November 22, 2000

From the Editor

In 1984, PAW launched its first electronic version, called - well ahead of its time - E-PAW. Described as a bulletin board for the Princeton community, an ad explained that it featured "message bases for Bulletins, Precept Discussions, Class Notes, Young Alumni and Regional Activities, plus electronic mail." The ad also gave the protocols necessary for accessing the site: 300/1200/2400 baud; eight data bits, one stop bit, no parity.

Then-editor Chuck Creesy '65, whose talent for technology made E-PAW possible, wrote two years after the initiative was launched, "When the Alumni Weekly started the Electronic PAW...some observers questioned whether this new form of communication would prove to be a wave of the future or just a passing technological fad. Two years and some 14,000 calls later, the jury is still out."

Sixteen years after the first appearance of E-PAW, the verdict has emphatically come in. In a recent survey performed by the university, close to 90 percent of alumni reported that they had Internet access. E-PAW has changed dramatically over those years too. Today it's PAW Online, and for about five years it has been the Web home of the print magazine, the place to go for access to any recent issue of PAW.

This fall, however, we started something new. In addition to posting the printed version of the magazine on the Web - and providing an online place for you to change your address, submit class notes, or write us a letter - we've added Web-only content that is updated with every new issue of PAW. We've started small, by running a couple of bonus stories - generally interviews with faculty and alumni, often about a timely issue or something we've covered in shorter form in print - in addition to a wide range of regular columns that provide humorous and opinionated views of campus life from a variety of observers: a freshman, a young alumnus, a Dinky-riding resident, PAW's own sports editor, and our On the Campus writers. In addition, we're making an effort to list and to link print content with online content wherever possible; you probably have noticed the new section on the table of contents page, as well as relevant links at the bottom of many stories.

Creesy worried because after initial alumni interest in E-PAW, discussions tended to lapse into the overly technical, and most people dropped out.

("The size of their long-distance phone bills may be a factor," he postulated.) We're hoping to keep PAW Online fresh and interesting enough to attract alumni back issue after issue, though there isn't much we can do about those phone bills.