Tech alert: Hot Air server migration tonight; Update: What to do tomorrow

posted at 8:09 pm on April 29, 2010 by Allahpundit

As Joe Biden might say, this is a big f***ing deal. We’ve been cruising along on Michelle’s server since the Salem acquisition in February, but as of this morning our tech wizard (and new dad!) Mark Jaquith has the virtual U-Haul packed and ready to roll. The good news? Salem’s servers should make the site load twice as fast and will guarantee stability as traffic gets heavy in the fall. The bad news? In order to shift us over to Salem HQ, Mark has to unplug parts of the site tonight — including comments. Things should be fine until 9 or 9:30 ET, but after that everyone’s posting privileges will shut down (including mine and Ed’s). So don’t get nervous when you see the “you are not permitted to leave comments” message. You haven’t been banned; that just means that Mark has the U-Haul on the road.

We’ve also got a minor redesign in the works which should be visible soon. Everything will be in its familiar place — Headlines, Top Picks, the Blog, the Greenroom — but things should look a bit tidier on the front page. Stay tuned.

Update: A word to the wise from techies who are e-mailing: If you find yourself still unable to leave comments tomorrow morning, try clearing your cache. And please be patient. For some readers, it could take a full day before the migration is complete and you’re able to see new content on the site.


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Best part:

We’ve also got a minor redesign in the works which should be visible soon.

Minor.

amerpundit on April 30, 2010 at 3:17 AM

Sorry. I dislike the new design.

Sultry Beauty on April 30, 2010 at 3:36 AM

Sorry. I dislike the new design.

Sultry Beauty on April 30, 2010 at 3:36 AM

Agreed. I especially do not like that the page is laid out for wide screen monitors. I either have to max the window (blocking all other open programs/windows) or else scroll sideways to see everything.

But it could be worse. Plus, I’m still looking for the algorithm list of prohibited words.

platypus on April 30, 2010 at 3:44 AM

Herro.

/test complete

JCred on April 30, 2010 at 3:59 AM

platypus on April 30, 2010 at 3:44 AM

I’m on iPhone. I can imagine what it will look like on Firefox. I agree with Ameripundit. It looks like Salem TownHall not Hot Air. There are many things that make me come here even when AP is irritating me. The design was a big one. It looks like they’ve squished content for more advertising via my iPhone. I’ll see the computer version in the morning. The main dashboard is just awful though….

Sultry Beauty on April 30, 2010 at 4:04 AM

Wow. HotAir looks all… Townhall.com-like.

MikeknaJ on April 30, 2010 at 4:18 AM

I actually love the new design… I’m not so happy with it in IE… but I have it open in firefox and it looks great…

ninjapirate on April 30, 2010 at 4:32 AM

There really needs to be an rss feed for the headlines though… and remove the rss pictures by “top picks” and “the blog” and put them to their own section to the right column along with the rss feeds for the ed morrisey show, green room, main blog, and the headlines…

There needs to be an easy way to subscribe to the green room posts…

http://feeds.feedburner.com/hotair/greenroom

ninjapirate on April 30, 2010 at 4:35 AM

Not sure I like this new style! Change it back!

Enoxo on April 30, 2010 at 4:37 AM

Why is there an ad at the top that’s bigger than the site’s logo.

Enoxo on April 30, 2010 at 4:40 AM

It looks great on my monitor!

Conservalicious on April 30, 2010 at 4:41 AM

Yeah, and it’s still here. Hmmm. You don’t think this server move is another one of those stimulus fund projects that are just for show? You know, sorta like when all those big new signs popped up all across the country overnight announcing that stimulus package money was going to fix some street in your area that didn’t even need fixing, and then nobody ever actually showed up to do the job?

leilani on April 29, 2010 at 11:04 PM

How many jobs were saved or created?

davidk on April 30, 2010 at 4:48 AM

Agreed. I especially do not like that the page is laid out for wide screen monitors. I either have to max the window (blocking all other open programs/windows) or else scroll sideways to see everything.

***

platypus on April 30, 2010 at 3:44 AM

Ditto. Consider me the indian with the tear running down his cheek at the end of those environmental ads in the 1970s.

BuckeyeSam on April 30, 2010 at 4:49 AM

Not sure I like this new style! Change it back!

Enoxo on April 30, 2010 at 4:37 AM

There’s a reason we’re called conservatives.

Doen like no changey- hopey- feeley-stuff.

davidk on April 30, 2010 at 4:52 AM

platypus on April 30, 2010 at 3:44 AM

In IE, Ctrl – will squish it together.

davidk on April 30, 2010 at 4:55 AM

The dark grey lettering on the dark red background at the top is really not appealing.

Enoxo on April 30, 2010 at 4:56 AM

It loaded a little quicker for me this morning than it has for the last couple of weeks with all those new ads and tracking cookies. I’m not complaining, it’s free. I’m just complimenting you on your improved performance.

jaime on April 30, 2010 at 5:04 AM

It looks busy.

El Coqui on April 30, 2010 at 5:25 AM

It’s faster loading on my Mac.

NaCly dog on April 30, 2010 at 5:26 AM

The Green Room posts are not loading properly. I’m just getting a word or two, or a sentence… then the comments. It’s the same in IE and Firefox.

hillbillyjim on April 30, 2010 at 5:56 AM

yippee i’m unpacked

Mr. Bingley on April 30, 2010 at 6:00 AM

typeface size is too small in the right hand columns.

Bring back the original Hot Air graphic to the banner!

geckomon on April 30, 2010 at 6:03 AM

Clutter, clutter, clutter.

Can you change it back? The layout, not the server, I mean.

Wethal on April 30, 2010 at 6:08 AM

Wow. HotAir looks all… Townhall.com-like.

MikeknaJ on April 30, 2010 at 4:18 AM

Unfortunately, yes. The new layout seems to have been designed primarily top make room for more ad space. And it’s messed up in firefox.

clearbluesky on April 30, 2010 at 6:14 AM

How long until the annoying pop up and pop under ads start appearing. I know Hot Air has to make money, but c’mon, the bad thing about Townhall is that it feels like one big ad with no content, looks like HA is headed that way.

clearbluesky on April 30, 2010 at 6:17 AM

It does NOT display properly on my phone…grrrrrrr!

NY Conservative on April 30, 2010 at 6:20 AM

Only the tip of the logo flame is visible in Firefox on all pages.

meci on April 30, 2010 at 6:23 AM

Gotta say the new site is a little much–especially first thing in the morning. There’s a whole lot going on with the ads, and it reminds me of why I gave up on Townhall.com (well, the nightmare of ads and Medved/Bennett). Instead of Hot Air being one of the quickest sites to get the news, you have to filter through the dizzying froufrou to focus on why you came to the page in the first place. Boo.

varnson on April 30, 2010 at 6:35 AM

Are the Headlines showing up for everyone? I’m getting this message in the Headline box:

Fatal error: Cannot unset string offsets in /var/www/hotair.com/headlines/wp-includes/widgets.php on line 1073

Using latest FF.

JetBoy on April 30, 2010 at 6:36 AM

I’m seeing headlines now.

flipflop on April 30, 2010 at 6:37 AM

I’m seeing headlines now.

flipflop on April 30, 2010 at 6:37 AM

OK they’re back.

Well, any time there are changes to something we’re accustomed to, it’s gonna take some time to get used to it. I can’t help thinking about the high marks HotAir always got for blog design in web awards past. Gonna miss the ol’ layout for sure. But the best parts of HotAir…the content, the bloggers, and of course the commenters ;)…are still the same.

And at the end of the day, that’s what really matters.

JetBoy on April 30, 2010 at 6:43 AM

Okay I have got headlines now also. Agree with Jetboy that we will get use to the new design. Ed, AP, and the commenters make Hot Air.

chief on April 30, 2010 at 6:50 AM

Hmmm. Works well on my wide screen, but too cluttery. I know ads are necessary, but do I need THREE of the same ad down the page at the same time?

I don’t like billboards either, it clutters the landscape, so I guess that’s why I find these are annoying.

tru2tx on April 30, 2010 at 6:52 AM

Would Michelle consider giving the money back?

Wethal on April 30, 2010 at 6:56 AM

All the comments seem to be over on one side for me. I suppose I was used to having them centered before.

Crux Australis on April 30, 2010 at 7:06 AM

tesssting

pugwriter on April 30, 2010 at 7:12 AM

Hmmm. Works well on my wide screen, but too cluttery. I know ads are necessary, but do I need THREE of the same ad down the page at the same time?

tru2tx on April 30, 2010 at 6:52 AM

Yeah, the animated stuff just drives me BATTY. Now it’s X3. Too reminiscent of crappy web design a’la Townhall.

hoosiermama on April 30, 2010 at 7:15 AM

For all you “too many ads” whiners, use Mozilla and add on Adblock Plus. I haven’t seen a web ad in years.

I like the new layout. More of a full screen experience. Although the top red border on the screen is crying out to grow a little taller.

BierManVA on April 30, 2010 at 7:16 AM

test ……… yeah, more ad space !!!

Jerome Horwitz on April 30, 2010 at 7:19 AM

Test…hmmm, let me see.

galvestonian on April 30, 2010 at 7:22 AM

Awwww, now I can’t click on “Hot Air” for the home link any longer. :(

galvestonian on April 30, 2010 at 7:25 AM

Testy, testy, testy.

NeighborhoodCatLady on April 30, 2010 at 7:25 AM

BierManVA on April 30, 2010 at 7:16 AM

I use Chrome after getting too exasperated with FF (on which I had AB), so I googled “AdBlock for Chrome” and found one! Works! No more spinning phone ads.

hoosiermama on April 30, 2010 at 7:26 AM

The site is much faster. That I like.

AnninCA on April 30, 2010 at 7:42 AM

Folks,
Glad it is working,that you have support,keep up the fight!!!!!!

Col.John Wm. Reed on April 30, 2010 at 7:45 AM

Good morning! I don’t care what it looks like as long as I am in.

Cindy Munford on April 30, 2010 at 7:46 AM

I like the new look, and it seems everything is working fine for me.

CBarker on April 30, 2010 at 7:48 AM

Well, you can give the designer for the new site a good swift kick in the butt for BREAKING the layout. Darn thing doesn’t display properly.

Just revert to the old design. This one sucks.

wearyman on April 30, 2010 at 7:49 AM

Nice. I just refreshed the page and here it is.

AUINSC on April 30, 2010 at 8:03 AM

hello

philly_PA on April 30, 2010 at 8:03 AM

Nice look.

taney71 on April 30, 2010 at 8:11 AM

I like it!

Babino on April 30, 2010 at 8:14 AM

Wowee! HotAir delivered straight to my email box!

ctmom on April 30, 2010 at 8:18 AM

Yeah…sorry…the new design is atrocious.

Basic thing: clicking on the HA banner refreshed the page. Really? Couldn’t make that possible, but you could put a banner right next to it that IS clickable?

MadisonConservative on April 30, 2010 at 8:21 AM

Testing… testing…

Ferris on April 30, 2010 at 8:26 AM

Oh, and the whole “completely dedicated to ads” thing that the layout has going on? BAD BAD BAD. Why do you think I NEVER visit townhall.com? The stupid ad-oriented layout!

Look, I’m all for Capitalism, but the bosses at Townhall.com need to understand that adverts are the way of the PAST on the Internet. With every major browser having an ad-blocking plugin now NOBODY IS SEEING YOUR ADS and it’s just breaking the page layout.

For example: Naming the ENTIRE top banner area “##bannerad” causes the HotAir logo to be clipped off and reduced to the tip-top portion of the flame in the logo. And making an ad bigger than the site logo it’s sitting in-line with? BAD DESIGN!

It’s quite obvious that non-web design guys had a BIG hand in “designing” the site as it is now. In other words, guys with no design talent overrode the design guys and we end up with a FUGLY site.

Hey Townhall owners: You want a nicely designed site? STAY THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY OF THE DESIGN GUYS! Just SHUT UP, SIT DOWN, and let them design a great site for you. YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND DESIGN, THEY DO. Let the experts take care of it and focus on what you do best, running your business.

Of course, I don’t really know that the owners (or some PHB) overrode the design guys, but the new HotAir site and the current Townhall site have all the earmarks of PHB “design by committee” all over them. Particularly the banner ads everywhere.

wearyman on April 30, 2010 at 8:28 AM

wearyman on April 30, 2010 at 8:28 AM

Yeah…I’d even go so far as to say pay close attention to traffic following the new site layout. I’m pretty positive it will steadily creep downward.

MadisonConservative on April 30, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Ever since some one co-opted the word “Change”, I hate change…

right2bright on April 30, 2010 at 8:40 AM

Oh Hot Air … gone are the good old days. Now it looks like so many other polit-a-blogs.

The charm of the vintage Hot Air is gone, and I for one I’m gonna miss it.

garry on April 30, 2010 at 8:42 AM

I really miss the Dyno label maker-looking labels. It was unique. The wide screen layout for me is a feature, not a bug- I just size my window so that I can ignore all the ads on the right side of the screen.

I beg you- please, please, no pop-up/unders. Personally, my daily visits will go from 10+ to 1.

Scott P on April 30, 2010 at 8:50 AM

Hey, put everything back the way it was!

Akzed on April 30, 2010 at 8:53 AM

I beg you- please, please, no pop-up/unders. Personally, my daily visits will go from 10+ to 1. Scott P on April 30, 2010 at 8:50 AM

I was getting floating popups yesterday. I hate them soooo much.

Akzed on April 30, 2010 at 8:54 AM

I was going to say that it looks too ‘TownHall’-ish but others beat me to it. Me don’t likey at all.
Change it back…please,

annoyinglittletwerp on April 30, 2010 at 9:06 AM

Oh man, this is terrible! Like MadisonConservative I use the Firefox ad blocker and the site looks bad. No banner logo and all the gaps down the side, yuk.
I’m sure I’ll get used to it but IMO Townhall is making a big mistake putting their fingerprints all over this site.
Cheers,

grouchymonk on April 30, 2010 at 9:07 AM

CHANGE

Revitalizes the spirit, instills hope in the young, prods the elderly, surprises the complacent, and frightens the fearful.

Skandia Recluse on April 30, 2010 at 9:10 AM

I especially do not like that the page is laid out for wide screen monitors.

Probably not a good time for me to brag about the 27″ monitor on my iMac, huh?

oldleprechaun on April 30, 2010 at 9:18 AM

CHANGE
Revitalizes the spirit, instills hope in the young, prods the elderly, surprises the complacent, and frightens the fearful.
Skandia Recluse

Well if we ad a little Hope to this Change maybe everything will be alright! But I’m still strangely fearful and frighted, plus my whole morning coffee routine has been compromised :~)

grouchymonk on April 30, 2010 at 9:22 AM

New design looks AWESOME and the load speed is terrific!!! Well done folks!

Tom66 on April 30, 2010 at 9:23 AM

Aargh. Dittos to the early birds’ comments here.

Glad I saved a screen shot of the old layout for old time’s sake. I have the same issues in FF others have mentioned. Only the tip of the flame logo visible in the header. It’s OK in IE though, but then the ads are plastered onto nearly every daggum square millimeter of white space without FF’s ad blocker.

I do miss the clean, crisp, high-impact style at the old place. It was easy to both read & navigate, sharp & professional looking with a slightly funky edge and, most importantly, just a comfortable & inviting place to park one’s eyes. This has a less distinctive & more pedestrian signature, I think. I agree with Scott P, bring back the funky Dyno label subheaders!

The good news is that it probably own’t take much time for us all to get used to the changes & the new layout is not yet as oppressively cluttered, clumsy to navigate & aggressively inhospitable looking as TownHall is, so I suppose we can be very thankful for that.

Speaking of which I just went to TownHall to compare & and they’re completely broken for me in both FF & IE. Maybe they will get a long-needed graphic makeover?

Perhaps they’ll get some of that dearly departed white space HA lost in the move last night – something that’s very desperately needed over there if they want to make it a place most web surfers’ over-loaded eyes will want to hang out for more than a few seconds.

And I agree, if HA starts with the obnoxious popunders like TH, they will only drive away traffic. Popunders are such a terrible long-term business strategy! Most people just won’t put up with that garbage and will migrate to a place that doesn’t treat its readers so shabbily by inflicting that hideously evil scourge upon them.

leilani on April 30, 2010 at 9:25 AM

I like it. Looks sharp.

anuts on April 30, 2010 at 9:27 AM

Ohhhhh. Shiny!

Me like.

Bobbertsan on April 30, 2010 at 9:28 AM

Er … where am I?

OldEnglish on April 30, 2010 at 9:32 AM

The new layout subtracts 30% of the site’s personality, and adds….nothing.

IMHO, YMMV, etc.

ElectricPhase on April 30, 2010 at 9:38 AM

I’m not all that keen on the site redesign. It’s very wide. Is the HotAir logo at the top no longer hyperlinked to the front page? I liked that.

Haven’t been able to tell if it’s faster yet or not. During the day I access this site from 3 different computers (I migrate room to room with the kids), and each one has a different OS and IE (one has Firefox) – so I guess I’ll see later today if it is indeed noticeably faster.

Anna on April 30, 2010 at 9:41 AM

On at least one browser, only the tip of the Hot Air flame is visible above the red bar–the logo is otherwise MIA. I’ll let the tech geniuses responsible for this monster figure out which browser, etc. That’s how underwhelmed I am with the new look.

ElectricPhase on April 30, 2010 at 9:45 AM

Good job Hot Air, like the redesign and I imagine after a few days when all DNS servers are populated, shall be faster.

Odie1941 on April 30, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Hmm. Are we getting the dyno label labels back, Scott P? They just reappeared on the side bar for me. And the subheaders look like they’re changing from plain typeface they were earlier this am too.

Wow, you must be a big shot around here if they responded that quickly to your demand! ;-)

leilani on April 30, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Hmm. Are we getting the dyno label labels back, Scott P? They just reappeared on the side bar for me. And the subheaders look like they’re changing from plain typeface they were earlier this am too.

Wow, you must be a big shot around here if they responded that quickly to your demand! ;-)

leilani on April 30, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Gee, if only my wife was that accommodating. KIDDING!!!!!

Scott P on April 30, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Hey ED!. I like the new look of Hot Air. You are all doing a grand ole job…..

hawkman on April 30, 2010 at 9:57 AM

I miss the old look.

Pundette on April 30, 2010 at 9:58 AM

Opera won’t render the page. Simply won’t do it. Nothing…totally fubar.

Skandia Recluse on April 30, 2010 at 10:05 AM

I like it.

WisRich on April 30, 2010 at 10:29 AM

The more I look at the new layout-the more it hurts my eyes.
The thrill is gone.

annoyinglittletwerp on April 30, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Looks fabulous, love it!

AprilOrit on April 30, 2010 at 10:43 AM

I approve.

UltimateBob on April 30, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Is it me, or are there a whole lot more ads in this design? I don’t like it…

CapitalistPig on April 30, 2010 at 11:28 AM

I hate it

PhasedArrays on April 30, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Loving the new server. Hating the new design. The charm is officially gone.

Note to those using IE who don’t want to see the ads:
Add ‘http://ad.doubleclick.net’ to your Restricted Sites list and the ads will be blocked. Sorry TH.

stvnscott on April 30, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Hate it. The new design is stark and amateurish, not subdued and elegant like the old one. When the pop-ups and pop-unders arrive, I’m gone.

OhioCoastie on April 30, 2010 at 11:51 AM

top ad over powers the hotair logo

phreshone on April 30, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Goodbye, Michelle’s server… we hardly knew ye.

RD on April 30, 2010 at 11:55 AM

IE 6 users are going to be veeeery disappointed. For them it seems the side banners are showing up at the bottom of the page.

Also: On a 2nd click of ‘Preview’ after using the “Strong” button, then while trying to Submit Comment, I got this error message:

Fatal error: Cannot unset string offsets in /var/www/hotair.com/wp/wp-includes/widgets.php on line 1073

(Note: Whatever it was may be fixed now.)

RD on April 30, 2010 at 12:02 PM

IE 6 users are going to be veeeery disappointed. For them it seems the side banners are showing up at the bottom of the page.

RD on April 30, 2010 at 12:02 PM

top ad over powers the hotair logo
phreshone on April 30, 2010 at 11:52 AM

And this problem as well.

RD on April 30, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Townhall servers have been overwhelmed, page not found errors, server too busy, site not available.

Meanwhile frantic Hotair(ians) are frantically refreshing the page to get their fix, and Townhall regulars doing the same.

Skandia Recluse on April 30, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Too much…

Don’t like the new design at ALL.

Diane on April 30, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Looking, looking… haven’t found the problem yet. All I’ve found is an Ed toolbar and an Ed button :) :

#commentform #ed_toolbar input.ed_button {
width:auto;
}

RD on April 30, 2010 at 12:11 PM

I’d say the consensus is a resounding “thumbs down.” The natives are restless.

OhioCoastie on April 30, 2010 at 12:11 PM

RD on April 30, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Correction: An ‘Ed’ button style

RD on April 30, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Only thing I don’t like — the nav banner text should not be fuzzy. I think that’s a function of being resized, which is bad for bitmaps.

DrSteve on April 30, 2010 at 12:21 PM

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