The Millennium, Web Servers, Railroads & CDs
Welcome to the new millennium! So, did anyone have as big a bash this New Year's Eve as they did last year? Remember all those Y2K worries? Well, here we are, a year later, and the world didn't explode, money is still good, and we here at Internet Modeler are still going strong. In fact, over the last year we had around 700 articles & reviewed items in our pages, covering nearly all aspects of modeling from aviation to figures to science fiction. This brings our online total of articles & reviews to over 1400 since our inception in September 1998, a pretty impressive number. This resource isn't without a downside, though, and that is in the size of the magazine. We're averaging over 20MB for each issue now (although some of the earlier issues were smaller) and the total size of the magazine is getting rather large. This leaves us with one of two options: archive onto CD-ROM or buy a web server.
With the cost of a web server running several thousand dollars and the monthly operating costs being around $1000, I quickly ruled that option out (unless there's some wealthy benefactor that would like to donate such a setup to us, that is). This leaves us with the CD-ROM archive idea, which the more I thought about the more I liked. Key benefits of the CD is that you don't have to be online to view pages, you don't have to wait for images to download, and since Internet Modeler is in HTML it can be viewed on any computer without any special software (other than a web browser, which you need to view IM online anyway). With the cost of creating and packaging a CD-ROM being a matter of a few dollars, it is a much more cost-effective way to keep the online size of the magazine down than buying a new server. For more information (and a complete index of all our past issues) check out the CD-ROM page off of the Archives page.
While we're on the subjects of web servers, I might as well mention that we've changed servers this last month (actually, the last week of December). There were several reasons for this, one of which is the speed of the site. The host we had (Yahoo!, formerly Simplenet) was getting too bogged down in their connections to the backbone, forcing us to find someone else. Also, their hosting plans were very limited and getting more so. After much teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling, I found what I hope is a faster and smoother host server. There are some changes behind the scenes that we're having to get used to, but (hopefully) it will all be transparent to you, the end reader, and the site should be faster during our busy time (the first week of the month). We will be watching things closely, though, and if there's any problems we will work quickly to try and rectify them. Bear with us during this time of change and rest assured that any problem will eventually be ironed out.
Finally, I'd like to welcome a new addition to Internet Modeler, the model railroad section. We've received a fair amount of interest in this area and you can look to see this section expand over this next year. Model railroaders are likely one of the largest sections of scale modelers worldwide and while their subject matter may not be interesting to some, their techniques can be used in any aspect of modeling, whether you build race cars, submarines, helicopters, half-tracks or cabooses. I know that I've learned quite a bit from railroad modeling and I hope all of you will too over this next year.
I want to wish everyone on behalf of everyone here at Internet Modeler a happy new year and I hope the new millennium brings us some great new kits!