Site Redesign

Welcome to the new Modern Mechanix! This is our first site redesign in… well actually it’s our first redesign period. I want to give a huge thanks to my sister Tamara for coming up with the look and feel as well as that spiffy new logo. I think she did a great job of keeping the things that worked from the old design and fixing most of it’s shortcomings.

The changes are not just cosmetic though. I’ve added a few new features to the site. First off, for our regular commenters, there is now a comments RSS feed. Actually the site always had one, but it was pretty well hidden. You can also now subscribe to get email notifications when anybody replies to one of your comments so you don’t have to keep checking all the posts for new responses.

You can now browse the archives by magazine and issue. Just click on the cover gallery link to start. You can also click on the magazine name in any post to see a listing of all of the issues (eg: Modern Mechanix), or if you want to see other articles posted from the same issue, you can click on the issue date (eg: 11-1932).

I’m in the process of moving the categories into a hierarchy, so for example, the Transportation category will now contain the Automotive, Aviation, and Nautical categories. This will let me add a bunch of new, more specific categories without taking up the whole left side of the screen.

I also added a little Amazon store where you can subscribe to science magazines as well as see (or if you’re so inclined, buy) books that I like. Tamara and I are also working on designs for some nifty new Modern Mechanix gear which I think you’ll all really like. If you haven’t been to her store yet, check it out, she makes great stuff.

From a tech perspective, I redid the entire site HTML and CSS using Yahoo’s awesome UI framework, if you do much web design I highly recommend it. This should fix most of the problems people were having with the site looking screwed up at smaller resolutions, particularly in IE.

That’s all for now, but in the coming weeks and months you can expect a bunch of new stuff. Now that I’ve got the back end cleaned up it’s a lot easer for me to make changes and implement features.

Please let me know what you think of the new design and tell me if anything isn’t working right for you. Also, I’d like to know what new features you’d like from the site. I’m sure you all have a lot of great ideas.

I would like to give a big shout out to my co-conspirator, Simone, for all of her hard work on the site. I couldn’t do it without her.

Lastly, I want to thank all of our commenters. This site would be no fun without you.

  1. Tim Giachetti says: February 19, 20082:42 am

    Does not fit browser any more. Have to scroll left and rignt to read text in Firefox. Not a major problem, but, if you still want to see what’s in the left margin, you will lose 2an inch of text.

  2. Alan J. Richer says: February 19, 20085:56 am

    Scared hell out of me when I logged in first thing this morning! I do like the redesign, personally – the font is nicer and (in Firefox 2.0.11) I’m not seeing the issues Tim is – Tim, are you overriding the font dettings locally in Firefox?

  3. MC says: February 19, 20086:04 am

    And now it doesn’t fit on my screen! (I have to scroll left and right, like commenter 1; I’m using IE7.)

    Your text lines are too long (optimum readability has been shown to be 50-55 characters) and do not rewrap when there is less space available for them. My screen is 1024 x 768, not uncommon for laptops. Word wrap is a worthwhile invention; let’s use it! Test all web pages on an 800×600 screen or window.

  4. Mark says: February 19, 20086:17 am

    Me too. It’s also that way in IE7.

  5. Tim Giachetti says: February 19, 20087:42 am

    All fixed! Thanks for the adjustment.

  6. Don says: February 19, 20087:44 am


  7. Charlie says: February 19, 20087:47 am

    I changed the minimum width to 974px which should fix the problem. If anyone is still having trouble, please let me know. For the moment some really wide images will run a little over the grey background and some side-by-side images will get shown one atop another. The problem is my images are sized a little too big for this view port.

    All I have to do now is resize all of my images. That might take a little while though, since I have about 17,000 of them.

  8. Tim Giachetti says: February 19, 20087:55 am

    Very nice Charlie, site looks great!

  9. Paul Carney says: February 19, 20088:31 am

    Thanks a million for a fantastic site! The redesign is great. I don’t know what everyone is talking about fitting the screen. It fits my 24″ iMac just fine. 😉

  10. Firebrand38 says: February 19, 200811:06 am

    Seeing as how those comments were made before Charlie adjusted it, that’s what everyone was talking about.

    I like the redesign Charlie, especially the links to the rest of the issue.

  11. Alex says: February 19, 20081:51 pm

    Wow, veeery nice, everything looks cleaned up! And i like the new logo!

    Greetings from Hamburg, and keep up this nice project!

  12. Dan Ward says: February 19, 20084:42 pm

    Bravo! Long time lurker, first time commenter – love the site, and am glad to read the “voice” of the human behind it! The update is excellent!

  13. Neil Russell says: February 19, 20087:10 pm

    Looks great Charlie, I know you put a lot into this site and it shows. Particularly like the logo now!

  14. Jonathan says: February 20, 20083:38 am

    Great job. Love this site and the new design.

  15. Vozpit says: February 20, 20088:44 am

    Fantastic look & design. I have no problems with Firefox.

    I also love that I can now “skim” through by issue as well.

  16. phil says: February 22, 20088:29 am

    looks good
    didnt notice till i read the post to be honest,
    Keep up the good work, my aim is to retire in 9 years and spend my retirment
    reading my way thorough this blog .. you want have finnished by then i bet.

  17. Justin says: February 22, 20086:58 pm

    I’m very happy the new layout works when I have to use IE. Although, this comment box goes off the right side of the page …

    Feature request: When not on Page 1, put a Previous Page link at the *top*. I like to read in posted-order, which means every time I visit I go back a few pages to the last post I’ve read and read from bottom to top. It’s a pain to read from bottom to top and then have to scroll back down to switch pages.

    If I create an account, will the server keep track of what’s been posted since my last visit?

    Request and quibbles aside, I absolutely love your site. This stuff is awesome.
    – Justin

  18. Charlie says: February 23, 20081:37 am

    Hey Justin, I’ll look into that stuff. You might want to try using an RSS reader in the meantime. Thanks for the feedback.

  19. Keith says: February 24, 20089:37 am

    I’ve been surfing your site for the last couple of days….and all I can say is….Thank You!! I’ve been fascinated for the stuff in these old magazines since I inherited a few boxes of them as a boy some 35 years ago. It’s so much fun to see how things change….and how sometimes they really don’t. Thanks again for all your hard work!!

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