my two cents 1000
Monday, 01 October 2012 00:01

Welcome to the all-new Digital Bits!

No… your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. At long last, we’ve finally gone and done it. You are now looking at the all-new, fully-modernized Digital Bits. We’ve entered the 21st Century at last! That’s right, The Bits no longer looks like it was designed in the late 1990s. And this is just the beginning.

So what took so long? Well… a funny thing happened over the decade and a half since we first launched The Bits. The site grew so big so fast that it just because a monstrous chore to try and update it! I mean, seriously daunting. It didn’t help that I was always too busy talking to industry sources, taking calls, tracking down release news, reviewing discs and dealing with not one but two format wars. Add to that hundreds of daily reader e-mails in need of answering, and more than a few readers who needed help with defective discs or hardware… you get the idea. The idea of completely redesigning The Bits became completely overwhelming.

But about a year ago, I finally got the bug to get it done. I started playing with various new looks and new layouts, designing new graphics… an all-new Bits logo. The rest of The Bits staff got cautiously excited about it, though to be fair I’m not sure most of them believed it was ever really going to happen. And given all of the personal difficulties I’ve experienced in the last year – the death of my grandmother and father, the death of Sarah’s mom, the loss of a beloved cat and most recently the passing of our dear friend and colleague Barrie Maxwell – well, frankly even I’m not quite sure how I managed to get this done. But here it is and we’re pretty pleased with it. We hope you are too.

Today, we’re essentially ‘soft launching’ the new Bits. I really wanted to get it up and running in time for Adam’s Hell Plaza Oktoberfest to kick off today… and up and running we are. But you’ll notice that there are several features that aren’t fully working or updated yet. Only a few of the most recent column entries are here on the new site. We have a few brand new columns that we’ve yet to launch. Reader comments aren’t yet enabled. And less than a hundred of our many disc reviews – mostly Blu-rays – are in the database at the moment. It’s going to take time to add our entire current review catalog – thousands of titles in all – into the new database. Our immediate goal is to work out the various bugs in the new design (and there are sure to be a few, so your patience is appreciated) and to update and add all the usual features over the coming month or so. We’ll gradually add older Bits content to the new design in the weeks and months ahead. Meanwhile, the original Bits site has been permanently archived here, so you can go back and look through it any time you like. (You can always find it in the main menu bar under Features for future reference)

If you’d like to e-mail me or any of The Bits’ staff, all you have to do is go to Meet the Staff under the About section and you’ll find bio pages for each of us. On each bio page is a Contact e-mail form for that person. Don’t hesitate to use these forms to let us know what you think.

So there you go! It’s a whole new Bits! Updated. Shinny. Easier to use. Links up nice with Facebook and other social media sites so you can share content. It should look good on mobile devices. You can finally search for stuff. We have RSS feeds! And best of all, it’s 100% less unattractive. We hope you like it.

Back tomorrow with the usual. Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents
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