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Thread: Anonymous book online??

  1. #46
    MAYLETT
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    As for smart phone apps, they tend to be phone-specific, so a more generic HTML solution might be easier to pull off initially and more universally accessible to MOA members. This would make the Anonymous Book available via any device with a browser connected to the Internet. Write the HTML to display something friendly for a small screen size, and you're good to go. Or include a browser sniffer in the code that custom styles the page via CSS depending on the screen resolution. Building subsequent phone-specific apps onto this, down the road, wouldn't be difficult.

    As for the confidentiality of the book, and not wanting the entire book to be displayed and easily copied, there are a number of things that could be done. First and easiest, is password protecting it, like is done with this site. I mean, it could even be part of this site residing behind the same user-specific name and password. Second, it would, of course, be database-driven, so the information could be displayed in whatever way the programmer enabled the data to be queried by the user. For example, it could be displayed ten or twenty names at a time, based upon postal code, state/province or city or, for that matter, GPS coordinates. I haven't looked, but there are likely some some already-coded open source or low-cost Web applications that would get you most of the way there and might even enable users to update their own information. Then, when it's time to make the printed book, a database dump and import into InDesign or Quark would have the printed book assembled in no time.

    It would still be possible for someone with too much time on his or her hands to perform enough queries to eventually get all the information out of the book, but doing this would be far more difficult than scanning the paper book and converting it to text using OCR.

    If the Anonymous Book information is already in a database or even in a well-structured spread sheet, hiring a php programmer to do this wouldn't be hard or all that expensive.

    Really, (and I tell my clients this all the time) it's time for publishers to quit thinking in terms of publishing information, like the Anonymous Book or the magazine as printed pieces first, and electronic distribution as an afterthought. Instead, the problem should be framed as how best to disseminate the information in whatever forms work best, both for the publisher and the end users whether that be print, Web, RSS feed, smart phone app, iPad, or whatever comes along next year.

  2. #47
    I like TANG! bubbagazoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisDarrow View Post
    Mark up another lost benefit for the folks who have no idea what a smart phone is, are not gonna buy a phone to just use this, who think an ap is short hand for an apple pie, and who see the move to put every thing online as just validation for NOT carrying on with this organization...........There are folks out here who do like to see printed stuff in their hands..........

    Yes, it would be valid and real to have the Anon book online; but the above sentiments are not just mine I feel........I need to shut up before I start ranting about in the lastest ON how there are just 3 letters to the editor but 2 pages or more gleaned from online..........The future is not just determined by the whims and desires of editors and leadership of an organization; but also how it's offerings are used.........Must be for some of us, like when we were buckling up the stays on the harness for the Sunday drive to see those smoking, backfiring, and smelly new inventions wheel by.......Just thoughts.........Dennis
    Without reading through all of the posts in this thread, here's how I think this idea could work --

    The database could be available to all members of the Forum through a secure area of the web site. That way, even if you don't have a smart phone but do have a netbook/laptop with you, you can access the information. Searchable items such as location and what kind of service/assistance you are looking for would have to be included in the web interface.

    As for a smart phone app, I would only like to advocate for apps for Android phones as well as iPhones.

    And to address Dennis' thoughts, an online/smart phone app version of the Anonymous Book would be an enhancement, not a replacement to the Anon Book. Many members have joined to get ON and the Anon Book and leave their involvement with the club at that. And that's OK. But I see nothing wrong with making enhancements to what the club can do for its members.
    Robert
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  3. #48
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Maylett knows what's up.
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  4. #49
    univers zero tessler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maylett View Post
    Really, (and I tell my clients this all the time) it's time for publishers to quit thinking in terms of publishing information, like the Anonymous Book or the magazine as printed pieces first, and electronic distribution as an afterthought. Instead, the problem should be framed as how best to disseminate the information in whatever forms work best, both for the publisher and the end users whether that be print, Web, RSS feed, smart phone app, iPad, or whatever comes along next year.
    Agreed. Still contending, of course, that the "information" should be given as much (if not more) deference as the delivery platform.

  5. #50
    MAYLETT
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    Quote Originally Posted by tessler View Post
    Agreed. Still contending, of course, that the "information" should be given as much (if not more) deference as the delivery platform.
    It does little good for my paperboy to deliver a plastic bag to my driveway early each morning if there's no newspaper in it. So yes, I completely agree that the information is far more important than its container.

    That said, moving the Anonymous Book data to a member-accessible database would lead to improved information in at least three ways: (1) Members could update their information as needed throughout the year, and (2) this would mean that the book's information would be more accurate throughout the year, instead of just at that one time each year when the final book proof is okayed. (3) Unlike a printed book with limited space, electronic storage requirements are considerably more flexible. This would provide a means for more expanded, detailed and one-off bits of user information that might be very helpful but that don't fit in the printed book.

  6. #51
    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
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    This discussion has been going on in various threads for over five years that I am aware of.

    I fully agree with Mayletts post #46. In this case I would take it a step further. If ǣit is time for publishers to quit think in terms of publishing information, like the Anonymous Book or the magazines as printed pieces first, and electronic distributions as an afterthought it is time for the MOA to stop thinking that everything has to be generated by the efforts of volunteer members down to banging code.

    The high level concept can and has been articulated by any number of members. We appear to have a number of members with the skill set to put together the architectural plan for what is desired, write an RFP and review, choose a qualified vendor to build it for us and supervise the process.

    What is increasingly clear in an association populated by customers instead of volunteers is we lack the people willing to commit to the minutia and frustration of banging out the final code. Failing a shift in how we intend to see the task through we will be discussing this for another five years.

  7. #52
    MAYLETT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mika View Post
    What is increasingly clear in an association populated by customers instead of volunteers is we lack the people willing to commit to the minutia and frustration of banging out the final code. Failing a shift in how we intend to see the task through we will be discussing this for another five years.
    Well, now you've hit the most crucial nail squarely on the head.

    It's very easy to play quarterback while sitting on the sidelines. Doing much of what's been suggested wouldn't be all that difficult, but aside from the actual time spent on the project by a developer and, likely, a designer, the uncertainties of the not-so-obvious, behind-the-scenes unknowns make the project difficult to get started.

    I design and coordinate the building of these sorts of online projects as part of my job, but that always involves rather extended conversations with the clients to determine what they have in mind and just how prepared their organization is to handle the transition into something that just might require assets within the organization that aren't currently there.

    My knowledge of MOA extends no further than reading the magazine and logging onto this forum. In other words, I'm in the dark as to the organization itself, who makes the decisions, who runs the Web site, whether it's paid or volunteered, what the budget it, etc. It's obvious that there's some Web development expertise behind the MOA website, but where that expertise comes from or how far it goes, I haven't a clue.

    As for the print products, somebody collects, edits and assembles the Anonymous Book data, and somebody builds a print version of it using a layout app, and a printer obviously prints and binds it, and then there's the record keeping and mailing. The magazine would have an even a larger operation: writers, editors, copy editors, designers, production artists, sales reps, marketers, financial people, plus a hefty printing budget. I have no idea what's in-house and what's farmed out.

    At some point, all necessary systems (people, equipment, resources, budget, etc.) were put together to make the MOA print products possible. When organizations shift resources to make electronic dissemination of that same information possible, it's often a paradigm shift that just isn't easy to pull off. For example, the traditional editorial flow of most magazines might have components of database management, for example InDesign/InCopy, but seamless multi-platform publishing of that same information requires tight adherence to a highly structured database-driven production flow, along with the publishing tools and the technical expertise necessary to code, tag and tap into the data flow to divert off chunks into various directions for various purposes. And that's a fundamental change in both mindset, workflow and expertise.

    For example, conversion of the Anonymous Book from a strictly print product to multi-platform distribution would require a ground-up re-evaluation of what the book is and how the information is collected and stored. Password protecting a simple PDF distilled from the print files is easy, but it seems that this easy solution isn't acceptable due to user- and membership-confidentiality issues (plus it's not really small mobile device friendly). Likewise, converting the book data (from its current spreadsheet or database) using, say, RegEx to tagged HTML would require some expertise, but wouldn't be difficult either. It would, however, limit the online version of the book to little more than a static and tedious HTML version of what's now in the printed version.

    Ideally, moving the book online would involve a database-driven solution for collecting and storing the information in a way that would facilitate user-query-based dynamic display of the data. And it would also provide a mechanism for the individual user to log on and change his or her Annon profile information at any time he or she wanted to do so. This approach would also open up the possibility of an extended feature set that just isn't possible with the print product.

    Of course, all this, unless it was a stand-alone application (which would have user management disadvantages), would need to be tied into the existing MOA site, and this would entail database bridge and/or integration issues so that usernames, passwords, user sessions and various other data carried over between databases.

    As for the costs associated with all this, yup, there would be some, but over the long haul, those costs would be offset by the reduced costs associated with a decreased demand for the very expensive print products in favor of the cheap online, more-up-to-date versions.

    Sorry for the long, dry post, but yeah, an online/mobile version of the Anonymous Book would be fantastic (as would the magazine), but it would involve thinking through all the stuff (and more) that I just mentioned. And given that this is apparently, as Mika said, a five-year-old conversation, it's apparently a paradigm shift that isn't easily digested by MOA for any number of very legitimate reasons. I mean, MOA is at its core a motorcycle club, not a publishing company.

  8. #53
    Registered User MOTOR31's Avatar
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    Somebody going to the next directors meeting might just get the answer about the situation. They can ask the question about it point blank to the directors and then ask for a vote on the issue of electronic distribution. If that same individual posted on the web site the results of that conversation we would have the answer from the board.
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  9. #54
    HODAG
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    i'm concerned...
    thieves will use it to target bmw owners "electronically" and start rounding up our bikes. might as well park your bike on the curb with a steal me sign on it.


    i'm not sure if the guy that posted that origanally is still around but its the best reason why we shouldn't do it to date.

  10. #55
    Registered User bmwgsrider's Avatar
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    I would like to see an app for the iPhone. I was under the impression that there was suppose to be an app coming out... guess I heard incorrectly.

  11. #56
    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
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    BMW Motorrad USA announced an iPhone roadside assistance app today.

    ShhhǪits part of their nefarious plot with the Banditos to round up the locations of all BMWs in the Americas so they can be stolen for parts and profit by the Banditios while generating new customer needs for BMW.

  12. #57
    tourist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hodag View Post
    i'm concerned...
    thieves will use it to target bmw owners "electronically" and start rounding up our bikes. might as well park your bike on the curb with a steal me sign on it.
    that's just too funny.


    Quote Originally Posted by hodag View Post
    i'm not sure if the guy that posted that origanally is still around but its the best reason why we shouldn't do it to date.
    What I really wanted to do was to be in a city, go online, look to see anybody near by that also posted occassionally that had a kk by their name. I don't think that is the intent of the book anymore. Just old stories I used to hear.

    I question if the book is even a good idea. How many books are printed? Is it really worth the cost of printing and distributing to have a couple of members being grateful they had the book with them?

  13. #58
    Slow/Look/Press/ROLL! DBCasey's Avatar
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    Question

    Does anyone have any idea if this topic has gotten any farther than this forum thread?

    I sure hope the BOD are hearing about this topic. Having the Anon book accessible by digital means would be a great resource.

    C
    Daryl Casey
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  14. #59
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casey View Post
    Does anyone have any idea if this topic has gotten any farther than this forum thread?

    I sure hope the BOD are hearing about this topic. Having the Anon book accessible by digital means would be a great resource.

    C
    We have spies everywhere. All I can say is that we are planning several nice announcements for our 40th Anniversary in 2012.
    Greg Feeler
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    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

  15. #60
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    Idea: Don't pass it to all BMWMOA members . . . limit distribution of the anonymous book to only those that participate by listing themselves in the book.

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