After careful consideration I have decided to transfer all hardware review activities to a new domain. I purchased Hardwareasylum.com in 2012 and have been working hard to build a new and improved Ninjalane on that domain. If you are reading this you have reached one of the archived articles, news, projects and/or reviews that were left behind during the site migration.
Please update your bookmarks and be sure to visit the new and improved Ninjalane at Hardwareasylum.com
Website History Timeline 2
This was the turning point for Ninjalane that transformed it from a casemodding site posting personal projects into a version of what you see now with the review of the Dual Pentium 3 motherboard from Freeway Design called the FWD-P3C4XD. The funny story here is that HardOCP posted a picture of this motherboard in their daily news and said something about it being a completely custom dual P3 motherboard. I wanted to get one for my personal workstation, but as with many smaller companies in Taiwan they didn't sell anything in the US. So I wrote them asking to make a purchase. Somehow the email landed in the marketing department.
As it would turn out the marketing folks checked out my website and really liked what saw. Their reply was simple in which they offered to send me the motherboard for free provided I did a review and posted the results on the website. Of course I agreed and to this day stands as the most exciting review launch in Ninjalane History.
I could have stopped there however, I've always liked motherboards and the whole review process was rather fun, so the quest to get more products continued.
Btw, my approach for getting the Freeway Design motherboard will likely never work again. It would seem that Mfgs get several hundred emails a day from people asking to do reviews. Several of these requests are legit requests while the majority of them are not. Sadly this is the primary reason the average person looking for support or to have questions answered cannot get the company to even bother reading your message.
You see in the early days of Ninjalane all of the pages were created by hand using an HTML editor called Homesite, For the most part I still use this program for all of my web development needs. The lack of a consistent publishing system meant that each page had to be coded into HTML along with navigation and images. For those of you familiar with static HTML websites you understand the work involved to add an additional page to the middle of an article. This resulted in additional work and multiplied the time spend publishing an article.
The new XML process was still a manual but allowed me to move parts around by simply moving the data chunks to a different section of the document. In a way this is like using a database (which is what XML is) without the nasty requirement of having to deal with SQL injection attacks, clunky admin pages, and the overhead of having another system running in the background to serve up content. All in all XML was (and still is) the way to go.
The raw XML system was in use from 6/2001 until 6/2007 when it was replaced with a full CMS which I'll talk about in a later article.
I really liked the original Ninjalane, the design was clean, exciting and very well liked by everyone who bothered to write me. However it had a fatal flaw, there was no place to put advertising. The site only supported a single 468x60 banner at the top and several 125x125 banners along the side. So the quest to build a better Ninjalane started with the official release in November 2002.
Key features of the v2.0 launch would be the migration of all of the website code from Classic ASP to ASP.Net. I am a strong supporter of VB.Net having failed to understand the syntax of C#. I also write all of my code in the for mentioned Homesite tool, which for the layman means without the aid of MS tools like Visual Studio etc.. I prefer this method even though MS Zealots will shun me for a) ditching C# and b) not using Visual Studio.
Well guess what? Don't care!, live in your happy little world I'll live in mine.
Another key feature was the migration of the back-end database from Access to FoxPro. Foxpro was not the best solution but was better than Access in terms of memory usage and performance. I didn't have many options available as my hosting company would only supported Access and FoxPro without an additional cost.
You may not know this from looking but the Foxpro database ran Ninjalane until 6/2007 and did so like a champ even with the site crippling traffic from Computex 2003. BTW during that time the site never went down completely but rather the hosting company had to restart the website several times due to the load, I attribute this to the shared hosting environment as shared hosting sux. I also had to pay an extra bandwidth fee which sparked the decision for the next milestone.
This also marks the launch of the PHPBB version of the Ninjalane Message Forum. Sadly all of the posts from the previous forum were lost but it didn't take long for the members to start up their threads again including the ever popular Anime Picture Thread. This has since become Hentai picture thread with over 50k views.
The forum requires you be a registered member to view the photo attachments so be sure to get your account now. Registration is free
For the longest time the Ninjalane Labs was really a duplex in the North End section of Boise Idaho. The Wife and I lived there for several years but the whole paying rent thing was really getting old. In 2003 we started looking at houses to buy and when nothing really fit our needs we looked at the option of building. Having graduated from College with a Bachelors of Architecture it seemed only fitting that I design it myself. (This was also the major reason I couldn't find anything I liked to begin with. Mass built cookie cutter homes really have no place in today's society.)
So plans were drafted and approved by the city. The building lot was purchased, and construction started the first week in August 2004. Building your own home is really something that everyone should experience. The only downside is cost, the whole process is rather expensive and to cut costs (and learn more about the entire building process) I was out there every night inspecting things and building stuff.
Everything was going well until March 2005 when the company I was working for (CRI Advantage, again for you local folks) lost a major contract and had to downsize the company. I was heavily involved with that project and was one of the many to be laid off. The house was still a couple months from being finished and needless to say the blow was a major setback, both financially and to the website.