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22 January 1998

December 1997 ECTC Status Report

by Randall Severy

Most of the Electronic Communications Technical Committee took a bit of a break in December to enjoy the holiday season, as activity slowed significantly from previous months. The one area where activitity continued at a steady pace was the ASI Web Team, who continued to process a large number of updates to the ASI web site as part of the Missing Links and Moon Miners' Manifesto projects. Two new mailing lists were finally created this past month, after the support situation at IO settled down in the middle of the month. A lot of other problems on the ASI web site caused a variety of problems with the systems that run on the site. And John Wertz organized another General Artermis IRC Meeting, which was a big success.

The December ECTC IRC meeting was another extremely productive ECTC meeting, almost matching the attendance record set in November. The agenda focused on several key ongoing ECTC tasks, and a lot of progress was made on those tasks during the meeting. Much of the meeting focused on the New Volunteer Interview System, which is now entering initial testing. As in past meetings, all of the Web Team projects were reviewed, with a good amount of progress reported in all areas.

The ECTC membership grew by two in December, with a third new member changing his mind and leaving before the end of the month. Renee Gioja and Sam Crooks joined the team, and immediately volunteered for some of the ECTC tasks. John Wertz and Bobby Will both changed e-mail addresses this past month, with Bobby going through two different ISPs before settling down with one he was comfortable with. At the end of December, the ECTC had 25 active members, with another 45 people in the Observer or Rep categories. You can find the complete ECTC membership listing, including ICQ numbers, at Even with the recent new task volunteers, there is still a lot of room for new volunteers for ECTC tasks. If you would like to join the ECTC and help with any of those tasks, you can use the form on the ECTC task list page at

Here is the latest status information from the individual work areas within the ECTC:

Help Desk

Nanci Brasket continued manning the Comm and Info Center. Joelle Cowan and Chris Verwey began taking over the responsibility of responding to Guestbook entries from Nanci. A lengthy discussion took place on the ECTC mailing list about how those Guestbook entries should be handled. Tim continued working on the New Volunteer Interview System (NVIS). The NVIS was the key topic of discussion during the December ECTC IRC meeting and a lot of ideas were presented about exactly how the NVIS should be used.

Listserver Mailing Lists

Bobby completed the setup and configuration of two new ASI mailing lists, for the Lunar Agriculture and Mission Options technical committees. The setup of the new mailing lists was delayed until the middle of the month, due to a backlog of work at IO as our new mailing list support contact got up to speed. Another new mailing list, for the upcoming ISDC activities, was requested and is still being worked on. Bobby also updated the configuration of several ASI mailing lists and updated the ownership of the art-moonbase mailing list.

Scotty Gammenthaler completed several updates to the Electronic Communications Procedure Guide, most of them involving the new procedures for submitting updates to the ASI web site.

World Wide Web Server

An enormous volume of updates to the ASI web site continued to flow through the Web System this past month, most of the them due to the Web Team Missing Links and MMM projects. Backlogs continued in the Web Formatting and Editing stages of the Web System, as the large volume of updates continued to overwhelm the number of people working on them. IO made a variety of configuration changes to the ASI web site without our knowledge during December, which continued to cause us ongoing problems. In the middle of the month, the ASI web site was moved from one machine to another, supposedly to improve the load balancing of IO's commercial web sites. This unexpected move managed to shut down the Web System for a day until a new WebSite Director license file was generated for the new machine. Towards the end of the month, all of the overnight jobs running on the ASI web site mysteriously disappeared, and it was almost two weeks before they were completely restored to their original configuration.

December set a new record for updates to the ASI web site, with a total of 141 updates being published to the site. The updates included a total of 93 new documents, many of them MMM articles, 42 modifications to existing documents, and six deleted documents. The new updates brought the complete total of documents on the ASI web site to 1772 HTML documents and 686 GIF and JPEG images. Most of the work in editing and approving the updates was done by Bobby Will, John Wertz, Simon Rowland, Greg Bennett, Ian Strock, Randall Severy, Candace Dicks, Scotty Gammenthaler, and Tim Cadell. Greg Bennett handled over half of the approvals during the month by himself, more than everyone else combined. Several new documents and other updates were submitted by Paul Blase, Richard Marsden, and Jeremy Kraemer.

Most of the updates going through the ASI Web System were articles for the Moon Miners' Manifesto (MMM) project and corrected pages from the Missing Links project. Dale Amon continued scanning drawings from past MMM issues and has posted them on his web site until their final destination and format has been determined. John Peel created several new header and footer templates for the Header and Footer Redesign project. And Scotty Gammenthaler continued work on the FAQ/FRO Redesign project.

WWW Conversation Pages

No progress to report this month.

Usenet newsgroups

No progress to report this month.

Online Services

No progress to report this month.

Real-time Meetings

John Wertz organized the second consecutive General Artemis IRC meeting on December 13, which will hopefully continue as a regular monthly activity from now on. The General Artemis meeting was attended by twelve ASI members, including several new attendees who hadn't been to previous meetings. As in past general meetings, the conversation wandered among a variety of topics, but provided a lot of useful discussion for both the new and veteran attendees.

The monthly ECTC IRC meeting on December 7 came close to the attendance record from November, with twelve ECTC members making it to the meeting. The meeting focused on some of the key ECTC tasks and the Web Team projects. The majority of the meeting involved discussions about the New Volunteer Interview System, which wasn't well-known to many of the meeting attendees. A lot of useful ideas and feedback were provided about the NVIS during the meeting. The meeting also included a lengthy discussion about the ADB Outline, and methods for making sure that the outline stays up-to-date. The web site search engine also came up as a topic of discussion. In the Web Team section of the meeting, most of the discussion focused on the MMM and Missing Links projects.


Tim Cadell added several news articles to the ASI Online News this past month in his role as acting ASI Newsmonger. Tim continues to look for additional writers and contacts in other ASI committees to provide activity reports as well as someone to take over as ASI Newsmonger. If you have any information that would be useful for an ASI Online News article, or if you would like to write for the Online News, contact Tim at

Joelle Cowan completed a first draft of the Electronic Communications FAQ document, which is now waiting for review.

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