May, 2006
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

ASHI's Web Site: THEN & NOW


“It was 1994.”

That’s what Dan Friedman said when asked about the origins of ASHI’s Web site.

“It was before the Internet was in general use,” he remembered. “We had to dial-up to a special service provider. I canned our relationship with the original provider after they began manipulating to own the copyrights to all of our online material. It was Cole Greenberg, then ASHI President, who gave me the OK to proceed with the original system, so its origin deserves credit to him. Mark Cramer did yeoman work in getting the Web stuff going.”

Friedman found the announcement for the ASHI ONLINE Bulletin Board System, complete with a description of what the membership had to do to participate. Although the technology might have been on the cutting edge for the time, this slice of history might make all who use the Web site today thankful for the progress that has been made in the last 12 years.

TO: ASHI Members and Candidates
SUBJECT: Announcing the ASHI ONLINE Bulletin Board System, ASHI ONLINE, our computer bulletin board system, is ready for you.

You can use this new service to exchange electronic mail, text files, programs or graphics files with fellow professionals quickly cheaply and at any time, night or day. An online library of example report text, technical articles and other information useful to professional home inspectors is available for your contribution or use.

To use the system you can use your own PC, MAC or other computer, a modem to connect your computer to the telephone line and any communications program, Other than these three components, you’ll need a User-ID and password and a telephone number for your computer to call ASHI ONLINE. (In order to protect the privacy of your own mail and files, as well as to protect the interests of ASHI, you should not share your account or password with anyone.)

ASHI Members and Candidates can obtain their User-ID and password and telephone number as follows:

1. Call our system provider…

2. Ask for an ASHI ONLINE User-ID. The system support staff will ask you for your name, address, and telephone number, they will assign your User-ID and password, and they will give you telephone number(s) used to access the system.

3. If you want to avoid long-distance charges for calling ASHI ONLINE (in Massachusetts), you can pay an annual fee of $95.00 in exchange for a local access number. Once obtaining this number, you can also obtain local access numbers for use from other cities should you need to use ASHI ONLINE while traveling away from home. Payment for this service can be arranged.

4. If you have difficulty getting your PC, modem or communications program working, or if you have other problems signing on to the system, you can contact the Client Help Desk. Ask for assistance for ASHI ONLINE at the telephone number and during the hours shown in item #1 above. If you are able to sign on to the system, but wish additional help in using ASHI ONLINE, help is available at the H or “Help” function on most menus, or by writing E-mail to the “SYSOP,” or by writing Forum mail to “ALL” at the “Hello Forum.”

5. If you don’t have a modem and want to buy one, …Tell Mr. Dobos, you’re purchasing a modem to use ASHI ONLINE as he discussed with Dan Friedman in July 1993.

6. If you don’t have a simple, but easy, communications program, TELIX, a shareware program ($39.00+2.00 shipping) is available from deltaComm Development…

7. For more detailed functional descriptions of ASHI ONLINE, see the articles that have appeared in the ASHI Reporter monthly since July/August 1993. Timeplace, Inc., in concert with ASHI’s Technical Committee will be making changes and improvements in the system from time to time as our use and requirements mature. We want to know what works and what needs improvement. Write your findings and suggestions to ASHI ONLINE by writing public Forum messages at the “Hello Forum: Intro and Help for New Users.”

This system can provide major enhancements to your business and your profession. The more people who use and contribute to the system, the more valuable it becomes. ASHI ONLINE is a major new benefit to ASHI Members and Candidates. To express your appreciation for this important asset, contact its progenitor, Cole Greenberg.

Dan Friedman, ASHI Technical Committee NOW

ASHI’s online Discussion Boards continue to provide the membership with the opportunity to ask questions and share information and opinions.

For example, in a recent post Michael Bryan shared the following information in the Structural System conference.

“Have you ever wondered why you may not see cracks and voids in an old masonry building’s mortar joints even when the masonry has settled? Some assume it is because the old lime mortars are more flexible.

Actually, it is the result of a rather miraculous feature of the old lime mortar called “autogenous healing.” Cracks form in the old mortars as easily as in any mortar. The difference is in the characteristics of lime. When a crack forms, over time the lime, with the assistance of water, migrates to and fills the crack, much like the formation of stalactites and stalagmites. Autogenous means self-produced or self-generated. The old lime mortar is self-healing.

‘This above all: To thine own self be true.’ —William Shakespeare”

The discussion continued with Walter Jowers posting a link to “Preservation Briefs, Repointing Mortar Joints in Historic Masonry Buildings”

Sharing information and opinions with other home inspectors online has been a benefit of membership since 1994. Take advantage of the opportunity to discuss technical and other issues with some of ASHI’s most knowledgeable members by visiting the ASHI Discussion Board.

Finding what you want on just got easier

As demonstrated by looking back at ASHI’s early online venture, there’s no resting on your laurels in the Internet age. continues to be improved even as plans are made for it to undergo an updating redesign. As the entire real estate industry places greater emphasis on online communications, ASHI will continue to keep pace with advances in design and technology, both to effectively reach the public and to serve its membership.

Most recently, topics featured in the right-hand columns of all the sections will be changed to reflect timely events and interests, and several additions were made to the restructured Members Extranet.

Easier to use Extranet

Log on to the Members Extranet, then click your way through the three recently added sections designed to house new and existing information in an easy-to- use format.

Chapters: Everything members need to know about ASHI chapters, plus a treasure trove of resources for chapter leaders; it’s all here for you.

Publications: Quick access to all ASHI publications, including searchable issues of the ASHI Reporter from January 2004 to present; marketing publications available in the ASHI store; the latest e-newsletters; legislative and chapter publications; board reports; the strategic plan; Bylaws; Policy and Procedures; the Standards of Practice; and more.

Downloads and Forms:With publications and chapter information moved to their new sections, it’s easier to find what you’re looking for in the scaled-down Documents and Downloads section.

That long list of documents and forms has been culled, but downloads, including ASHI logos, remain in this section. Check it out.

Are you missing out?

ASHI Members and Candidates who have current e-mail addresses on record at HQ receive The Inspector, a monthly e-newsletter with a customized issue for each membership category. Many of the features in the newsletter link to additional information found on the Web site. If you are not receiving your newsletter, you’re missing out on timely updates and useful tools such as skeleton press releases to use to market your business. To ensure you receive your monthly e-newsletter, update your information by e-mailing HQ at