Now For The Insides...

Published on Sunday, July 12, 2009 in , , , , ,

New LookJust because I've finally finished the external redesign, as described in Grey Matters' New Look! Part I, Part IIa and Part IIb, doesn't mean this blog is going to stop changing!

The outside is done, now it's time to work on the inside.

Some of the pages on this site were used as far back as 1998, and could really be made to function better. When I originally posted the serial number feat quiz, for example, the random numbers used to create a serial number were based on the computer's clock. That worked great when computers were slower, but as computers sped up, the numbers generated became all the same. Instead of getting serial numbers such as 93486407, you'd get 55555555 or 22222222. I've now re-written the algorithm that generates the random serial number, so that it gives you more realistic numbers.

I've already had several comments from people who landed on one of Grey Matters' quiz pages that they were confused as to what the quizzes related, and that it was difficult to understand the context of the quizzes. In response, I've added links to each of the quiz pages that take you directly to their corresponding lessons. For example, one reader e-mailed me to mention that he found the Mental Shopper Quiz via Google, but didn't understand why prices were being asked about. Now there's a link to Doug Canning's Mental Shopper Quiz feat, and everything is immediately much clearer.

Probably the biggest visible change on the site already would have to be how the Questions For Better Magic page works. Originally, this was just a long list of questions, based on the book Strong Magic, written in outline form. As a matter of fact, if you have Javascript turned off in your browser, that's still how it will appear.

However, if you have Javascript turned on, this outline of questions is now interactive! When you first bring up the page, all you see are the four main sections, Effect, Character, The Act and The Audience. Whenever you click on any blue text in the outline that has an arrow next to it, all the subsections under it expand and become visible. Click on any open section will collapse it, and any subsections underneath it. In this way, you can now see only the questions in which you're interested, and the outline as a whole becomes less imposing and far more readable.

As I predicted in Part IIa of my site update report, Google has already started covering the new Mental Gym site in its searches. Just 10 days ago, the new Mental Gym searches were always empty. Now, when you search for Pi, the new Mental Gym results are far better, as you can see.

From time to time, you'll see other improvements in this site. Most I'll bring to your attention, and others I just may leave you to discover on your own. If you have any suggestions for improvements, please let me know in the comments!

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2 Response to Now For The Insides...

2:51 PM

I would love to get a full-text blog feed instead of the summaries. At the moment, I have to check your site every day to catch new entries.

10:24 PM

I actually used to offer a full-text RSS blog feed, until I found that others were using it to steal and post content from my blog without credit.

Since then, I've only offered the blog summary RSS feed at:


If you add that to your feed reader, feed bookmark or newsreader site, you can always stay current.

You don't have to check everyday, BTW. I only add a new post every Sunday and Thursday.

That reminds me, tomorrow's Thursday . . .