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Speak Up v4: Alive and Well

It is a lonely 0:58 AM on Monday. Other than one of my cats — the other must be in a box somewhere, Bryony is sound asleep and there is no TV or iPod playing in the background — there is no one I can high five at this moment. And, boy, do I want to high five someone: Speak Up is back to life.

After a painful, but undoubtedly looming, database crash I was forced to recode Speak Up from the ground up and upgrade to MovableType 3.2 and while there are still a few bugs I can happily say that this is the smoothest version ever. Specially in the back-end. We have ditched the default Berkeley database for a sweet MySQL database. Speak Up is now built using only CSS with nary a table, row or cell in sight. And despite past off-shrugging of having good markup and being W3C and XHTML Transitional compliant, I am proud to say that Speak Up validates like nobody’s business — with some individual archives that may have previous bad character encoding being the exception. Since I was poking around, I made some design changes… Hey, I’m still a graphic designer over a programmer, I couldn’t just keep my hands off of the design. So things are a little more colorful overall. Other than that, things are all where they used to be (after a week of reassigning each and every entry its place in the Speak Up structure) and working fine.

The only problem that I was not able to resolve today, and this seems to be a problem with the MovableType code, is that the comments window is not remembering your information, so every time you leave a comment you will have to enter your name and e-mail again and again and again until I can figure a solution. Many apologies for the inconvenience. I am also trying to figure out the best way to deliver News and Events from around the industry. Stay tuned for that. And lastly, some old entries will be rebuilt in the next hours, so if you get an error on a specific page this is why.

This might be a good time to update your RSS feed with us if you use it: http://www.underconsideration.com/speakup/index.xml

If you see any bugs please let me know. Empty your caches, hard-refresh your browsers and enjoy.

High five!

Update: “Remember my Info” is now working. I had ommited a line of code which is now not ommited.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
ARCHIVE ID 2669 FILED UNDER Speak Up Announcements
PUBLISHED ON Apr.24.2006 BY Armin
Chris Dixon’s comment is:

Let me be the first to say Welcome Back...

“Welcome Back”

On Apr.24.2006 at 02:58 AM
Chris Dixon’s comment is:


I can only reach the Comments from the main page. When clicking on “Comments” from the window opened after clicking “Continue Reading this entry”, a 404 error results.

On Apr.24.2006 at 03:05 AM
tjf’s comment is:

armin, thanks for all the hard work. if it was half as bad as it sounds, you deserve a medal.

i was curious and checked out some of the archives, and i can't seem to access any posts before september 27, 2005. i emptied my cache and tried it on a couple browsers. the comments come up fine, just the post itself is not accessible.

sorry to rain on your high-five parade. or maybe i'm an idiot... wouldn't be the first time.

On Apr.24.2006 at 03:05 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Chris, thanks for that bug. Fixed.

TJF, old entries are being rebuilt right now. We now have 1,384 entries with 34,000+ comments that need to be "rebuilt" (MovableType term) 100 at a time. I would still be up if I had done that last night. So, eventually, at the end of the day all entries should be accesible.

On Apr.24.2006 at 08:48 AM
Barbara’s comment is:

Great to have you back.

In the meantime, I really enjoyed Bryony's visit to NC last week, as well as hearing your Wizard of Oz disembodied voice comments. Thanks.

On Apr.24.2006 at 09:34 AM
Armin’s comment is:

TEST - Ignore

On Apr.24.2006 at 10:47 AM
Armin’s comment is:

"Remember my info" feature is now working. Thanks to our beloved programmer-friend Su who noticed a boo-boo I made.

On Apr.24.2006 at 11:11 AM
Adrian’s comment is:

Congratulations, Armin. That is no small accomplishment!

On Apr.24.2006 at 11:12 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

My withdrawal tremors are subsiding, and I don't think it will take me too long to get used to the brightness and the bits of little Arial Bold scattered about.

Speak Up, It's great to have you back!

Well done, Armin.

On Apr.24.2006 at 11:28 AM
Justin Kropp’s comment is:

Whew! I was a bit nervous for a bit. Glad everything is working like butter and you're forging ahead.

On Apr.24.2006 at 12:07 PM
Dave Werner’s comment is:

Looks great! Nice work.

On Apr.24.2006 at 01:05 PM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

Now I can stop going to that German site ::Sprechen Sie oben:: since I posted without understanding German or code...Congradulations, Armin. I missed you guys.

On Apr.24.2006 at 01:21 PM
Zoelle’s comment is:

Nice work!

The only issue I have is font size. I feel like such a client, but the text seems much harder to read now.
(viewed on a Mac using most major browsers)

On Apr.24.2006 at 01:31 PM
Aaron’s comment is:

High five, it looks great. The chartreuse is lookin hot.

On Apr.24.2006 at 01:49 PM
Lisa’s comment is:

I'm just a lurker, but I wanted say how much I appreciate your site!

On Apr.24.2006 at 02:26 PM
flydianslip’s comment is:

I'd like to say love the site. But at home I use Firefox, and at work I have to use IE, because that's what's loaded and provided, using IE the middle (main) column of content isn't in the correct place. It's below the right hand column, at the bottom of the page. Is anyone else having this problem? You have to scroll to the bottom to read it.

On Apr.24.2006 at 11:10 PM
marian bantjes’s comment is:

Armin, you have my utmost sympathy and Five High Fives!!

Not being a programmer myself, but having bumblingly built all of my own sites, I can completely understand what a pain this must have been. If you're anything like me, it involves brave trecking into the wilds with a sketchy map, a lot of getting lost, getting frustrated, sitting down to cry, getting up, persevering, finding your way, setting markers, and in the end coming out where you had hoped you would with a bunch of snake bites and a feeling of great triumph.

Oh, and hey, next time it's 1am and you want a high five, pls remember it's only 10pm for me, and I'm up.

Good for you! It looks great. The text does look different, but perfectly readable to me.

I am familiar with flydianslip's IE problem ... I had the same thing happen when i built my own site, but I hate to say, my answer to the problem was "fuck fucking IE." Ummmm.... perhaps Armin will be more accommodating.

On Apr.24.2006 at 11:49 PM
Kosal Sen’s comment is:

FYI, on IE 6, the second column (where the main content is)is pushed down all the way past the end of the left and right columns. Not that I use IE often.

On Apr.25.2006 at 01:40 AM
Unnikrishna Menon Damodaran’s comment is:

frustrating days without Speak Up.
i am sorry i could not offer any help from here (riyadh, saudi arabia).
goodluck and great times ahead.

On Apr.25.2006 at 03:42 AM
Armin’s comment is:

The main body text is slightly bigger than before, slightly, but it's darker. The print designer in me still can't bear the big type. But it's not a fixed pixel size anymore, it's em size so it's relative to something... not sure what.

The IE on PC issue kind of bugs me... A few people have written on the side reporting the same bug. As Marian points out, I'll try to see what I can do to acommodate the "problem". (Because, seriously, there are way better browsers than IE, doesn't Firefox come for PC?).

And Marian, thanks for the sympathy... it really felt like that. Small triumphs followed by hours of confused agony resolved with the simplest of tweaks resulting in constant head-bangs against the wall and hair-pulling.

Thanks to everyone for their kind words and patience while we work out the kinks.

On Apr.25.2006 at 08:30 AM
Kevin Steele’s comment is:

Congrats. I am sure you ahve many readers like me who don't comment much but miss Speak Up! when it is not available.

But it's not a fixed pixel size anymore, it's em size so it's relative to something... not sure what.

I think if you set a specific font size in your body style it would be relative to that, otherwise it would be relative to the base font size the browser is set to. (Of course, why speculate when we could investigate, but someone will know exactly.)

Anyway, this is good because I find the default type on Speak Up! timidly small... which is ironic given the name of the site.

On Apr.25.2006 at 11:44 AM
Tom B’s comment is:

Has the khaki-brown color changed, or is it just me?

It looks a bit greener than before

On Apr.25.2006 at 06:30 PM
keith mc’s comment is:

Great work Armin...as some have already said, i don't post often, but this is a site i love to visit, and was sorely missing the dose of graphic designy goodness i get from SpeakUp every now and again. by the way...time to update your colophon!

On Apr.25.2006 at 07:48 PM
Jordan’s comment is:

*high fives*

On Apr.25.2006 at 08:52 PM
flydianslip’s comment is:

I would say yes, Firefox probably does now get preinstalled on PCs. I reluctantly, use a PC and IE at work, and I can't download Firefox due to the fact I work for a defense contractor that limits our downloading of certain programs online. Everything about the site, besides deserves a high five...yes.

On Apr.25.2006 at 09:43 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

It's fine that SU plays nicely with seo now, but it's going to take more then tech. for people to come back everyday to read about what designers are commenting about. I think it's time for the authours to stop resting on reps and get back into the writing game if their serious. Being first can only hold for so long.

On Apr.26.2006 at 02:30 AM
Andy Malhan’s comment is:

I was trying to post this from IE:

I use IE and get am facing the same issue that flydianslip is. Virtues (or lack thereof) aside, isn't IE still the most commonly used browser out there?

But discovered, to my disappointment that not only was that the issue, but I also can't post from IE. So I dropped off an email to Armin and thought I'd test Firefox, which is working fine. Amen to 'lack thereof'.

On Apr.26.2006 at 05:50 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Tom... Yes, the khaki went away and was replaced by a bright green. We are still not convinced if this is the best solution, but I wanted to look at it for a few days and see if it felt better. I might make it a little less bright.

Andy... Sorry for the troubles on IE and PC. I'll see what I can do about it. And I don't think I got your e-mail; I've been having some issues with my e-mail, so don't take the no-reply as a sign of lack of customer service.

Michael... We hear you. Loud and clear.

On Apr.26.2006 at 09:17 AM
allijack’s comment is:

*high five*

On Apr.26.2006 at 10:34 AM
Alan’s comment is:

I'll put in my two cents and say that I don't care for the brighter color. I find it distracting while I'm trying to read. Other than that, congrats. Thanks for all your hard work, it's appreciated!

On Apr.26.2006 at 12:52 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Is anyone else on PC (or otherwise) experiencing problems when commenting? If you are, please explain your symptoms so I can troubleshoot.


On Apr.28.2006 at 08:08 AM
Dado Queiroz’s comment is:

Hello, Armin, and congratulations on the upgrade. I've been away from SpeakUp for a while now, as the work flow at the studio completely drowned us. It was a shock to see the new version, and it really appears to be smoother, as you pointed out.
I haven't had the time to take a more careful look at the site, nor to read the comments on this post (we're still suffocated!), but the type on my screen looks very very bad now. It used to be one of the most beautiful and smooth, and now it looks like plain bitmap, and it's very difficult to read. Maybe it's due to the fact that I'm in a different computer now. I hope not, though, as I liked the way the type looked before much better.
Did I do something wrong (firefox on G4 to firefox on G5)?

On Apr.28.2006 at 08:56 AM
Dado Queiroz’s comment is:

ps — old fashioned flat screen tube monitor to apple's built in LCD...

On Apr.28.2006 at 09:07 AM
Armin’s comment is:

I have made changes to the home page... Can someone using IE on a PC confirm (or deny) if the site now looks in order? ONLY the home page, the individual archives have not been updated yet. Please hard refresh or empty cache to preview.


On Apr.28.2006 at 09:10 AM
Dado Queiroz’s comment is:

Damn! I'm so stupid!
It's this damn firefox... I just had to push Command +...

Please, forgive my ignorance!

On Apr.28.2006 at 09:33 AM
flydianslip’s comment is:

...yes it looks better. This comment I had to go through Firefox to comment, but I did check it using IE. IE isn't working for comments still. The page lining up isn't perfect in IE as of yet, your "pattern" graphic isn't lining up with the "Division of..." and "Authors". But great job otherwise. Also you changed the colors!!!!! Less harsh and green/brown. Thanks a bunch keep up the good work.

On Apr.28.2006 at 10:47 AM
Andy Malhan’s comment is:

I'll echo flydianslip's comment. I'm on a PC running IE and while the middle content column is now in the middle, the two side columns seem dropped lower than they should be so the columns (and therfore the double black band) aren't aligned.

I too am posting from Firefox because IE isn't working for posting.

PS: Armin, I've sent you mail with a screen shot of what I'm getting in IE for your reference.

On Apr.28.2006 at 02:37 PM
mark’s comment is:

i don't know if this comment is too late but i have found browsercam (www.browsercam.com) invaluable for testing layouts cross-browser and cross-platform. since i am exclusively mac in my office, we use it fine tune ie-pc css.

perhaps this will help?

On May.01.2006 at 09:14 AM
Brian Alter’s comment is:

What about the Safari Debug Menu.
The example shown is for Java but the menu gives an option to select a "User Agent" at the bottom. I'm not much of a web dude though

On May.01.2006 at 10:13 AM
Caren Litherland’s comment is:


Compliments on the facelift.

And I feel your pain. As Dave Shea wrote the other day, "At the end of a long day of coding, loading that beautiful new site in Internet Explorer has always been a soul-crushing experience."

Marian, how I wish that we could "fuck fucking IE" (you don't know how many times I've muttered those very words, along with "fuck fucking AOL")—but as long as IE retains the market share, we can't really. (Though they have finally dropped below 90%. But we need to keep pushing FF.)

Any users out there running the IE7 beta who could give Armin some feedback (or screenshots)? Brace yourself for some quirks.

Kudos on your palette decisions; sharper and reads much better imho.


On May.02.2006 at 12:20 AM
Kitty’s comment is:

A comment about the syndication feed- I didn't know that you'd updated the site until I saw a post to a new entry over on Design Observer. I usually read SpeakUp via RSS, but the advice to update my feedreader to point to the new feed was posted in the new feed, and I never received it! I don't know if any other casual readers were affected by this ... would it be worth your time to reestablish the old feed and post an alert?

On May.03.2006 at 12:11 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Alright... Looks like the IE users on a PC can now comment... The rest of youse will have to do without our former pretty "preview" and "submit" buttons. Looks like there is conflict using image buttons with MT with IE on a PC. There is a workaround, but it was for an old version of MT which I'm afraid might create problems later on. So regular buttons for everyone.

"Remember my info" for IE does not seem to be working for me. So a) if it is or isn't for you, let me know and b) if it's only a problem on IE PC, then tough, this is all the extra tech support you are getting out of me. (Time to switch to a Mac).

On May.06.2006 at 06:24 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Kitty, sorry about the problem with RSS. Not sure how that happened since I thought I was updating the old RSS (any chance you might know what feed you were subscribed to?)... Oh well, hopefully people will feel compelled to come back and see if we are still alive.

On May.06.2006 at 06:30 PM
Armin’s comment is:


On May.17.2006 at 08:26 AM
Andy Malhan’s comment is:


On May.18.2006 at 03:15 AM
m. kingsley’s comment is:


On May.18.2006 at 03:42 AM