As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
Various people have suggested certain changes that might have made things "easier" for some readers; many of those changes would have mimicked features of other dance websites.
One change would have offered a search calendar like Total Swing. Others liked a calendar format, appearing like a real calendar instead of DanceNet's listing of days in the month. One strong suggestion was to implement a system where the venues could input their own information, to lessen my work load, like Best Coast Swing or the The Swingin' Speakeasy (long since departed).
I hope you notice the organization of the website. I put it together this way, over time, in order to follow what I felt was the "normal" method of looking for information (by region or area of interest). Not everyone wants to see all the possibilities of implementing browser features on their website. Not every one has the latest browser or a DSL connection to the Internet. It also makes it easier for me to maintain everything on this website once it has been organized.
One of the main considerations for this website is the kind of Internet connection that I think that most DanceNet readers have. I assume that *most* people are still using modems (33.6K or 56K, or even slower). I also think that some people like to see a listing of all the events happening over time as opposed to having to flip through monthly calendars or searching for a range of dates. It takes time to go back to the server to retrieve more information for the next screenful. While the calendars can get long, once they're in the reader's browser, the reader can scroll through the calendar(s) and know that they have all the information for that region. I think this is better than implementing a calendar-looking table for the month because I didn't like the idea of having the user "flip" through the months to find the information they need (too many additional mouse clicks) and/or see listings for events that are not near them.
One change that I'm trying to implement over time is to add links to the calendars to make it easier to get more information on certain events without having to look all over the website for it.
I also didn't like the idea of setting up a system where the user could type in their own information. Only the most Internet-saavy dance professional would get around to entering their own information and each one would want to make their event appear more interesting. By having a "gate-keeper" and an editor, I have an informal standard on how the information appears on this website (like a near-New Hampshire regular dance really shouldn't appear in the Boston calendar). I also weed out all the propaganda so you, the reader, can get the necessary facts without having to sort out all the hype (aka the "bullsh*t"). An open system would get totally out of hand, as seen by all the ballroom venues who wanted their ballroom events listed on the same level of urgency as the swing events (forget it!). By maintaining a tight control over how the information appears on this website (I don't withhold information; I just sort the necessary facts from the hype), the readers of this website have some standard with which to figure out if they're interested in attending a particular venue.
I suppose ultimately that I really don't want to be like other websites. Something's has to differentiate this website from others. I feel that my audience is different from the other websites. If I go after the other website's audience, then it's just a redundancy of (wasted) effort. The clientele of this website has spoken with their feet. The statistics for this website keeps growing so I must be doing something right (or everyone is too lazy to write and complain). You tell me.
I could think of many reasons why some band might be offended:
Meanwhile, for every dis-gruntled band (what's the definition of "gruntled"?), I could probably name 10 other bands who are grateful for the free advertisement and support they get from this website. They're happy that people are hiring them after finding out about them through this website (I still remember Craig Ball's reaction upon meeting me for the first time). One band leader was thankful for the time I spent with him at someone else's dance to explain what was good dance music. Other bands are amazed at the size, completeness, and currency of this website. Some are truly amazed that I do this for free.
Of course, one of the sad lessons in life is that you can't please everyone and there's no point in trying since someone will always find fault with you. However, this website is still inclusive; I still list events for people who don't like me and for people I don't like. It's disappointing that some dance businesses feel that I "owe" them some special time and effort that they're not willing to pay someone else for.
As for that one guy I offended? I suppose it was worth it since he finally took me off his mailing list (on which I don't remember asking to be put, though he says I did). It only took three terse notes to explain to him that it takes a lot of my valuable time to figure out what he's trying to say and he finally got annoyed of my trying to tell him what to do. Since I was already getting that same information from another source, I felt that it was not a bad thing to get off his mailing list and we'd finally be able to stop annoying each other.
I lost a couple of good friends this week. Amy (Goldman) & Rolf Andersen of Maynard were killed in a crash with a truck that jumped the median and hit them; they had been on vacation in Arizona. I'm 3000 miles away from home so I can't be at their funeral. I hope some of you who are a bit closer might say a few prayers on my behalf to help them on their way.
Again, it's probably a waste of my time and energy, but I don't feel like a helpless victim anymore. Once in a while, I actually reach someone. How do I get them to respond? I use language that forces their ego to reply. :-)
I think they should pass a law banning the faking of return email addresses. Imagine what this would do to people who use the Internet to harass people. The only people who would be against this would be marketeers, spammers, and basically dishonest people who don't want their identity revealed. I'd certainly like existing laws to have the power to punish spammers. Unlike junkmail arriving through the postal system, spam is paid for by the *receiver* (your download time and cost).
I'm trying to figure out the big deal with Krispy Kreme® donuts. The texture is certainly different (from, say, Dunkin' Donuts®). The insides feels thicker yet it's still moist, and they seem to pile on the sugar (much more than Dunkin' Donuts). I guess if you're having donuts, you're not really going to be worried about sugar.
However, I just bought a couple of them at a local grocery store (delivered fresh daily) at 79 cents each here in Los Gatos, California, and I don't think that they're worth double the cost of an average Dunkin' Donuts' offering. If I need a quick caffeine and sugar fix, the Dunkin' Donuts product is a better deal.
On the other hand, if you're trying to impress people, Krispy Kreme is the way to go. That was a *lot* of sugar.
I can't believe the only Dunkin' Donuts in Silicon Valley got rid of the franchise, though I believe they're making the same donuts as they've always did (I think it's the "Sunny Donuts" at Camden and Union in San Jose).
Does anyone else think that something is wrong with having to hire professional "dance hosts" for a dance? I can't help but think of Louis Prima's Just a Gigolo when I hear that term. I think that they should invite teachers to a dance to let them put out their flyers and then let them dance with the customers to "advertise" themselves. That's one reason why dance studios host dances: to advertise their teachers. Paying someone to show up to dance with the customers seems too weird.
There's something to be said about being able to concentrate. I just missed a 5.2 earthquake (my first earthquake!) centered in Gilroy, CA, about 20 miles from where I am. I didn't notice a thing while everyone else said they felt it. I probably thought it was part of the special effects of the on-line Diable II game that I was playing at the time. :-)
I list gigs for swingable bands that might be playing at some venue like a bar or restaurant and I don't always know if they have a dance floor. While I try to find out if they have a dance floor, I usually don't get that information. I also want to know from you if a particular venue shouldn't get listed, even if the best swing band plays there, just because there's no place to dance.