Saturday, August 20, 2005
Work in Progress…
Reader John Simpson inquired as to the lack of blog updates lately, musing that it must mean I either was not working much, or working too much. The real anti-blogging force, however, is the series of interconnected updates I have planned for the web site, all of which, sadly, are running a bit behind schedule.
It goes a bit like this: “Well, I'd like to update the blog a bit with what's happening lately…”
…but first, I'd better do the more serious work, like posting that review of the DrawerBoxes we promised…
…but that really qualifies as a “Review ”doesn’t it? Perhaps I ought to square away the Reviews section we had planned to add to the site so we can add it in its proper place…
…Oh! but that raises the question of the other expanded sections of the site, including secondary navigation to the News section, changing Pricing News to Reviews, etc. etc.…
…Yeah, but that means I really have to set up templates for all the new pages, which show the secondary navigation pages…
…Which really brings up that our CSS styles and navigation headers really need to be redone throughout the site to make them cooler, render faster, and be more search-engine and handheld-devices-friendly…
…All of which leaves me a bit overwhelmed just thinking about it all.
The net result is that we actually have a lot of content piling up ready for posting to the site, but there’s a growing sense (at least on my part) that we’ve got a lot of woodshedding to do before we can post any of it.
In the end, for at least this little post (which, ironically, is on one of the few pages which is using the newer CSS styles on the site!) it seems better to at least post a little “Yes, we’re still alive” post, rather than go dark for several weeks while we try to get the whole site renovated.
Saturday, August 6, 2005
All four of Carolyn’s and my entries into the Santa Clara County Fair wound up taking home ribbons. My Finska Kakor took the blue ribbon in the shortbread category. My Danish Puff took second place in its category (misc. cakes). Carolyn’s Giant Chocolate Toffee Chip cookies took home second prize in the “other” cookie category, and her strawberry jam took third place in its category in the hyper-competitive jam division. Although the ribbon wasn’t as pretty, this was probably the mightiest of the victories—there were so many entrants here that it took us several minutes to even find hers amongst the cases full of jams on display. Woohoo!
Oh, and remember the woman behind us who was submitting plate after plate of perfectly formed cookies for judging? It turns out she had the unlikely name of Dagmar Poffenroth and she ribboned in about eight categories that we saw, including cakes, fruit pies, filled cookies, and on and on. Carolyn’s chocolate cookies edged out hers, however, leaving our new arch-rival holding the third place ribbon in that category. If we ever enter the fair again, however, we’ll have to raise our game if we want to compete with that certified domestic goddess...
Updates, Updates, and More Updates
I’ve been a bit slow updating the blog recently--ironically because I’ve been so busy updating the web site (and ComicBase). I’m also waiting until tonight when we visit the Santa Clara County Fair to see the results of our various culinary efforts...
ComicBase 10.0.3 went final on Wednesday after we got the “all clear” from customer Peter Kroon in the Netherlands who had pointed out that previous updates were having their price values misunderstood on systems (like Dutch/Netherlands) which use a comma instead of a decimal point as the decimal separator. We also managed to knock off a couple of other fairly obscure issues involving title matching and Mass Change of cost. Thanks to Bob Lennard and Mike Polis for helping us locate and squash these.
The best new feature of 10.0.3, however, is the new ability to allow the updates to correct information in your ComicBase, as well as adding in new titles and issues. It also allows the updater to delete obsolete titles and issues, so long as you don’t have any comics listed in stock for those issues. This has already allowed us to remedy a mistake we made indexing the DragonBall and DragonBall Z collected volumes (thanks to Ken Hill for setting us straight on this series).
This Week’s Update
It seemed like almost a light week this time out: only 44 new titles, and a bit over 200 new issues. I’ll confess, I haven’t had a chance to read any comics this week (my head’s been deep in CSS online manuals and catching up on the last couple of issues of MSDN magazine--big fun, I know). If anyone has submissions for their favorite comics of the week, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to spotlight your favorites.
Filling in the Gaps…
In other news for the week, big props go out to John Simpson and Jason Mumpower for submitting information on missing issues in ComicBase. I’m especially grateful for all the folks who’ve submitted entries and corrections, complete with all the core info: the full title, issue, cover date, cover price, artists and writers, storylines, UPC code, and ISBN number. And when you can send a scan along with it? Perfection, sheer perfection! Thanks guys!
I’m looking into a way to allow folks to send corrections right from within ComicBase--probably by clicking on an issue and using a “Submit Correction” command from within ComicBase to post it to the web. I’d also like to get a way to automate uploading cover scans--anyone with web design experience in that regard, please drop me a line ()
Web Site Updates in the Works
Now that we’re done with the big ComicBase 10 push, we’re going to try to spend some time giving the web site a bit of a makeover. as well as adding lots of new content. (We actually have an editorial calendar now!). I’d love to get your comments on the new design as it comes together, as well as comments on things that we could be doing a better job of presenting or organizing.
Coming Next Week: The Collection Drawer Box Review
You may remember these folks from our photo gallery of the San Diego Comic-Con (“Worst booth, (nearly) best product at show)”. We were so impressed by these folks (once the owner explained what they do while standing in line to buy a copy of ComicBase), that we immediately put in an order for 80 of them.
The basic idea is that these boxes are made out of much tougher cardboard and come in two pieces: a shell and a drawer. You can supposedly stack them six high without smushing the ones on the bottom, and simply slide out the drawers to access the comics inside. With some 40,000 comics on the premises, we’re really looking forward to testing these out, and as soon as the Roadway truck drops them off on Monday, we’ll be putting them through their paces. Is this the most revolutionary product in comic storage since the comic bag? Or will our comics collapse in a crushing disappointment? We’re putting them to the test, and we’ll let you know what we find!
Tuesday, August 2nd
The Great County Fair Cookie-Baking Contest
Both Carolyn and I got it into our heads into enter the Santa Clara County Fair this year. She’s entering her Strawberry Jam, as well as her amazing Giant Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies. I’m going with my Finska Kakor (a Finnish shortbread cookie) as well as Danish Puff, an old family favorite coffee cake.
I’ve been a little obsessive about the competition since we got back from San Diego, and I’ve inflicted enough variations on the Danish Puff recipe on the folks here at the office that I’m pretty sure everyone’s looking forward to the return of regular old bagels on Friday mornings. Carolyn’s also been experimenting away, with labeled batches of cookies marked with the particular sweetness of chocolate involved.
On Monday morning, it was time to bring a plate containing our six best cookies down to the county fairgrounds where they’d be submitted for judging. I’ll admit, we were feeling pretty good about our chances, until a lady pulled up in back of us in the line balancing seven different plates of gorgeously formed cookies of all varieties. On Wednesday, I’ll be submitting my Danish Puff on Wednesday morning, and we should know the results at the County Fair this weekend. I’ll keep you all posted on the results…