Just to have something else fun to do with your member points, now you can play the lottery. Initially, it will be a weekly lottery with pots of various sizes. You can see this week's lottery (just started today) here:
It will end tonight, as it is mostly a test run. But if you like games of chance like lotteries, feel free to play weekly. You can buy as many tickets as your points will afford.
You should already be aware of the Member Shop. It's a points store that allows you to play games, acquire board functions or purchase smaller gift items with your points. Items and costs will change frequently so as not to break the bank and to address inflation, exchange rates and monetary policies.
Lastly, another extension of your points and the Member Shop is the Betting Shop. Once again, your points come into play and you can bet on featured college or NFL games - virtually anything. There si even a spot for you to "request a bet" if there is a game you'd like to wager on that is not shown.
I hope you'll visit these optional forms of entertainment - it may help pass the time to USF Football! Have fun.
It is easier than ever to join the conversation at The Bulls Pen. And the giveaways, quizzes, galleries, downloads, Member Shop, etc., too.
I have recently completed a revisit of the social integrations functionality after finding some had been broken by our software as well as that of Facebook and Twitter.
The integrations are important for a number of reasons, but I'll stick with the top two.
New members - Anyone with a Facebook, Twitter, Google, Linked In or Windows account can log in to The Bulls Pen with those credentials. Very simple access to an account at TBP and immediate posting. It really is so easy. So, if you're out there talking with fellow or future Bulls fans, bump into them on Twitter, or Linked In remind them they can join in seconds, and maintain the same identity they have on other social platforms. Here is what guests will see when they come upon https://thebullspen.com:
For existing members, if you go to your profile page, you'll see to the left the opportunity to integrate with your social platform accounts, allowing you to share name changes, content, and status updates (varies by social platform). It makes it very easy to share from TBP to Twitter and FB. Here is my profile. I am integrated with all but Linked In at this time.
Please keep this in mind when talking to other Bulls. There's no dreaded sign up, just use one of the social platform credentials nearly everyone has already! And as a member, by getting yourself connected, you will have an easier time sharing with others you.
If you run into any problems while setting up your integrations, please let me know.
The calendar function has been around since The Bulls Pen was a forum on SouthFloridaBulls.com.
It doesn't quite get the community use it could, so I'll invite you to visit and see if it can help manage yours and our Bulls life.
First of all, there are two calendars that combine as one:
Bulls scheduled games
Only the Admin can add scheduled games, but we can all add events - such as BULLRALLY I added a week or so ago. Events can have RSVPs attached so members here can see which other members are planning on going.
The feature I wanted to mention is the "Set Reminder" function.
A new feature recently added, now you can set that reminder that will keep you informed, even if you are not on the website. I recently set up a test reminder to share. It's a nice email reminding you of an event (with however many days lead you need) as well as some recent stories from the Pen at the bottom of the reminder email. Here is what my reminder looked like for Fall Camp (top of email):
So, whether it's the first football game, fall camp, BULLSRALLY, Block party (to be added) or any other function or game on the calendar or to be entered on the calendar, you can use the TBP reminder email to keep you on schedule.
I hope you'll visit the Calendar (tab on main navigation bar) and provide some comment.
We had a couple threads on the new "Points" economy, this being the initial one:
The points collecting has been in place for about a month, there is plenty of experimenting to do, but the possibilities are pretty entertaining. I don't think it's a good thing to identify what adds points to your count (you'll figure it out), but I can tell you one key source of points is being online everyday, multiple days in a row at the least. Starting quality topics is rewarding as well.
Points will be able to be used in the future for a number of things including games (like Rock, Paper, Scissors), board actions (username changes, signature changes, entry into premium raffles) and lotteries and a betting shop. The latter two will be around towards football season. Most of all, you can turn in your points earned as a member of this community to buy USF gear, memorabilia and even donate to USF.
There will be more to come on this functionality, but there is a version 1.0 of the points store located here: Points Shop
If you look on the main menu under "More" you should see this as well as some other helpful stats and information. Again, get familiar, more to come on this.
Hey, part of our community has been the fun of prediction contests and other things....most recently, raffle style giveaways and bracket contests. In order to make it a more easily manageable situation for your humble host, I am asking that you complete the Name and Address profile fields added to your Profile.
This will make it much easier for me to get winnings out on time. It's all private, but saves me from having to ask and then being delayed because I do not want to make multiple trips to the Post Office. Much like the ticket giveaways require you to have a good email address in your profile, you will need a good shipping name and address to successfully participate in giveaways, contests and some newer things we have coming up for 2018.
You can get to these fields to complete by clicking on your username in upper right hand corner of screen, select profile and then click on the "Edit Profile" text.
Then, scroll down and enter name and address. These fields are viewable to you and me. Permissions are set to private.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
As you can see above, the menu operation has changed. Instead of clicking on the main topic like Clubs, Browse, Activity and being presented with a secondary row of options, I've opted for the traditional drop down. I'm interested in your thoughts, if it works better for you. I think there was confusion with the old menu, hopefully this makes more sense.
With the continued evolution of the code that supports this site, it can now support smilies from your phones and tablets. With the upcoming upgrade, the board will expand to a greater number of smilies that are released with the upgrade. In order to avoid having 17,000 smilies I deleted the non TBP and Bulls related smilies for the time being. After the upgrade, we'lll decide if we need those sets back.
I know some members tend to bookmark the one page they like to visit on TheBullsPen.com. If they start on the main page, they always start on the main page and have an opportunity to see any changes along the way to the thread they wish to read. Others start on the Topic index page or perhaps even a particular thread.
I'm always throwing different things out there to see if people like it enough to comment on the main board or via PM.
Recently, I put a real slick looking enhancement to display the USF YouTube feed in the right sidebar of the Topic index page. If you go to any board topic listing, you'll see it in the right sidebar just a scroll or two down.
Another thing that I'm not sure people are aware of is the RSS board. There, you can read the latest news feeds of other sites like The Oracle, GoUSFBulls.com, TDS and SportsTalk Florida. Take a glance at the headlines, if something interests you click and read. All RSS topics can be commented on as well. I am having a slight RSS duplication problem I am working on, but it's not a big deal. I also pull in different RSS feeds from time to time depending on what they are publishing. Don't let the board's post count fool you. I manually delete anything over two pages unless there is a comment.
Here's a look at what is on the RSS board right now:
Any feedback is welcome on this thread.
Thanks for being a member of The Bulls Pen,
It's a rebuilding season for The Bulls Pen. Each year, when possible, I look at the upcoming changes, enhancements and apps that can be added to the board. I am looking for the right mix of cost vs. impact and try to find things that make you want to hang out here more. More hanging out = more talking about the Bulls. Yes it helps pay the bills, but also attracts more Bulls fans.
As some are aware, as this boldly posted topic indicated,
we are going to have our own "economy" where members earn points through different actions that can be used to purchase items, donate, "bet" and more. There is a lot more to come so stay tuned.
I also have collected a few more customizations that hopefully improve your time on the site. I really like one added today - the current YouTube feed for USF Football - all packaged up nicely, displaying the last three USF Football videos uploaded, including today's Pro Day video. No more having to check YouTube and create a thread. We can all find this on the USF Bulls Athletics topics page - in the sidebar - after the countdown to the 2018 kickoff (on desktop or mobile).
In addition to this sleek, simple YouTube widget and the points economy, there are some other changes upcoming including a board-wide upgrade. The upgrade will force some changes to how the board emails, its smilies system, the blogs, and more, so I'll get as much of it posted here in advance as possible.
All "technical" board changes will be addressed on this blog. Please feel free to ask any questions and make suggestions on how you think the board could be improved.
Hey Members and Bulls fans,
I have been in touch with some of the folks in the media that follow and report on our USF Bulls. Looks like we'll have a handful with interest in being introduced here and getting to know us while we get to know them (better).
For the group, it's looking like the range of questions can cover a lot of ground. I have asked for collaboration with a broad range from beat writers to USF Administrators. Instead of asking you to provide questions to specific individuals you can ask questions across the range and I can direct them to the best to answer. If you do have a specific individual, then feel free to name. If I don't have them joining us for an interview, chat or Q&A, I'll see if they can.
Please list your questions here in the response box. Feel free to ask questions if you have any. Or, offer solutions on who/what you would like to see. If you remember Jeff Odom, did a Q&A last season around this same time. I'll be gathering these questions over the next three-four weeks so keep them coming as guests are scheduled to join us.
Don't be shy, we'll need dozens of questions if we get the collaboration I am expecting. Ask away.
If you look across the top of the site (desktop mode) in the main title bar, you'll see tabs for "Browse", "Activity", "New & Info" and so through "More". Some of these have sub-menus with other content or links. Under "Members" is "Leaderboard" and "Member Map". For mobile version, click on the three bars in upper right corner to see the menus.
Leaderboard lists the "top rated members" by content for the day, week month or custom period. If you look at last week, I Bleed Awesomeness took the award for most voted up content for week ending June 18-25.
I Bleed Awesomeness thread was the much enjoyed My son already making me proud, even before he's born. featuring the ultrasound of his boy putting up the horns while resting comfortably.
When members read content and rate with the up or down arrows:
It becomes feedback for the content poster and feeds into the totals that outline popular threads and popular contributors.
The Leaderboard awards gold, silver and bronze awards for rated content. It's something fun to look at.
For the last month, NewEnglandBull has been ahead of the pack a seen below:
Furthermore, under the "Past Leaders" tab you can see the daily winners of the Gold, Silver and Bronze trophy each day, dating back some 300 pages worth!
Anyway, I encourage your involvement in the community to not only rate others contributions to the board, but look to build your own ratings. There will be some upcoming changes to the rating system, but it will also be more tied in to a merit system that provides some perks to those that are providing highly rated content.
Take a look around the Leaderboard and share your thoughts.
This screen grab of the site about 15 years ago has some memorable meaning for me. It was around 2002 and the site was beginning to take off a little. A fan from another site of one of the early pay sites decided to insult the old SouthFloridaBulls.com site - the original host of "TheBullsPen". So being a smart ass, I went ahead and gave the guy his own front page story. We were going to seek venture capital to update the site to proper 2002 standards.
The other memorable part was directly related to the desire to form "The 12th Man Club" - the precursor to the Bull Backers Club. Not too long after advertising a 12th Man Club, I received a cease and desist order from Texas A&M that I still have lying around somewhere. We talked about renaming to the "12th Bull Club" but ultimately settled on the Bull Backers in order to support the program.. without jail time.
Click to enlarge
Was it really three years ago? Out of boredom, I decided to be politically incorrect and attempt to get the attention of our board members by displaying pictures of scantily clad bikini babes. My devious plan was to grab their attention and then test their NCAA logo knowledge.
The fun lasted from June 2 - August 29, featuring 14 different attention grabbing logo discussions. The eye-straining effort concluded just two days before the season kicked off with an embarrassing 53-21 beat down by McNeese State. McNeese State just happened to be in the series a couple weeks before:
Three years later, it's time to revisit this Summer Fun theme. Instead of on the main board, we'll tuck the potentially offense images (babes and logos) into the blog here.
But beware ... the Stony Brook Seawolves come to town September 2.