Fresh Off The Block


Jun
04
2018

A bit of bugfixing

Earlier this week, the Technically Motivated team became aware of some back-end bugs on our site that had affected various elements of our sidebar and made it difficult to make updates to our site layout. After some investigation, the bugs were traced down to a plugin we at Technically Motivated had been using for many years, to provide our visitors and members with a friendly, “what you see is what you get”-style comment box.

As a result of this bug, comment boxes were stripped down to small, basic text fields while we looked at a solution. We are pleased to state that we have now found an alternative plugin; and you will now once again be able to post comments on our site with all the visual splendour you like, in full confidence that what you see really is what you’ll get. The same plugin also applies to our newly-migrated Forum, and has allowed us to introduce many more features to allow our users to customise their posts as they like.

In other news, we have begun public testing of a new Private Messaging system, which registered and logged in members to our site can now try out through the “Private Messaging” link under Social, or by visiting https://www.technicallymotivated.com/social/private-messaging/ directly. This system also uses Browser Notifications to inform you of newly-received messages, if you have enabled the feature in your browser for our site. We hope to improve visibility of this feature in the coming weeks; and look forward to your feedback on how you find using it 🙂

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    Previous Articles


    May
    29
    2018

    A better organised Discord, Forum changes and more – Spring Cleaning on Technically Motivated

    With Spring in full swing and Summer not long away, many people will be engaging in Spring Cleaning to get their homes and workplaces organised ad tidy. Here a Technically Motivated, we also believe in the value of Spring Cleaning; and I'm pleased to be able to detail some tweaks – both small and large – we have or will be bringing out across the site and our other services over the coming days.

    Discord

    The first such change, which is already live, is to our Discord. Many of our Discord regulars use our Discord to discuss technology-related topics that we at TM currently do not have articles about, whether just out of personal interest, as a suggestion for a new topic for us to cover, or to help them plan out an article of their own to submit to us. Many of these discussions previously were taking place in our #articles text channel, which is also used to inform Discord users of new postings on the main Technically Motivated website; and this was sometimes causing these announcements and subsequent discussion – the intended point of the channel – to become drowned out.

    Following feedback from the Moderators, I have subsequently introduced a brand new text chat channel to our Discord, #suggestions, as a dedicate channel for discussing anything tech-related that isn't yet on our blog, with linking to other sites fully permitted (within reason). As part of this change, #articles is now only to be used or discussion and announcement of articles that DO appear on our site; and the channel no longer permits links of any kind from non-Staff users. We have also introduced categories to the Discord channel list, to neatly organise all our available channels.

    Forum and Private Messaging

    For the last several months now, we have been actively beta testing a new Forum, to replace our long-standing Forum solution of many years. The aim of this test was to find a replacement that would be more efficient, but still offer a comparatively similar set of features to our existing Forum, due to the software powering that Forum becoming outdated as well as causing performance issues due to significant database load.

    During the Beta, the replacement Forum received a number of updates and very quickly matured into a complete solution, even allowing us to cross-post topics from the blog to our Forum; as well as introducing the ability for players to report inappropriate topics. Following testing of the most recent crop of updates, the Technically Motivated Moderators and myself have deemed the new Forum suitable for our purposes.

    As a result, on 31 May 2018, the existing Technically Motivated Forum will be closed down and replaced, with existing Forum links now leading to the new Forum and the Beta Test page removed. We hope you will find the replacement easy to use and appropriate for all your future discussions.

    As part of the switch to the new Forum, unfortunately all existing Private Messages will be lost. We have been informed by the developers of the new Forum that Private Messaging is not a supported feature and is not planned to be added, as it is not considered essential to the main purpose of a Forum; and there are already other WordPress plugins that offer dedicated Private Messaging functionality. We plan to reintroduce Private Messaging at a future date; and are already beta-testing a potential option to reintroduce the feature, which we hope to roll out very soon. However, we will not be able to import your previous message history. Sorry 🙁

    Other News

    You may have noticed a slight change to the sharing buttons that appear below each of our posts. As part of our commitment to user privacy, Technically Motivated has ditched AddThis, which had the potential to track our users even if hey weren't logged in to any Social Networks; in favour of a brand-new solution which does no tracking whatsoever. The new sharing buttons are also more efficient, resulting in slightly faster page loads across our site. So now you can read and share our articles both faster and more safely than before. We may tweak the appearance of the buttons in the coming days, but you can use the new buttons right now if there's anything you want to share with your friends, family, colleagues or followers 🙂

    Jan
    05
    2018

    Future Plans & An Appeal For Help

    Greetings to all our readers and fans. As 2018 gets underway, I hope you are all having a great new year!

    When I first launched Technically Motivated, nearly nine years ago, I envisioned it to be a communal effort. While the focus has always been to provide informative and useful tips, articles and news about technology so that anyone can learn how to do more, stay safe or get answers to common problems with whatever they have, in 95% of all the articles that have been published here over the last nine years, there has always been a public comment box for people to leave their opinions on what they just read; and my hope has always been that people reading the blog might chat to one another about other important tips they might have picked up, or mistakes in what they've just read, or just anything that takes their interest so that perhaps, in future, these could be the subject of future content and the site can appeal to even more of our readers. This is also why we have a Forum and a very active social media presence – when I say that Technically Motivated is the technology blog written by you, that is exactly what I mean.

    While I have had the occasional review or article suggestion sent in to me by both visitors and friends, for the most part, every single thing you have seen published here on Technically Motivated on the last nine years has come from my own hand. Unfortunately, lives can change a lot in nine years; and for many months now, personal circumstances and changes in my career etc have left me with far less time to write about Technology; and as a result, while I continue to develop and improve every part of this great website and service behind the scenes, there are often long periods of silence between new content going up, and I constantly worry about people getting the impression that Technically Motivated is a "dead" site despite my continued efforts.

    It has always been my intention for Technically Motivated to remain a free resource (supported by advertising and donations), which people can contribute to with or without an account; and be able to read, comment on and even suggest their own articles without any outlay. But to be able to continue this, I need help. If you are somebody with a knowledge of Technology – whether it's mobile, PC, Android, Linux, Mac, iOS, smart devices, games consoles, gadgets, processors or whatever else tech – and you want to help write about some of the latest happenings, your own tips and tricks for making the most of it, or interesting stuff you think other people might find useful, please get in touch – I am eager to hear from you!

    Speaking of community, you may be aware that in 2017, Technically Motivated started a Beta for a new Forum solution. The move was prompted due to our previous Forum solution becoming undesirable, as it has been responsible for high load on our database which has led to slowdowns; and the move by the Forum's developers to release updated versions on a "freemium" model, where advanced features – including features previously available for free on our current Forum release – have now been turned into paid extras. In response, we have been trialing what was at the time a relatively new Forum software solution with a view towards replacement.

    While the new Forum solution has impressed us due to its fast pace of development and quick maturity in features, until now we have continued to run both Forums simultaneously, due to the replacement still lacking popular features such as Private Messaging and cross-posting. With our old Forum becoming further out-of-date, however, it is my plan in 2018 to finally switch off the previous solution and fully migrate over to the new Forum, perhaps with additional software to cover the missing functionality. A full roadmap for this transition will be announced once I have settled on the final course of action.

    I hope that you, the beloved visitors, readers and contributors to Technically Motivated, will continue to support Technically Motivated; and I hope together, we can see this valuable resource continue late into 2018 and beyond.

    Jun
    06
    2017

    Welcome to our new server!

    Technically Motivated has completed its transition to its brand new high-performance server. If you are reading this post, you are now reaching us from our new home.

    The increased performance of our new server means that web pages should now load faster, and new comments, Forum Posts and so on should submit quicker than before. Updated back-end software should also enable us to enhance the site more than ever before in the future. For now though, you can just continue to enjoy the same old TM you’ve come to love, just in a faster and better-performing package 🙂

    Unfortunately, we do have some bad news to report. In the process of moving over to our new server, our previous email inbox, which is actually hosted separately by our hosting provider, was not transferred. While we have subsequently set up the email address again and you will once again be able to continue to communicate with us via the on-site contact form or directly at webmaster[at]technicallymotivated[dot]com, unfortunately any previous email correspondence from prior to the server move has been lost. We humbly apologise for this inconvenience and will strive to recover whatever we can.

    Thanks for everyone’s patience during the server move and subsequent downtime; and I hope you will continue to enjoy being a part of Technically Motivated – the Technology Blog for everyone. Our Motivation Is Highlighting Tech Innovation.

    May
    30
    2017

    Important: Upcoming Server Move

    Within the next few hours, Technically Motivated will be moving to a brand new server as part of a complete migration of all WPS Interactive and sister sites and services. During this time, Technically Motivated’s site and email may become briefly unavailable.

    We will post a further announcement once the move has fully completed. Until this time, if you find yourself unable to reach our website or send us any email, please try again later. We humbly apologise for any inconvenience caused.

    Feb
    23
    2017

    Join us on Discord!

    Because Technically Motivated is designed to be the technology blog everyone can understand and get involved with, whether it’s suggesting articles, leaving comments or just chatting; and because our aim is to keep on the pulse of the latest in technology, I’m always looking into new ways to allow our readers to interact with each other.

    In this vein, it is my pleasure to announce that Technically Motivated has now launched its own official Discord server! Now, by clicking on the “Discord” icon found to the right of every page; or by using our permanent quick invite link https://discord.gg/AndKNte, you can join in with a modern chat solution that lets you both text and voice chat with like-minded readers, visitors and contributors to Technically Motivated, with a variety of different channels for all sorts of different topics – whether it’s gaming, tech or general conversation. Be sure to also keep an eye on our #articles channel where you’ll get instant notifications on any new articles posted on Technically Motivated 😉

    I’m still setting up the Discord in some areas, but it’s already ready to go and anyone with a valid Discord account is welcome to join. Also, if you have any suggestions for new chat channels, do tell us in the comments, or by leaving a message for Techie Jinji directly on Discord. Enjoy!

    Oct
    07
    2016

    Forum and Mobile Updates, and minor fixes

    For the last few months, I have been inviting users to help Beta Test a new Forum to replace our long-standing one, which has been found to cause performance issues for our server. Although the new Forum works well, something that personally disappointed me was that the new Forum Software did not have the capability to enable guest posting. The current Technically Motivated forum has a public "Site Troubleshooting" section which permits all visitors, whether registered or not, to post if they have any problems using our website; and unfortunately, this was not something the new Forum would allow.

    However, the Forum we have been using for the Beta has since received updates; and a recent new feature will allow us to enable guest posting, allowing us to restore this functionality for the new Beta forum. We will continue to keep the new Forum as a Beta while we test how well this works and whether it is secured enough to not enable abuse; but if all goes well, it is my plan to announce an official time-frame for phasing out the old Forum and switching to the new solution.

    On a related note, you may have been aware of the boxes on our homepage showing the latest conversations people have been having here on Technically Motivated, be it on our comment boxes, our forum or on Twitter. However, in recent months, you may have noticed only the Twitter feed was properly working. After some investigation, I've been able to restore the latest comments pane, which had been broken by a glitch. However, the Forum pane has been completely removed, as it turns out the current Forum has broken this feature, and the new Beta Forum does not yet offer a replacement. You can still however see the latest Forum posts for the non-Beta Forum on our sidebar.

    In other news, we have recently upgraded our Mobile site, which should now offer an even better experience when viewing us on your mobile or smartphone. You'll now find a much easier-to-navigate menu, as well as easy sharing links atop each article; as well as links to our social pages in the footer. We have also changed the colour scheme to better match our desktop site; and updated the copyright notice. Whether you visit us on your mobile or your PC, we hope you enjoy your time here at Technically Motivated.

    May
    04
    2016

    Notice: Technical Issues With Our Email Inbox

    I would like to apologise to anybody who has been sending email to our public Inbox and patiently awaiting a response. Unfortunately, due to a software glitch, Technically Motivated's Email Inbox has been failing to load on multiple occasions recently, and our Staff have found themselves unable to read any emails we have received.

    We would appreciate everyone's patience while we try to resolve this matter. As the Contact Form on our website also sends emails to this inbox, we ask that you do not use the Contact Form to send us any messages for which you desire an immediate response. Instead, you can contact us via the Forum or any of our Social Networking links, shown to the right throughout our site.

    My humble apologies for this inconvenience.

    Jan
    17
    2016

    Forum Updates and News

    Greetings, visitors and Techies.

    Ever since Technically Motivated launched in 2009, our goal has always been to create a technology blog that connects people together whatever their technology expertise; and to create a community of people helping each other or simply having fun and engaging in conversation, while also providing a useful resource.

    Part of the way we've tried to achieve this goal is through use of a Forum where people can start whatever topic is on their mind; and others can join in or start their own. We're now looking for your feedback on potential changes to the Forum to help improve its performance and the overall experience going forward.

    If you're interested in helping out, we ask you to try a new Forum setup we're testing on our specially-crafted page, http://www.technicallymotivated.com/new-forum-test. Here we are testing a brand new Forum Software solution. You'll still find most of the same Forum Categories and sections as in the current Forum, but as well as a different design, you'll hopefully notice a new, more powerful post editor and a much more streamlined approach. What we would like to know is whether a Forum with a simpler feature set and design would not only perform better for Technically Motivated going forward; but also be well-received by our community. Your feedback will determine what route we take for the Forum going forward.

    Don't worry though, we won't be taking down the old one just yet! For those of you who still prefer the current Forum or aren't willing to take the plunge to try something new just yet, the current Forum remains fully functional and open for everyone. Regular visitors might be happy to know that we no longer have advertising on the Forum and Thread Indexes, in order to fix a bug where the adverts would mess up the layout of the Forum and make certain content disappear or look weird, making for an ugly experience on some pages.

    Let us know what you think of both the new Forum and the fixes to the current Forum by posting comments below, or by contacting us directly via our Contact Form. Remember, Technically Motivated is here for you!

    Jul
    22
    2015

    Site Update: Write For TM page working again and improvements

    Greetings to all of our readers!

    As you may already be aware, Technically Motivated is a technology blog with a heavy focus on YOU, our dear visitors and readers. We encourage you to get involved with our website as much as you want – whether that be through leaving comments on our various articles; communicating with other regular visitors via our Forum or IRC; or submitting your own ideas for articles via our Write for TM page, where you can potentially get your own writings onto our blog and receive credit for your work.

    Unfortunately, Technically Motivated was recently made aware that the "Write for TM" page has in recent weeks not been working as intended. After some investigation, we discovered that a recent website update caused a glitch in our User Submission form regarding the ability to upload images as part of the article. Somehow, the setting for "maximum images per submission" got set to a negative number. As a result, the form was rejecting all submissions for having too many images even when none had been uploaded. This unfortunate glitch resulted in the form being broken and all submissions being rejected by our site.

    I am pleased to announce that this glitch has now been resolved; and it is once again possible to submit articles to our site. In addition to the fixes, I have decided to make a few tweaks to the page to make the experience much more friendlier to use:

    • You can now use Rich Text editing to allow you to write new posts with the formatting and look you like – What You See Is What You Get. To enable this, select the "Visual" option on the Post Content box. The older HTML method is still available for expert users.
    • The "Your Article has been submitted" and "There was an error" messages on submitting an article have been made more noticeable by using bigger, bolder text and a check mark or cross symbol to indicate success or failure, respectively, allowing you to more easily see if your submission was received.
    • The look of the page has been generally tidied up; and unnecessary buttons have been removed.

    I hope these changes lead to a more satisfactory experience; and we hope to see more of your contributions here on Technically Motivated – the Technology Blog made for everyone!

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