A Message from the President
by Kevin Ryan
A short one this time. We are in need of a publicity person to help out with spreading the word about TPC. Someone that can do three or four hours a month sending out faxes and making a few telephone calls would be an enormous improvement to what we have now. This is a relatively short-term commitment as the Executive will change in November. This would be an ideal position for a person that is interested in checking out how the TPC works with an eye on a position to help out in the year following. Spreading the work out makes it much more manageable for everyone.
Unfortunately, there are a few positions where it is difficult to spread the work out. Editors and publishers tend to need a consistency that makes committee work easier. The Sysop is another area.
Frank Angstead took the TPC BBS over from a group of people and has been trying to hold things together with baling wire and chewing gum. We spent about one half or less in each of the last two years of what we had been spending previously on the BBS. Todd Boyle , one of the past BBS SIG members, has warned that continuing to use the previous set-up would eventually lead to problems because of a failure in the LAN.
The BBS was set up using a LAN to make operations safer, but at the cost of increased maintenance. The LAN on the BBS has now gone down, and with that, one of the lines into the BBS. The site of the BBS (a company office in Azabu) makes it hard to do maintenance. On top of that, there are modem connect problems. An unfortunate coincidence. Frank (with the help of Todd) has been trying to remedy the problem, with spotty success (at this writing). Visiting a company in the middle of a business day and trying to fix hardware is not the most congenial situation.
Meanwhile, we have been exploring possibilities for getting access to the internet (e-mail, newsgroups, possibly file transfer) and allowing internet access to our information. Jim Tittsler and Stuart Woodward have been gathering information, but we are at a disadvantage because we have gotten very little feedback from the members on what they want or need.
The BBS in its current incarnation costs the TPC 300-400,000 yen a year, plus a lot of volunteer time. I think the BBS is a wonderful training ground for people to learn more about computers and telecommunications. It isn't being used that way this year so much.
We could continue with the current set-up, adding internet connectivity little by little. We still don't know whether switching en-masse to an internet server (virtual—no machines or hassles with hardware) is feasible, desirable or possible. (There are also some in-between options.) We should know soon though. So while we are narrowing down possibilities, you should let us know about desirability.
The new venue seems to have received a favorable reaction in general, with a few complaining of the separation of the members to different locations in the British Club (and others commending the same thing). We will try out different configurations of meetings as the year goes on.
Our next Executive meeting will be June 13, one week after the General meeting. We will be discussing the BBS, the internet hookup, buying a projector for meetings and updating the constitution. Hope to see you there. Remember, this is a volunteer club. No volunteers, no club.
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