Supporting technologists in Community Broadcasting
TR17 wrapped on Sunday 18 June, with almost 80 delegates this year. From the moment the education day started on Friday, we knew we were witnessing something special. Reports will appear over the next few days as we find time, but right now some thanks to the Technorama Incorporated Committee and the team of helpers who managed the event, all of you who presented at sessions, our new Members, our Sector partners and supporters who found the time to engage, our Guest of Honour Steve Farrugia, and everyone who registered and turned up.
A special congratulations to all the winners of the reinvigorated Technorama Awards, now with six BIG categories, and to the Awards Committee who did such a great job. You can check out the 2017 award winners here, and read the backstory and criteria for the awards here.
We’re not far away from a significant website revamp, but in the meantime here are the links used to find your way around TR17:
- Click here for the TR17 program
- See the “TR17 at a Glance” page
- Review hotel and housing options
- Check TR17 travel options
- Information for TR17 delegates
- Download the TR poster and put it on your Station notice board
- Run this promo on air – seriously – help us get the message out (and use it to attract techs to your station!!) [thanks 2BLU!!]
Become a Member of Technorama and save!!
Special deal: Membership of Technorama Incorporated costs only $10 for Station personnel, but here’s a special deal if you haven’t already become a Technoraman: by joining now and then registering for TR17 you’ll get $15 off the Conference non-member rate. That’s right – it’s almost like we’re paying you to turn up.
The handy hint is: join Technorama before you start filling in the Eventbrite form, so that you don’t time out during Eventbrite registration. While we’ll eventually be fully integrated, we’re not there yet, so it’s two separate forms.
Question: what do you get if you pile 18 technologists into a room, give them a collection of small computer circuit boards and say “go for it”. Answer: nothing, until you light the spark. So that’s what we did at the inaugural Technorama Education Day, held on Friday 16 June 2017.
Nicholas Vinen and Leo Simpson from Silicon Chip Magazine joined John Maizels to present a program designed to introduce novices to the world of Small Board Computers. Attendees came from all across the country to meet the Raspberry Pi, MicroMite, and Arduino families, and were exposed to some of the joys of each, before unpacking the Arduino kit that came with the class and rolling up sleeves.
Nicholas took the students through a path from the initial “hello world” (flashing a light) through to sophisticated programming and libraries. Students with absolutely no prior knowledge of computers (and, in some cases, no knowledge of electronics either) were surprised to discover how easily they could program the Arduino to read a button and in response first turn on, then a relay. As the class progressed, the exercises progressed to using touch screen, measuring voltages, and many techniques which might be useful in a studio.
We’re looking forward to some projects from the magazine, and further development of what is a very useful skillset.
Our special guest for TR17 was Steve Farrugia, who joined us for the weekend.
Steve is Chief Technical Officer for Broadcast Australia and is actively working on the future of communications in this country. Expect to hear much about emerging technologies including 5G, and come armed with questions about transmission and linking. Many of you might have known of Steve in his previous role as General Manager, Engineering for Broadcast Australia, where he led the team responsible for all of BA’s transmission sites, core engineering and project management.
As always, we have a few of our supporters and industry suppliers coming to join us – come see Wireless Components, AVW, N-Com and On-Air/Logitek who will all be attending and bringing some toys for your edification.
A membership system: just what you’re looking for?
Membership Systems will be one of the topics for TR17. Almost every community radio station has members and subscribers, and we thought that most of you would have automated signup and billing. So imagine our surprise when the survey showed that a large proportion of stations still have a manual system. It’s hard to believe that there’s nothing better available than a spreadsheet and a lot of manual effort, but that’s what you’ve told us.
The system that Technorama has implemented is very suitable for a community station, and we’re working up an installation guide to take all the sting out. See how well it works and give it a test run by becoming a Member of Technorama.
Currently being discussed at the Technorama Q&A Facebook group:
- Perils of Ransomware
- Software testing
- Solar power
…and heaps more. It’s Facebook, so search is minimal, arrangement is annoying, and some posts are hard to find. Delve in, because it’s worth it. Join the conversation: see the link on this page for how to find the Q&A group and join up. And read below for a bit of a backstory on the FB group.
Maybe there’s a reason why you can’t become a member right now. Just fill in the online contact form which will put you on the mailing list. The form is on the right of this page, or at the bottom, or via a hamburger – all depending on your device.
If you’re not a member, or if you’re part of an organisation, being on the mailing list is the best way to stay informed and up to date about Technorama activity. Our promise: you won’t be spammed or fire-hosed.
Technorama IT Subcommittee: answering questions you haven’t asked yet
One of the first actions for this year has been creation of the Technorama IT Subcommittee to take on some of the technology challenges that we now have as an organisation. Founding members are Shaun Dennis, Damien Spanjer, Harry Valerio, Steve Hutson, Stephen Wilkinson and John Maizels (chairing).
TRITS (get it?) has a simple mission: develop best-of-breed solutions to support running Technorama, and in the process build a bag of tools that can be used by any community broadcasting station. We do the work, so that you don’t have to, and we’ll make the outcomes available to Members.
The first TRITS project is already live: the new Technorama membership system. Definitely suitable for small to medium community radio stations, this system is capable of doing most of the work that you need: sign people up, handle membership fees (remember: Technorama Membership is free right now… won’t last!), do mailouts, manage events, publish calendars, and comes equipped with a really easy-to-use administrative back end. The package takes a bit of tailoring out of the box, but the TRITS team is building a wealth of knowledge about how to implement and tailor the system, and we are working towards a quick-start guide.
TRITS has built a fault-logging and problem ticketing system (based on Hesk), is well down the track of building the new Wiki, and stand by for a reskin of this website.
Got questions? Reach the TRITS team via the Q&A facebook page.
Technorama AGM: the Committee
The Annual General Meeting of Technorama Incorporated was held by telepresence on the evening of Thursday 15 December 2016. It was an interesting experience. You’ve probably attended many corporate and governance meetings; there’s quite a different nuance in making a meeting work by telepresence. But we proved that we can run meetings using the net, and we can involve all participants via cyberspace, and it’s another example of learnings that Technorama has developed – and which are available for use by our members. Technorama is committed to making our organisation work with almost no physical travel, and we’re happy to share how we do that.
2016 AGM summary: accounts are healthy, planning well under way for TR17, and list of committee members is updated on the Resources Page (see top right of this website).
Meet the committee by clicking on TR-Inc Board in the menu at the top of this page.
What’s happened at previous Technorama events?
Check the Past TR section of the site, accessible from the menu line at the top of this page.
The site is being updated all the time, but maybe we’re not fast enough for you, especially between annual events. If you have unanswered questions, please contact us and tell us what’s on your mind.
It would not have been possible for an unincorporated group of enthusiasts to run effective events without organisational help. Technorama gratefully acknowledges support from the Community Broadcasting Foundation and the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. We are deeply indebted to the hosts of past Technorama events: the South Australian Community Broadcasters Association Inc, the Community Broadcasting Association of Victoria, and Artsound in Canberra. Without the backing of these people, we would not be where we are today.
© Technorama 2016. All rights reserved. Some rights unreserved. Some wrongs righted. Some Wongs knighted. A partridge in a pear tree. Really, does anyone read this stuff?