Letterboxing Calendar (a.k.a. Project X)
Posted by Ryan at 7:06 AM
|Sparkle, blue diamonds! Sparkle like |
you've never sparkled before! -)
Posted by Ryan at 11:30 PM
I thought changing the icons a couple of months back would be a popular thing because I never much liked the old ones and the new ones looked so spiffy, but people are still emailing me complaints about it. I figured the initial shock of seeing them changed wouldn't be popular (people, as a general rule, hate changes), but I also figured after people got used to the new icons, it wouldn't seem so bad anymore. But still, the complaints roll in and I've finally decided just to put the old icons back. I was wrong for changing the icons before--at least not all in one big update. Maybe changing them one at a time over the course of a year would have been more acceptable.
Anyhow, due to the huge number of people who don't like the new icons, I'm rolling the old ones back out. Enjoy! =)
Well, almost all of them. The stars representing the number of message board posts, for instance, require some code changes since they use a different numbering system than the new icons used. They'll take a bit more effort to replace, but I'm working on those as well. Hopefully it won't take more than a day or so until all of the old icons are back to normal! In the meantime, please be patient! Thanks!
Posted by Ryan at 11:45 PM
Posted by Ryan at 9:11 AM
Did you know that AQ turned 10 years old this year? TEN YEARS! Holy cow! Time flies when you're having fun! =)
In website years, that's incredibly old. Technology and all advances so quickly. When I first started AQ, the most popular browser in use was Internet Explorer 6. And I hated that browser for so many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons was its lack of support for alpha transparencies on PNG images. A lot of you probably don't know what that means and that's okay--you don't have to understand it. It didn't help much that none of my paint programs really supported it either. So AQ became littered with GIF images.
Even worse, when I started Atlas Quest, I had absolutely ZERO income. No job, no premium memberships, no nothing. My biggest financial windfall in 2004--the year I started Atlas Quest--was when I invested a few thousand dollars in Martha Stewart's company immediately after she was found guilty of insider trading. I bought some of her company then, and it went on to do very, very well over the next several months and I eventually sold it just before she got out of prison. As exciting as that was, however, it's not a windfall I could expect every year!
So my choice of images were largely what I could find online that were available for free. And you know what they say--you get what you paid for! I got what I paid for. *nodding*
Fast forward ten years later and things are different. Atlas Quest does earn its keep now, and investing in high-quality icons isn't out of the question anymore. I also have a couple of programs that can manipulate PNG images, and about one-half of one percent of the web-surfing public uses IE6. (Truth be told, it surprises me that anyone is still using it at this point, but I officially stopped worrying about that browser years ago.)
And I felt it was finally time for a major icon facelift! I've been using some of the same icons on AQ for over ten years now, and it needs a refresh! So that's what I'm in the process of doing now. There are some lovely icons too. High quality, top-notch icons. I have them in multiple sizes so I can use tiny little versions where needed, or huge icons that could be used as a menu button.
It's not a small task to update almost every icon on Atlas Quest--they now number into the hundreds. I'm getting there--hopefully in another week or two I'll be done. =)
In the meantime, though, I thought I'd share some of the new icons I plan to use. Give y'all a sneak peak at some of them.....
|This is the bike-friendly icon. It will NOT be this big on the live website! But I'll have versions of all the icons up to this size so I won't be limited to a one-size-fits-all scenario.|
|By comparison, this is the smallest version of the bike icon I have available. I won't be using that either--not for the bike icon, at least. Some places were tags are used or the "close widget" icon might be this small, but not very many places will use this size. (Definitely not any box attributes!)|
|Shiny new blue diamonds! =)|
|Some icons will change completely. I'll be using this snorkel mask to represent "special equipment required" rather than the parachutist of before. The expensive new icon set I bought didn't include a parachutist, and I created the parachute icon when the attribute was originally called "extreme." It's not called "extreme" anymore (too vague a term for people to really understand, I guess) and changed it to "special equipment required." The icon never changed, though... until now! (I'd really love to find a few underwater boxes, BTW.)|
|Another icon that's completely changing.... the HIPS icon for event boxes. I kind of liked the mustache, but I've NEVER seen a box hidden in someone's mustache before. I have seen them disguised as soft drinks, however. ;o) (Not to mention that my icon set didn't include a mustache in it.)|
|This icon is for the "compass required" attribute, but I kind of feel myself wanting it throw it all over Atlas Quest just because it's a compass! And it's cool! And it's pointing (mostly) north! =)|
|AQ-hosted clues used to be represented by the AQ logo, but I never much liked that because it wound up looking like a link to AQ rather than an AQ-hosted clue. But my icon set did include this old, crinkly paper--a blank sheet of it! So the sheet of paper represents a clue, and the icon inside represents where the clue is hosted. =)|
|The box tags are all stars but different colors. I did that since I only needed to find one star then change the colors of it for all of the other tags. It was fast and easy! But it always bothered me a little because I felt it had to be a terrible system for people who are colorblind. I'm not colorblind and sometimes have trouble distinguishing between a tiny yellow star and a tiny orange star! So now those icons will all be different shapes. (The colors are still the same, though.)|
|I kind of like the "freshly hatched egg" to represent a new member, but my icon set didn't include any eggs. (Not even sunny side up eggs! *gasp*) But it did have this pacifier. I'm not actually sure how I feel about using a pacifier to represent a newbie, but it seemed like the best choice of the options available.|
|AQ Mail widget icon|
|Location-based search widget icon|
|Billboard widget icon (a premium member only widget)|
|Treasure hiker widget icon|
Posted by Ryan at 1:26 PM
Posted by Ryan at 5:50 PM
|I use a small saw to cut out this log that's fallen across the trail.|
|After our work was done for the day, I went for a paddle around|
Snoqualmie Lake in this little raft. I sooo want to buy one of these things!
(Completely off topic, though...)
Posted by Ryan at 6:27 PM
|Here's a photo I took on the Long Trail last autumn that I'm thinking|
about using in the calendar. But I'm willing to reconsider....
If you got some great shots, let me see them! =)
Posted by Ryan at 4:57 PM
It occurred to me one day that sometimes, seeing the list of finds and attempts on a letterbox is just too much information. I don't really care who the last 10 finders were or when the box was last found. But there are patterns in the finds and attempts on a box that can be useful to see. If the last 5 people who looked for a box succeeded in finding it, there's probably a strong probability that the box is still there. And likewise, if the last 5 people who looked for it couldn't find the box, there's a good chance that the letterbox really is missing.
A hard to find letterbox might have a lot of attempts interspersed with the finds, and a box that has been replaced after it went missing might have a long series of attempts followed by a long series of finds.
There's a lot of information you can glean from patterns, but the finds page is overloaded with too much information! Wouldn't it be nice just to see the pattern of finds and attempts? So that's what the F-summary does. The finds page is still there if you'd like to take a closer look at the who and when of the finds and attempts, but just by looking at the pattern, you might decide you don't even need that information. Or maybe you'll see something in the pattern that makes you want to check out the finds and attempts in more detail.
|An example of F-summaries on my Los Osos Oaks series.|
|F-summaries when attempts on the box are hidden show a hit-ratio instead.|
|When both finds and attempts are hidden, no F-summaries are displayed.|
Posted by Ryan at 9:49 AM
Posted by Ryan at 10:44 PM
While you're out letterboxing, start keeping track of the miles you log on Green Tortuga's new website!