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Evolving My Merry Christmas ** PLEASE READ THIS**

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Posted 02-26-2013 at 11:09 AM by Jeff Westover

We will soon be making some major announcements here on My Merry Christmas.

Things are changing.

I've been through this enough times to know that with change comes pain. A lot of people do not like change.

From my perspective I don't like change because for years I've worked hard just to get MMC to where it is.

Change some times mean undoing things you have done. Nobody likes to see creations get dismantled in the name of progress.

But change is also healthy because it evolves the overall effort. It opens doors. It makes things better long term.

It is just the sting of the short term that is such a shock.

As we weigh all these things I've contemplated how best to introduce the changes that are coming.

This is the first of many efforts to communicate what's down the road.

We are facing some stark realities in our efforts here.

First of all, costs of maintaining MMC are greater than ever. Our efforts to generate revenue to keep us operational have fallen off as the economy has soured since 2009. We have never pursued "profit" in our efforts. We have only looked to grow and improve. That won't change.

But what must change is our cost of just existing. We've been working on that and will continue to work on that.

Second, technology and the dark side of the Internet requires that we change.

Security is paramount to community building. Unlike Facebook or large media companies out there we do not make merchandise of our users. We don't sell data. We have to maintain some information -- usernames, registration data, and things you upload such as pictures and blogs-- just for the sake of making our software work. But we don't use any of this for anything else. We don't sell your information to advertisers. We don't use your information to make money. We have no interest in that.

But protecting your information goes beyond intent of use. If we don't sell it or provide it to others there are dark forces out there who try to steal it from us. And that means investment in software and security that safeguards information. That's expensive.

To make things run on the Internet you have to continually invest in upgrades. This protects security and this provides new features. Just like you can't run your home computer on old software, we cannot run MMC that way either.

So we are having to change our core software that runs the site.

Years ago I invested in a system I thought would provide us years of stability. I guess, to be fair, it has. I made that investment in 2004.

The company that provides that software has an updated version of the product and it would be cheapest and easiest to just go down that path.

However, their newest product is one I don't like. In fact, I have been resisting and putting off the upgrade since 2009 because I was waiting for it to improve. Each year it has become increasingly worse. It is clunky, difficult to adapt to our needs and it doesn't do much more than what we have now.

My delay has been justified by the thought that if it ain't broke don't fix it.

But the elements up security especially are catching up to it. I cannot continue to run the fine old version of the software and maintain security any longer.

So I'm forced to make a change.

My choices are to stay with our current provider or switch to a new one.

I'm switching to a new one.

I've spent hours and hours researching this issue and I cannot see five years down the road with our current vendor. The last five years have been horrific and other sites that run our software have had to leave this vendor as well. I can't do anything about that. I need to provide a platform that is both stable and secure -- and that is affordable to continue on our merry way.

That means a whole new interface to MMC. A whole new look. A bunch of new features.

A lot of change.

Having made this decision we need to work out the details. We need to plan how this is going to happen and when.

Over the course of the next two months I will be working on a new beta version of the site. I will employ the feedback of our Christmas Crew in testing and setting up the new site. It is a major project that will required thousands of hours of work.

I will update you occasionally here of our progress.

There will be bumps along the way. I'm not sure how much of our old functionality that will remain. I will try to remain true to our look but that too will be refreshed and hopefully viewed by everyone as improved.

All of this takes a toll on our focus on Christmas. This is what I detest most about projects like this. I'm not a programmer or a designer. In fact, I hate this kind of work because I'm so lousy at it. What I love to do is to focus on Christmas, to tell those stories, to report Christmas news, to celebrate it year round. All that has to be set aside while we make this transition.

I think it is best to be transparent about these things because all of you have an investment in MMC. You are the shareholders. Many have donated money over the years and all have certainly invested their time in MMC. You need to be aware of what we are doing and why.

Please provide any kind of feedback you'd like. Most certainly, if you have ideas or a wishlist of what you want the site to do this is the time to speak up about those things.

Most of all, I ask for your understanding as we engage in this process. This is a necessary thing.

And change is, ultimately, good.
Views 2099 Comments 13
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    JayIsh's Avatar
    Where you lead, I will follow...Lately in a quiet, annonymous way but follow I will. The fact that such a quality site has existed with no admission fee, as-it-were, is a credit to you. Change makes me nervous, I won't lie...I always remember the joke an old friend of mine told of Elvis outside a 7-11 when a bum says to him, "Hey man, got any change???" And Elvis replies, "Hey man, why can't things just stay the same???" I'm along for the ride Mr. W and supportive in whatever way I can be! I'm about to introduce the "new" Live365 version of www.MerryChristmasRadio.com as you know and joining with you in the spirit of change makes good sense to me! My electric problems at home are solved, I have new equipment that I almost know how to use and I have a renewed spirit where Christmas Music is concerned! And so away we go! As always, let me know what I can offer you!!!
    Jay
    Posted 02-26-2013 at 11:20 AM by JayIsh JayIsh is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Seawaters's Avatar
    I like change and I don't like change. Change can be exciting and, at the same time, daunting. Either way, we will survive, expecially with the leadership we have here at MMC. I am looking forward to Live365 MCR, too. I will help in any way I can. Just let me know. I am a good typist and a good editor!
    Posted 02-26-2013 at 12:05 PM by Seawaters Seawaters is offline
  3. Old Comment
    xmas365's Avatar
    I am very much a status quo type of person, change always makes me get that "pit" in the bottom of my stomach. As long as I can come to a place where I feel like I belong and not feel like an outcast because of my love for Christmas and the holiday season, I will be here. Just let me know how I can help.
    Posted 02-26-2013 at 12:53 PM by xmas365 xmas365 is online now
  4. Old Comment
    Bradmac's Avatar
    We're upgrading equipment here at work right now. I know it's a pain, but it has to happen. My only fear is that a fundamental change might trigger my work ISP to block MMC. It's one of the few messageboards that hasn't been blocked.

    Whatever happens, I'm sure everyone will understand. I'm here for the duration. As Jay said, lead on!
    Posted 02-26-2013 at 01:07 PM by Bradmac Bradmac is offline
  5. Old Comment
    [B][I]Whatever you want to do, Jeff is fine and I know it is for the best. If you need me to do anything, just hollar and I will be there ! xo[/I][/B]
    Posted 02-26-2013 at 01:59 PM by caninemom3 caninemom3 is offline
  6. Old Comment
    made582's Avatar
    I'm not afraid of the change. I'm excitied. It will be fun to have an all new site to break in this upcoming season.
    Posted 02-26-2013 at 02:31 PM by made582 made582 is offline
  7. Old Comment
    snowflake22's Avatar
    Change can be scary, but change is also necessary to move into the future. "I believe" the majority of us are diehards & will support MMC no matter what! Let us know what we can do to help.
    Posted 02-26-2013 at 06:59 PM by snowflake22 snowflake22 is online now
  8. Old Comment
    Solice's Avatar
    Exiting! We'll get used to a new site...
    Let me know if I can help =)
    Posted 02-27-2013 at 07:41 AM by Solice Solice is offline
  9. Old Comment
    xmastidings's Avatar
    Change....Wow, seems to be the new word of the day! Sometimes it can be for the better and other times not. I hope it all goes well. I wish you luck in all your endouvers with this, remember to spend some time with your family as well.... And in the end, I hope it proves and turns out to be sucessful... Either way, I plan to be here for the extended stay package... thanks for the heads up~
    Posted 02-27-2013 at 10:47 AM by xmastidings xmastidings is offline
  10. Old Comment
    Christmasstar's Avatar
    I know what you mean about not understanding alot of thie tech stuff, I am always calling one of my kids to show me something or fix something for me.
    As long as this change comes with step by step instructions I will be ok with what ever you think is best for here.
    Posted 02-28-2013 at 06:20 AM by Christmasstar Christmasstar is online now
  11. Old Comment
    Christmas-A-Holic's Avatar
    Looking forward to it. I'm here to help if you need it!
    Posted 02-28-2013 at 07:20 AM by Christmas-A-Holic Christmas-A-Holic is offline
  12. Old Comment
    DoubleA's Avatar
    Change is for the better especially these days for safety and overall quality of the site. You have created a wonderful place here Jeff, I'll gladly follow any changes going forward, good luck with all of it!
    Posted 03-01-2013 at 01:34 AM by DoubleA DoubleA is offline
  13. Old Comment
    Yuletide Junkie's Avatar
    We, too, are going through massive changes at the workplace. Change is necessary to achieve greater versions of our lives, work, and loves. If only large changes did not converge at the same time to create a titanic disruption in our day to day productivity.
    Posted 03-01-2013 at 04:51 PM by Yuletide Junkie Yuletide Junkie is offline
 
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