Friday, July 20, 2007

Obligatory 10th Anniversary Post =^.^=

I built the Otaku Fridge, my very first website, on May 18, 1997. Back then, it was a collection of mini-shrines that talked about anime, video games, music, and food by a group of Senshi cousins. It was originally called The Kitchen Raiders' Refrigerator. The long name was inspired by the fact that my cousins and I used to hang out at Icesenshi's house to watch anime and raid her fridges (I think it's the reason why my aunt bought three of 'em giant coolers). As each of us grew up and diversified so did the site, which resulted in many spin-offs. Now it's back to what it used to be, albeit focusing entirely on love for Japanese entertainment.

My celebration of the Fridge's 10th anniversary (yes, we're 10 years old!) is two months late, but I'm hoping I'm not too late. As you can see, there are many changes that this site is undergoing. Namely:

Incorporation of Hentai Reviews
With Hentai Neko having been sold in early 2007, I'm putting my old and future hentai reviews into this site. Honestly, I don't have the stomach to watch hentai anymore (it had made me fear sex...literally!) but I will try to be as broadminded as I can. The good thing about the new interface, though, is that I can cut what appears on the index page so children will be spared from having to immediately see something they're not supposed to.

Database Driving
With Web 2.0 leaving a blazing trail, we're already moving ahead. I just wish I had gotten off my butt back in the 90s and migrated everything into a database before it had grown into such gargantuan proportions. As of this writing, I still have over 700 titles to convert from static HTML to dynamic PHP. That's not my priority, however. My priority is getting freshly written material up and running in minutes. My priority is making editing and posting a breeze. This is why I still kept the classic Otaku Fridge up -- for those people who are looking for old material that may not have been converted yet.

User Empowerment
I'm hoping to rebuild the community within these walls so that people could comment on the articles, write reviews themselves or post news about the fandom. Of course, the official Otaku Fridge articles are still the ones posted by the Administrators, Editors and Authors but at least now, the posting process is much faster and more convenient. Screening up and coming reviewers is also much easier now.

A New Home
As most of you will know, I have a history of switching hosts for like...every two years. The reason for this is that every other host starts to slack off when it comes to support after a year or so. There was only one that didn't slack off, mostly because I didn't need support in the first place (everything was in their control panel, even account cancellations). I just happened to have outgrown that host's best plan. The host that came after that (the last one I had), on the other hand, had stopped answering support questions. None of the other companies they own would acknowledge my emails, which is a shame because they just automatically charged my credit card last January. This time around, I've opted to go to somebody I REALLY KNOW. That somebody is someone I could bug nearly everyday, since we both work in the same place. He's a great teacher, so amazingly geeky, and always ready to help. Thanks, Father Bob! (Take a look at his hosting plans, if you're curious. Hehe.)

An Old Muse, A New Artist
Before I forget, I wish to shower my utmost gratitude to our very own Nib. He's the artist behind our muse's new look. Those who were avid fans of Hentai Neko will remember Neko-chan and that she's based on yours truly. Why? To quote myself (December 31, 2005): "Why am I the model? Well, I am the chief writer. It would be weird to put someone else's face on my writing, ne? I just figured that it would be nice to have the webmistress' icon watch over the site. =^.^=" Since HN has been sold, Neko-chan is now donning more conservative clothes...and I very much want to cover up that cleavage. If it weren't blasphemous to the gorgeous artwork, that is. Anyway, Nib and I are now planning for the next few poses, which would have her wearing clothes that I actually wear in real life. (The purple booby-buster currently displayed on our masthead is something you can only make me wear when I'm dead drunk and unconscious. Fat chance of that happening. Hehe.)

[INSERT NEKO-CHAN HERE]I'm sorry that it took this long. I was finishing my master's (graduated last May 2007) while juggling various responsibilities, but I intend to finish the main kinks from the Otaku Fridge before I embark on a new journey towards a doctorate degree. I remember that I was a college student when I first began the Fridge, and it's been there when I got my first paycheck, when I shifted careers from a packaging company's account officer to a web developer to a virtual marketing consultant to a voice actress to a digital ink-and-painter to a game developer to an information architect to a lecturer... It was my therapy for troubled times and has helped me help other people. These last ten years have been the best so far.

I hope you enjoy the transition as much as I did working on it.

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