The blog went down on Thursday, not letting me comment or post and not letting anyone else comment either. But as of Saturday morning, magic having been worked behind the scenes, the handle jiggled, the blog unplugged and plugged in again, or what have you, everything’s back online and functioning (fingers crossed). Friday’s column will go up shortly, with Sunday’s column to follow on Sunday. Whew.
As you may have noticed, the “Recent Comments” section on the right-hand side of this page was frozen in time since mid-November, stubbornly refusing to reflect any of your fresh, piping-hot comments.
Your comments showed up here, but for those of you who tried to keep up on what others posted, you were out of luck. So was I, to a point; I needed a work-around to see new comments, because I always read them and want to respond if called for.
Some of the brightest minds at our newspaper chain’s home base in Denver spent a month trying to figure out what was wrong without breaking everything. Apparently they had to revert to a previous version of the commenting software plug-in to unjam things.
That was resolved by last Thursday. Your comments are now not only flowing freely but transparently. Thanks for your patience. Now go out there and comment for the team!
Look at the Daily Bulletin’s website (if your eyeballs can stand it) for one last view of the old, outdated and cluttered format. They tell us that on Thursday, the site’s redesign will debut.
The preview I’ve seen looks like a vast improvement, and the home page has about 90 percent fewer headlines/links. It should be easier to find, or stumble upon, my columns. All the papers in our chain are supposed to be getting the redesign simultaneously.
Feel free to comment here on the old and new designs and their functionality.
* Head fake! At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday they announced the launch has been postponed to next Tuesday. Plenty more time to gaze lovingly, or in horror, at our website.
When the matter of the reduced number of comments on this blog came up, many of you regulars responded, and thank you for that. And nobody should feel obligated to comment if they have nothing to say. Comments are, of course, encouraged, and encouraging.
Reader Denise Pappas responded on Facebook: “On your blog you said that ‘the decline in comments has me puzzled.’ It could be that the change in format has some of US puzzled. As soon as I figure out HOW to post — someone changes the format. LOL, Perhaps you could post some lessons for those of us who are computer challenged.”
She added: “You have to sign in with ‘Disqus.’ When I was your age a ‘discus’ was something an athlete threw.”
Disqus, unlike our old system, doesn’t require you to decipher and type in a Captcha code to leave a comment, only to create a name and log-in. Which might be a bridge too far for some, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable, and it does weed out almost all the spam.
But! You don’t have to sign in with Disqus. For instance, if you’re on Facebook, like Pappas, you can use that. Reader Doug Evans does. He explains:
“I type my comment first and then click on the Facebook logo” in the string of tiny logos under each post. “A box opens up, I enter my my fb email and password, and then I’m taken back to the blog page, where a button has appeared: ‘Post as Doug Evans.'”
Clear? Or clearer, at least? Since we know you’re on FB, Denise, there goes your excuse for not commenting here. One can also sign in via Twitter, Pinterest and a few more social media options that appear in that string.
You’ve no doubt noticed recent changes here already, implemented in the weeks since we switched to WordPress as our blog provider, but I may as well walk you through a few modest upgrades to our home page, all visible on the right-hand side.
Up top is a search field. You can enter a name and find previous posts about it, if any.
You’ll see a link for my columns on dailybulletin.com, months’ worth. There’s also a link to email me and a link to the newspaper’s home page. I haven’t posted a photo of myself (there used to be one of my sitting on a curb with a 909 on it), thinking a little semi-anonymity might not be a bad thing for my restaurant writeups.
Below that are feeds from my Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can sign up for either page or simply monitor what I’ve posted. A lot of what I post are links to blog posts or columns, which you see already when you’re on my blog, but I do post other things from time to time, especially on Twitter.
Below all that, there’s the blogroll, with links to other sites of interest, mostly local blogs. Below that are category listings for my blog, making a search simpler. Neither of these is new, but they weren’t here when we moved to WordPress and now are back. We’ve eliminated the month-by-month archives, since nobody is likely to search for, say, August 2010 blog posts as a group.
Overall, the blog looks good to me and handles fairly well from my end. The number of comments is down, which is a concern to me, and there are issues with blog posts no longer accepting comments, which I can’t explain but which I hope to address with an expert in our office soon. It’s important to me that all posts accept comments forever.
Any comments, likes or dislikes?
Is there anything more to say than that? Just that I’m thankful for all of you who read my stuff, here and in print, and thankful for these forums that allow me to be paid for writing for a living.
Oh, and there won’t be a Restaurant of the Week post tomorrow. That feature will return next week. You’ll be eating leftovers Friday anyway, right?
This blog is getting back on track. The Category listings returned last week, allowing you to search for local restaurants by city again, look at funny photos and what have you. The search function up at the top works. Still waiting on the Links blogroll, an RSS feed* and a few other bells and whistles, as well as for the “Just another insidesocal Sites site” line to vanish from the top. Be patient; our online overlords have dozens of sites across the L.A. basin to attend to.
For you social media mavens, a button to find my Twitter page is brand new, and you can find a bewildering array of buttons at the end of each post to share it in any of 10 (!) ways, including by good ol’ email.
If you’ve tried leaving a comment, you’ve found we’re now using a system called Disqus. (As in, “discuss.”) You do have to create a password, but that’s as tricky as it gets. No more of the Captcha unreadable-text-in-a-box to transcribe. Disqus evidently keeps out the spammers, at least it has so far, and that’s good news; previously I was deleting a couple of dozen spam comments per day.
Feel free to comment on any of the changes if you like, and if you’re having difficulty here, email me at david (dot) allen (at) inlandnewspapers.com.
* Reader Carl Knecht says that while the old RSS feed is dead, he found the new one: http://www.insidesocal.com/davidallen/feed/
This blog seems to have successfully migrated to its new home on WordPress. Hooray!
What do you think? To my eyes it’s not radically different, but the type is bigger and the layout slightly more open.
Certain elements haven’t transferred yet, the links to other blogs most notably (*and also the categories), but we’ll get that taken care of soon. Let me know if you notice anything else missing or screwy. The crucial thing is that all posts, photos comments are intact.
I’m just beginning to familiarize myself with the inner workings, and since I also have to produce Sunday’s column and sit through training on our glitzy new phone system (lots of technological changes are happening all at once here), I’ll have to forego a Restaurant of the Week. Look for that next week.
Oh, and thanks for bearing with us. I missed this blog the past couple of days and hope you did too.