Webmaster’s Quarterly Report: July-September 2023

As of August 23

Website Appearance

I am continuing to adjust the appearance of the website. Some changes are required to react to the amount of information to be displayed while others are required to react to changes in the underlying software.

Life Goes On

The contents of the website change every week and sometimes daily.

New announcements can arrive at any time. Once the announcement are no longer required, they are archived manually. Since the announcements are usually repeated in the E-Newsletter, some coordination is required.

Hundreds of membership renewals are processed by the website annually. This involves taking payments and notifying the membership team and the treasurer. A record of all membership requests in stored on the website until no longer required.

Similar to the membership process, requests to added events to the online calendar involve an online form. The registration software emails acknowledgements, notifications, and reminders as required. The events are archived by the software as soon as they happen.

Website Migration

In August, the contents of the Nature London website along with its email service were moved to the new DreamHost account for the exclusive use of Nature London. The contents had been under an account owned by Sylvia White for some years.

DreamHost’s technical support took care of everything after Sylvia and I exchanged a few emails to authorize the move and a token payment, $US 25. Earlier attempts by me to do the move on my own were educational, but unsuccessful.

No issues with the website were detected by or reported. The move was probably transparent to all users.

The naturelondon.com website is the “real” website. The “virtual” websites, naturelondon.ca and mcilwraith.ca, refer all internet requests to the “real” website.

All web pages and online media are under @naturelondon.com. If you ask your web browser to go to any naturelondon.ca page, it will take you to that page at naturelondon.com. The URL’s of any PDF files (like online issues of The Cardinal) end in @naturelondon.com.

Web Host Account Cleanup

A handful of test websites were deleted as no longer necessary. They had been used for testing and learning.

Email Updates

The summer issue of The Cardinal has the new board memberships and committee appointments along with a number of @naturelondon.ca email addresses. After I uploaded the new information to the website, I saw that a number of email addresses still in the DreamHost email system were no longer being published. This was due to changes to the board and the appointments that rendered some email addresses obsolete. Removing them from the system was simple.

Forwarding Email to HotMail

The current version of the DreamHost mail forwarding software does not support @hotmail.com addresses. The temporary workaround is to change the DreamHost settings from @hotmail.com addresses to mine, nlwebguy@gmail.com, so that nothing is missed. Then I forward the emails by hand.

The long term workaround is to create @gmail.com addresses that can receive from DreamHost. The intended recipients can start using this account or the account can set configured to automatically forward all emails to the intended @hotmail.com addresses.

Special Case of fieldtrips@naturelondon.ca

The recipient, Evelyn Rogers, said the only sender was the field trip request process. Since she was simply forwarding the emails to me, I agreed to handle these for her. I will continue to notify the originator and her when the field trip has been added to the online calendar. A further simplification is that I will generate and email the lists of those registered for each field trip after registrations are closed.

Discontinuing Certain Email Addresses

I have already received permission to remove several no longer published email addresses. Some were a second version of the address with or without a period between two words; for example, outdoormeetings versus outdoor.meetings.

To simplify maintenance of the mail forwarding system, I will remove all @naturelondon.com and @mcilwraith.ca email addresses on January 1, 2024. Until then, I will intercept mail to those addresses, forward them as appropriate, and tell the sender that the address has been changed to a @naturelondon.ca address.

Chimney Swift Monitoring Program

Last year, I used a Mac desktop computer to administer the scheduling of monitors. A key feature of the Mac is that I could write a computer program that could send personalized email messages to monitors. When I migrated to a PC, I lost this feature.

Now the weekly schedule and associated details are posted on password-protected pages on the website. This “special area” of the website has its own password that is shared with all monitors.

Butterflies and Moths

I added new menu items under resources with starter documents for butterflies and moths.

Online Documentation

Notes on maintaining and operating this website are being added to the website for the use of the current and future webmasters.