A Travellerspoint blog

Social Networking Ideas

Alas - eCircles is dead and gone. How would we all like to keep in touch?

Here are some of the options I've found for web sites available for families to stay in touch:

Travellerspoint is one option - that's what I set up this blog for. It is primarily geared for travel, but I don't think they'll evict us if we write an entry about something else (and besides, a lot of our entries just may be about places we visit or such things).

Advantages: We've already been using it for the recent RV trip, so has some familiarity and several folks are already set up with user ID's.
Travellerspoint is one of the highest rated travel blog sites.
Has both photo and video capability (as do others)

Disadvantages: Public forum, we can't post anything up here we don't want others to see.
Photo's should be edited before uploading (or risk very limited uploading).
Uploading photos is limited by bandwidth.
Photo's displayed are low resolution (might also be an advantage if you don't want your photo's being misused).
Format may not be optimal for some of the things we might want to share (event calendar?)

Other Sites:

I don't have much on these yet, other then from a cursory review they look the most promising. There are others. Most sites can be accessed by www.{sitename}.com

MySpace - this was the highest rated social networking site in at least one review I found. Also, it's probably the biggest and least likely to go away.








aol people connection

Windows Live Spaces (formerly MSN)

Ourstory (interesting - uses a timeline approach)

custom web site (Charlie tried this approach, requires development & maintenance time)

This is just a first cut folks! Let's get a dialog started!

Posted by jl98584 01:35 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (0)

How to Add Photo's using IrfanView

To include Photo's in your Blog Entry, you will first need to Upload them. Then, once they are in your Photo Gallery, you can insert them into a Blog Entry.

Note: I'll be moving all the 'how to' articles to the Travel Guide/About section within the next few weeks (that is, as soon as I have some spare time...)

Background: Travellerspoint limits the amount of bandwidth you have for uploading photos - there's no limit for storing them, but there is for uploading. They also display a resolution of only 800 by 600 pixals (dots), so if you upload your photo files at full resolution, you will be SEVERLY limited as to how many photo's you can upload.

New users get only 25mb of upload bandwidth per month (it resets every month). So if you have a 5mb digital camera and try to upload high resolution pictures you've taken with it, you may be limited to only about 5 pictures per month!!!

There are two solutions to this problem:

1. Edit your pictures to a lower resolution before uploading - (I do not recommend taking the pictures at a lower resolution in your camera settings because then they won't be very useful for other things, like printing.) Take your pictures at any resolution you want, it isn't hard to save another copy at a lower resolution. These instructions assume that this is how you want to proceed.

2. Upload your photo's to another web site and insert them in your blog using a web link. Here are some instructions for doing this from Flickr.

Disclaimer - there are many ways to do these things! I'm only describing a couple that are cheap, easy and work for me. Feel free to use whatever software and/or approach works for you of course!

But first - edit them!

If this is the first time you've tried to do this, you should check these instructions first:

How to Set Up IrfanView to Edit Photos

There are other programs that are more powerful, but IrfanView is so easy and takes care of 90% of my editing needs, that I normally use it first. While you can rotate and crop in IrfanView, these instructions are only to help with converting photos' to 800 by 600 pixals (low resolution) for uploading to Travellerspoint.

1. On your PC, select the pictures you want to Upload.

I do this by renaming them, so if I've got 50 pictures in a folder, I know the 10 or so I want to upload because of some sort of naming scheme.

2. Open IrfanView (or your chosen photo editing software).

You can open an individual photo to edit (Edit/Crop) or resize it (Image/Resize), but you can also resize a batch of them all at once.

To do this, from the Main Menu, select File Batch Conversion/Rename.


On the top right side of the Batch Conversion Window is a section where you can navigate to where your unedited photo's are located. Use the Look In box and other navigation tools to find the right folder.


Then select the ones you want to upload (hint: hold down the Shift key to select several photo's in a sequence, or the Crtl key to select several photo's that aren't together).

Once you've selected your photo's - click the Add button. The photo's you've selected should be shown in the Input Screen on the left. You can add or delete photo's if the list isn't quite right.


Once you've selected your photo's (and got all your settings right) - Click the Start button.

That's It! IrfanView converts all your photo's to 800 x 600 and they're ready to upload! (Hint: you might want to check some of the photo's first and make sure everything worked right - especially the first time you do this. If you forgot to click "Preserve aspect ratio" in the Advanced Settings for example, you'll get some really screwed up photo's! No sense using up all your bandwidth uploading garbage, I know - I've done it.)


Now, Upload your Photo's to Travellerspoint:

In Travellerspoint, from the Control Panel, select My Photos.

On the top, right hand corner select the small tab that says Bulk Upload.


In the Bulk Upload screen, choose Browse Files.

Navigate to the Folder on your PC where the photo's are that you want to upload. You can select a group by holding down the Shift key (or crtl key if they aren't all together). The photo's you've selected will show up in a list under the Upload Queue:


Check this - file sizes should be in kb, not mb!

Also, if you change your mind you can delete individual photo's from the list by clicking the little minus button, you don't have to back out and start over (but you can if needed).

Click the Start Upload Button.

You will be able to watch the progress as the photo's are being uploaded. Once they are all complete, you will see a screen for editing the details about the photos. (If you're short on time, you can come back and complete these later. However, you must save the photo's one page at a time, you can't edit one or two, then come back and do the rest later - you'll have to start over.)

This is what the screen looks like before you start editing, although you'll usually see more than one photo.


Travellerspoint picks up the PC file name. Therefore, if you rename your photo's on the PC while you're getting them ready, you won't have to do it again here!

You must select a Location from a list maintained by Travellerspoint (ugh). Just type in a city, state, and country and it will try to auto fill for you (slow connections make this one difficult). They have a lot of towns in their list - but not always the ones I want. If they don't have what I want, I try to pick a slightly larger town nearby. (For example, Hoodsport may not be on the list, but Seattle, Washington, USA definitely is.

Please use Tags. These are Keywords used for searching. For example, if you are looking for pictures of lighthouses in Travellerspoint, you will only find ones for which people have listed lighthouse or lighthouses as a tag. This is not an exact science and I'm still trying to get better at it. You might want to check out how other folks tag their photo's to get an idea (time permitting). At the least, use obvious tags like flowers, birds, lighthouses, rivers.....

When you're done adding descriptive information, Save the page.


Now, Add your Photos to to a blog entry.

(Note: if you've already written and saved the blog entry, you can go back and Edit it again. Select Control Panel, My Blogs, Manage, then Manage again. This will give you a list of all the blog entries that you can Edit or View. Or of course, usually you'll want to upload your photo's for an entry first, then write the entry...

In the Blog Entry, put your cursor where you want the photo inserted.


On the menu at the tope of the Entry window, click on Img (for Image)

This opens a separate window that lets you select a photo from My Photos. If you want a smaller Thumbnail inserted, click the Thumbnail box. When you're done selecting, click Insert.


That's it! Takes a lot longer to write up (or read) then it does to do it. The first few times may take a little practice to get comfortable, then you're off to the races. (I uploaded over 3,000 photo's for our RV trip, so you know I didn't spend hours and hours on these individual steps on a regular basis.

Posted by jl98584 00:06 Archived in USA Tagged educational Comments (0)

How to Write a Blog Entry

A blog entry is just like a page (or topic) in a Journal. The main question is - Can You Type?

Note: I'll be moving all the 'how to' articles to the Travel Guide/About section within the next few weeks (that is, as soon as I have some spare time...)

Preliminary Requirements:

1. You must be a member of Travellerspoint to be able to post entries to this blog. If you are not already a member, you can sign up here (membership is free)

Join Travellerspoint

2. You must be listed as an Author for this blog to be able to post entries here.

To check if you are an Author, log into Travellerspoint. (Hint - you may want to bookmark this by adding it to your Favorites in your web browser). Note: This is also where you go to log in, write Blog entries, and manage things in general.


Once you get to Travellerspoint and Log in, then Notice the menu across the top.

Click on the Control Panel and select My Blogs. You should see this Blog ("Out and About") listed. (The astute reader might notice that I actually have two blogs listed under my user ID, this one and the original Johnston blog. Yes, you too can also have your own separate blogs.)


If you are not an Author and would like to contribute to this blog, please add a comment below and let me know!

(I'm including screen shots to try to help make this easier to follow, but the quality is limited to what Travellerspoint allows - so I apologize for that. If you need help figuring this out, you can call me, or add a comment and I'll get back to you.)

So now that you have a travellerspoint user ID and are listed as an Author for this blog:

To add a new Blog Entry (as in writing a page in the online journal) - From Control Panal, My Blogs.

You can either select the New Entry or select Manage, then the Write option. This will open a screen where you can type in your blog entry!


Step 1 - Give your blog entry a title.

Step 2 - Give your entry a Sub Heading (longer then the title, but not the whole entry. Think of this as a synopsis or executive overview.)

Step 3 - Write your Blog Entry (in the Entry section of course). To move from one field to the next (e.g. Heading, Sub Heading, Entry), you can tab or just put your mouse over that section and click in it.

Don't worry about the other options at first, just get comfortable writing entries.

Step 4 - Fill in the Optional Details at the bottom. (This isn't in the screen shot. Just scroll down below the Entry section to see it.

I recommend at least selecting the Country (should be USA for this Blog most of the time that is!) In the second box, Travellerspoint has their own list of Categories. We may need to play around with these a bit to suit our needs.

Step 5 - Publish Your Entry! (Last button at the bottom)

Again, you can play around with other options later. Adding photo's (Img) will be one of the first ones you'll need, so I'll writes some instructions for that next.

Also, I usually Save As Draft if it's a long entry so I don't loose my work if I screw up. And I like to Preview my entries to look for typo's or problems with my Photo's, but these are options - you can try them as you get more comfortable.

Posted by jl98584 22:42 Archived in USA Tagged educational Comments (0)

Welcome - What is This?

This is a blog (online journal) for Family and Friends to share information, pictures and activies. We can comment on each others Blog entries and stay in touch!

What's behind this?

While I was on a recent RV trip, we really had fun keeping in touch with folks via the blog. It was fun sharing the photo's I'd taken on the trip and enjoying comments from folks about their recommendations, things they were doing, etc.

I'd like to keep that dialog going - but I'm not the only one who does interesting things! So this is a test to see if we, as a group, can use Travellerspoint for a friends and family network.

You, as well as I, can write blog entries here about what we're up to, something we've visited (sightseeing, travel, or just ?) and post comments back and forth.

Update: (After writing these up, I've decided to move them to another section on Travellerspoint, which will clean up our family blog a bit with them out of here. But after they're moved, I can also put links to the help pages here if they'll be of help. The change could take me a little while to implement, so be patient...) I will write a couple entries to get us started on how to write blog entries, upload photo's, etc. In the long term, we may want to move to another social networking web site - but I thought I'd give this a try first as something that might bridge the gap while we look at our options.

You're feedback would be appreciated (comments please!)


Caution - This is a Public online journal. Anybody can read whatever you post (not that many people will be just randomly browsing a travel journal). But keep it clean, fun and don't put anything on here you don't want seen.

I have already several different people set up as "Authors" who can write and edit Blog entries here (Editor's actually). If you want to be able to post to this blog, add a comment below and let me know (you must be a member of Travellerspoint first of course, but membership is free). If you were involved with the Johnston blog on Travellerspoint, you may already be set up as an Author.

The web address (URL) to view this blog is:


The web address to write entries and work with this blog is:



Suggestions for Use:

1. If you post a picture or information about a person, always ask them if it's OK first. Avoid using last names (unless they want you to - for example, someone selling their crafts or services might want their full contact info posted, free publicity!). Avoid posting too much personal information (again, unless you want people to know that much about you!)

2. Keep it friendly, keep it clean! This a public and fun family blog - avoid topics that are likely to be offensive or controversial. (If you want to keep a blog journal to promote the a particular political/social/religious point of view - please set up your own blog.)

3. If you're not sure what to write, think about the things you've been up to lately. If you take a trip to the zoo or to see a special concert - why not write it up (especially if you have pictures)? For example, I am thinking about writing an entry about Oakland Bay (by my house), my home town of Shelton, sightseeing trips I take (even local), maybe some special hobby I might be up to, maybe even a family get together or dinner? Just some thoughts - it's an experiment - we won't know unless we try.

4. Managing Things - If you post something then change your mind, any editor can delete it. Also, if someone else posts a comment that is inappropriate, any editor can delete it. I'll try to keep an eye on things, but just wanted folks to know that there are some controls available. If someone posts a comment that is really offensive, we should not only delete it but also let Travellerspoint know - they might want to ban the spammer.

5. Going your own way - if you don't have any idea who we are but you want to do this sort of thing with your own family or friends, it is very easy to set up your own Blog in Travellerspoint (or elsewhere). Please don't use this unless you're interest is in sharing with this group (mostly the extended Johnston family, but also friends and others - the main point is if we have commen interests and want to stay in touch).

6. If you need help, the Travellerspoint Forums are really great! (I'll help you if I can, but there are other resources available here also.) For example, I've used the Systems Forum several times to post suggestions (requested a new category for example, help with a bug, or just get technical help in general).

Posted by jl98584 22:22 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (5)

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