1996 ECTC Status Reports
Section 9.1.1996.
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May 1996 ECTC Status Report

The Electronic Communications Technical Committee had another productive, though not spectacular, month in May. The move of the domain to a new ISP continued to creep along at a snail's pace, but the word at the end of the month was that significant progress had been made so we hope to have some good news in this area in the near future. Some major progress has been acheived in the task of overhauling the ASI web server home page, which will be detailed in the Web server status report below.

The ECTC added several new members this past month, which should help us make even more progress in several key areas. Tom Chavez joined the team and will be helping with the web server updates. Miche Thompson signed on to help out with some of the documents and guides the ECTC is currently working on. And Tim Cadell and Richard Fyfe brought the ECTC membership to a grand total of 36 people! This month, however, we also bid goodbye to MB, who has left the ECTC to focus all of his attentions on the busy Advanced Planning Technical Committee. You can find the complete ECTC membership listing on the ECTC web page at

The ECTC task list grew this month with several new tasks. Two additional tasks were added to the Help Desk section to respond to entries in the web site guestbook and newsgroup postings. A web server task was added to develop an automated Web Page Maintenance System to help reduce the growing manual efforts needed to maintain the ASI web site. And last, but not least, Doug Cross has volunteered to lead up an effort to establish a database of historical and statistical records about the Artemis electronic communications infrastructure. Even with the new influx of members, however, the addition of these new tasks means that we are still significantly understaffed to handle all of the work the ECTC has on the drawing board. If you would like to join the ECTC and help out, please check the ECTC task list ( and sign up for anything that interests you, even those tasks that already have people working on them.

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

Help Desk

Nanci Brasket continued answering questions directed to the Comm and Info Center. Nanci also added thirty-nine new images to the ASI image library and edited thirty-four new or updated ASI web pages.

Listserver Mailing Lists

Some glitches occurred with the new art-biz-cdrom mailing list that were caused by bugs in the Listserver software, but the mailing list configuration was quickly updated to avoid the problem and all of the new mailing lists are up and running and becoming very active. You can always get the latest list of ASI mailing lists from the Mailing Lists web page at

World Wide Web Server

Simon Rowland continued his almost single-handed attempt at growing the Artemis Data Book (ADB) exponentially each month, with a large number of new updates added to the web site. The concentrated design effort that was started at the beginning of the month to develop a new ASI home page saw an enormous amount of effort by a large portion of the ECTC during the month. Randall Severy put together a strawman test page early in the month and the entire ECTC pushed, prodded, and molded the page until by the end of the month it met the approval of most of the people who worked on it. The exact textual content of the page and the images assigned to the "buttons" on the page still need to be finalized, but that effort should be completed in the next few weeks and soon afterwards you should see an announcement about the new "facelift" for the ASI web site.

The large number of updates that have been occurring on the ASI web server has strained the abilities of the current web site maintenance staff to keep up with the flood of changes. Since all of the current updates involve a very manual and labor-intensive process involving several people, a discussion ensued in the ECTC about developing an automated Web Site Maintenance System that could be used to reduce the workload needed to maintain the web site. This system would be based on some kind of database on the web site that would keep track of updated pages as they moved through the copyediting, technical approval, and style editing phases of the web maintenance process. Using web forms backed by Perl or C programs, this system would elimate much of the duplicate, error-prone, and manual updating that is currently done. If you have any experience with systems of that type, or would like to learn, let the ECTC know as soon as possible.

Simon Rowland set up a series of web forms to allow people to join and volunteer for work in several new Technical Committees that are being formed. Randall Severy wrote the Perl scripts to support those forms. Candace Dicks developed a group of web forms and Perl scripts to allow people to join different project teams within the Office of Space Flight.

WWW Conversation Pages

No progress to report this month.

Usenet newsgroups

No progress to report this month.

On-line services

Vik Olliver passed on several discussions from the Spaceflight forum on CompuServe to the artemis-list mailing list. Chris Eason began classes to learn the software used on America OnLine to manage objects in a forum in preparation for maintaining an Artemis area in the OMNI Forum.

Bulletin Boards

No progress to report this month.

Real-time Meetings

No progress to report this month.


A discussion took place within the ECTC early in the month about collecting historical and statistical records about the Artemis Project electronic communications infrastructure. That discussion led to the creation of a new ECTC task to establish a database for those records. Doug Cross promptly volunteered to set up such a task and started a follow-up discussion to identify exactly which pieces of information to keep track of.

1996 ECTC Status Reports

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