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 Post subject: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:06 am 
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OK, Sandy has done the work to get the ball rolling by re-working the puzzle database code (to allow a content moderator), then assigning me the job of moderator.

But it is more than a one person job so I'll need help, and I know there are many out there willing. The key is organizing things to best make use of what people have to offer. I believe my most useful role will be to do this, as well as a bit of image editing now and again.

An important point to make, right off:
Sandy has high standards for the content that is going to be on his site (as you can witness from the existing Database). I aspire to this standard, and as moderator it is my job to enforce it. So don't take it personally if your submission is changed or rejected. I don't, when Sandy fixes up something I do that is sub-par. The goal is quality :)

With that out of the way, let's list what needs to be done:
1.) Add new puzzles into the database. There are a lot of new puzzles, particularly in 2008, that scream out to be added.
2.) Add old puzzles into the database. There seems to be an infinite list of puzzles around, and we can't just focus on what is being created at the moment.
3.) Update existing entries. Many database entries are years old with out of date information. Many would do well to have more pictures, or have pictures that could be improved.
4.) PM me to add to this list if I have missed something

OK, now let's list how people can help:
a.) To address #1 and #2 above, people can add new entries to the database. The form is here, but don't click just yet...
b.) Addressing #1 and #2 above also means pictures for submitted puzzles. These need to be high quality. If we can't get anything better sometimes it might be worth doing the best we can, but in general it is a lot of work to try to clean up a poor photo and if the result isn't great we might not even want to use it.
c.) Following on b.) we need people able to do high quality image editing. This means using Photoshop or some other high quality tool (I use PaintShop Pro, lower end but capable), and the skills to use it well.
d.) Right now Sandy does a final pass formatting the pictures for different sizes and file types with a PhotoShop script. I don't have PhotoShop so I can't help here, but perhaps others can.
e.) Addressing #3 above (and #1) people willing to look over the database and call out entries that might need an update. This is where help can be much appreciated, as combing the database alone is a huge task.
f.) Following on e.), people to update the database entries once flagged as out of date. e.) and f.) will often require people with good and deep puzzle information.
g.) PM me to add to this list if I have missed something

One more list for you (sorry...). Here is the rough process things go through to get into the database:
A.) A person submits a puzzle entry or edit
B.) That entry or edit gets put on a list for me to approve, disapprove or edit myself
C.) If a new puzzle, pictures are submitted (emailed, see this page)
D.) Those pictures are correlated with the new puzzle entry and queued for image editing
E.) Edited images are then moved on to Sandy for proper sizing and formatting (a Photoshop script) and placed on the site
F.) I then approve the added puzzle that now has pictures

OK, so why the "Don't click just yet..."? Submissions will be coming in again now that things are opened up. I'll do my best to keep up and clear the list of pending additions. What will slow me down is a lot people adding the same puzzles. Until I approve a puzzle and it is added, you can't know that someone else has submitted it, so I need some way of telling you guys which puzzles are already in the queue, i.e. which puzzles not to bother sumitting. Perhaps I can also have a way of telling you "I need a good picture for puzzle XYZ". I think a thread with a running list of puzzles in the queue might help reduce redundncy, so I will investigate adding that (I have to pick a forum...).

Two final words on submissions:
Please only submit high quality content. All assistance is gladly welcomed and appreciated, but consider what you send before you send it, because it will help me greatly to start from the best. An easy example of this is that if you have a picture of a Tony Fisher puzzle grabbed from a video or from your own camera at an event it may be fine but we can probably get a better image directly from Tony. And it makes sense to try to go and get an original if we can, perhaps from the angle the builder likes the best.
Please submit only non-copyrighted content. Don't go grabbing someone's eBay photo, or a picture from a web site with an image stamp, or anything you don't know is public domain. I will do my best to weed out such things, but no one wants Sandy to be asked to take a picture down because the submitter didn't obtain it properly.

OK, that said, I *really* appreciate any help people are willing to provide. If you have some time and want to help, the best way to get started is to PM me with the area you think you can help out and I can start to form teams to address items a.), b.), c.), etc.

Thanks,

Dave

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Last edited by DLitwin on Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:01 pm 
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Moved to announcements. Thanks for getting the ball rolling, Dave.

Yes, we definitely need all the new puzzles in that sub forum submitted, and graphic work to be done. Dave, would it be a good idea to publish regular submitted images first without touching up? Then replace them with the graphic edit versions later?

This will save two people submitting the same puzzle at the same time while they are invisible in the queue. If the publish can be seen, then others will know that graphic work is required on it. Just a suggestion.

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:23 pm 
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hmm, i submitted a v-cube5 mech entry and the form said to submit the pictures to sandy's personal email address. Hopefully those pictures weren't lost in transaction. If they were i should be able to forward that email to the new address, but that would require that the entry is still viable.

Also, i can comb through the database and write down all the puzzles that don't have descriptions or have poor pictures. My collection's fairly small but i can provide some mech pictures for some somewhat-rare puzzles, like updated mech pics for a DOGIC and Alexander star, and hopefully the Vcube 6 and 7 and a pyracrystal. I'll try to get that list done in the next few days.

-CC10

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:16 pm 
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sausage wrote:
Dave, would it be a good idea to publish regular submitted images first without touching up? Then replace them with the graphic edit versions later?
At the expense of having content in the database that we don't consider finished, that would be an effective process for avoiding duplicates.
I'm not sure Sandy would approve of sub-par content even on a temporary basis (sometimes temporary can last a long, long time when people get busy...), or the going through the work of putting up a bunch of files that will later have to be replaced.

Perhaps a similar idea without the overhead of the untouched images would be for me to just approve and upload the puzzle database entry with no pictures, or a boiler plate "pictures coming soon" image. This avoids moving a bunch of image data we intend to throw away (and that could diminish the quality of the site's content), but does address the issue of multiple submissions.

Sandy's thoughts on the matter are, of course, our guide on this one. I'll stick to the conservative approach (entry added only when complete with edited photos) until I hear otherwise but am happy to try either method to get things moving more efficiently.
coastercrazy10 wrote:
hmm, i submitted a v-cube5 mech entry and the form said to submit the pictures to sandy's personal email address. Hopefully those pictures weren't lost in transaction. If they were i should be able to forward that email to the new address, but that would require that the entry is still viable.
Sandy has forwarded on some pictures, but I can't imagine all. Heck I submitted Square-2 pictures two years ago :) I think I would have to say we'll try to get all the previously submitted work processed, but if you submitted before the recent web site work perhaps re-submitting is prudent.
coastercrazy10 wrote:
Also, i can comb through the database and write down all the puzzles that don't have descriptions or have poor pictures
Taking a pass through the database is much appreciated. Feel free to make edits to add descriptions where you see fit and these will get in my queue for approval.
For items with poor pictures or missing pictures perhaps make a list and send me a PM, and I'll start a list of "pictures we need".

Thanks!

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:44 pm 
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Dave: I've started a spreadsheet with all the details (minus prices) and i just did the 2x2s...took a little bit, but i also had to get in the mode. I had a data entry job a few summers back so if I devote a few hours each day on the weekend i might be able to knock the whole database out. 70 WPM is a blessing :)

I'm also available to help with photoshopping images...i forgot to mention that in the other post. Just let me get all the information from the database and i can help you out with putting white space in the background and resizing pictures. Just let me know if you want to dump some work on me.

And I just got the v-cubes for christmas, so i couldn't have submitted the mech pictures for the V5 any longer than a month ago. So they should still be fairly close to the top of Sandy's inbox. I can certainly forward the email to the new address if that will expedite the process.

-CC10

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:13 pm 
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Awesome! This is now my favourite thread!

I have A LOT more unprocessed puzzle pictures in my inbox. 3-4 years worth, in fact. I'll start sending them to you this evening. Do you have a highspeed connection and a decent inbox size quota?

Sandy


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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:39 pm 
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Sandy wrote:
Do you have a highspeed connection and a decent inbox size quota?

Sandy


It's easy to send lots of large files over gmail if you don't an email account that already lets you receive tons of data. I have plenty of invites on my gmail if anyone working on this project is going to need one.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:04 pm 
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You can also use a website like http://www.yousendit.com, http://www.mediafire.com, or http://www.savefile.com to transfer large files. Just throw them in a .zip or .rar (or 2, or 3 ;)). Forwarding emails works too, in case the pictures aren't named very well.

And my database comb is going...albeit a bit slowly. The 300+ 3x3 promo cubes is a bit scary, so i skipped over those for the time being. I believe i have the rest of the nxnxn cubes done, though.

-CC10

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:15 pm 
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Sandy wrote:
Awesome! This is now my favourite thread!

I have A LOT more unprocessed puzzle pictures in my inbox. 3-4 years worth, in fact. I'll start sending them to you this evening. Do you have a highspeed connection and a decent inbox size quota?

Sandy

I have just upgraded my DSL speed and will PM you about perhaps having you FTP them to my site instead of email.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:41 pm 
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i have some puzzles that isnt on the site but im not sure if im first on them.
should i post the anyway?

and im pretty good at photoshop 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:50 pm 
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olz wrote:
i have some puzzles that isnt on the site but im not sure if im first on them.
should i post the anyway?

and im pretty good at photoshop 8-)

Sure, why don't you try adding one puzzle and send two pictures to the submit puzzle pictures address: One straight from the camera, and then the same one photoshoped. This will give a good sense of your cleanup process.

Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:01 pm 
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DLitwin wrote:
I have just upgraded my DSL speed and will PM you about perhaps having you FTP them to my site instead of email.


Okay, so I guess checking the forum BEFORE I sent you bunches of e-mail attachments would have been a good idea...!

Sandy


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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:28 pm 
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Sorry to bump this, but i just got back into working on my comb-through. I'm nearly done with the n sided puzzles, and all the nxnxn puzzles are done except for the promo cubes. I'd have to be masochistic to go through those to pull out that much information ;)

One thing that i've noticed in most of these puzzles is that there will be a description, but only have like 1 sentence worth of information. In this case i've written "little", and most of these could probably be described sufficiently by the average member here. There are some more specialty puzzles that look like they'll need a bit of attention though, so hopefully this excel document (when finished) can help provide some direction in updating the database.

-CC10

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:00 pm 
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coastercrazy10 wrote:
Sorry to bump this, but i just got back into working on my comb-through. I'm nearly done with the n sided puzzles, and all the nxnxn puzzles are done except for the promo cubes. I'd have to be masochistic to go through those to pull out that much information ;)

One thing that i've noticed in most of these puzzles is that there will be a description, but only have like 1 sentence worth of information. In this case i've written "little", and most of these could probably be described sufficiently by the average member here. There are some more specialty puzzles that look like they'll need a bit of attention though, so hopefully this excel document (when finished) can help provide some direction in updating the database.

-CC10

Sorry I've been so slow on this. Since the new year I have been extra busy but that is about to change so I hope to get into a regular schedule of puzzle moderator acceptances.

Thanks again for your donation of time,

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:17 pm 
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we could not submit anything

but to add to the puzzle data base

the 3x3x4,creator and recent sales need to be added

we have just sold two ff 3x3x4's

one for $102.50
and another for $100.00

thanks
C&E

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:17 pm 
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am I hallucinating? I could have sworn at one time recently there were more puzzles that seem to be gone? for example. for some (probably stupid reason) I thought the teraminx used to be listed there. but not anymore?

maybe I'm being dumb....

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:34 pm 
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Hmmm... I thought I put in the Teraminx a few months back. I know the Gigaminx got in.

I've been swamped and made almost no progress on the database lately (other than the ES 2x2x2 fused puzzles...)

Sigh.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:07 pm 
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Honestly, what is the point of insisting that all pictures must be meticulously edited with white background, etc., which does not add any real value, but certainly creates a lot of work that nobody seems willing to do? Wouldn't it be better to allow all submissions to go up automatically regardless of background? Then at least we might get a more complete database if people can see their submission go up as soon as they submit. Why create unnecessary barriers, or am I missing something?

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:23 pm 
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That's the way Sandy has requested it, for consistency. We could add temporary images but the inconsistent look would lower the overall quality.

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:31 pm 
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Understood, but I think 80% complete with 80% quality would be better than 20% complete with 100% quality. NB. Figures are made up, just to illustrate my point.

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:08 am 
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I totally agree with Kelvin. Should we start a poll about this question? This would give us a general idea what the majority of the members prefer.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:44 am 
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dave I did not mean to pressure you. but I could have SWORN I saw the teraminx in the list of dodecahedrons, along with auction history. and suddenly its gone....

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:23 am 
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I also agree with Kelvin. As I am primarily a collector, I use the puzzle database on a regular basis. All I'm looking for in the database is a picture that shows what the puzzle looks like. The background is completely irrelevant to me. Even the puzzle descriptions aren't essential, if it slows things down.

A poll would be useful to see how others feel on this issue.

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:25 am 
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I see sandy's point. If quality isn't controlled you run the risk of getting MY pictures on there. No one would want that :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:33 am 
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katsmom wrote:
I see sandy's point. If quality isn't controlled you run the risk of getting MY pictures on there. No one would want that :lol:

I would rather have even your pictures than nothing. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:35 am 
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I'll start submitting fuzzy pictures then. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:42 am 
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Still better than nothing, they can always be replaced once they're up there, if and when somebody has the time and the will to do so...

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 3:05 pm 
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Submissions to the database must not go up automatically and could be moderated as now. Quality wouldn't be affected that way.

The biggest barrier for updates to the database is the really hard work of object extraction to get rid of the background. I have tried different free software with no real success and understand that much manual work is needed to get good results.

As of now the pictures gets into the database AFTER background removal. Simply change the order of steps and bring the pictures AT FIRST into the database. If someone has the time and the skills to remove the background, it could be done aterwards but would be no longer a must. The additional step to put the pictures without background into the database later wouldn't really bring more work for the moderator.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 11:03 pm 
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Image editing is a big part of the bottleneck in getting items into the database, but I have to admit it is not currently the problem. The current problem, unfortunately, is my time.

Sandy sent me a bunch of images already edited from his old archives and I haven't had much time to get them added, so I stopped passing out images to get edited (by a few kind volunteers). We currently have image editing capacity not being used, although it is good to have a few more as when we do need it, it becomes a bottle neck fast.

I could make many excuses but the root of the problem is that I have changed in how I spend time on the forum.

I used to have more free time, do almost no building and forum traffic was much less. I had time to edit images and bug Sandy (politely, of course) from time to time about my willingness to help out when the site revisions would allow.

Now that I have the tools, I have less free time and send most of it building. The forum traffic is far higher and it is a struggle to stay up to date.

Basically I can't build, read the forum and update the database in the free time I have available for puzzles. This makes me sad, and on any given day I have to choose which to do. Usually the database gets the short end of the stick, followed by building (why I am so slow at getting my puzzle built...). The forum is important to me and keeping up with it becomes my priority in most cases (note how I am writing this post now instead of adding something to the database...)

I won't magically get more free time. The forum traffic could ease up a bit (please?) but that won't really solve it for me, it would probably mean a bit more time for building (I am way behind, as always).

The solution is to find another database moderator with more time for this task. I'd love to stay on as a moderator and push in a puzzle now and again, but heading it up deserves more time than I can give.

Choosing a replacement isn't a simple task. I had been part of the forum for some time and demonstrated my interest and ability before Sandy chose me, and I expect he will have the same standards for someone else. I'm sure many will have interest and I encourage people to volunteer, but don't be surprised if Sandy takes his time in evaluating people.

The database of the site is important, and Sandy's choice (one I support) is to favor quality over quantity. I know this can be frustrating to many who would rather get everything in and iterate it towards quality. There is merit in that approach but I don't think it will be adopted.

I'm sorry (really, I feel this daily) to be the hang up at the moment, but will try to assist in replacing myself with a trusted and careful person who can do a better job.

Until then I'll try to push in a puzzle or two when I have time. Currently my focus is on finding out what happened to the Teraminx, I know I put it in...

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:06 am 
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DLitwin wrote:
Choosing a replacement isn't a simple task.


Dave, that is the main point. :)

Despite the lack of free time (I definitely understand you there),
not many people are qualified to complete complex tasks as you can do.
Bit by bit, things can be done. I know that me, you, and everyone else
who has a hard time to find some free minutes, will eventually get it on.

And making/building new puzzles is BY FAR more important, isn't it?
I don't think anyone can argue against that.

;)


Pantazis


PS. And what do you mean "finding out what happened to the Teraminx"?!?!? :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:57 am 
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kastellorizo wrote:
PS. And what do you mean "finding out what happened to the Teraminx"?!?!? :shock:
Take a look a few posts up :) The Teraminx seems to have gone into hiding. It will be found, or re-added, but first I want to understand what might have happened to it. I would hate to think that in my small time at the database I *removed* a puzzle instead of adding one...

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Help with the Puzzle Database
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:34 pm 
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The Teraminx is back. I'm not sure exactly what happened to it, but it was safely backed up a brazillion times.

Sandy


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