Utah Helis and More

matthew's picture

Last night I went to the Utah Helicopter Association meeting in American Fork at the Rec Center. I often miss the meeting, but went this month because I've spent some time revamping the Utah Helicopter Association Web Site. The new site sports easy-to-use photo galleries into which members of the club can upload photos, a public forum for anyone (though moderated so it stays on-topic), and a club calendar that -- again -- any member of the club can update.

I've done a lot of work on RC club web sites over the years, and a self-managing site seems to be the future. I try to set it up so that the officers have effective "admin" privileges over the whole site -- they can create or delete any content -- but that as the webmaster I'm the only one who can modify the layout, code, and modules. This division of labor REALLY helps. It allows me to focus on what I'm really good at: back-end systems integration, database management, and systems administration. The members and officers can handle keeping the content on the site up-to-date as long as I have a few computer-savvy people willing to post updates here and there.

This really takes the workload off a webmaster. If I spend all of my spare time updating content on the site, burnout sets in really quickly. If, on the other hand, I only have to pay attention to FUNCTIONALITY of the site, and other people step in to post blogs, forums, calendars, photos, etc. it's a HUGE weight off my shoulders. The only really painful thing has been that I've had to learn some User Interface things... it turns out that nobody wants to design the layout of the site either, so as the webmaster that really gets to be my job.

It's been very informational, anyway. With the aid of The Gimp, I can throw up a fairly amateur-looking web site with pro features in a few hours. Which for a Radio Control club is just about the right balance; it doesn't need to look professional. But if I wanted to make a business out of this, I'd definitely need to improve my graphic design skills. That's part of the package customers expect: a slick-looking site with professional usability features. And typically content forwarded from their old site, too.

As far as the diet & exercise program goes? Well, had some donuts at last night and this morning. Really need to make sure I'm totally on the wagon. This week has been much more like "start tracking your weight again and eat a tiny bit better" than truly back on my eating plan. And I need to do more lifting than just weighing the bar. On the plus side, I'm building some better habits: stepping on the scale every day, tracking every morsel that goes into my mouth, and thinking about that scale weight whenever I put something down my gullet. On the minus side, I haven't exercised the restraint necessary to drop the weight yet, and when I look at the nutrient ratios I am realizing that my typical eating plan SUCKS compared to where I need to be to get lean again.