that helps our lotta living readers out is a good thing. i wish we could do all sorts of cool apps like this here - and we are very fortunate that we have a talented guy like sky willing to dabble in for our communities' benefit.

personally - when i am out of town or super busy - having a daily email summary is actually less time consuming then coming to the site and viewing the most recent posts since my last visit. this way i can quickly scan through the first lines and see what's going on and what i want to respond to much more easily. one click and i'm right in the thread i want to participate in!

i hope that the tease of seeing a cool thread in your email box (should you decide to sign up) will actually encourage more participation, not less.

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:12 pm
by sky
There are some new features to LRD that I ought to document here.

First, you can change the length of each Digest message. The default was 140 characters, which was meant to mimic Twitter length, but you can go to Subscription Services and change it to 250, 500 or 1000, if you wish.

Second, you can now run the Digest on-request. The on-request version has a parameter that let you override the character limit, for that request only, from 140 to 1000, inclusive. The on-request version also has a parameter that lets you specify a post period other than one day, which is the default. This parameter must be greater than 0 or less than or equal to seven. It can be a decimal. So, for example, set the parameter to .25 for six hours worth of posts.

Third, after you receive your first daily Digest, you can change your subscription to on-request only. But you need to get that first email in order to get the Subscription Services link. I did it that way so that the process would not need passwords. (There is an internal password in the Subscription Services link so that someone knowing only your email cannot change your subscription, nor run the on-request Digest.

If you have any questions or requests, please let me know.

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:15 pm
by JulieB
I'm a bit computer-challenged, Brother Sky. Can give me a little more detail as to how to subscribe to the Digest, and how to run it on-request?

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:17 pm
by sky
Gladly, JulieB.

Well, first, you have to click this link:

That will take you to a page that looks like this:


Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:21 pm
by sky
Complete the form on the right side of the page ... name, email address, and the number of characters per post to appear on your emailed Digest.

Press "Submit" ... there are a few edits to make sure that you entered a proper email address, and that the email address entered is not already subscribed. But that's not usually a problem. If everything is okay, the page will change to look as follows:


Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:22 pm
by sky
At this point, you should receive an email to confirm your subscription. It looks like this:


Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:25 pm
by sky
Click where it says "CONFIRM SUBSCRIPTION" - or if you changed your mind and do not want to receive the Digest, simply do nothing.

After you click that link, it should come up with the confirmation screen. It looks like this:


Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:28 pm
by sky
At 10pm Pacific, following your change to confirmed status, you will receive your first Digest. It still looks pretty much like the first post up top, but let me show you the bottom of the email because there's an important link there:


Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:29 pm
by JulieB

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:30 pm
by sky
Did you see a mouse, JulieB?

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:31 pm
by JulieB
No, but it looks like a lot of stuff you just posted there.

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:34 pm
by sky
Well, that's why I originally kept it to one post - but you asked for detail.

It may look like a lot of detail, but it's not really. What did it take so far - maybe 3 clicks of the mouse to get to Subscriptions Services.

Let's continue there, at Subscriptions Services. It looks like this:

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:46 pm
by sky
Here, you can change your greeting name and/or the characters per post. You can also change your subscription to or from on-request only.

You can also unsubscribe, but I hope you like it so much, you'll never do that.

Now about the on-request text. I deliberately did not make that a link - because a clicked link would immediately generate a Digest. I wanted you to be able to copy that text into the address bar and change the parameters as needed. (I may automate that later with buttons, but for now, I decided to keep it simple.)

There are two parameters that you can change. They are:

    daysago, and

Please do not change the other parameters - email and status - these must be exactly as they are or else you will get an error message on execution.

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:47 pm
by JulieB

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:48 pm
by sky
It is easier than it looks, JulieB.

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:48 pm
by JulieB
That isn't it ... I just saw a mouse. Sorry.

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:50 pm
by sky
When you run the on-request Digest successfully. It will look like this:


It is not a fancy web page - I might change it to one later - but for now, I just wanted to use the same code that happens at 10pm for the daily version of the Digest.

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:55 pm
by sky
One last note ... I have an account where I save old versions of the daily Digest - you know, like for garage sales. If anyone ever wants an old version, let me know and I can forward it to you. I can also forward one to you as a sample you can look at before you subscribe.

Well, that's a lot of posts to describe a simple procedure, but it does help me keep ahead of moderns-R-us in the total post count. I hope it also helps answer any questions you may have about the Digest. If I failed there, here is a good place to post your questions or comments.

The Lotta Readers Digest ... so easy, even a current day Bond can do it.

Posted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:29 am
by sky
I just noticed that the daily Digest had been running at 9pm Pacific - and must have been since the end of daylight savings. It turns out that the cron settings are based on the location of the server, not adjusted for daylight savings, and the server is on Mountain time. (Maybe it's in Arizona.)

Anyway, it's been adjusted to run at 10 Pacific again. (And I'll have to remember to reset it when daylight savings starts again.)

Please, if you ever have a problem with the Digest, let me know so that I can fix it. And, as always, your comments and suggestions are most welcome.

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:51 pm
by sky
The Digest ran as scheduled the last two nights but you may not have received your email. I think there's a problem at the host server which I've reported and am waiting for their (GoDaddy) response.

I tested the on-request version, and it sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't, which is very curious. Anyway, if you want, you can try running the on-request version for the missing period.

Of course, you can always sign-on to LL and see the newest posts the old fashioned way. The presentation is a little bit different, but the content is what counts.

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:44 pm
by sky
The Digest ran normally tonight, but it was not with the fix I wanted. I'm going to continue to work with the host for a more permanent fix. It's complicated, but I think it has to do with text in the email that is triggering a spam filter at the sending server. (When certain text is there, the emails are not sent; when I replace that text, the emails are sent.)

In the meantime, I'll keep monitoring it, but also please let me know if you are subscribed and not receiving your emails. Thanks. -Brother Sky

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:43 am
by sky
Here's the dealio.

GoDaddy blocks connections from IP addresses listed on

Recently there were photos posted on LL with the address These were turned into links in the Digest, and that's what what caused it to fail - the corresponding IP address is in Last night, I changed those links from to and avoided that issue. (And the links worked just fine.)

It seems to me that a flickr is too mainstream to be on a spam list - although it makes sense that spammers might have photos posted on flickr! There is a way on to remove an address from the list, but I think you have to be the owner of that address - which I'm not, so I can't. I wrote an email to flickr, so lets see what comes of that.

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:33 am
by Futura Girl
thank you so much for being on top of this sky.
even if i cannot get to the forum, i really depend on this daily digest to keep up to date on the goings on here.

thank you.

Posted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:30 pm
by sky
Starting with tonight's issue, LRD will no longer translate photos and other links into clickable hyperlinks. This is necessary because of the on-going problem where some of these links trigger the spam blocker on the LRD server.

Note that links to the original Lotta Living messages are not affected, so an easy workaround for you would be to open the original message and view the content on Lotta Living.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please let me know.

New subscribers:

Existing subscribers:
Click on the link for Subscriptions Services at the bottom of each emailed Digest.

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:29 pm
by sky
Please note that I changed host servers this week, and consequently, will no longer be able to run the Lotta Readers Digest.

Subscribers do not need to do anything. Lrd will simply stop running, and your link to Lrd On Request will no longer work.

If you have any questions, please do ask.