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Gwydion Stone

New WS Main Site is Live

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Well gang, the new site architecture is about as ready as it's going to be I suppose, so I invite you to peruse the new digs.

 

I've been working feverishly behind the scenes on this and related projects since last September. There's not a whole lot of new content at the moment, but mostly I've been having to learn a few new technologies and convert and reformat all of the old content. The old site was entirely html, with each page created individually. That meant that every time I added a new page I had to spend time integrating it into the site and creating all the appropriate links. Major PITA.

 

I've moved to a database-driven Content Management System (CMS) that handles everything in a modular fashion. Now, prior to doing this, I'd had no db or css experience at all. It was (is) quite the steep learning curve for a 50-year-old guy whose skill set is in graphics and the rudiments of HTML from 1999. Microsoft Director Drinkboy had this to say: "Yowser! [these] components are pretty complex... It might take me a bit to work my way through this." I spent an entire day once trying to track down exactly where a 3 pixel wide white border was coming from where it didn't belong.

 

There are still a few bugs to be worked out, like special characters not displaying properly in some browsers, the css goes wonky in some browsers and momentarily makes all the links switch to the default colors (blue and purple) and other glitches will undoubtedly surface, so please be patient while we discover and fix them.

 

What's New?

 

Our Advisory Board and Support Team!

Last September I asked Zman, DrinkBoy and myownmolly to help out as an advisory board and they have done an admirable job at giving support and guidance when needed. Given my recent transition to commercial status, this sort of input is vital to maintaining the objectivity and integrity of WS as an organization.

 

"The Advisory Board ensures that the administration of the Wormwood Society is open to external input and a variety of viewpoints from different political, social and economic backgrounds as well as some international expertise. Its function is to advise and provide input, suggestions and diverse perspectives on organizational projects."

 

In short, they get to kick my ass when I seem to be coming under the Machiavellian influences that a despot is heir to (i.e. they keep WS honest).

 

The Support Team consists of Mrs. Hiram , T73, Maggie the Cat and Shabba. Of course you know that Mrs. Hiram, T73 and Maggie the Cat have been serving as mods for a while now and have done an incredible job, especially T73. Knowing they are keeping an eye on things helps me relax just a little.

 

I've asked Shabba to be our Review Editor. He's got some impressive absinthe tasting experience and writes a kick-ass review.

 

Mrs. Hiram is the ultimate Absinthe Widow and has been of incalculable support and assistance to me ever since I started this ride. She is More than Mod, she is Co-Admin. If I can do it, so can she; she has full admin powers. Be afraid.

 

 

The New Review System! (v. 0.2 beta)

It's integrated into the site so that you can score a given absinthe and enter your own review and have the score automatically calculated into the average user score for that product. If a product isn't there yet, you can submit it. We want every absinthe on the planet represented, so get busy. A reminder: it is a beta version, so save your reviews and scores somewhere so they don't get lost in the event of a change.

 

There are three categories:

Authentic Absinthe includes all real absinthes, even the inferior ones, including compounded absinthes.

Absinthe Substitutes and Pastis will be things like Absente, Herbsaint, Pernod Anis and Henri Bardouin.

Faux Absinthes and Novelties are anything sold as absinthe but which clearly lack the historic qualifications for the category.

 

In order to submit a review or product, you must be registered on the site. The two databases are not bridged yet, so you'll have to register there using the same username as you use here. Eventually the sites will be bridged and content here can be accessed there. Registration is automatic, there is no validation queue.

 

Because of this, reviews will be moderated by Shabba to prevent abuse, but frankness and honesty are expected. Remember, no one truly wants to make an inferior product. These reviews are here to help guide consumers in making choices and also to help manufacturers improve their products. So please keep the commentary as constructive as possible.

 

Why a new review system? Because this one is better. It is weighted in such a way as to place the most emphasis on the most important criteria. It's also easier to use. Full documentation is given on the site.

 

The Absinthe Chronicles Podcast

Starting this fall, the Wormwood Society will be producing the first absinthe-related podcast show. The teaser is on the website now, along with a subscription link. You can also subscribe with iTunes. We'll be doing absinthe news, discussion about various botanicals, guest interviews and a different absinthe cocktail in every episode.

 

User-Submitted Content

Writers can submit articles via the web site, almost like making a post on the forums. We can't promise to publish everything, but would love to receive some good absinthe-related work.

 

Absinthe Cocktails

There is a section for pre-prohibition classic cocktails and one for modern post-pro cocktails. The pre-pros are those from the Golden Age prior to 1920 and were published in the early cocktail books. Modern cocktails are anything from 1933 forward, although we may split this category into Post-Pro Classics and Modern.

 

Absinthe News Live Feed

In the right-hand column of the site are all of the most recent mentions of absinthe in the news.

 

Memberships and Donations

Just below the Live News Feed there is a donation field for those who would like to make a one-time or recurring donation to help support WS. And finally, we will be offering voluntary paid membership via the forum. The reason we haven't done this before now is a legal one and would make this post even longer than it already is. I'll cover it later.

 

The donation field is active now, and tiered membership packages will be put together soon. I hope. There is no plan to move to paid premium content.

 

You should think of this like public radio or TV only without the pledge drives (except this one I suppose). If you like the content, if you find it educational, entertaining or useful, donate if you can, don't if you can't. The last thing I want is for anyone to feel obligated to donate out of guilt. If it ain't in your budget, skip it. Guilt ain't cool.

 

Why am I asking for money? Because this thing doesn't happen easily or on its own. I got a notice a few days ago that I've exceeded my storage and bandwidth limits and could either reduce the size and traffic or upgrade to a new package, so my expenses will increase. But financial outflow is only a small part of it.

 

Aside from that, the Wormwood Society is, and has been for almost a year, a full-time job for me, on top of my day job. If you find any value in what the support team and I do here, I'd certainly appreciate your support. This will help me continue to develop the site and go on to other projects that are sorely needed. These include:

 

• Media Information Kits to send to newspapers, TV stations, movie producers, etc. whenever they screw up. A bunch of emails from a load of absinthe nerds has limited impact.

 

• Similar materials, i.e. info sheets, posters and booklets in print and for download that can be sent to restaurants and bars to teach them the facts about absinthe and how to serve it and use it in cocktails.

 

• Continued growth of material on the web site. Additional science and history documents, relevant articles and essays, etc.

 

• Bigger and more well-organized events. New Orleans is the axis mundi of absinthe in America, and I'm working with locals to present an annual event there, a small-scale version of Tales of the Cocktail, just for absinthe.

 

Enough cheerleading. Welcome to the new Wormwood Society web site!

 

All suggestions for further developments are very welcome. Please post bugs in the Bug Report forum.

 

Have fun!

 

Cheers,

 

~ Hiram

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Yes, the site looks great. I've been browsing for a while now between moments of having to clean up dog vomit. Dog was boarding during TOTC and now he's sick. Trip to the vet is in order tomorrow. Sorry for the digression -- thanks for the hard work on the site, it really does look good. I look forward to seeing it grow.

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The new site is nice.

 

I'm interested in taking the new review system for a spin but it won't send me an authorisation email.

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Thanks, it works now. :cheers:

 

But now it's time for bed. I'll have to play with it later.

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It's very nice. I've started doing some exploring, especially with the review system.

 

My one comment so far is that the windows are kind of wide which makes it hard for us laptop users as sometimes I have to horizontally scroll to read things.

 

I also tried to login and it said my password was incorrect.

 

 

Now can we review HGs? :devil:

Edited by dakini_painter

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Trin is amazed too. So amazed she could kill me. Thanks everyone. I got a better night's sleep last night than I've had in ages.

My one comment so far is that the windows are kind of wide which makes it hard for us laptop users as sometimes I have to horizontally scroll to read things.
Good to know. I believe the smallest the width will go right now is 1024, and under 4% of the hits here are from screen resolutions under that (so probably you're the only one ;) ) . I'll play around with it a bit and see what I can do, but I'm afraid any smaller will squish everything for you too much. Have you tried increaseing your screen resolution?
I also tried to login and it said my password was incorrect.
You need to register separately. No wait for a validation, just sign up.
Now can we review HGs? :devil:
Since it's a consumer guide, you may only review HGs that are for sale, as well as giving the physical address of the maker and a time when they will likely be at home. :devil:

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Just need to get ahold of some of the Z and Eden absinthes, then. :devil:

 

 

Oddly enough, my resolution is 1024 and the site doesn't quite fit. I have to scroll sideways to see the rightmost words in the right menu.

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Thank you, Paul.

Oddly enough, my resolution is 1024 and the site doesn't quite fit. I have to scroll sideways to see the rightmost words in the right menu.
I just checked in 1024 and I see what you mean. The left and right images in the header won't allow the table to resize any more than that, unlike the forum header which will allow them to overlap. I'll see what I can do. Thanks.

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Excellent work and I can imagine the jump you had to take to wrangle all the tech to do your bidding! Thanks for your efforts! I must ask the question every web developer loves to hear the first morning a new site is up... "Hi, I am running Netscape 3 on Windows for Workgroups, and there seems to be a formatting problem.." :laugh: Just kidding of course!

 

But now you can justify buying an iPhone to test the site on that!

 

On another topic, I like the idea of optional paid membership, but I would like to make one request... would it be possible to have one level that might have a "membership kit?" Something simple, like a car decal of the WS logo, or my most coveted item... a WS membership card for the wallet. Oh, how I long to be able to flip out my wallet and state "why yes, I DO happen to be a card-carrying member of the Wormwood Society!"

 

Also, another idea to make a paid level of Membership (sure, what the heck, it is easy to write this stuff) more alluring would be perks, like strongarming finessing a tiny "WS Member" discount from some vendors (like free shipping... RIGHT!) or perhaps a 5% or special combo deal.

 

Another thought for fund raising (though I know you want to keep your business separate from WS) might be offering a limited edition of the Marteau with your signature on the label for WS Members, etc. Like a first edition, or something.

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Cool Beans!

 

Looks nice and clean.

 

Nice that you include pictures and sources for some of the cocktail recipes!

 

I dunno if this is possible; but, for me, as the recipe section expands, it would be easier if were also possible to sort by alphabet or have a search function.

 

Here's a modern cocktail I quite enjoy from Hollinger and Schwartz' "Art of the Bar".

 

Le Demon Verte

 

1 1/2 oz gin, 1/2 oz Absente, 1/2 oz Velvet Falernum, 1/2 oz lime juice. Shake, strain.

 

~Erik

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printmkr: the donate module on the web site is just for flat out donations, either one-time or recurring. It's for folks who want to help, but have no desire to be "part of the community." The membership options would be as you describe (although perhaps not quite as extravagant) and would be an option accessed from your forum profile page. It would be a teired system with increasing perks.

 

I'm thinking of membership cards, personalized calling cards (a PDF template you can take to Kinkos) more PM storage space, no waits on searches, etc. Vendor discounts are a possibility I suppose, but I think that may tread a little too close to the "conflict of interest" line, as would associating Marteau with WS. I'm not ruling these things out, but it would take a lot of thought.

 

Anyway, this is still merely an idea. I need to get with The Board and hash out some possibilities and working philosophies and maybe compare with how some similar groups handle it.

 

Erik: That's totally doable, and one of the things I'll be working on. I'll add more photos as I take them (I'm rather proud of that maraschino-stuffed black cherry). I'll give sources wherever I have them. The uncredited cocktails up there so far are my own, withe the exception of La Louisiane.

 

I'll try that Demon Verte tonight!

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Very nice Hiram, very nice! It looks great, with a modern feel that looks quite inviting from the home page.

 

:cheers:

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Ok so, I don't have any money... but I have $1 in a Paypal account that I wanted to donate. I know it's only a dollar, but I'd rather help out the site than my husband get his hands on it <hee hee>. Well the smallest you can do is $5.00 so I am sad cause I can't even contribute the $1!! At least I tried! If I ever get upto $5 I'll try again.

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OK, so four of us can each send you a dollar, and then you'll have five, which you can send to Hiram!

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Yes, the site looks great. I've been browsing for a while now between moments of having to clean up dog vomit. Dog was boarding during TOTC and now he's sick. Trip to the vet is in order tomorrow. Sorry for the digression -- thanks for the hard work on the site, it really does look good. I look forward to seeing it grow.

Hope your pooch is okay.

 

Site looks great, Hiram! Ain't technology grand? :cheers:

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