April 14th, 2012 - By Humuhumu

Tiki matchbooks

My tiki matchbooks... waiting patiently for the day to come that they can be in Ooga-Mooga.

Ooga-Mooga launched nearly seven years ago (whoa!). Thanks to you guys adding all of your beautiful collections (and oh so many pictures, almost 70,000 of them!), it has grown into an outstanding resource for tikiphiles.

There’s so much to love about it… it’s fantastic for learning more about tiki mugs and other collectibles, seeing what others are finding for their collections, trading and connecting with other tikiphiles, all that great stuff. It’s so lovely to get lost exploring everyone’s collections on Ooga-Mooga, and you guys make it fun.

But not everything about Ooga-Mooga is loveable, and frankly, you guys deserve something better…
 

It’s hard to find things

Finding things in Ooga-Mooga works pretty well—if you happen to know the name of what you’re looking for. If you’re trying to identify something, you’re pretty much out of luck. And if what you’re trying to identify is a brown tiki mug… oooof.
 

Search is fussy and complicated

I tried to make it a bit better by adding lots of complicated metadata for each object in Ooga-Mooga. The downside of that is a bunch of levers and knobs in a gnarly search form. Blech.
 

Template creation is a bit of a pain

In order to drive that complicated search form, all that data needs to be collected in the object templates, and that’s not easy. I created a bunch, our darling Tiki-Kate created many more, and now Trader Tom has been doing a fantastic job of adding new templates… but it shouldn’t be so hard to keep up with all the new things you guys are adding to your collections.
 

It’s hard to find collectors

Have you ever tried to find someone’s collection in Ooga-Mooga using the All Collections page? Someone named “Tiki something”? OW.
 

It’s got plenty of stuff that isn’t particularly tiki

I’m as guilty of this as anyone (see: frog mug, oyster bar mug). With everyone’s varying ideas of what tiki *is*, it’s only natural that the objects in Ooga-Mooga are going to be all over the map. It would be better if the site knew what you wanted to see, and didn’t show you the stuff that isn’t as relevant to your interests.
 

It’s hard to see the latest activity

In order to see the latest new objects and comments in Ooga-Mooga, you have to poke around a few different places, and much of it is in the form of plain text links. Dullsville.
 

There are tons of really cool tiki things that can’t go into Ooga-Mooga

Oh man, do I want to see your matchbooks. And your postcards. And your vinyl. And your Coco Joe’s. And your menus.
 

The code base is old and hard to maintain

I built Ooga-Mooga seven years ago, and since then I’ve learned new languages, new techniques, new habits. I’m better at this now than I was then. Seven years is a lifetime in programming, and it’s time to re-architect the application, rebuild it better, stronger, more maintainable. It’ll make it much easier to add new features, and improve existing ones.
 

No one can remember the name

Ugga Mugga? Ooby-Doobie? Mooga-Booga? Sigh. Ooga-Mooga deserves a name that sticks with people.
 

So, Ooga-Mooga is getting some big love

Here’s what I’m doing about all this: I’ve taken several months off work (and will be taking more time) to rebuild Ooga-Mooga from the ground up. I’m working hard to make it nicer, better, bigger, awesomer. Addressing every one of the issues outlined above, along with lots of other improvements. With a name that’s not “Ooga-Mooga”—one I like a whole lot better!

It’s been a big undertaking, but it’s also been a lot of fun—and I’ve already completed much of the work. I believe that Ooga-Mooga can be something outstanding, and that taking the time will be worth it.

I usually don’t like to talk about the projects I’m working on until I have them ready to use. But these are big changes, and I want to keep you guys in the loop. I’m really excited about the new Ooga-Mooga, and I can’t wait to use it myself. Stay tuned… soon I’ll be ready to show you what’s coming.
 
 
 
 
p.s. Oh man, even this blog is embarrassingly musty & dusty… check out that “Ooga-Mooga on MySpace” link in the sidebar. Sorry so ugly!

September 7th, 2008 - By Humuhumu

Hey, it happens. We add price sightings without noticing that someone else already added it, or we accidentally add it to the wrong mug, or we get trigger-happy and add one too many zeros…

Well, I can’t make the mistakes stop happening — it’s just part of the human experience. But now, you can just flag price sightings that are incorrect so we can put things right again as quickly as possible.

Just click on the flag icon at the right side of a suspect price sighting, it looks like this:

You’ll then get a form where you simply tell us what went horribly, horribly wrong, and then we’ll fix it.

Mahalo nui loa to all of you who take the time to enter the prices you’re seeing out there in the wild!

August 30th, 2008 - By Humuhumu

The Challenge
Pictures are a huge part of Ooga-Mooga, but in different parts of Ooga-Mooga they play different roles. When looking at someone’s collection, the pictures are an expression of that person’s love for tiki mugs. But when the pictures come up when doing a search for mugs, they place a different and very important role: identification. The two desires are sometimes at odds.

How do I tell Ooga-Mooga which pictures are the “best” for swift visual identification when scanning search results, while still letting the pictures that are the “best” at explaining someone’s collection thrive?

And furthermore, how do I apply whatever the solution is to the over 25,000 pictures in Ooga-Mooga?

An Aside
More than 25,000 pictures! Whoa nelly! I’m knocked out by that. Your photographs have turned Ooga-Mooga into an incredible reference — nearly every mug in Ooga-Mooga has a photo to go with it, and nothing helps to identify what a mug is all about like its picture. Thank you for taking the time to photograph your collections and share them with the world, it’s amazing.

The Solution
I’ve completely overhauled how Ooga-Mooga handles photos. Before, photos were simply tagged as “representative” or “not representative.” This was confusing, and subjective. The most representative photos for search results are not always the more representative photos to tell a collector’s story. I won’t get into the particulars of how I’m handling it now, because it’ll bore you, but here’s the upshot:

  1. Images in search results are clearer
    The pictures that best illustrate what a mug looks like are the ones that will turn up in search results. Hopefully there’ll be less squinting at small pictures, and less of having to click on each mug to look through more photos to tell which mug is which.
  2. Search results are faster
    These representative photos are pulled from the database in a much faster way, so the search results page loads much more quickly than it used to.
  3. Your collection photos show up
    In rare cases, sometimes a person’s photo of an item was only of an unusual angle that was deemed “not representative” for search results purposes. This meant that the photo wouldn’t show up on their Collection page, either. No more! Now, your Collection page will show those photos. You’re more free to show your own personality in your collection photos.

Special Bonus
While I was at it, I also came up with a solution to a long-standing issue in Ooga-Mooga.

Ooga-Mooga is designed to strongly encourage you to share photos of your own collection because, well, that’s the point. We want to see your mugs. This is what has allowed Ooga-Mooga to grow into such an incredible documentation of tiki mugs. I don’t want that to change, but I also wanted to make it a little, well, friendlier while you were waiting to find that moment to take pictures of your collection.

To that end, on your Collection page, instead of seeing the big ol’ “?” mug picture on items that you haven’t uploaded pictures for yet, you’ll get a dimmed-out random picture from the mug’s template, with a text overlay explaining that you don’t have a picture yet. Hopefully this will still encourage folks to add their own pictures, but will make the collection a little more meaningful at a glance until then.

I hope you like these changes! I still have to go around Ooga-Mooga and make a few tweaks here & there as I switch over to the new system, but already I think it’s making Ooga-Mooga more fun to use.

July 6th, 2008 - By Humuhumu

Aloha! I’ve been working on some things behind the scenes that are sort of major housekeeping issues:

  1. Ooga-Mooga password reset is now automagic!
    In the past, if you forgot your Ooga-Mooga password (which is only natural, everyone does it now & again), you had to send me an email to ask to have it reset. No more! Now, Ooga-Mooga will automagically reset your password for you, and will email you the new temporary password, along with a link for you to reset it finally to something that only you know. Now if you’ve forgotten your password, it can be fixed in a jiffy!
     
  2. Ooga-Mooga subscription renewal!
    Ooga-Mooga subscriptions are handled via PayPal. PayPal has its good points and its less-good points. Chief among the less-good points is that PayPal handles credit card changes (even just a simple updating of your expiration date) with all the grace and elegance of a bull in a china shop. PayPal’s default behavior, in fact, is to cancel all your subscriptions when you do a simple credit card update. Your subscriptions are still active for the time you have paid for, but once the next payment comes due, your account is killed. Yikes!

    This has been a major, major pain in the keister. PayPal doesn’t tell me what has happened — from my end, it just looks like you decided you didn’t want your Ooga-Mooga account anymore. *sniffle*

    It’s still a bit of a pain in the keister, but much less so: I’ve changed Ooga-Mooga so that if your subscription has been terminated, instead of giving you an unfriendly “This account is inactive” message when you log in, instead it gives you a page that lets you renew your subscription. Yay! If this has happened to you, just log in, and you’ll be able to sign up again. All your mugs & information are still there, you won’t need to re-add anything.
     

  3. My email is fixed!
    Exacerbating these two issues has been a very serious third one: my humuhumu@ooga-mooga.com email account had become so overrun with spam that it was unusable. Digging through the spam to get to the real messages from you guys was impossible, and my spam filtering was no good. I’ve completely changed how my email is handled, and now I’ve got great spam filtering that can tell the difference between you fine people and the purveyors of fine pill products.
     

These aren’t the sexiest updates, but boy howdy, they’re a big deal if you’ve been impacted by them, so it’s a huge relief to have them fixed. If you have any questions, please shoot me an email!

June 18th, 2007 - By Humuhumu

Tiki Woo

June 17th, 2007 - By Humuhumu

tikimonkey

June 16th, 2007 - By Humuhumu

Loki

June 15th, 2007 - By Humuhumu

TikiMonkeySpirtos

June 14th, 2007 - By Humuhumu

TikiJosh

June 13th, 2007 - By Humuhumu

Hiphipahula