Pre-Order Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince DVDs

Right now is your last chance to pre-order Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince DVDs from Amazon.com; if you do it right now you get a whopping 66% off the retail price. The Blu-ray version is 56% off. Also, coming out are the ultimate edition DVDs and Blu-rays for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with 37% and 34% respective discounts (I just bought Edmund a Blu-ray one of these as a Christmas present and it looks AWESOME!). And there's even more, the new Harry Potter Years 1-6 Giftset is available for pre-order as well at 36% off for the DVD and 33% off for the Blu-ray!
UPDATE: Amazon.com is keeping their pre-order discounts but I'm not sure how long it will last. So don't delay or else you'll really pay--extra that is =P.

Buy Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Widescreen) [DVD] for $9.99Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Widescreen Edition) [DVD]

Buy Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Full-Screen) [DVD] for $9.99Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Full-Screen Edition) [DVD]

Buy Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Blu-ray/DVD Combo for $15.99Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [Blu-ray]

Buy Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Ultimate Edition) [DVD] for $24.99Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Ultimate Edition) [DVD]

Buy Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Ultimate Edition) [DVD] for $24.99Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Ultimate Edition) [DVD]

Buy Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray] for $32.99Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray]

Buy Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray] for $32.99Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray]

Harry Potter Years 1-6 Giftset (Widescreen Edition) [DVD] for $44.99Harry Potter Years 1-6 Giftset (Widescreen Edition) [DVD]

Harry Potter Years 1-6 Giftset (Full-Screen Edition) [DVD] for $44.99Harry Potter Years 1-6 Giftset (Full-Screen Edition) [DVD]

Harry Potter Years 1-6 Giftset [Blu-ray] for $89.99Harry Potter Years 1-6 Giftset [Blu-ray]


Deathly Hallows Trailer!

Here is a sneak peek at the first Deathly Hallows movie!



Deathly Hallows Preview 1


How much do I love Harry Potter?

I got into Harry Potter when the third book was already out. I would read the books during class. I was so adamant and unabashed about reading the books in class my math teacher would ask me how I was liking them (presumably to embarrass me and get me to focus on her lesson) and I would answer truthfully that they were awesome!

When the fourth book came out I was at a summer camp with a bunch of girls I liked. I ignored them and finished reading the fourth book. Seriously, I ignored girls for Harry Potter!

When the fifth book came out a really close childhood friend of mine who I hadn't seen in two years was visiting me. I read the book in front of him the whole first day he was visiting and then finished up on the second day when he was leaving. I haven't seen him since.

When the sixth book came out I had just started college and had tons of homework. Instead of doing my homework I picked up the book and read it nonstop until I was finished without even eating the whole day. To top it off my dad and little brother who lived more than one thousand miles away were visiting me at college and I ignored them along with my homework. I almost failed two classes because the projects that were due were supposed to be built upon as the quarter progressed.

When the seventh book came out I couldn't wait for my copy to arrive so I read the poorly photographed pages online before Amazon even shipped out my book. I had really bad eyestrain afterwards!

Without Harry Potter I'd have never gotten into fantasy. While I waited for each book to come out I would read loads of other magnificent fantasy books and I have Jo Rowling and her boy wizard to thank for that! I tried reading Lord of the Rings and Narnia when I was younger but didn't like them. After reading Harry Potter I grew to appreciate and even love them.

When I wasn't reading I was working on my Harry Potter websites. I would skip lunch at school to go to the library and use the computers to work on US Harry Potter (now the Harry Potter Friendship Network) and Hogwarts Live. I even skipped tons of parties and ignored many invitations from friends (some were rather attractive) just to work on improving these websites. I spent all four days of my fall break one time fixing all the textual errors on HL. And who even knows how much time I spent promoting HL on forums, chatrooms, search engines, directories, blogs, topsites, social networks, etc.

For the first whole year I ran HL I paid for all costs of operation until in the fall of 2005 after trying a myriad of advertisers and adding loads of stuff to the Prefect's Lounge I was finally able to cover monthly upkeep. Which, is a really good thing cause I had just moved out on my own to start college. This meant a bunch of new and very major living expenses and at the time HL's $80 a month hosting was a lot to someone who only worked part-time. So, thanks to your love of Harry Potter and many generous donations over the years HL will still have many magical times ahead of it.


What other profile details or options do you want?

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts you can edit your profiles. Don't know how to do this? First make sure you're logged in and then click on your character name in the top right hand corner of the blog next to Logout, Owl Post..., and Petition... Once you get to your profile page click the "Edit Profile" link next to your character name in the breadcrumb at the top.

So basically this poll is about what other details/options you'd like to see added to profiles.

Current details are: Real Name, Avatar, Birthday, Blood Purity, Wand, Location, Favorite Harry Potter Book, Favorite Harry Potter Character, and About/Bio.

I'm not going to list things like favorite quotes, favorite foods, favorite actors/movies, favorite authors, politics, religion, ethnicity, occupation, etc. cause you have 2,000 characters in your bio for all that stuff and I'd like to keep the main details fairly HP-themed or at least use them to make meaningful connections between users. I think we could benefit from some more roleplaying on here.

I'm not adding Favorite Books at this time cause we'll have a section for that later where you'll be able to pick your top five or so favorite books and then rate and review them.

Click here to vote on "What other profile details or options do you want?" poll »


Hogwarts Live T-shirt Slogan Ideas

So legally we can't put the word "Hogwarts" on a T-shirt (at least not ones we sell). So my idea was we could just use HL. And if someone asks you can tell them what it stands for (if you want to).

Please note that these are just the slogans, design ideas haven't even crossed my mind yet (basically each T-shirt will say HL on it somewhere, most likely the back). So here are the Hogwarts Live T-shirt slogans that have been spread around the site over the years:

Front: Reality Bites
Variants: Reality Sucks, Bored?, Bored with reality?

Firsties
So much tastier than Wheaties
Varient: Newbies

The Prescription Drug Cure
Warning!
Not for the feint of heart.
HL may be addictive.

The Teenager's Playground

In real life I play HL

I'm Happily Married

Sleep? Who needs it?

Wonder what the kid who sits alone during lunch does in his spare time?

Don't have a life?
That's alright neither do I...

The Dark Lord is waiting...

Homework? What's that?

Kill em' while they sleep

Gotta kill em' all

God?
You're looking at him.

When life is getting me down I kill firstyears.

Got HL?

HL
It puts the awesome in awesome.

HL
Its one #@#$% up RPG.

And my all-time favorite T-shirt idea:
Headmaster Danilo Fangirl For LifeTM


UPDATE: I've posted some of the designs up on the Hogwarts Live Custom Merchandise Store.

So what do you all think any suggestions?


Profile Editing Now Working!

You now have the ability to edit your profiles! Just click on your character name on the top right hand corner of the blog (next to Logout and Owl Post). Then click on (Edit Profile) next to your name. If you don't already have a profile one will be automagically created for you and prepopulated with your current Hogwarts Live bio.

You can see a working example of a completely filled out bio here: http://hogwartslive.com/u/danilo

Right now you can add the following data to your profile:
Real Name/Alias
Avatar URL/Profile Image (if you have or want to use Gravatar just leave this blank)
Birthday
Blood Purity/Race
Wand (there are special woods and cores for people with 5,000+ points)
Current Location
Favorite Harry Potter Book
Favorite Harry Potter Character
About/Autobiography

What other kinds of information would you like to be able to add to your Hogwarts Live profiles?

Here are some ideas:
Quidditch Position
Favorite Harry Potter Spell
Favorite Harry Potter Shipping (in fanfiction shipping is short for "relationshipping" - i.e. Harry/Ginny, Harry/Hermione, etc.)
Favorite Quotes
Favorite Actors/Movies
Heroes/Heroines
Favorite Foods/Desert
Interests
Religion
Politics
Marital Status
Sexual Orientation
Education
Favorite Color
Ethnicity
Occupation
Buddy List (Friends)

UPDATE (some new ideas for profiles):
Likes
Dislikes
Social Networking Profiles: Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg, MySpace
Instant Messengers: Skype, YIM, AIM, MSN/Windows Live

Please share your ideas and let me know which of the ones above you like! I think it would be best to keep this as Harry Potter-themed as possible.

TODO: Your clean/short URLs work now just go to http://hogwartslive.com/u/danilo and replace "danilo" with your user/login name all lowercase. I'll add a section to the profile editor so you can just copy the link to share your profile with friends.


What the heck happened to the Daily Prophet (MoTD)?

What you once knew as the Daily Prophet and before that the MoTD has now become the Hogwarts Live Blog.

Please note that the Hogwarts Live Blog is currently in Alpha (meaning it's missing a lot of features it should have) so please be sure to petition any bugs you may find.
Edit: We know that the blog keeps popping up, please stop with the petitions. UPDATE: This has been fixed.

If you have any other suggestions or comments please post them below. Yes, you can now comment on individual blog posts!

Here are some bugs you might notice right away:
1. If you click view more books/staff picks it takes you to the same page.
2. You can't change/edit our profile. The link goes nowhere or there's no link to do so.
3. The layout doesn't quite look right in Internet Explorer (MSIE).
4. The bold/highlighted link to the blog doesn't change after you've read it.

Anything that's not on this list please report right away. If you report something potentially hazardous to the site you'll be rewarded with donator points. And even if what you report is not such a big deal I'll probably choose to reward you anyway. The seriousness of the bug will determine the reward.

Please test away!


Please Help 1 Million+ Children in the Philippines - Donate to UNICEF

Over 1 million children have been affected by Typhoon Ketsana, and UNICEF is working around the clock to meet their needs. You can help.

If you'd like to make a donation to this cause I will give you donator points in exchange for doing so. Either make a donation on UNICEF's secure online form by clicking here
. Please note you will need to provide me with a receipt of your donation to receive donator points.

Alternatively, you may owl or email me, , your PayPal transaction number after making a donation via the "PayPal Site Admin" button and I'll add your funds to my next donation to UNICEF at the end of the month. Keep in mind this method is not tax deductible as is the case when you use UNICEF's official form
.

There are also other ways to support UNICEF aside from donating, please visit: UNICEF's Other Ways to Give Page.


Referrals Now Working

Some of you may have noticed that referrals weren't working properly.

They should function perfectly fine now.

Don't know what referrals are?

Under the --Other-- section in the left-hand navigation click on "Refer a Friend." This will give you a referral link (URL/web address) that looks something like: http://www.hogwartslive.com/r/Username

Give this link to your friends or post it on forums, blogs, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and when people sign up for HL using your referral link they will show up under "Accounts which you referred:" on the "Refer a Friend" page you got the link from.

Once any player you refer reaches level 10 you get 50 free referral/donator points, which can be used inside the Prefect's Lounge to get cool stuff like a custom title.

Awesome right? I thought so, now go get some free points and maybe make some new friends!


Getting rid of Hogwarts Live Downtime!

So, I'm sure you've noticed the site crashes a lot. Alchemist Edmund has had a solution to this problem for a while now. Guess what? I finally decided to implement it. This solution is likely to cost a lot more than our current setup. Because of this we'll be testing it to see if this price is within reason (i.e. can be covered by our average monthly donations). If so you'll all get to experience a relatively stable (meaning little to no downtime) Hogwarts Live. I know I've promised no downtime before but considering the nature of this solution and its ability to scale it should effectively eliminate prolonged periods of time where you can't access your favorite game! I should warn you though it's possible that we'll be trading speed for stability. With that said I think we'll all prefer a slower HL as long as we can get on whenever we want. ^_^