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Old 04-01-2018, 07:57 PM
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Default Five-Minute Anbar!

Big news! Today is the launch of our biggest subsite yet! Like, literally biggest. Huge! Bigger than the void between galaxies!

A while ago, Excelsior told the story of the starship Anbar, which was lost for 59 years outside the Galactic Barrier. As a joke, they framed the relevant episode ("Sunset") as Season 59, Episode 12 of an actual Anbar series. This has confused and intrigued fans who didn't get the joke ever since (much like April Fool's jokes often have for 5MV's readers in the past, though I'm not sure why that comparison came to mind).

But now the Anbar series is real! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story! I have painstakingly reconstructed all 708 episodes, then reduced them to fivers in my usual style! Behold Five-Minute Anbar!

Subsite code: 5M0, because they're in the Big Empty and fighting aliens called the Zero, and anyway I've always wanted an excuse to use that one. Subsite colour: dark! Very very dark! Almost too dark to see! Because there's nothing outside the galaxy! Nothing to do! Nothing to explore! Except alien parasites that want to kill you! Taste the excitement!

(For any further questions, please refer to the FAQ.)
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[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction
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Old 04-01-2018, 08:21 PM
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you are a delight, Zeke. Never change. And happy April Fool's!
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Old 04-01-2018, 08:52 PM
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How exciting, one more "just passing through to confirm that I saw a post but have nothing to contribute" stamp on my card and I can trade it in for a Quark's Mug!
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Sa'ar Chasm on the 5M.net forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

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Old 04-01-2018, 09:14 PM
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(Nobody tell him they don't take that card anymore. I wanna see the look on his face when he tries to redeem it.)
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FiveMinute.net: because stuff is long and life is short

[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:36 PM
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My goodness.
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Yup

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Old 04-01-2018, 10:05 PM
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I miss stamp cards. My local thrift store has them once in awhile, but my family has never spent enough in the applicable period to earn anything.

The real fun was when there were still bakery outlets around that had them. I miss bakery outlets.
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Zeke: It comes nateurally to him.

mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really -- it's just a bad idea.

Sa'ar Chasm on the 5M.net forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Crow T. Robot: Oh, stop pretending there's a plot. Don't cheapen yourself further.
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Old 04-02-2018, 07:14 AM
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This is just as I always imagined it.

I love the title callbacks in some of the later seasons. No doubt, after 45+ years, the producers wanted to pay homage to earlier generations of this remarkably long-running show.

And what happened to Cox's chair, anyway?
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Old 04-04-2018, 02:25 AM
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That was fun! And tiring. So tiring. But fun!

In the spirit of Easter, when everyone was surprised by an event that had been foretold a couple hundred times, allow me to reveal the worst-kept secret of this stunt: no, I didn't really sit down and write 708 fivers. They were randomly generated, not on the server at load time, but on my PC just once so that everyone would see the same episodes. I used C++ to do it, and if anyone's curious about the exact algorithm, here's my source code.

Spoiler: Details for the programming-inclined 

All my random terms were carefully chosen to avoid grammar and syntax issues. For instance, the first term in a title never starts with a vowel (so it can go after "A" without changing it to "An") and can always be pluralized by adding "s". Pronouns are avoided so I can keep male and female characters in the same box. I only slipped up once, and if you're bored enough to look for it yourself you'll find it eventually; if not, here's one case where it happened. I haven't checked yet, but there are probably also some identical titles, and almost certainly some identical blurbs. That was something I anticipated but chose not to prevent -- not worth the trouble.

I've had this stunt in mind for a while now, and I considered many different approaches. I was really close to writing a more complicated program that would've had many more random terms, title/scene patterns, and scenes per episode (let's face it, this was really Five-Second Anbar). Making the randomness half as obvious would probably have taken ten times the work, but it would've been a fun challenge. Alas, by the time I got my compiler working right, I was too beat to make a program that big -- but I have to admit this simple version is probably funnier anyway.

Another thing I wanted to do was include a few of the events we know about from "Sunset". That episode includes an extended flashback from Season 22, and there are at least ten, maybe as many as twenty other significant events whose placement in the timeline I could have estimated. (In fact, I did do a bit of that -- characters born in the Big Empty are added to the list roughly when they would've been old enough to have episodes about them.) Those would all have been season premieres to make them easier to find, and I even wanted to make up the remaining premieres, following the theme of "Caretanbar" with titles like "Way of the Wanbar". ("What are we going to do about the Klingons?!" "What Klingons?" "Huh. Never mind.") Right up to the end I was hoping to do that, but by the time I had everything else ready, the thought of writing even 10 more mini-fivers, much less 58, made me despair. Leaving that stuff out had its own benefit: it kept this event almost spoiler-free, which is remarkable for a topic as radioactive in Excelsior's myth-arc as the Anbar.

The graphics posed a little challenge too. The Anbar is a Class 3 neutronic fuel carrier, the same class as the Kobayashi Maru -- which you may recognize as a ship that has never been shown onscreen. How convenient for a site that always uses a series' main ship for its graphics! Fortunately, XL had already chosen a representative for the title card of "Sunset" (the starship Antares from "Charlie X", or at least one of the same class), so I used that. Similarly, a made-up series obviously had no official font, so I picked something thin and spaced it out to fit the Big Empty theme.

This "subsite" was the ultimate stress-test for the PHP code I've been running 5MV's subsites on since the '05 redesign. I'm proud of how well it did -- I only had to change one thing (it wasn't equipped for two-character-long season codes). This is probably the last hurrah for this old system, which uses text files as a pseudo-database, since we do actually have a real database on the server and I've been meaning to switch to using that for ages. I'm glad I could send out the old code with a bang.

Finally... honest, 5MV has not become an Excelsior fansite. I'm just very into the series right now for two reasons. First, in these days of AbramsTrek and whatever the hell Discovery is, it's refreshing to have an alternative (which has its own major differences from Roddenberry/Berman Trek, but it's closer in spirit, and it's not another damn prequel). Second, I'm writing the episode after next!
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FiveMinute.net: because stuff is long and life is short

[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction

Last edited by Zeke; 04-05-2018 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 04-05-2018, 10:39 AM
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I love hearing how the sausage is made, both creatively and in terms of code. very fun. I had been considering putting The Symmetry Principle AFD site back up on TripHammered this week, given the sad passing of Dr. Hawking, but I don't think anyone would have noticed.
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Old 04-07-2018, 02:32 AM
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Yeah, I thought of you when I heard the news. I'm sure a life like his leaves few regrets, but the rest of us will certainly miss him. I should do something commemorative in the next update.
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FiveMinute.net: because stuff is long and life is short

[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction
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Old 06-08-2018, 09:04 PM
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So that's why I saw a bunch of code monkeys go by recently. What an incredible smell you've discovered!

Actually, your description of the process brought up a good question: considering the code of the site didn't support two-digit season numbers, how was it able to handle the 10th Doctor pages on the 5MDW sub-site? Though, seeing as you're a much better coder than I am (I break, I can fix, I can bug, but write new code from scratch? fugget about it), it probably had something to do with the fact that there is only a couple of doctors that have Fivers completed, and the fact that the groupings on that sub-site are not actually labeled "Seasons". Or not in the quasi-database and added manually.

Now that is out of the way, I should get back to work.
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Old 07-01-2018, 01:34 AM
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Oh, that was an easy one. I just gave that season the code "x". It delayed the problem until the next regeneration, which at that point was still years away. (It's good to have the code up to date now in case I ever finish that damn "Eleventh Hour" fiver, though.)
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FiveMinute.net: because stuff is long and life is short

[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction
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