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.
In the last week or so, I’ve met no less than 8 people who have told me they love reading iBrattleboro, but have never written anything on the site. No stories about things they know about, nor comments on what others are doing. But they visit and read it often. I assume that if I met eight in a matter of days, there are probably many others, too.
Well, well. One day we’re sitting around planning a community news site and fourteen years later we’re looking back as if in a Talking Heads’ song. My god, what have we done?
Same as it ever was.
For fourteen years now, almost every day of our lives has had an extra layer to it – iBrattleboro.
Sometimes on iBrattleboro, we find ourselves forced to delete comments that violate our community standards. We hate having to do that, but there are times when comments cross the line — for instance, when a commenter personally attacks a business owner for promoting a product, service, or event that the commenter thinks is wrong. Deleting comments, no matter how harsh the comments may be, inevitably leads to accusations that we’re denying the commenter their free speech.
President Trump seems to be presenting a unique opportunity for citizen journalists. Yes, I’m digging up that dusty term to remind you that you have the power of the pen.
The unique opportunity appears to be that he plans to bypass traditional media and go direct to the people via Twitter and YouTube.
When he announced his first 100 day plan, it came as an upload to YouTube, not a press conference. Professional reporters were forced to write stories about an online video.
Happy birthday, everyone. We’re all teenagers today!
Today is the day that iBrattleboro.com turns 13 years old. We can now watch PG-13 movies without adult supervision!
13 is a baker’s dozen, the number of cards in each suit of the deck, and the number of original colonies.
Math lovers will note that 13 is the 6th prime number, the smallest emirp, a Fibonacci number, and a happy number.
iBrattleboro.com remains one of the longest-running citizen-powered news and information sites out there, and we continue to be contacted from people around the country and around the world who are interested in doing similar projects where they live. As I noted a week or so ago, we’ve recently answered questions for someone in a small town in Queensland, Australia, and have been interviewed by hyperlocal activists in the Ukraine.
You might be interested in the Ukrainian project. Yurii Antoshchuk, head of a community media foundation there, got in touch to ask us some questions for publication in Russian and English. We answered their questions, but also asked them about what they were doing there.