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How should the forums be changed?
 Add a separate area for and Nuts and Volts  18%  18%  [ 6 ]
 Add a "VIP" area for N&V subscribers  9%  9%  [ 3 ]
 Add a separate area for SERVO  12%  12%  [ 4 ]
 Add a "VIP" area for SERVO subscribers  6%  6%  [ 2 ]
 Add a specific area for Regular Columns  30%  30%  [ 10 ]
 Provide a Vendor Chat Area  12%  12%  [ 4 ]
 Not enough options here -I'll tell you in the thread!  6%  6%  [ 2 ]
 Leave 'em alone! They're perfect!  6%  6%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 33

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 Post subject: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS DONE! :D
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:42 pm 
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Location: Austin Texas
Hello all! :smile:

This is Vern Graner, (former) author of the Personal Robotics column for Nuts and Volts and occasional writer for SERVO. Though I'm not currently writing for the magazine, I have been working with the good folks at T&L Publications on something new and we want your input!

Recently, we've been discussing ideas on how to modify these very online forums in order to make them more useful for the readers and more relevant on the Internet!

As a starting point, it has been proposed that we change the forum "topics" to more closely mirror both Nuts and Volts and SERVO magazines. We hope to make the forums more valuable to you by creating a "two-way" communication path between the readers, as well as between the readers and the authors! :cool: Right now the forum headers are:

    -General
    -Computers
    -Programming
    -Robotics
    -Projects & Kits
    -Up For Grabs

So- here's where we'd like your help! Let us know your ideas for forum areas and which ones you would visit if they existed here. You can make your view known by answering the poll at the top of this post or, just post your ideas on this thread!

Now is the time to make your voice heard! Let the posting begin! :grin:

Vern



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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:06 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 7:57 am
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Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Hi Ya Vern

Nice to see change on the horizon. Something that has my curiosity is what is the plan to promote? As can be seen it is pretty quiet around here.

Ron


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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:35 am 
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reloadron wrote:
Hi Ya Vern

Nice to see change on the horizon. Something that has my curiosity is what is the plan to promote? As can be seen it is pretty quiet around here.

Ron

Glad you asked! :smile: The basic plan is to realign the forums to sync them up with the magazines. We want to give readers a way to comment on the articles, to collaborate with others who have read the articles and/or are building the projects, to converse with the authors of the articles and to contribute to the general conversation and community.

We'd love to hear from the current forum users on any other ideas you may have for improving the forum experience. :smile:

Vern



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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:09 pm 
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Hi Ya Vern

That would be great as a complaint around here is the Magazine really seems to fail to promote the hell out of the forums.

On another note it would be nice if our moderators had more latitude like the ability to ban an IP. I know MrAl works his butt off (as do you) with the spam influx. I mod in a pretty large computer forum and we seem to have a great deal more tools at our disposal. This place starts cooking and growing the mods will be quite busy. Personally I just feel they need more tools at their disposal. Just my take anyway. Our spam got so bad we finally and reluctantly let post from new members wait for screening approval. We tried every filter and trick we could think of but lately everytime I hit the mod panels I remove likely 9 out of 10 new post.

Ron


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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:02 am 
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Posts: 3804
Location: NewJersey
Hi Ron and Vern,

Ron:
Yes the ability to ban an IP even temporarily would have helped a lot back when we had a huge number of spam posts coming in. I'd remove like 20 posts and when i would come back 15 minutes later there would be 20 more, from the same guy! That was just nuts.

Vern:
One feature of the forum that would help a lot i think would be to give the readers/posters a way to upload a schematic drawing (or even another type of drawing really) directly or indirectly to the forum page. This really becomes necessary when people start talking about technical subjects especially electronics. A button like, "Upload Drawing", would help a lot here.
A way to edit schematics right on the forum would be really super too, but i know that would be hard to implement. At least the drawing upload though would be very good.
The way other sites handle the bandwidth is they limit the file size to something reasonable like 100k. Even 50k would help though as a .gif file can be pretty complex and still only take up 50k of disc space.


Take care,
Al



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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:28 pm 
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MrAl wrote:
One feature of the forum that would help a lot i think would be to give the readers/posters a way to upload a schematic drawing (or even another type of drawing really) directly or indirectly to the forum page.


CanDo! :smile: This function is already possible using the board as it currently is. Method follows:

  1. Download something like Fritzing or ExpressPCB to create the schematic (both of these packages are free to dload/use)
    OR
    Take a photo with a digital camera
  2. Save it to your PC
  3. Go to the website IMGUR using http://imgur.com
  4. Drag/drop the image from your desktop to the web page, click "Upload"
  5. Copy the link shown under "Message Boards"
  6. Paste the link in your post using the phpBB syntax as shown here:
This is the schematic for the PCB we used in the Sonar Station:

[IMG]http://i.imgur.com/pGka4.png[/IMG]

This image appeared in the September 2009 issue of Nuts and Volts magazine.

Which, when parsed, looks like this:

This is the schematic for the PCB we used in the Sonar Station:

Image

This image appeared in the September 2009 issue of Nuts and Volts magazine.

The above process can also start with taking a picture with your digital camera, then following the same steps to make an imgur link for use in your post. In addition, if you click "EDIT" before you click "UPLOAD" you can resize/rotate/edit the image to make it the correct size/orientation for your post.

Hope that helps. :cool:

Vern



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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 7:57 am
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Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Hi Vern

I believe what Mr. Al is getting at is that right now I can use the image tags much like you did in the example:

[IMG]http://i.imgur.com/pGka4.png[/IMG]


Where I am linking to an image elsewhere. Yes, people can use free image host and link to their image. However, I believe what Mr.Al is getting at is the ability to upload an image to the N&V server hosting the forum as is done on a few other electronics enthusiast sites. I can understand the downside of doing this would be server storage space. It is a nice feature allowing schematics, drawings and even pdf files to easily be uploaded directly to the server hosting the forum.

Additionally it would be nice if the mods or a few mods could easily ban users and IP for spam control. There were days I wanted to ban all of China and Russia. :)

Ron


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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:24 pm 
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reloadron wrote:
I believe what Mr.Al is getting at is the ability to upload an image to the N&V server

That is most likely right, but unfortunately there are a number of downsides with allowing "uploading" the images to the board. OTTOMH- spammers, increased bandwidth & file storage, copyright issues... even "inappropriate photos" (amateur photography.? *nudge* *nudge*, *wink* *wink*, say no MORE!) :grin: IN the above post, I was trying to show that it is possible to get images in your posts - even with the upload feature not available. :smile:

As for banning IPs I don't know how Michael handles the number of spammers that attack the board! By my last count, there appear to be about 40 requests PER DAY for board access from "new" accounts! :shock: Here's what the names on the requests look like: "guturedal" "carpinteyrofjf" "Unformdrymn" so.. are these names? handles? Real people? I doubt it. Mostly bots. Its ridiculous! :???:

Vern



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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:56 pm 
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Oh it is funny, need a car?

Quote:
Used Cars NI is the biggest and best source of used car sales information on the internet for the Northern Ireland buyer, with over 15,500 cars online. The website has 7 million pages viewed per month and growing.


By: molailliree

This is good:

Quote:
W życiu większości spośród nas nadchodzi taki chwila, iż na palec ukochanej nam osoby zakładamy srebrne obrączki. Będzie ona świadkiem naszej,miłości i każdego dnia przypominała będzie nam i naszym bliskim o olśniewającej chwili, jaką był ślub. Decydując się na wybór dobrej obrączki zasięgnijmy porady specjalistów. Zachęcamy więc do odwiedzenia strony polskieobraczki.pl i zaznajomienia się z bogatą ofertą obrączek. Do wyboru mamy złote, srebrne, z brylantem, a również srebrne pozłacane.


From a computer help me build/buy section. The links were removed.

Trash the post and ban the user. Again and again. Those bots create users faster than I can remove them. :)

Completely understand as to the image storage space. Not to mention image shall we say quality? :)

Later
Ron


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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:23 am 
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Posts: 1191
Location: Maryland
Hi Vern,

I think a 'Searching For' section might be of value.
Now if someone is searching for some elusive part, or info, it can be posted in any section and can become overlooked or buried in the flow. A separate section might be able to provide more positive responses for the poster since someone, much later, might locate the item and finding the requester would be easier. It might even help us clean out our ever growing stockpiles and get them off to someone that has a real use for them.

Len



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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:21 am 
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Lenp wrote:
I think a 'Searching For' section might be of value.<snip>


Excellent Idea! I just added it to the list. Thanks! :smile:

Vern



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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:41 am 
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Location: Eastern Washington (state) and N. Las Vegas (winter)
I know some people would not like the idea, but what about having to enter a "key" to get to the site, like other sites and forums do (except make yours a little more readable, some are just terrible to figure out).. and have it change each time you logon.. I don't mind putting in codes to enter a site if it blocks the knotheads and the bots..



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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:43 pm 
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I'd like to see a section called "Home Automation".
Surveillance systems, internet-controlled thermostat, etc.
John


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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:34 am 
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I wouldn't mind an ad on the page top from a company related to electronics, especially N&V itself. Maybe a "donate" link for the forum, too.


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 Post subject: Re: HERE YE! HERE YE! THE FORUM OVERHAUL IS COMING!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:40 am 
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Posts: 1556
Location: Phoenixville, PA USA
What I would like to see, if possible, would be:

Fix the HTML code to fill out the META NAMES for "keywords" and "description"
As it is now, they are both blank. I already pointed this out in the "Where is everybody?" thread.

Put the links for Nuts & Volts and SERVO magazines back in the top banner.
When you click, it brings you back to the forum home page.

Add N&V specific areas for Q,C & A.

Add Servo specific areas for Q, C & A.

Vendor area would be good as I think some of them got kicked off due to "spamming" -
they could go there and be moderated so as not to clutter the other areas.
Along with this area would be a sub area for Vendor Chat. Sometimes, you just need to ask
a question about/toward a vendor or product. Who else would be best qualified to answer?

Regular columns would be a good idea as there have been some questions related to them.

Lastly, I think that when someone becomes an author or editor (regular or contributing),
they should become a member of the forum. That way, they become aware of Q, C & A
of their specific article or column. And they don't have to check in every day if they have
email notices enabled.

I think enacting at least some of these ideas would go a long way toward making the forum
more useful (it is already quite useful) for the masses, easier to find and navigate, and it
would give those who should be a part of the forum (vendors) a specific place to be without
causing spam problems.

CeaSaR

EDIT:

Re: Meta Names - the name of the thread on which I previously mentioned this is
"is everyone on vacation ?? no activity here since the 19th" under the General category.

Re: Authors/editors becoming members - I remembered saying this before and the thread is
"Commenting on article in Nuts & Volts" under the General category.

I am glad that those in charge are reading our posts. It shows you have a genuine concern for the community.



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