March 19, 2010
Giddy Confessions of a Self-Fan
Killing Time - Horror E-Rag Issue 1-5 is available in the Battered Spleen Productions Store right now. There is a certain need to bring the goods, not just bring them, but bring them to a new level. I think this issue succeeds. The first stand out here is the thrilling conclusion of Will-o'-the-Wisp. Everybody says that something is a thrilling conclusion, but this really sticks. There's more than meets the eye to these balls of glowing gas leading our intrepid Leo to dead bodies. It works both ways! Speaking of bringing, this issue is only one issue away from the end of "Lizard of Hallucination" and man is Paul in deep and sinking fast. Then there is the other short story. This one is for the real sickos. Mary Shelley is rolling in her grave over "Building the Perfect Date". It's hard not to sound like I'm giving a hard sell here, but this was an exciting issue and I'm the one who wrote it.
The articles are great too, though even I can admit not the stars of this show. The first, "Mything Link" is a good solid thinker. I can't tell you how much I dig myths, legends, and especially mythmaking. It's not just that. I think the effect of a good one is almost immeasurable. This time the "Horror Franchise Discussion" is Romero's original Living Dead trilogy. Yes this article was written before even the announcement of Land of the Dead's filming. The reviews are for Sam Raimi's "The Gift" and Palladium Books' "Nightbane". Finishing it all off is an insightful "Writing in the Dark" about revision. Speaking of revision, I'm going to point out a potential flaw. In "Building the Perfect Date" I mention red hair, but the cover shows a brunette. What does it mean? I have red hair for the model or I could fake it. So why not? This is itself a story, perhaps. What do you think?
Music: Supernova by Fear Factory.
March 12, 2010
Do You Wear Only One Hat?
One might wonder if it's just a fluke or a one off that I would discuss such a technical aspect as programming, even if I did compare it to writing, here on this particular blog. What might that have of interest to writers and other people strictly in the creative vein? I wonder how many people are strictly creators without having to dabble in the construction and technical minutiae of running a web site and taking an active hand in such matters as publishing, marketing, and business. Certainly a writer is pretty much forced to work with the conventions of the printing process when whatever they submit must be formatted to certain specifications. Some of those specifications are for the ease of editing, but not all of them, or at least they serve the dual purpose of limiting the changes required between final editing and printer layout.
If you are a writer, or an artist, and you run your own web site, even a WordPress driven one, and someone works all of the technical wonders, do you leave all of the associated baggage of that to this other person/people? Anyone who hangs out online and especially with business people on Twitter and other sites is sure to have seen the letters SEO. That's Search Engine Optimisation, it's a big factor in how people find your site using Google, Bing, Yahoo, and wherever else. I have a bit of a SEO problem, now that I'm starting to roll out the comment engine I told you about last week. I have to change the filename for several sites from index.htm to index.php. You don't need to know the difference, but everywhere that advertised one must now advertise the other. The biggest snarl this causes is with advertisements in Killing Time - Horror E-Rag. Perhaps I should find a workaround to leave the filename the same.
Do you wear multiple hats such as writer, site designer, SEO, marketer, etc.? Have you had to change advertisements or links all over the place to accommodate new functions to your site? Have you ever done the dreaded site moving?
P.S. You can use the previously mentioned comment engine now to answer those questions. It's right down there now.
Music: Shut Up and Dance by Aerosmith.
March 05, 2010
Speak and Be Heard, Soon
Programming is a lot like writing. You learn the words, then the phrases and other bits of grammar, and then comes the hard part. The hard part is figuring out what to write. Take my recent project as an example. I set out to re-create the wheel by writing my own engine for comments on this blog and the others that I write from the ASCII up. Writing the form to get a name and comment is easy. Putting the comment to a file is easy again. Why stop there though? The best places let you comment on a comment. Making sub-comments was not much harder than the comments. Where it became a nightmare is then displaying those sub-comments in the right places. There is also the matter of counting the comments to display them back and having multiple counters to track.
I'm running long here, please bear with me. There is a lot of logic to be sorted out when writing a program like this. This is much like sorting out the details in a story and the implications. Then there are other decisions such as how many layers of sub-comments do you allow? Only so many can fit on a screen comfortably. This leads to trying to figure out how not to allow comments too many layers deep and having some not display. It also adds confusion to the counting. Then unlike most kinds of story writing there are security issues. So I built my own random captcha delivery system, one that is easy to read by humans but not for machines, and of course built in functionality to prevent comments from running dangerous code. You can all see this comment system coming soon, after I build some more backend code into it.
Music: These Colours Don't Run by Iron Maiden.
Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada
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