And we\’re live

I’m pleased to unveil The Silicon Underground, Version 5.0. I’d still like to do some design work and a little more tweaking here and there, but now that we’ve reached the point where what we have now is better than anything we’ve had before, it’s time to throw the switch.

Design. The default layout is CSS-based. Some people don’t like CSS, because Internet Explorer won’t resize text on pages that use CSS. You can pick “clean,” a layout that doesn’t use CSS, from the menu at the top left. It’s about double the size of the CSS-based layout but will render well in browsers that have issues with CSS.

Click one link, and the site stores your preference.

Over time, I will probably introduce new templates. The two I have now are pretty generic; I literally dropped my old logo into existing templates and made just one or two other changes.

Filtering. Maybe you just come here for the computer-related entries and couldn’t care less about what I write about toy trains. Or vice-versa. You can selectively indicate which story categories you want to ignore, and the site will remember your preference.

Search. The search functions on the previous software I was using (b2) were nice at first, but once I had several hundred entries in the site, it started getting less and less useful. This search engine allows you to limit your searches within a topic and to perform three types of search: exact phrase, all words, and any words.

Speed. While the uplink speed of my DSL line is still a limiting factor, now it’s the biggest limiting factor. The database search now accounts for about 10% of the time you spend waiting for the page. Previously it was more than half.

I hope you enjoy it.

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30 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  January 25, 2004

    As I have time, I will try to make a style that uses relative sizes, rather than fixed sizes, in order to accomodate Internet Explorer\’s text handling.

  2. Anonymous

     /  January 25, 2004

    The site feels alot better.

    The speed is such a vast improvment alone, it\’d make the switch worth it, even before the spam problem cropped up.

  3. Anonymous

     /  January 25, 2004

    Speaking of bandwidth, have you thought about using
    mod_gzip? Because it appears that you aren’t at the moment:

    test for mod_gzip

    Turning on mod_gzip with the defaults and adding:

    mod_gzip_item_include file .php$

    …might be all it takes, and that would definitely be easier on
    your DSL (but maybe harder on your CPU, I don’t know what your
    load is like).

    • Anonymous

       /  January 25, 2004

      Good thought. I was originally running mod_gzip, back when I was running Greymatter on TurboLinux. When I switched to b2 on a Debian box I installed mod_gzip but I guess it was never configured or running.

      I\’ve got it configured but evidently still not running. Looks like I\’ve got a new project, because yes, I know that\’ll make a huge difference, and I\’ve got plenty of CPU power to handle it.

      Thanks for checking that–you uncovered a problem I didn\’t know I had.

      • Anonymous

         /  January 26, 2004

        Here’s my complete mod_gzip section in httpd.conf:

        # mod_gzip settings
        
        mod_gzip_on     Yes
        mod_gzip_can_negotiate  Yes
        mod_gzip_add_header_count       Yes
        mod_gzip_minimum_file_size      400
        mod_gzip_maximum_file_size      0
        mod_gzip_temp_dir       /tmp
        mod_gzip_keep_workfiles No
        mod_gzip_maximum_inmem_size     100000
        mod_gzip_dechunk        Yes
        
        mod_gzip_item_include   handler proxy-server
        mod_gzip_item_include   handler cgi-script
        
        mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text/.*
        mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/postscript$
        mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/ms.*$
        mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/vnd.*$
        mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^application/x-javascript$
        mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/.*$
        mod_gzip_item_include   mime    httpd/unix-directory
        mod_gzip_item_include   file    .htm$
        mod_gzip_item_include   file    .html$
        mod_gzip_item_include file .php$
        mod_gzip_item_include file .phtml$
        mod_gzip_item_exclude file .css$
        

        Of course my weblog doesn’t rely on PHP for the posts, but it does generate PHP templates so I can do things like the Hebrew date and the “link!” subweblog. And those all seem to work with these settings; I imagine they’d help you too.

        • Anonymous

           /  January 26, 2004

          Darn it, I forgot this was HTML. Let me try again:

          # mod_gzip settings
          
          mod_gzip_on     Yes
          mod_gzip_can_negotiate  Yes
          mod_gzip_add_header_count       Yes
          mod_gzip_minimum_file_size      400
          mod_gzip_maximum_file_size      0
          mod_gzip_temp_dir       /tmp
          mod_gzip_keep_workfiles No
          mod_gzip_maximum_inmem_size     100000
          mod_gzip_dechunk        Yes
          
          mod_gzip_item_include   handler proxy-server
          mod_gzip_item_include   handler cgi-script
          
          mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text/.*
          
          mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/postscript$
          mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/ms.*$
          mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/vnd.*$
          mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^application/x-javascript$
          mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/.*$
          mod_gzip_item_include   mime    httpd/unix-directory
          mod_gzip_item_include   file    .htm$
          mod_gzip_item_include   file    .html$
          mod_gzip_item_include file .php$
          mod_gzip_item_include file .phtml$
          mod_gzip_item_exclude file .css$
          
          • Anonymous

             /  January 26, 2004

            Arrgh. The preview was different from the actual output (I didn\’t know what your HTML filter was going to do to me). I replaced the angle brackets with entities, but they got converted back to angle brackets between the preview and the post apparently.

            Just look at the source for the first comment. Sorry for the noise.

          • Anonymous

             /  January 26, 2004

            Argh…I had mod_gzip installed and completely forgot to configure it. Glad you posted, made me test mine to discover this…

  4. Anonymous

     /  January 26, 2004

    I\’d comment that I dislike having to follow the link to read the entire post. I\’d much rather only have to do this when you write a really big post. I\’d rather see fewer posts/page but more of them…

    • Anonymous

       /  January 26, 2004

      It\’s a compromise. The way GL does things, you give it a lead-in and you give it the rest of the story. The lead-in goes on the front page and in the RSS feed.

      There\’s a checkbox I can tick that says \"Featured story.\" I\’m not sure if that puts the story in its entirety on the front page or if it does something else. Maybe that\’s the compromise I need.

      And GL puts 10 stories on the front page, period.

      I\’ll do the best I can, but I\’ll never please everyone.

      • Anonymous

         /  January 26, 2004

        The “featured” story is just highlighted (and, I think, brought to the top of the page). The intro text is all that’s displayed on any story in GeekLog. Just the way it’s done, at least today.

        You can change the number of stories on the front page in your user preferences. But you’ll still only get intro text.

    • Anonymous

       /  January 26, 2004

      I\’d have to give the new site two thumbs up. I think the navigation is fine. I actually like the multiple stories with a preview on the main page.

      If the site was updated on a daily basis, then maybe having the whole story on the front page might be better. But I feel with a couple times a week update, that having multiple choices with a short preview works nice. But that\’s just my personal pref.

      Now as for the graphical layout…I like the old one, but then maybe I\’m just prejudice there… ;)

  5. Anonymous

     /  January 26, 2004

    I don\’t like the fact that when you click on a story you lose the right side panel. You have to return to the main page to jump to another story, or recent comment. Otherwise, I like the new site.

    • Anonymous

       /  January 26, 2004

      Agreed. It looks like blocks on the left side stay visible all the time, while blocks on the right go away in the story view. I prefer to have things on the right side, for readability\’s sake (and for the benefit of those using speech browsers and/or text-mode or non-CSS browsers). But for now I may not have that choice.

      I\’ll probably make the change soon.

  6. Anonymous

     /  January 26, 2004

    It would be nice if the \"View printable version\" displayed the comments as well.

    It would also be nice if the default for user preferences displayed everything, rather than hiding things. The default is \"threaded\", and that hides lower levels of response to something. If the default was \"indented\", then people could see and make sense of everything without having to figure out what was missing, why, and how to fix it.

    • Anonymous

       /  January 26, 2004

      I agree with you. You can set it by clicking on your Preferences under User Functions. Why it doesn\’t default to the site default when creating a user, I\’m not sure.

      I didn\’t find a place to change that, at least not the first time I looked. I may have to see if I can change the e-mail it sends out when it creates an account, so I can at least suggest that change.

      As far as printing comments, another good suggestion. I don\’t know where to change that either.

      One thing to keep in mind is this software is in very active development and there is a new major version revision coming. So some of these things may be forthcoming.

  7. Anonymous

     /  January 26, 2004

    Looking good!

    …and nested comments! Cool!

  8. Anonymous

     /  January 28, 2004

    I like the site. And I may be the only one, but I miss the photos you had at the top of your page. Ah well, memories…

    • Anonymous

       /  January 28, 2004

      I agree

    • Anonymous

       /  January 28, 2004

      The photos will eventually get back up there. The first time I put them in it broke the HTML layout something fierce. The photos just ended up being a lower priority than the functionality–I definitely will try to get them back though.

  9. Anonymous

     /  January 28, 2004

    I really like the site and the new feel for it. Just wondering if there is a way of cleaning up the "Untrustworthy Vendor" It shows that there are over 812 posts and there are a lot of posts that came over and posted 4 copies of the post

    • Anonymous

       /  January 28, 2004

      Yeah, I tried to clean that thread up a bit. I don’t know why the count jumped to 812–I had it down to 140-something for a while. As time permits, I’ll try to get back in there and straighten up a little. A lot of people used to hit "submit" 53 times, which caused the dupes as my overworked server tried to keep up.

      • Anonymous

         /  January 28, 2004

        Good point, people just seem to be impatient sometimes

  10. Anonymous

     /  January 28, 2004

    Well, I know what happened to the GPS thread. Dave started some housekeeping on that thread before we were totally converted, and my hacks to leave that thread’s comments alone in further script runs didn’t work quite as planned.

    In any case, I vote for ending that thread, seeing as Terry and company are now paying around $1M in fines and retribution for their fraud. I’d consider that closure…

  11. Anonymous

     /  January 29, 2004

    Check this forum post at the geeklog site.

    http://www.geeklog.net/forum/viewtopic.php?forum=3&showtopic=29730

  12. Anonymous

     /  January 30, 2004

    Close it down! And I just spent two days cleaning it up…I need to ask Dave for a raise… ;)

  13. Anonymous

     /  January 31, 2004

    Thanks. I’ll definitely look into doing that very soon. It’ll improve things immensely.

  14. Anonymous

     /  April 28, 2004

    You can set comments to nested or flat in config.php. This is under :

    // Comment Settings
    $_CONF['commentspeedlimit'] = 45;
    $_CONF['comment_limit'] = 100; // Default Number of Comments und$
    $_CONF['comment_mode'] = ‘nested’; // Default Comment Mode; from ‘thre$
    // Allow / disallow comments to stories by default (can be changed individually$
    $_CONF['comment_code'] = 0; // 0 = comments enabled, -1 = disabled

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