A History of My Internet Experience So Far

Hey. May the Fourth be with you!

Yet again, I have to start off a rant saying “yeah, it’s been a while, I know”.

I’m looking at changing this in June. In the meantime, this rant I wrote (originally in Word), is so bloody long, its going to have to be a two-parter.

I guess the first stuff is some news. I was interviewed on a New York City radio show called The Ron and Fez show on Monday. It went pretty good. I was supposed to do a segment but ended up doing three. I think the guys liked me, but they did some mild Canada bashing, tied me intimately with Bryan Adams, talked a bit about Bret Hart (wrestler) to me and asked my opinions on various things.

Oh yeah – the reason I was on this fairly popular show was because of www.coffeekid.com . I think we actually talked about coffee for maybe 1/4 of my interview 🙂

A fan of Ron and Fez has taped the show and plans on putting it on air in RealAudio format, and also he is sending me an audio tape.

In some other news, I’ve been asked to write for a couple of online ezines as of late. I’m wondering if I have the time. I want to have the time, but with the success my company is having as of late, plus the many hours a week I put into coffeekid.com and other projects, I don’t know if I have the time, especially to do the weekly article one mag has requested.

I won’t give away the names of the zines here, but I want to share some cool new ezines that I’ve been reading in my (rare) spare time. I don’t do links inline in this rant often, but here goes.

Nerve Magazine is a very hip, 21rst century style magazine for men and women. It’s kind of like how Playboy was hip in the 60s? The martini and bathrobe set? But this one is hip in the 2000s… There is a fair amount of nudity within the site, but extremely artistic nudity, and some shockers. I thouroughly enjoy the site, and read it about once a week, as the content is fresh every week. They have a print version coming out soon, and I may just subscribe. The only problem I have with the site (which is very well designed, visually) is that a) it is frames-based, and b), the developer didn’t do a particularly good job with the loading – most links force a complete reload of all frames, which shouldn’t be necessary – only the centre frame should change in most cases.

Spark Online is very cool. Arguably the coolest thing on the Net at the moment. You know how Word used to be (the site, not the program)? Remember how the Onion was a lot more cool than it is now? Remember when Salon Magazine was completely different? Well Spark Online is that way today. They rock. Digest it.

These are just two, but there are many more out there. I want to talk more about this, including a very “rantish” thing, but I’ll save it for part two of this rant, appearing this weekend.

Now back to what I was talking about at the beginning of this particular rant. Updates, or lack thereof.

See the thing is, I’m finding this thing, this webthing a hassle to update. Not because I don’t have stuff to write, or feel pressure to write something witty or deep or whatever (like anything I write is witty), but because when I do a new rant, I have to do new pictures, new archive entries (notice I’ve been slacking on that? Heheh.) new main page, etc etc.

Plus, I’ve moved onto other things.

Should I have written that last line? Maybe not – it doesn’t actually say what I’m thinking. While the CoffeeKid site is becoming my main “after hours, takin’ care of my webthings” kind of hobby, I still like my personal site (the one you’re visiting now) and I want to keep this site fresh. But for the longest time, it’s been a chore to deal with. The question is, how to make it less of a chore.

I considered going Blogger, but everyone and their dog is doing Blogger. Even one of my old web deities, Derek Powazek has gone Blogger. But I’m not going to be blogging around here. Why? Frankly, I just don’t like Blogger and other web log software. I don’t much like web-logged sites. I don’t exactly know why, I just don’t like them much. There’s been many sites I’ve visited more or less regularly for years that I stopped going to because they’ve become blogged. Even the Zannahbar (I swear, I’m going to start using her real name soon – nyms get more silly to me as I get older) has become a Blogger webstar of sorts, and while she updates her blog frequently, her normal diary page gets rarer and rarer updates.

Okay, with all that said, Blogger and its ilk do offer some things I want from this site – fast, instant even updates. And then I got to thinking. My company builds sites for clients with a lot of DB functionality these days, and one of the things we do is build web-based interfaces for clients to easily add content to their sites, keeping the fresh. Our Administration pages are basically like the Hotmail (or any other email) interface you may have seen, but customized for our clients’ needs. We’ve built several of these already, and heck, why not build this darned thing for my own personal site!? I own the darned company, after all!

So that’s where I’m going to go. I’m going to hardcode a new Yet Another Web Thing (after all, this current design is about 2.5 years old now!) and while most of the site (all the sections) will remain hand coded, I’m going to code rant templates, main news templates, etc and then get my chief programmer (the very capable Wayne Venables, programming star to the world (wide web)) to code me a web based database system to easily update my rants. That means if I want to update my rant, it’s as easy as logging into my admin page, and entering the text, much like notepad. Set the release date for the rant, and I can type in “future rants” that will be released upon an unwitting public without my actual intervention on those days.

The added bonus of this system is an archive is automatically built and maintained. Heck, we could even get fancy and build a calendar system for showing the days that have associated rants. And each time I write a new rant, it gets archived right away. I like it, yessir, I like it.

Which brings me to my programmer. As I said, my main programmer is a guy by the name of Wayne. I ride his case sometimes about work issues and stuff, but once in a while, he amazes me with the stuff he can do. I also like his attention to detail. He catches things I don’t even think about, be it in the “overall idea for functionality” or right down to the nitty gritty of site database programming. We’re still trying to find our groove, so to speak, but I think things are working out okay. WebMotif is able to do some highly specialized database and electronic commerce work we weren’t capable of doing in the past (fyi, site programming and actual DB and commerce work are two different animals). We’ve made more money in the past 4 months than we did for almost all of last year, which is pretty cool.

I guess since the bulk of this rant is about my company, I should add one more thing. WebMotif went from a company with one guy (me) and the VERY occasional use of a javascript programmer about a year ago to a company with 5 people (me and 4 contractors) at this point in time. I’m doling out a lot of money each month, but my income is pretty good too, and this is what you need to do to create a successful business. I’ve found a group of people who are capable of really good work, and while there are conflicts and frustrations at times, most of the time the work is fluid, which is another way of saying its all good.

And this is where I pause… the next rant, due this weekend, will continue this thread, and get back to the other rant issue I teased above – ezines, and my rant on it. It’s not what you might be expecting…

Till then, thanks for stopping by (and sticking with me).

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