Friday, March 26, 2010 redesign getting off the ground soon!

As per the ARRL website the redesign and launch is headed toward completion! I for one am looking forward to the new site. They have been working on it for some time and it promises to be a big help for promoting our hobby. I was calling ARRL regarding an unrelated matter and a member close to the project was nice enough to tell me that this weekend should see a change in one of our favorite web watering holes.
Looks like April 12 is the new go live date.
The new is now live!
And it looks great! The interface looks smooth and up to date. Each day you can see that they are adding new features and tidying up loose ends. It was not a small job, but I think it is a significant step in the right direction. The archive information is easier to find and access. They even tell you how many days are left on your subscription! Nice job all around.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hams, Twitter, and the Web 2.0 social media.

Just read a great ARRL article concerning the Web 2.0 social media phenomenon and on Twitter in particular. I have a few experiences of the speed and power of twitter myself. In addition to Amateur Radio, I am active in the Open Source community, in particular the BSD operating system. Last week I made a video recording an interesting talk about PFSense. On the way out the door to make the recording I "tweeted" about making the recording. I was surprised to see within a few minutes, Scott Ullrich the co-founder/developer on the project, had "re-tweeted" my message to his thousand plus followers.

I can not wait to see how this very powerful tool will be used by inventive Hams. One use for twitter is the ability to dispense very important information quickly. Some of the first pictures of the "Miracle on the Hudson" actually came from TwitterPic the twitter picture sharing service. I would not be surprised to see a version of this used over D-Star network to get information out of emergency zones. Of course to be used responsibly, there will have to be controls in place, and that will come in time.

No two people will use this information tool the same way, but it is good to know it is available to us should we need it; kind of like amateur radio.

Friday, March 5, 2010 has a fantastic HTML editor!

I have long wished to have a more interesting bio page and tonight I finally did something about it. While logged into, I selected the "click for more detail..." green bar and selected the "Edit Record" button noted in the image above. In resulting page, I clicked on the "Add or edit your biography text, fonts, etc." link and found the following simple HTML editor that is great for adding details to any QRZ bio.

With the advent of "Web 2.0" and all the online media options many people would like to add more than text and an image or two. In that case has you covered. If you look toward the bottom and select the "Advanced" button you get a HTML editor with much more power and advanced options.

Embedding videos, editing the actual HTML code, it's all there. I particularly liked the ability to toggle between regular webpage and full screen editor mode. They even have multiple pasting options for copying your data into the page. I feel I have only scratched the surface on this powerful FREE tool, but I can assure I will learn more and report back here. Below I have attached before and after pictures so you can judge the abilities if this editor for yourself. Just click on any of these images for a larger view. I am not a web designer by any stretch of the imagination, but the this well engineered website has me thinking I could be! QRZ relies on contributions from the amateur radio community and I will be making one soon, hope you can too.
I have traded a few emails with Fred L Lloyd AA7BQ and found out that the advanced HTML editor software is the open source Java based TinyMCE, the platform you would expect from a long-time Sun man like Fred.

Before &After:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Amateur Radio emergency comunications in action!

I was listening to a few hams using the LIMAC repeater for an interesting talk on Physics. Just as they were about to sign and clear there was an emergency break-in call. It was Raymond Larsen, N2ZEM asking for someone to place a Suffolk Police 911 call as he had just witnessed an auto accident in which a woman was injured. It was the first time I had heard something like this and the receiving operator (KC2QIQ I believe) snapped into action and handled the call like a pro. It is one those moments that really makes you proud to be a part of such a civic-minded hobby. Even if you are just monitoring.