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Derek 10-25-2005 02:01 AM

Big changes to 5MD and 5MSV
This is a rather lengthy post, but if you are interested in fiving for 5MD or 5MSV, and especially if you have already called stuff for either one, please read the following post.

As a section head, I run into two main problems. Namely,
  1. People try to call episodes that have already been called, and
  2. People call episodes and do not five them (contributing to problem 1).
Now perhaps a good section head would try to be diligent about policing called episodes and checking up on guest fivists, but since everyone fives at a different pace, it's easy enough just to not follow up on it.

Recognizing these problems, I say to myself, "Self, wouldn't it be cool if I just had a system that took care of both problems automagically?" To which I respond, "Automagically? I can't believe you just said that."

However I wrote such a system anyway. Here's how it works.

To solve the first problem, I created a list of uncalled fivers. Now a guest fivist can simply view the list of episodes and know which ones are available.

Not bad, eh? But wait! There's even more. You can sign up for an account at the website and add fivers to your own queue of fivers automatically! No waiting for me to respond to your request or anything. Also, you can remove fivers from your queue if you don't want to five it any more. You can even draft the fiver online and submit it to me over the website, if you're so inclined.

To solve the second problem, I created an email notification system. When you first call a fiver, you get three months to five it. One month before it's due, I'll send out an email to you that you only have one month to go. At that point, you will be able to login to the website and renew that fiver for another month (and you can keep renewing indefinitely). One week before it's due, I send another email. On the day it's due, the fiver returns to the uncalled list and you and I are both emailed about it.

Pretty cool, huh? It isn't? Yeah, well, same to you, buddy!

Anyway, I have a little more information that I'm going to put into a FAQ format, since I find that style to be pretty readable.

Q: So basically you're just using me?

No, no. It's nothing like that. I need you.

Q: Oh. Okay then. Um, do I have to use your system?

Nope. It's my hope that people will come to use my system since it seems like it'd be pretty convenient all around, but you can still email me the old way too. You'll still get the email notifications either way though.

Q: What if I don't want to be emailed?


Q: No really. I get spammed enough as it is. I'm not really keen on more email.

Sorry. If there really are enough people complaining about being emailed, I might add a feature that disables mailings. But in an ideal situation, you'll only be emailed twice: Once when you submit the fiver to me, and once when I pass the fiver on to Zeke. As for being reminded at 1 month and 1 week before the fiver's due, I think that's reasonable. And sending you an email when your fiver's removed is also a good idea. So I'm standing by what I've done.

Q: I think I found a bug in your code. What should I do?

Email me. Tell me what you were doing (what you clicked in what order), so I can reproduce the error. I'll try to fix things as quickly as possible.

Q: I also thought of a really cool new feature you can add. What should I do?

Email me. If it's a good idea, I might add it in. No guarantees on how quickly it'll happen, or if it'll happen at all. But I would like to make the system friendly for everyone if possible.

Q: How many fivers can I check out at a time?

Three per section.

Q: Only three?

Yeah, if you want to do more, write one of the ones you've already called.

Q: I'm a section head, or at least I play one on TV. Can I use your system to catalog all my fivers for my section also?

Sure. Send me an email or IM or something and we'll discuss what needs to be done.

Q: Why isn't this code on

Because I wrote it on my own computer using Java and uses PHP. If this system becomes popular enough, I may check with Zeke and see if we can't move the code over to PHP.

Q: How --

And one other thing. Since this is running off my own computer, it may not be subject to the 24/7 uptimes of other sites. If my ISP decides to flake out, or if the power goes out after a hurricane, or whatever, then the site may not be up. I want the site to be available 24/7, but I don't have the disposable income to just plop down to insure that fact.

Sorry, you had a question?

Q: I forgot it.

Well, I'm sure it wasn't important.

And now, if any real person has questions about the new system, please post them here and I'll answer them as best I can.

Gatac 10-25-2005 08:05 AM

No question, just wanted to say that I think it's an awesome idea.

Three cheers!


whoiam 10-25-2005 08:54 AM

I'm currently playing reseller for a hosting company over here - since this doesn't sound like the highest performance system of all time, maybe you'd like me to set aside some space for your system on their servers? It'd guarantee the uptime, at least...?

(unlimited bandwidth and webspace for unlimited users...*grins*...gotta love it...)

Derek 10-25-2005 06:12 PM


Originally Posted by whoiam
I'm currently playing reseller for a hosting company over here - since this doesn't sound like the highest performance system of all time, maybe you'd like me to set aside some space for your system on their servers? It'd guarantee the uptime, at least...?

Due to its low performance needs and the fact that I'm not sure how well this is going to catch on (not to mention not wanting to put up the cash for a real hosting company), I'm fine using my own computer for now. If things become problematic (which I kinda doubt will happen even if my system were to cover every series at, then I may want to look to some external hosting.

Thanks for offering and I'll be sure to remember that if things change.

whoiam 10-25-2005 06:37 PM

Just to clarify, I wasn't offering to charge for it.

I'm paying the full bill myself (its only 30 a month, okay? And I get free net access for the year, so...) so if you do take me up on the offer, then 'tis free.

Sa'ar Chasm 10-25-2005 06:50 PM


so if you do take me up on the offer, then 'tis free. is always good. I'm thinking about doing this for B5. I was initially going to whine and pout and beg Derek into hosting it along with his, but free is good.

Zeke 10-25-2005 10:15 PM

Or, you know, I could just make a subdirectory of for this system....

whoiam 10-25-2005 10:50 PM

*You* could, but then, *I* can only really offer what's mine, can't I?

Derek 10-26-2005 12:18 AM

How about we keep this on my computer for now. If downtime is a problem (which it really isn't normally), or if the system becomes overly popular, then I'll take the next steps.

Thanks all for your kindly offers though.

Sa'ar Chasm 10-26-2005 12:35 AM

Having spent the past couple of hours playing around with the system, I can safely say it's a groovy little site Derek's got there. It certainly streamlines, simplifies and idiot-proofs the calling process.

Edit: Oh, and you can now call B5 episodes there.

PointyHairedJedi 10-26-2005 08:55 PM

^ Is the same procedure with DS9/SV in effect with B5 also?

(Neat idea, Derek.)

Xeroc 10-26-2005 09:01 PM

Cool! 8)

Nice system you have there! :D

Sa'ar Chasm 10-26-2005 10:14 PM


Is the same procedure with DS9/SV in effect with B5 also?
The very same. I created a half-ass account for you, the net effect probably being that you'll have all sorts of problems logging in. Let me know if you do.

PointyHairedJedi 10-26-2005 11:23 PM

In which case some sort of password kinda deely would probably be of some use to me. ;)

Sa'ar Chasm 10-27-2005 12:00 AM

Turns out that I can't edit profiles once I've created them. I honestly don't know what will happen. The system uses email addresses as identifiers, but I didn't enter one for you. Try logging in as Pointy Haired Jedi. At best, it'll ask you "Is this you?", at worst Derek will have to fix it.

Derek 10-27-2005 12:47 AM

Yeah, maybe I should allow people other than me, Zeke, and IJD to modify user information after intitial creation.... I'll think about that.

I did make a change though that forces you to put in an email address when creating an author. Maybe that'll do something.

Oh, and I filled in all the author's emails that I could find. So PHJ has his gmail set for his account now. It should automatically match him.

PointyHairedJedi 10-29-2005 06:13 PM

It reckons it's sent me an email, but nothing as of yet. I'll check again later.

PointyHairedJedi 10-29-2005 10:06 PM

I tried to enter a password and got this:

Did I kill it?

Derek 10-29-2005 11:07 PM

Actually, it wasn't the password that was the problem. Somehow you had a fiver assigned without a due_date. Don't know how that happened, but it messed things up.

I've fixed it, so it should work now.

PointyHairedJedi 10-30-2005 12:37 AM

Hmm. It's listing one that I've finished and hashed out with Sa'ar already as being unsubmitted. Perhaps that's why the date thing was as it was.

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