Category Archives: site news

Site upgrade

The chickens have come home to roost.

After not upgrading the Protozoic server for roughly five years, running an end of life version of WordPress because I couldn’t upgrade PHP, I finally had to pay the piper. Protozoic has been running WordPress since 2004, and all (well most) of the posts are stored in the database as Markdown. I chose this setup when WordPress was only about a year old and Markdown was only months old. Sounds like I had great foresight, no?

No, I did not. Apparently the Markdown plugin I’ve been using for WordPress was retired back in 2013. It took me some casting about to find a setup that worked with the way we write posts, and the way most of the posts are stored in the database. Much of our media is stored in directories, since I think they predate the WordPress Media Library. I have made an attempt to bring all that media into the library to ease future migrations at the cost of my whole Sunday.

Even our poor theme has suffered. Apparently the widgets at the bottom of the page were legacy widgets – those too have now been upgraded.

There’s a lot of link rot in those old posts and I know we are less active, but here’s to another five years. Let me know if you find any issues that I missed in the transition.

A decade

Mike tells me that protozoic is 10 years old. We’ve been online at this location for a full decade. We had other internet homes before this one, but this one is the longest running one. I think we first established our internet presence with the original Chook site, which was sometime around 1996 or 1997.

The first post here was made on September 15th, 2004. We posted a lot more then. Hopefully we will continue in the future.

Search terms

Mike wanted me to do another post about search terms (like this and this), but I don’t feel like it. More importantly, not much has changed since then. The top phrases still have to do with rice bugs, hunan hand, and nude D&D cartoons. Yeah, there are one or two new phrases, like ‘arachnafist‘, but for the most part, it’s the same stuff.

More interesting to me is a link I’ve been getting on my flickr page. On one specific picture (shown above). The link is from Baidu, a Chinese search engine. It’s very popular over there from what I understand. Anyway, the search phrase is obviously ‘foot licking’. I’m guessing they didn’t get what they were looking for when they clicked through.

Happy New Year.


Happy New Year. Protozoic has been going for more than 4 years. Seems like a long time, doesn’t it? The Chook website was run, in one manner or another, for a lot of years too. The earliest hit I get for that at is August 17th, 2000. Wow. And I know we had an even earlier version than that one for a year or so, but I’m not sure we had the domain name back then.

We also did RSS feeds back then, YEARS before it was mainstream. And (essentially) a RSS-feed enabled blog, in the original Mindlab. I had written a rudimentary RSS feed parser in PHP and a rudimentary blog posting system so Mike could log in and write a post. The post were automatically inserted into the appropriate page and an RSS feed file was written. The main page then read the RSS feed and added the headlines of the new posts to the front page. That was the extent of living on the cutting edge of WWW design. Now we just (happily) use WordPress.

New site features

They aren’t much, but I thought I’d point them out.

First off, at the end of each post next to the categories and tags, you’ll see two little icons. The first is for Digg and the second is for Reddit. These are sites for sharing links. Someone reads something they like, they submit it to sites like Digg and Reddit and tell their friends about it. Their friends, if they like the link, click the “diggit” button to say the liked it, and it gets a point. Reddit has a similar ranking mechanism. The more points it gets, the more visible it is on the sites…

So, if you see an article you like, click the button. Submit it or give it your approval if its already submitted.

Secondly, I’ve added links to the feeds down on the bottom of the sidebar. There are feeds for the site in general, all the comments so you can stay on top of discussion, a ‘podcast’ feed of all the videos on the site, and the link to the same feed in iTunes, if you prefer your podcasts over there.

Next up, an iPhone skin has been implemented for iPhone users. If you don’t like the iPhone presentation and prefer the normal presentation, just scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “normal view.” If you want to get back to the iPhone view, look for the link at the bottom of the sidebar.

Lastly, the new WordPress supports Gravitars. Go to their site, sign up your email address (the same one you use in the comments form) and pick a picture. This little icon will then show up next to your comment here and any other site which is enabled to use them. If you don’t feel like it, that’s fine — you’ll get a little randomly generated icon instead.

Protocon 3.0 Official Announcement

Protocon 3.0 will be occurring in Chestertown, MD at Webb Manor from August 16-18. Here’s the itinerary. Protocon 3.0

Friday, August 16th

6 to 9 PM — Arrivals
9 to 10 PM — Handout Hard Rations and Rules
9 to 12 PM — Movie: The Swarm
12 to ? — Late Night Discussion

Saturday, August 17th

8 to 9 AM — Eat Rations
9 to 10 AM — Write script
10 to 1 PM — Build “The Secret Thing”
1 to 2 PM — Eat Rations
2 to 4 PM — Shoot “The Secret Thing” Film
4 to 5 PM — Thom’s Dinner Time Speech
5 to 6 PM — Eat Rations
6 to 10 PM — Brian’s game
10 to 12 AM — Video Games & Party
12 to ? AM — Party

Sunday, August 18th

8 to 9 AM — Eat Rations
9 to 10 AM — Hard Ration Trophy
12 to 1 PM — Thom’s Farewell Speech and Goodbyes


With the month of September just around the corner we are rapidly approaching 3 solid years of Protozoic. We’ve held 2 Protocons (soon to be 3), posted a glut of content, made a better follow-up to [The Wicker Man than Nicholas Cage]( and even started to collaborate with other websites like [The Disability Guru]( Protozoic stands as the most successful site Tim and I have ever run, namely because our friends actually read it and contribute to it. We hope it stays that way.

With the rather momentous anniversary approaching, it seemed like a good time to reevaluate and redesign the site. This redesign will attempt to streamline things a bit, and cut some extraneous stuff, but retain the charming (or off-putting) randomness of the old site. The idea isn’t really to sell out just yet, cause no one is “buying it”, but we are going to attempt to do a couple things pretty well so we might actually get ourselves an audience. Changes will continue to occur over the next couple of weeks and if you have any suggestions, be sure to mail us or leave a comment. We’d love to hear them.

Itunes feed

I don’t want to overshadow The Green Machine so I snuck it in before it, but our iTunes podcast feed is now working. To celebrate, we made it onto the front page of the iTunes store’s Podcast section. We’re in the New Releases.

I will be adding links to our new Videos feed and to the iTunes Podcast (if you want to subscribe to our videos via iTunes) on the sidebar later, but for now, here they are.

Subscribe via iTunes

Subscribe via RSS