Greenbelt Internet Access Cooperative

Monthly Board Meeting – July 10, 1997

Basement, Greenbelt Community Church


M E E T I N G   M I N U T E S


DIRECTORS:   Matt Elliott, Jim Heagy, Doug Love, Neil McLeod, Greg Meyer, Chris Morris, Nancy Revis (Absent: Anne Andersen, Clement Lau)

MEMBERS:     Patty Merryman

GUESTS:       Sanjay Mishra (SigmaNet)




1.      The meeting was called to order at 7:00pm, with Nancy Revis presiding.




2.      Secretary (Jim Heagy)

·         Jim read the minutes of the previous Board Meeting.

-         Minutes of the Annual Board Meeting - June 10, 1997


3.      Treasurer (Neil McLeod for Chris Morris)

·         The share value is now $52.21, meaning that GIAC is in the black.  There was a discussion on what monetary action to take for the accounts of the five Members who have given up their service.  It was agreed that these Members should be contacted to see if they would like their $50 membership fee refunded to them.


4.      Membership Committee (Neil McLeod)

·         Neil distributed a service payment summary to each Director present.




5.      Classes

·         Matt Elliott reported that no one showed up for the Q&A session he had intended to give on June 23.  Ensuing discussion centered on GIAC's role in offering special classes, such as these.  There was general agreement that GIAC should run these classes only in response to sufficiently large Member interest, or as Neil McLeod stated, "Let the Members be the driving force."

·         The next GIAC class is "Building Webpages (Intermediate)", to be held July 21, 1997, in the Greenbelt Library at 7:00pm and taught by Doug Love.  As a reminder, this information is available online in the Classes section of the GIAC page.

·         Several suggestions for future classes were made: shopping on the net, advanced HTML (forms, tables, CGI), PC basics.  After much discussion the following classes were scheduled:

DATE           TOPIC                  INSTRUCTOR
Aug 19, 1997   Internet Basics        Greg Meyer
Sep 24, 1997   PC Basics (software)   Neil McLeod
Oct (TBD)      Online Shopping        Nancy Revis
Nov (TBD)      Internet Job Hunting   Jim Heagy


6.      Organizational Structure

·         Directors voted unanimously to accept the "Proposed Organizational Structure" document.  This document outlines the duties and responsibilities of Directors, Officers, and other job titles.


7.      Volunteers

·         Neil McLeod was elected Webmaster by vote.  GIAC is still looking to fill the position of Web Site Manager.  Neil explained the difference between Webmaster and Website Manager.  The Website manager would ideally be someone with experience in the design of websites.


8.      Internet Service Provider

·         Neil McLeod reviewed the recent round of email and connection problems.  Several problems have been encountered including: mail bombs, full mail servers, and spamming incidents.  DSI claims to now have procedures in place to deal with these problems.  Nancy and Neil are planning to visit DSI soon in person.




9.      Sanjay Mishra, vice president of SigmaNet Network Corporation, a local ISP, kindly gave an overview of SigmaNet.  He also generously offered to teach a CGI class to a small group of interested Members.




10.  Community Events

·         Labor Day Festival:  There was unanimous agreement to set up an information table at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.  The Festival Committee (President: Leslie Romine) needs $25 by August 4, 1997, to ensure our participation.  There was discussion on the need for a phone line to run to the table.  Doug and Neil have agreed to work together to run a line from Neil's office.

·         Greenbelt New Year:  Participation in the New Year's Eve event was discussed.   Based on last year's poor response, there was not much enthusiasm for participation again this year, although no formal decision was made.

·         Greenbelt Cooperative Association:  GHI will host a Greenbelt Cooperatives picnic and has asked GIAC to donate a door prize.  We have agreed to participate, awarding a prize of two months' free service to the winner.  Patty Merryman has generously offered to donate $24 to GIAC to underwrite the cost of the prize.


11.  Website Development

·         Nancy Revis has volunteered to develop a web page for the Greenbelt Police Department.  The issue of community websites and GIAC job responsibilities was raised.  It was generally agreed that if a Member frequently interfaces with a particular community organization, that person is the ideal candidate for developing a web site for them.

·         Nancy encouraged all Directors to check out the Member Survey concerning the style changes in the Community and GIAC webpages.  The survey will remain active until there are enough responses to form a reasonable impression.


12.  Publicity / Promotions

·         GHI is having a contest.  We have agreed to participate, awarding a prize of 2 months free service to the winner.  Patty Merryman has generously offered to donate $24 to GIAC to underwrite the cost of the prize.

·         The possibility of ordering more GREENBELT.COM polo shirts was raised.  There are currently 4 shirts left (at $22/shirt).  Pricing issues were also discussed, specifically higher charges for XXL shirts.  It is not clear whether the higher cost was due to the larger size or to the smaller quantity ordered.  Dan Macy should be able to clarify this point if we're going to use the same source again.  No decisions were made on ordering or pricing.  


13.  ISP Committee

·         A committee was formed to investigate alternative Internet service providers.  The ISP Committee members are: Doug Love, Neil McLeod, Matt Elliott, and Jim Heagy.  Nancy Revis stressed the need for real research, not "I like Erol’s."


14.  Technical Procedures

·         Who.has procedure:  The need for adhering to safe computing practices was emphasized in light of the fact that there are now several people who have write privileges in the same directories.  A file naming procedure (dubbed "who.has") has been put in place to avoid inadvertently overwriting files.  Neil McLeod reviewed this procedure, which goes as follows: 

-         For every webpage file 'filename.htm' there may be an associated zero length (i.e., no content) file with one of the following two names:


(Note:  In some cases there may not be a 'filename.nobody.has' file; however, absence of a 'filename.username.has' file is equivalent to 'filename.nobody.has'.)

-         These files indicate who (if anyone) is working on the file 'filename.htm'.  Someone wishing to work on 'filename.htm' is free to work on it only if the associated filename is not 'filename.username.has'; otherwise, they should wait until the associated filename has been returned to 'filename.nobody.has' or they should contact "username" to coordinate efforts.

-         It is imperative that the associated file name be changed from ‘filename.nobody.has' to 'filename.username.has' when working on 'filename.htm', and back again when 'filename.htm' is returned to active status.  This is the responsibility of the person editing 'filename.htm'.  Most FTP programs provide the capability to rename files.  

-         As a reminder, from a DOS prompt, a zero-length file is created as follows:

rem > neil.has

After FTP uploading a file with the 8.3-format name, it can be renamed to the Windows NT long filename format, e.g., "index.neil.has".  

-         When in doubt, upload files to the /shr directory (making sure that file names are distinct from the files already present there) or create a /shr/username subdirectory named for the intended recipient (e.g., /shr/neil) and contact Neil to have files properly installed.




15.  Scheduled Meetings

·         The next meeting will be held at 7:00pm on Thursday, August 7, in the basement of the Greenbelt Community Church.  

-         Minutes of the Monthly Board Meeting – August 7, 1997

·         For the long term, Nancy Revis has requested a room to hold GIAC meetings in the upcoming church addition.  Nancy has also looked into the possibility of holding meetings at the Greenbelt Police Station.  GIAC has a verbal agreement with the Police Department, allowing us to use their conference room, after the month of June, until June of the following year.

-         NOTE: Late breaking news since the meeting: The Police Station conference room has been reserved for GIAC meetings on the following dates: September 4, October 2, November 6, December 4, January 8.  All meetings will be on the first Thursday of the month, except the January meeting.  Meetings start promptly at 7:00pm.


16.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:25pm, after which there were several offline discussions.



- 07/__/97 Posted by Jim Heagy
- 05/15/00 Edited by Neil McLeod

- 09/01/05 Reformatted by Neil McLeod