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The experiment continues

…and the lab hasn’t exploded. Yet.

Readers will have noticed by now that I’ve managed to make several changes without completely killing the site:

  • I’ve managed to get a “number of visits” counter working
  • I discovered how to do “live traffic” feeds (and how to watch traffic coming to the blog in real time!)
  • I’ve managed to add a little bit more color (without kidding myself into believing that I’m done with that); your feedback on the color is heartily solicited
  • I’ve worked out how to have “inline” comments with this new theme…and how I (as the administrator) can change it with a click of a mouse. (I’m still trying to figure out if I can let you, as the reader, make that decision for yourself.)

And today’s addition to the experiment is swapping the positions of the left sidebar and of the main content of the blog pages (so that both sidebars appear to the right of the main content). At the moment, I can’t change this with a mouse click (it takes a small amount of code editing), but I know how to modify the theme so that I can do it with just a mouse click.

I’d really like your feedback on whether you like the new, swapped look-and-feel, or the original sidebars-on-either-side version.

On this day..

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10 comments to The experiment continues

  • OK, personally I like all the extra stuff on one side. I don’t feel like I have stuff crowding in on both sides of me while I’m trying to read the posts. LOL That may be kind of weird, but that’s what I think.

  • Thanks for the comment, Marie. I had a rather unexplainable experience, which is why I’ve reverted to the “split sidebars” layout, at least for now. After I made the change to put the two sidebars on one side (although perhaps not immediately after…I’m not sure), I lost all of my background colors! I have just spent the last 1.5 hours getting the colors back, and I’m still not sure that it looks nearly as good as before (color-wise, that is). FEEDBACK URGENTLY requested!

    When I’m feeling a little braver, I’ll experiment with moving the sidebars around some more.

  • We don’t mind the split sidebars… all the extra stuff on the site makes it come so much more alive. Keep experimenting :)

  • I like the sidebars on either side, makes it interesting and alive.

    One thing though, I would get a Gravatar seeing as the theme is enabled for it. Also in the discussion settings you can automatically give people an image if they don’t have one. I just did it on my site and I love the monster images. Lots of colour to it.

  • Josh and Jessie and three dog blogger, thanks for the comments.

    I’ll certainly keep on experimenting (even though this color situation is driving me nutsoid!). Tell me about Gravatars. I’ve heard of them, but that’s about it. I mean, I vaguely know the concept (an avatar that automatically gets used on any site enabled for them), but I don’t know how one gets/chooses an image, how they follow one around, and all that.

    (You know, for somebody who has been in the computer industry as a technologist for almost 45 years, there’s so much I don’t know! That’s why I depend on people like Cynthia and you for my continuing education!)

  • SheltieJim, if you go to you just have to register for free. Then you can upload any image you wish as your gravatar. It then follows you around whenever you post on enabled blogs.

    If I remember correctly it follows the email address that you use when commenting. It is surprisingly quick and easy to do. It adds some nice colour to the comments section and I guess is good as a recognition image to other people.

    I also really like the fact that now in wordpress you can enable an image for those that don’t have one via the discussion settings.

  • OK, I just solved one problem that had been driving me crazy. (That’s only one of about four, though!) When I activated the in-line comments capability, I noticed that I could click on the little envelope icon on anybody’s comment anywhere (the purpose is to cause an email message containing my response to that comment to be sent to the comment’s author, in addition to posting it as a comment on the post), my screen focus would jump to the first comment box on the page.

    Well, that’s because of the interaction between some Javascript code and the way this theme generates its comment boxes.

    My solution is to prohibit the comment box from appearing on the post page (with in-line comments), requiring one to view the specific post and all its comments on a separate page if one wants to comment on the post or respond to an existing comment on the post. I don’t think that’s a major inconvenience. I hope not, because doing something else will be major surgery!

    three dog blogger, thanks for the information about gravatars. I’ll follow up on it over the next few days, but my day job is suddenly in overload mode. And in this economy…

  • cheri_berri

    I know that I’m one person who preferred to have the inline comments. I think it’s much easier to read and keep up with the train of thought. If I want to comment and have to go to a different page, as long as I can see all the comments before mine, it’s no big deal. It works for me!

    Though I admit, I’m sending this particular message to see if my new gravatar works. LOL


  • Hi SheltieJim,
    I think your site looks great!
    I’m a novice blogger and am trying to configure our blog
    Looks like your’re using Atahualpa too and I noticed your site put the comments “inline” with the posts on the home page rather than only as links, which is cool. How did you configure that?

  • Sean, indeed, I am using Atahualpa. It’s a pretty nice template, IMHO. I like the configurability. In order to put the comments “inline”, I had to edit some code. The details are pretty simple, happily.

    In the file index.php (in …/wp-content/themes/atahualpa/ — this is the “main” driver that determines the overall appearance/placement of things on the page), I located the lines that read:

    if ( is_single() OR ( is_page() && $bfa_ata_comments_on_pages == “Yes”) ) {
    if (function_exists(‘paged_comments’)) {

    I replaced those lines with:

    if ( is_single() OR ( is_page() && $bfa_ata_comments_on_pages == “Yes”) OR ( is_home() && $bfa_ata_post_inline_comments == “Yes” ) ) {
    $withcomments = 1;
    if (function_exists(‘paged_comments’)) {

    To be precise, I added:

    OR ( is_home() && $bfa_ata_post_inline_comments == “Yes” )

    and then I added:

    $withcomments = 1;

    Hope this helps,

    P.S., Your blog is really cool. If your red “marker” accurately reflects where you are right now (when I’m writing this note), Lafayette, you are actually about 75 miles from the town where I grew up, Lake Charles.

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