Hello, Quill readers! Some of you may have noticed a bunch of errors over the last week when trying to access the Quill, I have been working on moving the Quill onto Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk this week to improve page load times, and reduce costs (quite substantially) for hosting the Quill. This move was fraught with problems (my git commit messages read like Dante’s Inferno) as WordPress is not intended to operate on a PAAS platform. But, I was able to accomplish the nearly impossible task of forcing/finessing WordPress into a stateless environment. This is not to say that I do not expect some “bugs” in the next couple of weeks as I iron out the site’s operation. The reason for the sudden change is a small slip up with SSH terminals causing me — rather stupidly — to apply a change of DB schema to the live database rather than my testing instance; this forced me to do 30 hours worth of testing in about 45 minutes, which I was unable to do. This resulted in some major glitches and downtime.

You may notice an error saying “mixed content” and/or “this site cannot provide a secure connection.” I am still working on SSL termination for the site–if you don’t know what this is, it’s basically a way for servers and computers to talk over a secure channel–I hope to have something ready over the coming weeks. As the Quill does not store any sensitive information, SSL is not important to our operation, but SSL is becoming an internet-wide standard, and I want to ensure the Quill can operate with current technology, as well as future-proofing the site for the requirements of tomorrow. That said, if you run into any of these errors there is no need to be alarmed.

Thank you for your patience.

This brings me to my next point: the Quill is moving to a bi-weekly publishing model. The weekly publishing schedule was not giving us enough time to engage with authors during the editing process. We were constantly rushing to produce a “finished” piece, and sometimes we let time run away from us. To put this into perspective, no one at the Quill has been able to look at anything submitted after January 24. We have 100’s of submissions sitting in the queue, and we would like a chance to go through them, but because of the rush, we were forced to stick with the works and authors we are most familiar with. Moving forward, we will spend more time with each individual author to ensure a piece is “up to snuff” and “ready for its close-up,” before publication.

If you have any questions or comments about the shift in our publishing schedule or our technology changes please feel free to email us at editors@thequillmagazine.org. Also, we are always on the lookout for stack editors, a job requiring a certain flair for “outside-the-box” thinking about writing, and the ability to see passed a piece’s technical flaws for the beauty underneath. If you’re interested, please get in touch.

I look forward to reading your submissions!

Josh Harkema

Associate Editor and IT Wizard(ish) – The Quill Magazine