October 10, 2009
Nancy 10/10 8:51 am: I am as usual way overdue in calling a meeting. I know that Roger establishes the agenda, after asking all what there is to discuss. I would like to suggest we include a financial accounting (my input below) and the status of the CD inventory. I know we reprint booklets as needed, in batches.
Treasurer's Report: Our annual administrative expenses have all been paid. These include $25 to the State of Delaware, an annual report, on February 2, 2009; $15 to the State of Wisconsin, to register a place of business for the nonprofit, on June 6, 2009; $100 for the official nonprofit PO box here in North Freedom, paid on July 7, 2009; and $235 to The Company Corporation, our Delaware agent, on October 10, 2009.
Our checking account assets seem to hold steady, ranging around $1,000. The funds come from those purchasing booklets and CD's with a check, rather than PayPal. At the beginning of the year we had $873.73 in the account. We now have $897.43 in the checking account. Roger, I believe, finds that the funds he needs to replenish the booklet and prepare for a new CD burning hold steady too, the income required on available from past sales.
CD Inventory and Web Status: There have been a couple audits of the website recently. Kiko did an audit, via software, of internal links. All corrections have been made. There has also been a volunteer doing external link checks during the past two months, corrections made by me as he locates problems. When it comes time to burn new CD's we should be in excellent shape.
Roger 10/10 1:32 pm: Is it permitted to back-build the agenda? It seems redundant to re-post Nancy's information. If so, I officially call the meeting to order:
Financial accounting: We have about $1395 between PayPal and discretionary petty cash on hand for incidentals related to booklet and CD shipping. The booklet inventory is holding well at 120. We have 48 CD sets remaining. I am consistently receiving advertising emails from Duplium (the CD duplicator) and can obtain costs very quickly from them. What we should decide is whether to update the data on the CD or just reproduce the existing CD. Also, I wonder if it might be acceptable to reduce our CD item to a single CD, either in HTML or PDF format only (unless both formats will fit on the disk).
WebServer: I have not moved this item forward since our last meeting. The demands of maintaining the software and the connection with my DSL service (it is not a static IP so the relay must be checked and possibly adjusted every 5 days or so) are too great for my available time at this juncture. Independently, one of our members is pursuing an option of using a third-party service provider (already set up for maintaining such things as equipment and software) to make publicly available data and video related to the member's research and development of solutions. The cost is minimal compared with the possibilities and soon may be made available to TT, Inc. usage. Comments, questions?
Nancy 10/10 4:04 pm:
Financial Accounting: I would recommend making new CDs of new data, because there have been corrections to links and also here and there a bit if new info added. The ZetaTalk has a lot of new data added. Neither the HTML or PDF formats utilize the full 700 MB available on a CD, but combined is more than 700. The website itself is 640 MB but 217 of that is FTS files and the like from the days we were viewing Planet X inbound. Few would be interested in that, I'm sure, and separate arrangements could be made if they were. The problem is that the PDF version utilizes 493 MB so even without the FTS files, the combined data requirements are 916 MB. I think we're stuck with two CD's unless we just drop the PDF, including perhaps only the PDF of the booklet. Mike sent both Roger and I a kit to compile a new master CD, with instructions.
WebServer: There are so many web options available now, so many more than in the past. It used to be that storage, MB usage, was the big bugaboo, now it is bandwidth. The times have radically changed in the past decade. I was running my newsletter out of my home for a year or more before the software became outdated (my ISP upgraded their servers). Now I just pay a website to issue it and maintain subscriptions too. Slick, and not all that expensive. If we have the data on CD's (we do) and have voted to allow anyone wanting to duplicate and distribute the data and the printed booklet (we have) then perhaps we do not need a data site!
Gerard 10/10 5:20 pm: WebServer: I have some comments. I remember that at the last boardmeeting we talked about the use of torrent for people to download the information. For example, open office a software packet is also avaible trough torrent. It could be something that we can look into, setting up a tracker where people can download either the CD or other information
Nancy 10/11 4:40 am: WebServer: Bandwidth is going up in cost these days. Even excluding the FTS files which no one is likely to want, downloading some 400+ MB of data is a lot of bandwidth. What is the cost comparison to such a download to simply mailing the darn CD to someone?
Gerard 10/11 6:58 am: I have to agree then in such a case mailing a CD is cheaper.
Nancy 10/11 9:31 am: Here's some real data. I pay $50/mo for webhosting, which includes 20 gig of bandwidth. I go over this last few months galore, this past months by 17 gig. So the charge is $50 + $85 overage = $135. I'm not sure what Torrent charges are, but we can conclude what normal ftp type charges might be for pulling the CD data down from a rented site. The 500 mb or so (this is excluding FTS files) for ZT/TT data would divide into 37 gigs of data to equal 74 CD's worth of data, or $1.82/CD. Our postage for CD's I think is $1.50 or so, my guess, likely less than that. So it would be less to mail! What are the flaws in my logic? I have not checked around, and am unfamiliar with Torrent.
Steve: 10/11 12:48 pm: Regarding making the CD's available on torrent, there are no specific torrent charges as the files can be uploaded to any torrent site which then acts as the seed file. As people begin to download that file their computers also begin to act as a source for the data to be downloaded from other users. This results in taking the strain off the initial computer that was used as a seed. Eventaully, or even immediately depending on the popularity of the file, data may not even have to be transferred from the original source as others can act as seeds as they acquire the full data. If the original computer was somehow having too much data transferred from it that person could simply exit from the torrent and allow others to take over. I think it is probably worth uploading these files to some good torrent site and see how it goes. Members from TT could be encouraged to download the files and also act as seeds so the files are always available to be downloaded. Overall, should not cost us anything beyond the cost of basic bandwidth.
Nancy 10/11 2:48 pm: This sounds good on the face of it, but what does having the public access this from someone's PC mean? Password, firewall, leaving the PC online, etc? I can see people picking it up and then finding reasons NOT to allow access to their PC. I need to get educated, I think. Perhaps Torrent sites are servers of some kind? Are we talking ftp sites?
Nancy 10/11 3:14 pm: OK, I've read about bitTorrent. When a client is downloading a file (however huge) from a bitTorrent server, it at the same time is "seeding" the file, meaning sending it out to the next person in line. The downloading and "seeding" are taking place same time, and supposed to finish about the same time too. Persumably, if a file (a zipped website or whatever) is in high demand, there is a list of people waiting to receive. But if demand is low, then the bitTorrent server will be the source of all downloads. All this for free if one is just using bitTorrent to distribute!
"Seeding is where you leave your BitTorrent client open after you've finished your download to help distribute it (you distribute the file while downloading, but it's even more helpful if you continue to distribute the full file even after you have finished downloading). Chances are that most of the data you got was from seeds, so help give back to the community! It doesn't require much - BitTorrent will continue seeding until the torrent is removed (right click the torrent, then hit Remove). Proper practice is to seed until the ratio of upload:download is at least 1.00."
"Upload the BitTorrent file to shared Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.. See the FAQ section of the BitTorrent host selected. Each has their own set of steps to upload a file. Some require a user to register and be a member in good standing for a certain period before uploading is permitted."
Roger 10/11 2:39 pm: The option I mentioned that will be coming available is due to a member that is going to obtain web-hosting service and make part of the space available to us for data storage and distribution. The member will donate the option to us as all of the space/bandwidth will not be tied up with their intended usage. Their usage will be similar as ours, just offering additional data not previously available on our site. I was asked not to disclose more details until things finalized on their end but I believe Nancy may be aware of whom I am speaking (don't disclose the party's id, just confirm if you recall a discussion of this nature). While jumping on the learning curve to update the CD data, I can also price some options regarding using DVD technology rather than CD (most PCs have these drives now). We could then make both formats available on one disk. Of course, it may cost more to reproduce 1 DVD than 2 CDs.
Nancy 10/12 6:34 am: I'm not aware of this member's offer, Roger, so he went straight to the Pres with it, as is appropriate. Even if not, this is a big help. DVD's would surely have the space for all data in both formats. Sounds like we have a lot of issues that are still cooking and not yet ready to serve, so to speak. New download site, pending. I could send a CD of all the data, and if this new host gives me an ftp access, could keep this data site updated as corrections and additions are made. Who would this data site be available for, individuals making arrangements with us to copy and distribute for free? I think that was our rule. Here's what the web pages for the booklet and CDs state "Note this booklet can be reproduced en mass and distributed to the public, as long as the booklet is printed in total with no change, and there is no charge to the public whatsoever for printing or distribution. Printing facilities can mass produce these booklets from the PDF formats above, with ease."
Do bitTorrent hosts have security that would allow us to impose this rule on their clients? Seems to me, in my brief education on how bitTorrent works, that there might be some rules on what can be put on a bitTorrent host site, but after that, its public domain and off and away! But maybe that does not matter. Someone could steal the CD content and try to sell it too, for that matter. We give it away for free on the web.
Roger 10/12 9:07 am: I was mistaken, I had thought you were cc'd on the emails. The offer details are sketchy but will become more detailed soon. This member is a trusted longtime contributor and I have no reason to suspect the offer would not come to fruition. Having the site available as a link from our webpages and perhaps controlled by password access will provide as much availability as we wish and our caveats and exclusions/permissions can be posted along with the link. The equipment will be maintained by the service provider (including software tweaks/updates as needed) and the member is suggesting the cost will be covered as a donation so no worries about bandwidth, etc.
Nancy 10/12 9:47 am: You can only be describing one beloved individual, no need to say more. When it is all finalized, just let me know where to mail the most current website copy on a CD, and what the ftp access codes are. At this point we need to decide if anymore than our statement in red on the booklet and CD purchase pages is necessary. Roger, have you ever had anyone approach you re this offer of a free copy, etc? Perhaps it needs more visibility. I'd be happy to mention this in my newsletter, for instance.
Roger 10/12 9:57 am: The only communication I received regarding the booklet (or the CD for that matter) was from an individual that offered to be a secondary source for distribution. She had ideas that an eBay storefront or more aggressive marketing approach might get the information out there more thoroughly. I believe we discussed this in a meeting a year or so back and decided our approach was sufficient for the time being. I did tell the person that she could distribute the booklet and copy the CD on her own as long as she did so free of charge and did not alter the information (per our statement). I've not seen any indication that she took me up on the freeby. So, to wrap up, we await the final details of the webhosting service and rip a new CD (or perhaps a DVD or both) for duplication in the very near future. What shall we do with the aging server at my location?
Nancy 10/12 11:28 am: I agree we cannot proceed with the bitTorrent issue, the CD vs DVD issue, or the password protected download site until some time has passed. What to do with your aging server is the same question I would ask about all the used equipment I have at my house - the hydroponic and aquaponic equipment, the small tiller and antique clothes washer that was going to be a demo. Here they sit. The rules for nonprofits is that we cannot give the stuff to individuals, can only gift to another nonprofit, but I suspect we could sell any of this for cash without problems. I can't imagine anyone wanting used hydroponic or aquaponic equipment, unless we advertise on the tt-forum, as shipping might be more than it would be worth. Some of this is bulky, like the water filter box, fiberglass, which is 3-4 foot square and heavy. And all the plastic pipe and release valves, which were expensive to buy in the first place. They are sealed on pipe now, so the whole shebang has to ship as large pieces. Would have to be a fairly local pickup. But it will not be used again at my house, as my age and health precludes any of that.
Roger 10/12 11:35 am: Well, for the time being I can store the server here. It may have use yet! A quick search for DVD duplication services yielded a prospect for around $1.49 each (for a batch of 100). That is still within our margin for retailing at $4.10 each. Are there any other topics open?
Steve 10/12 4:09 pm: With the bittorrent the original file would remain unchanged as long as somebody did not modify the file and then re-upload and seed it from a different tracker. Someone could already be doing that already if they wanted to so I don't think there would be much extra risk in offering it as a torrent. If we want to try offering the booklet as a PDF torrent it would not be difficult to do and we could post on one of the tt forums maybe asking people to download it and seed it.
Nancy 10/13 8:20 am: I MOVE we adjourn this email meeting, having become much more familiar with all topics (bitTorrent, DVDs) likely to need attention from the board in the near future.
Mary 10/13 10:14 am: I second the motion.
Roger 10/13 4:35 pm: I was waiting for Gerard or Steve to acknowledge the last few messages. I hereby call this meeting adjourned!