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How to Use This BBS

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:32 am
by edfrank
Welcome to the ENTS BBS

Welcome to the Eastern Native Tree Society Bulletin Board. Ths board was created on March 7, 2010 to be a replacement for the Google Groups list: which as become unmanageable due to the growth of the number of message posted to the list.

The board is dvided into several broad catagories and subdivided into topc specific forums. Please try to post under the appropriate sub-forum. Guests can view the posts on this forum wthout registering. New members will have their initial posts moderated before they are published to help prevent spamming of the list. regular memebrs will have normal access to the list and to polls created. Posts to the ENTS science forums will be moderated for all regular members to keep the general talk out of the science discussions.

How to Find the Newest Posts

To see the newest posts on the board click on the link that says Unread Posts on the upper left of the BBS index page.  This provides a single listing of all the posts, wherever they are on the BBS, that the member has not yet read.  New Posts provides a listing of all of the recently active topics in a single list regardless of where they are on the BBS.  So new posts are not hard to find, the poster just needs to post them in the right place  If they are posted in the wrong place Bob or I can move them and maintain all of the replies  intact.  If people want to get every post (including junk mail), they can subscribe to an RSS feed (instructions on the site)

How to Compose a Basic Message

To compose a message start on the main index page  Go down to the category (dark blue heading) that says New Users - Post here first.  Click on the title of the first forum: New User Questions - Introduce Yourself.  This will open a new window.  On the right side below teh heading is text in RED that reads NEW TOPIC. Click on this and a window will open up for your new message.  Give it a title and type whatever you want in the text box, and click the SUBMIT button at the botom below the text box.  

How does this BBS work?

The biard is structures much differently than Google list, with many different forums and options.  I will try to hit some of the highlights of the new BBS.

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Look at the upper right corner of the index page.  There is a link marked FAQ.  This is a long document describing how the basic board works, the functions it has, and can answer many of your basic questions.  Also in this corner is a standard and an Advanced search box. These work like search boxes found ewverywhere and can help you find informationon the board.  Next to this link is a Members link.  This will take you to a listing of BBS members.

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On the upper left corner are several more links.  The Board Index is a lin that takes you to the index page of this BBS.  Below this is User Control panel - this is where you can edit your profile information and manage some of your options.  Beside it is a number that shows you the number of new messages, and a link to let you view your own most recent posts.  Below this in the white are another series of links that are pretty self explantory.  

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Forums with new messages are highlighted in index listing by a circular red colored message icon, rather than the normal blue one.  I am sorry for the hideous blue color o the BBS.  I can't change it, because many f teh add-on modules that are available to add functionality to the BBS are based on this particular scheme and will not work with other colors or styles.  
By clicking through various links ou can figure out the basic navigation of the board itself.  

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There are some icons/buttons on the individual posts that are not self evident.  On the right side of an individual post is a picture (or avatar) of the author of the post - if they have uploaded one - his name and some basic info.  Below this avatar are several more icons/buttons.  I am using Gary as an example here because he has more icons than I do.  the first icon with a small image and the letters pm - are a clickable icon to send the author of the post a personal message.  The second icon - an envelope will allow you to send the author an email.  The next icon is a small globe and this serves as a link to the author's website.  The next icon - a little walking man - is the a link for instant messaging through AIM.  Yo need AIM installed to use this feature.  The last icon is for Jabber.  If you scroll over the buttons there is a small pop-up that tells you what they do.

The very bottom of this are are three other buttons. In some cases, like very short posts, they may be slid over to the left and not appear directly under the avatar, but they should be present.  The first is marked "clone post"  clicking on this button lets you make a copy or clone of the exisitng post and move it to a different topic heading to serve as the start of a new discussion thread.  It can be moved so that the message appears as posted by the original author, or as a quote under your own name.  The little printer icon will let you print this individual post whether it is short or long.  Normal printer functions from Internet Explorer will print some facsimile of the enitre thread from the board heading at the top on down.  The  small up-arrow just takes you to the top of the discussion thread.

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On the left side of the list of posts are big red labeld buttons that let you POSTREPLY to the existing message, or create a NEWTOPIC.  Please be generaous with the New Topic button - if you start a new discussion or take the discussion in a new direction start a new topic.  The topics can be split at a later time by a moderator, but that is not an easy option, and I don't want to do it more than necessary.  

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Also at the top of a message are either two or three buttons (maybe more if you are a moderator).  The first button is Edit.  This button allows you to edit your own post.  You can fix typos, or other errors with this option.  The next is a triangle with an exclamation point.  You can click on that to report an offensive message to the moderator or adminisrator.  The third button allows you to quote a particular message in your reply.  There is very little reason to do so unless you want to repsond to a post many messages farther up in the list.  You can also edit down the quote in your reply to only show those sections you want to quote, and you are encouraged to remove any inline photos from the quoted message as well.

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When you want to post your own message or reply to one, a screen comes up that lets you type in text. Give the mesage a title if it is a new post.  If it is a reply to an existing post, the title field will already be filled in, but you can alter it if you want. Below the title space is a large text box where you can type your message.   Immediately above the text box are some buttons I  want to mention.  If you highlight some portion of the text, you can change it to bold, italic, underline, coor it, or its size.  If you highlight a web adress and click on the URL button it will make that text a hyperlink.  The small omega symbol on te right side of this array will pop open a window that lets you add non standard special characters to your post, including some math symbols and the like.  Clicking on the Youtube button for example will create a start and end code for a youtube video.  [youtube][/youtube]  Just place the url (webpage link) for the video's page between the start and end code, and the video will be embedded into the message.  HTML code an not be directly added to the text box, these code buttons that generate BB code must be used instead.

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At the bottom of the message are some other message options.  This also is where you go to add attachments.  Photos can be sent as attachments or embedded into the message text.  When you choose to embed them in the text, after you successfully upload them another line will appear showing the name of the photo.  To embed the photo into the message, just put your cursor where you want the photo to go and click the "place inline" button.  otherwise the uploaded file will be treated as an attachment.

The upload size limits are currently set a 5 MB, but I do not want to see many large files uploaded.  I have the board set to use samller thumbnail photos no larger than 600 pixels in width embedded into the text. there really isn't a good reason to upload larger images than that to the BBS.  The space we have available is not unlimited.

These are the basic workings of the BBS.

PS:  I have disables smileys on the board because I really hate them.

Embeding Images

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:03 pm
by edfrank
How to Embed Images into a post

This really is a pretty straightforward process.  Open a Post A New Topic screen or a Reply to Topic screen.  After you type your message look for the tabs at the bottom of the screen.

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These tabs allow you to perform several functions.  The one we want is on the second tab:  Upload Attachements.  Click on this tab and a new screen opens:

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On this screen use the browse button to find the photo you want to upload, and click on the  Add the File Button.

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When the photo is uploaded a new screen appears below the text box and above the option tabs at the bottom.  This section has teh title POSTED ATTACHMENTS and list all of the files you have uploaded for this message:

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On the blank line you have the option to type a caption for the photo.  In the text box above the POSTED ATTACHMENT section place the curser where you want the photo to appear, and click the Place inline button.  This embeds the photo into the text of the document.  In the text box the embedded photo appears as a link:

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If you do not want to place the photo inline, or if you have another type of file upoaded, you can ignore this step and they will be posted as an attachemnt instead.

To see how the photo appears in the text, if you opted to place it inline, go to the buttons below the POSTED ATTACHMENT section:

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Click on the Preview button to see your post as it wil appear when submitted.  At this point you can edit your message or post it.  To edit it, simply scroll up to the text box and make whatever changes you desire.  When finished you can go back to the bottom and click on the Submit button to post your message.

Currently the maximum file attachment size is set to 5 MB.  I do not want to see many attachments posted that are that large.  I simply have incorporated the capability to post attachments that large if needed.  Please resize your photos so they are generally less than 150 KB in size.  The board is set to create thumbnail images of photo that are 500 pixels in size, if the photo is larger than that, so there is little reason to post larger images.  We have limited storage space on the BBS server before we need to pay higher fees, so don't abuse the highattachment size limitations.

Edward Frank

Resizing Images for Posting

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:10 pm
by edfrank
With regard to resizing photos. there are a couple of options.  Almost any photo editing program will allow you to resize them. - you can resampe them at a lower quality or change their physical size, or both.

There is a free photo editing program for PC's called Irfanview that can do it for you if you don't have another one on your computer.  It can be downloaded at:

To use it once installed, click on the File dropdown menu,  Select "open", and then browse for the photo you want to resize.The photo will open in irfanview.  

Go to the Image menu and choose "Resize/resample".  A menu will pop up.  under "set new size" type in the new dimensions.  For posting to ENTS I usually set the larger of the two dimensions to 600 pixels.  Then click OK.

Then you want to save the file.  Under the File menu again choose "Save as" and save the file under a new name.  Files should be saved in .jpg format.  A quality menu will come up - move the slider to 80%  as this is a good quality compromise.  Then click the "Save" button.  I often will make a second copy of the original photos in another directory, and then edit that second copy so  don't accidentally mess up the original photos.

Another option that people sometime do is to open an account on Flickr or Photobucket and then post a link to the ENTS list.  Please provide caption information with regard to location and what we are looking at.  

If you get more involved in photography there are two programs to consider under $100.  The first is Adobe Photoshop Elements.  It will do many different things and most of what can be done with the full $600 Adobe Photoshop.  I use it sometimes, particularly to stich multile photos together tom make panoramas or tilts.  The program  I use most often is call ThumbsPlus by Cerious Software.   I do 98% of my photo stuff with this program.  It serves as an image browser, and organizer, in addition to being a photo editor.  It can also batch process photos.

Re: Embeding Images a test

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:40 pm
by Steve Galehouse
I was able earlier to post an image from a photo-hosting site; this will test posting directly from computer using the attach file method.
Beech CVNP.jpg

Embedding Videos and Pictures from a remote host

PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:27 am
by edfrank

You can view videos hosted on either YouTube or Vimeo in a window within your post.  The process is simple.  Place your cursor where you want the video to appear.  Then click on either the Vimeo button or the Youtube button at the top of the page.  This will generate teh following BBcode:

[Vimeo][/Vimeo]   Or   [youtube][/youtube]

To get the video onto the page copy the URL or web address of the video and place the address between the two hlves of the two halves of the generated code.  The video does not appear in the preview window, but will appear whn the topic is posted.  If there is a big demand, I can find the BBcodes needed to let videos from other hosting sites be incorporated into topics.

Photographs hosted on a remote site can also be embedded into a post.  Just folow the same procedure describe above for the videos - click on the IMG button above and put the URL or web address of the video between the IMG tags.

Re: Embedding Videos and Pictures from a remote host

PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:52 pm
by Steve Galehouse

For some reason the "image" button doesn't work with Picasa web album photos, while it does with Webshots. I don't think the problem is with the BBS, but rather the image hosting site.


Re: Embedding Videos and Pictures from a remote host

PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:08 pm
by edfrank

The url for the photo must actualy be a picture.  It needs to be something that ends in .jpg or .gif.  if it does not, then then the host is wrapping the picture in some type of code.  The Img link will not work for those types of files.  I am not sure what the link to Picassa looks like, but I am guessing.

In any case you can always use the URL code to link to an album, photo, or slide show on a remote host even if the image itself will not appear.


Re: Embedding Videos and Pictures from a remote host

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:38 am
by Steve Galehouse

Thanks--in Picasa web albums check the "Image only" box(which is not the default), copy info, then paste using the BBS image button.


Avatar Images

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:21 am
by Jenny

You may have this information available, but I can't figure out how to put a pic of myself as my "avatar". No matter how much I crop my pic it is always too big of a file. I've tried to upload it from 2 different photo sites. I noticed a few people did manage to do this, so I must be doing something wrong.

Sorry, this must be such a pain for you to get everyone strated...

Thanks! Jenny

Avatar Images

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:29 am
by edfrank

I just recived a message fro Don asking the same thing.  Many programs hide file information in a a header incorporated invisibly into the image.  That is what is preventing you fom makeing the image smaller.  These are EXIF and IPTC information.  In other situations these are useful as they can contain text fields that include captions, locations and other information.  In this situation where you are going for small size they are not needed.  See if there is a check box to remove the "file information" when saving, or if ther eis a "Save for Web" option as the latter will typically also delete this information.  Below is a guide to accomplishing it with Photosop or Photoshop Elements:

Use square highlight tool (dotted square box in tools on left side)) - change to a square format

File  -   Image   -  Crop

Image - resize -  check resample image - set width/height 90 pixels - click OK

file - save for web -  (can be GIf or a jpg - and here you can play with quality settings) - click OK

give the file a name - click save

Ed Frank