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Houston, Texas, United States
CTG Music
Trax in Space Beta
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The last word
Posted: 2:19:00 PM 0 comments
As a note, I wrote this 5 months ago and forgot about it. I dug it up today and edited it a bit after I decided I was going to post something similar on the subject, and realized this said everything I wanted to say and more. So, without further ado.

Firstly, this will be my final post on the TiS beta. I have no intention of returning to the site in any social or administrative capacity.

Two major things have contributed to this decision. Firstly is simply Saurin's lack of interest in the site. Whatever happened to him between the site's release and now surely hurt any potential the site could have reached. He had a grand idea on how things were going to work in principle, but in practice they just didn't work out at all. That's not anyone's fault, that's just the way it played out. However, had he stuck around and maintained interest in the site, the problems with his system could have had a chance to have been fixed, or resolved in a way reasonably acceptable to the community. Instead, he chose to focus on easy things, mostly related to forum improvements, instead of confronting the problems head on. When I put together the Trac site complete with SVN source access, he had no ambition to contribute or even try to get involved with it. It's a shame, because I had worked up what I believed to be a decent-sized team of people who wanted to actually work on this stuff. Can I blame him for this? No, because his life is his own. If he doesn't believe that Trax in Space is an important part of his life anymore, I have no right to say that he needs to be responsible for it.

The second, and really the more insignificant factor, was the community itself. I say "insignificant" not because the community is insignificant, but because if the first issue hadn't existed, I probably would have been able to better put up with people criticizing the way I handled the site. No doubt Saurin would have taken some time to actually help out with the issues had he shown some interest in his own site.

There were a few factors that contributed to this:
- My abrasive, tell-it-like-it-is style of moderation
- Lack of respect for the spirit of the site
- Lack of respect for others in the community

I admit I took an over-the-top approach to moderation at Trax in Space. At first, I tried to come across as a no-nonsense personality that wasn't going to take shit from anyone. The problem was that this personality was extremely simple to channel anger through, and let me leave no doubt that a few situations on Trax in Space got me angry enough to do so unchecked, starting with the Ashwood situation. Sure, I had some infamous "flame wars" with Spectra and Simeon before that, but I always found those fun.

Once Saurin imparted some responsibility on me, though, I tried to carry out his wishes to the best of my ability. One of those responsibilities was to cut down on the amount of copyright material posted. Now, what Trax in Space should have been doing with copyrighted material was long a subject of controversy. I took my stance from the many name-and-shame schemes that other sites used in the past. I think, looking back, I took that too far. But at the same time, the reaction I was getting was confusing. From the removals of no-name artists I got praise, but from the removals of artists with some reputation on the site I often got a lot of negative feedback. It seemed like it was one of those things where I was expected to apply the standard to everyone except people's friends. This perspective didn't help any in tempering my responses.

Up to this point, I had already been upset with people breaking the spirit of the site. The main purpose and underlying goal of the site was to share your music with your friends. Everything else was just a bonus. Yet there would come along people who would make anonymous accounts with the seeming intention of provoking people.

This just made Trax in Space seem like a circus to me. I enjoyed Trax in Space for what it was for, and that was sharing music. These "artists" were merely interruptions that made TiS less enjoyable for me, and I'm almost certain that other people who decided to try the site to listen to some music were wondering what the hell they were listening to and just never came back. Things like this never help, but when someone's objective is to lift themselves or their friends up at the expense of others you can't really expect much in the way of morality.

TiS was also plagued with people who not only failed to respect the spirit of the site, but they also refused to respect other individuals, especially in cases where their opinion was in opposition to them. Too many threads would erupt in anger because people just couldn't get through their head that someone's ideas could possibly be different than theirs. I guess this is normal.

As for my administrative role, I stand by my removal of all music I removed. When proven wrong I put it back. It wasn't a big deal when that happened, and it's what I thought Saurin wanted for the better of the site. Without him around to guide the process, I took it over. Until he made the decision to keep things up until the copyright owners complained about it, my actions were consistent with what was necessary. I feel I went over the top, though, when it involved people that I considered to have a certain status in the community. Perhaps my intention was to make examples of big names, or to show people that no one's exempt from the rules. Whatever it was, it backfired due to my fiery presentation and resolve of the community to protect one of their own. Okay, so the response I got was more than acceptable.

However, it must be noted that this point by itself, my handling of my administrative duties, was never that big a deal to me, and still isn't. It alienated me from a few people, but really, I can handle the heat and own up to what I did whether right or wrong. So really, the above paragraph isn't as major of a contributing factor to my demeanor towards the community as one who was familiar with the situations in question may think.

The truth is, Trax in Space is going nowhere. Saurin's not going to suddenly come back and fix everything. The community's not going to suddenly gain respect for what TiS2 is trying to do. Nothing I could have said or done could have changed this. I tried, because I really believed in what Saurin wanted to accomplish, but when I realized that the community was more interested at entertaining themselves than help in furthering the site, my interest was gone.

Perhaps us music website operators expect too much of our users.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The Finished Product
Posted: 10:58:00 AM 0 comments
It's hard to finish something a year after you intended to be finished with it. It makes you feel like you've got nothing done over that period of time. But with as little as I've been able to work on projects in my free time, the Six Minutes To Release website is finally in a somewhat finished state.

The last week has seen me make various bug fixes and LINQ optimizations to allow the site to run faster, but nothing new has gone in, and I think it'll stay that way for a while. The Equipment Planner's been a big hit with the guild members so far, and I've always thought in the back of my mind about taking that a step further and spinning it off into its own website. Indeed, it may be something I eventually do, but for now I think I'm content with admiring the finished product, and perhaps work on something else for a while.

The biggest thing for me is that I've finished a project. For those that have been following this blog, you may know that it is difficult for me to finish things I start, but I managed to see this one through despite the long time from development to final release. Sure, I'll add things here and there, but the original plans I made were followed. That's a boost to my confidence, and hopefully something I can draw off of for wherever my next project lands.

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Friday, February 06, 2009
Deja vu
Posted: 10:44:00 AM 0 comments
Hmm. Apparently, I did post on LibWowArmory, but when I looked at my blog page the other day, it never got published. WTF?

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009
LibWowArmory 0.1
Posted: 5:25:00 PM 0 comments
I totally forgot to post this. Not so long ago, I released LibWowArmory on CodePlex. It's a .NET library for interfacing with the World of Warcraft Armory.

It's not complete, but I have it looking up important stuff, like items and characters. You can also extensively search as if you were searching from the Armory itself. Well, you are searching from the Armory itself, really, using the same queries available on their website.

I want to add lots of stuff to this, such as Achievements and Arena Teams, but right now this will do, because that's all I need for the Six Minutes website. I'm hoping at some point I'll be able to revisit this library and complete it, because it's pretty nice to be able to just call this stuff from code and not have to worry about the implementation of HTTP.

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I just don't keep up with this like I used to
Posted: 4:51:00 PM 0 comments
I am mildly annoyed at myself. I used to do a real good job at keeping up with what I'm doing as a way to keep contact with people out in the real world. And yet here I am, realizing yet again that it's been more than a month since my last post. Hmph.

Anyway, a lot has happened lately. First and foremost, if you don't know that I've gotten engaged, you've been out of the loop! I proposed to Kathy on the 16th at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It's been over 7 1/2 years since we've been together. The only explanation I can gather is that I like outdoing my brother, who's got this thing he calls the "five year rule". Well, I did 50% better than ya, bro. Heh.

Anyway, the date we're looking at is June 20, 2009, which would be 8 years exactly since we met at the Seabrook Beach Club. Which is closed. Would've made for a great reception.

So the plans have begun. The bands are bought, and all of the fun of planning is on the way. Finding a ceremony and reception site, getting a planner, booking catering and a DJ, and all the other extras that go into setting up that special day. Admittedly, I feel I'm going really slow, but we're making progress.

I did take a trip to Buffalo this year, although it was a lot shorter than usual due to me mismanaging my days off at work. I promised myself I won't do that again this year, but with the wedding, I may have little choice. Anyway, the trip was out of the ordinary, as the day before I was supposed to leave it was 60 degrees! The backyard flooded some with all the melting snow from Christmas eve and Christmas day, it was nuts. Then the next day the airport was closed because of high wind and power outages. Ugly stuff, I had to miss a day from work I couldn't afford to take.

It was there that I got the idea to get proposal plans going when my mom commented, "Maybe I should take you out to look at rings." She was surprised when I took her seriously.

Also while I was there, I got to see my brother play live again. It wasn't his usual band, but they still sounded pretty good. But the place he played out, yikes. It reminded me of when I saw my sister at a similar place the year before, except this one seemed smaller and seemed like it had four times as many people in it. We were packed wall to wall.

I also extended my luck at casinos, as I posted a $200 profit from Casino Niagara. But this time it was off of a near straight flush in Let It Ride. The last card needed to be the five of diamonds for me to walk out with some awesome five digit figure. Instead it was the queen of diamonds, which was good enough for a flush. Now, what gets me is that I don't really understand why I sat down to play that game, because I normally go exclusively for Blackjack. Not only did I win on the flush, but I kept even for the rest of my time at that table. Yet the brief time I played Blackjack, I actually lost a bit. I have to wonder what kind of uncanny sixth sense I have when it comes to gambling, because I have only really lost badly once. I figure I'm up on casinos by well over $1,000 by now. Thank goodness I don't have a casino nearby in Houston, because I would be very tempted to play frequently.

Hmm. A straight flush... that would've made for a nice wedding.

Anyway, I got a lot to talk about, so I'll try to play catchup.

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