A fun family activity for the holidays

These days, so many of us have family members spread out all over the country (or the world), and it’s hard to keep track of what everyone’s up to, let alone get together. But what’s more fun for the holidays than a nice family activity?

How about using Tripline to create a unique, interactive family holiday card? It’s essentially an online version of the cards we all get from different families every year with updates and photos – the main difference is that everyone participates in the creation of a single “card” so you have everyone’s annual updates in a single place. Here’s an example:

Like any family activity, it will take a bit of wrangling to get everyone to participate, but it’s a great way to bring people together, and the result will be a very special memory. Here’s what to do:

1: Create the outline
Since you’re the motivated one in the family, you’re the one best suited to create the initial outline. It’s as simple as creating a trip with locations for each family. We recommend using city names vs. detailed addresses. Before you save, choose a soundtrack (we added a new track called “Holiday Jazz”) and set the visibility to “Private”. Once you’ve saved the initial outline, you can edit the place titles on the trip page to something like “The Smiths – Boston, MA” just for clarity.

2. Connect your Tripline account to Facebook
While not required, this makes the whole process a lot easier – especially if you’re already friends with your family members on Facebook. To connect your Tripline account to Facebook, go to http://www.tripline.net/myaccount and click the [Connect With Facebook] button.

3. Invite your family members to sign up
Send your family members an email inviting them to sign up to Tripline, and be sure to tell them to [Sign in with Facebook]. That way, as soon as they create an account, they will automatically be added to your Tripline friend list, which lets you add them to the trip. If they don’t connect with Facebook, you’ll need to add them to your Tripline friend list manually. That’s not too hard, but connecting with Facebook makes it a lot easier. Here’s an email template:

Hi everyone,

I’ve created a multi-family holiday card on Tripline and I’d like to you to participate.

Just go to http://www.tripline.net, click [Sign In with Facebook], and create an account. I’ll add you to the card after that so you can enter a family update and photos.

4. Add your family members to the trip
As each of your family members signs up for Tripline, you’ll get an email telling you they have been added to your friend list. You can now go into the trip and add them using the [+] add friends link on the trip page. As soon as you do this, they’ll be able to edit the trip and add their own story and photos to the trip. All they need to do is click the little pencil or camera icon next to their waypoint.

5. Share and enjoy
As each family participates, the story will come alive – especially if you set each waypoint to Slideshow view. Since you set the trip visibility to “Private” in Step 1, only the people who you specifically add to the trip will be able to see it. It’s up to you if you want to change the visibility to “Public” so you can share with the world.

That’s it. We hope you enjoy this little experiment with Tripline and we hope it brings you closer with your family around the world.

As always, we welcome your feedback, so send an email to support@tripline.net if you have problems or suggestions.

Go To Tripline to Get Started

Happy Holidays,

– Byron

Late November Release: KML export, Google Earth Inline, Partner Products and some cleanup/bug fixes

We released an update earlier this week with a few cool new features and some cleanup/bug fixes.

New Features

  • KML Export & Google Earth Inline – You can now export a basic KML version of your trips that you can load into Google Earth.  You can also view your trip in Google Earth right on the Tripline site (we call this the inline view).  Just look for the Google Earth links on the Trip Page under the player and trip description.  If you don’t have Google Earth, you can install it here
A  trip viewed in Google Earth (inline)
  • Tripline BrandSpace & Promotion Buttons – BrandSpace and Promotion Buttons are exciting new partner products that you’ll soon be seeing more of on the site. We’ll blog more about these soon.

Trip Page (bug fixes)

  • Times after 8:00 PM are now displaying correctly
  • We’re now displaying all your Facebook photo albums (previously was limited at 25)
  • Photos are now displaying correctly on top of embedded video players

Tripline Mobile (bug fixes)

  • Checkins are now creating activity records (public trips only)
  • New trips created from your current location are now working properly
  • Line breaks are now displaying correctly

Other Items

  • Translation code now loading asynchronously to improve performance
  • Several UI improvements and performance fixes

That’s it for now.  We’re hard at work again, so look forward to another release in a couple of weeks.  As always, contact us if you need help with anything.

– Byron

New Features Today! Reorder Photos, Add Captions, 5MB Uploads, Slideshow Mode In Player, Lineless Trips, Static Map Images

Hi folks. We just deployed a new Tripline release with a bunch of new features.  Lots of your early feedback has been related to photos, so we made some big improvements in that area.  Here’s the list:

  • Drag and Drop Photo Arrangement – We know how much photos matter to your stories. Now you can easily rearrange photos and even drag them to other places. Once you’ve added photos, just click the [rearrange photos] link to open up the reordering pane and then drag and drop thumbnails anywhere. More info here: http://help.tripline.net/?p=427
  • Photo Captions – Pictures are worth 1,000 words, but sometimes you need more. Now you can easily add captions of up to 250 characters to individual photos. Click on a photo thumbnail to open the viewer and then click [edit caption]. More info here: http://help.tripline.net/?p=429
  • Automated Photo Slideshows – There’s a new “Slideshow” Animation Style for each place in your trip. When you choose this option, the player will automatically display a nice slideshow of your photos. More info here: http://help.tripline.net/?p=431
  • 5 MB Photo Uploads – We’ve upped the size of images you can upload from your computer to 5MB (previously 4MB) More info here: http://help.tripline.net/?p=447
  • Maps With No Lines – You can now create a map that doesn’t display lines between places. This is particularly useful for the food bloggers and travel guide creators out there who create Top 10 lists etc. Look for this option in the Editor. It’s called “Display Style” More info here: http://help.tripline.net/?p=433
  • Updated Player Experience – We’ve made some big updates to the player, making the play button more visible and greatly improving the display of photos. Slideshow mode is awesome.
  • Photo Bug Fixes – We fixed several bugs related to photos. Most noticeably you’ll be able to open newly added images without refreshing the page and new images/captions will immediately show up in the player.
  • Static Map Images – You can now access a static image of your Tripline map by clicking on [map image] in the stats section of the trip page below the trip description.

A reminder to Google Chrome users: If you’re using Adblock, the photoviewer on the trip page won’t get the correct image sizes and will appear a little broken.  This is a known issue with Adblock and they’re working on a fix.  For now, the workaround is to add “tripline.net” to the Excluded Sites list in Ad Block options.

Thanks again for all the great suggestions, there’s even more cool stuff on the way soon. As always, if you need to get in touch with us, send an email to support@tripline.net

– Byron

Happy to see trips like these

As I’ve talked about in earlier posts, when we were designing the site, we spent a lot of time considering the uses people might have for Tripline other than just planning vacations. We always considered those things whenever we made design decisions and it’s great to see people actually using Tripline the way we envisioned. Three examples from this week really stand out.

First off, author Julian Smith created a trip describing the story in his upcoming novel “Crossing the Heart of Africa”, set to be released in December (more here www.juliansmith.com). The trip is a story of Julian’s journey from South Africa to Cairo, following in the footsteps of British adventurer Ewart Grogan, who made the same journey on foot in 1898. Check it out:

Also this week, Jim Spavins posted a trip for an upcoming tour of Japanese Baseball stadiums. While technically this is very similar to a traditional plan for a trip, its specific subject matter is nearly identical to one of the use cases we covered in our design, so it’s great to see.

And finally, Paul Lewin posted “Pueblo Colorado’s Best Mexican Restaurants”. This type of best-places trip is something we’ve been seeing a lot, and I think it’s a great way for locals to put together their knowledge of an area to share with friends and the Tripline community. Look forward to some new features related to this type of trip on the way soon.

Keep it up folks! We’re all part of making something special here, and we certainly couldn’t do it without you.

– Byron