January 9, 1997 -- Intranet, Millicent, Normandy, Chat, etc.

Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, January 9, 1997.

These sessions are scheduled for noon-1 PM US Eastern Time (GMT -4) every Thursday.

These sessions are hosted by Richard Seltzer. If you would like to receive email reminders of our chat sessions, simply send a blank email message to or go to and sign up there.

For transcripts of other previous sessions and a list of future topics, click here.

For an article on how to make "business chat" work (based on this experience), click here.

Since the chat itself happens at a rapid pace, it's often difficult to note interesting facts in particular URLs as they appear on-line. Here's a place to take a more leisurely look. I've rearranged some of the pieces to try to capture the various threads of discussion (which sometimes get lost in the rush of live chat).

Please send email with your follow-on questions and comments, and suggions for topics we should focus on in future sessions. So long as the volume of email responses is manageable, I'll post the most pertinent ones here for all to see.

Threads (reconstructed after the fact):


Richard Seltzer ( - 12:00pm -- The scheduled chat is on Business on the WWW. If you are here for that discussion, please identify yourself.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:01pm -- We're here to share experiences about doing business on the Internet -- particularly the World Wide Web. What works? What doesn't work? Why? What are the trends that matter? How can you/should you adapt to the Internet culture and environment?

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:01pm -- I work for the Internet Business Group at Digital Equipment in Littleton, MA. In that capacity, I end up talking to people from large companies about how they can use the Web for business. I also have my own personal Web page -- which is content rich and no frills -- which I do for practically nothing and draws a fair amount of traffic and attention.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:04pm -- Some more intro stuff -- In a chat session like this things can get pretty frantic. It's sometimes difficult to follow the threads of conversation. And there's no time to write down interesting URLs and facts. So last week, I took a copy of the raw transcript and edited it to make the threads clearer and posted it at my own little Web site so anyone could take a look. You can see it at I plan to do the same today. Barring technical difficulties, I hope to have a transcript up later today.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:04pm -- Welcome, everyone. This Thursday, Jan. 9, we'll focus on intranet development -- directions, plans, reasons, tools (a continuation of last week's discussions) -- plus micropayments/Millicent.

Lauri ( - 12:01pm -- Hi, Lauri from DEC signed in for Richard Seltzer chat. Anyone else here?

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:03pm -- Hello, Lauri. was a bit slow in opening the Scheduled Chat area this morning. So it might take a few minutes for folks to connect.

Tom Dadakis Intranet Project Manager ( - 12:02pm -- Hi I'm Tom Dadakis who is an Intranet Project Manger at GE Capital reporting to the CIO for the Corporate Finance dept.

Mary-Ellen ( - 12:02pm -- Hello. I am Mary-Ellen Fremuth, intranet webmaster for LEXIS-NEXIS

barbara ( - 12:03pm -- Hi! I'm here. How do you convince your company that an Intranet is the way to go?

Russ Jones ( - 12:03pm -- Hi Richard, Russ Jones here from Digital's Millicent project team.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:03pm -- Hi...Kaye Vivian, communications consultant here

Dave from Michigan ( - 12:04pm -- Hi , Dave Schafer from Mercy Health Services Michigan

Todd ( - 12:05pm -- Hi. Todd Moyer, DEC developer and general web nut.

Harold ( - 12:09pm -- Hello Richard, this looks like its going to be a great session

Polly ( - 12:09pm -- Hi, Polly Prescott from Digital, working with Lauri and others in Internet services.

Gordon ( - 12:16pm -- Hi, Gordon Benett, editor of the online biweekly Intranet Design Magazine(SM) here.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:17pm -- Hi Gordon. I LOVE Intranet Design magazine :)

Gordon ( - 12:20pm -- Kaye - a fan! Excellent.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:07pm -- Looks like we have a good group assembled. Last week we got talking about intranet development, and questions like how to determine which are the best projects for development. We'd like to here more examples -- what you are doing and what works and what doesn't. I'd also like to hear from Russ Jones about what is happening with Millicent and how that micropayment technology can be applied in intranets. In addition, I'm hoping that Mark Hayes from Microsoft will connect to tell us about Normandy.

Mark Hayes ( - 12:10pm -- Hello -

Stan Hayami ( - 12:19pm -- Hello, Richard - sorry I'm late, but I'm on line now.

Shane ( - 12:42pm -- Hi Just popping in!!!

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:07pm -- Lauri, did you find the Intranet discussion forum I pointed you to last week?

Lauri ( - 12:10pm -- Kaye - yes, I did find the forum, thank. There was a very similar question asked back in I think the October archives but there were no real answers. I did find an interesting whitepaper through AltaVista that had some ideas though.

Conferencing/Chat/Forum and Alternatives

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:09pm -- Richard, this is slightly off point, but I have two sites that want to incorporate conferencing/chat capability into their sites. Do you know how this site is run and/or how I can get more information about it? I like it a lot.

Mark Hayes ( - 12:14pm -- Richard, I am very curious to know what chat software is using?

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:10pm -- Kaye -- I'm not sure what software they are using, but I'm sure they've customized it quite a bit. I suggest that you contact Kim Grobe at (You also might want to check AltaVista Forum at

Mary-Ellen ( - 12:12pm -- What are folks using forums and chats for on their intranets? We take advantage of company newsgroups as forums, but what about chat?

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:15pm -- Mary-Ellen, thanks again for your reply today...I sent you mail but I think it's stuck in cyberspace somewhere. The chats and conferences I have seen used on Intranets are for working group sessions (for example, if we were all working on a project together, we could meet this way) and also for offering seminars or live "ask the expert" type programs to clients and to people in the organization. They can register, be given a one-time password and then get to a private discussion area. Very neat use of the technology, I think.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:16pm -- Mary-Ellen -- A number of workgroup teams inside Digital use AltaVista Forum for both forum and chat capabilities -- to build teams, share info etc. Some are using the the cyber office tower ForumForum set up by the AltaVista folks to do meetings and group stuff that include both internal and external folks (sales teams and partners) with password/memberlist access. If interested check

Dave from Michigan ( - 12:14pm -- Re Conferencing/Chatting in Intranets. Are these really viable alternatives for Intranets at this point. Most companies. Is bandwidth the big probem?

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:18pm -- Dave -- Text-based chat and forum take very little bandwidth. It's just words. When you get into videoconferencing, that's another matter -- that requires a good fast line.

Harold ( - 12:18pm -- Richard, as I told you 2 weeks ago, I am working with Beeline Internet Resources which has a unique WebChat service for professional use that can be used for Intranet, Extranet, and straight Internet applications. It can do all these because it combines Web sites with real-time chat.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:19pm -- Harold URL for beeline?

Harold ( - 12:25pm -- Richard, you can reach them at http://www.beeline.netbut if you want to see a beta version of the coming product (January 22 is the introduction), go to

Mary-Ellen ( - 12:19pm -- Regarding using chat on intranets, what about for sales force support rather than 800 lines?

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:21pm -- Mary-Ellen -- I recommend forum (threaded discussion, like notes, that you can contribute to at any time and the text of which is saved) for customer support, for any application that now uses an 800 line. It's important that the questions and answers be saved so the same question only has to be answered once. (You might add some scheduled chats with targeted topics and then add the transcripts to the forum).

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:25pm -- Mary-Ellen...nice application about the sales force. Hadn't even considered that one. Harold (or anyone)...I'm actively seeking conferencing capability right now so I'm interested in what anyone has to offer. E-mail me at I'll check out the AltaVista software.

Dave from Michigan ( - 12:20pm -- re: Video conferencing. Are a lot of companies using videoconferencing w/internet technology? What I've seen is like 3-5 frames per second. Not good.

Tom Dadakis Intranet Project Manager ( - 12:23pm -- Richard & Mary-Ellen What would be the difference between the chat forums and running an email list like listserv or majordomo?

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:26pm -- Tom -- listservs etc. can be very useful But I like to see them combined with forum and chat. At the very least I like to see the text posted on the Web. And in that case, why not post it in a Forum? And, I believe that it is possible to combine listserv and forum technology (I think AltaVista Forum is headed in that direction, but I haven't check the email component yet) so people can carry on the same discussion in either/ both formats.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:33pm -- listservs and all kinds of mail/forum/BBS communications tools are very useful because they provide the receiver the opportunity to read at his/her own convenience and speed. The dynamics of a live interactive session, though, are stimulating and allow a group dynamic you can't get with static communication forms. I think there's room for both and am trying to make use of both in site planning.

Harold ( - 12:54pm -- Richard, I don't want to sound like I am advertising WebChat, but it has several different rooms and in a wild discussion like this, people could break off to the room that is concerned with a specific subject. It would make things easier to follow. Then you could save the scripts for all rooms and we could see what we missed.

Shane ( - 12:58pm -- what is the url for the webchat?

[see above -- ]

Intranet Return on Investment

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:06pm -- I'm helping a client set up an Intranet right now... I wonder if anyone can point me to any good discussions about "return on investment" (that management scourge to good ideas!)... I have the Netscape study and have visited the Delphi Group's site but don't have their study. Thanks for any pointers...

Web Application Candidates and "Intranet Service Centers"

Lauri ( - 12:13pm -- Let's see if you folks agree with what this: Ideal Web Application Candidates - Document management, Team and Group Applications, Query and Reporting Applications (Decision Support), and Light Data Entry Applications. Poor Web Application candidates: Applications which demand concurrency control, Intensive Online Transaction Processing Applications, Safety-Critical Applications (i.e., medical monitoring, bank account management, defense systems, etc).

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:22pm -- Lauri -- I've been mulling over the question of how to sort out priorities for intranet projects. And I keep returning to the same notion (that I'll post here as a series of messages). Need to put business decisions in the hands of business people, to create service centers inside your company that make it relatively easy for business people to publish Web pages, create on-line meetings, etc. themselves -- just as today they create and send their own memos and schedule meeting rooms. The power of the Internet comes from demystifying technology, from making technology so easy to use that the business folks can do their own creation and tailoring of specific implementations (instead of every intranet project being another development project waiting in line for a limited number of technical people to get to).

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:27pm -- Lauri -- Continuing my thoughts about priorities --

Vision -- providing more than just atoms providing higher level building blocks that an internal IT organization (or outside SI company) could use to build intranet service centers:

Mary-Ellen ( - 12:31pm -- Kaye -- What Richard is saying about corporate intranet service centers is what I was trying to get to in my email earlier today.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:34pm -- Mary-Ellen -- Yes, thanks very much for that detailed mail message. I posted it last night with the chat from last week's session at

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:29pm -- Lauri -- In the ideal/visionary mode, using such a corporate intranet service center, a secretary could reserve on-line space for a meeting as readily as scheduling a physical meeting today. Etc., etc. In other words, I see an IS organization creating a series of intranet service centers that provide basic capabilities in a way that makes it relatively easy for business people to decide what they want to do and then do it themselves (with a minimum of support).

Although it wasn't originally designed with this kind of application is mind (I believe), I think that the capabilities of Normandy could be applied in this environment. Normandy has a number of tool sets, some of which match the categories I've been playing with in that service center notion of mine.

Lauri ( - 12:35pm -- Richard - Take this scenerio. I'm a consultant with a customer that wants to get stuff up on the Internet. They are bankers and want to put up systems that handle check ordering, account balance information, check clearing information. They also want to provide branch locations, hours, and phone numbers and possibly directions. Oh and they think the ability to open an account over the Internet would be cool too. Now I'm faced with several projects. How do I know which would make the best use of the Web and which would not? And what characteristics do I look for to make that determination?

Microsoft's Normandy

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:12pm -- Welcome, Mark, Glad you survived the storms out there in Seattle. Could you please give us a quick rundown on what Normandy is and how it can/should be applied in intranets?

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:12pm -- I'm lost. What is Millicent and what is Normandy and how are they important for Intranets? :)

Mark Hayes ( - 12:18pm -- Okay, Intranets are really a place we do not see Normandy playing at this time. Our biggest market is Internet use, we are selling and making money positioning the product for external use, such as chat servers and merchant servers.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:19pm -- Mark Hayes -- Can you provide a quick definition of what Normandy is and what its benefits are and who would want to use it and why? (Many of the folks in this audience have never heard of it.)

Mark Hayes ( - 12:22pm -- Richard, the best place to check out Normandy (MCIS) is on

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:24pm -- Mark --- The URL is good. But to get discussion started here and now, could you tell us what Normandy is -- is 50 words or less?

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:26pm -- Mark, agree with Richard. I have no clue what Normandy is...just a short definition to put it into a window of understanding please? :)

Mark Hayes ( - 12:26pm -- [text seems to be missing here] hosting service. The product is comprised of nine different modules: Personalization, Merchant, Memebership, News, Mail, Chat, Content Replication. I [text seems to be missing here]

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:32pm -- Mark Hayes -- Looks like we lost some of your message. The "modules" of Normandy are what I think might match up well with the notion of creating intranet service centers. It isn't a perfect match, but the tools are probably available there for an internal IS group to set up such centers.

Polly ( - 12:34pm -- Mark, I wonder if you can share any early info about the kinds of customers that are exploring Normandy/MCIS, or if you can describe any typical configurations.

Gordon ( - 12:36pm -- All: I launched another browser session and harvested the following re Normandy off Microsoft's site:

"Normandy is the internal code name for a family of Internet servers designed to provide services to communities of users on the Internet. Normandy servers are built on the Microsoft® Windows NT® Server and Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS). The Normandy family of servers can be divided into six categories: Community Servers Information Retrieval Server Personalization Server Membership Server Content Replication Server Merchant Server One way to view Normandy is as a set of value added services that build on one another. Thus the Membership Server adds to the Windows NT Server/IIS undercarriage by providing billing and authentication services. The Merchant Server provides further value to the NTS/IIS/Membership services by providing an easy to use on-line shopping interface. Finally the community servers, Information Retrieval and content replication add further value to the NTS/IIS/Membership/Merchant platform."

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:39pm -- Gordon, thanks. Apparently the Normandy proponent is not going to tell us what it does ... I wish I could understand what you captured though (grin) to interpret in English?

Gordon ( - 12:42pm -- Richard or Mark - I've read Microsoft's white paper on Normandy (, but can't see how it differs -- except in manufacturer -- from Netscape Suite Spot. It appears to be a well-integrated server bundle for intranet/Internet client/server. Does that cover it, or is Normandy something more?

Mark Hayes ( - 12:42pm -- Okay, Normandy is a suite of software services that enable Internet Content Providers and commercial online service to build communities on the Internet. As an example: The publishing industry today is a $45 billion industry. Of that number about 12 billion dollars is being bought and sold electronically, using traditional dedicated lease lines. This group is composed of companies like TRW, Reuters, Trnas Union Consurer, Equifax and Lexis/Nexius...It's real dull dry and boring stuff, but it's a gold mine of electronic information. Everytime a bank runs a credit report on you they charge you $35.00 a total rip-off, using the Internet with a membership server, this information could be served without a charge.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:45pm -- RE: Normandy My understanding (please correct me, Mark) is that Normandy derives from a set of tools that were developed for MSN. These tools were intended to make it easy for info providers to create attractive and useful Web sites. As MSN evolved from being a separate realm to being part of the public Internet, the decision was made to productize and further develop those tools. I believe that they could be very important for intranet development, but perhaps the "modules"/categories don't quite yet line up with intranet needs.

Gordon ( - 12:45pm -- So, Mark H, it sounds as though Normandy is targeted at electronic commerce, with analogous benefits on both sides of the firewall/proxy. Right?

Mark Hayes ( - 12:47pm -- Unlike it's competition MCIS will compliment MS backoffice strategy. As an example, if you are using MCIS as your front-end and make a transaction a active object will hit your excell spreadsheet with either a debit or credit entry. This is very cool for the small Internet Companies who can not afford a large accounting staff.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:48pm -- Mark Hayes -- While Normandy was originally designed for building communities/Web-based businesses on the public Internet, it seems that the capabilities could very well be adapted for development of intranets. Is Microsoft doing anything in terms of product development or marketing explanations to make that clear? to help people move in that direction?

Mark Hayes ( - 12:51pm -- Richard, Microsoft is building a very good stable of customers right now. They will be writing case studies on the use of MCIS within their practices, you should start seeing results from effort this spring.

Shane ( - 12:50pm -- Do you all feel that the Normandy may jump start Electronic Commerce over the net?

Dan ( - 12:55pm -- Shane, I doubt it very much. We're thinking too much in today's paradigm to see the future correctly.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:53pm -- Shane and Mark -- With its base with Microsoft's backoffice products, it seems like Normandy might be a natural choice for the intranets of companies that already use NT etc. I'm not sure about the public Internet, but for intranets it could be a major winner.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:51pm -- Richard, from what you say, Normandy sounds very interesting and useful, however, I have to say, it doesn't seem like the expert is giving us much information we can actually use to evaluate or discuss the product... Is he still on the conference?

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:55pm -- Mark -- I realize it's a bit hectic trying to respond to questions on the fly (you need to type awfully fast.) Could you please get back to me by email with some further explanations and answers? (Honestly, I really don't find the info at the Normandy site particularly helpful). I'd be happy to add your email messages to the transcript for this. 

Normandy Merchant Server

barbara ( - 12:30pm -- Mark, what is the merchant side of Normady? Is it a server, software, a selling tool?

Mark Hayes ( - 12:31pm -- Merchant server is: A server and client that let's you sell products over the Internet... The Millicent model works well with Merchant Server.

barbara ( - 12:35pm -- Mark, what do you mean by client in regard to server and client?

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:37pm -- Barbara, I think he means client=software that accomplishes a certain task.


Richard Seltzer ( - 12:09pm -- Russ -- I understand that there are several pilots of Millicent getting started. Can you tell us about those?

Todd ( - 12:10pm -- Russ - I'm not clear on what niche Millicent is going after. One thing I keep getting hung up on is that it looks to be a metered charge. I personally would rather pay a little more in flat charge than have my usage metered. By the move from metered to flat rate in ISPs (most recently AOL) I don't think I'm alone.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:12pm -- I'm lost. What is Millicent and what is Normandy and how are they important for Intranets? :)

Russ Jones ( - 12:13pm -- Richard, let me start with a short overview of Millicent before we get into specific questions. Millicent is a new software technology being developed in Digital's Palo Alto research labs that provides the ability for to buy and sell content in very small amounts over both the Internet and Intranets. On the Internet, Millicent supports transactions as small as 1/10th of a cent up to about $5.00. In an Intranet setting, Millicent software acts as an Web-aware accountant that meters access to information systems and to services inside the enterprise.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:14pm -- Russ -- Regarding Millicent -- I just heard of an internal pilot at Digital with the research library group where Millicent will be used as the accounting mechanism to keep track of usage of information sources like Dow, for eventual bulk payment to the info provider. In other words, the user corporation sets up Millicent internally, rather than the info provider doing it. Sounds neat. Can you tell us more about that amd other models?

Russ Jones ( - 12:17pm -- Todd, Millicent itself supports very small-grain payments that are attached to URL requests. This basic functionality can be deployed in many interesting ways to meet the needs of both content providers (i.e. Webmasters) and users. Most people assume with a microcommece system that users are paying Webmasters for one-time purchases. Millicent supports that model down to 1/10th of a cent, but also support subscriptions, promotional incentives, frequent user clubs, and advertising rebates. What's cool is that all of these different buying/selling techniques can be used in parallel on the same Web server document tree.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:21pm -- Sorry for being ignorant, Russ, but your description is a little too abstract for me. I don't understand the concept. What are "small grain payments"? Are you talking about some sort of internal charging for useage of an information system based on who accesses what and how big the file is?

Russ Jones ( - 12:24pm -- Kaye, let me describe how a Web-based microcomerce system like Millicent can be used in an Intranet setting. Inside the enterprise today everybody wants everything, but nobody wants to pay for anything. The big problem with distributed systems from a CIO perspective is that is very hard to meter usage of internal applications, databases, assorted corporate services -- even Internet connectivity and bandwidth. When Millicent is deployed in an internal setting, it allows internet service providers to meter use of internal resources. So instead of buying content with money, employees use MyCompanyBucks for nothing more than accounting purposes. If the organization wants to add a 2nd Internet gateway on the other side of the country, fine. Let the users of that gateway absorb the cost of installing and running the gateway. And when I say users, I don't so much mean individuals as I mean their cost centers and departments and projects.

Russ Jones ( - 12:29pm -- Kaye, when I referred to Internet service providers in my last post, I meant to say "internal service providers", meaning people that provide Web-based services on an Intranet.

Stan Hayami ( - 12:31pm -- Kaye - another interesting intranet application of Millicent would be metering and securing corporate data bases. For example, if you had a personnel file which contained public information about the employee (i.e. phone number, mail stop, etc.) an employee could access that data with a Millicent "penny". The employee's manager can access that database to get salary history information with a Millicent "nickle". And the VP of personnel can get disciplinary information or benefits information on that employee with Millicent "dimes". Lastly, the CIO can tell how valuable the database is by counting up the Millicent "pennies, nickles, and dimes" expended during the year on that particular database.

Reem Yared ( - 12:32pm -- Russ, if I understand correctly, Millicent brokers issue scrip that can be used with each broker's assortment of providers. Is there any way scrip will be universal (usable witl ALL providers who use the Millicent system)? If not, Millicent's success will be heavily dependent on the brokers; assortment of providers. How much control will you have over that?

Russ Jones ( - 12:37pm -- Reem, scrip is Millicent's form of currency. The very term "scrip" is historically based and used to describe currency that is organizationally specific. For example, in war-time setting the military oftens pays soldiers in scrip that can only be spend at military stores. Anyway, deep inside Millicent there are two forms of scrip -- broker scrip and vendor scrip. Broker scrip is specific to the broker that issued it and vendor scrip is specific to the content provider that honors it. If you have ever gone to Disney World, they convert real money into Micky Mouse dollars which is, effectively, Disney scrip. Anyway, Millicent software takes care of converting between different forms of scrip automatically, as needed. To the user, it's all just scrip.

Mark Manasse ( - 12:38pm -- Reem, the basic idea is that the brokers will all be members of a broker association, allowing each top-level broker to issue scrip for each other broker (at a slight profit, of course). This will allow any customer to do business with any vendor: you connect to the vendor, and discover that payment is required. In that discovery, you find out what broker(s) represent)s( the vendor. You then ask your broker for scrip for that broker, ask that broker for scrip for the vendor, and you make your purchase. Of course, "you" in all of the above really means the software agent that runs your wallet; all of the communications happens (typically) without any user interaction.

Mary-Ellen ( - 12:33pm -- Stan, but why use a merchant app when you can do most of the same stuff w/basic LAN security?

Stan Hayami ( - 12:36pm -- Mary-Ellen - With one software application, Millicent not only offers security, but also meters usage to a database. Also, security can be segmented much finer than I described - one could imagine 10-15 different levels of security if required.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:35pm -- Stan, do you really see most corporate Intranets going toward charging back for use of information it really owns? I mean, why would human resources even *bother* charging a Millicent penny or nickel or dime for something that exists on the database and the company is going to build and maintain, regardless of whether it's on an Intranet or not? I guess I'm just not seeing the practical functionality of the product. What kinds of companies are in such a penny-pinching mode that they are charging themselves for their own information? Seems a strange concept to me...sorry. :)

Stan Hayami ( - 12:41pm -- Kaye - using Millicent in this Intranet application is not a true charge; not a true fiscal transaction. This is simply an Intranet application which we are investigating to use Millicent to meter usage, not charge for it. So at the end of the year, the CIO counts usage of 1,000,000 Millicent pennies, but the database cost him $250K per year to maintain, and another database generated 500,000 Millicent "pennies" and cost him $500K a year to maintain, the CIO can now make an enlightened decision about which databases he should support in the coming year, which need modification, and which need to be eliminated.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:41pm -- Kaye -- for allocation of internal resources, it could be very valuable to keep track of what pages are accessed. Just as an accounting function, with no charge. Also, corporate libraries go to considerable expense and time/trouble setting up custom arrangements with info providers like Dow and Gartner, etc. so they can make that copyrighted info available on their intranets. Millicent would make that far simpler -- so the corporation would end up paying by usage rather than by bulk subscription.

Todd ( - 12:43pm -- Russ, Stan - sounds nice. I'm not afraid of millic any more.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:42pm -- ah (light bulb going on) I get it :) Thanks

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:36pm -- Stan/Russ -- Can you please say something about the credit side of Millicent? The fact that you can use it like coupons as incentives for people to go to particular info or sites; and the fact that in an intranet environment sometimes you would want to use it just for accounting, without having to do debits and without having to set up brokers...

Stan Hayami ( - 12:44pm -- Richard - simplistically, we are looking at a model, much like to old "green stamps" model, whereby an advertiser would pay a user a small amount (1/2 cent in Millicent scrip) to view his advertising, and would continue to pay the user (up to a specified limit) to go deeper and deeper into his advertising web site. This not only encourages more "eyes" on the site, it also help web page designers and marketeers understand what works at a site and what does not.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:45pm -- Todd... Yeah, I was sort of getting to an anxious state over Millicent, too. Now I see it as a useful business tool, not some fiendish creation of the accounting department ...

Russ Jones ( - 12:47pm -- Kaye, what an endorsement :-)

Stan Hayami ( - 12:48pm -- Kaye - could you elaborate on your anxiety over Millicent as a "fiendish accounting tool"? It would help us market the product better if we better understood your concerns.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:50pm -- Stan, sure I'd be glad to...maybe you'd rather have an E-mail on it though than discussion here?

Stan Hayami ( - 12:51pm -- Kaye - great - would love to hear from you via e-mail.

Mark Manasse ( - 12:53pm -- Kaye, send us mail at when you're ready to start a discussion.

Polly ( - 12:53pm -- RE Millicent: Like it or not, it's a basic fact of life that large companies are committed to internal cross-charging for many things. I read recently that a big percentage of money that is spent in business today is spent internally. If Millicent (or other products) can lower the admin costs of doing this cross-charging, then that could ultimately benefit big enterprises.

Stan Hayami ( - 12:57pm -- Polly - you are correct. What scares some people and excites the rest is the fact that a tool like Millicent will not only save the corporation money, it will increase the quality of information delivered. Rather than CIO's or Corporate Library managers guessing on the worth of a database of information, he/she will have actual usage statistics to back up his/her decision. Brave new worlds.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:55pm -- Russ, Mark Manasse, Stan -- Could any or all of you join us next week to continue the Millicent thread? (All -- by the way Mark Manasse is the inventor of Millicent).

Mark Manasse ( - 12:56pm -- See you next week.

Stan Hayami ( - 12:58pm -- Richard - I'll be there.

Russ Jones ( - 12:59pm -- Richard, you can reach me at To be added to the Millicent interest list, send mail to Later,

Intelligent Agents for Intranets?

Tom Dadakis Intranet Project Manager -- ( - 12:32pm -- Has anyone implimented a customized intelligent agent applied to Corporate Intranet? In other words, a notification system (push) which would alert users of changes to keyworded indexed pages on their Intranet.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:39pm -- Tom -- I haven't heard of intelligent agents on intranets (which only search the intranet). But you can get similar results using the Enterprise version of AltaVista. On Digital's intranet we have over 900,000 pages. I can perform a complex search that targets just what I want to know about and bookmark the results of that search so I can run it again periodically and see what's new. In Advance Search mode I can also limit my search by date, so the nexts time around I only see the new stuff. It's very handy. (By the way you can do the same sort of thing on the external Internet using the free AltaVista search service.)

Tom Dadakis Intranet Project Manager ( - 12:44pm -- Richard Yes basicly using a search engine to index the information in the corporate intranet but then take it a step farther where YOU/THE USER do not have to go back to the advance search mode but rather the advance search mode would send you a notification when there have been changes in your search mode and push those pages to your desktop.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:46pm -- Tom -- Sounds like a good product/service idea. I'll pass it along to the AltaVista developers. Thanks.

Mary-Ellen ( - 12:41pm -- Tom - we do some of what you asked regarding intelligent agents with Verity's Topic Internet Server. Verity also has agent technologies that we are looking at.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:41pm -- Richard, I read about a search agent for Intranets just this morning. I'll find the reference and forward it to you later.

Shane ( - 12:46pm -- Search engines for an intranet.. There are canned scripts that you can download and use, there are a list of sites available at

Mary-Ellen ( - 12:47pm -- Tom -- I've been thinking if doing something like the URL Minder ( on our intranet. Basically, you register your email address for each page that you want to be told when it is updated. Your reminder comes via email.

Tom Dadakis Intranet Project Manager ( - 12:53pm -- Richard & Mary-Ellen We are doing some research into this now, but want to duplicate something that may already be out there. I'll check out URL Minder and would be glad to beta test something your developers may come up with. We have already discounted pointcast, Backweb and arrive. All the other push systems seem to use their browser and don't integrate with Netscape/MS browsers.

Tips for Low-Cost Databases

Todd ( - 12:17pm -- Anyone have tips on tools to recommend or avoid for putting a small database behind CGI scripts? I'm looking for basic functionality at low cost and quick learning curve. Someone said Oracle and other DB co.s are posting DBMSs for free download.

Gordon ( - 12:20pm -- Todd - re: small databases, if you're running Unix you have some native RDBMS functionality -- dbm and mSQL, f'or instance.

Mary-Ellen ( - 12:22pm -- Todd - What about Python Object Stores? That's what we use for our Document Managment tool.

Todd ( - 12:33pm -- Mary-Ellen: Object DBs are usually expensive; how much is Python? Who makes it?

Mary-Ellen ( - 12:36pm -- Todd - Python is free! See

[followup correction re: Python]

Java Development

Todd ( - 12:46pm -- Java developers: did you hear about Microsoft's announcement that they were creating a proprietary version of the Java Virtual Machine? Thoughts on that. Are there any other Java developers amoung us?

Gordon ( - 12:50pm -- Todd - I'm less Java developer than industry watcher. Yes, MS has its own "brew", which it dubs the "Microsoft Virtual Machine" (MVM) in contrast to JVM. Sun's response appears to be branding. BTW, in the current issue of Intranet Design there's a critical story on Java called "Lay Off the Caffeine" (

Comments on This Chat Session

Gordon ( - 12:23pm -- Richard - this is a wild session! That's what you get for putting intranets, Millicent, Normandy, conferencing and more on the agenda! It does demonstrate the interest behind the hype, though.

barbara ( - 12:28pm -- I have to agree! This session is wild! I'm still on the learning side of Internet and there are so many threads going on in this session. Having chat on the intranet is probably more needed for a company with sites all over the world as opposed to in one building.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:29pm -- What I love about this forum is that you *can* all talk at once... Richard does all the dirty work later of sorting and organizing and putting it up in an orderly way so we can reread the comments in context. Nice format, Richard...I really do like it :)

Russ Jones -- Kaye, it's tough to type a paragraph is such a small dialog box.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:30pm -- Russ, just ignore the box...I discovered the software is quite will make your text fit the display window no matter how long a line you type in!

Richard Seltzer -- Everybody -- of course I'll be posting this transcript as well. And I'm sure in the editing process I'll learn quite a few things that I couldn't see or absorb as the messages were flying by live.


Richard Seltzer ( - 12:50pm -- All -- I love the pace of this discussion, though I feel bad that I can't keep up with all the threads. It looks like we really ought to continue this next week -- adding the dimension of "personalizing" that I had in my list of future topics. I have in mind Each-to-Each (see and also the personalizing module of Normandy and MIT's firefly (which I've heard about but not seen).

Gordon ( - 12:53pm -- Richard - you mentioned Firefly. I believe it's an MIT spin-off recently redubbed Agents, Inc.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:54pm -- Richard, BTW..I did visit the Each-to-Each movie site you suggested last week. It was fun, though I was a bit disappointed in the scale of it. I mentioned the Harvard experimental site Firefly to you last's even larger in scope, though the same concept, using Articifical Intelligence to help prompt new buying choices.

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:56pm -- Gordon, you may be right about Firefly, though I think it was Harvard. Is the URL the same? I was just there a few days ago and connected with no change... (

Gordon ( - 12:57pm -- Kaye - no ... I'm thinking of Firefly Network Inc., I'll look into it and post something on the Intranet Exchange.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:57pm -- All -- time is winding down already. Please, before you sign off, let us know your email addresses and URLs for followup. Also, remember I'll be posting the transcript -- this week it will be at For the full list of transcripts and the list of future topics

Tom Dadakis Intranet Project Manager ( - 12:57pm -- Richard I wish you luck on sorting out the threads of these multiple conversations. I look forward to reading your summary.

Lauri ( - 12:57pm --

Kaye Vivian ( - 12:58pm -- Guess we need to start giving our E-mail addresses, eh, Richard? I'm going to have to leave right at 1... Thanks all for a stimulating and helpful session!

Mark Manasse ( - 12:58pm --

Mary-Ellen ( - 12:58pm -- Good chat! I'll try to be back next week My email address is

Gordon ( - 12:58pm -- Intranet Design Magazine Benett (

Shane ( - 12:59pm -- My e-mail is

Stan Hayami ( - 1:00pm -- Richard -

Harold ( - 12:59pm --

barbara ( - 1:00pm -- Hi! See you next week. I hope to add more to the chat, but it is always good to listen.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:58pm -- All -- Please send your followup comments to me by email for inclusion in the transcript. Also, please let me know if you'd like me to add you to the list for chat reminder notices. And suggestions/feedback on future topics are always welcome.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:59pm -- All -- Thanks to all for your participation. I loved this one. Lots of good stuff.



From: Kaye Vivian <> Date: Mon, 06 Jan 1997 02:38:13 -0800

Enjoyed my first experience in the Thursday chat! Thanks. I did preview the "each-to-each" site you suggested, and it made me think of another...the Harvard "Firefly" site ( It's an experimental site using AI, like the movies site is apparently doing, and it uses music as its raison d'etre (but it's much more all-encompassing than just music). Check it out if you haven't.

Personally, I think such tools are very helpful in educational settings and for consumer products companies, however, I question their real value for business-to-business uses--at least to-date.

I can't, for example, imagine I would find any value in visiting a law firm or accounting firm's web site and having them ask me a couple of questions so they can recommend additional archived newsletters they might have waiting to send me. I'd be interested to see if anyone else can come up with applications other than for the bulk product movers and educators.

Kaye Vivian

Python -- a correction

From: Date: Jan. 14, 1997

I was confused by one of your thursday talks. Someone asked what you would recommend for a low cost database to use on the web and the answer was Python????? :-(

Python is an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language, NOT A DATABASE. It is often compared to Tcl, Perl, Scheme or Java.

Also, you point people to for more help. They should be going to [now corrected]

Jeff Black

Time of Chat Sessions -- Could Some be at Night?

From: igep <> Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 18:16:34 -0500 (EST)

Could we possibly schedule some of these chat sessions for the evening--say 6pm or so?. I have access to a computer at home but not at work.


Peg Davis, PC Technologies


Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of flexibility.

1) has allotted this particular time slot (noon to 1 PM on Thursdays)

2) there is value to continuity -- when you do these at the same time each week, people come to expect it and look forward to it (like a regular weekly program on television)

3) many people have the opposite problem -- access from work but not from home

4) we have people from the west coast, as well as a few from Europe and Asia who connect -- it is impossible to pick a single time that fits everyone's needs.

To try to include people like yourself in the dialogue, I post the transcripts (edited to capture the threads that sometimes are hard to follow in the race of live chat) -- check -- and I add to the transcripts followup questions/answers/comments received by email.

I hope that helps.

Best wishes.

Richard Seltzer,

Personalizing Web Sites -- Check Coola

From: Sudha Jamthe <> Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 09:45:39 -0500

I saw your chat topic for thursday and I am thrilled.

Pl take a look at my new site It is a service for users with HTML-enabled mail like Netscape 3.0 or web-based email services like bigfoot.

Web sites come to you and the user can select what periodical site they want.

It will be great to get your feedback on what people think about personalized services. I'll appreciate if you can take a look at Coola. I'll like your feedback.

We are keeping this free for users. I haven't yet registered with search engines, but have got 1000 users registered. It will be great if you can mention this site in your Chat.


PS -- I've added your chat notice to our events page on our site at

Previous transcripts and schedule of upcoming chats --

To connect to the chat room, go to

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