Secret Project part 2: The Live Beta

Here it is, the betaWhen last I left you, I had secured hosting for my little secret project, and I had created a wireframe for it.  I settled on a technology, a content management solution, and had a really rough business model in mind.  Well late last night I launched the beta version of the site.

Presenting: Comic Lift, the user generated comic book news website.

Comic Lift is a website where comic fans can submit and Lift stories they think are noteworthy.  Good stories will get promoted to the front page, and stories that are “Lifted” by other users will get priority.

Please visit the site, create an account, and start promoting some comic related stories!


How I switched to WordPress

The WordPress 2.3 interfaceI’m still working my way through a ton of small issues with my new site, but I’m really happy with what I’ve got so far, and where I am right now compared to where the site was a couple of weeks ago. At this point I’m done with the small fiddles and I’m actually creating content in WordPress quite happily!

It’s taken me the better part of a month to get to where I am right now. I’ve imported nearly eight years of content from two separate publishing tools, creating and modifying categories and content types over from the previous systems. I’m also in the process of importing nearly 600 comments from the past three years (via the old HeadsDown Chronicology powered blog).

About Me

Revolutionary resolutions

Last year I made some resolutions (like I do every year) in my post “Time for some resolutions”. Last year there were 7 including one ridiculously easy one, and a couple of really nebulous ones.

#1: Move
#2: Eliminate unecessary things
#3: Only pursue projects that make money
#4: Learn to say no
#5: Get a doctor. Go to doctor. Look after your health.
#6: Go away.
#7: Be better

How’d I do?

About Me

Four Brands…one product

Ryan has convinced me of the need for multiple brands to sell our tool. We’ve already figured out the inline hockey market (hockeyupdater), we’ve started on the comic book market (comicbookwebs), we’re working on the writer’s market (writersquill), and we’ll finish it off with a general retailer tool (retailupdating). HeadsDown will still be the main company, and the place where we sell just plain hosting through, while all of the individual sites will be where a user goes to buy their particular product. Different look, different brand…same great services (although they each have their own twists).

It is a pretty cool concept, and I’m quite excited about it. Especially since it means that we get to branch out to so many different markets, and it really makes us ready for the next waves.

About Me

Comics N More launched

Comics N More launched

HeadsDown’s newest website, Comics N launched on Thursday. The guys who run it are still getting their heads around how the tool works, but they’re coming along.

We’ll be doing some more tweaking on the tool to make it add line breaks when a user hits enter, but it’s really coming along as a content managment tool.

My favourite part of it is how it writes flat files so that 90% of the site is database free! This will be great in the future for scalability.

About Me

We moved servers again

We moved servers again

Due to some serious problems with our previous host, we had to move to another one. What does this mean for you, the user? Probably nothing. For us it means we’ll actually get e-mails from folks, and that’s a good thing.

About Me

Producing RSS Feeds

Producing RSS Feeds

Just something real quick for me (not everything’s for other folks you know). Producing RSS feeds, the how’s, why’s, and where fores.

I’m getting closer to being finished HeadsDown for now, and I’ve still got to finish up the Templates for Ryan, but things are coming along. Slowly, but surely. The site is usable right now, but there’s still quite a bit to be done to get it all finished. Now that we’re farther along, I’d like to do some tweaks to make it even more usable, especially with regards to the demo stuff.

About Me

Lots of good stuff

Lots of good stuff

Man, there’s a lot of good stuff going on right now.

On the HeadsDown front, Ryan and I have done some amazing things with the HeadsDown League Managment tool. We’ve built a nice little app that allows an end user to update their website from start to finish. Right now we’re targeting roller hockey leagues (because that’s what Ryan’s made inroads with already), but once we’ve really built that up, I’d like to start targeting small retail offices, and other places that want a quick, no-hassle, web presence.

$550.00 a year (plus domain registration), would be a decent little chunk of change for a starter package with Headlines, contact, links, and customizable templates. Then everything else would be a relatively inexpensive add-on.

We’re definately going to go with a yearly subscription fee for everything, and we’re going to package some stuff up into bundles to encourage people to take the big deals. Even still, our most expensive package will be about $2000.00, which is chump change compared to what some places charge.

The way we’re looking at it is; it cost us very little to develop it. Maintenance will be fairly minimal, and it doesn’t change much whether we have 1 site or 100 sites, other than the fact that we’ll make more money with it and be able to enhance, improve, and market it better.

On the car front, I will get it by Wednesday of this week at the latest. Unfortunately the ice storm screwed with everybody’s ability to cope with anything in this city. On Friday only one out of every three people came to work, it was a little nutty to say the least. None-the-less, Margot, our friendly sales person, promised to try to get me the car by EOD Monday. I’d really like that since I need a car to get around on Tuesday (which is my downtown, then uptown meeting day). PLUS I really want to play with my new car!

On the home front, we’re very close to putting something down on a home. We’ve settled on a town (Ajax), a builder (Tribute), neighborhood (The Hamlet), and even a house design (the Haney). Now all that’s left to do is talk to a mortgage broker, and then go to the builder and say “Build it and we shall come!”. We’re pretty excited about the whole prospect…and when we do start the process, I’ll create a blog so we can update and record our progress.

Finally the job front. May will see me start my new part time job at Centennial College. I’m teaching one day a week at the E-Business school. I’d love to turn that into something more full time, and run my business on the side eventually (we’re talking 5 years). For now though, this is a great opportunity. At TSN things are going great. I was given my official new terms of employment, which haven’t changed much since my BGMi contract, and I’m being given the opportunity to really run with the ball…which is something I’m pretty good at. I really like the freedom and responsibilty that I’ve been given.

I’m currently writing something of a “Brian Garside Manifesto” for what I’d like to see happen at TSN and CTV in the next 12-18 months. It has a lot to do with adopting web standards, making our site simpler, yet more elegant, and really streamlining our back end code, front end code, processes, and everything we do. I’m so glad that the BGMi experiment is finished, and I can finally “put up, or shut up” with all of the things that I used to say I could do better.

That’s a lot of stuff going on. I guess I better actually get to some of it.

About Me

It’s time for a change

For something like two years has said “Change is coming”…what a load of CRAPOLA! It’s finally true though. I’m going to go through in the next three months and re-design all three of my major sites. HeadsDown is going to get the first overhaul, I’m going to plug in a content management solution (HeadLines), re-do the front jump page, and make it do what it should do. HeadsDown needs to be a portal for all of my stuff…and that’s just what it’s going to be.

What can you, my adoring public expect on HeadsDown? How’s this for a start?

Services – What I can offer folks. You want custom video? Done. You need a website? Got it. You want a peruvian rug? I’m your man.

Portfolio – What I’ve done.

Tools – The HeadsDown difference.

Weekly (or monthly) updates on what HeadsDown is doing.

Spotlights on past projects (every week I’ll focus on a prior client).

Latest news on my other sites.

Tales will be next. Gone will be the Comics and Movies sections. Great ideas, just didn’t get enough done with them. In will be a new writing section where my Wrestling columns can live. I’ll keep the main page information only, but I want to have some more pictures and stuff going on.

The Char and Brian site needs a re-vamp since it hasn’t been touched in over a year. We’ll see what we can see with that one.

Finally, the Stinky Monkeys will need a re-vamp in time for the Winter Floor hockey season. I’m going to try to captain a team this winter and see who wants to come out.

I’ve got a couple of designs for HeadsDown on the go, and I’ll post them as soon as I get a chance.

In the meantime, I’m working on a website for local comic shop “Shining Knight Comics”, and I’ll post some stuff about that here soon.

Until then…stay tuned!

About Me

HeadsDown, TSN, and more

My how time flies. It’s almost time to re-register HeadsDown, and considering that I did almost as much with it in 2001 as I did in 1998 (the year I first registered it), what a waste. Other than this site, and my e-mail accounts, HeadsDown could have died and nobody would have been the wiser.

Work’s been pretty fun lately, I’ve finally started really working on the Encoding Stations, and built about 3/4 of it today. Tomorrow I’ll be adding the final wiring to it, and then I’ll be able to start actually using the thing. I’m going to make sure that I take some pictures of it for posterity’s sake, and also so that I can show people I actually know what the heck I’m doing. From looking at it, one would swear that I have stock in a wire tie company.

My current diagram is absolutely hilarious. I took a piece of paper and drew out the equipment I needed, and added the connections, and then drew lines all over it to the pieces. It looks like something a three year old did, but it actually makes sense!

Here’s the obligatory “Best Of” section.

Album Du Jour: My 2001 remix disc (track list coming soon)

DVD of the week: Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Wicked two disc set with all kinds of goodies.

Game of the week: I played Grand Theft Auto 3 until 3 in the morning the other night. It’s evil.

Website of the week: I don’t go to it nearly enough yet, but PopCultureShock is an awesome site. It’s by the designer of Psycomic V2, and it’s really well laid out. I love it.