If you've been following this site for any length of time,
you probably know that SuperFRED is a complex new web-robot we've
been working on for a really, really long time. Like many software
projects, this one has suffered from "mission creep"
(expanding in functionality far beyond its original purpose),
so much so that it's now almost a year behind schedule. But,
as we keep telling ourselves, it's all going to be worth it,
since SuperFRED will indeed have awesome powers.
As some of you aware, SuperFRED is partially operational,
and he's starting to flex his muscles. Just after Origins, we
started letting some of our most eager and enthusiastic Rabbits
into the system, to begin setting up their accounts and testing
things out. This "soft launch" has helped us greatly
as we seek to polish up the system and hammer out the bugs. Unfortunately,
it also leaves us wanting to further postpone the Official Launch,
since as long as we keep finding stuff to fix, add to, or change,
we'd prefer to keep the system restricted.
Another problem we've had is that Dale, our primary programming
dude, has been busy Getting a Life. Due to the limited nature
of the SuperFRED project (and our funding) Dale had to track
down a real job, and although he delayed starting it as long
as he could, he wasn't able to finish our programming task before
starting on his next one. To top it off, he's been seen spending
a lot of time lately with a charming lady named Liz, which hasn't
left him with much spare time in which to write code for SuperFRED.
Fortunately, we've already been training a replacement. Recent
Icehouse "Triple Crown" winner Liam Bryan, who's just
out of college and looking for a job, is picking up where Dale
is having to leave off. We're hoping Liam can finish up the work
on SuperFRED in the next couple of months, before he too goes
out and gets a real job... but as of this week, he is officially
our newest Intern. Welcome aboard, Liam! Oddly enough, Liam will
be renting out a spare room in the basement of our other intern
Lillian, since Liam is currently in the process of moving to
the DC area from Asheville, North Carolina.
To sum up: SuperFRED is in beta-testing and all is going well,
except that delays continue. The more we build, the more we find
we have to build.
thing you may have noticed if you've been reading this site for
awhile is that the WTS page
hasn't been updated in almost 3 years. And it still hasn't been.
But changes are coming, and an explanation of our new plans is
therefore in order.
A lot has changed in the 5 years since we started building
wunderland.com. Back in '97, we didn't have much of a plan for
what we were doing... we just began putting up neat stuff of
whatever sort we fancied. Since we had a lot of friends who were
also looking for some web-space to build in, we started a new
website, named it after our house, and gave out accounts to anyone
in our social group who wanted one. Soon, many of our friends
were joining us in the fun of building our first websites!
To give this little cyber-community a sense of identity, we
decided to expand the usage of a name that already united most
of the members of the group, namely that of our regular weekly
gaming group, the Wunderland Toast Society (WTS).
This, we have come to believe, was a mistake. As Andrew Plotkin
said in a recent email, "If one name means two things at
the same time, it leads to angst down the road." For the
past few years, "WTS" has been the name of both our
gaming group and of an arbitrary and incomplete list of our friends
who build web-content at Wunderland.com. This confusing arrangement
hasn't worked well, and indeed, just as Zarf predicted, there
has been some angst. Many of our gaming friends have no interest
in building webpages and don't enjoy feeling like they should
be; and it just doesn't seem right to say that faraway friends
who never attend are active members of our gaming group, no matter
how much they may be contributing to our webzine.
Therefore, in order to clear things up and (hopefully) de-rail
any future angst, we have decided to split the large, poorly-chartered
organization into two more clearly-defined groups.
The first of these groups is our regular gaming group, which
will retain the WTS moniker. This we feel is the group that most
people think of as being the WTS, and they had the name first.
There will always be a larger list of inactive "toasters",
but on the new WTS membership roster (which will launch with
SuperFRED) we'll only be listing the Active Members, these being
those who attend at least 12 times a year.
The second group, which we are tentatively calling the Writer's
Guild of Wunderland (WGW), will consist of the authors of this
webzine. Whereas membership in the WTS will be dependent on attendance,
members of the WGW can be anywhere as long as they provide us
with regular updates via the web. Setting this group up with
their own charter will allow us to add "foreign correspondents"
without expecting them to also attend our gaming sessions.
But while determining the active membership of the WTS will
be as simple as going over the attendance records for the past
year, we don't know yet who will form the core membership of
this new cyber-organization. Moreover, we also don't really know
what the WGW's mission will be. This is something we'll be figuring
out in the weeks and months to come.
To give us your input on all of this, we invite you to fill
out the new
survey we just created!