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Take a look at the 'coming soon' Site News
That's right, there's now a public beta of the new It's using some older database data, so you may not be able to sign in if you registered here after last October or so (but try the sign-up system; your account from the old site will be migrated in the real conversion, so anything you do on the beta will just be thrown away).

I'd love feedback on the layout and features -- there's a featured story on the beta site explaining some of the new features. At the moment, there's just one theme, but there will be several available at launch time -- which is still on schedule for next weekend, the 15th and 16th. If you find anything that seems broken or wrong, comment on the featured article on the beta site, or just drop me an email...

Let the comments (good (hopefully!) and bad) begin...

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Take a look at the 'coming soon' | 40 comments | Create New Account
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The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Fisrt thoughts
Authored by: gidds on Feb 09, '03 07:58:27PM
My main bugbear about the layout is at least partially addressed: the way it looks when you don't have your browser window maximised.  Having only two columns instead of three is a great help (though just one would be even better!).  Oddly enough, when I first viewed it, it wrapped the main column to my width perfectly; however, after logging in, it then reformatted to a wider size, forcing horizontal scrolling again...

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Authored by: robg on Feb 09, '03 08:03:30PM

shouldn't be doing that; I tested it all the way down to 800x600 and there's no scrolling ... not sure what to suggest...


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Authored by: gidds on Feb 11, '03 09:55:57AM

That's odd. I often have a lot of browser windows up, so I keep 'em small (650x750ish); but the beta site scrolls sideways so far that it looks well over 900 wide in all! (Safari)

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Fisrt thoughts
Authored by: filburt1 on Feb 09, '03 09:40:40PM

Don't like the mouseover effect on the links...should just change color or underline.

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First thoughts
Authored by: UltraNurd on Feb 09, '03 11:16:59PM

Heh... I *do* like the mouseover color change. Makes it much harder to miss an in-line link to a forum thread or external page. Course, I use that link style on all of my web pages, so I'm biased :oP.

As for the other changes, I'm looking forward to seeing the other color schemes. It may be that I don't like change, but I think the current one looks better than the new one. I'll try the others, of course. I do like the fact there are fewer backgrounds, but I like the various shades of blue.

I like the use of pop-ups to condense some options, and moving the forums link to the left (since I read L-to-R).

The new site icons look nice.

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Authored by: robg on Feb 10, '03 12:35:11AM

Don't worry, both mouseover and normal link themes will be offered...


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Much Better Interface
Authored by: joel8x on Feb 09, '03 08:24:37PM

Wow, that's better on the eyes! Keep it simple and neat and you can't go wrong. Great job.

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Much Better Interface
Authored by: originalgeek on Feb 09, '03 10:43:02PM

Indeed visually way more appealing.

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Much Better Interface
Authored by: Miga on Feb 10, '03 11:06:50AM

Oh, yes, far better for my eyes.

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GeekLog is terrible
Authored by: mrbiiggy on Feb 09, '03 08:27:29PM

IMO, you need to shed geeklog. Code something for yourself, or figure out some other CMS that's better... But IMO geeklog is pure *censored*. BTW, work on the theme for the beta site... It's ugly!

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GeekLog is not terrible
Authored by: robg on Feb 09, '03 08:36:34PM

"Code something for yourself." Sure, right after I take a few years off to master PHP and MySQL. Sorry, but I have a full-time job and a life beyond the website that need maintenance as well. So it will be off-the-shelf for the forseeable future here. If and when the site were able to help me pay the mortgage and become my actual day job, then you'd probably see a different answer here.

Whether it's Geeklog or something else, who knows. But for the last two years, it's more than held it's own, and it seems to provide all the functionality most readers (and myself as the admin) require. I have minimal complaints about it, and I've heard only a few about it since the site launched - primarily related to posting HTML, which is greatly improved in the new version. What in particular don't you like about it?

As for the look of the new site, do you have anything in particular that you'd like to see changed? It's sort of hard to react to "I don't like it" as I have no idea what you don't like.

You can please some of the people...


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Comment on beta site
Authored by: wayneyoung on Feb 09, '03 08:50:44PM

I like it. Nice use of color, and very simple-easy to follow.

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Alert icon
Authored by: Diggory on Feb 09, '03 08:53:30PM
Hi - you may not be able to do anything about this, but when you save your user preferences there is a message (show below) - The icon looks like a warning sign - but the operation succeeded. it's a bit nitpicky - I know - but the new site looks great - there wasn't anything else to complain about ; )

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still can't click on the title of an article.
Authored by: kholburn on Feb 09, '03 08:57:57PM

Why not have the title a link to the article instead of having to go to the "comments" link IF it's there?

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Authored by: robg on Feb 09, '03 09:02:24PM

Nobody had ever asked for that ... not sure what it would require, but I'll look into it.


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still can't click on the title of an article.
Authored by: jtrascap on Feb 10, '03 12:47:34AM

I agree - it's most natural to do this. A title is a "natural icon" for the story - and you need to show where you've been too (but I assume you're not finished with your CSS yet).

A great style-guide for UI is "Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug - it's really cleaned-up my way of doing sites.

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One comment...
Authored by: rickg17 on Feb 09, '03 09:07:48PM

In general I like it. The current site is a bit too busy and the new one simplifies things. However, there's no way to jump to, say the "What's new in the forums" box which is below the fold on my screen. If someone always wanted to see that feature, they'd have to scroll every time they came to the site. Perhaps a dropdown menu?

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What's New will move up...
Authored by: robg on Feb 09, '03 09:11:14PM

I'm still shuffling box order...


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Authored by: seven5 on Feb 09, '03 09:23:57PM

Glad to see i don't have to have my browser window SUPER wide so that it doesn't scroll.
Is there any way they you can track the amount of hints each user has posted? or have users be able to see all of the posts that they have submitted? I;d like to see a top 10 posters or something. It could be nice to bring the community together...

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headline hints?
Authored by: saint.duo on Feb 09, '03 11:20:28PM

This has been under repair for quite some time on the current, and was one of my favorite features. Will it be making a comeback with the upgrade?

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Not immediately, but ...
Authored by: robg on Feb 09, '03 11:22:00PM

There's a hack that does something similar on the GL site. Once the conversion is done and working well, it's the first thing on my list to add back. Shouldn't be too hard, but I'm trying to minimize the hacks in place prior to the cutover.


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looks really good
Authored by: seamusmh on Feb 09, '03 11:37:37PM
the usability on the new design is way better. upgrading a site can be such a huge overwhelming task and it really seems much tighter than the current design. less blocky, less blue. GREAT JOB a few thoughts:
  1. the left sidebar could be a touch narrower, it seems like it's creeping up on the main content a little bit. or maybe the text could be a pixel smaller, just to keep user focus in one place.
  2. exploit css more. maybe it's a personal preference, but i'd like to see more geek sites incorporating higher level css for quick page loads and better design w/o graphics.
  3. DON'T code your own site by hand. off-the-shelf php/mysql blogging/portal software is the future and a very good path. you get extensively tested code, lots of room for customizing and a team of people squishing bugs so you can focus on content. i learned this the hard way and have since chosen pMachine (written on os x, btw) as the software for my site.
  4. keep it up!

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Had a second look...
Authored by: jtrascap on Feb 10, '03 01:01:45AM

...and I want to suggest you rethink the color scheme a little.

I like the 2-column mode - very clean, but for me the left-column jumps out at the viewer more than the body does. You eye is going to track the strongest object, which *was* the largest-white box in the old layout (the story). I felt a bit disoriented in the new site, and revisiting it gave me the same feeling.

You need push-back the left colum by reducing the volume of color in the column - it overwhelms the body. For a quick test, stand back from your monitor (maybe a meter) and squint at the screen so you don't see anything in particular. Now, look away and look back and see what your eye catches first. My eye hits the blue patch and goes down - following the actualy body text is harder.

Perhaps knock the color back to a light color instead of darker blue - it should help. You've got to make the left column fall back a bit and make the body come forward.

Good luck!

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new design
Authored by: pillowhead on Feb 10, '03 02:38:03AM

i actually like the old middle column more, but change is good.
if you really want to spiff up the site, you should get a designer to worth with though.
i'll help if you want.
regardless i think the beige needs to go.

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My thoughts
Authored by: jimhill on Feb 10, '03 02:48:00AM


Pink and blue on the same webpage? Looks like the new baby's room. :-)

I have to agree that the lack of colored background in the articles column is an improvement, but that it makes the "meat" of the website less eye-drawing than the coloriffic left column.

Put me in the category of "hate the mouseover effect". I already have a pointer that changes from arrow to hand and dynamic underlining links on mouseover. I don't need the early 1980s inverse-text highlight as well, esp. since it hurts my eyes.

Like the new icons that flag a hint's category.

In general, nice. Seems to flow and wrap better when the window is resized. Nice work, Rob.

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New Layout
Authored by: kirkmc on Feb 10, '03 03:03:20AM

I like it. It's a lot cleaner than the current interface, it doesn't stretch out beyond the size of my browser window. I think three columns are too much - I don't know why weblogs all use that layout; it makes most of them look like filler. It's not like you need to have the top tips list all the time, or a poll about something.

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Move the side bar
Authored by: cz on Feb 10, '03 03:42:04AM

I think the hints should be leftmost and the side bar stuff on the right, otherwise i like the site.....

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The new look
Authored by: vogunaescht on Feb 10, '03 04:02:51AM

Some ideas:

text and textboxes: keep to one style
- don't mix embossed, protruding or plain textboxes
- don't mix title styles for text boxes (inverse, underlined, bold...)
- create a clearly recognizable title hierarchy (main, subtitle...)
- use one kind of labels for article recognition
(spotlight article title vs. icons like "apps", "system", "unix", ...)

- use high contrast (dark letters on light background or vice versa)
- use a simpler color scheme. there are too many text and background colors.

- don't use pixel values or fixed sizes, keep everything as resizable as possible
- complete html 4.01 strict adherence
- png instead of gif (pngcrush is great to reduce the size)
- small and light html (if possible).
- a rss or xml feed for headline grabbers would be nice.

if you want help with any of this, i'll gladly do it.

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The new look
Authored by: DeltaTee on Feb 10, '03 11:47:03AM

Along these same lines, links should either be underlined or not. Not some one way and some another. And they should be differentiated in someway from the surrounding text. Don't make me guess about what might be a link.

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That's coming soon...
Authored by: robg on Feb 10, '03 11:57:02AM

CSS work is not nearly done; it's the biggest thing on my plate this week before the cutover...


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Nice and clean
Authored by: mingking on Feb 10, '03 05:05:19AM

I like the smaller header section at the top. The old format uses about 25% of the page on my 17\" screen for the top header section. I don\'t like sites where too much of the top of the page is used up for big logos or site links forcing one to scroll down immediately to get to the daily meat.

The look is clean and I generally like it. Like others have said, change in and of itself is nice every once in a while.

The embossed boxes are nice. I like a a sense of depth in a page, especially in the Aqua world. I\'m not too sure about the background behind the boxes though - hard edged on three sides and a fade on the right that doesn't really have any depth to it. It makes the overall sense of depth confusing. Similarly, the main content and the rest of the page, though I like the simplicity of it all, might benefit from a slight bit of drop shadowing or something to help define a consistent sense of depth and \'lighting\' for the whole page.

I would prefer the main content on the left side and the column of extra boxes and stuff on the right. The main content is the main focus, especially for a daily reader like myself. One starts reading from the left. That should be the first thing that you want to read. The extra boxes and stuff are only used secondarily when you are looking to do some specific task other than reading the latest hints.

The User Area box could be lower in the column. I realize you want to keep the Support box prominent ;-), so that could be at the top. Or second after the What\'s New box (maybe smaller with fewer items? Each item almost always wraps to 2 lines, making them hard to read and taking up twice the space) with the User Area below that. One hardly ever needs to use the User Area links, so they could even be at the bottom (at least for those that are already signed in). Or a one line link to all that stuff could be made to go to a separate page.

The comment reply page - does it have to be a minor variation of the main page? I don\'t know the limits of geeklog. It seems there is no need to have most of the ancillary boxes of the main page on that page. If you are posting a comment you are not going to want to go look at some other hint or vote in a poll. The page should be dedicated to submitting a comment. A larger text box for the comments would be better - it is currently narrower than the old format. Unless you are trying to discourage large comments (like this one ;-). Can you put the original comment or the one being replied to on the page for reference? What about a dedicated pop-up window like is done for Moveable Type blog site comments? That way you could have the original hint page still open in the background for reference. Sorry, just 'thinking out loud' here...

Does geeklog allow for editing after posting? I almost always find a typo in my comments after posting, even after previewing ;-(

Does geeklog support setting a user time zone based time display?

I don\'t really mean to be picking harshly on your site and all your obvious hard work though. Whatever you choose is fine. The quality of the content is what\'s most important, and I think you're doing a great job of that. Keep up the good work Rob! Your site is hugely valuable to many people like myself. I refer people to your site for help all the time. Thanks!

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Search Bug (kinda)
Authored by: Maxwell on Feb 10, '03 06:00:09AM

When you search for something, the search field in the result page is empty, it does not contains the text you search for, that would be better if it did.

Beside that, here are some comments i'd like to add:
- the two column layout is nice, but the left one is too large, maybe inverting their position will do the trick (after all, you read english from left to right, don't you? so that would be much nicer).
- there is no separation between the background color of a tips and the background of the page, this make it harder to read, at least if could but a border, (as there is one for the spotligh article).
- I don't really like the new gui of the left bar, those blurry-buttons-like backgrounds don't look very professional... but because it is quite subjective... who cares.

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Allow only registered users to comment
Authored by: theilgaard on Feb 10, '03 06:02:04AM

I read on the comments on the beta site, that you would consider anonymous comments. Please don't. Of all the sites I have visited this site seems to always have a sober tone in the comments. If people are eager to comment, they will register.

Great job on the new layout, it is very nice on the eyes.

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One suggestion
Authored by: jecwobble on Feb 10, '03 09:13:05AM

Overall, I like it, especially having just two columns. My only suggestion is that the left column seems too wide. It eats up real estate for the right column, increasing scroll mileage.

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Looks great!
Authored by: lrivers on Feb 10, '03 12:14:20PM

The new design is much cleaner and easier to read.

I'd love to also have a headline only view, sort of like

[ Reply to This | # ]'s bright
Authored by: edjusted on Feb 10, '03 01:10:25PM

One of the things I like about OSX hints now if that there *isn't* a ton of white space. When you stare at a computer screen as much as I do, all that white makes my eyes go buggy after a while. I *like* the slightly off-white background of the comments.

Other than that it looks good!

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Like the current site
Authored by: karmaworld on Feb 10, '03 03:49:40PM

Overall I like the current site better...less white and strain on eyes, less confusion overall, much easier to differentiate hints.

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Search forums
Authored by: bluehz on Feb 11, '03 12:55:46AM

I know this may be beyond your control - but I live and die by the Searchling menu addition and it would be great if the Forums at OS X were searchable via standard means. Most of these PHP based boards are not searchabe except through the CMS system.

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Very good!
Authored by: logo on Feb 11, '03 06:56:24AM

I like it very much!!! Looks very professional!

One thought: is there a way to print an article with it's comments? Sometimes the comments contain corrections etc.!!!
That's one thing that bugs me in the old L&F and it seems to stay that way in the new one.

Oh, the title clicking to get to an article would be very good! It's really hard to get to an article on it's own page if it doesn't have comments.

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Articles & comments...
Authored by: robg on Feb 11, '03 11:41:41AM

This has been requested, and I'm trying to figure out how hard it will be to modify the code to support it ... if it's not a nightmare, then it will hopefully get done (but probably not at launch).


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