GPF News Archive

First Post Previous Post Next Post Latest Post March 26, 2001


The following news item stems from way back before we started keeping the News Archive (January 2004) and was resurrected from the Wayback Machine by showler from the forums. Because of its age, many of the links may no longer have relevance, but we thought it would be interesting to include it here in the Archive for nostalgia's sake. Also note that there may well have been many news items between this one and the items archived around it, but these are lost to history. At any rate, this provides an interesting glimpse back at the comic and the site, providing us a snapshot of what the comic was like "back in the day" before many of you first discovered it.

Another Quick Update: I'm still digging myself out from under the load of e-mail, but I think I'm keeping reasonably up-to-date with them, usually responding within 24 hours. Thanks again to everyone's e-mailed their support these past several days. I try to respond to everyone, so please be patient with me as I continue to wade through.

On a side note, an overwhelming majority of you have responded favorably to GPF moving to the PNG image format. In fact, I was seriously considering running an experiment this week by starting to run the strip in PNG this week. However, I did receive a few objections from some of you with older browsers that can't display PNG. Ergo, I'm holding off on PNGs for the moment. I still want to move that direction, so I'll probably run a site poll very soon to find out exactly how many of you can't see PNGs and how many of you can. When it comes out, please help out by responding to it. Fortunately, GPF is one of the more efficient Keenspot sites, so even our GIFs are about as small as they get without compromising too much quality. More later as this develops....

Quick Update: Whoa, Nelly! I asked for your comments, and I sure as heck got them! Thanks for the support, gang! I've received so much mail because of yesterday's news update, I'll be swamped for a day or two. So please forgive me if it takes a while to respond. To add to the delay, I have a major world-wide deployment of a new system today at my day job, so I won't be online much. I promise I'll reply ASAP. Thanks a million, guys!

Greetings, gang. There's a number of really important stuff going on this week that I want to make you aware of. Forgive me if I'm a little somber today; much of the news is good, but some is a little discouraging. Don't worry... nothing is terribly wrong.

First, the good stuff. Thanks to everyone at Technicon for the wonderful, awesome time I had there. It was a completely different experience from Dragon*Con, where I felt like just another face in a very large crowd. I can't describe the excitement and pleasure I took from this experience... but, by golly, I'm going to try. :) I'm currently working on the official "Technicon Report," but it may be a few more days before it's finished. (I have a major world-wide deployment this week at my day job, so I'm rather busy at the moment.) But I have uploaded most of the pictures I took this weekend, which you can find at the Technicon 18 Slide Show. (Now JavaScript free! Honest!) I'll let you guys know ASAP when the full report is ready.

Also, in case you missed it earlier... I'm an uncle! Here is a picture of me with my new nephew, Matthew. Cute little booger, ain't he? He's the one covered in drool. Noooo... the little one covered in drool.

Another "in case you missed it": Plan Nine is holding a GPF special this month and this month only. If you order both GPF books at the same time, then the basic shipping is free. (If you choose faster or international shipping, then the shipping costs are minus the basic shipping fees.) In addition (and here's the clincher)... I will personally sign all these books! That's right, order both GPF books this month, and you'll get them signed by me. How's them apples? :)

The Details: Go to Plan Nine and order both GPF books. Then, in the comments section of the form, enter the text "Send me the GPF special". If you'd like my signature personalized (say, "To Bob, Best Wishes, Jeff"), then make a note of that too. Then submit the form as usual. The shipping charges will be calculated and will show up on the base form, but the Plan Nine folks will remove those charges when they process the order.

Now for the bad news. Keenspot is experiencing some difficult growing pains very recently. Its popularity has grown exponentially, which is awesome and exciting. But that also means that its bandwidth has grown exponentially, and with advertising rates dropping like nobody's business, that means we're in a financial crunch. The Keenspot Cabal has assured all of us this is most likely a temporary problem, and they're currently working very diligently to head off more severe problems. Unfortunately, all Keenspotters must chip in to lessen the burden on our purse strings.

Here at GPF, we're doing our best to help out. Our first step is to temporarily close certain sections of the site. These sections are being close primarily because their bandwidth-to-ad-view ratio is not cost effective. For example, Gandalf's Quest, our online adventure game, displays no banner ads at all during the course of actually playing the game. This means over 1MB of data might be transferred when someone plays this game, without any form of compensation to Keenspot. Other sections of the site are not quite as bad, but they too present a problem. When the bandwidth-to-ad-view ratio becomes out of proportion, we pay more for bandwidth than our ad revenue can support.

Therefore, until further notice, the following sections of the GPF site will be closed: all Geeky Games, the Downloads section, and the Fun Stuff section (art gallery, fan art, etc.). For Gandalf's Quest, a utility has been created to extend the expiration time of your save games so they won't be lost. You can find that on the GQ main page (follow the link).

Our next move will be closely examine our archives and see what can be done there. For the most part, the GIF images in our archive are about as small as they're going to get without severely destroying the images' quality. This, in general, is a good thing; GPF is one of Keenspot's more efficient sites. However, we'll be looking into ways to shave some kilobytes here and there. One possibility will be to convert the archived strips to PNG; although our initial tests have only saved a few kilobytes per strip, those kilobytes do add up over time. (I've also been exploring a few utilities for crunching PNGs even smaller, so we'll see how that goes.) Very soon, I want to run a quick test to see how many of you can actually see PNGs with your Web browsers, so watch for that in the near future.

Other things might be changing as well. One likelihood is the return of the [shudder] dreaded pop-up ads. I hate those. You hate those. But, by golly, they pay a lot more than regular old banner ads do. We might also look into sneaking in smaller ads, or even full-page ads. While I'm certainly not crazy about any of these ideas, I'm also looking at shrinking Keenspot paychecks, or none at all. You can take a look at what ad services Keenspot is considering in the Keenspot Media Kit.

Most importantly, I can really use your ideas. Give me your thoughts on these things. Do you hate pop-up ads with a passion? Or could you tolerate them if it meant GPF's survival depended on it? What about the full-page ads? What about PNGs? Does your browser display them? Feel free to drop me a line to tell me what you think. I've always valued your input, and GPF certainly wouldn't be here without each and every one of you.

And now, the (un)usual miscellaneous stuff:

  • Don't forget to check out my interview in this month's iss ue of Sequential Tart. It's tres nifty!
  • Also make sure to check out the Sluggy Freelance Charity Raffle, which is ending very soon. Why should you check it out? Because if you enter, you could win some great GPF stuff! That's why!
  • We're on our way to Comic-Con San Diego! For details, check out the Shows & Cons page.
  • Don't forget that both of our GPF books are out there, selling like hotcakes, at Plan Nine. You can also get the Plan Nine 2000 Christmas Annual, which is finally on sale.
  • Are you a Perl hacker with a little free time? Then help out the KBB crew! A group of Keenspot fans (including some loyal Faulties) are fed up with the unreliable, buggy Ultimate Bulletin Board (UBB) scripts that Keenspot uses for it's message boards, and they're taking matters into their own hands. If you have some Perl knowledge and want to help out, check out the Keen Bulletin Board home page for more information.
  • Make sure to sign up for the Plan Nine mailing list to pick up special discounts and exclusive deals on Plan Nine titles (including GPF books and (potentially) other merchandise).
  • More Plan Nine news: Make sure to check out the affiliate program, where you can earn a 3% commission for sending people to Plan Nine if they buy our books. Support GPF and make some extra cash! How can you go wrong with that?
  • As always, feel free to let me know what you think of the site and the strip either through the GPF Message Boards, our new IRC channel, or drop me a line. They'll all work eventually, I promise.

Thanks, as always, for listening to me ramble, guys....

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