Friday, August 28, 2009

Burden of Progress, or Attack of the Mushroom People

Well, it finally happened. Between the community of Explorers and staff, the data uploaded to Uncharted pushed our server to its limits and required our staff to streamline data storage. There's nothing that makes a web media operative go more crazy than going to his own site and suddenly realizing something has gone wrong! "Why is the site acting up? Have evil Mushroom People invaded our server and attacked it from within?" That was our story this morning. Who are these Mushroom People and why are they attacking us?

This was quite the headache for our team to figure out. Growth is usually welcome, but it does come with a price. All things considered, however, it is a good problem to have. It wasn't very long ago that Uncharted didn't even have an operating website. We only dreamed of such a thing. And even when it was launched, we weren't sure we'd ever get to this point, but here we are. A problem? Yes. A headache? Yes. But a good problem to have? Also yes.

Despite the headache and the fact that our technical gurus and leadership were under the gun to resolve the problem, once our team got together we had a plan of action within 30 minutes, and the site was brought back online within 2 hours. Not bad for a startup, eh? What a team!

And what was the solution? Well, since the Mushroom People are probably watching, we could tell you, but then we'd have to kill you...

Happy Adventures,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Uncharted Hangs out at the Bar J

I'm in awe of those who can use a Dutch oven for things other than burning food. I've had a little success using such ovens -- I can make a mean stew and, this summer, at my wife's insistence, we made our first Dutch oven peach cobbler. But making something like biscuits in such an oven, without them ending up like charcoal, is a feat to be seen. So it goes without saying that one of my favorite things to do at Wilson, Wyoming's Bar-J Wranglers ranch, is to eat the biscuits they make in their Dutch ovens.
We're long-time fans of the Bar-J, their dinner show and chuckwagon cooking. If you've never visited their ranch, you've got to, next time you're in Yellowstone Country. Until then, read our Uncharted story on their enterprise here. Have fun. Just watch out for Granny.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dancing, Dancing, Dancing

The rumbling thunderstorm and rushing breeze mix their sounds with those of Main Street.

Main Street noises, though, are not the swoosh of cars, the occasional click of a bicycle wheel, the regular shuffling stamp of pedestrian feet. From around the corner of the brick-fronted jewelry store, in the center of the street, emerges a woman carrying the black-on-white, yin with yang flag of South Korea. Behind her, pushed as if they were leaves on the growing breeze, a knot of reedy dancers clad in pink and aquamarine silken clothing, ruffled by the breeze, buffeted, as it seems, by the tloing! tloing! doing! crash! zloing bloing! of the drums and cymbals carried by the similarly-clad band, some of whom growl away on recorders, adding the drill and trill to the cacophony of clashes, accompanied by the swirling dancers, the rumble of thunder and the rush of the wind.

This is the Idaho International Folk Dance and Music Festival, in full swing for its twenty-fourth year. The festival has its roots at Ricks College, a private school – now Brigham Young University-Idaho – in Rexburg. In 1983, a team of folk dancers from the school attended a dance festival in Europe and decided to stage such an event at home. Partnered with the Rexburg Chamber of Commerce, organizers brought the first folk dance festival to town in 1986. You can read more about the festival's history here if you like.

During the festival, Rexburg is gently taken over by the dancers, musicians and their entourages. It’s common to run into them at Kmart or Wal-Mart, shopping with the local families who host them – providing room, board and companionship – during the festival. During the festival week it’s as common to hear German or Mandarin Chinese being spoken frequently, loudly and punctuated with laughter as the dancers eat burgers at McDonalds or ice cream at the Dairy Queen. This is how you know it’s festival time.

It’s a great event. Go read about it at here. And thanks.