Archive for the ‘website’ Category

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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        I have been playing around with the online photo site known as Flickr, which is part of Yahoo. I know there are several sites available on which to upload and share photos with friends and family. I do not know which one is the best, or what the differences are between the various sites, but I chose Flickr to play with.

        I have begun uploading photographs of trips to Philmont Scout Ranch that I took in the 1980’s. In 1984, I attended the Philmont training center for Scoutmaster Fundamentals. In 1986 and 1989, I attended the ranch to go backpacking with the Boy Scouts from my troop. One nice thing about using a site like Flickr is that I can upload hundreds of photos and it does not take any room on the troop’s website. What I do not like is that people need to leave the troop’s website to view them.
        You can view my Flickr photo sets at
        I would be interested to hear what you use for your own troop’s photos. What works well for you, and why did you choose the site you use. Leave a comment or write me an email through this blog. Thanks.
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          Sometimes I spend too much time looking around the internet and reading Scout forums, blogs, and websites. But sometimes I find some really interesting stuff. Today, I would like to pass on three sites your may find interesting.

          The first is a blog called “scoutingmaniac”. The blog is written by a junior assistant scoutmaster from the Great Alaska Council. His latest two posts were about astronauts, and how many of them have been involved with Scouting as a youth. I was astonished to see how many there were. I knew most of the original astronauts from the 1960’s were Boy Scouts, but I did not realize that a lot of later astronauts were also involved with Boy and Girl Scouting. Check out his two blog entires HERE and HERE.

          The second site is a blog post found at “Nick’s Ramblings”. Nick is a Scouter from Staffordshire, in the UK. I like checking out his blog and discovering what Scouts across the ocean have been doing. A recent post of his really did not have anything to do with Scouting, but touched my funny bone, and unfortunately demonstrates the sad direction this world is heading. It compares 1978 (The year I graduated from high school) with the year 2008. I think you find find it quite interesting, and truthful. Check it out HERE.

          The third site I recommend you to check out is written by Hans Zeiger, a writer who is also an Eagle Scout, and proud of it. He has posted an article about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s new book, On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts are Worth Fighting For. I have read a few reviews about this book and it sounds like one I need to add to my library. Check out this article HERE.

          I hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as I did. After all, don’t you need a bit of a change from what I write about once in awhile?

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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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