Coping: Retooling of UrbanSurvival Site

Reader Input Request (RIR):  As you know, I have started working on the periodic updates and upgrades planned for UrbanSurvival. Just by being here, you’re already a highly esteemed member of our Board of Directors. In order to make sure we continue to deliver a quality product, please take the time to send an email to George@ure.net and let me know as many of your thoughts as possible on the following points.

Display: First question is “What size device screen are you using?”  This one is important because unlike the old days, we actually can “tune” sites to deliver an optimized reading experience depending on “viewport” settings.  Back in the old days, a 1080 browser width was all it took.  No longer, though.

Browser type:  Phone?           Desktop?

(Continues below)

 

Layout: Next is the current layout basically shows up at “centered” on most displays.  But this could be reduced to a two column display which might result in a bit less scrolling.  The downside of this?  It’s not quite as pleasing to the eye.

Do you prefer 3 Columns (now) or would you like 2 Columns?

Chart Location:  know this is a biggy.  Right now, on desktops and large devices, there are three charts at the top of the website.  These are “served” to us from www.kitco.com.  They get a minor ad, but we are able to keep you updated on prices of gold and such,

We may have a limit on placing these charts at the TOP of the revised site software.  In the event we do, please let me know:

How important are the charts?  Very?       Not?

Preferred location:  Top?        Side?

Want a Crypto Chart if I can find one?

Yes?       A what?

Page Speed:  This is another one that is important to us:  Do you find page load speed is OK now?

We are always doing our best, but…

Does Urban load fast enough?  Yes?      No?

Social Media:  You know my thoughts on social media (boo, hiss!), but I also realize that you may use it to communicate with your friends.  (We don’t have any, so no social is a no-brainer, lol.)

Do you want social buttons?   Yes?     No?

Best two Socials for you?_____        _______

Color Scheme:

Do you like the blue color scheme, or would you like to see a change?

It’s OK?          Change it to:______________

Comments and Discussion:

There are TONS of reader comments.  More than 24,000.

Would you like to see additional emphasis on discussion?  This might be done by adding some additional functionality to the discussion portion of the site.

Yes, like the discussions?       I don’t care about other people’s thinking?

Thank you.  Copy, paste, and toss in comments and send to George@ure.net.

The idea is not to change the basic content of Urban, but rather to keep it as user-friendly as possible.

These are the typical questions that most web site designers would ask, but if there’s anything else on your mind about the mechanics of the site, please pass them on.

Again, thank you.  We now return to our regularly scheduled programming in process…

Best Columns Contest

Every year, the National Association of Newspaper Columnists (which I’m a member of) has a contest to find some of the best columns written in the previous year.

In the past, I have picked out what I thought was some of my best work and sent it in.

To be sure, I’m not very good at column-picking.  So, in order to maybe up the odds, if you remember any columns from the previous year that struck you as especially “good” please let me know which one(s?) so I can include them in the submission this year.

Columnists are an interesting group…and we’ll likely be attending their convention this year up in Cincinnati, Ohio come June.

The conventions float around – giving us all a chance to “immerse” for a few days in different parts of the country.  The Macon, Georgia convention was fun…while the Detroit convention was closer to heart rendering.  In between were the conventions in Hartford, CT and elsewhere.  Though Hartford got us all through Mark Twain’s home which was interesting.

Since Ohio is off to the northeast of Texas somewhere, we may be able to swing through Hannibal, MO on the trip.  That’d give us a chance to revisit another “Twain town.”  Last time through was in the airplane for a refueling stop and we were, as always on a schedule.  We’re trying to learn the art of slowing down a bit.

Ham Corner:  The BIG Switch

Ham radio is often not so much about money, although there are people who do spend $10,000 and up on a piece of equipment.

Come to think of it, if you feel like sending Ures truly a late Christmas (or early birthday) present, click here…  The good news is, for $12,000 plus, you get a free shipping.

Still, at the other extreme, it doesn’t take a lot of money, or power to have fun.  For this?  We have eBay.

This week’s big problem?  On the old Gonset GSB-100 there is only a front-panel switch to manually turn on transmit. Since the panel mounted wafer switch is nearly, uh, 60-years old, finding a replacement would be difficult.  So an external switch makes lots of sense.  You just hook something up to the terminal strip on the back, but that means finding the right external switch.

And here’s the Joy du Jour in ham parts:  Turns out that tattoo artists apparently need enough foot switches that you can pick one up on eBat for under $5-bucks!  Check out the item here.

I’ve regaled you in the past about the value of a foot switch for power tools in the shop, but this is low-voltage switching.  And for this, I’d like to thank all those people who got tattoos.

Because?

If there hadn’t been a zillion people getting tats, there would not be foot switches wearing out.  And without the foot switches going out, some entrepreneurial sort in Shezen, China would never has posted on eBay for these dandy foot switches.

I can think of lots of applications for them, specialized this and that’s…but for one, a simple transmit switch is a fine deal.

That leaves only THE BIG SWITCH to kill equipment.

The way (old school) ham radio conversations end, particularly on AM around 3886 KHz on the 75 meter phone band end is often something like this…

“Well, old man, about time to pull the BIG switch.  Gotta be at work early tomorrow, so we’ll be seeing you on down the electric bill…”

South hams might begin “Well, bub…”  While in the Northeast, you might be seen “down the power bill…”  Such are the dialects you pick up.

While a simple outlet strip will provide a “local” BIG switch, back in the day my previous ham shacks featured a 220V disconnect.  In the modern era, the servers are co-located in the same facility, so we leave that BIG switch the hell alone.

The best one ever was a mercury whetted silent 110V switch.  These are getting harder to find, though.  Almost as good – and bright red to boot – is the Leviton 1221-2R 20-Amp, 120/277-Volt, Toggle Single-Pole AC Quiet Switch, Extra Heavy Duty Spec Grade, Self Grounding, Red which with a matching red cover will come to $14-bucks, or so with Amazon Prime.

Initially, this “Big Switch” will live in an outdoor utility box.  Total overkill, but a good foot switch and “the Big” switch are some of the fun accoutrements of an eccentric hobby.

One of these days, we will have an UrbanSurvival CW meet-up on the 40 meter back some evening.  Times and frequencies are open to suggestions…

Whew…back to more mainstream stuff Thursday.  Or, not.

Oh, and thanks get getting tattoo’ed.  Helps ham radio, robotics, science labs, and who else will discover the cheap foot switches?

Write when you get rich, (Or when you have the shipping info on that Icom 7851 for me, roflol…)

George@ure.net

Comments

Coping: Retooling of UrbanSurvival Site — 26 Comments

  1. Sorry for not submitting this through your e-mail as requested but every time I’ve tried it for quite some time anything I send to any of the addresses you’ve given over the past few years always gets bounced back. Perhaps I sent you too many … whatevers … before I found your news submission page?

    Anyway – laptop, 1600 x 900

    Using Chrome. IE has become inoperable unfortunately. I miss it.

    3 columns as it is now.

    I like the PM charts. I sometime come back to your site just to see them as Kitco’s site can take some time to load if I’m in a hurry. (HOW do they always KNOW when I’m in a hurry?). Top center is a good location. Crypto chart? Sure. BC is the canary for all of them.

    U.S. loads very fast for me. Coming to your site is like finding a quiet roadside park off of a busy interstate. The processor isn’t going nuts along with its fan.

    This and e-mail is as close to social media as I get.

    The blue color scheme works for my eyes.

    I suggested earlier last year that you could add the ability to embed videos in your comments section but this may require a completely different software from what you’re using.

    Which brings me to something I’ve always wondered about your comments section. I know you have the right of first refusal but is there a time-out function that allows a posting to go public if you don’t nix it on your end in a specified amount of time? Given the knock-down, drag out of this past year I’ve wondered several times about a few comments that made it through.

    • And, after posting to the comments section on your “Clean Hands” article I’m reminded that it would be good to enlarge your fonts to contain other non-English characters as well as italics, bold type and the like. Taxing one’s imagination can be fun (no, really!) but there is a serious limitation on how it’s done without a little help from the pre-emoji world.

      • Aw, dangit! I forgot again to say, in answer to the question of monitor size, my monitor is a 17″ on the laptop.

  2. Display: 2″ phone, 4″ tablet, 24″ monitor, 27″ monitor. Yes, electronics spending is over budget, but I am an addict.

    Layout, chart location, page speed, color scheme: Perfect just as it is, I come to this site for your uniqueness and for the lack of bandwidth suckage

    Social media: I can copy and paste this link to Facebook when I share

    Keep up the good work, George, and thanks for asking.

  3. Still lots of folks that would complain if were going to be hung with new rope.

    so far as can tell ure site looks great

  4. Samsung Galaxy S8. I also have a tablet. No home pc. Why when I pay for a $1000 portable Pc.

    Maybe get a laptop with my irs return this year.

    Only complaint is you can’t bold or italicize certaiin words in the comments, AND it takes a day or so see the reply’s.

    As a reader of U.S. for years now. It has come a long way.

    Be cool of you had a tab that would list ures and others predictions. Along with your woo woo dreams and stuff so they could be reviewed and not get lost in the mix. I have seen some great commenters make predictions that have come true. And of course yours. I suppose that would be for the peoplenimics side.

    Just be nice to track, or have record of them.

    Yes I saw the quake on swan island. I just didn’t say anything. I don’t day everything I see. I’m busy raising up some new kids at glp.. and a few other places. some of them are very gifted.. and grabbing gears.

  5. 19″ monitor
    wifi 20meg
    Charts: Important
    Comments and Discussion: very good look forward to them and read them….Like to see also agreeing and disagree.
    Cyptos: i use coinmarketcap.com for info… but like your comments on crytos:
    also like your storys on Ham radio an also a Ham operator
    loads fast enough color good

  6. Critiques?

    SEO will tell you ‘mobile optimization’ is the way.

    What’s your goal in terms of the website, G?

    I’m going out on a limb here to say gimme click volume.

    Overall the content is good enough to get US here. So that’s a reason we might refer others… but your site makes it difficult to exchange ideas/banter back and forth.

    Intriguing “Comments and Discussion” gets the return traffic.

    The immediate concern is the speed of this blog.

    And another thing! In terms of the ‘reader comments’ along the side, more information needs to be provided.

    I’m posting this at 7:49PM EST. By the time the others read and perhaps respond, tomorrow is here for me. The time it takes to post, review the responses to perhaps respond too, the topic is likely stale.

    The ‘Reader Comments’ along the side need to be straightened out.

    Respectfully,

    • The “stale part” might be helped by reading earlier? I go to great pains to post at 8 AM daily… g

      • G,

        Your information isn’t stale. The reader comment posts are stale.

        Your posts are great.

  7. I read Ure site on my old desk top PC that has a 1080 browser width. Number of columns doesn’t matter to me. Chart location? I only look at the charts in Peoplenomics. Is Ure site fast enough? I live in a hole in the middle of the woods; I’m lucky I have Internet at all, so, yeah, Ure fast enough for me. Social buttons? No. I like the blue – it helps keep my BP down. Discussions? Don’t have time for them.

  8. I don’t see any need for page format changes or social media addition(s). Those things aren’t better, just different. Like a new upgrade to Windows, it is a cosmetic time waster.

    Laptop/desktop is where I get my news, and pick up bread crumbs & weather alerts via text messages on my cell phone.

    No need for external charts of any type. For Cryptos, just the link: https://coinmarketcap.com/
    and you can get all your charts and pertinent information in 1-2 clicks.

    CW meet up? LoL – it is the 21st Century! How about a meet up with DSTAR, and we’ll discuss using an astrophysics bias to help win nickels and dimes at the casino.

  9. 24″ monitor
    1920 x 1080
    Good now.
    Connect: wireless (not satellite) internet @ 20 meg (mountains)
    Browser: Chrome/ desk top computer/ W 10
    Pages are quick, layout is good now, color good
    Charts on top, moderately important, crypto +/-
    No social buttons
    Comments-occasionally, I don’t follow discussions

  10. Screen size is an archaic concept. Your provider should be monitoring for device when your page is accessed, and presenting the proper format for the device. They should also be keeping stats on the devices that access your site.

  11. Display: desktop
    Layout: now
    Charts: not important (anyone interested probably has a ‘go to’ site. Keep on top if kept. No on bitcoin
    Page speed: yes fine as us
    Social Media: no
    Color: OK
    Comments/discussion: Very important — adds to the topic whether agreeing or disagree and often adds new insights to agree with or not

  12. I like everything the way it is. No need to change much. Charts fine, layout adequate. It’s the content that matters. Device usage has nothing to do with it. Your site looks the same on my iPhoneX as it does my MacBook Pro and my iPad Pro. Yes, I am a social media hound. It’s extremely necessary for business these days.

  13. Connection: DSL @ about 5 megs, only.
    Works fine for me. I can
    watch full-speed movies
    n’ with no stutters.

    Display: 1366 x 1068.

    Browser: IE11 and Chrome

    Layout: The way it is now is fine by me, but
    I do not oppose change that actually
    does make an improvement.

    Gold Charts: I happen to have one or two
    Au roundels with the original
    Roman numerals on them for the
    date struck, you know:
    MCMLIX 6SJ7 6146 12AX7…
    and a few worn and pitiable
    junky dimes I took off a dead
    newspaperboy, so the charts
    are the very first thing I look
    at. Location? Anywhere is nice.

    Load Speed: Fine.(and I’m on a slow DSL)

    Social Media is for morons with time to waste.

    Color Scheme: Current is nice, but I do not oppose change if improvement results.

    Comments are an unwarrented burden on you for moderation — and you can’t go bareback, chaos and ugliness always result from that. Maybe for registered “OK” white listees… List ’em once, kill them if they misbehave.

    Radio Ranch

  14. How important are the charts? Very
    Preferred location: Top
    Want a Crypto Chart if I can find one? Why? … not going to end well.
    Page Speed: OK
    Does Urban load fast enough? Yes
    Social Media: boo, hiss
    Do you want social buttons? No
    Best two Socials for you? phone text msgs. and email
    Color Scheme: blue color scheme
    It’s OK
    Comments and Discussion: I don’t care … not why I subscribe.

    If you have to make a choice between the page presenting well on a phone or on a desk top please choose the desk top.

    • Richard, Thank you, you nailed it!!!!

      George, As a site with a financial info leaning add additional rows of charts at top;DOW SP500 Euro etc. Kitco charts use to be clickable to get more data..
      One last thought some of your best columns are long: How about a “back to top” icon?