I thought I should write a short note updating all of you on my progress with various areas of the Nexus Web site and the WinInfo mailing list. Sometimes, it can appear that nothing is happening when, in fact, a lot of work is going on behind the scenes. The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind, but I have been trying to implement the DISCUSS section of the Nexus Web site while working on other projects. After much internal debate, I finally wiped out my Windows 95 installation and re-installed NT Server on my home machine. I did this so I could more easily install and test various servers I'll need for the DISCUSS page. For those of you who don't know, I work from home and basically telecommute. I live in Phoenix, Arizona, and the company I work for--and our Web server--are in the San Francisco Bay area.

In any event, now that NT is installed, I have installed the trial versions of Microsoft's new Chat and Internet Locator servers. The Chat server, as you might expect, is geared toward Web-based chatting with Microsoft's ActiveX Chat control, and MIC/IRC chatting with whatever clients you may want to use. I will be giving out Microsoft's Chat program (a stand-alone executable program) and will provide access to V-Chat, Comic Chat, and whatever other chat programs people may want. On that note, I need about ten beta testers to test the chat page on my home server, so if you're interested, please e-mail me at thurrott@netwrx.net. I expect the chat server stuff to go smoothly and should have that running rather quickly.

The Internet Locator server will enable us to host NetMeeting conferences. This one looks a little more complicated, so I will probably start working seriously with it when the Chat is up and running. Also, I am going to San Francisco on Friday night, so I will also install the Chat and Internet Locator servers on our Web server this weekend. Hopefully, Microsoft will show up with the full versions of the software (which are part of their Commercial Internet System, or MCIS): I asked them about it this past weekend.

I thought I had found a good piece of threaded discussion group software with O'Reilly's WebBoard, but I can't make the damn thing work as a service with IIS 3.0. I will try once more this week and contact them, but if this turns out to be a dead end, I will have to look elsewhere. If you know of any good NT-based threaded discussion group software, please let me know. If I have to, I will create it from scratch with Front Page 97, but that will take time and I'd rather have a dedicated package. I will probably look into Microsoft's News server, but I want something that is Web-based, and I don't know enough about that one yet.

I have received numerous books for review, so if you're interested in reviewing books for the Nexus Web site, please let me know (if you already wrote and mentioned that you were interested, your name and e-mail address is already on file). I suspect that we will begin mailing interested parties with more information about reviewing in the coming week. Since I will be in SFO next weekend, and it's likely that my boss will be dealing with you directly, we may wait to firm up plans until then. In any case, the book reviews are ready to go. We also have a small selection of Microsoft hardware and software that will be made available for review.

In other news, I also installed SQL Server 6.5 on my home NT box and am testing the Access Upsizing Wizard, which converts Access databases to SQL Server databases. This won't impact most of you that much, but what it does is allow our Web sites to handle far more concurrent users and speed access to the database-related portions of the sites. Once testing is complete, I will convert the WinInfo database--and our other databases--to SQL Server. It should be pretty transparent to the browser, however.

And, finally, you have probably noticed some odd WinInfo behavior in the past week, such as three WinInfos being delivered simultaneously one day last weekend. I am growing tired with the erratic behavior of the Best mailing list service, so I am currently looking into hosting the list myself. If Microsoft comes through with the MCIS servers (and I hope they do), I may use their new Internet Mail server. Otherwise, I am also looking at an interesting mail server called NTMail, which features a mailing list add-on called NTList. Basically, I want to mail out WinInfo every afternoon and have it arrive in your mailbox that evening, not hours, or even days, later. Hopefully I can get something going easily. I will keep you all posted.

Well, that was a little longer than I wanted it to be, but there you have it. If I can get all this done in addition to my other work, I'll be a happy man. Enjoy the news,

Pau