AF opens IT show to onsite, virtual visitors

If you can't make it to Montgomery Ala. for this week's Air Force Information Technology Conference (AFITC) then check out the World Wide Web site set up by the Standard Systems Group host of the conference.

The SSG Web site (www.ssg.gunter.af.mil) designed to serve virtual and on-site visitors serves as a good starting point for those who prefer to surf AFITC from afar. The cleanly designed and uncluttered SSG home page serves as a launching pad for the conference as well as ongoing operations at SSG the Air Force's major IT acquisition center. A menu bar on the right-hand side of the page allows users to zoom quickly into key parts of the SSG organization and operations.

Click on the "Contracts" button and you will zip to a page plain in looks but packed with a plethora of links to all the SSG-managed IT contracts ranging from Desktop V to the contract for Automated Digital Weather Switch Software - a handy link if you own a weather switch but no software.

The "Help Desk" button pops up yet another user-oriented page with links to the Air Force Internet Control center an SSG-managed operation that provides 24-hour-a-day assistance and trouble-shooting for the Air Force Internet. Links also are available for the Global Command and Control System help desk which is designed to help manage Air Force GCCS hardware and software suites.

The main portion of the SSG home page offers a nifty feature called the "Internet Weather Report " which details major outages or failures that slow down the Net and consequently surfing speed.

SSG devotes the majority of its main page to current topics with the AFITC in the lead this week. Click on the AFITC text link and you will enter a comprehensive site (www.ssggunter.af.mil/SS/SSM/conference/AFITC/AFITC97.html) well-suited to real and virtual attendees. The frame-based AFITC home page provides a thumbnail description of the conference while the smaller frame provides links to more detailed information.

Virtual attendees will appreciate the "Seminar Info" link which contains a comprehensive conference schedule and online access to many of the presentations at those seminars derived from the CD-ROM "briefing book" SSG will hand out to every attendee in Montgomery. If you like Microsoft Corp. PowerPoint slides you'll love these presentations although it might be a good idea to check the Internet Weather Report before downloading these huge files.

When you finish surfing the conference take time to visit the Electronics Systems Center's Web site (www.hanscom.af.mil/index) which also has much to offer Air Force IT professionals in its "Air Force Country Store" section. Go to the Country Store home page and you enter a graphical rendering of an old-fashioned store - complete with a pot-belly stove - with most of the design elements on the page (except the stove) offering active links to IT resources. The "Goods/Services" shelves lead users to Air Force and other Defense Department sites offering software hardware services and vendor sites.

This section of the "Country Store" site definitely provides "one-stop" access into practically any IT category Air Force users need to support their missions and commands. The "References" section of the site offers an equally impressive and comprehensive set of links to standards initiatives directories and security information.

Together the SSG and ESC Web sites offer Air Force IT users and managers powerful tools to better access and manage the information they need to help their commands stay in step with the fast-moving pace of the Information Age.

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