[amsat-bb] Re: A Modest Proposal

Michael Schulz mschulz at creative-chaos.com
Sun Sep 25 11:45:55 PDT 2011


I bet you'll get the "has been asked before" response at some point during
this discussion
since it has literally just been disc a few weeks back :).

On Sun, Sep 25, 2011 at 1:14 PM, Thomas Doyle <tomdoyle1948 at gmail.com>wrote:

> The bulletin board system AMSAT is using is well suited for information
> that
To be precise, it is not a BBS but a mailing list or reflector.

> is useful for only a relatively short time. If there is a trip to a rare
> grid location that information is of little use after the event takes
> place.
> IMHO what is missing is a way to share information that has relevance
> beyond
> a few days.
The discussion after the trip with the learnings can be of interest longer,
but you're
generally right, it's mostly interesting in the days prior.

> When I became active again on the sats I asked a question on the board. I
> received an email telling me that "that question has been asked several
> times before". It was helpful beyond belief.
You did ask the mighty Google, did you? :) Google never tells you that and
is always
nice. Ok, just kidding.

> In the last few days someone posted a nice check list of things to do to
> try
> and get your SatPC32 station running. A bit later someone posted a
> correction that added a vital step that was missing in the first posting.
> Suppose a newbie subscribes to the board today - he has already looked at
> the articles from 1997-2004 in the new users section on the AMSAT website
> but needs a little current info. He posts a message on the board asking
> about getting his SatPC32 station working. Lets hope no one sends him a
> message telling him that "that question has been asked before". I also hope
> no one sends him a message suggesting he uses the search funtion. That
> would
> be like the 4th grade teacher who responded to my question "How do you
> spell
> pneumonia ?" - by telling me to "Look it up in the dictionary" - I spent a
> lot of time looking for words that started with "N" before asking my folks
> when I got home.
Now the question again is: did he search the archives? I'm not referring to
archives but the mailing list archives. You hopefully are aware of those.
Btw. they're
plain text and platform independent.

> If they did search - what would they look for. What are the chances that
> they would find the initial post AND the correction post. I realize
In this specific case starting with Satpc32 would be a good start.

> everything is perfect as it is but perhaps it would be nice to have
Then why change it? Never change a running system.

> something similar to the Yahoo Groups where subscribers can post files and
> pictures of things that would be of interest for more than a day or two.
If Yahoo groups, then the problem becomes that the content will be locked
into Yahoo's
format. One of the big problems we have to today in the computing world is
the use of
proprietary formats which lock information into the products of certain
vendors. Yahoo (or
Google for that matter) are not too different from that. Questions here are:
can you extract
all data from your Yahoo group when necessary at any time into a useable
format to use
it somewhere else? Are Yahoo groups open to searches from Google so that
when someone
looks for something it comes up?  There are plenty of ways to host a file
and share the link. It is a good idea to not share files through a mailing
list. Not everybody
cares for the files. I know Yahoo groups can convert them into links and
they're hosted with
Yahoo. What I find always interesting is that groups much larger who produce
pretty much
all of the essential software that today allows you to actually use the
Internet (Apache, sendmail,
Bind, Linux, *BSD) use either Majordomo or the newer mailman. Why? Because
it just works.

Take a look at the SDR-Radio or Softrock groups on Yahoo. There are files
> and pictures that have been very helpful to me. There was a recent posting
> here from someone asking for a current Doppler.SQF file. I sent him mine
> but
> it would have been better if there was a place to store it where anyone
> could access it.
The best place would've been your blog where not only you could share the
file but also the
knowledge you gathered while creating it thus making more people smarter.
what you learn you must share, what you know you must teach.

> Some people have their stations working well but are not all that excited
> about spending a lot of time documenting it and posting it for a handful of
> people who might look at it before it disappears into the abyss of the
> message archive.
See my quote above. People who aren't willing or interested to share and
help others improve
and better themselves will not necessarily care for your approach to change
over to another
service :).

Bottom line is, the system of today is working. The feature of sending files
is probably not as
strongly desired to warrant a change. Biggest problem being reliance on
somebody elses service
which can be gone tomorrow including your data. Then what?

On a side note regarding search functions etc. I do find a lot that people
ask indeed questions
before even attempting to do their homework and show a little initiative.
This is true for multiple
areas, not just ham radio lists. People today seem to have become to lazy to
actually go out
there and do a simple Google search and instead just post questions to
forums or lists that
they could've answered by themselves in the same amount of time it took to
post the question.
Like Thomas Watson jr. once said: "All the problems of the world could be
settled easily if men
were only willing to think. The trouble is that men very often resort to all
sorts of devices in order
not to think, because thinking is such hard work."

73 Mike K5TRI

p.s.: You may not like what I wrote in return, but at least I threw a Thomas
Watson quote in there :)

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