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Amateur Yacht Research Society, February 1997 Newsletter

The Future of AYRS (Part 2)

Tony Kitson, 24 Constance Rd, Twickenham, Middx, TW2 7HY, UK

This newsletter has been produced early, in time to inform members of the AGM. You should find an enclosure listing the nominations for election to the committee and any resolutions that may require a vote at the meeting. Time constraints preclude such information being included in this Newsletter.

The last Newsletter contained several items gleaned from the AYRS 'list' on internet, and this one continues the trend. Much of the contents of this issue have been abstracted from correspondence in the AYRS 'list'. Simon Fishwick, exiled to Brussels at present, has done a great job in editing the internet messages for presentation here. This really is an internet 'special' because Simon sends the edited material via internet email for me to format and print. This all helps us to get the news out to you promptly and, I hope, efficiently.

The committee intends to hold a discussion of the internet and its implications for the society at the AGM (see agenda item 7 below). If you have a view on this topic please try to be there, or let us know your opinion prior to the meeting.

 

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Notice of the 32nd Annual General Meeting.

(Please Note: This Newsletter was published in February, 1997. Announcements, Dates and Times herein are appropriate to that time-frame, and may be completely inaccurate as of the time you are readingthis--Ed.)

The 33rd Annual General Meeting of AYRS will be held on Tuesday 4th March 1997 at approximately 8.00 pm immediately after a directors (committee) meeting at 7.30 pm at the London Corinthian Sailing Club, Linden House, Upper Mall, London W6.

AYRS on the Internet (Part 2)

Tony Kitson, 24 Constance Rd, Twickenham, Middx, TW2 7HY, UK

The last Newsletter talked about AYRS on the internet, and the committee proposes to discuss the implications of internet for AYRS, but for many the question is still 'what is the internet?'. I hope that the following, personal view, may be helpful for those who are wondering just that.

Most of you will know that the internet is a form of electronic communication for computer 'freaks', but it has become much more than that. Industry, commerce and government are now catching up with academia's use of this method of instant communication. You still need a computer and a modem (communications adapter to connect your computer to your telephone) and an account with a connection supplier, but the set-up cost can be a couple of hundred pounds and connection service around twelve pounds per month. What do you get for this?

Internet is the generic term for a set of services including mail, file transfer and computer to computer link-up. The main services of interest to AYRS members are email and the World Wide Web (WWW or simply the Web).

Email allows you to send a message to anyone whose internet address you know, this is just like the ordinary mail service but faster! Mail gets delivered anywhere in the world within minutes (or at the worst peak times an hour or so). This is good, but it gets better. Because the messages are being routed between computers it is easy to duplicate them, ie send them to many recipients. This is often done by so called 'lists'. A list is an address to which you can send mail, this is then duplicated to anyone who is a subscriber (ie who has registered their own address on the list) to the list. This is the way that group discussions can take place.

If email is like a fast version of the postal service the Web is more like conventional publications. People set up Web 'pages' which are, in effect publications. Words, images, video and audio sequences can all be incorporated in Web pages. Whereas the email beats conventional mail in terms of speed, the Web beats conventional publishing in terms of cross referencing. A magazine may refer you to some original material in a book which you can then obtain and refer to. A Web page can contain 'links' to other Web pages (probably held on a different computer in a different part of the world) with a 'button' for you to press to gain instant access to that reference material.

There are many more wonderful aspects to internet such as 'search agents' which you can set to roam the computers offering information and find just that information you have specified. But the email lists and Web pages are probably all most people need to know about. Which is fortunate because they are all that I know anything about!

AYRS already runs its own 'list' which is approaching a membership of 100, and has a number of Web pages offering information about our society and our publications (including an on-line version of Fiona Sinclair's AYRS Index). The list provides a forum for lively discussion, as you can see from the exerpts published in this and the previous Newsletter.

Note: In the exerpts lines beginning with an > refer to sections of earlier correspondence which are then replied to. Also a number of internet abbreviations are included to confuse the unwary. For instance the commonly used IMHO or In My Humble Opinion, which means 'disagree with this if you dare'.

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The AYRS Newsletter is published quarterly by the Amateur Yacht Research Society Ltd, BCM AYRS, London WC1N 3XX, UK. The AYRS as a body is not however responsible for opinions expressed by individual authors.

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