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Out of the Blue

Another new function is live here, thanks to the ongoing efforts of Frans. We now have the ability to add breaks to stories, so it will no longer be necessary to arbitrarily cut the length of longer posts, as we can now offer a link to read the rest of the story. A few of today's posts already make use of this, providing the chance to offer feedback on this if you are so inspired.

Speaking of feedback, I'll repeat a request for HTML advice from the forums yesterday. We want to make the default instructional text gray in the "post a message" text box for our forums, which we have not been able to work out. If anyone has any insight into how to make this happen, we'd appreciate your help.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Zombie Hooker Nightmare XXX-mas.
Rise of Pirates.
Quake Flash.
Links: Why Americans are so Fat. Thanks Digg.
The Economics of Pinball. Thanks Boing Boing.
D20-studded soap. Insert unwashed geek joke here.
Stories: Fans Re-Create Star Wars Online.
William Shatner’s Excluded Star Trek Scene. Thanks Digg.
Man in Japan weds anime game character.
Science: Supercar aims to rocket past 1,000MPH.
Adults Fooled by Visual Illusion, But Not Kids.
Rat Brain Robot Uses Cultured Rat Neurons.
Images: Aquarium BioShock Photoshoot. Wallpapers. Thanks The Flying Penguin.
APOD- 2009 November 25 - All Sky Milky Way Panorama. Thanks Ian.
Media: "Rock Band" Yoko Ono.
This Is What Every Birthday Party Really Needs. Thanks dakslf.
Thriller 8bit tribute mix. Thanks nin via Kotaku.
Auctions: Bioshock Big Daddy costume. From the aquarium shoot. Thanks The Flying Penguin.
The Funnies: If Microsoft ran the Butterball Turkey Talk-line. Thanks j.c.f.
xkcd.
Career Path. Thanks Digg.

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29 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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29. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 26, 2009, 10:26 xXBatmanXx
 
Why Americans are so Fat.

http://thisiswhyyourefat.com/
 
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In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. / Few men have virtue enough to withstand the highest bidder.
Playing: New dad
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28. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 26, 2009, 06:47 Grokk
 
I'd much prefer the xmlhttprequest type ajax calls than a "read more..." link.
You just feed the call back to a page that returns the rest of the content from the database. (Or flatfile if you prefer it really doesn't matter how it's stored)

If you're already generating the SEO pages and dumping them when the item is updated they can still be linked from the main article and made available to other sites etc..., but for people viewing the site from just the main page I'd think it's much better to have all the data available without a whole page load.
(This would actually be better for the server also, but it will cut down on advertising impressions.)


Lastly just wanted to add that ajax although it's been abuzz for a while now is really just a javascript include file and some DIV tags for an innerHtml write, tied together with a simple dynamic page serverside that generates the extra information.

There's a great tutorial that covers the basics here.
http://www.w3schools.com/ajax/default.asp
 
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27. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 26, 2009, 04:41  Xymph 
 
You're thinking of just hiding stuff with javascript. The whole point of ajax is that you load information on demand. I.e., when you click on an ajax link, it generates an http request that goes to the server to fetch data, and when the data comes to the browser it shows it.
Two factors here:

1) I know that Ajax can do that, but don't know anything about writing Ajax stuff. While part of my motivation for working on all these site features is to learn new things, I don't want to spin off in completely new technological directions on this site, given the time I have available and the features I still need to build.

2) The frontpage is really a static .shtml file, dumped every minute from the database and replacing the previous file only if anything changed (even if it's just one comment count). This is done to prevent MySQL and general system overload, and I'm not comfortable with the idea of the static frontpage generating additional HTTP/MySQL requests, even if only on demand.
So the Continue links go to the Share (viewstory) pages which are fully dynamic, but mod_perl helps with that, and these are also the links we'd like to see used by other sites and search engines as the main place of entry when bringing up a single story. So there is an SEO-aspect to doing it this way as well.

So, thanks for everyone's suggestions, but Ajax is one area I'm unlikely to enter at this time.
 
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-- Frans
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26. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 26, 2009, 04:12  Xymph 
 
Just trying out the language filter.
There's no language filter in these forums, as far as I know. Maybe you were just trolling.

If you and Franz need any further help with site code, let me know via email.
Nobody with that name working here.
 
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-- Frans
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25. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 26, 2009, 03:46 Efflixi
 
I am NOT a fan of the continued link. If a story was "taking up too much space" then i would have just scrolled past it anyway. Clicking another link to see what i DO want to see is annoying at best and leads me to have conspiracy theories on upping ad views at worst.  
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24. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 26, 2009, 01:06 indiv
 
As for the Ajax-style approach, it's my understanding in that case you are having every user load all the data on the page, but just not showing some of it, but a goal here is to be able to present more stories in less space and keep the page size managable.

You're thinking of just hiding stuff with javascript. The whole point of ajax is that you load information on demand. I.e., when you click on an ajax link, it generates an http request that goes to the server to fetch data, and when the data comes to the browser it shows it.

My thoughts on the continuation approach is that it's fine unless you break up long lists in the middle. I like to scan the sales and the reviews, but I'd probably never click the "continued" link if you broke the list in half. Breaking it like you did today with the previous day's sales is fine, though. If you want to shrink the page, maybe consider a 2-column layout for the lists that are only a few words per line.

Keep up the good work. Been reading since, oh 1997? (and no adblock)
 
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23. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 25, 2009, 23:34 |RaptoR|
 
RE: Blue -

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I definitely see your viewpoint, and I admit there have been more than a few announcement posts that hit the annoyance meter, so this could be a good thing.

Please don't take what I was saying as an attack, now that I am re-reading it from home I realize my tone wasn't what I had intended. Direct reflection of a bad day at work!

Thanks for all that you do. This website and the people in the community here are a one of a kind breed.



RE: Bucky -

I agree. Maybe a button, similar to the forum quote edit delete report style?

 
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22. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 25, 2009, 17:37 Bucky
 
As for the Ajax-style approach, it's my understanding in that case you are having every user load all the data on the page, but just not showing some of it, but a goal here is to be able to present more stories in less space and keep the page size managable.

Understood. I was looking at it from a narrow point of view as well. Thinking about it, that would amount to a great deal of extra data to pull in since the frontpage shows two days worth of news.

Well that is certainly appreciated. The thought here is to allow the best of all worlds in regards to presentation. Previously some stories would have to take up as much space here as two or three stories that would be arguably of greater interest. Take the system requirements story, that's a lot of yellow text for readers who don't care. The goal here is to create breakpoints in long stories at a point of active interest, certainly not to do that blogger thing of making everything about getting you to click to another page. It also allows greater freedom to report on items that seem like they would take up more space than their level of potential interest justifies, so we're not discriminating against what might be "wordy" stories.

I think this is a really positive step here, but if it proves unpopular in execution, then I will obviously reconsider that notion.


I probably should have made myself a bit clearer, instead of taking the easy way and stealing someone else's post. I find the new method to be an improvement, and I certainly don't see it as any sort of attempt to generate more pageviews. My only real gripe is that the "Continue here..." line doesn't seem to fit right with the rest of the page flow. I keep staring at the page trying to figure out what it is, but I can't pin it down. Perhaps just a 'Full Story' link while giving it a format that makes it unique on the page. *shrug*
 
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21. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 25, 2009, 17:35 Hazard
 
As for the Ajax-style approach, it's my understanding in that case you are having every user load all the data on the page, but just not showing some of it, but a goal here is to be able to present more stories in less space and keep the page size managable.

Not necessarily. The script could also load the additional text on demand with an XMLHTTPRequest.

But I think maybe this is a little over-engineering. Think about it. Lets say you have 10 stories with a "read more" link. And lets say each has an additional 30 lines of text with 100 characters each. All in all the additional data would amount to about 30 KB, which is nothing. I understand keeping the stories short for the presentation, but I don't think the size is an issue, even if all the invisible text is loaded from the beginning. As an added bonus, if everything is already loaded then clicking on the link would expand the text instantly, instead of having to load new data over the net.
 
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20. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 25, 2009, 17:34 Cutter
 
Glengarry Glen Ross, good times!

You posted that Aquairum photoshoot yesterday Blue. And going through the the guy's website I posted a link to the Portal gun replica he made, so sweet. Also the Daft Punk helmet replica he's making is just full of win.

Man weds anime game character. I don't know if that's just sad or sad and stupid to boot. I'm guessing this guy has never kissed a girl and never will. Can you imagine how proud his parents are for marrying a fictional character? It'd be funny as hell if Nintendo sued him.

This comment was edited on Nov 25, 2009, 17:35.
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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19. Glengarry Glen Ross Nov 25, 2009, 17:04 Kxmode
 
I present the best scene ever in cinematic history!

Blake: You're talking about what.You're talking about... Bitching about that sale you shot, some sonofabitch who don't wanna buy land, some broad you're trying to screw, so forth. Let's talk about something important. They all here?

Williamson: All but one.

Blake: I'm going anyway. Let's talk about something important. Put. That coffee. Down. Coffee's for closers only. You think I'm fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I'm here from downtown. I'm here from Mitch and Murray. And I'm here on a mission of mercy. Your name's Levine? You call yourself a salesman you son of a bitch?

Dave Moss: I don't gotta sit here and listen to this shit.

Blake: You certainly don't pal, 'cause the good news is - you're fired. The bad news is - you've got, all of you've got just one week to regain your jobs starting with tonight. Starting with tonight's sit. Oh? Have I got your attention now? Good. "Cause we're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Anyone wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired. Get the picture? You laughing now? You got leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money, get their names to sell them. you can't close the leads youre given you can't close shit. You ARE shit. Hit the bricks pal, and beat it 'cause you are going OUT.

Shelley Levene: The leads are weak.

Blake: The leads are weak? Fucking leads are weak. You're weak. I've been in this business 15 years...

Dave Moss: What's your name?

Blake: Fuck you. That's my name. You know why, mister? You drove a Hyundai to get here. I drove an eighty-thousand dollar BMW. THAT'S my name. And your name is you're wanting. You can't play in the man's game, you can't close them - go home and tell your wife your troubles. Because only one thing counts in this life: Get them to sign on the line which is dotted. You hear me you fucking faggots? A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING. A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action. Attention - Do I have you attention? Interest - Are you interested? I know you are, because it's fuck or walk. You close or you hit the bricks. Decision - Have you made your decision, for Christ? And Action. A-I-D-A. Get out there - you got the prospects coming in. You think they came in to get out of the rain? A guy don't walk on the lot lest he wants to buy. They're sitting out there waiting to give you their money. Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it? What's the problem, pal?

Dave Moss: You - Moss. You're such a hero, you're so rich, how come you're coming down here wasting your time with such a bunch of bums?

Blake: You see this watch? You see this watch?

Dave Moss: Yeah.

Blake: That watch costs more than you car. I made $970,000 last year. How much'd you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here - close! You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit? You don't like it, leave. _I_ can go out there tonight with the materials you've got and make myself $15,000. Tonight! In two hours! Can you? Can YOU? Go and do likewise. A-I-D-A. Get mad you son of a bitches. get mad. You want to know what it takes to sell real estate? It takes BRASS BALLS to sell real estate. Go and do likewise gents. Money's out there. You pick it up, it's yours. You don't, I got no sympathy for you. You wanna go out on those sits tonight and close, CLOSE. It's yours. If not you're gonna be shining my shoes. And you know what you'll be saying - a bunch of losers sittin' around in a bar. 'Oh yeah. I used to be a salesman. It's a tough racket.' These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you they're gold, and you don't get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. They're for closers. I'd wish you good luck but you wouldn't know what to do with it if you got it. And to answer you question, pal, why am I here? I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me to. They asked me for a favor. I said the real favor, follow my advice and fire your fucking ass because a loser is a loser.

Just words? Watch the scene.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-AXTx4PcKI

This comment was edited on Nov 25, 2009, 17:14.
 
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18. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 25, 2009, 16:09  Blue 
 
Frankly, I don't like the "Continue Here" mechanism at all. If it were an Ajax implementation that would expand without reloading, I would be on board, but redirecting to an entirely new page (and waiting for an entirely new set of ads to load--which is the bulk of the page render times) takes away from the experience quite a bit.

As for the Ajax-style approach, it's my understanding in that case you are having every user load all the data on the page, but just not showing some of it, but a goal here is to be able to present more stories in less space and keep the page size managable.

Blues has been my one stop news shop for the gaming world for a long time and I've always considered the presentation as one of the srongest points.

Well that is certainly appreciated. The thought here is to allow the best of all worlds in regards to presentation. Previously some stories would have to take up as much space here as two or three stories that would be arguably of greater interest. Take the system requirements story, that's a lot of yellow text for readers who don't care. The goal here is to create breakpoints in long stories at a point of active interest, certainly not to do that blogger thing of making everything about getting you to click to another page. It also allows greater freedom to report on items that seem like they would take up more space than their level of potential interest justifies, so we're not discriminating against what might be "wordy" stories.

I think this is a really positive step here, but if it proves unpopular in execution, then I will obviously reconsider that notion.
 
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17. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 25, 2009, 15:56 Prez
 
Language filters seem kinda pointless, it usually leads to a bunch of people just typing out weird combinations in an effort to skirt it and their words meaning is well known by anyone with a brain anyways.

They are amusing though. On one site where political stuff is discussed, I remember 'dick' was filtered. Every time someone complained about Dick Cheney, it would get blocked. 'Bush' was okay however.

I think they are intended to force a sense of civility into a discussion. I don't think it ever really works though.

This comment was edited on Nov 25, 2009, 16:15.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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16. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 25, 2009, 15:47 Fang
 
I prefer the yeelow/gold "continue reading ehre" over the blue. Blue kind of runs into the next article.

I agree. The other thing you can do is indent it so it doesn't line up with the next header, but instead, the yellow included text.
 
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15. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 25, 2009, 15:47 Verno
 
Language filters seem kinda pointless, it usually leads to a bunch of people just typing out weird combinations in an effort to skirt it and their words meaning is well known by anyone with a brain anyways.  
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Playing: Infamous Second Son
Watching: Midsomer Murders, Dominion, The Knick
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14. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 25, 2009, 15:37 Kxmode
 

<input type="text" style="color: #666666; font-family: Arial; font-weight: bold; font-size: 14px;;background-color: #000000;" size="10">


#666666 is a hard gray I believe.

Actually it is super evil. Devilish
 
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13. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 25, 2009, 15:32 Bucky
 
Frankly, I don't like the "Continue Here" mechanism at all. If it were an Ajax implementation that would expand without reloading, I would be on board, but redirecting to an entirely new page (and waiting for an entirely new set of ads to load--which is the bulk of the page render times) takes away from the experience quite a bit.

Blues has been my one stop news shop for the gaming world for a long time and I've always considered the presentation as one of the strongest points.

Anyway, I'm here one way or the other, just throwing out the opinion of a very long time reader.

Thanks

I'm just going to borrow your post, since I'm lazy and it says everything I want to.
 
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12. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 25, 2009, 15:30 Prez
 
Just trying out the language filter.

This isn't going to be popular.

EDIT: Oh look, dick works! Some sort of phallic fascination perhaps?

This comment was edited on Nov 25, 2009, 15:30.
 
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11. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 25, 2009, 15:29 Prez
 
*** *** *** *** dick ***  
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10. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 25, 2009, 15:24 Morgan19
 
Yeah now that I see it, the blue doesn't work as a link-- runs right into the next heading.

m19
 
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