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Atlas Quest

Help: My Page

  1. How do I change the location on the Weather widget?
  2. How do historical events, birthdays, and anniversaries get added or updated?
  3. What's the Wassa Widget do?
  4. How do I create a favorite search?
  5. How do I use the Image Viewer widget?
  6. How do I use the Letterboxing News widget?
  7. How is the Box of the Week selected?
  8. Can we suggest facts and birthdays for the This Day in History widget?
  9. What's the Billboard widget do?
  10. Why does the last login seem to be incorrect?
  11. Why is a column missing from My Page?
  12. What is the astro widget?
  13. How do I install a widget?
  14. Can we check the info for "This Day in History" on dates other than today?
  15. How do I add AQ anniversary widget to My Page?
  16. How do I change the theme?
  17. How to do the settings for My Page work?

How do I change the location on the Weather widget?

Click the little picture of the pencil in the title bar. It's the button that allows you to set your preferences on a widget. In the case of the weather widget, you can set the zip code for the area whose weather you want to follow. At this time, only US locations are supported. (If you know the zipcode of the town you want weather for!!)

How do historical events, birthdays, and anniversaries get added or updated?

AQ administrators and hand-picked volunteers can add, edit, and remove historical events and birthdays for the This Day In History widget. Most often, it's the Green Tortuga and Trekkie Gal who make most of the updates, but there are others as well.

The list of AQ anniversaries can be custom set to use your own list of friends if you edit the widget. Create a mailing list with the folks whose anniversaries you want to be notified of, then set the widget to use that mailing list.

If no mailing list is specified, Atlas Quest will automatically list noteworthy members who have an anniversary. Given the sheer numbers of people signing up every day, it's not really practical to display every anniversary. So the widget will only include members who have signed in within the past year and have large numbers of plants, finds or are active message board participants whose names you're likely to recognize.

What's the Wassa Widget do?

This Widget will choose a random day, and display the Funniest Post of the Day, as determined by the number of times people voted via the [ Funny ] button.

How do I create a favorite search?

Run a search like you normally would. Use a Simple Search or an Advanced Search. Run a search for letterboxes, groups, or events. When looking at the search results, you'll see a link in the upper-right corner of the page called "Save Search." Click it, give the search a name, and you've saved a favorite search!

How do I use the Image Viewer widget?

Click the Edit option—it's that pencil in the title bar—then include an optional name for the image (it'll be displayed in the titlebar for the widget instead of "Image Viewer"), and the URL for the image you want to see.

Remember, though, that the URL must point directly to the image you want to see. Pointing to a webpage with your image is not sufficient. Most images on the web typically end with the extensions JPG, JPEG, GIF, or PNG, but many others are available. A quick test is to type the URL into your browser's address bar. If you see a picture and nothing but a picture, it's a valid URL you can use. If you see an entire webpage, it won't work.

If the image is larger than the space in the widget allows, the image will be shrunk to fit the available size. Ideally, the images you link to should be exactly the width of the available space in the widget. Anything larger is just wasted bandwidth and causes the image to degrade in the shrinking process.

For the original post about it, check out this link:

How do I use the Letterboxing News widget?

This widget pulls in blog posts from AQ members and displays the ones you're most interested in. It's kind of like subscribing to magazines, except that every blog is a magazine, the magazines are free, and you can subscribe to as many of them you want. When you first sign up on Atlas Quest, some of the more interesting and popular blogs you are automatically subscribed to, but you can drop ones that don't interest you and add others.

To edit your subscription choices, click the Subscriptions button near the bottom of the widget. You'll be taken to a page where you can drop existing subscriptions or add new ones.

To edit the number of blog entries displayed in the widget, use the Edit button in the titlebar. (It looks like a pencil.) You can set the maximum number of blog entries to display, and how old the oldest blog entries should be before they're no longer displayed.

Each blog on Atlas Quest is checked, on average, about once per hour for new entries, but the blog checks are staggered so new entries could show up at any time.

To made your own blog available for others (or yourself) to subscribe to, add your blog to Atlas Quest. It will then automatically be available for anyone to subscribe to. (You will automatically be subscribed to your own blogs when they're added, but you can unsubscribe to it if you really want to.)

How is the Box of the Week selected?

The Box of the Week is chosen based on the votes provided when members record a find on boxes, much like how blue diamond boxes are chosen. In a sense, it's the very best of the blue diamonds.

The process is automated and far from perfect. Atlas Quest will pick the highest ranked box each Sunday morning, just after midnight, that has never been selected as a Box of the Week before. This does mean that letterboxes that have never been found or have no votes cannot be picked as the Box of the Week—but hopefully as people find them that will change! Additionally, only letterboxes known to be active and readily available to everyone (i.e. not restricted) will be chosen as Box of the Week. We want to encourage you to check out the finest examples of letterboxes anywhere, and those that are missing, retired, or even suspected of being missing will not be included. Replacing a missing box will once again make that box eligible. Even a box restricted to "Everybody" logged into Atlas Quest is considered a restriction.

Once a box is a Box of the Week, it is permanent—even if the box later goes missing or is retired.

If one of your boxes is selected as Box of the Week, Atlas Quest will send you an AQ mail informing you of the selection. You'll also be ineligible to get another Box of the Week for a year to make sure others get a shot at it as well. No hogging them all for yourself! =)

Can we suggest facts and birthdays for the This Day in History widget?

You're certainly welcome to make suggestions! There are several volunteers who help maintain the data in this widget, fixing typos, adding new events, and removing old birthdays of those who have died recently. If you post a suggestion to the Suggestion Box message board, eventually someone who can add it will read your message. This does not mean, however, that all suggestions will be added.

The section for birthdays is reserved for living individuals. If your suggested birthday is of someone who is deceased, their death may be added an an 'event,' but typically only on 'slow news days.' For events, we prefer interesting, educational, or historical factoids rather historical birthdays or anniversaries. Events must be on the same day each year—AQ doesn't have any mechanism in place to automatically update the date from year to year. Think of holidays such as Chinese New Year, Easter, or even Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving is historical and never changes, but current ones are not particularly interesting or relevant for the widget.

Also, the This Day In History Widget only supports dates that come after year 0. Any event in B.C. cannot be added.

What's the Billboard widget do?

The Billboard widget is something of a cross between the message boards (where what you type will stick around essentially forever) and a chat room (where the messages are as fleeting as the duration you're in the chat room). By default, you'll only see the last ten messages posted to the billboard, and only if they had been posted within the past 24 hours. You can change these defaults by clicking the 'Edit Preferences' link, the small pencil in the title bar (). The maximums allowed show 99 messages posted within the past 99 hours. The messages posted to the billboard are temporary in nature, and there is no mechanism provided to review or archive old messages.

This widget is a premium member perk, so you must be a premium member to add it to My Page. The messages are public that essentially anyone may read, so you are expected to conduct yourself just like you would in a chat room or on the message boards. Moderators can delete messages that they feel are inappropriate.

One use where this widget may be useful is to ask questions that you don't want to last for eternity on the message boards, such as, "How do I record a find on an unlisted box?" You might get an answer just as fast as by posting on the message boards, but the conversation essentially deletes itself after a period of time keep the message boards less cluttered with constantly repeated questions. Or you could just root for your favorite sports team, or wish everyone a happy holiday.

The widget does not auto-refresh, but it will update whenever you post a message, open My Page, or click the "Refresh" link in the title bar. The refresh link is the green, circular arrow in the title bar of the widget. ()

It is possible to ignore a specific member who posts to the widget. Use the Ignore Member option on that person's profile. The same settings used for ignoring a member in the chat room will also be used to ignore them on the billboard widget.

Why does the last login seem to be incorrect?

Immediately upon logging into Atlas Quest, the last login time will show the login for your previous login. Presumably, if you've just logged into Atlas Quest, you already know about the current login, so it shows the last completed login that is also associated with a logout.

If you use the auto-login feature, what counts as a login becomes a bit fuzzier. Not only does Atlas Quest automatically log you in when you visit the website, but it will also automatically log you out when you leave the website, and unless you've been automatically logged out of Atlas Quest, you won't be logged in again with a subsequent visit.

A simple example might make this clearer. Let's say you come to Atlas Quest, read a few message boards, then move on to another website. Atlas Quest will keep you logged in for a minimum of four hours from your last activity before it will automatically log you out. So if the last page on Atlas Quest you viewed was served up at 3:28pm, your account will stay logged in until at least 7:28pm. If you come back before this time, you will not record a new login and it will reset the counter that would have logged you out. Most of the time, AQ will automatically log you off within five hours of inactivity, although under certain (and fairly rare) conditions, you may stay logged in for six or even seven hours. As long as you revisit Atlas Quest before you were automatically logged out, however, Atlas Quest will not record a new login.

What counts as a "visit" to Atlas Quest may not be as obvious as you might think either. Many people include AQ Links on their blogs, websites, and wherever else suits them. The first three link options connect directly to Atlas Quest, however, and count as a "visit." If you are not logged in, Atlas Quest will automatically log you in. If you are already logged in, Atlas Quest will reset the auto-logout counter back to zero. These kind of visits are easy to forget they ever happened.

Also remember if you use a shared computer at home or at work and the auto-login is used, it's possible that someone else reading a blog (maybe even your blog!) could cause an auto-login to happen or reset the auto-logout counter.

If you do not use the auto-login feature, of course, you will not be automatically logged into Atlas Quest. However, unless you explicitly click the 'Logout' link, you will stay logged in for a minimum of four hours and anything that counts as a visit to Atlas Quest will reset the logout counter.

Why is a column missing from My Page?

There could be several reasons why a column appears to be missing. First, check the obvious: Make your browser wider. The columns need a certain amount of space to work with, and if you shrink your browser's width, they won't be able to fit into the available space.

If your browser is at its widest and all of the columns still do not show up, check your My Page settings. Make sure it's using the expected number of columns, and make sure the minimum width of the columns is small enough to fit that many columns. For mobile devices, make sure the initial scale value is roughly 100 divided by the number of columns to be displayed. (That is a rule of thumb, but generally works pretty well as a starting point. Additional tweaking may be necessary.)

What is the astro widget?

Put the astro widget on My Page to keep up with the going-ons in the stars. You'll never forget or overlook a meteor shower, a total lunar eclipse, or conjunction again! It also displays the current moon phase so you know exactly what's going on with that.

For those of you budding astronomers who may not know some of the terms used in the widget, here's a rundown of the most common terms you'll likely see used:
elongationThe greatest eastern and western elongation refers to Mercury and Venus when they are furthest away from the sun from our point of view. Because these planets orbit closer to the sun than our own planet, these planets never move very far away from the sun and during many times of the year can be difficult to see through the glare of the sun. Spotting Mercury and Venus during the greatest eastern or western elongation may help.
conjunctionA conjunction is the appearance of two celestial bodies appear near each other in the sky. Most of the entries in the astro widget are conjunctions of planets, stars, and the Moon. Two bright objects can be absolutely beautiful. A conjunction between a bright object (such as Jupiter) and a dim object (such as Uranus) is often helpful in identifying the location of the dim object among a lot of other background stars.
superior conjunctionInner planets can have a conjunction with the sun in two different places along their orbits—immediately between the earth and the sun, and directly behind the Sun. In both cases, the planets are lost in the glare of the sun, but a superior conjunction is one in which the planet is located behind the sun.
inferior conjunctionInner planets can have a conjunction with the sun in two different places along their orbits—immediately between the earth and the sun, and directly behind the Sun. In both cases, the planets are lost in the glare of the sun, but a inferior conjunction is one in which the planet is located in front of the sun, directly between the earth and the sun.
oppositionThis is the opposite of a conjunction when two celestial bodies appear to be directly opposite each other in the sky. When an object is in opposition with the sun, this is often times an excellent time to look for it in the sky since it'll be highest in the sky at midnight. (Compared the sun, which is highest in the sky at noon. Opposition!) Additionally, this is also the time when a planet in opposition with the sun is closest to the earth, so it's often brighter and larger than at other times. The inner planets of Mercury and Venus can never reach opposition.

How do I install a widget?

From My Page, click the Add Widgets button in the upper-right corner of the page.

Can we check the info for "This Day in History" on dates other than today?

Sorry, but that feature is not currently available at this time.

How do I add AQ anniversary widget to My Page?

The AQ anniversaries are part of the This Day in History widget. To install:

  • Click the Add Widgets button in the upper right corner of My Page.
  • Scroll down to This Day In History and click the Add Widget button below it
  • This should take you to your My Page, where you should find that the widget has been installed

How do I change the theme?

No answer provided... yet!

How to do the settings for My Page work?

The My Page settings are mostly self-evident, but here's a detailed description of each item:

Number of columns

The number of columns to align widgets on My Page. The default number is 3, which looks handsome on desktops and laptops, but may require some horizontal scrolling on mobile devices. If you primarily use a desktop when using Atlas Quest, you may want even more columns. If you primarily work through a mobile device, you may prefer just two or possibly even one column. If you use both more-or-less evenly, three columns is a nice compromise.

Minimum and Maximum Column Widths

The minimum and maximum size (in em units) that the columns will have when they are laid out. An em-unit is a technical one that many websites use, and is roughly the width of the letter M.

The default minimum width is 20, which is just enough space for all of the widgets to fit in comfortably in most situations. You can decrease the minimum to as low as 10, but the lower it goes, the more widgets will not fit comfortably into the allowed width and you may have to horizontally scroll individual widgets to see all of the information in it. Most people hate this, so it is probably best to keep it to 20ems or above.

The default maximum width is 50, or 50ems to be precise, but it can be raised as high as 99. Allowing such a large maximum won't really cause any problems—it just looks really weird with a tons of empty space left over in most widgets. Realistically, the only time this might come into play is if you keep a small number of columns since you usually use AQ on a mobile device but don't want to see them stretched out ridiculously wide the occasional time you do use the site from a desktop or laptop.

Initial Scale

This setting is a bit more complicated to describe. First, it only really matters with mobile devices. On a desktop or laptop, you won't see anything different no matter what you set the value to. This is a mobile-device setting, first and foremost.

It essentially works as a “zoom setting” telling the website how much you would like My Page to be zoomed in or out when it loads. The default setting is 100, which is normal. Almost every page on AQ uses a normal initial scale—including this one you are reading now!

The problem with My Page is that you can only see one column of widgets at a time on My Page. You can scroll the widgets left and right to see the other columns, but many people do not like this and would rather have all columns displayed at once with a smaller text that they can then manually zoom into to read or click buttons and link as needed. That's what this setting handles.

Smaller numbers zoom out more, while larger numbers zoom in more. You probably do not want to zoom in more. You can double the size of all the text by setting this value to 200, but then you'd only be able to see half a column at a time without scrolling!

On the other hand, if you cut the setting in half to 50, you can usually see two full columns without any horizontal scrolling at all.

Most people seem to prefer settings between 50-75, which will get two columns into the screen but still keep the text large enough to read without zooming in, but you might need to zoom in more to accurately click the correct button or link.

As a general rule of thumb, you can see any number of columns onto a mobile screen by taking the number 100 and dividing it by the number of columns you want to see.

So if you have a two-column layout and want both to show up without zooming on mobile devices, 100÷2 = 50.

If you have a three-column layout and want all three to show up: 100÷3 = 33

Or a four-column layout with all four showing up: 100÷4 = 25

You get the idea. As noted earlier, however, this is a rule of thumb. Depending on the size of your device and the minimum width of your columns, your mileage may vary. Use these sorts of calculations as a starting point, then tweak the settings as needed from there.

Another rules of thumb: Numbers smaller than about 50 tend to be very difficult if not impossible to read without zooming because the text is so small. While you can set the value smaller than 50, it's not really recommended. Most people find a value between 50-75 ideal since it has the right tradeoff between text legibility and getting more widgets onto a screen with the least amount of scrolling.