Tom is just barely learning how to use the Internet. He knows how to use a web browser, sort of, and as far as he really knows, that is what the Internet is. He has heard of email, and plans to learn how to do it some day, but not today.
Dick spends several hours a day in his News Reader, reading messages (articles) in UseNet Newsgroups, plus going to the private News Servers for many of his major hardware/software products. Of course he knows about the web and email, but he seldom uses either one - he is too busy reading the news groups.
Harry is an email expert. He participates in at least a dozen mailing lists, plus exchanges email messages with many different friends. If he does not have at least 100 messages in his email box when he logs on (two hours since the last time he was logged on) he thinks something is wrong. He's used newsgroups once or twice, and of course has surfed the web, but as far as Harry is concerned, email is the way to communicate with others.
Wouldn't it be nice if Tom, Dick, and Harry could communicate together?
Well with WebBoard they can.
APCUG's latest service for member user groups is to create one WebBoard for each group that asks for it, and the representative of that UG who agrees to be responsible for WebBoard can use it to make a number of Conferences (perhaps one for each SIG, if that is what the group wants), and each conference can be accessed either through the Web (so Tom can post his questions), or through an NNTP interface, as if it was a News Group (so Dick can see and answer Tom's questions), or as if it was a Mailing List (so Harry can participate in the discussions).
On the Tulsa Computer Society's WebBoard (http://webboard.apcug.org:8080/~tcs) we currently have four conferences, one for our Online Council, and three for SIGs: Access, Getting Started, and Internet. If Sig leaders for our other sigs would like to have a conference for their own Sig, all they need to do is let me know.
Each of our sigs can be accessed via the web, but they can also be accessed via a mailing list or a news reader interface. A UG member only needs to subscribe to those "news groups" or "mailing lists" that he is interested in, so he need not even see messages for SIGs he is not interested in.
When I setup Pirch as an IRC Chat Client, I set server to be "webboard.apcug.org:6667;webboard". Currently we have the following "channels" tcsaccess, tcsgetstart, tcsinternet, tcsonline (i.e. one for each conference).
If other Sig Leaders would like conferences created for their sigs, please logon to http://webboard.apcug.org:8080/~tcs, so I can set you up as a conference moderator, and then send email to email@example.com asking me to set up a conference for your sig. There are definitely advantages to having face to face monthly meetings, but with WebBoard you can "meet" electronically with your SIG members either through scheduled Chat sessions, or by leaving messages on WebBoard, either via browser, email, or news reader interfaces.
You need to go down to the New Users area and click it (New users click here to create a personalized profile). You can't just make up a logon name and password and enter it at the top. Once you have filled out the questionaire, it will email you a cryptic password. You can hilight this with your mouse, and then press Ctrl C to copy it to the clipboard, then log in with it, pasting it in when requested (with Ctrl V), then go to Edit Your Profile, and enter a password easier to remember. If you don't mind using cookies, you can even click remember my password, and it will save it for you as a cookie, and you can then bypass this screen altogether in the future.
If you plan to use the NNTP (News Reader) interface, make sure you don't have spaces in your login name. For example I used DonSingleton, not "Don Singleton" (Don<space>Singleton).
For more information on the Tulsa Computer Society click here