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Here’s what’s coming to Patreon in December

Filed under Works in Progress

December line-up at Patreon

Happy December!

If you’re not sure why Patreon has become so important to me, you can read all about that here.

Yeah. That was depressing, wasn’t it? So let me try to cheer you up with the rewards my Patrons will receive this month.

December 6 (for Patrons at $5 and above)

Englyn is an illustrated poem from Runestaff #28, in 1984. The title’s unimaginative: this is a poem in the ancient Welsh verse form called “englyn”.

But it always knows who it is.

December 13th (for Patrons at $15 and above)

Two print-resolution Celtic knotwork borders at greeting card size, with transparent areas inside the borders. If you have image editing software you can place your own picture or message inside the border.

(These are for personal use only.)

December 20th (for Patrons at $10 and above)

The first draft for Chapter 3 of a sequel to Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom. First drafts are things of horror. Let me share my horror with you.

December 27th (for Patrons at $1 and above)

Adventures in Corporate Logic: Electronic Arts, ca. 1991 recalls some of the challenges I faced with a friend of mine while we dealt with a major corporation. We did okay, considering.


So, as always, $15 patrons will see something every week while the rest will see one, two, or three updates. I hope you enjoy them!

Please consider helping me to continue my creative work and deal with the financial aftermath of cancer
 
 
The trade paperback edition of ‘Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom’ is coming tomorrow

Filed under Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom, Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual, Works in Progress

Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom

AVAILABLE IN PRINT:
AMAZON | Barnes & Noble | Powell's | IndieBound
EBOOKS AVAILABLE:
AMAZON | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Amazon & Kobo links are localized

Much to my own surprise – in my capacity as The Guy Who Sees the Sales Numbers – Tor Books will release the trade paperback edition of my Slaves of the Switchboard Of Doom tomorrow. It’s up on Amazon already with a preorder price of $10.99.

They sent me a few copies last week, so I can tell you they’ve done a pretty good job on this less prestigious edition. You (naturally) lose the wraparound dust jacket, and you get just 50% of the endpaper art.

I was curious about how they’d handle that: you seldom see a trade paperback with printing on the inside covers. The way they approached it was to keep the side of each endpaper that features the book title, and although that means some important character vignettes are missing it’s probably as good a solution as any. Those characters are more likely to show up in the other illustrations anyway, I guess.

Still, it’s worth mentioning that the hardcover price is dropping with the new edition’s release. In hardcover the book has lovely, heavy paper, the ends of the cover art, and the complete endpapers. The hardcover would still be my first choice.

Dust jacket art for Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom

But whichever edition you choose, Slaves of the Switchboard Of Doom stands ready to serve all your humorous, retrofuturistic needs.

There’s the eBook version too, of course. I assume its price will drop once the paperback is released tomorrow, but I don’t know by how much, or when. The world is just chock full of things I don’t know. You get used to it.

 
 
Here’s what’s coming to Patreon in November

Filed under Works in Progress

My Patreon line-up for November

Happy November!

If you’re not sure why Patreon has become so important to me, you can read all about that here.

Yeah. That was depressing, wasn’t it? So let me try to cheer you up with the rewards my Patrons will receive this month.

November 6 (for Patrons at $5 and above)

Chapter 2 of the first draft for a sequel to Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom. We’ll find out what’s put Dash into such a terrible state, meet some old friends (and some new ones) and learn how Nola’s career is looking up, apart from the explosions.


Note: Because of the way I’m alternating Celtic and fantasy art and writing with their Retropolitan counterparts, $5 backers are only getting three of the six chapters. It’s weird.

November 13th (for Patrons at $15 and above)

Two print-resolution Celtic knotwork borders at greeting card size, with transparent areas inside the borders. If you have image editing software you can place your own picture or message inside the border.


(These are for personal use only.)

November 20th (for Patrons at $10 and above)

The Technique of Theodoris is a short story with a title illustration from around 1978. It’s work I signed with my Morno signature; and I have a few words to say about Morno, too.

November 27th (for Patrons at $1 and above)

The Dive of Death remembers how I was warned about a bar in town and never went there, then warned other people not to go… without actually knowing whether the stories were true. That’s a strange thing to do.


So, as always, $15 patrons will see something every week while the rest will see one, two, or three updates. I hope you enjoy them!

 
 
The new responsive design for The Celtic Art Works

Filed under Web Development, Works in Progress

Having finished the redesign for my Retropolis site, it was much simpler to make the same changes to The Celtic Art Works. The two shops are built in a similar way: for the most part I’d solved all the problems already.

Phone-friendly site redesign for The Celtic Art Works (2018)

Okay, they’re not exactly the same. I had several surprises along the way. Still, this shop took about half as much time as the first one.

When I posted about the Retropolis redesign I described it as “phone-friendly”, but I never explained what I meant by that.

It seemed ridiculous to maintain two separate versions of these shops, one for desktops and one for smaller displays. I’ve always thought that was a pretty terrible solution.

If you view either site on a desktop computer you can see what I’ve done by resizing your browser window, from full screen to just under 400 pixels wide.

Responsive page redesign for The Celtic Art Works (2018)

You can use CSS to wrap the elements differently at different widths, but there are design limits when you rely on CSS alone. So I made things a bit more complicated.

First, I do the obvious by checking the width of your browser’s window when the pages load – but there’s also a Javascript listener that watches for changes in the browser’s width. Those changes kick off a function that hides some screen elements and reveals others. This works equally well on any platform and also allows the layout to change when a phone or tablet is rotated.

Narrow display of The celtic Art Works

That allows the site to use more than just CSS to move the elements around. If your window’s wide enough (as in the first image), you get a large, fixed-position menu at the top of the page and a sidebar on the right; on smaller displays the wide menu gets hidden, a narrower one is revealed, and the right-hand sidebar is replaced by a copy down below. (Most of that’s shown in the second and third images.)

Because I can make different changes at a variety of widths I’m able to get a pretty good looking layout at almost any size.

Finally, I go through a little dance to adjust the height of the sidebar when it’s visible. You can’t check the height of a floating element in Javascript – ouch! – so I have to check the position of the footer to figure out how tall the sidebar needs to be. That’s the kind of thing that’s automatic when you lay a page out with tables, but ends up being difficult with CSS.

The redesign has a problem with wide left-side content when the sidebar’s visible. So on a few pages I’ve always hidden the sidebar and revealed the lower copy.

Anyway, as I said you can play around with this by resizing your computer’s browser window. I can’t promise hours of fun, but it may be kind of interesting to see the layout change at different widths.

Oh! And consider buying something while you’re there, right?

 
 
The new phone-friendly redesign of Retropolis: the Art of the Future That Never Was

Filed under Print On Demand, Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual, Web Development, Works in Progress

Retropolis: the Art of the Future That Never Was

I’ve spent the last two weeks on two projects: rebuilding part of my front porch (which you probably don’t care about unless you’re knocking on my door), and creating a phone-friendly redesign of my Retropolis web site.

I’m not crazy about the ways that phones have affected web page design – and I really miss my old page layouts – but because I am also not actually crazy I finally caved in to peer pressure and converted the site into something that works well on phones. Mostly.

The big exception is the Business Card Construction Kit. You still need a much wider browser window to do much with that one.

But in every other respect you can now shop quite comfortably even on one of those tiny, ridiculous devices that you all use.

Retropolis: the Art of Retro Future

So go do that, please, while I dart outdoors between the rainstorms and try to get my deck boards nailed down in time for Winter.

As always, you can find the Retropolis Transit Authority T-shirts, along with posters, greeting cards, postcards, business cards, and other things that are not cards. Like, uh, coffee mugs. And books. And other stuff. Go get ’em!

 
 
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