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UMSF @ 4 years old and 100,000 posts, Milestones and futures
djellison
post Jan 19 2008, 08:26 PM
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What, another new logo for you all to argue about? Hell yes! Thanks to Astro0 for the lovely 100k icon to drop in there to celebrate something of a milestone! No, it doesn't say 100,000 posts, so yes, it might not be obvious to everyone. Before you comment...just remember - IT'S JUST A LOGO... so, moving on.

Currently, the UMSF admin page reads 101441 posts. The secret admin section has about 1800 posts, the total number of posts made is more like 108,000. It depends how you slice it - but which ever way you look at it, we have either reached, are about to reach or have long since reached the 100,000 posts mark. So to everyone who's made one or more 0.001% contribution to that - thank you, well done, nice one, etc etc smile.gif

Meanwhile, post 1 of UMSF ( at that time, mer.rlproject.com ) was made on Feb 8th 2004 - just under 3 weeks till the 4th anniversary!

This, combined with a bit of a spike in the forum performance thread seemed like a sensible point at which to think about how UMSF works, where it's going, and - most importantly - how to pay for it.

We're going to have issues in a few months - the Phoenix landing is probably going to make UMSF a bit of a nightmare performance wise. There's not really anything we can do between now and then (although we'll going to try) - but before we know it, it'll be MSL, LRO, Dawn, Rosetta, Messenger, hell, New Horizons. What we want to get in place before it all goes crazy, is a dedicated server. A box of our own. At my place of work we recently upgraded from a normal hosing package not too different to the one UMSF runs on - up to a dedicated server. The difference is night and day. Not only would a dedicated server mean UMSF was 'in our own hands' performance wise, but it would be a lot faster, probably more reliable, and we'd have the ability to do a few interesting projects we've talked about in Admin HQ (talking about those can wait)

I have always said, and the admin team (thanks for the input guys) agrees - UMSF will never have a subscription model. UMSF will always be available for people to view and contribute to, for free - not to mention that from an administrative perspective, we can do what we want with a 'member' - but a 'customer' has to be treated in a different way, a way we don't want to go down. We do, however, need a big old chunk of cash to pay for dedicated hosting. Something like 1500 per year, about 10x what it costs now. The odd casual donation has covered UMSF to date with a bit left over to do fun things like send 2000 Sols posters and Birthday cards to the MER team to thank them for their hard work. But now we need a lot more - this is the plan.

We want to switch to a dedicated hosting solution 12 months from now - and we want a years worth of hosting money ready, in the bank, by then. People have often said "I'd pay XX'. We've steered away from a begathon in the past - but not any more. We want the membership of UMSF to have donated 1000 in the next 12 months. We've reached 100,000 posts - I think we can scrape together a penny for every one of them. I'll be adding the donate button to the forum footer in a few moments. It operates in 's not $'s - as UMSF while centered on US subjects, is a UK institution which will have a UK bank account.

You can do the maths any way that you want - there's about 1300 members. If one in ten donates 10 - we'll be way over the target. If the top 50 members do 20 each, we're sorted. Do the maths, grab your bank card, and do it. Don't feel guilty if you can't. I know what it's like to not have 10 to send off like that, so if you can't - don't, and don't feel guilty. Just keep being a member of the community, that's input enough for anyone. But if you can, then please think about it.

James Canvin and I are going to sort out a proper UMSF bank account here in the UK to transfer the donations in to, and to operate the place from. It'll be transparant - I'll keep a running total here of how much money we've got, how much things cost. If we're totally honest with you, you will hopefully be more generous in your donations.

We're also looking at a few other revenue streams. The Cafe Press store is a nice novelty, but it doesn't generate a great deal of money - not will it ever do so. What might make some cash is if we cut out the middle man and do something ourselves. What would you be inclined to buy (I'm thinking an embroidered patch, an enamel badge) and for what sort of price. I'm also trying to put together a DVD (with ElkGroveDan's generous help) of some early MER live footage from JPL which we'll be selling at some point this year - it'd be nice to see how many people might like that. Google ads are not worth the hassle, but we're not against the concept of a 'support by' sponsoring oraganisation and that's something we're looking at as well.

So - there it is - by UMSF's 5th birthday, I think we can be moving to our own server, with a faster forum, a more certain future, and the opportunity to do some cool projects to make it a more interesting and useful place!

As ever, thanks to the admin team for their advice and support. We're at 105.11 already - 894.89 to go!

Doug

Update - a PayPal donate button has been added to the forum footer. It's down the bottom right corner. That's the easiest way to donate. If you don't use paypal, then it's either cold hard cash ( can get anything exchanged, so no problem) in the post ( send me a PM for the address ) - or a cheque (but can only really take those in 's).

Update 2 - One person's asked about charitable status and US tax law. Because I'm a Brit, and UMSF is based in 's - I'm not even sure that is possible unfortunately. If there's a US accounting guru who knows the rules and regs on that one, get in touch.

Update 3 - One exceptionally generous UMSF members has offered to match every 1 of donation between now, and the 1st Anniverary of the New Horizons Jupiter Flyby ( Feb 28th ) - so every pound you donate, is worth TWO to UMSF! With that amazing offer, we hope to hit a grand total of 1500 by the end of February, and we will try, if we can, to move to a dedicated server much MUCH sooner than we thought!
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elakdawalla
post Jan 20 2008, 04:09 AM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Jan 19 2008, 12:26 PM) *
One person's asked about charitable status and US tax law. Because I'm a Brit, and UMSF is based in 's - I'm not even sure that is possible unfortunately. If there's a US accounting guru who knows the rules and regs on that one, get in touch.

Unless UMSF is registered as a 401(c(3) in the US (which it's not), your donation is not tax deductible. Sorry.

--Emily


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Guest_PhilCo126_*
post Jan 20 2008, 08:33 AM
Post #3





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Another great logo Doug!!! cool.gif
Also great to read the ongoing & future situation of UMSF.com
The DVD is certainly a great idea and besides MER, we could (maybe) add a file with high resolution photos of unmanned spacecraft.
Please keep us updated how the amount of 849.89 is getting lower thanks to our donations... smile.gif
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djellison
post Jan 20 2008, 10:21 AM
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Well - umm - I check my inbox thismorning and it's FULL of 'Notifaction of Payment Received' - we're at 291.43. 708 to go.

Wow!

Update 1216UT - 339.28
Update 1432UT - 386.93
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djellison
post Jan 20 2008, 04:47 PM
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I've just added another update to Post 1 of this thread - with some amazing news

One exceptionally generous UMSF members has offered to match every 1 of donation between now, and the 1st Anniverary of the New Horizons Jupiter Flyby ( Feb 28th ) - so every pound you donate, is worth TWO to UMSF! With that amazing offer, we hope to hit a grand total of 1500 by the end of February, and we will try, if we can, to move to a dedicated server much MUCH sooner than we thought!

We are at 405.95 already - which is more than 810 once you account for the generous matched donation offer! Keep the donations coming thick and fast and we'll have 12 months worth of dedicated hosting funds ready by March!

Doug

(Update 2051UT - 506.60 GBP - so with our matched donation, we've reached the 1000 mark - but the more we can get, the more long term security we have for dedicated hosting)
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djellison
post Jan 20 2008, 11:08 PM
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More good news - we have now set up an affiliate scheme with the excellent Nasaspaceflight.com
details here : http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?showtopic=4916
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Phillip
post Jan 21 2008, 01:05 PM
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Being the armchair science enthusiast that I am, I often don't have much to contribute to this excellent forum. But I do know that the relevant provision of the US tax code for tax exempt status is 501©(3) smile.gif.

I would be happy to assist if UMSF wanted to seek tax exempt status.

Phillip
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Guest_PhilCo126_*
post Jan 21 2008, 05:16 PM
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What a development in only 24 hours, surely shows what a superb community UMSF.com really is!!!
Already looking forward to a superb 5th anniversary of UMSF.com ... cool.gif
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djellison
post Jan 21 2008, 06:07 PM
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Currently 706.83 with 500 of matched funding already to add on it's way - (1206 in total) - and any remaining before the Feb 28th date will be doubled as well - currently a grand metaphorical total of 1413.

I'm grateful, speechless, and a bit emotional about it to be honest. Just 25 people have donated - and have done so with enough gusto to bring out plans forward significantly, to an extent where we are seriously hoping to get everything in place BEFORE Phoenix, 10 months earlier than we first planned.

I thought this would take all year. It's barely taken all weekend. Thank you...seriously...thank you.
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Chris Bergin
post Jan 21 2008, 07:25 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Jan 20 2008, 11:08 PM) *
More good news - we have now set up an affiliate scheme with the excellent Nasaspaceflight.com
details here : http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?showtopic=4916


Hi all -

Just a quick drive-by from this particular shuttle hugger out of the realm of LEO fun to say that - as an owner of a site - it is the ultimate motivation to have the support of one's readership, as Doug clearly has here.

Having met Doug, I know you've got a great guy at the helm, who clearly knows his subject matter to a highly impressive level, with bundles of enthusiasm, both of which are absolutely required for translating the qualities of space flight to the visitors of the site.

The only factors that require mitigation are the costs that come via a site's popularity. We're going through $2,000 a month on server and hosting costs, for example, and given the way the forum format works via a database, UMSF's wish for a dedicated server set-up is essential for smooth running and avoidance of periodic downtime.

So I'm very happy to help Doug and UMSF via what we've set up, and hats off to you all that have helped this site so far, and we'll look forward to working together on sending our readership this way on upcoming planetary missions, seen as we are more about pre-launch and launch coverage for unmanned missions, before all going home after spacecraft separation wink.gif

Best,
Chris Bergin
Owner, Managing Editor
www.nasaspaceflight.com

PS Sorry about our wonderful Shuttles eating up NASA's budget wink.gif
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djellison
post Jan 21 2008, 07:55 PM
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QUOTE (Chris Bergin @ Jan 21 2008, 07:25 PM) *
shuttle hugger


That's GENIUS smile.gif

As an update - thanks to the first installment of the matched-donation, we just smashed through 1200. With Chris's generous referal deal, and a few other projects - I think we're well on our way to a genuinely sustainable state of affairs for UMSF.

Doug
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Guest_Oersted_*
post Jan 21 2008, 08:27 PM
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Ok, a Paypal donation headed your way.. - Best wishes on you worthy and much-appreciated upgrade! - I am very happy about your plans for the web site, and hope the business model will work out fine.

BTW, I REALLY think you should put a "sticky" in all the forums, linking to this thread. I'm sure very many willing donors won't notice your server drive otherwise.
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ElkGroveDan
post Jan 21 2008, 08:59 PM
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QUOTE (Chris Bergin @ Jan 21 2008, 11:25 AM) *
Just a quick drive-by from this particular shuttle hugger

I've never hugged a shuttle, but I did put my arms around a Space X Falcon a few months ago.


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If Occam had heard my theory, things would be very different now.
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ngunn
post Jan 21 2008, 09:00 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Jan 19 2008, 08:26 PM) *
What, another new logo for you all to argue about? Hell yes! Thanks to Astro0 for the lovely 100k icon to drop in there to celebrate something of a milestone! No, it doesn't say 100,000 posts


A long shot, but do I spy here the five giant planets of 55 Cancri ?
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hendric
post Jan 24 2008, 06:39 PM
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Doug,
Be sure to duck, here comes another donation! I do think you are aiming a little low, with a year's expenses as a target. Why not target enough of an endowment to keep UMSF around forever? I'd guess a 3% return in a bank account, so to get ~1500 pounds a year we'll need an endowment of about 50,000 pounds. Hell, piece of cake! If Spirit and Opportunity can last 4 years, we can make that. smile.gif


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"The engineers, as usual, made a tremendous fuss. Again as usual, they did the job in half the time they had dismissed as being absolutely impossible." --Rescue Party, Arthur C Clarke
Mother Nature is the final inspector of all quality.
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