Tag6880

Media day

Bad timing I know, but what can I do about it other than go with it and get the job done in the time available.

Got an urgent job for the 6880 site, or it’s gala cousin to be precise. The leaflet is due to be launched, along with the bulk of the info for the public next weekend. They only want the website to launch the info at the same time!

Still, I got a job done, building a PDF to download, a Keynote slideshow pushed to YouTube to host (save bandwidth, self promo on YouTube) and a few other tweaks. Should be a simple case of building a couple of pages now, something I can get done in the next couple of days, and the rest can wait till after my break.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Another blog reborn?

I’m not sure wether to promote their existence yet, I chopped the file sizes down to just web viewable without needing watermarks, and no bigger than 20kb, but I know that publishing their fact will cause a data spike.

But only as part of the bigger blog….

Still, a category is better than no blog!

Ok, did some website ‘tweaking’ today, added in some archive photo’s that have been waiting a while for something to happen to them. I’m not sure wether to promote their existence yet, I chopped the file sizes down to just web viewable without needing watermarks, and no bigger than 20kb, but I know that publishing their fact will cause a data spike.

Still not 100% happy with their sizing and web presence so I will leave them be until a more permanent fix can be found.

Signed up for a PayPal account in the 6880 name, I want to add a donations button, and tie it to a better webshop option. Sign up now for work and action in 6 months I think.

New Car!!

I’ve got a 6880 meeting in Chester today. Been putting it off for months, bit the bullet, upset the apple cart and now face the music. NOT looking forward to it one little bit, and flying all over the N West this eve to get everything done will not improve my attitude.

Still, should enjoy the drive… New car being picked up this afternoon. Audi A3, 2.0 TDI Sport. Something to really look forward to…

Really liking Vector linux, I know I’ve said it many times before, but it does impress.

Ok so its no speed demon, but is noticably faster than Xandros, and appears quicker than SuSE 9. Default package selection is almost spot on, a lot of stuff I don’t use, but a nice selection I do, without looking for packages etc. Vasm package manager seems OK, but not seen too much of it.
Networking does leave something to be desired, its not got Xandros handy ‘mount here’ dialouge, but then nothing has, neither has it the mount at start GUI that Mepis Pro had. The way around it has been to set up bookmarks in koqueror, and short cuts on the desktop. Same as Ubuntu. It does not give me transparancy of Xandros, so I may be doing some hacking, but I’m waiting for new NAS drive before finalising.

Another new toy to play with as well..
PPC PDA/phone in my sweaty little mitts.

Nice device, not as intuitive as the Treo, and a learning curve as steep as a Mac or Linux machine. I’ll get used to it I suppose, its just i’m going through the “wish l’d stayed with” stage.

LoT.S TO LEN Kwtecarn LIktf handwriojhtiny re0coo1nitioni ha ha

Err, handwriting recognition leaves something to be desired.

Now taken the decision to install Active sync on the Virtual Windows. I don’t really want to, but I think it is easier to have the option of backup etc to there, and I need to install some stuff that needs it. Still, one install and leave it may be the way around. The more I discover, the more I find Windows is just not user friendly after using the alternatives. Mac pride themselves on their GUI, but comapared to Palm its not simple, and even Linux offeres plenty of Geek/admin tools that Apple don’t.

Sync ain’t fun… Either by Bluetooth or usb.
Update, it’s a hell of a lot more than a nightmare. Its totally unpredictable, something duplicate, others move dates, especially all day events. All this with Missing Sync, which by popular opinion is better than Pocket Sync. I’m about ready to punch the thing.

iApps

•8:45:
New 6880 newsletter template is 80% done. Pages is a pretty good word processor, but learning a new WP is less good. Its kinda MS Works +, but that cannot be a bad thing. It fits with the ‘Mac it just works’ philosophy. For an average use the iWork-iLife suite is more than
ample. I’m of the opinion that Works is more than OK for the average computer user. If MS bundled Works with EVERY Windows install, and tidied a few more apps into groups, added a little spit & polish, they would be taken a little more seriously. As for Linux, the day a Works
or iApp suite appears on that platform, with even half the polish of iLife, then that is the day that desktop Linux will have truly arrived.

I think we maybe waiting sometime for that to happen though.

Its strange when you think about it, Linux wants to be a contender in the desktop market, but has almost no ‘professional’ applications. MS has everything available for it, but nothing bundled with it, and the Mac platform aims at some specific pro markets, and bundles one hell of a useful SOHO suite into every install. To me it all seems a bit of a hash.
Still, I would be quite happy to drop all my eggs into the Mac basket.
Its a good platform, and even the additional software to the OS is impressive. I really want to start getting stuff done, rather than than just trying to do stuff. I will be the first to admit that Apple is not intuitive if you are coming from MS, or Linux. Yes it does the stuff,
but it is very much a GUI driven interface, and I do sometimes fail to ‘gel’ with it, somethings are so simple I fail to see them even when they stare back at me, and yet others are so good I do not even notice they have done their job.

Right now I’m considering a move away from Entourage and using the standard Mac contact apps, issues with syncing with PPC is the drivingforce.

Catchup

*15:56:
Strange: Now about as far from a net connection as I would normally get and I’m attempting to catch up with my blogging.

Downloaded the DVD version of Solaris 10, seems that it is now installable under Virtual PC, but still appears to be a bitch to do. Simple idea was to play with it under a virtual environment, then, if possible, attempt to install it on my ‘server’. The ‘word’ is that an install is pretty ‘old fashioned’, basic GUI, and take a long time. I can confirm this. First took over 10 hours, and because I wasn’t around, it either crashed, or a reboot left it in some kind of loop. Either way it was not successful and another attempt is now being made.

I still think I’m just doing this for the sake of it. I’m 100% sure the target box for an eventual install will balk at the attempt and I’ll end up re-installing SuSE or something. What is really annoying is that I know I could easily throw money at this, and end up with a rock solid usable box, running everything I need. It’s called a MacMini. Biggest hurdle is that I do not have the money, and I’m not yet ready to give up on the current setup. Change it yes, but dump the thing, no.

When the NAS device arrives, is plugged in and configured, I’ll be able to have a little more freedom. Until then I’ll just wait. I suppose that there is a big part of me that enjoys the playing, learning and picking up the pieces every time a major upgrade/change fails, or needs more implementation. The other half of me, the one that says ‘I want a computer system to just work’ will possibly never win as the curious side take over. What I need is the stability of a good system, and the spare capacity to let myself play. As it stands I hope to move the server out of sight, and earshot, into the shed outside, and at a later date purchase another Mac as a desktop. What I really hope to do is to have 2 more Macs, one as a desktop, and another as a server.
The little ‘bonus’ income from work is likely to disappear very soon, so I’m not holding my breath on making any changes anytime soon. Blowing a stupid amount on data charges set me back a little as well. I can argue it was work, although I think it was pleasure. Either way, lesson learnt.

Got a number of tasks to catch-up on this weekend, and a project to plan. 6880 site needs an update, and an upgrade. Last weekends very failed attempt at an upgrade of Mambo lost me the time I needed to make the updates. Some sections are out of action now, but at least I have not lost data. Biggest hassle, or worry, on the pending software upgrade is adding back user details. I’m hoping it is going to be possible to hand edit the SQL tables, the upgrade route looks a pain pain the backside, and adds more points of failure than simply building a new dbase/site and hand migrating all the date in via its own editing capabilities, killing 2 birds with one stone as the site gets its refresh at the same time, on the cards anyway.
I’ve also got an article to write for SAL, got the basic facts, but need to create something more inspirational than its current form. Deadline looming. Monday night, so its now my top to-do, followed by an upgrade plan on the website.

*22:45:
I’m feeling very relaxed now. Michelle’s mum and dad moving 2 hours drive away is a boon for me. Open house means we can stay whenever we wish, and they are so far into the country it is almost another world. Peace and quite, nothing to distract me, lazy days, batteries refreshed. I never used to understand people who bought caravans a couple of hours away, or the effort others made to get away every weekend with a tourer. Now I can. If I could afford a second home I would invest in one, although I suppose some of the joy would go because you would have chores to do and things to distract you from the business of relaxing or concentrating on a single task.

I nailed an article for SAL magazine in 3/4 of an hour earlier, Will had done a list, but it was uninspiring. I made a version that was to ‘inform and inspire’. I think I succeeded, but it is up to the others if this is the version they submit for publication. I’m sure there is a frustrated writer in me somewhere, but again this is ghost or group written.
A full re-write of the 6880 site is needed, that will take care of that itch, along with a new newsletter in a months time.

Mambo

*0:32:
Finally got an install of mambo for Greatwestern.info. Got some work to do there, but there is no pressure.

*18:45:

I think I can safely say, bugger…

Upgrading Mambo on 6880.co.uk has gone horribly wrong. Now had a full wasted day, partly because of problems running ftp transfers, but completely screwed the whole site.

Bugger again…

Working on reinstalling an older version of Mambo, then I’ll try to do the install incrementally up to the current one.

Bugger, bugger…

Corruption on old one caused need to update. Removal of the backup restore in the last 2 versions screwed the upgrade by not allowing me to simply restore backup taken today.

Bugger, fu*k, bugger…

I’ll see what this ends up like in a few days.

Not just Great Little Trains

Whoa….
Forgot to add that I got this contact through the website…

I work for ITVWales (ex-HTV) as a cameraman in the Wrexham office. As a steam enthusiast I’m trying to get my reporter colleague interested in the 6880 story. If there is ever anything visual to shoot at the workshops please let us know. Our news items usually last about 90secs and contain a couple of interview clips, the reporter telling the story and pictures of the work going on. (hopefully when/if it’s beginning to look like a steam loco!) Obviously general public orientated and not too technical. Also if there’s a still colour pic of a Grange too. (wonder if Ivo Peters shot any and how much it would cost to transmit!) Any press releases available would be welcome. Contact us on either this email address or FAX 01978 261xxx
Regards
Chris Davies

So things are not all bad, and the website does throw up some useful information/contacts/advice at times.

This fits with my stated aim that we have to work very hard to push this project from some very different angle, and one I have identified is the ‘Welshness’ and the fact that it is the first standard guage steam locomotive built there for well over half a century.

“Wales, its not just great little trains!”

Fall out

The week of monster email arguments….

Almost got to the point of telling Q to stuff things….

I didn’t though, but ended up biting my tongue, or keyboard tapping fingers. Problem has come from my setting out a few home truths, and they are based on the realworld view of the project, not the rose tinted view. My point was taken badly, and I perhaps reacted too quickly, although I feel I was provoked into my reaction. Who knows, but it got a little out of hand, and was not help by Q passing everything to Will, but I did bite my tongue on that.

Simply things are not progressing as quickly as Q hoped, but rather than take stock, chill and work with a program that although is extended, fits better with our income, and admin skills/time.
My points centered on the rate of progress expected, and exactly how it was supposed to be achieved given the (disappointing) public/membership reaction.

The long and short is that we have achieved a lot, and it does have a public impact, but is not, on its own, enough for them. We have to do some more to really impress. Another element is that Q is basing planning around 5199, and while it has similarities, simple demographics are different to 25 years ago. We can’t go down an identical road. Maybe we have to go down a new untrodden road, but either way it is obvious to me now that it will not be a rapid journey. Thankfully Will agrees with me in many respects.

I do feel that we should drop any reference to ‘fast track’ in the project.

Amazon association is progressing as badly as I envisaged, so I’m not disappointed, this is another area that q and I kicked off on, and maybe even our differences in how we view the website are fundamental in the way we handle this. But all the cards are laid on the table between us, and we can build on things the way they now stand.

Maybe one day I can look back on events with more humor than I do at the moment, but it has been, for me at least, a stressful week, helped not least by my lack of progress in keeping some things updated, but I didn’t make any mention of this to Q.

Going to go do these tasks now.

Brush up

Just given the 6880 site a brush up, and added a couple of items in. I had problems with images earlier in the week, but they seem to be cured now. How they can cure themselves is anyone’s guess, but I had a poke in the files and html, now many news images are a direct link, not a directory based one, so that is kinda absolute.

Biggest new is that I’ve signed up, and published’ links onto the Amazon affiliates program. How long it will last as useful is anyone’s guess, but if it brings a few pounds in it is worth it. Q is doing his best to promote the site, and the link to the customers he is delivering to, so outside help would be good, I need to bring a parallel site at greatwestern.info online to help make the most of it as well, although I wanted this to be self funding for my personal site, and may well do a second signup at Amazon in the future, as well as Google ads. This is to pay hosting only.

Will update with some more important news in the next few days too.

Big update.

Right. How do I put 5 months of news into a few paragraphs? And, boy, is there some news.

Easy, you just pull the news from the web. So here it is.
Monday, 19 July 2004
Our AGM took place today, 18/07/04, at the Bryn Derwyn Hotel Llangollen. Thank you Bob for the use of a room to hold the meeting. The trustees were re-elected and our accounts for 2003 were approved. 2003 was the last year that the Society was run with a limited membership, and, following our launch of a public appeal this year, we would expect to have a lot more to report at our next AGM. We are now in a position to launch our plans for the coming year, and I will update this site with the details as soon as possible. The Llangollen Railway has formally agreed to our base at Llangollen, there was some speculation that we may not have the backing from them, but we now have full approval from both the Trust and the PLC to officially call the Llangollen Railway our base. We hope that this will become a long and fruitful partnership between the Railway and ourselves. A business plan has been produced that sets out our plans in all areas of the project, and the benefits to both partners. Elements of the finished plan will be available as part of the website rebuild over the next few weeks, and a more general version of this plan will soon be available on request.
Monday, 30 August 2004
As another attempt to take the promotion to a wider audience, we have once again been kindly offered space on the Heritage Railway magazine stand at the Great Dorset Steam Fair. Mainly an event for our road going steam cousins, this event is an important one in the Steam calender. Indeed it is an event that organisers of the Railway events should take a note from, an expected 200,000 visitors, over 5 days, is only the start. If it was worth taking the Flying Scotsman to a similar event, it can do no harm to promote ourselves in a similar vein. Thank you once again to all at Heritage Railway magazine magazine for making this possible for us, we will be attending from Friday 3rd Sept – Sunday 6th.

Monday, 30 August 2004
It is with some elements of regret that we have to inform the wider public that we are no longer pursuing the purchace of the tender from Kinlet Hall due to the unexpectedly high price that they require for it, however this is not all bad news.The required sum did come as a surprise to our group, this tender has long been promised to us, and indeed we did make a start on working on it, but when it came down to it we feel that the price wanted is unacceptably high. Naturally the Kinlet Hall group want to receive the highest amount for it, and it is unfortunate that several other groups have recently made applications to purchase it. We could have pursued the tender, and paid more than we feel is acceptable, but we have taken the decision to devote our time and effort into the locomotive, and will again look to the supply of a tender later in the project.
There are several tenders attached to locomotives that are out of use, and we will look at the options of the purchase, hire or loan at a more advanced stage of the build. It cannot be ruled out, but the option of building a new tender from scratch is another option we will look into, depending on funding and time-scales. It is interesting to note that since this news started to leak out that we have already received offers of the loan of a tender, again another sign of the support we receive as a project
Tuesday, 24 August 2004
News from our last working weekend. We are currently in between projects, and part of the weekend has been spent deciding on some of our future projects. As one large project, 6880 can then be divided into sub-projects, each one no less important than the next, and a major part of our planning at the moment is being devoted to tackling the programming and execution of each of these sub-projects.As promotion is taking a major part of our activities at present, a start was made on producing 2 more collection/leaflet boxes, one to be located at Carrog station, the other is to go to our colleague Peter Thomas, who runs an engineering firm that makes, among other things, 5” guage Grange cylinder castings. This will enable us to advertise at the model engineering exhibitions that he attends. Another item started, again partly for promotion reasons, and as another important symbol, both for our membership and the statement of intent for this project, has been to start to produce the nameplates for Betton Grange. We received a template for the steel backing plates made by member Peter Byart, taken from the original from Bearly Grange, owned by another member Alan Marshall. The backing plates have now been cut out, and passed to Peter Rich for the completion of the brass work. We should soon see the new nameplates alongside the previously acquired numberplates. The next working weekend is planned for the middle of September.
Saturday, 18 September 2004
We are proud to announce that we have now begun work on 6880. [Photo] By the time you are reading this news item, the mainframes will have been cut, and delivered to Llangollen. We had planned on this momentous milestone in the construction of 6880 Betton Grange to take place at the end of this year, but we are pleased to be able to report that we have reached this point several months earlier than expected. We also would liked to have brought you this announcement as it happened, but we have also tied this news to a major membership/fund-raising drive, the first part of which is a two part article on the Grange’s in the current, and next, issue of Heritage Railway magazine. We have been able to release the news of the frames at the same time. [Photo]As in many things circumstances dictate what we are able to do, we had originally planned to purchase the steel for the frames at the 1st anniversary of the launch of the appeal, but better than expected fund-raising, and a huge rise in the cost of steel has brought forward our plans. We originally priced the cost of supplying the material and profiling of the frames a year ago, but unfortunately the last few months has seen a huge rise in the cost of steel, fuelled by the huge development taking place in China, and it is expected that the prices will travel much higher in the medium term. These events have seen the original costings rise by more than a third so we have taken this milestone decision to order the main frames now.

[Photo]

This is the first major component unique to the Grange to be manufactured for 6880, and they are the first set of Grange frames that have been cut since 1939. The suppliers are Jaymee Engineering in Stourbridge, West Midlands, and we have purchased the mainframe, stretchers and associated parts in a specification that is suitable for mainline use. The profiling has been done from the original 1936 drawings, and once they are delivered to Llangollen we will be able to make a start on drilling and assembling them. 6880 Betton Grange is now a reality, and it is thanks to all our supporters that we have come this far in the last year, however there is still much to accomplish, and we need your continued support. If you are reading this and have not yet signed up for membership, please join us, with a bigger membership what can we accomplish in the next year? [Photo]
Ok. So there you go. I’ll fill in the details where needed, and bring everything fully up to date in the next few days.

Scrappy

Its come down to scrappy bits of time updating this thing, and my 6880 blog, well that’s so far behind its untrue, and considering I had big plans for it….

I still do want so much more from that blog, its a record, and could become a book, article, film or some other ridicules mime I cant remember right now. But that’s not what this is about is it, this is mainly about my fondness for trying to get computers to work how I want them too, and their arguments when they do it their way. They usually put up a struggle anyway.

Right now, one computer is doing it its way, and I’m happily following it, because it dose what I want at the same time. Lets call it, um, Mac. Nice name, nice machine, nice OS.

Ok, so some things feel odd compared to Win or Linux, but it really is how a Unix machine should work. I’ve only had to delve into ‘terminal’ once, and that was only to see where it was, but at least it is there, and if my basic knowledge of commands is upto it, I think they may be similar. I just ordered 2 books from Amazon, sort of ‘convert to Mac’ titles, only so I can get more out of this quicker. Principally everything works so smooth in normal use, you just have to do some forgetting, and I think it is a little easier to cope with in that sense than if I had come straight from Windows. Lets see where I’m going wrong, and how I can get more out of it when they arrive.

One of Apple’s strengths is its control over hardware, and tying the Os to it so well, however one of my biggest suprise’s is how well some apps fit to the OS, Microsoft Office in particular. This was my biggest consideration when choosing this machine, and my doubts about Linux intergration with hardware on a laptop. I feel justified in my choice now, everything ‘just fits’, and well, feel the quality.

If I feel upto it, I want to submit an article or review somewhere, time will be a decide here, but I feel that this is, while not exactly earth shattering, at least life changing.

Rushed…

•15.25:Hectic week. After I screwed up the ‘test’ version of the 6880 site I installed and prepared the hosting for a Mambo installation on the proper host.

Sat AM I had a decision to make, and the weather was so awful it was made for me. Build new site. So the day was spent installing a backup of the test one, and updating the content across from the html version. All went so well, if a bit time consuming, that I decomissioned the old site instead of running the 2 in parallel as I had planned. There were a few difficulties importing data into Mambo, but these were resolved by doing the most basic versions of backup and install.

Sunday was out with other commitments, and I mailed out to the list on Monday “look a new site”.

I’ve had about 25% of the list register for the site so far, 20% of the list were dead address etc, so I’m happy with the result, 300 + visits since going live on Saturday, if the Mambo counter is correct.

Now all I need to do is to continue to update the text in the ‘static’ sections to reflect changes, tidy up a few rough edges, and introduce the new content for public and registered users.

The other job is now to introduce a template to the GW.info site, and put up a “work in progress sign”. I’m looking forward to the planned portal project there, but the content may be a little daunting to provide.

Impressed..

•16:36:
looks like we more than impressed the board with the plan, they were not expecting what we gave them!

Robin Jones behind us for 2x 6 page article over 2 issues. We get to write it, we get paid for it. Sept/Oct issues. More lovely work to be done…

Not going down the road of a support appeal, we would have to look into building this into the article ourselves. Seems that the SR appeals are a bit of a con, they are match funded, from a fund existing before they launch. Have been very close to going belly up before, so safer to use the methods without these problems.

Thumbs up!

•20:53:
Ok, the PLC have OK’ed the Grange. Didn’t ever really think there was a problem there, tho there is still the Trust to go, I think its a done deal.
If I did say so myself, the finished plan, in its binder looked impressive.

Ready for the fight?

Big sigh of relief. The business plan is done and on its way. 10 copies of a very pro looking document, and Will is picking up a leaflet for each one direct from the new batch at the printers. Couple this with a copy of Llan newslines that says they gave us permmission for Llan as a base and reg office a year ago.

Say no now and you are in for a bloody fight!

Rant…

This blog thing may just be turning into a rant thing…

Still if it helps vent my spleen on things who cares.

Why is it that this project has to battle against everything? We’ve an idea, we’ve a reasonable amount of support, and its growing, we have a clear plan, and, given the means to do it we have a very high chance of doing it, as planned, and in our timescale.

How many other railway preservation projects can say that? Possibly lots, and that’s the point…

News arriving to me is that the board of Llangollen Railway are less than accepting of our project. They have asked for a business plan, which is OK, but we are the first such group to be asked to do this, and not just because of the uniqueness of the project. At this stage in the job we don’t need anything from them more than an accepting face. Yes in a few months we need 30′ of space, and later we need 60′ of space, but this is in a shed that we (5199 project) have contributed to, in a workshop we have helped negotiate 40,000 pounds worth of business over the next few years, NOT including the contract work we plan on offering to them. Its as though these, and other things, that have gone before now count for nothing.

They talk of being more commercial, of having less ‘crap’ on the sites, but have forgotten that the railway preservation scene relies on volunteer labour, over many years, in projects that are done purely for love (read commercial disasters) to survive. They, the Railway, have to provide attractive stations, clean carriages, safe and inviting environments both on and off train. They have to entice the customers back by providing the ‘entertainment’ whether that be special events or unique ‘customer experience’, but, there is really only one thing that attracts the paying visitor, and that is a steam locomotive at the front of the train.
Granted, a proportion of the customers any railway attracts are enthusiasts, and is a market that we intend to tap into with our project, and a proportion, maybe even a growing one, are diesel orientated, but the overwhelming majority of customers that any heritage railway needs, or wants, on its seats are Joe Public, and Joe Public wants to see a steam train on the front of the train.

That steam loco at the front will almost certainly have been restored and maintained with a very high proportion of donated money via a variety of sources. It is almost certainly be at the very best breaking even, including the donated part of its income, and is the very reason that many people are involved in preservation. Customers want to see it, enthusiasts want to see it, photographers want to see it, people are often members of the locomotive owning group, and by spin off maybe members of its ‘home’ base, and finally the crew, including maintenance, are there because of the locomotive.

We are backing a project to create, not restore, a new steam loco. Not a unique project, but one that still has a very high ‘novelty’ value. We are creating a unique locomotive, there are no longer any originals, that fact appeals to the enthusiast. We are creating a named tender locomotive, immediate ‘Joe Public’ appeal. We are creating a locomotive type that is ideally suited to the heritage railways for operating requirements. We are immediately offering the status of association to our project, ‘home of the ‘Grange’ project’ or ‘come and see a NEW steam locomotive being built in our workshop’, and any associated draw (read commercial opportunities here)that this can provide.

But this, it appears counts for nothing at Llangollen.

For me the salt in the wound is the acceptance to use the railway workshop as our registered company address 12 months ago, and the board level acceptance of the project a few years ago, and now the demands on justification to be based there. This, to me goes against any professional, commercial, or business, sense or acceptable practice. Quentin, Will and others are equally disappointed because of the work, time, money and involvement that they have put into Llangollen over the years in various projects now count for nothing.

EGH and the tiny minds on the board may yet get to see their commercial dream of a railway running over 7 miles of spectacular scenery, from point A to nowhere, with motive power provided entirely by diesel railcar, run by paid staff, offering no customer facilities other than the thrill of a 1950’s DMU, run down stations and no paying customers.

Shades of BR circa 1955 – 1985 anyone?

On one thing I’m sure, this project, and proberley several others, will not be based there, and if it was to go to the vote now, I’d be taking a long hard look at our commitment to staying there. If a good option was to appear now, would give it very serious consideration.

Sheesh.

Why do I bother. I’ve set up basic template for new website on a test server to introduce the new look to everyone, all Q can say is “it’s a simplified version of the old one, and we need more news on it!”.

Of course its a simplified version, it has no content at all… its the basic idea.

I shall keep my cool, its my baby, and I’ll do it how I want to do it. Plan is to introduce all the content, back it up and roll it out from a new install on the proper domain. He really does not realise the work that goes into these things, even doing it this way means hours and hours of work.

Yes CMS is simple, but there is a full website to import, configure and roll out, along with the new content, photos and back cataloguing news items. All this needs to be done ASAP as the news has happened faster than is possible to update the old site, and, I have to fit it into business plan, newsletter, membership and AGM stuff.

I’m also trying to bring an office online to alleviate some of the duplicating of data, and passing it around. Fine, the tech angle is what I became involved with, not the rest of the crap.

Barry Transport Extravaganza.

Done and gone now. Successful from some points of view, not from others. Biggest disappointment is that the boiler signing was scheduled to take place this weekend. It didn’t.

We were a victim of local, and possibly international, politics. Following the elections on the 10th the council leader was voted back in, but technically was not holding office this weekend. They felt it was politically prudent to hold off for another few weeks, we were jus plain pissed off, along with the GWS and Andrew Deakin who is masterminding the thing. Damn.

On the upside the crew enjoyed getting a play with 5199, the VOGR were loving it, and we showed the council members who turned up anyway what the thing is all about. Weather was excellent, visitors were low, but we took more money than York, met a few 6880 members based down there, and maybe convinced one or 2 to join. So, from this stand point alone it was a success.

5199 was posed with council members, and Willington Hall, for plenty of publicity shots, most of which we can’t release for political reasons, they had their own photographer, but I suppose he can only release under controlled conditions too. Still one advantage is that if we make something out of the first ex-Barry loco to return in steam, and on rails, then, when it happens, get more publicity on the boiler handover. 2 bites, one cherry.

Groupware

The Groupware project is not quite abandoned, part of me is determined to see a successful conclusion to this, like it’s gotta work for the sake of the group and the project. Dispersed locations are no good, but this way information and material could be at anyone’s fingertips. Right now its watch this space, I WANT the thing to work, so I will MAKE it work. Somehow.

Last weekends York event was apparently useful, I’m due to make my appearance tomorrow with Will, and cart the thing home again. Long day, hope its worth it. The donations box at Llan took in £46.00+ over 3 days, puts York’s collection to shame. Seems like its useful, and sets me off on ways to get sites or events to self communicate with as little human input as possible.

The famous, or even infamous Business Plan has now had its deadline set back by as much as 2 weeks. We will be able to get next weekends Barry event out of the way and then some. So I suppose this means it will have to be even more polished..

The girls on our host stand at York have invited us to the Dorset Steam Fair, again on their backs, looks interesting, and I’d like to attend. 1st weekend in Sept.OK so this will need confirmation with our group, and Mortons, but I think it could be worth it.

Website

Long chat with Q tonight, seem to have cleared the air a bit. Times have been strained, pressure from deadlines on business plan, and leaflet and the dodgy communication between us all. Anyhow, I think we are OK, and he see’s what I’ve tried to convey in the latest leaflet.

I’m just itching to go back to the webdesign stuff, and I have some other big idea brewing, web based, that could really find a usefull niche with us.

Leaflet ready in Quark now, just need to finalise text, and edit chosen photo’s. Will is making contact with printer too.

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