Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Ethridge Code

It's neither a secret code nor a smash movie this time. The Ethridge Code is a load of web code for the site. At least for the last few weeks that's what it's been. It looks like that is what it's going to continue to be for the next two weeks as well.

I had forgotten just how complicated some of our dynamic web code was. As I'm recoding and fixing errors I am also trying to make it easier to update in the future. In the coming months we want to launch a new layout. I don't want it to take me another month of coding to get it up and running.

Of course, with every pass things do get better. This new rendition makes it even easier to make small changes for the purposes of search engine optimization. We are working very hard to make sure that every game page shows up a high as it possibly can in search engine rankings. It will take a few months to get things honed in because you have to make a change and then wait a couple of weeks to see what the results were. Fortunately it doesn't take long to set the tests up and we can test several changes at once.

In other news we almost certainly won't get the forums out to the public this month. That's mainly because this month only has today and tomorrow left. I hope to be able to get them ready within the next two weeks. I tried to make time for it last week, but there was simply too much going on.

I had also hoped to work on dumping a few new NES games this week, but I doubt that is going to happen at this point. I have got to get the site recoding finished ASAP. We have a few new pages that we can't roll out until I'm finished.

As always there seems to be more work than time, lol.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wiki Whack

Yea, I know it's a goofy title. I don't care. The point is that we got a Wiki put up for Console Classix this week. It's going to take a while for people to get the idea and start adding information, but it's probably just a matter of time. Now anyone who wants to give Console Classix a little extra push and helps us get more features out there needs only add a little info to our wiki.

“How will that work?” you ask. Once again the answer is traffic. The more data we have up the more traffic we will get. The more traffic the more users. The more user the more subscribers. The more subscribers the more staff. The more staff the more features. It's Console Classix very own trickle down effect.

We also set up a forums for the moderators this week. We are probably going to open it up to the public before the end of the month. It will obviously allow classic game discussion, but we can use it for other things as well. I think it will be a good idea to keep a “Bugs” board with a list of known issues, what we are doing about them and what the temporary fixes are. We also want to have a “Features” section where we keep a running list of what we intend to do in the future. It might help us find willing recruits to do things like add CC support to emulators that run on Linux and Mac and maybe even cell phones.

I have to admit that when we were in the hospital last week I wished I could play CC on my cell phone. You may be wondering how a man could find time to play a game when his wife is having a baby. Well, it was our sixth one and we ended up spending the night in the hospital. Anyway, not my point, the point is that I wanted to play on my cell phone and couldn't.

I'm sure people wonder why I don't just handle the cell phone port myself. Well, as I've explained before, I don't have time. For instance I am still working on recoding the site and I'm probably still going to be at it for a week or two.

I am constantly working on fixing bugs and adding new features. I don't have time for everything. Other people our out there are making awesome emulators. In less than an hour they could add the ability to load games from CC. We need to let them know that.

In any event, it's probably going to be a busy week. Lord willing I will get a few more pages recoding and get the forums ready for the public. Step by step, inch by inch...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baby on Board

I got a small amount of Console Classix work done last week, but not as much as I would have liked. That is mainly due to the fact that my lovely wife had our sixth child Friday at eleven thirty nine. That makes my third son's birthday 02/11/2011 around 11PM. If any of you are wondering, he is happy and healthy and we're all home from the hospital and getting back to normal. It blew my week up because of the baby appointments we had leading up to the actual delivery. Now that he's home I can get back to a normal work week.

So, what's been going on what is about to be going on? Well, I'll tell you! First, I put up our new and improved game info page last weekend. I may have mentioned that already, but it had some unexpected results. So far it has tanked our Google search listings. I have no idea why. The new page is almost exactly like the old one except for the fact that I fixed hundreds (literally) of HTML standards errors. The new page is seriously cross-browser compatible and I think it even looks a little better. Why this would have blown up our rankings I have no idea. Lord willing, I'll be making a few minor changes later this week. I turned off a couple of features until we saw how the page preformed. I plan to turn them back on this week.

It might seem like we could just go back the old page, but that isn't going to happen. The new page is better. We are just going to have to figure out what is going on with Google and press on to the future.

We are also waiting to see how the Facebook “Likes” are going to effect our rankings. Supposedly they are counted by Google just like any other links. If that's true it should really help our pages in general. I don't know that this information is going to help us at all because we're not going to be able to create more “Likes” ourselves, but I want to see what happens anyway. We might have some kind of “Like” campaign, although I'm not sure how we would go about it.

This week I plan to implement a Console Classix Wiki. I think I can have it setup in a few hours. The only problem is I'm not sure how to tie it to our current game info pages. I don't want to completely do away with the old ones (at least not for a while) and I'm not sure how I want to run them side by side. I think we should have an “Add a Wiki” button for any page that doesn't have a CC Wiki entry yet, but after the wiki page is up I'm not sure where the CC menu should point a user to first. Should we keep bringing up the old page with a link to the wiki? Should we bring up the wiki page with a link to the old page? What should we do with screen shots? Should we post all the screen shots on both pages or should each have it's own? Where will we fit in video when we start making trailers for the games?

Needless to say I have to think all this out. Still, I hope to have it in place Monday. Then I will contact a few people I want to be moderators. (Again, Brian, I'm looking at you.) Once that is done we should be able to roll it out in some fashion later in the week.

I do have at least one bug report I have to look into as well... Always so much to do....

Anyways, things are going well. We are getting there step by step.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What a Week

So, last week I put in close to 60 hours. I actually stopped keeping count as time rolled by, but 60 is a close guess. What was I doing you ask? Working on the website. Working hard on the website. Working long on the website....

I managed to recode the index page and the game info pages so they work better on Firefox and Chrome. I also fixed a load of validation errors and actually made a small change to the login scripting. I have to list all these things because you'll never be able to see them. The biggest change you might actually notice is that the font is changed. Still, we are hoping all this work will payoff in traffic and, as I've explained a few times now, that helps everybody.

I am going to keep up the work this week and try to work through the rest of the site. Once all the code is up to date we plan to add a couple more features. First, I think we are going to make new user “Enable Web Launch” before they can start actually loading games from the webpage itself. We have user who sign up, but never download the client. So, when they try to launch a game they get an error. This confuses them and most wander away back into Internet space never to be heard from by us again. We are also planning to convert the game info pages to a Wiki format so we can start getting more actual information up an the site. When we do that we are going to need a few volunteer moderators (Brian, I'm looking at you.)

It's going to take a while to get that rolled out because I've got so much else going on, but we are getting there step by step. Lord willing, we are really going to see things pick up soon and then we'll be able to get a few more full time staffers.

In any event. It was a busy week and it looks like this week is going to be plenty busy as well!