Friday, October 28, 2011

Blog Layout

This post is about this blog's layout. Skip it if you are not interested.

As you may have noticed I recently iterated on the layout of the blog. A lot of people use my blogroll to find the newest posts in the blogosphere. Consequently, I put it top right, where it is easy to access. Unless you expand it, it shows only the ten most recent posts. The other feature I emphazise a bit more are recent comments. Often comments are being made at old or even very old posts. This allows you to jump into these dicussions. The blog archive is below. Since I started to write a 'prelude' for every post, it is not as important as it once was.

Finally, I added three possible reactions to each post. I have no idea whether this is actually going to work and whether it is going to be abused. As with all features of, you don't actually write the code yourself, so you have to hope that it works in some reasonable way. The three possible reactions are

- interesting
- funny
- what?

The amount of 'funny' posts I write is traditionally low, but it happens. Most posts I would hope are 'interesting'. That's the equivalent of 'I like it'. If you disagree completely or worse, you can vote 'what?'

Let's see how this works out.

The reactions system was incredibly easy to manipulate. In fact, it was very easy to manipulate without even wanting to manipulate it. I've switched to the classic Google +1.


  1. Well, that should cut down on you having to worry about comments that say nothing but "I agree", because if people want to express that they can now just tick the "interesting" box. :)

    I like the recent comments widget, but I wish the Blogger version didn't look so clunky. The same feature on other blogs tend to look much sleeker, saying things like "[Name] commented on [Post]", so you know where the discussion is happening and whether it's likely to be about something that interests you.

  2. I agree. The recent comments tab is ugly. There's a (much) more sophisticated version available, but it includes advertisements. Not exactly an alternative.

    Then there are the not working trackbacks/pingbacks and things like that I have to manually revert all widget code before those boxes even work.

    It's not bad and I am thanksful for this service by google. The blogroll is damn good. But there is still a lot that can be polished and improved.

  3. The blogroll is quite neat, and I haven't found a wordpress plugin yet that replicates it 100%.

    Hmm... maybe I should write one and use it on my blog. It seems these things are popular, maybe that way I can get more visitors. :P

  4. I don't remember mentioning it, but since we're (almost) on the subject.... the background you have on your blog makes it near-impossible to read on a remote desktop (via ADSL), because all the little grainy dots compress 0% apparently. So the browser starts running at less than 1 fps. A uniform background would make life easier.
    (note that the problem can be easily solved by the excellent firefox addon called "NoColor" which does exactly what the name makes you guess it does)

  5. Interesting. Anybody else with that problem?

  6. Can't say I can reproduce that. As far as I understand it (mind you, I'm horrible with website design, CSS, etc), the grain is created by overlaying the background color with a 300x300 png with alpha channel for transparencies. That doesn't sound completely out of the ordinary to me.

    Never had problems with the site, and I have DSL at home.

    Browser slowing down sounds like a software problem to me. Mind me asking what browser you have the problems with?

  7. Umm... yeah. Firefox I assume, if you mention a Firefox plugin. ;) Reading comprehension – it's amazing if it works!

    Anyway, can't reproduce that myself over several Firefoxes on three different operating systems. Truly strange.

  8. @all: a little explanation.

    If I'm local, in front of the PC, it goes very fast. The slowdown is if I'm running it on a remote desktop with Nomachine's NX. In that case, scrolling is very slow (my outgoing connection is 1Mbit approx).

  9. I wouldn't want to change the entire layout, Helistar. That's a lot of work until one really likes it again.

    But try this

    The /?m=1 directs the browser towards the mobile version of the blog. Another alternative are feed readers.

  10. The m=1 works (not very different from NoColor).
    Rereading the posts, I know where this comes from:

    the grain is created by overlaying the background color with a 300x300 png with alpha channel for transparencies.

    This is a sure way to kill remote desktop acceleration. Stuff like NX use caching of the images to speed up the redraw process. But if the image is the result of a transparency operation, you cannot cache it, and it gets re-transferred every time.