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One step closer to Pretty

August 15th, 2008 . by TANcast Admin

Today we switched from (a slightly modified version of) Michael Fienen’s Grayplicity theme to the Ginseng Coffee theme created by JTk from Doc5.  It is rounder and browner and closer to where we are going to try to get this site.

What do you all think?  Better?  Worse?  How so?

At some point in the (hopefully near) future we’ll start using a custom theme that borrows heavily from both, possibly with some layout and interface touches inspired by (read: stolen from) Gradient Brown Beauty and/or some of the AJAX-y goodness of K2.

The rounded edges will stay, and Ginseng Coffee is closer to a color scheme we could like, but the fixed-width layout will probably be replaced by a layout that scales to your browser and reformats posts to use 2-3 columns on sufficiently wide (like over 1200 pixels) displays for ease of reading.  If that last part didn’t make sense, check out Robert O’Callahan’s blog and resize your browser.  If you use a shitty browser like IE, you won’t see anything change, but Firefox users (and yes, he is a Mozilla employee: read his blog if you want an education) will get some nifty reformatting as the browser goes wider and narrower.

We’ll also be adding links to subscribe to feeds, subscribe to the podcast, and probably a box that always highlights the latest podcast at or near the top of the main page so it won’t get buried by other crap (like this post).

Eventually we will be carrying a few more Google ads, but are strongly favoring going text-only instead of the occasional image- or flash-based ad.  If you have a strong preference for text ads, please drop us a line in the comments on this post.

Because you read all this, have some delicious El Scorcho on us:

14 Responses to “One step closer to Pretty”

  1. Geoff Says:

    To quote my sister-in-law:

    Whoa. Just… whoa.

  2. Andy Says:

    Good whoa or bad whoa?

  3. Noah Says:

    I dig the new look and I love the song El Scorcho.

    Little known fact, I got into Weezer because of a girl. Sadly I never got to “pee in her butt” as the kids say.

  4. Andy Says:

    In reply to myself, the new theme has got to have some changes made or I’m gonna go nuts:

    * The post count numbers in the left sidebar are barely readable.
    * The hyperlinks in posts are not obvious enough.
    * The comment entry form uses a hack of layering the input fields over JPG images (and why not at least use PNG, if you you are gonna do that?) to make the form areas all rounded. The problem is that this fixed-size image does not actually completely contain the text entry area on Firefox, so long comments (like this one) run off the tan area onto the brown and the scrollbar looks like shit. It’s like having a very nice custom suit tailored, but using measurements from someone else.
    * On the same subject, the nifty “highlight border” around the submit button jumps around in Firefox.
    * I need to put the style changes that mark comments left by Noah, Tim, and I in a slightly different color back in (because I like to feel special).
    * Replace the banner shape (Noah IMed me and called it a “goatse”, but if you don’t know what that means DO NOT TRY TO FIND OUT!!!) with something more “us” that Tim made.

    This is all a learning experience for me, and everything I encounter in themes I try out that rocks or sucks gives me a more concrete plan for the final design.

  5. Dean Says:

    I feel like I’m in a fucking Santa Cruz candle store… go back to Grayplicity or pick something else… feh

  6. Nick Says:

    It’s pretty.

  7. Tim Says:

    Dean, why wouldn’t you wanna be in a Santa Cruz candle store? It smells nice and then you go out side and you’re in Santa Cruz! YAY!!!!

  8. Alissa Says:

    I like it better than the previous layouts. Go you!

  9. Tony Says:

    Never been to Santa Cruz, and it’s rare that my wife drags me into a candle store, so I can’t make a comparison.

    Being a person that digs earth tones, I do like the inclusion of color into the site, as opposed to the stark white background. However, as Andy has already pointed out, it does make some of the topics and font colors hard to read.

    Step in the right direction, though! Not just resting on your laurels. 😉

    Oh, and interesting…when I reach the bottom of the text box, I’m now typing half in, half out of it.

    If it helps, I am using Firefox…whatever the newest version is.

  10. Geoff Says:

    Not good or bad. Just… whoa.

  11. Iris (crazy fan/sister thing) Says:

    It’s a little girly for you guys…yes even you guys. I like the more standard/grray and lifeless version you had before. It fits you better (I’m not even sure myself if that’s a compliment or not…)

    Go back to the way it was before! Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh change!!!!

  12. Andy Says:

    So far, those expressing an opinion seem to be 2-to-1 in favor of the direction this change took us. Dean and Iris maaaaaay like the next iteration more, since color will remain but it will be lightened (and thus toned down) a bit.

    Tony, I’d actually noticed the text box craziness and hated on it, but I probably won’t fix it in this theme.

    I’m gonna try to swap the banners, improve some font colors, and maybe change the “owner” comments style today. I was insanely busy over the weekend (almost didn’t get to TANcast), but I’ll try to set some time aside at some point to pretty this up somewhat.

  13. Andy Says:

    Also annoying:

    Ginseng Coffee lacks a PHP call to wp_footer(), so my WordPress.com-based stats went tits-up for the last 6 days until I figured out what was wrong.

  14. Andy Says:

    ALSO annoying:

    Ginseng Coffee thinks it does alternating styles for each comment in a string, but it looks like the author fucked up the logic. The author is also using a table to format the comments, which I think is kinda poop.

    I doubt now that I’m gonna do much with this theme except let it be “pretty enough for now” and then list all the thing I dislike and not do any of them while I’m working on my own..

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