Board Members Present: Arnold Barr (Chair), Ed Hayes (Treasurer), Keith Stanger (Secretary), Steve Weiss
Community Members Present: Dale Hunscher (President, South Wind Design Inc.), Greg Winterhalter
The meeting was held at the Washtenaw County Library and was called to order at 2:00 p.m. by Mr. Barr. The Board waived notice of time, place and subject of the meeting.
The Board approved the minutes of the meeting of November 2, 1997. The financial report for the period ending November 30, 1997 was posted on the HVCN web site and was approved by the Board. Mr. Weiss noted that in April 1998 HVCN would need to pay Merit $1,000 to remain a Community Service Affiliate. HVCN's bank account currently holds $622.80.
Mr. Weiss said he would contact via e-mail Doug Perlin, of Washtenaw County Information Services, about the placement of an NT server and the availability of an additional port at the County site where the current HVCN server is situated.
Mr. Barr said he anticipated more traffic at the Ypsilanti District Library's web site (currently hosted by HVCN) in April, May, or June as the Library adds Internet access to its mix of services and makes its catalog available over the Internet.
Mr. Barr reported he was not able to meet with Ed Swope, Ypsilanti police crime prevention officer, about the Ypsilanti Police Department web site because Mr. Swope was busy. A meeting will be rescheduled.
Mr. Stanger said he identified nine people who made financial contributions to HVCN in the past but who now needed to make another financial contribution to retain HVCN membership. The Board agreed Mr. Stanger should send an e-mail message to those members asking if they were interested in renewing their financial commitment to HVCN. Mr. Weiss observed that organizations using HVCN services were also candidates to receive e-mail requests for financial contributions to HVCN. Mr. Weiss said he would be able to provide the e-mail addresses of individuals in organizations using HVCN services.
Mr. Weiss reported he updated HVCN access information on the web site. The "official" way to dial up to the HVCN site for those without Internet connectivity is to dial up to Grex. Mr. Hayes suggested it would be interesting to know how many new Grex accounts are opened by people wanting to connect to HVCN. Mr. Weiss said he would ask Valerie Mates, at Grex, if she could check the Grex logs to see if any new members mention HVCN. Mr. Weiss said the people at Grex were happy because HVCN was publicizing their service.
Mr. Weiss reported that advocates for the PTSOs at Thurston Elementary School and the Middle Years Alternative were trying to get their members to use Backtalk conferences set up on HVCN. Mr. Weiss said the Michigan Chapter of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility had a web site on HVCN and he set up a Backtalk conference for the organization's members. Mr. Weiss reported Ypsilanti Community Education Tai Kwan Do had a new web site on HVCN.
Mr. Barr met with Jennifer Goulet, Director of Ypsilanti's Office of Community and Economic Development, Billie Zolkosky, of the Ypsilanti Historical Museum, Maria Schieda, part-time employee working on the Museum's digital database project, and Paula Drummond, Ypsilanti District Library, to review the Ypsilanti Historical Museum digital database project. Mr. Barr reported that during the week of April 19, 1998 there will be a major event to publicize the grant supporting the Ypsilanti District Library/Ypsilanti Historical Museum/HVCN project. He anticipated the event to be similar to the 'Log in at the Library' event held at the Ann Arbor District Library. He asked the Board to think about how to capitalize on the event to gain membership and contributions. Mr. Barr said HVCN would be part of the planning process for the event and asked Ed Hayes to be alternate delegate to the planning meetings. Mr. Hayes accepted. Mr. Weiss said the event would be publicized on HVCN's web site. Mr. Barr reported that Jennifer Goulet said the city of Ypsilanti would be able to fund an additional telephone line at the Ypsilanti Historical Museum to provide an Internet connection for working on the digital database project. Mr. Barr said there was a possibility the city of Ypsilanti might ask HVCN to help them create a web presence. Mr. Weiss said he was willing to meet with a technical person from the city of Ypsilanti to discuss Internet connectivity issues.
Mr. Barr reported that he and Greg Winterhalter met with Laura Fry Ruff of Pittsfield Township. Mr. Barr said HVCN's offer of assistance to the Township to create a web presence was still on the table. Mr. Winterhalter offered an alternative, more specific, proposal to the Townshipthe opportunity to use a Rapid Internet Authoring Engine and web page design program being created by his company, Performance Dynamics, along with another company, South Wind Design, Inc. This system would allow a great deal of Township information to be placed on the World Wide Web by the Township offices that generate the information without a great deal of technical assistance from an information services department. Mr. Weiss observed that seeing a working prototype of the system would clarify its strengths and functionality. Mr. Weiss asked what method the system would use to authenticate updates. Mr. Winterhalter replied that a multilevel security system was being designed into the program. Mr. Winterhalter said the Pittsfield Township representatives had no problem with the idea of putting on top of each page advertising icons for the organizations sponsoring web-page development, i.e., HVCN, South Wind Design, Inc. (SWDI), and Performance Dynamics. Pittsfield Township wanted to proceed with Mr. Winterhalter's proposal as a pilot project.
Mr. Winterhalter and Dale Hunscher, President of South Wind Design, Inc. (SWDI), submitted to the Board a written proposal (attached) describing the services they were offering to HVCN. Mr. Barr said he thought HVCN involvement with the SWDI project might be a way to generate financial sustainability for HVCN with local governments and non-profit organizations.
Dale Hunscher talked about SWDI's background (see attached proposal). He said that while SWDI was looking for commercial contracts, it also was looking for ways to contribute to the community and sharpen its customer relationship skills. SWDI was also working on developing Greg Winterhalter's Internet Authoring Engine concept. Mr. Hunscher observed that the Engine solved one of the key problems of organizational web developmenthow to keep content fresh without having a cadre of people trained in the use of HTML, the web formatting specification. The Authoring Engine would allow users familiar with existing data entry programs to deliver content to a web site without knowledge of web design or formatting. Mr. Weiss described the Engine as a web-based web site development wizard and said that he would like to see the product developed.
Mr. Weiss observed the HVCN Board had never discussed requiring organizations whose sites were hosted by HVCN to put advertising acknowledgements on their pages. Mr. Weiss said he thought the placement of a logo such as "Powered by South Wind Design, Inc." would be acceptable to the organizations hosted by HVCN, but he could not speak for them without them first seeing a live test site. Mr. Barr said the SWDI proposal would allow HVCN to approach other Washtenaw County governments about web site development. This might result in some HVCN financial support on a continuing basis from these government agencies. He thought a SWDI/HVCN partnership had substantial merit. Mr. Weiss said he thought the Authoring Engine would open the door to a web presence for organizations that do not have any internal web development expertise. Mr. Hayes said he thought the Engine would appeal to organizations that had already developed a site, but did not have the time or breadth of expertise to keep the content fresh and up-to-date.
Mr. Winterhalter asked what the Board thought of he and Mr. Barr meeting with the Dexter Public Library to analyze their need for a database application that could be housed on SWDI's NT server. Board members concurred that it was a good idea to be explored further.
The next meeting was scheduled for Sunday, January 11, 1998 at 2:00 p.m. at the Washtenaw County Library. The meeting will serve as the HVCN Annual Meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m.
Keith Stanger, Secretary
December 13, 1997
Board of Directors
Huron Valley Community Network
Ann Arbor, MI
Dear Members of the Board:
South Wind Designs, Inc. is an Internet & database software development firm who is taking a strategic direction in developing Internet applications and support tools. With a staff of twelve over the last four years SWDI has developed the ODBC front end that Pervasive Software sells with its BTRIEVE database. This last year SWDI has developed the SupportAbility web based product for help desk applications that interrogates the system internals of a users PC. Most recently, SWDI has made an agreement with Performance Dynamics to complete their Rapid Internet Authoring Engine. Also, SWDI has made a joint marketing agreement with IAS.NET, a local ISP to cooperate on Internet development opportunities. We are also negotiating with some local computer resellers in other joint marketing opportunities.
Though we are not new to Internet development, we do not have the customer variety or the visibility we would like to have. We would like to offer HVCN the following services:
1. Development services for some of your current and future clients on a pro bono basis. (In particular we have been advised by Greg Winterhalter that you may need assistance with Pittsfield Township, Ypsilanti Police, Dexter Library and Ypsilanti Museum).
2. Hosting web sites on an NT Server IIS4.0 with SQL server connected to a ½ T1 line for database Internet applications. Hosting length would depend upon the sites consumption of resources. (NT IIS4 has a throttling feature to minimize resource consumption at the sake of increasing response time. SWDI would guarantee a smooth transition of two months for any changes in services).
3. We would also petition our future computer reseller partner to loan a server class machine for both SWDI & HVCN joint use as an Internet server.
4. SWDI and Performance Dynamics is also willing to make HVCN a marketing partner of the Rapid Internet Authoring Engine for the Washtenaw County low budget nonprofits. Any web sites developed using the Rapid Internet Authoring Engine by SWDI or Performance Dynamics would carry a lifetime runtime use of the product.
5. There is the possibility of co-locating your Unix server at our location but we would have to look into the cost of a router.
In exhange for the above we would like an advertisement icon on each web page we author, manage, or host. If any of our marketing partners participate significantly in the above effort, they wlll want an advertising icon as well.
President, South Wind Design, Inc.
Vice President Sales, South Wind Design, Inc
President, Performance Dynamics