SharperIron

A SharperIron Design Update this Weekend

If my notes are correct, SI’s last design update was about three years ago. That would make us way overdue for a face lift! It turns out one has been in the making behind the scenes for several months, and the site will go offline for much of the weekend to transition.

The underlying framework, for those interested, is still Drupal 7, but theming for Drupal — and for websites in general — has improved a good bit in the last couple of years. There are some powerful tools available now for themers … and I don’t how to use any of them!

But the good folks at More Than (Just) Themes provided a great starting design and excellent support along the way so, Lord willing, an updated look will be operational and about 90% actually “finished” before Monday morning October 30. Most of you probably won’t notice the 10% that will still be under construction.

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A General Call for Volunteers

If my calculations are correct, SharperIron is now in its 12th year. That would put me in my 11th year of involvement and, as of sometime this month, my 9th year at the lead.

It’s been a ride, and sometimes I think it’s time I stepped aside. But no, we’re not there  yet. However, life changes have resulted in my having less time to be involved in the same ways I used to be. There is a need for new volunteers and some changes in the division of labor.

So I’m looking for volunteers, with three goals in mind.

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Blogroll Reboot

Coming soon: updates to the blogroll. Your help is needed in a couple of ways.

1. Whys & wherefores

First, I’d like to hear your thoughts on some concept questions. What is a blogroll for? Should blogs/sites listed there be seen as “endorsed” in some way? If so, by whom—SI users in general? The admins/moderators? And if these sites are selected because we want to commend their content in some way, how far should that commendation be seen as extending and how do we communicate where it ends?

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SharperIron is Back Online

As you can see, we’re back!

Our regular content schedule will resume shortly.

Some things to be aware of

  • If you have registered at SI, your old password will no longer work. If we had a valid email address for you, you have probably already received notification of this, but in my tests, the automatic email link won’t work. Regardless, you can launch the reset process here.
  • For any problems logging in, please send a message using the site contact form (category: technical problems or account/password)
  • A few parts of the site haven’t been completely restyled yet. So we’ll be under construction for another week or two.
  • Feel free to post question, missing features, error messages, etc. in this thread.
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"Reads" Counter

The reads counters are currently not working correctly, sometimes even counting backwards! We’re looking into what broke. The counters may disappear entirely for a while.

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Post Editor Changes

Some updates to the side post editor (the tool most of you use for writing and formatting comment posts) went in a little while ago. If you’re experiencing any difficulty (for example, if the buttons look basically like they’ve been put through a blender), clearing your browser cache will fix the problem.

How to clear your browser cache in a few of the latest browsers …

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Blogroll is Back!

It’s unclear who first coined the term “blogroll.” Probably because of the sort of eating I’ve been doing lately, the term sounds to me like an interesting dessert. But around here we know it as a selection of blogs SI readers have found helpful, interesting, thought-provoking—perhaps sometimes infuriating (though hopefully not too often).

The SI blogroll was originally creaed by Austin Matzko back in our Wordpress & VBulletin days. If I’m remembering correctly, in it’s first iteration, the blogroll featured a block for each blog, and the blocks updated as the various blog-writers published new content. (If any of you have a screen shot from those days, I’d love to see it.) Later versions approximated that experience, but our last site update abandoned it completely. Instead, each new post from a blogger in the “roll” was added to a single flowing list of posts.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Given the site-building tools and talent on hand at the time, it was certainly easier to set up. But there were disadvantages. Some bloggers in the list cranked out multiple posts per day, while others posted once a week or once every month or so. The result was that infrequent posters got lost in the stream and the blogroll seemed to be all about whoever happened to crank out the most stuff that day or that week.

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