Website & Technologies

#47 A Brave New World

From Newsletter 47
My First Term As Administrator
By Catherine Shackell

It was lovely if somewhat daunting to receive so many kind and welcoming messages from you all when I started as Administrator in September. I say daunting, because the adjective ‘brave’ seemed to appear slightly too frequently for comfort…

Anyway, I appear to have survived my first term relatively unscathed although I have to confess that after getting married, moving house and starting a new job all in the space of 4 months I’m very much looking forward to a quiet Christmas!
My first term has been a whirl of events, emails, enrolment forms and an alarmingly steep technological learning curve (RSS, html, php includes, MySql mean anything to any of you?!)

A new group was born in Spennymoor. Our Composers & Arrangers have returned with renewed vigour. The Baroque Ensemble spurred on by their fabulous concert in September now meet weekly. We had our first opportunity to play Swing Band music. And we have inadvertently produced a very listenable CD of our Mozart Concert with Anthony Sargent. (I say inadvertently because we didn’t especially set out to make a CD).

We’ve also had more than our fair share of technical gremlins this term, with various email providers sporadically deciding that our mailouts are actually spam. Oh, how foolish I was to think that digging a hole in the road, pulling up the driveway and drilling through the wall to install the new Cobwebs phone-line would be the end of the little technological critters.

My apologies to those of you have been affected by the over zealous spam filters, and my thanks for your patience. We are posting copies of all our mailouts on the official Cobwebs blog and you will be also able to access events information via our website, so if you think you might have missed something you will be able to check there – but also please do let me know if our messages aren’t reaching you.

As those of you who’ve been reading our blog will know, Cobwebs has been expanding its international networks too this term. We seem to be generating increasing interest in the US. So much so that Andy was awarded a scholarship to visit America in November to see how community orchestras do things on the other side of the pond.

We’ve also been getting noticed slightly closer to home. The Cobweb Orchestra has won an EPIC Award for Innovation as well as coming runner up in the Creativity category, so we’ll be going to the House of Lords to collect our prize in January – well, maybe not all of us… How big is it? Would we even fit in, I wonder?

How many orchestras can fit all that into just a few weeks? Thank you to everyone who puts so much time and effort into helping us deliver such a fantastic array of opportunities for everyone – we wouldn’t be able to do any of it without you.

Posted by Catherine Shackell in Events, General, Newsletters, Website & Technologies

Technological Teething Troubles

Cobwebs has grown significantly in recent years and so we are having to look at new ways to handle the volume of communications involved in, well, keeping in touch and providing you with a fantastic selection of musical events.  As far as you’re concerned things should appear to be pretty much the same as usual, while behind the scenes there are clever people typing away at terrific speeds writing us our very own software.  As with all new programs there will inevitably be a few glitches along the way and we are grateful for your patience while we’re getting things up and running.
Mail Delivery Difficulties
It seems that for some reason some email addresses are currently bouncing back mail that is sent from our mail server.  This means that if you have a hotmail or msn account it is likely that you will receive your mail a few days later than everyone else for which we apologise.  Hopefully we will be able to resolve the problem soon.  I have sent out a couple of emails to everyone since the beginning of September, if you haven’t received them please check your spam filter as the first port of call (I’m using a new admin email address which your account may not recognise), and if there’s nothing from us there, please let me know so I can correct your details on our database.
Big Font Weirdness
If you received an email with some very large and some very small text accompanied by funny spacings please rest assured that this is not a really annoying new marketing stategy we’re trialling.  For some peculiar formatting reason the last mailout appeared, well, quite bizarrely in some people’s mail browsers (although the content is all present and correct), while others were fine and nice and pretty as ws intended.  This seems to be a temporary glitch and hopefully messages will display more normally in future.
A Note on Links
We have recently started using links in our messages to you and some of you have reported defective links and error messages.  There is unfortunately nothing that we can do to fix this as it is to do with the settings on individual computers / in particular browers and the links work without problem for the majority of people.  In future messages I shall endeavour to write the link address in full, it won’t be quite as pretty, but it does mean that if you are affected then you can copy and paste it into your address bar and find the relevant page that way.
Please Let Us Know
If you think you’ve spotted any other technological peculiarities please do let me know so we can get things sorted out as soon as possible.
Many thanks

Posted by Catherine Shackell in Website & Technologies

Website Update

A few people have been asking when the new website for The Cobweb Orchestra will be launched, so here’s an update.
The new site has been in development since the back end of last year and is almost complete. There are still a few loose ends to tie up but considering the big changes in the organisation and the new rehearsal groups, I think it would be beneficial to launch it as soon as possible even though we may need to add some intended features at a later date.
The current plan is to continue development over the next week, with the new site being launched over the Sedbergh Residential Weekend (28-30 March). The old website will be unavailable during this time though I will try to keep downtime to a minimum.
Website Administrator

Posted by admin in General, Website & Technologies