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« Undesired Blog Day Off | Main | Descended From David »

July 12, 2006

Comments

Shane

rats! If only I lived in California I would be able to give countless hours

Makes one wish one did not live in Northern Kentucky, and had much more reliable transportation. Let me know if your commuter compensation increases.

Steve

This project sounds like something that might be better done with a scanner and OCR software.

Jimmy Akin

No, that would be *much* too slow.

What I'm talking about is *much* faster.

Maureen

"What I'm talking about is *much* faster."

See! It is an FTL apologetics starship!

Brian Day

Jimmy,

I'm willing to help, but live in Orange County. I could drive down there, but it would have to be on the weekend. Would someone be available at CA on a Saturday? If so, I'll email you my phone number.

John E

Obviously, with a name like Secret Project #4, I assume any takers would have to walk through many security checkpoints when they enter the Catholic Answers godpod, kinda like Maxwell Smart.

Paul H

I wish I lived in southern California. Wait, actually I don't -- the housing prices are too high, and I would miss having snow in the winter. But you know what I mean, which is that I wish I could help.

Also, my guess for Secret Project #4 is that it will be a Catholic apologetics "wiki" -- sort of a Catholic apologetics version of Wikipedia. I'm guessing that you are setting up some basic wiki pages to start with, based on Catholic Answers tracts, jimmyakin.com articles, and other sources. Then people will be able to update the articles themselves to add further information, or they will be able to add new pages to the wiki for new topics. I'm also guessing that all edits would be subject to approval by Catholic Answers staff. That's my guess anyway, and it's partially driven by the fact that Jimmy often links to articles on Wikipedia. I can't wait to find out if I'm right or wrong!

Paul H

In fact, if I'm right about my wiki guess above, the two parts of the project could be as follows:

(1) A Catholic apologetics wiki that is editable only by certain pre-approved people (e.g., Catholic Answers staff and certain well-known Catholic apologists).

(2) A Catholic apologetics wiki that is editable by anyone.

It would be interesting to see which of the above two ideas would turn out to be more useful. The second one would be subject to more questionable information being added (or good information being deleted), but it also would get updated a lot more frequently, and thus it could end up being better.

Of course, my whole guess is probably way off base.

Christopher

THIS IS KILLING ME! Why'd you have to say "revolutionize the field of apologetics???" I don't want to wait. Please, please, please give us a hint NOW!!!!


Yeah, the week before Christmas was always great for my parents...

Kevin Jones

A while back I guessed an apologetics wiki, too.

This is all speculation of course.

Kevin Knight of NewAdvent has been hoping to put together a Catholic wiki, I'm not sure how far along he is on that project.

Ed Peters

I have this Bradberian image of Jimmy getting people to type out all 1,752 canons on slips of paper, to be distributed and memorized against the day when Firemen come and burn our libraries to the ground.

Joseph D'Hippolito

"Secret Project #4..."

Jimmy, you really *are* an ex-devotee of Dr. Gene Scott, aren't you? ;)

StubbleSpark

It's a Papal Gundam.

bill912

I think Secret Project # 4 has to do with coordinating Hit Lists for Opus Dei Albino Monks and maintenance for their Black Helicopters.

(Oh, no! Now I'll be on their Hit List for spilling the beans!)

*

Ooh, if it's a wiki, then please consider making it the first page and at the forefront of Catholic.com. The last time I read through the mess at that first page, http://www.catholic.com was, well, never. It's messy and nobody reads all of that.

It needs re-designed as well. The forums show a very skinny text column with too much blank space at the sides. Vbulletin's default themes are better than those three custom ones. Whether you plan to fill in that blank space with ads and links or not, it is very annoying to have a monitor over 17" and have to scroll because of that tiny narrow text column. People with lower resolution (usually smaller monitors) or laptops never understand what you're talking about. You need something that can re-size itself in proportion to a person's display resolution, instead of a fixed pixel width.

It needs to look like it's not some amateur project by some guy in his garage. You got THE name, "catholic, dot com". Now make the site look professional and authoritative!

Paul H

In response to "*", actually I think that the UI on forums.catholic.com is very nice. However, I usually don't maximize my browser window, and I don't have a huge monitor, so I don't generally run into the problem that he mentioned. But even if I did set my browser size and/or display resolution wider, I still don't know that I would want the forum posts to display much wider, because it gets difficult for one's eyes to follow text from one line to the next if the lines are too long.

I do agree that the front page of Catholic.com could use a re-design. It's not terrible, but it's so "busy" that it's sometimes hard to find what you're looking for.

*

Sorry, those critiques might have come off as rude. I'm impressed with, and grateful for, the Catholic Answers apostolate. I'd like the site's appearance to reflect the quality of the workers behind it, is all. First impressions of visitors count for a lot--they usually make a decision whether to be back on the first visit--and that forum problem is annoying enough to keep some people away...

Paul H

I wrote:

"But even if I did set my browser size and/or display resolution wider, I still don't know that I would want the forum posts to display much wider, because it gets difficult for one's eyes to follow text from one line to the next if the lines are too long."

Actually, I should qualify this. While I personally wouldn't want the text to be wider (or at least not much wider), I do agree that it should scale based on the size of your browser window, similar to the way that the text here on Jimmy's blog does. I say this because I think that the user should be given control over such things to the extent that it is possible to do so without sacrificing usability or "look-and-feel". Also, I'm thinking of the situation where a person might increase the font display size in their browser in order to make the text more easily readable -- in that case wider lines would make more sense.

*

Paul H. :

Most of the UI you see is VBulletin's software. It's good software. What CA did was shrink the text column so that it looks good on a 15" monitor or a laptop, driving everyone with a 17", 19" or more absolutely nuts with the tiny middle text column. Increasing resolution doesn't make it easier to read.

What they have to do is re-script it so that it adjusts to each visitor's screen resolution. You achieve this by NOT setting a FIXED pixel width for that column. Instead, you tell it to be X PERCENT wide, and leave it to the browser to adjust the display.

That way, the column adjusts no matter what size your screen is, for comfortable reading.

No, this is not difficult to do. This is soooo easy for a web admin to adjust. If they'd do it, you probably wouldn't notice much difference. But those of us with large displays would suddenly be comfortable reading the forums, like you are right now.

Ever been on a site which forces you to scroll to the right to read all of the text? That's the reverse in action. Very annoying, isn't it. That webmaster has set the site to be too big for your particular screen, requiring you to do excess scrolling. They should have used percentages instead of fixed pixel widths. Likewise, Catholic.com's forums require us large-monitor-owners to scroll vertically because the text column containing the content is too darned skinny to hold much in a single line.

*

Paul H: Our last posts "crossed" but I see that you know exactly what I mean! You're right and you have a better understanding of this than the people I've complained to :-)

joe

OK, let's play a little blue's clues shall we. So far I've written the following in my little notebook:

--mystery materials
--computer
--e-mail

I don't know what is faster than Optical character recognition, unless, of course the mystery materials are simply loads of already word processed materials that just need to be uploaded to a certain site.

Dunno.

Paul H

"What they have to do is re-script it so that it adjusts to each visitor's screen resolution. You achieve this by NOT setting a FIXED pixel width for that column. Instead, you tell it to be X PERCENT wide, and leave it to the browser to adjust the display."

I agree completely. If the page were set up as you describe, then the user would have control over how wide the text displays, simply by re-sizing their browser window to the desired width. And it would display well on large or small monitors / display resolutions.

"Ever been on a site which forces you to scroll to the right to read all of the text? That's the reverse in action. Very annoying, isn't it."

Yes, that is annoying! :-) I have a 17" monitor with 1024 x 768 display resolution, but I usually keep my browser sized at a bit less than the full screen size (probably just a bit bigger than it would be if I had 800 x 600 resolution and I maximized the browser window). I do this because it makes reading more comfortable for me, especially on pages where the text stretches all the way from the left edge to the right edge of the window. But it is a little annoying then when I have to scroll to the right (or increase the size of my browser window) in order to see content on some pages -- in fact the front page of catholic.com has this problem, to a small extent.

David

"Secret Project #4", the exciting sequal to Dan' Brown's bestselling thriller, "The Da Vinci Code"! Soon to be directed by Ron Howard.

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