Everything is different now… a little

Don’t adjust your intertubes, folks. The site does indeed look a little bit different this morning. We mentioned several days ago that we were working on some changes to the site and asked you to test them. This morning, we’ve moved the new code into production. So far, nothing seems to be utterly broken, so we’re hoping the transition has gone off smoothly.

The biggest change is one you may not even notice: nearly every URL on the site has switched to a new format, one that’s less compact but readable in plain-ish English. We made this change because our Google rankings were suffering pretty severely under our old, all-numeric URL format. You may notice that our URLs look a lot more like most other sites now. You can thank or blame Google for that, depending on your preference. We did try to make the new URL format sensible, and I think it will serve us well over time.

Of course, we auto-redirect any older URLs to the proper new-format URL. So even though everything is changed, the functionality should be effectively identical. Like I said, you may not even notice it.

If you do spot a problem, though, please post in the comments below to let us know, so we can investigate it ASAP.

Beyond the URL thing, we’ve made some layout tweaks. Blog posts are now part of our "feature" content stream along with articles and reviews. Hiding them in their own, separate navigation arrangement just wasn’t a smart thing to do. After all, they’re essentially weekly columns, and we put quite a bit of effort into them. Like I said earlier, blog posts will remain clearly marked as such on their individual pages, for those folks who think opinion columns should be kept separate from… reviews with opinions about products in them.

The front page looks a little different, too, with the separate blog posts box replaced by a "top comments" widget. The nav bar up at the top of the page has been freshened up. "GPUs" has been changed to the more accessible "Graphics," and "Mobos + Chipsets" becomes "Motherboards." We’ve also added a dedicated gaming section, since we write a fair amount on that subject.

There are a few other small changes, but I think that about sums it up. As usual, our developer, Bruno "morphine" Ferreira, gets the credit for making these things happen without breaking the site, slowing it down, or otherwise causing calamity. We have some other, more visible changes in store for the next stage of this project, but that’s a story for another day.

Comments closed
    • Wirko
    • 7 years ago

    Over at Anand’s, the URL without the long extension brings up the same article as with the extension. For example,

    [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/6143/ocz-agility-4-256gb-review[/url<] [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/6143[/url<] Not sure why but I think it's nice.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, I like that too, but here doing that (after the 23507 on this post, for example) takes me to the news page. It’d be neato, since the number appears to be a unique identifier, if it’d work the same way here. Other examples are all the Gawker sites like GIzmodo and Kotaku.

      • Firestarter
      • 7 years ago

      same goes more or less for TR:
      [url<]https://techreport.com/news/23507/e[/url<] [url<]https://techreport.com/news/23507/everything-is-different-now-a-little[/url<] Just a slight change in the mod_rewrite rules to make that work. The way it works is that it only looks for the number (and maybe the /news prefix), everything after that is just ignored and could be anything. Strictly speaking, the website should check that the complete url is correct, but doing that could incur an additional cost. As long as you only link to the normal url and don't expose any other variant to the user (to copy and paste), it should be alright though. That, and you can tell search engines by what url you would like the page to be referred to (canonical url), so that even if a visitor links to your article on a blog/forum/whatever and uses a botched url, Google will know what they really meant and attribute page rank accordingly.

    • green
    • 7 years ago

    is there a reason for sticking with “.x” links?
    pages seem to load fine without them:

    techreport.com/news.x
    techreport.com/news

    techreport.com/archive.x?page=1
    techreport.com/archive?page=1

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    /news still looks the same to me. 😛

    • Firestarter
    • 7 years ago

    Another question, slightly offtopic maybe: Have you considered using Varnish as a webserver cache? Not that Tech Report seems to need it at the moment, but I imagine it would come in quite handy if TR gets hammered by traffic.

      • Damage
      • 7 years ago

      A while back, we served nearly a million pageviews in a 24-hour period… on our old dual-core Opteron setup that was ~4 years old at the time.

      Then we upgraded to our new servers, which are maybe ~6X faster. 🙂

      There are things we could do to make pages load faster, many of them client-side optimizations really, but we haven’t had any trouble keeping up with demand.

        • Firestarter
        • 7 years ago

        Well if you’re caching most of the site in RAM already and CPU power is not much of an issue, Varnish wouldn’t make a huge impact anyway.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD MAKE A HUGE IMPACT? RACING STRIPES!!!!

            • Firestarter
            • 7 years ago

            Stickers man, especially those validation stickers for standards that nobody cares about!

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            DAMN SKIPPY

            • 5150
            • 7 years ago

            Speed holes!

            • mcnabney
            • 7 years ago

            Only if speed holes are appropriately applied.

      • Damage
      • 7 years ago

      I should say that caching reverse proxies are nifty, though, and it’s good to know we have the option. 🙂

    • lonleyppl
    • 7 years ago

    At least on Chrome 21, if I mouse over the CPUs/GRAPHICS/MOTHERBOARDS/CASES & POWER… buttons at the top of the page the selected button is highlighted by a white oval background. Unfortunately this oval is not smooth, but has jagged edges. Might just be something small to investigate.

      • Shobai
      • 7 years ago

      I’m not sure if I’m seeing the same thing; Chrome 21 and when I mouse over these same buttons, part of the highlighted white rounded rectangle is at one level and the rest is a fraction higher.

      Specifically, CPUs: the “CPU” part is one one level and the “s” part is higher. In all other cases, the first letter in at on height and the remainder is slightly higher.

        • lonleyppl
        • 7 years ago

        Yessiree that’s it.

    • Firestarter
    • 7 years ago

    A SEO related question: Does Google index the comments to a news article? Do you care if it does? I’m not sure how well Google handles content that gets loaded asynchronously.

    edit: On the topic of SEO, I can’t imagine it helps to have the links in the navbar formatted like

    [code<]<h1>G</h1>raphics[/code<] Seems to me that the word graphics should be completely inside the H1 tag to be counted as a high priority link.

      • Firestarter
      • 7 years ago

      *shameless bump*

      • Dodger
      • 7 years ago

      It doesn’t help TR’s SEO to have the article headline in a span tag rather than an H1 either. Hopefully this is the start of their SEO changes and more are coming.

    • willmore
    • 7 years ago

    I have noticed one thing. At least in FF15, if I reload a page, the window returns to the top of the page instead of staying where in the page it had been. It might be the recent update from FF14 to 15 that did it or it might be the new web site design. They happened at about the same time, so I can’t separate them out.

    This makes it more difficult to follow changes in comment threads, but is, by no means, a showstopper.

      • indeego
      • 7 years ago

      Not able to repeat this myself.

      • entropy13
      • 7 years ago

      That doesn’t happen to me.

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      And it’s working again, now. Yay!

    • cegras
    • 7 years ago

    It’s pretty scary to think that if you fall off the front page of Google your website might as well not exist, drowned in the billions of pages on the internet …

    I’m surprised Google’s search algorithm is so weak – or is this a common SEO?

      • Damage
      • 7 years ago

      This is common now. As I said before, it used to be that we did our job of producing good content, Google did its job of indexing it and providing relevant results, and all was well. Now, Google has more power, and it has given us webmasters a lot of homework if we want to keep our rankings up.

        • cegras
        • 7 years ago

        Harsh. Best of luck.

        I’ve had to accidentally stumble on a lot of websites that are the ‘kings’ of their field – AVSforums, head-fi, etc.

        • spuppy
        • 7 years ago

        Ironically, a lot of changes google made were to weed out the crappy sites ‘information farms’. All that happened is the top 1% of the sites got promoted, and the other 99% fell into the same category that exists below ads/youtube/whatever else google wants to promote

      • Firestarter
      • 7 years ago

      Google just tries to prioritize important content, so if you’re looking for an HD7970 review, the algorithm is going to rank pages that have HD7970 in the URL higher than the same exact page that does not have such an URL. Of course it’s only one of many factors that come into play, but it seems to be a pretty important one for Google! As to how high of an influence (if at all) the other search engines give to the URL, I don’t know.

      In general though, what Google likes and does not like seems to change all the time, and at any given moment it is not entirely clear what exactly you should do to maximize your visibility. ATM the URL itself is apparently pretty important, but that [i<]could[/i<] change. The reasoning behind it is pretty sound though, especially if you take into account that Google does not like having more than 1 URL for a specific piece of content.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Is TR going to make a [s<]Metro[/s<] 'Modern UI' friendly version? Let the downvotes begin!

      • alphacheez
      • 7 years ago

      I would like to see some live tiles on the front page with running tallies of the number of down votes you, Meadows, ssk and neelycam get 😛

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        i would love to see a live tile with updates for TR, WITH REPLIES TO MY POSTS!!! THAT WOULD BE BALLIN. GET ON IT BOYS!!

        • Meadows
        • 7 years ago

        I object, I don’t get many.

      • RenatoPassos
      • 7 years ago

      ROFLMAO! 😀

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      +1 for an amusing idea.

    • mesyn191
    • 7 years ago

    Can you find a way to make everything wider if we want? Wider than you already can I mean.

    22″+ monitors aren’t all that uncommon these days and especially on a 27″ there is soo much wasted space.

      • spuppy
      • 7 years ago

      So you run your browser in full screen? I thought people only ever do that on phones and tablets now

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        mine is always full screen

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          You’re doing it wrong.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            that’s what she said.

          • spuppy
          • 7 years ago

          What always made sense to me was having 1280px wide browser on one side of a screen, and twitter/facebook/messenger/weather/clock/media player/tv show/whatever you want on the other side.

          Full screen browser? really? That would be like printing on a newspaper unfolded.. one sentence reaching across the entire unfolded page…

          I can’t be in the minority who thinks this is silly… right?

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            it depends on how wide your monitor is. i have a 1080p screen which doesn’t show the whole site when using 50% of the screen. it shows most of it, but it’s annoying enough i just maximize it.
            i don’t leave media players open.

        • Diplomacy42
        • 7 years ago

        Full-screener here. Would love to see less wasted space across web layouts in general.

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      Those 27″ screens are perfect for two browsers side-by-side. 1280×1440 works so well for browsing media on one whilst you read news/TR on the other.

        • mesyn191
        • 7 years ago

        I don’t like “double browsing”. If something is taking a long time to load for whatever reason I’ll open another tab and then continue where I left off after it finishes but otherwise I like to take one thing at a time.

      • vargis14
      • 7 years ago

      Full screen here also.
      I just do the CTRL key + my mouse wheel up or down to zoom and unzoom it fill the screen. Since i am on a HDTV and not on top of my screen it helps so i do not get eystrain.
      Chrome remembers what size you set with every page until you clear your cookies and stuff with Ccleaner.
      Pretty sure IE does it also but i rarely use the slow Explorer.

      Also with google Syncing in chrome since all 3 of my displays are HDTV’s in 1080p they come up the right size regardless of what PC i get on out of the 3 1155 systems in use. My 2 i3 HTPC’s are hooked up to a 55″ panasonic vt30 and a 47 ” vizio. My gaming rig is hooked to my 37″ vizio, since it is on a desk I push it against the wall to give me some distance from it.
      Both Vizios are 3 years old and i grabbed them for very cheap, 289$ for the 37″ and $399 for the 47″
      For the price i cannot complain about the Vizio brand. They both have a better picture then what i paid for them. The panasonic is a dream 🙂 I love it. Does 3D great and have a huge library of 3d shows movies etc. Avatar is still has the best 3D of anything i have watched so far, with a chinese movie with jet li and English Subs in second place. Flying swords or something, but it was filmed with Avatars cameras and camera man and it was the 2nd top grossing movie in chinas history. The story stunk and most of the time the chinese to english subs don’t stay up long enough for you to read them most of the time since they talk so fast!

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    I can’t find the ‘Bottom Comments’ list – where is it? It seemed logical that it would be right under ‘Top Comments’ (and in reverse order), but it’s not there….

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    I liked having blogs quickly accesible over on the right. On the main page ‘Top Comments’ looks really lonely now too. Any chance of adding back the Blogs listing over there while still keeping them mixed in with the other articles?

    • BIF
    • 7 years ago

    Nice work. Kudos to Scott and the Damage Minions.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<] more visible changes in store for the next stage of this project, but that's a story for another day. [/quote<] Nooooo I like the layout...don't change it again.....

    • ShadowEyez
    • 7 years ago

    So far it seems nice from my standpoint – like having the blog posts a little more visible.

    Slightly OT, but being this is TR – what are the specs for your webserver(s)? I’m sure you’ve written about it before, can someone point out the article?

      • Damage
      • 7 years ago

      Never have finished the write-up on this generation of boxes.

      We have just two, a main and a backup. They’re both using relatively recent dual-socket server CPUs with silly amounts of RAM (32GB and 12GB) and dual 64GB SLC SSDs in RAID 1, along with dual HDDs in RAID 1 for extra storage. Running LAMP on CentOS Linux.

      Main box is dual six-core Opterons with 32GB and the backup is dual six-core Xeons with 12GB. We may switch to the Xeons for a little speed boost eventually, but we don’t exactly need it, and I like having the extra RAM in the main box.

      We can almost cache the site content in RAM, I think. Any RAM cache misses go to the SLC SSD array, which is.. fast.

      Only one box really does anything. The other is a replicated backup that also hosts a VM that acts as our development environment.

        • BIF
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<] We can almost cache the site content in RAM, I think. [/quote<] That is friggin' awsome!

        • bcronce
        • 7 years ago

        The only good part of LAMP is the L. Apache and MySQL are “meh” at best and PHP is a down right abomination.

        nginx, PostgreSQL, and Ruby/Javascript/Go/Python(anything but PHP)

          • Damage
          • 7 years ago

          Well, we’re abominating all over the Internet, then. Sure hasn’t been a problem.

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            LAMP may not be technically elegant, but it is pretty much the defacto standard for non-Windows-based web hosting. This means it is widely supported, has a wide range of canned applications available, and there are a lot of devs/admins out there who are comfortable working with it. There’s a lot to be said for that.

            (This was meant to be a reply to #22…)

          • Firestarter
          • 7 years ago

          Well at least with PHP you can be assured that there are developers around who can make sense of your code and debug it. Have you hired any Ruby developers lately? Could you afford them?

          • Dygear
          • 7 years ago

          Yes and no, I’m running many sites on my server and I’m using less then 100MB of ram. This is mainly thanks to nginx, that’s crazy efficient. I’m also using PHP 5.4.6 and that’s way more efficient then PHP 5.3.X. SQLite is my backend database that’s built into PHP’s engine, but on a site this size using something else would be a good idea.

        • entropy13
        • 7 years ago

        So the comment tree that was so long in terms of reply branches that it went beyond the white background won’t make your servers divide by zero?

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          YEAH, what can we do about that. those childish guys….

        • RenatoPassos
        • 7 years ago

        Great info – I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what is “just enough” for a site like this. Thanks for sharing.

        • just brew it!
        • 7 years ago

        While 32 GB of RAM may have been silly a few years ago, it isn’t any more. When 32 GB of ECC server RAM can be had for under $350 it ceases to be silly and crosses over into the “why not” category! 😀

    • Ari Atari
    • 7 years ago

    This might be a problem: Usually when I click on one of the “Top Comments” it pulls up the comment I clicked on. Now it just goes to the page where the comment exists.

      • Damage
      • 7 years ago

      Thanks… should be fixed now.

        • Ari Atari
        • 7 years ago

        Good as new.

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    Good call with the blogs. In the past I’ve had a hard time finding some of the more interesting blog posts and this will make them easier to spot.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 7 years ago

      agreed

    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    well done, boys, well done

    first

      • pedro
      • 7 years ago

      In your effort to post first your punctuation is suffering SSK. You should think about that long and hard.

        • entropy13
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]You should think about that long and hard.[/quote<] Might as well ask ssk to stop being ssk then.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<] long and hard. [/quote<] perv. and i see my error, but i'll leave it so you have context, and the other guys see that even though they put me on a pedestal as a hero/genius, i can still make mistakes. it should help them realize their own potential.

            • BIF
            • 7 years ago

            Hero and genius are two different things.

            Pick one and get off the pot already.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            well, a hero genius, with no /. somebody like tony stark, bruce wayne, dr. manhattan, etc. somebody to hold up as the pinnacle of human achievement. you know what i mean, you’re one of the founders of [url<]http://www.sweatshopkingisthegreatestmantoeverlive.com[/url<] edit, though it seems like you guys need to fix the dns, the site is down...

            • BIF
            • 7 years ago

            LOL

            Well, if not a hero, genius, or a hero genius, at least you provide some much needed comic relief. I’m sure that even the Court Jester was at one time a respected occupation.

            😉

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This