Replacing the member management system: help wanted

Big news: in the coming weeks PS:1 will move to a new member management system as part of ongoing efforts to revitalize some of our digital systems and infrastructure.

Details below, but here are some of the key points:

  • This will affect everyone, as people will have to move over to a new (better) payment system. Detailed instructions coming soon.
  • The new system will bring a number of advantages, including a more automated onboarding process; access to our new learning management system; an RFID-based  entry system to the building (no more PIN codes); better data security; and a system that is better able to handle future member growth.

We are switching to a new commercial system called Wild Apricot to manage members. At the same we are switching over to a payment processor called Stripe, which is very similar to Paypal except for the part about sucking the life out of anyone who touches it.

On to the details, including ways that you can help (please!).

What are we doing?

We are implementing a completely new Active Directory (AD) infrastructure to support the Windows systems in the space, which effectively requires rebuilding many of the critical systems that power space resources. AD will offer a robust and reliable infrastructure, while retaining the ability to use open source software where applicable for space operations. AD will be the primary source of authentication for almost all services. This includes access to space computers, RFID, the Canvas learning management system, and any future software systems.

How can you help?

We’re looking for members to help build up documentation and assist in overall maintenance of these systems. We’ll also need help with switching computers over to the new system and transferring member data and authorization, which is a manual process.

There are no prerequisites for volunteering to help other than an enthusiasm for computers. We are also looking for fresh ideas and helpful software beyond the list below, so if you have any ideas, please do reach out!

In addition, experience with the following systems would be helpful:

  • Active Directory / Windows Administration
  • Azure Administration
  • ESXi / vCenter
  • WildApricot / Member management systems
  • Database applications
  • Open Source Software (not limited to)
  • NGINX
  • Ansible (& other IT automation infrastructure)
  • MediaWiki
  • WordPress
  • OpenVPN
  • RFID systems

Whether or not you have experience in any of the above, if you are interested in learning more about our systems, feel free to attend systems group meetings. These will be regularly scheduled and posted to the Google Calendar moving forward. These will mostly be weekend sessions devoting a couple of hours to building new infrastructure, brainstorming, and occasioally stabilizing old infrastructure.

We also need help with documentation. Assisting with documentation is an excellent way to become intimately familiar with our systems, and to ensure PS:1’s digital continuity.

Timeline

The upgrade and maintenance process is ongoing (with no end in sight…sad face). We are first going to enable the new system for all new and incoming members. Then we will transfer current memberships to the new system. More details soon.

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