Tuesday, July 31, 2007

V is for voting

It's time to vote in the Klocki z Czuba sports contest. Pick your favorites in two categories, one for scenes from a real sport and one for scenes from invented sports. After clicking your selection in each category, be sure to push the button marked "Glosuj" at the bottom.



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Man of the vig

Alex Eylar has a great vig based on a Poe story, The Man of the Crowd. I enjoy Poe, but had not read this story before today, but the text is here and it's a pretty fast read.

Making only the two main characters in yellow and the rest in gray tones is a great idea. To really get the effect of this vig, though, you have to look at it from the fig's POV.


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Monday, July 30, 2007

Yubby

It looks like Barbara Werth was one of the winners of the Golden C3PO contest. Here is her C3PO.



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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Darling it's better down where it's wetter

The Klocki z Czuba contest is over, but Crises can't stop making sports vigs. Here is synchronized swimming.



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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sports break

The deadline is past for the Klocki z Czuba contest. Check out the entries. Entries include:
Piotr Ślęzak's Go Cart

Grzegorz Szczupał's Niezbyt udane mistrzostwa - powrót do domu (could someone translate?)

Ricardo Silva's Golf in the moon


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Monday, July 23, 2007

Rise of the undead

Jovian presents Castle 2007 remix.



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VB is now the land of Nod

Wow, this is the most impressive string of bignettes I've seen since Izzo's great Drakkhen line. Builder Noddy presents a series of great MOCs, including:

Motorcross rally


Dakar rally


Flying carpets race


Legolungma


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Sporty spice

Several interesting new sports recently, I'm guessing all for the Klocki contest:

Marcin Kitala's Chicken Kickin' contest.


Crises' Banging a head contest.


KAROL4's Pan throw.


And one 'normal' sport, KAROL4's Pole Vault.


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Friday, July 20, 2007

Back to vigs! (at long last)

Piglet posts a fun MOC of a wheelbarrow race with your CEO: Barrow Run.



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Brickshelf is safe!!!!!!!

On the front page of Brickshelf, the following notice appears:

Notice: Brickshelf will not be shutting down!
We will be offering "featured" accounts for $5/month shortly.
We have received hundreds of supportive emails in the past few days including many who said they would like to contribute financially but did not know how. This has had us rethink the practicality of charging for enhanced features.We plan to do this without reducing current functionality for free users. Thank you for your enormous show of support. IMPORTANT: do NOT try to download the entire site, it causes major problems, slows things down for normal users and you will be permanently blocked.

There is also an announcement from Kevin on Brickshelf.

A few things:

Thank you to everyone in the community for all of your efforts to save users' folder. Please, though, respect Kevin's wishes and discontinue this effort.

I would, of course, always keep a full backup of your own stuff.

Let's all do what we can to support Brickshelf in the future. If you can donate, please do so. If you can upgrade to the "featured" accounts that Kevin plans, please do so.

Some other sites have sprung up in response to this crisis, so I'll try to follow those as well. I'm particularly happy about Sean Kenney's upgrades to MOCpages.

VignetteBricks and MicroBricks will continue, as before, to feature great vig and micro MOCs. I'll be happy to get away from all of this crisis mode and back to the hobby we all love.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Now what?

The past few days have been tumultuous in the Legoverse. As everyone who reads this blog surely knows by now, on Saturday Brickshelf, the largest image-hosting site devoted to LEGO, went dark. Then on Monday it came back up again, but only for the next two weeks so we can all back up our images.

Emotions have been all over the place on this--anger at the pulled plug, sadness at the loss of a favorite site, elation when it came back, frantic activity as we started backing up, pride and hope as the community has jumped into action. Also, perhaps belatedly, a huge thank you is due to Kevin Loch for hosting such a great service for over ten years. I do, though, still have some serious concerns about the impact to the community. More on that below.

First, let's start with some positive action.

How can we save the lost history? - You've got two weeks. If you go to such forums as Classic-Castle, Classic-Space, and FBTB, you can see concerted efforts by people to save not only their own galleries, but also those of important builders. Check this Brothers-Brick post for links. There are applications for PCs by Bob Kojima and for Macs by Jim DeVona to help with this process. The hope is that at some point in the near future there will be a central location where we can all re-upload these galleries and preserve that communal history. There are also some rumors that the whole archive may be saved in some fashion. If anything comes of those rumors I'll report here.

Where can we post images of LEGO MOCs or go to see other people's MOCs? - There are, of course, hundreds of personal websites out there featuring people's creations. For more communal sites, there are a few purely LEGO offerings. It seems that Sean Kenney has quickly acted to add an image hosting feature to MOCpages, free for now but possibly for a cost in the future. It also seems that all of the thumbnails for old creations still exist on MOCpages, so you can see smaller versions of some of the images you miss. MOCshow is a new site that has sprung up to fill some of the need. We'll see how that site does over time. There are already some more specific community image sites, such as the MyImages albums for the 1000steine.de community (premiere German language AFOL site), the Customs gallery on From Bricks to Bothans (does that take new submissions?), the premiere Star Wars theme site, or for you customizers out there, the Minifig Customization Network has galleries of customized figs and accessories. Please let me know of other community image hosting and I'll link them here. In addition, there are other general photo-hosting sites, some for free, others for a fee (some with a free version and then a pay upgrade with more bells and whistles). Flickr has probably gained the most widespread acceptance within the community, with nice features like the ability to comment on photos and create themed discussion groups. I'd suggest starting by finding the tags feature and searching for images tagged "LEGO". Maj is pretty much the same as Brickshelf, so many are migrating their images there. I would caution that, since it has the same management as Brickshelf, it may face the same challenges in the future. Two sites that I'm less familiar with are ImageShack and Photobucket. I'll have to play with those sites to see how easy it is to find LEGO images. There's probably a good opportunity here for someone to write an application that scans all of these sites and aggregates recent LEGO images, much like ILENN does with blogs. There are also rumors of other LEGO image hosting sites in the works. I'll immediately report on any such sites if those plans come to fruition.

All of that said, some are raising concerns over a plethora of sites and urge caution as we consider our next steps as a community, as in this by Andrew, this by Steve, and this by Clifton.

I share those concerns, which leads to thoughts on why I was saddened by the disappearence of Brickshelf. There are two reasons - community and history.

Community - There have been many debates about whether the proliferation of LEGO forums is good or bad, usually formulated around the question of whether Lugnet should remain the "one true site" compared to other breakaway communities like Classic-Castle, Classic-Space, etc. Of course this argument has always ignored the fact that Lugnet was never the one true site, but rather the main site for Adult English-speaking fans, mostly in North America. Regardless of that, I've always been in the "Let a thousand flowers bloom" camp - if new forums are strong and useful, they will thrive and attract new members to the community, if not, they will die off. However, the one thing that has always anchored the community, through the growth, and death, of various splinter groups, has been Brickshelf. Even if I mostly read a forum devoted to, for instance, Castle, I can still follow and enjoy all of the great Space or Train or whatever creations. I also keep up with events; if someone posted a creation on Brickshelf and notes that it's for a contest, for instance, usually I could figure out what the contest was and post an announcement on my blog or some appropriate forum. If each segment of the community has its own image site-of-choice, we lose this connection between the different aspects of the community. Even more profound is the connection with LEGO fans with other primary languages. There's a pretty good connection between the English-language and European AFOL communities - primarily because of German, Portuguese, French etc. AFOLs who also participate in English-language forums. There is much less connection, though, with the Asian AFOL community, probably due to the much greater linguistic differences, making it harder for us to peruse eachother's websites. Except for the purely visual Brickshelf. Who hasn't, for instance, enjoyed the galleries of such builders as Moko or Sugegasa? Another aspect of community is the growth of LEGO blogs. In the past year there has been a rapid growth of blogs highlighting and commenting on great creations. Mostly we've found these on Brickshelf. Yes, there are other sites as listed above, but it will be much harder to find great MOCs. Finally, when an event such as BrickFest or some other gathering occurs, thousands of fans attend virtually, by checking out all of the galleries posted on Brickshelf, sometimes even while the event is still occuring.

Of course, all of these concerns will be lessened if the community eventually settles in to one main image site, whether one of those listed above, some new site, or a resurrected Brickshelf. We're still left with my second major concern - history.

History - The fact that Brickshelf came back for two weeks did help alleviate a huge portion of this concern. As noted above, there is a concerted effort going on to save those images. Assuming these are all gathered together again in the future, we will still have access. However, there are now hundreds of thousands of forum posts, blog posts, link lists and articles that become instantly obsolete on July 31. Our hobby is, at it's base, about an object - the LEGO brick and things that can be built of bricks. At a fest or a LUG meeting we can actually physically hold another person's MOC. Otherwise we are left with images. Post after post is based on the use of images to show off a MOC, highlight a particular detail, discuss a building technique, or preview a new set. Even if all of the MOCs currently on Brickshelf reappear on some other site, the links in all of those discussions are now broken. Some of these will be fixed - for instance the Classic-Castle admin team are working to preserve images from our "how-to" articles, contest winners, featured MOCs, etc. I've also backed up images of featured MOCs on my blogs, and will eventually fix those broken links. But it's impossible to go back and fix links in all of those forum posts.

If at some point a resurrected Brickshelf were to reappear, even a locked version without the ability to upload new stuff, that would be a great benefit to the communal memory.

Anyway, as I started this post, these past few days have been tumultuous, sad, stressful, but I do have confidence that the community will find new ways to express ourselves. A huge thank you is due to Kevin Loch for hosting our images for all of those years, and I hope he'll be part of a new way forward.

Goodbye, old friend

I did have a huge long article to post about Brickshelf, but then it went live again to back up images, plus Andrew posted a thoughtful comment about slowing down, so I'll rewrite that article in light of those two things, but in the meantime Glorious Kyle wishes Brickshelf a sad goodbye. So do we all. Thank you, Kevin, for 12 great years.



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Monday, July 16, 2007

Backup your Brickshelf

Brickshelf is back! Well, at least for the moment. If you go there now you will see the following message:

Notice: Brickshelf will be shutting down on 2007/07/31.
Please save your files to your computer.

I'm going to try to back up those vigs and micro mocs I've blogged, but will probably save only a single image of each. Not sure when and where I'll be able to re-post them, though.

Bruce

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Brickshelf back????

Is Brickshelf back??? At a slightly different url:

https://www.brickshelf.com/

Not sure how this will shake out. If I were you, I'd back up all of your images from that url. Now!

Hoping that this will stay,
Bruce

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Brickshelf dead?????

If you go to Brickshelf now, you see the following message:

Brickshelf has discontinued operation. We apologize for any inconvenience.

I'm not sure what this means in the long run. I'm probably going to blog at a much slower pace for a while. I really apologize to VB fans.

How's the weather up there?

It's time for another Lowlug Mini-MOC-Madness contest! This time, the theme is the weather. Entries include Tornado, Rain, rain, rain, and Germanic storm.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Two big headaches

Double Jump is Crises' entry for the Klocki sports building contest.



In a vig by Vdude, Joe Vig is about to have a close encounter with a Meteor.



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Satisfyin' your yavin cravin's

In PipCasbar's R2 Kiosk, our favorite droid has opened an ice cream stand on Tatooine.



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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Sporting vigs

Two vigs with athletic themes, one explicitly and the other potentially for the Klocki z Czuba Sports building contest: Iskra's Shark swimming and Crises' Golf.




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Eury Potter and the Deathly Contests

Two deathly contests are starting over on Eurobricks. The Whack-a-Fig contest invites members to commit acts of violence on other members' sigfigs in vig form. The Kill Jar-Jar contest is hopefully self-explanatory. Early entries from Dillon and Sirnadroj.





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Sunday, July 01, 2007

V is for Vig

Nwrabe has come up with a great new idea, Alpha-Vignettes, or vigs shaped like letters. I think my personal favorite might be the S.




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