Extending Technosailor, Extending Thesis

Recently, I kicked off a development effort behind the scenes here at Technosailor.com that will take a bit of time to see through to completion. This plan involves you as a community of readers as well as some of the best technology currently lying around the web. I’m calling it Operation Dharma for no fancy reason except I can’t wait for LOST to come back. :)

Seriously though, the goal is to pull together some of the best ideas and technologies of the web and combine them with the most thoughtful and ambitious people on the web to extend a community that I already am very proud of.

Details to follow. However, in the interest of the “iterate early and often” approach to software development, I am kicking off the new definitive look for technosailor.com.

As outlined earlier, I want to bring some of the best web technologies together. Of course, I wrote about Chris Pearson’s amazing Thesis Theme. The new design here is based on Thesis but has been heavily and significantly modified and customized.

There are still some display bugs I’m not happy with. Feel free to let me know by leaving a comment.

In the last theme, I began including commenter Gravatars which WordPress supports natively now. If you’d like your picture displayed, go grab a free Gravatar account.

For the future, the plans are broad but I’ll highlight some of the plans:

  • Community Blogs
  • Article Promotion/Voting
  • Partner Blogs (Venture Files is currently somewhere between Technosailor and a Partner Blog – that will further be defined, as well as other relationships established/announced)
  • Community Features

With a sad note, this update also involves the well wishing and goodbyes to Carlos Granier-Phelps who has been producing original spanish content over the past year. He is highly focused on building his company, RED66 in Miami.

We also say goodbye to Andrew Feinberg who was writing Tech Policy content. In both of these cases, these verticals do not seem to fit very well in what the Technosailor brand is trying to accomplish. So the decision to focus in the areas that have the largest audiences and traction is obvious, for me at least. I thank Andrew and Carlos for their time here and wish them the best. The archives of the content remain searchable and archived here.

So that’s it. Let me know if you see anything out of place or want to offer feedback (any kind, just if it hurts too much, use a smiley face or something :) )

RFP: Do You Want to Redesign This Site?

This is an official request for proposal. Comments are closed. If you would like to make a proposal, email me at aaron@technosailor.com. In this RFP, I will explain key interests for me. If I don’t mention them, I will leave to you to be creative.

Key Interests

  1. Content First. Artwork should be kept to a minimum.
  2. Careful attention to the categorical divisions in use on the site
  3. Retaining existing Logos for site and sub-sections.
  4. Final Delivery as fully functional WordPress theme. This means, HTML/CSS.

My Vision

Technosailor.com is divided currently into 4 sections. These 4 sections may be added to or subtracted from as time goes on. The hierarchy is based on categories with actual content metadata described in the form of tags.

Key plugins in use are the All-in-one-SEO pack and Disqus and key integration includes Lijit and Friendfeed.

I am very much in love with the current design that was originally implemented two years ago. It has been iterated twice to stay relevant to where the site is today. However, a fresh approach is needed now to retain relevance and meet the business interests of the site today.

Today, I am very focused on building out Technosailor.com as a media property with key verticals focusing centrally back to the mission of being the site that discusses the crossover between new web technologies and real life business and personal application. To that end, a design must fit that ultimate mission statement.

From an advertising perspective, every page should include IAB standard size leaderboard (728×90) and IAB standard Square Rectangle (300×250) ad spots. Optionally, but as a bonus, there must be a spot for IAB standard Skyscraper (160×600). The Leaderboard and Square Rectangle must be above the fold.

Longterm plans include the integration of forums (either bbPress or vBulletin) and other social community tools including community blogs. I’m not sure that this necessarily plays into a design, but you should be aware of that.

Finally, I am very much interested in helping a designer through referrals and work. Therefore, it’s in my best interest to work with someone who is exceptionally talented (I should see examples of your work) but yet to make a breakout. Your work will be on display before thousands of people.

This RFP will remain open until October 24 at which point, I will contact folks and begin the process of selecting one. The key deciding factors will be some sort of grey goo of cost, my level of confidence in talking with you and previous work and recommendations.

Again, comments are closed so please send a proposal with a guesstimate (we’ll work through actual details in the competition phase) and examples of work, referrals or anything else that should make me want to work with you. Spread the word and refer your friends if you are not a designer yourself.

Best of luck!

Edit: It appears Disqus does not respect my closing comments for the post. So if anyone comments, it will be removed. This is just to keep everything fair, not to shut people up. :)

Movable Type to Catch up with WordPress on Sandbox

Movable Type, tonight at midnight Pacific time, plans to release a Sandbox development plugin which separates markup from presentation and style in theme development. The concept is a utopian Mecca for many standard-coherent designers who attempt to structure webpages in a standard structural way and then apply styling to adjust and modify the way the look and feel is conveyed.

It is a valuable Mecca, so don’t let my words be a denigration of the concept.

Movable Type’s Sandbox plugin comes bundled with a handful of themes to get developers and users started. Notably, most of the themes come from the WordPress Sandbox theme competition.

I certainly applaud MTs desire to innovate and push the platform forward, it seems like they are playing catch up. Regardless, playing catch up is better than not doing anything at all.

Good luck to the Movable Type team!