TravelPod Blog Archive: All posts from 2004

by Luc Levesque
TravelPod Flood Relief
Dec 30, 2004

Hello,

As you have all heard by now, a terrible earth quake and an ensuing Tsunami have devastated much of the coast from East Africa to Indonesia. It’s estimated that the death toll may be as high at 100,000.

TravelPod will be collecting funds to send to our contacts in Sri Lanka who helped with our flood relief fund raising effort last year.

If you would like to help, please send your donations to TravelPod. We will be sending funds to Galle, one of the most heavily affected cities.

Of course we can’t help but to think of our members and up to now we beleive that no one has been badly injured or worse.

We’ve compiled a list of a few travelogues from members currently in the area:

rich2005
chrisandlara
lizand_rich

Safe travels.

TravelPod in the Washington Post (Dec 12, 2004)
Dec 24, 2004
TravelPod was spotted in a recent edition of the Washinton Post.

Here is a sample of the article:

“On TravelPod.com (www.travelpod.com), visitors can trace bloggers’ journeys on clickable maps that take you right to the entries about that particular destination. Now here’s a valuable warning to travelers who’ve been wearing the same pair of socks for 83 days:

Milan is like the Beverly Hills of Italy. Very rich and very fashionable. This is no good when you are a backpacker and your nicest pants are a pair of jeans and your nicest shirt has a Nutella stain on it and smells like B.O.”

Thanks go to Andrew Lance Beath for taking the time to send in this news snippet.

Maps now wrap around the Pacific Ocean!
Dec 16, 2004

You’ve asked for it, now it’s here. When you place a map pin, you are now prompted to answer the following question:

“Did you travel over the Pacific Ocean to arrive at this location?”

If you answer “Yes” TravelPod will wrap your map line around the Pacific rather than showing your travels over the Atlantic.

Comment on this new feature!

Hide lines on busy maps
Dec 1, 2004

Although the connecting lines on our travelogue maps are great for showing where you’ve been, sometimes zoomed views of highly travelled areas show a jumble of lines.

Based on feedback sent in by our members we’ve added a new feature which now allows your guests to hide the lines on the map which appears in your entry.

This is done by clicking the “Hide lines” link under the map.

TravelPod review at Lovemark.com
Nov 19, 2004

Check out what some of our users had to say about TravelPod on the LoveMark.com web review site and post your own review!

LoveMark.com review of Travelpod

New “Silent Update” feature
Nov 18, 2004

You can now update your travelogues without alerting your users of the change with the “Recently Updated” indicator.

This is great for fixing little typos and the like.

This enhancement was brought to you thanks to feedback sent to us by tina.

When you update an entry or a photo, it is flagged to your guests in your Table of Contents with the label “Recently Updated!”. This informs your users of recent changes which they may be interested in reading.

Although this is informative for your guests, sometimes you may want to make minor updates to your entries ( like fixing a typo ) that you rather not alert your guests of.

The “Silent Update” check box, allows you to do just that. When you submit changes to an entry with the Silent Update check box selected, TravelPod will not show the “Recently Updated” label when guests view your travel blog.

New Quick-save option
Nov 16, 2004

Don’t waste time paying for Internet while you update your travelogues!

When creating entries with “Quick-save” you now have the option of skipping the map pin update for faster updates.

TravelPod defaults to the capital city of the country you selected when chosing this option.

TravelPod in the Sydney Morning Herald (Nov 4, 2004)
Nov 9, 2004
For the second time, we’ve been spotted in the Sydney Morning Herald!

Here is a sample of the article:

“TRAVELPOD is one of the best sites around for travellers. Set up by an itchy-footed Canadian called “Lucky” it offers free web space to log your adventures and favourite travel photos. …”

TravelPod in the Sydney Morning Herald

TravelPod in the News ( Nov 7th 2004 & Feb 2003 )
TravelPod has been spotted twice in the Sydney Morning Herald. Check out both snippets below which were scanned and sent in by our members!

Syndey Morning Herald - Nov 2004
Syndey Morning Herald – Nov 2004

Syndey Morning Herald - Feb 2003
Syndey Morning Herald – Feb 2003

Thanks go to Mal Colledge for taking the time to scan and send in this news snippet.

Fresh map enhancements!
Nov 5, 2004

Entry-level maps now show all of
your travels, not just your
current location!

(Give us your feedback on this enhacement)

Thanks to your feedback we’ve changed the zoomed-in maps which are shown inline with your entry. They now not only show your current location, but a also your other travels relative to your current location.

When you select your map pin placement, you’ll also see your other pins on the map. This will make it easier to see where to place your pins relative to your others.

Thanks go to kimberish and baldtel_on_tour for requesting this enhancement.

New photo upload tool!
Nov 5, 2004

Our new progress bar gives you accurate
information on your upload progress!

(Give us your feedback on this enhancement!)

We have received many requests for a new upload tool which provides accurate feedback of your upload status over the past months.

Thanks to a recent request from plasticrover we’ve realized just how much this was needed and moved this enhancement to the front burner. We are happy to say that we’ve now added a new advanced tool which gives you accurate feedback on the progress of your uploads!

No more waiting around in Internet cafes, wondering when your upload will be finished!

Enjoy!

New tools for placing map pins!
Oct 30, 2004

( Give us your feedback on this new feature!)

Thanks to your feedback, we’ve been packing in tons of tweaks and enhancements to the map system.

Today, we’ve released yet another enhancement which let’s you copy map pins between entries. This allows you to place new map pins to the exact location of an existing map pin.

This can be very useful if you have visited the same place multiple times in the one trip and want the map to show this accurately.

This enhancement was brought to you thanks to feedback sent to us by kimberish and jonr17.

When you add a map pin, a popup is shown with a map where you can select the exact location of your entry. This provides a quick and easy way to place a new map pin.

This flexibility can also make it very difficult to place a map pin at exactly the same place twice. For example, if you start a trip in Paris and end it in the same city, you probably want the two pins to be exactly at the same spot.

To make it possible to do this, when you place a map pin for a trip which has other entries from the same country as the entry you are working on, TravelPod will present you with a list containing these entries. By selecting one of these other entries, you can quickly copy the exact same pin to your new entry.

This “copy a pin” feature also enables you to quickly place pins by simply selecting the placement from the list rather than placing it onto the map yourself.

Note: The list is only shown if you have other entries within the trip you are working on with already placed map pins from the same country. If you do not, the list is not shown.

Country-level maps are here!
Oct 29, 2004

The TravelPod mapping system currently has world, continent and region level maps. Now, it’s time to start the country level ones!

We expect this to be a big chunk of work ( there are a whole lot of countries out there! ) but are happy to say that we’ve upgraded TravelPod to support the new maps and have begun with New Zealand.

Have a look at one of our entries to see the new detailed map in action!

Entry with New Zeland map

Expect more maps to trickle in over the next 12 months until we finally finish them all off.

If there is a specific country you would like to see sooner than later, let us know and we’ll put it at the top of the queue!

More cool maps!
Oct 29, 2004

The old, generic maps which used to be shown inline with your entry text has been replaced with a dynamic map which shows the exact location of your entry with a nice little glowing red dot!

Mapping system is 100% live! Update your map pins today!
Oct 22, 2004

With the new “Set Map Pin Button” you can set the precise location of your entry!

We are proud to announce that the TravelPod mapping system is now fully online!

Give us your feedback on this new feature!

This final upgrade to the mapping system gives TravelPod members the ability to set the precise location of their entry on travel maps. This is easily done by simply clicking on localized maps which sets your map pins for your entries.

What is a map pin?

TravelPod uses map pins to automatically plot your travels!

When you create an entry, a map pin is automatically placed on your travel maps to indicate your location.

These pins are used by TravelPod to plot your trip on the travel map shown with your travel blog and also on the map which is shown with your profile to show a summary of all of your travels.

By default, TravelPod will place a pin on the capital city of the country you select when you create the entry. If you prefer, you can change this at any time.

By making the location of the pin more precise, TravelPod can better illustrate your travels to your guests. We highly recommend updating your maps to the exact city of your travels.

If you prefer, we’ve also left the option for members to default the entry location to the capital city of the country which your entry is from. So, if you’re slightly geographically challenged, don’t worry, simply keep your entries set to the capitals and your maps will still be generated for you!

So, it’s finally time for you to do some work :), all of your entries need to be updated. We suggest that you update your entries to specific map locations. This will give your travelogue guests a much more precise view of your travels.

In true TravelPod-style, we’ve done our best to make this easy for you. The next time you login, you’ll be shown a menu which let’s you easily update your existing entries.

Enjoy!

The October Newsletter is out!
Oct 20, 2004

Check out the October 2004 Newletter

TravelPod in National Geographic Traveler ( October 2004 )
Oct 1, 2004
As if a mention in the Wall Street Journal wasn’t enough, the October edition of National Geographic Traveler goes on to recommend TravelPod to it’s reader who are planning to travel in a fold out 4 page section on travel advice!

Here is a sample of the article:

“It’s an online journal you can share with friends (or the whole world if you prefer). Websites such as TravelPod (www.travelpod.com) let you post your travel experiences and photos for free from your Web-connected laptop or from an Internet Cafe.”

TravelPod named “Best for inspiring wanderlust” by the Wall Street Journal!
Oct 1, 2004
TravelPod receives special mention in a Wall Street Journal article on Travel Blogs.

Among other details, the lengthy article mentions how TravelPod is growing fast and specifically names the site “Best for inspiring wanderlust”.

A title we were honored to accept!

TravelPod gets a speed boost after a successful upgrade!
Sep 19, 2004

As we mentioned in our past newsletters, we have been working at increasing the bandwidth of TravelPod’s connection to the Internet for a few months. After a lot of hard work, we have successfully upgraded our link to give you a much more reliable connection and DOUBLE the original speed!

What does this mean to you? It means faster and more reliable uploads and faster access to your travelogues!

Enjoy!

TravelPod makes it easier to find updated entries!
Sep 17, 2004

TravelPod makes it easier to know which travelogue entries have been recently updated by highlighting travelogue entries updated within the last 5 days.

When you update an entry, TravelPod will now add:

( Recently Updated! )

This is added next to the entry on the travelogue’s table of contents ( bottom of the print entry page ).

Thanks go to Garrie Powers for requesting this feature!

New advanced photo optimization feature
Sep 16, 2004

It is now possible to disable the automatic TravelPod photo optimization when uploading photos to your travelogues. This can be done by selecting the “Do not optimize photo” when uploading the photo.

This allows you to optimize the photos yourself if you would rather. Thanks to Tom Wilkinson for writing in and requesting this new feature.

Can I disable the automatic photo optimization?
WARNING: This is an advanced feature! Choosing to disable the automatic optimization is not recommended and will result in larger file sizes which means that you will be not be able to upload as many photos. Only enable this option if you are very familiar with photo compression and are sure that you do not want TravelPod to compress photos for you.

TravelPod automatically optimizes the JPG photos you upload in several ways:

– removing useless information attached to your photos which digital cameras add ( like exposure and camera type )
- reducing your photo quality to 92%
- we also do several other optimizations which reduce the file size even more but do not compromize the quality

JPG photos store a lot of information and can be compressed at various levels ( 0-100% ). As a best practice, photos compressed at levels above 95% are considered to be wasteful in the file size they consume. As an example, an photo compressed at 90% compared to the same photo compressed at 100% will have minimal difference in quality but a huge difference in file size.

Although photos compressed at 92% retain a very high quality, if for some reason you prefer to compress the photos yourself before uploading them and not have TravelPod compress them for you can disable this feature by selecting the “Do not optimize photo” option when uploading the photo.

When this option is selected, TravelPod will not optimize the photo, leaving the original compression ratio intact. This may result in photos consuming more space than they need to and taking a longer time to view. Make sure you are knowledgeable in this area before disabling optimization.

More new dynamic maps on TravelPod!!!
Sep 3, 2004

( Give us your feedback on this new feature! )

Woa! We didn’t expect to roll out these maps so quickly but it took us a lot less time to put them together than expected.

TravelPod is proud to announce the release of the dynamic travelogue maps on your travelogues today! That’s right, what you’ve asked for is finally here… a dynamic map, on your travelogue which visually shows your travels.

This is only the first release of the maps, expect more accurate map points and localized ( continent, region and country level ) views soon.

TravelPod spotted in another newspaper!
Sep 1, 2004

It looks like we just can’t keep TravelPod out of the press this summer! There has been another TravelPod sighting in a London Newspaper last week.

New maps on TravelPod!
Aug 30, 2004
( Give us your feedback on this new feature! )

As you know, we are rolling out our mapping system in small phases to make sure that you have access to the new features as quickly as possible ( ie: not waiting until it’s done in all of it’s glory before releasing it ).

We are happy to say that phase 2a is ready and live!

In this phase, a new world map which shows hyper-links to your travels is shown on your profile page, just like the map on the right!

One thing to keep in mind is that TravelPod will put a little circle on the capital of each country you have an entry for ( not the actual city you visited! ). Don’t be worried if the map seems slightly off ( ie: an entry to Vancouver would show a dot on Ottawa, the capital of Canada ). This is temporary and we’ll be rolling out the next phase that will let you pin point your entry location to a specific city. This will let you make the map more accurate.

The next phases will also bring some awesome maps which will show your travels on localized maps!

Cheers!

TravelPod in Art Frommer’s Budget Travel Magazine
Aug 5, 2004

It’s been a busy week for TravelPod! Not only were we spotted in “The Economist” Magazine, but also in “Art Frommer’s Budget Travel” Magazine!

TravelPod in The Economist Magazine
Aug 5, 2004

TravelPod was recently spotted in The Economist Magazine “Innovation Watch” section.

Cool!

Better handling of failed uploads at TravelPod
Aug 2, 2004

Dodgy Internet connections and crusty old computers at Internet Cafes sometimes cause image uploads to your travelogues to fail. Although we can’t do anything about that, we’ve added a new feature to TravelPod which maintains your upload settings ( Title and story ) should such an event occur.

Thanks to your feedback, when image uploads fail, you’ll now be able to restart your uploads without loosing all of the text you had just entered.

Thanks to Khaled Shivji and Tom Wilkenson for sending in their feedback which contributed to this new feature.

Better image compression at TravelPod
Jul 21, 2004

TravelPod now compresses images better by removing extra-unused information from the images you upload to your travelogues ( like your camera type, model, exposure, etc… )!

This means that you’ll now be able to store more images on your travelogues than ever before!

SpamSafe messaging at TravelPod
Jul 19, 2004

We’ve implemented a new web form ( here is a sample ) which replaces the previously shown link to member email addresses on their travelogues ( This is only shown when enabled from the “Trip Options” menu. )

This makes your email address safe from crafty spammers who harvest the Internet looking for email addresses!

TravelPod takes a member out for pints!
Jun 19, 2004
MrJoey meets
TravelPod

Having run TravelPod for over 7 years, we’ve always been keen to meet with members when they’re passing through Ottawa.

Last year, Justin Breen ( modernoddyseus ), a long time member, and 3 of his friends crashed at TravelPod HQ ( My apartment :) ) while hitch hiking across Canada. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting up with Justin Cormack ( jrcormack ) in London, England as we criss-crossed each other’s paths while traveling.

So when Joey Rayner ( mrjoey ) emailed to let us know he would be in Ottawa as part of his 20 month trip, I jumped on the opportunity to show one of our long time members some hospitality and gladly met up for pints.

Check out mrjoey’s travelogue for more on his travels.

Are you going to be passing through Ottawa, Canada on your trip? Email us at admin@travelpod.com and, we’ll be glad to show you some Canadian hospitality as well!

Easier Image Editing
May 18, 2004

Ever upload an image to the wrong entry by accident? No need to delete and re-upload the image, just move it.

Thanks to a member’s suggestion ( Joanna ), it’s now possible to move images between entries.

New TravelPod Mapping system ( phase 1 ) completed
May 15, 2004

We’ve been working on adding a mapping system to TravelPod for some time now and are getting close.

The final system won’t be done for a few months yet but we’ve completed phase one which is to add country images to entries ( we’ve also added country flags to the entries as well )

Have a look!

Be on the lookout for dynamically updating maps ( which show your travels ) this summer. Cheers!

TravelPod Upgraded!
May 4, 2004

As of 7:30pm May 4th 2004, we are proud to announce that the TravelPod upgrade, better known as TravelPod v2, has been completed!

Some of the new enhancements are:
- 1500%+ speed increase
- Enhanced security
- Enhanced backups
- Increased capacity
- New functionality which will make it easier to add your suggested features into the site.

We’ll be finishing up the final stages of the upgrade which affect our other systems which help TravelPod run over the next weeks and will keep you up to date on the progress.

Thanks for all your donations which made TravelPod v2 possible!

Improved Searching at TravelPod
Apr 11, 2004

To help our guests ferret out travelogue stories and photos they are looking for on TravelPod, we’ve changed our search engine to perform better and to return more accurate results.

Give it a try

Import your Outlook Express contacts to TravelPod
Mar 21, 2004

It’s now easier than ever to add your email addresses to your TravelPod address book!

TravelPod now supports a new feature which allows you to import your existing contact lists from Outlook Express into your TravelPod Address Book!

If you don’t use Outlook Express or you prefer to type your addresses in yourself, we’ve also changed TravelPod to let you add 10 at a time instead of 3.

Can I import my current address book into TravelPod?
To keep your friends and family updated, TravelPod can send out notification messages when you update your travel blog. To do this, simply fill in your TravelPod Address Book and we will prompt you to send out notifications when you finish your entries.

To add addresses to your address book you can type them in manually ( 10 at a time ) or you can import them from your email system. TravelPod uses a great import wizard from Plaxo that is able to import addresses from most email systems, including Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, Outlook, and Outlook Express.

WMV movies now supported at TravelPod
Mar 19, 2004

If your digital camera can record videos in WMV format, you’re in luck. We have now added support for WMV Windows Movie files to TravelPod travelogues.

Special thanks to Tom Wilkinson for his feedback which led to this new feature

TravelPod in USA Today newspaper article
Mar 18, 2004

TravelPod was mentioned in the March 19th, 2004 edition of USA Today!

TravelPod in USA Today

TravelPod in the News ( March 19th, 2004 )
TravelPod received special mention in USA Today’s article on Travel Blogs. Here is a short sample of the article.

“TravelPod.com aim[s] squarely at peripatetic travelers, hosting free or low-cost blogs that serve as a cross between electronic postcards and personal journals, complete with digital photos and maps. And unlike group e-mail, travel blogs can be easily archived and accessed long after the suitcases have been unpacked.”

Add bold and underlined text to your entries!
Feb 4, 2004

Bold and underline HTML tags are now supported in entries.

Spell Check your photo stories
Feb 3, 2004

Stop worrying about your spelling!

TravelPod now has an added feature which allows you to spell check your image titles and stories before uploading them.

This feature is brought to you thanks to a great suggestion by sharadnsusan.

New feature: TravelPod now let’s you save your entries as drafts, you choose when your entries are ready to be published
Jan 31, 2004

Writing a full entry in one sitting can be a difficult task at times, this is why TravelPod let’s you save entries as drafts before you publish them.

By setting your entries as drafts you can take your time and perfect your entries in multiple sittings without publishing half finished entries.

What is a “Private Draft” entry?
Entries that are set to “Private Draft” are not readable by visitors to your blog. Set an entry to “Private Draft” if:
- Your entry isn’t finished yet ( once your entry is ready you can uncheck this option )
- Your entry if your eyes only. Sometimes, you need to write some things that aren’t for your guests. This could be some private feelings, thoughts or opinions that you rather keep to yourself.

When you check the “Private Draft” option, instead of showing your entry when your guests select it from your travel blog, we’ll show a message indicating that it’s a “Private Draft”.

This way you can make sure your entry is just perfect before making it viewable to your guests or, you can keep it like this is you rather not share that one entry.

Special thanks to jonboy and kimberish for the feedback which led to this new feature!


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