My son is doing a study that entails keeping a detailed journal of the whole days activities. I thought I would give it a go, Its more difficult than you might think. When I remembered to do it, i just scribbled in a notebook as it happened, the rest was filled in retrospectively, with the stuff i forgot to jot down - I then got Sian to decipher it and type it up. Nothing untoward happened, just a typical working day in the Ringleader's life
4:30 – 5:00
I’m laid wide awake at 4.45am, I can’t help it. If I went to bed drunk at 3am I would still wake at 4:30. Sian calls it my disease or my curse. I reach over to the bedside table and pick up my iphone and holding it under the covers so the light doesn’t disturb Sian I check my emails. I have 4 private messages and two reported posts and a bunch of other emails none of which are really important.
Get up, make tea, check sites using laptop. Someone started a thread last night saying the site seemed slow. I checked and It did feel a bit sluggish,
I send an email to my retained sys-admin guy in Germany to check the Mysql logs.
I Delete two spammers who joined in the night and posted junk. And then start answering PMs
one is about a picture upload problem,
another about a spouse of a Funster who would like a free subscription
someone wants to know if a 2008 Mirage motorhome is a good buy.
A new member wants to know how to add a signature.
I respond to each.
Out with the dog, it’s pitch black, cold and very blowy. Rocky doesn’t seem to mind, we walk about three miles and I while puffing up a rather steep hill I get a great idea about promoting the new Motorhome Fulltimers Association.
5:55 Back home - Wake everyone up being childishly exuberant, take Sian a cup of tea and take a shower.
6:30 Breakfast on my own with the news on BBC - Luxury
7:00 Wake James 16 again , not as exuberant this time but just as boring. Let the chickens out and then cross the yard and start the 20 metre commute to my office.
Look at the sites again, there a quite a few funsters online now, there are 3 new members to welcome that joined last night, I always try to welcome each one.
Check the site backups occurred, in the night, that they have been replicated off site, verify backup and post another copy of to a secure location.
Can’t resist getting involved in a forum topic about how to solve the country’s unemployment crisis.
I get a PM about how someone might arrange a meet next year, I respond, thank them and explain how they might go about it.
I scan my to do list and drag “to dos” onto todays calendar allocating the time for each item. Hoping that tonight I don’t have to drag the items undone back to my task list.
Back to the house, everyone is having breakfast , join in but only have coffee. 8:30 I walk Katie to school.
In the office, working on a consultant project (this pays the bills) It involves a couple of calls and I work on the outline of a report. Then I’m distracted
Someone has responded to my political post on fun so I spend 20 minutes composing a superb reply, then decide its best to not post it and delete it.
Back to the consultancy work.
The dog goes ape, the post arrives, a planning authority have an issue with a CFL in Devon, I compose letter back to the planning authority and pop it in the out tray, that authority are being a right pain.
A cheque in the post for subs, find the user on the system and manually add the years subscription to her profile, email and tell her 'thanks' and it’s sorted
Back to the consultancy work.
I get an email alert, someone has opened a second account on the site, this is against the rules and the system alerts me, I email the funster about the breach, and delete the second account.
Back to the consultancy..
Browsing the site I welcome another new member.
I get email back from the sys admin in Germany, he has looked at the logs and found nothing that might account for the sluggishness. He goes on to inform me that the site seems very fast to him. I check and it does seem to be OK. It seems I have spent money for nothing!
Take a phone call, a new member cannot make a post, keeps getting a permission error. Talk them through it and finally discover they are not logged in!
Lunch, we start outside in bright sun, but have to go in it just a bit too cold, I get a reported post, a Funster has reported a trader spamming. I nip to the office and quickly delete the trader
Make good headway on the consultancy work
A newby has posted his intro on the back of a thread about solar panels. I make a new thread for the post and email the newby to tell him what I have done and provide him a link to his new thread.
I get a PM someone wants to know how to delete an advert, I respond pointing to a tutorial. Make a to-do about adding a help file visible when in classifieds.
Back to the consultancy work and make more calls.
I get an email about important system upgrade for our forum software that needs to happen ASAP It is a patch against a vulnerability, I read the patch brief and luckily it only requires a couple of files to be overwritten and I do not have to close the site. I do it right away, better to be safe than sorry.
Coffee -Chill out and browse a few of my favourite sites. Read up on the rugby stories, read what’s been going on at motorhome fun make a few posts there myself.
Collect Katie from school
Back to the bread and butter stuff, but now with lots of interruptions from kids
Add some work to a long term project that might earn me some money one day
Read more about rugby – depressing
Print off 3 drafts of a report for proof reading tonight, a copy for me, Sian and the Mother-in-law!
Evening meal with everyone except titch who’s at running club This is the start of the sites busy time, so a laptop is never far from the kitchen so i can keep taking a peak at what is happening.
Youngest to bed and a story; were reading Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield
Watching TV - An email on my phone alerts me to a member that cannot log in, and the password that we supplied does not work. I mail a solution back
A “contact us” alert on my phone, someone asking for a membership number for their insurance company. I have a stock email written for this so in less than a minute its sorted.
I check the site its all OK, no reported posts, no contentious treads running. I close the laptop and head for the shower and bed. In bed, check the site one last time browsing via iPhone, ignoring sarcastic comments from Sian, asking if sending me a PM would be the best way of communicating with me!:Laughing:
A quick look at our membership figures and it looks like we will be over 800 by the weekend. :thumb:That is a massive amount of people to sign up in such a short time. It’s not like we force people to join by hiding content from them, they do it because they want to.
I have put off trying to get advertisers so far because I think the limited space we have got to sell will be easier to shift when we can boast 1000 members. If things keep going as they are we should reach a thousand in December so we will start trying to sell early in the New Year.
The last thing anyone wants is adds everywhere so we only need a couple for the top and the right sides. So if anyone reading this wants an add, I wouldn’t hang about, I think it will move very quickly.
Well Bryan has adopted my hairstyle after pulling most his hair out while setting up our new server, but after lots of false starts and a weekend of no sleep he has ensured we now have a fully mirrored site operating on the new server and we are putting it through its paces. One evening soon we will shut this site for an hour back up the database and install it on the new server, then when you next log on we should still have every post, photo, blog, classified add, review, link and meet intact and working.:Cool: Well that's the plan anyway.
Been looking forward to this one for a while now. The meet just kept growing as everyone was caught up in the excitement of a new forum and its first big meet. We gave a lot of thought to what we might be able to do to ensure that the meet was a success. Conscious of the fact that motorhomers are by their very nature an independent bunch and if anything like me, they resent any form of "organising" The only rule we decided upon was that there were no rules, everyone free to do as they pleased throughout. So with this in mind we thought about the best way to organise a meet with any "organising"
With numbers of individual attendees reaching 50+ I knew if we did not have a central point to congregate then the group would fragment into smaller groups which rather defeats the object of having a big get together in the first place. A commercial grade 6 by 4 metre Party marquee was purchased and became the focal point of the meet and solved any segregation issues that might have been. Lit up with 6 bulbs and party lights supplied by Suzy and Bryan it became the meet cafe by day and bistro/pub by night.
The meet was a huge success, and it seemed people were reluctant to leave on Sunday not wanting the party atmosphere to end. It was really nice putting faces to names with no-one coming anywhere near to looking like I imagined them to be, with them probably thinking much the same about me
The feedback I have received has been very positive so we really do not leave it too long before we do it again. A big thank you to all those that helped with the marquee, I am sure we will get quicker at erecting it as we have more practise. A big thank you to everyone who turned up and joined in the fun, you were great.
This pic was taken just outside the party tent, early on Saturday Evening, half of us in the tent and these hardy souls partying outside. It was a warmish evening early on but by dark it turned much colder and everyone moved inside, glad of the heater that new member "Stew" had kindly loaned us.
This was just part the Sunday Morning mess I woke to. Evidence of a good time being had was everywhere. With help from the poor relations (who were up and about because they were cold, power cut) and with Suzy directing from inside her RV we managed to clean up, and as people woke and wandered over to the tent the stage was clean and set for a further ten hours of coffee, cake and chat.
On Thursday when we should have been erecting our stand at York, I had to drive from Wales to London for an 11 o clock meeting that I couldn't get out of. I Left Wales at 4am, Got back to Wales at 5pm. Then loaded the RV with all the banners, flyers, gazebo etc. Arrived at York at 2:30 am on Friday morning after driving 800 miles in 22 hours! We met Bryan and Suzy in a layby on the A64 and tried to get some sleep but the trucks whizzing by just inches from us and the resulting wooooosh and the rocking in the violent airstream certainly did not rock me to sleep and the couple of hours sleep I did manage were fitful.
At 6am I woke Bryan and we headed off to the show after filling a jerrycan for the genny. Sods law and Jobs-worth security guards ensured that we couldn't be parked further from pitch 244. But three or four trips with Bryans handy sack trolley got everything to the pitch. It started raining heavily.
I had borrowed the Gazebo from my mum, who had bought it from Argos, if it had been made of tissue paper it might of kept us dryer. There was no way that we could set up a computer and screen, or put up our display boards. Everything would have been ruined. We certainly gave the stall holders either side of us a good laugh as they saw that it was raining harder inside our gazebo than anywhere else in Yorkshire. The show opened!! and we did not have a stand. We needed a new gazebo. Half an hour later and with a wallet £200 quid thinner we had a nice new green and waterproof gazebo. The stallholder selling gazebos, couldn't believe his luck, to get a sale within the first 10 seconds of the show opening. I got back to our stand to find Bryan cheerily handing our flyers to anyone brave enough to peer out from their brolly or anorak hood.
We had some dead space behind our stand so I started to erect the new gazebo behind the soggy one. Reinforcements arrived in the shape of Marie and Rex. Marie wearing a very fashionable pink bin liner, and Rex with a bit of knowhow with regard to gazebo erection. Marie got stuck in handing out the flyers whilst Rex and I got stuck trying to follow simple erection instructions! After a prolonged struggle we beat the Gazebo into submission and it was up. Now all we had to do was carry out a swap! By now the aisles were teaming with wet but smiling visitors as quite a few stopped to watch as we did a sort of barn dance with the two gazebos. We lowered the soggy gazebo by a foot or two and whilst some volunteers moved it backwards we moved the new waterproof one over to top and for the first time in an hour, all our display kit was out of the rain. The adjacent stall holders gave us a little cheer before they got back to work, their entertainment over.
Once we were set up, and dry we could get out the display boards, computers and 32 inch screen. The pitch looked good, and we set out on our quest to ambush every show-goer and give them a flyer, I think we succeeded, and most people got two by the end of the second day. On the third day we recognised almost everyone as they politely told us that they did not need another flyer to go with the 3 or more they already had, some people actually took a flyer from their pocket and waved it in the air to ensure that as they passed The MotorhomeFun stand they would not get accosted again, sometimes this ploy worked!
Motorhome Fun generated a lot of interest, and hundreds went into our dry gazebo and checked out the live website. We made friends with plenty of other stall holders who agreed to distribute our flyers from their stands. We even had another well known motorhome forum kindly display a large amount of our flyers on the display stand outside their pitch, though to be honest i think they removed them as soon as they noticed them.
In all we had a great time, and now a few more people know that we are here, it was a great success. I would like to offer a big thank you to...
Bryan, Suzie, Marie, Rex, Keith, Sharon, James, Sian, Ginnie and Katie as well as all those members who popped in to show their support. It was great, thanks. We must do it again some time
We are officially open 7 weeks after we started construction, we already have 300+ members and I am very pleased with the progress, time now to start on the marketing and I am looking forward to going to York to start the long process of letting motorhomers know we are here.
Installed a new front page to the website last night, This should help new members when they land on our page and let them know what we are about. It will also help our search engine optimisation. It was all a bit hairy, Bryan was 150 miles away and i couldn't ring because we didnt want to wake suzy, so we were panicking via those annoying little MSN chat box thingys. We lost the site a couple of times at least and then when we found it we got locked out of it. Not knowing what you are doing makes things much more exciting don't you think. Hope you like it
Well that's the last of the items I wanted on the forum. Photo Gallery, A Blog, A Review Section and a proper classified section. I have been spending far too much time building the site, but hopefully I can now get on with some real work that will pays me in money rather than Fun.
Its been a great learning curve, even if at times its been a bit steep, its hard to believe that 2 months ago I new absolutely nothing about running forums, let alone building your own. I have missed Bryan's help this last 10 days or so, but I am sure he will be back here bouncing around soon.
The effort and enthusiasm of the members here is very encouraging, because they now have the biggest job of all, which is building our content, however judging by the efforts of the last month I think we will cruise it.
I have still got to switch servers, but I will be waiting for Bryan to be back before I attempt that,:Err::Eek!: but once that is done, I can then turn my attention to marketing the site rather than building it. Watch this space...
We are getting there with the site now.
This blog seems to be working after a few false starts. I am excited about this because our hobby really does lend itself to blogging. I know that on other sites that we won't name, it is not popular, but then the interface and blog controls on those sites is very limiting. Our blog features are very easy to use and I am really looking forward to reading some member's blogs. Blogging doesn't appeal to everyone but I really do hope that it takes off and members use it as a daily diary or travel log or in fact for anything they like as long as its decent and legal
The review section and campsite database still requires a fair bit of work, but is taking shape nicely.
The Classified Section
This should be installed this week, this will enable us to sell a few odds and sods to each other, our very own sunday morning locker sale:Cool:
The one item that seems to have me procrastinating more that ever is moving the site from the dodgy shared space we have now, to a dedicated server which should be able to cope with hundreds of active members. :Eek!:Managing our own server is as new to me as running a forum was a month or so ago, and is much more daunting. We have more to lose than when did when building the forum. Now we have members and their valuable content that we do not want to disapear . Bryan will definitely be getting a few shouts I think:Wink: I wonder if we have any server experts as members.
Haven't decided on an official opening date yet, but it looks like it may well coincide with the opening meet which is filling up nicely.
Our Very Own Blog
A blog is a personal diary. A motorhome Travelogue. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world. Your blog is whatever you want it to be.
Our new Blog makes it simple for MotorhomeFun members to create their own space within the community. Getting started is as simple as posting the first message (using your familiar motorhomefun editor). There is no lengthy setup process - you are free to personalise your blog at any time by defining a title and a description that will appear at the top of every blog post. You can have Draft Blog entries and even delay publication to a future date and time.
Blog Home Page
Available via a single click from any forum page, the blog home page aggregates activity from all member blogs into a single page – with information about the most recent and highest rated blog posts, recent comments, a featured blog post full support for browsing posts by date and overall blogging statistics.
Syndication and Subscriptions
Site wide and per-blog RSS feeds allow syndication to external readers, and full support for vBulletin subscriptions enables users to join their favorite blogs and receive regular email updates.
Member blogs are integrated with the MotorhomeFun profile system – profile information is displayed alongside blog posts, and existing profile pages are enhanced with information about blog activity.
Blog Control Panel
The Blog Control Panel empowers Motorhome Fun members to control every aspect of their blogs, from permission controls (who has access to view and comment on the blog), to full management of blog categories, draft posts, trackbacks/pingbacks and subscriptions. Blog owners also have the ability to moderate comments on their own blog.