December 9, 2010
ROGER 12/09/2010 2:47 pm It's been a long while since we had a meeting and I'm not positive we need one but I wanted to give you some information to mull over as we approach 2011. We recently had a wave of orders (21 in a couple of weeks time) and are likely to have many more in the near future. With these last orders, I have distributed 1655 booklets and 1001 CD sets. I have about 150 booklets and 21 CD sets on hand. I have been trying out my CD burner to see if I can effectively produce CDs here at home. I have a CD labeling kit and access to a color laser printer for the labels. My productions are nearly indistinguishable from the original batch. The CD inventory as stated is originals and can be supplemented with my in-house duplication but this will not work for more than one more large wave of orders. While discussing another issue with MikeL, the topic of data distribution came up and we brainstormed a few ideas one of which was to use USB drives. These are becoming the new data distribution media as they can be brand-labeled and are customizable. Additionally, updates to the data can be forwarded to the recipient with instructions on where to copy the files. Neither MikeL or I were sure if it is possible to "lock" the drives to prevent alteration or corruption but this can be investigated easily. With this in mind, I ask the Board's permission to pursue quotes for bulk USB drives with the intention to shift our file delivery to this method. Please "reply to all" with your questions, comments, or preference regarding this potential change in media.
NANCY 12/09/2010 4:05 pm I would like to announce survival documents, 18 gig in all, is not only in several places within the US but a couple in Europe, in Argentina, and will shortly be in New Zealand, Africa, and India! This is likewise true of the ZetaTalk with Troubled Times information, all these many mirror sites.
STEVE 12/09/2010 10:32 pm I think per gigabite the USB cost is fairly low nowdays but I imagine this method of distribution would be relatively more expensive than the current package. I wonder if we would have to scale the sale point cost at all to cover our total cost for delivery of each unit.
ROGER 12/10/2010 7:45 am That was something I was anticipating but didn't mention since I have no idea what the cost will be per drive.
MARY 12/10/2010 11:45 am Maybe I missed something but I don't know why we don't just stick to the CD / book format.
STEVE 12/11/2010 1:22 am If it's more expensive I think we may be better off sticking with the current format. Otherwise it's probably a more sleeker way of delivering data. I think the CD format is fine nevertheless as the data content remains the same.
GERARD 12/11/2010 2:22 am I have to agree with Steve, that USB sticks are more expensive. I think it also depends on how much data it has to contain. But even then I think that in comparison buying 25 CD's or more is cheaper then buying 25 USB sticks. Something to think about
ROGER 12/16/2010 9:04 am Well I've received some quotes and completed some independent research as well. Before I present the numbers, let me address the media format issue. As I recall, when we first cut the CD's, we had to make some critical choices in what information to include. We couldn't just rip the whole website onto a single disc. The advantage in the thumb drives now is that we have an even larger content that might be included and as things change, we can send out core data updates to recipients. Perhaps this is too much to manage and realistically we may not have more than one or two such updates in the coming year. Nonetheless, a 1 or 2 GB drive opens up many possibilities while keeping the delivery in the most compatible and conveniently portable media.
Okay with regard to the cost, the USB drives will likely be more expensive. When we ordered our first and only duplication of the CD's, we faced a minimum order requirement of 1000 units. The cost per unit was around $2.00 (Nancy probably has the records of the exact amount). I anticipate that the cost may be different, but we may not have sufficient funds to cover such a large order at this time. To be sure, I would need to request new quotes for the CD duplication and see what our cost would be for less than 1000 units. The lowest quote I have thus far for the USB drives is $6.50 each for 100 1GB drives (plus shipping costs) with our logo imprinted on the drive (2 color limit). Another option I explored is to get bulk drives without imprinting and print our own labels and attach thereto. I can't be sure of the exact cost for self-labeling, but as I mentioned, I have access to a color laser printer and would need to find compatible clear labels, and after some experimentation, I could get the labeling done. OEMPCworld.com has a 1GB USB drive at the low cost of $4.65 each for 100 or more. If we started with a lower quantity, the cost goes up as high as $5 each for less than 10 units.
The cost will necessarily require an increase in our pricing. I would like to highlight the fact that most of our patrons have ordered the booklet and CD set. The low cost of $10 for the set has probably encouraged them to get both rather than the odd-ball price of $4.10 for the CDs alone. The USB cost will likely drive our data pricing up to $7.50 (same as the booklet) and our combination set would need to go up to about $13 or $14. (The media mail postage is at $2.38 for up to 16 ounces. First class is higher.)
MARY 12/16/2010 12:43 pm I know that most of you are techies and are quite comfortable getting the thumb drives formatted, copied, printed and mailed. In reality, wouldn't it be better to forget the computer part of our offer and make all the info available in booklet form. To date, only a small portion of the info is available in the booklet form (right?). Computers will go down, electricity will vanish but a booklet can be there for all at all times. I MOVE we rewrite the booklet and stick to a paper product. Comments?
STEVE 12/16/2010 2:41 pm Your point is very valid regarding the survivability regarding booklets over anything in a digital format. Once the grid is down, the vast majority will unlikely be accessing their computers again and any digitally stored information will be completely useless. I for one will not be relying on any digital information for the aftertime, only relying on what is in print. I am not sure what would be involved to re-issue and updated booklet besides adding more to the PDF format and reprinting, figuring out the additional costs etc. I second Mary's MOTION.
STEVE 12/16/2010 2:46 pm If we decide to pursue the USB format I have an idea that could reduce the cost point of each unit. It has come to my attention that USB drives go on sale in boxing day and can often be bought for as little as $1 per stick. This coming from a friend who was looking into using USB drives for providing digital information for a company. Apparently stores such as Future Shop and Best Buy have these kind of crazy cheap boxing day sales for these items.
ROGER 12/16/2010 6:16 pm That might be the timing we are looking for! If we could pick up several hundred at a $1 each, we would beat the CD duplication cost!
ROGER 12/17/2010 5:37 pm I've received word back from Princeton Disc (they did our first and only CD dupe project). They quote a new minimum of 500 CDs at $1.19 each. This would be $595 for each format (pdf and html) for a total of $1190 plus shipping. Presently we have somewhere around $300 in the PayPal account (my apologies for not taking the time to check the exact balance just now). We should carefully consider the intent and the method of delivery for this project before we exhaust all our funds (provided there is enough in the treasury account). If we authorize Steve to get a couple of hundred USB drives on Boxing Day, we could experiment with this method and earn some additional revenue (or donations) before committing to the CDs or while revising the booklet.
ROGER 12/18/2010 6:00 pm
So it seems we have a couple of decisions to make:
· Revise the booklet in favor of moving away from electronic media delivery
· Usage of USB drives as a short-term solution to media delivery until funds can be accumulated to process another batch of CDs.
Bear in mind that CDs can be duplicated in small scale (one by one) here at my location (the labeling is the issue as many of us have CD burners). Another alternative would be for us to purchase duplication equipment. Last time I priced this option the equipment was about $600 or $700. With this option, we could break even after about 500 discs. Thoughts?
NANCY 12/18/2010 10:58 am
I too have CD burner on my PC's, and it would seem foolish to purchase a $600-700 equipment when this is about all we have at present in the accounts! Labeling the USB is also an issue, something you mentioned, Roger, as putting together from home printers. So using non-labeled CD's would be no different, short term. If we are at the wire, I'd sugest burning a CD at home, and returning part of their funds, perhaps, to compensate. With a note of explanation about duplication process pending.
There is a third option/problem here, not yet addressed. The TT Inc costs, to operate, several hundred a year. Roger reports that he has $350 or so, and our checking account has $576.93. This drains at $7/month with an addition $3.50 for a check image (though we have few of those). Our Delaware Representative, The Company Corporation, now charges $235/year. Our corporate PO box, which could perhaps be dropped to using my personal box though this is piercing the corporate veil, is $100/yr. Then there is the Wisconsin registration, a requirement of the IRS that we have a physical location, not be just a PO box (fraud prevention), and this past summer they up'd that to $54/yr. We must register with Delaware each year, currently a cost of $25/yr. Considering the check images returned by the bank to count to a minimum of 4, this charge is $14. We are currently paid up through Summer/Fall of 2011 in the main, but assuming we were to be in operation at the end of 2011, the total cost would be $487 of the $576 we current have!
The frank reality is that unless donations start coming in, this nonprofit will be bankrupt in just over a year. It is truely time to start examining what role we have to play in the forthcoming drama. Already, in Asia, as of today we have evidence of the folding Pacific. Pakistan has sunk, and there is no longer anyone who claims this is from the July floods. Jakarta is sinking. Thailand at Bangkok has sunk. And more volcanoes active along the Sumatra/Java strip of land than ever in the memory of man. Due to volunteers, we have some 11 mirror sites in operation around the world. Good thing too, as the primary site is hammer so much many time people cannot get in. I am being pressed to put in a torrent for these sites, which distributes the TT offerings as well at ZT offerings. This is already in place for some 18 gigs of survival information proferring by another site, also mirrored around the world by this same team.
Operationally, have things moved so that the nonprofit is no longer front and center? This past year we retired our gardening equipment, and I have tried twice to give away the hydroponic/acquaponic equipment with no success. If this is its perceived value, then trying to sell it would bring little success, and would be an impossibility during the deep winter as we're currently under 15" of snow and ice, my basement doors locked tight. I am suggesting that rather than talk about a $600-$700 CD duplicating device, we should be examining our current role in the scheme of things. It has been years since anyone sent a significant donation, excluding the couple dollars extra that some provide when ordering a booklet or CD, as a 'donation'. We showed the way with seed gardens and hydroponic/wormbed experiments, demonstrating that worm bed draining is a hydroponic nutrient solution, but those days are a decade old now. What is our role to be, in the near future, when the Earth changes will be undeniable and rapidly moving and there are many survival sites popping up around the Internet?
ROGER 12/19/2010 11:53 am
I believe the labeling won't be too big of a deal. I have burned a few copies of the CDs and labeled them without issue so I imagine the big hurdle will be finding the appropriate label size and then working with the graphics to make a nice label. After this design work and printing, it will be a cinch to peel and stick...
So the limitations we are facing then are financially motivated. We do not have sufficient funds to run a duplication of the CDs. We have just enough funds in the treasury to cover the operating expenses for 2011. The funds we have at PayPal is our cash-flow for the booklet/CD project and that is replenished by the sales of the booklets and CDs. My proposal to use USB drives may not be the most cost-effective unless we price them at a point where they will earn sufficient revenue to purchase additional drives at the higher price of $5 to $7 each. If we invest in a couple of hundred of these drives through Steve's access to Boxing Day pricing, we could probably make this work, either as a stop-gap or a total replacement of the CD media delivery. While this is going, we could revise and expand the booklet and move to a new booklet with more information and phase out the electronic media all together.
A lot of considerations there. And this doesn't address the eventual bankrupting of our treasury for the business operating expenses for any time after 2011. At this point, I think we should do this last effort with the booklet and the evolution of our information delivery. As more signs become undeniable, and we shift our message to hard-copy only, for obvious reasons, we will either receive donations or the realization that we will need to continue to send out the booklet even after the closure of the corporate entity. Too bad we couldn't pay the fees, etc. for a partial year in 2012...
Incidentally, if there are no takers in the coming year, I would be interested in collecting the hydro/aquaponics equipment and giving this a try. I probably wouldn't want the galvanized tanks, but the pvc, lighting, and other equipment could be put to use here in my basement.
NANCY 12/19/2010 4:47 pm
I MOVE we allow the hydroponic/aquaponic equipment to be moved to Kansas! Cost and method of moving such equipment to be determined.
The expensive equipment are the aqua pumps, the hydroponic pumps, the hydroponic beds. Bulky stuff is the shreded plastic pieces in a big plastic bag for filtration, and the fiberglas filtering box. The large PVC would have to be taken apart somewhat, beyond what it is, I think for moving, though I am storing it in an empty galvanized tank at present. The big problem here is transport, though if someone made the trip with a pickup truck, or flew and drove back with a U-Haul, that would work! It really is a complete system, and the only problem we had was that the galvanized tanks, in a closed water system, retained zinc and eventually poisoned the fish! I even have the take that Ron Darby made, explaining how to operate it all. I second Steve's MOTION to see if we can get $1 or so USB units on Boxing Day. Worth a try. I second Mary's MOTION to expand and rewrite the booklet. We still need a volunteer for this and I have no time. I second Roger's MOTION to abstain from a bulk burn of the CD's at present and just do individually at present.
STEVE 12/19/2010 6:53 pm
Your points regarding our evidently limited current role are valid. Survival information is easily accessibly from numerous sources, written, Internet etc. It seems like ordering new copying equipment is cost wise too large a portion of our meager and dwindling finances. With regards to the booklet, the earth changes may well catch up with what we can do for updating it in the time we have before we are too busy with more pressing concerns. Perhaps continuing with the current format is the easiest and most practical option as demand is so low. With regards to the USB sticks, if we can get them for cheap then they may be worth a try. I would not be able to do an early boxing day run as will be with family and also travelling 7hrs to another family. I would likely have to involve someone going in at store opening to be able to get what's available before the sell out. That's of course this kind of deal/sale happens this year. If the ZT 7/10 prediction comes in force I'm January, we will really be questioning our purpose, and renewal fees and other administrative costs/concerns may not seem important as we adapt to a changing reality.
STEVE 12/20/2010 7:45 am I second the MOTION to move the hydroponics equipment to Roger's possession.
ROGER 12/20/2010 8:00 am
As I recall we have a couple of TT members in Canada...Tian or Helena could be involved in the USB purchase. Probably it would work best if we did a reimbursement process and hope that we can get many rather than a few. I can send funds quickly with PayPal. As I recall, Helena was an instrumental part of the first compilation of the booklet. We could request her assistance with portions of the work.
ROGER 12/20/2010 8:15 am
Okay, we have several MOTIONs (and seconds) to consider to wrap up this meeting. Let's tabulate a vote:
1. On the MOTION to cease CD mass-duplication--please indicate your affirmative or negative vote.
2. On the MOTION to initiate a revision of the booklet including a re-compilation to include more of the online content--please indicate your affirmative or negative vote.
3. On the MOTION to obtain a sizable quantity of USB drives (1 Gb minimum) at about $1 each on Boxing Day in Canada--please indicate your affirmative or negative vote.
4. On the MOTION to transfer the hydroponics equipment to Kansas (with possible further consideration of the transfer method)--please indicate your affirmative or negative vote.
Please reference your votes by item number (as listed above) rather than in-line with this message.
NANCY 12/22/2010 6:22 am
I have not been in contact with either Helena or Tian for years. Not sure if their TT Inc email address is even valid.
NANCY 12/22/2010 6:14 am 1. yes, 2. no, 3. no, 4. yes
STEVE 12/22/2012 5:22 pm 1: yes, 2: no, 3: no, 4: yes
GERARD 12/22/2010 6:16 pm 1. yes, 2. yes, 3. no, 4. yes
MARY 12/23/2010 10:30 am 1. yes, 2. no, 3. no, 4. yes
ROGER 12/23/2010 12:07 pm Nancy can verify the vote count but it seems to me the first and the fourth MOTIONs carry. The middle two MOTIONs are denied. We will need to determine a point at which we will announce the cessation of the CD set as a purchase option. In other words, how long do we want to make a set or two "by hand"?
NANCY 12/23/2010 3:54 pm Seems to me, since I have no doubt that you are the one stuck with this role, that's up to you. We are putting a torrent facility in, and as we allow the public to distribute CD's, this allows them to burn CD's and pass out to friends. Perhaps that's the out.
NANCY 12/24/2010 9:12 am I got out the folders on the UNIX servers, to see what the memory was and all and compare to the Gateway which no longer can suppose the Spyware and virus software that needs to be resident. It won't even boot up, so choked it is, and the memory cannot be upgraded as Gateway (2001 PC) is specific to Gateway stuff. Anyway, I digress. The bottom line, per Ernie, is that the two PC's he put together in 2000 are obsolete to the extent that the best you could do with them is run an email program! Being that today's software needs more umph than that, etc. I found an email from April 5, 2000 where all the parts were listed, which was sent to the board for approval, and typed it all back in, sending it to Ernie. This way, we can get his rant and reasons in writing, as a response. It looks like these PC's are also virtually worthless! If we do a MOTION on this, I am going to take my Gateway and the Unix PC to a computer wiz in town who I have given parts to in the past. That or put it out as trash during the Village Pickup in the spring, and with a note pasted on top saying 'old but works'. That way it becomes someone else's problem.
STEVE 12/24/2010 12:07 am I agree, a PC from 2000 is worthless today and no point in trying to salvage in any way. I MOTION then that we move the PC's to wherever is convenient for Nancy such as the computer person she knows.
NANCY 12/24/2010 6:24 am I second the MOTION (and will include all the documentation on parts and Ernie's response as part of this MOTION and vote). To be 'retired however convenient' for Roger and Nancy, even if this includes junking the computer. I also MOVE that we downgrade the value of the hydroponic/aquaponic equipment to $1, as it has been demonstrated that we cannot even give it away. (I will include the mail from the University system and from Simply Fresh, the nearby hydro/aqua production, just 3 miles away from me, as proof).
ROGER 12/24/2010 10:42 am Okay, we have a MOTION and a second regarding the defunct and valueless PCs in Nancy's care. We should also include (as it is a twin) the other Unix server at my location. All in favor of disposing of these PCs please indicate by "reply to all" with your yes vote. Those opposed please indicate with a no vote.
ROGER 12/24/2010 10:45 am Since I will likely be the recipient of the hydroponic/acquaponic equipment, I must abstain from seconding or voting on this MOTION. I will entertain a second to the MOTION and call a vote nonetheless.
NANCY 12/24/2010 11:01 am Yes, retire the two PC's.
STEVE 12/24/2010 1:24pm Yes, retire the two pc's.
MARY 12/24/2010 5:04 pm Me too, retire the pc's
NANCY 12/25/2010 5:26 am I just got a note from Ernie, who is analyzing the PC's. Today's computers need 7-8 GIG of memory to run Windows 7, and these PC's have 512 MB. He states that even the power supply would have to be replaced, the entire guts of these PC's, to be upgraded to handle todays application demands. Also, don't forget, Roger needs a SECOND on my motion to retire the hydroponic/aquaponic equipment. During our last meeting we voted to simply give it away to another nonprofit. And this meeting we voted to allow Roger to have the equipment. Perhaps this issue has already been covered then, don't know. We have not officially retired this equipment as "unable to sell".
STEVE 12/25/2010 8:29 am I had already SECONDED the motion to retire the hydroponics equipment in an earlier email but will second again just to make sure.
ROGER 12/25/2010 10:00 am The motion that needed a second was to devalue the hydroponics equipment to $1. This would potentially facilitate a sale of the equipment to a board member (myself) without incurring the self-dealing ethics question. I will accept Steve's second in this regard and open the item up for a vote. Please reply as detailed before. Additionally, the motion to retire the old PCs carries by unanimous vote.
NANCY 12/26/2010 2:41 am To retire the hydroponic/aquaponic equipment and allow a sale for $1 to any party interested. I vote yes.
GERARD 12/26/2010 6:07 am Could you also include my vote. "yes"
MARY 12/26/2010 11:01 am To retire the hydroponic/aquaponic equipment and allow a sale for $1 to any party interested. I vote yes.
STEVE 12/26/2010 11:05 am To retire the hydroponic/aquaponic equipment and allow a sale for $1 to any party interested. I vote yes.
GERARD: 12/26/2010 12:01 am I forgot to vote for the other one. But yes, to both votes
NANCY 12/26/2010 12:08 pm Not to rush things but we are having a lot of Earth changes in Asia and expecting more this week. I know I will get busy. I know eventually Roger will entertain a motion to adjourn. So, I MOVE we adjourn. Where are we at the end of this meeting? We started out contemplating moving to a more expensive USB mode of delivering the electronic copy of the website, and ended up retiring all our old equipment instead! Roger will deliver his inventory of booklets and CD's for as long as they last, perhaps burning some CD's and labeling them as he has time and energy. I will inform Wisconsin in the annual report for 2010 that we have retired our assets, with all documentation attached. Until we are required to put out funds to maintain the corporate entity, at mid-2011 or so, we will not need to do anything, per se. By that time new information will be at hand. Perhaps someone will breath new life into the corporation with a donation. Or the Earth changes will be extreme and even the Internet faltering. Time will tell.
ROGER 12/27/2010 11:30 am The motion to devalue and sell the equipment carries with a unanimous vote. It seems that we have covered much more than originally planned. I think we will have another meeting soon after the first of the year to officially recognize the Board of Directors again. Other than that, we have pretty much tied most of the organizations loose ends! Nancy's motion is hereby recognized and unless there are any objections, this meeting is adjourned!