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Website Work in Progress

The SSA Website is currently undergoing some significant updates.

During this time you may experience some unexpected behavior. If you cannot get access to information that you need during this period please contact the webmaster at webmaster @ssa.org.  

Posted: 4/4/2013

Changes to SSA.org

We are currently making a number of significant changes to SSA.org. During this reorganization there will be a few changes to the menu structure, if something is no longer where you expect to see it then scan through the menu for it or send an email to webmaster@ssa.org.

The biggest change underway is to devolve ownership of the website content to the volunteer committees that do so much of the work of the SSA in the soaring community. By doing this we have created a new group of website sub-editors who are better equipped to keep the web site content fresh, relevant, and interesting for you. An example of this is that the Badge and Record Committee now has ownership of the page located at 'Home > Soaring Achievement > Badge Info' and has consolidated both old and new resources on their area of responsibility into their home page. Also be sure to check out the home page of the weather resources task force located at 'Home > News & Information > Weather'!

For a listing of SSA volunteers and volunteer committees go to 'Home > The SSA > Governance' and choose 'volunteer committees'. The SSA is constantly seeking individuals who want to get involved and help soaring!

Posted: 7/19/2007

SSA website now supports RSS

Find out all about RSS technology and what it can do for you.

What is RSS?
How can I use RSS?
How do I get a news reader?
Can I use these feeds on my site?

What is RSS?
RSS allows you to see when sites from all over the internet have added new content. You can get the latest headlines and articles consolidated into one place, as soon as they are published, without having to remember to visit each site every day.

There is some discussion as to what RSS stands for, but most people plump for 'Really Simple Syndication'. RSS feeds are just a special kind of web page, designed to be read by computers rather than people. It might help to think of them as the free, internet version of the old-fashioned ticker-tape news wire machines.

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How do I start using RSS feeds?
In general, the first thing you need is something called a news reader. This is a piece of software that checks RSS feeds and lets you read any new articles that have been added to them. There are many different versions, some of which are accessed using a browser, and some of which are downloadable applications. Browser-based news readers let you catch up with your RSS feed subscriptions from any computer, whereas downloadable applications let you store them on your main computer, in the same way that you either download your e-mail using Outlook, or keep it on a web-based service like Hotmail.

Once you have chosen a news reader, all you have to do is to decide what content you want to receive in your news reader, by finding and subscribing to the relevant RSS feeds.

If you click on the button you can subscribe to the feed in various ways, including by dragging the URL of the RSS feed into your news reader or by cutting and pasting the same URL into a new feed in your news reader. Most sites that offer RSS feeds use a similar orange RSS button, but some may just have a normal web link to the feed.

You can subscribe to individual member or committee blogs and/or you can choose to subscribe to the consolidated member blog feed or to the general news feed. Because the application that connects to an RSS feed is not authenticated by the SSA web server only those items that have been marked by the author as 'public' will feature in the RSS feed.

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How do I get a news reader?
There is a range of different news readers available and new versions are appearing all the time.

Different news readers work on different operating systems, so you will need to choose one that will work with your computer.

Some suggest browser based news readers include...

In addition many well known web homepages already support rss feeds...

Also, some browsers, including Firefox, Internet Explorer 7, Opera and Safari, automatically check for RSS feeds for you when you visit a website, and display an icon when they find one. This can make subscribing to RSS feeds much easier. Firefox also provides live bookmarks so you can always keep track of new content. For more details on these, please check their websites.

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Using SSA RSS feeds on your site
If you run your own website, you can use RSS feeds to display the latest headlines from other websites on your site.

We encourage the use of SSA News RSS feeds as part of a website. However, we do require that the proper format and attribution is used when syndicating SSA content. The attribution text should read "SSA News" or "From SSA News" as appropriate.

The SSA does not accept any liability for its RSS feeds. Please see the Legal Disclaimer for full details.

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Posted: 4/27/2007

New web site features

Member Homepages
Every SSA member now has their own homepage at ssa.org. To go to your homepage click here (you must be logged in to ssa.org to access this feature). Member homepages offer you a number of new capabilities...

Update your member profile online
Click on 'Profile' in the right side configure sidebar to access and update your current SSA membership information online.

View your history of soaring achievements
Click on 'My Achievements' to see the history of all your badges, state and national soaring records, and soaring contest results.

Create and view your own member photo gallery
Click on 'My Gallery' to see all the photos that you have uploaded to the public SSA website gallery (photos of general soaring interest) and your own member photo gallery. Upload photos and control where they are displayed using the 'Upload Photo' link.

Create your own member blog
Your blog can be used for a multitude of purposes; for example it can be an open diary, an educational forum, an outlet to publish your work, or pretty much anything else you might think of. Create a new blog item by clicking on the 'New Blog Item' link. All member blogs are accessible under 'Home > News & Information > Member Blogs'. For more information on creating your own member blog click here.

Please click here for guidelines and information on member posting to the SSA website.

SSA Webmaster

Posted: 4/24/2007

About Member Blogs

First of all, what is a blog?

Blog is a contraction of "Web Log", blogs are used for a multitude of purposes; for example they can be an open diary, an educational forum, an outlet to publish your work, or pretty much anything else you might think of. Anyone who has access to the internet can create a blog at a huge number of web sites. In creating the SSA member blog feature for our website I hoped, above all, that it would be a tool to facilitate communication between members about their passion for the sport of soaring. Every member of the SSA now has their own blog accessed through their own home page at http://www.ssa.org/myhome.asp, this includes individual members, business members, chapter members, etc.

Just to give you a flavor of what you could use blogs for, here are a couple of links to member blog items.

So how to go about creating your own soaring blog?

First to create and edit your blog you must be logged into the SSA website. If you've never done this before then start at www.ssa.org (the SSA homepage) and enter your member number and your default password. Click on login help on the SSA homepage to get information on the default passord and how to set up your browser so that the SSA website remembers you each time you return to it.

Next you need to set up a couple of configurations items to control who has access to your blog and how it is displayed. Click on the "My Homepage" link under the navigation menu on the SSA homepage or just click here. This will take you to your own homepage. On the right side of your homepage click on "profile" under the configuration section. Under "Blog Configuration" choose a title for your blog (e.g. "My Soaring Adventures"), choose who can access your blog (member only or public), choose how to display your blog entries (full or teaser, teaser is useful if you become a prolific blogger!). Then click on update.

Now click on "New Blog Entry" in the configure section. This will open a new browser window with a simple editor that allows you to type content, cut&paste content, insert images and links, etc. In addtion, at the top of the window are a couple of areas where you can enter the title for your new blog item, choose where on your homepage to locate the item, and control whether other members can attach comments to your blog item. The choices available under blog location include "Blog Body, By Date", "Blog Body, Fixed", and "My Menu". Each of these deserve a little explanation before I go on with the description of how to create your blog entry.

  • Blog Body, By Date: This is the default choice. Newer blog items will be displayed first, older below. Only blog items from the past 90 days will be displayed initially. Older items are always available for viewing in your blog archive.

  • Blog Body, Fixed: By selecting this choice the blog item is fixed at the top of your blog home page. You can have as many fixed items as you wish. If you create any fixed items your main home page navigation menu in the top right sidebar will contain a 'Home' (fixed items only) link in addition to a 'My Blog' (items entered by date only) link. A fixed item can be useful for displaying a welcome message. Fixed items do not appear in the blog archive.

  • My menu: Items saved with this display choice will have their title linked into the top right menu bar starting above the "My Blog" entry. This choice is useful for a page of favorite links or a bio of yourself. These items will not appear in the blog archive.

Now that you've set up the basics all you have to do is type your content and once your done click on the "add/update" button.

Adding images and links to your blog

Of course there is a whole lot more that you can do. One of the most common ways to make your blog more interesting is to intersperse some images within the text. Unfortunately it's not as simple as dragging and dropping an image as you might do in a word doc. What you first have to do is to upload your images to the web server, to do this choose "upload photo" from the configure section on your home page. Then to insert an image into your text place your cursor where you want the image and click on the "insert/edit image" icon in the blog editor menu bar, the insert image dialogue box appears. To insert an image that you just uploaded select it from the image list (shows images uploaded with the most recent at the top), set the alignment (usually left or right), add some horizontal and/or vertical space between the image and the adjacent text (usually 2-5 pixels is plenty), and set the dimensions. The dimension box initially shows the actual dimensions of the image that you uploaded, this is often too big for the available space in your blog and so you will have to reduce both the X and Y dimensions by about the same ratio. For example if you're looking for a final X dimesion of 200pixels (a little less that half the final width of your blog text) and the initial image size is 640x480, then set the dimensions of your image to 200x150. After you click on insert and you see how the image looks in your text you can always go back and re-adjust the dimensions, alignment and spacing.

Hyperlinks are one of the most usefull ways to add additional information into your text. Any word can be turned into a link simply by highlighting it with your mouse and then clicking on the chain link symbol in the blog editor menu bar. This brings up a dialogue box where you can type in the url (web address) of the page that you want to link to. You can also link to files that you upload, for example if you have a powerpoint presentation you can upload it to the SSA server (choose upload file, thereafter the process is very like uploading a photo) then go through the same steps as you would to turn a word into a link, this time however in the link dialogue box choose from your files in the link list instead of typing in a url.

Want more information? Be sure to click on the faq link in the blog editor, or just click here.

Questions about member blogs? Contact webmaster@ssa.org

Posted: 4/24/2007

Changes to SSA News

The SSA is largely a volunteer driven organization. We have 26 directors, about 100 state governors and record keepers, and more than 100 members who participate in the various committees and task forces that do much of the work of the society.

Communication between SSA volunteers and the general membership of the society is sometimes difficult. Soaring Magazine reaches all our members but the publishing delay makes it a poor conduit for some material. The SSA website offers a much more immediate communiction channel but until now the mechanism used to get news posted on the website has proven to be a bottleneck.

Today a new General News section is up and running on the SSA website. It is accessible in the same way as the previous incarnation...

  1. At the SSA home page through the 'NEWS' sidebar which brings you the most recent articles.
  2. Under 'Home > News & Information > General News' where you can find more news articles, including some not posted to the SSA home page sidebar, and also an archive of all past articles.

So, what's different about this new feature and why is it better than the old? The big difference is in how News articles are posted. All of our volunteer committees now have their own home pages (find these under 'Home > The SSA > Volunteers') with editorial control over their own news sections. News from committees is consolidated to feed the new General News page. So for example the contest committee members or publicity committee members can post news and information directly to General News without involving our SSA staff.

We hope that this new feature will help keep members in touch with the inner workings of their society.

Posted: 3/11/2007

SSA Launches New Online E-Newsletter

SSA members, please visit the Members Section of the SSA web site! Log in with your membership ID and password, click on "E-Newsletter", and have a look at the newest form of communication from your society.

Edited by Region 12 volunteer Ann Cousineau (with a goal of publishing weekly), this E-Newsletter is the result of a desire by SSA leaders to keep members better informed of the day to day workings of our society. The necessary three-month lag time between submission of material and publication in Soaring Magazine made such timely communication impossible in the past.

Your comments, suggestions and material (both photo and text) for inclusion in this newest feature of the SSA web site are solicited, and will be appreciated. Please send submissions or comments to socialmedia@ssa.org.

Posted: 12/2/2004

E-Communications Committee 

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Legal Notice

The SSA policy on member posting is located here