site re-design about to install

November 2, 2008 at 10:17 PM · Dear Everyone,

Robert is about to install the re-design that we have been working on for the past few months. We anticipate that for the next 24 hours, things could get a little strange: pages may be broken, you might get errors when you submit content, pages might look funny. We'll be chasing all that down.

I'll post a blog entry once the site is switched over. After that point, if you see bugs, please let us know by e-mailing me or Robert.

Sorry in advance for any inconvenience, and thank you for your patience!

Laurie :)

Replies (62)

November 2, 2008 at 10:23 PM · Well, as long as it is still possible to argue about shoulder rests, then it will be worth the wait. Change is good...

November 2, 2008 at 10:30 PM · We also need to still be able to figure out which are "the best" violin strings, with a side of prunes.

November 2, 2008 at 11:01 PM ·

Moving over now.

Also testing the new rich-text editor for replies. Testing the reply editor too.

November 2, 2008 at 11:19 PM ·

I really love this new site look!!! And it seems much more user friendly... I'm glad I don't have to use all the codes anymore just click bold and it's done!  

Very nice Robert and Laurie!


November 2, 2008 at 11:26 PM ·

 We're all going to get fat, lazy, and rusty with our html skills. 

November 2, 2008 at 11:35 PM ·

Ooooo.....what kinds of markups do we gets now?

November 2, 2008 at 11:41 PM ·

 That is my FAVORITE Monty Python sketch!

November 3, 2008 at 12:18 AM ·

Please note, by request, the "printer friendly" version of discussion pages, too. (Link at the top of the page.)

Working on the printer-friendly blogs, too. 

November 3, 2008 at 12:31 AM ·



i like it all.


and the stars add a nice touch.


November 3, 2008 at 12:43 AM ·

I can't seem to add a blog using the My Blog link - it just gives me the main blog page.  I don't see any others that hint at adding a new blog.

November 3, 2008 at 12:48 AM ·

just a bold attempt !

November 3, 2008 at 01:48 AM ·

 "That is my FAVORITE Monty Python sketch!"

No it isn't.

November 3, 2008 at 03:05 AM ·

Yes it is!!!



PS-Laurie, Bug Report.

If one is logged out, finds a thread to repond to, and clicks respond-the get redirected to a login page (as usual)....when one enters handle/password-one gets a BIG error page. 

November 3, 2008 at 04:47 AM ·

Here are some things I like:

  1. I like the list feature.
  2. I really like the list feature.
  3. As an obsessive list maker, I really like the list feature.

(Insert smiley face here).

Spell check on my browser doesn't seem to work here.  Any suggestions?  A list perhaps?

Edit:  Also, when I press the "enter" button on the keyboard, the whole screen jumps down.  Maybe it is excited about a new shoulder rest?  Has this happened to anyone else?

November 3, 2008 at 03:19 AM ·

Fixed the response/log-in issue. Looking for a fix on the spell check.

November 3, 2008 at 03:44 AM ·

Wowza, you guys is on fire tonight.  Good work thus far :)

November 3, 2008 at 04:40 AM ·

RE: We anticipate that for the next 24 hours, things could get a little strange with the site

What do you mean, they always have been strange. That is why I read the discussions!

On a serious note, I use Opera 9.51, and when I try to respond to a discussion, I get the Rich Text control menu, however there is no text window to type. I paste the link into IE7, and there is a text window.

I have noticed some strange things with extra line feeds (This occurs in IE 7.0.5730.11), but I am not certain it is a problem. When I hit a carrige return, it does a line feed also, resulting in an extra line space.  


I thought I would test Firefox (, and it worked without a problem.

November 3, 2008 at 04:47 AM ·

I gave up on Opera because I was having problems like that on other sites.

People are reacting much more calmly to this than they did to the New Facebook.

November 3, 2008 at 05:29 AM ·

Thank heavens! ;)

November 3, 2008 at 05:53 AM ·


GOOD news, the new site runs MUCH better under Linux (in Opera, e17 Debian specifically).  I do mean MUCH better, I have had a new graphics board (a gtx 260, he he he) I installed since Thursday-and the improvement in the last few hours in smooth scrolling alone is much better-and is solely the result of your code.  thx!

November 3, 2008 at 02:40 PM ·

Something else I have noticed:  If I am responding to a discussion, and I hit the "back" button on the browser to double check something, and then return back to the respond-to-a-discussion page, what I have already written is not saved.

Spell check still not working.  (Just because Buri ignores it, doesn't mean the rest of us don't depend on it!!!)

November 3, 2008 at 02:48 PM ·

Sometimes the text is there sometimes not.

I went back to edit the youtube video a second after I posted it-I saw HTML code and not the embed....NO HTML to be found in the post--but the other text was there


Also posting is sometimes buggy on my end.  I click reply-get the ,essage compose box--when I go to click in the box and type, I get nothing--no cursor, no text....workaround being to go back and hit reply again--and it works. 

November 3, 2008 at 09:13 PM ·

This one is funny: sometimes clicking on "log in" will get you logged out. But never fear: clicking on "log out" will log you in again.

November 3, 2008 at 11:19 PM ·

the list of discussion titles used to have a little "new" icon to tell me which ones had replies i hadn't read. is this still available, or coming?




November 4, 2008 at 03:28 AM ·

Ditto what Calvin asked about the labels showing which threads had new responses since my last log in.

November 4, 2008 at 04:12 AM ·

"Updated" bugs are back. My bad. 

November 4, 2008 at 04:16 AM ·

I noticed the "listen" section isn't up. Can you make it so that every recording that people have uploaded appears on the page? Not just the selct few like it used to be...

November 4, 2008 at 04:50 AM ·

The audio/video links will come back later in the week. That section was the number one back-end problem that we had on the website, so I didn't want to mess with that while I chased bugs from the new design. (The downside of having a tech staff of one....)

BTW, the News section is back in its new form - "sticky" threads at the top of the Discussion front page for News category threads submitted within the past 48 hours.

November 4, 2008 at 02:17 PM ·

 You do a great job for a tech staff of one!

November 4, 2008 at 02:47 PM ·

Spell check?

(Not whining, but just curious).

November 4, 2008 at 07:12 PM ·

I've updated the rich-text editor bar, adding a couple of options that readers have requested, including image embedding, format clearing and a spell check for IE. The spell check option that supports other platforms remains a bit buggy, so I just put up the IE-only one for now, while I debug the other option.

November 5, 2008 at 12:35 PM ·

I'm continuing to have problems with the blog section based on not being able to find my favorite bloggers when their postings disappear.  A new case in point is Samuel Thompson's recent blog, "what about the politics?".  There were still more comments being added and I was following them, but it disappeared this morning.  I found it again by searching on his name, but even then at first I got the blog but not the comments, and I couldn't get the comments by clicking on the word "replies."  I finally got the comments by clicking on the title. 

Drew Lecher was another one and his blogs are such that I like to be able to refer back to the archive and re-read old ones periodically.  Previously I could always find him on the right, under "Illinois--Napierville."  Now I can find him again for a while, while he has an active blog.  But in a few days I'll lose it again.

I realize you're still working on the site changes, and am happy to be patient.  But I'm surprised at how much this is bothering me.  I've read literally every blog on this site over the past 2 years and I miss that . . . alot.

November 5, 2008 at 02:23 PM ·

Thanks, Robert! That is all.


November 5, 2008 at 05:02 PM ·

I have noticed that when separating paragraphs with the "enter" bar, the screen no longer jumps.

Thanks for that Robert!

As for the spellcheck for other browsers outside of IE, I take full responsibility for the bungling of any spelling I might inflict.  But, it would still be nice to have...

November 5, 2008 at 10:27 PM ·

I'm continuing to have problems with the blog section based on not being able to find my favorite bloggers when their postings disappear.  (...) I realize you're still working on the site changes, and am happy to be patient.  But I'm surprised at how much this is bothering me.  I've read literally every blog on this site over the past 2 years and I miss that . . . alot.

Karen, I'm right with you. I feel like the blog section is being downsized, and that really disappoints me. I, too, gravitate to favorite bloggers. Ah well. It seems like the issue of a blog-roll like before is falling under the radar, but hopefully, as you said, our patience on the matter will yield some results. At least a response.

November 6, 2008 at 12:16 AM ·

You'll find a link at the bottom of the blog page now that take you back to the previous eight featured blog entries (and a link there that takes you eight more back, etc.) This makes all the previous featured blog entries accessible by browsing, although the search is also available, at the top of the right-side navigation column. 

November 6, 2008 at 12:57 AM ·

It wouldn't hurt to have a blog directory, would it?  I was also fond of it.

For the most part, things seem to be working okay.  Sometimes I can't click on a blog's comments because it's not hyperlinked.  Not sure what's up with that.

Looks nice, overall.

November 6, 2008 at 12:54 PM ·

Here is a screen shot of the discussion page on my 20 inch monitor at 1600 x 1200. It just doesn't seem like a rational use of screen real estate to me.



November 6, 2008 at 01:50 PM ·

Robert, it seems to me that it's not so much the "featured" blog entries that are the problem, but that previously all blog entries appeared on the blog page in the order in which they were posted.  That chronological order made keeping up with favourite bloggers logical and easy.  The new focus on only "featured" blogs is annoying at best. 

I don't understand the point of having a blog page if you only care about star bloggers.

I also don't understand why the logo has to take up something like a quarter or a third of the page on a 1440 x 900 screen rez (in other words a fairly standard widescreen monitor).  That is not good design.

Just my $0.0167


November 6, 2008 at 02:10 PM ·

Neil made the point I was trying to make.  The featured blogs are fine, but what about the unfeatured ones?   I think we all have our personal favorites and it's helpful to be able to find those too.

November 6, 2008 at 02:14 PM ·


Interesting.  I get what you get on my 2004-vintage PC (which is running  a vintage-2004 version of Internet Explorer).  Here on my Macintosh (running the latest version Safari) the "useless screen space" is much smaller and the text in the center looks much better.  It's also okay on Firefox.  Seems to be somewhat browser-dependent.

November 6, 2008 at 02:24 PM ·


I am using the latest version of Internet Explorer. The poor quality of the text is because I converted the screen capture to a .jpg, which I opened and resaved in a tablet PC so I could add the hand-written comments.  The text quality of the discussion page is fine.

November 6, 2008 at 03:25 PM ·

I agree Christian, my monitor is 1680X1050, on Opera (linux), and the amount of page padding is rather annoying, I think was optimized for 1024x*** resolutions, not current desktop panels.

November 6, 2008 at 05:18 PM ·

Here's another voice for the non-featured blogs.  I also liked the format that made the featured blogs prominent on the front page, but left all the others available to take their chances at attracting attention and discussion.

November 6, 2008 at 07:30 PM ·

Hi Robert,

The bottom of each page used to have links to the various departments of the site.  This was convenient because one could read to the bottom of a thread and click the "discussion" link just below  without having to scroll to the top or click the browser's "back" button.  Any chance of  those bottom-page links reappearing?

Many thanks,


November 6, 2008 at 07:59 PM ·

 I really miss the old blog page, too. Not to complain, but just to add my voice to the others. 

November 6, 2008 at 08:25 PM ·

 My vote for the old blog page, of sorts.  Maybe we don't need the WHOLE blog, photos and all, because that meant that some interesting entries would be quickly relegated when someone posted a blog with a bunch of photos or youtubes.

So a blog page with the first paragraph of text, no featured blogs, just in the order they get posted - I really don't like the idea of someone choosing which blogs are more worthy, even if it is Laurie and even if it is her site - it reduces my blogging pleasure.

discussions page is good, agree we need the navigation at the bottom as well, an I've never used the 'topics' titles as a way of reading discussions and can't see myself doing it now.


November 7, 2008 at 05:16 AM ·

Ditto on the blog page.  I also miss being able to go back to older blog entries if I hadn't had time to read them in several days, or favorite bloggers.  Now, they are just gone after a few days.

Also, when I posted my blog just now, I got an SQL error on a database query.  When I go back to the blog (yes, it made it on the site), and scroll to the bottom, I can still see that error.  It says that the error in the footer on line 203.

November 7, 2008 at 05:39 AM ·

That was actually an error in the right-side navigation for the blog section after I changed a link. I caught it quickly, but not quickly enough for you not to notice.... :-)

November 7, 2008 at 06:41 AM ·

Hey, I'm an expert in finding software bugs (removable features).  That's how I got my "day job" :) 

November 7, 2008 at 02:12 PM ·

OK, toss in my vote for preferring the old blog page. 

Spell check seems to be working well on my browser now.  Thank you!

November 9, 2008 at 04:29 AM ·

I'm still getting errors and unable to upload audio files.  When will this be available again?

November 9, 2008 at 07:07 AM ·

I agree with the others on the blog page.

What are the criteria for choosing which blogs will be featured?  Do we need featured blogs at all?  Different people like reading different things.

Has the capability to upload photos been removed?

Overall, I like the new format, and I appreciate your consideration of our comments.

November 9, 2008 at 11:12 AM ·

I for one happen to like the new blog page and the idea of having featured blogs.   In this way, a well-written blog or one on a topic that stands out receives more attention - I think it would also encourage people to put more thought and creativity in their blogs as a whole, leading to better and more interesting blogs in not just the featured, but in the non-featured as well.  As the rest of the blogs are still listed on the right in the order as they are posted, I don't see what the problem is.

November 9, 2008 at 01:12 PM ·

We had featured blogs in the old format too, and I think they're fine.  I just miss the comprehensive list of bloggers and where they are from so that you can find your favorites if they don't happen to be featured this week.  I especially liked the list of countries and cities from where people were posting.  It was very eclectic and just cool to see where everyone was from. There are some blogs that I like reading who are nowhere at all to be found on the blog page at the moment.  I'd have to search on their names to find them and that's just not going to happen. 

November 9, 2008 at 03:28 PM · Elizabeth, as Karen noted, the featured blogs already appear on the site's homepage anyway. I don't see the point of the new setup to be honest. Neil

November 9, 2008 at 05:12 PM ·

Considering the price everyone pays for use of this site..... I think it is a peach!!!!!!!

Heartfelt thanks Laurie and Robert!!!!!!!!

November 9, 2008 at 07:28 PM ·

Karen Allendorfer:

?I still do that now, but I wish the list of bloggers and where they are from would come back.  I've read every blog on this site for the past two years and there are very few (if any) that I haven't gotten something out of.

 I agree. Another blogger wants to stop blogging because of missing the BLOGROLL.  Never change a winning team. I also miss the blogroll, specially after a holiday. I also miss from which country recent bloggers are from. I think the last changes of the site were not the best, but the worst.  Blog-roll over Beethoven !! = blog-roll

Can we get back the blogroll and the list of recent bloggers and countries on this site?

YES WE CAN !!   (or someone else begins a violinwebsite with a blogroll?)

November 9, 2008 at 09:24 PM ·

Not sure if others are having this problem, but the "Updated" flags are popping up on threads that have no new responses since the last session.

Laurie/Robert, please know how much your efforts are appreciated - this is a uniquely excellent site and none of these comments should be taken as diminishing that in any way!

November 9, 2008 at 10:54 PM ·

I, too, liked seeing the country or state the bloggers come from.  It's fun, and it shows that interest in the violin is worldwide.

November 10, 2008 at 02:15 AM ·

The issue with the featured and non-featured blogs is that the featured ones are not of greater interest, more utility, higher quality, etc. etc. etc. than the non-featured - if you take into account the interests of everyone who uses the site.  There are blogs that I read loyally which are seldom featured.  And there are blogs that are routinely featured which are of no interest to me,  which are about musical topics I cannot understand, which are written by people I find irritating, and so on.  I imagine the same is true for pretty much every regular reader of the site.  Does Laurie know more about music than I do?  Absolutely.  Does she know more about good writing that I do?  Not necessarily.  Is she more interested in issues that affect professional musicians than I am?  Of course.  Does she have as much insight into the struggles of an adult student?   Perhaps not.  You could do a similar set of comparisons for each person, and you would almost certainly find that no two readers have the identical interests.

So Elizabeth's suggestion that featuring is a sort of reward for good writing or especially relevant topics is one that I cannot agree with.  In addition, the idea that a blogger should want to change their comments on what interests them - or their mode of communication - to meet some set of undefined expectations so they can be featured is not reasonable.  Karen's current blog - about blogging - addresses this issue.

It's fine with me if Laurie wants to feature the blogs that she finds most exciting.  I have frequently read blogs that were featured that I might have skipped otherwise.  But I do think that the non-featured blogs are too difficult to find and read in the new layout.  Author and title stretched down along the right margin are not as accessible or informative as I think they should be.  I favor some arrangement more like the previous one where all the blogs are equally accessible on some page within the site.  If space is a problem, the blog page could have just the first paragraph of each blog with a link to the rest of the text, as Sharelle suggested earlier.  That way you could decide within a paragraph whether you wanted to pursue a given posting.  But at least you'd get a chance to do that, without having to click through to an even deeper page based on inadequate information.

November 10, 2008 at 07:07 AM ·

Hi everyone! I've finally put together some thoughts on featured blogs, etc. Thanks for your input!

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