September 1996 ECTC Status Report
September was yet another busy month for the Electronic Communications Technical
Committee. We added a record number of new members this month and made a lot of progress on several parts of the ECTC task list. We continued cleaning up the mess left over from the move of the asi.org domain. Permission problems on the web site caused a lot of confusion during the first two weeks of the month, and it took a while to get the WhatsNew engine running again and fix various other configuration problems on the web site. There is still some more cleanup work to do, but most of the user-visible problems have been fixed. September also opened a new era for the ECTC with the first ever ECTC IRC Meeting that was held on Sunday, September 1.
The ECTC membership grew by a significant amount this month with six new members jumping on board, bringing the total ECTC membership to 45. Mark Cheverton, Chris Grossaint, Morris Middleton, Mark Styles, Ed Blake, and Barry Haworth all joined this past month and will be helping out in a variety of areas in the ECTC. I need to also report two new members who joined us in August, but were accidentally left off the list of new members in last month's status report: Kaylon Daniels and Hugh McNeill. On the departure side, Ray Vanlandingham, Brian Jurkowski, Carl Fink, and John Kavanagh decided to leave the ECTC this past month. Greg Bennett also decided to focus his efforts on the organization and business aspects of the Artemis Project and withdrew from the ECTC. You can find the complete ECTC membership listing at http://www.asi.org/adb/09/01/ectc.html.
There were several new names added to the ECTC task list this month, as more people volunteered for some of the existing tasks. There was also a new task added to the Listserver Mailing Lists section: #8: Manage Artemis General Discussion Mailing List (artemis-list). Since the creation of the artemis-list mailing list several years ago, Greg Bennett has managed that mailing list, which mostly consisted of deleting addresses from the list when mail started bouncing from discontinued email addresses. With the number of subscribers to artemis-list, that task was not trivial. In an ongoing effort to reduce his workload in certain areas and focus on more important parts of the Artemis Project, Greg has asked that someone else take over the maintenance of the artemis-list mailing list. If anyone would be interested in taking over that role, please volunteer for this task by using the form on the ECTC task list page at http://www.asi.org/adb/09/01/ectc_tasks.html. If you would like to look over any of the other ECTC tasks, please visit that page and volunteer for anything that interests you.
Here is the latest status information from the individual work areas
within the ECTC:
Nanci Brasket continued answering questions directed to the Comm and
Info Center. Nanci edited 73 new or updated web pages and 31 images and put them on the web site (after waiting for a week at the beginning of the month for the web site permission problems to be solved). Morris Middleton volunteered to help Candace, Simon, and Tim with the New Volunteer Interview System task. Candace started learning how to make on-line database forms to use in the interview system. A large amount of time in the September ECTC IRC meeting was spent brainstorming and designing the New Volunteer Interview System, which left Candace with a long list of action items.
Listserver Mailing Lists
The mailing list cleanup from the asi.org domain move is continuing.
An issue with the scheduling of list digests still needs to be resolved.
A new mailing list was added for the rapidly growing Artemis UK chapter,
asi-uk. Five additional new mailing lists have been requested, but some of
them are still waiting for final configuration information. The new
lists should be available in the near future. The complete list of ASI
mailing lists can be found at
As described above, a new task was added to this section to manage the
artemis-list mailing list. Randall Severy updated the ASI Electronic
Communications Procedure Guide to include the new instructions for
requesting a new mailing list. That guide can be found at
World Wide Web Server
John Peel completed the third version of the ASI Web Pages Procedure
Guide and it was posted on the web site for review by the ECTC. This looks
like the final iteration for that document and it will soon be publically
posted on the web site. Dana Carson fixed the WhatsNew engine, which had
stopped working when the asi.org domain was moved. Simon Rowland continued
making large updates to the web site. The permission problems that were
encountered at the beginning of the month were resolved by using a
workaround of logging directly into the web server instead of using one
of IO's general-purpose machines. Kaylon Daniels began researching search
engine products for use on the ASI web site.
WWW Conversation Pages
Brad Ackerman did some research on the issues involved in installing the HyperNews software on asi.org. It appears that the installation itself should be very straightforward and most of the administration of the software can be done through web pages. There is a potential issue with the gateway to the mailing lists where the thread information maintained by HyperNews is stripped off by most email clients. The actual installation of the HyperNews software should occur next month.
Tim Cadell agreed to help out in researching the options and issues for the Artemis newsgroups. He began reading up on how to create newsgroups and will be issuing a report on that research in the near future.
Mark Styles volunteered to help out Doug Cross on the Microsoft Network. When he looked into what needed to be done, however, Mark found that MSN is going through some major overhauls in the process of moving to a web-based format. Given that turmoil, we are holding off on establishing an Artemis presence on MSN until after the changeover is complete. Chris Eason reported that the OMNI forum on AOL, where he had hoped to put some Artemis information, has been removed. A link to the ASI web site has been set up on the Space forum on AOL. The last Artemis presence on GEnie was shut down this past month when Randall Severy's GEnie account was closed. That shut down the GEnie gateway program that was uploading the artemis-list and asi-ecomm mailing lists to the Artemis category on GEnie.
David Brummel reported in the IRC meeting at the beginning of the month that the Fido network is in the process of collapsing, as nodes start to drop off the network at an increasing pace. He continues to maintain feeds of the artemis-list and asi-ecomm mailing lists to the Fido network, but has not received any requests for additional feeds in a long time.
The big event of this past month was the first ECTC IRC meeting, held on Sunday, September 1. The meeting had a relatively small turnout that was partially caused by a last-minute meeting time change and some confusion over which IRC server the meeting was on. Despite having only five attendees, the meeting was a complete success, as a lot of work was accomplished in the meeting. A transcript of that meeting is available on the ASI web site in the Real-time Meetings section of the ADB. With the success of the first meeting, the ECTC will now be holding regular monthly meetings on the first Sunday of each month at 7:00 pm EST. We will soon make it possible for other technical committees to hold their own meetings on the ASI IRC server.
Tim Cadell researched alternatives to IRC for future Real-time meetings, including Java chat clients for the web site. Mark Cheverton also researched a variety of chat environments for use for Real-time meetings. In both cases, however, they found that the existing alternatives to IRC are not as widely available as the IRC environment, so until those products mature we will probably stick with IRC for the time being. Brad Ackerman researched Java IRC clients as an option for providing IRC access from the ASI web site. He found, however, that Java still has a way to go before it is robust and stable enough to provide a reliable IRC client environment.
Doug Cross continued collecting daily web logs for building a database of ASI web traffic.
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