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January 20, 2014

Good morning world!

Well, I have finally been able to lay down some code for AgapeBeacon again. I have been busy with a lot of other things around the house, and the wife had a long stretch off work so it makes it very difficult to get time to myself to be able to add code to the site. Over the next couple of days I need to organize my thoughts, and get a plan in place that will let me efficiently get a couple of releases to the site. I did get a few essential things taken care of.

November 8, 2013

Agape Beacon Being Born

I’ve held onto AgapeBeacon.com for over five and a half years now. I originally wanted to build it out into a Christian social netowork… Shortly after I registered the domain I got my job back with MTV, then discovered other Christian social networks, and Connor coming along delayed the progress of it.

A week or so ago I came up with a new use for the domain, a site for organizing Christian acts of Agape Love. More than just fundraising… but a place that lets people share their experiences and organize campaigns.

What sparked this idea was a notion I had seeing a group of homeless people that have started standing at the corner outside the hospital. After passing many times with nothing to offer… I finally decided to buy a case of water bottles and hand them out. Originally I wanted to cover up the labels with a Bible verse or something… I never figured out a verse that seemed appropriate. I’ve been handing out the bottles but wanted to share the experience, and maybe some brainstorming with others.

Today, I laid the first line of code for AgapeBeacon… and will be working dilligently to get it operational within what I hope to be a 6 month development cycle… but I know life happens so maybe this time next year is more realistic

Of course I am also open to any help, suggestions, ideas, etc.

October 4, 2013

No code for sale!

I’ve decided not to sell any of my code… but rather to give it away. Allow others to pay, what they want, if they want. Of course this means I’ve got to get a “store” up and running… most likely I will do this on ArchmailleDesigns.com I mean, that used to be my jewelry store, and I’ve held onto the name Archmaille for everything I do, so it is only fitting that I put it back there! I have been a long time proponent of Open Source designs, and I think things should stay that way, at least for me they should. It doesn’t make much sense to use someone elses open source code, and then sell what I make from it… I mean that’s just silly now isn’t it? Yeah, that’s the conclusion that I have come to, it will just take me some time to get things going as I want/need to… I may for the sake of saving time use someone elses shopping cart or something like that to get things started.

August 30, 2013

Adventures in selling Code

Okay, so I’ve got my App all together and ready to sell on CodeCanyon right? Well, all together except the documentation, so I’m trying to figure out what kind of documentation I need to include, or how it needs to be configured, etc. In order to figure that out I’ve got to become a publisher on their platform… Okay… Well that requires taking a test, they send you to a “tutorial” which basically just says (in very long legal form) You are responsible for the content you upload, if you violate copyright the lawsuit against that copyright infringement will be diverted to you, and we are in no way to blame.

So I went to take the little quiz on the tutorial… And They’re all like “What would be a good title for your project” with two obviously stupid titles in horrible format, and two that could be correct depending upon what school of title creation you follow… “Huh I don’t remember seeing that in the tutorial” so I go back to the tutorial and search for “title format”, and “title” and well nothing ever comes up so I take a guess. There’s 9 more questions that aren’t even in the ball park of what was covered by the “tutorial” and finally a question about who’s in trouble if you infringe on copyright!

At the end of the quiz they’re like “you have to score 100% on the quiz in order to proceed, and become a publisher with us!” I scored 80% which is good because I was 100% sure on 8 of the questions, and I just had to change the two that I guessed on. So I answer the same on the 8 I knew, and changed my guesses on the two I guessed on (I mean theoretically if I did it systematically and switched only one question at a time I would at most only have to take this thing 8 times right?) “You have to score 100% on the quiz in order to proceed, and become a publisher with us!” Oh, and BTW you scored 60% So now I’m more confused than ever, and none of this junk is anywhere to be found on their site… I’m beginning to think this is a test not of how much do you understand our system, and more of “how well can you use Google to get the right answers” because I really don’t see how they pulled these questions out of the “tutorial” about copyright liability.

I did eventually pass the test… But am not 100% sure I even want to use CodeCanyon to get my code out there. I was thinking of creating a section on here, or one of my other sites to sell it on… or rather give it away, and give people the option to donate through paypal. And while I would earn a much higher percentage of the “sale” not every “sale” would be paid for, and the exposure wouldn’t be much. However, it would give me the opportunity to work on the “store” section of AnimationCoalition so that would be nice. It would also allow me to put my code out there in whatever condition I want which would be nice. Of course I would put the necessary documentation to get it working, but I wouldn’t be forced to do it to anyone elses standards. So maybe a couple of items on CodeCanyon to get exposure and incoming links to my site, and then sell other stuff on my site which will push me to get more done for AnimationCoalition.

March 27, 2013

Spring cleaning time

Well, it’s Spring! Even though we’ve got several inches of snow on the ground around here it’s still technically Spring. I always enjoy the spring cleaning rush though… things seem to be on the rise and it’s just a good way to start the year. I know the first few months were winter, but still, spring is a good season for me 😀 I always seem to have a bit of a pick up in blog traffic. This is essential to my yearly routine… I’ve just been behind getting caught up. I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and update every day, finally I think I’ve got the feelings in order to get all this jazzed up and ready to fly. BTW Power Rangers are not a good thing to have going in the background as you try to type… the incredibly awesome dialog is rotting my brain! Actually, now that I’m getting older I’ve been more intentional about my exercise routine, my eating, my depression management, and even my brain increase… I started some Greek lessons for myself, just something to challenge and continue to mold my brain… even though it’s supposedly solidified now… we’ll carve a new language in there anyways to help keep it moving, like I need to keep up with mah blogs too.

February 6, 2013

Coding schmoding…

Well, got a huge “refitting” to do on one of my sites. I’ve begun the process, but really it’s very intense. It’s a relatively small project compared to a lot of the other stuff I’ve done lately, but it will require the simultaneous use of about 12 different files per page. That shouldn’t be frightening, WordPress templates do it all the time, not a huge problem or anything… I just have to be able to keep track of everything mentally as I work… which is not very good when I’ve got a toddler running around, and a wife demanding everything 😛 I could go the easy route on it, as I have done about 5 times before, each time getting through the process then relaxing to “never have to worry about that again”. It’s easier to do a single page… but being that I really don’t want to have to redo the entire thing again I’m going the template route with several options. That way I can make the necessary changes slowly over time that will allow me to live life and move on from this rut! If I don’t I’ll just be redoing it again in the next year or so which is what I’m working on now, and really not the best plan in the world. The ability to do small updates any time I want will be a nice change… now I planned to get it all done over my 7 day fasting period, but not sure if it’s going to get done. During the day I’m blogging, at night I’m coding. That way I don’t have to be bothered by others while I try to hold a deck of virtual cards in my head 😛 Probably not gonna get much done tonight though since Connor, wife, and myself spent so much time at the playground and walking today I didn’t get a nap, so coding on no energy, and no brain power probably won’t work so much. Definitely using words over and over too much here as is 😉

February 3, 2013

This is your brain on content creation…

Okay, so I got most of the coding done for my masterpiece! Well, that’s not exactly true, I got the coding done for the largest section, but cleaning up the code on the front is still going to take a while… actually 100% unsure what is going on. Filling in content however is a pain!!! I think it’s working out good, and things are looking much better than they have in a very long time… it’s just boring! Seriously I am very much thinking of stopping now where I am and getting back to work on Animation Coalition… problem is I am not really certain that the work that I’ve done here is going to even come close to getting me ahead in the game. I wanted to be able to make a couple extra bucks a month, and well it might not do that at all! It does clear up a lot of the errors I was getting so my server will be more stable for longer, but as far as getting a better income might just be a flight of fantasy until I get Animation Coalition 100% done and launched. I’m still in a good position with Animation Coalition, but who knows how long that will last, I need to move faster and get the whole thing pulled together! I was hoping for inspiration from the work I’ve done here, but it is obvious that probably won’t happen, and if it does it will take some time, so we’re just going to have to keep on and hope for the energy/brain power to finish it all.

December 17, 2012

Developer Diary – Animation Coalition

I think it’s important to open a developer diary for Animation Coalition. Lets face it, I’m an amateur when it comes to coding, and could really use some help… at the very least a place to vent frustration of coding a very intensive site, while not really knowing what I’m doing. I think the best way to get this done is through a series of screencast vlogs where I show people around, my notes, where I plan on people going, etc. I’ve thought about blogging it, but I’m not sure this is something that I can really do through blogging. It just seems best done with screen casts. It won’t necessarily be tutorials, but more or less showing people around and how I made my way around some of the quirks of CakePHP.

FYI this is the transcript, for the first part of the screencast that I’ll be uploading to YouTube some time this next week or so.

Hello and welcome to my screen cast developer diary for Animation Coalition

My name is Cody Sortore, and if you are wondering what the Animation Coalition is, that is the primary purpose of this particular screen cast.

I would like to take a little bit of time to let you know who I am, what I am doing developing the Animation Coalition, and why I choose to do it.

Animation Coalition is a project I started developing almost a year ago, based on a desire to use Blender to create an animated video series.

I had several problems starting out with Blender. While I was learning the basics fairly well with the help of BlenderGuru.com and BlenderCookie.com
There was something missing… primarily a way to get a team together to work on blender projects, and figure out who was doing what work.

After seeing the results of BlenderGuru’s ultimate blender survey I found that I was not alone in this.

A large number of amature blender users were not making any money from using blender, but would one day like to… so I figured with my limited PHP coding experience
I might be able to make that a reality. Now I must warn any of you coders out there… I am not a professional coder. I have had a lot of experience editing PHP code
but starting from scratch is something outside my comfort zone. I have worked with small teams doing work from home on major websites. However, I was typically the
one breaking the sites that others were trying to code. Seriously, I worked for MTV doing exactly that. When they launched new sites it was my job to go through
and break everything I could before the 4chan kids got to it and give suggestions on how they could stop it from happening when the site was launched. Of course a
balance of user friendliness and security had to be reached, so we still had our fair share of attacks, which came to my secondary job of monitoring the chan groups
detecting an organized attack before it came about and alerting the security team. Anyways, my point is I have spent more time breaking websites than I have in building
them so please forgive some of my n00bish workarounds that will undoubtedly start showing themselves once I start showing some of my code. Any help or advice is
greatly appreciated as well.

Back to the problems facing Blender. Just out of high school I was facing similar problems getting a website development company going. And the problems were really
just the same as what is facing the Blender community now. Sure there are professionals who make a living often a good living using these technologies (back then
for me it was blogging, and now animation) but how does the small or medium sized guy with a one man operation get off the ground? Often taking on a project by
yourself with no formal training would take too long, something a client would not be willing to pay for your learning experience… and getting a “team” of people together
on a hope and a dream is very difficult if not impossible… so where does the average user go who wants to make a living, or at least a little change on the side go?

That is where my early days of website development came in handy to me. Because I did find several places to go. Now I may not have found them on my own, my
cousin was in the same “line of work” building websites and trying to monetize them. Together we found a couple of places that helped us take off where I eventually
got a job with MTV from the experience gained, and learned even more that has lead me to this point. The first place I want to talk about is PayPerPost. PayPerPost is
a blogging advertising company. It allows advertisers to pay bloggers for honest reviews of their products or services and link back to their website. It is beneficial to
both parties since advertisers get the exposure they need to sell products, and bloggers get paid to do what they are online to do! The next place I drew inspiration for
the Animation Coalition website I am working on is ActiveRain. ActiveRain is an online community for real estate agents. I joined because my cousin who got me into
building websites was also working on becoming a real estate agent, I joined ActiveRain to help him with Search Engine Optimization stuff, and also as a way to help myself
with the same issue which helped me earn more through PayPerPost, and other advertising mediums I was using at the time. What I found using ActiveRain is that
even though I didn’t really care very much about real estate… I was addicted to the website! I stayed on it and worked for hours to gain points… points that didn’t do
anything for me! Well, except give me better placement on the ActiveRain website, which helped SEO a little bit.

So when I set out to confront the issues facing the Blender community I took these past experiences and combined them into AnimationCoalition.com Which I would now
like to take you on a little tour around, I’m sure you will see some essence of where I am coming from and how my experience with these other sites has influenced me.

December 3, 2012

The usual beginnings…

Well, we’re going to start this off the way that we typically do 😛 With an explanation of what I’m here doing! Obviously I’m blogging… but in addition to the blogging I’m scheduling a post for the future… of course by the time you read this it won’t be the future it’ll be the past. Never the less, we are here. I don’t want my intensity blogging to be for nothing, and I’d like to keep making a lil’ money before February, so we’re doing a little build up to the big moment! Gonna throw down a post once a week, on three different blogs for a few weeks through December, that should prime my stuff for January… where hopefully I will be able to increase that intensity a little more, either an entry every day, or something like that. Anyways, the point is I’ll be doing this like a Tesla earthquake machine 😛 slowly building the momentum until eventually the whole ship is a rockin’ and nothing will save us from going over board! Hmmm… that sounds kinda bad, but it’s not supposed to be bad. Main point is that I should be able to see a big improvement in my traffic by February when I’ve got every blog rockin’ every day of the week!

October 22, 2012

Inspiration needed…

Over the last few days I’ve got a lot of work done on Animation Coalition! It’s amazing how much code it takes, and how much you can run through in a couple nights. Maybe I’m just tired tonight… but I’m having trouble conjuring the motivation needed to move onto the next stage of production… which would be the application process! This is pretty involved… The application process will take a lot of code, and it crosses multiple Models… which means having more code open at a time to keep things straight. The good news is that this will basically finish off the Projects section… After that I’ve got the “teams” section to work on… because it’s necessary to have at least one way for people to keep track of who they’re friends with… I may have a “friend” or probably more likely “contacts” feature so people can become contacts with each other and keep track of who they are acquainted with, and why. That way people will have a couple of different “go to” lists when they’re making movies of people they can work with to get the job done. That will suffice for a “beta” launch, later though, I will also add a “jobs” section so anyone looking for voice actors, riggers, writers, animators, concept artists, etc. Will be able to see all of the voice actors in one area, or all of the animators in one area and post messages asking for help on a project. There will need to be “tags” for projects at some point so people can label their projects as “action” “adventure” “romance” “comedy” etc. so people looking to work on a particular type of project will easily be able to find it… the mountain of code ahead of me is intense… BUT I don’t have to get it all done at once, and over time it will slowly become more and more advanced giving people the ability to get the work done that they want/need to! I think what I’ve got here is just scratching the surface of what is necessary to have a good coalition system… Private messages for users will be necessary soon, and the ability to organize events like Skype calls will be important… a lot of work needs to go into the system… and I’ve got a very long ways to go. But I think that in the end it will be worth it… Just need a little motivation to keep pressing forward for now 😛

*update* Oh… I forgetted… I still have to do the user contributions for projects… so… I am FAR, from being done. Heck, I’m far from being BETA ready… I do need a little inspiration… if I still don’t feel like coding tomorrow I’m probably going to working on an intensity blogging session for February… that way I can code, fall of the wagon, whatever necessary, and maybe still get a couple weeks of blogging scheduled for February 😛 Then I’ll have a ton of blogs scheduled for around my Birthday and maybe get a little inspiring birthday bonus cash from my sites 😉 Advertising has been a wee bit slow since 2008… I blame the Fed :-/