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What do you think of the changes to the site?

I love it!
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Total Members Voted: 1

Voting closed: March 29, 2006, 12:23:15 PM

Author Topic: Cha - cha- cha - cha - Changes!  (Read 3846 times)

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Offline Dunrobin

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Cha - cha- cha - cha - Changes!
« on: February 27, 2006, 12:23:16 PM »
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  • OK - it's not exactly a secret (at least to the long-time members) that I love changing things from time to time, usually to make the site even better.  (I say "usually" because I have been known to screw it up on occasion.)  :-[

    This weekend I upgraded the message boards to the newest version of Simple Machines Forum (SMF), largely because I had been using it on another site that I visit regularly (Awareness Portal®) and I really liked the improvements that the SMF developers had made, some of which I will go into below.


    FIRST THINGS FIRST - GET A BETTER BROWSER

    I am seriously pushing people to switch web browsers.  I know the vast majority of you are using Internet Explorer, primarily because it came pre-installed on your computer and you're used to it.

    The problem is that IE stinks, and you could be using a much better browser - Mozilla Firefox.  It's faster, more user-friendly, more flexible (there are hundreds of extension and themes you can install), does a better job of rendering web pages (especially at implementing stylesheet standards) and - most importantly - IT'S SAFER TO USE THAN IE!

    And best of all - it's completely free!  So what more do you want?  Click on the Firefox ad displayed at the top and/or bottom of nearly every page on this site to get your copy of Firefox now.  (And using Firefox will make those ads go away!)   ;D


    FEATURES THAT ARE MISSING IN ACTION

    Before I go any further, let me point out a few things that are currently missing on the site:

    • The Chat Room
    • The Games Arcade
    • The Members Map

    All of these will be getting restored to the site just as soon as I can find (or write) a working patch to make them play nice with the newer message board system.


    CHANGES AND IMPROVEMENTS

    This version of SMF has a buttload of improvements in it.  A lot of them are in the Admin backend, and in streamlined code that helps the pages load quicker, but here a some of the more obvious ones:

    • Message posting got the most improvements, probably.  For example, when you wanted to Preview your message before, you'd have to wait for the page to reload.  Now, when you preview your message, it appears dynamically above the editing area without the page reloading.  (Sweet!)

      There are also a few more buttons on the posting page.  You can now add streaming video and audio links in Windows Media, Realplayer or Quicktime to your posts.  (The files have to be hosted somewhere on the Internet - like on MySpace.com; you just put the URL in between the appropriate tags.)  There is also an "Edit" button, that make a footnote to say why you changed your post. [edit]Let's you indicate why you made a change to your post.[/edit]

    • There are changes in your Profile area, too.  There's an improved Buddies List feature, and improvements in the Ignore feature as well.  (You can list members whose posts you don't want to see, including in the Personal Messages area, and you can even choose to ignore individual message boards.)

      You can also choose to receive the body of the posts in the email notifications that you get from the site, which I really like.

    • Karma has been improved upon, so I've turned that feature on.  Karma let's you "applaud" or "smite" a member, in response to a post (just click on the appropriate link in the member's area to the left of the message.)  You'll have to enter a reason why you're changing a person's Karma, for good or bad, and you have to wait at least 15 minutes before you can rate the same person again.  You can see who changed your Karma, and who's Karma you have changed, through links on the summary page of your Profile.

    There is an excellent Help section, too, and I encourage everyone to look through it, even if you feel very comfortable with the site already.  There's a good chance you'll discover somethnig new there!   ;)

    I hope everyone will enjoy the changes, and that you like the sleek, new look.  And if you do happen to find a glitch somewhere, please post a topic about it on the Bug Reports board, and include as much detail as you can (what you were doing, or trying to do, what happened, what error messages did you get, etc.)

    More modifications will be coming!   ;D

    Offline shemps#1

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    Re: Cha - cha- cha - cha - Changes!
    « Reply #1 on: February 27, 2006, 05:59:22 PM »
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  • I was using Mozilla already, so firefox isn't much of a change.

    Everything looks great Rob.
    "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish." - Unknown

    Pilsner Panther

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    Re: Cha - cha- cha - cha - Changes!
    « Reply #2 on: February 27, 2006, 09:21:34 PM »
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  • Rob, a while back (about a year ago) you were recommending Avant Browser. I took your advice and I've been using it ever since— I'm really happy with it, too. Do you want to go into some detail as to why you now think that Firefox is better? I'd need some good, solid reasons to make a switch.

     ???

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    Offline Dunrobin

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    Re: Cha - cha- cha - cha - Changes!
    « Reply #3 on: February 27, 2006, 09:24:18 PM »
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  • I keep finding cool little improvements to the boards that just impress the crap out of me on a design level.  (I can't help it - it's what I do.)

    For example, I kept noticing this little icon - - on the right hand side, after everyone's posts.  Looking at the image's properties, I realized it was an "Inline Modify" button, so I clicked on it and after a moment the post magically transformed into a textbox containing the post, allowing me to quickly make and save changes without having to load a new page.

    That's so totally cool!   

    I try to be a careful typist, and I try to proofread all of my messages before I post them, to make sure I got everything right and decide if I typed what I wanted to say.  But not matter how many times I proof them, typos get past me, and I don't see them until after the post is saved and the page has reloaded.  It's so cool that I can now quickly fix them without having to wait on multiple page loads.

    I see them on everyone's posts ("it's good to be the King"), but every member should see them to the right of ther own posts.  Give it a try!  And now everyone will have even less of an excuse for sloppy, mis-typed posts.   ;)

    Now if I can figure out how to make that sweet spellchecker work on this server...   >:D

    [edit]That feature really is sweet - I just used it to edit this post.[/edit]

    Offline Dunrobin

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    Re: Cha - cha- cha - cha - Changes!
    « Reply #4 on: February 27, 2006, 09:49:47 PM »
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  • Rob, a while back (about a year ago) you were recommending Avant Browser. I took your advice and I've been using it ever since— I'm really happy with it, too. Do you want to go into some detail as to why you now think that Firefox is better? I'd need some good, solid reasons to make a switch.

     ???

    AvantBrowser is a good browser, and it's definitely a major improvement on Internet Explorer.  (I like the tabbed interface, particularly.)  But it is built on IE, and therefore shares IE's weaknesses and security flaws.

    Firefox is much more secure, has a great interface, and is much more flexible (there are literally hundreds of extensions and themes that allow you to customize its' functionality to suit your own tastes.)  For example, I have the ForecastFox extension installed, whih displays the current weather and forecasts (plus Weather Alerts and even radar) all in my status bar.  I can see the weather at a glance and view the radar map with a single click.

    AvantBrowser has support built in for News Feeds (rss), but it is clunky by comparison to Firefox.  For example, when I am on any page in the message boards here, I see the RSS icon in my address bar; if I click on it I can add a "Live Bookmark" to my personal Bookmarks toolbar, which will show me links for the last five posts made on ThreeSooges.net.

    I've read several reviews on the upcoming Internet Explorer 7, which will finally have the basic tabbed interface that other pioneered a couple of years ago, and itis totally lame.  None of its "new" features are really new at all, and from what I've heard so far, I doubt that's overall functionality is going to improve much.  A case of too little too late; Firefox has it already beaten, hands down.

    Pilsner Panther

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    Re: Cha - cha- cha - cha - Changes!
    « Reply #5 on: February 28, 2006, 07:23:41 AM »
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  • If I want to see what the weather is, all I have to do is stick my head out the window (and right now, I'd drown).

    All right, maybe Firefox is better than Avant Browser— I'll give it a try, since you've never steered me wrong yet. But it had better allow me to import all my "favorites" lists, or I'll be absolutely disgustipated.




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    « Last Edit: February 28, 2006, 07:47:17 AM by Pilsner Panther »

    Offline Dunrobin

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    Re: Cha - cha- cha - cha - Changes!
    « Reply #6 on: February 28, 2006, 07:36:31 AM »
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  • If I want to see what the weather is, all I have to do is stick my head out the window (and right now, I'd drown).

    All right, maybe Firefox is better than Avant Browser— I'll give it a try, since you've never steered me wrong yet. But it had better allow me to import all my "favorites" lists, or I'll be absolutely disgustipated.



    It should; I think tht AvantBrowser uses the IE Favorites folder, and Firefox will offer to import either IE or Mozilla/Netscape favorites (bookmarks).  You might want to double-check where Avant is storing your favorites before you setup Firefox, though.

    I know that post 40's technology scares the crap out of you, Pils, but trust me - you'll be fine.   ;D
    « Last Edit: February 28, 2006, 09:02:58 AM by Dunrobin »

    Pilsner Panther

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    Re: Cha - cha- cha - cha - Changes!
    « Reply #7 on: February 28, 2006, 08:10:43 AM »
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  • Look, Rob, I don't care how many bells and whistles I've got that I'll never, ever use. I'm a firm believer in Thoreau's principle of "Simplify, simplify!"

    It's ironic that this forum setup is called "Simple Machines," when all it ever does is get more complicated.

    Here's what I'd like, in an ideal world (which of course doesn't exist, and never will):

    1. Suppress or remove that extremely annoying "Last Edit" line. I can't type worth shit partly due to a right arm disability, I always have to do a lot of revising, and I don't need to be reminded of it. This is like a "You're a Dumbass!" message at the bottom of every post, and I hate it.

     >:(

    2. Doesn't anyone who worked on this software understand the principle of overwrites? I don't want to be told that "This file already exists." For Chrissakes, just overwrite it automatically and wipe the previous one out, and don't give me some blockheaded error message like that. Anyone who can't figure this out has to be one real half-assed programmer. That's what killed the old version of Pilsner's Picks— I finally got too fed up with this kind of crapola to continue.

     :protest:

    Now I'm talking like Jim, but not without good reason.

     ::)


    Offline Dunrobin

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    Re: Cha - cha- cha - cha - Changes!
    « Reply #8 on: February 28, 2006, 12:01:31 PM »
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  • Testing attachments

    This is a second attempt; got the "file name already exists" message that Pils gets all the time.  Retrying after making an Admin tweak.

    3rd attempt - attaching same file

    [attachment deleted by admin]
    « Last Edit: February 28, 2006, 12:11:36 PM by Dunrobin »

    Offline Dunrobin

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    Re: Cha - cha- cha - cha - Changes!
    « Reply #9 on: February 28, 2006, 12:22:33 PM »
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  • OK - that seems to work, Pils.  I changed a setting in the Admin area, and it looks like it will accept the same file without an argument, even in the same message.  Maybe that tweak will stop your problem.  (No promises, though - I haven't read the scripts for it yet.)   ;) 

    P.S. - I upped the time limit for when the server starts tracking that "Last Edit" time.  You now have up to 48 hours before it starts logging that info.  If you can't fix your typos within 2 days, well...  as the saying goes, "If the shoe fits..."  ;D

    Hint:  try the "modify inline" icon () to the right, at the end of your posts, to fix typos.  It's a lot faster than clicking the regular "Modify" icon above the posts, especially if you just have small corrections to make and don't need the editing button bar. 

    Pilsner Panther

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    Re: Cha - cha- cha - cha - Changes!
    « Reply #10 on: February 28, 2006, 09:05:44 PM »
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  • That all sounds good, Rob. Don't mind me, the weather here has been making me even crankier than usual.

    Now if I could only get Edna May Oliver's face out of my head...  :o

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    CURLYFAN

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    Re: Cha - cha- cha - cha - Changes!
    « Reply #11 on: March 01, 2006, 04:19:00 PM »
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  • I like all the new changes and modifications even though I haven't used many of them yet, however new smileys would be great.

     


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