Article

LabMice was a creation of IT necessity, founder says

Margie Semilof

When Bernie Klinder was working as an IT consultant for large enterprise customers in the late 1990s, it often frustrated him that he couldn't locate articles and other data relevant to his job.

He knew the information was somewhere on the Internet. But in the early days of search technology, it wasn't so easy to pinpoint published material. Even today, search engines aren't always on target, though they have improved. "Still, nothing beats a handpicked index," Klinder said.

Bernie Klinder, LabMice.net founder

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That's how LabMice.net got its start. Klinder wanted to save content that would be useful to him and to other IT administrators. In 1999, he began by collecting links -- through his own research and though a circle of IT administrators with similar interests. The number of links and content grew as he went about his work.

Colleagues submitted code and articles. Volunteers helped out.

LabMice, which focuses on Microsoft's Windows and BackOffice platforms, first had a reputation as something of a quasi-underground administrator's site. But Klinder's vision struck a chord with others, and it wasn't long before the site matured from Klinder's own electronic filing cabinet to its current status as a popular Web site. By June 2000, LabMice had become a full-time job for Klinder, thanks to his growing site's ad revenue.

Why LabMice.net?

We needed a site name that was short, easy to type, easy to remember, difficult to misspell, and sort of comical. Our first 20 or so picks were already registered, so on a whim, we kicked around "LabMice." Walking through the maze of server racks and cubicles at my client's large corporate headquarters really reinforced the idea that we were simply mice working for a piece of cheese.  

-- Bernie Klinder

The site began to draw more beginner users looking for answers to basic questions. And, as search technologies improved, LabMice expanded its international audience. Today, Klinder fields questions from a range of sources, including IT administrators, power users, managers and students looking for help with their homework.

Klinder isn't surprised by the grass-roots success of LabMice. "I created the site I wanted to find," he said. "I was the customer."

Today, TechTarget -- the parent company of SearchWin2000.com -- handles the daily operations of LabMice. But Klinder will serve as a contributing editor to SearchWin2000.com, where he will write technical articles, troubleshoot problems for readers and review IT books.

Klinder has experienced a few surprising twists in his career. The Berlin-born IT aficionado began his professional life as a paramedic. He found his way into IT as a computer hobbyist. Now, he's back in school finishing up a degree in business administration.

"I liked making a difference with the site, even if I made no money," he said. "If I can help to make some nonprofit organization safer, it has all been worth it."

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Resources: Visit LabMice.net

Expert advice: Submit a Windows question to Bernie Klinder

Expert advice: What is BackOffice?


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