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Saturday, April 16th, 2005

A Fresh Coat Of Paint

And here we go. Version 6.0. Looks an awful lot like 5.0, doesn’t it? Yeah, shut up. Sorry if you were expecting something more grandiose, but the reason I stuck with the old layout so long was that I liked it. Really. It takes me forever and a day to come up with decent designs, so when I find something that works, you bet your sweet bippy that I’m going to stick with it for a while. I call it a fresh coat of paint, and it is – it just happens to be the same colour. I realize it’s a little odd rolling something new out on the day of the week I have the least traffic, but this is the only day I’ve got the time to get it set up and debug anything that comes up.

Revisions this time around are of the more pragmatic sort – the layout is wider, obviously, so there’s less scrolling and more overall real estate. In fact, I’ve got so much more space that I don’t know what to do with all of it – case in point, the little Loveless abstraction up in the top right. That’s just… there. If I have banners or announcements or something, I’ll post them there, but for now, it is what it is. I’ve eliminated pop-ups for reviews and photos (thank God) and made some marked improvements in the concert photo albums. My MP3 of the week will now update itself automatically, instead of me having to do it manually, so I can load up tracks months in advance and at the stroke of midnight on Saturdays, bam – new selection. The links section has been updated and expanded, things are hopefully easier to use and navigate, and I think the overall look and feel is less cluttered, more usable.

The site’s not done by any stretch of the imagination. What I have done is gone in and thoroughly cleaned up all the backend code – I’ve reduced the amount of code in the backend by maybe 30%. Dear God, I’m a much better programmer now than I was two years ago. It’s much much faster, leaner, and cleaner now, and more scaleable – meaning I can add to the site more easily than before, if I so desire. And I do, really. I’ve got some ideas that I will try to put into action in the near future, either here or elsewhere, barring any extreme bouts of sloth on my part. I’ve got a couple of annex-like servers that I’m spreading my hosting and bandwidth usage across, so running out of space or tranfer quotas shouldn’t be an issue. You probably wouldn’t have noticed it being an issue in the past, but it was always a concern. Now, hopefully less so.

You’ve probably also noticed the big ol’ empty column down the right-hand side… well, that’s was going to be ad space – nothing horribly sinister, just those Google AdWords and BlogAds things that are becoming ubiquitous, but I’m having second thoughts. What do you think? Are they horribly annoying? Would I be “selling out”? I’m truly on the fence. If I do try them out, I’ll more than likely pull them if they don’t actually net any sort of revenue. If it can’t pay for, say, a concert or a CD a month, then nuts to it. Nuts, I say. I’ll fill up the space with corn bread recipes or something.

I had a moderate-length discourse about why I would feel compelled to seek advertising money or solicit donations, but have decided not to bother with it. The reasons and rationale should be self-evident and I can’t be bothered to write it up. There will be no hard sell, no cajoling, none of that. Yes, this blog takes a helluva lot of my time and a modest amount of capital on my part, but I’m not doing this for the money. I certainly won’t turn it down if offered, but I do this because it’s fun for me. Exhausting at (most) times, but fun.

But to take this to a slightly higher level view, I have been giving much thought to the future of this site in recent months. Not IF the site will have a future (though I admit that wasn’t necessarily a given), but what that future will entail. This site has been a success beyone my wildest imagining since I started it two and a half years ago, not that I actually had any sort of yardstick for what constituted “success”. I’m quite proud of it and don’t want to tamper, but am wary of treading water as well. Grow or die, right? I’m still not sure where this train of thought will lead me, or even what I’m trying to say. There was supposed to be some sort of profundity here, but I seem to be unable to string together more than a couple coherent thoughts in a row, here. It’s been a long week and I’m tired.

So… that’s it for now. Regular programming will resume tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by.

np – Douglas Heart / Douglas Heart

By : Frank Yang at 8:49 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. satellite says:

    i say put up the ads. they aren’t a distraction. it’s the content of your posts that matters, not what runs down the right hand side. why not take some money to make it cheaper to run the site? it’s not selling out. as a reader, why would i wish for you to spend your own money when you don’t have to?

  2. dd says:

    maybe you could swap out a different repeating background pattern? or make it a solid color? that’d trick me into thinking this place has been redesigned.ya gotta love a cleaned up backend though.

  3. Frank says:

    I don’t think a solid colour would work, but I did try to find a decent non-cheesy background. If anyone has pointers to something good, I’m game.

  4. mr g says:

    nice, simple redesign. that is all.

  5. dan says:

    ads are ok. go ahead and try it.

  6. elby says:

    at first i was like "noooooo" because i hate change (even minor like this), but by the time i read your post, i was already cool with it. you should definitely try the ads!

    i posted a lot of those old frosted flakes boxes on the old radiohead h&v message board one time because i thought they were fascinating. so i smiled when i saw it here today. good luck.

  7. Frank says:

    don’t think of it as a change… think of it as evolution!

    Okay, I’ve been working in marketing too long.

    I will try out the ads after I move and have a new address/contact info sorted out. Enjoy the ad-free site for a couple weeks.

  8. D. says:

    I’m checking this out on an enormodrome cinema display in the Apple Store in central London and the redesign looks awesome (only question is, how am I going to slip this bad boy into my record bag and get out undetected?).

    Ads: they’re messy, they won’t stick to your colour scheme and you’re letting The Man in. But if they pay for new content then I can live with that.

  9. Five One Seven says:

    There’s some weird stuff happening with the layout on my machine (Firefox, so it should be fine, right?).

    And though I’m happier with the bigger layout, the content part (middle section) is only slightly too big to read in 600X800 resolution, but it looks like you’re working on that.

    Good stuff!

  10. Frank says:

    Pfft to 800×600. What’s next, it doesn’t look right in EGA? VGA? green monochrome monitors? Either join us in the 21st century or go back to playing Lode Runner.

  11. troy steele says:

    your website looks REALLY weird on my Kaypro.

  12. duus says:

    i am also pro-ads. get some money from the site, why not?

  13. thomaus says:

    Hmmm. Nobody complained about the omission of the Lake Holiday links. Does that mean all dreams of becoming a rock ‘n roll star are past?

  14. mattS says:

    Ads are a-ok with me, particularly as I might want to buy a few in he near future.

  15. thrasher says:

    Hi Frank,

    Site looks good here on Firefox.

    Although, I do prefer being able to view a site in a minimized frame. Right now, I’m chopping off the right column — which I would continiue to do to block viewing ads.

    Interesting that so many of your readers are OK with ads.

    I’ve given it some thought but figured my readers would revolt at the sell out.

    Well, good luck whichever way you go.

    Keep on Rockin,

    Thrasher

  16. Frank says:

    I’m not especially worried about readers revolting. Most of them get here by google searching for "Lindsay Lohan nip slips" anyway.

  17. troy steele says:

    I, for one, got here searching for "Joe Pernice nip slips."