Those of you that have an eteamz site may be familiar with a feature called MessageCast. This is a tool that allows you to send text-to-speech phone messages to your entire team all at once. It's a great way to remind your team that there's a practice tomorrow or quickly let people know that there is a last minute schedule change. You don't have to sit down and spend half an hour calling everyone - MessageCast sends the message within minutes.
If you haven't tried it before, now is the perfect time to get started because T-Mobile is sponsoring a giveaway. Anyone with an eteamz site can log in to the admin and click on the "MessageCast" folder. You'll get some info about what MessageCast is and can choose to get started with a $5 credit! If you've already started using MessageCast, no worries - you are eligible for the credit, too.
As a special thank you to our PLUS subscribers, you can get an additional $5 credit for a total of $10 to spend on MessageCast calls. If you don't already have an eteamz site, get started now.
Some of you may know that November is National Novel Writing Month (sometimes known as "NaNoWriMo," or just "NaNo" for short). I learned of this fantastic idea last year when I came upon it searching the web and thinking about writing. And it means pretty much what it sounds like - take a month to write a novel, which they define as 50,000 words. Doesn't have to be perfect, doesn't have to be pretty, doesn't have to make sense - just write and write and write some more.
I gave it a try, but I'm sorry to say that I got to about 7,500 words and had to give up. But this year, I'm determined. At the very least, I'll beat my previous total, but if you've followed some of my posts here you might think I've got it in the bag.
One of the only ways to complete a novel in a month is with a lot of support. Folks get together for a "write-in" where they meet at a coffeehouse or someplace and just challenge each other to write about a certain topic or just cram as much writing into 15 minutes as possible or whatever. Having everyone together in a group is a surprisingly good motivating factor.
So what in the world does this have to do with eteamz? eteamz is a perfect place to build a website for a sports team, since that's really been the primary purpose. But eteamz is pretty flexible and you can do a lot of things with it. There's no reason why you can't use eteamz really for any group activity where you want to communicate, post information, create a schedule, have your own message board, post photos, etc....
NaNoWriMo is a great excuse to get involved with a writing group, and what better headquarters for your group than eteamz? Of all the dozens of sports eteamz offers, I don't believe writing is one of them... yet. But build a site and choose "Other" as your sport and off you go! Publish your calendar with your scheduled write-ins. Set up a message board to chat with your group. Post the latest news and photos from your recent write-ins. Heck, you can even publish your novel when it's done!
Well, the first day is almost over, so I better get to it. I really do hope you check it out and give it a try. I see new ways to use eteamz almost every day and thought I'd share this one with you. Good luck to everyone in November.
First of all, Happy Halloween to all the ghouls and goblins out there in eteamz land. Hope everyone has a happy, fun, spooky and safe holiday.
Big Congratulations to the winners of the 5th annual eteamz Spooky Site Contest. The winners earned a free year subscription of eteamz PLUS. Be sure to check out these awesomely spooky sites and leave a comment in their guestbook.
eteamz underwent some minor maintenance this morning that I wanted to share with you. Back in the beginning of the year, we added several enhancements to the calendar/scheduling functions for member sites. One of those enhancements created the opportunity to add images to calendar, game and practice events, the way that images can be attached to news articles or locations. In some situations, some members were having difficulty removing images from those events after the event had ended. That issue has been addressed, and should no longer present an obstacle.
Another change that was made this morning was to the Web Address change process. eteamz PLUS members can change their site's URL at any time by clicking the "Site Appearance" folder in the admin interface and choosing "Web Address." Previously, this change could have taken up to 48 hours. But we have made some hardware upgrades that now allow us to make this change almost instantly. Some very large sites may still take up to 10 minutes, but that's still a savings of 47 hours and 50 minutes!
We have a couple more enhancements coming as the year winds down. There will be changes to the home page, the community boards, the site building process and to the site admin interface.
Every few months, you probably take your car to a mechanic for some routine maintenance: change the oil, check the levels of various fluids, check the pressure in the tires, etc... When you take the car home you probably don't really notice much of a difference, but you know that if you don't keep up with it, you're asking for something to go wrong (and if you're like me, the bad things happen at the worst possible time).
A Web application is really no different. eteamz requires routine maintenance just like your car does. But the good news for you is that you don't have to take your eteamz site in because we handle all of the maintenance ourselves. Most of the time, you wouldn't even notice that we've made changes under the hood.
Of course, where car manufacturers can build new cars, once they build them they're pretty much hands off. With eteamz we're doing both parts, building in new features and enhancements AND doing the maintenance. Our challenge is to find the right balance between those two tasks. In the last couple of months, for instance, we've done some new features (the eteamz albumz Shutterfly integration) and some maintenance (moving servers to newer/faster network and some tightening up of the code on the eteamz home page).
In the next couple of months, we'll continue to try to balance the new features with the hidden stuff. And most importantly, I'll be keeping you up to date on what we're working on as it comes up. So, the next time you take your car in for an oil change, think of us here getting our hands dirty under the hood of eteamz.
Now that we're getting this blog thing going, I thought I'd put a post together about my experience with eteamz. We all have a story, and while many of them are probably pretty similar, I bet there are as many or more that are unique.
My story begins on a warm, late summer afternoon in Southern California. The sky was a clear blue, the ocean breeze kept the fresh air flowing, and the grass was green for my first practice as a fall ball coach. I played baseball growing up - I was on some good teams and some lousy teams. I got a chance at most positions but liked pitching and third base the most. It just so happened that a friend of mine has a son of baseball age and he needed a helping hand, so I was only too glad to hop on board.
Knowing that much of my life experience has been spent on Web development and not coaching baseball, I thought I would use my skills to help the team however I could while learning the ropes. I contacted my Internet Service Provider and found I could get a small amount of disk space on their web servers for a site of my own.
I had that sudden panic that comes from staring at a blank screen as I tried to decide where to start, but then I just buckled down and tried to get creative. I tried to think of what the layout should be, what links I might need, how I could incorporate the team colors, where to put photos - all the good stuff. After a couple of days, I had put together a nice little site. Of course, then there was a schedule change, so I had to go get the files from the FTP server, make the changes and reupload to the server. It was at this point that I realized this wasn't the most practical solution if I wanted to make updates to this site, which was kind of the point. But, it was what I had.
So I decided I'd take a break from that and go see what I could learn about coaching. I did a few Web searches and started to notice quite a few links to eteamz. I first came upon the coaching Tips and Drills for baseball. There were some really good ideas in there that I made note to try at the next practice. Then I found the message boards and saw coaches chatting about, well, coaching. Soon enough, I found that I could get a free Web site for my team and I thought I'd check it out.
Before I knew it, I had built a site on eteamz that was about 100x better than what I had just spent a weekend on. It already had the nice layout and pages for everything I needed and updating it did not involve FTP servers, which is always a win. Needless to say, my orignial site was quickly forgotten and eteamz was the new home of my team.
I was fortunate enough to find a job here and I couldn't have been more excited to work on a product that I already knew. Of course, once I got here and started digging in, I learned so much more that has made me even more passionate about eteamz. Now, several seasons later, I'm still here, I'm still coaching, and I still have my team's site on eteamz. My current Fall team is the White Sox. I don't generally do anything too fancy with my site, but I like to write up game summaries after each game. The parents tell me that they, and the kids, love to read their names in bold letters highlighting the good things they did that week.
So that's my story. I'm sure many of our members have fascinating stories, and I'd love to hear them, if anyone wants to share.
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">First of all, let me welcome you to the new eteamz blog! Let���s get right to the most important question ��� what is this? This blog is going to be your window into the inner workings of eteamz and the people that make it go. Not only will you learn a little bit about who we are, but you���ll hear and see some of the things we���re all working on.</span>
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">I'm David Schwartz, Product Manager for eteamz. I���m responsible for keeping track of all the things that are going on with eteamz and figuring out what comes next. I���ll be using this blog to give you a peek at what���s coming down the line, maybe ask for feedback and opinions, and just generally share some thoughts about how things are going.</span>
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">We'll continue to use the eteamz support boards to post critical information, but we want this to become your home for information about what's going on with eteamz. Support questions will continue to be addressed on those boards, through the message center and via email. </span>
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Alright then, let the games begin...</span>