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Today is a big day! The forum underwent a rather large upgrade. While most of the looks will remain the same, many of the features that go into powering the site have been upgraded. Here are a few of the highlights. Some will matter more to some than others… but all make the site that much better! In no particular order… Animated GIFs You can now add animated GIFs, easily, to posts with the click of a button and a quick search! Post Before Registering If you are a guest (this probably doesn't apply to many of you), you can now post and then register. We've had the ability for guests to post, but it was almost never used. This will allow you to post immediately when you have something to say, and then register an account afterward, quickly. Faster Loading Speeds The site will, after it processes old posts, "lazy load" images. This reduces bandwidth by loading images and videos only when you've scrolled to where they're visible. Blank avatars (the letters seen on new member accounts) will now be SVG files instead of images. About 20 other improvements were made to help with page loading speed, too, including improvements to notifications/follower management, member searches, stream performance, UTF8 conversions have been sped up, PHP-level performance. They've implemented rel=noopener when links open a new window (which improves browser memory management), cache/data store management has been streamlined and centralised, many background tasks and the profile sync functionality have all been improved for performance. Six Small Improvements Some smaller improvements include: Browser notifications were greatly improved. I recommend enabling them. Widgets can be displayed (or not) depending on the platform (desktop, tablet, mobile). Club navigation is improved. Announcements can now have URLs. The first one of these will point toward this article! Time frames are selectable now. Groups can have different styles! Email Advertisements and Other Enhancements This feature was added - we can include an advertisement in the emails you get from the site - but we have no plans at all to activate this feature. Please, virtually all of the money we make from TST to pay the bills and provide this site, for free, is from advertising. Please do not turn on ad blockers, or disable them from this site. We keep advertising to a minimum; please repay this by viewing them and, occasionally, clicking on one that interests you. I'm considering turning off most of the ads for Supporters, too. If you'd like this, please post below. Also, you can now unfollow content without having to log in. And we get a few more statistics on email, but again… we see email as a convenience feature for YOU. It's a great way to be notified of new things or replies or comments on your topics, and more. Application Icon Management This one's for me, mostly, as I'd previously paid to have a plugin to generate pinned Safari tabs, favicons, application icons for iOS/Android, etc. Other Improvements A ton of REST API improvements, SEO improvements (including pagination being in the URL instead of the query string and canonical tags), Email statistics, Admin Control Panel notifications, store filters and commerce updates, and more. More is here: Welcome to Invision Community 4.4! - Product Updates - Invision Community Were thrilled to announce that Invision Community 4.4 is available to download now. After months of development, over 1650 separate code commits and quite a few mugs of questionable coffee you can now get... Enjoy!
We're in that special hell of rules controversies with the implementation of the new Rules of Golf. There have been some growing pains with the new rules, and that has allowed the golf media to tee off on its favorite target, the USGA. Which, to be fair, can make itself an easy target: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/despite-harsh-words-from-some-tour-pros-usga-pleased-with-roll-out-of-new-rules-of-golf. That aside, I wanted to talk about the "controversy" about the knee-height drop that the Rules now require. Rickie Fowler got a one stroke penalty for dropping from shoulder height this past weekend. Cue the complaining from him: https://golfweek.com/2019/02/22/rickie-fowler-hit-with-one-shot-penalty-for-illegal-drop-at-wgc-mexico-championship/ I can forgive him - he just had a brain fart, probably didn't gain an advantage in this situation, it cost him money. I'm always annoyed when I get a penalty, personally, and it's absolutely never my fault, okay? But cue the pearl clutching from the media: https://www.golf.com/news/2019/02/25/backstopping-pro-tours-under-policed/ I'm here to tell you that this is wrong, and knee-height drops actually make a ton of sense. One of the best things the new Rules do is simplify dropping. Now, all you have to do when dropping is land the ball in the relief area (without touching you or your equipment before hitting the ground) and ensure the ball comes to rest in the relief area. If you don't do this, you have to redrop. Pretty simple. Yes, you have to figure out what your relief area is, but that's pretty simple, too. (For a fuller explanation of this, see Rule 14 and the definitions in the Rules of Golf.) The old rules were much more complex. Specifically, if your ball rolled to one of 9 areas after you dropped it, you had to redrop. For example, if your ball rolled more than 2 club lengths away from where your ball hit the ground, you had to redrop. You had to know all of these 9 areas to know if you needed to redrop or not. So, the new way is simpler, right? Instead of learning 9 different triggers for a redrop, you only have to learn 1. Great! Why am I talking about when you have to redrop? This is why we're dropping from knee height. Generally, under the new Rules, your ball cannot go as far after hitting the ground as it used to without triggering a redrop. Dropping from knee height reduces the chance that a redrop will be necessary. It also means that a ball has less of a chance of embedding in sand when you drop it. It makes a ton of sense, really. Now, you might say, that's all fine, but why not allow dropping a ball from anywhere above knee height? I think you could easily game the rules to be able to place the ball when you really want to by simply dropping from shoulder height instead of knee height. Think about dropping on a side slope, for example. You're much more likely to have to redrop and place if you drop the ball from a higher point. Sure, this is rare, but why take the chance? We're all on the same page, right? Knee-height drops make a lot of sense. (If you want to know more about the changes to dropping, this is an excellent article that talks about this in a bit more detail: https://rulesgeeks.com/2018/12/30-days-of-2019-rules-changes-day-16-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball-in-playing-it-from-a-relief-area/) Now to the point of all of this: golf media, please take 5 minutes to understand the rule before issuing a HAWT TAKE about the rule. The USGA has a one page sheet that explains the rule: http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/new-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball.html. You don't come off very well when you fail to read that. I know it's fun and easy to just mindlessly bash the USGA, but they do get things right. This is one of them. (Oh and by the way, the Rules are actually really good, as a whole. Maybe I'll talk about that in another post later.)
IPS, or "Invision Power Software," is the software platform that we use to run the forum. Yesterday I upgraded from version 4.2.9 (the latest in a series of small updates) to the feature-filled 4.3 version. This update has been in the works since the start of 2018, and is finally here and in early tests delivers what it says it will. Some of the best features are for admins and mods, but for you folks - the users and members - here are the features you will notice and want to use: Automatic Content Moderation (Link) This feature lets members hide content that's either inappropriate or spam. If enough members report the post as "inappropriate" (i.e. someone calling someone else names and behaving very poorly) or "spam" (obvious), the content will be hidden and moderators will be notified. Members with a reputation of > 72 need more reports for their content to be automatically hidden. Emoji Support (Link) In addition to the emoji we used to have (like and and and ), we now have access to the full range of normal emoji, like 🤦🏼♂️ and 🗑️ and ✈️ and anything else. To type an emoji, just type it… or… just type a colon and then start typing the word. For example, for a facepalm, type : and then "face" like this: :face . A list of possible emoji will appear. Or select it from the emoji menu item in the toolbar. Paid Clubs (Link) I won't say much about this now because I don't know that we'll ever use the club, but eventually members can create "paid clubs" that members pay to join. Clubs received some other enhancements as well. Gallery Improvements (Link) Finally, you can create a gallery that anyone can submit to. For example, I've opened up the Animated GIFs gallery to everyone. My Newport Cup 2017 gallery is open to specified members (captains and players). (Though there's seemingly a bug with this right now.) Excluding Groups from the Leaderboard I've finally got the ability to hide myself from the Leaderboard. If you're not familiar with the Leaderboard, check it out. Blog Improvements (Link) Several small improvements to blogs. Check them out. If you don't yet have a blog, and want one… just visit https://thesandtrap.com/blogs/ and start one for yourself. Improved Search (Link) Yay! I'll look into setting up ElasticSearch eventually, but for now, even the MySQL search is improved. This isn't a comprehensive list. There are a number of other small improvements and changes.
Some Server Software Updates Earlier today we updated the site's server software (and accessory software) to PHP 7 from PHP 5. This should yield a faster experience, and will set the site up to handle IPS (the forum software) version 4.2 soon. IPS 4.2 is nice and will offer many features, including Clubs: Staff can see this IPS 4.2 note, which we may move into a public viewing area soon (trust me, nothing in the staff forum is all that secretive, it's just… boring. ) ImageMagick, Apache, MySQL, and a bunch of other really small things were updated as well: