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matysekj
September 15th, 2008, 05:00 PM
I've finally gotten the forums upgraded to the latest and greatest version, which brings with it a bunch of new features. Some of these features will be for USMS members only. Using any of the members-only features will require you to first associate your USMS membership details with your Discussion Forums account. You can do this at My USMS (http://www.usms.org/myusms/). Don't worry, if you wish to remain anonymous on the forums, you will still be anonymous to the public by default even after associating your membership with your forums account.

Here's a brief list of new features. I'm not fully versed on all of the features, so I'll leave it up to y'all to figure this all out. Many of the new features are similar to social networking site features, such as facebook. Most of these new features are available through your User Control Panel (http://forums.usms.org/usercp.php).

Blogs (members only (http://www.usms.org/myusms/)): Confirmed USMS members may maintain their own blog in the new Blogs (http://forums.usms.org/blog.php) section. Existing thread used as blogs will be closed in favor of using the real blog feature. Everyone can read blogs and comment on them, but only USMS members may create them. If you have maintained a blog-type of thread up until now, there's no reason to copy over all of your old blog posts. Just add a link to your old thread in your first blog post. Your old thread will be closed to new posts, but will not be deleted.

Photo Albums (members only (http://www.usms.org/myusms/)): Confirmed USMS members may create personal photo albums (http://forums.usms.org/album.php) in their User Control Panel. Other forum users can view photo albums and comment on them, but only USMS members may create them.

Social Groups: Users can create and participate in social groups (http://forums.usms.org/group.php). Each social group has the ability to share group photos and post messages to the group. This is accessible through your User Control Panel.

Extended Member Profiles: The user profile pages have been completely redesigned to facilitate the new social networking features. Click on a user's name in the forums to view their profile, send them a message, etc.

Customization of Member Profiles: Identified USMS mebers and forum users with at least 30 posts can now customize their user profile. Change the background and border colors on your profile, set a background image, etc. Have fun with it.

Public Messaging: We've always had private messaging, now we've added public messaging, where you can leave a message on another user's profile. This is similar to the Wall feature on facebook. Messages appear in the Visitor Messages tab in a user's profile (click on a user's name to view their profile).

Reciprocal Friendships Between Users: Part of the new social networking system, users are now allowed to request and confirm friendships with other users. Users confirmed firends are viewable in the Friends tab in a user's public profile (click on a user's name to view their profile).

Thread Tagging: This provides a new way to search and group threads. Users can add tags to threads they post or read. Any user can then click on these tags to find all threads that have the same tag. This allows all forum users to contribute to the building of a search tag cloud, a new kind of bookmarking system on the forums.

Identify Yourself as a Member: If you have tied your USMS membership to your forums account, you can boldly identify that you are a USMS member wherever your user name appears (list of online users, in your posts [see my user name in this post for an example], etc.). Once you've activated your My USMS (http://www.usms.org/myusms/) area, go to the Group Memberships link in your User Control Panel and you'll be able to select USMS Members as your identified user group.

There are lots more smaller new features with this upgrade, and more to come.

ALM
September 15th, 2008, 11:42 PM
For those of you who want to sign up for the "My USMS" feature, but can't find your USMS card and can't remember your number....

You can retrieve your USMS number from this page:

https://www.clubassistant.com/club/forgot_usms_number.cfm

The Fortress
September 16th, 2008, 11:07 AM
How do you get to a particular blog? When I click on blogs, I just see the entries come up.

This looks too much like facebook for Geek.

JimRude
September 16th, 2008, 11:15 AM
How do you get to a particular blog? When I click on blogs, I just see the entries come up.

Fort -

When you click on the Blogs tab, you'll see in the upper left an indicator of the number of blogs, underlined like this 4. Click on the number, and it will list all of the active blogs.

matysekj
September 16th, 2008, 11:23 AM
When you click on the Blogs tab, you'll see in the upper left an indicator of the number of blogs, underlined like this 4. Click on the number, and it will list all of the active blogs.

There are a lot of things about this initial 1.0 version of the blogs that are a little awkward. People have complained to the developers about the lack of better integration of the blogs and features on the blogs. I've seen an early beta version of the blogs version 2.0, and they are improving them. One of the changes is to the navigation bar element for blogs, to make it easier to get to the list of blogs. The way you do it now that Jim pointed out is really obscure. They have not set any target release date for blogs 2.0 yet, but it's encouraging that they are at least in early beta. I'll upgrade the blog capability as soon as the full release is available.

david.margrave
September 16th, 2008, 11:46 AM
Does a link to your swim results show up somewhere? I know how to find it the old way.

david.margrave
September 16th, 2008, 11:59 AM
Oh by the way, I hope everyone is aware of the insidious problems known as cross-site scripting and cross-site request forgery. This software (phpbb) may not have any known bugs at this time, but that doesn't mean there are none or that none will ever be found. I don't think I have ever seen unescaped HTML or javascript on forum posts here, but the new features may change that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-site_scripting

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-site_request_forgery

In my case, I use a separate machine with a separate user account for any financial business. I don't visit message boards or any non-financial sites from that account.

matysekj
September 16th, 2008, 12:06 PM
Does a link to your swim results show up somewhere? I know how to find it the old way.

It's been added to the My USMS (http://www.usms.org/myusms/) page.

matysekj
September 16th, 2008, 12:21 PM
Oh by the way, I hope everyone is aware of the insidious problems known as cross-site scripting and cross-site request forgery. This software (phpbb) may not have any known bugs at this time, but that doesn't mean there are none or that none will ever be found.

Yes, XSS vulnerabilities are a concern for all web applications. Note that we use vBulletin here, not phpBB. The folks that maintain vBulletin have a pretty good record of preventing such vulnerabilities and quickly fixing any new vulnerabilities that do sneak into their releases. I always apply such fixes ASAP. From the public info available on the history of vulnerabilities, I believe that vBulletin has a much better track record than phpBB.

david.margrave
September 16th, 2008, 12:47 PM
Good, thanks for staying on top of it. I'm more paranoid than 99.9% of the computer users out there, but being paranoid is my day job.


I always apply such fixes ASAP.

Peter Cruise
September 16th, 2008, 02:55 PM
Jim- have you activated the synaptic semiotic spockerizer yet? You know, the plug-in that renders all posts to the forums in logical, well-thought out and courteous modes?

matysekj
September 16th, 2008, 03:10 PM
Jim- have you activated the synaptic semiotic spockerizer yet? You know, the plug-in that renders all posts to the forums in logical, well-thought out and courteous modes?

Yng, R slfe catyfdezc lpof vdeatpr.

ViveBene
September 16th, 2008, 03:33 PM
Photo albums

I will probably use this feature. I clicked through to the point where I had to give a title, etc., and did not see any parameters. For instance, do all images have to be less than 200 or 100 kb individually?

Thanks.

matysekj
September 16th, 2008, 04:13 PM
For instance, do all images have to be less than 200 or 100 kb individually?

The limits on photo albums are:

- maximum height or width of each photo: 800 pixels
- maximum file size of each photo: 150,000 bytes
- maximum total number of photos in all albums: 100

There's a little add-on that displays 5 or 6 thumbnails of recent public user photos at the top of the forums home page. I'll probably install that add-on once people have started adding photo albums.

Also note that for sharing photos with social groups, you have to upload the photo into your album and then specify which photo to share from your album with the social group (there's no separate photo upload specific to social groups).

The Fortress
September 17th, 2008, 04:13 PM
OK, I uploaded an album, no problems. Thanks for the restriction to friends and contacts!

knelson
September 18th, 2008, 11:08 AM
There's a little add-on that displays 5 or 6 thumbnails of recent public user photos at the top of the forums home page. I'll probably install that add-on once people have started adding photo albums.

This would be nice. Is there a place for "one stop shopping" for photos? Right now it seems like you need to navigate to a user's profile (Fortress, for example) to see their photo albums. I'd like to be able to see everyone's photos.

matysekj
September 18th, 2008, 11:47 AM
Is there a place for "one stop shopping" for photos? Right now it seems like you need to navigate to a user's profile (Fortress, for example) to see their photo albums. I'd like to be able to see everyone's photos.

No, there isn't, and that's among a few things that I think need fixin' with the new features. There aren't convenient navigation paths to photo albums, social groups, etc. Too much is tucked away inside your profile. I also thought there was no convenient way to find your own profile, but I just now figured out that you can click on your user name in the upper right. Duh! Oh well, if that wasn't intuitive to me, that's still a sign of a navigation scheme that could be upgraded. I can check on suggested/planned upgrades and suggest some for the developers. I don't like hacking the base code too much or adding lots of very involved add-ons (simple ones are okay), because this makes upgrading much more difficult. I'd rather convince the developers to modify the released code base.

LindsayNB
September 19th, 2008, 09:21 AM
One of the new features seems to be a lower quota for message attachments. Is the quota adjustable by person? I find that an image is very useful in discussing technique and it would render most of my past posts meaningless if I were to go back and delete the images. Most of my images are quite small, it is just that I use pictures frequently, 58 in total.

matysekj
September 19th, 2008, 11:14 AM
One of the new features seems to be a lower quota for message attachments. Is the quota adjustable by person?

All settings like this are done through user groups, and I found some stray limiting settings lurking in 2 user groups that you're a member of. I'm guessing that some change in this upgrade made those settings take over for you (they shouldn't have) because I don't remember changing any of these. It should be straightened out now. Let me know if you still see any limitations.

tjburk
September 25th, 2008, 08:55 AM
How does one get the spiffy little USMS symbol by their name?

matysekj
September 25th, 2008, 12:27 PM
How does one get the spiffy little USMS symbol by their name?

This is covered in the last two sections of the FAQ section on the User Profile - see http://forums.usms.org/faq.php?faq=vb3_user_profile#faq_usmsmembersonly

tjburk
October 2nd, 2008, 08:48 AM
Thanks Jim....always helps to read "ALL" of the directions doesn't it? LOL:thhbbb:

The Fortress
October 6th, 2008, 06:49 PM
How do you edit a blog entry, Jim?

matysekj
October 6th, 2008, 06:58 PM
How do you edit a blog entry, Jim?

Open up that blog entry and click the little pencil icon at the lower right. Yeah, it's been noted to the developers that this is not a consistent button with the forums. Works the same way, but just a different graphic to click to get there.

aztimm
November 3rd, 2008, 03:31 PM
I didn't see it listed, but perhaps I missed it. Is there a mobile version of the USMS forums, to use on a mobile phone or other device?

While I can load the full version of the forums on my iPhone or BlackBerry, it is very time consuming. Another forum that I frequent, which uses the same basic software, has a mobile version that works great from either of my devices.

matysekj
November 5th, 2008, 08:23 PM
No, we do not currently support a mobile version of the forums. That is a separate add-on to the base forum product that I have not installed. If there is enough demand for that, I can look into adding it in the future. If it would score me a company iPhone that I could test with, I'd add it in an instant. I'm not holding my breath on that one. I personally don't pay for data services on my cell, so I also don't have a way to really test this add-on in context.

The Fortress
November 11th, 2008, 03:28 PM
Ask for the iphone, Jim! You're worth it.

Is it possible to get notifications for the blog section like we do for private messages or posts on our profile page? Sometimes it's hard to tell if you've got a new comment or if someone responded to a question/comment you posted. It'd be easier if you got a notification so you didn't miss something. Just a thought. :)

matysekj
November 11th, 2008, 05:29 PM
Yup, I saw that notifications for blog comments on your blog were requested about 2 weeks ago. I haven't seen any indication that this is included in the next release yet - it's something that we'll get whenever it shows up in their releases. My crystal ball says that we're probably around a month away from the next release of a blog tool upgrade, but that's really just a guess at when they'll get it out.