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Five-Minute Voyager v3.1

August 4, 2003

A month and a half later, here we are. I don't have any excuse for delaying as long as I did, but the finished update should at least make it clear why a simple third-anniversary article took this long: it wasn't alone.

I'll explain each of the changes first, and then get to some overall comments and the announcement I promised. Before that, though, we've got five new fivers today to round out AU Week. The first three are by me: my second Farscape fiver, "Prayer"; my first Buffy fiver, "The Wish," which is here temporarily until it's brought over to 5MB proper; and my first Angel fiver, "Birthday." Next is Kira's latest, the excellent Five-Minute "Eye of the Beholder" for 5MNG. Finally, remember Jade? She's an old friend of mine from Deltachat and one of the first guest writers at this site; after over a year away, she's returned with a new Voyager fiver, "Emanations." I hope you'll enjoy all five.

The Index Page

This is the most visible change, of course. It marks a watershed for me, because ever since the first no-frames version I've never come up with a front page I've been happy with until now. The new look makes all the important links accessible without much scrolling, raises the exosites' profile, and (at Kira's suggestion) emphasizes the catchiest of our various mottos: "Because Trek is long and life is short." There are still a few image-related kinks to work out, but that won't take long.

New Subsites

5MV's subsites are now up to a nice even twelve. (Fifteen counting exosites.) There's nothing you haven't seen in the two new ones, though, aside from their graphics. This Just In has been promoted to a full subsite, and now that we've got 37 Top 10 Lists, I decided it was time to move them out of Features and into their own section. Both subsites will have new index pages the next time they update.

The About Section

I've made a number of changes here. The index page is now much more attractive; I've brought some of the other pages up to date and added links to Derek's FAQ and FBA (previously accessible only from the 5MD Relaunch article). Also, there will now be a small FAQ for each subsite to answer important questions like what seasons are open for submissions. The ones for 5MV and 5ME are already done; they don't take very long to do, so I'll be adding another every couple of days until they're all there.

I think that about covers the changes. Except that I've changed the Sci-Fivers abbreviation to 5MSF for consistency. Oh, and the 5MVG graphic is different now -- Pac-Man has an eye. That should be it. So....


First, a word about this "redesign." As you'll have noticed, while I've made some changes here, they've been nowhere near as sweeping as the last two. That's why I've numbered this version 3.1. It's a refinement and enlargement of 3.0, but it's not a whole new version on its own. More important, it's a work in progress. There are other subsites I'll be making these sorts of changes to, and I've mentioned that some of the 3.1 modifications aren't all in place yet, such as the subsite FAQs. Expect to see the tweaking continue gradually over the next few weeks; I'll be noting the changes on the News page as I make them.

That actually segues into the final part of this article, which is my announcement. Put simply: I'm a complete jackass.

Okay, that's not really the announcement, it's just the reason for it. This is the second year running that I've screwed up the anniversary celebrations, which would stand out more if I hadn't also screwed up absolutely everything in between. In a 24-episode Enterprise season, I've managed to produce seven fivers, six of them late. I haven't done my share of the site work, and I've given Kira nothing but stress and disappointment.

It's that last point that leads to the most sickeningly ironic part of this AUW fiasco. Most of this closing ceremony was meant as a surprise for her. She had no idea I was working on the three fivers I published today or changing any more of the site than the index page. Her biggest fear leading up to the third-anniversary celebration was that I would bungle my part of it and delay the end as I did last year. I kept assuring her that wasn't the case, and indeed, I came up with everything I'd promised -- and then did something just as bad, keeping the site on hold for the vaguest of reasons for over a month.

I wanted to reassure her that I could keep things under control. Instead I conclusively proved the opposite.

I've said all this to make it clear that I don't deserve any credit for AU Week, even what was published today. The site work I've done for version 3.1 starts to make up for the mess I made, but I'm still in the hole. It was Kira who organized AUW; it was Kira who put her all into it; and frankly, it's Kira who's kept my laziness from letting this site rot since the day she signed on. She deserves a thousand times more appreciation and gratitude than I do.

I have something in mind to remedy that, but I'm not going to explain it yet. In the meantime, though, I can start to address my side of things. I've allowed myself to get complacent and idle with 5MV this past year because I've known Kira was around to pick up the slack. That's not fair to her and it's not healthy for me. Even worse is when I cause a big delay like this, leaving you readers hanging; it's irresponsible and costs the site visitors. So here's my announcement: starting today, I'm going to update the news page on a daily basis.

I'm not saying I'll always have new material -- heck no. I wouldn't have time to produce that much even if I weren't a lazy git. But I do have time to at least say a few words every day to let you know what I'm working on and such. The news page doesn't take long to update at all. Further, this guarantees that I'm not going to drop off the radar as I did this past month.

It's not a solution. Solving this problem means changing my whole approach to life. But it's the first step, and I don't intend for it to be the last. Thanks for reading.

Previous article: Alternate Universes Week (6/15/03)
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