What the Heck is Up at slopeflyer.com? or 2008 year in review!
No doubt many of you have noticed a fairly sparse update schedule for the past few months. Rest assured that after 10 years of running and hosting this site that I am not going anywhere but I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone. Get a post going and give you all an update on what is happening here at slopeflyer.com.
This has been a fairly sparse year for flying personally and thus for personal flight logs. Hopefully, this changes with the coming of the New Year. The weather around here was not great for east winds and those are the winds I most enjoy. We did gain access to a super spot for South, Northwest and Northeast winds at the Omega Hills Slope Site but it is not 5 minutes away like my local favorites. I made it out there a few times and we had the Midwest Weasel Fest there but the time commitment hurt too much to make it a regular thing.
My growing family is taking up more time than in the past. While Sydney is closing in on 10 years old and becoming more self-sufficient, Garrett is just 2-1/2 and we do a bunch of non-flying stuff together so the available time for flying has decreased some.
I didn’t travel as much this year as in the past. The death of the Tri-Slope really affected me for some reason. I’d been planning to be there for several months and really pinning some high expectations on the trip that did not come to fruition. I did have a nice trip west with Brian Kloft early in the year but when I got back home, not only was the weather not great for flying but I actually had some work that I could get paid well for and, consequently, needed to get done.
Additionally, I have not received as many user submissions as in the past. I have a solution to that though! See a separate article entitled For the Contributor In Us All. Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to send me stories, event coverage and other slope related info so that I can post it.
Also, I am not importing planes any more. After several years of bring in some of the best planes in the RC soaring and slope flying game, including such favorites as the Wizard Compact, RaceM, Opus DS and Erwin’s, the combination of a slowdown in my “real” business and the steep decline in the value of the Dollar led me to decide to stop bringing in planes from Europe, thus, not many planes to review. I would welcome any new reviews from those of you who are lucky enough to fly some of the latest and greatest.
And, Horror of horrors I’ve discovered other RC Pursuits. In keeping with the family activity plan I built not only a 1/18th scale off road track in the backyard but run an indoor club for 1/28th scale Mini-Z racing and indoor rock crawling. Sydney loves running cars and Garrett got into the crawler a bit this summer. I’ve even had my mom and sister whooping it up on the track in the backyard. Cars are just a bit easier for the uninitiated.
Finally, there are some technical and update issues that I am trying to work through for the site but I won’t bore you with those details here. If you are interested, see “For the Geeky Crowd” in another article in which I will discuss the tech future of this site.
What the heck does all this mean?
Well, it means that I had to take a hard look at the continued existence and updating of the slopeflyer.com site. This, truthfully, took several months of thought as to what the best course of action should be. In the end, shutting down the site just is not an option for me. I have 10 years invested in it and I’m not giving up yet. Slope flying, and the folks who do it, give me some of the most pleasurable experiences in my life. I aim to continue.
So, with that said, here are some ideas and my current thoughts on the direction and future of slopeflyer.com.
First, I am working on a major revision of not only the back-end software that runs the site but the front-end user interface as well. This site has existed in its current form for more or less 6 years and it is time for a freshening. This will likely necessitate a kind of kludgy work around for a few weeks but bear with me, it will be worth it.
Some of the niceties coming include :
- Comments on Articles
- More Media embedding options
- Easier article posting
- User Submitted Articles
- User submitted Photos and Movies
In short, more interaction!
Second, I am going to open up the publisher interface so it is easier for you all to contribute to the site. More details will come but in a nutshell I am going to allow site users to write stories and add pending content to the system. I will be able to review them quickly and make them live in short order. Hopefully, this will encourage more contributors to add stories that our site viewers will find useful and short circuit the tedious method of emailing in submissions.
Third, I am going to accept advertising. The reality of this site is that it is a bunch of work. I really enjoy doing it but with the decline in my “real” business, and my desire to actually increase my efforts on this site, means I need to start banking a few bucks. Look for more on how to advertise on slopeflyer.com soon. Meanwhile you can always hit that “Donate” button! For what it is worth, in the 5 or more years there has been a “Donation” button on this site at the bottom of nearly every page I have received one, yep, only one donation and that was from a local friend. I am not begging for money but, frankly, I had hoped more people would see value in this site and help me out a bit.
Also, the Google AdSense ads that have been running for about 4 years have, in total, contributed about $850 to the “keep slopeflyer.com running fund”. Basically, that amount has not even covered the hosting, software costs and upkeep services required to keep the site live but it was pretty close so I’ll call that a wash. For the time being they will continue but my goal is to have companies that serve the slope soaring market directly replace those ads.
Down the road. Could be a few months or a few years.
Got ideas or feedback? Shoot me a note firstname.lastname@example.org.