About these changes . . .

Welcome back!

As you can see, we have made some changes to the joint — and I’d like to give you a quick run down of what’s different.

Tbp_oldSize Matters: To begin with, the Big Picture is now, well, much BIGGER. The old layout was a standard Typepad size — two column, 500 pixels across the main section. It barely took up half of my iMac screen at home, and a third of my dual monitor Dell screens in the office. That older design was popular back in the day when 15 inch monitors ruled the world’s desktops. Today, 17 inchers are de riguer, and 19 inch screens are a modest upgrade. So we went BIG. I went with three columns, added some more topics, expanded the center section to 550 pixels, and generally made things sizable. If you cannot see the full page across the width of your screen, its a a cheap wakeup call: Sorry kids, time to upgrade your monitor(s).

Third Column: allowed me to add some new elements and additional content:

-Favorite Posts (primarily the highest read/commented items)
-Blog roll (can you believe I didn’t have one?)
-Media Quotes (at the insistence of a friend working in PR)
-Google Search box (more clearly identified with logo)
-Updated media/research sites
-Link to the Premium site (too many emailers couldn’t find it)

Navigation: Most people never realized the glyphs up top were navigation links to the main posting categories. Now, they are not only bigger, but change color on mouse rollover — click one and you can see the full run of published items on those topics. The new category Digital Media will also cover Film, Music, Television, and Technology (they will also retain their individual categories).

Functionality: We added quite a few upgrades to make the site more user friendly.  At the end of every post, you will now find all of the usual tags: Digg, del.icio.us, etc. And the two biggest requests from last year — a "print this post" and an "email this post" should be up and running shortly.

Given all the excerpting I do, I wanted to make it even clearer whenever I am reference someone else’s work. Those indents should now stand out even more.

Oh, and a reader created a Favicon in the URL box. (Neat!).

Lastly, mad props to Joelle of Moxie Design Studios. Not only are her design ideas fresh and unique, she did some awesome programming — from randomizing the media quotes (a different ones show up every refresh) to allt he new functionality. I know she worked long and hard on this, and it is much appreciated. I heartily recommend the services of Moxie.


Any Blog lives and dies on its content. I do not expect any major changes in postings or content — just nicer to look at, with bigger charts, easier navigation, more useful functionality.

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. lola commented on Dec 5

    I can get on to the individual stories from my RSS feed but I’m still getting the we’ll be right back only for the main splash page.

  2. tniccum commented on Dec 5

    I see no difference… except the main page no longer works at all.

  3. Joelle commented on Dec 5

    hi there… your site is not online right now, I’m still in the middle of working on it. Unfortunately, Typepad does not allow the shut-down of a site during development so all I can do is put up the splash page for now.

    Your patience is appreciated! Thank you!

  4. Tina Choi commented on Dec 5

    It’s certainly not a pretty site on my ultralight notebook – 15″. I’ll stick with the RSS Feeds.

  5. Joelle commented on Dec 5

    Tina, I just viewed it on a 15″ laptop. In fact, I just built it on a 15″ laptop. It looks good from what I can tell. Perhaps you saw the site when it was in transition… thanks for constructive your feedback. :)

  6. MAS (San Diego) commented on Dec 5

    Looks great to me.

    FireFox 2.0
    Windows XP 64-bit

  7. Bucky Katt commented on Dec 5

    I like it, nice improvemnt!

  8. MTHood commented on Dec 5

    Looks good. No problems so far.

  9. semper fubar commented on Dec 5

    Wonderful! I was worried for a while there — thought maybe Kudlow had you gagged and bound to a chair in the green room.

  10. DavidB commented on Dec 5

    I viewed it through IE 6 and it is bent even on the big screen(with XP). It works well through firefox but I am getting none of the random quotes under reviews and quotes

    Otherwise it is a good looking upgrade once you work out the bugs

    Running a 19 inch screen BTW

  11. Bucky Katt commented on Dec 5

    I should add, dual 30″ Apple Cinema screens, Tiger, etc. Works fine on the windows box as well.

  12. Joelle commented on Dec 5

    DavidB, can you explain what you mean about IE6, please? I’ve tested this design on multiple computers in IE6, IE7, Firefox, Opera, and Safari, both on PC and Mac where applicable.

    Barry, thanks for the kind words! Your randomized media bits should be in effect shortly (for those looking for them) and the “print this” functionality is in progress. Thanks for your patience!

  13. Joelle commented on Dec 5

    Also, for those who are having challenges with the layout, I highly recommend clearing your temp or cache files, please. Sometimes what appears to be a bug is cleared up just by refreshing or clearing your cache. Thank you! :)

  14. Josh commented on Dec 5

    Nice work Barry & Joelle.

  15. blablabla commented on Dec 5

    bravo, bravo, bravo !
    best blog i know.

  16. Leisa commented on Dec 5

    Great changes. Calculated Risk is listed 2x on your blog roll.

  17. alexd commented on Dec 5

    I like the increased functionality,
    now if you could only increase mine….

  18. my1 commented on Dec 5

    Meik! Get in the 2%!

    “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better” – Jim Rohn

  19. BDG123 commented on Dec 5

    Nice changes.

  20. fatbear commented on Dec 5

    Running Mac G4, 10.3.9, 20″ monitor, Safari

    at first, loaded weirdly – followed Joelle’s advice and cleared cache – now looks great – Kudos!

    Love the new white BG – my old eyes really appreciate the change

    Keep up the good work

    Now when do we get to vote on the Favorite Posts??

  21. Scott Teresi commented on Dec 5

    Some of these changes are very nice. The new title really anchors the site. However, the site is still amazingly cluttered and confuses its main purpose(s). Why do people feel the need to list all these random things in the margins on every page? Now you have two margins! Maybe your MP3’s Spinning or Favorite Links, etc., could at least be shown/hidden underneath disclosure triangles for those who want to focus exclusively on your excellent content.

    Also, there still doesn’t seem to be any good way to browse past content by article title and maybe a short summary. I don’t know much about what you’ve written before I subscribed last July because scrolling through mile-long pages of content in each of your categories just feels like looking for a needle in a haystack.

    I hope someday sites like this will start breaking out a little from the generic blog mold and actually focus on usability.

  22. DavidB commented on Dec 5

    DavidB, can you explain what you mean about IE6, please?

    There appears to be something wrong with the formatting on the text sizing. When it is set to medium for IE6 everything works fine but when it is set to ‘largest’ everything runs together and the right hand column writing disappears. I just checked and ‘larger’ works fine it is just the ‘largest’ setting that does it.

    I sit back about four feet from my monitor to protect my eyes from the radiation that is why I have the setting so high. I’m not sure how many people it would affect but you may want to tinker with it anyway

  23. Joelle commented on Dec 5

    Thanks for the feedback, David. I’m sorry for your inconvenience, but the site wasn’t designed for adjustable font sizes, especially not “largest”. I’m sorry! It wasn’t requested that way. :)

  24. Fred commented on Dec 5

    Change is good. This new look is great.

  25. Eclectic commented on Dec 5

    Sucks for me but it’s not your fault… I’m still using Windows 98SE….

    …..Would everyone please stop laughin’!!

    My1… the Buffett thing is on CNBC friday, so check your listings.

  26. Eclectic commented on Dec 5

    It’d be nice if one could read all the posts of another poster… Can we now?… and I can’t find it?

  27. The Learning Curve commented on Dec 5

    What Else is New?

    Hoo, and speaking of webpage redesigns, looks like they’re not making any more land over on Barry Ritholz’s The Big Picture! By that, I mean Barry is using every inch of real estate available in his new 3-column layout…

  28. Chief Tomahawk commented on Dec 5

    Did I miss a link to Larry Kudlow’s blog? While his politics might not agree with folks, he has been nice enough to have BR on his show as a guest…

    Then again, at least there’s no link to Quicken Loans and “The Secure Advantage” suicide loan product…

  29. Joelle commented on Dec 5

    DavidB, I just wanted to let you know that adjustments have been made and you should be able to view the site at “largest” browser font setting without issue. :) Thanks!

  30. jjr commented on Dec 5

    Barry, I’ve been using basically the same 14″ iBook for the past 5 years, and your site not going to change that. Some of us prefer the light weight and portability that go hand-in-hand with small screens on our laptops.

    That said, the site looks good enough on the 14″ laptop lcd. I mostly don’t care what you have in either gutter, so it’s fine to center the page on the content in your center frame. I agree with Scott that it is far too cluttered, but suit yourself.

  31. DavidB commented on Dec 5

    yep, works fine now.

    Good work

  32. Bob A commented on Dec 5

    Barry everything is great EXCEPT well…. the font is smaller and well… too small.
    Any chance of making the font the same size it used to be?

  33. Bob A commented on Dec 5

    A little more on font size… if you go to Realmoney.com you will see the font is one size larger. Which can be read comfortably.
    The size you have now requires me to either put on glasses or change the font size in View (dont want to do that). Making it the same size as Realmoney (or what is used to be) seems to make sense no? I know some like WaPost are trying use smaller fonts but it’s not that norm by any means and heck if I know why they insist on doing it different.

  34. fred hooper commented on Dec 5

    Nice job!

    Something changed causing those annoying Runtime Error messages I get on various sites (maybe AdAware? I have popups set to OK here and use IE6)

    Line 3048 expected ‘;’
    Line 3059 switchquote1 is undefined
    Line 3063 switchqhote2 is undefined

    I’ve never bothered to figure out why I get these errors, but I didn’t get them a few hours ago when I first viewed the new site.

  35. paul commented on Dec 5

    The new design displays well on the main page, but when I opened up the comments in a new window, the text in the two side gutters got pushed onto the purple boder. This doesn’t happen with the categories or archives, just the comments.
    Win XP pro, 19″ samsung, 1280 x 1024, firefox

    I agree there’s a bit too much. Maybe move the left links to a seperate page and expand the middle column a bit. Why not say a sentence or two about the site you’re linking to and why you like it. I know the blogroll is a common feature, but it isn’t necessarily a good function in terms of usability (it just helps bloggers collect links).

    How about making the category pages the title and a 100 word excerpt rather than full text of everything in the category? Might be a bit more helpful.

    Good to see you experimenting…

  36. Quiddity commented on Dec 5

    I like the new look. But I agree with Bob A about the font size.

    I have a 17″ (which is how they market ’em, but it’s really 16″) with 1280×1024 screen setting.

    In MSIE 6, text is fine. But with FireFox 1.0.7, an increase in font size (one step up) is needed to make the text easy to read.

    No huge deal, but if an explicit call out (for 10 point Arial) could be made, that would help.

    Font sizes in general: I’ve noticed that many websites, including that of Microsoft (!) have small fonts. Some to the point that the letters are actualy broken up. On my monitor I’ve seen stuff that looks like it’s 5 point text, or something. I think this is to accomodate the huge number of people that have settings of 800×600 or 1024×780 (stats for websites I manage show over 50% of visitors do that). Many people deliberately don’t set their screen to maximum resolution – partly because they prefer larger type. So in a way, that user base is acting as a restraint on webdesigners that would like to take full advantage of a larger screen.

  37. nat commented on Dec 5

    I would prefer the “recent posts” to be at the very top on the right side because you often make many posts in one day.

    Note sure what “reviews & quotes” on the top left refers to. It’s not linked.

    Blogroll – can you put them in some sort of order by subject maybe?

    Perhaps you could link “about me” to another page where you could put some of the stuff that’s in the right column.

    I think the calendar is unnecessary.

  38. ~ Nona commented on Dec 5

    Barry and Joelle,

    Great job. So far, I have no problem plus I really like the way it all looks. I even like…the calendar!

    Thanks for taking this on. Your fans really appreciate it.

  39. Joelle commented on Dec 5

    nat, thanks for your constructive feedback.

    fred hooper, the runtime error you were seeing was due to the script i was working on for “reviews and quotes” (nat, now you can see what it’s there for!), so I apologize for any inconvenience. It was in progress and has been remedied.

    BobA and Quiddity, thanks for your feedback. The font is actually the same size it was before. Nothing has changed on that front. In fact, we’ve now adjusted it so that you can make your font-sizes larger or smaller at your discretion using your browser. But by default, they are the exact same size as the former layout.

    Also, most people don’t use Firefox 1.0.7 anymore. :) They have gone through several versions since then and are now on 2.0. And I just checked RealMoney.com and they are using Arial as their font and it’s also the same size.

    Paul, the comments page has been tested on every browser I can get my hands on, in both PC and Mac and on several different computers. I’m not seeing what you’re seeing. Could you send a screenshot or link to exactly the post you’re having a problem with?

    ~ Nona, thank you very much. :)

  40. paul commented on Dec 6

    HI. It displays correctly now. Not sure what changed, but it works fine.

  41. Barry Ritholtz commented on Dec 6

    Thanks to everyone for the feedback — and thanks to Joelle for an awesome job!

  42. Yaser Anwar commented on Dec 6

    FUCKING AMAZING! (sorry couldn’t control the excitement)

  43. Joelle commented on Dec 6

    Hi there! I mentioned this to BobA via email this morning, but just in case anyone else is having the same ‘small font’ challenge…

    It’s possible that RealMoney.com (or other sites) sets their font to be a specific size. So, no matter what size your browser text size is set to, it’ll view the same. However, to accommodate the broader needs of Barry’s readers, we’ve made the text adjustable. It’s set to the same size right now, by default, as the font on RealMoney.com. But, if I make my text size one step smaller, it looks too small.

    To check to see if it’s your browser font settings in Firefox, choose View > Text Size > Normal.
    In Internet Explorer, go to View > Text Size > Medium.

    I hope that helps! :) Thanks again for all your feedback.

  44. quiddity commented on Dec 6

    Joelle: Thanks for clarifying several issues in your replies to several of us commentators.

  45. Brij Niralay – NDTV Profit viewer commented on Dec 15

    Ode to Barry
    Good links we get
    From Barry without a Fret
    Gateways to Freiedman, Miller and Buffet
    Weekends are a wait- good
    From Barry the streets – Soul food

    – From your NDTV profit fan

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