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Now I can ‘splain!

Now I can ‘splain!

Now that all the dust has settled and the new Web site is functioning, I can talk about why the changes were needed. Before I get into that, a few little pieces of information:

First, today’s strip is new, but there are some reruns in your future. Time is at a premium right now. The Sunday strips will be fresh, but the next two Wednesday strips will be gift-themed reruns.

Second, the strip I posted today is indeed based on a true story. Until recently every comic I had ever produced was made on absolute bottom-of-the-barrel Windows PCs. The first Basic Instructions production machine was an eMachines I bought for $400. The second was an HP Slimline that cost $500. I put extra RAM in both, but that was the only upgrade either of them got. They did the job just fine, or so I thought at the time.

So, my brother Kelly came to visit a couple of months ago, and he got a good look at my computer. Disgust was just the most obvious of the emotions he expressed. There was also pity, loathing and scorn. Lots of scorn. Kelly loves powerful machines, whether it’s his dragster, his pickup, his snowmobile or his “gaming rig.”

All he needs is a cave and a yellow belt and he will be Batman.

Anyhoo, he set about constructing a computer made entirely out of old parts he wasn’t using anymore, which he gave me as a surprise gift. It’s a quad-core with a fast video card and four gigs of RAM. It’s in a computer case that looks like the monolith from 2001, except that it radiates a blue light bright enough to keep you from sleeping. It’s monstrous and awesome, and so is he.

Now, about the server. When Basic Instructions started my only publishing mechanism was LiveJournal. That was a nice way to get my feet wet, in that it was free, and gave me a nice entrée into an existing community of webcomics fans. Then I got the cheapest webspace I could and a Blogger account. Blogger was simple to administer and maintain, and I was able to upgrade my service on the fly, so I thought that combination would last me quite some time.

“Quite some time” ended last year at Thanksgiving. I got sick of my site crashing due to traffic stress, and the limitations of Blogger were beginning to get to me. I decided to switch over to a more robust host, and WordPress with the ComicPress plugin as a platform.

WordPress turned out to be more challenging to work with than I imagined, and almost immediately Missy (the brains of the outfit) took on most of the webmaster role so I could concentrate on making with the funny.  This worked well until WordPress had an error, which required Missy to drop everything and teach herself how to fix it. Then there was another error, and Missy had to drop everything and teach herself how to fix it. Then WordPress got hacked, and Missy had to drop everything and teach herself how to fix it. Then one night, at 11:00 PM, when we both had to be up early the next morning, WordPress decided to strip all the category information out of our database, rendering all comics and posts invisible. I sat there and watched Missy, tired and frustrated, trying to get my stupid comic back up on the Web, and at this point I was so far behind the curve that there was nothing I could do to help but offer to get her a beverage.

This could not stand.

So, I’ve moved the site to Squarespace (started this Thanksgiving, as fate would have it). I had to design the site using their cloud-based wysiwyg editor, but it worked quite nicely, so that wasn’t a problem, and they do all the maintenance, so now if there’s a problem it’s they’re job to fix it, not mine … or Missy’s, which is the whole point.

I’ll let you know how it works out. I’m quite happy so far, and no, I’m not receiving a special deal in return for talking about it. I just am hopeful that I’ve found a good solution and want to share the info.

There are drawbacks. There will be no avatars on the comments, and the RSS feeds got messed up. These things are important to me, but my marriage is more important.

Reader Comments (21)

You are a good man, Scott Meyer.

December 9, 2009 | Registered CommenterMissy !

Thanks for the 'splainin', Scott.

Your 2x4 of knowledge has obviously worked, for today I have, indeed, learned.

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

I haven't discovered a way to browse the archives. Am I missing something or is that feature gone?

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZach

I think it's great you put your marriage first, 'sides the new site is snazzy and awesome. Love to Missy and you both and thanks to you both for the effort put into something that makes us smile and laugh :)

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBluelunar

We like you and Missy (at least what we can see of you through your posts) which is why we invite you into our world as resident jester/artiste ... Or is our devotion actually closer to stalking?

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDale Flannery

Hopefully the new solution holds up for quite some time.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Ah, thanks for pointing out the news feed. I didn't know that the news was in a separate feed after the redesign.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTim McCormack

It appears the archives from Jan 13, 2008 (pg 191) and back are missing the comics.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTeamNutmeg

all hail missy :)

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

Curse you for raising the marital bar for us all.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermisterfweem

Your brother is "monstrous and awesome"? I rather hope you would describe Missy in somewhat more flattering terms. Not that monstrous isn't flattering to, like, monsters and such; but maybe not quite so much for wives.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErnie

The lack of avatars makes me feel like I can post without waiting to figure out how to use mine. I'm right on the technological level of your first machine, I think.

Good call on the Missy thing. Seriously. As your target demographic, I totally support that decision.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDallas

Scott,

You should check out disqus (my preference) or IntenseDebate for your commenting needs. You just slap some JavaScript on the page and then they take care of the rest. disqus will use gravatar for avatars (I can only assume IntenseDebate does the same).

Anyway, I made the switch from a custom commenting system and I love it. Plus, I find I get more comments because users like having their comments all associated with the same account.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

Any chance of fixing the atom feed? http://www.basicinstructions.net/atom.xml

Bloglines has 825 users subscribed who are getting a broken link.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

I compensate for my feelings on inadequacy by mocking others. In this case, my jealousy of your ability to make funny can be assuaged by:

"if there’s a problem it’s *they’re* job to fix it, not mine"

OMGROFL GRAMMAR FAIL LOL

There, that's better.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChaon

For the comments, maybe IntenseDebate is compatable? http://intensedebate.com/

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterArcys

I don't get the 2001 analogy. In the movie, an awesome piece of advanced technology was provided by some alien life form to smelly monkeys. Oh, now I get it.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterYA

Backups, backups, backups!

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRay C

Yay Scott!

December 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMike Geordie Brown

Why does hitting escape on your website redirect me to the login page? Also, I second Zach above: is there a way to browse the archives other than going to the prev/next comic and the recent comics sidebar?

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Wow!-Burberry jeans wear Too powerful!

July 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark

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