Do you have a “blog”? Do you visit one? Do you know what one is?
Until about three years ago, I would have answered no to all the above, and I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about the Internet.

The Internet has been a major part of my life since the early 1990s, when I received my first e-mail address as part of a computer course that was required for students at Eastern Michigan University. I used it to write to a friend who was attending the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a few other college friends.

I remember my friend in California asking if I had access to the “World Wide Web” and “Web pages” and describing all sorts of stuff that sounded interesting, if not academically useful: Web sites dedicated to singer Jimmy Buffett or the greatness of the USC football team.

Unfortunately, at the time, the old computer terminals in use at my university did not have access to the Web as most people think of it today.

It wasn’t until a couple years later that the university added full Internet access for all students. However, the dial-up modems most of the computers used made viewing Web pages incredibly slow.

Online diaries

Some blogs have even been responsible for breaking news stories that before would have been uncovered by newspapers or television stations.

I can’t promise Snips’ blog will have that kind of impact, but I hope you’ll enjoy it anyway. By the time you read this, our blog should be online at www.snipsmag.com. Associate editor James J. Siegel and I will be posting regularly on issues in the sheet metal and HVAC industries, and we invite you to do the same.

You can also use it to ask us a question or comment on articles. Beyond that, we don’t have too many ideas on what the blog will contain, but we’re looking forward to making it up as we go. I’m hoping it will be more popular than our old bulletin board, which also allowed visitors to post comments but was seldom used.

I think we may eventually use it to send reports from some of the trade shows we attend across the country, such as the AHR Expo in New York City next January. Some of the blogs I’ve seen include pictures and even video from such events.

And speaking of video, if everything worked, you should be able to see our first story-related video on Snips’ Web site this month. While covering a “convergence” of sheet metal and tin hobbyists in Ohio (see “Old-time tin,” page 12), I took a couple of short videos with my digital camera. I hope you like them. We hope to have videos in coming months from conventions and footage shot while researching other stories. Eventually, we may include instructional videos on our Web site.