Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Joyful Rebellion by K-OS:
This is an older album by K-OS (whose name I just recently realized should be pronounced as "Chaos" and not "Kay Oh Ess" because I am quick on the trigger). Where Yes! had a few strong tunes and some weird, experimental stuff, this album is more consistent throughout with more songs like the single, Crabbuckit.

Final Grade: B

head or heart by Christina Perri:
Christina Perri has a wonderful voice, but her first album had a few strikes against it -- mainly the fact that she often approached Ewan MacGregor levels of beltiness and the fact that I have to hear Jar of Hearts followed immediately by A Fine Frenzy's Almost Lover every time I go into Safeway. However, I enjoyed this new album a lot, in spite of the fact that every song title starts with a pretentious lowercase letter. Like a new age parent, she keeps the belt in check, and puts out perfectly pleasant pop performances like be my forever.

Final Grade: B+

I posted my first impressions about a month ago. Since then, I've leveled a Medic, Spellslinger, and Esper to 15, and then took the Esper to 35 in PvP battlegrounds. I have three new thoughts to add:

  • The UI is barely functional and could use a ton of polish. Basic web accessibility isn't followed. For example, to list something on the auction house, you click in the price field, hit Backspace for each digit in the suggested price and then retype the entire new price. You can't just change the Gold denomination independently, and you can't use Tab to move between fields.
  • In spite of the many tutorials, most concepts and feature are poorly explained. Forum and website reading are essential.
  • Questing is as boring as WoW unless you slow down and take the time to read the flavor text.
  • PvP is fun but very chaotic, which reduces the level of skill needed. Premades are a necessity.
Overall, this is an MMO that I'll probably play for another month, just for the PvP battleground experience. I see no incentive to level up in PvE. The game is definitely charming though, and I wouldn't dismiss it for good after cancelling my subscription. I would definitely keep my eye on it and try it again after a few more content patches.

Final Grade: B-

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Zone Updates Complete

I'm finished giving the URI! Zone code base a much needed refactoring. All code, no matter the source, grows uglier over time -- even if you haven't touched it at all. I cleared out a bunch of detritus from the days when it was written in PHP, and the even-earlier days when it used Netscape 3.0 Gold JavaScript to dynamically write every page.

All of the pages listing my musical compositions are now database-driven. I should have done this a long time ago, since I'm no longer composing anything new, and spent a good 4 hours every new release trying to edit the 80 static HTML pages that made up the Music section.

I also modified the directory structure of News Post images from /yymm/dd.jpg to yy/mm/dd.jpg. The explanation will only be interesting to nerds: After 14 years of 12 months each, the first approach resulted in an images directory containing over 160 subdirectories that had to be loaded by the FTP client every time I wanted to upload something. The new approach ensures that no directory will ever have more than 12 subdirectories to list.

There are a few cosmetic changes to the layout (check out that classy header), but most readers should be unaffected by my work, other than to marvel at my brazen modification of the production database while the site was running. The bulk of my readership uses a feed reader like Feedly anyhow, so updating the look and feel might be wasted effort, not unlike primetime TV commercials in my household. However, the tuning under the hood should keep the lights on for another few years -- at least long enough to hit TWENTY YEARS in August 2016. I won't be going anywhere before then, and neither should you!

If anything seems broken, and the issue doesn't go away after hard refreshing the page, please let me know.

tagged as website, programming | permalink | 5 comments

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zone Updates in Progress

Phase One is complete. Moving on to Phase Two. No Francie clones are involved.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Zone Updates In Progress

I'll be working on some infrastructure updates to the URI! Zone this week, so updates may be sporadic. Be back soon!

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