GIAC Monthly Board Meeting - November 5, 1998
Conference Room, Greenbelt Police Station
M E E T I N G M I N U T E S
The meeting was held in the Conference Room of the Greenbelt Police Station.
Nancy Revis, President, presided over the meeting. The meeting began at 7 p.m.
Board Members present: Tom Crompton, Jim Heagy, Doug Love (late), Neil McLeod,
Chris Morris, Nancy Revis, Brian Schieber
Board Members absent: Ralph Bram
Others present: Ed James, Patty Merryman, Claude Revis, Ashok Saxena (SigmaNet
president; arrived at 8 pm)
ISP ELIMINATION / REPLACEMENT
Tom Crompton initiated a discussion about GIAC's ongoing problems with the
administration of ISP services and the dearth of volunteers. The discussion
recounted ideas that were floated at a recent officer's meeting. "Should GIAC be
in the ISP business at all?" was the focal point of much of the discussion. It
was pointed out that the quality of service from our ISP is poor, due in part to
SigmaNet's recent move (although later in the meeting assurances were given by
SigmaNet president Ashok Saxena that service would improve). The GIAC officers
are reluctant to continue to provide members ISP service at the level of effort
currently required. The officers have looked into rates associated with
transferring all ISP administration and billing to another ISP. It appears that
a move to a well-established provider could raise member rates to the $20/month
level. Another ISP possibility is NovaNetwork. Nancy and Tom recounted informal
discussions with Honoree Francois, formerly of the Greenbelt Library, who now
works for NovaNetwork. Honoree has expressed interest in helping GIAC.
NovaNetwork does domain hosting and has dialup access. They also claim to have
large corporate accounts. No price structure was discussed, but the impression
was given that NovaNetwork would offer competitive rates to GIAC members. Doug
Love has also called a few ISPs seeking out rates and services.
FUTURE OF GIAC
The issue was raised that if GIAC ceases to offer ISP service it makes little
sense to continue to call the organization "GIAC". The possibility of dissolving
the cooperative was raised. This would require that GIAC refund members,
although there was disagreement on the particulars of such a refund. Chris was
of the opinion that each member should be refunded the full share value, while
Neil stated that according to Maryland State law, refunds are limited to
$50/member, and that share value in excess of $50 is required to be given to an
existing nonprofit agency.
It was generally agreed that, even in the event of ISP service elimination or
the dissolution of GIAC, the organization should retain the greenbelt.com
BOARD MEMBER AVAILABILITY
Due to time constraints Ralph Bram has expressed interest in resigning his board
seat. Doug Love stated that soon he will not be available to help with classes,
as he is teaching a class at Bowie State.
A brief discussion was held on the VIP. Neil asked whether in fact VIP credit
was now being awarded to members for attending the monthly meeting. A check of
the previous month's minutes showed that Nancy had indeed made the decision to
give VIP credit for attending the monthly meeting.
Neil also asked if, in view of the decline in volunteerism, there were any plans
to raise the activity fee from the current amount of $3. There are no such
GIAC members welcomed Ashok Saxena, SigmaNet president, who was there to discuss
the recent outages and other disruptions with SigmaNet service and support.
Ashok explained that three events contributed to the severity of outages and
service disruptions. The first event was their move from the Greenbelt office to
an interim office in Germantown. Hardware is still located in Greenbelt, but it
is currently housed in another business space within their original building.
The long term plan is for SigmaNet to move their administrative headquarters to
Rockville (in ~ 3 months), but to keep some hardware in Greenbelt. The Greenbelt
site will be unmanned and they claim that they will be able to monitor this
hardware remotely from the Rockville site; monitoring will include the
capability to remotely reboot servers.
The second event was an ongoing clock problem with Bell Atlantic. This was
resulting in dialup users being kicked off. Ashok reported that this problem may
still be unresolved.
The third event was a disk failure in one of their servers. This required the
immediate and full attention of SigmaNet technical representatives and, as a
result, they could not properly attend to incoming trouble calls.
Ashok stated that SigmaNet is hiring new tech reps and that they are working on
getting more pagers for their technical staff. He also stated that operational
procedures at SigmaNet will be changed to give appropriate notice before planned
system outages. According to Ashok, the newly created account firstname.lastname@example.org
is being monitored.
Ashok concluded by saying that for SigmaNet, "the commitment is there" and "we
will do whatever is needed to makes things right." He also provided his personal
cell phone number for contacting him.
SigmaNet's current address is: SigmaNet, 13242 Executive Park Terrace,
Germantown, MD 20874
The next monthly meeting is December 3, 1998, at 7 p.m.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m. Side discussions continued afterward.
Jim Heagy, Secretary
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