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zgeist

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About zgeist

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    Junior Member

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  • Location
    Chicago
  • Occupation
    software developer
  1. zgeist

    Unit Tech Tools

    So, finally, after much research and comparison, our pack has decided to go with Shutterfly for our website and CubTrails for our official calendar and advancement tracking. Shutterfly does 90% of what we want a website to do for free. There was no paid site ( $100 or less) that did more as easily. CubTrails does advancement tracking better (or at least easier) than anything else (especially Scoutbook!). There are some things it just doesn't do, but the things it does do it does very well. If anyone wants more details I'd be happy to supply them. I spent so much time on this I'd like it to be as much benefit as possible! ;-)
  2. zgeist

    Unit Tech Tools

    Do you mean Scoutbook? Lots of people say they love it, but every time I try to use I just get aggravated. For such an 'easy to use' program the navigation just takes you round' and round. And I find it inexplicable that their calendar has been in beta for over a year, with no signs of them actually fixing all the bugs that have been reported. For example, when you add an event you have the option of selecting achievement you intend to work on during that event - a really cool idea - except that the new achievements are not in the list, they still show the old ones. There are lots of little issues like this all over the place. So, no way to attach a spreadsheet?
  3. zgeist

    Unit Tech Tools

    After literally days of looking at and testing different online tools for our cub scout pack I had a realization: none of the parents would ever visit a website more than once, if they even bothered to do that. This hit home today when a group email was sent out about an event we have planned. One parent thanked me for the email, which was nice. But then, as an afterthought, I posted the details as an Event on our group's Facebook page - and within minutes several parents had RSVP'd!!! This really helped me realized what I was trying to accomplish. I want to 1) make it easier for our Pack to plan activities and 2) easier to keep parents informed. That's it - everything else is just gravy. Keeping parents informed is key. None of them are going to look at any website we have more than once, and they are certainly not going to go back to look for updates. The announcements have to come to them. Email is fine, but nowadays people skim or ignore that. Text messages might help - but they can be intrusive, so I'd want them to volunteer to get them. And publishing to Facebook apparently is great, I guess because people are already there for other things - things they find fun, like keeping up-to-date with family. I have a spreadsheet a made with a detailed analysis of several of the software tools available. The analysis only covers the features I was interested in. Is there some way I could attach that spread sheet here to help anyone else who is interested?
  4. zgeist

    Host site for Troop management website

    Lol! So I just got a negative for doing a good deed? I'll try not to take it too hard.
  5. zgeist

    Host site for Troop management website

    There IS a free option - scoutlander.com It gets you a basic website, calendar, email broadcasting (not quite the same thing as groups) and it's FREE.
  6. zgeist

    Unit Tech Tools

    Oh, and Soar seems to have a pretty low data limit. Our pack likes to upload pictures from our events andI think we'd run out of space pretty quickly. Do you think we could link to Shutterfly or something like that? Could we embed pics from Shutterfly so that it looks seamless I wonder?
  7. zgeist

    Unit Tech Tools

    So, I took another look at SOAR/myTroop since so many on here recommend it, including you. And I have to admit I am now impressed. Initially I didn't dig too deep because it looked so old. But after really trying it out, it actually has a lot of nice - usable - feature. USABLE is key as I hope to get all the other leaders using this tool, too. It has two drawbacks - 1) it doesn't do advancement tracking at all, and 2) the website configuration options are a pain to use. I understand that you guys use TM for your advancement tracking. Since it needs to be installed on a desktop that is really a no go for us. And I'm on a mac, too - so I'm not going to install windows in a virtual environment just for that. And what happens when I leave the pack? I was looking at Scoutbook for advancement tracking, and while it is pretty slick in some regards it is super-annoying in others. It occurs to me that I could just upload an spreadsheet to the files section of the SOAR site and have leaders update it there. I've looked at TroopWebHostCS and while it does have more features than SOAR/myTroop (what an awful name btw) they are much harder to use. The organization is weird. I think ScoutManager (not to be confused with ScoutManage) looks good. It has a nice clean layout, is pretty easy to use. It has advancement tracking, but it doesn't have a website. @ - do you have any advice for creating the public website using SOAR? Anyway to make it look better?
  8. zgeist

    Unit Tech Tools

    Our pack does not currently use any tech tools, but I am trying to change that. Perhaps this was not the intent of this thread, but I would LOVE to see a current comparison of the different tools available. So far, I have looked at Soar/myPack, TroopWebHost, TroopWebHostCS, TroopTrack, ScoutManager, ScoutBook, ScoutSprout, Shutterfly, Scout Journey, CubTrails, ScoutLander, and a few others. Frankly, I'm overwhelmed. The ones that have the most features are old and clunky looking with poor usability (imho). There are a few with really clean interfaces, emphasizing usability, but they are not full-featured. It is those that look most promising, but are usually one-person operations and so are prone to falling behind the times (like not having the latest cub scout advancements implemented yet) or just shutting down altogether. Nothing is 'just right' and I find it really frustrating.
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