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State of the Site - November 2023


  • State of the Site - November 2023

    Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_400798sm.png Views:	0 Size:	107.7 KB ID:	2290722 Happy Thanksgiving! I know we've got a lot to be thankful for in our household, and I hope everyone gets a chance to spend some time with those they care about and celebrate the good things in their lives.

    To celebrate fall a little late, I've been having some fun in the Upper Peninsula on MLT's Michigan Iron Ore route, which I've been meaning to pick up for a while.

    It's my idea of a perfect route -- not too large, and one where you can spend as little or as long as you want shuttling cars around between the ore dock and mines, or just enjoying the scenery, especially the fall colors... The scenery update in the library is outstanding, and makes this an entirely different route in terms of how vivid the trees are, as well as the updated terrain textures. Having seen the Marquette docks in person makes it all that much better.

    With Thanksgiving officially here, that also means Christmas is just around the corner. In our household, the season seems to have started the day after Halloween-- our family is meeting elsewhere for Thanksgiving this year, and with nothing holding my wife back from breaking out all the decoration boxes, we've got the tree set up and lit, all the stockings hung at the fireplace, and at some point this weekend, I expect the exterior of the house will start to transform into something even Clark Griswold would give three thumbs up...

    But for the next 24 hours or so, it's still all about Thanksgiving, which means breaking out the green bean casserole, some pie, and of course, turkey or perhaps ham. Maybe both, plus some brisket or ribs...

    Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_400807a.jpg Views:	0 Size:	51.4 KB ID:	2290723 There's been a little decorating going on around the website over the last month as well.

    A new feature was added which will randomly change the site's colors over to one of the many customized themes celebrating our railroad heritage. With two exceptions (Armor Yellow and Tuscan Red, which represent the Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific respectively), these represent railroads no longer operating under their own name, or who have gone out of business. I may add a few more fallen flags as well as some current railroads as we get into 2024.​ Feel free to comment below if there's one in particular you think should be represented.

    Most of our customized themes have also been updated to include typefaces and the logos of the railroads they represent. Pete Willard's fonts get a special shout-out here -- if you haven't checked out the typefaces available on his site, you should.

    To try out the changing themes, just click on the "Random Theme of the Day" link from the homepage, and you'll be brought to a page where you can preview the current theme, and follow the link to clear out any saved themes you might have already selected.

    If you don't like that, no worries -- you can re-select a preferred theme at any time.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_400747.jpg Views:	0 Size:	44.1 KB ID:	2290724 I've also added a "gentle warning" for the forums for folks who post in threads which have been dormant for at least six months. We've never had a hard and fast rule about this, nor do I think we need or want one. The only intent here is to get the attention of those who may not have noticed how old the thread or when the last update was before hitting the reply button. Another side benefit is that this is confusing some of the AI robots and spammers, which is a big help to the moderators.

    By all means, feel free to reply to a thread regardless of the age if it's appropriate or adding context.

    Also added a few weeks back were the ability to get large print for viewing the forums in general (I'll admit it -- I need it....) as well as being able to have the user information boxes in the forums show up either on the left or at the top.

    You can read more about it here: New User Options

    Within the file library, there's always something in work behind the scenes for the file library, and this month is no different.

    When we upgraded the site software back in July, I had also modified the zip file viewer to show the contents of text files in the file listing. I've had a couple comments asking me to reconsider this, and that work was completed this week. The new default will go back to showing the list of files as well as image previews. To include the contents of the text files, just click on the "Show Text" link at the top of the response and they'll be expanded. You can toggle back and forth as you wish.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_400808.jpg Views:	0 Size:	53.2 KB ID:	2290726 One of our forum members recently asked for some suggestions on steam locomotives to model, and that just happened to coincide with something I've been working on -- the ability to search based on Locomotive Class.

    While it's still a work in progress, it's partially available right now for steamers, and I'll be working my way into the electrics and diesels.

    Steam classes will be identified using Whyte notation (wheels per axle vs axles). For example, a Challenger would be noted as a 4-6-6-4, while a Northern would be a 4-8-4.

    Diesels and electrics will be classed using AAR notation (a simplified form of the UIC notation used in Europe). An EMD E-unit would be listed as an A1A-A1A while an early EMD F-unit would be a B-B, and the later F45, FP45 and F40C would be shown as a C-C.

    Older electrics tend to get a little more complicated -- a Pennsylvania GG1 would be a 2-C+C-2, and a Milwaukee "Little Joe" is a 2-D+D-2.

    This can be previewed here: Search by Locomotive Class

    As I said, it's a work in progress -- there's still some mud in the wheels, such as an 0-4-4-0 also showing up as a 0-4-4, but that will be cleaned up as time permits.

    I'm going to close by saying I'm grateful for everyone who takes part in our community, whether it's to ask questions, share knowledge, improve skills or simply just to see what's new in the file library or going on with our hobby.

    We've also seen several new people active on the forums lately, and a few members who've been gone for a while coming back.

    Welcome to all of you, and please, feel free to stay for dessert or maybe an adult beverage.

    Most of all, we're thankful you're here.
    Last edited by eric; 11-23-2023, 12:48 AM.

    • timinkm123
      timinkm123 commented
      Editing a comment

    • ngc427
      ngc427 commented
      Editing a comment
      Good choice of route! Something about the old MLT routes are really still entertaining to me, even though the graphical quality is very dated by modern standards, it has a very pleasant overall art design that still holds up really well though the ages. The MLT Sandpatch is my personal #1 all-time train sim route for me, with the Michigan Iron Ore being a very close second.

    • VeraAnggraini
      VeraAnggraini commented
      Editing a comment
      Ingin merasakan kegembiraan poker yang tiada tanding? Ayo, bergabunglah dengan situs link alternatif dominobet dan temukan pengalaman bermain yang luar biasa! Nikmati permainan poker yang seru, kompetisi yang menantang, dan hadiah-hadiah menggiurkan yang menanti Anda. Dengan layanan pelanggan yang profesional dan keamanan yang terjamin. Jadi, tak perlu ragu lagi! Daftar sekarang di link alternatif dewapoker dan mulailah petualangan mengumpulkan kemenangan yang tak terlupakan!
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