Neatorama Update - February 2010

Hello everyone! We've been busy rolling out new features for the blog. I'd like to take a couple of minutes to tell you about them:

A number of you requested that we make the login process smoother, so we've added two ways to login (upper right hand corner of the sidebar)

1. Quick Login will take you back to the page you were from, so you can post your comment without having to navigate back to it.

2. Regular Login will take you to the Profile Page admin panel, where you can change your password.

The Best of Neatorama lets you quickly scan some of the neatest articles ever posted on Neatorama. Right now it contains posts from 2010 and 2009, but we'll continue to add earlier articles going back to Neato's beginning! There's quite a bit of posts, so be sure to change your browser's window size to embiggen the field.

In our post asking for suggestions on the blog's redesign, Neatoramanaut giltwist astutely pointed out:

Neatorama's biggest strength and biggest weakness is that there is no specialization to the stories.

Neatorama is blessedly nicheless, but many times I wished we could offer more focus on some topics without overwhelming the blog or changing its random nature. We tried creating completely new blogs (remember Cluebert?) but that only made us realize that maintaining separate installations of multiple blogs is just a pain in the hiney.

What we need is a series of sub-blogs under the Neatorama umbrella. It sounds simple but because of the size of the blog, this turned out to be a significant technical challenge.

We finally found the solution in a pretty nifty WordPress plugin called WP-Hive by John Sessford of ikailo. The plugin allows multiple blogs (each with their own unique themes and plugins) running on a single core WordPress installation. We've partnered up with John to develop the plugin to include a single sign-on feature, meaning that if you're logged in Big N then you're automatically logged in all of the sub-blogs. Sharing the same user table also lets us assign unique authors to each sub-blogs.

In short, WP-Hive lets us create as many sub-blogs as we wish - all at the flip of a switch. First up is Neatorama Spotlight, a wide-format blog that will let us showcase articles with strong visual elements. If you like Alan Taylor's excellent The Big Picture blog over at The Boston Globe, I'm sure you'll like Spotlight (I only wished that we could feature news photographs from current events, but licensing those cost an arm and a leg! If you're a photographer or know someone in the news business and would like to partner up, please email me).

By the way, this is completely unsolicited but I have to say that John is an absolute delight to work with. He's knowledgeable, responsive, and - this is important for many of you, I know ;) - reasonably priced. John's available for freelance Wordpress work from blog installation and customization to plugin development and more.

That's it for now - we'll have more updates soon (and yes, I'll start notifying the winners of the T-shirts as promised soon!)

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

Kaz - I forgot all about the favicon! I've made a new (and bolder) one. I'll see what I can do about comments on the front page soon.

ikailo - awesome plugin, man! I hope it gets picked up by more blogs.

shadowfirebid, su.wei, sise, katieb, Barbwire - glad the new login works and that you guys like it!
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