>What We Learned On Our Journey To VC Version 2.0

>Woohoo! Why am I cheering? Because most of our work to update our blog and bring it into the present is over! Yeah! Actually, all the work on the current stuff is done. Now there are just things we want to do. And no blog posts were harmed in the implementing of this new design. A few people said they love our new design and they think it looks awesome. One person so far said they think it looks weird. Hopefully most people are in favour of the new appearance.

I wish we could take credit for the awesomeness of the design, but we can’t. I went out to pick a new template for our blog, and swiftly found out that the artistic, cute names people like to slap on templates wouldn’t give me the first clue about what it actually looks like. When I would preview them, they would all look largely the same to me and poor JAWS who has no opinion about appearance, good taste, etc. So…I went searching for someone awesome enough and patient enough to be our fairies and elves division. Thanks to Ann Adams, we found her. Jill also offered, but it was kind of after I’d accepted the other offer. But she has been helpful along the way, as always.

Andrea, allow me to publically say you’re awesome. You put up with us sort of kind of explaining to you what we wanted, as only a couple of blinks can. Then, after you sent us templates, you had to deal with a barrage of…”please describe these in more detail…no. That’s not us. Maybe that is, No. No. Yes. Maybe. No. Yes!”

Then, after you wrestled a template into Blogger, you were greeted with “aaa! It’s broken it’s broken! Unless we can figure out how to fix it, it isn’t gonna work!”

Finally, you wrestled a second template in, and only then did you get the piles of “thank you thank you thank you!” We’re a demanding bunch hahaha. But you persevered, and for that, we’re grateful.

Probably most folks haven’t noticed most of the new functionality, but the one thing you may have noticed is we have a labels widget! Yeah! So this means if you only wanted to read about Trixie, you could read all the things about Trixie. If for some twisted reason, you wanted to read all the stories that make us go fuck fuckity fuck fuck ouch, you could check out the fuck fuckity fuck fuck ouch label. And because we have a new design, when there are more than 20 posts in a label, you can click the older posts link, and voila, read more! It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing! I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Even better, this new design, or the fact that we have labels, or a little of column A and a little of column B, seems to be driving us much, much higher in google’s rankings. The result? We are getting super hammered by searches! Yea! Double yea!

One complaint we’ve gotten is that our comments and trackback links bleed together somehow. Um, uh-oh. Are others seeing it this way? If so, try and give us as much description as you can so we can ask the good folks at Haloscan about it. Their code is autoinstalled, so…we don’t know how to fix it! *cry*! I wonder if someone from Haloscan will find us like the last time we posted about a problem with their system. Hope so.

Another complaint I’ve gotten is somebody said the site won’t load completely. Hopefully nobody else is having this problem. If you are, let us know.

One other snappy new feature you may have noticed is there’s a link below each post that says “email post”. Pretty sweet, eh? You can compose a little message to your buddy saying “check out this goof and what he thinks of X, Y and Z!” and send them a link to a certain post, and they get a happy email, complete with link! The only problem is the page you go to to send the message has a word verification thingy, you know how I feel about those things, and we don’t seem to have any control over turning it off. But I’ve posed a question to the Blogger Help Forum, so one can hope for an answer. So far, no one has bitten.

As you can see, our journey has been a bumpy one, and we learned a lot along the way. We thought we’d share some of it. Just to warn you, some mild geekery lies ahead.

  1. The RSS feed isn’t broken! and inside jokes still aren’t funny.
  2. When you click “save template” in Blogger in some instances, like when you’re moving from ancient template up to more modern, and your new template doesn’t quite jive with blogger, it doesn’t actually mean “save template.” It means “Upgrade complete? What?! I didn’t want to upgrade my template! Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh no oh no oh no oh no!” Thankfully, when you click “revert”, it does actually revert to what happened before I clicked “Save Template.” but you didn’t want to be in here when I clicked that button and found my template wiped out. this is especially frightening when Andrea had done all that hard work, only to have it obliterated at the click of a button.
  3. I’ve been fucked by progress. It’s true. My HTML skills are becoming increasingly obsolete. I don’t understand this new fangled XML stuff! *whine*! In the old template days, I could figure out what each piece of code sort of meant. I knew where stuff went. It was discernable. Not this new template. I don’t have a hope in hell. that’s part of the reason we don’t have snappy email links on our “posted by so and so at…” things anymore. I don’t know how to do it! *waaa!* And CSS is everywhere! *double whine!* Anybody wanna tell this web granny where she can go take some courses on how to do all this scripting stuff? It’s the only way I can stay somewhat kind of maybe current, and that’s all I can hope to do now!
  4. I have found proof that google is working on an operating system. Why do I say this? Well, they’ve already got the chryptic error messages down. One beautiful masterpiece read: “You’re XML tags are broken. Solution? Fix the tags.” Thanks bud, thanks for comin’ out. ya wanna tell me which tags are broken or how to fix them? No? Ok then.
  5. Come to think of it, the folks over at our tracker’s website must be working on an operating system too. All they could manage to tell me was our code was wrong. At least they told me which lines were pooched, but they couldn’t tell me what specifically was wrong with it.
  6. You know that haloscan autoinstall they talk about on their site? Do it, do it do it do it. In the old days, I could manually insert the two bits of code. Not anymore! It’s so complicated, it’s unreal! See progress, being fucked by.
  7. To get the Haloscan comments to work, you would need to turn Blogger’s comments on. Whaaat? In the old days, I thought you had to disable blogger’s comments so the Haloscan link would work. Now, you have to have it enabled! Ok then, It works, so that’s all I care about.
  8. I mentioned posting on the Google Forums. If anyone out there who also uses JAWS wants to post on their forums, don’t touch ’em with IE. For some reason, JAWS can’t see the edit field where you’re supposed to type, um, your message. But in Firefox, JAWS can see the edit field just fine. the first message I wrote, I wrote the whole thing in the subject field. The field was called “question,” so I thought that was where you’d ask your question. But invariably I’d get a message “Your question is too long.” “Too long?” I thought. “I can barely say anything!” Then, I got a reply, and discovered I couldn’t answer! I was about to hit the roof when I heard the voice of one of my colleagues from Desire2Learn in my head saying “Try Firefox.” So I did, and it worked, and we got lots of help.
  9. If you’re editing the HTML of an element, if you’re using Super Ad Blocker, you need to turn it off. It seems to add all manner of scripts to a page you’re looking at. Or, you could just edit in Firefox for now since Super Ad blocker doesn’t work with later versions of Firefox.
  10. I’m sort of kind of loving the built-in spell-checking in Firefox. It saves me from looking like so much of a tool. But I’ve discovered it doesn’t like it when you don’t capitalize Firefox. It also tends to get pissy if you don’t capitalize Google or XML.
  11. Google code and tracker code tend to get mad when you try to manually move them. See off, resounding fuck. It would help though, if I’m going to move code that is text/javascript-based, that I would make sure its new home would support text/javascript. that might decrease the anger just a wee touch. But because of that blunder, we lost four days’ worth of searches. booo! I suck!
  12. But someone who certainly does not suck is Meow13 on the Blogger forum. thanks to his/her infinite patience, the tracker is hummin’ and tickin’ and countin’. Without Meow13, I think it would have taken me far longer to fix my error, and that’s never good. We need our weird searches! come on!

And those are the most interesting things we’ve managed to learn. Hope our geeking out didn’t bore you too much. Enjoy the new look.

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