From the desk of the Webmaster, Sandi Riley Swift

Since the addition of the “Subscribe” feature to our website, we have 87 Subscribers to date. These 87 Sisters receive an email from the website when something has been added that we feel they should be alerted to.  If you have not subscribed, you can do so on the bottom left of the website. Don’t be left out or no informed.

Please make sure you send me an update on your State and  Division Presidents. I need their name and email address. If you have a website please provide that information.

Remember to send me your Division Newsletter, any death notices and photos (not to exceed 4 per division per month. I will post these for you.

Please take time to look at the site and all that is available for you. Our Historian, Marilyn Madigan, has been posting articles on Women in the 1916 Rising.

Webmaster’s Report: Joe McDonald

Brothers, this is 2013, and it’s time we all move into the 21st century. It is imperative that all AOH divisions create some sort of online presence, but if you do, make sure that you do it right. Too many times, a division will look at free hosting as a way to save money. Unfortunately, you also get what you pay for and many times, those free hosts force ads, which you do not control, onto the website and these ads could contradict what the AOH believes in.

In the past few months, I have been approached by a number of AOH states boards, county boards and divisions about how to set up their web hosting and what to do about divisions with modest means who want websites but can’t put together the financial commitment.

A good solution and one we implemented in Nassau County is to get a hosting plan that will allow multiple websites hosted on the same plan. So if a county has five divisions, instead of every division paying $60 a year, the county will pay for the plan — which will cost about $100 a year — and allow each division to host on the plan. And the funny thing is that many of these counties and states already have the hosting capabilities to do this, but just don’t know it.

If the hosting is paid for then the division is only responsible for the domain name, which costs a modest $15 a year.

Once implemented, the shared hosting also allows the higher jurisdiction a little oversight on what is being put on the division websites.

But doing nothing will only hurt the division in the long run. Take pride in your website and make sure you keep it updated. A poor looking site will hurt not just your division but every AOH division. To an outsider, every site is seen as a reflection of the AOH.

Webmaster – Joe McDonald

When I took the job of National Webmaster back in July, one of the things I said to President Brendan Moore is that we need a national division directory on site, so existing and prospective members can find out what division there are in the country and also where and when they meet.

And as a byproduct, we can also find out the locations of all the Hibernian Halls in the country.

So after a number of months polling divisions and conducting a full census, early in January we opened up the National Division Directory on aoh.com.

You can find it at www.aoh.com/division-directory.

All 357 active divisions have been included and on this directory, you can enter your zip code or address and it will tell you the closest divisions to you, narrowing down your search.

Of course, an effort like this wouldn’t not have happened without a lot of help, and some National and State officers really come through here. I would especially like to point out John Wilson of Missouri, Gerry Ennis of Pennsylvania, Joe Casler of Louisiana, Jim Nettles of South Carolina, Greg Canning of Florida, Joe Casey of Ohio, and Pat Sturdy of Michigan, who made sure their states were represented in this effort.

Now to upkeep the directory, we need the effort of each Division. The contacts we have on there now may have changed, but it’s up to the Divisions to inform me of those changes. So if you find a mistake, please email me at joseph.mcdonald@aoh.com.

Protect Yourself:  It has come to my attention that many AOH members have been getting viruses on their computers. Most of this can be prevented with some simple maintenance. Everyone probably has some sort of virus software on their system, but that is not really enough these days and no matter how old of a computer you own, if you follow these simple steps, then you can protect yourself and prolong the life of your system.  (This may not apply to Mac owners who generally don’t get viruses).

1)      Make sure your computer is updated on a regular basis. Windows computers have automatic updates. Allow them to download by putting your computer to sleep rather than shutting it off. And when you shut your system down, do it from Windows, instead of holding down the button on the computer.

2)      Have a Malware program installed like Malwarebytes. Virus programs don’t protect against Malware, which can steal your information and get into your emails. The free version of Malwarebytes has to be run manually. A paid version will do it automatically.

3)      You get what you pay for. And if you are using a free virus software program, it’s not protecting your system as well as paid ones. If you ask me which ones are the best, I would tell you to go with Norton or the paid version of Advast!

4)      Have a registry cleaner on your system. Over time your computer’s registry files become bad and a registry cleaner will make your computer run more efficiently.

5)      Be smart about the emails your receive. If you get an email from a person your know saying he is stuck in Malaysia or the Philippines and needs you to wire them money because they lost their wallet. It’s probably a phishing scam. Also if you get an email that just contains a link and nothing else. Don’t click the link. It’s probably a virus link after the person’s email has gotten broken into.

I would like to make mention that I have been named Aide to the Grand Marshal of the 25th Glen Cove St. Patrick’s Day Parade to take place on March 17th in Glen Cove, NY. All Hibernians in good standing are welcome to march and we would love to have you.