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Saturday, January 28, 2006

   Am I Cheating?
This is neat, a magazine is publishing an article I wrote about advertising. It's the first time I've published something on a media outlet owned by someone else.

On another note...Justin, I'm still waiting for you to start blogging! ;-)

Comments (7) | Permalink

Friday, January 27, 2006

   Moving Quickly
I like to move quickly; that's just my personality.

My philosophy on web stuff is get it out there as soon as you can, get it in front of people, and then adjust/improve if it takes off and kill it or work on something else if it doesn't.

If you've noticed, we launched a better submission system for our quiz site. It has fewer steps and is more bulletproof. I know our quiz approval rate will go up at least 20% with this.

However, the new system is hardly perfect. It still requires you to email us files and the look isn't terribly great.

But, you know, this entire update took only THREE days to complete and the differences are huge. Darn, that's fast.

Some large companies will try to all-knowingly guess what users want and take months to develop something, making what they believe is perfection.

The problem is the web isn't built for this kind of development. There's a zillion variables that are always changing, you can never have a "finished" product. Such thinking leads to a lot of wasted time and resources.

Build quickly, get it out the door, watch carefully, then improve/adapt constantly. Repeat.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Child Safety Caps
Who in the world thought child safety caps were a good idea?

It takes me like 10 minutes of fiddling to open one. I can't be the only one either..

When I'm an old man I'm going to be having some sort of medical attack and as I reach for my pills, horror!, the cap will laughing at me.

And don't tell me the caps accomplish their child safety goals either. Click here for evidence on the contrary.

Just sayin', if I was buying vitamins and there were two versions, one with a safety cap and one without, I wouldn't hesitate.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

   Assistant News Editor
Dagger, our editor in chief, has been doing a phenomenal job covering daily news at our site. She's done such a great job, in fact, that I'm going to start looking for an assistant for her.

The candidate would have to commit to doing 1-2 quality, moderately sized news posts per day with commentary. Dagger will train you in some of the structural details.

What skills are needed? Ridiculously good writing skills, ridiculously good knowledge of anime, and a passion to scour the web everyday looking for new and interesting stuff to post.

Our goal is to get to five updates / day. Right now we've been rocking with around 2-4. Help us break the limit.

Contact me if you're interested with your qualifications. And write a lot, so I know you can write well. ^_^

Comments (4) | Permalink

Monday, January 23, 2006

At a Crossroad
So Justin, our head of technology, is taking a step away from our network. He'll stay on as a consultant, which is very important, but we now have a major problem at hand.

Who will handle the day-to-day programming demands of our network? It's a huge vacancy.

I basically have two options. I could try to elevate my own programming to the point wherein I could maintain the site. Or I could try to find someone else.

Elevating my own programming would take probably a few hours a day for 1-2 months. Maybe. I have the energy and the skills, but I also have so much else on my plate it might be better for me to focus on the more editorial/business side of things.

Finding someone else will be just as big a challenge. It's going to be damn hard to find a programmer to fill Justin's shoes. The majority of PHP/mySQL programmers frankly don't have the skills to maintain our network code.

What to do, what to do, what to do...

On our server issues, I appreciate a lot of your suggestions, but deleting unused accounts won't do anything to solve them.

Speed is another elephant to conquer.

Comments (9) | Permalink

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Speed Issues
I've been deluged with emails about myOtaku's speed. I empathize because it takes me like 15 minutes to load my own blog...

It might be because we're reading blog entries from our write server instead of our read server. It might be because we aren't capitalizing on our LAN connection between servers. It might be because of a few bothersome queries.

I'm confident we have the hardware to handle this load. We have three dedicated servers handling our network's traffic. And all three servers are monster-powerful.

Anyway, here's a list of some of the things I've been simultaneously working on. Since my hands are tied on the software side of the network, and since that's the side that's most important now, I'm kind of limited to what I can do with my time/energies:

* A couple much-needed improvements to theOtaku

* Two exciting side-projects (Art of Otaku was one of my mad scientist side-projects, and these two will be just as interesting)

* Working on a potentially breakthrough, secret deal related to Art of Otaku.

* Trying to teach myself object-oriented programming. Justin's been trying to convince me to learn this for some time. It's not only useful for network-stuff, I do a lot of Visual Basic programming (I'm an expert at it) for my day job.

* Editing my blogging essay, which I'm submitting soon for a global contest.

On another note, I think it's HILARIOUS that we've been getting so many AARP banner ads on the site.

While they might not be relevant at all to our content or audience, they're infinitely superior to the "punch the monkey" ads, so I'm fine with it.

Comments (5) | Permalink

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Art of Otaku's First Editorial Review
One of my favorite anime sites, ActiveAnime.com, just published their review of Art of Otaku.

The verdict?

"A must have."

Click here to read the review.

Needless to say I'm very proud :-).

Also glad the new weekly poll feature is going over so well among otakuites. I can't wait to start pushing this feature.

Comments (2) | Permalink

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ah, Now THAT'S Better
I was typing my blog entry for the evening and three thoughts quickly came to mind:

Thought #1: We don't give users enough space when they're typing their blog entries. It's too cramped.

Thought #2: I hate how in Firefox, the row of smiley faces is off-kilter.

Thought #3: I really dislike how the search for members at the top has a superfluous drop-down menu which has the text cut off at the end.

So rather than dwelling on this negativity, I logged into the server and fixed all three annoyances. I already love the extra room and the improved FireFox readability, so I know you will too.

While I'm much more familiar with the code in myOtaku than theOtaku (since I wrote a lot of the first build), I think it's the reason we've been having some speed issues.

Note: I took down the portfolio links temporarily to see how it affects speed across our network.

Anyway, on to my ACTUAL blog post. I just have a few notes:

(1) I'm thrilled that Art of Otaku has passed the 50% mark toward our goal of 500 sales. This is a great milestone. The next 250 are going to be TOUGH, to be honest, much tougher than the first, but we'll get there.

Also, two websites will be publishing their Art of Otaku reviews soon, so we'll see what "professionals" have to say..

(2) I'm really getting into the FireFly TV show. It's very well-written. Unique, quirky, fresh. I recommend it. Anyone fans here?

(3) Had a fun conversation with Justin tonight. Leaving out the network-related talks, he promised he'll start blogging when he gets his personal portfolio site online. Sweet!

Comments (4) | Permalink

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Oekaki Help
I'm starting to research oekaki boards. I think it's something really cool that we could put a spin on.

Can anyone give me a guided tour? Ideally I'd like a lot of links where I can quickly get a sense of how it works and what software people are using. (And without having to register.)

Just drop me an email or comment here.

Comments (5) | Permalink

Friday, January 13, 2006

I'm very proud of the Amazon incident (read the main page for details). We all saw a problem that needed addressing and worked together to solve it.

Good job everyone!

Anyway, I talked to Justin about implementing the first of our upgrades/fixes into theOtaku. He's been working 10-12 hour days on top of schoolwork, so it's kind of hard to get a hold of him.

He said he's lowering his hours at work though starting this coming week, so hopefully that'll let us get things started!

I have so much energy I'd jump headfirst into the code right now, but it'd probably take me months to digest and he'd kill me for touching. Which is why I can patiently wait for our favorite technology guru.

(I also need to convince him to blog more often...)

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