JRG — Information about bridgeblogging.com

Desktop Blogging

BridgeBlogging.com uses the WordPress multi-site blogging software to support our bloggers.

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Small Change to Appearance

We have made one or two small adjustments to the look of bridgeblogging.com and hope you approve.

  • The same photograph that appears beside the extract of your post (when it shows up on the bridgeblogging.com Home page), now also appears in the masthead when someone reads your posts or visits your blog’s Home page.
  • The links that appear at the top of the window have been cleaned up. Formerly there were two Home links, one to the bridgeblogging.com Home page and the other to your blog’s Home page (a little confusing and long-winded). The former has been removed as it is just as easy to click on the logo (or use the back button); the latter has been reduced to the single word “HOME”.
  • The green bar below the logo has also been tweaked. It now displays the “Title” of your blog site. If your site has a “Tagline” set, then that is shown after the title, separated from it by a dash.

After you have looked at it, feel free to send us an updated photograph to use — you always could, so this is just a reminder 🙂

Also, if you want the Title of your blog site or the Tagline changing, send that information to us as well. It is possible to change it yourself, but we are more than happy to make that change and save you from having to delve into the nitty-gritty.


Who Represents Which Country at European Championships?

I was very surprised to see Monaco win the European Team Championship — not the least when I noticed the line-up they fielded:

  • Nunes-Fantoni (I thought Italy)
  • Helgemo-Helness (I thought Norway)
  • Multon-Zimmermann (I’m not familiar with this pair, but I thought France)

I do not kibitz a lot of bridge on BBO, but I did tune in for a couple of matches. In selecting which table to watch, I noticed “Nunes-Fantoni” and decided to watch them — except I thought there had been a BBO mix-up when I saw the country as Monaco!

I was sufficiently curious that I did a bit of web browsing and found the following on the  European Bridge League (EBL) bridge site:

For the first time ever, MONACO, or a team from a small country, man­aged to win the prestigious European Open Teams champion title. This was thanks to that top French, Italian and Norwegian players re­lo­cated to the tiny principality, thus gaining the right to compete in the top European competition as representatives of their new country.

Now don’t get me wrong, clearly anyone can go to live wherever desired (provided the country is accommodating). My wife and I lived in Costa Rica for 8 years, where we had Costa Rican “residency status” and I was fortunate enough to be on the Costa Rican open team in the the 2004 World Bridge Olympiad (a separate story and the bridge experience of my life-time!).

However that particular line-up, rather than the odd player taking up residency in a country, struck me as a bit odd.

Can anyone enlighten me as to what is going on?

New Bridge Tools Function

We work on making bridge blogging as easy and enjoyable as we can. Of course, there are constraints — we have to work with some basic software such as WordPress and the reality of different people using different browsers.

A small note about the latter point — the Firefox web browser works very well with the bridgeblogging.com web site. If there are annoyances when creating blog posts, consider this browser — it is one of the major ones (there are others that work very well).

One of the things we suspect is an annoyance is to write a thoughtful blog post about a deal and have it marred by a minor typo when entering the deal — 14 cards in one hand, two hands holding the 3, etc. So we have tried to make life easier.

Check the deal

When you enter a full-deal using Bridge Tools II, you will see an additional button at the bottom. It looks like the one at the left.

When you click this button, Bridge Tools II performs some simple tests to see if the deal looks alright. It may not catch all possible errors, but it does catch the following:

  • Wrong number of cards in a hand
  • Wrong number of cards in a suit
  • Invalid characters in a suit
  • Duplicate cards (“x”s are excluded 🙂 )

A simple dialog will be displayed that indicates whether the deal looks alright or, if not, a list of errors. When you click the “OK” button, the dialog disappears. You can correct the errors or ignore them — it is totally up to you. You may, for example, be reporting a deal where someone has the 5 mixed in with his diamonds.

We hope this little addition makes blogging just a little easier for you.

Oh, if you have suggestions, please send them to us. We cannot guarantee to implement them all. Some may even go against our web site philosophy or design, but we will consider them all.

WordPress News

I’ve done some testing and the new release seems fine. The site will be updated some time tomorrow. It only took a few minutes to upgrade the test site. If you do happen to visit the site during those few minutes, you will see a “site down for maintenance” message — just try again a few minutes later 🙂

As you probably realize, especially if you have a blogging site hosted on bridgeblogging.com, this site uses software called WordPress. There is a new release of WordPress available (3.4). This is more than just bug-fixes and security patches. While it is not a full-blown, change the world release (it isn’t 4.0!), we will be testing the release on our test site prior to upgrading here.

For the most part, we do not expect you to see any obvious differences, but we just wanted you to know. This post will be updated when a date for the upgrade has been set.


Bridge Tools II

We have installed the completely re-written bridge tools. I call them Bridge Tools II 🙂

There are tutorials accessible from the FOR BLOGGERS page (on the bridgeblogging.com Home page, click “FOR BLOGGERS” which you can see at the top of the window. Although I generally shy away from the term “intuitive”, which has sparked intense debate over the years in the computer community, I do think you will find them fairly intuitive to use. You can read about them (see above) or just jump right in!

As a small taste, you can insert diagrams that look like the following (stolen shamelessly from one of Linda’s posts):


There are quite a few different types of diagrams you can create, plus what I think is a nifty shortcut that makes showing individual hands or pairs of hands trivial if you have entered the full deal (as above).


The diagram at the right, for example, took just two mouse-clicks to create. There is also the added bonus of being able, trivially, to have text wrap around diagrams or have the diagrams centered horizontally on the page.

In any case, check the new version of the tools out and let us know what you think of them.

For Bloggers

Hello Bridge Blogging Bloggers 🙂

You may remember that I turned your blogging life upside down last November 🙁  I’ve tried to keep a low profile since then. The trouble is, the brain starts to atrophy if one doesn’t stir things up and try new things. So, I’m about to change things for you again. I am hoping that the changes are for the better — the gang at bridgeblogging.com would not let me do this if they did not think so as well.

In preparation for the change, I’ve added a page to the site. You can see a link to it up at the top of your browser window when you are viewing the Bridge Blogging Home page — FOR BLOGGERS. You are welcome to browse it whether you are bridge blogger or not, but it will primarily be of interest to those of you who maintain blogs on our site. On that page you will find links to two PDF documents that somehow seemed to have got lost over time. One is an introduction for new bloggers and the other is about creating BBO bridge movies. Both will probably be updated in the near future, but they are both still very relevant.

The other link on that page is to page with the long-winded title, Creating and Editing Posts — TIps and Techniques. I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself! While it does describe some general techniques and what the WordPress Visual Editor is doing, what you may find interesting involves a big change we are about to make…

We are about to upload a completely rewritten version our bridge tools — Bridge Tools II. You can see images that show what the new editor tool-bars and some of the tool dialogs look like.

In the process, the WordPress Visual Editor will be upgraded to the most up to date version — it was awkward to do that previously as it breaks the existing bridge tools badly. I felt putting effort into revising the bridge tools would be better spent than making the existing version play better with the visual editor.

Our intent is to make your life easier and improve the appearance of bridge diagrams — essentially, allow you to create more professional-looking articles easily.

I intend implementing this change Sunday evening (June 3rd).

Which is better?

Which of the following suit symbols do you prefer?


I’m currently doing some work on bridgeblogging.com and one aspect of that involves looking at the “Bridge Tools” that bloggers can use. So, I have a question and would love to hear your comments.

Bidding boxes (I’m not sure if it’s all of them), show the suit symbols with diamonds colored orange and clubs a shade of green. There are decks of bridge-sized playing cards that also have the symbols colored that way (i.e. spades black, hearts red, diamonds orange and clubs green). I seem to remember being told that in some countries (Europe?) they are used in the bridge clubs.

The idea behind this is to help people avoid getting the spades and clubs (both black), and hearts and diamonds (both red) mixed up, especially when sorting their hands. I don’t know, and probably won’t bother investigating, whether there is some advantage for some groups of people — perhaps people with poorer vision are helped by the color difference.

I don’t care for them very much, but that may be mainly lack of sufficient exposure (I have played with them, but I don’t remember where — maybe Turkey in 2004?). I imagine we would all get used to them if they ever become the norm.

I suspect that people either LOVE them or HATE them. I’m curious how you feel about them. Would it irritate you to see blog posts with orange-colored diamonds?

Can You Help?


The problem of some people not being able to see suit symbols appeared to be restricted to the Aces on Bridge columns (sorry Mr. Wolff). It should now be fixed.

If you were one of those affected and are checking to see if everything is alright now, you may need to click “Refresh” in your browser. If you find you still have difficulty with the suit symbols, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Readers of blog posts have reported not being able to see the suit symbols in some posts. If you cannot see some of the suit symbols in the grid below, then you can help us resolve this issue by giving us some information (details after the table).

TEST  Spade   Heart   Diamond   Club 
Symbolic Entities
Numeric Entities
CSS Generated        

The easiest way to provide us with feedback is to post a comment. If you do not see the symbols in some of the rows of the above table, please tell us:

  • Which rows you cannot see the symbols in
  • The browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera…) you are using and what release (a.k.a. version) it is
  • What system are you using (i.e. Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, other) and which version it is (e.g. Windows 7, Snow Leopard…)
  • If you see “funny symbols” instead of the suit symbols in a row(s), please tell us that as well.

Improving Performance

We are currently working on improving the speed at which our Home page loads. Even though the page now has those extra pictures 🙂 it should be loading faster. We have done a couple of things to accomplish this. If you are encountering significant delays, more than with other sites on the web, please let us know. Write to support@bridgeblogging.com