This evening I've put version 8 live on slickhouse.com - a theme that has taken several weeks work to put together. You'll notice a few key differences, the most prominent of which is the extra width - the site now fits to the more common resolution of 1024 x 768.
I'll be fixing any issues that crop up over the next few days, however I would also appreciate any feedback - what do you really think?
Oh, and if you're looking for the lounge, it's in the top-right.
Unfortunately, the 50+ days of uninterrupted hosting came to an end recently. Whilst completing a new server hardware build, I plugged in the PSU to be greeted with a huge blue spark, accompanied by a loud bang. Although the power supply unit died, I was more worried about the fact that it took out the power to the whole house.
The server was to become a standalone backup server, but luckily I hadn't slotted in the 4 x 250GB removable HDDs, otherwise I'd be looking at replacing them too.
Once I had isolated the burnt-out PSU, I flipped the relevant power switches back on and fired up the servers that slickhouse is hosted on. Within 5 minutes the whole setup was back up and running!
To those of you running Microsoft's Virtual Server 2005, ensure you have the following setup within the server configuration - When Virtual Server starts: Automatically turn on virtual machine if it was running when Virtual Server stopped. It saved me a headache and time!
After reading several articles today about the demise of magazines as a medium for Games, I've decided to come to a decision on my usage of magazines, as a whole.
Bit-tech's Joe Martin wrote Games magazines on their way out, which prompted me to scour my RSS feeds for similar articles. Sure enough, Digg picked up a story about the Games For Windows magazine ceasing print and going 100% online (which you can read more about from the Editor himself).
It's something I've wondered for a while now - how much longer will the magazine last in this digital era? The internet has become one of (if not) the most popular sources of news and articles for many people. I spend far longer these days reading through RSS feeds and various technology news sites to get my fix of information.
However, at this point in time, the demise of magazines might only be limited to a few genres:
- Computers and Technology
Let's start with Computers and Technology - I've purchased Custom PC since issue one (with a year as a subscriber) and have noticed their online presence has evolved substantially over the past 12 months, with a site re-design and new features, including staff and community blogs. I'm only guessing here, but surely the growth of their site is due to a drop in magazine sales - or at least a realisation that the internet is becoming the dominant medium. And the reason for this? How many times, in the past few years, have you read a news piece within a magazine, that you've not already heard about online?
Auto - perhaps not as obvious as the others here, but Simon made a very good point yesterday, whilst reading this month's copy of Top Gear magazine - it's full of adverts. Sure, advertisements have been a staple part of a magazine's diet, but they now far outweigh articles. Again, this could be due to the rise of the internet and the decline of monthly readers. The Top Gear website is full of great content too, including video clips of previous episodes - which suggests they're ensuring that if the magazine does go, it will still be left with a great site for its readers.
Games - the genre that kick-started this article. Gamers want news on future releases as soon as possible. They want demos as quick as possible and they may want video clips too. All of this is possible with a magazine, but can be delivered instantly over the internet, especially with the rise of online connectivity with games consoles. Take Grand Theft Auto IV as an example - I (and some of you) have been religiously following the updates from Rockstar's official site, to keep me occupied on the run-up to release. With previous GTA's, there were official sites, but none as content rich as the latest. And yet, I've not purchased a single Games magazine to read about it all.
Pornography - I guess there will always be a market for the magazines, as many American truckers don't have internet access en-route. But many would argue - why pay for it when it's available online for free? The internet's growth and popularity is often said to be due to pornography.
Don't forget, I'm only speculating here - though I see magazines being a very niche medium within 5 years. Anneka pointed out that she would still continue to read 'Pick Me Up' held in her hands, rather then viewed on the internet. But, I don't see many people reading about the latest games or technology in a magazine.
Will we see many more Games magazines switch to solely online delivery? Will there be an influx of magazine journalists to the internet, as Joe mentions?
To do my bit, I've decided to completely give up on magazines. Don't take this the wrong way though - I'm trying to speed up the decline of magazines, just end my addiction with them. I've purchased copies of Top Gear, Max Power, Fast Car, PC Pro, Custom PC, Official [console] magazine, MBUK, .NET along with many others over the years. The content of all of these hasn't suffered, in terms of quality - just quantity.
Whilst browsing the aforementioned sites for these magazines, I've noticed that Future Publishing have amalgamated their bike magazines into the one site. According to an old article (2001), they briefly suspended some of their sites, whilst cut backs took place. This suggests that magazines have been forced to re-consider their operations for a good few years now, with the rise of the internet.
From this day forward (14th April 2008), I plan to:
- Never purchase another magazine
- Rely solely on the internet for news and articles
- Save money by completing 1.
- Read books to fill the void that would have previously required a magazine
Currently, I purchase around 4 magazines a month, all of which are around the £4.99 mark. That equates to £259.48 a year! If I don't buy another magazine, but instead read one of the many books I have lying around, I could better spend the money on something useful, that I'd read about online. Any time I would normally grab a magazine to occupy me (bed time, train journey, sofa, holiday), I'll reach for the paperback. Besides, books tend to be a lot cheaper word-per-£ these days, compared to a magazine.
The few magazines that I still have lying around will make their way to the recycling bin - including the issues I've kept for nostalgia, like a 1996 edition of AutoCar, which unveils the McLaren F1; or a 1999 edition of Top Gear, with an article on the R34 Skyline.
Lastly, if I stop buying magazines I'll be doing my bit for the environment - after all, I've probably read through a forest in the past 10 years.
Let me know if you still read magazines; if you've never read them; or if you'll never stop reading them...
Slickhouse now uses WordPress 2.5! There's not much to see on the front-end side of things, but behind the scenes there has been a complete re-design of the admin interface. Finally it doesn't feel like everything has been jumbled together.
One thing you might notice is the addition of avatars on individual comments! To get your avatar, visit Gravatar.com and upload your own. Then when leaving a comment, ensure you use the same email address as used for your chosen Gravatar account.
I know some of you randomly create an email address when leaving a comment, but be rest-assured that your email addresses can only be seen by me and I'm not intending on selling them to spammers!
Let me know if you've upgraded to 2.5 - and how things are going.