Re: Future of Flash/archive's egrep function

John Pike (johnpike@fas.org)
Fri, 24 May 1996 16:48:22 -0400

> Bart De Pontieu <BDP@MPEPL wrote:

>I would like open a discussion about the future of Flash, the newsletter
>for quite some time now Flash has been largely filled by stuff that
>appeared on the net first (esp. SeeSat-messages) and is thus loosing its
>significance.

However, it is in a format that is far easier to access than is the case with:

>all old SeeSat-L messages are
>archived on our e-mail archive server. You can search this archive for 
>keywords by sending a message with Subject "archive"

Although I have not attempted to use this feature in this case, in other
cases where I have done such things I was not too happy with the result. Let
me at least suggest consideration of the use of some sorta Hypermail
implementation for archiving the listserv traffic, such as we have done at:

        http://www.fas.org/pub/gen/hypermail/irp/

along with an easily implemented search engine, such as we have done at

        http://www.fas.org/search.html

>Flash is printed on paper (imagine that :-) and sent to about
>70 subscribers, of which I estimate about 1/3 is on Internet

So the question is what is to be done with the ~50 folks who are net.lagged?

>a magazine containing those messages 
>that are too long for SeeSat-L, or messages that just *need* figures and 
>graphs for good understanding. 

Yes, this sounds useful.

>Support for such a publication should also go further than 'yes, that's a
>good idea', the real question is whether enough articles will be produced to
>make it worthwhile. 

Well, it depends on what you mean by "such a publication." it seems that
there is already some non-trivial traffic from seesat-l that could be
archived in the "magazine" format, though through the online implementation
this archiving could take place in near-real time, that is, one could just
have a WWW URL that contained the significant stuff from that bimonthly
period, added as they show up, and then start the process all over again
every two months, perhaps mailing a hardcopy of the resulting product to the
net.lagged in the community.

>the question then becomes : "Do you see a future
>for an english-language magazine devoted to visual satellite observing ?".

I certainly see a future for an english language compilation of major
analytical pieces related to and derived from visual satellite observing.
Whether one would call such a thing a "magazine" relates both to the extent
to which this is a useful metaphor for an online implementation, and whether
there would be a hardcopy counterpart. These are issues that the rest of the
universe of publishers are grappling with, so it should not be surprising
that this issue would be perplexing in this context as well.
 
>way our archive is structured, and esp. how one can search through it. The
>latter is a very powerful option, and it is only used by a few people.

I think that part of the problem here is that this is such an unusual [at
least in my limited experience] implementation that most folks [aka me] are
a bit concerned about unleashing something that might mailbomb there email
inbox. I don't know just what the geek quotiant is at your operation, but
the Hypermail and Excite implementations I mentioned earlier required a
handful of hours apiece to implement at our site, and represent IMHO a much
more friendly means of accessing this back traffic, and are certainly
present a look and feel that is a bit more familiar to most users. I think.


____________________________

John Pike
Director, Space Policy & CyberStrategy Projects
Federation of American Scientists
307 Massachusetts Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20002
V 202-675-1023,   F 202-675-1024,  http://www.fas.org/