Small Site Updates, greennotGreen News


I’ll be tweaking the sidebar a bit today and hope to add some nifty things to the comments either later today or tomorrow. Also, a rotating quote line is coming today!

On a more personal note, Terry, greennotGreen’s sister read the memorial thread and let me know how helpful it was:

Alain, I noticed the celebration thread up on BJ. Thanks so much. I’m actually going to use some of the quotations from Carol Ann for the memorial service. She would love the idea of writing part of it herself!

So there you go folks, well done!


Open thread!


ETA: OK, folks, exciting things just went live. Look below the comment form – there is now a comment help/tips section with lots of useful things (more to come, as things change).  And perhaps more importantly, a built-in pie filter. Use it to block annoying commenters and their comments. It’s harmless – enter a name or a comment number and all comments from that person will be turned into statements about pie. It works on a per-browser basis, storing your list in the browser’s site data.

All hail Major Major Major Major and cleek. Their help to convert the filter from something that you had to tack-on in a specific framework into a built-in function of the site was immense. Thanks guys, your help made this a better place for all.

Brief Site News

Just a few updates you’ll be happy to hear about:

  1. I’ve made a few small tweaks the past day or two and the site renders faster, the sidebar is improved, and a few other related things.
  2. The theme update will hit early next week. I am working on it right now. It’s a major change in the theme version, so I’m taking the time to make a few more styling changes and tweaking things that have always driven me nuts.
  3. Slight sidebar redesign will come as part of that.
  4. An improved Quotes function, more like the previous theme’s. Next week, I’m going to open a thread for suggestions to add to the current list to keep it from getting stale; I’ve already added “Not all heroes wear capes”.
  5. Coming soon, with/right after the theme update: Comment instructions/tips, new and improved
  6. Coming with that: A built-in filter to block commenters you wish to ignore*. No more Greasemonkey script, browser limitations, etc. It will work on all browsers that support local storage, but the list from one machine won’t be on another, so you’ll need to maintain your pie list on each device on which you read comments. Major thanks to cleek and Major Major Major Major.
  7. A few other treats.

* this is known as a pie filter. It turns comments from a commenter into ravings about pie, but for you only.

Open thread, and do join in for tomorrow’s noon memorial post for greennotGreen. I will be using that thread as the final chapter in a pdf I’m building for her family. It’s your chance to put into words how she touched you, or to point to a post or comment that you feel is important to include in that set of memories.


ETA: forgot to add, also adding an image slider plugin that will work on both the desktop and mobile themes. The current sliders are desktop only, thus leaving mobile users missing something great. That will be after 1-7.

Open Thread

Countdown to the Start of the Weekend EDT


We just added a new Countdown Timer thinggy as per Adam’s request. It works on both desktop and mobile sites which is a win.



Open thread!


ETA: Learning pains

Site News: Updates and Suchlike

Good morning everyone!

This morning, I’m updating WordPress and a host of plugins and doing a bit of tweaking and site maintenance. This is in preparation for updating the theme Monday, and then releasing some new stuff once we’ve got a stable platform.

That said, I’m just in the office this morning, so I won’t be tackling any other issues, but feel free to mention them in this thread and I’ll check in later.

Next week I hope to publicly launch our Issues tracker, as well as an all-new submission form for On the Road, as well as a redone Contact a Front Pager form. There are some neat things coming soon such as a localized version of the Pie filter that runs in your browser, couple with one or more comment improvements. I am also planning on a few architectural changes to speed up the site and to reduce the morning slowdown (which is from the daily backup). Once those are in place, I’ll replace the current site search with a much better one. More on that soon.

Open thread y’all

Site News and Open Thread


Just a brief tech update and open thread for non-healthcare conversation.

I’m pleased to report that the permanent test site is up and running. That’s allowing for much-needed fiddling and experimentation that doesn’t affect the live site. There are lots of tweaks and enhancements on the horizon, many things that will make your commenting and reading/watching experience better. I’m hoping I hope some small architectural changes will improve your experience, especially during the mid-late morning when the site seems……to…. c….r…a…w…l.

More about that soon, plus there will be a public-accessible Issues tracker that you can use to submit suggestions, complaints, etc. about the site. I’m always happy to get emails, but going forward, all issues will be entered there so things can be tracked. If nothing else, it gives us a permanent place for people to post ideas, suggestions, and gripes, and they will not get lost. So even if nothing gets done today, that report is still there, and might get looked at with a new perspective at a later time.

Later today, I hope to launch an improvement to the Site Search function. It has come to my attention that the current search isn’t doing what needs to be done as it doesn’t search comments. And yes, I know you can go to Google to search balloon-juice: XXX and it will search the site and comments for “XXX”. But really, the site’s search should also search comments, and we shouldn’t have to go off-site!


That all said, open thread.


ETA: As MissBianca Miss Bianca’s experience has shown, changing your nym (or commenting for the first time) puts your comment into moderation. We’re adding a little helper section to the comment form with some tips and this topic is explained to ensure that folks understand why some things happen.

To explain – the first comment you make with a nym and email address on a device is held in moderation; she skipped the space so the system thought MissBianca was a new commenter and so her first comment was put into Moderation. When she added the space, she was recognized as someone who had made comments previously and so that comment was not held in moderation.

Once that first comment is approved by a Front Pager, subsequent comments from that device, using that same nym and email address, are automatically published.


Should a comment disappear into the aether, please send me an email with the Post name (or a link to it!) and your nym and the rough time so I can investigate. When this happens, it almost always means that your comment was insta-Trashed as opposed to being held in Moderation or being marked as Spam.

Insta-Trash for comments from frequent commenters is an issue I want to solve, so please do let me know. Occasionally there are readers who have always had comments disappear and thus have never successfully commented. If that happens to you, please email me – something about your nym or the email address you’re using is triggering our detection mechanism and I’d like to solve that and add your voice to our conversation.


ETA again: Updated a slew of plugins that suddenly announced their upgradeable status.

Update Your Linux Machines Folks

Researchers found a major bug in Samba, a core component of many Linux and Unix systems as it controls storage and interfaces with Windows and other non-Unix things.

The issue allows a bad guy to run unapproved code uploaded remotely as a root user. Your firewall has to have the right port open, but lots of folks do that to solve a temporary need and then forget to close the port to outsiders.

So, should you have home or work Linux machines, take a few minutes and update them. This also applies to many less-obvious Linux machines such as my personal favorite, the RaspberryPi.

Many use them as cheap controllers for home storage, media centers, home automation, etc.  So don’t neglect them folks – if they get compromised, that’s just a ticking time bomb waiting to get worse.

Unrelated to this news, we’ll be tightening the site up a bit more in anticipation of increased efforts by bad guys.

On the test server front, the good news is that it’s up and running. There are still a few more details to take care of, and I’m pretty much not doing any work from now until Tuesday as I have lots of IT duties and plan to take apart, re-organize and put back together my home office. Fun fun.

Finally, don’t forget that tomorrow at 12:30 Eastern, my guest post on Oceanography will launch, with the author in the comments ready to answer questions. I found his intro to be very interesting, and it led he and me into an in-depth discussion of the numerous crises in our oceans that are here, or will be soon.


Open Thread!

Site Will Be Slow For A Few Hours

I’m actually cloning the site today, as opposed to getting distracted yesterday. This means the site may be a bit sluggish as I’m creating some big archives and transferring them to the test setup. I chose now in hopes of getting it all done before the 5 pm magic hour.


So my apologies if the site isn’t as responsive as normal, but take heart – your long personal nightmare will be over soon! :)


Also, another plug for a guest post on Oceanography coming at 12:30 Eastern on Friday. It will be neat, you’ll learn stuff, and can even ask questions!


Open Thread!



ETA: Slowdown over, ahead of schedule. Be well.