Applied Mechanics News

Saturday, September 09, 2006

We are migrating to iMechanica.Org

We are migrating AMN to iMechanica.Org.

In January 2006, with the encouragement of the Executive Committee of the ASME Applied Mechanics Division, several volunteers initialed Applied Mechanics News (AMN), a blog of news and views of interest to the international community of Applied Mechanics, accompanied by sister blogs covering research and researchers, conferences, and jobs. Within weeks, AMN topped the list on Google, Yahoo and MSN for the query of applied mechanics news. By late August 2006, the four sister blogs had a total of over 65,000 page loads, and on average over hundred unique visitors every day, from all over the world.

The Internet has enabled AMN to be international and inter-organizational. The news can be updated continuously by many volunteers. Some of the initial thoughts of AMN was collected in the entry Applied Mechanics in the Age of Web 2.0.

AMN is hosted by a free service, Blogger. The service is easy to get started, but does not serve our needs well. For example, people cannot become contributors by themselves, and Blogger offers no tagging. The contributors cannot upload files, and the resolution for images is low. The software is proprietary and allows limited customization. Also, Blogger is not accessible in China, a country that has perhaps more mechanicians than the US and Europe combined. The platform of Blogger has severely restricted the growth of AMN. The experience of AMN has taught us in our adolescent months, but we have grown.

We will migrate AMN to iMechanica.Org, a far more effective many-to-many communication platform, with the following initial features:
  • Without signing in, everyone can read every entry.
  • Everyone can sign in.
  • Upon signing in, each user has a blog.
  • Moderators may promote new entries to the front page of iMechanica.
  • A user can subscribe to the RSS feeds of the front page, individual blogs, individual tags, and more sophisticated combinations.
These and other features can be customized. We will experiment with various options of moderation. While iMechanica will never replace conferences, it will enable people who do not go to the same conferences to communicate with each other. In particular, we will make a special effort to bring industrial practitioners and students into this online community.

The initial features are adopted with particular emphasis on ease of use. If you know how to send an email, you know how to post a blog entry. So why not leran more about iMechanica, and join us today in this exploration of the brave new world of the Internet.


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