Progress is my middle name, coaster priorities

posted by Jeff | Sunday, April 1, 2012, 11:42 PM | comments: 2

I managed to get a lot done on my CoasterBuzz vNext project this weekend, thanks in large part to Diana doing a lot of block-and-tackle with Simon. I was also up very late last night.

At this point, I'm nearly done with all of the boring rewrite stuff, eliminating the crusties that date back almost ten years. I haven't much enjoyed it. On one hand, there's the satisfaction that the re-do requires almost half of the code as the original, but on the other hand, most of it just hasn't been that interesting. I'm trying to do more stuff the right way, so when the next thing to plug it all into comes in ten years, it doesn't require so much from-scratch work.

Now I think I can concentrate more on fun stuff around the front-end design of the thing. I don't think I'll ship with even a fraction of the stuff I'd like to, but at least I'll have a clean slate to work from. Seriously, I can't believe I got paid in this line of work back in 2003. Progress has been made.

One of the things that strikes me as very different, particularly compared to the quasi-rewrite I did in 2008, is how disconnected I feel from the subject matter. As spring starts to creep in, I'm not even able to tell you where all of the new rides are this year. This has been almost a theme for me and my podcasting pals (if that weren't obvious by the fact that we haven't done a show since November). Heck, Gonch didn't go to a single park last year, and didn't feel all that bad about it.

For me, there are a lot of obvious shifts in priorities. Living in the Pacific Northwest for two years changed things, too. I spend a lot of time thinking about being a dad and a husband. In that sense, CoasterBuzz has in many ways become less about coasters for me, and more about acting as a lab to tryout technology that I wouldn't ordinarily get to use in most day jobs. I used to be all about going to IAAPA every year and trying to go to every media day I could, but now it's more about keeping the lights on for the site.

Granted, a lot of the enthusiasm is coming back to me, especially living where I can drive to stuff again, but the context is so different. Now I think about riding stuff with Simon for the first time, and reconnecting with friends, many of whom are experiencing similar adventures in parenthood. The site and its community tend to exist in a very different context, though I've noticed that when you bring up family stuff, the folks with families tend to participate more.

I tend to do self-check-ins now and then with things I do, to evaluate whether or not they still serve me. These sites still do, just in ways that are different today. They're surprisingly useful in the professional sense, again, because they're a lab where I'm free to try anything. It's also good to show people in an interview that you've been at something for a dozen years or so, and you even make a little money on the side doing it. There's a social benefit to it as well, though the friendships I've made over the years, both in the industry and out, would likely persist without the site.

Hopefully I can get this project wrapped up in the next few weeks, because there are other things I want to do. I won't ship it with everything I originally planned, but hopefully there will be a few new things that capture the members' interest. The new forum version alone is a pretty big feature.


Michael Roberts

April 2, 2012, 12:49 PM #

That's awesome that, while your relationship with the sites has changed over the years, you still find value in the endeavor. And I totally relate to how becoming a parent transforms both the experiences and the expectations of going to parks.

So can we expect any of the cool features from MouseZoom in the new version?


April 2, 2012, 2:49 PM #

The forums, of course... plus other stuff. :)

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