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NetDay Help Desk Created by Farallon Goes On-Line with Participation from Apple


Farallon Communications Inc. creator of the National NetDay96 Help Desk initiative for educator assistance, today announced the availability of the on-line NetDay Help Desk.

The NetDay Help Desk will be a link off the main NetDay96 World Wide Web home page ( that will enable educators and NetDay volunteers to pose questions via e-mail to a wide selection of experts from several industry-leading technology companies, including 3Com, Apple, AT&T WorldNet Service, Cabletron, Cisco Systems, Farallon, NETCOM, NetManage, Netscape, Novell and SurfWatch/Spyglass.

This collaborative effort was developed and is being managed voluntarily by Farallon, a leader in networking and Internet solutions for schools, businesses and individuals.

NetDay96 is a "high-tech barn raising" designed to equip schools with the necessary wiring to access the resources of the Internet. It was launched initially in California in March 1996 as a pilot for the national activities to be held in October. While the California event proved to be successful, many of the educators and volunteers faced significant challenges because of their lack of technical expertise.

In order to alleviate these challenges for the national activities, Farallon developed the NetDay Help Desk.

Michael Kaufman, co-founder and organizer of National NetDay96, estimates that visitors to the NetDay home page could reach several million per day in October, when most schools will be holding their NetDay events.

A large percentage of those visitors are expected to take advantage of the NetDay Help Desk. To prepare for the NetDay Help Desk center, Farallon and each of the other companies involved are dedicating employees to respond specifically to the NetDay inquiries they receive. In addition, NETCOM, the leading independent Internet service provider, is donating the Internet Web space necessary to handle the volume of "hits" expected.

"Farallon and the other NetDay Help Desk participants exemplify the spirit of NetDay as a collaborative, volunteer effort," said Kaufman. "Farallon came up with this unique idea that I believe will benefit the entire nation."

"We're excited about the commitment we received from our friends at 3Com, Apple, AT&T WorldNet Service, Cabletron, Cisco, NETCOM, NetManage, Netscape, Novell and SurfWatch/Spyglass to join us in this worthwhile cause," said Alan Lefkof, president and CEO, Farallon.

"We have all been solutions providers to the education market for years and the Help Desk is just another way that we can offer our expertise to bring this generation of students and teachers onto the Internet."

How It Will Work

Visitors to the NetDay96 home page will be able to click a button marked "Help" that will take them to the National NetDay96 Help Desk. At this site, visitors are asked to select a category for their question. Categories include:

-- E-mail -- Internet Service Providers

-- Internet Browser Software -- Network Equipment

-- Internet Collaboration Software -- Network Operating Systems/Servers

-- Internet Connectivity Hardware -- Web Site Blocking Software

-- Internet Protocols -- Educational Advisors (NetDay96 Peers)


Visitors can then type their e-mail question and have it automatically sent to a group of participating vendors who are experts in the category selected. As NetDay96 is a collaborative effort by many volunteers, several industry experts will respond to the question via e-mail, providing the visitor with multiple responses to the same question.

This allows the educator or NetDay volunteer to consider several options for a solution that best suits their situation. In addition to technical questions, there will be a category to submit questions to "Educational Advisors." These are participants from California NetDay that can offer valuable insights into the NetDay experience and how other state volunteers can organize themselves.


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