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Re: Member's Only AMSAT.ORG - Update

Kevin -- AMSAT is a volunteer organization, and the problem is that this topic hasn't risen to the too of the "see level". Thank you for pointing out that the volunteers "action item" list is flawed.

At one point in your 2nd posting you stated:
> I know that some members of the
> BOD never wanted it in the first place...

As a Board member, I would like to challenge that assertion. To my knowledge, you could not be more incorrect. In fact, the BoD wants the "Members Only" pages to become active ASAP, and we tried to address your concerns about inaccuracies by naming a "Truth Squad" of "Factoid Monitors". I am under the impression that this has worked. I hope you can provide some factual basis for any of your claims.

Emily made the comment in one her replies:
>  Although I wrote quite a bit of the code to support
> a members-only website two years ago just after the
> website makeover was launched, when it got to the 
> point to interface it to the AMSAT membership
> system to validate memberships there was no way it 
> could happen.  The current membership database is a
> DOS application that could not connect to the 
> primary site.

Her statements were a mild mannered attempt to describe the historical (perhaps, hysterical might be a better description) evolution of the data base. 

When the AMSAT office got it's first PC, circa 1982 I wrote the first AMSAT "office automation" software using the (then) State-of-the-Art data base handler, dBase 2. The program was called "Martha" and it was carefully designed to be as friendly as possible as possible for  Martha, who (quite frankly) was intimidated by computers. "Martha" survived pretty much unscathed until the late 1990's when Dieter Schliemann, KX4Y made some needed changes, especially in preventing Y2K disasters. Other maintenance of my nearly 25 year-old legacy code has been done by Bob Carpenter, W3OTC. As antique as it is, it works! So, since I have a very tough skin, lay 100% of your blame at my feet for having cast the AMSAT member data base into the MessDOS computer environment that now only survives in fond(?) memories.

The updates that Emily refers to is the transition to AIMS, which includes a SQL-based system modern data base that can be accessed (with appropriate security) by the office, by the "Members only" web site, by the fund raisers, by area coordinators, etc. AMSAT could have hired professional help to do this, but we elected to do it with volunteers. The lag in getting the replacement online can be attributed to the problems of trying to do "rocket science" with distributed human resources.

I again stress that AMSAT is a "we" organization. Comments like "youse guys should ..." tend to be ignored.

73 de Tom, K3IO (ex W3IWI)
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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