President's Message

Original article appears in GuideStar March, 2015.

by Rene Gedaly

We do like to talk. No doubt you’ve noticed the smorgasbord of ways the Society is using to keep in touch. The new Facebook group, the website forums, private messages from within the website, Netslyder—our opt-in email list, the Tapatalk app for mobile phones... You’re reading this communication from within the GuideStar. Or is it from the website text article? It’s all good, and we all have our preferences. Mine is the forums, but I use most of the others. Bet you do, too.

Can you hear me now?

It’s amazing how quickly this happened. Though driven by recent member demand, you won’t be surprised to learn that months of preparation behind the scenes went into getting us here. Many of these initiatives were tried before, years before. The time wasn’t right. Now it is and we’ve got the membership and the resources to keep HAS relevant and responsive.

Web Technology team answers

Those resources include Mark Ferraz. Mark is chair of the new ad hoc Web Technology team and has officially been handed the reins as webmaster from Jeffery McLaughlin. Jeffery hasn’t left; he’s available to help when called though he’s enjoying a well-deserved break after migrating the entire website to a commercial hosting service in early February not to mention training his successor to help him. Jeffery, you took us kicking and screaming into the modern age. Thank you. Hopefully we’ll see you around at the dark site more often now.

In the meantime, Mark took over the wish list of technology enhancement requests prioritized last January and hasn’t come up for air yet. Perhaps most visible recently is his work to take all the pieces of our communication methods, they’re listed in the 2nd paragraph, and either make them work better or make them more accessible. Much more of Mark’s effort has been internal to the workings of the Society, creating tools that help the committees create web data and content or manage it better. Other enhancements are in the works, but there are a few we can all use right now that you won’t want to miss.

Recorded Presentations. This section has gotten a facelift and is a much more informative listing, too. Check it out here: https://www.astronomyhouston.org/recorded-presentations
Online Observatory Log Report. If you’re prone to forgetting to fill out a pad log before leaving the dark site, you can create one online, while at the site or at home. Log into the website and select the Create Observatory Log Report link from the Member Features menu.
Observatory Booking Calendar. Members who have taken the observatory training course are able to use any of the three telescopes mounted in the observatory building. Check the new observatory booking calendar to see if the date you want to use one of the observatory telescopes is available: http://www.astronomyhouston.org/about/has-observatory.

Be sure to check the Upcoming Events calendar

And speaking of calendars, be sure to check the Upcoming Events menu on the website. Click the See All Events button to view the events in calendar form. Events are also announced via the email list, often in greater detail and with frequent follow up reports. You can subscribe to it here: http://www.astronomyhouston.org/about/email-list. An events calendar also appears each month in the GuideStar.

Keep Looking Up
Rene Gedaly
President

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