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Site upgrade complete; new features active Site News
Whew. That was a huge project, and fraught with more peril than I had expected. Nonetheless, we're done now, at least for the most part. I'm sure there are some things I've missed. In particular, please let me know if you see a story or comments with odd looking characters in them; things like "é" or "’". There were some character set changes in the Geeklog core that caused us some trouble with special characters. I think we cleaned up most of them, but there may be some lurkers.

So what do you, the reader, get out of this? Quite a bit, but here are a few things to note:
  • Comment editing - you can (for a limited time after posting) edit your comments!
  • Comment notifications - receive an email notification if a comment is posted in a thread you posted in.
  • Username changes - no longer do you have to email me to change your username.
  • Account deletion - don't want to have an account here any more? You can delete it.
  • Greatly improved user control panel.
  • A much nicer article rating system, complete with AJAXified voting!
  • Search by title only - I just added a new checkbox to the search form, which will restrict your search to only a hint or comment's title.
That's a sampling of the new stuff. So what did we lose? Sadly, the Classic theme is dead, at least for now. I just didn't have time to migrate it to the new system. I may at some point, but it won't be in the very near future. There may be some layout issues -- please let me know if you see oddly formatted pages, fonts too small/too big, etc. You can contact me using the Contact link on each page; please include the URL where you see the trouble.

Thanks to plattapuss for the expert assistance during the upgrade. At one point, I did something really stupid. Thankfully, he was able to come up with very slick SQL recovery, which saved me from having to start over from scratch! And finally, thanks to all of you for making this site what it is. It's been nearly nine years, and it's still a blast to "come to work" every day and see what all you brilliant folks have discovered.

-rob.
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  • Currently 3.64 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (28 votes cast)
 
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Site upgrade complete; new features active | 59 comments | Create New Account
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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: stevec on Oct 16, '09 07:25:58PM

I am getting some SERIOUSLY strange looking pages after doing a simple search, logged in or not. Also when adding this comment. The header has only the blue MacOSXHints banner, the Macworld logo and the text. The sidebar is there on the right but the whole left side of the page is empty. I have to scroll down halfway down the page to get to either the search results or the post a comment box. Then the rest of the page is blank after the line under the preview button.

Thought someone would want to know.

Macbook with 10.6.1 and all patches using Safari 4.0.3



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 16, '09 07:42:52PM

I need to look at the comment and search forms a bit more, it seems. Thanks.

-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: asmeurer on Oct 16, '09 08:54:27PM

The searching works normal for me, though the description panel is kind of stupid. Search for expose for example; it just shows "expose" on half of the articles and nothing on the rest. If it actually gave more context, it could be useful.

Could you make the title column a little bigger? It is kind of hard to read the results when each title is on 3 lines.

Also, the results seem to be coming in backwards. If you search for expose, you first see 10.3 hints and then 10.6 hints on the last page.

I do like how there are more results per page now. The old way was rather inefficient.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 16, '09 10:53:44PM
I've decided that I really dislike the new search module in the latest version of Geeklog. It's hardcoded to merge search results from comments, links, ratings, and other modules, which really makes no sense here. Also, there are no configuration options to control the order of results (i.e. all hints first, then comments), nor can I set the default sort order beyond one field.

Ideally, I'd be able to easily set it up to show hints first, in newest-to-oldest order, followed by comments in the same order. Sadly, I think this may require hiring a professional coder to rewrite the search module, as those will be low-level changes.

For now, I've change some core Geeklog files (which I really hate to do) to remove Author and the near-worthless Description from the results; this makes them much more readable (I also added the year to the date display).

I also hacked out static pages and links from the search results. What's left is a seemingly randomly-sorted list of matches, but at leats it starts with Hints followed by Comments on each page. You can change the sort order yourself it you wish, of course, but you can only sort on one field.

I've posted some queries to the Geeklog team to see what can be done, because this isn't what I was expecting from a "new-and-improved" search engine. (Keep in mind you can search here using Google, too -- word1 word2 word3 site:www.macosxhints.com. I use this fairly often, as it allows for better boolean searching.

-rob.

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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robogobo on Oct 17, '09 03:09:56AM

robg, I see a lot of sites that have a google site search box on the page, which is really useful and I think can be configured to maintain site headers and satisfy pre-defined filters and such. Not sure, but maybe that would be a better alternative.

rob



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: PCheese on Oct 18, '09 03:50:32PM

I second this. I've always found the search function here unsatisfactory, to the point where I go directly to Google to use the site-specific search keywords. It might be nice to have both search boxes available directly on the site since Google just does a better job of interpreting my search queries.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: asmeurer on Oct 16, '09 08:45:09PM

Hurray. Email notification on comments. This is great. But we'll see if it works first, eh. I don't see anywhere to activate it either. Am I missing something?

One thing that I noticed right away is that the article names under the "Comments last n days" column on the right are highly truncated. For example, I see
Comments last 2 days
10.6: Run Safari ... [+7]
Site upgrade comp... [+2]
...



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: asmeurer on Oct 16, '09 08:48:33PM

I tried editing my comment, but it didn't work (unless there is a lag). I wanted to note that the RSS feed was never updated with this article.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 16, '09 09:23:24PM

RSS may be problematic at the moment. And there probably is a lag -- the site has a cache system, so it may take a few minutes.

As for the how to receive comment notifications, that's a good question. I'll follow-up once I find out how!

-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 16, '09 10:54:53PM

RSS seems to be working now. Clarification on comment thread results: you'll only get an email if someone replies to your comment, not posts a comment to the thread itself. I may look to see if I can tweak that code, as I think following the entire thread would make more sense (right? or not right?).

-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: asmeurer on Oct 17, '09 09:33:52AM

I think the whole thread would not be too annoying to those who don't necessarily want it, and probably most people would want it as you say. At any rate, I have not received any emails concerning this thread.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: pettri on Oct 16, '09 09:46:04PM

Not so much a problem in the 'new' site but perhaps overlooked for a while. The 'Pick of the Week' which hasn't been updated since 2008 (as far as I can see) still appears in the site header as if it was current.

Although still a useful reference perhaps after all this time (since it was updated) it should be relocated to a link in the sidebar?

---
Have a Great day!
pete.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: hankk on Oct 17, '09 12:23:51AM

Quick note: special characters in the RSS feed appear to be corrupted. The final letter of 'Expos' appears as an inverse question-mark for me under 10.6 in Firefox's RSS reader.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: doneitner on Oct 17, '09 11:32:01AM

Here as well. I'm using a Live Bookmark in Firefox 3.5.3 to view the RSS feed and I see that same character.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: Sesquipedalian on Oct 17, '09 01:02:08PM

There is a similar problem when viewing the RSS feed in Safari. However, instead of an inverted question mark, I see a diamond shape with a question mark inside it.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: mrboma on Oct 17, '09 12:46:26AM

My number one request has not been implemented: the default comment format should be Nested. Threaded is a dumb default in my opinion. Threaded makes it so you have to click to see comment responses, or have to select Nested from the drop down menu and then reload the page. And while I do have my account default set to Nested, I don't always want to log in every time I visit the site.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: ozean on Oct 17, '09 01:31:53AM

indeed, this is the main Mac OS X Hints annoyance for me please make nested view the default!



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '09 07:07:19AM

As a registered user, you can set your own default comment display preference in your My Account panel. I keep the default at nested for non-logged-in users to reduce the server load a bit when loading comment pages.

-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: everkleer80 on Oct 17, '09 09:41:19AM

I think the original commenter here was complaining that he has to log in before getting his default nested view. I also don't like this (since before today I never even realized there was a 'remember me' option. Could you at least make it so if you're not logged in it will look at a cookie for your last view setting?

Other than that, nice changes!



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: mrboma on Oct 18, '09 04:40:48AM

I did mention in my original post that my account default is set to Nested already. But I usually only want to bother logging in if I have a comment to make.

I understand the issue of server load. However, doesn't making people log in each time they visit so they can have a logical comment default setting increase server load? What about making people reload each page to nested or even reload multiple times as they click each comment response? Maybe most people don't bother logging in or reloading because they don't care about the comments? That seems unlikely to me, since the comments often have as much good info as the original posts. I guess you would know the statistics though and could determine for sure either way.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robleach on Oct 21, '09 01:34:20PM

I've got a better solution that I'd actually prefer AND I think it would reduce server load in all cases. Let me start with an analogy. You know how in the Finder, if you option-click a triangle in list-view, it will display the contents of every nested folder it contains? You should implement something like that or a simple "view-all" link. That way, everyone sees it in threaded view and anyone can see the nested view with a single click. Provide that link on the comment page itself which displays threaded by default or perhaps after digging into one level of comments. However, instead of making the subject of each comment be the title of the post by default, make it be, e.g. the first 50 characters of the actual comment. Then you could provide the view-all link next to each subject (or something like that). Then people would be less likely to click view all if their interest isn't piqued by the first 50 characters.

Rob



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: everkleer80 on Oct 21, '09 05:01:08PM
I was going to suggest that, but I figured it would add too much work on top of everything else going on with the site right now. But anyway, I agree this would be awesome! I'd prefer it to be able to see the hints with a nested view of hints, but be able to hide the comment threads that go on forever on a topic I don't care about.

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Disclosure triangles on web pages
Authored by: MJCube on Oct 22, '09 06:15:37PM

I have seen web pages that do this. The underlying mechanism works by loading all the text, with some of it hidden, and JavaScript to let you show the hidden stuff. So I agree it could be useful (although Im quite used to the nested view myself), but it wouldn't reduce server load.



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Disclosure triangles on web pages
Authored by: robleach on Oct 23, '09 09:37:29AM

You're right, it wouldn't reduce server load if you load all the text, but I've implemented a rudimentary version of this before where it does not load all the text, so it is possible, however it reloads the page. The question is, would that increase in load be greater than or less than the extra load created by the unread text loaded for users who default to nested view and the extra load from threaded users who do tons of page loads to view comments? Personally, I think load would be overall reduced, because:

1. Pages are already loaded several times to display the threaded view. That number of page loads would go down and the amount of text loaded would go up marginally (assuming not everyone digs to the bottom of a thread).
2. All text is currently loaded for users with nested view. The amount of text loaded would go down for them but the page loads would go up marginally.

However, if people see it's easier to get to more text, they might read more, so you can't really say, can you? It's hard to anticipate behavior.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: mat79 on Oct 17, '09 01:39:11AM

About the special characters mentioned in the article

Are the supposed to be é or ’ because i see more than one character in the and it looks like a wrongly decoded unicode character.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: mat79 on Oct 17, '09 01:41:48AM

i wanted to edit my post since i was reading the story wrong, but i couldnt edit it. after submit, i just see the main page.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: everkleer80 on Oct 21, '09 05:03:20PM

Yes, when I edit a post it takes me back to the main page when I am done, and when I come back to the hint, I see my unedited post.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: Thomas_U on Oct 17, '09 02:59:05AM

Change of username does not work for me!

Greetings

Thomas_U



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '09 06:54:28PM

It should work now; we fixed a pretty fundamental issue on that page.

-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: Thomas_U on Oct 22, '09 08:11:21AM

yep, works now.

Greetings

Thomas_U



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: poenn on Oct 17, '09 03:51:32AM

I just tried changing "Remember me for" from 1 day to 1 month. It looks like it's updating, but the box still says 1 day afterwards. Now I don't know if it stuck or not until tomorrow I guess. This could also be extended to offer "forever" as a choice, please.

Thanks
poenn



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: dgkanter on Oct 17, '09 10:50:33AM

I just tried to change the Remember Me from 1 day to 1 month and, after being prompted that I had to enter my current password to make such a change, it was saved--and the displayed selection remained as 1 month. (My success might have been related to the account-related fix that Rob just posted as having been made.)

David



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: IslandDan on Oct 17, '09 05:32:43AM

Ugly! But worse if all the vertical space used by the rating system!



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '09 07:08:21AM

Can you send me a screenshot? I think you're seeing a partial page laod, as (a) I didn't change the theme at all, and (b) the rating system takes the same (one line) as it took before.

-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: PizzaCake on Oct 17, '09 07:28:04AM

I'm getting the vertical layout with respect to voting as well

Safari on 10.6.1

p.s. seems to be a few layout issues as with this post I had to scroll a page down to get to the input box



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '09 08:09:01AM

Can someone *please* send me a screenshot? I can't replicate this on any browser on any machine in the house. robg at this domain.

thx;
-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: everkleer80 on Oct 17, '09 09:30:07AM

Ok, I was seeing this same problem in Safari (but not Firefox) as well as a few other problems (font sizes, huge blank space before hints, etc.) and it fixed it when I emptied my cache and reset safari (not sure which option fixed it exactly.)



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: dgkanter on Oct 17, '09 10:37:58AM

[Safari 4.0.3 under OS 10.6.1]
Upon seeing the earlier reply comment, I had tried using Safari->Empty Cache and that had not resolved the too-big rating area. Rob then, in an e-mail response to my having sent him the screenshot, suggested using the Safari->Reset Safari to do (just) its "Empty the cache". Doing that and then reloading the page got the rating area back to the intended narrow space displaying just the stars and the links for posting and seeing the comments.

David

P.S. I'll leave it to others to figure out why the two operations for emptying the Safari cache apparently do different "empyting".



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: dgkanter on Oct 17, '09 10:16:12AM

Sent the screenshot by regular e-mail.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: Peganthyrus on Oct 17, '09 06:13:47PM

A shift-reload fixed the unstyled rating issue. A more permanent fix would be to change the filenames of your css files so as to force a reload regardless of what kind of cache expiry you may be dealing with.



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Shift-Reload Worked for Me
Authored by: robleach on Oct 21, '09 01:13:07PM

Doing a Shift-Reload worked for me on the vertical ratings too. Rob, I'd send you a screen shot. In fact, it's on my clipboard, but I don't know where to send it. I'd suggest doing what the previous commenter suggested and change the css file name.

Rob



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: pete on Oct 17, '09 07:03:06AM

I like the new look, but I too, am having problems with my account. I can't change my e-mail. Seems nothing changes when you submit the new data.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '09 08:10:40AM

Can you try deleting all your cookies for macosxhints.com?

thx;
-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '09 09:46:38AM

We're looking into this now. I'm pretty sure it's cookie-related, but need to find a fix for it, obviously.

-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: rab777hp on Oct 17, '09 10:21:00AM

so is this basically the beta site live now?



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '09 10:54:12AM

It wasn't supposed to be that way, but there are always unexpected issues during an upgrade. Overall, though, the issues aren't major compared to the importance of getting the ipgrade done.

But this is one reason why I do upgrades on Fridays - so I'll have a relatively low-traffic weekend during which I can address the issues.

-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '09 10:43:28AM

We've fixed a major issue with the account settings screen - everything should be working now. Thanks to Dirk from the Geeklog team for finding the configuration problem for me.

-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: Imaria on Oct 17, '09 11:53:05AM

While I will miss the Classic theme, I do hope that ANY new theme is made soon that isn't so... bright. Dark backgrounds, please!



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: Andreas. on Oct 17, '09 12:33:21PM
...and as similar to "Classic" as is available please! ;-)

Andreas

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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: Andreas. on Oct 17, '09 12:57:35PM
I "Edit"ed that post to add...

I managed to change my email address, change my password, remove a wrongly encoded character from my display name... and edit this post. Congratulations to Rob for having all that working on day 1.

...but I would still like a 'Classic' theme lookalike!

...but the edit didn't 'take'. Sorry, Rob.

Andreas

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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '09 02:49:57PM

Yes, edit seems to have issues. It's on the list.

-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '09 08:22:31PM

I'll do my best to recreate Classic once I get through the upgrade-related issues. Using the current theme as a starting point, it shouldn't take overly long. I may, however, change things up a bit just to simplify the tasks associated with managing two themes -- mainly related to duplicating graphics.

-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: Uncle Asad on Oct 19, '09 01:21:07PM

Just another polite request for something not quite so stark white as a theme once you get the major issues sorted out. Classic had the right mix of dark and light, but the default theme really hurts my eyes ;-)

Please (and thank you)!



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: MJCube on Oct 17, '09 12:51:55PM

I for one am HORRIFIED to see this character-set problem! That means that probably half of my posts, which contain very important special characters (such as the glyphs for Command Option and Shift) now display garbage!

I tried typing them now, and find that when I preview they are interpreted as their numerical entities. That means I cannot preview my post to see the way it looks. So far this is a very big step backwards. I will type command option shift at the end of this post so I can see what happens: ⌘⌥⇧



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '09 02:53:00PM

Trust me, if you're horrified, I'm several levels beyond that. I changed nothing in the settings, but the upgrade made some changes that munged things. We're working on it, obviously.

The good news is that we will be able to mass replace characters once we figure out what's going on, so this should be a temporary problem.

-rob.



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Unicode in posts
Authored by: MJCube on Oct 17, '09 06:26:14PM
I was going to say I hoped that, instead of having to change the stored text, you could just make the system read it properly as is. But in the course of editing this post (this time in HTML) Ive discovered some things, and now Im not sure whats best.

In HTML mode I can type ⌘⌥⇧ and they are not lost. When I preview, my text in the box comes back as entities. (This reminds me of the old-old text engine, back when I wrote How to post those special glyphs in a comment to this hint 4 years ago.) But theres a difference: Now when Ive got entites in the text box and I preview again, they are correctly interpreted as characters. So at least I dont lose my characters when I post in HTML.

I preferred the recent text engine that let us just type anything we want and it showed in Unicode everywhere. But I can live with the current way as long as the text of old posts can be restored. Thanks, Rob and others, for all your hard work to make this site better.

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Unicode in posts
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '09 06:56:44PM

I've posted the input form character set issues as a priority bug for the Geeklog team -- an improved engine was one of the reasons we were upgrading. To me, the input you type should never be changed; the system can do what it needs to the display, but your input should always be left untouched.

It's quite confusing the way it's working now.

-rob.



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: tedw on Oct 18, '09 10:25:41AM

Well, now that all that trivial stuff is out of the way, let's get to a serious issue. No smilies??!?!



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Site upgrade complete; new features active
Authored by: robleach on Oct 22, '09 11:18:11AM

Minor Issue: After clicking on the "Comments (#)" link, logically, the "Comments (#)" and "Post a Comment" links go away, but the bullet between them remains making it look like empty space. Perhaps it would look better with the bullet removed and the stars brought up a line.



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