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By Robert Rapier on Feb 20, 2012 with 5 responses

Welcome to the New and Improved Design

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Recent visitors to R-Squared will notice a distinct new look to the site that impacts all of Consumer Energy Report. This is a result of some long overdue upgrades, and I would like to detail some of the changes for readers.

Some of the code in the previous site was unnecessarily complex. This made the site load slowly. We have streamlined the code so you should see the site loading much faster than before.

The commenting system was also less than ideal. One could leave comments after a post, and then it replicated that in the forums. The intention was that the forums would have more functionality than the comments after the posts, but it was really just confusing for some people. In addition, when someone commented on an older post, it didn’t show up in the recent comments column to the right. Now, not only do they show up, but the most recent seven comments show up instead of the most recent four comments. Further, the comments will all be consolidated in a single location — after each post — and we have added increased functionality. I think the biggest improvement is that now comments can be threaded, which makes it much easier to manage different conversations.

New Writers

You may notice four new tabs at the top:

BiodiversivistEconbrowserEnergy, Security, PolicyR-Squared Energy Column

That brings me to our next major change. We have added some new writers to Consumer Energy Report. Note that these writers will each have their own columns, and will focus on different topics. The new members on our team are: James Hamilton, Andrew Holland, and Russ Finley.

James Hamilton is a Professor of Economics at the University of California, San Diego, has been a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Board and has testified before the United States Congress. He has also been a consultant for the National Academy of Sciences, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the European Central Bank. James is the author of the Econbrowser blog, which is an excellent resource for people interested in high level economic analysis . His blog here on CER will be dedicated solely to the content he writes relating to energy. See his first article here: Reducing Petroleum Consumption from Transportation

Andrew Holland is a Washington-based expert on energy, climate change, and infrastructure policy. He currently serves as Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate Policy at the American Security Project, a non-partisan think tank based in Washington, DC. He will cover the topics of energy and the environment from a security, economic and legislative perspective. See his first article here: Energy Security, Economic and Environmental Stability

Russ Finley is a fellow engineer (mechanical) and an avid environmentalist. Many of the regular readers here may be familiar with him as a frequent commenter to my essays. He’ll be covering the topic of energy from an environmental perspective. See his first article here: Biofuels Update: How is the Industry Doing?

We hope to be adding more new writers in the future, and if you think that you fit the bill — or would like to suggest someone else that does — send a resume or details to Sam Avro: editor [at] consumerenergyreport [dot] com .

Upcoming Additions

We are also in the process of redesigning the homepage, which for now is being redirected to the Energy Ticker page. Additionally, in response to many requests, we are in the process of rolling out a mobile version of the entire site. This will alleviate many of the common problems that mobile users experience while navigating the site, such as height and width issues, and by minimizing the code even further it will speed up the loading of pages and comments on mobile devices which usually operate on a slower connection than desktop and laptop computers.

User feedback and bug reports are greatly encouraged, and can be sent to: webmaster [at] consumerenergyreport [dot] com .

  1. By Tom G. on February 21, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I
    waited several days to see if anyone was going to comment on the site
    redesign. After living with the changes for a few days I find them
    to be excellent but the changes got me thinking. Some time in our
    past when many of us were in college, there were lots of buzz words
    floating around. One such word might have been Kaizen which loosely
    translated means improvement or continuing improvement.
    “Continuing improvement in personal life, home life, social life
    and your working life” [KAIZEN, Masaaki Imai, McGraw-Hill,
    c1986].
    In
    this site redesign we find many of the attributes of Kaizen
    continuous improvement. New or improved software to deliver an
    enhanced experience. A revised format to simplify the addition of
    new ideas. A more pleasing visual appearance.  New subject matter experts to share ideas with and to
    learn about their perspectives. All these things to me are good
    examples of continuous improvement.
    So
    is Kaizen applicable to the energy needs of our country? I sometimes
    write about miles per gallon, nuclear, solar, wind or many other
    forms of energy but frequently I find myself wondering how we as
    individuals can do better. If a typical power plant wastes 60% of
    every BTU created isn’t that like going to the supermarket; spending
    $100.00 for groceries and then when we get home throwing $60.00 in the trash.
    Does this make any sense?  It’s like an environmentalists saying -
    focus on the “low hanging fruit first” instead of saying; we need
    to find some way to use the waste heat from our power plants instead
    of just dumping it into our environment. It is my belief that we at
    times loose focus on what is really important.  You
    only need to watch the Jay Leno Man on The Street routine to quickly come to
    the realization that many Americans don’t have a clue when it comes
    to energy. They go to work, turn lights off and on and only hesitate
    from their daily routines if something doesn’t work. I sometimes
    wonder – isn’t that the way energy was meant to be? 

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  2. By Tom G. on February 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Well that text import didn’t work well did it, LOL.

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    • By Robert Rapier on February 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      Well that text import didn’t work well did it, LOL.


      Two things I am hoping to get implemented are a quote function and an edit function. I think we need both.

      RR
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  3. By Tom G. on February 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    You are so right Robert.  Immediately after importing the text I looked for the edit button.  I guess until that function appears I will be using the built in text editor.  

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  4. By Tom G. on February 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    A couple of days ago I happened to click on a Google site called; wesolveforx.com.
    If you have the time and would like to spice up your creative juices a tad, spend about 3 or 4 hours listening to some very creative thinkers and doers.  If you don’t come away with at least a few good ideas you might just have one foot on a banana peel and the other foot …, LOL.  Almost all of the presentations are related to how energy in some way.  

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