I should like to announce formation of a new Web/e-mail group devoted to the history of military technology.

Topic: History of military technology and supporting technologies, including the technologies of weapons, ships, aircraft, and electronics as well as the technologies involved in manufacture of military systems.

Not a specifically “scholarly” group, but serious discussion only, please. No “flame wars”. Commercial messages only if on topic, informational, and infrequent.

Two ways to sign up:

1. Go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Mil-Tech-History/ and click Join this group (toward upper right). The trick here is that you have to register as a Yahoo! groups participant. Nothing much is involved and you don’t have to tell them anything of significance other than your e-mail address, but if you are really, truly paranoid this may see daunting. (And yes, even paranoids have real enemies.) The benefits are that (1) You get to view and post messages via a Web interface if you like; (2) You get access to the Photos and Files albums, where you can put materials to share with other members (e.g., pictures and drawings).

2. Send a message (contents irrelevant) to [email protected]

At the moment, anyone can join and any member can post messages without moderator interference. Sooner or later (probably sooner) the spammers will start to descend on the group. At that point I will switch to a setting which will require that the moderator (me) approve any messages submitted by a newly-joining member. This will enable me to ensure that new members are not trying to bombard the group with spam before changing their status to allow free posting.

If you post a message to the group via e-mail (by sending it to [email protected]) you can include attachments which will go with the message to everyone who is signed up to receive messages via e-mail (which is the default setting when you join unless you specifically wish to get messages from the Web site, or in daily batches). These attachments are not accessible from the Web interface, nor do they go out with daily summary messages.

If you want to change your membership preferences you must do so through the group Web interface at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Mil-Tech-History/ . This allows you to change the e-mail address at which you get messages or switch between receiving your messages as individual e-mails, daily summary messages, or solely via the Web page.

Naturally, the use of the Yahoo! service as the vehicle for this group involves certain tradeoffs. I moderate another group (the Sextants group — for exchanging information on sextants and other instruments for measuring visual dihedral angles at sea, aloft, or in the field; the use of such instruments for navigation, surveying, and like purposes; other instruments for navigation, surveying, etc.; and other related matters including marine and aerial navigation, surveying, the use and care of instruments, and the industry and technology that produced these instruments — at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sextants/ ) and on the whole feel that it has worked well.

Will O’Neil