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Checking in

Postby Rreed423 » Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:59 pm

Howdy. Happy Independence Day!
Just thought I'd mosey on over here and see if anything going on.
Rreed423
 
Posts: 50
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Re: Checking in

Postby wiseowl » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:48 am

Hey! Glad you dropped in :)

Happy Independence Day to you, too :)

What's up with you?


There's a lot going on "behind the scenes", so to speak, but we have nothing visible to trot out and show people right now ;)

In Boundless Stories news:
- We have made some progress in our webpages. Because the babble about webpages is long, I moved it to the end of this post.
- We now have a really awesome logo. I can't imagine a better representation of what Boundless Stories is all about than this logo provides. Of course, we haven't placed it on our webpages or anywhere where anyone can see it, yet. But we really like it. :) And when we get it out there, I'm positive you'll like it, too :)
- I started a Boundless Stories Authors facebook page. We grew to 135+ fans fairly quickly. We had 140 at one point, but we have had a few unsubscribes, and we have dwindled a bit. Our current population, as I write this, is 137.
--That number is quite large - or, well, significantly larger than my expectations. Of course, to be fair, it is easy to "become a fan" or "like" a facebook page, and then forget all about it, so that number doesn't mean quite as much as you might think :)
- Despite the fairly large population, I haven't been able to interest people in actively posting or anything. I've tried several things, and I am mostly met with silence. I do not know whether that is a bad sign indicating that I am doing something wrong, or whether that is simply a sign that our authors don't need to join a community over this or whatever. I've gotten a few "likes" on my comments from time to time, but not as many as I would like/expect to see given the size of the group. Facebook is still largely a mystery to me, really.
- Around 20-25 of those 137 people have also registered as authors in the author tool. Or, to be more precise, we have had 29 author tool registrations since I started the facebook group, and 18 of those registrations clearly and obviously belong to someone I do not know personally who is a fan of the facebook group. O ne of those registrations is a belated entry from Wordgrove, but the other 10 are mysteries (which are mostly likely to be directly or indirectly related to facebook, of course, but might be something else, for all I know).
- We decided to try to interest additional authors by creating contests with specific themes. Winner of the contest gets a prize and the winning entry gets featured in a "contest winners" section of the upcoming store. The prize changes from contest to contest, but it is generally cash. The first contest's deadline is July 15. We have not yet had any completed entries submitted, though there is still time.
--We have a different contest with a deadline on the 15th of each month from now until December - all the contests are listed on the contest webpage, so a person can begin writing on the one that most interests him/her (or the one with a deadline that he/she feels he/she can meet) now.
- Making the store work is still causing difficulties. Even so, we have made progress in building the store.

Tweetories news:
- There has been no progress and no movement on Tweetories. This is mostly because we want to finish Boundless first.
- Of course, the Tweetories code is 90% identical to Boundless, so getting Tweetories up and running is mostly a matter of tweaking the code that already exists. The primary thing that needs doing is creating the author tool. We simply have not done this yet.

OWL news:
- We have some nifty new original artwork to add to our collection. These are more pictures of owls, expanding our existing stockpile of pictures of owls.
- Our list of series proposals that we hope to produce has grown larger.
- We have begun the process of creating an animated youtube-style video clip that announces our channel. So far, it is just a script, but the machinery is now in motion. It will probably take 3-4 months to complete, but it should be pretty spectacular.



Personal news:
- Over at my mansion (oh, okay, my hovel... sheesh, you COULD let me have my delusions...) we (and by "we", in this case, of course I mean "I decided and made it clear that dissenters would be badgered endlessly") decided to replace the carpet with rubber flooring. I found some grey rubber "puzzle piece" tiles on sale for less than $1 per square foot, which made the floor itself quite cheap. Of course, we also needed some underlayment, which upped the cost somewhat, but still not too bad.
- The flooring did not come with free professional install, of course, so we opted to do it ourselves. We set the magic date for Saturday, July 3. We made a grooming appointment for 4 of our 5 dogs, on the theory that it would be very difficult to keep them off the exposed subfloor if they were home. That would be bad, of course, because exposed subfloor would have carpet nails and possible carpet padding staples poking up ready to tear puppy feet to shreds. We were unable to make a grooming appointment for Pepper, however, because she doesn't like to be touched much, and she has a nasty habit of attacking hapless groomers who might want to, you know, actually touch her in order to bathe her. She requires sedation before grooming for that reason. Our groomer only does sedation grooming on Tuesdays - never Saturdays.
- I had optimistically hoped to finish the project in time to pick the dogs up, but I had intelligently reserved boarding in case we didn't. This turned out to be wise.
- I began to prepare to rip out the floors on Monday. When I started, this seemed like a simple proposition. In theory, you just move everything out of the area affected. You throw away junk, and you store whatever you want to keep in an unaffected area. But of course, the theory melts down in practice, because you have to have room in unaffected areas of your house to store the stuff you are moving aside. I didn't realize just how much stuff we have until I started to move it around.
- In the end, I wound up staying up all night both Thursday and Friday nights trying to get everything ready, which means that by the magic time on Saturday morning when we were to take dogs to the groomers, I had been awake for over 48 hours.
- Once we had the carpet and carpet padding up, however, we sadly discovered that we had several rotten boards in our plywood subflooring. Rotten boards are at risk of one day becoming soft enough that you break them and fall through one day while you're walking around. This would be a bad thing.
- We actually could have finished the project and picked the dogs up before closing time if our subflooring had been okay. However, we did not have the materials to replace subflooring boards - and, for that matter, we really don't have the expertise, and I'm not sure that's something for amateurs to fiddle with. So, we called my brother the professional carpenter. He said he would come by tomorrow (which is now today as I write this, or Sunday, July 4). I expect him to show up in about an hour (as I type this).
- Meanwhile, we only THOUGHT that we were sending the dogs for a bath and a haircut. It turns out that one of our dogs, Nanny, got emergency surgery, too.
Our groomer is connected to a veterinary hospital (literally - not just "an association", but they are actually the same business, operating in the building right behind the vet). In any case, they noticed something was wrong. It turns out that Nanny had a massive growth on her spleen. They recommended emergency surgery to remove it - or, failing that, they recommended euthanasia, because it was so severe that it could have exploded in a messy and painful way any day. As in, if I had put off the grooming appointment by one week, Nanny might not have still been alive to make the appointment.
- Nanny came through surgery just fine. It looks like she will make a good recovery.
- Meanwhile, she is a patient at the hospital. They think she might be able to come home as early as Monday, depending on how fast she recovers, but it is more likely to be Tuesday or Wednesday.
- The other dogs are staying at the groomer resort until Monday.
- I collapsed, and had a good sleep.

The webpage babble:
We finally got a website up for the authors side of things. It seems to have a few issues, but it exists. You can find it here:
http://www.boundlessstories.com/authors/
Pale created the basic design, and I fleshed it out into the full suite of pages it became. I was pretty proud of myself (as web pages are not something I have skill or experience in doing). Of course, as soon as I put the web pages up, pale immediately complained that somehow or other, despite the fact that the boxes looked perfect on the windows and linux machines that owlvicky and I had used to preview the result, the text overflowed some boxes on the mac. We fired up owlvicky's mac and sure enough, it looked terrible there. It was easy to figure out what the problem was: the font we used was somehow slightly bigger or thicker or something on the mac, which sometimes resulted in a word that should have had room at the end of one line of text having to drop down to begin the next line, instead. This could become a cumulative effect, which could end up with not having room for the text at the bottom inside the box. The bigger the box was (ie, the more text we placed in a box), the more likely it was to happen.

Our initial response was to put up a separate page for mac users, which used a different font that behaved within the confines of the boxes. However, because I really liked the font I had used, I was not satisfied with that solution. (Besides, it also pointed out that anybody who overrides our font sizes, usually people who have trouble seeing and magnify fonts, would also have issues with our boxes.) ' So, we began the search for a more permanent solution.

Pale worked hard creating a solution that automatically sized the boxes to fit the text inside. However, his new pages kept having issues of their own. He would fix one issue, only to have another crop up. Meanwhile, his automatic solution contained two inherent, seemingly unfixable problems: one, that it throws away the symmetry of having both columns end at exactly the same height that I had so laboriously strove to create; and two, that his solution did not permit half-width boxes (you'll see that, in the pages I have, there are some boxes in the wider left column that I placed side-by-side instead of one on top of the other). Still, he put forth amazing effort, and created a solution that works for everyone.

Meanwhile, I had a brainstorm that worked beautifully. I added a line of code that told each box to "autoscroll" - that is, it adds a scrollbar to the box so you can scroll the text up and down ***IF*** the text does not fit inside the box. This solution automatically fixes all the problem boxes for any user without having to change much. It was much simpler to execute, too. The only drawback is that I had a couple of boxes where I cropped the box a little closer to the text than the autoscroll is comfortable with, so it sometimes adds a scrollbar to a box that doesn't really need one - that is, a few boxes have scrollbars but no reason to scroll because you can see all the text inside the box. But at least it works now.

Pale's newer version of the suite of author pages also happens to include a navigation bar along the top, which the version currently displayed to the world lacks. All the links to other pages are available within the other boxes, but are not placed at the top for all to find. I would have thought that should not be a problem, as, after all, it is very difficult (probably impossible) to be a good writer if you can't actually read stuff. But it seems that a lot of people are not finding information that is up on the web pages. My best conclusion is that they are not finding the links to those pages.


Meanwhile, the front page - the main Boundless Stories webpage, or the page we send the readers (or the end customers, if you care to think about them in a business-like fashion) to, is still unfinished. At the moment, we are still using the placeholder page that owlvicky threw up months ago. Pale has worked hard to create something really nice, and he seems to have succeeded - MOSTLY. His most recent effort has browser-specific issues that are not yet solved. You can check out the latest version of the work in progress here: http://www.palenoue.com/Boundless/boundlessmain.html
wiseowl
 
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Re: Checking in

Postby Rreed423 » Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:36 pm

Sounds like most of the action is on Facebook. All right, I've been threatening to do it, so I am off to Facebook now to get a page.
Though you should also know that I am starting an anti-social network. You can read about it on my new blog at http://open.salon.com/blog/rreed423
Rreed423
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:21 pm

Re: Checking in

Postby wiseowl » Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:39 pm

Love the anti-social network idea *grin*

Welcome to facebook :)
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Re: Checking in

Postby Rreed423 » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:45 pm

I saw the pictures of you and your rubber puzzle pieces. FB does look like a nifty thing, but i heard all the talk of games and all I can find are commercial, slick ones. Where are the types of games that Pale has been inventing, ones that are done by individuals or small groups?
Rreed423
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:21 pm

Re: Checking in

Postby wiseowl » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:55 pm

The commercial big-company things are slowly drowning out the little guy, but the little guy is still out there.

Try Fairyland, my personal favorite (though I barely have time to play it these days). Fairyland was created by one single person, is maintained by the one person, and playing it gives money to save the rainforest.

Also look for Hatchlings, which was also made by a small group.

School of Wizardry was also created by a single person, but it is a total knockoff of the same game play format done by several other applications (mafia wars, sorority life, vampire wars, etc etc etc - different "skins" but the same basic gameplay).

Sorority Life was originally done by an individual, but it got bought out by a big name company. For that matter, Lil' Farm Life was originally a small-team enterprise, but got bought out.





I know there are several more, but I can't recall them offhand.
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