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Some New Roadskater.net Website Stuff

roadskater's picture

So I've been busy working on some background stuff for Roadskater.net and I thought Solstice was a good time to unveil some of it. This is just a perhaps brief update. 

  • Things will change! It's not finished and never will be as long as I can fiddle with the site. This is a very different look and we'll see how it goes. The idea is that the color blocks can help you find similarly themed items. 
  • Colors may change to reflect past jersey hues, except the love points block will likely be red since that's a perfectly good color for love. 
  • Some of you will have some email subscriptions and I hope that'll be OK. Please opt out if not but I can use some testing help for those who can do it. Eventually we may use this for groups like inlinenc and a carolina century group or two. That's not set up yet.
  • The emails can be adjusted for immediate, hourly, semi-daily, daily, weekly and other options.
  • You can set up emails for replies to a post, for posts of a certain type (article, event), by a certain user, for only items tagged with a certain term, and more.
  • SMS messages are in testing but the sleep function isn't working methinks. Anyone willing to help test this, it's much appreciated by me, he said somewhat passive voice like.
  • Events will change so feel free to enter events if you have rights, and email if you don't, but save your text if you can. I'll let you know when events are transitioned to a new setup. 
  • I've reworked the workhorse blocks that show Recent Articles and Recent Comments. The goal is to help signed in users see items they've not read more easily, and to see how much traffic there is on a topic as well. 
  • The article and comment blocks and some others now have a mini pager that uses AJAX/AHAH to let you flip through the titles without a full page refresh. This should help the user experience.
  • We need +1 luvs for content you like. I had to disable anonymous voting for the time being on this as I was getting robot voting I think from robots that don't respect robots.txt in the morning. 
  • In the comments, I show the title, but since these are often titles like "thoughts," I added "re:" to show the article to which the reply refers. Many will rejoice that I don't quote the full search engine optimized title here, but the first few words, broken at the space, with ellipses.
  • Please help me check everything with other browsers. I tend to use Google Chrome on Ubuntu and Windows XP, plus Firefox on both, Opera Ubu, Internet Exploder on XP, Safari XP. Mostly I use chrome. I am not worried about supporting IE before version 8. 
  • I've done some work on a new favicon but for now this is just one that is OK and means nothing. I might use that as a background but more likely not. It'll either be a logo from a jersey or a character style one like are so trendy now.
  • The create/article page is much simpler, but please do consider adding tags, years, places and using the Location vertical tab to get to the Google map and put a location on there (as opposed to just the name of a place). If you put in a location with your article, the map pops up in the sidebar when people view that article.
  • The tag cloud is back but it's down low so I'm calling that tag fog. Those terms build automatically from your tags (if you enter them) and help Goo Goole dolls and other crawlers and search visitors know what the site is about. And the terms are links so you can find articles tagged by a term by clicking the tag fog. You can even sign up for RSS feeds based on term, and more.
  • I think the text editor is pretty good right now but please remember to save your work locally or write it and use the Paste from Word button if you see it up there. There's an autosave feature that works in some browsers. Look for a message at the bottom if you crash out and come back after restarting. 
  • We'll have more graphics at some point as I plan to pull in from the tons of photos on Roadskater.net Classic (RSN1.net). 
  • The right sidebar (as of now) is still pulling in content about inline skating (rollerblading) and various forms of speed skating, plus cycling pro tours and charity rides, active transportation, trails, and some updates on Multiple Sclerosis. At this point there's a "b" there which stands for "blog," but that may become a pencil or pen icon. If you're logged in and click that icon, the website starts an article for you that refers to that news item.
  • The drop down at the very top is not dropping down. I'm testing to see how I like that. If I do like that (because it leads to better explanations for new visitors), I will likely put top level links for creating an article, an event, &c.
  • Polls are strange and I'm not happy with them. It would take some programming time or more experimenting with others' code to really like what we have. I'll keep following this and may even get involved in a project on this if it goes long enough, because this is important. If not that I'll start using Google docs polls as they worked OK for Carolina Century to get some data at least. It's a much more difficult topic than it at first seems. A great poll is one that lets voters add items in certain poll styles and makes it possible for others to then vote on those new items, perhaps with some moderation of the new terms added by users. Opening that up to anons is impossible.
  • The login is off the front page to see if that will help anonymous front page load times by allowing more of the page to cache since the graphic are you a human quiz is by definition designed to be unique to each page refresh. 
  • Photos and galleries are still very weak and I'd like to improve some of that in the Winter. 
  • Ads will be back soon. Not having ads did not increase participation. I'd like to write an ad auction that would let people sponsor space, but Goo kind of does that already, ha. 
  • Speaking of participation, thanks for all who have. Please remember that short questions and observations are welcome and often lead to the great conversations. We're skaters and cyclists and charity workers but we don't only care about that, so share what you know and what you love and even what you don't so much. 
  • A lot of people read the site and if you look at the popular content it's not even the skating that is tops. But we can get people to hear about skating by sharing what we know about food, heart rate monitors, gps units, and lots more. 
  • People are interested in reading about your failures as well as your successes, or how you interpreted your failure into a success! Everything happens for a reason if we decide later why it happened! :o)
  • There are a ton of unseen new features working well in the background that can make the site more powerful, but your participation is the most important feature of this site. 
  • I hope you like it! Feel free to let me know. 

Comments

MikeB's picture

gotta love a good solstice change

WOW! The new look is really nice. The color blocks really help me navigate the site subliminally. Weird. Now ya tell me about the event calendar function to change soon - after I just posted 8 or 10 2011 events....no worries. So this year's winter solstice will also have us in a full lunar eclipse at 2.30 in the morning - the last time this happened was some 450 years ago so I'm told. Maybe the site will morph into yet another form at 2.30?? Cool! I'll wait up. :-)
roadskater's picture

I Would Give a Lot to Have Known to Make a Solsticlipskate

Let me know if any of you want to try to do a long distance cell phone based simulskate. Not sure I should be awake though. Much to do before the holiday. Yeah the site went dark last night for several hours and there was nothing reasonable I could do about it. But it's up and working faster now after the hardware replacement. Thanks for all the events. We'll get them over to any new system and I'm glad you didn't spend an hour on each one. We did some unintended 5p4mm1n9 among the volunteered by me beta testers. My bad. Thanks for putting in the events. Looks like there's a vertical tab in the events options (at the bottom of the post form) with the name, null, and that's the one that needs date and time information. As I said above, I'm switching the way this works (or fails). Progress causes unintended problems usually. 

roadskater's picture

Silk Icons Include a Pencil and More

I've looked around for free icons before and on my XP frankenstein epoxy laptop I have several collections. I remembered a set called Silk and a website called famfamfam.com so I went to get a pencil for our blog link for now. Back in Roadskater.net 2.0 (this being 2.2 at least I think I used some of those and will likely revive those for the delete, edit, reply and such links.

Here's an overview of the Silk set...

http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/previews/index_abc.png

Here's a download link for the set...

http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/

Here's the Mini set, which are .gif instead of the .png above, and are less, well, silky, and more, well, mini, maybe.

http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/mini/

I'll keep an eye out for more sets and maybe will use something else, but for now it's a somewhat short golf score card pencil. 

roadskater's picture

Important Things Take Precedent

So I had to edit that Silk Icon to add an eraser! First attempt. We'll see if I think it's OK. Logged in users should see the pencil to the right of the new articles in the sidebar, currently on the right sidebar column of the page. 

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