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Topics - The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 59
Everything Else / Galactibase 2.0
« on: February 13, 2010, 07:03:55 PM »
This is a much less ambitious project than the last one, and I expect to finish it in a couple weeks.

For those of you who don't know what on earth I'm talking about, Galactibase is the code I wrote to drive the website for The Fantastic Plastic Men.

It's nice and has most of the browsing functionality I wanted, but it's lacking a number of things. Notably comments.

It also has at least one security feature I want improved and is "expensive" in its use of the MySQL database.

So I'm rewriting it. The new version will be much more efficient with writing to the database, will be cleaner in what it sends to the database, will include comments, offer much more customization, and be something other people can use on their web sites without having to hack the source.

This morning I was making a list of functions that I need to include, basing it on how I like to be able to use comic web sites. But since I want it to be available for others to use, I want input on how other people like to see their web comics.

Things I want to have it do:
  • Front End
    • the landing page should have the comic on it. None of this stupid having to find the link to the current comic
    • when viewing the archive (or possibly even the landing page), have an option to display a week at a time or X number of comics at a time
    • archive display in a calendar format
    • archive display in a list format
    • archive grouped or sorted by storyline, theme, or character
    • show comments with each comic up to X number, with a link to display all
    • comments sorted chronologically or reverse-chronologically, with optional tree view
    • full dialog searchability
    • also searchable by character, theme, or storyline
    • show news items or commentary associated with a comic
    • show most recent news items
    • character page (with picture and description)
    • rss or subscribe by email options
    • descriptions of storyline or theme titles
  • Back End (administrative)
    • upload comics sans ftp
    • style sheet editor (mostly colors)
    • reminder of what characters have not been described in the character page
    • enter dialog, alt text, commentary in the upload page, but also editable later
    • add or update news items independent of comics
    • provide for multiple users updating/maintaining news and comics.
    • edit the names of characters, storylines, or themes, from the backend
  • maybe for 2.1:
    • WYSIWYG/rich text editor for news posts or comments
    • themes
    • button/banner editor, drag and drop front end design
    • user-customizable features (comic viewers choose to view features like comments automatically or not)

so let me know what you like and what you don't like when you visit a web comic, and I'll plan how to address those features in the programming.

I'll put some discussion of comic features (with live examples) I do or don't like here:

  • One thing I don't like is Comic Press. I've not seen a good implementation yet -- it mucks up the comic and non comic posts.
  • PA and CAD both do this one, and because of their success, other people think it's ok to do. They have a landing page, for example, that doesn't have the comic on it. I don't care who you are. I come to your site to read the comic, not to hear what you think about changes in the game industry. Don't LINK to the comic from the home page, SHOW me the comic.
  • also irritating, but I don't have example because I've stopped reading comics that do this to me, don't make me scroll to read any comics. Let me see it when I first get there. It doesn't have to be the highest thing on the page, but I need to see at least the first row of your comic.
  • likewise, no sideways scrolling.
  • intuitive navigation. Clicking on the image to see the next comic is fine, but give me arrows or words. And if it's arrows without text, make them clear. Don't go for nontraditional means that don't leap out at me. I'm looking at you, Apple Geeks.
  • You don't see it much anymore, and it's a darn shame, because with the hugeness of some webcomic archives, it would be really useful, but viewing a week at a time. Sluggy Freelance and Superosity still do it.
  • You know has a useful archive? Irregular Webcomic. Since he has several different "themes," or sets of characters -- you can go back through them by theme or by all themes. You can also view 5 at a time either way. Any comic that has multiple themes (crossover!) you can link to either chain. Very nice. I just don't like how the site looks.

Everything Else / masochism.
« on: October 25, 2009, 12:01:58 AM »
SO I'm once again considering writing my own CMS/forums... what is wrong with me?

I just want my blog and my webcomics to be managed separately, and I want users across those and my forums to be synced, and I want new posts to the blog or comic pages to generate new threads on the forum....

The thing is, FPM uses a program I wrote that I call Galactibase. It isn't complete (it lacks a forum plug in and/or comments), but it manages and displays the comic in the only way I've found acceptable. I want to add in a couple features, like displaying 5, and I want to fix up the database (i'm using more tables than I need to).

So.. I'm thinking I'll build on that. It really only took me a week.

Anyone want a PHP/MySQL project and like to work hard?

Everything Else / The Return of Bruno
« on: October 16, 2009, 09:14:46 PM »
ok, I was laid off a couple weeks ago. I've been through several gallons of Häagen-Dazs and cried sufficiently that I'm more or less over it. And I've put in several hundred resumes (ok, several dozen, but still) and that's getting pretty tedious. I'm pretty much moved beyond the other things that were keeping me busy in all my spare time (read: "I have escaped the succulent embrace of MMOs") and I need something productive to do that will throw me into some relief of my boredom. There are a few things this will consist of:

1) regular novel writing (you won't get to see this!)
2) revivification of The Fantastic Plastic Men
and... I wonder if anyone is interested in 3

3 is the renewal of TWG as more than a host site for author's forums. I am not in anyway suggesting that we will do anything at all to harm Sanderson's (or anyone else's) author sections. What I am suggesting is that we restart the regular features on the front page -- what this site used to be all about.

There are problems with that, however. First and foremost being that I no longer get any free stuff. Well, Loony Labs does. And I actually owe them two reviews. Soonish, so I can get a copy of Chrononauts without feeling guilty. I would need to branch into other areas. more on that below.

Secondly, this site NEVER worked when only one person was writing all the content. I will need volunteers who will be able to promise regular contributions. If I don't get enough, I won't try putting the effort back in as Editor (a title I still hold administratively and claim on my resumes).

So, what could you volunteer to do? I'm glad you asked!

  • One of our most popular features, after the EUOLogies, was the Guide to being a Geek Girl. I'm not suggesting trying to take this over. After all, if MsFish wants it, I'm ecstatic to let her have it back. It'd be awesome. But you can become a columnist! something about sf, fantasy, horror, supers, games (video, card, rpg, or whatever). I believe we'd post these as "blogs" now, but same diff.
  • Reviews. Traditionally, video games and RPGs were our strongest draws. We had a really solid tradition of web comics for a while, and more recently, an excellent stream of movies. Book reviews got big too. We never had a lot of music, but I don't see why. Honestly, if it's related to entertainment, particularly entertainment of a geeky nature, we want it. Want to review a web site? That's what the Tower of Cheapness was for!
  • Commentary. Something of a nerdly persuasion that you need to point out? Well, we have a tradition of that too. I wrote a number of articles that were about idiosyncrasies of roleplaying that weren't part of a regular column. We do those too. And they can be on music, movies, games, whatever.
  • Amateur writer without aspirations to go pro? Have an idea for a web comic? If you're good, we'll run your short story or serial as a feature. Just remember that this site grew out of a literary magazine. In terms of fiction, we can be snobby. But I'm willing to consider it.

So, let me know. Who would be interested in a relaunch of this site? We won't destroy anything, we'll just start adding non-forum content again.  But only if ya'll are gonna read it and help us produce it.

Let me know!

Webcomics & Free Stuff / Review: The LEGO Digital Designer
« on: October 06, 2009, 07:09:53 PM »
And you thought we didn't do reviews anymore!

Read it here:

Site News / exciting stuff
« on: March 23, 2009, 12:53:08 PM »
looks like some people got excited last night.

Remember the rules folks: keep your language clean, and don't waste my time by reporting posts that don't break the rules.

I *will* ban trolls.

You've been warned.

Music / lip synching
« on: January 09, 2009, 02:54:02 PM »
I advocate it.

I was walking to work "singing" along with Too Much Joy on "King of Beers" and it made several people smile. It felt good.

I just wanted to share.


Rants and Stuff / PDA/Blackberry
« on: December 06, 2008, 08:02:37 PM »
so I don't want a new phone

I don't want to browse the web or email or text message

I want a hand held device that I can put large text documents into  -- PDFs or Word files, for example. Like the LDS scriptures, like novels, etc. And I want to read these documents.
I want to take notes in said device, without using a phone-like keyboard, so I want qwerty.
Keeping a database of contacts is a bonus, but probably won't even be used
Free little games are also a bonus, but hardly necessary.
I want quick and easy connectivity with any computer, preferably by USB but since my laptop has bluetooth, that would be acceptable as well.
And I want a good screen, probably color display.

So... anyone know enough about this to give suggestions? It's ok if a the thing IS a phone or DOES is web browser enabled, i just don't want to pay a lot and I don't want to sign up for a phone plan. I'm happy with Verizon and my razr, thank you.

Who can point me in the right direction?

Music / YAPLI (Yet Another Playlist Idea)
« on: November 20, 2008, 03:43:21 PM »

That's what we're calling this. It's songs about failing to make it big, preferably in the music biz. We have a humble beginning:

They Might Be Giants - "The Mesopotamians"
Reel Big Fish - "Everything Sucks"
Presidents of the United States of America - "We're Not Gonna Make It"
Queen - "Spread Your Wings"
They Might Be Giants - "Hey Mr. DJ (I Thought You Said We Had a Deal)"

as always, I want your suggestions.

Music / Rock on...
« on: August 04, 2008, 06:56:16 PM »
I have not just one, but TWO new playlist ideas forming in my head.

The first is more complete:

#1: Rock on Rock

  • Rock and Roll All Nite KISS
  • Spirit of Radio Rush
  • Only Rock and Roll Rolling Stones
  • Juke Box Music Kinks
  • Rock and Roll Fantasy Kinks
  • Traveling Band CCR
  • For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) AC/DC
  • The Heart of Rock and Roll Huey Lewis and the News
  • Rock and Roll Led Zeppelin
  • Old Time Rock and Roll Pete Seegar
  • Still Rock and Roll to Me Billy Joel
  • Hey Hey, My My Neil Young
  • Rock to the Rescue Beach Boys
  • Rock around the Clock Bill Haley and the Comets
  • Rock and Roll Radio Ramones
  • Rock and Roll band Boston
  • Cities on Flame Blue Oyster Cult
  • I Wanna Rock Twisted Sister
  • Rock This Town Stray Cats
  • Blues Power Eric Clapton
  • I love Rock and Roll Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
  • Juke Box Hero Foreigner

#2: Rock on Resistance
  • Revolution Beatles
  • Bravado Rush
  • Minority Green Day
  • Resist Rush
  • We're Not Gonna Take It Twisted Sister
  • We Are the Champions Queen
  • Fortunate Son CCR
  • Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down Toasters
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday U2

As always, commentary and esp suggestions are not only encouraged but requested.

Rants and Stuff / FORTRAN SMASH
« on: July 29, 2008, 01:15:14 AM »
ok, php, not fortran.

Code: [Select]
$docu_content='string information';
$newloc = '/home/clients/' . $orig;
if (file_put_contents('$newloc', '$docu_content')) {
print '<a href="' . $orig . '">File Created</a>';
} else {
print 'file creation failed';
($orig comes from POST data earlier)

now, my understanding is that if file_put_contents() is successful it returns the number of bytes written. Otherwise it returns false.
but all it does here is kill the script.
It does the same thing if I have a variable equal to the file_put_contents() statement and use that variable for the if statement. The script dies when it hits file_put_contents(), which i've tested by moving a print statement around. works fine before it's called, not immediately after.

anyway, jsut very very angry about this right now and no one who knows PHP is online right now to talk to me. so I had to spew it somewhere.

Books / Ska[a]r
« on: July 08, 2008, 08:24:54 PM »
I keep forgetting to post this, but it's noteworthy enough for oldtimers here.
Skaar is the name of The Incredible Hulk's Son. And he does a good job of making me think of our own Skar.

Books / I can has Ninja monkey?
« on: June 12, 2008, 03:10:16 PM »
Who would win in a fight, pirates or ninjas? Since time immemorial, Man has pondered these cosmic questions. Throughout the millennia, these natural enemies have left death and despair in their wake. Now they face each other to battle for supremacy.

So i came in late, but I got Pirates Vs Ninjas II: Up the Ante collected last night (see my toys thread for why). And yes, it's every bit as awesome as you would imagine. There was even, on the back cover, a ninja monkey, fighting a pirate parrot of course. So this is officially made of win. They have one coming out this year covering the great political debate, which I am excited for. Suddenly a comic I want to collect! It's been so long....

Since caveman times, men have debated the issues on all sides. Now, in the most tumultuous election year in history, Pirates and Ninjas will clash in that most savage of blood sports, politics!

the ninjas say things like "My brothers! Strike the annoyed puff adder!" while the pirates reply with "Give 'em what fer, the spotty-faced sneaks."

Ninjas also say:
"Sharp is the beak of the midnight crow!"
"A recalcitrant woodsman faces two fighting bulls."
and my personal favorite:
"Be like the clouded leopard adorned in koala's clothing."

There's actually a plot in here, I think. But who cares, really?

Video Games / Perfect World.
« on: June 12, 2008, 02:38:34 PM »
So the MMO i've gotten into is Perfect World, which is both free to install adn to play. It's a Malaysian game, so it's biggest problem is the translations aren't perfect -- though this has only impeded me on one quest, though having done it with two different characters I think it's more a typo than a mistranslation.

I'm not sure I'm happy with the variety in classes: there are only 6 and three races, but I'm not sure I saw *that* much more variation in Guild Wars (yes, I have an account, yes, I've played it once now, but three of my Perfect World characters are nearly 20th level, while the guy in GW is only like, 3).

My final wariness is the "cubigold" items. While not required, they make getting a pet and a larger inventory hecka evening, and there are many items that can only be purchased with cubigold. Cubigold is gotten by purchasing a card. This is tolerable primarily because the game is free, and the coolest feature -- pets -- can be earned by questing by the time you're about lvl 20.

But that ends my complaints. My favorite thing, and the thing that, honestly, keeps me from getting really excited about Rappelz (also free to install and free to play) and GW, though they are both mechanically similar, have a larger English audience base, is the jumping. Perfect World has a very Asian flavor. All characters can make incredible leaps, which makes running across the world map much more fun. There's even a timed quest early on requiring you to scale a rather large building using your leaps -- the places to get across are not obvious and some of them still very difficult to make.

On top of that, elf characters can FLY at level one. Which, honestly, is pretty darn cool. And makes crossing the map even more interesting than jumping. Other characters can get flight later on, and there are monsters that fly and are unreachable by non-flyers.

Monsters at low level leave you alone unless attacked first, but as you approach level 10 more and more monsters are provoked simply by your proximity, which makes hunting a certain type of monster a little more difficult -- which makes it interesting; one of my near escape experience was when a 52nd level ghost monster attacked me while I was only lvl 13 -- I was finishing a quest to find a location, and it was there. Be careful where you walk.  Also at early levels, it's hard to run out of mana or hit points, but again around level 10 it becomes much more important to manage it. You also gain the addition vitality stat which increases the more you fight -- some skills, like magician element shields and a really cool Warrior attack, use up vitality, so you can't use them willy-nilly. Basically, it means you can jump in and play and don't even need to *think* about a party in the early levels. Later quests are *not* impossible without a party. They just take longer because you need to recover sooner. Yet a party can still be useful and fun. This was ideal for someone like me who *likes* to play alone, but can still choose to party up if he so chooses.

The skill system is level based, but you have to have enough skill points to buy them. Admittedly it is frustrating to have three skills I can choose from but can't get them all because I have insufficient skill points, but then, that means you do a lot of running around gathering materials (higher percentage of skill point awards to xp than killing stuff or completing quests) or else planning what you want to upgrade.

Monsters are of one of 5 different elements, or of none. Each element is weaker against one other type of element and less vulnerable to another, while they deal damage in their type of element. This affects the skill system -- since attack and defense skills work with the elements, but also affects equipment, especially defensive equipment. Some equipment has a higher physical defense, while other equipment has high elemental defense -- a lot of the latter type covers all five elements, but some of it only two or three. There's also "dodge" bonuses, so you have three defenses to balance out.

And let me just say that a party of magicians all casting "rock fall" makes for a visual that's very "death of the dinosaurs" cool. I'll take a screenshot next time I see it happening.

One of the most appealing features to other people though, is the level of character customization. When creating a character you get to do more than choose from a half dozen models for head, face, body like in other games.  Not only do they have more models, you can modify the models. The head shape, for example, has only a half dozen models, but you can use a sliding scale to change the size of the head vertically and horizontally, and also in portions, the forehead, the middle, and the lower head. This makes for a near infinite posibility of appearances -- you can do the same with the thickness of arms, legs, upper body, waist, and even breast size (for female characters -- though surprisingly this isn't as abused as much as you'd think). You can also get really specific on eyes, nose, mouth, and eyebrows -- with the exception of the nose, these features don't even have to be symetric, making for some really interesting possibilities for people who don't need the most beautifullest character ever.  Lastly, color -- it's more than just a few selections, but a color selector much like Photoshops -- again adding to the range of possibilities.

If you want to spend money, you can use cubigold to buy non-stat-affecting clothing that you can change the colors with. While your armor still affects your stats, you can choose at any time to have it show your armor OR the fashion items. I've seen some interesting combinations -- not all of them very fantasy. Though the most common custom clothing wearers are female characters, and they tend to be elves in fancy gowns and custom wing appearance.

So, anyway, been playing a couple weeks, able to gush now, really like it. It's free, as I said, and you can download it from . It's a big dl, obviously, but the downloads are on mirrors like FilePlanet and CNet, so if you're wary of Asian file downloads -- which is not an unrealistic fear -- you can rest more at ease.

I have characters on both servers, Aeriruk is the one I use most on Oracle, and Fyryte is the character I use most on Delphi (apparently, I like lots of vowels and R sounds). Friend me if you choose to play and I'll help you level up or just hang out.

Everything Else / i can has toys?
« on: April 28, 2008, 04:01:33 PM »
So Marvel's Toy Biz... having given up making toys for Marvel properties in order that Hasbro could do a craptacular job (ok, they didn't do SO bad on the first series, but hte second series is HORRIBLE and they haven't moved on yet) has done something cool

And they did it behind my back without letting me know.

It's beyond cool, actually. But well... They've making figures of non-Marvel/DC comics. The "Pitt" series has Madman (wheeeeeeeee!) and Witchblade (hot!) and Superpatriot (meh) and Judge Dredd (:hyper:) and Ripclaw (pretty ok) and The Savage Dragon (yeee!). And the build-a-figure is The Pitt (complete with little weird kid). *THAT* build-a-fig is one I'll buy figures I'm only "meh" about to make. The Marvel toy lines haven't done one like that in a long, long time. (really, Mojo? Modok? Gah. )

anyway, I am pleased. With four out of 6 figures worth owning just because the character is cool, and one of the remaining two being really awesome looking, I'm excited about toys again!

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