PHILADELPHIA REFLECTIONS
Musings of a Philadelphia Physician who has served the community for six decades

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The characteristic American behavior called volunteerism got its start with Benjamin Franklin's Junto, and has been a source of comment by foreign visitors ever since. It's still a very active force.

Use the Internet for Your Club (2)

First, take a look at what you are trying to achieve, and a handy example would be

http://www.philadelphia-reflections.com/images/missing_img.gif
Yahoo

http://www.yahoo.com/. You will see it is not a daily or a weekly, it is continuous. The page of the newspaper is a montage of ten or twelve blocks on a page. For example, one block might give you the month's schedule, another shows the sports scores, another shows the stock market, etc. Each one of those blocks is probably updated at a different time, making this a continuous newsletter, and of course there is a way provided to individualize the blocks of space, change the color schemes, etc. Since this newsletter is on the Internet, anyone can read it from anywhere in the world, at any time. That is, they can read it if they know the password, which some clubs want to keep private, and others prefer to skip because it is a nuisance when people forget what the password is.

What underlies this process is a technique known as RSS. Each block of space in the newspaper is operating on a different scheduling, and each blocks "polls" a donor site every so often, for example fifteen minutes. The polling program calls the URL of each donor site at a preset time, where a record is kept of the last time the site was modified. If the site has been changed since that last visit of the polling program, the new site is downloaded to the newsletter page. If there has been no change, the polling program simply goes on to the next-scheduled site. In effect, the polling program is acting as a "robot". Modifications of this system, with considerable elaboration, are at the heart of the Google robot and other robots for other purposes. Generally speaking, the ordinary user doesn't have to know how to construct one of these robots, or modify one. No doubt, there will be extensive elaboration of this concept in the near future, but that's essentially how you can construct a usable newsletter in short order.

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Ho ho, who wodula thunk it, right?
Posted by: Star   |   Sep 6, 2011 7:15 AM

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