Last chance for Infini-Tees and Avatars

I just want to thank everyone for using my Amazon affiliate link, and remind everyone that today is the last day you can order an Infini-Tee or a custom avatar. 

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.

Ask me anything on Reddit

So, my "Ask Me Anything" page is up on Reddit. I'll be answering questions all day today. Please drop in and say "hi."

Actually, to fit the format, you should say "hi?".

Emptying the inbox

So, I have a spare moment or two here, so I'm taking this opportunity to mention a few things I've neglected.

I will be doing an "Ask Me Anything" page on Reddit next week. The page will go up on the morning of Wednesday the 18th, and I'll check in and answer questions periodically for the rest of that day, and most likely into the next one. Feel free to ask about the comic, my former stand-up comedy career, working at Walt Disney World. Whatever. I'm thrilled that Reddit has asked me to participate in this. It should be a ton of fun.

My wife now has blog of her own, and I think it's pretty darned good! Here's a post that's part of a series she did reviewing internet radio services.

There's a big beautiful coffee table-type book out about the show Ace of Cakes. It looks really great, and I'm not just saying that because they've included my comic about the show in the introduction of the book.

The Russian gaming magazine Strana Igr (Game Land) has been kind enough to feature Basic Instructions in an ongoing series about webcomics. They sent me a pdf of the page, which I let Google translate. Here's what marketing types would call the "Pull quote":

"The practical value of these instructions can be challenged, but humorous - is unlikely."

One last thing. A reader sent me a photo of his Halloween costume.

I think it goes without saying that I am tremendously honored. I put a black bar over his eyes because I didn't ask his permission to post this photo, and it makes the whole thing seem seedier, which is always fun.


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