Andy's Random Stuff: 5 Years Later

As I sit here writing this, I find myself marveling at the fact this website has endured for so long. Not only has it endured, it has continued to be a relevant part of my life. Despite several false starts, I've never been able to keep a written diary or journal. I have, however, been able to keep up (more or less) with posting updates on this site. As I was perusing the archives, I realized that my posts really did serve as a sort of journal, a way that for me to refresh my memory. At once, it is a diary and a photo album, a veritable time capsule of myself. At this time, I thought I would talk a little bit about where the site has been, and where it is headed. When I think about the past 5 years, I tend to break the time up into several broad periods:

The Academy Years: These were the formative years of the site, and when I had the greatest enthusiasm for it. As a result, a large chunk (I'm sure it is well over 50%) of the content for the site was posted during these first 2 years. Particularly, most of the video game and anime reviews were posted during this period. Looking back on it, a lot of these articles weren't of the highest quality; spelling errors, grammar, etc. were sometimes suspect. I'd like to thing I've gotten better at that part of it! Interestingly, most of these articles are rarely if ever visited (based on the page views). This is understandable, especially with regards to the game reviews since they are very topical and are forgotten as soon as the next Big Game comes along. Initially, the site was posted as a free Geocities page, but about 5 months into it, I decided to move it into a pay account where it has been ever since. This allowed me to get the .com domain name, and to remove all advertising from the site.

The Pipeline Years: This covers the period from my Academy graduation through my nuclear training to my reporting on board the San Fran. During this period, I posted heavily in the Star Trek and warship sections. I worked on two major Star Trek model projects during this time, and these articles have proven to be some of the most popular on the site. Additionally, towards the end of this period I started the Battlefleet Gothic section, which has easily seen the most updates recently and has also been a fairly popular section.

The San Fran Years: Which brings us up to the current day. After I first reported, I had sufficient time to make major updates to the site. However, as time has gone on, the time and energy I have to devote to it has gone down significantly. This culminated in the recent 2-month hiatus, which I hope to never repeat! About the only section that has seen major attention lately is the Battlefleet Gothic section, as I mentioned earlier. However, I have managed to keep things stumbling along, even if the updates are only once per month now.

So, where is all of this headed? Well, I've pretty much stopped my reviews of games/anime, except in a few very extreme circumstances. While I've discussed it before, there are two main reasons why: 1, these reviews take a good amount of time to write, and then are rarely viewed; and 2, it is very easy to get a million and one reviews on the same topic via Google, so why re-invent the wheel? Essentially, I usually find it to be more worth my time to actually play games and watch anime than to write reviews about them. Thus, a majority of my future efforts are going to be devoted to other sections of my site. One thing to note is that the site is now pretty much fixed in form. Due to the way I designed it at the time, it would be very time consuming and difficult to transfer it into a new format. If I ever did make major changes to the site's layout, I imagine I would have to make a "clean break," and have only the new updates be posted in the new style. I'm not wild about this idea, as it would naturally be a bit disconcerting to have to switch from the old style to the new style and back again. I am interested in making future improvements to the way my site works, however. I am thinking of making more use of an online photo-hosting service make it easier to post picture galleries, rather than hosting them on the server, for example.

In the end, I remain committed to this project; Andy's Random Stuff isn't going anywhere anytime soon! Due to my continued busy schedule, I figure the updates will continue at a slow pace for the next couple of years, but rest assured they will continue.

By: Andy Rucker

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