|Careers Past, Present, and Future
| 12/18/11 ||
Well, it's been a while since I talked about my fondly-remembered run at Wendy's. Excuse me while I vomit.
With that out of the way... I started as crew in the Patchogue, NY Wendy's when I was in high school, and I left as a supervisor 6 1/2 years later (1999 - 2005). The departure happened to fall on my 23rd birthday (what a way to celebrate!), and it was only two days before I moved to Florida. At 6 1/2 years, that first job had the distinction of being my longest-running one.
My first TV job has today matched Wendy's for length of employment, snatching away it's record. Directing TV newscasts is quite different from running a restaurant shift, of course (better-different), and Lord willing I expect to keep my position at Waterman Broadcasting for years to come. In this industry, however, one is prone to move to bigger and bigger cities. I wonder from time to time if I might be passing up opportunities outside of Fort Myers.
I've chosen this occasion to mull over the career path ahead. The economy being bad might make things progress more slowly, but that wouldn't stop me from trying something I wanted. Fact is, the goals I set 15 years ago have shifted somewhat. The collapse of my TV DXing hobby knocked the wind out of my sails on this specific career path (it had originally been inspired by the hobby). I'm no longer fixated on local TV stations, which isn't a bad thing (it opens up cable outlets, internet, and many other places) but does put me back at square one. What dreams do I have now? How do I go from here to there? How fast?
The novel is the biggest new factor in all this. I'd like to continue writing and see how the Lord blesses me. I'm not planning to write full time, but Christian media is growing and I might get a work opportunity I didn't expect. I can take comfort knowing that my interests still remain in media, where my college degree applies. I still haven't finished paying for it, after all. :)
I figured when I moved that I would be a Floridian for life, and I really do like this state, but I didn't necessary plan to stay in Fort Myers. After six years, though, I'm still happy here. The job is good and, as a bachelor anyway, the pay will be comfy once the student loans are gone. I may yet go on to Tampa or Miami, but at the age of 29 I'm in no rush.
So in summary: I stay in TV to pay the bills while cultivating a career in Christian fiction, one not necessarily limited to novels.
Oh, and I never work in Wendy's again. Customer service is far behind me and I like it fine there. :D
The end of uhhh, The start of more / Wendy's Mania [6/16/05]
Job #5 is out... WHAT??? Job #6 is SOOOOOO IN! [8/4/05]
|Before I hit RESET
| 12/10/11 ||
I expect the promotion of Caffeine to continue for some time, but the more-intense editing stage is long over. Next month all of my energy will switch to my second novel, The Day The Rain Came Back, which had been thrown back to square one. However, there are two more Caffeine-related things I want to do while that book is still fresh in my mind.
Already in progress, I'm writing a sort of author commentary for Caffeine, a bit like the director commentary you'd get with a DVD. This is really for myself, lest the fog of time claim important details and I wonder "why'd I write the scene like that?" years down the road. As e-books advance, though, commentary may become a standard feature and I could then make my own public.
The second project is a film treatment entitled "Malvirai", based on Caffeine. My intention for this is a jumping-off point for interested filmmakers, since we never know when the Lord will give us opportunities. I've always thought the story would make a good film. Maybe I'll get to find out.
And finally, I encourage you to share your own experiences with the novel. Amazon is waiting. ManyBooks, GoodReads, Google, and the Internet Archive will take reviews, too.
Obligatory link to the Caffeine Page
|Mark II, Year I
| 12/09/11 ||
It's almost been a year now since the Audio/Video Component Archive returned to EG. I changed some of its rules, tweaked the format, and threw random snippets of downtime at building it up again. The results are very good and, importantly, web traffic is back up.
Besides adding new data (the old electronics catalogs bought from eBay were very helpful), I've been altering most of the listings to fit the new format. The number of "improved" listings has just reached 1,000 (out of 1,287). The new MKII format is more consistent and less crowded. It's also easier to link to my pages, which many users are doing, though I still need to improve the search features.
Work on the AVCA will continue next month. I plan to return to my old Kenwood-bias, set aside this year to work on Sony, Pioneer, etc listings, simply because Kenwood is the easiest brand to work with. Their's is the only company website to offer old PDF manuals and I'm concerned that won't last forever, so I've made it a goal to complete my Kenwood coverage early next year.
Comments? Suggestions? Have info to add or an old catalog to donate? Lemme know.
|DOOM is a Lie
| 11/15/11 ||
Today my "published" status is settled. Caffeine, through Splashdown Books , is now available in print through Amazon and Smashwords. Big thanks to Grace Bridges and everyone else who helped me reach this point. Praise the Lord.
If you are a reader of the e-book, or someone who'd been holding out for an old-fashioned paperback, you can now support this work and own your very own copy. Let's see if the CC-licensed version really will boost sales. I, of course, hope and pray for success beyond expectations. And a movie adaptation. Yeah. That would be pretty sweet. :)
As promised, the free non-commercial version has been updated and will continue to be available. Try before you buy, or read the whole thing and never buy... Don't mind me, I'll just be standing in the corner staring accusationally at you. LOL
The book's Facebook page has changed from "Caffeine IV" to "DOOM is a Lie", named for one of Aether's most important statements in the book (the religion of the self is a falsehood). The page's focus will change from manuscript development, which is done, to keeping track of the book's progress. The page will also inform users about future works, such as my planned second novel, The Day The Rain Came Back.
I've been a guest on one blog so far and have two more lined up over the next month. The book will also have a trailer on YouTube soon.
Now I leave you with a look back at Caffeine's progress, as documented on this blog. Cue the montage music:
Project Montclair [12/17/07]
Progress during March [03/28/08]
Progress during July [07/31/08]
One year ago today... [10/23/08]
Break. Over. [02/16/09]
Day 507: Finish Line [03/13/09]
Have your agent call my agent [03/24/09]
They say everyone has at least one book in 'em... [10/08/09]
You can help Caffeine get published! [11/04/09]
Caffeine in book form[at]. [01/12/10]
Why I spelled Caffeine with two C's [01/31/10]
ManyBooks reaches 1K [05/07/10]
November Traffic: Wow! [12/01/10]
Breaking News: Signed! [04/03/11]
Caffeine IV [04/05/11]
State of the Novel Address [09/21/11]
Rumble Strips [10/20/11]
| 10/20/11 ||
Even people who enjoy driving have to admit that road trips get a bit tedious. There are big, flat states. There are long highways with few offramps, where the only lights after dark are those of the other cars. Suddenly... BRRRRRR RRRRRR RRRRRR. You slow down as you approach some well-lit plaza: A marker of progress. A transition along your journey.
Probably a toll-booth. Thanks for visiting New Jersey, now pay for it. :)
I've been editing Caffeine for 2 1/2 years, driving a long, flat, tedious road where I go over the same text over and over and over and still manage not to catch certain things. Uggghh. The first draft became the second, the second became the third, and the third became 2009's e-book. Then I got a publisher and more sets of eyes, leading to more passes through the text. This week, I promoted that to-be-final fourth draft from "Beta Version" to "Release Candidate."
BRRRRRR RRRRRR RRRRRR
So begins my transition away from editing. It's not all final yet, but the border is within sight. "Welcome to the Promotional Stage" says the sign. "Speed Limit 55" says another. I'll ignore that one.
It'll be a cause for celebration when editing is finally behind me. I can finally get my head out of book one and give book two the attention it needs. I can also resume reading others' work, which I avoid while editing my own. Of course, promotions will be a whole different adventure, and we'll see where the highway leads then. The Splashdown release is planned for November 15, and the non-commercial version will be re-released the same day. Updates will be posted here on EGrabow HD and also on the Caffeine IV Facebook Page in the coming weeks.
Caffeine on Facebook
Caffeine on EGrabow HD
|A Break in the Weather
| 09/29/11 ||
Money's been tight for the last eight years. It began with major work on my first car, solidified with a troublesome second car, and has been maintained ever since by a magical income-expense gap, driven mainly by high student loan payments. Lord willing, the largest loan will be gone in 3 1/2 years and take my economic crisis with it. Praise the Lord, it seems I got a preview of what that will be like...
For reasons I haven't questioned, that loan gave me two months off from payments. In addition, I got a month's free rent when I leased my new place last month. This windfall brought my credit card balance down to a four year low of $750. Before 2005, I was one of those people who payed it off each month. It's a tradition I intend to bring back.
The balance is low enough to upgrade my Department-of-Homeland-Security-inspired color code system to yellow (green requires a $0 balance). I'll have to enjoy it while it lasts, though, because now the windfall is over. Back to the stormy financial weather: delayed payments, rising card balance, and an orange position on the chart. Still, it was nice to have a vacation from it.
|State of the Novel Address
| 09/21/11 ||
My fellow spec-fic fans,
Our industry stands at a crossroads today. All our paperbacks are being outsourced to Kindles, while phenomena such as NaNoWriMo are driving up the costs of getting noticed by publishers. If you want to resist the future, Congress, and if you care about my approval rating, you should pass this bill right away. <say optimistic thing> <say optimistic thing>
Oops... channeled Obama for a minute there...
I again find myself in the process of editing my novel Caffeine. This was an expected step before publication, and much anticipated because I wasn't doing it myself anymore. Through the month of October every sliver of free time will go toward the final edits. And I do mean final. With Splashdown's seal of approval the writing part of my brain finally moves on to the second book. If future publishers talk about edits, I'll just tell 'em the author's dead. ;)
I'm hoping to have the beta Fourth Draft done in time for
That Day, Sep 30, the second anniversary of Caffeine's Third Draft being completed (which became the book's first release two weeks later). As it was two years ago, the pressure is on to get the manuscript as tight as I can now. As it was two years ago, I'm surprised at some of the typos and things which have slipped by to this point, and cringe at the thought of what might still be slipping by. "that that"? Really? Three times?
BTW, in memory of all the occurrences of the word "that" which have been cut in the Fourth Draft, I've officially added a strikethrough to the holiday name,
Besides the that issue, I'm also taking this opportunity to address the perception that my book is long (though I still disagree). The word count is dropping and that can't hurt: I'm projecting this draft will dip below the important 120K line. There is also toying with the book structure. I can't split up chapters and I decided against getting rid of the intros for them, but one trick I might pull is "Part One. Part Two. Part Three." The book is already divided this way, I've just omitted them in previous releases. Longer works (which 120K appears to be by 21st century standards!) are commonly formatted this way, making them seem like a series of short books in one volume. Caffeine's divisions are already there, might as well use them.
Part I = Chapters 1-5
Part II = Chapters 6-11
Part III = Chapters 12-17
For up-to-the-minute news on Caffeine's Splashdown release and Best Seller status, I invite you to "like" its Facebook Page, Caffeine IV .
| 08/30/11 ||
The day of home ownership has finally arrived... is what I would say if I had enough in the bank to meet closing costs. Alas, student loans continue to weaken the local economy (my local pocket) and ownership is out of reach for the moment.
The day of apartment rentership has finally arrived... and this is still a landmark. First lease. First security deposit (and incentive to reduce the number of thumbtacks I put in the walls, not an easy task LOL). Oh yes, and no roommate. No one turning down the thermostat or insisting we pay for cable TV. No one stumbling on my plans for world domination and using my death laser to cook French-Bread Pizza. The place is all mine, mwu ha ha ha ha ha!
The need to move everything I own (a mercifully short distance) put the brakes on certain projects. Progress on the Audio/Video Component Archive stalled when I packed up its source materials, and work editing my novel needed to take a week off. These are resuming, with the novel taking top priority. To think: In only two months I can finally stamp "NO MORE EDITING. EVER." on the book and move on with my career.
Somewhere in these projects will be another "clean out what I don't need anymore" session. After all my efforts in 2010... still too much stuff needed to be hauled last week.
|Back in the freezer
| 07/31/11 ||
This is a follow-up to my last post: "Head, Meet Wall" . A few weeks ago, I decided that my second novel needed a do-over, tossing out much of my work for The Day The Rain Came Back. I've since reclaimed a high degree of confidence in the second novel, which now has a very different storyline but is built around similar concepts. It isn't far from re-entering the writing stage - albeit back at chapter 1.
Unfortunately, August is becoming pretty unfavorable to my schedule. I'm preparing to move and also preparing for Caffeine's release, which involves approving/rejecting edits, reading cover-to-cover a few more times (ahhh!) and putting together related materials. There is also a certain literary sensitivity (yeah, I just came up with that) between the two manuscripts... or to sound even geekier, my "optimization" to a given work. Working on DRCB makes me less confident in editing Caffeine. Working on DRCB means I'm no longer in Brandon Dauphin's head, no longer in Caffeine mode. Lest I botch Caffeine in editing I have decided to wait before I go further with DRCB.
So my work from the last three weeks has basically been packed up and shoved in the freezer. I'm bummed by the inability to get to work on it now, but happy that (I pray) I solved the problem DRCB had before, so now it's ready to go when I am. With God's blessing, the first novel will do well and spur me on to write the second, which I should be able to thaw out later this year.
Link to Caffeine Page
Link to The Day The Rain Came Back
|Head, Meet Wall
| 07/16/11 ||
As novel #1 enters the home stretch to publication, novel #2 is still making its slow journey toward "becoming a thing." The Day The Rain Came Back (DRCB) is an almost two year-old project now and it hasn't progressed like I'd hoped. The first storyline I developed didn't pan out, and the second entered the writing stage but stalled. Throwing some vacation time at it this week was supposed to get DRCB back into gear, but I ended up stamping "meh" on what I had so far and declaring it unworkable.
I should really stick to using my vacation time for road trips.
Very little has been released about DRCB and I felt like writing this update so everyone would know that it's still in progress. I'm still enthusiastic about the core concepts, the original ideas, behind the book and that I can glorify God with writing. But... I'm also not interested in writing mediocre work (people write enough of that already), and I've decided that I'd rather write 5 novels I can be proud of in my lifetime than 50 lukeworm, forgettable ones, even if money or publicity favors the latter.
So the bulk of my vacation went to answering a pressing question: "Why was Caffeine such a smooth process and DRCB so rough?" The answer I arrived at was that Caffeine started with a core idea (computer virus seeks meaning of life, captures human as a way to get answer), which every element of the story tied directly or indirectly back to. DRCB on the other hand did not have a unifying concept. I created a setting and decided what would happen in it, over-engineering the story if you will. The result was a story that didn't really come off the page, that wasn't real. I looked for what could be DRCB's unifying concept and re-envisioned the story from there, finding a completely different novel emerge... another sign that I'd been writing myself into a dead-end before.
Tomorrow I'll be typing the third outline, which so far resembles the feel Caffeine's had at this early stage (considering how Caffeine ended up, this is good). I consider all this a reminder that I'm still learning how to write, and that learning is a lifelong process.
Lord willing, I'll have a second work to roll out as Caffeine reaches its peak. Just as before, I intend to write the best work I can... work that leaves an impact on the reader.
Follow along on the yet-undeveloped The Day The Rain Came Back page .
|From Beta to Blu-ray
| 05/18/11 ||
With all the progress I've made on the Audio/Video Component Archive in the last few months (thanks to the use of my lunch hours to enter data for it), I've decided to make a few refinements to its plan.
The original 2000 plan was pretty open-ended: aside from TV monitors, speakers, and anything before 1970, virtually any equipment could get a listing. The result, as late as 2008, was a sparsely populated database that mostly featured 1994-1997 Kenwood stuff (my brand of choice at the time). The info-per-listing was increased in 2006 (when Pinocchio became a real database), but the result was still pretty inconsistent and the listings over a decade old.
Digging out the old data four months ago, I decided to impose some new limits: dates between 1978 and 2009, fewer brands, no portables, etc. I set about increasing the listings within the new limits and improving consistency between the listings. I even started doing something considered long ago: looking for vintage Crutchfield catalogs on eBay. So far I've bought four, and you can see the effect just one has had on the 1987 listings .
Now I've refined the AVCA coverage goal to span "From Beta to Blu-ray", or 1975 to 2008 (when Blu-ray won the HD format war). Home Audio will keep the current 1978 starting date, and Car Audio will move later to 1982, both ending in 2008 along with the Video listings. I've also removed Denon video equipment and Technics (Panasonic) audio equipment. All the effected listings are old ones I haven't gotten to yet and don't mind deleting, except for one 2009 listing , which I'll grandfather in. Finally, minor categories ("Home Radio Tuners" for instance) will be greatly diminished, since the major ones ("Home Receivers", which have tuners built-in) represent tech trends pretty well on their own. I don't need to spend time being redundant.
I won't say the AVCA will stay within these boundaries forever, of course, but it'll be a while (even at Crutchfield-assisted speed) before I reach them. For the moment, I have little interest in going beyond 2008 to the modern world of 3D/HDMI/Dolby Pro Logic-number-letter everything, where its hard to tell the line between computer and home theater equipment. Not that these trends are bad in my eyes, it's just that the A/V world seems to be losing some distinction... and my interest fading with it. Meh, we'll see.
The Features/Specs info has been made more consistent these past few months (to enhance searching), and I'll be revising their layout again in the near future. I may also be creating a "Catalog View" and finding new ways to make the display the data and interact with it, cause, you know, I'm a geek.
| 04/22/11 ||
This month has seen the greatest transformation in my living arrangements in six years. 2005 was the year I stopped living with either of my parents and began doing the roommate thing. 2011 is the year that that ended, and now I have the place all to myself... until I move into a one-bedroom apartment anyway.
Minor detail... the bills aren't split anymore and I have to make some cuts to stay afloat. The first cut: Cable TV. If you're a regular visitor to this website you know I'm not afraid of using an antenna (for local stations or for Texas!), but of course cable is not only common but considered essential by many people, including my departing roommate. I had the benefit of growing up without cable and have no fear of rabbit ears, but it'll still be a transition. For thirteen years I've lived with A/B switches on my TVs: "A" will still have a half-dozen off-air stations, but "B" will be empty.
Then I look at what Comcast was charging for "B" and immediately feel better. I mean... Come on!
The second cut might've gotten a shrug and a good luck up in New York, but the thought of going through a Florida summer with no air conditioning is earning me some funny stares. While I reserve the right to use it when I'm working on my book (since being hot/sweaty can be distracting), TV-watching, sleeping, and general lounging around the condo will be supported only by fans. Not several fans at once. Not one fan set on high 24/7. Just enough to keep the air moving. I've already slept through a few hot nights this way and it's not so bad.
Shower length, refridgerator and dryer use are also being curtailed to keep the bill down. Just three and a half more years until the student loans are paid and I can keep ice cream in the house again!
| 04/05/11 ||
Writing a novel is a ton of work. Among this work is reading it back to yourself dozens of times (is it worded right? where are the typos? how can this be stronger?), so that by the end of a year+ the words are a soup flying around in your head 24/7. You almost promise yourself you'll never read it again... but then you do. (oh no... missed typos!)
I recently gave my book its first cover-to-cover read in over a year. I still feel it has great potential. Fortunately, so did Grace Bridges from Splashdown Books, who I signed with over the weekend. Lord willing, Caffeine will go into print sometime this fall.
Between myself and the publisher, Caffeine will now see some edits. The story will not fundamentally change, but there are little things that could be rewritten... a sentence here... a paragraph there. Now, with the help of other writers, the fourth version (IV) of my manuscript can be made stronger. (The 2009 e-book is based on the third version, for which I was the only editor.)
My own plans (subject to change) include a new cover and bonus material for the commercial version, such as a glossary for what "statick" and "wheeled" mean anyway (darned kids and their 22nd century slang! *shakes hover-cane*). The non-commercial version will be re-released to reflect changes in the story and tell readers how to buy a print copy, if they want to. Existing e-books, posted on other websites under the Creative Commons license, will not be effected.
If you haven't read Caffeine, you can download it now . And please let me know what you think. I've started a Facebook Page for this project: "Caffeine IV" . By liking this page, you can receive updates about Caffeine's print debut and help me improve the final, definitive version of Caffeine.
|Breaking News: Signed!
| 04/03/11 ||
Darn, producer didn't file the open! Take camera 3! Center up! Cue! Cue! Is he gonna read the script or not?
This just in to the egrabow.com newsroom. Ryan Grabow has signed with Splashdown Books to publish his first novel, Caffeine. Splashdown books is a small publisher recently started in New Zealand, specializing in Science Fiction which carries a Christian message.
Keep watching egrabow.com for details on this breaking story.
</third person> </feeling like I'm at work>
|Everywhere 'ya Look II
| 03/19/11 ||
Two months after bringing back the Audio/Video Component Archive , I'm pleased to announce that egrabow.com's numbers are on their way up again. The move was a shameless attempt to boost my site rating and, in turn, benefit my novel by making it more search engine friendly. The AVCA listings are growing at a steady rate too, since I decided to use my reclaimed break time at work (reclaimed from fast food restaurants) to work on it. The more listings, the more traffic.
Caffeine's traffic shot up in November as I had the book listed on more sites and, though it fell back to Earth shortly after, it remains well above its pre-November level. Caffeine is also available on Google, ManyBooks, Scribd, and other sites... where traffic has been steady. As of now, Caffeine has had more than 9,000 views/downloads.
There has been movement regarding a publisher. I hope to announce something soon. :)
Wake Up! Pro , my alarm clock software, was leading the pack until Caffeine's November boost. Version 2.5 is over 3 years old and downloads have been slowly declining. It's easy to picture myself in some parallel universe improving and releasing new versions of it: making a Windows 7 version, OS X version, Linux, etc., but here factors haven't quite lined up that way. With attention gone to other projects, I'm considering removing WUP this fall. The torch can always be carried on by another, of course, because the GNU license is good like that.
As far as website resources go, I'll count the videos I have posted on YouTube, linked to my Video Page . Behind The Static 2: Longer, Creepier, Uncut is well in the lead at 3,442 views. I'm glad I made the move of posting them on YouTube, it has definitely boosted their visibility.
"Everywhere 'ya Look" is the slogan I adopted for egrabow.com in 2006, and it becomes truer every day. Everywhere 'ya look my work is swarming the internet. Though there are no plans for new video or software projects, Caffeine is a very active project, and Lord willing my first novel will be joined by a second, third, etc. The re-established AVCA will also become more visible. In December 2008 it peaked at about 12K visits, numbers which may return by the end of the year.
If you're not familiar with the resources on egrabow.com, the Traffic Page is a good place to start!
|Instant Traffic... Just Add AVCA!
| 02/03/11 ||
Two weeks ago, the Audio/Video Component Archive returned to EGrabow.com. The search engines were quick to scan it and traffic immediately began climbing. Although this started as a shameless traffic grab - to stop EG's site ranking from slipping and thus boost the visibility of my novel - I admit that I enjoyed bringing it back. Of course, with great archive comes great responsibility... my perfectionism has been wreaking havoc on me, pointing out the many coverage gaps in the database, listings that need improvement, etc. Much work had been done in 2007, which I then failed to back up. **face palm** Regardless of listing-quality, people who search for the Sony or Kenwood Receivers of yesteryear are being drawn to this site. I can probably expect the "do you sell the manual for this?" e-mails to resume pretty soon.
Alas, the time has come to tear myself away from this project to focus on another. You know, that book thing I was writing. The second one. Yeah... The Day The Rain Came Back.
I stalled out in the fifth chapter and am deciding whether to continue from there or start doing revisions to the top. A month from now I'll have a short vacation, slated as quality writing time, so things will be moving forward again soon. The yet-unsold first novel, Caffeine, needs its attention as well. I pray to see some progress there, and that it'll spur me on with the second novel.
As for the AVCA, I'll be keeping some attention on it, as each listing I add (or re-add **face palm**) raises EG's traffic a little more.
| 01/21/11 ||
This week, with more enthusiasm than expected, I relaunched my
Component Archive on
egrabow.com. Beyond merely putting it back up and watching site traffic
increase, I've begun adding data to it too: a two-week long push to add
recent car audio models (which
should get the best traffic). I began with the CD head units, getting
up to 2001 before going back to focus on the cassette models (not so
numerous today as in 1995!). Listed with the cassette models were
listed Sony's Minidisc head units. I felt nostalgic and went to check
up on the old MD format... and I received a pointed reminder of why I
created the AVCA in the first place.
began building my home stereo just as Minidisc was coming down into my
price range. The format caught my interest and I got a Sony MDS-JE530
as a Christmas present, making me the only person I knew to own his own
MD recorder... a distinction I never lost. Every radio station I worked
at had Minidisc, though, and it became my format of choice when I did
my own show in college. I still have the deck next to my computer, used
mostly for my personal music collection.
What I discovered today was that, when I wasn't looking,
Minidisc went from an obscure format to a dead one. After a decade of
lowering prices and better availability, the format being picked up by
brands other than Sony, the weaker MD lost market to the same MP3's
that are killing the CD format. Sony offered a single music-and-data
model until recently, and now there isn't even that. Am I surprised?
No. Am I disappointed? Not really. I guess I'm more excited in a
When I brought the AVCA back this week, I decided to limit
development to the 1978-2009 model years. This range accomodates the
rise and fall of the Betamax, VHS, LaserDisc, the experiments with DCC,
DAT, and countless other formats, the rise of DVD, the war between
HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, and the decline of the CD as more equipment
embraced MP3 technology. The MiniDisc now fits neatly into this scheme,
as it wasn't introduced until 1992, around where my best data sources
kick in, and had sunset by 2009. I'm optimistic that I can chronicle
the entire history of the format without having to guess things and put
??? marks everywhere.
I'll record a moment of zero-bit silence for Minidisc. The
recorder I have still works and I'll still find uses for it, but in the
age it was destined to become pushed out of a shrinking market... we're
all listening to MP3's now anyway.
|The AVCA makes a comeback
| 01/07/11 ||
the longest running and most popular feature of
egrabow.com. The Audio/Video Component Archive (AVCA) was a database I
started in 2000 to chronicle, well, the evolution of home theater. Back
in the 90's, I watched DVD replace LaserDisc and VHS. 1996's
top-of-the-line features became 1998's mid-line features and 2000's
entry-level. Prices went down as features and versatility went up. By
2000, 1995's Crutchfield catalog felt older than it's date suggested,
the vast majority of listed products long gone from shelves, model
stricken from manufacturer's websites, information on them nowhere to
This was before Wikipedia
The AVCA was originally a listing of VCR models, A/V
Receivers, etc. from 1996/1997. My interest in it dived during college,
only to be revived in 2006, when the AVCA was reborn as a MySQL
database. This made for great practice leading up EG2007, when this
entire website began to run on PHP and MySQL, and in my surge of
enthusiasm I expanded the listings rapidly for about a year. Though the
expansion was followed by an increase of traffic, my database was no
longer the only information source on the internet and my focus was
moving toward fiction writing. The AVCA was finally culled with the
launch of "EGrabow
HD" in 2009, along with the VHF TV Logo Gallery, another classic
feature of egrabow.com.
Though I anticipated a drop in traffic, the drop ended up
being much bigger than thought. Wake Up!
Pro was the
magnet left until Caffeine was published, hampered by my decision to
focus on writing fiction rather than software. Now, Wake Up! Pro hasn't
seen an update in three years and its traffic is declining. Caffeine ,
though doing well, hasn't yet made up for it.
egrabow.com is the main avenue of promoting my book, and I
should try to keep my site ranking up, I've decided to bring the
popular AVCA back. Much of my old source material is gone, but
thankfully I still have the Crutchfield catalogs and Consumer Reports
guides that most of the data came from. I also still have the SQL and
PHP files, so the database as it existed in
2008 can be easily restored.
I'm not willing to throw much time into the AVCA, naturally;
this is all about raising the
site's traffic; but I admit that I'll enjoy having it back. In spite of
my lower level of commitment, I've decided that the AVCA will be a
full-fledged, permanent part of egrabow.com, adapted to work with
version 28. For the sake of my sanity, there will be no listings later
than the 2009 model year. I also won't add any new brands or
categories, or go through much
trouble looking for new data sources.
I hope to have it up and running again in a couple of weeks.
| 01/01/11 ||
I'd like to take a moment to thank egrabow.com's visitors, those reading my blog posts, reading the site's pages, downloading its resources, linking to it and otherwise driving up traffic. Ten years ago today, I bought my first domain name, giving myself only a few hours to decide what should come before the ".com". (I wanted the binary-ish launch date: 01/01/01) "EGrabow" was completely original, but, because of you, over ten years it came to mean so much.
Also on that day in 2001:
- I was in my freshman year of college
- Bill Clinton was president (for a few more weeks)
- Windows XP and Mac OS X were in beta testing
- Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter wouldn't exist for several years
- I was on dial-up, and so were most of us.
- Netscape was fading away, Firefox hadn't yet come. Internet Explorer was claiming over 80% of users.
- Internet Explorer 5, to be specific.
- what else... ah... gas was $1.38 a gallon.
In the eons since then, egrabow.com has grown into one of the premiere sites of the internet (as far as its webmaster is concerned). Many resources have been hosted here, including the Audio/Video Component Archive, the Logo Gallery, software I created such as Wake Up Pro , and of course, that novel thing I wrote . Until this year, it was a tradition for me to roll out a new version of egrabow.com on January 1st. For reasons explained here , though, 2010's version 28 will continue into 2011.
Well, okay. I decided to do something. The new smartphone presented me with the idea to give EG a mobile site, currently located at egrabow.com/m . Not much is there yet, but I expect that to change over the course of this new year. Trying new stuff is what I've been doing here for 10 years, after all, and I'm eager to see what I pull off in the next 10.
Website History 1999-2006
Website History 2007-2010