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November 03, 2005


Michael Blowhard writes:

A brief pause in the usual flow of things to point out a few housekeeping upgrades.

  • Email contacts for all Blowhards are now up to date. The buttons are at the top of the blog's left-hand column. Contact a Blowhard by clicking on his name -- it's as easy as that.

  • A brand-new feature is also to be found in the left-hand column. Scroll down a bit. Just below "Recent Entries" you'll see a list of "Recent Comments." When a visitor leaves a comment on a posting, a link to it automatically pops up at the top of this list. Magic! Well, even if it isn't magic, it's still a convenient way to keep up-to-date with our many blog conversations. Which ones are ongoing? Without this feature, I might have missed some wonderfully evocative and informative comments by Tatyana, Peter, Dwight, and Deb on Donald's posting about growing up deprived. Many thanks to Paul S. for suggesting that we supply this feature.

  • Using the archives has become a little easier too. Take a look at the top of the blog, just under the 2Blowhards masthead. That horizontal strip -- the gray bar that includes "Blog," "Best-of," "Interviews," and "Links"? It's a navigation bar. "Best-of" is a drop-down menu that enables you to riffle through postings that we've chosen as our most provocative and entertaining. (Have no fear: Donald's list will grow longer as he continues to post.) "Interviews" will take you to a page where we link to q&a's that we've done with interesting and substantial people. Check 'em out: Some high-class, unusual, and highly-useful information and thinking is to be found there. The "Blog" button will always return you to the main blog page. "Links"? Well, I'm still working on that one. (Email me if you have suggestions.) I urge you in any case to make use of the interviews and the best-ofs. There's good writin' to be enjoyed in them-thar hills.

  • Because of spam-comment-management challenges, I've had to introduce a small change that might be a little annoying. From now on, comments can only be left on postings that are less than a week old. Postings older than that will be closed to comments. Apologies -- I hope that doesn't seem rude. But attending to the spam-comments that were accumulating on older postings had become too much of a trial.

All this wizardry has been accomplished by our terrific blog-guy Daniel, of Westgate Necromantic. If you want some web-things done for you, I urge you to get in touch with Daniel. He has done much to make 2Blowhards the attractive and easy-to-use web-place that it is. He's an excellent designer, his rates are very reasonable, his webwork is supersolid, and he's a joy to work with. He can be reached at westgate-at-westgatenecromantic-dot-com. Daniel and his wife Leilah live in New Orleans, by the way, and their email since the flood has made horrifying -- if also gallant and funny -- reading.

Thanks for your attention. Now, back to the usual party!

posted by Michael at November 3, 2005


MB, the upgrades look good, particularly the "recent comments" feature. I have a couple of suggestions, however:

-You might consider installing a "type the code" authentication system for comments. We just did this on our MT 2.6x blog, using the "scode" plugin, and it cut the flow of spam comments down to essentially nothing. And if you used this method you wouldn't have to close commenting on old posts or make commenters register.

-The "Cancel" button in your comment-entry window is unnecessary and occasionally leads to inadvertent deletions. More than once I have lost work by clicking that button when I meant to click "Preview".

But otherwise the site is great, as always. Thanks.

Posted by: Jonathan on November 3, 2005 11:04 AM

Those are great ideas, Jonathan, thanks. They're going on the list for the next round of upgrades.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 3, 2005 2:46 PM

Great blog! I'll be back. Check out my sudoku page!

JUST KIDDING! *Slaps own wrist*

I do agree with Jonathan's idea about the number code. Many other sites have had them installed, and they aren't inconvenient at all. Actually, using the codes makes me feel like a secret agent.

If I could change one thing about 2Blowhards, it would be adding a preview feature to the permalink page. As of right now, you can only preview your comments if you compose them in the popup window. I like to compose on the full permalink page where there's more room to stretch out, and it's always suspenseful waiting to see if my links are going to work.

If permalink page is the wrong term, this is what I mean. The only buttons I see are "Post" and "forget info".

Posted by: Brian on November 3, 2005 3:20 PM

A preview button is helpful, especially if you are putting links into your comment -- you can make sure they work. I strongly recommend that you add that feature.

Posted by: Lexington Green on November 3, 2005 3:40 PM

Excellent points, tks. [Sound of me taking notes for my blog-guy...]

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 3, 2005 6:07 PM

What's with the "arts buff" business? The term is 1950s? goatee and beret? something? this ironic self-deprication? Some humor I don't get?

Posted by: David Sucher on November 3, 2005 10:17 PM

I dunno David. I say if the shoe fits, buff it!

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on November 3, 2005 10:23 PM

Oh yeah: your image popups. When I click on the photo of some naked chick I expect the image to be substantially bigger in the popup than in the thumbnail. Otherwise why click? (OK, sometimes I even click on the photos of buildings and culture stuff, but you get the idea.)

Posted by: Jonathan on November 3, 2005 11:09 PM

Three cheers for housekeeping!

I second the secret password authentication thingamabobby (what they said) AND the preview pane. John August and couple of other people have a fun comment-spam checkpoint Charlie: some plug-in that asks you a new (stupid) question each time, like "What color is an orange". I find it mildly diverting.

Also, love the nav-bar thingy; it would be really, really great if they were configured to allow for opening in a new tab via a mouse-button menu. Tabs make the browsing experience so enjoyable, I think.

Posted by: Colleen on November 4, 2005 12:24 PM

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