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UMSF @ 4 years old and 100,000 posts, Milestones and futures
djellison
post Jan 24 2008, 07:26 PM
Post #16


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Well - an update.

Total donations - £1422.77. This includes £925.95 of regular donations, and the first £500 of the matched donations ( it came out as £496.83 dspite our best effort to precalculate the paypal fees).

If you take our current total, plus the remaining matched donation to come - we're at £1,957.20

Now - if someone want to right an enormous cheque so we can live off the interest, then far be it from me to stop them smile.gif BUt for now - that £1957 will see us run the forum for 12-16 months. We'll invest a little part of it in production of what we think will be a VERY popular DVD, and possibly a small pin badge, both of which should generate quite a nice profit. ( 50 dvd's at a cost of £114 with potential revenue of £600 or so ) That 12 month buffer will give us the time to investigate what does and doesn't make money, so that we can do more of it, and then limit the regularity and quantity with which we come back, cap in hand, to the members wink.gif

Doug
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Guest_PhilCo126_*
post Jan 24 2008, 07:35 PM
Post #17





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As I said before this proves UMSF.com community can do wonderful things and we could certainly do this on a yearly basis (around Christmas -NewYear). Looking forward to the technical progress to be 'Ops' for the upcoming Phoenix Lander event...
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jasedm
post Jan 24 2008, 07:44 PM
Post #18


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With just a little more effort, I reckon we can afford to fund our own mission - I'm voting for a Neptune orbiter and Triton lander.
I reckon the knowledge, expertise and experience amongst members here would make that not beyond the bounds of possibility too!!

Meanwhile (chink) there's my contribution smile.gif
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djellison
post Jan 24 2008, 07:59 PM
Post #19


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Well - Joe is doing a legendary job investigating the current forum in a sandbox server ( we think the nasty post-pause issue is resolved there, and that will get deployed here in the not to distant future ) .

We've already paid to move the domain registration from the current hosting company to an independent name registrar. This gives us control of the domain for when we actually get a dedicated server. That handover should occur in the next few days (but should be transparent as the domain will continue to point to the same place )

We're looking at where to spend the most money in terms of the server performance to host the forum ( Ram, HDD, Network, CPU etc etc ) so that we spend the most where it makes the most difference, and cut short where it's not needed - basically getting the very most out of the cash.

We have a hosting firm in mind, but if anyone has any specific dedicated ( managed or unmanaged ) server provider recommendations, let us know.

Doug
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hendric
post Jan 24 2008, 08:08 PM
Post #20


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Doug,
I know before you said that the CafePress merchandise isn't worth the effort it takes to make it, in terms of money made. Right now the merchandise is only UMSF-labelled goods. Have you considered getting permission from posters to use their images in UMSF-branded items? Keep it simple, maybe limiting to just T-shirts with the current UMSF logo on the front, and a user-image or montage on the back? To limit the amount of effort, push it out on the community, all you do is upload the appropriately cropped image on CafePress, add the logo to the front, and let people order it.

http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.p...amp;#entry63735

If not, would you have any objections to members using the UMSF logos on our own items?


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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
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ElkGroveDan
post Jan 24 2008, 08:09 PM
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QUOTE (hendric @ Jan 24 2008, 10:39 AM) *
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.

Actually for a true perpetual endowment you have to work in a rate of inflation on the annual costs, so something greater than the 3% return


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dvandorn
post Jan 25 2008, 04:46 AM
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Doug -- never tell people you've got enough money! Those who are planning to contribute in the near future may decide not to, since you say you don't really *need* any more at present.

To counter that potential sentiment, I'm going on record that, as soon as I can afford it (which ought to be within the next three weeks at most), I'm definitely going to send off whatever the pounds equivalent is of roughly a hundred bucks.

This place is like a second home to me. I spend more time reading and posting here than I spend doing anything else with the exception of my job. I feel it's an *honor* to have the opportunity to help support it.

-the other Doug


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“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.” -Mark Twain
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ilbasso
post Jan 25 2008, 05:06 AM
Post #23


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To me, this site is like Public Radio in the US. No commercials, no hassle, just great content of the highest quality. This site is the top link in my bookmarks, and has been for 4 years.

Doug, my aspiration would be that you get enough donations that the forum could pay you a stipend for all your hard work in maintaining the content and atmosphere of this site!

Jonathan

PS - IIRC, the general rule with retirement plans is that you try to sock away an amount such that the income you plan to live on each year when you retire is about 1/12 the total value of the portfolio. That way, you can live on the income from the investments and never have to touch the principal. That probably includes tax consequences etc. The upshot is, if you can raise about 12-15 times as much money as you expect it costs to run the site for a year, you may never have to go back for contributions again.


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elakdawalla
post Jan 25 2008, 05:43 AM
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QUOTE (ElkGroveDan @ Jan 24 2008, 12:09 PM) *
Actually for a true perpetual endowment you have to work in a rate of inflation on the annual costs, so something greater than the 3% return

An endowment would be a total waste of a lot of money for a site like UMSF. For an institution that expects to live for decades or centuries, and needs financial stability to weather lean economic times, it makes sense. For a place that is only as valuable as the active contribution of many members makes it, it makes no sense to harbor money against lean times. If UMSF gets lean, then its reason for existence will have expired. May that never happen on my watch! smile.gif

--Emily


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ElkGroveDan
post Jan 25 2008, 06:02 AM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Jan 24 2008, 09:43 PM) *
An endowment would be a total waste of a lot of money for a site like UMSF.

Agreed. I was just doing the hypothetical math. We'd be better off buying Doug and Helen a nice car with that kind of money, and then they'd make car payments to the UMSF account.


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djellison
post Jan 25 2008, 10:42 AM
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A Mazda RX8 PZ please. Always wanted an excuse to use the word 'wankel' on UMSF. (look it up)

We've got 'enough' (basically £2000) to see us thru for 16 months without any trouble. The experience of the last few days of Farking has perhaps pointed in a particular way for what a server needs to be responsive ( less than we thought ) - so I'm happy that we're good, basically, until MSL launches. That's another key exploration milestone for which UMSF will be a focus of attention again - and we'll get the cap out and come round asking for more, if we need it, at that time smile.gif

Doug
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kenny
post Jan 26 2008, 01:11 PM
Post #27


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No defintion of wankel in Google, except in Google Deutsch (the engine named after a German person). There is however a "wankle" in my Chambers 20th Century English Dictionary - meaning unstable, unsteady, not to be depended upon... from the Olde Englishe word "wancol".
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ElkGroveDan
post Jan 26 2008, 03:26 PM
Post #28


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Look up 'rotary engine' with it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_Wankel_engine

When I was a kid I built a Wankel Rotary Engine model that I received as a kid. Gosh that thing was fun for an aspiring mechanical engineer. As I recall that model was quite popular, several of my friends had them as well.

EDIT: It looks like they still make the model after 35 years!


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djellison
post Jan 30 2008, 07:45 PM
Post #29


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Current total - £2177 (including some cold hard cash, and a cheque ( whatever that is) )

The domain is now with a new registrar which is a great move, as we have control over it and where it points to.

Helvick's now testing the forum on a sandbox server to see what needs to be done to get better performance out of it - at which stage we'll have a spec for our new server and go hunting for the right hosting package.

Doug
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djellison
post Feb 28 2008, 11:40 AM
Post #30


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Update : Our new server is ordered.

It's a dual Opteron 254 machine, 4 Gb Ram, and a pair of 10k rpm SCSI 73Gb HDD's in a RAID 1 array. We think we've found a great deal, which means we're spending approx £100/month - so the cash raised so quickly by you ( the members of UMSF ) will keep us on that platform for 2 years. TWO YEARS. Amazing.

We're hiring the services of a freelance dedicated hosting admin guru for the initial setup to ensure we're in the right place for security, performance and reliability. Thereafter, Joe and I will dump a backup of UMSF onto it, test it out. We may ask a few members to visit it and test ( privately ) before we will pick a weekend and close this site - transfer the domain pointing - transfer the DB and attachments folder across (having already had the forum running on the new server) - and then turn it on again. That's the grand plan - it may change. If things go really well, it might be before the end of March, but realistically, it'll be early April, leaving a clear month of usage to iron out any higher usage issues that may crop up before Phoenix.

Doug
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