By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Alpha-testers wanted

Shhhh … no one is supposed to know. But would you mind taking a peek at an early version of what may wind up as the new Media Nation? It’s built with WordPress, and you’ll find it here. Don’t bother clicking around — I’ve got a long way to go. I am strictly asking for your first impression. Better than the current look and feel? Worse? Or no different?

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  1. Peter Porcupine

    DK – y'know…it makes me think of a modern TV news set. Not the Blogger austere anchor desk, the tombstone-like (tombstone like the ads, not the cemetary) sombre color and rigid three 'column-inches' format.It has lights, holograms, flash – I keep looking for Maria Stephanos and her black patent leather boots…But – plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose… I suppose teacher must look to the future.

  2. arthur.kane

    Dan — Difference is so trivial as to be irrelevant Who cares? Stop tinkering. You shouldn't be wasting yr time with this geek stuff. Content is king.

  3. lkcape

    Banner comes across as a hodgepodge.Think of it more as your logo. Simpler is better.

  4. Tim Allik

    Yes, I agree. The banner is too distracting. It actually makes me uncomfortable. Those sports bars with dozens of TV sets always freak me out a little bit. Anyway, you WRITE first and foremost.

  5. Esther

    It's probably my imagination but absolute first impression: I thought the column with the text seemed really wide. Although now that I flip back to the current Media Nation, maybe it's the same width. I dunno. I like the banner but you are doing more than writing about tv. And maybe it is a little distracting.

  6. Dan Kennedy

    I can change the picture, and at some point I probably will. Best I've got at the moment.

  7. The digital edition

    I like the banner picture, as well as the new layout.

  8. Tony

    I like it. The set is from Keller's show on Sundays, right? Can you get it so that the pictures circulate? Maybe the TV set, a printing press, a radio studio, a computer screen, etc.? I agree that the banner ad down the side doesn't look quite right. Maybe it could go all the way to the far right, with quotes where the ad is now, or far left, to balance the text in the middle … just a thought.

  9. Sheldon Toplitt

    It's slicker, I suppose, but I prefer Blogger format, even though they irritated me this week when its automated spam detector temporarily and incorrectly froze me as a spam generating blog. Turnabout fair play, I've done some redesigning on my blog and added a logo and would appreciate your input.

  10. Judy Meredith

    It looks just fine, a cleaner and more modern look, but I basically agree with Arthur.

  11. Ross

    Dan – nice design, clean, old left column stuff now does not distract. White background makes it easy to read. Banner awful, agree with previous, you're not a sports bar, FOX 25, or channel 7.

  12. Adam Riglian

    I don't think it makes a big difference, so if working with WordPress is better for you, then go for it.Any chance you could keep the same color scheme you have now? I like the off-white background of your current site, saves some wear on the eyes.

  13. Neil

    In spite of hating anything new like most people, it seems alright. As long as the format doesn't call attention to itself and therefore distract. You can change the banner pic anytime of course. I agree with Adam about a less-bright white.

  14. Dan Kennedy

    Neil: I am puzzled by you and Adam. The current blog is black type on a white background.

  15. lkcape

    On my screen the current theme displays as a very light gray while your new theme is a moderate intensity white.The light gray offers a more readable contrast.

  16. Neil

    Maybe we just need to clean our glasses. 🙂

  17. Al

    it's fine… I don't really like the banner either but probably won't notice it after awhile. I just look for the entries, anyway. If WordPress is easier for you to use, go for it

  18. Dan Kennedy

    The new design, like the old one, is template-driven, so I'm limited by how much I can do in the way of changes. A former student is helping me do some customization. In Firefox on a Mac, the background is exactly the same; maybe it looks different, say, in IE using Windows.Tony, you win the free subscription to Media Nation. I took that in the control booth at Channel 4 when Jon Keller was interviewing Steve Lynch. Keller was leading a scout group I'd brought in. But it's not a very good photo, and I will replace it as soon as I come up with something better.

  19. eebanks

    I like the current format; uncomplicated and easy on the eyes.

  20. O-FISH-L

    Dan a.k.a. Wounded Knee, I'm no expert, but I think the new banner is so intense that it makes the white look whiter, an optical illusion of sorts, perhaps.Count me as approving of the new version but I agree that the banner could be better. Less vivid and more varied in the types of media shown. I agree with Tony's comment, "maybe the TV set, a printing press, a radio studio, a computer screen, etc.?"The change is due though. The old (current) format is almost indistinguisbale from so many other Blogger based sites.

  21. I think it looks great and should be just fine when completed.

    Best of luck with it…


  22. bostonmediawatch

    Looks fine to me.

    For a 3 column format, having the main column on the left instead of the middle upsets the symmetry, but that’s a matter of personal taste; a lot of people do it.

    The background white looks the same to me on both sites using Vista and Firefox, on a CRT monitor. You have a slightly different font for posts on the new site (compare a capital “I”).

    If you want to rotate the images, there are a bunch of WordPress plug-ins that supposedly will do it based on different variables; I didn’t like the way any of them worked, so I just used this code snippet which will randomize it.

    It goes in the Header.php file, you may have to experiment to find the exact place depending on how your header is arranged (always backup your files first!):

    <img src="/images/header_.jpg” width=”970″ height=”140″ alt=” random header image” title=” random header image” />

    The drawback to having a rotating header is it can dilute your “brand” a bit (if you’re trying to establish one).

    And it can be difficult to find images that you can crop to fit such a narrow space without resorting to Hanna Barbera style repeating.

  23. bostonmediawatch

    I’ll email you the code snippet, apparently the commenting utility read some of it as HMTL rather than text.

  24. Dan Kennedy

    bostonmediawatch: First I need one good image.

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