Exciting news: website refresh, calendar update, membership functions

Our systems are your systems – so here’s some stuff we’ve done to help both of us.    A key Technorama aim is to review technologies that we need and that radio stations use, then research and implement those we think might be best of breed.  From there we can make recommendations to our members and the Sector.

We don’t sleep!   Over the Christmas break, TRITS (the TechnoRama IT Subcommittee) has been focused on two applications that go to the heart of every radio station:  the website and our membership system.

Web: it’s all about the content

You’re looking at the new Technorama site.  It’s still WordPress run from our private hosted account, and very little of the underlying content needed to change for the refresh.

What we’ve done is implement “Content Views” to manage the way stories appear and how the site is formatted.  CV truly is a piece of  magic.  Migration to a post-based process from the previous architecture (largely using pages) has taken less than a day of activity and an hour or so of backup and cutover.  There’s a small bit of paradigm you need to understand, and then it’s all downhill and easy work.

Memberships: life WAS meant to be easy

Technorama’s membership system is based on Zenbership, a really well integrated and highly functioned system that we’ve been using since January 2017.  There are three reasons we recommend Zenbership:

  • it requires pretty much NO administrative overhead to manage our members
  • there’s a huge amount of function entirely applicable to community organisations, and
  • it’s open-source and zero cost to run.   That’s the whole shebang.  No charge.

However like all full-function systems it’s tricky to learn, and after using it for a year we’re only just getting around to enabling some of the extended parts of the application.

The signup for the TX Blitz day was managed using Zenbership’s Events subsystem, including the mailout and registration payment.

At last: a calendar

A byproduct of building events is that we’ve started to populate a calendar, using Zenbership.   This is fully integrated with the membership system, so it’s better than a standalone plugin or offline diary.  It only took a single link to make the calendar available on the Technorama website, and you can check that out.  Depending on your display device, the calendar will either be near the top of the sidebar, or in a sidebar menu that appears on handheld devices.

Moving forward…

We’re in the process of upgrading Zenbership from V107 to V115, which will add function and fix some bugs.  We’re looking forward to getting that finalised.

Expect that the software toolkit and how you manage it with volunteers will be a topic of discussion at TR18.


Training: Webinar 31 Jan at 1830: Tech for the Non-technical

If you’re a non-technical person, how do you learn techspeak? Our second education event for Jan 2018 is Station Tech Webinar – a reprisal of the standing-room-only session run at CBAA 2017. This is very much for non-technical people who need to understand or interpret technical statements made by others. Read all about the Webinar here, and register online through the link on that page right now – before you forget.

John Maizels (President of Technorama) will deliver the first CBAA webinar of 2018, aimed at providing technical guidance for the non-technical.  As with the CBAA session, the Webinar will cover how your station works, and familiarise you with the end-to-end broadcast chain from microphone to antenna and even a bit beyond.

In this webinar you will:

  • Learn about your on-air path from studio to transmitter, and how to identify all the bits, in non-technical jargon!
  • Receive plain-language information to help you with a CBF technology grant.
  • Pick up useful strategic tips about all of the tools at your station that plug into electrical sockets, including phones, panels, links, antennae, and more.
  • Find out more about the vibrant technical community that exists within the larger community broadcasting sector and how you (and your station staff & volunteers) can join in.
  • Get an opportunity to have your technical questions answered.

Who is this webinar for?

All community broadcasters, especially managers and board/committee members, who have technical interest and more importantly, technical responsibilities.

Presented by: John Maizels

A stalwart of the community broadcasting sector, John started his radio career as a teenager, learning to build consoles and studios, developing announcing skills and running radio stations at school. He has worked professionally in radio and television in a variety of creative, production and engineering roles, was the founding Chair of PBS, spent 11 years as Technology Director at Northside Radio 99.3 and has been active with the CBAA since it was formed. Professionally John teaches television and works in the broadcast industry as a freelancer and consultant. He is passionate about good broadcasting, good coffee, and answering tough questions in simple language.

Don’t wait!

There’s no charge for this event, but places are limited.   To ensure your place is reserved, register online with this link   Details of how to connect will be sent to you.

This Webinar is the perfect backgrounder to assist you with upcoming CBF grant submissions, and to help you avoid some of the obvious technical potholes that trip up many grant submitters.  An hour of webinar won’t turn you into a broadcast engineer, but it will definitely help you with the conversations that you need to have.

The experience of Technorama 2016 – wow!

We’ve been getting great feedback about TR16, and thanks for the honest comments.   The photo repository will be updated soon once we’ve done the uploads – there were lots of good shots.

Most people remember the food – it’s not often that a conference gets such positive comments about variety and quantity of the meals.   And we hear you:  next year we’ll go easier on the donuts and heavier on the fruit.

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make it a success, and special thanks to Alan Sweeney and his team at MediaHub for making the opening night extra-special.  That was an event that might be impossible to top.

Many good suggestions came out of the plenaries, and we’re going to mull over everything we heard as we move into the planning for TR17.

Meanwhile, you can help us by doing some things:

  1. go to the Technorama Inc resources page and fill in the survey
  2. while you’re there, apply for membership using the form on the back of the constitution.   And while you’re there, browse the constitution.   Tell us if you think we’re on the right track

Ideas we’re definitely pursuing:

  • The buy/swap/sell service, and we’ve already had one offer of bulk items that is very compelling
  • Wiki for white papers and other how-tos
  • Forum for tips and questions

New 160728:  If you have experience with using or installing (even better!) specific software for these applications, please contact us ASAP.   We would like to have some tools running by mid-August.

  • Seminars/webinars, and inter-TR events.   We have started discussions with training organisations who might be able to help.

And what will make this happen faster:  volunteer to assist with one or more of those activities.   I’m sure there’s any number of webmaster/postmaster/contributor/writer/documenter types in our midst.  Don’t wait for the committee to do everything, because we can’t.   Drop us a line at [email protected]

Web updating:

Shortly, we’ll archive everything that happened at TR16, but meanwhile stay in touch.  I’d love to hear from you.   Drop the team a line via [email protected], or me directly through [email protected]

John Maizels
President, Technorama Inc


technorama.org.au goes HTTPS!

Since mid-January 2017, the Technorama IT Subcommittee has been moving our platform towards best-of-breed secureness.  You will now note that this website and all our tools use HTTPS to ensure that every page-get is end-to-end secure.   This is important.   While we all accept that secure protocol is needed for transactions which involve financial or personal information, partial HTTPS still doesn’t fully protect those interactions from man-in-the-middle attacks.   The only way to ensure that your pages and users are protected is to be totally HTTPS, for all calls to your site.

technorama.org.au is now enabled for HTTPS, our core apps have been cut over, we purchased a secure domain certificate which supports wildcard access (so we now have subdomains like member.technorama.org.au) and we use Cloudflair to provide CDN, DDoS and DNS protection, and we have some nifty plugins assisting WordPress.

Expect discussion on the topic of Web Security at TR17.  Oh, and you’re only as secure as your passwords!

Technorama 2017 Announced

Technorama bulletin: the mailer

In November 2016, just ahead of the AGM, we sent a mailer to all the people who had
registered on the website or have attended a TR.   If you missed it, then you can download the bulletin here.

Technorama 2017 is announced!

We’re excited:  Technorama 2017 will be held on the weekend of 16-18 June 2017, and by popular support we’re going to be back at the Campbelltown RSL.

The program is under development and registration isn’t open yet, but all the facilities bookings are firm.   We expect registration price to be similar to this year (in 2016 it was around $100 earlybird for station volunteers, and that covered everything).  This year you can expect Members of Technorama to get special treatment.

Start discussing the dates and your attendance with your Board or Committee, and you can safely book travel.

Put the dates in your diary,  and stand by as we call for session ideas and presentations.

Technorama Question and Answer FB Group created

November 2016:  To help stations with quick tech queries and as a starting point for tech questions related to grant submissions, we’ve created a special Q&A Facebook group which you can access if you click here.   It’s a closed group, so you will need to ask for access, but once that’s happened you’re in!!  Start asking away.

Facebook isn’t the best tool for storing long term material, but so many of you have said that Facebook is a good way to make contact, and we’ve listened.   To back that up, and ensure that nothing is lost in the Facebook mire, we’re working on ways  (eg:  WIKI and Forum) to do the heavy lifting and capture the excellent discussions and information that have been contributed.

Thanks to CBAA for assisting with this project.

Final week mailout

Headlines:  It’s not too late to sign up for Technorama 2016.  Only $110 volunteer/station rate for the conference / meals / everything (except your travel and accommodation).  Dare you to find better value.  And some seriously cheap rooms STILL available at Rydges if you’re quick: $233 for two nights hotel.  Please help spread the word to all sector techs and interested people.  All on the website.  And help us by sending this note to someone who might not know about….

View this email in your browser

this weekend: 22-24 July 2016!

Hi.    Are you (or your station techs) already registered for Technorama?   It’s only a few days away now and we’re pumped.   If you’re registered or have someone going, ignore this bit and read the News below.  But if you haven’t yet registered, this is the important reminder.

It’s not too late to register, and it’s the cheapest full-on tech education event you will find.  Period.  This is how you support your volunteers.

Registration:  do this any time, even an hour before we start.  Click here, read all the info, then register before it’s too late.

Who can come, and who will benefit?  If you support tech for a station, if you are interested in radio technology, if you’re passionate about education and training, if you are involved with the sector in any capacity, if you work for a commercial radio station, or if you just want to join the gang for the weekend:  you can come and we will make you welcome.  And bring your friends/partners/relatives.

Newsflash:  The cheap two-days for one accommodation offer at Rydges was still available when this note was sent.  The rate has increased a few times, but for two nights it’s the cheapest around AND it’s an international class hotel.  Book now while two nights of hotel costs less than a Sydney taxi fare!

The full program is here, and even more details about the event, the location, the social times, and how to register are at www.technorama.org.au.  While you’re there download the cool (we think) TR16 poster from the website for your station noticeboard!

Our special welcome event is on Friday night at MediaHub.   You have to experience the facility to believe, so check the video here and see why we’re excited.  Technorama delegates will get an up-close and personal tour of some of the most advanced broadcast technology in the country.
Send any questions to [email protected]

Just a small sample of the buffet meals on offer...If a tech army marches on its stomach, this is one event where nobody goes away hungry or frustrated.   We have the most wonderful lunch lined up, and dinner gets better.  It’s all included in the conference fee, along with morning and afternoon teas, and all the technical discussion that you can handle.

The agenda

Check the full program to see what’s on.

  • James Cridland, our Special Guest of Honour at TR16: a globally recognised radio futurologist
  • CBF attending to talk about grant applications and the new CBF structure
  • Introduction to Dante:  bulletproof digital audio on your LAN
  • Solving your transmission problems:  major focus thread on the program
  • What happens when the 850MHz link to your transmitter or OB is regulated away?
  • CBAA on your tech future, the state of the nation, and developments in CRN

Also while you’re online, like us on Facebook (TechnoramaAustralia), follow us on Twitter (@technorama_aus) and retweet your heart out with the hashtag TR16AU.  We want everyone to know about Technorama!

Looking forward to seeing you/your techs/your family/our guests…

John Maizels
TR16 convenor

Get info or register now


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