We've made some minor updates to the main templates this past week, here are the changes:
1. Added larger social icons (see the screenshot above). Sometimes the RSS link was getting lost in the header, so we changed to larger, square icons.
In addition, there are two new blog properties, for Facebook Link and Twitter Link. Under the PROPERTIES tab of the blog manager, you can add links to your Facebook page or Twitter feed. The icons will automatically appear in the header.
2. Wider layout: we have expanded the width of the main blog area to 960 pixels for better reading on modern devices.
3. Improved ad layout. We had to ditch the column ad at the upper right, and we've gone to a more standard shape in the side column. Advertisers we're requesting this and this change will help SailBlogs appeal to a wide variety of possible ad clients which in turn allows us to continue to offer free accounts.
With the recent pirate attacks on private vessels in the Indian Ocean over the past few weeks, SailBlogs would like to extend our support and sympathies to the families and crews of the boats that were taken. While no piracy action is acceptable, when private sailboats and families are threatened it impacts the entire sailing community.
Currently we are monitoring the situation with the Danish yacht ING, fellow SailBlogs members. In response to the kidnapping of this crew and vessel, and recently the Quest, we are making some changes in our system.
First, while there is no evidence to suggest that ING was somehow specifically targeted, the crew was publicly updating their position on a daily basis via their sailblog. The first change we have made, as of about 16 hours ago, is to 'black out' any positions within 650 Nmi of Somalia in the Indian Ocean from the main member map. Again, we want to stress that there is currently no evidence to suggest that this map or ING's sailblog was used to locate and attack the vessel, but we feel given of the seriousness of the situation that we do not want to provide any information via SailBlogs.com that could be of use to pirates.
Next, in addition to the current ability to lock a whole blog we will be updating the XPlot system over the next week so that personal maps can be separately password protected. We understand that for yachts sailing in this area it's even more desirable to keep family and friends regularly updated on positions. We will advise, however, that yachts in the area keep their current position private so that only those who "need to know" are able to follow the current position via a map.
Finally, SailBlogs.com will be communicating to members our policies on how we handle the blog when a crew is no longer able to maintain the blog for themselves in this type of situation. We want to ensure that if a lot of attention is focused on a blog (in the media, for example) that respect and consideration for the crew and families is maintained at the highest level. When the draft of our policy is ready, we will present that to members for comment and feedback.
Please join with us in supporting the crew and families of ING, and the hope that they will soon be safely released.