News

The News entries below are in reverse chronological order. For more information about Planet Magazine, including submission guidelines, please visit the “About Planet” section under Categories (click on a headline to read an entire archived entry).

January 3, 2010: Updated theme (to Sapphire).

December 28, 2009: Updated Links page, adding new ones, updating URLs, deleting defunct sites.

July 12, 2009: Been publishing more frequently. Updates announced on Twitter (planetmag or planetmagazine).

September 5, 2008: Switched to WordPress.com as a webhost for the blog. The WP.com feature set is now very good, and it’s much easier than trying to maintain a personal WP installation. Slowly updating the new site, but there will be some broken links for a while.

2007: Tried out various themes, settling on a modified “Contempt”.

December 20, 2006: Updated theme to K2, which offers more navigation and other features.

February 26, 2006: Created a “Submissions Guidelines” page. While the information always has been available online, it was buried in the “About Planet” section.

Recently upgraded to the latest version of WordPress, which continues to be great. There is also wordpress.com now, where you can get a free blog and don’t have to bother with installing the WP software with your own webhosting service (although it’s less complicated than a lot of other blogging software packages).

October 11, 2005: Still wading through submissions, as always. Authors should feel free to ping me on a story if turnaround time is too slow: editor@planetmag.com. I’m always looking for digital artists too!

October 8, 2005: Updated to latest version of WordPress. It’s really a great blogging application for those who have their own server space and at least minimum technical skills (but you don’t have to be a tech genius). If you want a hosted solution and can pay, TypePad is very slick. But a basically good free solution is Blogger. There are many other solutions out there.

It was a busy summer at work and home, and I didn’t have a lot of time for the magazine. Until I win the lottery — which is on my to-do list (the plan is to develop and build a time machine with my winnings, and then go back in time to actually buy the ticket) — publishing volume will continue to be erratic at times. But that’s why I went to a blog format for my magazine in August of 2004. It’s very easy to manage content, compared to HTML.

Aprils 24, 2005: Theme switcher. I’ve added back Themes (following a recent upgrade to my publishing software, WordPress), which are clickable links on the side of the page that change the look of Planet. Changing the theme may create a more readable or aesthetically pleasing experience for you. It’s also fun to click on them. I may add more attractive themes as I come across them. If you’re interested, you can find WordPress themes here.

March 3, 2005: Submissions backlog. Still munching through the backlog of submissions. If you have any questions on story status, please e-mail me.

March 3, 2005: Looking for Artists. We are always looking for artists who would like to create work based on pending stories. The ability to do fast turnaround (within a week or two from assignment) is preferred. We don’t pay, but you’ll own the copyright to your work. This would be a good opportunity for a talented but new artist who’d like to get more experience creating illustrations under deadline pressure; this also would provide you with publishing credits. We will consider any style, but the theme of the stories and poems always will be science fiction or fantasy.

February 23, 2005: Submissions backlog. For those who submitted stories since September… I’m still reading through submissions. Apologies for the delay.

February 21, 2005: New look for Planet. Customized the Planet stylesheet. “Orange” ya glad I did?

February 20, 2005: Highlighting artists’ names. Recently started adding artist names directly below the illustrations. Artist bios still appear at the end of the story.

February 17, 2005: Upgrade to publishing software. Updated to WordPress 1.5, which changed the look of Planet. I will update the theme later, but for now it seems to look pretty good. One feature of the new WP version is “Pages”, which allows pages like the one you are reading right now.

August 23, 2004: Switched from HTML to blogging software. Been experimenting this year with blogging software (WordPress, Movable Type, Typepad, iBlog, and others), and WordPress seems to be the best in terms of content management, easy installation, and low cost.  Been planning to do a “blogzine” for some time to reduce time spent on managing HTML pages and to focus more on editing text.  Blogging software seems to be finally ready as of mid-2004.  I’ve avoided Blogger and other blog hosts, as I want to manage content on my own webhost.

As background, Planet Magazine started off in text-only and DocMaker (full color for Macintosh) formats in March 1993 and was available at AOL, CompuServe, eWorld, and various online bulletin-board services (BBSes); added the Adobe Acrobat format when v1.0 came out (to go cross-platform with our color illustrations); switched to HTML in 1996 (when webhosting finally became more accesible and affordable to non-business users), using Geocities and later etext.org as webhosts and Adobe PageMill and later GoLive to construct pages. Planet later dropped the other formats (although adding Palm OS format for several issues) and focused solely on HTML, which was clearly becoming the prime format for online reading. However, creating webpages and a magazine-type of structure (cover page, etc.) became too time-consuming, and I began looking for blogging software that a non-expert could install on their own webhost and that offered enough features that it could be magazine-like for readers.

Using WordPress and its themes has been a fun experiment, and I think it mostly works in terms of presentation and efficiency, although the feature set isn’t as good as HTML yet in creating an online-magazine feel. But it’s getting there. As far as I know, Planet may be one of the first blogzines (as it was one of the first full-color SF zines online). One thing that won’t change: we still plan to publish good science fiction and fantasy stories and illustrations by emerging writers and artists.

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