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IFX Group 1996 Web Log

1996 Blog Entries
  1. Sadly Too True. (January)
  2. Supporting Patience. (February)
  3. IFX Group Web. (March)
  4. Long Words. (April)
  5. It's Officially Out! (May)
  6. VSysop is sold. (June)
  7. The Little Guy Hunting Big Game. (July)
  8. BBSCON = ISPCON. (August)
  9. Timeout. (September)
  10. Tape? (October)
  11. Big Changes. (November)
  12. Happy holidays again. (December)

January, 1996 - Sadly Too True.

Customer: I'm having trouble installing Microsoft Word.
Tech Support: Tell me what you've done.
Customer: I typed 'A:SETUP'.
Tech Support: Ma'am, remove the disk and tell me what it says.
Customer: It says 'Dell Restore and Recovery disk'.
Tech Support: Insert the MS Word setup disk.
Customer: What?
Tech Support: Did you buy MS word?
Customer No.


February, 1996 - Supporting Patience.

Providing technical support is both a science and an art. On one hand it requires quick access to answers for problems that may not always present themselves the same way with each customer. On the other hand it requires the ability to communicate with customers on a very wide range of levels of technical understanding. Some customers just want to know what key to press to make their problem go away. Others want to understand why the problem happened in the first place so they can avoid it next time around.

Please be understanding when you call technical support. Sometimes it takes a little time to find the right answer. Your patience will be rewarded.

The Professor's Desire

A female student shows up during a young professor's office hours. She glances down the hall, closes his door and kneels at his feet, pleading.

I would do anything to pass the exam.

She leans closer to him, flipping back her hair, gazing meaningfully into his eyes and sensuously whispers I mean I would do... ANYTHING!

He returns her gaze. Anything?

Oh yes she said, anything!

He stared into her eyes, and in a whisper said Would you... Study?


March, 1996 - IFX Group Web.

The IFX Group web site has been in the works for quite a while now. Our engineers and designers are admittedly new to the concept of working in HTML and are experimenting with a wide range of other technologies to create an effective and useful interface. We appreciate any comments you may have as we implement these changes. Your input will help us help you better.


April, 1996 - Long Words.

How come abbreviated is such a long word? Why can't we just change these long words into more fitting words on our own? Or can we? The next time you are forced to write this word, use something like abrv8 instead and see what happens.


May, 1996 - It's Officially Out!

Today, May 1, 1996 is the official release date for version 1.1 of the IPAD. This is a big milestone for this innovative connectivity and service appliance. Over three years worth of dedicated work has been put into the IPAD so far to create a product that holds security, reliability and ease of use as the highest goals. Don't wait. Get your IPAD today!


June, 1996 - VSysop is sold.

The IFX Group has signed a deal with BBS Consultants, Inc. for them to buy all source code and rights to the Virtual Sysop game and all support modules. This sale will bring more intensive development to the popular online game and allows the IFX Group to focus more efforts on developing new products.

All currently licensed VSysop customers will retain the same rights to new versions and upgrades through BBSC just like you have enjoyed in the past. The IFX Group will still provide support for versions current as of June, 1996, but support questions about newer versions should be directed to BBSC. Keep looking for exciting new and innovative additions to the VSysop game in the near future.


July, 1996 - The Little Guy Hunting Big Game.

If you are a BBS operator that wants to get into the Internet Service Provider business, you have an amazing opportunity right in your own front yard. Adding an IPAD to your BBS will allow you to connect all of your users directly to the Internet. The IPAD is unique in that it allows users to call into your BBS and then loop through out to the Internet or users can dial directly into the IPAD and get faster performance. This allows you to leverage your current customer base and step nearly effortlessly into the ISP business. A large portion of the Internet Service Providers in the United States and Canada have started with just one BBS and are now growing into a booming market. Through all of this, remember that you can offer something the big corporations can't. Your experience of providing personal support to your local users is why your BBS customers call your system. This is the same level of service your customers will expect when they want to connect to the Internet. The big guys just can't play this game, but you can.


August, 1996 - BBSCON = ISPCON.

The ONE BBSCON show has been renamed this year to ONE ISPCON. This name change serves to reflect just how fast and hard the whole industry has shifted from focusing on the independent bulletin board system to talking about anything Internet. These are exciting times, but there is still hope for the little guy that wants a piece of the action.


September, 1996 - Timeout.

There is a concept that is very hard to explain to a computer. It is the concept of futility. Telling a computer when it is appropriate or not to give up a given task has proven to be a little more challenging than you might think. As a result, there are a whole lot of timers sprinkled all over the place in all kinds of programs to tell each of the programs when they should give up. These are most often call Time Out values. Whatever the word, if you know what to look for, you can make these time values better fit the way you work. For example, most email client programs are set by default to give up on an Internet connection attempt to your mail server in about a minute. This is way too short. If anything unexpected happens on any of the connections between you and your email server, half of the time out value could be spent resending the original connection request. As a result you won't be able to get your email and you will have to wait even longer before your email program attempts another connection. Instead, set the connection timeout as high as it will go. Some Microsoft products limit this time to 5 minutes, but whatever the case, use the maximum you can for the fastest connections under any conditions.


October, 1996 - Tape?

Customer: Uh, I need help unpacking my new PC.
Tech Support: What exactly is the problem?
Customer: I can't open the box.
Tech Support: Well, I'd remove the tape holding the box closed and go from there.
Customer: Uh ... OK, thanks.


November, 1996 - Big Changes.

The IFX Group web site has just made a major change. This change brings in a hand full of totally new concepts in navigation design and information presentation. We are still working to propagate these new design elements to all of the areas of the site, so please be patient if you notice some awkward mixtures of old and new styles for the next few days.


December, 1996 - Happy holidays again.

This year we have something special to offer. This is a choice of one out of a collection of power packs for our users. The first is a TDBS power pack that includes not only some of the most creative TBBS utility programs we have developed over the years, but it includes fully commented and documented source code to these tools so you can learn how they work and even teach yourself how to write new programs using the concepts we have presented. The second is a DOS power pack that makes it easier to automate maintenance of your workstations or servers. These tools also include fully commented source code and documentation designed to not only allow you to modify them, but also to learn how to write new programs. The last is an Internet power pack. This is a collection of tools and utilities we use every day to monitor our systems and connections, track activities and even script control over sometimes complicated activities. This is the only power pack that contains programs not developed exclusively by the IFX Group. As a result, only those tools written by the IFX Group will have source code included.

These special holiday power packs will only be available this month so get them while you can. They won't be here January 1st.