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The Great Catchup
July 12, 2001

Slash

Fear not: this article has nothing to do with food. I just thought it would be a good idea to let everyone know what's been going on over the last couple months. The Treasure Island Experiment has evolved yet again, this time into its third version.

Hard core island natives may recall the first stories posted in January; the site was three shades of gray with a loud yellow-orange here and there. My first design quickly grew tiresome even to me, especially the lack of capitalization, which made spell checking entirely too time consuming. Still, happy readers kept coming: there were 1.1 million hits and 20 thousand unique visitors from February to May. Pretty good for an offbeat bunch of stories.

Version 2.0 was a brief fling with an automated site. I later decided it wasn't what I wanted. If you are a geek, you are probably aware of Slashdot, a website that lets readers to post comments on a v
ariety of tech related articles. It and focuses especially on Linux and open source development. Slashcode is the garage project of Perl scripts that it runs on.

True to their community of open source ideals, they opened the source code for their website so others could freely use their work. I gave it a shot in the interest of making The Treasure Island Experiment a little easier to manage, and to allow readers to post comments on stories.

I failed to consider a few things: first, I already have no time, so this major project was a poor thing to bite off. Second, the site wasn't easier to manage using Slashcode, especially since transferring the style and content to the new system required a lot of initial work. A lot. Third, having the world+dog able to post to your site opens you up to moronic gibberish of unbelievable proportions. Fourth, with open source, you sometimes get exceptional community support, and you sometimes just get what you paid.

Just as I was finishing the new layout, and trying to tweak the new Slashcode version into something that looked like a proper evolution of the Experiment, I realized that a bug in the code was affecting the display of many of my inline graphics. Since most people who use Slashcode don't use it to do this, I couldn't find any help in troubleshooting why this was happening.

The last straw was that my new Slash savvy, high rate service provider seemed really slow. I figured I'd rather throw off the shackles of Slash and just handling things manually. So I revisited my old pages, cleaned things up to make them lighter and faster, and decided to add some new sections.

People really like the Virtual Tour, even in its current very lame and amateur state. And I've been planning to eventually cover as much of the City as I can. Next, a new section of Big Projects. I like to know what's happening around the City, and thought it might be interesting to readers. We'll see. And what could be more fun that Big Disasters? There's a lot of Disasterous stuff here in the Bay Area, so I'm sticking with only the billion dollar catastrophes first.

As always, I'm interested in what my readers are thinking, so write me at the usual tiexp@hotmail.com. Thanks!

More on Perl, Projects and HTML:

The Big Dig
Programming Perl (3rd Edition)

HTML & XHTML : The Definitive Guide

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