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V-Announcements: Site Refresh and New Connections

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I don’t know what it is about Production servers, but they’re always different from Staging and Test servers. And when I say “different” I mean “sinister and evil”. Never the less, we have successfully launched Velominati’s site refresh. It was high time, too; after serving us well for V years, the site’s infrastructure was showing its age and the site’s design needed to be updated to accommodate our plans for 2015.

Most of you will never see most of what has changed on the site; this was a ground-up rebuild that lays the foundation for evolving the site in accordance with our plans for 2015 and beyond. The majority of those updates will be transparent to everyone but me and some will only be visible to the Keepers and Guest Contributors, but the most exciting pieces are centered around the community and providing additional ways to track conversations and connect with one another.

When we launched in 2009, we never imagined what this project would grow into. Back then it was just a handful of us posting snarky comments on a few crappy articles and it was quite easy to follow the conversations (which, as they are today, were hilarious). As we’ve grown, it’s become harder and harder to keep on top of the various threads which is a great shame; the articles have always only been a launching point, the conversations are where the fun happens.

There has also been a clear desire for people to connect directly and hold private conversations; in the past I’ve been able to connect people via email but that also hasn’t scaled in the last few years so providing a way to do this safely directly through the site is the logical next step.

The biggest components of the site update are new ways to connect and communicate with one another. The site now gives us the ability to aggregate comments posts into our activity feed and also connect with other members and send each other private messages. You can follow and friend members on their profile page which you get to by clicking their name on the posts of all articles and pages. (You can also follow members directly from the articles.) These features are also available for all those who frequent the site but choose not to post publicly (which represents about 99.5% of our audience.)

The main difference between Friending and Following is that following is a one-directional connection and friending is a two-directional connection. In other words, in order to be friends, both parties need to agree to the connection while anyone can follow anyone. Friends can message each other privately and organize themselves into groups, while following allows for collecting their posts into a centralized activity feed so you can better stay on top of the conversations. (This actually doesn’t appear to be working as intended at the moment; it was tricky to test this while in development as I needed the live data to see it in action. Keep an eye out for improvements in this space over the coming weeks.)

Please keep in mind that these features are meant to add choices to the way we currently connect; the site continues to function as before so you can just keep on as you always have if you don’t want or need any of the new features.

Other features include, in no particular order:

  1. A fully responsive layout which means I no longer need to maintain both a mobile and desktop site. I’ve noticed some weirdness here too but it seems to basically work. Clear your caches before reporting any issues please.
  2. The homepage now shows the V most recent articles instead of 3. This change is mostly for symmetry and cross-v-ginations.
  3. Save for a few unavoidable cases, all CSS design elements are laid out in multiples of V units (i.e. padding: 5px, font-size: 1.5em; etc.)  This mostly serves to satisfy my OCD.
  4. The entire sites architecture was built using pluggable technology which means that the site shouldn’t need to crash every time WordPress or one of the plugins we use puts out an update.
  5. The login page now looks appropriately V.

Look for more changes coming in 2015; we look forward to another amazing year of enjoying Cycling together.

Cheers, and Coppi New Year!

// V-Announcements

  1. @Ron

    Here is to another great year of cycling and conversing about the greatest sport right here! This year will bring a different year of ridin’ for me, but shouldn’t they all include some change?

    Already have my Classics Calendar tacked to my office wall, pondering a new wheelset or two, and getting ready to fly high come spring. For now, I’m slogging through the rain and cool weather, but that doesn’t mean doing it aboard a steed isn’t fun as hell.

    Ah-Merckx, brother.

    @Teocalli

    Didn’t the old site quote the lead from the new post when you “quote” a previous post rather than the contributors and lead from the old post?

    Not following you on this one…

    @Davidlhill

    Screen shots please. Sounds very odd.

  2. @frank

    @Ccos

    Interesting, I’ll look at that. Velominati is probably infectious, so I wouldn’t even be lying.

    @SamFromTex

    @frank

    Site keeps looking better and better. For some reason the navigation bar is giving me a little scroller that doesn’t go anywhere. And unless my eyes are crapping out, I think you’ve ended up with a multiplier for the Rules ad that doesn’t play nice with the fonts – the smaller text looks oddly kerned and a bit fuzzy. OCD, I know, but I figure this is the thread for bug reports.

    Firefox on a windoze, if it matters.

    I’d love a screen shot, also I don’t officially support any Windows-based visual “defects” as Windows fundamentally produces sub-quality results.

    At least you didn’t say “Internet Explorer”.

    Untitled-1

    Here’s the mysterious scrollbar, which works and everything, there’s just nothing to scroll to.

    I think the odd-looking “THE REST OF THE WORLD” is just a font size not looking great at my resolution. They can scale oddly. At 200% it seems to be rendered fine.

  3. Oh, and to add that picture I had to go up to the top menu for the “new media” dropdown. Hitting “add media” just above the posting box and going to the uploader from there got me a “do not have permission” same as @Davidlhill

  4. At the risk of stating the obvious, but seems functionality to register my profile is missing. Or deliberate choice, site for level 4s being “invite only”?

  5. @frank

    @Ccos

    Interesting, I’ll look at that. Velominati is probably infectious, so I wouldn’t even be lying.

    @SamFromTex

    @frank

    Site keeps looking better and better. For some reason the navigation bar is giving me a little scroller that doesn’t go anywhere. And unless my eyes are crapping out, I think you’ve ended up with a multiplier for the Rules ad that doesn’t play nice with the fonts – the smaller text looks oddly kerned and a bit fuzzy. OCD, I know, but I figure this is the thread for bug reports.

    Firefox on a windoze, if it matters.

    I’d love a screen shot, also I don’t officially support any Windows-based visual “defects” as Windows fundamentally produces sub-quality results.

    At least you didn’t say “Internet Explorer”.

    Frank what I meant was that I think the summary post for this will start “Interesting I’ll look at that….” rather than the previous version that would have started “Frank what I meant was….”

  6. @Hagueman

    At the risk of stating the obvious, but seems functionality to register my profile is missing. Or deliberate choice, site for level 4s being “invite only”?

    Hover your mouse over your name (top right) do you get a drop down with Profile as one option?

  7. @frank

    love it, thank-you for the work you’ve put in, most appreciated.

    works brilliantly for me on THE DEEP WEB

    which,i think, is merely Mozilla for paranoid nerds

  8. I like the updated look while still retaining the essence of the original site however I too am am experiencing a couple of early issues. How do I find a previous page of posts? I can see that there are 50+ but the page numbering seems to be missing to allow me to go back to read the early ones.

    I tried logging out and back in again but that caused another issue in that every time I tried to read notifications or click on my profile I was directed to log in again.

    Teething problems or just my general computer ineptitude?

  9. “Friends can message each other privately and organize themselves into groups, while following allows for collecting their posts into a centralized activity feed so you can better stay on top of the conversations.”

    So its kind of like high school

  10. That’s great!

  11. @Teocalli

    @Hagueman

    At the risk of stating the obvious, but seems functionality to register my profile is missing. Or deliberate choice, site for level 4s being “invite only”?

    Hover your mouse over your name (top right) do you get a drop down with Profile as one option?

    The black bar on the top only shows log in, an icon and a search bar. Can’t login (because haven’t registered), so can’t seem to hover over profile name either.

  12. @JohnB

    I like the updated look while still retaining the essence of the original site however I too am am experiencing a couple of early issues. How do I find a previous page of posts? I can see that there are 50+ but the page numbering seems to be missing to allow me to go back to read the early ones.

    I tried logging out and back in again but that caused another issue in that every time I tried to read notifications or click on my profile I was directed to log in again.

    Teething problems or just my general computer ineptitude?

    Yeah I’ve noticed the option to go back through previous pages of comments seems to have disappeared.

  13. @Frank Since you mention your OCD, my OCD is also going on point 3. Unless of course that was a finite list (etc… leads me to believe otherwise).

    Since he’s a fellow Seattleite you think you’d follow Matthew Inman http://theoatmeal.com/comics/ie Although I guess you may be short on time for various reasons, e.g. this site, riding your bike, drinking recovery beverages, etc…

    Also. What’s happening with your tunnel down there? Do you have a new lake downtown yet? When they give up and admit defeat will they make a velodrome out of the giant hole they are digging? The only thing worse than the current situation would be if they turn it into a swimming pool / velodrome tri-geek hybrid training center.

  14. @frank

    The best word for all of 2015 — snarky.

  15. @unversio

    I assume you were talking about me. I was just trying to be a funny jack ass. Although the jack ass part was largely unintentional. I just find The Oatmeal’s humor entertaining.

    I do like the new site. It seems easier to use and faster. I did notice that the old site would crash once in a while. Thanks for the hard work @Frank.

  16. @extra special and bitter

    No. Snarky is used in Frank’s article.

  17. I’m having the same problem with the “Add Media” button above the comment box (permission denied). I tried the photo upload workaround mentioned earlier, adding media through the “+ New” dropdown at top left. This lets me access and add to what appears to be the entire site’s media library. Not sure that’s the intention.

    cyclo-ebrius-2

  18. @pistard

    I’m having the same issue, trying to upload a photo to this message gets me an error message that I don’t have permission to do so.

  19. @pistard

    This lets me access and add to what appears to be the entire site’s media library. Not sure that’s the intention.

    @frank wants to start incorporating those little graphics of cats eating spaghetti and riding scooters and shit.

  20. Oh!

    Hi, @mcsqueak!

  21. @frank

    @girl

    @Cyclops

    Do the plans for 2015 involve bacon? If so, I’m in.

    Or chocolate? If so, then I am in too.

    @girl, @’clops: every plan should include bacon and chocolate. Sometimes both. There is nothing in life that cannot be made better with bacon. And chocolate makes you lose weight.

    Oooh, and coffee, chocolate and coffee, oooh and beer, chocolate, coffee and beer.

  22. Thanks Frank – we all appreciate the effort. Looking forward to getting used to the new features.

  23. All looking good, it took me a little familiarisation and re-briefing and I am being de-briefed from my time on the old site by the appropriate authorities, however I am loving it now!

  24. @hagueman

    Can’t login (because haven’t registered),

    Ahhh. Well, that leaves you with the obvious and inevitable course of action…………..

  25. Hi again,

    can I also add my voice to those that miss going back to previous pages of posts? Perhaps I should “get a life” but if I’ve been away for a few days and I see an article I missed I often browse the conversation from the beginning……

    David

  26. @Teocalli

    @hagueman

    Can’t login (because haven’t registered),

    Ahhh. Well, that leaves you with the obvious and inevitable course of action…………..

    I’m afraid that’s going around in circles, I’m afraid.

    Cant register, thus can’t login, thus can’t register, etc.

  27. @hagueman

    Ahhh. You have a point then! Presumably you have tried a different browser, flushing cache etc.

  28. @davidlhill

    Hi again,

    can I also add my voice to those that miss going back to previous pages of posts? Perhaps I should “get a life” but if I’ve been away for a few days and I see an article I missed I often browse the conversation from the beginning……

    David

    I was going to leave a snide remark about just using the previous posts navigation but it seems to have disappeared…I’ll get it back as soon as I figure out where it went off to

  29. @pistard

    I actually don’t mind at all if folks add to the media library; but it definitely is supposed to work from the Add Media button. Weird; this will require some additional investigation on my side.

  30. Nice one, Frank. Thanks for your efforts.

    My ancient version of Firefox (3.5.3) renders the layout without too many problems.

  31. @Hagueman

    At the risk of stating the obvious, but seems functionality to register my profile is missing. Or deliberate choice, site for level 4s being “invite only”?

    Well that’s a pretty major fuckup. Looking into that right away.

  32. @frank

    Terrific re-work of the site!

    I’m sure there will be some bugs here and there to sort out but overall it seems to play and display in a much friendlier fashion than previous gen.

    It was definitely due for an update, so good on ya for pulling it together. I will say that I’m happy to see that the overall look and feel remains largely unchanged – like an old pair of cycling shoes…

  33. @frank

    @Hagueman

    At the risk of stating the obvious, but seems functionality to register my profile is missing. Or deliberate choice, site for level 4s being “invite only”?

    Well that’s a pretty major fuckup. Looking into that right away.

    This should be working again – although just going through the process myself did show a few things I would want to redesign.

  34. @frank

    @frank

    @Hagueman

    At the risk of stating the obvious, but seems functionality to register my profile is missing. Or deliberate choice, site for level 4s being “invite only”?

    Well that’s a pretty major fuckup. Looking into that right away.

    This should be working again – although just going through the process myself did show a few things I would want to redesign.

    Works like a charm, thanks and all the best for the new year

  35. @frank

    Can’t register – Got as far as activation but it doesn’t let me log in with what I set as my username/password. Tried my profile name and password as well.

  36. @Chris

    Worth a try ticking the box ‘remember me’ when logging in. Had some problems like that myself.

  37. @Chris there’s quite a few people with different variations of the username Chris, that could be your issue.

  38. @frank – unless I’m not clicking on the right place I don’t think other people’s profiles show any more when you click on their name?

    Incidentally it would be nice if people at least put in a rough location or at least country for their profile even if they want to remain otherwise anonymous.

  39. @Teocalli

    @frank – unless I’m not clicking on the right place I don’t think other people’s profiles show any more when you click on their name?

    Incidentally it would be nice if people at least put in a rough location or at least country for their profile even if they want to remain otherwise anonymous.

    LPmjninisanxciwcniwuci

  40. @frank – Chapeau on the site refresh and on your strict (pedantic) adherence to all things V.

    Been off the bike and off the site for most of December. Thank Merckx I found this site when I did; because with the rate the articles are getting posted these days it would take me much, much longer to get through the archives.

    You lot are all insane I enjoy riding with all of you, even when you’re not there… actually, especially when you’re not there.

  41. See if the image uploader works now…

  42. @Mikael Liddy

    That’s a beauty right there!

  43. @frank thought you might enjoy it.

  44. I just realized that this was our 1,000th article posted at Velominati!

  45. @frank

    I just realized that this was our 1,000th article posted at Velominati!

    Chapeau! And nipple lube ??

  46. @frank

    I just realized that this was our 1,000th article posted at Velominati!

    Congratulations!

    Like so many other aspiring Velominati, I’m immensely impressed by the effort you and the other keepers are putting into this – and on a voluntary basis, no less. Absolutely amazing. Many thanks for the great work you guys are doing, and from Denmark, a heartfelt and resounding chapeau! May the V be with you.

  47. @frank

    I just realized that this was our 1,000th article posted at Velominati!

    YESSS! A sincere congratulations to you and the Keepers. Your hard work, humor, and ability to not take yourself too seriously is immensely appreciated. I’m thrilled to have contributed a guest article to the glorious community that you’ve fostered, Big Frank.

    If you had only known that feeding me a bit of honey would keep me around so long…

  48. @frank

    @Mikael Liddy

    That’s a beauty right there!

    Yes it is! My perspective: when it comes to riding a bike; CX is the meth rush addiction and dirt and gravel roads is the nicotine addiction… And even better, they’re both good for ya! But I look at that snapshot and wanna ride that road. I’m hooked.

  49. @Ron

    @frank

    I just realized that this was our 1,000th article posted at Velominati!

    YESSS! A sincere congratulations to you and the Keepers. Your hard work, humor, and ability to not take yourself too seriously is immensely appreciated. I’m thrilled to have contributed a guest article to the glorious community that you’ve fostered, Big Frank.

    If you had only known that feeding me a bit of honey would keep me around so long…

    Seconded!

  50. @wilburrox

    @frank

    @Mikael Liddy

    That’s a beauty right there!

    Yes it is! My perspective: when it comes to riding a bike; CX is the meth rush addiction and dirt and gravel roads is the nicotine addiction… And even better, they’re both good for ya! But I look at that snapshot and wanna ride that road. I’m hooked.

    I think that was the 2nd or 3rd section of gravel we covered during the Rapha Gent’s Race they held in Adelaide about 18 months ago. 160k route with ~20k’s of gravel spread over about 10 sections, was a sensational day out.

    As the Rapha ones tend to do, the film does go a little over the top but you can get a pretty good impression of the ride here. You might even spy yours truly fuelling up before it kicked off (chocolate mousse for the win)!

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