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Where Things Stand

June 11, 2006 02:56

Apparently there has been the general impression amongst some people that the site has degraded over the past few years from where it was. To this I have a simple response: you are absolutely correct. I'll attempt to explain why and what exactly I intend to do about it.

In the beginning there was me, my house, and my site. I had exclusive control over the site, all cams, controllable devices, and the visitors page. Visitors to the site could leave comments, but that's it. The ops could block users, and manage the chatroom, but that was the extent of their control. At the time I was working, but I was barely making enough to cover rent and the cost of the internet connection. The entire site was running on computer systems that were over 5 years old. Amazingly, it ran quite well, but without funds to expand, things did so only at a very slow pace. At least at the time, I had exclusive control over things, so the decision to do so or not was entirely mine.

Then everything changed.

Having to move out of my house, and having an immediate issue with the place I was going to move to, and ending up living with my parents, the site took a nosedive. Suddenly I was running the site off an isdn line and having an extremely restricted environment to do so. After a few months, I had arranged new living arrangements where I was assured these restrictions would be minimal, but that didn't work out as planned and only ended up setting me back further. In the meantime, the site lost most of the momentum it previously had. After leaving that place and moving back in with my parents again, I decided not to find my own place to live, one that I owned, such that I owed no homage to any roommates or a landlord. The only such place I could afford though was an old house that needed a lot of work. Thus for another year, the site had to sit in limbo while I worked on the house.

To make matters worse, I was involved (indirectly) in a lawsuit, which cost a lot of money and time, not to mention excluding part of the labor help I was expecting on the house. This meant that by the time I moved into the place, it was barely livable, and priority had to be given to getting bedrooms and other essential rooms and utilities working. Work on the site continued to limbo. And since by then my available funds had dried up, I had to get a full time job, which only cut into my time more. So for the last year, my time has been fully consumed with my job, my family, and work on the house. What little time I've had left to contribute to the site has usually been spent in a maintenance mode, just keeping it running.

The simple fact is, for the last 2 years, I've had very little to do with the day to day operations of the site. Everyone else has been keeping it going. So what you see is a result of that. This is not really a bad thing, it just is what it is. It's not what it used to be, but that's to be expected since without me running the show 24/7, you don't get to experience the results of whatever vision happens to drive me. At the moment, I have very little motivation to do anything with it. That is not to say I don't have ideas. I have a long list of notes I jot down when I have a chance. Plans of things I want to implement as soon as I get a chance. But those chances don't come these days. Too many other things come first, and when I finally get a chance to sit down at the computer, anything that remotely seems like work just is not going to happen.

So what needs to happen for this to change? I see several possibilities. I either need to find a source of funding that will replace my job income such that I can devote all work time to the site. Advertising on the site paid me $100 after 8 months, so that's not going to do the trick. Nobody's going to donate a significant amount, and nobody ever purchased merchandise when I had that option available, so I currently am, and will continue to provide this site as a free service to the world. It serves no useful purpose, so I hardly can expect anything in return. I could possibily land a job where I'm attached to a computer and have very little actual work to do, such that I can spend lots of time on the site and get paid for that time. While such jobs exist, and I do put forth some effort to find them, I've so far been unable to aquire any. I could also either quit my current job or take on a part time job, but both of these would reduce our overall income, resulting in less funds for the site. It's the ultimate catch 22.

The site does have one decent benefit for me though, it has in the past been a sort of dynamic resume, one that attracts prospective employers to me: employers that both support the site and my time spent on it, and therefore provide me with an environment that supports the site well. However, with the loss of momentum over the last few years, I'm looking at quite a bit of ramp-up time to get the site back where it needs to be before that option will be available again. The fact remains, I need to spend a lot of time working on the site so I will have the time to work on the site. Catch 22.

I can't give you any further answers. There is no plan for the future. Well, I have plans. I have a lot of plans. But I can't give you any indication which of those plans will pan out, which will be useful, or which you should even bother to expect. Things might change for the better. Or they may never change. The site might last forever, or I might shut it down tomorrow. All you can know is, that it is, what it is. And what it will be, nobody can currently answer. Not even me.

So make all the comments you want about it. Nothing you say will make any difference.