New SimHQ Features

by Tom “20mm” Hayden


Image Hosting, Lightboxes, and Sequential Image Viewing

Finally, SimHQ has image hosting for posts added to the SimHQ Forum. But we went several steps beyond just hosting the images. Here are some FAQs to introduce the new capabilities.

Q. So we finally have image hosting on SimHQ, huh?

A. Yes, you can now upload your images for posts on SimHQ. When posting, you’ll see the new button — fifth from the left. Click that to get started.

Image Uploading

Q. Why did it take so long?

A. Images can take-up a lot of space and processing if they are resized. We had to be sure our server could handle it. The other reason is, guod is cheap and throws quarters around like manhole covers.

Q. Does this work in all SimHQ Forums?

A. Yes, but you have to be logged into the forums as a registered member.

Q. But can guests see the images?

A. Yes, the guests can see any image placed in the forums that are available for them to view. The forums that require registration would of course not be visible to guests.

Q. Okay, how does it work?

A. You’ll see a new pop-up page, then just follow the instructions:

1) Click the “Browse” button and point to the image on your drive. Accepts either jpg or png format.
2) Click “Add File”.
3) Repeat 1 + 2 if you want to add more than one image.
4) After you’re done adding images, save as either “Lightbox” or “Traditional”.
5) “Lightbox” will post your original image size (up to 1650 pixels wide) in with a subdued background on a pop-up page.
6) “Traditional” will post your original image size (up to 1650 pixels wide) in a solid background on a pop-up page.

Inline Image Uploading

Q. What does “Lightbox” and “Traditional” mean?

A. That can probably best be described with images. First the Lightbox then the Traditional image views.

lightbox image

Q. Are the images still limited to 950 pixels width in the forum? If yes, why?

A. The inline images inside the forum are 950 pixels because most of SimHQ’s customers use a resolution of 1280 pixels wide and higher, and 950 is the maximum width that will allow a 1280 x 1024 screen resolution without side scrolling. You can see below how a 1280 pixel width maximized image fits on the screen.

1280 pixel width maximized image

Q. So we have to submit 950 pixel wide images or our images look weird?

A. Nope, not any longer. Submit a larger original image (as long as it doesn’t exceed 4MB in size) and the hosting feature will auto size it to 950, and allow your original to appear as a 1650 pixel wide image. If you have a smaller than 1650 pixel wide screen, it’ll adjust to your screen.

Q. Cool. What other features are included?

A. You can add captions and view a posts images as a sequential image series.

Here’s how to add captions:

1) Add the image(s)
2) Click edit
3) After the long number you should add a colon,
4) Add a caption about the image.
5) Make sure it closes with a bracket “]”

Here’s an example of the code for an uploaded image without the caption:

Here’s an example of the code for an uploaded image with the caption:
[img:gal:2994c817cdbcd013:The new DCS A-10C Warthog cockpit][/img]

When viewing the images in the lightbox view, hover over the image to display the caption in the upper left of the frame.

Q. How does the sequential image view work?

A. If you have uploaded multiple images to a post, you will have a >> or << in the lower right to view all the posts images in order.

Q. So now I drop my Flickr and Photobucket accounts?

A. Nope. The image upload capability will only work for posting at SimHQ.

Q. Anything else?

A. Yeah, a reminder the Forum Use Agreement is in effect for images uploaded. Basically, if you didn’t take it or don’t have permission to use it, don’t post it on SimHQ.

Q. Can we see all the images we’ve uploaded in a personal gallery of images?

A. Not yet. That’s for an update in the future.

Q. If this thing screws up or I have problems with it, do I send a PM to 20mm?

A. Nope. Please add your comments, suggestions, and any problems you might encounter with it here in the Site Feedback Forum.

Google and Forum Search

The other major feature we’re announcing is the addition of Google Search on SimHQ.

First, click the usual search button in the top right corner of the page. You now get two options for searching — Forums Search and Google SimHQ Search. Click on the title in the upper right to toggle between the two. It will stay with whatever your last choice is until you click again (or clear your cookies).

Forum Search
– OR –
Google Search
Google Results

Q. Does Google Search have similar limiters that the UBB search does? That is, which forum(s), articles, date range, author, number of hits per page? Does Google Search pull equally from Articles and forums? IOW, are there parameters that it runs with? Search forums first, search library second? Or is it all by date?

A. You get what you get with Google Search terminology and it can be tailored to whatever you want. If you use the Advanced Google Search Terms, they can be used.

Look here for a bunch of additional information on Advanced Google Search Terms.

Q. Why would SimHQ need two search capabilities?

A. Because the Forum Search doesn’t search for all the thousands of html article and reference pages on SimHQ. Even when you look atWho’s Online, that only covers who is in the Forums and not who is looking at the nearly 10,000 pages of articles and reference content. Nor does it list the bots that are in the html pages. This is systemic of the web world prior to SEO. Google search does a good job with the html pages and most of the forum, but some stuff won’t be indexed by Google in the forums right away that is picked-up by the forums search immediately.

Q. So we have two search engines because one doesn’t fully do it?

A. Yep, that’s about right.

Q. What’s the solution to that?

A. Go to a fully index site with search engine optimization (SEO), full site indexing, and the “portal” approach. IOWs, rebuild. Unfortunately we all have seen other sites that are glorified forums with a cheesy attempt at a homepage, and usually minimal content beyond forums. We want to avoid that unprofessional look and continue to provide good content and have our forums and html match-up. It will happen — but not happening soon with the volume of new content we provide each week, and the previously announced things we’re working on (like the resurrected SimHQ downloads section that is starting to challenge Duke Nuken Forever as the longest running digital project in history…).

A Few More Tweaks

1) A new media icon for inline video insertions. It uses a graphic of the movie clapboard. Functions the same as before.
2) In Quick Reply, “New Reply”, “Topic Options”, “Rate This Topic” and “Hop to:” have been carried down from page top.
3) “Previous Topic”, “Index”, and “Next Topic” have been moved so they appear just above the reply area.
4) Several color tweaks and font style updates to all three stylesheets – Red, Dark, and Light.

SirDude.comA Big Thanks….

SimHQ would be quite remiss if we didn’t give our technical support guru at a big thumbs-up for the work done on the new image capability and search functions. Matter-of-fact, he is responsible for implementing almost all of the features that guod schemes up in his balding, devious mind for SimHQ. Salute, SD!


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