Summer Issue July 2007
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Better Living Through Technology

Ever since I recently re-read “The Cluetrain Manifesto,” an iconoclastic revelation that explains how the Internet is bringing an end to business as usual, I’d been wondering, “What ever happened to Usenet?” I knew it had started back in 1980, that it was one of the world’s oldest computer networks, outdating the World Wide Web by more than a decade, that it was a global, decentralized, distributed Internet discussion system where any user can freely read and post email-like messages to any of a number of different categories called newsgroups, and that the information in these newsgroups was rapidly distributed, allowing any other user to access it as easily as possible. Back in the mid-nineties, when I was just getting hooked up to the Internet myself, I knew that a Usenet newsreader was available to me courtesy of my ISP, but I never jumped on the bandwagon. Over time, a lot of Internet technology has evolved, and from my user perspective with the current prevalence of blogs, forums, and email lists, I had forgotten all about Usenet. I now know not only does the Usenet network still exist, it keeps on getting better.

In the early days, Usenet was primarily accessed only by university professors and students, and technically-minded home users, but with the rise of the World Wide Web and through use of the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) to distribute Usenet articles over the Internet, it is now possible to access Usenet newsgroups through a website interface such as the one now available through an area of Google Groups (http://groups.google.com). Web-to-Usenet gateways have lowered the entry barrier to Usenet, making it easier for nontechnical people to become involved. However, serious users of Usenet say that these gateways have limitations and that using a local software application called a “newsreader” is still regarded as the best way to access newsgroups. Free or low-priced newsreaders are available through many ISPs who still offer Usenet accounts, and they are also available directly from the largest Usenet server operators Supernews, Giganews, and Usenet.com. The newsreader resembles an email program, but accesses Usenet servers instead of email servers. The process is simple. Whenever a message reaches a server, that server forwards the message to all its network neighbors that haven’t yet seen the article. Only one copy of a message is stored per server, and each server makes it available on demand to the local readers able to access that server. Usenet was thus one of the first peer-to-peer applications, although in this case the “peers” are themselves servers that the users then access, rather than the users themselves being peers on the network. The Usenet service itself is available for as little as $7 a month for light use, to around $20 a month for unlimited use.

It is true that Usenet seems to have diminished importance compared to the aforementioned blogs, forums, and email lists, but its differences are significant. Today, almost all Usenet traffic is carried over the Internet, but while the format and transmission of Usenet articles is very similar to email messages, Usenet articles are posted for general consumption so any Usenet user has access to all newsgroups, unlike email which requires a list of known recipients. Usenet requires no personal registration with the group concerned, and its archives are always available. Although Usenet is one of the oldest communication networks, the ideal that users around the world deserve uncensored, peer-moderated communication is one that will keep the Usenet network alive long into the future. Guess I better get on board.

I am grateful to be in a collaborative business with many talented and skilled professionals. Additional feedback and recommendations for our products and services at TM Information Services are always welcome.

- Mary M. McLaughlin


From the Front Page of TMIS News
http://www.tminformationservices.com
Click on links below to view Full Stories.

120 Reasons Giganews Just Changed Usenet
Austin, Texas

Giganews has completed a major storage upgrade on their global Usenet server cluster which will grow binary retention to 120 days. This upgrade changes the face of Usenet by allowing thriving newsgroup communities to engage for longer periods of time through fast and reliable Usenet servers. With 120 days of retention, Giganews will offer nearly 1 billion Usenet articles in over 100,000 newsgroups. Just a few months ago, Giganews was the first Usenet provider to hit the century mark for binary retention, but in keeping with a commitment to meet and exceed the expectations of its customers, Giganews has again increased storage capacity which allows Giganews' Usenet binary retention to grow to 120 days.

"When we completed our last retention upgrade to 100 days we were pleased, but we wanted to push ourselves to the next level. Giganews is in a perpetual upgrade cycle and this current upgrade is just part of our larger goal of re-investing in our server infrastructure for the benefit of our customers. At Giganews we feel we have a responsibility to push the envelope when it comes to services and features and we hope these efforts will help expand and support the greater Usenet community as a result," said David Vogelpohl, VP of Marketing and Sales at Giganews.

Full Story

Social Networking and Social Commerce Offers a New Way for People and Businesses to Connect
Delray Beach, Florida

The question had become where do adults go to socialize online when they feel too old for MySpace or Facebook but are too young for Eons? Despite marketing targeted at teens and twenty- something's, over half of the visitors to social networking websites like MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and Live Journal are now 35 and older, according to recent industry reports. With the popularity of these online communities growing with no end in site, the time is ripe for a social networking service -- which is what Vois.com (pronounced "Voice") a community for users age 30-to-50, is positioned to provide. Today more than 56 percent of visitors to MySpace now are over 35, according to industry expert comScore and about 41 percent of visitors to the college-targeted Facebook are now over the age of 35. There's a similar demographic at youth-oriented networking sites Friendster and Xanga -- yet the common misconception that exists is that these services are predominantly used by just teenagers. In reality, these services are now immensely popular with Baby Boomers and so-called Gen X'ers, many of whom have been members of online communities since the bulletin board system (BBS) Internet forums that debuted in the 1980's, through the early years of AOL's instant messaging and Usenet discussion groups.
Full Story

First Music Company to Launch Video Content Over Pioneering Internet TV Platform; Platform Offers Innovative Opportunities for Advertisers and Content Owners
New York, New York

Warner Music Group Corp., one of the world's leading global music companies, and Joost, a global video distribution service that combines the best of television and the Internet, has announced an agreement to provide video content featuring WMG's world-renowned roster of artists on the Joost platform. As part of the agreement, WMG and Joost will share revenue from advertising on WMG's Joost channels. Joost will offer a number of channels featuring WMG's artist and music-based content, each specific either to genre, record label or artist as well as content outside of WMG's roster. Currently available in limited beta, the Joost platform is the first to provide a completely new television experience online. It combines the long-form video channels of traditional television with the interactivity and on-demand components made possible by the Internet. Joost is the first online, global TV distribution platform, bringing together advertisers, content owners and viewers in an interactive, community-driven environment. Joost can be accessed with a broadband Internet connection and offers broadcast-quality content to viewers for free.
Full Story

Internet Television Pioneers Partner to Provide Video-on-Demand Programming From Around the World on Joost
Toronto, Ontario


JumpTV Inc., the world's leading broadcaster of ethnic television over the Internet, has partnered with Joost, the world's first broadcast-quality, free-to-air Internet television service, to make a significant portion of JumpTV's library of video-on-demand television content available on a series of exclusive JumpTV-branded ethnic television vertical "channels" on the Joost platform. JumpTV currently broadcasts live over the Internet thousands of popular television programs, news, music and sporting events from 270 channels from over 70 countries around the world on a subscription and advertising supported basis. The initial JumpTV offering on Joost will feature programming regularly gathered from JumpTV's digitally rights compliant international television roster. The first JumpTV "channels" on Joost will feature popular Spanish-language series from Colombia, Chile and Peru, in addition to Arabic-language comedy, drama and news programs from some of the leading broadcasters in the Middle East. JumpTV will be adding new programming on a daily or weekly basis, and intends to launch several more channels on Joost in other languages, including but not limited to Romanian, Turkish, Russian and Bengali. Commenting on the partnership, Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, president and chief executive officer of JumpTV International stated, "We see Joost as a unique and important distribution/programming partner. Like us, the Joost team innately understands the power of viral, high-affinity long-tail content -- for example, JumpTV's ethnic TV programming. Given the track record of the Joost founders, we believe that the Joost platform could be as transformational for online television as their previous ventures have been."
Full Story

Partnership to Create Integrated, Real-Time Physician Visit, Improving Expatrite Healthcare
Salem, New Hampshire

Global medical and travel assistance company, On Call International has announced a partnership with Goodwell Technologies in Redmond, Washington to introduce an innovative communications tool for use by its expatriate clients and On Call staff physicians and nurses. Under the alliance, On Call has begun work with Goodwell to implement the Goodwell TrueVisit platform, which will allow its expat clients to communicate directly with On Call physicians and nurses by just a click of the mouse. Using a secure Internet connection, abiding by stringent HIPAA regulations to protect privacy, On Call clients in remote parts of the world will be able to use video and audio capabilities being deployed today on many PCs, coupled with Goodwell's real-time transaction platform. This technology platform is tailored to allow clients to engage in healthcare "visits," or, real-time physician and nurse consultations, and includes diagnostic tools, patient education materials, full visit documentation capabilities, along with secure messaging. The On Call/Goodwell desktop telemedicine service will integrate corporate and personal healthcare resources located "back home," providing comfort for expats and their families in need of "Western" medical practices. Additionally, expats will appreciate the ease of scheduling medical visits at convenient times with 24/7, 365 days-a-year access to On Call physicians and nurses.
Full Story

Moms Are Hot Demographic at Social-Networking Sites

Marketers, meet Mom. Web-savvy and 32-million strong, U.S. mothers spend almost as much time online as women as a group, according to eMarketer's new report, "Moms Online: Parenting With Web 2.0." Mothers are not just tooling around on children and parenting sites.

The biggest opportunity for marketers targeting moms online is social networking sites. More than any other demographic group, mothers seek out other mothers for support and advice. Not surprisingly, the highest-visited category for moms online is community areas, also known as social networking sites. While visits to family and kids' sites actually dropped among females with children in the last year, community sites attracted 70% of mothers online.

Moms comprise 13% of the 48 million visitors on MySpace.com, and are pouring onto sites set up just for them, such as ClubMom and NewBaby.com. Meetup.com, a site facilitating in-person meetings of people with similar interests, has garnered more than 35,000 stay-at-home mother members.
Full Story

Few Top Corporations Establish Formal Policies Limiting Social Networking on the Internet

A sampling of corporate America's top IT executives reveals today's corporations do not have formal policies in place to manage and thus prevent data breaches/network attacks arising from employee social networking, such as instant messaging and surfing social community sites like MySpace.com. The survey was conducted during the twice-annual Storage Networking World Conference, an event designed specifically for IT executives and managers. Co-owned by Computerworld and the Storage Networking Industry Association, SNW is the world's largest IT storage networking event.

As online social networking has increased with popular sites such as MySpace.com and Second Life as well as the use of instant messaging technology, IT executives are faced with a growing concern of protecting their computer networks from viruses and other attacks that can penetrate an IT enterprise from them. Two-thirds of the conference attendees participating in the survey said their companies have no formal social networking policy in place. Of the 33 percent that do have policies in place, 77 percent said their policies covered "selective blocking" while 23 percent said they blocked all external networking.
Full Story


Internet, Television, and the World Converge at Wi-FiTV.Com New Web Site


World television goes online as WiFi TV, Inc. launches the first ever web site containing one-page, one-click access to live TV channels from around the world, free PC to PC and PC to phone voice-over-Internet phone calls, and news stories from each represented country. The new Wi-Fi TV Inc. web site features hundreds of channels, hundreds of constantly updated and regionalized news headlines and stories, and a no-cost local and long distance phone service. An embedded TV screen on the Wi-Fi TV web site, which can be viewed on a laptop or desktop PC, or delivered to a TV monitor, is accessible for free to global Internet users. Ads which are targeted to each country and topic for which channels are provided are a source of revenue to Wi-Fi TV Inc., and hundreds of dynamic and rotating ads are now online.
Full Story


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