NJPineBarrens.com in 2011

Ben Ruset

Administrator
Site Administrator
Oct 12, 2004
7,435
1,378
Monmouth County
www.benruset.com
Hey all --

So I've lately been thinking a lot about the site and think that it's time to really shake some things up. There's a lot of things that we do right (forums) but a lot of other things that just plain suck (articles, user photos, etc.)

I think over the years the forum has gotten too complicated. There's just too much going on on each page and I think it takes away from the content of the posts. What I'm really looking to do is simplify things.

So to that effect I think I'm going to do a total overhaul of the forum software. I'll probably end up switching to something else. Thinking something along these lines: http://xenforo.com/community/

Articles will NOT be going away, but the homepage will be simplified.

Photo Albums. This is a tricky thing. I want to get out of the photo hosting business. I just haven't really been able to think of a good alternative to point people to besides Flickr or Google Picasa. Also, what do we do with all of the existing photos?

NJPB Live Maps. Does anybody use this? If not, I'll likely kill it.

E-Book Downloads. Going away. Nobody uses them, and honestly Renee's site has a better selection of them than here.

Event calendar. This is rarely used. Maybe someone could volunteer to fill it up with all of the events and things in the Pinelands. It's not me, I don't have time.

Better integration with Facebook and Twitter. Social media is where it's at. I'd like to be able to automagically have people with Facebook accounts be able to log in here, be able to post things up on the NJPB Facebook group wall, and also be able to automatically send hot topics up to Twitter.

Any comments? Anybody willing to lend a hand designing the new NJPB?

Edit: This will likely also mean that any URLs that point to the site will be broken, and probably any IMG tags that point to the Gallery if that goes away or changes software.
 

ecampbell

Piney
Jan 2, 2003
2,601
644
Hey all --

So I've lately been thinking a lot about the site and think that it's time to really shake some things up. There's a lot of things that we do right (forums) but a lot of other things that just plain suck (articles, user photos, etc.)

I think over the years the forum has gotten too complicated. There's just too much going on on each page and I think it takes away from the content of the posts. What I'm really looking to do is simplify things.

So to that effect I think I'm going to do a total overhaul of the forum software. I'll probably end up switching to something else. Thinking something along these lines: http://xenforo.com/community/

Articles will NOT be going away, but the homepage will be simplified.

Photo Albums. This is a tricky thing. I want to get out of the photo hosting business. I just haven't really been able to think of a good alternative to point people to besides Flickr or Google Picasa. Also, what do we do with all of the existing photos?

NJPB Live Maps. Does anybody use this? If not, I'll likely kill it.

E-Book Downloads. Going away. Nobody uses them, and honestly Renee's site has a better selection of them than here.

Event calendar. This is rarely used. Maybe someone could volunteer to fill it up with all of the events and things in the Pinelands. It's not me, I don't have time.

Better integration with Facebook and Twitter. Social media is where it's at. I'd like to be able to automagically have people with Facebook accounts be able to log in here, be able to post things up on the NJPB Facebook group wall, and also be able to automatically send hot topics up to Twitter.

Any comments? Anybody willing to lend a hand designing the new NJPB?

Edit: This will likely also mean that any URLs that point to the site will be broken, and probably any IMG tags that point to the Gallery if that goes away or changes software.

NJPB Live Maps
I use it about once a week. It is much easier than Historicaerials.

Facebook and Twitter
I won't go near those sites, let alone join.

Photo Albums
Without a way to post photos, communication and trip reports will have little value.
Don't forget that my article links to the Photo Album.

I short "It ain't broke so don't fix it".

Ed
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
23,602
5,516
Yea, you can't get rid of the Live Maps. Some of the features there are vital to things I do. I use it all the time. There is one flaw with it that is annoying but beyond that it is a must keep in my mind.

To be honest I never go to the home page, and I now rarely use the photo's except to store the photo's I put there years ago.

On a related note, if anyone is using Comcast it is extremely easy to store your photo's on the web storage space they provide you with your account. You have to set it up and use an FTP Client, but once that it set up and you get use to it, you have 1GB of storage space and 7GB for your complete account. The only flaw is they don't let anyone browse through it, but you can link to the photo's very easily.


Guy
 

ecampbell

Piney
Jan 2, 2003
2,601
644
Yea, you can't get rid of the Live Maps. Some of the features there are vital to things I do. I use it all the time. There is one flaw with it that is annoying but beyond that it is a must keep in my mind.

To be honest I never go to the home page, and I now rarely use the photo's except to store the photo's I put there years ago.

On a related note, if anyone is using Comcast it is extremely easy to store your photo's on the web storage space they provide you with your account. You have to set it up and use an FTP Client, but once that it set up and you get use to it, you have 1GB of storage space and 7GB for your complete account. The only flaw is they don't let anyone browse through it, but you can link to the photo's very easily.


Guy

I'll check out Comcast. I have spoken to many people who like to brouse the galleries.
BTW, I was trying to say I like this site the way it is, It's a compliment.

Ed
 

gipsie

Explorer
Sep 14, 2008
522
26
53
atlantic county
Ben, I get regular updates for the events in Bass River and Wharton. I am sure I can get other stuff just as easy. I would be happy to help trying to keep the calendar full.

I also use the Live Maps fairly regularly and there are plenty of photo hosting places out there. I use Flickr and tend to stay away from Picasa.

If you need any help with anything, please let me know!
 

Boyd

Administrator
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
8,156
1,832
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
My personal thoughts, for what it's worth....



Photo Albums.
It really isn't hard for people to find their own place to host photos. I wouldn't mind if you got rid of the galleries, especially if the bandwidth/storage costs are a factor.

NJPB Live Maps.
I think these need to stay for the simple reason that it gives us a consistent source to post links to places in the pines. I don't use them very often for any "exploring" myself, but they are really handy when I want to share a location of someplace in the forums.

E-Book Downloads.
Since I never even knew they existed, I guess I won't miss them. :)

Event calendar.
Same thing here. :)
 

46er

Piney
Mar 24, 2004
8,838
2,128
Coastal NJ
Photo Albums. This is a tricky thing. I want to get out of the photo hosting business. I just haven't really been able to think of a good alternative to point people to besides Flickr or Google Picasa. Also, what do we do with all of the existing photos?

NJPB Live Maps. Does anybody use this? If not, I'll likely kill it.

Better integration with Facebook and Twitter. Social media is where it's at. I'd like to be able to automagically have people with Facebook accounts be able to log in here, be able to post things up on the NJPB Facebook group wall, and also be able to automatically send hot topics up to Twitter.

Any comments? Anybody willing to lend a hand designing the new NJPB?

Edit: This will likely also mean that any URLs that point to the site will be broken, and probably any IMG tags that point to the Gallery if that goes away or changes software.

My 2 1/2 cents.

There are many good photo hosting sites avalable. For the occasionl photo there is the Flickr free account which I use as a poster board of sorts. For my photos I want a permanent home on the web for I use PBase, a fee site with a very reasonable fee structure. Both provide easy methods for posting pictures on other sites. Photobucket is another popular site, but I have no first hand experience with it. Most ISP's also provide photo storage space as part of their subscription services. As far as moving photo's from this site; I would think that would be the responsibility of the owner of the photo.

I would hate to see the maps disappear; although there are other options, the format on this site is very simple to use with excellent material.

As far as Facebook & Twitter, I have no use for either. It may be where its at, but it's just not for me. I would recommend you ensure that effective security is in place should you choose to integrate with them.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
12,383
2,599
Pines; Bamber area
Ben, I use the live maps and also wish they opened up more in the center of the pines, like at the capital of the pines.

I would never rule anything out, but Facebook seems like a silly party to me--sort of goofy. I have heard of families backbiting each other on there too. I'm just not hip enough I guess.
 

Ben Ruset

Administrator
Site Administrator
Oct 12, 2004
7,435
1,378
Monmouth County
www.benruset.com
Well, in terms of Facebook and Twitter, I meant that if you have an account on one of those sites you could use it to register an account here. Then it keeps your password and profile pictures and whatnot in sync.

Plus you can link the posts you like on here to your Facebook wall.

In essence it's really more to get more traffic to the site and get more people engaged.
 

mceb

New Member
Hi Ben, I just registered and can help out a little over the winter if you need a hand. I have a little IT background.

On forum software...have you considered any open source alternatives like phpbb? Can't beat the cost of free + lots of features.

On photos if bandwdith is killing you I agree with what others have said that there are so many free photo options out there that everyone can host pictures elsewhere and just display 'em back here. That's pretty common policy at many forums. If cost is an issue then another common thing is offering space for pictures only to members who pay small fee.

General web site hosting costs have come down with advent of VPS (virtual private server).

Not sure how to integrate Facebook into forums.
 

Pandot

Scout
Sep 30, 2008
98
0
Sweetwater
I recently lost the entire contents of my external storage device and do not know if I will be able to retrieve anything. The few photos of mine that are on this site are the among the only ones I still have at all. When I have time to focus, I'll see about starting up a Flicka account and move them over, just in case.

noelle
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
23,602
5,516
I recently lost the entire contents of my external storage device and do not know if I will be able to retrieve anything. The few photos of mine that are on this site are the among the only ones I still have at all. When I have time to focus, I'll see about starting up a Flicka account and move them over, just in case.

noelle

Wow...sorry to hear that! I back all my info up and for a while I was also keeping copies at another location other than my home.

Guy
 

Ben Ruset

Administrator
Site Administrator
Oct 12, 2004
7,435
1,378
Monmouth County
www.benruset.com
I haven't found any open source forum software that comes close to the power that vBulletin has. I actually started this site on phpBB2 and switched over to vB a few years ago. I don't like the direction that vBulletin is going in, so it's very likely that I'll switch over to xenForo which seems really, really nice.

It's not really the space or the bandwidth that the photos consume, it's just that the software that runs the photo galleries is absolute crap and I figure that Flickr does a better job than I ever would. I am thinking, however, of going back to Menalto Gallery, which is what the site first started out with. The problem is figuring out a way to have a single signon between the forums and the gallery.

The site runs on a VPS already. Much more efficient than running a real physical server and it lets me scale things out if I need. Right now the disk that holds the site is about 60% full, but that's also including the nightly backups that happen. Which reminds me, I need to pull that down to my house so that we have something off-site.
 

Kevinhooa

Explorer
Mar 12, 2008
332
25
38
Hammonton, NJ.
www.flickr.com
Just my 2 cents about Flickr since I use it so much. It is a very easy online photo manager. I checked out a bunch of them before I joined in 2007, and I liked the layout and ease of use Flickr had the most. You can also copy and paste the code to link photos into the forum threads which is handy. I think the account is 200 photos a month for the free one, and unlimited for 24.00 a year.

But I guess the real problem is for the users here who have so many photos stored here and linked to articles. I don't know how to fix all that.
 
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