Forum: Of Interest to All
Topic: How to use the new DrBForums.com Ticker Manager
started by: BrianB
Posted by BrianB on Aug. 24 2006,23:05NEW!!!
I've finished writing the new ticker manager for the forum. As mentioned elsewhere, this ticker manager will let you create a ticker similar to those that you can create many other places, but with some great benefits.
The way things were:
For example, tickerfactory.com provides a great service. They have lots of different types of tickers, with a multitude of sliders and rulers. However tickerfactory.com appears to make their money through the products that are advertised on their site. To make sure you come to the site often, any time you change to a new weight, you have to come to their site to regenerate your ticker link. Having to go to the site is no big deal (you'd have to go somewhere), but the fact that the link (URL) for your ticker changes is a drag. It is a drag because now you have to go to all the different boards you use and update your signature (sig) with the new URL. If you post on several boards, this can be a pain. Also if you use your ticker in your blog, in your email sig, etc., you're talking about a lot of administrative hassle -- especially if you weigh in 3 times a week like we do with Dr. B.
The new way:
To use the new ticker manager, members can go into their control panel (link at the top of the page right below your name) and click the link to go to the Ticker Manager. Then you fill in your weight numbers and choose your slider and ruler. When you submit, a ticker graphic is generated for you. Optionally you can tell the ticker manager to add your ticker to your DrBForums sig automatically. The best part is that once you create your ticker, the system tells you the URL of your ticker -- and that URL never changes. So, you can go ahead and set all your forum sigs, email sigs, blog pages, whatever to reference the image at that URL, and then whenever you update your weight, all those places will automatically have your updated ticker because the URL doesn't change (but the image that the URL points to gets regenerated with your new data). Finally, the new improved tickers also let you put an important date in the upper right corner. Most people like to have their "start date" or the date they started maintenance or something like that in their sig. Well, now it's part of the ticker -- and if you change it, it gets updated everywhere automatically just like your weight. Let me know if you have any suggestions for other phrases to go in the upper right corner of the ticker.
If you want to help:
As I've said elsewhere, I'm no artist. I purchased a subscription to a royalty free clip art site and found various graphics there that I could use bits and pieces of to make the current slider and ruler choices. I just know that some of you folks are very talented artists and would just love to make some tickers and sliders. If you do, here are the technical specifications for the graphics:
Sliders: This is the part that moves along the ruler. This graphic should be no more than 36 pixels tall, and no more than about 75 pixels wide. A 36 x 36 pixel slider is ideal. Here's a slider:
Rulers: This is the part that the slider moves along. It must be exactly 380 pixels wide, and between 20 and 36 pixels tall. When drawing your ruler, do not draw in the tick marks -- the software inserts those automatically. Here's a ruler:
If you want to try your hand at any sliders or rulers, please do. You can upload them here, in this topic, that way you get credit for creating them. There are certain other, harder to describe, nuances for what makes a good slider or ruler, so if for some reason I don't choose yours to go in the tool, please understand. Also, and this is very important, please do not go borrow (steal) sliders and rulers from other websites and upload them. Anything you submit should be from a "royalty free" source, or something that you created yourself. I know you probably have sliders and rulers that you like on other sites, but that doesn't mean we can steal them. However, if you have the talent to do so, you can certainly draw up your own graphic that is very much like one of your favorites.
Enjoy the new feature!
Posted by Debby on Aug. 25 2006,17:56Thanks for this info Brian. I've got mine set up and ready to go for when I start the program. Can you tell I'm a bit anxious?
Posted by Sunshine on Aug. 25 2006,19:20I'm new to the forum (so glad I found you!) I tried to set up the slide ruler but every time I click on it it says I'm not logged in - and then I go through the same loop again.
Posted by BrianB on Aug. 25 2006,21:48
Hi Debby. Your enthusiasm is great. Your Dr. B location must be a busy one for your consult to be that far out. It will be worth the wait. Good luck!
Posted by BrianB on Aug. 25 2006,21:59
Hi Sunshine! I'm adding some logging to the program that generates the script that will help me try to figure out why this is happening for you. It looks like you got a ticker generated, but we'll get it straightened out. I'll post again as soon as the update is done and you can try it again and we'll see what ends up in the logs.
Posted by BrianB on Aug. 25 2006,22:32OK, I added some logging to the authentication parts of the program. Give it another try and if you have any sorts of problems, post here and I'll check it out.
Also, I don't know what browser you're using, but some browsers may handle cookies funny and you may need to click the "Remember my log in details" button when you log in.
I changed the way the Ticker Manager verifies your authentication, so now it should work even if you have not checked the "Remember my log in details" button. Hopefully there won't be any more login problems.
Posted by Debby on Aug. 25 2006,23:59
That's what I'm hoping ... worth the wait that is. Or is it worth the weight? I know, I know ... bad pun.
Posted by BrianB on Aug. 26 2006,00:13
Actually, it will be worth both, the wait and the weight. And bad puns are encouraged around here.
Posted by BrianB on Aug. 26 2006,04:29I made what I think is a cool enhancement to the Ticker Manager.
One of the problem that seems to plague all of the ticker generators out there (including the one I wrote) is that if your current weight is too close to your start weight, it looks like this:
or too close to your goal weight, like this:
As you can see, your current weight number ends up on top of another number and you can't read either one.
I came up with what seems like a good idea. Hopefully you all agree. Now when your current weight is close to start, it looks like this:
and when it is close to goal, it looks like this:
If you're weight is safely inside both numbers, then the number appears in the normal location like this:
So, in a way, it's also kind of like a mini-reward system. When you first start out, your current weight is in a blue box until you lose enough to have the number drop down (maybe we'd say you're "blue boxed" at that point). And then, toward the end of your weight loss, your number will move up into a green box (now you're "green boxed" - yay!!).
Some of you whose weights were previously overlapping like this will notice that I have regenerated your tickers and I think they look a lot better.
Like it, hate it? Let me know.
Posted by Debby on Aug. 26 2006,10:52I think it's awesome Brian and I have to wonder, if you can come up with such a great solution, how come the other ticker makers can't?
Posted by BrianB on Aug. 26 2006,11:06
I think I'm just more anal retentive than most and it bothered me more than it bothers them.
You might notice from the post time that I stayed up until 4:30 in the morning working on that fix to get it just right. That's the obsessive-compulsive in me.
The only part about it that I don't really like 100% is that for certain sliders it really obscures the bottom part of the slider. The "dolphin" slider shown works out pretty good, but some others you lose a good bit. Ah well, it's a trade off. I'd rather be able to read the numbers and lose part of the slider than see the whole slider and not be able to read the numbers.
Thanks for the feedback!
Posted by Debby on Aug. 26 2006,12:18Brain, they're great! Now step away from the Tickers ... go get some sleep ... and don't dream about the Tickers!!