The meeting was held at the Washtenaw County Library and was called to order at 1:10 p.m. by Mr. Barr. The Board waived notice of time, place and subject of the meeting.
The HVCN financial reports for December 1995 and January 1996 posted by e-mail by the Treasurer, Mr. Hayes, were approved by the Board. Mr. Weiss was asked to place the reports on the HVCN web site (http://www.hvcn.org).
HVCN received three unsolicited checks during February 1996. It was agreed that all three checks would be considered HVCN memberships. Mr. Barr said he would like to get a letter from HVCN's CPA indicating that the total value of HVCN membership contributions would be tax deductible.
Mr. Hayes reported that at the end of February 1996 HVCN's bank balance was $1068.72. Mr. Barr gave Mr. Hayes a bill he received from the Isthmus Corporation ($76.32) for four months use (November 1995-February 1996) of the telephone line that HVCN is using to dial into the HVCN web site housed on the Isthmus server. The Board authorized payment.
Mr. Barr said he would post on-line to Board members one more time a draft of an HVCN Acceptable Use Policy prepared by Mr. Jesse O'Jack.
Mr. Barr distributed a cost estimate for an HVCN server and communications equipment prepared with the help of Steve Weiss, Sandy Walke and Rob Argy. Approximately $11,500 was required to pay for the Pentium-based server, the BSDI Unix software, supplies and furniture, and another $11,500 was required to pay for five rack-mounted modem quad-cards with four modems per card (twenty modems total) and assorted equipment. Mr. Weiss added that with twenty modems we would also be paying about $400 per month for a total of twenty telephone lines. These figures did not include such ongoing costs as rent, electricity, insurance, postage, office supplies, and voice telephone line charges.
There was some discussion as to whether HVCN should spend the first money it receives on acquiring its own server or on acquiring modems to attach to the server whose use the Isthmus Corporation is donating. Mr. Weiss observed the Genesee Freenet's annual budget was about $200,000. Mr. Barr noted that the Genesee Freenet raised $50,000 in two weeks during an intense fund-raising campaign. The Board agreed to wait to see how the HVCN fund raising campaign went before deciding how to allocate the funds.
Mr. Barr requested help organizing a campaign to ask for money from the many people whose names he had in his files. Mr. Barr said he wanted to ask those organizations that had information on the HVCN web site to not only inform their members of HVCN's contribution to their organization, but to also ask their members to help HVCN financially. Mr. Hayes said he would assist Mr. Barr.
Mr. Barr reported that Mr. Stanger had been contacted by Mr. Dale Rice, a professor at EMU and also on the implementation team of the Interactive Community Access Network (ICAN) of Washtenaw County. ICAN hopes to link Wastenaw County human services organizations to each other as well as to the general public they serve to quickly and efficiently meet the needs of community members. ICAN intends to provide information about services in such areas as: health, education, children, family transportation, and work. ICAN intends to have a World Wide Web site housed on a server at Washtenaw Community College. Mr. Barr and Mr. Stanger were invited to attend an ICAN meeting on Friday, March 15, 1996 at 3:00 p.m. at Washtenaw Community College. HVCN wants to try to avoid duplication of effort in providing community information to the residents of Washtenaw County. The ICAN project sounds like an initiative HVCN should cooperate and collaborate with. Mrs. Hubbard asked if HVCN was aware of Comnet. Mr. Barr responded that HVCN was aware of their activities and had maintained connections with Laurie Sutch of NEW Center and Betsy Clubine of Comnet. He said that he had made a concerted effort over the last few months to reopen ties and cooperate with them. HVCN wants to be as inclusive as possible.
Mr. Weiss said he collaborated with Mr. Jan Wolter on developing a web-based conferencing system that is now in the testing phase. He stated that when the software was finished he thought it would be of commercial quality. Mr. Weiss and Mr. Wolter intend to offer the software at no charge for use by HVCN and GREX. Mr. Barr said that the sense of the HVCN Board was that when the conferencing system was initially available to the public it should be an open system, not requiring prior registration to use it. However, some type of automated e-mail account validation might be required. This policy could be changed after some operational experience. The HVCN Board very much appreciates the willingness of Mr. Weiss and Mr. Wolter to share their new conferencing systemit should greatly enhance the value of HVCN to the community.
Mr. Barr said that much work needed to be done organizing volunteers to take responsibility for the development of HVCN InfoCenters. Mr. Barr said that he wanted to have the web pages of the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area revised and improved before April 16, 1996, when HVCN would be participating in the Ann Arbor District Library's "Log-on Night at the Library." Mr. Barr said he needed help developing a Neighborhood Watch presence on HVCN. Mr. Barr wants to establish HVCN accounts for neighborhood block captains so they can communicate with each other as well as with the police officers they work with. Mr. Barr reported that a computer system was donated by Phillips Electronics for use by the Ypsilanti Police Neighborhood Watch coordinator. Mr. Barr also reported that Jennie Meyer McCafferty (Associate Dean, Learning Technologies, Eastern Michigan University), authorized use of an EMU Internet account for training the Ypsilanti Neighborhood Watch police coordinator.
Mr. Barr reported that Ann Arbor Public Access TV had invited HVCN and the Ann Arbor District Library to participate in a live roundtable discussion on April 4, 1996 on the subject of technology and the library and also about HVCN's activities and plans. On April 16, 1996 the Ann Arbor District Library will provide space for HVCN to demonstrate it's World Wide Web site as part of the "Log-on Night at the Library" exposition. Mr. Weiss said he hoped by that date he would be able to demonstrate what dial-in access to HVCN would look like.
A draft of the HVCN newsletter was circulated. It was suggested that corrections and editorial changes be directed to the newsletter's compiler, Karl Klafke (e-mail: email@example.com), or Mr. Barr (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Mr. Weiss suggested that HVCN should try to be involved in the upcoming (March 19-21, 1996) NetWeek@Borders. It was suggested that HVCN request permission to distribute the HVCN newsletter.
Mr. Hayes announced that there was a new Internet service provider in the areaProvide.Net from Sunset Systems (2327 Ellsworth Road, Ypsilanti, MI 48197), offering unlimited PPP and SLIP access with a graphical interface to the WWW for $14.95 per month. Mr. Weiss observed that as Internet access costs drop, the Internet access role of HVCN would become less and less important. He said he was concerned that HVCN might spend a lot of its money to provide modem access to HVCN when it might be less expensive for people to get connections from other agencies. He observed that while it was necessary to provide some free modem access to HVCN, we would not need as large a modem bank as was originally envisioned.. Mr. Barr noted that while HVCN might end up spending less for modems, it would probably need to spend more for Internet bandwidth.
The next Board meeting was scheduled for Sunday, April 14, 1996 at 1:00 p.m. at the Washtenaw County Library.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:00 p.m.
Keith Stanger, Secretary