• Category Archives TRC
  • I am the Co-Director and Webmaster of the Three Rivers Community Alliance, in Milo, Maine. TRC is the local informational website, and co-sponsors the local paper, the Three Rivers News.

  • Adventures in Calendering

    I spent the past week working on overhauling the TRC Community Calendar.  It was in some need of some updates some TLC.  I updated the submit pages to make them a bit more user-friendly to start out.  I spent two days trying to add a fancy pop-up calendar picker for the date entry, but had to give up in the end. The submit form is too complex to try and shoehorn in some javascript or the CSS to do the pop-up magic.  It has too many levels and built-in checks and madness for me to fully understand.

    I even got some help on updating a ton of events from Susie at the Milo Town Office. I got to overhaul a good portion of the calendar, which has needed to be done for some time. We had a lot of outdated stuff in there.  I’ve got a few events that still need to be checked, but the calendar is looking much better now.

    Lately I’ve been pretty focused on making the site mobile-friendly, and I was concerned about the calendar.  It actually gets pretty messed up on mobile viewing in Portrait mode, but it works perfect if you’re in landscape. This made me pretty happy, as overhauling that calendar would be like having a root canal.  The code is old, and pretty clunky in places, but it works GREAT.  Every time I go in to edit, I make sure I clean it up a bit and improve things.

    Thats all for now.  For my next trick, I’ll be overhauling the TRC Local Directory 🙂

    TRC Community Calendar

  • Progress made on Historical Society Website

    I ended up staying home from work yesterday, as my head cold was getting the better of me, so I put that time to good use.  I spent the afternoon finally making some headway on the Milo Historical Society website overhaul.  I continued that progress this evening, and I’m going to do my best to keep it going all week.

    So far, I’ve got WordPress all set up and mostly laid out.  I’ve converted both the newspaper sections, and the celebrations.  Moving all those images in the celebration section took all evening.  I am excited though, as I found a plugin that will let me display PDF files directly in WordPress, without any need for an external plugin!  Gotta love Google Docs.  This will let me display the issues of the two newspapers that are PDFs in a much nicer way.

    My favorite part so far is the header. I found a collection of old painted postcards of Milo, and cropped them to fit in the header image slot.  It even picks one at random each time you load the page.

    Here’s a sneak peak at what the site looks like right now.  It is by NO means finished.  If anyone wants a link to check it out, just ask!

    Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 11.27.23 PM


  • The Time Has Come

    I’m afraid the time has finally come for something I’ve been putting off for a handfull of years now.  The Milo Historical Society website needs a massive overhaul.

    http://www.milohistorical.org/

    I’ve been dragging my feet with this, as its one of my oldest still-functioning websites, and I’ve always liked its color-scheme/design.  The problem is that I designed it so long ago, it doesn’t come close to meeting current web standards.  Nowadays most of the traffic on the web is done through mobile devices, and let me tell you, that site does not work great with mobile.  It was built in the era BEFORE mobile devices had real web capabilities.  Thats what’s given me the final kick in the pants I needed to start to plan out this project.

    WordPress is the way I think I plan on going.  More modern, mobile-friendly, and with the ability for anyone to make updates (instead of just me).  I could use Drupal like TRC, but I think that might be overkill this size of a website.

    Step #1 is going to be finding a WordPress theme that I like, and that fits for a historical society.  Or at least one I can modify to fit for them.  This is honestly the part I hate most about doing a new site – the theme.  I can never find what I want it seems.  Not to mention there are bajillion WordPress themes out there.

    I am completely open to suggestions.  If anyone wants to go digging through some themes and show me their picks, I’d love it!


  • TRC 8.1 Progress & Setbacks

    WEBCAMS

    Thanks to Fred Trask of Trask Insurance and Mike Russell of ProTech Solutions, TRC now has 12 all-new, live-streaming webcams!  We still have a few more in the works, up to a possible total of 19!  We’re also working on acquiring permission to use existing webcams on Sebec and Ebeemee lakes 🙂

    www.trcmaine.org/webcams

    FACEBOOK

    Today we released 8 new Facebook pages, one for each town in TRC.  These pages will have news and local events more geared towards the individual town.  They also help expand our visibility on Facebook, as these pages show up in searches for our local towns, where TRC does not.

    SETBACKS

    I also ran into a cumbersome setback today.  Part of our plan for these new Facebook pages was to have news articles and such from TRC pushed up to them, the same as our main news feed is pushed up to the TRC Facebook page. I have used RSSGraffiti (a Facebook App) to post our RSS feeds up to Facebook for quite some time now.  Well, today when I loaded them up to setup these new feeds, I stumbled across a notice that informed the service is shutting down on May 1st.  Hooray.  I use this app for 5 different feeds and 3 different pages 🙁  And here I am, trying to add 8 more feeds and pages to the damn thing.

    I spent the afternoon researching alternative methods and didn’t find anything that was awesome as RSSGraffiti.  I discovered one service that has a free option that will JUST cover everything we currently have running.  Their base payed plan which is about $100/year would JUST cover this expansion to the 8 new pages.  And we don’t have that kind of regular money kicking around.

    Needless to say, we’re going to be posting content to these new pages manually, at least for the time being.  I may look into some other methods first. I do have till May 1st after all.


  • New webcams are almost ready!

    I’ve been working diligently the last few weeks on the TRC 8.1 update list.  I’m happy to announce we’re almost done! A lot of minor changes and updates have been taking place all over the site and most are already live. Only one of thing still remains.

    The new webcams!!!

    Fred Trask has once again graciously paid for the webcams, and Mike Russell of ProTech Solutions has installed them. We aren’t quite ready to go live with them yet, and I’m getting so eager!!

    As I write this, we have 8 cameras working, and I believe 2 or 3 more almost ready. We’re looking at about a dozen webcams when all is said and done.  I can’t wait!!


  • Prize Drawing broadcast a success!

    Tonight I was in Milo to stream the annual fishing derby prize drawing online. For the first time in years it went perfectly! No technical difficulties, no cameras dying, no rebooting from windows updates while streaming, no wireless issues, and no horrible sound. It was great!!

    The USB microphone and new webcam I picked up were perfect. Even the library’s wireless cooperated for once.

    Here’s the video from the live stream if anyone is interested.

    Now I’m off to bed. Hopefully a don’t blow away to Oz tonight.