Get the word out on tunes, privacy, training
- By Vic Powell
- Sep 07, 2000
Have you noticed that at about 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each work day, the Internet
seems to drag its heels, responding more slowly? Your shop's server logs
probably reveal peak traffic during those periods.
However, one reason for the overall Internet slowdown is the growing use
of audio streaming.
Music can be relaxing during the hectic afternoon hours, but soothing music
often can't be found on local broadcast stations. Having an Internet audio
player can be a temptation for users who turn to their computer for stations
sending smooth sounds over the Internet. But audio requires lots of bandwidth,
and it doesn't take too many online listeners to consume a major chunk of
the pipe, and video hogs even more.
Audio/video player software is an important tool for many employees, so
it should remain available on computers. However, its bandwidth consumption
is a factor that needs to be communicated to staff.
In an effort to reduce the flow and keep service high until our lines are
enlarged, we're beginning to get the word out that audio/video players are
to be used for business only. Bring a CD to work if you need music.
The General Accounting Office has evaluated privacy notices at a number
of federal Web sites. In the examination, GAO employed the methodology the
Federal Trade Commission uses in evaluating privacy disclosures on commercial
sites. [See "Fair Information Practices in the Electronic Marketplace: A
Federal Trade Commission Report to Congress"]
GAO analyzed federal Web privacy statements, disclaimers, security notices
and other related posted information. A report is expected to be released
in the fall of 2000. It could be worthwhile to check your agency's online
privacy and security notices.
The Internet has become regarded as a vehicle to offer educational opportunities
to an expanded audience without putting up more brick buildings.
Computer-based training using CD-ROMs with text books has become a standard
method of instruction. Training organizations have been investing in improving
presentations, and many groups are placing courses on the Internet. Training
has become interactive. Instructors are using software to insert written
comments, and students can ask questions online.
Traditional schools have not ignored developments. Accredited universities
and colleges are offering online courses and degrees. Stanford University,
the University of California and others are participating in the new method
Keeping up with the latest developments is a challenge. One upcoming resource
the Online Learning 2000 conference
scheduled for Sept. 25-27 in Denver.
Powell is the Agriculture Department's Internet and intranet Webmaster.