Allpar

  • Oh, the skills I’ve gained

    I went through seven years of higher education to learn how people work in groups and organizations, and how to do research — to summarize a huge body of knowledge in one phrase. Then I ran Allpar for, let’s see, yes, twenty years. What did I learn from that? Maintaining positive relationships with people on the things we hold in common, ignoring the areas where we would fight like cats and other cats Advertising management, some tax accounting, and freelancer management Bringing the systems approach that was part of my formal education to bear in my writing and understanding of how cars are made and sold Linux server management, through Webmin, CPanel, and the command line Dealing with people who…

  • Behind every car show…

    On Saturday, Allpar will have its annual car show at Teterboro Chrysler, in Little Ferry. By most standards, it’s a relatively easy event; the field has been chosen, the owners take care of clearing the space, there’s power on-site, and there are volunteers to help.  In advance, there are many decisions and preparations to make. We are fortunate to have a volunteer DJ, but he’s not a professional, and so we have to gather up and test his equipment first. Trophies have to be ordered in the right numbers, with the right plaques. Gifts have to be found or purchased and readied, packing lists made. Oh, and food is a whole ’nother thing. The last two shows were good for over 50 cars…

  • How can smaller publishers compete?
    allpar facebook page

    When the Internet started up, it was fairly easy to find a following, which is probably why you can read Allpar today; we started in 1994 and got our domain name in 1998. The Web was a smaller community, with few spammers and scammers, and corporations were generally oblivious. The first major threats to independent publishers were, in my opinion: Pay per click “search engines” (GoTo.com was the leader before Google) which meant that if you had deep pockets, you could “outbid” better sites. Fortunately, Google came and wiped them out. When the Open Directory became a “must do.” Fortunately, though it went from being useful to being impossibly hard to deal with, today it’s largely forgotten because new sites just…

  • Slogging through mobilization

    The cellphone revolution that started with the iPhone has really finished, and now it seems that more people browse the Web through phones than through computers. I sat out the first wave of “solutions,” which largely consisted of creating second web sites for phones. That trend slowly died, and now responsive design is the way. I did adopt that, to a degree, with slightly different style sheets for phones and tablets, and a clever little script that gives phone users smaller images (perhaps too small now, since phones keep getting larger). I also assumed that phones would get smarter, and they have, but iPhones, at least, still have a huge flaw: wide tables on a page can really screw them up, especially if they…

  • 17 months behind but catching up, slowly

    Thanks to the joyful effects of mitotane (Lysodren), I have been in a fog for around 17 months. I have now cut back on the hideously expensive drug (for humans; cheap for dogs), and am trying to catch up on things. Complicating factors are: ever-increasing security updates on the server and technical glitches that result from them long-overdue site improvements taking up some time my health insurance company’s computer-system change, which apparently dropped $1,800 worth of claims from my max out-of-pockget (and their refusal to do anything but look at the computer total and say “yup, that’s right” though if you total up all the forms they sent me, you can see I’ve paid $1,800 more than the max out-of-pocket by their…

  • On the menu today…. (it’s not food!)
    menus

    I have upgraded Allpar’s menus, or, rather, returned them to their former glory. The menu system has changed quite a few times over the years. I had (slow!) two-level Javascript dropdowns, then ordinary CSS-only (no Javascript) dropdowns, and then a single row of buttons, followed by that row of buttons with a secondary row. Now we’re back to the simple dropdowns, using pretty much the same setup as last time but with fewer options since people don’t seem to like having too many choices. As time goes on, these will be refined. Finding all the stuff at Allpar has always been a problem, at least since we lost our focus and started trying to cover every single facet of Chrysler from its days…

  • How long does it take to write a review?

    Writing these things takes longer than you may think. First, I don’t commute to work any more, so to put a car through its paces, I have to spend a few hours driving it — time I would not normally be driving, usually. Some time is reserved for Sunday so I can test highway driving without the usual left lane hogs constantly being in the way. Second, there’s the photo shoots — and then the cropping, captioning, etc. that follows. Choosing photos takes longer than you might think, since few people take just one photo of each subject. Then there’s the actual writing, which, unlike most of what I write, is edited and re-edited numerous times, (not that you’d know it, sometimes)….

  • What goes into setting up a car show?

    The Allpar show in Little Ferry, New Jersey, is on Saturday, September 12. Literally months of preparation have gone into this show, including the labor of numerous people. The signup page has to be created, and a form set up. The site had to be selected — well, this time, that was easy. Then there’s publicity and setting up mentions in car clubs and such, including oldride.com, bergen.org, the National Chrysler Products Club, Restored Rusty Relics, etc. Two meetings with the manager of the dealership took place, though the show’s been done there before, to settle details such as parking lot clearance, publicity, and food. Event insurance (not cheap!) had to be purchased, fortunately from an agent who we’ve worked with before. We track registrations…

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