On Local’s Mind: “Gearing Up”

My semester has finally ended and others will soon be enjoying the same relief. I now have the time necessary to work on some things for TSG in preparation for the Final Fantasy marathon at the end of June.

Equipment Upgrades
I have suggested that all of the TSG staffers coming down for the FF marathon try to donate at least $20 so we can try to get new cameras, mics, lighting, and a green screen.

For the sake of transparency here is the run down of specific equipment we are looking at:
– 2 Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920
– 1 6×9 foot Green screen
– PVC and glue for the stand to hold the green screen
– 1 Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone (Optional obviously. I need to talk to my audio engineer friend about this anyway.)

Here is a before and after comparison mockup of our setup with a green screen.
Before:
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After:
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We understand that our current setup is a bit outdated looking and hasn’t changed much for a few years, and we are going to do our best to try and fix that throughout this year. The addition of a green screen ,if we can get the correct lighting to make it work, will open up a new world for stunts.

Promote, Promote, Promote
Even though we have a marketing team, they mostly handle direct website relations and promotions. All of you and your “word of mouth” promotion have always been important and effective, and we would like to see that come back in a big way.

The details are raw and I still need to talk to Britt, but I want to implement a referral type system for promotions. It would reward the community member and other sites/others that use the community members’ promotions. I think this system would act as an incentive to boost “word of mouth” promotions and make it effective for you all to spread news of our events.

Donation System
Between school and work, most of the semester left me with only one free day, Friday. I worked on the system sporadically when I could and was progress made. I think 99% of you got to use it first hand during the Mega Man marathon in March. There were some issues, like all marathons, but I quickly fixed them.

There are still a few things that need to be added/improved such as multi-widget support, consolidation of code, multi-user support, flash widget (for twitch.tv), that’s all I can think of right now. I know how to complete everything listed, but it is time consuming and I am just one person. Once I add multi-widget support and consolidate things I will release it for free like I have previously promised.

Transferring Webhosts
As you may or may not know we use Dreamhost to host our website. Specifically we pay a premium for their resource scalable Virtual Private Servers. Over the course of the last year the VPS has become somewhat unstable. There are a few reasons why this could be: 1. Dreamhost oversold the actual server unit from which our website is hosted. 2. The code I’ve added over the years is not optimized and poorly written. 3. Last possible reason is , we’ve outgrown the resources we’ve always typically allocated, but more resources equals more money.

I believe it to be a combination of the first two possible reasons. I don’t doubt some of my code is poorly written and inefficient, and I’ve also seen the CPU usage spike randomly in the dead of night causing the server to crash. What I want to do is transfer somewhere else like MediaTemple or A Small Orange, basically anywhere else that seems reliable and has VPS hosting. We’ll miss the resource scalability, but website uptime is far more important.

Road Trip
I announced early this year I would be taking a road trip around The U.S.A. this summer and arrive in Texas for the marathon. That plan is still happening and I will be live tweeting my experiences and locations during pit stops, as well as writing a short book on my travels which I will likely make available for free digitally. This journey starts June 8th, and you can follow me at @localretard. I will keep you all notified when my book will be available.

There is more in the works for TSG, but I can’t really go into details on it yet. Like always, if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments please feel free to leave them.

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