A new message forum look!

News of Lake Minnewaska and the Lake Minnewaska History Site
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A new message forum look!

Postby Admin » Fri Sep 06, 2002 10:08 am

We have a new look! This new message forum allows much greater flexibility for both the user and myself. Two major advantages are the abilities to allow multiple forums, and also allow smart URL recognition, so that you don't need to know HTML to simply add a link to your text. You just enter the address (i.e. www.lakeminnewaska.org) and it will become a link. There are also many other fun things as well.

There were two reasons why I chose not to go with this type of system before. One. The "apparent" complexity. Yes it can be complex. But you'll find it's really easier than it looks. As you use it more and more you'll learn some of the more sophisticated functions. Two. I didn't want to force people to have to register. You are totally free to post here without having to register. However, if you do register, you will then have many more options such as being able to edit or delete your message, participating in polls, and most importantly, getting e-mail notification when a reply to your message is made.

I have attempted to copy over all of the messages from the previous system. However, the dates I probably will not be able to roll back so they'll all appear as new.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know! :lol:

Sam Lewit

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Mark
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Postby Mark » Fri Sep 06, 2002 3:18 pm

Hi Sam,

Congratulations on conversion to a php/mysql based board. Your members will find the options quite useful, when they get used to using them. You selection of phpbb2 is a good one. I ran one from my home pc (as a server) on a broadband connection for a while, and it's a great board. One option you failed to mention is the Private Messenger feature. Users now have a system contained in the board software to send private messages to each other. This is a great addition to a board community!

I live in Pleasant Valley, and have been going to Lake Minnewaska since I was a teen, in the early 70's. I love the place, and hope to volunteer some of my time with one of the Preserve organizations. There seem to be many Preserve organizations out there, it's a bit confusing to know if they are all connected, or if they are completely different entities.

I help run several of these type of message boards, the largest an Invision Board (also free php/mysql), with over 2600 members, located here. It's a free (ad free, spam free) computer tech help site, and a very good one at that. I would recommend them to anyone looking to solve any pc related issue. I'm mainly the one who does the website (I designed the current version), and the board software.. other guys have forums in their area of expertise, and provide support. It's a 20 person team of people around the world that run the board and provide free tech support 24/7 between them. I've also integrated board content into site php pages. I'd like to offer my assistance, if you would like it. I'm free to help moderate the board if needed, or help in any way I can.

Thanks for making the choice to offer your membership a great board

Mark :)

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Postby Admin » Fri Sep 06, 2002 9:23 pm

One option you failed to mention is the Private Messenger feature. Users now have a system contained in the board software to send private messages to each other. This is a great addition to a board community!


Well since I'm still new to this software (it looks exactly like vBulletin... are they the same?), why don't you explain to me what Private Messaging is? What's the difference between that and E-mail? I'm not sure I get it.

I'd like to offer my assistance, if you would like it. I'm free to help moderate the board if needed, or help in any way I can.


I'll never turn down an offer to help, but the messages here have always been kind of sleepy. Maybe this software will help things pick up a little. I could use some help with the cosmetics of the website. Do you know HTML? I've never been entirely comfortable with the look, and I have some ideas which I just can't seem to make happen. Thanks very much for the offer. :D

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Postby Mark » Fri Sep 06, 2002 10:57 pm

Hi Sam,

Private messaging is almost the same as email, but doesn't expose a members "address", or member id, to bots or others who cull email addresses from cc lists for the purposes of spamming. You can choose to get notified by email when you receive a pm, and reply to it on the board. It kindof creates a private community email system, and gives people one more reason to visit the board. It also provides the ability for you to talk privately with others who are on the board at the same time. I find it quite useful at times. The feature may not be as interesting to your users if they don't visit as much as a larger community.

This forum software is very similar to vBulletin, but the free aspect is just a blessing. We considered moving our largest community to this software, but chose to use another free forum system. I was more familiar with the skinning system of Invision Board, and chose to use that board so we could convert our site look to it easily. We also like the built in events calendar, due in Invision Board v1.1.

I'll never turn down an offer to help, but the messages here have always been kind of sleepy. Maybe this software will help things pick up a little. I could use some help with the cosmetics of the website. Do you know HTML? I've never been entirely comfortable with the look, and I have some ideas which I just can't seem to make happen. Thanks very much for the offer.


Yes, I'm well versed in HTML. I can help you with whatever you'd like to do. Did you create the site in Front Page yourself?

Maybe we can get together on voice chat sometime to discuss what you'd like to do, if you use an Instant Messenger. If not, feel free to email me at maven@script-it.com, or private message me through the board, whatever you're comfortable with. I may also be able to drum up some interest for the site by going to the lake, and telling people I meet along the way that the site exists. I'll bet most of the people that use the grounds now have no idea of the history of the place, and would love to find this site. They could take advantage of the vast knowledge of the grounds you all have to offer. I plan on getting out there as much as I can over the next 6 months. I've been working 3rd shift for the past 8 years (averaging 66+ hours a week), and didn't see much daylight, let alone nature.

I look forward to helping you work on your site.

Cheers,

Mark

Ken
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Great job!

Postby Ken » Sat Sep 07, 2002 5:11 am

Wow, this is absolutely wonderful!

I am so excited to see the quality of the posts and of the website. Mark, I look forward to meeting you.

How do I insert a broad grin? :D Oh, that's how.

Okay, now how do I do the picture... it does ad a nice touch, almost as if we're talking. Cannot tell you how much it means to see so many people putting so much skill and effort behind something that still means so much to me.

Best,

Ken

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Postby Mark » Sat Sep 07, 2002 6:22 am

Hi Ken,

Inserting a picture requires that you have web space to upload it first. If you have a spot to upload pictures on the web, you can click the 'Img' button above the post box once, then paste in the url to the image, then click 'Img' again to close the tags.

It ends up looking like this in your post as you're creating it (spaces around 'img' added to prevent the BBCode from working)

[ img ]http://www.yourhost.com/yourimage.jpg[ /img ]

If you have permission to upload pictures to the photo gallery located on this site, you can link them into the forum. I went and found a picture in the gallery to demonstrate. The link would look like this (again, spaces added):

Doesn't look hard does it? If you wish to link an image in from your photo gallery, as I demonstrated above, you go to the photo, right click it (windows users), choose properties, you will see a box like this pop up:

Image

Look at the dimension of the image and make sure it's only about 500 pixels wide maximum (first number in the 500x375 next to Dimensions). If it's larger than 500 pixels wide, some users will see the forum go off their screen because the image will stretch the forum tables. If it's 500 pixels or less, highlight the url as I have in the image above, right click it, and choose copy. You're now ready to insert the copied url inside the [ img ] [ /img ] tags in the post entry box. Click the 'img' button above the post box once, then right click and choose 'paste' to place the url, then click the 'img' button again to close the tag.

You'll end up with this (same as the example above, without the spaces):

Image

There is also a board modification that would allow members to upload images. I'm not sure if Sam is comfortable with installing it, or if you folks have enough space on your server to allow it.

Hope this helps :)

P.S. Are you in the Hudson Valley area Ken? If so, I'd be glad to meet sometime. Cheers

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Idea *insert lightbulb icon here*

Postby Mark » Mon Sep 09, 2002 3:35 am

but the messages here have always been kind of sleepy


I was just thinking.. maybe I should have a t-shirt made up with 'lakeminnewaska.org' on the back to wear while out hiking at the lake? Then I expanded the idea.. thinking maybe you could help support the site if you offered them?, while getting a little advertising too. I know of a free plug in web store that will put art on t-shirts, mugs, all kinda stuff. All you have to do is come up with the graphic, and they let you set the price to make a little money off the sales. You could have a nice graphic on the front of a shirt, and put the shortened url on the back (not sure if 2 sided shirts are possible there). I can't vouch for the quality of the gear, but I know others who have used them, and they said the stuff was pretty good. Even if it (the web store) doesn't last, it'd be great to get a couple of 'lakeminnewaska.org' items. If you'd like to check out the place, it's located here:

http://www.cafepress.com/cp/info/sell/ (info pages)

Cheers,

Mark


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