Updates on Progress
Vice President of the SCNA Board of Directors
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
This report is split into sections that are reported in no particular order.
A long twelve months
SCN's Web Service - the what and why
SCN is seeing a change in the complexity of web services and the need to provide a speed that our current machine seemed unable to supply. We are in the process of commissioning a new machine that will provide the web services with this power. In general, you, the user, will not notice the change only the improvements in service.
Long time SCN volunteer Lee M. is now our Webmaster. The SCN Web pages now have a new look, and Lee has spent many hours seeking input before we moved forward on the design. If you were someone that gave input, then I thank you.
We are still working on the new webmail service. It is based on the IMP process that is used by about 200,000 sites around the world. It is actively supported and it is still in the Free Software Domain. This should not be confused with the old WebMail service that had limited functionality.
To remind you, with IMP will go a version of PINE. This will add new features and will work with the new IMP WebMail.
Currently the services are in test mode. They are still too slow to make freely available, even with the new server. It appears that the challenge is a networking one and not one of software. The System Volunteers are working on a fix for this.
We have been discussing the need to accommodate HTML and attachments for their email. As of April 30, 2003, the limit on email had been raised from 2M to 6M with a warning cutting in at 5M. This should help our users.
The "over your limit" message, which users see when they logon, will go away and/or reflect the more realistic 6M limit within the next few weeks.
The Seattle Public Library (SPL) has chosen to take several week-long breaks (without pay) to offset possible job loses that would have come because of budget cuts. These breaks have included a complete shutdown of the Library System and have affected SCN.
I would like to thank the SPL staff for their help to minimize the impact on SCN. At no time did SCN stop working. However, we did lose a SPL service machine that resulted in SCN seeming to "disappear."
The SPL breaks show the need for a full time (and paid) support staff in a network infrastructure. I hope you will appreciate, as I do, the efforts of our dedicated volunteers to keep SCN running and in service. With a small core group of volunteers, we have kept SCN running for 98% of 2002.
Moving to the New Downtown Library
In the coming year, we will be moving into the new SPL downtown library building on Fourth Avenue. After much examining of blueprints and floorplans, SPL has found SCN a space, and we can continue our long-standing partnership. In the coming months, the System Volunteers will again start to plan a smooth move from the temporary library location to the new building.
Other Hardware and Software issues
On the Sun hardware, there is nothing much to report. We have had a few memory errors that have been dealt with as quickly as possible.
We have added more disk space so that the flood of Internet unsolicited email does not impact our users as much.
We are about to change the way we use the PC hardware. We plan to install a PC as our mail server. This will be designed to speed up the mail services and will become an integral part of our backup service.
We have started blocking sites that we feel are sending unsolicited emails. One of our main definitions is a sender that sends emails and then rejects returned email.
This does present a challenge. One person's "SPAM" is email another person wants. The email blocking system is seen by some as a great tool and by others as censorship.
I will be trying to get a feeling from our users on what they think. If you have any current views, please let me know.
Earlier this year, the Appellate Court of the State of Washington ruled twice--that the case of Littleton vs the Guests, et. al. was dismissed. In addition. the second ruling was certified by the Superior Court of the State of Washington.
In December 2002 Mr. Littleton started a new legal action, this time effectively suing the organization (SCNA) instead of named parties. This case was dismissed in court in April 2003.
For more information, see case number 00-2-11353-6.SEA. There was a judgment amount awarded in the sum of $11,265.94 and bearing a 12% per annum interest. We have not collected.
Updates and Positions
SCN's says goodbye
It is with sadness that we have to say goodbye and good luck to volunteers who have given so much to SCN over the past year. I cannot mention everyone, but here are a few to highlight the gaps that their leaving created: webmaster Patrick Fisher, and board members Rod Clark and Adrianne Bailey. There are many more who I have not named and for that I apologize.
Even though we are moving forward, we have a long way to go. Some of the positions below are currently held in a temporary capacity.
One of the biggest challenges as SCN adapts and changes is to manage internal work without disrupting outside operations. I hope that we will soon find volunteers for the following positions:
- Education Coordinator
- Membership Coordinator
- Registration Coordinator
- Web Editor Coordinator
On a positive note, I would like to welcome some new volunteers in coordination positions: Mike Walker is taking over from Randy Groves as Systems Operations coordinator, with Randy and John (JJ) Johnson as advisors; and Lee M. is the new WebMaster
Updates and Positions
Excomm is the main day-to-day management team and meets the first Saturday of the month at the University Village BurgerMaster. It has an agenda and its roll is to ensure that major decisions made within all the teams of SCN volunteers are controlled and do not unexpectedly affect another team. The membership is made up from the coordinators of each team or their approved delegate. The meeting is open to anyone as an observer, and volunteers may be invited to attend for their specialist input.
Each of the other teams are charged with a set of responsibilities and have the authority to act, within reason, to carry them out independently. Teams seek the advice of Excomm if they feel the impact of their work will be felt beyond their area of administration. All teams have a maillist that they use extensively.
Meetings (reflecting changes in the SPL's hours)
Excomm - 1st Saturday of the month at University Village BurgerMaster.
General Meetings - 4th Wednesday of the month at the University Branch Library.
Board meetings are held quarterly (September, December, March, June) on the 2nd Thursday of the month at the STAR Center.