Sorry to be a bit late with this update, it's been a busy month for us outside Cardsphere. Mostly because Ottawa was buried under a mountain of snow like we haven't seen for many years. Portions of my street are still like slot-car tracks with two strips of ashphalt appearing in six inches of ice. Efren is careful during meetings to not complain about the Texas weather.
Things in the Magic world, on the other hand, are heating up. We're seeing a real explosion in new users and people coming back from magic sabbaticals over the warmer months. It's really nice to interact with users returning after a break, as they discover feature they didn't see get deployed.
The cold also got Michael thinking about interiors, which led to him designing a new house for his family. Seriously. They're finalizing plans with builders now. It's a pretty interesting thing to know someone who just decides they are going to become an architect over a weekend. All I can say is, I'm glad he's on our side!
He's also been doing a lot of background work, so let's start with a look at what's changed.
Some of you might have noticed that there were two short periods of unplanned maintenance. This was caused by issues with our server infrastructure. Michael was able to identify the problem pretty quickly and applied necessary fixes.
Another change that likely went unnoticed is that Michael has switched Cardsphere over to using a CDN (content delivery netwok) for our card images and blog resources. This should help speed up loading times across the board. We first started doing this with our draft simulator, and it was logical to extend the success to Cardsphere.
Among other things Michael has spent time developing a suite of tools to better manage our card database. This should unlock our ability to perform complex operations to fix many issues with our card database. Operations range from simple card rename to more complex card merges and de-duplication. Considering existence of trade history, haves, wants etc. all of which depend on card database, manipulating cards in a non-disruptive way is not easy. This work is ongoing.
Lastly, we implemented sorting by CMC, a few key deck stats, and list downloads for our draft simulator. These were the most requested features from the community we had yet to deliver.
We recently published Cliff Daigle's article The Theory of Drop-Shipping which let many know for the first time that Cardsphere does not have any issues with the practice. We've seen a bit more of it happening, as power traders leverage store credit into arbitrage opportunities, and the general consensus from the community appears to be that it's fine.
However it was pointed out to us that this actually broke our Terms of Service which specified that you cannot disseminate information about other users. We have now updated the terms to express that this is an accepted practice when done for purposes of fulfillment.
As always, if you have any concerns you can bring them to us in the Discord server, or any of the other ways you can find us (all of which are in the site footer.)
To help prepare people for the Lorwyn Flashback draft due out on MTGO February 27th, we released it on the draft simulator. This actually proved quite challenging because there were far fewer sources for ratings available. Combine that with how heavy the tribal synergy is in the set, and I think it's fair to say that the bots can exhibit some wonkiness you wouldn't from humans. Seasoned humans, anyway. But as we have in the past, we will continue to evolve the ratings.
We also released Aether Revolt because it was ready to go. It takes Efren and I some time to get the new sets loaded up and ready to go, but we'll continue to work on this at a steady pace.
We were surprised to receive what we think was the first compliment ever about our inline tutorials. But while it was nice, we know that the best training we can offer to introduce new users to Cardsphere will be with videos.
Efren's latest helps new users figure out how to use the information Cardsphere provides to set the right offers on cards.
It would really help direct our continuing efforts to produce the most relevant, task-based videos if the community could give us some feedback on what you think are the most important things to know about using the platform.
That's it for today, but keep talking people! We're seeing more and more new voices recommending Cardsphere, and it doesn't look like we're going to qualify as a best-kept-secret for very much longer.