How things change. Not long ago, the letters in the headline above would have been nonsensical and the following combination of letters and symbols would have been nothing but gibberish: http://www.supermarketnews.com. Naturally, all of this is immediately recognizable now as having to do with the World Wide Web and the Internet. And, of course, the long code is the Internet address of Supermarket News' new home page.
SN editors have been working on the web site for about a month, and it remains a work in progress. But it's far enough along in its development to convey some real news information, and to show what kind of potential it holds to become a full-fledged SN reader service in the future.
Should you access SN's new home page, here's what you will find today.
· Upcoming News: Each Thursday afternoon, editors put up on the home page a brief summary of several of the most important breaking-news stories that will be in the issue dated the following Monday. So you can get a running start on the week's news. Or, if you look at the web site during the period of Monday through early Thursday, you'll see a review of the contents of the current issue.
· Interactive Solutions conference: SN is co-sponsoring a conference about electronic commerce -- from telephone to kiosks to Internet -- to be held Jan. 11 and 12 at the Boca Raton Marriott. Other sponsors are Microsoft, Deloitte & Touche and Hewlett-Packard. Information about the conference can be had by clicking on the "Interactive Solutions" logo on the home page. No Internet access? Call (800) 204-4515 for conference information.
· IS Solutions newsletter: The full text of SN's new newsletter, which focuses on food-industry technology initiatives, is available on the web site. Free availability of this information product is temporary, so click on the "IS Solutions" logo soon for your free sample.
The web site also makes it easier to file letters to the editor, or to request information on any SN activity. Just click on the E-mail logo to send your message. In the future, SN editors plan to expand the offerings of the web site to include separate pages devoted to the news content of each section of SN, the full text of back issues with keyword search ability, classified ads, and subscription-renewal capabilities. Many other services -- such as the texts of other newsletters and international news -- are likely to join the Internet site in upcoming months. So look up SN's new home page, and if you have a comment as you take a look, try out the new medium: Just E-mail your comment.