If our web site was to host travelogues written
daily by our team we would need an easy way to send these reports home
and put them on the site. The emphasis is on the word easy. We looked
at a lot of travelogue writing and wanted to do more than text updates
so Nick made a few calls and arranged a satellite telephone terminal that
could be used to "phone in" an audio update, no matter where we were in
the world. And he quickly came up with a process to ensure our calls would
be heard on the Internet.
"Leave a voicemail!" he said. This was our
main approach to deliver content to an internet audience. MVS/USA sponsored
us by loaning an InmarSat Mini-M Satellite Terminal that we used for e-mail,
fax, and voice calls. Calls from anywhere in the world to our voicemail
box cost only $1.90 per minute; and the sound quality was remarkable.
Each day we traveled we used the Sat-phone to call a voicemail box located
in Santa Clara, California. Our team took turns delivering daily reports,
packed with information, facts, and amusing stories. Our lead DST member,
Richard Smith happened to be the Telecom Administrator at work so we used
his voicemail system. He was able to increase the mailbox size so it could
hold multiple messages. He also had to increase the message time-out to
fifteen minutes allowing us to leave longer reports without having to
piece them together. Keep it simple or it wonıt happen. That was our motto.
Richard checked his voicemail box daily for new messages. When one arrived he would use a cheap Radio Shack telephone recorder, hooked to his computerıs sound card, to record each message. Then he saved the message in the now popular .MP3 sound format. The tremendous audio compression offered by the .MP3 standard reduces a ten minute message to about 900K. The final step was to transfer (FTP) the .MP3 file and create the necessary HTML code to make it available. This wasnıt simple at first but eventually it became simple. Finally, Richard would notify the remaining DST volunteers and one of them would transcribe the audio to make a text version available. This was time consuming and naturally resulted in misspelling of places and names so our team began typing the journal reports ourselves and sending them via e-mail.
The Domestic Support Team
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