More disk problems on the Carsurvey.org web server. It’s currently being rebuilt. Not sure if any data has been lost (last guaranteed backup was Monday). Updates when I know more.
Archive for the ‘My Sites’ Category
Carsurvey.org is back in the land of the living, and appears to have suffered little to no data loss, despite a failure of the RAID controller card. As well as visually inspecting the site and database, I’ve run some comparison scripts against current and backup copies of the database, and the only differences I could spot are ones I’d expect from the passage of time, rather than missing or corrupt data.
Full marks to SoftLayer for dealing with this issue much better than The Planet did when I had a similar issue a few years back.
Apologies to everyone for the outage, and if anyone has lost any reviews or comments, I’m very sorry about that.
The server the site is hosted on is having filesystem problems, and someone is looking at right now. I’ve got a good full backup (I know it restores OK) from Monday, and managed to save some of the newer reviews first thing this morning, but I’m not hopeful about some of the very recent reviews and comments. I think I’m going to spending the rest of the day rebuilding things once whatever hardware failed is replaced.
Hopefully all will be back to normal later (probably much later) today.
Apologies for any inconvenience caused.
Since it was created back in 1997, Carsurvey.org has organised reviews by the year of manufacture of the cars. This made sense for European cars, but not for North American cars, where model year is what matters. The site eventually started collecting model year information, but the site structure did not change, as it was difficult to come up with a consistent structure that would make sense on both sides of the Atlantic.
I’ve been aware for years that North American visitors were confused by the site structure, and I eventually came to the conclusion that it was better for the meaning of a year on Carsurvey.org to be inconsistent, depending on the region of the review.
For a North American review, the model year (where available) is used in preference to the year of manufacture. This isn’t the case for the rest of the world.
So a list of 2006 BMW 3 Series reviews will contain 2006 model year reviews from North America, and 2006 manufacture year reviews from elsewhere. Not quite the same thing, but for reviews from their own region, it should fit visitor’s assumptions, rather than trying to make them fit the site’s data model.
MotorcycleSurvey.com has also had similar changes made, but in that case, model year always takes priority over year of manufacture, regardless of region, as that reflects the way motorcycles are marketed.
As Google now supports microformats, I’ve added hReview support to all the CSDO Media sites, including Carsurvey.org and the airline review pages. Whilst visitors with normal web browsers won’t notice any changes, the reviews are now much easier for computers and search engines to understand and manipulate.
In case anyone else is looking to do something similar, I found the Optimus microformats transformer to be very useful for checking that my hReview markup was valid.
Questions, complaints about Carsurvey.org? Ask away in the comments.
Following a recent experiment with FeedbackArmy, I’ve removed the tabs on Carsurvey.org. They seemed like a good idea when I introduced them, but ultimately they were just confusing and a waste of space.
As a consequence, the links to the other CSDO Media sites have been moved into the page footer, and the search box has moved from the top left of the page to the top right.
I’ve also added the IE8 meta tag, to make sure Carsurvey.org behaves nicely when Microsoft release their latest browser in a few months time.
For most visitors, this means:
- If your browser crashes and you return to the site, your in progress review or comment will be automatically recovered for you
- If you’re writing a long review or comment, you don’t have to do it all in one session, as drafts are stored for 7 days
Following a suggestion from a regular user of the Members Area, I’ve added two optional features, which can be activated using the “Update your details” page in the Members Area:
- Show full review details, including numerical ratings? – This changes the default presentation of reviews in the Members Area to a more detailed view, with all the review details displayed, rather than the default cut down details that are usually shown.
- Post text feedback to the site moderator? – Enabling this option allows for members to post feedback or concerns about particular reviews and comments, which will be read by the site moderator (that’s me – email@example.com).
The 2 pixel thick black borders are now only 1 pixel thick. Hopefully this will make Carsurvey.org rather easier on the eye, as the old thicker borders tended to distract from the actual page content.
I may experiment with lightening the borders further (grey rather than black) if this change is well received. No plans for curved corners or gradients though, just in case anyone thinks Carsurvey.org is arriving late to the Web 2.0 style party.