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- Wednesday, April 14, 2021:
Introducing the Official Website of Don Maitz !
Don Maitz is a Hugo-winning artist whose artwork has appeared in hundreds of classic fantasy and science-fiction books, including books by Stephen King, Raymond E. Feist, Gene Wolfe, and Michael Moorcock. He is also married to Janny Wurts, whose website I rewrote last summer.
With this makeover, all of my pandemic website projects come to a successful close, just in time for other kinds of new releases at the end of the month!
- Monday, February 08, 2021:
2021 is off to a productive start with 2 completed side projects in my portfolio.
First up is a new Janny Wurts - Official Forum that finally replaces the ancient Perl-based forum that ran from 1999 to 2021.
The new forum is based on Discourse and was pretty straightforward to configure. The most challenging part of this move was migrating 17,000 old posts into the new software. These posts weren't in a nice tidy database, but 1,400 separate HTML files which allowed the forum to work without an additional database hosting cost. The company behind the old software actually went out of business in 2012, so I had reverse engineer the data format and write a data pipeline that cleans the old...
- Monday, August 17, 2020:
Introducing the new and improved Official Website of Janny Wurts !
Janny is the creator of the Wars of Light and Shadow series as well as the co-author of the Empire Trilogy with Raymond E. Feist. Her website had lingered in the aughts, as previous website administrators naturally moved on to other things in life. Having corresponded with her over the past 13 years as I built the Wiki for her main book series and in search of another quarantine project, I volunteered to help her modernize the site.
The key requirements upfront: simplify navigation (sites that have been around for over 20 years, like my own, tend to build up a lot of content warrens), make it work on phones...
- Monday, August 03, 2020:
New Edition Day
The URI! Zone is 24 years old this month! There have been 4403 blog posts and 8853 comments since the beginning of recorded history. I haven't touched the code under the hood at all this year although I've learned a few new web tricks from my side gig that I may end up implementing here if I ever get bored.
Blogging is all but dead these days, as you can tell from this graph of visitors over the years:
That said, I'll still be here churning out tasty tripe for the last few brave souls from the Web 2.0 cohort every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday into eternity. Thank you for continuing to take time out of your day to visit!
- Friday, August 02, 2019:
New Edition Day
The URI! Zone is 23 years old this month! If it were human, this is the stage when it starts to question its investment in continuing education and wonders whether it made a huge mistake in its chosen area of study, potentially dropping out to become a barista while working on a screenplay. By the numbers, I have written 4247 blog posts
which you clowns have commented on 8698 times. There were also over 32,000 attempted spam comments successfully blocked which amazes me more for the fact that link-spamming online pharmacies is still a lucrative business.
There has been absolutely nothing of interest changed under the hood of this website in the past year, other than the fact that I made my resume database-dri...
- Monday, April 15, 2019:
Old Internet Friends Day
Towards the tail end of the URI! Zone's first decade of existence, Rachel from Australia was a regular visitor, often arguing for hours in the Comments section with Beavis, Kelley, and Tree about societal problems without any sort of understanding of the problems' unique American causes. I met her playing Warcraft III and lost track of her somewhere around 2006 with only a few sporadic emails since then.
Last week was Rachel's 37th birthday, so I did my usual one-way shout into the void to wish her a Happy Birthday, only to find that her email had finally expired from inactivity. It's a peculiar feeling to completely lose a connection to someone from your past, especially in this era where ...
- Monday, February 11, 2019:
Census Day Results
Congratulations to Katie, who wins a $10 Amazon gift certificate for "showing up" for the census ! Send me an email and I'll deliver it to your email in return!
There are definitely more lurkers in the ether that did not reply -- over the coming years, I'll have to see how high I need to increase the value of the prize before people start coming out of the woodwork.
Also, Evil Mike is welcome to choose a new adjective for his handle (should he want one), having outlasted Good Mike.
- Monday, February 04, 2019:
Blogging has become a charmingly quaint practice for old-fashioned people, not unlike going into the bathroom at work and hearing someone in the next stall tap out a message on their classic Blackberry, or watching America's Funniest Videos live on an actual TV. It is for this reason that visitors to the URI! Zone have gracefully ebbed over the years like a perpetual neap tide.
Are you someone that reads regularly (for the articles) and not just some undergrad music major that got caught in my honeypot of aural training cheat codes? Come out of lurking and say hello in the Comments section. All 5 trendsetters subscribed to my Atom feed will need to visit this website to find the Comments section.
- Friday, October 19, 2018:
Weird Search Day
or "How I Stumbled Upon the URI! Zone"
rasputin sex tuba Let's pretend that the user didn't just misspell the word "tube". More likely, this is some adventurous sex position popularized by Grigori Rasputin involving his apocryphal giant penis.
vintage rottweiller figurines with signature on bottom
Historians say that the artist went into politics after being rejected from art school twice.
hole "dig deeply" This sounds like the eHow Wiki instructions for digging a hole.
Locate a plot of ground where you suspect there may be a concealed hole.
With your shovel, dig deeply t...
- Wednesday, August 01, 2018:
New Edition Day
The URI! Zone is 22 years old this month. If it were human, it would now face the depressing dearth of notable birthday values between 21 and 30, and probably decide go back to grad school for a master's degree. By the numbers, the URI! Zone has had 4091 blog posts, 8537 comments, and over 171,944 unique visits in recorded modern history.
Like Old Faithful, this site continues to have a persistent eruption of mediocre to decent content on a semi-regular basis. The inexorable journey to future fame will continue in year 23, with regular posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Fan favourites like 12 of 12 will remain, and I'll make sure to post enough raw data about Maia's digestion to support any...
- Monday, June 11, 2018:
Data Day: Cloud Hosting Costs
The URI! Zone has been running IN THE CLOUD for just over three years now , so I thought I would compute the costs to see if I'm really getting my money's worth. The answer isn't completely cut and dried, as I do a lot more with the flexibility offered by the cloud, spinning up new servers on the fly to work on Sparkour or taking over hosting duties for the Paravia Wiki . Still, I'm very satisfied with what I've gotten for the amount I've paid.
In the olden days, I was spending $240 a year on the "complete" hosting package for the URI! Zone. I could login to my space on the shared server and upload files but not much else. When I moved into AWS, I added a 3rd server (Web/App/DB instead ...
- Tuesday, November 14, 2017:
Comments Fix Day
I just fixed the " An invalid character  was present in the Cookie value " error that was preventing people with a space in their name from posting comments. The side effect of this fix is that you'll have to re-enter your name for your next comment, but it will then get remembered for 30 days as usual. Let me know if you run into other issues!
- Wednesday, August 02, 2017:
New Edition Day
Now with 100% more babies!
Happy Birthday to The URI! Zone, which turns 21 years old this month! As a special promotion for turning 21, anyone who visits my house during the month of August will get a free craft beer (as long as I have one in the fridge at the time of the visit).
This month marks the first full year of my "three updates per week" rhythm which I found much more pleasant and doable than five per week, and prevented me from running with retarded post ideas like "List Day: 5 Other People Named Brian". Looking ahead, I plan to keep posting three times per week, mainly about things I'm up to day-to-day and things I enjoy that you might enjoy too.
- Monday, August 01, 2016:
New Edition Day
The URI! Zone turns 20 years old this month, an epic yet ultimately pointless achievement not unlike driving a Prius for 8 hours without a pee break or watching the entire series of Everybody Loves Raymond . From its roots as a static HTML homepage through the evolution into a daily blog, this website has existed in some form for almost as long as Yahoo! (although obviously, the URI! Zone has retained its modern relevance and artistic appeal, while Yahoo! today is only known for its awful video player that refuses to work with ad blockers).
To mark TWO DECADES of existence, I have put together a one-minute movie history of the website, set to the tune of The Llama Fanfare which originall...
- Thursday, July 21, 2016:
Plans for the URI! Zone
The URI! Zone will remain online after its 20th birthday, ensuring that my future political opponents can cherry pick from an inordinate amount of inarticulate historical archives when challenging me if I ever decide to run for public office. However, I will be cutting back to 3 updates per week to more effectively reflect the overall decrease in visitors over the past 10 years.
Posts will come from 3 categories: What I'm Doing, What I Did, and What I Think.
What I'm Doing : Weekend Wrap-ups, End-of-the-Month synopses, 12 of 12 s, and travelogues from all of the amazing places I visit, like Grindelwald, Denver, and Mellow Mushroom.
What I Did ...
- Tuesday, June 21, 2016:
What's Next for the URI! Zone?
Observant calendar watchers might notice that the 20th birthday of the URI! Zone is creeping closer. Ten years ago, I laid out my plan for a trilogy as follows:
The first ten years of my site, 1996 - 2006, served to introduce the principal characters (Booty) and supporting cast (me and Doobie), while providing enough back story and trivia on everyone involved to keep my readers empathizing with the protagonists. The second part, 2006 - 2016, will document my struggles and conflicts up to the ripe age of 36, although I haven't yet picked a suitable title yet since The Empire Strikes Back was already taken. Finally, 2016 - 2026 will tie up all the mysteries and drama from the first two parts ...
- Tuesday, March 29, 2016:
Tech Day: A Year in the Cloud
The URI! Zone has now lived in the cloud for a full year now, and the experiment has been a resounding success. After making the decision to move , I was up and running on Amazon Web Services less than two weeks later .
Here is what the website looks like in the cloud my butt today. It's very easy to spin up new subdomains and bring them down when they're no longer relevant, and I have an "almost one-click" deploy process to push updated code out to the application server. I've never had a problem using the base "micro" tier of services, especially after doing some caching/tuning of the most resource-hungry piece: the PHP-based Wiki software.
Cost-wise, prices c...
- Tuesday, September 22, 2015:
Weird Search Day
or "How I Stumbled Upon the URI! Zone"
narration of a trip through florida to disney world including all expenses,tourist destinations and routes taken. you must also visit at least one relative on the trip and spend the night at their house. that teens created
There are probably better choices of plagiarism material than a personal vacation log -- is that really something you couldn't create on your own? Won't your teacher find out when you talk about staying the night at your Grandpa Shostakovich's house when your surname is Chopra? Save the plagiarism for the thematic essay on Robert Frost, and churn out some BS for this assignment.
- Monday, August 03, 2015:
New Edition Day
The URI! Zone turns 19 today having reached Nunavut's age of majority in style, and it can now drink and hump legally in Canada's northernmost territory. The fact that I moved it into THE CLOUD this year confuses the issue slightly, as it is now a card-carrying member of Websites Without Borders and transcends any earthly rules.
Here's how the URI! Zone looks by the numbers, for any statisticians in the audience:
over 156,830 unique visitors since 2003
3520 daily blog posts since 2001
7736 comments from 143 unique visitors since 2003
over $2500 spent on hosting fees since 2003
exactly $222 in prizes given away in caption and name-...
- Friday, July 17, 2015:
I'll be taking my traditional end-of-July break in blogging for the next two weeks. Updates will be on a "when I feel like it" basis until Monday, August 3, which marks the start of the TWENTIETH EDITION of the URI! Zone.
The end of July has generally been the time I improve the website with critical features like autoplaying MIDI files and animated llama GIFs. Here is a snapshot of the creative process, taken in July 1997 , showing all of the elements that go into maintaining my mediocre modicum of website magic.
A : High school era science fair ribbons, constantly reminding me of previous successes.
B : Giant glasses which allow me to s...