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Welcome to Outdoors Unlimited Online

March 2, 2009
Dear OWAA Members, Supporters and Friends,
Welcome to the March issue of Outdoors Unlimited – the first online edition!
All your favorite features – Member News, Outdoor Market listings and Craft Improvement articles – are still available, but now online!
OWAA’s board of directors and staff hope the new digital format will allow greater interaction among our members while taking advantage of the unique capabilities multimedia technology offers. Rather than tell you what we have in mind for the debut digital issue, please take a look!
A word about what’s coming: In this first issue we’ve added a couple of bells and whistles including audio and video clips from Wade Bourne and Thomas Opre. By summer OWAA headquarters plans to add audio, video and databases for members to sell their work – “Find a Photographer” and “Find an Outdoor Writer,” for example. Outdoors Unlimited Online will also feature member blogs, Web sites and photography slide shows. By fall, additional features will be incorporated, including a Craft Improvement Archive and new columns focusing on technology, finance and business. Online mini-conferences and virtual auctions are possibilities as well.
Remember that Outdoors Unlimited Online is a work in progress. Your robust, respectful and helpful comments and suggestions are greatly encouraged. Tell us what you’d like to see in the new Outdoors Unlimited Online. Please understand that contributions that engage in personal attacks or are libelous in nature are subject to removal.
A word about passwords: No passwords will be required to read the first few issues of Outdoors Unlimited Online.  However, the interactive format begs you to comment on anything and at any time; for instance, we encourage you to post comments on Tom Watson’s March piece on creating an ambiance for the writing workplace – or Jim Foster’s Portfolio. While you won’t be required to enter a password to read the content, you will be required to create a unique user name and password in order to post comments.
We look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for your continued support of OWAA!
Kevin Rhoades, Executive Director
krhoades@owaa.org

Click here fore more about the transformation of Outdoors Unlimited and frequently asked questions.

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How to use OU Online

“There’s no question … the kid’s got potential”
Outdoors Unlimited has catapulted into the world of online publishing, and in the process gained an engine with serious horsepower. It now runs upon what is arguably the best blogging platform around, WordPress. Photographers and videographers will finally be able to show in full color what they have for so long only described or displayed in black and white. Articles about the electronic medium – our profession’s future, so it seems­ – will be able to link directly to the sites and technologies they discuss. And new content will be posted constantly. But the real treasure of this new Outdoors Unlimited is the fundamental interactivity that composes its core. Every article is now a launching point for a deeper discussion on any given topic. None of us knows everything, especially in a world that evolves on a daily basis. Yet the collective wisdom of our 1,500 members and supporters is awesome, as anyone who has been to the national conference can attest. With a little civility, we can have the same quality of discussions that are a trademark of OWAA’s main gathering within the comments that accompany an article.
Pssst … Get a password
You won’t experience the full power of OU Online until you create yourself a login and a profile by registering for the site at https://owaa.org/ou/wp-login.php?action=register. It will not only allow you to comment on stories and personalize your viewing experience, but in the next few months it will be a necessity once OU is closed to all but registered members.
Pipe the best of OU anywhere
Another benefit of Outdoor Unlimited’s leap into the 21st century is the built-in ability to provide a live RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, which is now the universal way to pipe headlines, articles, audio and video to just about any digital object. Click on it on the orange RSS link on the site and you’ll be given a choice of options for destinations. This can come in the form of a “Live Bookmarks” on your Web-browser’s toolbar, which upon clicking will list all of OU’s latest headlines. You can also feed it to your iGoogle or My Yahoo homepage, your mobile devices – you name it. You can even subscribe to particular categories such as Outdoor Market or Craft Improvement by clicking on those tabs from the top of any page and choosing “RSS feed for this section” once the category page loads.
Have tabs, will travel
You have an array of options to navigate OU:

  1. Using the categories at the top of each page: i.e. Craft Improvement, Departments, Outdoor Market, etc., most of which cascade into subcategories as you mouse over them.
  2. As monthly “issues,” viewing posts chronologically using the Archive link located in the blue bar at the top of each page
  3. Using the Search query form using keywords, phrases, etc. Its database updates as soon as a new article is posted, so you needn’t worry about it being out of date.
  4. Browsing your way down the homepage, the old-fashioned way.

OU has always prospered on the willingness of its many contributors to share their best advice and ideas – a phenomenon that should only flourish upon this new foundation. The fact that you’re reading this shows that you’ve taken the first step. Now take the second step. Post a comment and tell us what we forgot!
– Paul Queneau, Web development adviser
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