Time for another update. All in all, there have been better times.
The publishing industry is in a prolonged funk which means that
virtually all of my time is taken up by trying to keep our
commercial titles (Pen Computing Magazine, Digital Camera Magazine,
and BBW) afloat. Not an easy task these days.
On a personal level, I've been traveling quite a bit. First a long overdue
trip to Switzerland to be there at my mom's 80th birthday. Then the usual variety of
business trips. Then a glorious, exciting week in Japan. I love Japan. Of all
the places I have been to on this planet, it stands out with its fascinating
mix of tradition and ultra-high-tech. I also love the unerring politeness of
the Japanese people. It never comes across as phony or shallow, and it is
a rapidly disappearing quality. Apart from seeing a number of high tech factories and
facilities, riding the bullet train between Osaka and Tokyo, shopping at Akihabara,
seeing the Imperial Palace and Gardens, I also had a chance to experience traditional
Japan at an incredible mountain resort in Arima. I won't forget that anytime soon.
Finally there was a weird experience. I had this great sense of deja-vue as I walked through
the Sensoji Temple district, as if I had been there. I just knew the buildings, what I would
see next, and all the alleys. Back in the US I found that I HAD been there before. It is one
of the meticulously detailed venues in the "Project Gotham" racing game on the XBox...
As for Dimensions, by now, US Postal Service willing, our faithful subscribers should
have received the new issue of Dimensions Magazine. It's Number 88 and perhaps the best one we
ever did. I decided to add a lot more photography compared to prior issues, so this one is
definitely a feast for the eye. The models are Cat and Ana who have made prior appearances in Dimensions, and
gorgeous newcomer Lilly, an African American woman who really has it all. I've always been enamored with
Cat's incredible photography and wanted to do a special issue highlighting her work. Shy gal though
Her Voluptuous Catness is, she said she'd feel more comfortable sharing the limelight with someone else, and so I
chose an excellent collection of pics from French-Canadian artiste Ana to complement the Cat exhibit.
Incidentally, we grossly underestimated the number of copies we'd need of issue #88. So after all the subs and the distribution
copies went out, we found ourselves with less than 50 copies left. Which means that we won't be able to ship this gem to the various
bashes out there and not even to the NAAFA Convention in Atlanta. This one is sure to become a collector's item.
I'm also thinking more and more about making subscriptions available in electronic form. We would convert
the original print magazine files into pdf files, which means the pages look exactly the same as those in
the print magazine. Plus, you can enlarge the pages to view details without losing any resolutions. And, best of
all, the pdf format also supports links. This means that an electronic version could include links to websites, or you
could click on a small picture to bring up a hi-res version from our server. There could also be interactive
pages and even sound. Imagine model features that also include sound files/greetings from the models themselves.
Many commercial magazines are starting to use electronic subscriptions. To get an idea of what a commercial version
looks like, check out zinio.com. As more and more people have broadband access such as DSL or cable, file size becomes less of an
issue. The entire issue 88 in pdf form, for example, is 12mb.
Little by little I am cleaning up and and fixing all the things that were abandoned when my former webmistress, Dani,
suddenly disappeared without giving us any notice or leaving any instructions. I've been experimenting with some
new scripts. Since the Beseen chat system has been less than reliable as of late, and since I do not like to rely on
external software with its commercial intrusions, I've been trying out alternate chat software on our system. It's
generally been fairly well received and has apparently gained a following. There are some nifty features like
personal messages and even setting up private rooms. I am still working on letting chatters
look up other chatters' profiles and perhaps display pics.
Another piece of software I installed is the Dimensions Matching System (DMS).
It is sort of a replacement for the Dimensions
Personals which we used to have online in the olden days of the 900 number system. DMS is based on a commercial script that
I heavily modified to fit our needs. It is still far from finished, but I made it available on a trial basis. In the first two days, almost 500
people signed up. It's a pretty cool setup that uses a ranking system to match participants with one another. There's also a
Quick Search feature that lets you seek out others that fill certain criteria. Since we have to pay bills somehow, DMS will likely
become a fee-based system once it's all debugged.
Other issues I grapple with is how to subdivide and run all the Dimensions bulletin boards. Bulletin boards have a life of their own and you never know
where they will turn next. At some point most of the traffic was on the main board, but that shifted after I made it quite clear that I did not
see traffic caused by fighting and gossiping as a good thing. So some of the folks who loved the tabloid aspect went elsewhere. In the
meantime, the Weight Board has become extremely active. Originally conceived as a place where people can discuss certain weight-related fantasies, it
has assumed a much broader scope. There are over 200 posts on that board every day. As of late, there has been a substantial increase in what are essentially
solicitations for non-x-rated paysites. The rule I set up some time ago is that I will tolerate those as long as the posters participate actively
on the boards, offer something of value right here on our boards, and clearly mark their posts. Still, those posts are taking over and I'll
probably set up a separate board for all things paysite. The same rules will apply (participation) and the board may also become a place where the quality and
value of those sites can be discussed.
In the meantime, other boards have established themselves as their own communities. The FFA/BHM board for female FAs and big guys is a great example, and
I also like the way the WLS Controversy board developed into an alternate place of value. I had originally set it up in anger because I didn't want the
other boards full of WLS posts, but I must say the participants on that board have made it a very worthwhile addition to the site.
One thing I've been neglecting on the Dimensions site is activism. That's not because I am no longer interested in that vital part of size acceptance. It's just that most of
that is placed on the NAAFA site (which also runs on our servers). I am as peeved about Southwest's hideous money grab as the next person. I firmly believe that
almost all business is based on spreading risks and costs among all customers, i.e. it's accepted fact that serving some customers costs more than serving others. That cost
is always built into the system. Southwest has latched on to the fact that it's quite acceptable to single out fat people and treat them differently because,
after all, they are "fat slobs" who have no willpower and impose on others. So let's sock it to them. No way. Once upon a time another group of people was
singled out for being different. And we all know what that led to.
Finally, I want to thank the volunteers who are helping me behind the scenes. Bill Sherman has been helping with organizing and posting all the many stories we receive. Cat has
been doing a great job maintaining the Events section that really deserves a much more prominent place. Thanks so much!!!