John Barresi

The face of Kitelife 'Magazine', future...

22 posts in this topic

Hi folks, I'm gearing up for a 20 day trip to Singapore, Malaysia and New Jersey from September 12th to October 3rd but I wanted to drop a quick note on something.

As many of you know, I've been experimenting with various platforms and formats for the bi-monthly Kitelife e'zine...

Here are just some of the ongoing issues that just never seem to get sorted, and continue to bother me:

  1. A single shared login site-wide... In order to have this (for members, subscribers, authors, admins, etc), the forum software is the only reliable way to go.
  2. Using two different softwares (like Invision forum and Wordpress site) also means TWO updates every time a new version comes out for either, custom themes, etc.
  3. Our currently different site layout between magazine and forum, totally different set of navigation links, content, etc... I'd love to see a single front door for all.
  4. Lately, there sometimes isn't enough contributed material out there to easily come up with a full range of robust content in each issue.

Again, that's just a smattering of the sentiments I have on this issue... So my question is:

Would you still read the magazine if our articles were placed in the forum instead, as new topics in a dedicated area?

  1. You'd easily know when new articles have been added, because they'd appear in the "View New Content" area.
  2. Discussion could instantly ensue from each article, by way of your normal forum reply method.
  3. *Everything* would be searchable through a single database since it would all be on the forum.
  4. I think we would still have "issues" of sorts, perhaps by using a new topic area like this:
    Magazine Issues
    >YEAR
    >> ISSUE
    >>>Article name
    >>>Article name
    >>>Article name

Just lobbing it out there for discussion and consideration, I'm really looking forward to your thoughts and replies.

Thanks all for being here... I know I'm not always super active, but I'm here too and appreciate the support. :kid_cheerful:

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I wouldn't have a problem!! Would it still be a bi-monthly thing, or would new things be on a "first come - first served" basis? If it is that way, as long as you can get to them through the forum, It'd be ok with me!!

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What do you think, anything to be gained from the suspense of actually waiting 2-ish months between?

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What do you think, anything to be gained from the suspense of actually waiting 2-ish months between?

Yes! I think keep it as much like a magazine as possible: an issue comes out in one piece, at the same time, in a single location. Making it a forum publication is OK, and the year/month/article format would work with that.

I think that 'publishing' article by article would dilute the effect of a magazine, online or paper. It would become more like a blog with guest posts if done that way. I like seeing that a new issue is out and spending some time going through it article by article. It also gives you a better feel for the amount of material in each issue, and a chance to see how articles go together.

You are a busy guy, and I fear that without the responsibility of coming up with a unified issue every two months, it might come to the time when you say, "Aw, I have so much to do this month; I can go a bit light and make it up later."

When you know you have X pages to fill by a particular day, you make time to get it done. You stockpile articles that can wait (or that would go better at a certain time of year) in the good months, to publish in the lean months. Like a magazine.

(Just my opinion.)

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What do you think, anything to be gained from the suspense of actually waiting 2-ish months between?

Yes! I think keep it as much like a magazine as possible: an issue comes out in one piece, at the same time, in a single location. Making it a forum publication is OK, and the year/month/article format would work with that.

I think that 'publishing' article by article would dilute the effect of a magazine, online or paper. It would become more like a blog with guest posts if done that way. I like seeing that a new issue is out and spending some time going through it article by article. It also gives you a better feel for the amount of material in each issue, and a chance to see how articles go together.

You are a busy guy, and I fear that without the responsibility of coming up with a unified issue every two months, it might come to the time when you say, "Aw, I have so much to do this month; I can go a bit light and make it up later."

When you know you have X pages to fill by a particular day, you make time to get it done. You stockpile articles that can wait (or that would go better at a certain time of year) in the good months, to publish in the lean months. Like a magazine.

(Just my opinion.)

No problem's here!!!.....I agree with pete!!! Keep it as a whole!!!

Enjoy!!! your next travel's!!!!!!!!!!! :kid_cheerful:

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John

I like the issues the way they are too. I think doing it through the forum will end up taking the

magazine away from Kitelife. Also it doesn't give a new person to Kitelife a chance to see the articles

right up front.

Steve :kid_cheerful:

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I agree with Pete, having a publication online or print is special. Putting out articles when they are completed is easier but I think it takes from the feeling of reading a collection of articles from a certain time. Don't worry too much if an issue is late, part of the fun of 'zines is waiting for the next issue to come out.

Sometimes the best meal is not the one that costs the most or tastes the best, it is the one you have to wait for. Snacks are fun but meals satisfy.

Whatever you end up doing, you still have my support. :kid_cheerful:

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Just to continue this discussion, I would definitely be looking at a single bi-monthly release date as it is now...

So, even if we put the articles here on the forum, we'd section the areas off by issue, and release ALL articles on the assigned date.

Some of the upsides to going the forum route...

  1. The built-in forum search engine would be far more effective, as opposed to the Google plugin we use now.
  2. We can cross-link the built in gallery system for our "secondary galleries", now listed at the bottom of each issue index.
  3. Selected (veteran) authors would have the ability to actually input their own content, instead of us having to build everything for them.
  4. With all data (article/photos) being database-driven, we could update our site software and templates with one swipe as needed, instead of doing it page-by-page.
  5. Forum based articles would allow for discussion or comments from our readers, all right there on the same page.
  6. All articles would have built-in "share" functionality to Facebook, Twitter, Email, etc.

From the webmaster side, it would also be FAR, far easier for us to actually create the content from anywhere in the world (via web browser), as opposed to having to rely on our web design software (Dreamweaver, et al).

So again, I'm not 100% sold, but I'd love to hear further input on this topic as y'all find time.

Thanks for your ear, and your opinions (both invaluable to me). :rolleyes:

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Also, another side note... If we shift our issues to the forum, I can also dedicate more time to making this system really sing (aesthetic, functions, etc).

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I think you've come up with a reasonable compromise model. Partition off the mag within the forum so we could read it through like a magazine, enjoy the articles all in one place and at one time, etc., but have the enhanced search capacity and single-front-door access of placing it in the forum. That's the way I vote. :-)

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looks like a quorum of opinion, keep the "magazine" collectively, issued bi-monthly, and make it easier to produce, browse, and with more reactive participation may even create a renewed interest in the magazine as a whole --

-- all points to this end-- so where is the down side??

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I'm working up a "dummy" of issue #1 in the forum for folks to look at and test drive for themselves.

Just having done the first article, I'm STOKED with the ease of it on my end.

The search engine turns it up right away, and I can TAG topics (articles) with appropriate references.

Although it's hidden from view for you guys right now, it appears as the FIRST forum section "Kitelife Archives (The E'Zine)".

Under that, there is "#1 - Apr '98"... Pretty cut and dry.

Folks can comment directly into the articles, "follow" anything of interest (to be notified of replies), follow tags (like the ones below the name of the topic we're in now), etc.

All photos still pop up in a lightbox, allowing for easy "next" and "previous" slideshow action.

==

As far as the magazine "no longer being in the front"... I'd argue that it's not really in the front NOW, as folks still have to drill 2-3 levels.

Simply, instead of seeing the current Kitelife home page, they'd get the forum index (includes the magazine listings), complete with sliding gallery and all necessary links.

==

Anyway, I'm rambling... I still want to hear your thoughts as they arise.

In the meantime, I'll try to finish up the "dummy" first issue so y'all can get a look at it. ;)

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Sounds good to me too!

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Thanks for the feedback and encouragement, all. ;)

As you can see, we're well on our way... I'm really liking it.

Email blast I sent today - http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=380b2f288c05cbc4e243f7add&id=b5eb459307

Some of you are on our email list, but for those who aren't, I thought you might like to see the overview. :)

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FYI, someone had mentioned (maybe on Facebook) that they miss the little thumbnails to the left of each article listing on the index...

I've come across a mod that will safely allow me to apply a thumb of the first image in the article, right where it should be, more or less like this:

XXXXXXX [prefix] Topic title

XXXXXXX Title description

XXXXXXX Started by so and so

The "X" box represents where the thumbnail would appear, aligned evenly to the left of the article/topic information. ;)

I'm working with the developer to tweak the positioning so it's just right, I'll post back here when I've got it working.

Also nice, I can limit it to the Kitelife issues only and have it non-functional on the primary forum.

==

Upside: The way applications work with this forum software, they're modular, install/upgrade/uninstall right through the admin panel... If it fails, I just disable it.

Downside: For articles that don't have ANY images in them, a stock image will need to be used, probably a suitable icon of the same size.

Stay tuned. :)

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I note also that the tiny icon that appears to the left of the text in a browser bookmark has changed from a blue square with a white Vee (or possibly a 'K' lying on its side) into a gray square with the word 'KITE' over the word 'LIFE' in white lettering. I think this is usually found in a file called favicon in the root directory of the website.

I'm wrong; the favicon seems to be a gray-on-white globe with the Americas and a bit of Europe facing forward. I have no idea where the KITE LIFE box is located or what it is called.

Wrong again. Further research has completely confused me. Now I don't know where either of the icon files are located or what they are named.

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Ya, the old blue square with white V is the forum software's default icon.

post-1-0-25314300-1320728455.png

You hit right on, it's a favicon (usually file named favicon.ico)...

post-1-0-51913600-1320728279_thumb.png

It's called by a meta tag in the code header of a webpage...

<link rel="shortcut icon" href='http://kitelife.com/forum/favicon.ico' />

I used to have a tiny Kitelife logo in there sometime ago, but it had no polish and wasn't really legible.

It's not a lot of real estate to work with (16x16), but I think this one is pretty decent... What say ye?

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kl-ico.jpg

I see the kitelife icon in the tab, but what is the icon in the address-box? (Chrome 15.0.874.106 / Mac 10.7.2) It looks like a stylized globe, but art that resolution it might be almost anything.

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The globe is a Chrome thing, it appears to be what they display next to every URL... So, it's resident in the program. :ani_whistling:

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Okie dokie...

Just manually back-dated the articles in issues 1-6 appropriately with one-by-one SQL database queries for both topic and post, so they actually look like they were posted the day we originally published them in 1998.

Whew... That's a tedious process... Looking for some way to speed it up, as there's no simple field for it anywhere in the forum software, front side or in the admin... But anyway, just wanted to let you know as the back-dating had been suggested earlier.

Pain in the butt for the moment, but a good call, and I think an easier way will present itself. ;)

Thanks for the motivation y'all!

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Thanks for the effort. Setting the "posting date" to something appropriate will make things sort correctly.

I suppose that integrating archives is not something the forum software designers would have anticipated.

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My pleasure Pete, it'll all be worth it in the end.

And yes, some of the IPB (software) users have quirked their eyebrows at me on this one. :)

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