Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mis(sed) Communications

Sigh.  As Robbie Burns would say, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men/Gang aft agley..."

Regional Reps and Co-Reps for SAQA have varying goals for their terms as your humble servants (grin). As some of you may remember, when I came on board as a Co-Rep for our Region in late October last year, I wrote a newsletter with the title, "May I Have a Word?"  Since then, I've put out 2 more volumes of MIHaW, and a few miscellaneous news mailings.   My goal is to improve the communications within the Western Canada Region.  Because our Region is so vast, this means using technology, for better or for worse!

Recently one of our members called to tell me the difficulties she was having receiving and/or reading the bulk e-mails I send out from time to time to update the Region on various events etc.  This service is provided to Regional Reps by SAQA, which updates and maintains the e-mail address records in the data base from its membership records.   This member is the only one from whom I've heard -- so far -- about the challenges of receiving the mass mailing.  (She has a MacBook Pro and iPhone. I have a PC with wireless internet service, and a land-line phone.)

Hoping to help her (and others out), I posted a query on the SAQA Reps' Yahoo group yesterday evening.  So far I've had little in the way of reply but one Rep did tell me that the person who called this to my attention is likely very definitely not the only one out there.  In her experience, there have been a variety of problems over the years, to the point where many Reps no longer use the SAQA mass e-mail service -- while others use it with impunity, and apparently no difficulties.

The issues have been raised with the tech people behind the scenes, she reported, but she has no idea if any have been resolved.  Typically, the issue isn't a simple one; these problems have a variety and combination of sources, such as:

  • The e-mail server being used by the member(s) doesn't communicate well with the server used by SAQA for this data base program. (@yahoo, @gmail and @hotmail -- all free e-mail servers -- tend to have particular problems; 'DOTedu' -- from educational institutions -- also sometimes has problems.)
  • The member may have significant security and firewall protection on his/her computer.
  • The Mac and the iPhone and/or Smart Phone may have problems unique to their technology.  The second Rep who responded to my query suggested that Apple users might visit their local "genius bar" for advice (found in Apple Stores).
You might be wondering, "Why don't I create an e-mail list and send out messages from my personal e-mail server?"  Well...I could do this -- but that means I have to make sure that every time I get a membership list update from SAQA, I go in and update the list.  Right now, the data base is maintained for Reps by SAQA and it's a piece of cake to use to send e-mail.

Keeping up a list on my own computer would not be an onerous task -- just time-consuming...but I'm prepared to do that if I hear from enough of you that it's what's needed to solve this problem and improve communications.

So here's the deal: if you are having trouble receiving and/or reading the mass e-mails I send out from the SAQA-provided data base, send me an e-mail directly, describing your problem.  I will pass the problems on to SAQA tech support and meanwhile, if there are more than 3 of you with ongoing problems, I will construct a regional e-mail list and communicate that way.

If you didn't get the information in the mass mailing I sent out recently, here's a summary of the information:

September 10 Workshop: Registration Deadline Extended!

Summer is a busy time, so if you haven't managed to get your registration form and cheque in the mail for "Colour It, Fuse It!", the workshop/Parlour Meeting on September 10 in Calgary featuring B.C. member, artist, author and teacher, Susan Purney Mark, you now have four (4) more weeks for it to reach me (Margaret) -- through Friday, August 29.  That's the start of the Labour Day weekend, and the workshop is just 10 days later, so to be courteous and considerate of Susan's time to assemble the number of kits needed, please make sure meet this next deadline.  The fee is $45.00 for members; $50.00 for non-members.  This includes the workshop kit (a $20 value).  (As of today -- August 6 -- 8 spots remain. We can take a waiting list.)  Contact me ( for a registration form if you don't have one.

SAQA Trunk Show F is Available for Sharing!

Our Co-Rep Katie Stein Sather of B.C. has acquired the 25th Anniversary Trunk Show -- Section F -- for use in Canada till at least April, 2015.  Ideally this 51-piece show (each is 7" x 9" in size, mounted on black mat board and encased in a clear wrapper) will make its way east across Canada. 

Katie has advised that the following dates for the Trunk Show F have already been booked:
  • Sept. 17, 2014: FAN (Fibre Arts Network) Retreat;
  • Sept. 24, 2014: Langley Quilt Guild meeting;
  • Oct. 1, 2014: SAQA BC meeting;
  • Oct. 25-26, 2014: (to be confirmed) Blue Mountain Quilt Guild Show.
It is hoped the trunk show will be available for Alberta in November/December, and move to Saskatchewan and Manitoba for January and February.  There is a pending request for it to return to B.C. (Vancouver Island) in March.  It will also be offered to Central Canada and Atlantic Canada, so if anyone else in the Western Canada Region would like it sooner rather than later, please contact your Co-Rep -- Katie in B.C., Dawn in SK/Manitoba, or me (Margaret) in Alberta.

(Please note that the SAQA Trunk Show Calendar has this show --Trunk Show F -- scheduled for Canada only through April 2015.  Arrangements can be made to with SAQA to extend this tour if there is enough interest in it across the country.)*

*One member has since suggested I contact the CQA re: Quilt Canada's show in Lethbridge in June 2015; if anyone can advise me who the contact person would be, I would be delighted to do so.

And thank you for your support!

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