The Rdio application for OSX is insane. I have only opened iTunes to play some songs Rdio doesn't have yet (Thursday, Man Orch, you know ...) but beyond that: I'm in love. If they ever put in an option to merge my computer tunes with this -- it will be the only program I'd need for music. Hell, it would be such a killer app I'd buy other products (Roku, sonos, etc.) just so I could use Rdio. Ok, how do I invest in these guys? Get the app here.
I'm working on search stuff on the new AP.net today. I've got it working about 300% faster than before, and only need to fix up a few more small things before I can cross it off my list.
Listen to: "Make It Stop (September's Children)" by Rise Against.
For those curious about the status of the new website: I'm currently working on the advanced search options. Search is (obviously) very important, and really needs an overhaul. The main search is one thing, but sometimes it's needed to dig a little deeper. So I am putting together specific advanced searches for each section. For the power user looking for certain things. All about finding what you're looking for.
I've wanted a full-fledged recommendation engine since I started this website. We're very close to having one that will be customized for users that let us know what bands they like (ie: following them) and can learn from staff members and grow with new music being released. For example, when The Republic of Wolves releases an album and I think, "hey, they kinda remind me of Brand New" - I can plug them into the system to show up for Brand New fans.
(Note: the image being used is just a default image because all the artist profile images aren't done yet).
Just felt like sharing. The "most anticipated" poll results from users will be going up tomorrow afternoon. Just a few more tweaks on that and it'll be ready. Goal was end of February, and we'll be early ... I like early.
The image gallery is the only "section" of the website that has not been redesigned yet for the "new" layout. I felt that the rest of the website needed to be done before I'd know how it all worked together and could be best implemented. With most of the framework now laid out, I've begun working on the new image gallery.
Getting into the tiny details of the new website now; quite a bit of the heavily lifting is done. Will soon be making another to-do list of things to finish up (and I'll let you know what is left when I finish that up). Think this job is glamorous? I just spent 5 hours playing around with different looks for the pulldown menus around the website (seriously, 5 hours, I have issues), most of which just staff and moderators will ever see. But the details matter to me. I blame Apple.
Currently listening to Against Me's last album and trying to figure out what I'm going to spend my $20 Amazon gift card on. Any recommendations?
I think last night showed why we really need the next version of AP.net. The traffic from the new Yellowcard song stream brought the website to its knees. Just a giant influx of traffic on an un-optimized codebase. The new site we have been working on behind the scenes should be able to handle stuff like that far better. Just written in a way that doesn't put as much strain on the website (in a variety of places; most notably the homepage and news/forum pages). Thinking back to when/how this website is currently constructed, it's not even funny how badly we need this. I can't wait for it to be done, perfect, and the platform for AP.net going forward. That said, HUGE thank you to the Buzz-Media ops team for all their hard work keeping us up with my current duct-taped code. We will be able to do so much more with it - better promotions - easier to use - better information. It's coming along. Hours and hours are spent on it. It's my highest priority right now. In fact, I just finished the content sections of the website (news posts, album reviews, interviews, blog posts, etc.) - I thought I had something I liked a while back (even posted a screen shot of it); however, I'm a perfectionist and in hindsight sorta hated the first pass. Soooooooooo, I went back and fixed it. The outcome is my favorite look/portion of the new website yet. The reviews/news are seen by a lot of people each day, and it's important they give readers (new and old) quick access to what they are looking for. Some more stuff to finalize on it (colors especially - and why I love being married to a great gfx designer) before I post anything, but I'm really, really happy with the outcome.
Some early numbers (won't be able to pull everything for a few more hours) for the Yellowcard stream as of noon today (PST):
Thread Views: ~53,166
+37.14% increase in visitors from the day before
+18.57% increase in new visits
Highest traffic day for the website yet this year
Highest pageview day for the website yet this year
Yesterday and today have been (and are going to be) days to focus on some behind the scenes stuff of the new AP.net. Some stuff put together pretty much just for the staff and moderators on the website to make their lives easier. Yesterday was spent working on the new news queue. One of the driving forces of our website (user submitted news) is getting a big fix-up to work like it should. Currently it is a mess of submissions, long urls, unruly code, and ugly copy and paste to get something posted. Duplicates can be a problem, and in all honesty it's not very easy to use. So, I'm hopefully fixing most of that with a new quick news tip submission box, a simply approve or deny ajax-enhanched interface newsqueue for staff, a full editing page for approving news posts (complete with auto-complete tags, a duplicate thread check, and a variety of other staff tools right at their fingertips). Hopefully this speeds up the process of getting submitted news to you, our reader, as well as makes things easier for the staff.
Today is going to be spent putting together the back-end for the staff tools page. Something we really don't have right now (it's sort of spread out around the website), but is definitely needed and going to improve productivity and connectivity between all the staff members. I'll post more about that once I have something to show. All this "behind the scenes" stuff does mean that a lot of the up-front stuff is done. So I'll try and post more about the finished stuff in the near future as well.
PS: The Apple "Mac App Store" launched today. If you've got it and are curious what a good portion of AP.net is coded with, I highly recommend Coda.
I didn't realize how insanely cobweb like the current AP.net code and database were until I got back to working on something within it last night. Some back-story: Eda came up with the idea that we should do a "most anticipated of 2011" reader poll of all our viewers. Great idea, could be really cool, and if it works we have a lot of options for that kind of thing in the future.
After over a year spending a lot of my days deep in "new AP.net code", I sat down to make the page using the current AP.net system. Ugh. Just a mess. Haha. I mean, that's what I get for doing most of it when I was relatively young. But still. A mess. Sometimes I am surprised this site runs with all the band-aids I've got plastered on to it. I can't wait for the new website to be completed and out there ...
Anyway, I think I finally got it to work how I want so we can tally up all our reader's most anticipated of 2011 votes! Do me a favor and go vote! Thank you.
In the blogging mood, but it's one of those random thoughts kinda moods - so I hope you like bullet points with no real consistent theme. Just how my mind works sometimes.
1) We've teamed up with Rdio to do some fun things, if you're on there - follow us, it makes us look good. If you're not, give it a shot - it's a pretty cool website with a great interface and features. I'm a pretty big fan.
2) We made the mistake of watching "The Other Guys" the other night. What a crap fest of a movie. Will Ferrel is now dead to me.
3) I've heard great things about The Walking Dead, so it looks like it's time to check out that show. We've been re-watching Arrested Development at night recently, one of the best shows ever. Just amazing. Get it if you don't have it.
4) The new Yellowcard album is really good. Definitely stands up with their catalog, although I don't think I like it as much as Paper Walls (which I now think is their best album). The new one is getting a whole shit load of play in my stereo. The fact that I keep listening to it has to be a sign of something.
5) Our Christmas card pictures look absolutely ridiculous this year. My Brandon Flowers like mustache is absolutely disgusting.
6) I'm working on the "posting" features of the new website at the moment. IE: The places where users post from. Screenshot.
Brainstorming on the new forums today. The goal is simple and clean. I like the idea of a "normal" view that has a right column, and a "legacy" view (accessible through a hotkey+cookie) that hides the right column to give users the choice.
One of the cooler things on AP.net is the ability to find out about new music, and obviously, listen to it. Our "absolutexclusive" program has been one of the most successful things we've ever put together. It provides the bands with a great service and us with a "brand" to put all of the content under. However, currently if you miss an exclusive there's not a really easy way to check out all the music that we have to offer on the website.
You could technically browse through the "exclusives" section. Or go band by band through the "artist database" ... but let's be honest: that's not easy or really even reasonable. So what I wanted to do on the new website is put together a page that highlights just the music based stuff we have going on on the website. A destination you can check out and see the latest exclusives, the latest album streams, our backstage sessions (exclusive live content), and highlight the "best new music" album reviews as well. /music
I also want to give quick access (you'll soon see that I really like tabs in the new layout) to browsing through all the artist pages on AP.net, as well as a page that lists, chronologically, the music we have on the website. Of course, if you're like me, sometimes you just want to "push play" - so I thought why not add a "radio" like section to the music page. Something that randomizes a bunch of the songs in our database where you can just hit "play" and take a listen. Maybe find something new. Maybe just enjoy it in the background. And, of course, there's a whole lot more we can do with that in the future.
And then there's the ability to play with charts. Top artists on AP.net, top songs on AP.net, pull stuff from last.fm -- really give a snapshot at what our community is listening to. More on all of this coming soon ... just wanted to give a tiny glimpse into what I'm currently playing around with.
We'll be premiering a new The Damned Things song on the 29th right here on AP.net. Check back for "Little Darling" next week. I've got a bunch to do the next 2 days before heading to Idaho for Thanksgiving with the in-laws. Back to working on new AP.net. Want a screen capture of something today? Whatcha wanna see?
So, while on a blogging kick I have a few things I felt like sharing with everyone and anyone who may feel like reading. This blog has 1,787,897 views, so I know someone's reading. Someone cares! I feel so special.
Yeah, this is why I probably shouldn't be posting while drinking coffee. Ehh, anyway:
I just discovered Prism add-on for Firefox. It basically lets you make websites stand alone "applications." The feature exists in Chrome, and kicks ass. But as someone who uses multiple accounts, and multiple browsers, having it for Firefox is fantastic. Now I can keep my email and calendar open from one account, and then use the "news" account to track any new updates that may need to get posted. Works perfectly on the secondary monitor.
I'm an uncle. My wife's sister had Rylan yesterday. He's healthy. I get to go meet him next week. I feel old.
I think cat videos are funny.
The "content" portion of news posts is almost complete. A little more work today. Ok, ok, ok ... here's a look.
Back into the trenches of AP.net 3.0. I don't know why I'm calling it that at the moment, because in reality the number is probably in the double digits. But, I've sort of gotten hung up on 3.0. So, yeah. At the moment I am coding the "my news" section of the website. Right now on AP.net we sorta have a "my news" section. It's "recommended stories" that is kind of a pain in the butt to use, find, or even really figure out how it works. Basically the idea is to take the bands/artists you like and give you just their news stories. With the large number of news we post on a consistent basis the plan is to make it so you don't have to search out your favorites if you miss a few days of the "full stream" (homepage). On the new website I am streamlining this process to make it even easier.
On every news article there will be a "follow" button to quickly follow that topic. This button will also appear on all artist profiles or topic tag pages (like for videos). You can customize all the bands or topics you want to follow, and from your "my news" page (easily found via a tab on the top of the site) access all of the news tagged with those phrases. Giving you a simple, easy, way to follow everything you really want to know about; without having to limit our love of posting hundreds of updates throughout the week.
There will be some other fun stuff on the "my news" page to make sure you can keep track of different things around the website as well. For example, if there is an upcoming album release in our release date calendar for one of the artists you're following - we'll make sure that shows up for you. We'll also be able to offer some customized recommendations/features - and better tune this section of the website to your "tastes." None of this is really "new" in the online world ... but it's something that I think can add value to the AP.net membership. A reason to sign up. To easily follow what you want to know about, make sure you never miss the news of the bands you love, follow the conversations, and not hinder our ability to post a constant stream of news on our homepage.
All of this is still a work in progress, obviously, but I did get the "follow" function to work - and pull the news correctly on the page.
Slowly letting more info and images out into my blog as I feel more confident with the progress. You'll start to see more of the updated look, the feel, and the over all aesthetic. Light. Airy. Touchable. Simple.
Might have less to share in the next 2 or 3 days because I want to focus on what the content pages are going to look like. The inside of a news post or album review, for example. The goal is to still have a great place for conversations (I believe in conversations, not comments for AP.net), but also give the content a nice and sexy landing page. I also have a whole load of email stuff I need to catch up on, am working on some new marketing thoughts for 2011 for AP.net, and in the early stages of figuring out how we'll take the stuff on my local dev server and make it a reality with the massive database that the current AP.net uses. Fun times. Exciting times.