MarkPrince Moderator Joined: 19 Dec 2001 Posts: 5,652 Location: Vancouver, BC Expertise: Professional
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Posted Thu Dec 15, 2005, 12:40am Subject: Pls READ: No Holiday Gift List this year.. and the CoffeeGeek site as a whole.
Hi folks. Well, as you can probably tell by now, we don't have a holiday gift list this year. It wasn't because of the efforts of Wayne and Jeanette - Wayne donated time to do a shell of the 2004 HGL and get it set up, and J. even went on a website cruise finding cool products. It's mostly on my shoulders, and some other issues I'd rather not get into now. For me, work on other projects was so time consuming, I just couldn't pull off the HGL. It requires a LOT of work time on my part - dozens of hours coordinating with vendors, dozens more coordinating with CoffeeKids, getting all the programming hooks in place, then populating the HGL with all the products. Last year, the HGL ate up about 85 hours of my own time - this year, I could barely spare 30 or so.
CoffeeKids Still, I encourage you to do direct donations to CoffeeKids. Their website is www.coffeekids.org and this year more than ever they need your help. With Hurricane Stan and other impacts in Central America, they have their work cut out for them. Every dime of a donation counts folks. $10 or $20 isn't a lot, and you'll be helping those who bring you some of the best coffees in the world, but are so poor, they can't even afford to buy it themselves.
CoffeeGeek Website There is so much I want to do with this website. The moderators have a long list of improvements suggested for the forums. We still don't have the partners section functioning the way I want. Better structuring in the guides section. Fixing the remote author system, which is currently non-functional. Things like automating the podcast so that when I upload a new RSS, it creates a new forum entry. So much more.
And of course, the two faves - site speed and forums searching.
And there should be a third fave: more content, more often.
Two factors have prevented me from doing much this past year on these issues. a) Wayne has less and less time to work on CG, and b) the site wasn't very profitable. In fact, some months it lost money.
We've managed to improve b) quite a bit. I'm really happy with that. The Wayne problem hasn't gone away. This site is so complex in the behind the scenes stuff that it's also quite difficult for any other programmer to come in and manage or fix things.
Plans for the New Year But since the money situation is getting better, I'm seriously considering having the entire site, all its functionality (and there's thousands upon thousands of tiny tasks happening here and there) recoded from scratch. I just don't know if I have enough dough for it. My budget is $5K for the work, and that's probably nowhere near enough.
The programmer would basically have to know the entire ins and outs of how the site works. How the two main DBs communicate (the site's DB, and the forums' DB. There's also the photo engine DB and other stuff). The caching system would need an entire overhaul. All the little usability tricks we've designed and implemented, the subtle ones I don't even remember any more (but still are in use to make the usability of the site better) have to be catalogued, identified and considered for the re-write.
Anyway, I can go on. Basically I need a superstar PHP programmer who wants to take on what is probably at least a full 2 month task. I have the minimal funds now, and will look into getting it done come January. No promises, no guarantees.
But I read the complaints here and there about usability, about requests for functionality, for improvements in speed and search, from the mods asking for what they think are minor tweaks... and I can tell you, no one is more upset and going crazy about all these things than I am. This site is my baby. And I feel completely handcuffed. I literally get depressed visiting the site these days (heck, the last year or two) whenever I notice even the most minor thing going wrong, and it gets worse because I feel powerless to change things.
Not having the HGL online is a huge blow to me personally. I was so willing to get it online, that I was going to waive all fees from sponsors of it, just asking them to make a donation for $750 to CoffeeKids. But I just couldn't find the time, and using last year's HGL engine presented a ton of headaches on getting it set up. But I'll give you one guarantee. It will be back next year. Better than ever.
I'm sure I'll say it again, but I'll say it now - I wish everyone reading a very Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a very full, joyous and fullfilling new year.
Putting a few pleas out there
If any of you are happy with the website, and want to express your thanks, the best way you can do it for me is this - make a donation, any size, to CoffeeKids and let them know they're doing it at CoffeeGeek's request. The fact that I have failed in bringing this year's HGL to the site is a massive blow to me personally because we can't raise money for CoffeeKids. If you could make a donation on your own, I cannot tell you how much I would sincerely appreciate it - there's no words.
Those of you who want more from the site, I hear you and as I said above, really understand. No one wants it more than I do. We'll try our best in 2006.
I'm also going to send this out to the partners via email. But I'll say it here. Any business that makes a $250 donation to CoffeeKids gets a free banner or billboard ad for a month. Make the donation $500, and we'll give you two months free on a banner spot.
Just make the donation via phone, have Chipper call me to let me know the amount donated, and we'll set it up. The maximum I can afford to give away is 2 months for one ad (or 2 billboards or banners for one month), but don't let that stop you from possibly donating more.
Up to 4 gift certificates will be raffled off (One per 50 donations) on Friday December 23, 2005. I am hoping that your call turns the tides and that a couple hundred of donations are made by then so all certificates can be raffled.
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