This is the best I can make it look for you FB readers.
Only a year late.
I’m taking a nap now.
This is the best I can make it look for you FB readers.
Only a year late.
I’m taking a nap now.
Just a quick note, and most importantly, thanks to John for his patience, and to all of you for your patience, advice, help, and critiques. It’s a better site because of all of us.
I don’t think most folks realize how much time it takes to read all the feedback and then organize what needs to be done. So I’m moving slowly today as I’ve only tweaked a few things so far. Many more to come. The rough plan:
And that should wrap things up for what you will see. Once these changes are done, they’ll be committed to our repository and I will work on a few more repository-related things.
I plan to throw up a Site Maintenance post every few months as a forum for complaints or suggestions, but don’t forget the Contact option under Quick Links at the top of the page.
Thanks to all who donated, John just paid me and I really appreciate all your generosity!
According to Alain, we’re basically done. If you like what you see, hit the paypal tip jar so I can send him some loot. If you don’t like it, hit it twice since you’re probably one of the whining assholes who made this extended ordeal even worse.
Or if you just want me to spend money on hookers and blow, that’s cool, too. But put a note otherwise it goes to Alain.
So last night went pretty well, and folks seem reasonably happy with things.
As you may have noticed, I’ve made a few improvements already today and am knocking out the list of things to tweak.
The LAST thing I’m going to do is normalize font sizes so please bear with me! I’ve already made them smaller but I’ll pause there.
To those who’ve offered some very helpful CSS suggestions, I’m happy to take more such precise suggestions. I’m not going to radically redo anything at this time, even if it would make lots of sense.
I have a few more desktop site details to knock down right now, then work on the mobile site, then decide on whether to tweak the sidebar, so please vote (once please, though you can cheat this simple system should you so be motivated) so I can make the best choice. This will likely be tomorrow morning when I close the vote and enact the voted choice.
So as Alain has said, he is updating the site tonight and it will be constantly changing while he slowing adds and subtracts things in what sounds like a tedious process.
Since it looks like many want to comment on these changes, and you’re ignoring the post he put up for comment, here’s a shiny thread to do it.
Complain and compliment to your heart’s content.
Ready, set, go….
I know it’s an important primary night but the site will be updated a bit later tonight.
Most of the heavy lifting is done, but sometime right after 9 PM EDT tonight, I’ll enter the git command to load the new stuff and in a few moments, the new site will be live. I will need to do a bit of cleanup in the db and set some settings that are stored there manually, but the new stuff should hit immediately and without hiccup.
Major things you’ll notice:
fixed layout so sidebar and scaling controls work better
sidebar re-org and improvement
redo of menu with cool new Quick Links!
“back” returns to comments.
“page” controls return to bottom of homepage
no new comment system, just the current one, tweaked
blogroll and Contact improved for iOS and other pop-blocking users
major security and back-end enhancements
I just wanted to post this before the returns post(s) so that folks have an area to comment or point out issues at launch. I won’t create another post for this tonight.
Just a quick update and then open thread.
I just sent out a notice to our group of testers to take one final look at the test site. The test concludes tomorrow, and I’ll then review and act upon their feedback. The goal is to launch on the live site Tuesday about 9 pm Eastern. The new stuff will all launch in an instant, but I will still need to do a bunch of back-end settings adjustments, so I expect the site will be fully ready by about 10 pm.
The big news that many might not yet know: we are not adding the new comment system; it had too many negatives for our testers. So I tightened up the existing system a bit. We experimented with reply-to-post/reply-to-comment notifications, but it was too quirky and had limited appeal, as it turned out. We experimented with enhanced text/link/media buttons for comments, but there was too much to work through, so we’re sticking with the existing Bold/Italic/Link buttons.
I’ve re-organized the menu system and sidebar and rebuilt the site from the “stock” theme and plugin files. This gets rid of the “page controls” issue at the bottom of the page. Note – this won’t work until Tuesday night.
Some other highlights: the “back” function has returned to comments, the sidebar ad isn’t getting chopped off, improved fonts – style, size, font, etc. for many things, altered Blogroll and Contact so that iOS users and those blocking popups won’t have issues, and much more.
That should (finally!) wrap up this stuff for me. I know that Mistermix had planned to do some magic to improved performance by combining and editing a number of site files. He had also planned to get our caching and CDN setup running smoothly. So this should make for a lightning-fast site, when he gets a chance to make those enhancements.
I’ll make an announcement Tuesday once the final test concludes to remind folks that there will be some major maintenance in the 9-10 pm Eastern hour.
Besides that, Open Thread!
Just a note on what’s going on, although I’m sure I’ll accidentally omit your personal peeve/issue, so pre-omission apologies to all!
Due to an array of issues culminating with family in town, I had to cut short the final tweaks last week, and thus postponed the final test. I’m just getting back into gear after a nice holiday and should launch the final test tomorrow, Wednesday at the latest. The final test is anticipated to be the acceptance test, and so we’ll go live shortly after its conclusion. Should more than minor tweaks be necessary, it will take a bit more time.
The following list includes many details on what’s going on with the site design. Note that these changes are not in the live site you currently see, unless otherwise mentioned:
Last week a few issues happened and they might be related. We’re still investigating. Here are some current issues:
Over the past few weeks, a number of media and professional WordPress sites have been compromised.
One way into these sites is bad programming in plugins and themes that allows attacks.Recently, I’ve removed a number of “heritage” plugins that are ancient and not maintained, as well as plugins that we’re not using. Should we need them later, it’s easy to add them back in. The theme files are updated as new versions are released, which has been, but will not remain, an issue.
Many WordPress sites, some from well-known companies, as well as non-WordPress sites were co-opted by ads with nasty stuff in them. Ads that, when shown on certain computers running old browsers or operating systems, and without good anti-malware software, installed a number of nasty programs including ransomware that holds your files hostage until you send the makers bitcoins.
Balloon Juice runs ads from Google and one other company; we do not accept advertising from a number of other sources, and this policy serves you, the user, well. But be warned – should you be running Windows XP or a similarly outdated operating system/browser, plan to upgrade in the next few months. You’re a sitting duck and it’s hunting season; the further away we get from when those old workhorses had their final updates, the more likely it is that you’re being targeted.
And please make sure you are using some type of antivirus/malware software that is up-to-date. I have lost confidence in free anti-virus, and don’t believe in “no-name” security packages from discount stores, so buy quality. Some names to consider (not an endorsement): AVG, Avast, Kaspersky, McAfee, Norton, Webroot. Malware is becoming much more varied in the platforms that are targeted, so Mac users shouldn’t feel so smug. Plus, it’s tough to feel smug if you’re the vector by which a loved one’s Windows machine was infected!
Some basic tips:
You can jump to the top or bottom of a webpage using the Home or End keyboard keys. Quicker than going for the mouse/scrollbar/pageup/pagedown. Excelsior!
ETA: Open Thread! I won’t be participating in these comments but will read them later.
You can always report issues that you encounter to [email protected]. Screenshots are helpful or copied and pasted error messages, etc. I don’t promise to fix everything, but I’d rather know of an issue so when I see other issues, I have more evidence to drive a correct conclusion and resolution.
ETAA: Good news, the theme developer support folks have forwarded the “back” issue to the top man, the boss/lead developer. So hopefully this will be an easy fix for him and we can get this wrapped up in the next few days!
Alain investigated and found out it was a good old fashioned HTML blitz attack. Someone decided they wanted us offline for a bit and directed heavy fire to achieve it. Treat this as an open thread and feel free to speculate on the likely suspects in the comments.
The site has been done for a good couple of hours. I’ve been in touch with Alain: he was not working on anything. He put a ticket in about it with WP and now we’re back. He’s also investigating.
We apologize for this disruption to your normal Balloon Juice experience. Open thread so kvetch about how this has ruined your day in the comments!
I also need some testers. If I can get some programming help, then the testing will be Friday afternoon, Monday at the latest. Testers will be emailed a link to the test server, and will be asked to take a peek, critique, and participate in a comment thread or two with other users so I can analyze performance, etc.
I’ve had to rebuild the site from virgin theme files, and have fixed and tweaked many things along the way. This is why the test is so important – it’s too easy for me to make a change and not notice side effects on other parts of the site, but a bunch of experienced users should help ensure that such side-effects are managed and don’t negatively affect things. It’s also important to get feedback on the new comment system, so there are really two areas of testing – the site/appearance, and comments.
Major Issues Fixed
Note the first: fixing #1 required many hours hours of painstaking work rebuilding everything from virgin theme files so that #8 is useful and complete for me or anyone else in the future.
Note the second: I am still reviewing the lists I have of complaints/requests, and I expect to incorporate some of them before/right after the new stuff goes live, so don’t lose hope if you don’t see your issue mentioned here!
So, that all said, if you can help as either a programmer or a tester, please email me [email protected]. If you’re offering to help as a programmer, please include a phone number as I’ll call you immediately! :) I will likely respond from an email address from the getmechamot.com domain, so add that to your whitelist so you don’t miss my emails!
Testers, you will receive an email from me tomorrow (or later, when the server is ready for testing) with the test server link and my phone number for questions. So far, I have Watergirl and JRinWV, and need at least 5 more.
I will also include a link to a brief Survey to get your feedback on the site. It’s much easier to have your responses in an organized fashion, so I thought this would promote that. I will of course take emails, etc., but I hope that the survey is sufficient for 95% of feedback on the test server.
Well, that’s about it for me. I will be in and out of this thread, responding to comments as I can, but I won’t be here full-time. Thanks to all for your patience and goodwill.
Just a quick note about upcoming site changes. I mentioned this a few days ago in a comment or two, but didn’t make a full post, so here it is.
The new commenting system is finally ready – not perfect, but good enough to grow with. So the plan is to launch it sometime late next week. I will be working on a few things on the live site between now and then, but mostly on the test site. Once it’s close to ready, I’ll invite a few folks to use it and then work from there.
I have a list of tweaks and edits that have been requested and will try to wrap as many of them in as I can along with the main focus – the commenting system.
I will be doing a number of improvements and have already added long-link word wrap and have removed that nasty video autoplay thing from the sidebar. Not sure where it came from or how it got there as I had to research what it is, but it’s gone. Please alert me should it return.
Which brings me to my final point for now – there have been some alarming reports of WordPress sites being compromised and delivering malware using exploits in old browser/operating systems (Windows XP and older versions of Chrome, IE, and Firefox) as well as older versions of Java, Flash, and Adobe Acrobat.
So please be careful out there and should you get something and think it came from here, please let us know immediately. I strongly recommend anti-malware software as well as keeping your computer current with all security and service packs.
And, if the OS has been declared dead by its manufacturer, then please plan and budget for a new machine or install something more secure like Linux Mint, a great graphical Linux that runs awesome on older hardware.
Like herd immunity-trusting anti-vaxxers, if you are the weak link, you can actually cause trouble for those around you, even if you don’t suffer too much yourself! All opportunistic malware needs is some fertile ground to then contact home and get much nastier payloads to deploy on your local network or via USB.
That said, I can’t promise I’ll answer all questions or comments or requests in this thread, but I’ll try! And I’ll certainly review tomorrow to ensure I don’t miss comments or issue reports from late comers.
Third time is the charm. Twitter is working, hoping this does it for faceboook.
Welcome to 2009, and I think we have finally set it up so that this website autopublishes to our facebook page and twitter.
*** Update ****
Grumble. Twitter works, FB does not. Working on it.
Since I’ve been getting some emails, for those just joining the fun, or those who know what’s been going on, a quick site status recap:
I now have to go play outside in the snow with my wife and my cats (one of whom is enjoying her first snow) so please consider this an open thread. I will be back later to check the download and so won’t really be sitting here responding to comments. I might look at them later or tomorrow.
When I have the files, I will quickly apply them and the site will be back to the way it was Friday and earlier. I’ll still add some requested style tweaks, but I’m going to hold off on touching anything else until we do the new comment system in February. Considering some comments/emails, I’m sure that will be celebrated by many. I remind them that I’m the back end guy, not the front end guy, and I’m trying to fill in for him since that thing fell apart. I make no pretenses at being a front-end developer or programmer; I have managed them, and associated projects/products, etc., but for Balloon Juice, I offered to help in areas that are not my normal bailiwick.
Folks, sorry it’s been so long since I’ve been active, but I’ve been awaiting the release of required features in the upcoming new commenting system. Since that’s still 2-3 weeks off, I figured I’d post an update and general site maintenance thread.
First – I haven’t been reading the site much, so I have missed all comments that folks have made, although I did spend some time catching up on Adam’s post from last week and its comments. From now on, I’ll try to post a new Site Maintenance thread every couple of weeks until this process is through.
So a brief site maintenance news, and then feel free to comment, add issues, etc. I am making no promises about doing everything, but I’ll see what I can do. Some may be immediate, some Monday/early next week, and some may happen closer to/at the time of the new comment system release.
So, that all said, please feel free to post more issues and questions. I hope to have URL in comment author and small tweak on mobile site, but really I’m planning on dealing with the majority of stuff when the comment system goes live as I’ll need to touch a lot of areas.
As always, feel free to email me.
Thanks for your patience, encouragement, suggestions, and reminders.