As the conceiver, producer, and organizer of the show and related events (including the film), I am delighted to say that all were well-received and successful — and the show is my personal favorite among the events I have organized/produced.
The exhibit and related events were three years in the making, and I spent much time working between Sardinia and San Francisco to organize everything. In addition to negotiating several challenging issues and a number of situations too complicated to detail here, I drafted agreements in English and Italian (many thanks to my Italian tutor Gabrielle for refining the Italian versions), paid visits to all artist studios and potential sponsor headquarters in Sardinia, and attended to countless details.
I also designed and wrote all event collateral including postcards, bookmarks, online ads, and the poster advertising the event as well as the educational materials and banner displayed at the exhibit.
As people often ask: Yes, the website SardinianArts.com is also entirely my own creation. With the exception of several pages noted as artists describing their work “in their own words”, the writing, photos, videos, and website design are mine.
The Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders was held in Geneva, Switzerland in October 2002, on the grounds of the United Nations. I filmed and reported on the event as an accredited journalist. This piece was written for a women’s magazine based in Colorado.
From Kelly Manjula Koza’s archives: Of the many events I have organized and run, this inaugural LGBTQ+ event from 1997 is one of my favorites. In addition to this event, I helped organize and publicize smaller GLBTQ+ events for the chamber. Prior to moving to Denver, I was a trained peacekeeper for pride marches in Tucson and the founding vice president of the University of Arizona GLBTQ student club.
During the mid-1990’s, I was on the board of directors for the Colorado Business Council, the Denver-area GLBT (the acronym was shorter then!) chamber of commerce. Their name has has since changed; at that time, we could not use the words gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, or queer in the organization’s name as homophobia was rampant in Colorado. Even some of the chamber’s leaders were not out in the business world and did not want to be publicly identified with the group.
To better integrate the chamber with the community-at-large and other chambers, gain recognition for gay-owned businesses; promote GLBT issues; and serve as a fund-raiser for the organization, friend Anne, also a board member, came up with the idea of initiating an annual awards ceremony lauding gay- and lesbian-owned businesses and community allies.
The inaugural event in 1997 was a huge success, and the awards ceremony ran for about 15 years before being discontinued due to having achieved its long-term goals. As Elfriede, another friend and former board member said, “The awards and ceremony were phased out because we had been able to honor all of the ground-breaking GLBT business owners, and the chamber and GLBT community has become so well integrated into Denver that having distinct awards for GLBT businesses no longer served any purpose.”
I was thrilled to hear this: The inaugural ceremony had been a pet project of mine, and I had been credited with taking the event from conception to reality. At the time, I was CBC’s Director of Special Events and de facto PR director, and I did everything I could to ensure the first event’s success. I managed details large and small, created processes that I knew would set precedents, penned documents, wrote articles and talked with journalists to secure top local publicity, garnered corporate and business sponsorships, and collaborated with other board members to attract politicians and business leaders to the event and ensure their support of the chamber. The event and people were also a great deal of fun!
A few pieces of the local publicity around the event are below.
Over the years, I’ve done a considerable amount of video filming and editing. My recent work focus on Sardinia and the island’s traditional women handweavers, the tessitrici artigianali. The documentary I Want to Weave the Weft of Time is the first of a planned series about these amazing artists.
From about 1998 until 2006, I helped document the activities of Mata Amritanandamayi Mayi Devi (commonly known as Amma). I worked primarily in the USA and India, and somewhat in Australia and Europe, including at The Global Peace Initiative of Women Spiritual and Religious Leaders held in 2002 in Geneva, Switzerland on the grounds of the United Nations.
While I primarily captured footage for archival as well as documentary use, and a colleague was the primary editor, I did edit a handful of short videos for general release and/or to include in media kits. I also designed the covers for several videos. Given the size, ongoing expansion, and large TV crews now filming and producing Amma’s work, the complete versions of older films are difficult to find. If still available, the would be found through the organization’s bookstore.
I’ve also filmed and edited video for private events, consulting projects, and corporate training departments. The most interesting of these projects (for me, at least!) were those where I filmed electrical lineworkers demonstrating how to repair live electrical distribution lines!
From Kelly Manjula Koza’s archives. This is a recent example; I’ve led or participated in many similar projects over the years.
In 2019, I was approached by a multi-talented colleague who had been doing some part-time consulting outside the realm of her primary profession. She wanted to consider the feasibility of expanding the consulting into a successful business that would operate as a B-corporation, balancing purpose with profit to provide critical services to underserved market.
She had been working with small businesses and individuals to secure their computers, technology systems, data, accounts, and finances from threats inherent in the realm of technology. She repaired compromised accounts and systems, established secure hardware, software, and network solutions, and trained individuals and business owners how to maintain security best practices.
In doing this work, she saw the potential of what she felt would be a great business opportunity: Her existing clients knew little to nothing about security threats that could significantly damage financial security, business operations, and individual peace-of-mind; they did know how to protect themselves or their businesses, and they were under-served by security consultancies. She felt that creating a consultancy to provide these much-needed services to these individuals and business owners would benefit the community, give her personal satisfaction, and be profitable.
After an initial talk with her and a number of potential business partners, we confirmed a small group of individuals committed to investigating the potential, risks, and feasibility of founding such a business. As the designated leader, I:
Lead the business feasibility study, including market analysis, risk assessment, and strategic planning
Created a scalable business plan to deliver tiered service levels
Designed several iterations and models of the plan to accommodate partner resources, capabilities, and gauge overall business feasibility
Advised partners on marketing, technology, financial, and operational infrastructure considerations
Created an internal communications structure and trained partners on use (Confluence wiki, emails, shell website)
Designed the company logo and identity and wrote draft marketing copy
Based on the exploration and work conducted over the course of six months, I advised the group not to proceed with the business.
From Kelly Manjula Koza’s archives. A discussion and two old satires I wrote.
I’ve always had a passion for satire: I devoured the writings of Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and S.J. Perelman when I was a kid, and English teachers and friends often urged me to write pieces for them. For a long time I did write short satires, yet I intentionally stopped (well, mostly), long before the current political environment essentially killed the genre by rendering it nearly indistinguishable from so-called reality.
I desisted for several reasons. Writing satire puts me in a pessimistic mood: I become critical, cranky, and unappreciative of the good in the world. I’ve also increasingly believed that our thoughts influence and create our reality, so writing satire generally seems unwise: I’ve had many satirical ideas that I would NOT want to see manifest in world! In addition, the rapid reaction to a piece I wrote and sent to friends and colleagues in 2007 spooked me: Not even my closest friend — whom I thought would recognize my writing — identified the piece as satire, and she and many others began sharing the email, which I thought could land me in major hot water, possibly even a lawsuit, if I did not quickly retract the piece — which I did. (Read the piece further down this page.)
I often structured my satires as newspaper articles or press releases, and sometimes even took the first few sentences of a real newspaper article and wrote a satirical ending to it. This format combined with my extremely dry sense of humor apparently makes it very difficult for people to discern what’s true and what’s not.
The first piece below is an example of the newspaper format, based on a 2004 article found on the BBC website. The second piece is the satire I retracted.
Passion over for Barbie and Ken
Valentine’s Day is approaching, but the romance is over for Barbie and Ken.
After 43 years as an item, the plastic pair’s “business manager” at toymaker Mattel said they “feel it’s time to spend some quality time – apart”.
“Like other celebrity couples, their Hollywood romance has come to an end,” said Russell Arons of Mattel toys.
Ken will go his own way, and the new romance in Barbie’s life will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows — as will the new Barbie herself.
Barbie will be sporting pants, flat heels, and wearing a ring from her new significant other, who is dark, handsome – and a woman.
“Woman-loving Barbie has been a long time in waiting,” says Arons.
Lucia, Barbie’s new partner, was introduced to Barbie’s circle amidst considerable astonishment and excitement.
“The conservatives who haven’t been paying attention will undoubtedly have some strong reactions, but Barbie just couldn’t go on with Ken any longer,” says Arons. “Lucia comes with a full range of emotions, interests and talents that we just couldn’t bundle into Ken or any male doll.”
Mattel will market a full range of new accessories for the lesbian couple, including a pickup truck/camper combination, large furry dogs, and an assortment of Mikita power tools. ###
The piece I retracted (below) was written as a press release during a very snowy winter when planes were delayed and cancelled across the country, with each week bringing a new storm and a new set of delays. Vacationers as well as those of us who flew regularly for work were upset with what seemed like persistent travel difficulties and unaccommodating policies of airlines. I wrote this thinking it so far-fetched that no one would believe it, yet after people began sharing it as a real news piece, I became worried that the airline would find and sue me.
United Announces Frequent Flier Flight Delay Program
CHICAGO, IL, February 14, 2007 — United Airlines today announced the company will award frequent flier program miles to travelers whose flights are delayed due to weather. Elite members of the airline’s frequent flier program will also be awarded miles for any flight delays.
“We realize that fliers, especially frequent fliers, lose time and money because of weather delays. This winter has been particularly difficult for travelers and airlines, and United wants to recognize the fortitude and loyalty of our customers,” says Bob Forappel, United public relations director. “We feel there’s no better way to do this than by offering travelers frequent flier miles.”
Travelers who are members of United’s frequent flyer program will receive 5 frequent flier miles for each minute of weather-related delay. Premier members (those who have flown 25,000 miles in the past year) will receive 10 miles for each minute of delay. Premier Executive and Premier 1K members will receive 20 and 50 miles, respectively, for each minute of delay, as well as corresponding miles for any flight delay, weather-related or not.
For more information, see www.united.com/premier/miles/wewish/ ###
Sardinian Arts is work of my heart, designed to share my love of the Sardinian handweavers, their art, and Sardinia in general. I seek to help preserve, protect, promote, encourage, and advance the tessitriciartigianali and the arts, culture, heritage, land, economy, and people of Sardinia in a sustainable manner.
Sardinian Arts is designed to highlight the weavers. However, the website and what I do for Sardinian Arts also provide examples of the scope, style, and quality of work I do, so I mention it here, especially as people often ask questions such as the following:
Is Sardinian Arts all my work?
Yes. Sardinian Arts is a one-woman production. In the past, I did hire some part-time contract help for certain tasks, but that was short-lived.
Yes. I wrote the copy and all posts. (The few exceptions are Italian versions of the artists’ “In Their Own Words” pages, where I post what the weavers wrote in Italian. I translated each artist’s statement into English. Intentionally, I do not optimize the copy for SEO.)
From Kelly Manjula Koza’s archives: I wrote this profile of a Denver business owner for a women’s magazine in 2004.
Over the years, I have done many interviews and profiles, both in print and in video. Some were published under my byline; some were used without byline or credit in promotional materials for businesses and nonprofits, or kept for an organization’s archival purposes.
The profiles I most like were — and are— those featuring amazing and inspiring women. The piece below is perhaps my favorite profile from those I wrote about Denver business owners. I had known Qui Vu for a year or so before this was written, yet interviewing and filming her for the piece brought me to tears: Her quiet courage, fortitude, peace, and inspiration were evident in all she did, and touched all those in her life.
From Kelly Manjula Koza’s archives: I wrote this piece in 2009, after Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel Prize for Economics. The article was published by eZine Articles and also on my previous blog, Pointing to the Moon.
Elinor Ostrom’s award-winning economic theories about sharing resources are in part based on lessons learned from observing how Swiss farmers determine grazing rights for common-pasture cows.
Elinor Ostrom, co-recipient of this year’s Nobel Laureate in Economics, has been the subject of a flurry of media excitement, yet the attention given Ostrom and her work is only beginning: As more people begin to understand what Ostrom has said, the influence of her words and work will be felt more greatly – especially by women.The benefit will not come because Ostrom is the first woman awarded the Nobel for Economics – a fact the highlighted by the press during initial reports of the award, most likely because of lack of publically-known information about Ostrom and her work. As the media and public have shifted from focusing on “the first woman” to actually looking at Ostrom’s contributions to economics, the practicality of what she says has become apparent. Reporters, writers, and the public are beginning to understand Ostrom’s work and realize how vital it is to the world right now.
The commons – commonly-shared resources, from pastures to oceans – and how they are shared and sustained are a focal point of Ostrom’s work. Unlike many economists and politicians, Ostrom believes that most people challenged with the distribution and use of a resource can cooperate and act for the common good. Ostrom believes problems should be solved as locally as possible, yet she does not denounce the need for government.
Ostrom’s findings are a departure from what has been the prevailing force in economics: For centuries, economists have focused on lack, and control of resources by a few. Common resources were thought to be best handled if divided and distributed by a superior and controlling power. Traditional economic theories have led to imperialism, competition, scarcity for many, gross over-abundance for a few, wars of resource control, and a rapidly declining environment.
In a discipline dominated by men, Ostrom’s emphasis on empowering groups and letting them work out practical, applicable, sustainable solutions for resource use is ground-breaking. Ostrom’s consideration of the community as well as the individual, and her call for cooperation at the local group level is surprising – in a discipline dominated by men. To women, I don’t think Ostrom’s work is so radical: In fact, I would say that Ostrom’s work stems from being a woman.
By nature, women tend to recognize and value inter-dependencies, between and among individuals and the community. Women strive to balance and sustain fair use of resources, and encourage self-dependence and situational problem-solving rather than the imposition predetermined, rigid rules.
The women’s perspective and presence has been squelched in modern economics, and I believe this has been a major cause of the many crises we face. An over-emphasis on hyper-masculine qualities, including competition, winning, me-or-you allocation of resources, and focus on short-term gain has brought the world to the brink of financial and environmental collapse.
Ostrom’s work and ideas are intellectually credible and grounded in practicality, and the Nobel award gives her words a validity respected beyond academic circles. The Nobel award committee chooses recipients not only to commend them for their work, but to focus media and the public eye on issues the committee feels demand global attention. Public perception and actions can be and are changed by the designation of the award. In this case, the Nobel committee has consciously directed attention to the need for a more cooperative, inclusive, sustainable, and self-directed world economy – one that recognizes and includes women as determinants, not as derivatives.
Elinor Ostrom’s Nobel prize gives credibility to what women already, inherently, know, and men are beginning to recognize, value, and seek. Ostrom has opened the door for evolutionary economic change, and the increased inclusion of women in government, businesses, and economic decision-making processes will facilitate that change – and demand women’s active participation.
From Kelly Manjula Koza’s archives: This was written in 2010, and is still highly relevant today.
Quite frankly, the photos speak for themselves.
However, for those who prefer words to photos:
Citizens of contemporary Western nations — especially the United States — tend to think of their time and their “civilization” as being the most advanced, the most civilized, and indestructible.
The photo of Kabul in 1970 doesn’t even represent the pinnacle of Afghanistan’s cultural, scientific, and spiritual heights, which many would argue came long before Afghanistan was colonized by the British or adapted “modern” Western ways. But the photo from 1970 shows a landscape reduced to rubble by what only can be called inhumanity. This inhumanity manifests in many ways, including war, greed, corruption, rape, abuse of power, abuse of people, and general “uncaring”.
Consider the cultures of ancient India, China, South America, Central America, Persia, and, of course, Rome and the other civilizations of the ancient and modern “Western World” (for so many years, the only countries included in history classes in the United States).
How many advanced cultures have fallen? How many will, unless we humans start treating our world and all our people with respect and compassion, embrace humility, accept diversity, and act with integrity and kindness?
These photos are from the Finnish website Kuvaton, which claims no copyright to images published on the site.
From Kelly Manjula Koza’s archives: Written in 2009 to celebrate a ground-breaking international document, the ideals of which we still work to attain. The Declaration was signed on December 10, 1948.
Sixty-one years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Much contested and debated at the UN before its acceptance, the UDHR was developed as a non-binding agreement of nations working towards and upholding basic human rights for all individuals around the world.
Eleanor Roosevelt, a key player driving the drafting and acceptance of the UDHR, stated that the document would educate people as to their basic rights as humans and encourage nations to adopt laws promoting and safeguarding essential human rights.
In the first place, we have put into words some inherent rights. Beyond that, we have found that the conditions of our contemporary world require the enumeration of certain protections which the individual must have if he is to acquire a sense of security and dignity in his own person. The effect of this is frankly educational. Indeed, I like to think that the Declaration will help forward very largely the education of the peoples of the world.
Sadly, many rights specified in the document are still far from being universal, and adoption of the UDHR continues to meet opposition from number of governments around the globe. And, while ER and the United Nations consider the document to be personal and “belong to each and every one of us — [to] read it, learn it, promote it and claim it as your own”, the rights enunciated in the UDHR are not so well known, even by those here in the US — the home of the Constitution that provided a strong foundation for the drafting of the UDHR.
How familiar are you with the UDHR?
At a very basic level, the Declaration covers the following:
Protecting children’s rights
Halting torture and political killings
Advancing the human rights of women
Reinforcing workers’ rights
Spreading the word of free expression
Halting religious persecution
Advocating for fair trials and due process
Securing freedom from want for all
Protecting human rights defenders
On this Human Rights Day, take the step of educating yourself as well as helping others. Visit the following sites to learn more about the UDHR and human rights:
While the technology of the world has changed drastically since 1948, attitudes and the implementation of policies safeguarding human rights have not changed much. The UDHR is as critical now as it was 61 years ago. The peoples of the world must move beyond the document, and implement universal acceptance of human rights, as human rights are timeless — and priceless.
From Kelly Manjula Koza’s archives: I wrote this some years ago for my old blog; it was originally published with a different photo.
The Thanksgiving holiday understandably brings thoughts of gratitude, and fosters much charity.
I hope these thoughts of gratitude will continue for individuals throughout the next holiday season — which all too often becomes the season of marketing and materialism, with little room left for gratitude — and into the new year.
While I value the good actions and gratitude shown over the Thanksgiving holiday, gratitude must well from within every one of us, each day of our lives. All too often, we not only forget to express gratitude, but in our competitive, time-driven, negatively-focused world, but we fail to create the mental space necessary to recognize our own gratitude.
We are the ones who suffer, for without gratitude, life becomes dry. When we fail to recognize, value, and have gratitude for what truly matters to us, that which we overlook falls out of the spectrum of our life. When we are grateful, “What we appreciate, appreciates”, as Lynne Twist so concisely states.
We cultivate gratitude by paying attention to the small things in life, by making time to realize and express our gratitude, and by living our gratitude. As John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
When the going gets rough, expressing and living with gratitude is not so easy. Many spiritual traditions remind us that tough times are not coincidences, or mistakes; difficulties in the path of life are opportunities provided so that we may grow and temper ourselves. We must practice meeting difficult times with the same gratitude we would meet good times. This has practical as well as spiritual benefits, as the following quote states:
When asked how things are, don’t whine and grumble about your hardships. If you answer “Lousy, “ then God says, “You call this bad? I’ll show you what bad really is.” When asked how things are and, despite hardship or suffering, you answer, “Good,” then God says “You call this good? I’ll show you what good really is! ~ Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
The world is having a difficult time, and we as individuals can make a difference in our own lives, and the lives of others by cultivating and expressing gratitude – not just on a designated holiday or event, but every day, in every aspect of our lives.
For what are you grateful? Can you ask yourself, and give thanks, every day?
From Kelly Manjula Koza’s archives: A scan of a piece I wrote for my first real job as a columnist for a national sports publication in the early 1980’s.
A month or so before I graduated high school, I was asked to write a regular column for a regional sports publication that was launching nationally. My only directive was that the column was to be “for junior athletes”. I accepted the offer, mused a bit, and a few weeks later, I sent in my first column — which I had typed on correctable paper using a mechanical typewriter and mailed in a stamped envelope. It was 1980, before personal computers, email, faxes, or cell phones!
A day later I received a call: The publisher wanted to know if I would be available to edit the entire paper, and yes, I would be paid for that as well as my column. After several days of contemplating this additional job offer — a little mind-blowing for a 16-year old kid who already felt in over her head as a “pro athlete”— I decided that the few days a week of driving nearly 60 miles across the metropolis to the newspaper office was not practical.
Instead, I wrote more for the paper. Lots more. Over the course of two or three years, in addition to my monthly column, I penned so many player profiles, tournament recaps, and other features (and contributed a few not-so-good photos) that I soon insisted the publisher not put my by-line on anything except my column. (I also edited, laid out, and ghost wrote columns for a few initial newsletters for the fledgeling women’s pro association, which started without staff and was run by collective volunteer effort at first.)
Of the dozens of pieces published, I kept only the random column shown below and one feature. I don’t tend to save things, especially my own work, and in the years before scans were easy and photos were digital, I discarded almost all articles I had written that were published in newsprint, and did so without saving a copy. At times I wish I had saved more, as it would be interesting now to read what I had written then!
I do recall that the first column (which is not the one below) stated my ideal for the series: To inspire kids (and adults) to improve themselves, their physical and mental health and well-being, their playing ability, their love of sports, and their lives in general — and to play and live fairly and honestly. I was rather surprised at the number of adults who confided to me that my column was their favorite part of the paper.
And yes, the first name in the byline and intro paragraph below is blurred, as at that time I was called by a variation of the first name I was given at birth. The given name most definitely did not suit me and the nickname did not either. I legally changed my name some years later.
(Text continues after the article)
Writing for RT was actually my second job in journalism. My first was unpaid, when I started writing for my high school newspaper for typical reason: The paper didn’t cover girls’ sports. When the LFHS girls’ field hockey team won the state title (again), not one single paragraph about the championship girls’ team appeared in the paper. I and most girls in the school were incensed at the omission, so I penned a letter to the paper’s editor and faculty advisor. The editor responded that there were not enough reporters (all guys) to cover the girls’ sports. I wanted to write articles about girls’ sports, the paper would publish them.
Of course I wrote articles — quite a few, as I recall – and by default, I became the paper’s girl’s sports editor. Along with the rest of the paper’s staff, I attended journalism workshops given by a senior editor from the Chicago Tribune, which I found both interesting and helpful. Years later, I also laughed at an irony that evolved: The editor of the school paper who told me I had to pen articles about girls’ sports if I wanted any in the high school paper later became a sports editor and a senior editor of the Tribune.
I would suspect thatthe Tribune, like most mainstream media, does need more reporters to cover women’s sports. If I recall my figures correctly, only 4% of media sports coverage is devoted to women’s sports. While viewership for women’s sports has increased tremendously, and prize money for some sports has increased to some degree, media coverage still lags.
What you’ll find in the archives (KMK Archives category within the blog) is not in chronological order, and it’s certainly not comprehensive or representative of all I’ve done. Some pieces posted here are historically relevant; some highlight projects I particularly enjoyed; others you may find fun or interesting; and perhaps one will lead you to muse and consider a time period or event from your own life.
There are also many writings, articles, logos, designs, videos, case studies, and other examples I’m not posting publicly for reasons of copyright, respect of a person or organization for whom I did the work, or, quite frankly, because the work is not very interesting or germane to the general public. I’ve also discarded much work for personal and practical reasons.
Discarding old work is space-saving, especially when the original was not digital, and scanning or photographing items was not easy. Over the years, I’ve tossed most of the non-digital work I created without keeping any record. Yes, occasionally I wish I had kept a sample of this, that, or the other project — but the feeling passes!
Much old work is also just that: old. Articles were often geared to a specific event, or were so long most people are not going to read them now. Satires were so bitingly close to the truth that often they were harbingers of things to come or not understood as satire. Three-dimensional works I constructed in metal or fibers were interesting and unique, yet I have not maintained a continuing practice in studio art.
Training videos, instruction guides, user manuals, and how-to articles for software, hardware, and so on become obsolete soon after creation, and they are not very interesting to the general public. Neither are old project plans, program outlines, business plans, media kits, or status reports.
I rarely saved copies of my corporate work because employees and contractors are usually required to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that state any work done for the corporation remains corporate property. In such cases, I didn’t even keep portfolio copies of what I created.
Just as written work was often tied to an event or timeframe, many logos, posters, and brochures I’ve created were representative of a specific era or design style. The two longest-used logos I designed were cutting-edge when I created them, but have now come to be seen as clichéd. One of those logos was actively used for more than 25 years, and the other logo is still in use after more than 30 years.
Ultimately, unless there’s a lesson to learn or person to thank, I prefer to be in the present moment and consider new ideas and projects rather than look backwards or rest on laurels.
From Kelly Manjula Koza’s archives: I wrote this in 2014 to demonstrate how a tech company could better communicate an important update and action needed to their clients.
The first set of items is my improved version: A letter targets the person who would receive the initial communication; the instructions are illustrated and written for the person who would be doing the work; and the FAQ’s are both more detailed and simplified. The updated communication addresses different roles, different needs, and is clearer for recipients.
The second set of materials below (in grey text) shows the original letter and technical instructions a web hosting company sent to clients. The message is confusing, especially because the person who would likely receive the letter would not be the same person actually doing the work and therefore following the instructions.
Names and links have been omitted for privacy, and the formatting is not exact here.
Revised Letter, General Overview, Instructions, and FAQs
Dear Website Owner,
We’d like to ask you (or your web developer) to run a quick test to make certain your website continues to look and function the way it’s designed.
We’re making an upgrade to our system, and the upgrade may affect some websites, particularly if they were last updated or built before January 2011.
The test will indicate if the upgrade would affect your website.
If you run the test and find the upgrade would affect your website, you can easily reject the upgrade by changing one setting on the Webhost control panel (CPanel).
Instructions, more information, and frequently asked questions (FAQs) are below.
If you are not the web developer who will conduct the brief test, or apply any necessary changes, please forward this email to the appropriate person who handles these tasks for you!
If you have questions, please check out the FAQs and support links and phone numbers below.
Webhost Support Team
Webhost’s default servers will be upgraded to a new version of PHP (5.4) on May 8, 2014. We’ll attempt to determine if your website and any add-on domains are compatible with the upgrade by running an automated check. However, we’d like you to test compatibility yourself, before the upgrade, because you know how your website is designed to look and function, and may notice issues our automated program does not.
If you experience issues when you run the test, you have the option of choosing not to accept the upgrade.
Detailed instructions follow this overview.
To give you a brief overview of the steps to test your website for compatibility, you will:
Log into your Control Panel (CPanel) for your home directory
Set the PHP handler to the new version of PHP
Open your website(s) in a browser
Access each page (in each) of your website(s) to check for any visible or functional changes or errors
If you do NOT encounter issues on your website(s), your websites are compatible with the upgrade, and no further action is necessary
If you DO encounter issues on your website(s), you can decline the PHP upgrade by setting the PHP handler to continue using the current PHP version 5.2
Instructions: Testing Compatibility
Click this link, or copy and paste into your browser, to open the Control Panel: SAMPLE LINK NONFUNCTIONAL
Scroll down to the Advanced section.
Click PHP Configuration to open the PHP Configuration window.
Click the drop-downarrow.
Select PHP 5.4.
Verify you see the confirmation message: “The “.php” file extension will be processed by PHP 5.4 for this account” in the new window.
Click Back on the browser bar.
Verify you see “The “.php” file extension will be processed by PHP 5.4” in the PHP Configuration window.
Open your website(s) in a browser.
Access and view each page in each of your websites.
Check for any visible or functional changes or errors.
If you do NOT encounter issues on your website
You do not need to do anything further. If you still have the CPanel open, click the Logout icon in the upper right corner of the CPanel window to log out of the CPanel. You’re done!
If you DO encounter issues on your website
Return to the CPanel PHP Configuration Page (if the CPanel is no longer open, follow steps 1 through 3 under Instructions:Testing Compatibility).
Click the drop-downarrow.
Select PHP 5.2 to set your website and add-on domains to use the current version of the PHP handler. Your site(s) will not be affected by the upgrade
Our upgrade process honors the settings you choose here, so setting your PHP handler to 5.2 essentially declines the upgrade to PHP 5.4.
Please note: If you want to decline the upgrade and continue using PHP 5.2, DO NOT select “No custom PHP Handler (Sys Default)”. While the System Default (Sys Default) is currently PHP 5.2, once the upgrade is performed, the Sys Default will be PHP 5.4.
If you still have the CPanel open, click the Logout icon in the upper right corner of the CPanel window to log out of the CPanel. You’re done!
Why are you making this change?
We want to bring you the best and most up-to-date software and services available.
Our servers currently use PHP 5.2, which is an deprecated version of PHP that is longer supported. Version 5.2 and does not offer the security and performance improvements found in Version 5.4.
How can I make sure my site(s) will work following the upgrade?
Simple answer: Follow the instructions given above. You can also find the instructions online at SAMPLE LINK NONFUNCTIONAL.
Details: If you follow the instructions above, and find your site/scripts do not work with PHP 5.4, as well as declining the upgrade, you could consider rebuilding your site/scripts using newer code/applications/technology.
Will my site(s) experience any down time?
Simple answer: If you have followed the instructions above, your site should not experience any issues or “downtime”.
Details: The switch between PHP versions is simply a configuration change in your .htaccess file(s). There not maintenance performed on the server that would cause any service outages.
However, websites and scripts incompatible with PHP 5.4 will not load properly once the upgrade is performed, and may experience issues, including issues that prohibit visitors from accessing or using your website properly.
While we perform automatic compatibility checks for each account and attempt to set the PHP handler version automatically for each site, it’s imperative you perform the compatibility test before the upgrade on May 8, 2014 to ensure that your site/scripts work with the upgrade — or that you decline the upgrade.
Who can help me update my site to use a newer version of PHP?
Simple answer: Your web developer or technical team members.
Details: If you have an older website that has not been updated for some time, you may consider rebuilding the website with newer versions of code, applications, and/or technology. Such an upgrade can improve performance and security as well as help you update the look and functionality of your site for users.
While we can help you change the version of PHP your website uses on our servers, we cannot rebuilt your site to use newer versions of PHP. You must contact the web developer and/or technical team members who built the website.
Where can I find these instructions online?
Go to SAMPLE LINK NONFUNCTIONAL.
Chat: Click here
Original Letter Before Revision
Dear Valued Customer,
We’re writing to inform you of an important change in your server’s default configuration that may affect your websites.
The default version of PHP employed by our servers will be updated to PHP 5.4 on 5/8/2014. We will be attempting to automatically detect the compatibility of YourSite.com and any other add-on domains you have, but we want to ask you to please log into your cPanel and test all of your sites using PHP 5.4 by following the directions given in this article:SAMPLE LINK NONFUNCTIONAL.
1) Why are you making this change?
The default version of PHP that our servers are currently utilizing; PHP 5.2 ; has been deprecated for some time. As such, we would like to see your sites enjoying the security and performance benefits of the newer versions of PHP which we already have available on your server.
2) How can I make sure my sites will work?
While we are taking every possible step to try and automatically assign the right version to all of your scripts, we do want to ask you to please login into your cPanel and test all of your sites using PHP 5.4 yourself.
Here’s a more detailed explanation on how to test this using our plugin available via cPanel.
The default behavior of your account is for PHP settings to be inherited by sub-directories. That means that you can easily test all of your site’s compatibility with PHP 5.4, by setting the PHP handler for your home directory for your account to PHP 5.4. Then simply test your websites by opening them in your browser.
To test this using our plugin please do the following:
* Click on the “PHP Configuration” icon, which can be found under the “Advanced” group of icons in cPanel.
* From the drop-down of Available PHP handlers, please select “PHP 5.4” without changing the target directory from the current setting.It should be displaying / (Current Folder). Click on “Update”
* You should see a confirmation message that reads: The “.php” file extension will be processed by PHP 54 for this account. Clicking on “Back” you should now notice the dropdown listing PHP 5.4 as the active Handler
* At this point you will want to test your sites by opening them in your browser. If you do not notice any issues or visible errors, this means your sites are compatible with PHP 5.4 and you do not need to perform any further actions to ensure they continue to work once the PHP upgrade is performed. You will simply want to leave the Handler that was just set as the active one without any other changes.
* If on the other hand, you do notice issues during your test with your sites and the PHP 5.4 Handler that was enabled, you can then simply toggle the active Handler via our plugin and set it to use “PHP 5.2”. This should set your account to specifically use the the current default version of PHP in our servers and ensure they continue to use this version once the PHP upgrade process is performed. Our upgrade process is set to honor the current Handler settings you set via this plugin to ensure your scripts continue to work once the upgrade is completed.
Please note: Selecting “No custom Handler (Sys Default)”, will NOT ensure your account stays using PHP 5.2 once the PHP upgrade iscomplete. While PHP 5.2 is currently the system default version, once the upgrade is complete, the default version will be PHP 5.4. If your applications require PHP 5.2 you will want to make sure to specifically select the “PHP 5.2” option.
3) Will my site’s experience any down time?
The switch between PHP versions is simply a configuration change in your .htaccess file(s) as such, there is no maintenance which must be performed on the server itself that would cause any service outages. Applications that are not compatible with PHP 5.4 will fail to load properly once the change is performed. While we will make every effort to automatically perform compatibility checks for each accounts and set the appropriate Handler, it’s imperative for you to please do the compatibility tests from your end as well using the steps listed above, before 5/8/2014 .
4) Who can help me update my site/script to use a newer version of PHP?
While we can assist you with changing the version of PHP your script utilizes, we will not be able to recode your site to be compatible with newer versions of PHP. You should contact the script’s author/developer to inquire as to whether or not they currently have or plan to re-design their code to utilize later versions of PHP.