X-Message-Number: 3369
From: whscad1!kqb (Kevin Q Brown +1 201 386 7344)
Subject: CRYONICS: Moving CryoNet

I want to move CryoNet to a non-AT&T site and integrate it and
(a subset of) the archives with some cryonics Web pages on WWW
(World Wide Web).  My reasons for doing this are listed later.
First, though, here is how it likely will affect you:

  (1) CryoNet will continue to run.
  (2) The mailing list will use an ID such as "cryonics" (or "cryonet")
      for posting to the list, which is more intuitive than "kqb".
      It also will use more standard user IDs for other list functions,
      such as "cryonics-request" for automated subscribe/unsubscribe and
      "cryonics-owner" to post the messages (and received bounced email).
      The use of separate user IDs for separate functions is a useful
      convention that has become standard for Internet mailing lists.
      That's much better than overloading the single id "kqb" with all
      those tasks.  The new mailing list also will use a standard
      convention for retrieving archive files, such as a "get" command.
      (The keywords "CRYONICS" and "CRYOMSG" used by the current mailing
      list are functional, but nonintuitive for people who have
      subscribed to other mailing lists.)
  (3) If you have WWW access, you'll have better access to (selected)
      CryoNet archives plus some nice Web pages.  These Web pages
      will not only point to Tim Freeman's cryonics FAQ, which he
      converted to HTML quite awhile ago, but also provide a lot of
      additional material.  (For more information about WWW, and the
      Mosaic browser in particular, see the Oct. 1994 issue of "Wired"
  (4) Cryonics-in-general should receive greater visibility when
      both the Web pages and the mailing list, with archives, are
      no longer hidden behind corporate firewalls.

  (1) The archiving and archive retrieval capabilities of standard
      mailing list software are not as flexible as I would like.
  (2) Saving up to 15 megabytes of archives on a commercial server
      would cost a lot of money each month, so I'll keep only part
      of the archives on-line there.
  (3) Not everything will work quite right at the start, since
      specialized features (such as automatic forwarding of
      SCI.CRYONICS messages to the sci.cryonics news group)
      are not in standard mailing list packages.
  (4) If you are not familiar with other Internet mailing lists,
      you'll need to learn new commands for posting messages,
      subscribing/unsubscribing, retrieving messages, etc.

Here is how you can help:

  (1) I will need logos to put on the Web pages for the list of
      organizations (currently message #0004).  Small, color GIF files
      would be best (for Mosaic users) but I can convert several
      other formats, too.  One exception is Postscript, which I usually
      cannot convert to other formats easily.
  (2) I think that I have found a commercial Internet access provider
      that is reliable, able to support a mailing list with archives
      integrated with WWW, and not too expensive.  If this one does
      not work out, though, then I'll need to find alternatives and
      any suggestions you may have will be quite welcome.  Please note
      that WWW access to the mailing list archives probably will require
      user-programmed CGI scripts, which not all sites will allow.
  (3) Running the cryonics mailing list and Web pages probably will
      cost about $50. / month and, if my first choice in service provider
      does not work out, possibly much more.  I would rather not have
      to pay all that money out of my own pocket, but I am not sure
      of the best way to raise money to lessen the financial blow.
      I _don't_ want to charge anyone to receive the mailing list,
      so that is not an option.  Also, considering how contentious
      the communications get at times, I don't want anybody (or any
      organization) to contribute a lot of money and expect the
      communications on the list to thereby grant them some favoritism.
      Perhaps the Web pages could include a list of contributors?
      Other ideas?  Comments?  Suggestions?

In case you were wondering what else is prompting me to make this change,
here are some more reasons:

  (1) CryoNet always has been an unofficial enterprise, rather than
      an activity officially approved by corporate management.
      Given that AT&T Bell Labs people are not allowed to moderate
      USENET news groups (due to some corporate ruling), running a
      small mailing list must be just within the corporate guidelines.
      (FYI: That ruling was the main reason why sci.cryonics was
      created as an UNmoderated USENET news group.)  Further compounding
      that is the automatic forwarding of the SCI.CRYONICS messages to
      sci.cryonics, each message of which clearly shows my corporate
      email address.  Given all that, you may wonder why I run CryoNet.
      I use Grace Hopper's suggestion:
         "If it's a good idea, go ahead and do it.
          It's much easier to apologize than it is to get permission."
  (2) The mailing list keeps growing, in both readers and volume,
      and it is no longer such a small, negligible user of Internet
      email from my local Sun network.
  (3) The mailing list is a lot more visible to the rest of the world now.
      Along with the rest of the Internet, this mailing list has been
      getting much more publicity within the past year than ever before.
      Several people have published (paper) books on the Internet that
      include a listing for CryoNet with my name and corporate email
      address and various Internet catalogs now include it (along with
      the thousands of other net resources).
  (4) My job (or email address) may change, since my department is
      in a lot more flux now than it has been since I joined in 1980.
      (This could happen as early as a few months from now, but more
      likely a year or so.)
  (5) A separate email address for the mailing list gives me a better
      separation between work and CryoNet.
  (6) The recent "upgrade" to my USENET machine has partially broken my
      sci.cryonics auto-forwarding capability.  (If I don't log in to
      my USENET machine, and renew my password, within 12 hours of
      mailblast time, the forwarding will fail.  Expect complete
      failure while I am on vacation and partial failure on weekends
      and on weekdays when I'm too busy to log in.)
  (7) Since U.S. liability law places those with "deep pockets" most
      at risk, a posting that is somehow actionable may result in a
      lawsuit against AT&T (the "deep pockets"), which surely wouldn't
      improve my employment situation either.  Even a simple thing like
      forwarding (to sci.cryonics via the mailing list) a copyrighted
      article may provoke something like that.  (Also, AT&T is very
      conservative when it comes to respecting copyrights, etc.)
  (8) Moving to standard software makes the mailing list more portable
      and moving to a non-corporate site opens the possibility that
      someone else could administer the list while I am off-line.
  (9) I cannot easily, if at all, provide CryoNet Web pages to the
      Internet from behind the corporate firewalls.  That is why archive
      file access is done only via email; anonymous ftp is unavailable.
      In fact, even "anonymous" email access to files on corporate
      machines (the CryoNet archives) raises a security problem, and
      I have taken pains to ensure that nothing but the CryoNet
      archives can be retrieved that way.

Why do I want Web pages?

  (1) WWW gives nearly instant graphical and textual access to cryonics
      documents, pictures, etc., which is much better than email access.
  (2) The Mosaic WWW browser is slick; you just point at whatever looks
      interesting to you and with one click of the mouse you have it,
      without even having to know what continent you grabbed it from
      and without having to know how to display it or play it.
      If you haven't seen Mosaic there is no way you can appreciate it.
      It is being seriously called the "killer ap" of the Internet
      (much as the spreadsheet was the "killer ap" that prompted
      corporations to start buying PCs in the early 1980s).  Expect this
      type of Internet access to be nearly as common as email within a
      few years; Web growth is estimated to be about three times as fast
      (percentage-wise) as Internet growth and Internet growth is explosive.
  (3) When on-line commercial transactions become common in a few years,
      they will be done with an interactive, multi-media interface such
      as Mosaic, not via email.  Even with the current limitations
      (such as lacking built-in secure encryption) commercial business
      is jumping onto the Internet at a hectic pace.  For example,
      the Internet Mall, a large compendium of on-line businesses,
      recently grew by 30% in just two weeks.  Setting up CryoNet
      Web pages thus is an important educational experience for
      other endeavors, too.

Another Possible Enhancement

    One more possibility for this conversion is to create a new domain,
    such as "cryonet.org", giving the mailing list the addresses:
    for posting,
    for subscribing/unsubscribing, and
    for sending the mailings (and receiving the bounced email).
    Some sites support such domains inexpensively, so this doesn't
    have to be an expensive luxury.

    Creating the domain "cryonet.org" gives not only a nifty name for
    the email addresses but, perhaps more importantly, it makes the
    mailing list more portable.  The mailing list could move to another
    site and retain the same email address!  (It's kind of like the
    various flavors of portable telephone numbers that some people are
    getting these days.)  I have already submitted a request to
    InterNIC for this domain, but it may be weeks before I receive a
    confirmation that it has been created.

    FYI: The domain "cryonics.com" is already taken by a Phoenix, AZ
    organization called "Cryonics Research, Corp.".

Schedule (subject to change)

During November I'll not only fine-tune the initial CryoNet web pages
but also set up a prototype mailing list.  By December I would
like to have a few volunteers try out the prototype mailing list and
by 1995 I would like to move all of CryoNet to the new site.

You may wonder why I am allowing so much time for the transition.
The main reason is that some development is needed; no standard
mailing list software does quite what I want and I also need to
develop CGI scripts for the Web pages to access the mailing list
archives.  (Note: Archives still will be accessible via email;
I just want to make them accessible from the Web pages, too.)
Given that I have only a few hours of spare time each week to do
that, it will take several weeks to complete.

Comments?  Questions?

                              Kevin Q. Brown

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