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September 2011 Update.

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September 2011 Update.
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Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Posts: 292

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:57 am    Post subject: September 2011 Update. Reply with quote

September 2011 Update.

Some of you might be thinking that this site hasn’t changed for a while. You are correct, but hopefully that is all about to change. It usually falls to me ‘admin’ to co-ordinate our volunteers to create more content. However I have been doing quite some travelling this year, and otherwise working my day job. This has including some time in Sochi trying out Russia’s newest ski slopes! Please remember that this is not a professional site, it’s something that we do in our spare time. We appreciate all the help we can get, and we hope that you appreciate the site.

Particular mention should be made for Siberия, our forum volunteer, who has really taken the fight to the spammers over the past year. It’s fantastic to log in and see the forums almost clear of spam. If you are have been on these forums for some time, and would like a ‘delete button’, and a little badge that says “Volunteer Moderator” then please PM me.

Here is an update on what we are up to...

Server Upgrades
Late last year we moved the website to a dedicated server in search of greater speed, and the freedom to burn a few CPU cycles. The changeover is complete. There was a significant effort made to speed up the site at the same time. This included compression, cache control, and a general clean up of the site. This has led to improved download times that we wish to increase further.

Furthermore we have reduced the amount of advertising on the site. Yes, that's right decreased! There are not many websites doing that. And we still do not place ads in the middle of lessons.

HTML5 Upgrade
All of our site is in the process of being upgraded to HTML5. The main driver for this is to update the audio system to use HTML5 audio. This should allow everyone with a modern browser to play the audio without plug-ins. If you haven’t tested your browser please read the relevant thread in this forum. The adoption of the latest web standards should allow everyone to view the page more reliably.

We have already converted and uploaded over 500 audio samples to Ogg Vorbis format. Hopefully we will go live with the new audio system in the next few weeks.

As part of this process we will need to update and validate each and every page individually. Our site is quite old, and started with a ‘table’ layout before we adopted CSS. There is still some quite old code floating around on some of our pages. It’s time for a clean up! Over the next few weeks, you might see some strange things going on with the site. If so try the refresh button a little later on.

New Lessons!
New lessons are shortly to be added to the site. Both of these are vocabulary lessons. The first will cover the most 100 used words in Russian. We have prepared hundreds of example sentences to show you how to use each one. The second lesson is the apartment vocabulary lesson that was being built collaboratively online. This process was too slow so again we have written hundreds more examples for this lesson. All that is left to do is format the lessons and upload them. Unfortunately there is no audio yet, but we will make plans to record at a later stage.

The Russia Guide
Most people would have noticed the Russian Travel Guide slowly being constructed in the background of this site. This next section is our own little project to introduce Russia to the English speaking world. Russian travel guides such as the lonely planet are hopelessly inadequate, and there is very little information on the web. So we have undertaken the process of creating our own guide, and including places that are off the beaten track. We will include original articles, and original photos written by a number of different people. It will be a slow process, but like the rest of this site, we hope it proves valuable.

If you are in Russia, and would like to contribute an article about your current city or town then please post in the “general administration forum”.
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Joined: 26 Jan 2011
Posts: 39
Location: Holland

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking forward to the new lessons! Smile

Also, it would be helpful when dates are added (from now on) to the 'What's new' section on the home page, so it's easy to see if anything happened.

Keep up the good work Smile
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