[Updated - see below if Neatorama looks unformatted in your browser]
I'd like to welcome you to the new Neatorama (all you RSS readers, come and take a look). We've been working on this version for quite some time and we're excited that it's finally here. The new blog is not simply a redesign - it is actually the biggest change since the inception of this blog. Our developer Rommel Santor has built a new blogging engine from the ground up. As a result, we now have a custom software system that will enable us to do new and neat things in the coming months.There are quite a few changes, so let me give you a tour:
1. Larger photos and easier to read text
We've made the blog column a bit wider, the typeface a bit bigger and the leading (that's line-height to you CSS geeks and line spacing to you word processor users) a bit more for easy readin'.
2. Love a post or a comment? Heart it!
Click on the grey heart in the post or comment to show your appreciation - we'll use this metrics to help improve Neatorama's postings and reward great comments.
3. Built-in Poll
New built-in polling capabilities will let us do quick and fun surveys to see what you guys are thinking.
4. Comments on the homepage
This is quite nice: you can read and leave comments straight from the homepage. Click the to open the comment window:
The comment thread is nested two levels deep. You can reply to an existing comment, or start a new comment thread on a different topic. We've also updated our Comment Policy, so please take a minute to read it.
To begin with, you can only post text comments, but with participation, you'll be able to post links and images, as well as embed video clips in your comments.
5. Keyboard shortcuts
If you're reading this on a desktop or a laptop, give this a try: Hit J/K to go forward and backward a post, and hit C to open and close a post's comment window on the homepage.
6. Neatorama Account
In order to leave a comment and participate in giveaways and contests, you'll need to have a valid Neatorama account. Because we've changed our blogging engine, we require that you register a new account (even if you've registered one in the past - the system will recognize if you've had an account with us before, and your past comments will then be associated with the new account.)
Registration is easy, and you can use a pseudonym/screen name or real name if you'd like. You do, however, need a valid email address as we will email you an activation code to verify your account.
After you register an account, we'll send you an activation code via email:
You can also sign in with Facebook or Twitter. If you sign in with Twitter, you'd have to provide a valid email address afterwards so we can send you the activation code.
One big benefit of registering an account is that you won't see banner ads when logged into the blog ;)
7. User Dashboard
Your Neatorama Dashboard includes a neat Chartbeat counter showing real-time visitors on Neatorama this very instant (yes, there are that many of you on this blog right now), as well as your comment statistics and NeatoShop orders and wish lists:
The Dashboard also has a feature called "My Discussions," which lists all replies to your comments in one place. You can reply to these comments there (just hover your mouse over the comment), so it's easy to maintain conversations going across different posts:
You can change your commenting preference - for example, whether to get email notification when someone replies to your comments and whether to automatically follow a discussion by replying to a comment, at the Dashboard's Preference page.
8. User Profile
You can update your user profile in the Dashboard to tell other Neatoramanauts a bit about yourself. Other users can view your user profile by clicking on your Name in the comment, then initiate a conversation with you either publicly or privately:
9. More Neat Stuff to Come!
That's just the beginning - we've got plenty of neat new features in the pipeline. Stay tuned for a system to reward our best commenters with free NeatoShop stuff, niche blogs under the Neatorama umbrella, and so on!
There will, of course, be bugs. Layouts of many of the blog posts will be off, and many comments will be missing (we're working to fill them all back in).
If you found a bug, please email bugs neatorama dot com. Please let us know in as much detail as possible what you encountered, as well as a screenshot (if appropriate) and browser details. That will help us out a great deal.
I'd like to thank Rommel for the long hours and great effort that he has put into the project. I'd also like to thank a lot of other people who helped as well. Robert Nienhuis of Nienstudios provided input on some of the styling elements in the new blog. Many Neatoramanauts who participated in the alpha release helped us tremendously by testing it out.
Lastly, I'd like to thank all of you who read this blog regularly - your continued support makes this blog possible.
Update 8/5/12: Neatorama looks unformatted? You probably need to clear your browser's cache. Here is Google's guide on how to clear your cache in Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. If this doesn't work for you, it maybe an issue with our static content server not resolving for your browser. We're on it!
Update 8/6/12: Static content server issue is fixed - if you still see Neatorama not formatted correctly after clearing your cache, please email us!