Looking over their new system, it looks like they have done most everything right. Threads only descend one level deep, which I've been thinking is a good idea for general discussions. In addition, they've gone with the "thumbs up / thumbs down" rating system, which is MUCH MUCH more intuitive and easy to use. You can see the moderation system is now actually being used.
My only suggestions are that it is still to cluttered and disjoint. The placement of the avatars create a huge visual barrier between comments. They need a better way to show the hiarchy, like put a line in front of the nested comments that leads back to the parent. They also need to make it easier to enter replies to a parent comment. When you click on "reply" it should roll down an edit box right where your new comment would go. I bet they are working on this, because the edit feature does it.
Last night the lady and I went to the High Dive in Freemont to see our friends play in their band Verona. It was a disaster. Everything that could go wrong did. First, the booking agent placed them after a heavy metal band (which was preceded by a "pink floyd" like band) - there was no audience consistency; you have drunk idiot moshers (heavy metal) + old dudes (pink floyd) + hipsters (verona). Second the sound man did a shitty job of mixing in Kyles vocals; their guitars started the show with this wonderful buildup and then Kyle is supposed to hit it. Hit it he did not. It sounded like the mike wasn't even turned on!
At the same time, Kyles custom made distortion pedal went out. My friend, an electrical engineer who is also in the band, built it for him as a prototype. This was the second show it was used. The first time they used it live a few days before, it worked perfect and sounded excellent ("buttery" as Kyle put it). Whatever happened this time made it not work at all- probably a wire came out inside. Hopefully my friend can perfect the design and put it on a printed circuit board instead of just a breadboard. As an aside, for those who know how distortion pedals work, you'll be amused to know that LED's were used in place of diodes for visual effects & coolness factors.
The band who played before them left for some reason (rude!), so they couldn't borrow another one. So now Kyle is up there playing with no distortion on his guitar. They play for about 4 more songs and BAM, the drummer breaks his snare! This spell doom for the entire show and they are forced to stop. They only plaid 4 of the 8 songs they were gonna play. Suck. Too bad, they usually play really good shows.
So basically everything that could go wrong did:
- Shitty soundman coupled with piss poor speakers and mikes
- Shitty booking, the booking agent put a friggen heavy metal band before them, and before that (I gather, I didn't see the first band) it was a 60 year old "pink floyd" like band. There were drunk idiots trying to mosh during Verona!
- Distortion pedal failure.
- Snare drum failure.
On the business side of the fence things keep on moving. I've decided to discontinue all black clothing from store. The black just didn't look as good as the brown. If you are thinking of buying black, you've got until next Thursday! Did I mention how much zen cart sucks? I'll probably buy X-Cart sometime after this batch when I get a running inventory going. That or I'll merge it into my existing shopping cart codebase.
Speaking of codebase, I spoke with a law guy on Thursday. I'm not going to say much but I will say copyright law is very, very interesting. The lawyer told me exactly what I wanted to hear, which is good because now I can get started working on my idea; artzaar. But the details of artzaar is for another day.
Speaking of open source. In my research, I was going through (shudder) slashdot comments and looking at the blogs of the few lawyers to do open source work. Have you heard to some of these guys? They sound just like brainwashed cult members; almost scarily so. For example, read this thread. It is painful to read and full of circular references like "All software should be open source. Why? Because proprietary software is immoral and unethical. Why? Because all software should be open source. Why? ...". If you follow the link to the "expert" it is the same circular argument. I'm sorry slashdot guys, but that sounds exactly like what brainwashed cult members would say. "Why is the $SACRED_BOOK valid? Because $GOD wrote it. How do you know $GOD wrote it? Because the $SACRED_BOOK says so." Scary. Basically it means most of these people can safely be ignored just like we can safely ignore LaRouche supporters, socialists, and PETA.
If you are thinking of starting a software company, I cannot recommend JOS's Business of Software forum enough. Some very, very smart people inhabit that forum. I've been dabbling with the idea of joining the local chamber of commerce or something similar as well. Some people recommend the ASP (association of shareware professionals) which I guess has a thriving private forum to talk marketing and other fun things.
Lastly, the logo contest on artClick is running smoothly. I think I've saturated the photographica crowd and need to look elseware to get more members. Right now the site growth is just about zero and most of the visitors come from photographica. I have to think of another audiance to target to bring the droves in. I think a logo & a lighter colored site design will help but I also need some tools to empower the users to spread the gospel on their own. The people who visit and post now are very loyal, I just need to give them the tools to spead the word. Like the "email to friend" needs to work again (long story why that doesn't work anymore, fucking spammers) and I need to make the badges more prominent. I'm thinking a batch of stickers and some t-shirts would help too. I have also been thinking of ways to auto-post a link on your personal blog every time you write a story on photographica/artclick. Flicker does it, why cant I? Anything to get the gospel of artclick out there into the market...
Anyway... tonight I'm having my brother and his ladyfriend over for dinner. I better go clean this dung heap up.
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