Allpar

  • Allpar-Mobile fixed

    The inner pages of Allpar got rather badly messed up by some changes I was making to get the menus to behave properly. That’s now been fixed, and a lot of the header code was cleaned up along the way. It’s all become rather a mess as I’ve tried to get more and less flexible over time. As for the menus, I am experimenting between the dropdowns and two-level varieties now, and I’m open for comments. We may go back to the single buttons and perhaps have new landing pages for each button, e.g. Cars/Trucks, Corporate/Heritage, News/Future, Social.

  • 17 months behind but catching up, slowly

    Thanks to the joyful effects of mitotane (Lysodren), I have been in a fog for around 17 months. I have now cut back on the hideously expensive drug (for humans; cheap for dogs), and am trying to catch up on things. Complicating factors are: ever-increasing security updates on the server and technical glitches that result from them long-overdue site improvements taking up some time my health insurance company’s computer-system change, which apparently dropped $1,800 worth of claims from my max out-of-pockget (and their refusal to do anything but look at the computer total and say “yup, that’s right” though if you total up all the forms they sent me, you can see I’ve paid $1,800 more than the max out-of-pocket by their…

  • On the menu today…. (it’s not food!)
    menus

    I have upgraded Allpar’s menus, or, rather, returned them to their former glory. The menu system has changed quite a few times over the years. I had (slow!) two-level Javascript dropdowns, then ordinary CSS-only (no Javascript) dropdowns, and then a single row of buttons, followed by that row of buttons with a secondary row. Now we’re back to the simple dropdowns, using pretty much the same setup as last time but with fewer options since people don’t seem to like having too many choices. As time goes on, these will be refined. Finding all the stuff at Allpar has always been a problem, at least since we lost our focus and started trying to cover every single facet of Chrysler from its days…

  • How long does it take to write a review?

    Writing these things takes longer than you may think. First, I don’t commute to work any more, so to put a car through its paces, I have to spend a few hours driving it — time I would not normally be driving, usually. Some time is reserved for Sunday so I can test highway driving without the usual left lane hogs constantly being in the way. Second, there’s the photo shoots — and then the cropping, captioning, etc. that follows. Choosing photos takes longer than you might think, since few people take just one photo of each subject. Then there’s the actual writing, which, unlike most of what I write, is edited and re-edited numerous times, (not that you’d know it, sometimes)….

  • An easy upgrade for a change

    I just upgraded our php version for more speed, and … nothing seems to have broken. That’s pretty cool. Coming up someday will be php 7, which apparently is more than twice as fast as php 5. They did a lot of work to “refactor” (that is, rewrite) the code which has built up over the years. I’m looking forward to that, but it’s still not quite in “stable” form. It is good enough for many sites, but without an IT staff, I’m a bit reluctant to move up (it’s really called php-NG but will become php 7). I’ve made a few behind the scenes changes to improve security and speed. Fortunately, very little has broken as a result. Generally I…

  • What goes into setting up a car show?

    The Allpar show in Little Ferry, New Jersey, is on Saturday, September 12. Literally months of preparation have gone into this show, including the labor of numerous people. The signup page has to be created, and a form set up. The site had to be selected — well, this time, that was easy. Then there’s publicity and setting up mentions in car clubs and such, including oldride.com, bergen.org, the National Chrysler Products Club, Restored Rusty Relics, etc. Two meetings with the manager of the dealership took place, though the show’s been done there before, to settle details such as parking lot clearance, publicity, and food. Event insurance (not cheap!) had to be purchased, fortunately from an agent who we’ve worked with before. We track registrations…

  • Grepping with text editors

    Text editors are special programs that focus on, well, text. Not formatting, not creating magazines or reports, but text. The best of them can do all sorts of crazy things, but one of the main features is “GREP searching.” GREP searching makes my life much easier, both in surveys and here at Allpar. GREP searching is essentially using “regular expressions,” like “any number,” or “any text,” or “anything starting with <tr and ending with >.” Using GREP search-and-replace, with, say, TextWrangler or BBEdit (there are programs for Macs, Windows, and Linux), you can do amazing things. For example, I recently had to convert a survey table for mobile use. I quickly wrote a search-and-replace expression that looks for the start of a…

  • Behind the scenes at allpar: Keeping lots of balls in the air

    There are few, if any, major auto sites left that are not part of large networks or corporations. Many forums and sites are owned by a single guys with strings of forums or news sites covering a wide variety of cars (each one “dedicated just to this one car!”), who sit back while his “techies” and writers do the work. So what’s it like for the kind of person who started out from passion and never left or sold out? We have to handle… Money. Dealing with ad agencies, which involves a varying amount of headaches. They all pay on different schedules, and have different payment schemes, and sometimes disappear without warning. Taxes with quarterly payments so you have to stay on top…

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