As Tropical Storm Elsa wends her way up the coast, it seems as good a time as any to point out our new weather feature — an interactive weather map! We’re very happy with the new functionality, having lost access to the National Weather Service maps about a year ago.
Before telling you more about the map and its many features, here’s how to find it: go to the iBrattleboro Weather Page and scroll down past the forecast and weather links where you’ll find it labeled Weather Map and Radar. There she blows, and isn’t she a beauty?
It’s 02-20-2021 and iBrattleboro is 18 today. Watch out now, we’re all grown up and can vote! Still a few more years until we can rent a car, but hey…
More seriously, the site stated 18 years ago as a place for people in the Brattleboro area to share news, events, information and opinions. iBrattleboro can be whatever you, the community contributor, wants it to be. If it is exciting and useful, you made it so.
Wondering how many people are visiting iBrattleboro.com? Let’s look at some recent stats.
May 2020 had 33,760 unique visitors, with 60,030 visits to 458,918 pages. (This does not include traffic generated by robots, worms, or crawlers.)
Unique visitors for Jan were just above 27k, Feb had 32.5k, March had just over 31k, and Apr was 22.5k.
A few housekeeping notes.
A new sign up/log in option is now in the “contribute” menu in the upper blue bar. Much easier to find, and right where you might want it to add a story, event, link, or photo. We’re also keeping the other one, mid-page, between stories and recent comments.
Can you believe it? iBrattleboro’s been going for 17 years. You’ve been people-powering journalism in Brattleboro for almost two decades.
This year, I leave it mostly to you to reflect on your accomplishments. (In addition to your thoughts, feel free to ask questions. We’ll answer anything today.)
I was digging through some old family things and came across a green piece of paper that my grandfather had printed to encourage fellow students to submit news to the college newspaper. It says:
“HAVE YOU NEWS TODAY OF YOUR..
iBrattleboro comes of age today. The site turns sixteen.
Sixteen means we can get a learner’s permit for driving. We can drop out of school. We can consent. We can get an adult passport, donate blood, and in some countries vote, drink or join an army.
Some other notable sixteens: Louis XVI, 16 personality types in the Myers-Briggs system, 16 pawns in a chess set, the F-16, and it’s the the age Sleeping Beauty pricks her finger and falls asleep.
Time once again for the animated, interactive, Brattleboro-centric, advent-ish calendar, featuring different scenes and local facts, sponsored by no one. The iBrattleboro Christmas Calendar.
While it is continually popular, we were debating whether to bring this back again this year. The Christmas Calendar is built in Flash, an ancient programming tool that is fading away. iPads and many other devices just don’t allow it anymore.
You may have heard rumors and yes, they are true. Lise and Chris have moved up river to Williamsville.
One might ask, and it is a reasonable question, why did we depart the town we love?
Many reasons, but the main one is that we could not find a good place to live within our budget within town limits. The places for sale in Brattleboro this summer were either gorgeous and expensive, or near-dumps.
From now until the end of August, all year-long ads on iBrattleboro are half price! That’s right, a one-time chance to be featured for an entire 12 month year, saving you five hundred dollars.
This is a big, color ad (300x300px) with a link to any web page you want, on a site that thousands check regularly to see what’s going on in Brattleboro and southern Vermont.
iBrattleboro.com is now using SSL – a Secure Sockets Layer certificate. It provides an encrypted link between a server and a client—in this case the web site and your browser.
We’re the first local news site in Brattleboro to do this for you, and we join our fellow community media sites BCTV and WVEW in doing so.
Normally, data such as logins and passwords, is sent between browsers and web servers in plain text. This makes a site vulnerable to a “man in the middle attack,” or site spoofing schemes.
The new Photo Fun looks great, and a few have you have already found out how to put photos up. Excellent!
For the rest, you can login and submit a photo by using the Contribute menu in the upper blue bar. This takes you to a simple form for uploading your photo.
Add a title, short description if you want, add your photo, and add tags to describe what’s in the image.
It’s easy to do from a phone or tablet. Take your photo of something in your neighborhood or around town, then submit it here. Your phone should allow you to choose among your recent photos.
I wanted to submit a story, but decided to wait until the following two item can be clarified:
1. I only see a “submit” button, but no preview. Before submitting a story, I want to see how my story will display so that I can make any needed corrections in advance. This was a feature of the old site: Does the new site eliminate that feature, or did I miss something?
The new Classifieds section is quite nice. So nice that it has its own link in the upper blue bar. (You can use that pull-down menu to get your own classified. More on that later.)
When you get to the Classifieds page, you’ll see a list of all the current ads. Up at the top is a way to search the classifieds, which might come in handy if you are looking for something specific and there are a lot of ads. You can search by keyword or location.
One of the popular features of iBrattleboro is the old stories featured in Today in History. For the most part, these are taken from the Vermont Phoenix, a Brattleboro newspaper that thrived in the late 1800’s.
On the old site, we loaded them all into a sidebar. This time around we’ve kept a sample of them on the homepage, but given them their own section of the site.
You can get to the page by clicking on the Browse menu, then Today in History.
Continuing our exploration of the new site design, we’ll take a quick look at the directory of local links.
As you might expect, this is our online guide to local businesses and organizations. There are a couple others in town (the Chamber, the town’s list of Business License holders,) but they cost money. We know that small businesses and non-profits don’t have a lot of extra money, and often it is when budgets are tight that some extra, free publicity could be useful. So, free Local Links!
We had this with both other versions of iBrattleboro, but decided this time around to start fresh. All old listings were wiped out (some were very out of date) and we’re starting to fill it back up.
As we get this new version of the site running smoothly, we’ll introduce you to some of the new pages and features. Today, let’s talk about the weather.
First of all, you can get a quick glimpse of the basic current conditions by looking in the upper right corner of the site.
It’s the same as before, except different!
Technically speaking, this is version 3.0. We’ve switched the underlying content management system, the site is now mobile-friendly, and everything will soon be encrypted.
Our work isn’t finished, but it is close enough to let you join us as we make final adjustments. It helps to have people using the site actively as we fine tune. You may see a few test items come and go over the next few days, and you will see some definite improvements.
Happy birthday, everyone. iBrattleboro is now 15.
Fifteen years ago, Brattleboro had one newspaper, owned by an out-of-state media corporation. There was no “social media” and Brattleboro had few online sources of information. There was also a threat of further major media consolidation.
We wanted Brattleboro to have another option.
We have a number of checks and balances built into the iBrattleboro system to keep you, dear reader, from ever seeing submissions by spammers.