A couple weeks ago, I turned on a caching module to help reduce the number of times UHub went down. It's worked (yay!), but it also seems to have introduced a new problem, at least for people who aren't logged in: Read more.
When you log in now, you'll be taken to the home page, rather than your user-profile page. If you still want to go to your profile page, click on "My Account" at the top of the page.
I'm very pleased to introduce Shelagh Dolan, who will be interning for UHub this summer. One of her main assignments will be covering the Olympics. She's fluent in Spanish, so we've already mapped out a couple of long-term assignments involving the city's Hispanic communities, but if you have any suggestions for stories touching those communities that are going uncovered, let us know!
As a grumpy old editor, naturally the very first thing I had her do was compose her own bio: Read more.
I've reactivated the thumbs on comments, but have made voting stop four weeks after the post they're comments on has been published. Will be watching the server today to make sure they don't crash things again (if they do, will have to turn them off again).
I've turned off the voting on comments while I try to figure out why the site keeps slowing and crashing. There's a database table that's supposed to be used for triggering routine site maintenance, but it's been filling up with hundreds of thousands of items related to the voting system and I want to figure out why before turning it back on.
Well, if they're hosted on YouTube or Vimeo, that is. If you post something, look for the Video header at the top of the article-creation page. Click Select Media, then paste in the URL for the video you want to include and hit Submit. When your post goes live, the video will be at the top.
I got a request today from somebody to have links on Universal Hub open in a new tab or window rather than in the same tab as the UHub page. Less confusing, because it would keep UHub open, she said.
It'd be easy enough to do, but before I make a change like that, I'd want to see what other folks think. A poll should show up below in a second or two:
Unless you use IE, or are one of the other folks for whom the site had been looking odd in recent weeks. I've changed the template set used by UHub to fix display problems for such folks. Follks on phones may also see a bit of a different, hopefully better, display.
Everybody else, I hope, won't notice much of a difference, except maybe for the spacing between lines of text, which I've tightened up a bit. But please let me know about any oddities you see.
I'm seeing a growing number of comments along the lines of "you jerk, go die!" (actually, even worse, but you get the idea) If you're posting anonymously (i.e., you're not logged in, even if you do fill in the "name" field), sorry, I'm not going to mark that for public consumption. If you want to tear into somebody's position, by all means, go for it, but it's not closing time at a dive bar here and I'd like to try to keep things somewhat civil. As they say on MetaFilter:
Just installed a jaunty little thumb thing, which you'll now find at the end of every single comment.
The software has the ability to do both up and down votes. I decided not to enable down votes, at least not yet, because we're already a fairly cantankerous group as a whole, and I didn't feel like adding still more negativity to the site. I do need to see if I can move the thumb to the top right corner of a comment, if only because that's how the old system worked, and, you know, tradition.
Let me know what you think. And should I enable this on the posts themselves, in addition to the comments?
The token's time had come. Hopefully, the rest of the site won't feel too odd (but let me know if it does - especially the font for the article text).
The real reason for the change wasn't to mess with the graphics, though - it was more to upgrade to the latest version of the Drupal software that runs the site. I'm sure you'll find some broken stuff - please let me know!
One thing that's missing is the ability to upvote comments. I stupidly didn't think to look until it was too late whether the software I was using for that had been upgraded along with the rest of the software. It hadn't There are alternatives, one of which I'll install.
UPDATE: Site's been updated.
The current server's being switched over to a shinier and beefier machine.
Here's a new UHub rule: If you keep posting a link to the same conspiracy-nut article about the Marathon to Marathon-related posts here, even after you're asked not to, I will block your account.
I'm slowly wending my way through a major upgrade to the software that runs Universal Hub (for the CMS types: From Drupal 6 to 7).
You hopefully won't see much difference in the site - it'll still be your basic blog format - unless you connect with a mobile device. One of the things the new templates let me do fairly easily is have pages show up differently depending on what sort of device you're using to call up the site; I'm thinking it'd be nice to have smartphone users get readable type right away, rather than having to resize the page first. If you want to take a look, point your smartphone at
When you post a reply to a post or comment, you'll now have to type in letters you see in a "captcha" box, at the bottom of the posting form. This is actually something you used to be required to do up until a few months ago, when I upgraded the software and it managed to turn that off and I didn't realize it, despite the increase in spam that started showing up in the message approval queue. You should only have to fill out this mini-form once per session (i.e., if you post a reply, then click to another discussion and post, you shouldn't see it again). Registered users never have to fill out the box.
Which I am thrilled to death to announce because over the past couple of years running Universal Hub fulltime, I've learned that ad sales is an art - and I'm still at the paint-by-numbers stage.
With any luck, we should have honest-to-goodness UHub iPhone and BlackBerry apps up and running in about a month (I just spent a good part of a perfectly beautiful Saturday designing splash screens and icons).
The apps will have the UHub breaking-news goodness you'd expect, but also stuff like restaurant and store listings and reviews, all searchable and mappable. To get a rough idea of how that'll work, go to www.locallite.com/search.php and search for something (say, "pizza" in "Boston, MA").
Thanks to suggestions from Kalim Saliba and folks in this discussion, I've set up a UH group on Flickr. Anybody with a Flickr account can join in and post their best Boston-area photos to the group, discuss Boston photography, snort at my photo judgment, etc. As with the universalhub tag, I'll pick photos for highlighting here (if you don't have a Flickr account, but took a cool photo, e-mail me).
I've been thinking (yes, always a dangerous thing) about photos here on Universal Hub.
First, I'm grateful to folks who mark their Flickr photos as "universalhub" or who e-mail me photos. There are some very talented photographers out there, and I'm glad I can highlight your work here. But that gets me to the next point:
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