It May Get Weird at AAC


New Site Design

Over the next week or two Phyllis and I will be porting (fancy computer-speak for “moving”) AAC to a new site design. In theory you should not notice anything strange with the site while we do this…in practice, who the hell knows what might happen.

So, don’t worry if things get a little weird for a few days—when we pull the switch to the new design you will see it’s worth any interim aggravation.

Better Categories

In addition, as part of this project, we are making changes to the way articles are categorized to make them easier to find and to segregate free content from Online Books.  But during that process the exact opposite from the desired outcome may happen. Once again, it will be worth it.

Images in Comments

We had hoped to introduce the much requested images in comments capability, and in fact we even had it working for a couple of days. But sadly the performance hit was huge since the native image size, rather than the size displayed, was being downloaded to all browsers and therefore Google Page Speed threw a fit.

Not only that, any reader on an expensive cell connection—many of you—was getting hosed with data unnecessarily.

Not acceptable, particularly since one of our main goals with this upgrade is to improve speed and do a better job for our mobile readers.

We will continue to work on this, but it’s a surprisingly difficult problem to solve elegantly.

Posting Curtailed

Posting will probably be a bit less frequent while we burn the midnight-oil on this update.


If you do see anything weird while we do this, we would be very grateful if you would leave a comment on this post with the details.

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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5 comments … add one
  • John Dec 30, 2015, 5:57 pm

    Hi All,

    Well, the unexpected happened…and in the first few hours. Please ignore the duplicate, and very ugly, menus in the sidebars (narrow posts only).

  • Marc Dacey Jan 1, 2016, 3:03 pm

    I hope you downed tools long enough to toast 2016! Good luck, and I think what you are looking for is some routine that will auto-downsize (or will create thumbnails) of the random gigantic photos people send from their latest phones and cameras. I know such software exists (software that is simpler than me running batch scripts in Photoshop), because I’ve used it to downsample photos for Kijiji ads and whatnot.

    Pardon me if this is something you’ve already thought of.

    • John Jan 1, 2016, 6:43 pm

      Hi Marc,

      Yes, there are utilities to optimize photos, but to bolt those on to a comment plugin is not a trivial task, and we simply don’t have the resources to manually optimize the photos people upload, particularly since most people don’t understand image file size so we would have to deal with some huge images.

      Further this issue gets even more complex since we need to serve different image resolutions to different devices (responsive images) and worse still, we need to serve images that are different again (higher res) to Apple Retina devices…working on this.

      Much of this is handled by Wordpress for posts, but not for comments.

      Bottom line, this problem is certainly solvable, but maybe not as a cost in time, money, and server resources that we can afford. The even bigger issue is the more complex a solution is, the bigger the ongoing support burden is, and we are already at full stretch in that area.

  • Jo Jan 11, 2016, 12:01 pm

    Hello John,

    I couldn’t really find quickly a better place to place my questions. So here there are:

    1) Is there a way that the system remember my Name and Email and Website for posting comments? As I’m already logged in, retyping those all the time gets old fast.

    2) At the moment, I see on the start-page two lists: “Recent Comments” and “New Comments”. Is that a permanent feature and what’s the difference between them? It’s a bit unintuitive to me.

    • John Jan 11, 2016, 2:21 pm

      Hi Jo,

      1). There is a way to do that, but unfortunately it’s a new feature of our member software and therefore would require every single member to change their password as part of the implementation because it involves integrating with the Wordpress base member system. Since help with changing a password is the most frequent support request we get, the thought of making everyone go through that gives me a case of the horrors.

      Having said that, I am thinking about ways to do this, but I fear it may be a while before we can find the resources to do this.

      2). You are seeing a bit of the new design peeking through. Both are identical, and that will be fixed in the next day or so.

      Thanks for the thoughts.

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