So, I've been looking around at what could be the next thing for The Rip Track and wondering what kinds of projects I would want to work on for the site. First, the easy bit... As I mentioned in a previous post, I was looking at other content management systems after running into an error updating some of the history projects here. The error has been fixed, and I'll be sticking with the current system for a while longer. I was dreading the data conversion project and since I don't need to do that, I can concentrate on further improvements here. But that leads to the harder question: what content needs to be added next? Read on...
Since about mid-January, I've been riding the bus for most of my daily commuting. I bout a Sansa Fuze to have some music with me while I ride, and that led me to discover the wide world of podcasting. I have about 20 shows on my podcatcher now. A couple of the shows that I'm now listening to regularly deal with tech issues and have convinced me that creating a podcast for this site would be a worthwhile endeavor, especially since I haven't yet found another show that combines everything that I would want to include in a show. My own past experience as a radio show host (if you were in Riverside, California, in the late 1980s, or Santa Barbara in 1990-91, you might have heard my show, "Slambo's Car of Idiots" on KUCR and then KCSB) will definitely come to play in creating this new show for The Rip Track. There's plenty of content that I can put into a monthly podcast. Some of the content for the show will include model and prototype railroad news bits, train show and event announcements, product reviews, railroad history stories and Modeler's Moments. My only real question is what kind of bandwidth would be required. I'd like to keep it free to subscribe to the show, which is one reason for the 30-60 minute limit on show length. I've heard of other shows that delete past episodes from the server after a period of time, and for now I may go with that option to keep the production affordable and subscription free. If things change, I'll definitely post about it. As to when it will start, well, it will start as soon as I can get the segments recorded and mixed into a show. Update - I have found a hosting solution for the podcast episodes that mitigates the disk space and bandwidth issues, so now it's time to start writing and recording the episodes.
For the written content on the site, there are a few projects that I've started on. Yes, I know I need to post more about model railroading and more howto information. My own model railroad room is rather cold in Winter, and now that Summer is approaching, I hope to get in there to work on a few more projects. A few projects that I've already started on there will lead to articles for the site. I've got some tool reviews and a couple howtos in the works already, I just haven't had a chance to devote enough time to each of them yet. I also plan to work on more Modeler's Moments for some quick updates over what is traditionally the "off-season" for model railroading. Also, you've probably seen all the updates to the named steam locomotive lists of North America and the United Kingdom. I've got a bunch more data including some data that was sent to me by readers (and if I haven't already said so, thank you very much for sending data to include!!!) to add to both lists, and will continue to update them when I have time to add information. In working on these lists, it's occurred to me that they could easily be expanded to cover steam locomotives that have operated in South America, mainland Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, Asia and Australia/New Zealand, as well as diesel and electric locomotive names for all the regions noted already. I'm collecting data to get started on each of these lists. Another list that I've also been working on is a worldwide Who's Who list of prominent figures in railroad history.
The last item to mention is one of further advertising. About two years ago, I posted a story with some small banners you can display on your websites to link to The Rip Track. Last week I created a page for The Rip Track on Facebook. If you're on Facebook, please "become a fan" of this page.
Finally, I have one question for everyone who got this far in reading this post. What do you want to see on The Rip Track? Send me an email or leave a comment below.