A long-overdue update

Work has kept me fairly busy over the last several months, and I haven't had a chance to update this website as often as I would like. Over the last few days I have finally gotten around to fixing things up around here. The first thing that longtime visitors will notice is that the site loads much faster now; I got rid of Astronomy Buzz and the image gallery at the bottom of the page, as these two elements were taking longer to load than the rest of the page combined, and were really not adding all that much value to the site. Secondly, in the Search section below I added a tag cloud for the Space Video of the Day. I had been building up tags in del.icio.us ever since I started doing the Space Video of the Day last summer, so this little bit of extra functionality should help a lot for those who are searching for specific space videos.

One thing that I have neglected horribly over these past few months has been the Space Blogroll. With each new Carnival of Space that has come out I have found new space bloggers, but I just didn't get around to updating the blogroll, and just kept getting further and further behind. The new blogs on the Space Blogroll, most of which were added just today, are Blackholes and Astrostuff, Deep Sky Blog, The Belt of Venus, Space Age Archaeology, New Voyage News, LunarIP, New Frontiers, Astronomy a Go Go!, Astronomy Down Under, Alien Life, Res Communis, Cosmology Curiosity, Astrowatcher, Midnight Mars Browser, Homeboy's Astronomy Blog, Sydney Observatory, webjones, NASA Orion Spaceship Blog, Professor Astronomy, Rick's Astronomy Journal, Livejournal Astronomy Community, First Light, Women in Planetary Science, Personal Spaceflight, Martian Chronicles, astroengine, ghostNASA, Riding with Robots on the High Frontier, On Orbit, Starts With A Bang!, GRBlog, Gravity Loss, Free Space, Rocketeers, Breaking News for sky afficionados , Visual Astronomy, Political Action for Space, and Red N Blue Observatory. There are now 247 blogs on the Space Blogroll. If you are a space blogger and your blog does not yet appear on the blogroll, then you might want to check out this link.

Almost all of these blogs have RSS feeds, so their blog entries now also appear in the Space Blog Feeds below; a total of 191 space blogs are represented in those feeds, but only the 20 most recent blog entries are listed, so check back often. This was actually the most time-consuming part of the update to Space Feeds, as the feeds are aggregated through Google Reader, which takes an inconveniently-long time to perform even the most trivial of operations; adding a single feed can take upwards of five minutes, approximately 50 times longer than it takes to add a feed in an aggregator like Bloglines. The only advantage I get with using Google Reader is that the entire group of feeds is aggregated into a single feed, which can then be displayed using the Grazr widget.

There have also been quite a few additions to the other sections of the Big List O' Space Links. I added Shoestring Astronomy, A Walk On Mars, Space Animation and SpaceCAD to Images, Models and Simulations; Space Colony One, American Astronautical Society and The Space Foundation to Associations and Interest Groups; Federation of Galactic Explorers, Space Cable, Astronomy Boy and the website for the Orphans of Apollo documentary to Education and Reference; Speed UP, Wickman Spacecraft and Propulsion and Telespazio to Space Businesses; and Jonathan's Space Report and The Cosmic Mirror to Space News.

Including the new space blogs and my other additions, the Big List O' Space Links now contains 625 links. I obviously don't have time to check through all of those links on a regular basis to see if the websites are still active, so if you come upon a dead blog or defunct website or incorrect URL in the Big List, please let me know in the comments and I'll try to fix it as soon as possible.

I'm not completely done with this update just yet. I will soon be changing the Space Fiction link category to Fiction and Games, and adding a fairly large number of links to that category; there are rather a lot of space-themed games online, and it will take me some time to sort through them.

Finally, I have decided to give away a lot of the code that is on this page. For instance, suppose that you only want to read the latest Space News, but don't particularly much care about the rest of the stuff on this page. On my next blog post I will be publishing the code for many of the elements of this page, and if you want to post them on your own blog or website you will only need to copy and paste a short snippet of code to your site.


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