I have not let off any steam in a while

Hello everybody. I haven’t said anything for some time, but I plan on changing that. I have so much to be upset about – but that’s not all. I have decided to focus every other post on something positive. I am quite sure venom will pour from my fingertips fairly soon, but tonight, let’s think happy thoughts.

Not too many of you know me, so allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jay. I am a college student finishing my degree in video production. Because of my interests in A) Intellectual Discussion and B) my passion for film as an art form, I will try to post regular film critiques and reviews. I expect and encourage all possible responses as long as they remain civil. I guess this will be my attempt to balance and offset the vile treachery that will clog up this website from yours truly sooner than later.

Now, on to my first agenda… I need your votes!

This past weekend myself and a handful of colleagues participated in Apple’s Insomnia Film Contest. For those not familiar with the contest, each team has 24 (and only 24) hours to shoot, edit, score, compress, and upload their 3 minute film to the Apple website before the deadline. In order to ensure the films are shot in one day, certain requirements need to be met in the film that are posted at the beginning of the contest.

Our film was completed with 2 hours to spare. It was an intense, grueling day, but was ultimately rewarding as we watched our final edit. Please take the time to create an Apple login account (if you don’t already have one) and vote for our film entitled “Selective Focus”. I know I would appreciate it immensely. Just go to the Apple Insomnia page and search for our film by title.

The video is on Youtube to help build hype, but it isn’t working as well as our street team!

So stay tuned for some illogical rants and discussions about film.

Thanks and take care.

WB

Hosting Switch – asmallorange to Dreamhost

The Problem

An older post about asmallorange said that I was happy with their web hosting. Support tickets were resolved quickly, the team was courteous and friendly, and I really got a sense of professional respect.

Unfortunately, I can no longer give that recommendation. Several problems surfaced over the two years in which Halffull was hosted at asmallorange.

First – persistent server slows and downtime. At first, pages loaded quickly and reliably. This lasted from about August 2005 to May 2006, with one exception in December 2005. From June 2006 to May 2007, my sites had repeated and consistent downtime. Any site on the server having a spike in bandwidth would cause the whole server to choke due to poor capacity management.

Second – lack of communication. The server status forums dried up and we were left with no way of knowing why the site was down. There were no status feeds or emails. In combination with support issues, this meant that we had no recourse until the site came back up. Frustrating.

Third, and most important – deteriorating support. In two years, I submitted 20 support tickets. The majority of these were in the early days when I was still dealing with setup issues. From July 2005 to June 2006, tickets were handled fairly well, including ones for the early cases of downtime. From June 2006 to May 2007, however, I started having to pass through several layers of indirection and poorly-qualified technicians to come to any kind of a solution, and it was usually a poor one.

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Great news!

Halffull has been bought by Yahoo! They’ve ramped up their acquisition efforts, and they recognize the potential offered by our distributed humor platform. I’ll have a lot more information for you within a day or so, but for now, I have to tell you that I’m really excited. Not only will I get paid to write, but I’ll get to develop a lot of great technology that I’ve been thinking about for years. They’re even taking the object-oriented office concept seriously. Excellent news, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

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About Time

This page hasn’t changed much in a while. That’ll change tomorrow.

I’ve been delaying an upgrade of the site for too long, because I’ve made so many custom modifications that it would become more of an overhaul. Still, it’s about time, and the best plan seems to be a clean upgrade with a new (or at least a single) theme, after which I will have a clean slate to apply changes. I think, overall, it’ll lead to a better site that’s easier to maintain and a bit easier to use.

Expect that to happen tomorrow. Also, more good news – some of our authors are coming back from hiatus! Halffull is dead, long live Halffull!

Update: Due to some server trouble, the upgrade will have to wait a short time. Don’t worry, I’ve already done a lot of work, I just couldn’t test as much as I needed to without a responsive server.

Update: Some more server trouble struck in the past few days, but I believe I have all of the important work done. I’m going to try to move over the new site layout in the next few minutes. If things blow up, that’s what backups are for, eh?

Update: Ok, a few issues to work through. The upgrade went fairly smoothly though!

For Those About to Blog, We Salute You

If you checked into the site this weekend, you might have noticed redshift’s post about someone who copied and pasted an entire article from this site and copied it onto their weblog. A couple of hours after he posted it, we found a couple of other people who had also copied entire articles from this site and pasted it onto their weblogs as well.

So, to you who have cut and pasted entire articles onto your site, I have written you a song. Actually, in your honor I have plagiarized the song, but re-written the lyrics for you.

To the tune of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin:

Here’s a little blog we wrote
Some noobs want to copy it note for note
Don’t worry… They’re crappy.
Their sites are ugly and have no style
I guess that’s why they copy our files
But don’t worry… They’re crappy.

Don’t worry. They’re crappy!
Don’t worry. They’re crappy!

Can’t think of anything original to say
Just cut and paste because you’re totally ghey
Don’t worry… Be crappy!
This should be corrected in all good time
You’ll learn not to plagiarize in Junior High
Don’t worry… Be crappy!

Don’t worry. They’re crappy!
Ooh! Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh…
Don’t worry.
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh…
They’re crappy.
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh…
Seriously, their sites have no good content!
Ooh! Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh…
So don’t worry.
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh…
Their sites are crappy.
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh…

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Registration & Posting FAQ

Q. Are you treating me like a noob with this FAQ?
A. Of course not, noob.

Q. I’d like to register for the site. How do I do that?
A. First, give me $20. Just kidding, here’s what you do:

  1. On the sidebar, there are two small links side by side saying “Login” and “Register” — click on the link that says “Register”.
  2. Make up your user name and enter your email.
  3. A random password will be emailed to you. Retrieve it from your email inbox and log in. If you are having problems logging into the site, remember that it’s case sensitive and try again. If you’re continuing to have problems, you can email redshift, the site admin.
  4. If you want to change your password to something that you’ll remember, after you’ve logged in to the site you will see a white screen with “Halffull (view site)” at the top. Underneath that is a menu starting with “Dashboard” which should be greyed in. Click the “Users” tab, and change your password down at the bottom.

Q. Do I have to register in order to read the site or make comments?
A. No.

Q. I want to post some articles. What do I do?
A. Do this:

  1. From the front page of the site, in the same place where you clicked “register,” click on the “Post/Admin” link. It will take you to the white page that has “Dashboard” greyed in.
  2. Click on the “write” tab and type out your article. Don’t forget to enter a title and select an appropriate category(ies).
  3. When you’re done, click “save as draft” — it will be saved as a draft and redshift, the site Furor – I mean ADMIN — will review and either approve or disapprove. If he disapproves, you’ll cry in a corner and you won’t get any cookies.

Q. What do you expect in terms of articles for the site?
A. You can write about anything you want as long as it’s legal in the U.S. Just remember, there is a difference between comments and articles. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a rant – I realize this site is known for rants, but it doesn’t have to be. Just try to write it with the feel of an article in mind.

Q. Can I add pictures to my articles?
A. We’d prefer it if you didn’t, but if it helps make a good article, feel free. This site is growing exponentially and our bandwith usage is going up — we’re trying to keep the cost of the site down by staying away from images. Eventually we’ll either have to beg everyone to buy our paraphernalia or turn to the dreaded ads. I was surprised at how much bandwith was used by just adding that little image of our products on the sidebar. At any rate, redshift is careful about maintaining the look of the site, and in order to keep us from looking trashy, we’re staying away from a lot of images. Any time we ask redshift about adding more images there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. As an aside, a lot of halffull viewers are reading us through an RSS reader, so pictures are kind of moot for them anyway. shameless plug

Q. How do I go about adding pictures anyway?
A. Do this:

  1. Move your cursor wherever you want the picture and click the “image browser” button.
  2. Click the “Upload” button in the top right, then “Choose” to locate your file. If it’s a large image, and you’d rather just have a thumbnail in the post with a link to the full picture, check the “create thumbnail” box and give it a size in pixels – for reference, on an average screen there are ~50 pixels per inch. You should do this if it’s a large picture or it could mess with the layout of the rest of the site.
  3. Click the picture you want, enter a description in the box below, click “Get the Code” and “Add it to the post!”
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Halffull Gear: Sarcastic Chic

After a long and grueling staff meeting (and I use the words “staff” and “meeting” loosely here) most of the old items available in the halffull.org shop were killed and replaced with some of the nifty items you’re seeing over on the sidebar. Old items still include the ever offensive but popular Halffull Happy Bear. This has been our most popular item, and it’s funny, so we couldn’t get rid of it. He’s a cute and cuddly little teddy bear whose shirt says “want a hug? go fuck yourself.” The perfect gift.

The coaster, mousepad and regular coffee cup have also stayed the same, just in case a few of you out there are scared of change. This is about all that’s stayed the same, so grab your blankey you crybaby, because here we go.

We have some new shirts that come in different colors. These are cool because they have the simple logo on the front with “halffull” on the back. (You thought it was going to say “poker” on the back, didn’t you? Whack job.) There’s also a women’s shirt that comes in pink, blue-green and yellow.

More up on the shirts: We’ve got a new one that says “My website can beat up your website.” Unfortunately this one is in a hideous shade of green and doesn’t appear to be available in any other colors. Uh, we’ll look into that. It’s a cool shirt, and I would wear one if it wasn’t going to make me look as if I had been drowning in LIMEADE. It does also come in a nice sweatshirt version if you prefer a more subdued color.

Moving along are the Optimist items. Originally this was a t-shirt, and we liked the idea so much that we couldn’t get rid of it, although we felt that it needed a new take on life. So now you can have your very own Jumbo Coffee Mug. Tell your friends, co-workers, and the asses who haul you into a meeting first thing Monday morning or at 3:30pm on a Friday: “I’m an optimist. It’s my only comfort as the world goes to hell.” Also available as a sweatshirt .

The Halffull Stein also had a little facelift. Every cool person owns a stein. The most cool people own Halffull steins. Get one today and support your favorite site! Or, get one and support this cool site that you happen to read a few times a week. Whatever.

Last, but not least, the Halffull hat has also had a little facelift in the same manner as the stein. Black and tasteful, all your friends will want one. Or, at least they’ll be asking you what in the hell “halffull” means. Consider it a conversation piece.

We will be adding more items to the site over the next few weeks, so if you like the site and you’re having a good time, please support us by buying some of our gear. Or, if you aren’t having a good time, but hulk’s doing a good job of pissing you off every couple of weeks, support the site. After all, you’re coming back time and again just to see how mad you can get. Support your anger and buy a bear.

EDIT: We have now added a white “My website could be up your website” t-shirt for anyone who doesn’t want to advertise that they really really like green Kool Aid. You can find it here. Send me an email at Ask Blue Midget if you have any questions.

Halffull.org – the Official Unofficial FAQ

Q – What does “FAQ” stand for?
A – Frequently Asked Questions

Q – How do you pronounce it?
A – It is pronounced “fack,” so stop spelling it out because you are identifying yourself as an internet noob.

Q – Are you going to make fun of me for saying “F-A-Q”?
A – Yes, as soon as you are out of earshot.

Q – What is Halffull.org?
A – Halffull is a website for people out in the world who have no website of their own. If you don’t have a place to call your own and Slashdot thinks your articles are too retarded for their front page, you can join Halffull instead. We’re like Cheers, except that everyone here is Norm.

Q – Are you saying anyone can join and post articles?
A – Yes! In fact, we encourage it. Sign up and introduce yourself.

Q – Is there a theme to the website?
A – No, each author brings something different to the site. Redshift is more technology related, Blue Midget is more general, and Hulk is drunken political/corporate ranting – he’s like Darth Vader, but without the suck. We think it’s better to have a variety of things to read, so you aren’t reading the same regurgitated material over and over. If you want to become an author, we encourage you to bring your own flavor to the table.

Q – Do I have to pay?
A – No, although you will be required to sell your soul to the devil and sacrifice goats on a quarterly basis. Just kidding, it’s free.

Q – So, how does this work?
A –If you are new to us, your post will be submitted to redshift. He will review your article, fix your horrible spelling and punctuation, create more paragraphs wherever he feels is necessary because he’s the evil grammar Gestapo – not that I’m bitter or anything – and then, he will post it. Most importantly he wants to make sure your article doesn’t suck. After you click to post, it may take a little bit of time before your article is shown, but no more than 24 hours.

Q – Can I really post anything I want?
A – Sort of. While you can go on a huge rant about nearly anything you want, obviously we do not allow topics illegal in the US. If you write up an article about how much you’d love to get your hands on Michael Jackson’s little black book and have been looking for a hot 10 year old in your area to hook up with, we’re going to call the police, and then you can enjoy 5 to 10 as someone’s girlfriend. You get the idea.

Q – Will I always have to wait for redshift to OK my posts?
A – When he gets to know you a bit better and is comfortable with your topics, he’ll elevate your user level to a higher number. This site goes to 11.

Q – Does this site have a message board?
A – No, under each article is a comment section. We encourage readers and authors to use it. You don’t even have to register to use the comments section, although it makes us feel cool if you do.

Q – When I register for the site, it asks me for my email. Are you going to keep it or sell it?
A – Neither. We don’t need no stinkin’ emails. In fact, redshift is planning the doom of all spammers and people who sell email addresses as we speak.

Q – Thanks!
A – No problem. Welcome to Halffull.

New Server, asmallorange

Two important points today.

  1. I got a new web hosting provider, asmallorange, this weekend. I’ve tested everything I can think of on the site, and the only issue so far is that the database transfer wasn’t perfect – in some posts with double-quote marks, the right quote is replaced by a weird black symbol and a question mark. If anyone notices any other problems, or knows how to easily fix the black mark problem, let me know.

  2. asmallorange is incredible so far, and by the reports of their other customers, their servers are reliable and fast. They offer pretty much any feature you’d want, including Ruby on Rails and SSH access. The most impressive thing to me, however, is the support. They have a very easy-to-use support system where you can choose a web interface or email to view/submit support tickets. Every time I’ve submitted a ticket, they’ve responded in 5 minutes or less. And you never get a canned answer; all of the support team knows what they’re talking about, knows the servers, and can help with pretty much anything. If it’s complicated, it gets elevated to the owner, Tim, who is an unsleeping robot support machine. And you can start on the basic plan for $2.50/month. Hard to beat, and I highly recommend it.

Backpack Goodies

I’ve added a page for Backpack Goodies, i.e. utilities and scripts I’ve written for Backpack. The first is Hide Backpack Page Warning, a greasemonkey script which does just what it says! When you’re at your page limit, it fades away the annoying yellow warning box.