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comp.groupware FAQ: Products5: Frequently Asked Questions

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Archive-name: comp-groupware-faq/products5
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1995.9.8
Version: 3.3
Copyright: 1990 - 1995 (C) David S. Stodolsky, PhD

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Groupware Products - Part 5

Internet conference to Notes database
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
From: (Joseph Jesson)
Subject: Re: Converting internet conference to Notes database
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 1994 23:07:49 GMT

  Our product(s) does exactly that without the intermediate import
requirement.  A UNIX spooled file injected into a Notes Database is
available for $320.00 (use your UNIX shell account and rn to collect
the newsgroups of interest.

 A full-blown NNTP-to-Notes production gateway goes for $8,700
per Notes server and completes a real-time translation of an NNTP
newsfeed into Notes.   

   Joe Jesson,  708-356-6817

Lite, fast, Conferencing system
From: (Ben Polk)
Subject: Re: Looking for lite, fast, Conferencing system...
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 23:10:14 GMT

Jerry Cashman ( wrote:
: Hi all,

: I'm looking for a small, fast,  LAN based (NETbios) Windows, conferencing tool.

: A pretty basic feature set is required, almost NEWS like. (Groups, Articles, 
: Threads & binary file attachments or OLE support.)

: I don't want to go to the (IMHO) expense or hassle of Notes...

"small, fast, LAN based... Windows conferencing tool".  Sounds like a
description of the Share product from Collabra (where I work).  Share is
easy to use and manage, as well as reasonably priced.  It's also won
a litany of software awards which I will refrain from repeating here.

Our Australian distributor is:

ITS (Information Technology Solutions)
Phone: 011-613-826-6522
Fax:   011-613-824-1488

Collabra's USA number is 1-800-474-7427

If you are calling Collabra from outside the US, the number is 

For people using Novell Groupwise, call Novell at 800-861-2507
for information about the version of Collabra Share included in

For people using Banyan e-mail systems, call Banyan at 800-222-6926
for information about Share included with the Banyan messaging 
products.  If you are using Vines, but not one of the Banyan mail 
systems, contact Collabra directly.

From: (The Alchemist)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: Looking for lite, fast, Conferencing system...
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 1995 07:54:41

In article <3g3jhd$> (John Culbert) writes:

>I've looked into Collabra Share and it looks to be a very strong 
>conferencing program. One of the magazines called it Lotus Notes, Jr. 
>Call 800-474-7427 and they'll send you a demo.

It's more of a document management program, like Notes. The latest Network 
World did call it "Notes Jr," but it mentions that you don't get all the 
functionality of Notes. 

If you want realtime confrencing, there are a few more products on the market 
- Including one by Toshiba - that are focused on confrencing. Notes and 
Collabra Share are more directed towards document management and workflow.

- Kevin Sonney

From: (Trax Softworks)
Subject: Re: Collabra Share
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 1995 00:04:55 GMT

We have placed an evaluation copy of TeamTalk, our group 
conferencing package, into an anonymous FTP directory.  This 
evaluation version is the same as the full product, except that it 
will stop working after 500 appends.

It is available from, in the directory 

The file that is out there is a 1.8meg file,  I kept 
it one file so a person can do a single ftp get.  After they have 
it on their PC they can unzip it and it becomes 4 files which can 
be put on 2 diskettes if they wish to move it to another machine.

There is also a small readme.wri file with info about TeamTalk if 
you'd like to check that out before committing to a 1.8 Meg 

Here is some basic info about TeamTalk:

TeamTalk is a graphical conference system designed to enhance 
communication among groups.  It works on a network and can be 
accessed by anyone who can access the files or has an e-mail 

TeamTalk offers a unique way to share ideas and data throughout 
the organization: TeamTalk members communicate through named 
conversations, known as Topics.  Each conversation appears as one 
continuous document instead of a list of messages; this provides a 
continuity not possible in bulletin board and e-mail systems.  
Comments can be typed directly into each individual topic, and, 
through TeamTalk's OLE 2.0 support, objects created in other 
applications can be included in comments.  Any TeamTalk member can 
review and add to public topics, and they can join topics so they 
are notified of new additions.

If you would like to begin a new conversation based on an existing 
conversation, it is simple to create a new topic within an 
existing one.  TeamTalk is hierarchical; you can add topics within 
topics, down as many levels as necessary.  Thus, topics can get 
more and more specific.  And since each topic has a separate 
membership, you read only those you are interested in.

For confidential conversations, TeamTalk offers private topics.  
Only topic members know they exist and can review them.


* IBM compatible PC, 80286 or higher CPU
* 4 Megabytes of memory
* 5 Megabytes of disk space
* Microsoft Windows 3.1 or higher
* Any network that supports DOS shared files (i.e., Microsoft 
Windows for Workgroups or Windows NT, Novell NetWare, LAN Manager, 
Artisoft LANtastic)


5 User Pack           $   395
25 User Pack          $ 1,775
50 User Pack          $ 3,450
100 User Pack         $ 6,700
250 User Pack         $16,250
500 User Pack         $31,500
1000 User Pack        $61,000

FOR-TRAX), or 310-649-5800, or send e-mail to, 
or fax 310-649-6200.

From: (Daniel Mittleman)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: Looking for lite, fast, Conferencing system...
Date: 27 Jan 1995 09:09 MST

    On the subject of inexpensive conferencing systems I just want to note:
    many people have dismissed GroupSystems as an inexpensive conferencing
    system because of its price, while at the same time acknowledging it to
    be the Rolls Royce of conferencing systems (or something like that.)

    Two or three years ago the list price for GroupSystems was about
    $44,000 which placed it out of many people's pocketbooks.  Now,
    GroupSystems for Windows has a list price of $8,950 for a ten user
    license and a two user proof-of-concept license is $995 (with that $995
    counting towards the purchase of a future large scale license if one
    chooses to adopt and upgrade.)  So it still isn't chicken feed, but it
    brings the software down to the price range of many more people.  (It
    should also be noted that there is a program to support low-cost or
    no-cost licensing for academic researchers doing EMS studies with it.)

    The conferencing supported on it is much more structured and
    sophisticated that most other (all other?) products on the market.  And
    GroupSystems will run over a LAN for local conferencing or a WAN for
    distance conferencing.  The June 14, 1994 _PC Magazine_ reviews
    GroupSystems (DOS version) and several other meeting and conferencing
    systems.  This issue is a must read for someone trying to decide what
    kind and what brand of conferencing groupware to purchase.

    (Disclaimer: while I don't work for Ventana - the marketer of
    GroupSystems - my dissertation advisor is CEO of the company, so I have
    obvious biases.) 

From: (Steve Cloutier - Notes 'R Us)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Web Forums Anyone? Check out WebNotes
Date: 1 Feb 95 16:58:14 -0500

Web Conferencing anyone?

We have created WebNotes, a Web interface to our NetNotes Forums and 
Conferencing system.

NetNotes and WebNotes are organized into topics and replies.  Binary
attachments to notes are supported.  NetNotes features multi-level
security, but is very easy to set up and manage.

The NetNotes / WebNotes server has a built-in text retrieval system.  All
notes are indexed "live" as they are entered.

Note: Although WebNotes is quite usable and functional, it is still - as they
say on the Web - "Undergoing some Construction" - so this is a good time to
make comments, suggestions, etc. before everything is "frozen".

The URL to WebNotes is:

Be sure the check out the 'Read This First' before proceeding too far!

Please place any bug reports, suggestions, etc in the NetNotes conference
(using WebNotes or NetNotes), or if you cannot do that for some reason,
please send mail to:

NetNotes is a superset of DEC Notes and Vax Notes (hence the name), for those
who are familiar with DEC Notes...  We released the first NetNotes product
almost 5 years ago.  The Web implementation is farily recent.

www group annotations
From: Marc-Andre Schenk <>
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: WDA: www group annotations
Date: 19 Jan 1995 21:25:05 GMT

I already announced this the last week of December.
Sorry for those of you who were working during that
I have written a small prototype allowing group
annotations of Web documents. A draft of an article
describing WDA is at URL

I'd really appreciate your comments (annotations) on
this article (I take all comments, good or bad).

On another subject:
For those of you who do not yet know  Ubique's
Virtual Places(TM), I *strongly* urge you to check the
This is certainly THE BEST groupware tool on the Web.
Download their sesame viewer if you have a UNIX box, we
will be able to meet "in some Web document" and I'll take
you for a ride on my bus.
Hurry up Ubique is going to be very successful.
Marc-Andre Schenk

From: (Mark Roseman)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: permissions in GroupKit
Date: 18 Oct 94 13:51:55

> In GrouKit you can send commands with 4gk_toAll4 or 4gk_toUserNr4.
> I want to make a command like 4gk_toGroup4. Each participant of a
> conference is a member of a special usergroup. So when you send a command
> with 4gk_toGroup4 only the members of this group will receive the message.
> If there is anybody out there you have informations about this topic or
> knows where to get informations about it, please tell me!

look at the code in gk_toAll from conf.tcl; you'll need to write a
function that determines if a particular user is in the group, then
simply call this function within the loop to determine if you want
to send that person the message.

From: (Mark Roseman)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware,comp.lang.tcl
Subject: ANNOUNCE: GroupKit 3.0 available for ftp
Date: 6 Feb 1995 23:34:27 GMT

Version 3.0 of GroupKit is available for ftp at:


There is also a compiled version available if you happen to be running on
a Sun workstation under SunOS 4.1.3.

What is GroupKit?
GroupKit is a freely-available toolkit for developing real-time groupware
systems such as shared text editors, drawing programs, meeting support
tools and so on.  GroupKit runs on Unix systems under X11, and is based
on the Tcl/Tk language (also freely available) from UC Berkeley.
GroupKit is designed to make developing groupware tools only "slightly
harder" than single user tools, and has a very quick learning time, even
if you don't know Tcl or Tk.  Its been used in a number of HCI/CSCW
courses at different universities for example.

Whats New in Version 3.0?
There's been some fairly substantial changes since version 2.2, mainly
to do with events and environments.  Events let you know when "interesting"
things happen in the groupware conference, and environments provide a
shareable data structure for exchanging information between conferences.
As well, there is a "class builder" for designing new compound widgets
(several, such as a multi-user scrollbar are included), and support for
building new conference management systems has been completely overhauled.

Where do I go for more info?
Please check out the information on our World Wide Web page:

There is also a mailing list,, which
anyone using GroupKit should probably join; drop a note to  Bug reports and other comments
should be addressed to  Also, if you're
doing anything particularly interesting with GroupKit we'd like to
hear about it.

Mark Roseman, Research Associate         phone: (403) 220-3532 / 220-6087
Dept. of Computer Science                fax: (403) 284-4707
University of Calgary                    email:
Calgary, Alta CANADA  T2N 1N4  

Quality at Work
From: schneider@horus
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: QDM
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 1995 16:29:13

In article <3heidf$> Paul Gustafson <> writes:
>From: Paul Gustafson <>
>Subject: QDM
>Date: 10 Feb 1995 02:18:23 GMT

>Looking for any info on the QDM "Quality at Work" groupware product ...

Quality Decision Management, Inc.
200 Sutton Street, Suite 225
North Andover, MA 01845

Uli Schneider, Siemens Nixdorf AG, Munich, Germany

From: (Bela Feher)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: Wanted:  Whiteboard for Mac/PC
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 1994 00:27:05 GMT

Contact Group Logic, Inc. at 1408 N. Fillmore St., Suite 10, Arlington V
22201 (703) 528-1555 or (703) 528-3296 (fax) re: their product
"Whiteboard". It is a cross-platform commercial product recently available
and I'm sure they would be glad to provide info about it.

Bela Feher                                                619/553-9226
NCCOSC RDTE Div 44210                           619/553-9229 (fax)
San Diego CA 92152-7252                 

From: (Mike Plusch)
Subject: Inexpensive shared computer whiteboard for Macs
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 22:42:08 GMT

In my company, we've implemented a relatively cheap computer 
whiteboard with off-the-shelf hardware and applications.

- runs on Macs or PCs
- allows multiple users to share a computer (via Timbuktu)
- computer whiteboard using pen tablets (Walcom, or MacHandwriter)
  and a shareware application called LightningPaint

Sample scenario of ad-hoc global meeting:
There is a tablet at each site that anybody can use.  When you want a
inter-site meeting with a shared whiteboard, you borrow a tablet at your
site, then conference call the participants (it's best with a 
full-duplex speaker phone).  Then use Timbuktu to
get people connected to one shared machine running a paint program 
(and any other program you want to share).  Participants can also run 
other applications on their local machine for a private workspace.
Since current applications only support one cursor, set the protocol
that you have control of the shared-computer when you are talking, and 
you give up control when the cursor stops moving.
The paint program provides a good whiteboard although you can share
any application on the computer.

- a pen-based tablet at each site that can be moved
between computers.
- all computers have Timbuktu installed.
- the shared computer has a simple paint program

LightningPaint is a cheap, fast paint program called that works well
with the tablets and free-hand drawings/text.

You can easily annotate a screen by taking a screen snapshot using
command-shift-3, then opening the Screen1 document with LightningPaint.

With Timbuktu it's easy to let someone share your computer on an ad-hoc
basis by admitting temporary guests.

Software and hardware used with prices and suppliers.
LightningPaint 1.1,  $14
available via ftp from
by Humayun Lari, 14117 Frontier Ln, Burnsville MN 55337  USA

Walcom tablets, MacHandwriter
from MacConnection/MacWarehouse about $325

Timbuktu Pro
from MacConnection/MacWarehouse for $43 per license in a 30-pack.

From: (Daniel Mittleman)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: Whiteboard capability needed
Date: 26 Feb 1995 16:18 MST

In article <3iqp6s$>, crc@earth (John Graaff/Cheyenne Research Corp) writes...
>What capabilities are available for a small business consulting firm to 
>offer same time/different place whiteboard capabilities?  We would like to 
>offer more than just text.

    Consider IBM's Person2Person, Intel's ProShare, and Ventana's
    GroupSystems for Windows all of which contain whiteboard modules which
    will work in same time/different place environments.

    Groupsystems contains lots of other packaged software (for
    brainstorming, group discussions, voting, and meeting management) which
    you haven't indicated you are interested in (and therefore costs more
    money), so if you want just a whiteboard either of the two former
    products might be the right solution for you.

    All three products have some differences among what kinds of transport
    environments they function in (LAN, WAN, ISDN, Internet, etc.), P2P and
    ProShare support full motion video, P2P and ProShare are only point to
    point right now (I think) while Groupsystems is multi-point, and all
    three have different application suites so you might want to check them
    all out to see which best meets your needs.

    Intel can be reached at:  800-538-3373 in the US and Canada
                              +44-793-431155 in Europe
                              +1-503-629-7354 from other locations

    Ventana can be reached at: 800-368-6338 in the US
                               1-602-325-8228 from other locations
                      via internet

    And depending upon your specific planned use of the environment, you
    might want to consider including Xerox's Liveboard or Smart
    Technology's SmartSystem 2000.  Both would give you a 4x6 foot white
    board in each conference room which your meeting participants could
    sketch on.

daniel david mittleman     -     -     (602) 621-2932

    [disclaimer: I don't work for any of these three companies, but I do
    work for the CEO of Ventana so have bias in that direction.]

From: (Insitu Inc.)
Subject: Re: Whiteboard capability needed
Organization: Insitu Inc.
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 1995 03:13:59 GMT

John Graaff/Cheyenne Research Corp (crc@earth) wrote:
: What capabilities are available for a small business consulting firm to 
: offer same time/different place whiteboard capabilities?  We would like to 
: offer more than just text.

Insitu has released a distributed real time document/object editing suite 
which incorporates OLE 2.0, Windows Sockets & TAPI. This means a group of 
you can edit a document from MS Word, for example, in realtime and each 
retain a copy afterwards.

A 30-day demo copy is available on our BBS at +1 (617) 279 3118 and via 
anonymous FTP (email for details)

Insitu Conference is the first Microsoft Windows document conferencing
software to fully utilize the power and potential of Object Linking &
Embedding 2.0 (OLE) via a TCP/IP network. 

Insitu Conference forms the bridge between the integrated office computing
environment (through OLE) and networked PCP2s (TCP/IP).

The Product

Insitu Conference combines
 .M OLE 2.0 Distributed Container
 .M Industry standard Windows Sockets 1.1 TCP/IP networking
 .M Shared Whiteboard for annotating documents and images
 .M Integrated Telephony through Microsoft/Intel Rg TAPI

Object Linking & Embedding

Insitu Conference is an OLE 2.0 compliant container, allowing users to
simultaneously comment on and edit documents created by other applications
from within Insitu ConferenceP2s familiar interface. The power of OLE 2.0
is enhanced through the implementation of a "distributed" container,
giving people the ability to freely distribute and edit documents over the
TCP/IP link. 

Windows Sockets 1.1

Networking connectivity has been implemented through the Windows Sockets
1.1 API guaranteeing TCP/IP vendor independent compatibility.

Annotation tools

The Insitu Conference environment supports capturing any image present on
the Windows desktop. 

Conferences can be formal, with a chairman or moderator controlling the
synchronization and flow of workspaces or a general free for all. 


The voice link is integrated into Insitu Conference through the
Microsoft/Intel Telephony API.

From: (Mike Eggleston)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: Whiteboard capability needed
Date: 27 Feb 1995 14:39:31 GMT

>>>>> "John" == John Graaff/Cheyenne Research Corp <crc@earth> writes:
In article <3iqp6s$> crc@earth (John Graaff/Cheyenne Research Corp) writes:

> What capabilities are available for a small business consulting firm
> to offer same time/different place whiteboard capabilities?  We
> would like to offer more than just text.

It would be simplest to me to use the Tk/Tcl system with the TkDP
(Distributed Processing) extensions that come with a white board
application as part of the extensions.

Tk/Tcl:  (you need tcl and tk file both)
TkDP: (look for tkdp I think)

After all, its free and it works well.

BTW, this is for Unix and X-Windows.
Mike Eggleston       Walker Financial, Inc.
(817)732-0398        3909 Hulen Street
(817)735-1726 (FAX)  Fort Worth, Texas  76107

Market mechanism for e-mail volume
From: (Rodney Fuller)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: Market mechanism for e-mail volume
Date: 10 Jun 1994 12:49:07 -0700

In article <>, (Russell Thomas) writes:
|> I have an idea for controlling e-mail traffic volume based on a market 
|> approach.
|> rodney fuller ( wrote:
|> > There are different ways to measure communication and coordination costs,
|> > and a good productivity analysis needs to look at several.
|> Why not control e-mail traffic volume by making the communication and 
|> coordination costs visible in the system as a form of real-time control?

This is actually what my dissertation is on--finding adaptive metrics
of coordination.  Won't be done for a year or so, but It's nice to hear
people talking about the ideas for use in general DSS applications.

|> Imagine this: Each user of e-mail starts out with a "bank account" for
|> e-mail (some function of # messages, message size, # recipients, etc.). 
|> Each message sent would have a "cost" deducted from the "bank account". 
|> Each sender's "bank account" is replenshed by the "credits" which come
|> back from recipients, who in essense vote on the value of the message. 
|> The entire "accounting" system could be managed by the mail system, e.g.
|> the mail reader/client could have a simple mechanism for recording the
|> vote and forwarding it back to the sender's account. 
|> Thus, people who send fewer, shorter, higher-valued messages would be 
|> rewarded and junk e-mailers would soon be deprived of the capacity to 
|> send anything.
|> The system could be extended to include e-mail screening.

I think screening and allowing are two different issues--and there are 
many dynamics to it.  The system you propose will LIMIT without
selectively attending to differences in communication style, linguistic
use of experts and novices, brainstorming and consensus making activities
while allowing for some serious conflicts.  The situations where those
kinds of characteristics are beneficial are limited (but the US military
before 1974 and today's HMO come to mind--organizations that resist
change will be your best market for such a tool).

Or!  You could just be a bit more selective in how you limit
communication and get a really great tool that allows for sustained 
coordination within a dynamic environment.  You might want to read some 
semiotics for ideas--Claude Vogel comes to mind if you read french,
but only because he is sitting behind me right now.

|> What do you think?  Does any mail or conferencing system do this?

I have a few firms asking me to develop this based on my published 
papers.  There seems to be a lot of interest into the application
of coordination metrics.

Rodney Fuller or

Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: Market mechanism for e-mail volume
Date: 15 Jun 1994 18:30:07 -0500

Russell Thomas writes, "What do you think?  Does any mail or conferencing
system do this?" in reference to his market mechanism for e-mail volume.

The American Information Exchange Corporation, a subsidiary of Autodesk, was
an electronic market system service.  AMiX had a regular email system, but
it also had a negotiable contracting feature (you post a Request or Propose
to another party, come to an Agreement, and then the system would
automatically track contract terms (payment and delivery times) and handle
the account management (debit/credit, with periodic clearings; i.e., they
served as an account clearinghouse for multiple parties).

As system usage evolved, the negotiable contracting feature turned out be a
nice feature for email.  While it did not replace the use of the regular
email system (to nitpick just a little with Michael Rothschild's article in
a recent _Forbes ASAP_), it was popularly used to pay someone to read or pay
attention to one's email, in such terms as "OFFER: $1 for reading and
replying to my query about ...".  Of course, the contracting feature was
used for substantial dollar amounts as well, such as online mini-consulting
as originally envisioned by the designers.

Currently, Agorics, Inc. in Los Altos is developing computational market
solutions.  A recent demo at Sun Microsystem's Interop booth showed
computational markets in use to allocate network bandwidth -- to bid for
higher Quality of Service (larger window, more colors, less compression) for
real-time video, for example.

Kevin Lacobie
Agoric Enterprises, Inc.


David S. Stodolsky      Euromath Center     University of Copenhagen   Tel.: +45 38 33 03 30   Fax: +45 38 33 88 80 (C)

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