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Meeting held at the home of Carolyn Baird.

  1. Meeting declared opened at 2.55pm.

  2. Members Present:

    • Carolyn Baird
    • Gavin Condon
    • Peter Longworth
    • Andrew Glazebrook
    • Lynette Chant
    • Marc Walters
    • Helen Donaldson

  3. Apologies:

    • Ross Slade

  4. Minutes of July 23rd, 2000 Regional Meeting: A printed copy of the previous minutes was circulated and read by all present. Peter approved the minutes. Seconded by Andrew. Accepted unanimously.

  5. Regional Report: A copy of the Co-ordinator's report for October, copies of Telstra's July and September accounts and the Hunter Region's financial statement for the year to date were circulated.


    • Finances:

      During the months of August, September and October our finances have diminished by around $130 each month. This is solely the result of members being tardy in paying their accounts. Fees overdue amount to $600. The 'bottom line' of $421 does not take into account an amount of $295 still owing to Ozemail or the crucial purchase of equipment this month bought to keep the network functioning. Taking those into account plus payments to Dingoblue, a more realistic 'bottom line' would be $9. So the region will experience severe cash-flow problems unless those members remit their access fees post haste.

    • Equipment:

      After losing our backup link to Dragon, the RC decided to trial a 56K link with Dingoblue and so far it seems to meeting our needs for proxied web access.

      With the demise of our link to Dragon and the reclaiming of Andrew's permlink for our connection to Dingoblue, the Express Dialin line which he kindly made available to us before can no longer be used. The configuration webpage has been updated to reflect that as well as two 'modem help' files being added to that page.

      We've had continuing problems with our modems and cabling requiring the urgent purchase of new ethernet cables and connectors for all 4 machines.

      It was also necessary to purchase a serial port adapter to connect my 56K modem to the network to replace the substitute 14.4K modem for the Spirit modem which was destroyed by a power surge.

      The problems with cray, the mailserver, crashing seem to have been resolved by the replacement of the cabling and connectors.

    • Members:

      There are currently 58 members of the region with one new member being added this week. There are currently 9 members with overdue accounts - 3 of whom have exceeded the 2 month limit but have requested time to pay.

    • Complaints:

      No complaints have been received although a number of enquiries regarding the status of the system have been.

    • Expenditure:

      The following expenditure was incurred during the month for which I seek reimbursement:

      28/9/00DSE T Adaptor M/TwinF$10.50
      12/10/00BNC T Adaptor x 49.88
      DSE 2M Ethernet Cable x 369.12
      BNC Terminator x 26.60
      25/10/00Dingoblue account #111.00

      Carolyn advised that if her proposal regarding access fees was accepted she would not require reimbursement for the Dingoblue account. Peter proposed that the amount of $106.10 be approved for reimbursement at this stage. Seconded by Andrew. Accepted unanimously.

    • Conclusion:

      Unless we accept the loan offered by the National body, which will place us back in the red; sufficient members pay their fees within the next month or we have at least 8 new members join the region, there is no way that the much needed UPS for the entire network (to prevent the loss of anymore of our modems) can be purchased anytime soon.

      Carolyn Baird
      Hunter Regional Co-ordinator.

  6. System Administrator's Report:

    Gavin reported that:

    • The big news is the switch from Dragon to Dingoblue for our backup link. The only problems with the Dingoblue link were encountered in the first few days while reconfiguring the system, but since then it appears to be reasonably stable. I recommend that we definitely retain this link.
    • The problems with Cray crashing seem to have been resolved by the replacement of the old network cables and connectors.
    • There has also been a noticeable difference in the amount of mail being queued on both giles and cray since the new cables and connectors were installed.
    • Overall the system appears to be running more efficiently than before.

    Carolyn reported that she had continued playing with cgi scripts and had:

    • Installed a script that sorts each mailing list's membership by domain name allowing more efficent sendmail operation.
    • Installed a cgi script that allowed webpage forms to send requests to majordomo to process directly allowing automatic subscription or unsubscription for her lists.

  7. Access Fees for 2000/2001

    Carolyn circulated a financial summary showing an estimate of current and proposed figures for the coming year based on current membership and stated:

    "The membership of the region is comprised of 39 dialins, 3 permanent connections, 4 UUCP, 8 mail/news only (only one of whom has dialin access) and 2 ethernet connected members.

    Currently Helen and I pay a combined fee of $250 for our access. I propose that we pay one fee as a household at the permanent connection rate.

    I further propose that the permanent connection setup fee be abolished to encourage members to move to a permanent connection. As we have 4 ports available for such connections at the moment, the only cost to the region in doing this will be the cost of the line installation and a modem for each line. Unless we do this it will be imperative to install extra dialin lines to cope with our increased membership or limit the amount of time every member or specific members can stay connected each day. Since unlimited access is our main attraction to new members, I would not like to pursue this option. In addition to the line install and modem required there is a line hunt monthly charge for extra dialins. So abolishing the setup fee would appear to be the most cost effective course to take.

    Since Dingoblue rates are $330 per year, I propose that we reduce the cost of permanent connections to match that. Not only will that allow me to pay the region's Dingoblue account in lieu of my access fees and remove the need to seek monthly reimbursement from the Treasurer but it may help us to retain or attract some members who are considering switching to or signing up with Dingoblue.

    The 'bottom line' is that if 4 of our members elect to take out a permanent connection under these conditions even with the cost of the line installs and modems, over the course of a year, we will still be $24 better off than we are now.

    It is estimated that for every member with external access the cost to the region is around $90 in ISP charges per year. It is therefore proposed that the access fee for an additional member within a household with separate dialup access be increased from $50 to $100. No other fee increases are proposed."

    Discussion ensued and it was finally given approval by Peter and seconded by Andrew to accept the fee changes as proposed by Carolyn with the exception of her request to pay Dingoblue in lieu of access which was given only tentative approval subject to approval by the Treasurer.

    Approved Yearly Regional Access Fees

      Limited Hub Access $50 (UUCP; Shell or PPP mail and news only)
      Supplemental Hub Access $100 (Separate second dialin in an APANA member's household)
      Unlimited Hub Access $200 (PPP connection)
      Permanent Hub Access $330 (no setup fee)

  8. Progress Reports.

    • Purchase of UPS: Carolyn reported that no progress had been made.
    • Installation at Morisset: Carolyn reported that the region's current financial state would not allow this at the present time.
    • Due to the absence of Ross Slade there were no reports regarding any progress that had been made with the new webpages, logo or newserver.

  9. Future of Dingoblue Link.

    It was unanimously agreed that we continue using Dingoblue for our backup link.

  10. Other Business

    Carolyn proposed that she contact the two members with the greatest connect times and offer them a permanent connection at the new rates. In the event that they decline the offer she suggested that she request that they reduce the length of their connects. Seconded Peter. Accepted unanimously.

  11. The next meeting will be held on Sunday, January 21st at 2pm at the hub.

  12. Meeting declared closed at 4.15pm.

(prepared by Carolyn on 3/11/00)