Transcript of the live chat session that took place Tuesday, May 13, 1997. These sessions are normally scheduled for noon-1 PM Eastern Daylight 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/businessonthewebchats and sign up there.
For transcripts of 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 quions 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):
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?
I work for the Internet Business Group at Digital Equipment in Marlboro, 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 -- Hello, all those of you who are here for the chat session about business on the World Wide Web, please identify yourselves.
Richard Seltzer -- hello dsfsdf, Let's all identify ourselves
and our interests so we can
get the discussion going. We're here to talk about Business on the WWW, and in particular, this time, about serving customers on line.
Richard Seltzer -- This is unusual doing this on a Tuesday --
we've always been.
on Thursdays at this time. But a power failure last Thursday wiped that session out and we have rescheduled. I'm hoping we get a good enough turnout for an active discussion.
Jay -- I see you on the "occupants" list. Where are you?
What's you area of interest?
Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Ed, glad you could join us. (It's difficult changing the time like we had -- you get used to the rhythm of doing this on Thursdays [at least I do])
Ed Jaros -- Hello all. Ed Jaros... glad to be here.
Richard Seltzer -- Hello, Kaye, and waw and Sudha -- Good to see everyone is connecting. Let's introduce ourselves.
Kaye Vivian -- Hi! Kaye Vivian, communications consultant from New York here...lagging a lot, but here. :)
Sudha Jamthe -- Hi Richard, How are you doing?
Sudha Jamthe -- I am software
Engineer working on intranets and volunteer at
Web-Net Group to learn and practice new web technology
waw -- Hi all - I'm a web page designer in Durham, NC
Kaye Vivian -- I note a screen change on the buttons...that helps :)
Richard Seltzer -- Kaye- yes, I, too like the change in the "buttons".
Richard Seltzer -- I'm hoping we'll be able to continue the discussion we were having in the last two sessions -- we had three good threads going. One centered around Groceries to Go and their unique business model. Another discussion centered around the study that Jim Ho had done of commercial Web sites. And a third thread was on Face to Face -- some new technology at Digital's Cambridge Research Labs.
Richard Seltzer -- Waw, are you working independently as a consultant? Or for a single company? What kinds of pages are you doing? Anything interactive -- for connecting sites to customers and customers to one another?
Kaye Vivian -- I'm a communications consultant in the New York City area (actually in Westchester County). Primarily I work with professional services firms--accountants and lawyers, though I have also worked with some small high tech businesses. Marketing and communications strategies, primarily web communications consulting in the last two years. And I'm also (about to be) a Guide for the Mining Company's web site on Accounting/Legal Services (http://www.miningco.com). A new venture...for them and for me. :)
Jay -- Hi! I'm Jay Anderson, just getting into database development for the Internet using Access and Cold Fusion. New to this Chat and trying to get acclimated.
Kaye Vivian -- waw..what is your name? :) Seems awkward to call you by initials. :) Do you know Ellen Zimmerman in Durham? Nice small communications agency that is expanding in the web services area.
waw -- I'm new to this chat and not familar with the threads;
Kaye Vivian -- waw, this chat room is a little awkward and hard to get used to. Just hang in there..we are seeing your messages just fine and you will get Richard's transcript afterwards with everything nicely organized so you can follow if you miss something. :)
Richard Seltzer -- All -- yes, as Kaye says, I'll edit the transcript and post it afterwards. Check http://www.samizdat.com/#chat Don't worry if messages seem to rush by in a flurry. It will all make sense in the end :^)
Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Hello, I finally made it. I'm just trying to catch up with the discussion.
Richard Seltzer -- A couple of thoughts are uppermost on my mind right now -- I'll throw them out and see if they matter to others. 1) a report I heard on NPR about research indicating that people hear and understand better when they see lip movements. 2) pricing trends for Web hosting services and other issues that come into play when you are "hosted" rather than running your own site.
Richard Seltzer -- Ed -- I didn't see any followup regarding the outage. I don't know how long it lasted. Of course the impact for online operations could last much longer than the acutal outage -- taking time to get back on-line and reboot systems and get everything back in synch. Did anyone else hear anything about that.
Sudha Jamthe -- Ed: I heard that entire College Park lost power due to an accident. Heard of many complaints from others hosted on digiweb. Its interesting, but when we plan a major promotion initiative for a site, such a delay can cost lots for a commercial site.
Richard Seltzer -- Chat rooms is a favorite topic of mine and we have returned to it often. There's an article at my Web site on how to "make business chat work". I believe the url is http://www.samizdat.com/events.html Having an open chat room alone accomplishes little. It's the people work -- scheduling, planning, inviting, followingup, posting transcripts, etc. that makes for a valuable experience. There ought to be places on the Web where you could for a reasonable fee schedule a chat room for a particular time. There is a good free forum/bulletin board space intended for education. Check out http://www.nicenet.org I guess this is another case of razor and razor blade, but one way or another I'd like to see this kind of service widely available. And it looks for a natural direction for ISPs to expand in.
Kaye Vivian -- I'm a bulldog on the chat room topic, too. I have a programmer working on my own version of ideal right now because I have not yet found the right solution for business purposes. I have to say, though, for all around general usefulness and availability and accessibility, you can't beat CU-See Me (http://www.whitepine.com...I think). It's a free download from many shareware sites, it's available for Mac and for PC, and it has audio and video capabilities as well as white board. I have a group I have been working with to try to get to the heart of this online chat issue and Microsoft's NetMeeting is the best for PC only (Mac available this year they say), but since in my business I deal with a lot of Mac networks, CU-SeeMe is a piece of cake to work with. And they have a lot of reflector sites that are not busy, so you can easily schedule a business meeting and not get a lot of drop-ins who want to scream and shout obscenities and be a nuisance...as we have had in this chat group from time to time. :)
waw -- Re Chat: I see we're using Selena Sols chat cgi - any comments?
Sudha Jamthe -- waw: We like the Chat. We've modified it to customize as we want. We also use it for online classes on Web-Net. Our webmaster get inquiries asking about the source of the chat. In short we like it and all credit goes to Selene Sol.
Kaye Vivian have been looking for very good chat room software to install on three sites I manage, two are fairly high volume business sites, and the third is my own, which is quite different in tone and focus. I have to say, it does seem a little pretentious of most organizations and businesses to set up chat sites as if people will actually come there and use them. It's like the latest fad in online services...if you don't have a chat room on your site (used or not!) then you aren't doing it "right". Yet I have seen *very* few sites that actually do it right! FireFly does, HotWired does, probably some of the organizations and businesses with highly specialized and targeted audiences do...but most are pretty laughable, IMO. I've almost gotten cynical now about going to a new web site, seeing rather amateurish design, outdated materials, and a "chat" room. I forgot to mention Active Worlds and the Palace. I think (perhaps tied in to the Face to Face concept) that these two 3-D interactive meeting places are two of the neatest concepts on the web. The virtual worlds are bizarre and lovely and interesting, and the individualized and lifelike avatars can be very detailed and unique and do all kinds of interesting actions to help convey meaning. I was thinking one day just how far out on the edge of cool a company would have to be to get a business meeting together in Active Worlds, have everyone bring their own avatar and meet at a set of coordinates (which happens to appear like a 3-D conference room with windows out on a garden and everything) and conduct their online meeting there. That's a company where I'd like to work. :)
waw -- Kaye - It sounds like Richard said the business has to commit to the setup and followup; a chat room by itself does little good.
waw -- Most of the small businesses for which I design just look at the Web as advertising - and not how they could actually interact more with their customer base - a la chat
Sudha Jamthe -- Kaye: thats a good point. I think scheduled chats that have a good, dedicated host are only succeessful. There are many chats setup on sites but we never know who we'll meet and what they'd talk about. So the most common message in unscheduled chat is "Is anyone there".
Sudha Jamthe -- waw: Using the web only for ads is an initial stage. It is an attitude to recover the costs by saving on some ad costs. Interaction comes when at the next stage
Kaye Vivian -- WAW, from a business standpoint, you are absolutely right. The right use of chat on business sites is to interact more with the customer base...and to foster communities of practice or interest. And most companies are woefully inadequate at that.
Richard Seltzer -- Kaye and Sudha -- Yes, I think we've seen from our experience here that it takes a while to get used to this medium. And maybe some folks are a little faster at typing, and a little more comfortable with the environment. Part of it is "host". I also could imagine another kind of role which is "facilitator." If you are planning an important on-line meeting, you want speaker(s), you might want an on-line host to act as MC, and you also might want a facilitator who gets to work long before the meeting goes live -- contacting people, finding out what's important to them, engaging them, getting them thinking about the topics that will be discussed. And then afterwards, following up with the participants and drawing as much value as possible out of the experience. A chat room alone is no more valuable than a blank sheet of paper. What matters is the content you put into it. And that takes people and work (not technology).
Sudha Jamthe -- Richard: Well said (about the chat)! I've tried some other unscheduled chats and we have to intiative conversation. In a chat like this , there is a topic and a moderator to keep up the momentum, thats the life of a chat sesson.
Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Rich, Is it difficult to be the moderator of a chat?
Kaye Vivian -- Barbara, I have moderated quite a few chats myself...I do most of my volunteer committe work via chats and conference calls...and it does require organization, attention to detail, preparation, laying out the ground rules, and then a lot of work afterwards to feed back the information in a useable form. Richard does a very good job of it. :)
waw -- Re Chat: Part of the appeal of chat seems to be the anonymity of the participants. Would a chat room for a local community lose its appeal if you were likely to run into a chatter at the local grocery store?
Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- waw, after a while, if you keep coming back to the same chat, you feel you know the people. They don't seem as anonymous. The local grocery store guy might have a lot to say.
Sudha Jamthe -- Taking about Chats, I have a question. If you meet someone in person, you believe you know them. When you meet a person on a chat regularly, how different is it? Do you 'know' them as you know them in a face-to-face meeting. Any thoughts?
Kaye Vivian -- Su, hold that thought...I'd love to discuss it with you some time...I have some very interesting experiences along that line! :)
Richard Seltzer -- Sudha -- I think that there's a lot of variety in how people express themselves, in their strengths and weaknesses. Some people actually come across better in a text-only chat environment than they would face-to-face and vice versa. Just like some people are great on the telephone or great in front of a television camera or great at writing letters. Meeting folks face to face afterwards is sometimes a surprise, and sometimes the people are just as natural and candid and direct on-line and in person.
Kaye Vivian -- Richard, I'm sorry to say this, but while the Face to Face concept sounds very interesting...and it's probably a sound concept...as long as it is a concept and not a demo I can see, I have great difficulty discussing that topic at all. How could animated faces (or live faces) *not* be more interesting or more engaging (or aid retention), when animations and videos are demonstrably more memorable than printed words. :) I am very interested to learn more about this Face to Face stuff, since I'm a people person, but I just can't contribute anything to the discussion without having first seen the concept in action. Sorry. :(
Richard Seltzer -- Kaye and Sudha -- Re: the research and Face
Researchers at Georgetown U. determined that if you can't hear anything but see lip movements, the hearing centers of your brain are activated. And seeing lip movements at the same time as hearing makes a significant different in how well you hear (retain/understand). To me that makes it all the more attractive to try to have a "talking head" as part of a Web site -- and especially to use that kind of technology for on-line meetings and distance education. What matters isn't seeing a video image -- blurred and from angles. That just gives you a sense of immediacy. But seeing the lip movements aids comprehension.
waw -- Re: Face to Face: Sounds like the old show - Max Headroom! (if anyone remembers)
Kaye Vivian -- waw, yes..that is exactly how I envision Face to Face...Max Headroom!
Richard Seltzer -- Waw -- Yes, a bit like MaxHeadrom. What they have done is created a way to translate phonemes into movements of the facial muscles of a three-D image on the screen. They can feed live voice (in any language) or use text-to-voice conversion. Any head. (I saw a demo with a squirrel's face. Made me think of "chat in a hat.") Very realistic. And low-bandwidth because you aren't transmitting any video.
Sudha Jamthe -- Richard: Thats interesting. Do you see this replace the videos online? Also, can you give a URL where I can see a demo. I missed it last week.
Richard Seltzer -- Sudha -- I don't have a URL for a demo yet, though I hear that they are getting close to that. I was hoping that the developers would join us here today. You might want to reach them by email -- Mike Essig is the business development manager -- email@example.com They are located near MIT, and it would make a great talk/demo for a future Web-net meeting.
Richard Seltzer -- Sudha -- I don't see Face-to-Face replacing videos on-line. Rather, I see it as a complement. I visited Vivo last week and talked to them about that. Imagine a language teaching service where a talking head does the speaking (in French) while a vivo video in a separate window shows street scenes in Paris. Let video show things that need to be shown that way -- not talking heads. And let Face-to-Face do the talking head part. Anyway, that's my personal speculation.
Sudha Jamthe -- Richard: There are videos used for presentation recordings. Those can be replaced by face-to-face. It can help reduce the load compared to a video stream
Sudha Jamthe -- Richard: Thanks. I 'll follow up with Mike
Ed Jaros -- I think one of the beautiful things about the internet is that you are the words you use (typo's hopefully excluded) and there is really no room for prejudice. I fear that pictures or video will take away from that to some extent.
Richard Seltzer -- Sudha -- Yes, it would be natural for presentation
If you just need someone talking, that doesn't require video. But if you need to show a building or equipment or a panorama or people and things in action -- that's video. This new approach gives you a choice. Decide what you want to show, what you want to say and then decide the best way to do it.
Richard Seltzer -- Ed -- I too love the typed word. Face to Face is more personal -- you do see a face. But it doesn't go to the exteme of video, which deals with live image. I don't have to shave or comb my hair, but I can take part in an on-line meeting, have my face there, representing me by speaking my words. It has its niche.
Ed Jaros -- I agree that the niche is there. Enough to be profitable though? Especially as technology gets more and more capable to handle the live video at lower bandwidths.
Kaye Vivian -- (Ed, your comment reminds me of those commercials on TV where the two people are meeting to videoconference, and the guy has a photographer's background screen of a city skyline behind him...video conferencing does permit a certain amount of trickery and illusion (as well as shatter a few illusions!). I'm really only using keyboard and audio myself at the moment, because I've been reluctant to make that leap of face-to-face...plus none of my clients use it so I haven't been forced to...yet
Richard Seltzer -- Ed -- Have you read Infinite Jest? A recent novel. Looks backwards at the future (from a point farther out in the future). Along the way to tells about the time when videophone briefly flourished and then died -- because people didn't want to be seen live. They preferred a level of privacy, a level of control over how they were seen/perceived. Face to face is an interesting compromise. It provides videophone effects, but you aren't actually seen. I would prefer that to video and I think a lot of other folks would to.
Ed Jaros -- Richard -- Possibly a tie between the two. Video phone with a virtual image image option button. I see your point on the privacy issues. Kind of a "you show me yours I'll show you mine" delema.
Kaye Vivian -- Richard, I had to laugh again...your point is spot on...people do prefer a level of privacy and control over how they are perceived. For example, I could tell you that I am sitting here in my office, barefoot with my hair up and papers spread in a wide arc around me, or I could tell you that I put on my makeup and walked into my carefully ordered office fully dressed for business...and you wouldn't know which was true or false or partially true or false. And it doesn't really matter. It would be useful for me to have a formal and perhaps a casual persona that I could use for video chats that might not give you all the gorey details (assuming, of course, there are any ).
waw -- Pricing of Web Hosting
in the Triangle area of NC are
all over the board, from $25/mo to $150/mo for 5Mb
waw -- Web Hosting can entail a lot of support (costs) as hosts compete both on price and service features.
Sudha Jamthe --Waw: ISPs are trying to become Web hosters also to differentiate themselves. Did anyone hear about the FCC ruling where ISPs escape Per-Minute Fees but their Line Charges are increased. Its a tug-of-war with the phone companies but the consumer pays in the end.
Ed Jaros -- The phone companies have a lot to lose. Netphone, faster modems decreasing the need for ISDN (and their tarriffs). Its an interesting battle.
Ed Jaros -- Richard... Portability=your own domain name on your site and for your e-mail. So many ISP's want to keep their name on your e-mail address to lock you in to them. Also up-time on your ISP's server is extremely important as I read that average is around 90%. I kep mine at 99.5% guatanteed.
waw -- It would be harder for me to transfer domains, as clever.net offers use of NT (for Cold Fusion); and that's not available everywhere.
waw -- I meant they offer
use of Cold Fusion on their NT server and
access to CF is not available from a lot of other Hosts.
Richard Seltzer -- Portability = own domain name, relative addressing,
applications that run on both UNIX and NT. Pehaps all of what you do doesn't have to be on the same server with the same provider. For instance, you chat sessions could be one place. Forums could be somewhere else. RealAudio files could be somewhere else. And your main text pages in another place. I could imagine building a very modular site -- with lots of pieces that play together. And if I have to move my chat somewhere else, fine, everything else remains the same. Etc.
Richard Seltzer -- Ed -- Over the last few months I've been sort of forced to think in terms of modular sites. Remember this chat used to take place at boston.com When they said they no longer could provide raw transcripts, Sudha stepped forward and volunteered this great space here at web-net, and we picked up the tent and moved. Meanwhile my on little web site stayed put at TIAC. Now TIAC raised its prices, and Acunet stepped forward and offered me great space. So I'm moving to there. So that's two major changes, but my "site" has basically remained in tact. It's easy to see expanding that concept. e.g., if your service provider doesn't make it easy for you to do on-line secure ecommerce or to do RealAudio, you ought to be able to make deals with providers that do and smoothly link the pieces of your Web presence together. You can't expect to find all the capabilities you want from one host-provider. And you don't want to limit your business choices to just what one provider has.
waw -- Richard - Come to think of it, I have helped my customers cross Host boundaries already. I have an association whose calendar script (cgi) is run on another host. This may be a business opportunity - to be a "Host Integrator"
Kaye Vivian -- Richard, would a modular site be a possibility across platforms, though? For example, if my own system is running Win95 and I had my chat rooms there, and my ISP is a Unix system and I have my web site and threaded message board there, and I found a provider that would let me use Cold Fusion on their NT system for my database applications, would I actually be able to tie all those together seamlessly somehow? (I'm assuming here that I have my own domain name)
waw -- Kaye - I would definitely think so. Running each program on it's required OS and then porting the results back via TCIP and HTML is a major part of what we can do, I would think.
Sudha Jamthe -- Kaye: We are
trying a modular approach in Web-Net. Our main
site in hosted on a UNIX machine in MD. We have our online class hosted on a NT machine in Mass by a diff provider. Now , we are trying to setup a database with Virtuflex at another provider in CA to be linked from the class site. Whether you ahve your own domain name doesn't really matter as you just link to the other site as a URL or CGI
Richard Seltzer -- Kaye -- For some applications, you should be able to run them on a remote site that is using a different operating system than your home one. Hyperlinks back and forth make it a single "site." All browsers work in both places. You don't want to feel trapped having made a decision to use one operating system or another, one set of software vs. another. You want to add value-added capabilities as your on-line community realizes it needs them. (There's probably a software opportunity -- maybe services too -- making dispersed modular sites work smoothly as single entities. -- just brainstorming.) This feels like an extension of the concept of open systems and also the concept of distributed computing. Distributed Web sites. (Make it fancy and have some pieces of your distributed Web site provided by or done in partnership with other companies...)
waw -- I also am using Cold Fusion and MS Access
Kaye Vivian -- Hi Jay, nice to have you here. Do you actually work with existing databases or help companies to build them and/or connect them into their web site marketing activities?
Richard Seltzer -- Jay -- I'm hoping to focus on database issues in our next session, which will be Thursday May 29. Meanwhile, have you checked out Maxsol? They are in Acton, MA http://www.maxsol.com Their brand new product looks very interesting. There's a demo at their site. Makes it easy to access database info with any Web browser (no need for a plug-in) and to generate reports. Also makes it easy to take an existing database and make it Web accessible.
Kaye Vivian -- Sudha, I downloaded Allaire's (makers of Cold Fusion) threaded message board software this week...it's a *lovely* program (http://www.allaire.com). The problem is, it requires Cold Fusion to run. And I couldn't install Cold Fusion either. I forget why now...a systems guru told me that Cold Fusion only runs on a Unix system or something...I forget. But I'm on Win95 and didn't want to install it on my ISP to work with it so I just deleted the Cold Fusion and the Forum (which made me sad..it's the best I've seen). Speaking of Allaire, they bought out HomeSite (http://www.dexman.com...I think). I just discovered HomeSite 2.5 from a discussion forum last week, and it's an amazing and wonderful HTML editor. Not WYSIWYG, but it will fire up your browser of choice in a view mode which I don't find all that inconvenient. If anyone's been looking for a very good HTML editor, I've tried 7 of them and know all of their limitations (at least for my work!) and this one is the best. :) My two cents.
waw -- Offering access to products like Cold Fusion is one way Web Hosting Services compete. CF runs on NT
Jay -- I have Cold Fusion installed on my PC with WinNT. (I did have some trouble installing it, though.) It is a very nice program for integrating databases on the Internet (for those of us who don't want to learn SQL or other programming languages.
Richard Seltzer -- Keep in mind -- I'll be speaking at the monthly Web-net meeting tonight at MIT -- see the introductory screeen at Web-net.org for the details. Our next chat session will be Thursday May 29 at our usual time, focusing on Web-access to databases and related issues. Please join us then. (I'll be off speaking in Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina in the meantime. My first time in that part of the world. I hope I'll have some interesting tidbits from that trip to share in chats as well).
waw -- Richard - How long is this chat scheduled to run?
Richard Seltzer -- Waw -- we normally do these sessions for an hour -- from noon to 1 PM Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4) It's good to have a focused time for everyone to gather.
Sudha Jamthe -- Waw: Just looked at your web site and noticed you do scanning. Where are you located. I know some people who are looking to convert some Mac videos. Do you do it?
waw -- Looks like we're leaving - Bye All!
Richard Seltzer -- Please be sure to check the transcript. I'll
get it up as quickly as I can. (Probably by tomorrow, Wed. morning). Check
And meanwhile send me email firstname.lastname@example.org with your followup comments, questions etc. for inclusion with the transcripts.
Ed Jaros -- Take care all. Richard have a great trip. Look forward to the stories. until next time..... Ed out.
Kaye Vivian -- Thanks everyone... Kaye Vivian (email@example.com) Have a great trip, Richard, and we'll look forward to all the good stories when you get back. :)
Sudha Jamthe -- Thanks Richard. Have a wonderful trip. Please tell us what is the date of the next chat here. Bye everyone. waw, please email me if you can do video conversion for someone in Boston.
Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Hey, I just got started. I guess I'll have to say goodbye. Will you still be talking about live chats next time?
Jay -- What a great chat! I really enjoyed the conversations. Hope to contribute more in the future. Jay (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Richard Seltzer -- Jay -- Glad you found it helpful. I certainly
Please come back again.
Richard Seltzer -- Thanks to all for joining us today. Hope you'll be able to join us again in a couple weeks on May 29. (And please send email with suggestions for future topics and people who would be good to talk about them. In particular, for next time, send suggestions related to database stuff.)
Yes, business benefits...
but also how to go about finding business solution providers for this service...
It's somewhat new and "general" web designers seem to be puzzled about IDC, HTX files, and ODBC,etc.
John Udel wrote the first article that I know of that treats the Web as a distributed object system-
You may also want to check out
Thought this would be of interest to you and your friends at Groceries to Go. Hope all's well for you in the land down under.
** Online grocers hold customers' loyalty
Consumers who do their grocery shopping online are likely to be more loyal to their electronic supermarkets and spend more per store visit than traditional customers, according to a new study from researchers M/A/R/C Group and online grocery shopping service Peapod L.P. The companies say the study combined research gathered from 800 survey respondents and the purchasing activities of 20,000 electronic shoppers in San Francisco and Chicago. Among the findings: The average online shopper in the survey group spent $2,072 per year on groceries purchased electronically; heavy users spent $4,155; and online shoppers are "especially receptive to bargains."
Ed Jaros, Your Internet Strategist
> When we restart on May 29, I'd like to focus on Web access to databases, and database-driven Web-pages. What are the alternatives? What are the business benefits? Please let me know if that topic strikes a chord with you, and send me suggestions for new people to specially invite. (Tony Giroti from Maxsol in Acton has already agreed to join us.)
That is an interesting subject. I come to computers and the interent from an entrepreneurial point-of-view. I do not know about any of the commercial databases. I learned about computers from buying a 286 and upgrading (doing it all myself with a book handy).
I learned about the internet from books I read (reading). The only time I had anything to do with a computer prior my current internet experience was when I went to Brazil to open an English language bookstore. I brought a Zenith laptop that had 2 disk drives and no hard drive. I used Lotus 1,2,3 and MS Word - all in dos.
Anyhow, I think using data files, templates, and scripts to glue it all together is the way to go.
All my websites combine "databases" (or data files if you will) with templates and server-side-includes.
Here is an interesting example: http://www.memphisflyer.com/
Go there and look at their classifieds. Pretty bad really.
Go here and see what I did: http://www.germantown.net/classifieds/index.html
It took me 2 hours to take their static html page and create this "database" with search engine. All using Perl and ascii files. The only cost was in my time.
Here is another sample of using a database to keep pages alive:
Look for the gif above the counter on the lower left side. Click on it.
Go ahead and muck about. After doing this site I copied it all over to my "samples directory".
I have many, many more examples.
The biggest datafiles I have worked with have all been below 2 meg and speed was no problem. This may not be true above that; I don't know. But there are plenty of small businesses that will not have such big databases and do not need to pay a lot of money for commercial programs.
Peter J. Schoenster
To add to last weeks' transcript:
Kaye Vivian mentioned problems with conferencing software such as Allaire that require Unix rather than Windows 95. Some of Woolley's conference articles survey all the conferencing software available and indicate which platforms are required. Few are FREE and for WINDOWS 95 - Dialogue and Virtual Bulletin Systems are two which I hope to check out. Personally, since I have Windows 95 but not Unix (and limited funds), I am interesting in sharing experiences and suggestions with others who are also interested in free or inexpensive chat and messaging software for Windows 95.
At the end of this message I will post about twenty urls pertaining to conferencing on the Web.
Also, I've been thrilled to discover Nicenet's free Internet Classroom Assistant, and set up a demo classroom there for others interested in using its educational and message board capacities to check out. It only takes three minutes to createyour own...and if you have any questions etc. you can join the Nicenet's Administrator's Forum. If you'd like to check out my demo classroom, go to: http://www.nicenet.org and register then enter key g793w8 for the Windweaver classroom Feel free to leave your comments on one of the message boards.If you set up your own classroom, you can join the Administrator's Forum at key m320i87.
Now, here are some the conferencing urls...
WOOLLEY CONFERENCING ARTICLES
*Computer Conferencing on the Web (Discussion Forums,Groupware-Woolley)
Choosing Web Conferencing Software (Woolley 96)
Presentation Features of Text-based Conferencing Systems (Woolley)
OTHER CONFERENCING ARTICLES
Building online communities is a challenge
Benefits of Collaboration Software for online classes
Online Collaboration Publications
Computer conferencing functions and terminology
Conferencing and Collaboration Tools
Email vs. Computer Conferencing
Instructor Guide to Computer-Mediated Conferencing
Software Needed for E-Mail Conferencing by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Web Project / Web Conferencing
Web Forum Server
The Forum News Gateway
http://www.nicenet.org Nicenet's ICA
http://software.sensenet.com/ SenseNet Java Chat Software
http://www.theforge.com/forge/ Inner-Board Threaded Discussions
Tracy Marks, M.A. email@example.com http://www.windweaver.com
Previous transcripts and schedule of upcoming chats -- www.samizdat.com/chat.html
To connect to the chat room, go to www.samizdat.com/chat-intro.html
The full text of Richard Seltzer's books The Social Web, Take Charge of Your Web Site, Shop Online the Lazy Way, and The Way of the Web, plus more than a hundred related articles are available on CD ROM My Internet: a Personal View of Internet Business Opportunities.
Business Boot Camp: Hands-on Internet lessons for manager, entrepreneurs,
and professionals by Richard Seltzer (Wiley, 2002).
No-nonsense guide targets activities that anyone can perform to achieve
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