Webmaster Report, March 2016

March 7, 2016

webmasterThe busy month of February has come and gone. I was unable to attend the Banquet this year but I look forward to hearing from those who did. Perhaps I can even get some of you to post a report? I made a few changes to the site and have an exciting new initiative to announce. At least I hope you think it’s as exciting as I do. First here are the changes to the site.

  • The site software was finally updated. We are now at the latest version of WordPress.
  • I altered the page template a bit as per Luis’ suggestion at the February meeting. WordPress pages used to list the creation date at the top. I altered that so that it now displays the last edited date instead. That means, if you look at a page and it has been altered, you’ll the the date that change was made.

Now for my announcement. I took an action item from the February meeting to form a web site subcommittee. I have done so. You can read the announcement. I’ve had a few people volunteer already and of course I want more. Please let people in your organizations know. I think this can be a good way to get new people involved in PSEC and I don’t anticipate that it will take an unreasonable amount of time to participate. Maybe you know someone who is interested in web design or just someone who likes computers. If so, please spread the word!

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Website Subcommittee is Forming

February 22, 2016

Based on discussion at the February PSEC meeting I am forming a PSEC subcommittee for design and management of this website. The PSEC website is our front door to the community. The primary point of contact and means of outreach to the wider engineering community and the engineers-in-training community.

But it is seriously underutilized! There are many things we could and should be doing to improve our outreach. The site’s software gives us the means to do it. If you want to have a say in the future direction of the site, please contact me at

webmaster@pseconline.org

And give me your email address. I will be setting up a forum for discussion. Participation will not require meeting attendance or unreasonable time commitment, at least not initially. We will make announcements in this space as necessary. Please consider participating and please point potential volunteers to this page.

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Webmaster Report, February 2016

January 28, 2016

webmasterThe busy time of the year is here. Lots done and yet to do but not a lot of time to do it. Here is my latest update.

  • I have updated the new Award Recipient pages (start here and see the links therein). Congratulations to all the recipients.
  • The old recipients were not removed. In the past I’ve always just replaced the old award winners with the new ones. Instead, I just created posts for each of the 2015 recipients and then link to them on the main page for each award. That seems like an appropriate way to proceed going forward.
  • I was not able to make the software update to the site that I reported in my last post. I had some technical issues at home that required some attention. The update is still queued though and I expect it will be in place soon after the February meeting.

Upcoming in February

A lot will be going on in February that will need to go on the website. I will especially be looking for people who can post reports and/or pictures to the site. Let me know and I will give you the permissions you need to be able to do it. A report on the Fair would be especially nice to have since we don’t often have much reporting from that event.

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Webmaster Report, January 2016

January 3, 2016

webmasterHappy 2016, everyone!

 

  • I removed the engineering awards nomination forms page after the December 18th deadline passed. I expect that the awards pages will be updated as the awards recipients are announced. We will need to get photos and biographies for the recipients. We will also need to get a bio for the banquet speaker.
  • Created a Dropbox folder to hold shared documents. The folder is owned by the PSEC gmail account. If you need access to the documents get yourself a Dropbox account and send me your email address. I will send you an invitation. At that point, you’ll be able to view, edit and create files in that folder. If you have documents to share for a PSEC meeting please consider just putting them in the Meetings folder instead of emailing them to me. Really, it’s a better option.
  • I have some site updates ready to install. These are normal software updates. I will wait until after the PSEC meeting to push them.
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Webmaster Report, December 2015

December 6, 2015

webmasterVery little to report this month. It became necessary for me to reinstall the operating system on my development machine so that took priority over anything else. I was able to make a few changes however:

  • The left-hand navigator on the site has been changed. It is not a two-level hierarchical layout. The archive section has been recast as a dropdown list. Take a look at it and please let me know if you have suggestions.
  • I decided to change the site registration policy. I had been leaving a registration link up on the site but I don’t have a lot of legitimate registrations and I get lots of illegitimate ones so I decided that I will turn on the registration link on the day of each PSEC meeting and leave it on for about a week after. Of course, if you would like to register yourself on the site and there is no link on the site you can email me and I’ll be happy to do it.
  • I started experimenting with automatic notifications. Using a site called hootsuite I am able to push site updates out to various social media outlets. Hootsuite gives you a function that allows you to schedule updates. So, this month, I sent out a reminder that the Engineer of the Year Awards nominations are due on December 18th.

As always, let me know if I can help you get something up on your website.

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Webmaster Report, November 2015

October 24, 2015

webmasterOnly a few items this month:

  • New navigation menu is more or less complete. I will show it during the November meeting and roll it out sometime in early November based on any feedback there. There are still a few display issues I’d like to resolve.
  • I added a Awards Nominations page with links to all the nomination forms. You should use this link to spread the word.
  • Hack attempts. This stuff is fascinating to me, and a bit scary. It is pretty important that if you have a registration you should have a strong password. I’ll show you an example why at the November meeting. I will probably turn off registration periodically through the month to combat registration spam.
  • Social media strategy is forming. We do have facebook, twitter and linkedin pages/accounts associated with PSEC. I have arranged things so that new posts get sent to these outlets. The only thing remaining is for people to begin following. If you use one of these outlets regularly make sure you know where they are and please spread the word to others. It is still the best way to get the word out on things that we are doing.
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Webmaster Report, October 2015

October 4, 2015

webmasterShort month this time since our September meeting was later than normal but we still found some time to do a major software upgrade to the site. Everything appears to be running normally but of course please let me know if you find anything not working as you expect.

I have gained enough knowledge and experience with the site code that I believe I can now finally do something about the mess over there on the left hand side of the page. Expect the site navigation to change here and there over the next month or two. Again, let me know if you have suggestions for that.

Items Completed

  • Added embedded google calendar to Events Calendar page
  • Fixed problem with events calendar display
  • Added holidays to PSEC calendar
  • Updated site software to version 4.3.1
  • Added Facebook group to distribution

Next on the Schedule

  • Revamp left-hand navigation menu
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Webmaster Report: September 2015

September 15, 2015

webmasterIt’s that time of the year again. The days are getting shorter, soon the leaves will begin to turn color and of course the new PSEC year has begun. Not a lot new to report since my last post. You can look there and at all my other posts if you want to catch up. Instead let’s look forward a bit to see what is in store (hopefully, and with your help) for this coming year.

(more…)

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Webmaster Report: July 2015

July 6, 2015

webmasterYes it’s summer and the PSEC is in repose, but that doesn’t mean your webmaster is. I have made a few changes to the site. The major update is that we have added a Awards page to display all the latest award recipients from this year’s banquet. Let me know what you think.

Other Changes

  • I’ve been looking into calendar displays. I posted an example that pulls from the PSEC calendar that you should look at.
  • I made some site software upgrades to some of the plugins and a minor update to the WordPress software. I’ve seen no issues so far but let me know if you see any problems.
  • I modified the templates on the site so that each post and page shows the publish date and the post author at the top of the page just below the title. You should be able to see that at the top of the page here.
  • Created a Needs Fixing category. I’m using this to flag posts or pages that have display issues like dead links or bad image links. If you have editor rights you can help me out by investigating. I will get to them eventually if you don’t.
  • I’ve re-enabled Self-Registration.

Upcoming Changes

July and August won’t leave me with a lot of time for updates,  but when I get the time here are some items on the Todo list:

  • Create a List Category template. If you look at, for example the Latest Posts section on the Home page you’ll see a list of boxes showing the most recently added material on the site. I think the display there is kind of boring so I’m looking to spiff it up a bit.
  • Navigator modifications. The navigator is the set of links on the left that allow you to move between sections of the site. I’m not too satisfied with the arrangement of that thing and it isn’t not very easy to modify at the moment. I’ll need to do some programming to change that.
  • I’ll be keeping an eye on the spam protection I’ve installed to see if it is working.
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Self-registration has been Re-enabled

StopsignAfter installing some spam protection plugins on the PSEC site, I have re-enabled the self-registration feature. If you have not previously registered on the site, you can now do so by going to the Registration page.

The possibility exists that the new spam protection may effect your access to the site or your ability to login. If you find any problems, please let me know by adding a comment to this post or by sending me an email at webmaster@pseconline.org. I will be monitoring the site fairly closely over the next week or so to keep track of the effectiveness of the blocking software and will post any updates here.

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