So, our Trato has indeed grown into that titanic digihunk I predicted it would, but it’s actually gotten very lithe over time.
At origin, the whole clunky-ass intranet thing was a good joke, but I’m very pleased to announce that it (along with its registration process, forums, profiles, groups, etc) has been destroyed, forever. The loss of its dead weight coupled with a near site-wide elimination of the sidebar has reduced the net to less than half its original loading time.
Also contributing to this newfound immediacy in a big way is the visual style we devised in November of last year, which we like to call Pithed. Like a sort of cyber blackout poetry, it involves compressing the shit out of ultra high-dimension images upon render so that they look beautifully and intentionally pixelized (as opposed to just plain poor quality) at ludicrously tiny file sizes.
For example, this featured image I took at MAGFest is 4672 x 2628 — more than large enough to be malleable for the Extranet’s various display formats, yet the JPEG, itself is only 120 kb in size, which allows for even the longest-winded, most intricately visual-laden features to be briskly rendered in less-than-ideal network situations.
Of course, it wouldn’t make sense for us to sacrifice our reading experience to page load times — that’s what old new media is for — but I think Pithing will continue to have a smoothing effect on your digital thumbing, along with its resulting lack of caching necessity. In fact, there was actually a significant increase in overall site speed when I disabled it to live-edit something a few weeks back. (Remind me to buy a 10-gallon hat for such occasions.) Until a more tailored professional solution becomes available, the Extranet will remain live and uncached.
Out of all forms of human communication, the comic format has always been the most alien to me, by far. When attempting to absorb a comic book — print or digital — I’ve never been able to escape my utter ineptitude. (I’m sure I’ll be able to improve after some experience, one day, but for now, the fact is inconsequential.)
In the case of Ben’s Harvey T. Halloway, I was provided an enthralling new challenge just in the nick of time. When he originally submitted Page 1, I simply chucked most of the raw image on the homepage. Apparently, some mobile browsers do not allow pinch-to-zoom in that format, and ya can’t just take every panel in at once on a smaller screen.
The most reasonable, short-term solution I could come up with was to install Harvey on its own instance. I pulverized a free theme’s CSS (which is why navigation appears quite glitchy, at the moment,) and mustered a bare-bones platform that seems to function adequately for the time being. The Halloway section on the Net is still the best way to browse and share pages, though. (The entries are simple redirects.)
If you’re an experienced consumer and you’ve got the time to send your feedback, please do.
My early focus on user account registration exemplifies how disturbingly profound my naivety was regarding the state of the internet in 2017. I knew enough to avoid anti-open web CMSs like Medium or Tumblr, and to foresee a universal re-analysis of where the fuck our words go, (and I just needed to play around again,) but I had no idea how many brilliant internal communication solutions were available.
Nor did I realize the extent of the noise which one is now confronted with when attempting to create a media company. A primary quandary all along has been sorting between what is expected (of a digital magazine/blog/news site,) and what makes sense. It’s a particularly essential one — the answer will likely decide the relevancy of our existence.
For instance, Discord is basically capable of everything that any/all communications services have ever offered, yet even the most modern publications are still using Slack, internally, which is simply unnecessary. Most of the web looks like shit, including those few publications with way too much money to concede to fucking mobile versions of their sites and their readership’s Facebook habit, while others have stooped to just treating their audience like five-year-olds.
If Extratone was subject to this cowardice, we’d probably have a significantly greater revenue stream by now, but we wouldn’t be making anything worthwhile. It’d be senseless.
Though it’s been sporadic — and much too male — there are people visiting this website. We’ve gotten some mud on the tires, and the experience has suggested that non-contributor user accounts are senseless. There’s no reason for you to worry about another set of credentials — another opportunity to put your information at risk, or for me to have to worry about putting it at risk.
As such, I have disabled account creation, removed the ✒️ drop-down menu from Meta, and finally disabled comments, site-wide.
Methods of engagement with us still abound, and would-be contributors can simply email me to have their account made. It’s a lot simpler this way.