Archive for the ‘website’ Category

The month of January really kicked off the new year to a busy start for our troop’s (and this blog’s) website. There was a total of 26,097 visits to the troop’s website, with a total of 134,705 page views. This includes 10,682 hits to this blog’s homepage. All told, there was over 147.8 GB of data transferred. I think that is a record for the site.

Of course, most of that bandwidth is used by the video podcast. The top videos of the month of January 2009 were:
The Leaders of Scouting (Mike H) – 407 hits
Little Bunny Foo Foo – 455 hits
The 2001 National Jamboree Video – 480 hits
The Buttons and Randall Show #3 – 577 hits

I have to thank David H., a former member of Troop 68, for providing the space and bandwidth for the website. If he wouldn’t provide the troop with the free domain, server, and bandwidth I would not be placing all these videos online for you to enjoy. Thanks David.

And thanks to all of you for reading this blog, watching the videos, and checking out our troop’s website.

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    The internet has many ways to be “social” in this online world. What began with simple emails has developed into something much more. Now we have sites like Facebook and Myspace to keep in touch with friends and family.

    One social site I have been using for several months is Twitter ( ). Twitter is a very simple site. All you do is leave the occasional short message about what is on your mind for your Twitter friends to read. And I do mean short. Each Twitter message can only contain a total of 140 letters, numbers, and characters.

    One thing I like about Twitter is that you must approve your “friends” before they will receive your messages, and they must approve you before you receive theirs. Thus, so far, I have not received any spam through the site. There are also no nagging and unsightly ads on your Twitter page, unlike Facebook and Myspace.

    I am not one of those people who tries to get as many people as I can to be a “friend”. In fact, I only have about two dozen followers. Most of them are people involved in Scouting from around the country, including my podcasting friends Chris, Jerry, and Shawn. Look me up if you would like to add me to your Twitter list of friends. You can find me at stevejb68.

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      A little over two years ago I posted the first article to A Scoutmaster’s Blog. Since that day in May of 2006, I have posted 277 articles about my thoughts and experiences in Boy Scouting, along with a sprinkling of other topics.

      A little over a year ago, on April 4, 2006, I posted the first video to the Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast, a podcast about Boy Scouting by Boy Scouts and leaders. There have been 39 videos posted do far, averaging nearly three per month.

      During the month of May, 2008, this blog received 2545 visits (according to Google Analytics), with 2155 unique visitors. The podcast receives even more visitors. I give you these facts not to brag or anything (after all, there are other sites that make these stats seem small by comparison), but to prepare you for the following statistics.

      I have read a couple studies about people who read blogs. It appears that only one or two percent of readers lave a comment or send an email to the blogger. I would have to believe that the stats for podcasts would probably even be worse since mosts people will listen to or watch a podcast away from their computer, or away from the website.

      To tell you the truth, as a blogger and podcaster I find these statistics to be disheartening. I am like the majority of bloggers and podcasters in that I do not get paid for doing this. I do it because I enjoy it. But I will admit, after reviewing the stats for my blog last month and finding that less then 3/10 of one percent of people who visit my sites take the time to leave a comment, I am becoming a bit discouraged.

      Is my writing that bad? Are the articles that boring? Are the videos that painful to watch? Yes, I admit that I am happy to receive the hits and visits that I do, but I would like to know if you, the readers and viewers, are enjoying what you see? Are you finding them to be helpful in any way?

      By posting a comment you are able to leave feedback about how you feel I am doing. It is the only payment I ask of you. Heck, I would love to receive feedback or emails from even two percent of the sites’ visitors. It would be a lot more then I currently receive.

      So, can you find it in your heart to help out a lowly blogger/podcaster? When you read an article that you enjoy or find helpful take a moment to leave a comment. When you watch a video that leaves you with a smile on your face drop me a line and let me know about it. I would really appreciate it, and it encourages me to keep doing it. Numbers are nice, but feedback is great.

      I am not too proud to quote the boy in the movie when he said, “Please sir. I want some more.”

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        Have you ever noticed that there are not many websites that contain Scouting-related desktop and wallpaper pictures? When I discovered this a few years ago I decided to do something about it. I created a wallpaper area to our troop’s website.

        The first challenge was to find pictures that would work well as desktop wallpaper pictures. Many people have icons on their desktop so I wanted to find pictures in which the icons would not cover the main subject of the picture. I also had to keep in mind that the icons on Windows-based computers are found on the left side of the screen, while Macintosh computers place them on the right side.

        The next thing I needed to consider was the size of the photos. When I first started preparing photos there were people still using 800 x 600 pixel screen sizes. Now, many screen sizes are 1152 x 870 or 1280 x 1024. Many of the photos have been sized to meet a few screen sizes. I have not prepared any photos for the widescreen monitors yet, but I suppose I will in the future.

        I have divided the desktop photos into six sections: Philmont, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, the High Knoll Trail, Many Point Scout Camp, General, and Campfires. The Philmont, BWCA, HKT, and MPSC sections feature photos taken for troop trips to those areas. The General area contains random Scout photographs. The Campfires sections contains photos of, you guessed it, campfires.

        The Melrose Troop 68 desktop wallpaper page can be found HERE. If you want to go to one of the sections quickly, then click on the following links:
        Philmont, BWCA, High Knoll Trail, Many Point Scout Camp, General, Campfires.

        I invite you to check them out and let me know what you think it. Is this a worthwhile project, or am I just wasting my time?

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          You have heard of Youtube. You may have heard about Godtube. But have you ever heard about ScoutTube? It is one of the newest video sites on the internet to promote Scouting. In fact, ScoutTube is a video site which only contains (so far, at least) twelve films, each one covering one point of the Scout Law. Each video features real Scouts talking with real people who exemplify one point of the Law.

          The films are professional done, and look very sharp. They were produced by Arrowhead films with funding provided by the Brock Family Trust and the Capital Area Council. The site is sharp looking without a lot of useless bells and whistles. The only thing I do not like about the site is that the browser window immediately expands to fill the whole monitor. I hate it when a site does that.

          Check out ScoutTube and see if you do not agree that this is a site that could be very useful to Cub Packs, new Boy Scouts, and even to help promote Scouting. (I would like to get a dvd of these videos.)

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            One thing about being the webmaster for the troop is trying to find the time to keep the web site up to date. It is not an easy task, and I have fallen behind a bit, but today I did get the chance to do some work on it.

            I am happy to report that the 2007 photo gallery is now complete. The gallery contains over 100 pictures taken during the year. There are photos from the Laughs For Lunch Show, courts of honor, the Ripley Rendezvous, troop activities, and summer camp. It is quite a collection, but only a fraction of the 1200 photos I took during troop functions this year.

            You know, before the digital photo era, when I used something know as 35mm film, I would be doing well to take a couple hundred of photographs each year. Now, thanks to memory cards, I take a few hundred photos just at summer camp. Isn’t technology wonderful?

            Check out all the pictures of 2007 by clicking HERE. And then leave a comment about what you think of them.

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              I enjoy browsing through Scouting blogs and forums. I may not leave many messages or comments but I do find things interesting, and sometimes quite helpful. I also like to google melrosetroop68 once in a while to see where links to our troop website and this blog have been appearing. I found two interesting things on the net today that made me think “Wow! I must be writing okay.” (I know, that is horrible grammar, but that is what I thought.)

              The first site I found today must be a fairly new site. It is called “Scouting With The Mouse” and is created by Disney. You know, the Mickey Mouse people. The site, which seems to be less then a few months old, tries to bring Disney and Scouting together. Tries. It is an interesting idea. The site does not have very much on it yet, but knowing Disney it will grow quickly if people begin visiting it.

              What brought me to the site of the mouse was my google search. One search entry linked to this site that I have never seen before. It was the forum of the “Scouting with the Mouse” website. Of course, I clicked on the link. To my surprise I discovered that someone had left a message that referred to my blog entry about “Ten Reasons To Be An Adult Leader“. Wow! Someone found my blog worthy of listing on a Disney website!

              As Buttons, my alter ego, would say, “Cool dude!”

              The second surprise I found today was on another Scouting blog that I enjoy reading. It is called “A Scoutmaster Minute” and is written by Jerry in Oregon. I like reading Jerry’s blog because he is more focused about the ideals of Scouting, where I like to write about things that have happened in my Scouting experience and random Scouting topics.

              Today, Jerry wrote another of his top ten lists which are always fun to read. This time the subject was the Top 10 Websites he likes to visit. Okay, I thought as I read the title, let’s see how many websites we both visit. I was shocked when I read what was number two on his list. It was a tie between two Scouting blogs, Lone Star Scouter and A Scoutmaster’s Blog! This blog. My blog. Wow! I made a top 10 list. I was a little stunned, but also found myself smiling at the same time. Thanks Jerry.

              As Buttons would say, “Awesome, dude!”

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                I am a webmaster! That does not mean that I am a cousin of Spiderman or some sort of superhero. It does mean that I have created a website. A website that has become a monster. A monster that is getting harder to control.

                I began creating the Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 website after several talks with Dave. Dave was a member of Troop 68 for six years. He was always interested in computers, and after college he began his own business which included internet and server support. Dave agreed to set things up for a troop website if I agreed to take care of it and keep it updated.

                I decided early on that I had no desire to learn html. If I was to create this website I needed a wysiwyg program that would write the html for me. Luckily, I found a free program to do this called Netscape Composer. A few years later I switched over to Nvu and still use that today. Both programs are very basic, but that is all I really wanted. I have no desire to put all those new annoying web doodads on the site.

                The next step was to decide what should be included on the site. It began with photo galleries, newsletters, rosters, high adventure reports, and a bulletin board for troop members to keep in touch with each other. It has since expanded to include videos, games, this blog, and a podcast.

                The site is now a monster that includes over 200 pages of information, dozens of videos, and thousands of photographs. It covers 30 years of Boy Scouting in Melrose. I would be willing to bet it is one of the largest Boy Scout troop website on the internet.

                A website of this size demands a lot of attention. Spammers are constantly trying to enter the forums and must be cleared out on a regular basis. The photo galleries need to be updated after each event. I try to post at least a couple blog entries each week, and post at least one or two videos to the podcast each month.

                It takes time to do this, and unfortunately, I am starting to fall behind. This year’s photo gallery needs to be updated, and a few yearly galleries still need to be created. I need to update the advancement review pages and the roster pages. (Don’t worry, I do not use the full names of the current Scouts, or place their phone numbers or addresses online.) I know there must be a few dead links within the site that need my attention.

                Yes, it is a lot of work, but I think it has been worth it. Troop alumni are able to keep up with current troop events, and are able to take a trip down Memory Lane as they view the galleries. Other Scouts and leaders from around the country, and around the world, have visited the site and sent me emails to tell me they have enjoyed it and found a few useful ideas to use in their own troops.

                Yes, it has become a monster. But it is my monster, one of my own creation, so I really have no one to blame for it. The site has changed a lot over the years. It is something I am proud of. I invite you to check it out at Write a note and let me know what you think about it.

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