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Thanks! Met Fourth Target, On to the Fifth

Thanks to our generous and responsive readers, we met our fourth target (blog support so we can take a real vacation) late Monday evening. As of midnight EST, we hit 470 donors out of our target of 750. We also had a fund manager approach us about paying a research fee quarterly, as it does to some independent analysts. Quite a few readers told us after the crisis that our commentary helped them escape losses, and some investors also said NC was responsible for some profitable trades. And as much as our focus post the implosion has shifted to covering the failure to implement meaningful reforms, our ongoing coverage of current developments and underlying trends in the markets and the economy is still valuable to investors small and large.

Our fifth target is a grab bag of site enhancements. First, we’d like to implement bi-weekly podcasts (given how backed up we are, don’t expect us to roll this our prior to the new year). That will probably be mainly your humble blogger, solo, but if we are going to get good quality equipment and related software, it makes sense to get extra mikes for the occasional guest interview. The total includes the fee of a day’s time of a sound engineer to get us set up, plus a couple of additional hours of time for some training in audio editing.

Second is to implement a mobile design. We’ll be showing some possible layouts later this week. This will take some (not overwhelming, but some) implementation on the tech end. (Note that an iPad version will come later. A company, Onswipe, which has a good solution, does not yet have the ability to implement comments, and given how important the comment section is to NC readers, I’m not willing to consider them seriously until it is operational. In addition, an iPad implementation requires a considerably rethink about design priorities).

The third is the long overdue regular NC site freshening up. I’d like to tweak the layout to improve readability (I think line and paragraph proportions could be improved, which requires someone versed in traditional graphic arts/book layout skills rather than a web design background). In addition, the site needs a lot of feature tweaks (for instance, a proper contact page, a comments page, possibly switching from WordPress’ comment section to Disqus. Any reader thoughts re the latter very much appreciated). These improvements are likely to come in discrete chunks in early 2012 rather than one big “tah dah”.

The rough cost for all three would be $5500. I hope you’ll continue to provide your help in making the site a better experience for the NC community!

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25 comments

  1. appointmetotheboard

    Yves

    Disqus does not play well with assistive technologies. If you want to keep NC inclusive and accessible to everyone to join in the debates, please be careful about the comments solution that you adopt. Feel free to emai me if you want to know more about this area as its what I do for a living.

    http://noeyesneeded.com/2011/07/disqus-shutting-out-the-blindness-community-from-discussion/

    Secondly, reading on a pc is a very different experience to reading a book. If you want to improve readability (personally I find it grand – nice big text and a decent font) I’d say a web designer is exactly what you need rather than someone from the print world.

    Hope this doesn’t sound too grumpy – I’m only trying to help, and I hope you take it in that spirit.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks, but I have found web designers have no interest in text layout. There may be ones that are good at it but they seem to be very much a minority. Their idea of design too much had to do with making the site visually busy rather than making the text as appealing as possible.

      1. bobok

        You might find the sort of designer you seek lurking around A List Apart:

        In Defense of Readers

        There is a community of designers concerned with best practices for web design and readability. They’re just few and far between. Good luck in your search.

      2. MacCruiskeen

        You’re probably right, but I’d have to say, as someone who did a little book design work back in the wax-and-xacto-knife days, that some of the rules for typesetting do not apply directly to the web. Screen resolution is low, and reading distances are larger. Bigger type is not such a bad idea, though these days software gives the user a lot more control over end display.

    2. wunsacon

      Not a fan of Disqus. But, my sentiment was formed 2 years ago. Maybe it’s not as …dunno…”clunky”.

      What about CalculatedRisk’d Hoocoodanode?

  2. Philip Pilkington

    Edit button in comments. EDIT BUTTON IN COMMENTS. EDIT BUTTON IN COMMENTS.

    But have it timed so that shysters don’t go back on what they say by editing it when someone calls them on BS. So, it would just be to correct mistakes.

    I’ve already heckled FT Alphaville enough to set this up. But if it’s not set up on NC… well… there will be further heckling!

    1. wunsacon

      >> But have it timed so that shysters don’t go back on what they say by editing it when someone calls them on BS. So, it would just be to correct mistakes.

      CR’s Hoocoodanode prevents edits after anyone else uses to “reply” to reply to a comment.

  3. Sock Puppet

    Very happy about the prospect of a mobile solution. I read nc almost exclusively on my phone. Sent an extra donation.

  4. Jeff

    I’m using a Mac OSX with Firefox….when typing in
    the comment
    window I have to manually do a “carriage return”
    as the type just continues go go off to the right ad
    infinitum…even the edge of the d in “ad” gets visually
    shaved…..

    Problem with this is that you can’t see your
    mistakes
    or doubled words, misspellings etc until posted.

    Any way to adjust this? Perhaps it’s at my end, but
    I can’t find it.

  5. BA_Actuary

    Thank you, Yves! Your efforts are truly making a difference. Looking forward to reading many more of your writings.

    btw. The “Donate” button seems to work for me in IE9, but clicking it in Chrome jumps to the paypal homepage instead of the donation landing page with no link to NC.

    1. Foppe

      It doesn’t work in Chrome for some reason yes. You’ll have to fill in the email address manually, i guess.

  6. Cody

    Yves, my team can do a lot of this part for you:

    In addition, the site needs a lot of feature tweaks (for instance, a proper contact page, a comments page, possibly switching from WordPress’ comment section to Disqus. Any reader thoughts re the latter very much appreciated).

    I know you’re backed up in email so let us know if we can be of service.

  7. Aquifer

    Maybe i am stepping out of line a bit (so what else is new) and maybe this is not applicable or relevant to this site, don’t know, but i would like to make an observation, for what it is worth.

    I was “addicted” to a “progressive” alt news site for awhile when it was young and “lean and hungry”. As it started to catch on and be more popular and the money started flowing in to fund all kinds of fancy media equipment, studios, etc., something seemed to happen – it seemed, to me at least, that it pulled in it’s horns a bit – was less likely to really take on TPTB, perhaps fearing that it might alienate some of it’s new found “funders” that it now depended upon. Perhaps it was always that way and I only noticed it when i challenged it to cover some rather dodgy stuff re the TPTB.

    Just a cautionary tale – when you start needing a bunch of money to “communicate”, you start being dependent on those with that money …

    If this comment is inappropriate or inapplicable here, I apologize, it’s just that I have seen it happen and one sometimes doesn’t realize what is happening until it does, and even then one is reluctant to acknowledge it because of the implications ….

    Just a thought ….

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You’ve got one thing wrong here: I assume those sites were not for profits that get money from foundations. Most foundations are conservative, and even the pinko ones have institutional money, so they are only a teeny bit pink.

      I’m getting money from small donors. I’m not dependent on any one (or any big one in that bunch). And they are anteing up because they like the independence.

      I’ve already lost gigs that were worth MUCH more than this fundraiser by virtue of having this blog. I’m actually a bit insulted by your insinuation re my motives.

  8. Master David Goodmen

    Greetings Yves,

    Disqus: NO.
    Disqus requires cookies be allowed for foreign sites. This is an open invitation for marketers to track your web usage.
    I had a choice: Use Disqus, or leave cookies set to “Allow cookies for the originating site only.” I chose the latter.
    I e-mailed Disqus about this hole in security. They never bothered to e-mail back ANYTHING. Thus, Disqus is “NO”, as far as I am concerned!

    Good formatting on the web can be had. You just need someone who knows how to do it. Also be aware, many people still cannot use actual typographic characters—either a line of random characters appears, or question marks. Neither is understandable.
    I write stories. I want them to look like books, as I like books. So, I write using the proper typographical characters. I then distribute the stories as RTF files. This does not work for web pages, unfortunately.

    Text can be slightly colored, can be italicized, underlined, or even be placed inside tables which are narrower than the main width. Some of this you do. It makes sense to make use of simple ways of calling out your comments in other peoples’ posts, their comments inside your posts, and quotations of outside sources.
    When I quote someone on mailing lists, I italicize their text, and color it slightly green. This differentiates what I wrote from what I quoted.
    There are other tricks, and there are web designers who know how to use them. No, I am not a web designer, nor am I an economist. I am an electronics engineer who has viewed a huge number of web pages, only a few of them decently designed.
    Beware of filling your page with JavaScript, commercials, and other junk. This makes one’s computer run slowly, and infuriates most people. Many “progressive” sites I visit require I turn of JavaScript, as the page will spend forever downloading junk, and playing commercials; not paying attention to PageUp/PageDown commands, and the like.

    I have read you a few months, now. Excellent work! (I recommend your site, but people do not want to hear bad news…)

    Dave

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