Main Line Computer Users Group

Supporting Amiga - Commodore - PC/Compatibles

***** JANUARY 1999 ********************************** ISSUE #200*****

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - JAN 09

! NOTE: SECOND SATURDAY/NEW YEAR !

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THIS MONTH'S CONTENTS

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MAIN LINE 64/128/PC USERS - Room 110

For the opening meeting of the new year, we'll have two features: 1) for the 8-bit session, we will be showing the newly released WHEELS 128 - GEOS-like operating system. This is not intended as a full scale demo or tutorial, but a tantalizing glimpse of something still new springing to life in the remainder of the Commodore product life cycle. Come for a show!

2) for the PC session, we will take up the subject of boot or emergency or rescue disks. The three previous issues of the newsletter had articles on the subject. For the meeting, we'll cover the subject in hands-on fashion. AND, there will be plenty of opportunity for queries for YOU ALL - on this subject, as well as general PC Q & A!

[continued on page 3]

MAIN LINE AMIGA USERS - Room 210

As our last meeting 'twas the Christmas holiday season, we had a party with sandwiches & soda and door prizes & a raffle drawing. On the more serious side we had a general discussion and Q&A session. In addition, I tried to cover some of the details about setting up filesystems on the hard drive, but I'm not sure how much of that presentation really got through to everyone between all the prize drawings & food.

For January, weather permitting, we can review some of that presentation if anyone has questions. Otherwise, the CatalyzerII video will be the focus of the main presentation.

I would like to remind everyone that it

[continued on p.7]

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* OUR DECEMBER 1998 MEETING *

Because our December 5th meeting can be classified as a success on many fronts. I wanted to highlite it here - up front. Firstly, between both sessions, we had 20+ attending (plus a couple of guests) - so, nearly half the membership came. Great! [there's much more on p.4]

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CROSS PLATFORM SUGGESTIONS

by: Jack Blewitt

CROSS PLATFORM HINTS:

If you and all of your friends are Commodore purists, read no further! Then again, if you communicate with IBM PC's or have dual platforms, you may find this of interest. NOTE: "Platforms" may indicate either a change in computer types or change in operating systems such as Windows 95/98, OS-2, Unix, Mac, Commodore, etc.

E-MAIL TEXT BETWEEN PLATFORMS:

When sending e-mail between PC's and the Commodore, there is often a conflict in formats. Most Commodores use TEXT ONLY, and often a UNIX server. On the other hand, PC's more often than not use a graphical type of format (HTML) to pretty-up their pages. Sending in this format makes reception difficult to read, (if not impossible), for the Commodore computer. SOLUTION?: When posting e-mail from the PC, request that the sender change from HTML to Plain Text. This will prevent inclusion of LINKS and Graphic Inserts into the e-mail, but will result in an easily readable message. Tell them; From within the Internet Explorer Window, select , then , and . Change the MAIL SENDING FORMAT to read PLAIN TEXT instead of HTML then press and . You will now have compatible ASCII Text formats. I trust Netscape Explorer is similar with just different names for the . Any system that can understand true ASCII will be able to read your messages with ease and you will see fewer error messages.

USE BASIC ON YOUR PC/CLONE

Many of us learned to program in BASIC using our beloved Commodores. Now that a new PC Clone, (complete with monitor), can be purchased for less than $500, many of us have dual systems. Those BASIC gems that we labored over for so many hours are no good anymore. Or are they? With your Windows 95/98 disk comes an expanded BASIC that can put you back into the programming stance. It is NOT automatically added to your installation process. Here is how you can manually add it to your system. Fire up your Windows OEM disk that came with your system. Select from the menu. The choose , , and select the two files: . COPY these two files to your DESKTOP or any other folder you desire. You now have access to MICROSOFT BASIC from your Window's Folder.

All instructions and HELP are available on screen. Just follow the prompts as they appear. (ie: like is now the RUN command). The only caution I suggest so far is to include an "END" statement at the end of each program to prevent a continuous loop. A program such as: "10 PRINT This is Microsoft BASIC" and then pressing the key will put you in a continuous loop. To get out of it, you can press + plus and follow instructions. It is interesting to note that all commands will automatically revert to capital letters as you type in the program, saving you time and effort. If you enjoyed programming in Commodore BASIC, you will enjoy this also!

[the above article is one of an occasional contribution to ease the life of newsletter editors! From Jack Blewitt - aka C.U.P.I.D - who has given us many past articles on making the best use of Commodore 8-bit systems. Having crossed-over, Jack can still help us!]

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & SPECIALS
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WHEELS 128 IS HERE!

Just in time for the holidays, Maurice Randall delivered the long awaited replacement for GEOS 128 v2.0 - dubbed WHEELS 128! It complements the 64 version that came out a few months ago.

Come and get a glimpse at the January meeting in room 110.

OUR BEST WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR!

And speaking of the new year, we are winding down our 17th year of (hopefully) providing support, guidance and assists to computer users. We began as a PET/VIC user group. With the arrival of the C-64, it became our primary vehicle for computing - followed by the C-128 and the whole Amiga line. It seems that many (most?) of the old PET and VIC users migrated to the 64 or the 128 (like yours truly who got his first PET in January of 1978).

As the technology advanced and time passed, the club grew to nearly 300 members in size and then began to slide downwards as Commodore Business Machines continued unable to pull itself from its morass of failures. Most of the members who left us migrated to other computers - a small fraction to the Amiga plus a few to the Macintosh - but most went to the PC/clone arena, as best I can determine.

When our membership dropped below 75 a couple of years ago, we evolved to a hard core of users who stayed with us, even tho many no longer used Commodore or Amiga systems. It, thus, became clear that they wanted, and we could provide, some continuing support to their new computer allegiance.

So, over the last year+, we have devoted an increasing portion of our so-called "8-bit" meetings to alternate computer useage - essentially the IBM/compatible (aka PC) arena, since that is where the members went. That activity will continue in the future - and likely grow.

We will continue to support the 8-bit users, as their needs dictate, and as some of the still new additions (check back on the immediately previous announcement) to the Commodore field come along. Our solid grounding in the Amiga technology means we can keep on with top-notch support to the avid users of that platform.

To reflect this changing support focus, we have slightly (!) changed our club headline. This issue #200 of the MLCUG, then MLCUG/MLAUG, newsletter becomes the first designated for the MAIN LINE COMPUTER USERS GROUP.

And, we hope this slightly broadened title will increase the potential audience of folks who could benefit by membership in the club. We mean to keep our old roots - but grow some new ones! Stick around and help us help others!!!

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UNSOLICITED TESTIMONIAL

[some food for thought from one of our most active members]

To: Emil Volcheck

Subj: Club Value

On my way home from the Steering Meeting I was thinking about our discussion on what the Club's value is to our members. In the past week I have gotten much more in return for my $15 dues than I would have imagined. I received 3 things this week that remind me of why I remain an active member:

1) A repaired, fully functioning C-128. This saved me $50 or so and the time and effort needed to send the unit to CMD or Bear Tech. 2) More tips on Web publishing 3) An article on computer technology used in my field - Technical Theatre

Without the club's resources (the people in it) I would still have a non functioning box of spare parts for my 128 and would know no more about Web design and the basics of DMX512 than I did last week. Thanks to my friends who are on the lookout for topics that are of general interest to all members and for material that is of particular interest to me. I am a firm believer that what you get out of the club is directly related to what you put in, which for me has been a very rewarding process.

I realize that this is of little help in trying to recuit new members, or otherwise encourage the current membership to become more active in the club. I hope that some of my enthusiasm rubs off and we can continue to provide a valuable service to those interested in Commodore and computing in general. Collectively, we offer a plethora of experience and advice. I for one am proud to be a part of such an organization.

My $.02 - Peter

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LAST RENEWAL CHANCE! - with this January issue having come to pass, it will be the last issue sent to non-renewing 1998 members. So, check YOUR MAILING LABEL and if you still see 9812 in the top line, turn to the last page of this issue, fill out the form and send it with your $15 check to our treasurer, Stew Stewart. Begin the new year by renewing your self-support with us.

And remember, if you know someone who has recently joined computing -

or recently converted to a PC or Amiga, please let them know about us. We'll have plenty of extra copies of our newsletter at the meetings to help you spread the good word!

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The Computer Age

A computer was something on TV From a science-fiction show of note A window was something you hated to clean And ram was the cousin of a goat.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    $ TRADING POST 
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

FOR SALE: MLCUG has a lot of hardware and software that is available for you to purchase at very attractive prices! By the time you get this newsletter, the listing should be updated and POSTED on both our BBS and our webpage. This new listing has ALL items priced. Check out either of the site postings. For items, you can contact Charles Curran to make arrangements to purchase (610-446-5239).

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64/128/PC MEETING
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[continued from p.1]

Second, we had many good discussions - before and after the formal presentation. General chit-chat, as well as problem solving.

Third, Layton's demo of the HP Smart One scanner worked! He showed how it can scan prints - up to 5x7 - at resolution around 300 dpi (not too great). But, more importantly, it scans 35 mm slides - or negatives - at 2400 dpi, producing a (large) high quality image file that can be manipulated in typical image processing applications. He used Photoshop (but if that is too costly for your wallet, many less capable programs will do well also) to show some of those manipulations. See the item a bit farther along in this issue that discusses the file size question re this scanner.

Fourth, we gave away 5 door prizes (winners could pick from Commodore, Amiga or PC items - whichever they preferred) and had a nice 50/50 raffle. Proceeds from the latter helped defray some of the cost of the rest of the festivity. The drawings were assured of honesty by Stew Stewart and John Murphy.

Fifth, we had a nice spread of drinks and food (soda, coffee, tea, a fine deli tray, rolls, condiments, etc.). This was well managed by Charles Curran.

My perception is that an enjoyable and educational time was had by all.

And we'll look for folks to come around again in January.....

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YEAR 2000 TIDBIT

In a message dated 12/17/98 10:04:41 PM, mlmuger@ccil.org wrote:

"Microsoft announced today that the release date for the new operating system, Windows 2000, has been delayed until the 2nd quarter of 1901"

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HP PHOTOSMART SCANNER

I looked at some of the files on the club PC hard drive that were prepared for the December meeting demo. After loading a typical one into PhotoShop (the photo contained two handsome guys - Charlie and yours truly!), PhotoShop gave the following info about the file:

3000 pixels wide 2100 pixels tall 16 million colors (true or 24-bit color)

The proportions above do not match an 8x10 - but seem to be typical of the files that were scanned in. Note: the above correspond to:

22 x 32 mm scan area (at 2400 dpi)

If you compute the expected file size, you have:

3000 x 2100 x 24/8 = 18,900,000 bytes

That number compares very well with the file sizes on the hard drive. The largest .psd files ranged from about 18,100,000 to 18,900,000+ bytes.

Overall, the math and the files match up nicely and indicate the magnitude of the task of manipulating these images.

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UPDATE ON JIM BRAIN

Many of you may be aware that the Jim Brain website has had significant problems - induced by an undesired ISP change and a severe auto accident to Jim and his family. After many months, Jim has been able to post the story. it is shown below [our thanks to Pete Whinnery who fed your editor the newsgroup posting]:

From: Jim Brain Newsgroups: comp.sys.cbm Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998 09:40:12 -0600

I would like to thank all those who either have helped during my absence or offered to help.

To CMD (and Doug Cotton): thanks for keeping tabs on me with phone calls through the last few months. To Cameron Kaiser: thanks for offering to pick up the slack on the FAQ. Embarrassingly, I only saw your message a few weeks ago, since I was so out of my skull. To the many who offered words of encouragement. A big thank you To Dick Cunningham: thanks for the periodic email checking on me.

There's many others, but I am not through my email. I started last week wading through 3000 messages from the last 7 months.

The jbrain.com web site will remain in its current state until the first of 1999. I am working on the pages to get them ready, but the system has to come up all or nothing. It's been down for a few months anyway, I don't figure a few more days will kill anyone.

C= And Swap will be back up. However, in light of CMD's new system, I'm not sure about CaBooM!. Doug can comment on this.

The VICUG area and the BBS will be back up and enhanced

As for the FTP site, the atrocities of the server move (not my doings, but the sysadmin guys) has seen the demise of the entire FTP site information. I will try to recreate from my personal backups, but I'd like to solicit volunteers to help me get all the important files on a US server.

In deference to Marko and the funet archive, I simply do not have the space that Marko has at his disposal. The old FTP archive contained a lot of old/unused stuff. What I'd like to do is create a US presence that has the 20% or so files that 80% of the people need. For the other 80% of files that only 20% of the folks need, Marko's site is pretty fast anyway on most days

The FAQ will also be updated. I will put up the 3.0 FAQ on the site, but I will have the 4.0 version ready by end of Jan or early feb. It will be smaller and easier to fix. All the errors will hopefully be fixed.

Please hold off for a few more weeks, while I enjoy the holidays and let 1998 pass from my memory, Jim

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The Computer Age

Meg was the name of my girlfriend And gig was a job for the nights Now they all mean different things And that really mega bytes.

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YEAR 2000 - PART I

[by Emil Volcheck]

 I would like to start a bit of a multi-logue on prepping for the Year
2000 situation - hope some of you will engage.................

I am working on a summary letter that will go to my "boss" on the
situation at the Mt. Cuba Observatory, where I work part time.  And
am expecting to start it out along the following line(s):

An early (first?) step in the process is to identify the potential
Y2K pitfalls as they relate to your situation.  Generically, it might
look something like:

A. Computer/systems related

        1. Hardware/firmware (e.g. BIOS,
           embedded processors)
        2. Operating system(s)
        3. General applications
        4. Your enterprise specific 
           applications

B. Non-systems related - basically infra-structure

        1. Your power supplier
        2. Your other utilities suppliers
           (e.g. gas, water)
        3. Your phone/network supplier
        4. Your enterprise vendors and
           suppliers

C. Your role as a supplier

        1. Who is critically dependent 
           upon your enterprise
        2. What will they expect from you 
           in validating your Y2K 
           compliance
        3. What resources back you up 
           (e.g. insurance, business
           or professional associations)

  
For those of you involved in real-world Y2K efforts, I would
appreciate comments on, and fleshing out, of the above.

[in future issues, I'll continue on this topic - with a fervent hope
that I can incorporate some input and thoughts from others in the
club - or who might be reading our newsletter]
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By John Deker, AMIGA SIG Leader

is again time to renew your club membership. Remember that it is only a measly $15, just enough to pay for copies of this newsletter to mailed to your home every month. So, take the time now to fill in the form on the back of this newsletter. You can either remit at this month's meeting or follow the instructions on the application and mail your application & check to Dewitt Stewart.

MEETING OVERVIEW

The primary thrust of the December meeting between door prizes and food was a focus on different file systems and how to set them up on your hard drive using the Amiga's hard drive utility, HDToolBox.

The Amiga has had essentially 2 official filesystems since it first arrived on the market. They are known as OFS (old filesystem) and FFS (FastFileSystem). There are a few flavors of the newer FFS --

plain, international, and cached. Cached is designed to enhance floppy drive performance and should not be used with hard drives.

Until relatively recently, 4GB was the largest hard drive that could be used with FFS. Partitions were limited to 2GB. Unlike PC's, the Amiga FFS has always been able to work without resorting to clusters. It's standard block size is & has been 512 bytes. More recently third party Amiga developers have upgraded FFS to handle sector block addressing using 64 bits using a TrackDisk64 standard. No longer restricted to 32 bit addressing, the latest version of FFS can handle hard drives many times larger than 4GB. Partition handling is many times larger as well.

There are a couple of problems with the FFS. One is that disks can easily become invalidated when the Amiga crashes during a file write. Re-validation of large partitions can take quite of bit of time. The other problem is the relative slowness of the FFS.

There is one commercial solution to both of these problems, and one BETA freeware solution. The freeware solution is Safe-FileSystem, but be forewarned, it is BETA software. The current commercial solution is PFS2, also called Professional FileSystem2. This is the successor to AFS, or Ami-FileSystem. My experience with AFS & PFS2 has been very positive. However, some users have reported problems with large databases & AFS. On some occasions, you will also find software protection schemes that don't work with AFS or PFS2. So, I always format my boot partition using the Amiga's FFS with the hope that any key file will be written here.

FILES FROM AMINET

AFSDEMO159.LHA -- Ami-FileSafe demo.

FFSTD64.LHA -- 64 bit TrackDisk FFS patch OS3.x FFS.

SFSBETA.LHA -- Smart FileSystem in many ways similar to PFS & AFS.

TRACKDISK64.LHA -- TrackDisk64 specification for developers. HOW TO TALK AMIGA - I (Or things you can ask your Amiga on a first date.)

My Amiga is pretty smart if you ask the right questions. What follows is a series of Q&A that I asked my Amiga recently. Not all of these questions can be asked of every Amiga, but as you can see, my Amiga has a lot to say when asked a few simple questions. What secrets can your Amiga tell you? Do you know how to ask the right questions? Can you say CLI?

New Shell process 17

17.Question:> date Monday 21-Dec-98 20:04:20

17.Question:> cpu System: 68040 68882 (INST: Cache Burst) (DATA: Cache CopyBack)

17.Question:> version Kickstart 40.63, Workbench 40.42

17.Question:> avail Type Available In-Use Maximum Largest chip 891888 152592 1044480 877608 fast 55750200 10834376 66584576 53725488 total 56642088 10986968 67629056 53725488

17.Question:> memspeed { Memory Speed Test K Copyright 1996 by Frank Wille.

Type read write copy Chip RAM 2779 kB/s 3485 kB/s 1545 kB/s Fast RAM 33383 kB/s 23466 kB/s 14286 kB/s ROM 33456 kB/s - -

17.Question:> showconfig PROCESSOR: CPU 68040/68040fpu CUSTOM CHIPS: ECS NTSC Agnus (id=$0030), ECS Denise (id=$00FC) VERS: Kickstart version 40.63, Exec version 40.10, Disk version 40.42 RAM: Node type $A, Attributes $405 (FAST), at $8A18F60-$BF7FFFF (54720 K) Node type $A, Attributes $415 (FAST), at $8000000-$8A18F5F (10368 K) Node type $A, Attributes $703 (CHIP), at $170F0-$FFFFF (960 K) Node type $A, Attributes $713 (CHIP), at $1000-$170EF (64 K) BOARDS: Board + ROM (HD?) (unidentified): Prod=8512/24($2140/$18) (@$EA0000 128K) Board + ROM (HD?) (unidentified): Prod=2017/11($7E1/$B) (@$E90000 64K) Board (unidentified): Prod=2167/11($877/$B) (@$200000 2meg) Board (unidentified): Prod=2167/12($877/$C) (@$EC0000 64K) Board (unidentified): Prod=2167/201($877/$C9) (@$ED0000 64K) CBM A2386-SX Bridgeboard: Prod=513/103($201/$67) (@$400000 512K)

[Part II and beyond in upcoming issues!]

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DIRECTIONS FOR ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER MEETING ROOMS

Meetings in the St. Augustine Center at Villanova University. The 8-bit and PC sessions will be in Room 110 and the AMIGA meeting in Room 210.

Enter from the ITHAN AVENUE main gate, then proceed to the 2-level parking building adjacent to St. Augustine, on the Ithan Avenue side. [19 empty lines] NOTE: maps on our webpage -

http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug/index.html

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64/128/PC/Amiga Meetings  1998/99  Steering Committee Meetings
                      January 09 *                      January 13
                      February 06                       February 10
                      March 06                          March 10
     * = second Saturday     ** = third Wednesday

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EDITOR: Emil J. Volcheck, Jr. 1046 General Allen Lane West Chester, PA 19382-8030
(Produced with C-128/SCPU 128, RAMlink, HD-40/85, 1571, FD-4000, THE WRITE STUFF 128, XETEC Super Grafix, Canon BJ-200ex, Swiftlink and Motorola 288 modem)
MLCUG BBS: 610-828-1359 (300 --> 33600 bps), 24 hr/day WWW: http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug/index.html PUBLICITY: Robyn Josephs 565-4058 DISK ORDERS: Charlie Curran 446-5239; Bill Bacon 441-5908 VILLANOVA SPONSOR: Prof. Frank Maloney, Dept. of Astronomy MLCUG STEERING COMMITTEE: PRESIDENT: Emil Volcheck 388-1581 SECRETARY: Charles Curran 446-5239 TREASURER/MEMBERS:Dewitt Stewart 623-5145 AMIGA SIG/SYSOP: John Deker 828-7897 INTERNET: Peter Whinnery 284-5234 DATABASE: Layton Fireng 688-2080 AT LARGE: Tom Johnson 525-3440