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Music Mends Broken Hearts
Inside AP.net: Contests
05/19/08 at 10:32 PM by Jason Tate
A little PHP and regex leads to a new contest page. With images and everything. Garett, I know you're secretly getting a boner ... you put that away.

Moving forward, making progress. You know what I don't want to look at again for a while?

<img src="([^"]*)" [^/]*/>

That. Blah. My eyes are peeling back in my head. Must. Shower. Got some ad stuff to discuss and address in my next update - easily my least favorite part about owning a website.
Tags: inside ap.net, image
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Inside AP.net: Searching AbsolutePunk.net
05/18/08 at 11:37 PM by Jason Tate
One thing that's continually frustrated me on AP.net has been our search. It's simply not done very well -- and doesn't provide the users with the information they're looking for. Whether they're searching for band information, a forum thread post, member, or image ... the results just aren't intuitive. A user can't search all of AP.net and at once and get the information presented in a way to then narrow down what they're looking for. I finally decided to sit down and fix that by studying how Google, Apple, Facebook, and other sites handle their searching. I then put together a script that plays off of those ... but within the AP.net environment.

The result is something like this (running a search for "Brand New"):

(Note: This is still being worked on, so the Images and Blog results currently are not populating.)

This sort of thing is pretty server intensive, so I'm not going to be releasing it until we get moved over to the new Buzznet server infrastructure. But ... I think this can really help fix one of the biggest shortcomings on AP by providing the user with a better way to grab the data we have on our site, and view it quickly.

Did I miss anything that should be searched here? I don't think so -- but if anyone has anything I may have overlooked search wise (that would be useful) feel free to let me know. We'll still have the individual search pages and stuff for each section -- but this will be what would be used via the search box at the top of every page on the site (when you click search from the navbar).
Tags: inside ap.net, images
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Inside AP.net: Article Section Update
05/17/08 at 12:57 PM by Jason Tate
I put together the "Articles" page last night/today. Basically exactly the same - but ported to a new skin - except for coding the page in PHP so it's automatically updated instead of having anything hard coded.

Now ... we should probably start using this section a little more.

I'm probably going to work on the inner sections of each of the articles for a little bit ... before heading outside to spend some time in the sun. It's like 85 here again today -- gotta love global warming! I'll work more tonight on stuff and finish up a few emails I have (and probably try and clean out that inbox while I'm outside).

Tags: inside ap.net, image, articles
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Inside AP.net: Advertising Page
05/16/08 at 04:07 PM by Jason Tate
Been working on the new advertising section today (ie: what's the easiest page to create on a Friday where it's 85 outside and I can do this from my laptop in the sun) ... which means an updated stat section. Sweet - my ego grows.

Tags: inside ap.net, stats
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Book Recommendation
05/16/08 at 11:44 AM by Jason Tate

If you like humor like The Office - and you are interested in the music industry - this is a book you need to read. Good writing (he's written for McSweeny's before) coupled with witty banter and humor all tossed within the confines of the music industry. Sign me up.
Tags: book, recommendation
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Still My Favorite Band
05/15/08 at 01:06 AM by Jason Tate
If it makes you less sad
I will die by your hand
I hope you find out what you want
I already know what I am
And if it makes you less sad
We'll start talking again
And you can tell me how vile
I already know that I am

I'll grow old
And start acting my age
I'll be a brand new day
In a life that you hate
A crown of gold
A heart that's harder than stone
And it hurts a whole lot
But it's missed when it's gone

Call me a safe bet
I'm betting I'm not
I'm glad you can forgive
I'm only hoping as time goes
You can forget

If it makes you less sad
I'll move out of the state
You can keep to yourself
I'll keep out of your way
And if it makes you less sad
I'll take your pictures all down
Every picture you paint
I will paint myself out
It's as cold as a tomb
And it's dark in your room
When I sneak to your bed
To pour salt in your wounds
So call it quits
Or get a grip
Say you wanted a solution
You just wanted to be missed

Call me a safe bet
I'm betting I'm not
I'm glad that you can forgive
I'm only hoping as time goes
You can forget
So you can forget
You can forget

You are calm and reposed
Let your beauty unfold
Pale white like the skin
Stretched over your bones
Spring keeps you ever close
You are second hand smoke
You are so fragile and thin
Standing trial for your sins
Holding onto yourself the best you can
You are the smell before the rain
You are the blood in my veins

Call me a safe bet
I'm betting I'm not
I'm glad that you can forgive
I'm only hoping as time goes
You can forget

Tags: brand new, recommendation, itunes
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Inside AP.net: We're Back Inside
05/14/08 at 04:17 PM by Jason Tate
Ok, so it's been a while since I updated my blog with anything related to the current progress of the AP.net upgrade stuff I'm working on. This has been because I was in a spot where I wasn't really happy with the aesthetics/functionality of a few things.

So I took a few steps back and started working on a few of the things "behind the scenes" on AP.net for a little while -- some coding things that work in the background. I find walking away, compartmentalizing, problems - sometimes allows you to tackle them with a clear head when you return to them. I also helped brainstorm for a friend's class project. She has to make a website. So I went trendy 2.0. Vegan websites are always so preachy -- I figured one that was educational, health oriented, instead of "oh noz, don't kill the cute wittle aminals" would be an interesting project to tackle. Plus, I just like playing with photoshop.

Wow, talk about off topic.

Okay, so I realized my problem with the new stuff on AP.net was in a few areas:

I have been adding a side bar element to almost all of the new pages - this adds a place I can put "tools" that is uniform for every page. For common "on the site" links. I also decided that in some places I'd place the small advertisements (the 146x146 ads) -- seeing as we already were adding a side-bar, I figured that it would be nice to give these ads (usually only purchased by smaller labels/bands) a few more impressions in content related areas.

Now what adding this bar did was use roughly 150 pixels of space on the side of the page. I have been slowly increasing the size of AP.net to fill 800 pixels. The new version of AP.net is exactly 800 pixels wide. This means with the new side-bar it takes up roughly 95 more pixels than the old version of AP.net. I was finding that with the 110 avatars of prestigious members -- the posting bits on reviews, news, blogs, artist profiles, interviews (ie: anything that's "content" based) was feeling really cramped.

Let me just take a moment to address one thing -- what I'm talking about doesn't impact the forums of the website at all. I have a very strict policy that the forums remain as they always have been. Ad on the top, ad on the bottom, everything else is used for posting - talking - communicating. I feel the forums should always maintain this openness about them. It's a place for people to meet and all of that -- I don't consider them "content" portions of the website. So - know those will always function as they do.

Ok -- now back to the content stuff. What the task here meant - was I needed to find a way to maintain every single function that the postbits currently have (multi-quote/reply/edit/information) - but effectively shrink it to work in a manner similar to a facebook.com post (yes, my obsession with that website's design continues). What I finally came up with I think works perfectly. It works from an aesthetic angle, while allowing all of the functions of the current design to work as well. I think it combines beauty with functionality.

Anyway - I think some screen shots be in order:

1) The blog comments.
2) An album review.
3) A news post.

One thing I am trying to decide upon is a few wording things. Currently in the new version a user will see a "Edit | Multi-Quote | Reply" on a post bit -- this allows them a variety of options for how to reply to a post. On the current version of AP.net (that you're viewing) a user also has a "quote" option. This quote option does not use the quick reply to quote - but opens to another page. However, in the new version this is also attainable (multi-quote a post, click reply - or - click reply, click go advanced - or - right click reply, click open in new tab). I haven't really figured out if current users would be confused that "reply" (which sends a user to the quick reply box) actually quotes that post too. Something I'm still thinking about.

Basically - I think from a loading time, functionality, and aesthetic point -- this is the best system for "content" posting on AP.net. For forum posting I think we have it down. However, from an angle of allowing discussion on all other aspects of AP.net's content -- I think this takes it to a level currently not seen on the internet. Other places allow weird ways to comment -- we allow discussions. I think now we also can allow discussions in a manner that is fast loading and very pleasing to the eyes.

Plus - as you'll see on news articles and reviews - we now have a little "Inside AP.net" bar that sends people directly to AP.net profiles if they exist for the artist. Once we get even more music on profiles this will be a great way for people to never have to leave AP in an effort to find out more information/hear the music (obviously very important). I have a vision of combining all the sections of the website together to work in unison. These are the first steps.

I also put together the new release date calendar. Adding more options - a better search - and a design more in line with the rest of AP.net. I also designed this in a way that if we start adding more artwork to the AP.net gallery - I can add the artwork for each release date to this calendar with one line of code. I didn't do it yet because it'd only propagate like 6 releases. Hahah. The new calendar also returns all results, and paginates them, instead of cutting it off like it does currently (bet you didn't know that). The new version allows someone to quickly manipulate the URL to find release dates from a certain date period:


However, in the future I'll make this a feature. Someone can type in two dates (or one date) and see all the releases from that period. Might be cool as our calendar continues to grow.

I think something I'll want to do in the future is make sure more information is attained for each release date - and maybe run an "inside AP.net" module into them as well. So people can see if they have an AP.net profile or something.

Well -- that's the latest. Comments, thoughts, are welcome. I am going to finish up the articles section, contests, member profiles (man, that's going to be a big one) - and then a few of the other smaller pages. After that I tackle the forums themselves. Nothing big to change here - just fixing up fonts/design things. Then I have the mainpage / news page to clean up. Around that time I'll probably open up the new stuff as a selectable option. So people can look at it - play with things - and report bugs to me - while I clean/fix everything up. Mostly a staff sort of thing -- so, we're still a few months away from a site-wide launch. But things are coming together in a manner that is going to really change AP.net's future. It's going to allow instant access to information on all your favorite bands (new and old) and give us (and you) the tools to sort and catalog all of our data. Combine this with our discussion tools and community - and I think we're going to have a very solid "product" (if you will) for the next 5-6 years. All of the "changes" are with one goal and vision in mind: Giving you - the user - the best community to discover and discuss all of your favorite music.
Tags: inside ap.net, ap related, images, screen shots
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You're Ruining My Night Sky
05/13/08 at 11:15 PM by Jason Tate
Pebbles pressed against pale skin. I let my eyes dart to black skies full of no stars. The street lights hang like fallen saviors, offering no grace, no solace. I wish for pin pricks of light.

The end of my street smells of tar. The music in my ears echoes between the breeze on my cheek. I look to the forest on the left as my silhouette is outlined by the flashes of a forgotten TV in the house to my back. Memories of being forgotten. We are blessed, I am cursed. I wonder if God's simply a creation of man. I wonder if man could possibly be a creation of God. I can feel the grass between my fingers. The dew is cold. The moisture makes me wish for her skin.

Blue haze from each breath halos the rings around my eyes. I know it's just going to be one of those nights my head repels the pillow - one of those nights I count the spackle from my painted ceiling. Girl, I can see your face like a Turin etched behind my eyelids.
Tags: random, musing, writings
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I Just Really Love This Song
05/13/08 at 11:59 AM by Jason Tate
Tags: thrice, recommendation, video
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Blueberry Waves
05/13/08 at 12:04 AM by Jason Tate
Check out Wolftron's debut. Perfect for starry nights with headphones while thinking about the special someone ...

Tags: recommendation, wolftron, itunes
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Meet Girls Online
05/12/08 at 04:50 PM by Jason Tate
Facebook ads suck. Everyone knows this - they have one of the worst CTR's in the industry. Anyway - I had to do a double take when this one just popped up on my screen.

Is that girl pulling her shirt tighter to show off her tits?

Tags: wtf, facebook, stupid, image, oh dear god
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Recommendations: May 11th
05/11/08 at 12:34 AM by Jason Tate
Watched Lars and the Real Girl tonight. Pretty much a clinic in acting in my opinion. So, check that out if you are in the mood for a quirky but very well done movie.

Been playing the new Death Cab most of the week -- I enjoy that. Enjoy your week -- hug your mother.
Tags: recommendation
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Movie Thoughts: Iron Man
05/09/08 at 10:32 AM by Jason Tate

Checked out Iron Man last night with some friends. I think I ended up giving it about a "B" on the movie scale. I liked it - good humor, great effects, pretty good story. But it wasn't great.

I think if you're looking for a movie to go have some fun with - worth seeing. But in all honesty, it just made me more excited for The Dark Knight. The problem is that Marvel has yet to make a movie devoid of camp. A movie focusing on the characters and drama first --- dudes in suits second.

Anyway - check it out if you're looking for a good popcorn movie (that will help get that awful taste of Spiderman 3 out of your mouth). Let's hope Batman breaks some records with their new movie ... because that one is going to be gooooood.
Tags: movie review, iron man
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Inside AP.net: Roadblock
05/07/08 at 10:48 AM by Jason Tate
I'm in a weird spot at the moment.

I've been spending some time with the reconfiguration of AP.net the past few days. And I'm at a point where I absolutely love 90% of what is done. However - as I move toward the forums I realize I'm sort of stuck. I don't really like the actual forum layout as much as I thought I did. I am not completely sold on the postbits being the very best the can be for aesthetic and usability purposes.

I dunno -- I'm trying to figure out exactly what to do. I think I may go take a shower and hope the answer comes to me. Loving the artist profiles, exclusives, blogs, album reviews sections ... it's really just the forums and postbits (the portion for each post) that is throwing me off. They feel clunky and old. I am trying to figure out a way to streamline them. Hmmmm ...

Hope everyone is doing well. Just wanted to check in on my latest status.
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"You know that it meant everything to me..." - Blink 182
05/05/08 at 07:40 PM by Jason Tate
I’ve read enough press-releases to know the proper way to word a “we just signed to a major-label, please don’t call use sell-outs” message. However, I’ve also learned how simple it is for kids to see straight through the fluff. So – I’d rather just be completely upfront and honest and let my intentions and actions speak for themselves.

Yep. As you may have heard - we are now a part of the Buzznet network and family.

Curious as to why? What’s going to change? What this all means? Well, don’t worry baby-birds, I’m going to feed you (too much Daniel Tosh lately).

As you may or may not know – I’ve been running this company for some 8 years now. From a tiny project that started in my parent’s basement to arguably one of the largest niche music websites on the internet. Along this ride we’ve had a lot of opportunities – a lot of successes and a whole lot of mistakes (most of which I hope I learned from). I have turned down these partnership opportunities in the past – it wasn’t the right time. However, as we continue to grow – I have realized the limits of my knowledge. We are at a spot where to even handle the traffic we have currently – we needed to take it up to a new level. We needed the expertise of engineers and the guidance of those that have done this sort of thing in the past. To put it succinctly – the timing, now, is right. Now, I sat down with a variety of people to figure out the best course of action. Family members, business associates, fans, staff, friends, advisers – the works. I weighed all of my options … and after having met with everyone at the Buzznet offices … I knew I had found a match. From the board of the directors, to the CEO, to the secretary – I found a group that had similar visions as I did for the internet and for the music industry as a whole. I found a group that believed in me. They accepted the over-confident goofy kid in jeans, flip-flops, and a potty mouth. They listened to my goals, my dreams, my thoughts – and showed me how I could achieve them. Not only to continue to grow AP.net as I see fit (creative control, vision, voice, etc.) – but also to expand and work in other facets of the internet as my other ideas and creativity bursts forth. So, after weeks of soul searching – I realized it was time to shit or get off the pot. I decided to move forward with what may end up being one of the biggest decisions of my life. I decided to push the website into a direction where we have the potential to be massive. Where we have the potential to bring our unique content and voice to anyone who wants access to it. Where we have the ability to aim for goals I once thought were almost untouchable.

So what’s going to change around here? Only good things. I still have complete control over what goes on around here. Buzznet was very clear that what I built was special and they didn’t want to rock or change my vision in any way. In fact – I’ll be able to spend some time teaching others some of the secrets to AP.net’s social success in an effort to open up other networks for different genres. This will allow AP.net to continue to be exactly what it always has been – a community driven music website. Where the tastes and content is dictated by you, me, and the staff. No outside presence is going to change that. Come on, it’s me. I wouldn’t let that happen. Of course, the haters are going to talk shit and say we sold out, or that we take money for features – they’ve said that for the past 8 years. It wasn’t true then – and it won’t be true now. Also, this should go without saying, but I maintain full control over the layout and look of the website (as those following my blogs know, I’m currently working on the new and improved version of AP.net). So those worrying about a “buzznet-esque” design, fret not (check out the screen caps in the blogs below). Hopefully I’ll be able to help some with Buzznet’s look in the future as well – because I know some people get confused by it (yes, that’s off topic, whatever). Basically – I doubt many will even be able to tell anything has changed in the operations of how this website runs. Of course, when we get moved into servers and can load the website faster – you may notice that. Or when we can (finally) host our own exclusives, videos, downloads, streams, features, etc. – you may notice that.

Furthermore, we’re going to be able to add content to AP.net in ways once unattainable. What sort of content? Well, that’s probably stuff I can’t talk about. So, we’ll just put a pin in that and come back to it in a little bit.

All staff will stay on, obviously, and a few will actually be taking on more direct/management-like rolls within AP.net. Also, as we progress forward I have some cool things to share with some staff members that should make them very, very happy. I just want to make it very clear that the goals of AP.net remain the same.

What it comes down to is pretty simple: I love music. I love the bands. I love the fans. I love the community. I love being able to tell someone about a new band that they fall in love with. To be able to do this – at a level before unreachable – with resources before unattainable – for practically as long as I wish? Wow. I actually have to pinch myself as I realize I’ve made a few massive steps toward reaching goals I set as a 14 year old boy.

I’m aware of the shit-talking sure to come my way. That’s fine. I expect it. Albert Einstein once said, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” I remind myself of this quote almost daily. I believe in Buzznet. I believe in AP.net. I believe in our community. I believe in myself. And more than anything – I believe in every single one of you. Dreams can become reality – and thanks to you – mine have.

I may have moved from my parent’s basement to a small room in the corner of my house. Yet I still feel as passionate about why I do what I do as the day I first wrote my first words on a little message board from a computer probably less powerful than my phone. Times have changed – but the music has always been what matters. It’s why I’m here. It’s why you’re here. The music will always be why I write a single word on this screen. The music will always be why I breathe. The music will always be what connects me and you. I promise not to let you forget that if you’ll do the same.

I need to say thank you to my parents. Their ability to deal with a kid like me cannot go unmentioned. The patience and understanding that must have taken is something I will never understand. Yet they supported me when no one else would have. My allowance money was what purchased my first domain name and I spent hours discussing this move with my entire family. I just wish my grandparents, those who bought me my first computer, were alive so I could show them exactly how much it meant to me. How the sacrifices made by everyone who has ever loved me, even when I was unbearable, have meant more to me than feeble words can describe. If my roommate in college would have told me to turn off my computer and go to bed -- we probably wouldn't be here right now. If we are a sum of our parts – then my parts are my family, friends, girlfriend, and the music from my headphones. I simply need nothing more. The product is a boy fighting for the phrases to convey a feeling the English language simply doesn’t have. I suppose if I could put my thoughts to melody – it’d probably just be a pop-punk song.

Dream big and don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.
Tags: inside ap.net, personal, ap related, thank you
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