So it's like this. It's Friday night and I've spent part of the afternoon coping with the fact that our web provider fell off of the internet intermittently for a lot of the afternoon. And I'm still getting used to the idea that the big pot of money I was hoping for from Facebook seems not to have fallen into the company checking account. I'm glad for the Wisconsin folks who won in the grant competition, but I cannot help but think how much better of a job WisCommunity could be doing if there was some actual cash to work with.

But let's talk about happier things. I've been doing some various pieces of work that will improve the site and that will allow more people to have access in different ways. And there have been some interesting side trips along the way. Let me tell you about some of this.

I've been working on making WisCommunity available in some other apps. You can now subscribe to, or follow (depending on the term the app uses) WisCommunity in Newsbreak, Flipboard, and Google News. Some of the content of course still wanders out to Facebook, though I don't encourage that as a means of following along since you'll only see what Facebook thinks you want to see. But I digress.

The podcast is back up and running again now that I'm not running at full speed every day trying to keep up with the COVID-19 updates. The podcast is available almost everywhere now including Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, and Spotify. You can see the links at the podcast page.

I've been making some small upgrades to the site over time. Today I removed all of the old code from the Drupal module to splat the ads into place and replaced it all with more hard-coded GPT links. This seems to be making the site a little less pathetically slow since the ads are loading faster. I'm also working on some re-theming to pretty things up a little, and am still slowly working on a full upgrade to Drupal 8 (I hope before 9 comes out) and am in the process dropping some of the functionality of the site that was never really used. 

It has been an odd couple of months. I was starting to hire some interns to do some of the government meeting reporting and then suddenly the meetings were all virtual. Not that in all cases you can actually see or hear much in them, but it has become impossible to cover them in person in any reasonable way. I'll continue to do the best I can with the live streams of the meetings. 

You may notice that the email list signup looks different today. You may now sign up for three different lists. There's a daily update, which is the list most of you are on. There's also a mailing list for Community Talks, which will notify you of those when they are going to happen. Finally, there is also an events mailing list, which currently does nothing since there's not a lot in the way of events right now. But it will ramp up in a while when there are actual events to go to in person. As I envision it this will probably be a weekly email of events that are scheduled for the upcoming week. 

It's going to be a cold night. I've fired up the pellet stove again even though I'm almost out of pellets since I thought we were past that. Keep warm, and I'll occasionally have something else to say about where WisCommunity is going. I'd like to remind everyone that life is still financially precarious since there was a pretty small uptake of donations for #GivingNewsDay here. Please consider donating or becoming a member. I am giving a talk at the annual meeting of the League of Women Voters of the Greater Chippewa Valley about the decline of journalism in the US, and why it is a threat to democracy. More on that as the event approaches.

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Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley

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