Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Handiham World for 15 February 2012

Welcome to Handiham World.
Pat, WA0TDA, wearing orange hard hat, talking into microphone.
Under construction!  That's the website, and in this photo I am pictured with the bright orange hardhat that I use for antenna projects. I guess it isn't really needed for website construction, but it makes for good show biz!
But seriously, folks...  One thing the website move to the new server has done is that it has forced me to take a new, fresh look at the member pages, and more specifically the remote base instruction and installation pages.  What a mess that part of our site is!  Taking a fresh look has put me into the situation of a brand-new user, a person just getting started with the remote base. It all seemed so logical when we first posted those remote base pages, but as the remote base project grew to a second station and then a hosting project for the W4MQ software itself, each new part of the project had its own pages.  It started to get pretty confusing, but I hadn't realized just how confusing until changing the hosting service made me take a hard-nosed new look at the whole thing. 
A new user must learn about what the remote base system is about.  The software must be located on the website and downloaded.  After that, the configuration process must be completed for both W0ZSW and W0EQO.  This cannot be done until Lyle, K0LR, and I edit the configuration files on each of the remote base station host computers.  When we do that, we also need each user's Skype name.  That means that sometime early in the website instructions we need to alert users to the fact that they will need to download and install Skype if they do not already have a Skype account.  We have to ask new users what password they would like to use for the W4MQ software, so this is something that needs to be clarified in our instruction pages.  
The way I feel about it, users should not have to fight their way through the setup process because of confusing instructions.  Heaven knows there are enough products and services out there that test our patience every day, but we don't want to be one of them!

For Handiham World, I'm...
Patrick Tice,
Handiham Manager