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Weblog Awards

2002-01-02 18:17:06+00 by Dan Lyke 13 comments

My call for nominees for a Flutterby weblog awards only garnered a few submissions. Mike Gunderloy had a bunch of good suggestions, several of which I hadn't seen before and need to check out. Mike Kelley nominated his own site for "Best Life Passage", Allan Beatty nominated Joel On Software for "Best Executive Weblog"; Mike Gunderloy[Wiki] had also included Joel's discussion forum.

But I think I'll just let my bookmarks evolve, add links as I find 'em, and, in the mean-time, point y'all to the 2001 Medley Medals for your awards web page jones.

[ related topics: Weblogs ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-01-02 20:43:41+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

I don't know if this is helpful or not (in a feedback sort of way), but it's about time I said it anyway...

I'm not really a... well... a blogger.

I didn't make any submissions because this is the only weblog I read (unless you count Slashdot, which I've only recently started reading). Until you [Dan] asked me to come here, I generally avoided weblog sites. I had tried on several occasions to regularly read a few, but I found the format just too cumbersome. I'm much more of a news-blurb kind of person than I am a community-discussion type. One-way communication is generally what I'm best at (both giving and receiving).

Yes, this means I don't do well at social events either :-(

Anyway, I'm trying really hard here [Flutterby] - and having a better time of it than my previous attempts at other sites - but I just can't get into the other blogs out there. So that's my kinda-apology for not submitting any nominees :-\

On a related note: Am I the only one that finds it cumbersome to navigate Flutterby? I can't figure out if it's just UI oversight or if it's some aspect of the blogging community I just don't get.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:06+00 by: Larry Burton

After the last couple of tweaks, I think every complaint that I might have had about navigation of this site was taken care of. I would be very interested in understanding how you find it cumbersome so that I might be able to build better interfaces into my sites.

Shawn, I have very much enjoyed your contributions to this site.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:06+00 by: Dan Lyke

Shawn, please[Wiki] bring up your complaints about navigation. I've set up Flutterby to be handy for me, and I'm one user, and way out on one edge or the other of the bell-curve of users. There are lots of easy tweaks that I could throw in if I know what sort of issues people are having.

Also, it's relatively easy to throw together things like the Flutterby long form, so if there are other ways you'd like to see data presented, I can do that too.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:06+00 by: Mike Gunderloy

And just in case no one's tipped you, Shawn: most weblogs are one-way. Flutterby and Slashdot are aberrations :)

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:06+00 by: Dan Lyke

It should also be noted that, although I'm not yet sure what form it'll take, I'd eventually like to expand Flutterby out to be self-sustaining, where I'm one of several contributors, it still has a funky feel, but my really personal notes go elsewhere, and if I don't update we still get content.

Still cautiously poking about to see how I can be confident that it'll remain a site I want to read.

#Comment made: 2002-01-03 02:52:05+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

Well, the two major issues that I've had with navigation have been

  1. The lack of a quickly-return-to-the-top link on every page. Something like clicking the logo returning me to the home page (wait, wait - I know - keep reading...). And,
  2. I find the fact that I have to go to Edit Info before I can add a new entry to be a bit odd and very unintuative (it took me forever to find it the first time). Ideally (in Utopia du Shawn), I'd want an Add Entry option in the same block as Edit Info and Logout.

I noticed (immediately after posting my comment ;-) that issue #1 has been fixed already. It wasn't a big deal, but having edit the address manually to return to the top-level page after posting a comment was a bit annoying. Better now :-)

As for other things that cause me confusion, head scratching or just to not contribute as much as I might otherwise...

  1. I get the feeling that there's this vast expanse of Flutterby that I am totally unaware of or cannot get to. This is mostly due to the huge list of Topics/Categories(?) that I see when I post something, along with their cryptic comments about editing them...
  2. Along similar lines; I'm unsure how to get to anything that has been pushed off the bottom edge of the front page. For example; I'd like very much to continue the discussion of setting up remote ways to post new entries but I don't see it in the list of Most Recent Comments and I'm not sure how to locate it otherwise. Yes, I see the link titled 'Next Unread Comment', but I don't understand what that means. Is it going to show me a single comment? How does it determine which one to show? Is it going to show me all the comments I haven't read yet? Goodness, there must be hundreds! (Yes, I could just click it and find out. But I'm not the kind of geek who goes sticking his fingers into things I don't understand just for curiosity sake. I generally only click things when I have a reasonable understanding of what I expect them to do. (All right. So I agree - nothing bad is going to happen to me if I click the link. Let's just call me lazy and move on...)).
  3. Well, actually most of the rest of my complaints are related - at least peripherally (sp?) - to #2. I'm a browser. I prefer to navigate sites with clearly identified menus, submenus and other browse-like functionality. I did find the Long version link, but this just seems to be a dump of everything (and yet, it doesn't seem to be quite everything - what exactly is the criteria for making it into the Long bin?

All that said, things I do like about Flutterby are...

  1. It reads much more like a news (and social commentary) blurb than a personal diary.
  2. It's visually clean - without funny colors, odd font sizes or unecessary images/ads.
  3. Dan lets me post entries ;-)
  4. I finally figured out what the currently hip term "Indie" means (from the context of the Indie Publications links).

Anyway, it's getting late and I need to get home. Hopefully that will do for now.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:07+00 by: Shawn

Oh, yeah. I'd like to have comments show in reverse order - most recent at the top. I hate having to scroll down to the bottom of a page just to read the latest sentence that somebody added. (I get this aggravation everywhere though, not just here).

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:07+00 by: Dan Lyke

Thanks! Most of this is in process, just put aside 'cause other shiny objects caught my attention, maybe I can use this as impetus to actually do some of this stuff.

The rest of this message is mainly a to-do list for me, reminders of what I actually have to code, and what I just have to figure out the user interface for.

First wish list:

  1. Yeah, it's there. And yeah, I need a better header design. On the list, with CSS and some not terribly intrusive but oh-so-cute butterfly animations (which are kinda in Flash but not in a form I like).
  2. The problem is that the front page isn't really dynamic, and there's only 5 of us who have the "post new entries" field set to "Y" in the database, so I figured we could deal. But you're right, for some other stuff I need to do I'll have to put a cookie that says "show this user more options" that the .shtml files can see without having to do a database pull for the login.

Second wish list:

  1. See just below the entry, where it says "[ related topics: Weblogs ]"? Click on Weblogs to open up that experience. Or go look at all the topics for a massive time sink. Not really fleshed out yet, and the automated bits of the categorizer need some improvement (older entries often have hilariously wrong categorization). I was also keeping this low-key 'til we got the new server in place, since it's been installed, now we can publicize it a bit. If you click on that link only you can see, about "edit it", you'll get the opportunity to add and delete keywords from all of the topics. This is how the categorizer guesses. Suggestions for a better "browse topic" link on the main page, or good ways to make the topics more visible on each link.
  2. The search engine sucks, I've actually written a better one that we installed on client servers, but I haven't taken the time to install it here. I also need to expose the interface to view previous entries. The CGI already allows a "fromdate" and "todate",you can use this to view, say, all of January 2001's entries, but I need to automate putting this on the archives page.
  3. I was also thinking about a "Flutterby >> Archives >> ..." sort of header, with the hierarchical information. Would this be useful?

On the final one: I really really do need to read this .NET document this evening, but I'll see about adding an option to change the "order by" on that select a bit later. That should be fairly easy, since it requires almost no design work.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:07+00 by: Dan Lyke

Okay, there's some thinking into visual design that needs to happen, but there's now a link to reverse user comment order underneath the main entry, and it's a user configuration option (down at the bottom).

And yes, I finished my .NET document, and oh-my-$DEITY they come right out and say all the things I thought I was cynical to accuse them of.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:07+00 by: Shawn

  1. Something along those lines, yeah.

Thanks for the reverse order option :-)

I'm still feeling distinctly that .NET sucks rocks (large green ones). Personally, I like the 'old' way we've been doing things. I don't see the need for this whole .NET thing (which I still don't really understand - neither the meta, nor its implementation).

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:08+00 by: Mars Saxman

I'd eventually like to expand Flutterby out to be self-sustaining, where I'm one of several contributors, it still has a funky feel, but my really personal notes go elsewhere, and if I don't update we still get content.

If you ever figure out how to do that, please let me know. I had expected that Edgecase would reach that point in a year. Closing in on two and a half years, I'm still lucky to see posts by someone other than me more than once or twice a week.


#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:08+00 by: Larry Burton

Just noticing the comments updating as I'm reading them and wondering about a "who's online" banner and a possible "chat" system.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:08+00 by: Dan Lyke

Larry, I might run an IRC server, perhaps with some sort of live update to web pages so you could see who's attached to a given channel.

And there might be call for a news://www.flutterby.com/... hierarchy, although I was damned glad to think I'd never have to admin INN again when I moved to California, that might have to wait 'til I get a server-capable feed from my home.