MINUTES OF THE MEMBERS’ GENERAL MEETING HELD ON SUNDAY 14/04/13 AT 3 PM IN
THE MEMBERS’ ROOM ON THE VIP COMMUNICATOR
Ann Saunders (Chair), Amanda Burt (Secretary), Carol Forrester (Executive
Officer), Chris Payne (Treasurer and Membership Administrator), Justin
Macleod (Events Co-ordinator), Leon Gilbert (Webmaster), Alan Davis, Brian
Clayton, Christine Brown, David Richards, Drusilla Insole, Gladys Taylor,
Greg Hamilton, Harry Mason, Ian White, Jackie Glynn, Jim Bradley, Jim Welch,
John Hinchliffe, John Hoschander, John Wilsher, June Porter, Katie Myers,
Keith Waters, Kulvinder Bhogal, Lee Buckingham, Linda Tyler, Lisa Peck,
Margaret Cooper, Mark Tyler, Mary Grimwood, Maurice Pothecary, Michael
Brown, Miriam Raymond, Nadeera Broome, Pamela McCain, Paul Johnson, Pete
Hallam, Peter Beasley, Roger Wallace, Rosemary Bradley, Sal Pitts, Stanley
Saunders, Stephen Evans, Stephen Hassall and Steve Pallett.
Andrew Payne, Carol Eddon, Caroline Tobias, Charlotte Payne, David Norton,
Elisabeth Standen, Gregory Turner, Irene Elbourn, John Wells, Lynette
Norton, Michael Payne and Teresa Payne.
1. Minutes Of Meeting Held on 10/02/13
Harry Mason proposed, and Mark Tyler seconded that the minutes be accepted
as a correct record.
2. Matters Arising from the minutes of the last meeting
There were no matters arising.
3. Chair’s report
Justin Macleod played a recording of a statement read by Ann with regard to
the current problems being experienced with TAFN’s Communicator, and this
will be sent in full by e-mail to all members.
In summary, Ann stated that the Executive is very concerned about these
problems, and share members’ frustrations. There are now four members of the
Executive who are able to re-boot the server, and a list of these has been
sent to all members.
The Communicator is the best on the open market, but we need to develop our
own software to ensure that it works with Windows 7 and 8. The Executive are
looking into finding a developer to complete this work, but this is costly.
Not only is there the development work to create such software, but there
are also legal aspects that need to be complied with, and therefore legal
costs. TAFN cannot be held liable if, in the early stages, the software were
to damage any members or guests’ computers.
TAFN will also need to have the rights to the software, in order to be able
to take it to another developer in the event that the original developer
were to fold. It will also regularly need to be updated. However, these
costs are not preventing this work from being carried out.
The auction is being held in order to help towards these costs, and to
provide extra funds for any emergencies within TAFN.
This work can be achieved with the dedication and hard work of all those
Ann then went on to present the rest of her report.
The Executive Committee have appointed a Vice-Chairperson for the next two
years, who is Chris Payne.
Ann has made relevant amendments to the list of Trustees on the Charity
The helpline is now up and running. If anyone telephones 0845 8382369, the
line is functioning.
The moderators for the coming year have been reviewed, and Ann will shortly
be calling a meeting with the moderators to discuss which rooms are being used.
Finally, Ann has been asked by Chrissie Cochrane, who runs the internet
radio station “The Global Voice”, to do an interview in her “voices”
programme, and Ann will be publicising TAFN within this. The interview will
be done on Monday 22/04/13, and Ann will find out when it will be broadcast.
Justin Macleod endorsed everything in Ann’s statement. He reassured members
that the server is the Executive Committee’s top priority, and the
communicator’s short comings do not affect anyone more than him and his
Events Team, particularly when organising large events. He is aware that
members’ confidence in the Executive Committee’s ability to get things done
isn’t particularly high at this time, and that this will be dealt with as
quickly as possible.
Greg stated that he is concerned about the four Executive Committee members
who are able to re-boot the server, not due to any incompetence, but because
Chris and Leon will be/are in full-time employment, and will therefore not
be available during the day. Catherine is in Australia which presents a
couple of obstacles. Therefore, of the four people, only one of them
(Justin) has day-time access. He is therefore not sure that the four named
people are the right ones.
Ann stated that this will be looked into, and another person may be added.
Amanda and Carol both offered to do this.
Justin stated that, whilst Greg’s concern has merit, there is a bias towards
night-time TAFN traffic, and this needs to be borne in mind. Justin is very
accessible during the day, and Leon has done something to the server to
hopefully limit the number of crashes.
4. Treasurer’s and Memberships Report
Treasurer’s Report for March 2013
Chris reported that the current account had an opening balance of £1,095.21.
£275.40 has been paid in, as follows:
- Bingo £46,
- Bonus Ball £170,
- Memberships £59.40
£431.65 has been paid out, as follows:
- 1 and 1 Ltd £71.99,
- AGm £154.12,
- Bingo £112,
- Bonus Ball £87.50,
- Help line £5.94.
Thisgives a closing balance of £938.96.
The savings account balance now stands at £22,228.13.
With regard to PayPal: there has been a credit of £11.45, and there is now a
balance of £980.61.
TAFN had a grand total at the end of March of £24,147.74.
Four guest applications were approved, and TAFN welcomed one new member
We were sorry that there were eight guests who did not wish to become full
members and, after various e-mails with no replies, Chris has removed ten
members from the database this month. A member has said that they have paid
a £12 subscription, but Chris only has an account number, and this person
should contact him stating that a payment has been made.
5. Secretary’s Report
March has been a busy month. Amanda has been sending out the usual event and
other announcements and guidelines, and has continued to work on the lists.
She has also sent out volunteer agreements to all Exec and MAD Committee members.
If anyone needs information about lists, wishes to subscribe/unsubscribe
from a list, or to be put on no mail, they should e-mail
6. Webmaster’s Report
Leon reported that, during one of the worst months in terms of the
communicator, the overall data transfer from the TAFN server for March was
117 GBs. This reflects healthy server activity. Leon has been unable to
access any statistics since December, and is in the process of getting an
automated system set up to enable this to happen.
There have not been any updates to the public website. However, it is likely
that the MAD Committee will be assisting with this, along with the formation
of a Web Team consisting of people who are able to work in this area.
In the members’ area, Leon has worked on bringing all documentation
up-to-date, including the MAD and Executive Committee pages. The members
list is also about to be updated, along with other documentation.
In addition, Leon is working on some technical issues in respect of Dropbox
and Googlegroups. Consideration is being given to moving away from
Googlegroups to an alternative provider, as Googlegroups is becoming a lot less accessible.
Leon has been working on the setting up of remote desktop access in order to
enable more people to be able to re-boot the server.
He has also done some work on the server itself, which should hopefully
result in less freezes in the immediate future.
He has also been undertaking research (in line with Ann’s statement) around possible suggestions for the
future, including testing, and also work around changing the current
internet hosting company. We are well beyond any end of contract terms with
1&1 Internet, and there are some aspects of their provision that are
unacceptable, such as the inaccessibility of their control panel. If this is
done, everything will need to be moved, such as the IP address, and this
will be done very carefully. This will not be a hasty decision, but is seen as inevitable.
VIP communicator server crashes during the month of March were reported on
6, 8, 18, 19, 20 and 25 March, and this is possibly one of the worst months
on record for server crashes. In addition the 1&1 Internet IP address went
down on 27/03/13, for around a twelve hour period. As a result of this,
no-one could access the website, including the members’ area. This coincided
with CIBER attacks being reported in the news, and it is possibly thought
that 1&1 took themselves down because of that security threat at the time.
Chris Payne rang Leon on the Friday evening to say that he was trying to do
his quiz, and that people were getting an additional log in asking for a
user name and password details when they entered chat rooms. The reason for
this is that some communicator rooms use templates that are hosted on the
TAFN website, which was down because of 1&1. Leon therefore endeavoured to
re-set the quiz room back to its standard template which is hosted on Barry’s
server not ours. This was done from a remote location as Leon and his
partner were away and, regrettably, he forgot to put the quiz room back onto
its standard template when 1&1 were back up and running on the Monday. This
meant that, when Tony tried to host his mid week quiz, there was no
capability in there, for which he apologised.
Leon may require people to help with testing in the future, and the
Executive are committed to making the right decisions to prevent this
situation from continuing.
Leon has continued to undertake Executive Committee work. He is also
continuing with the Thursday night computer skills training which is going
well. He thanked Stephen H and Ian White for their recent presentations.
There will be training on the Firefox browser, and also a podcast from Gary
Price to look forward to.
7. Events Co-ordinator’s Report
Justin reported that the biggest event that occurred last month was a pilot
of a new audio quiz event run by Mark. This was attended by twenty five
people, despite some technical difficulties. This event will probably have a
A brain ache event was held following the last members’ meeting, and there
will be another one this Thursday.
The auction will be taking place next month (18 May), the proceeds of which
will go to TAFN. This is a fun event, was nominated for the event of the
year the year before last, and everyone is encouraged to send any treasures
that they don’t want, but think others might, to Chris by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.If there is an item that you would like to bid on, a wish list thread has
been started on the mailing list. If you are not on the mailing list, any
requests can be forwarded to the mailing list by Amanda, Chris or Justin.
Justin has been putting together the new Events Team, and the first meeting
of the new team was held last month. The team consists of Justin as Chair,
Chrissie C, Tony B, Katie M and Lee G.
After some initial deliberation, Richard Wilkin has chosen to resign due to other commitments, which Justin
wished him well with. He also thanked him for his tremendous contribution to
Events Team projects, both since Justin has been involved, and prior to this
under Paul’s time as Events Co-ordinator. His effervescent creativity is
boundless, his zany sense of humour, his ideas, his desire to keep
everything fresh, and his tireless ability to play devil’s advocate were all
invaluable, and he will be greatly missed.
The Team discussed Trust Me, which will hopefully be run in August, along
with possible celebratory events to mark TAFN’s tenth birthday in June.
Justin has also been working on getting audio on the website, including
editing the talent night, and this should be available within the next
couple of months. This has been delayed due to Justin being unwell.
Justin thanked all hosts and members of the Events Team, and anyone who
contributes to events in any way.
Justin requested that, for cancellations, promotions and re-scheduling,
people should write to email@example.com. For proposals, concerns,
suggestions about new events and comments, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. MAD Update
Sal P reported that there have been no complaints this month.
The members of the MAD Committee are: Sal P (Chairperson for this month),
Mark Tyler, Steve Hy-Dryden, Wendy Dundas, Catherine McManus (Exec
representative) and John Hoschander. Justin Macleod has represented
Catherine this month due to her being on holiday.
To contact the MAD Committee please e-mail: email@example.com.
In response to a question from Ann, Sal confirmed that the MAD Committee
will be meeting on 15/04/13 to discuss possible development work in relation
to members’ views on the website.
9. TAFN Auction
Chris Payne stated that this year’s auction will be held on Saturday
18/05/13 at 7.30 pm. Chris P thanked Carol Forrester and Dennis Bowden for
items that they have already sent to him.
As well as needing lots of items, a wish list is being run on the main list and, if anyone sees anything on
there that they have and don’t need, to send them to him in order to boost
the TAFN funds in order that this particular Committee can fulfil what we
are promising to members in terms of making inroads towards sorting out the
communicator problems. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with
details of any items. Anyone who has Chris’ home address can send items
directly, and Chris will provide his address in an e-mail for anyone who
If there are more items than time to distribute them, the auction will be
concluded on Sunday 19/05/13 starting at 2.30 pm.
In response to a question from Mark T, Chris confirmed that anything sent
will be sorted out. Anything that is brand new can be sold. Anything second
hand needs to be checked over to ensure that it works due to any packaging
problems that there may have been following dispatch.
Items will be dispatched to buyers securely packaged in order to keep breakages to a
minimum. If you are sending anything that is breakable or electrical, pack
10. Any Other Business
Chris stated that his computers are currently being repaired, and that he
will respond to any outstanding e-mails as soon as possible after Tuesday.
Peter Beasley feels that members should appear on the communicator with
their full names rather than just their initials.
Chris P said that the reason why this was changed was to comply with the
Data Protection Act. Anyone seeing someone’s full name on the Communicator
gives them more than one avenue to start to instigate personal fraud against
them. This action was to safeguard all members.
In response to a question from Mark T, Chris confirmed that there is a list
of full members names in the members’ area, and that this may be a breach of
data protection, but is at least passworded to prevent anyone other than
members seeing it.
There have been difficulties in the past where guests have been allowed to access information such as Skype and MSN details.
Justin M stated that his understanding of the Data Protection Act is that,
if people consent to having their names displayed in full in certain areas,
this is legal. Advice needs to be sought, and the main thing is for TAFN to
comply with the Act.
Greg Hamilton believed that the Executive had changed this in an attempt to
make the site appear more friendly and not as formal, and that it was
nothing to do with data protection.
Further discussion ensued on this topic, and Ann stated that the members
list in the members’ area would be discussed at a future Executive Committee
meeting. Information about this would also be sought by obtaining relevant
information within the Data Protection Act. This will be reported to a
future members’ meeting.
11. Date Of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Sunday 12/05/13 at 3 pm in the Members’
Ann closed the meeting at 4.23 pm.