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  1. Greetings everyone!    I'm sure that you can't have helped but notice that a festive sprinkling of the white stuff -- snow of course -- has been dumped on the Ostomyland server and forums. Kevin the Server Hamster assures me that he has gritters and ploughs trying to clear the snow as quickly as possible and he's told me only this morning that he's very optomistic that he can finish clearing all the snow around about 12th night. If this is not quick enough for you (or if you just want to revert back to the default forums theme) then you can easily switch back to it at any time using the CHANGE THEME link on the bottom left hand side of the forums home page, as shown here...   I would like to thank you all for your support of Ostomyland over the last 12 months. It's been a very hard year, probably the hardest in the site's history, for a number of reasons so I'm really hoping that 2015 will bring better things. One thing that it will definitely be bringing is Invision Power Board v4 which is a HUGE upgrade to the site and will FINALLY make the forums considerably more mobile device friendly. Hallelujah! That's something I've been wanting for years! More details on that as I have them but in the meantime if you want a sneak peak check out the Invision Power community forums which is now running a beta test version of the new software. That look is how your new Ostomyland will look in early 2015.    Have a great Christmas everyone and a very happy New Year. If you are currently poorly and/or recuperating over the festive period then I hope you feel better very soon.    Best wishes to you all and happy holidays!      Jason D. Admin/Founder
  2. Invision Power, the company who create the Invision Power Board Suite which Ostomyland uses for it's forums software have just released a sneak peek look at version 4 of the software. This is a HUGE upgrade, a total re-write in face, and as such it wont be free.   It's been interesting to get to grips with it a little bit to see what new features are included. You can take a peek at this development version of IPB4 by visiting the Invision test board at (please remember that that test board has nothing to do with Ostomyland so your account details will not work over there and the installation is mainly for developers to test and find bugs with so if you want to play with it you'll need to create an account).   The feature I liked most was the responsive layout - meaning the whole board will resize depending on the size of the screen you are viewing it on. This will be a huge advantage to mobile users and I'm hoping it will entice some members back that mainly use their phones for their net access these days as I'm the first to admit the mobile skin for the O'land board sucks big time and is a huge negative for the forums when it comes to competing with services such as Facebook etc.   The whole suite is more user friendly and looks more like the websites of today and not as outdated as the current software looks too. So have a peek and see what you think. It's still in development, but it will go to public beta testing soon. Once that is over it will be launched for sale on the Invision website. There's no mention on how much it will cost yet but based on previous new versions I would guestimate $200 to $300USD approximately.    
  3. Saturday is Chat Day! Our weekly scheduled ostomy support chatty session is today (Saturday) March 8th at 8pm GMT / Approx 3pm East USA. Check the link below for the accurate time in your corner of the world. The chat room is phone/tablet friendly if you don't want to use your computer to access it. Ask questions. Seek advice. Offer help. Make new friends. Chatroom: Time Conversion: Note: People drift in and out over the 2-3 hours of the meeting so if things are quiet try a little later on. Chat is also open 24/7 for impromptu support or off topic chat. Why not arrange a meeting of your own?
  4. We recently announced that were close to launched ng our new social groups section of the community. We're looking for members with 20+ posts on their accounts who would like to have pre-launch access to the groups system so that they can create their group(s) before the full member base gets to see it as it would be silly to launch it with no groups created already. If you are interested in creating a group and would like to be part of the pre-launch test please register your interest below by leaving a reply here with what groups you would be wanting to create. They can be ostomy related, medical related or totally off topic See our announcement earlier this month for what features the social groups creators will receive. All pre-launch group creators/admins will receive an exclusive signature badge when their group goes live with the whole social groups section. Thanks as always for your help.
  5. As promised, now that we've reached 400 Facebook likes on the Ostomyland page I'm going to announce what the up-coming secret project is which we're working on and hope to launch in the next few months all being well. It's a third party modification to IP.board named Social Groups which is currently in development and in its final beta stages. Social Groups allows members to have a corner of the website for their own little personal group with pages, news areas and forum(s) and they have complete control and moderation control. The group can be health-related, or completely off-topic. Check the screenshots below for sneak peaks of what can be achieved, and what you can expect to be able to do when it does eventually launch. The group owner has: Complete control over the group, including moderation powers for the group forums, and member list. Ability to decide if the group is public or private (invite only) or hidden (only people with the URL will know about it). Separate dedicated forum for the group with full moderator priviledges for the owner. (Create sub-forums, decide which of group members can view which section, post, delete posts etc.) Ability to award moderator status to another group member to help you run the group The option to create an infinite number of pages for your own group-subject content (and individually linked to the group sidebar navigation to create a mini-website within the community - navigation includes sections and sub-sections). Post news announcements Edit layout of the group, ie which content blocks are available to your members and in which part of the group page And lots, lots more such as mass-messaging of group members, invitations and more! Check out the screenshots below for hints at what the groups system will look like, and can be achieved. Q: Social groups, eh? So in a nutshell what does it do? Social Groups allows members to create a specialist-interest group within the community. It can be a group for health topics, or a group for anything off-topic. The groups section has categories in which each group can be filed. The group owner will have full moderation features over their group and members list, and will benefit from the established features of the Ostomyland Community Support Forums. Q: Who can use it? ALL members will be able to read and partake in the groups. At this moment in time we're considering whether to make group creation open to all members from the start, or if it should be a loyalty reward for members whom reach a certain post count or reach a certain reputation score (legally) or are impressing the admin team with the quality of their posts. This is still in discussion and more will be announced in the future. I'm in favour of making group-creation rights a low-post-count reward (such as 20 posts) but I'll talk more about that when the time comes. Q: What can be achieved with the Social Groups system? Here are three examples about what could be achieved with the groups system. Only Example 1 will actually exist when the groups go live. Example 2 and 3 are fictional examples - but there would be nothing to stop you, the Oland member, from creating them with group creation rights. Example Group 1: Ostomyland News, Reviews and Editorials Group The groups system is going to allow us to finally bring you the content of the main site, over here on the community support forums - in essence creating a mini-website within the community. News posts made on the main site will be copied over to the news section on the social group. Pages will be created to copy over the lifestyle guide pages, and manufacturers index, and most importantly the lengthy editorial articles. These will all be linked into the group's sidebar section, and it will be an open group (acceptance procedure necessary) as well as marked as "public" viewable, meaning all will be able to see the group exists and join in with it. This group will give members a example of what can be achieved with the social groups system and maybe inspire others into creating their own group. Example Group 2: Your Adhesions Groups We've been asked a couple of times now about creating a sub-forum on the main Ostomyland Community Support Forums for Adhesions. Each time we've decided against the idea as it's not really a problem specific to ostomy-related topics, and is something that can affect many different surgery types. It's also a detailed subject in itself and there are many website dedicated completely to it. However, with the Social Groups system there would be nothing to stop a member from creating an Adhesions group in the Health: Non-Ostomy category. And so here are some example screenshots of such a group. You could have adhesion related news postings and announcements, pages of content to discuss adhesion-related matters in detail, and ofcourse the dedicated forum on the topic. (Your Adhesions Group is a fictional group - this will not be available at launch) Example Group 3: Night Light - A Twilight Fan Group! If you are fan of the Twilight book and film franchises, then maybe you'd want to create yourself a Twilight dedicated social group to discuss and dissect the vampires and werewolves adventures. *shudders at the thought* Any possible non-health topic group could have pages with You Tube videos on them, or articles written by the group owner or members, all liked to the groups sidebar menu, and the latest news of the blood sucking kind could be posted as an announcement. Or maybe you've got a twilight-athon planned one weekend, you could mass message all members to let them know that the event is coming up! And of course, yes, there would be a Night Light - Twilight Fans group forum... God help us. *sobs* Here's some screen-shots to give an example of what any such group could look like with only a little bit of graphic work and a few point and clicks. (Night LIght - a Twilight Fans Group is a fictional group - this will not be available at launch... thank goodness! lolol) Behind the Scenes: Here's some screen-shots of what the group's admin panel will look like, and some of the things you can expect to be able to do with YOUR group! | | | | | | | Q: OOOOOOOOooooooooo heck! I want a group! I want a group!!!! When will it launch?!?! Social Groups is a third party modification to the IP.board code. This means its not developed by Invision Power themselves but a third party individiual. I've been part of the beta testing period of the Social Groups modifications, and it does appeaer to be close now to being finished by the creator, however he has a full time job now so spare time to spend coding Social Groups is limited. There's a not a vast lot left that needs doing, and in fact in my eyes there is just one particular bug which needs fixing before I would be prepared to launch it, regardless of it it's officially launched or not. So, to get back to the question, I'm hoping to launch the Social Groups section in the near future - at the moment I would guestimate a couple months. Personally, speaking as the Ostomyland founder, I am very excited about Social Groups. It wasnt a free modification - I've had to buy the modification, but I do think it could be a fantastic addition to the Ostomyland Community Support Forums, giving us an almost Facebook-Groups-esque feature which no other ostomy support site is currently able to offer (I believe). I cant wait to see what groups you, the wonderful Ostomyland member base will be creating and I'm looking forward to joining some of them too. I also believe that as the word about the groups system and the topics of the available groups are talked about that it could also help bring more members our way which is good for Ostomyland itself and especially for the ostomy support side of our community. I'm going to run a poll with this announcement just to test the communities pulse on this Social Groups system and if I'm right to be excited, or if I need to get out and get a life. I shall look forward to see what comments people have about this. If you've questions please feel free to ask - some of the features are not being announced just yet so that we can build up some excitement with more announcements in the near future!
  6. Halloween Community Forums Theme There will be a special halloween theme for the message board, available from Saturday 27th October until November 1st. What follows is the simple steps to activating or deactivating the BOO Halloween theme for yourself. To activate the theme, please scroll down to the very bottom of the board on the left hand side, where you see the "Change Theme" link. Click on that to reveal this drop down menu... You'll see that IP.Board is ticked. To activate the halloween theme simply choose "Spooktacular 2012" instead by clicking on its name, and this will change the theme over to the Halloween special immediately. To revert back to the original theme, please repeat the steps above, choosing IP Board from the menu this time. When the theme is removed from the board after Halloween everyone who still has Spooktacular 2011 theme active will find that the next time they login they will be back to the default IP.Board theme. Please Note 1: If you dont like the theme, or prefer light backgrounds to dark backgrounds you can of course disable the theme yourself at any time by following these same steps. Please Note 2: Due to third party mod clashes the stats will not be available on the bottom of the board. Also, you may notice one or two dead images, I aim to fix all of them before the theme goes live but please don't worry if you do see the occasional missing graphic. Likewise there may be some mis-coloured text areas. Please Note 3: Again due to third party modification clashes the following board mods have been disabled until Nov 1st. 1. The large stats box at the bottom of the board 2. The Pro Menu bar 3. The Facebook/Google Like/+1 Sidebar box.
  7. Just a reminder for everyone about the main parts of the Ostomyland network: Main Site (Information): Ostomy and community news, colostomy lifestyle guide, manufacturers section and portal to all our other services. This includes all the content that started it all off 14 years ago! Main Community Site: Nearly 4000 members, 81500 posts, featuring dedicated ostomy forums, blogs, chat room - but you know about this already! Ostomyland Ostomy Wiki: http://www.ostomylan...wikkia/HomePage The first, and we think still the only, ostomy-dedicated wiki on the net. A constant work in progress, with over 250 pages of content so far. A major re-write of the wiki is in the works so additional editing is currently disabled, but everyone can still read the content. Ostomyland Facebook Support Group: Ostomyland Twitter Feed: Ostomyland Community Twitter Feed: The Fuzzbutt Adventures - Facebook: http://www.facebook....omylandfuzzbutt A bit of silliness where we follow the regular adventures of Ostomyland's furry mascot and pal, Fuzzbutt. Features pictures and shared silliness. We look forward to welcoming you on one of our sites in the future and hope you find any support or answers you need there, as well as make many new friends. If you need help accessing or understanding how any of the site's work then please don't hesitate to get in touch and we'll do our best to help you out.