Main Line Computer Users Group - May 1999 Issue 203

**** MAY 1999 **************************************** ISSUE #204 ****

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - MAY 8th

NOTE: SECOND SATURDAY!!!

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THIS MONTH'S CONTENTS

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MAIN LINE 64/128/PC USERS - Room 110

Many members have an interest in their genealogies. Some years ago, we lightly covered that in a club meeting. But, since then, a new major source of family information has arisen - namely; the INTERNET. Many people, organizations, even governments, are making information accessible via the World Wide Web.

Member Layton Fireng has been searching out his family very extensively. For our next meeting - assuming the internet holds up - he will give us an intro to the information that is accessible and some hints on how to get it.

If you have an interest in YOUR past, come out prepared to ask and learn, it should be fun! MAIN LINE AMIGA USERS - Room 210

Our April meeting was an ALL SIGS combined meeting in Room 110 in the St Augustine building at Villanova. The Amiga SIG did not meet formally. So, we had very little Amiga specific discussion. Emil led the meeting with several opening remarks. They were followed by the BIG EVENT, namely an introduction to networking over a Local Area Network (LAN) using a PC connected to an Amiga by Ethernet. This is one of the simplest networks that one can create. It also demonstrated cross-platform connectivity between an Amiga and a PC.

Since this was a combined meeting of C64/128, PC & Amiga users, and because many of the 8-bit and Amiga users also

[continued]

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HOME NETWORKING...

The subject of networking at home for folks who have the dubious distinction of owning multiple computers (Amigas, PCs, Macs, tho not fully networkable Commodore 8-bitters) was the subject of last months meeting. Take a real good LOOK at the very detailed write up by presenter John Deker.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NCAUG Cookout at Software Hut

Contacts:

Bill Borsari - tekmage@amiga.org Mike Skov - skov@moon.jic.com Software Hut - softhut@erols.com

The National Capital Amiga Users Group [www.ncaug.org] is happy to announce in conjunction with Software Hut [www.softhut.com] a cookout for their May meeting. The festivities begin at 12 noon on Saturday May 1st at Software Hut's West Chester location. Come early, the fun ends at 3 p.m. Aside from special deals for those who attend, there will be food, fun, and a surprise or two.

Members of NCAUG will meet at predetermined locations to arrange car pools to Software Hut. Please consult the NCAUG Web Page and newsletter, Amiga Intuition, for more information. Amigans from New York, New Jersey, and surrounding areas are also encouraged to attend, you do not need to be a member. It is asked that you either call (800- 932-6442) or e-mail Trish at Software Hut if you plan to attend. A map of Software Hut's location is on their web page.

The National Capital Amiga Users Group has been serving the DC Metro Amiga user since 1985. Home of the famous Blimp Cam, our group is world reknown as one of the most active Amiga User Groups there is. We offer the latest in Amiga developments and informations. SIGS supporting the Internet, programming, and video production available to all members. Please come by for an afternoon of fun.

Fabian Jimenez fabian@cais.com

INTERNET - the 3rd edition of "The Internet for C64/128 Users" by Gaelyn Gasson has come out. In addition to new information in this excellent compendium, the cost has been reduced ($29.95, postpaid from Australia), making it a very attractive purchase. I'll have a copy at the May meeting for folks to look over.

Even if you are no longer using an 8-bitter, this book has an enormous amount of platform independent information that any computer user will find useful. So, PCers and Amigans should give it a serious look-at, too.

SPEAKING OF BOOKS! - did you order one of the PC Novice booklets on our most recent "club" order? I appear to have one or two that are extra copies - but no record of who might have wanted it. I'll bring to the meeting; so if you did "order", you can retrieve same (cost is $6 per volume).

YEAR 2000 UPDATES - last month, we mentioned the Y2K update for the Windows 98 OS. This time, it is to mention that there is a similar update for Microsoft Works.

MS notes that version 3 is non-compliant and will NOT be updated. This is the last version of Works that would run on Windows 3.x.

For versions 4 and 4.5, they have issued an update file - about 2.8 MB in size. When the executable is run, it updates either of these versions to MS Works v4.5a - which is deemed Y2K compliant. I have the file and used it to update v4 that was on my Win95 desktop and v4.5 that was on my Win98 laptop. Both installs now report that they have metamorphed to v4.5a!

I also have hardcopy of the Microsoft Year 2000 disclosure on the updated program. You need to look this over to see how the program actually does handle dates after 1999. Like many other updates, Y2K+ is manipulated in specific ways that you need to know!

Anyone interested in the update, can contact me - or you can download it from Microsoft's Year 2000 website, go to:

www.microsoft.com/year2000/

and follow the prompts - carefully.

MEMBERSHIP STATUS - we appear to have stopped at the 41 member renewal level. So, we urge each of you to keep your eyes open for possible new recruits - that can be helped by the club - OR who would like to help the club! Both kinds of folks are more than welcome!

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What if Dr. Seuss
Wrote a Computer Manual!
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3) If the label on the cable on the table at your house, says the network is connected to the button on your mouse; but your packets want to tunnel on another protocol, that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall, and your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss, so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse, then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang, cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
$ TRADING POST $
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WANTED: cooling fan for 128D computer. If you have one - with instructions (I hope), please call Emil at 610-388-1581, or leave email on the BBS. (2)

FOR SALE: do you have a need to replace some ailing Commodore part? Are you looking for a particular piece of Commodore software? Or do you need to replace a master disk for Commodore software that no longer works - but you'd like it to? Contact our inventory manager, Charles Curran.

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64/128/PC MEETING
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For the April meeting, we had a combined Amiga/PC/64/128 session - on the subject of multi-computer networking. Emphasis was on cross- platform connection - Amiga to PC, in this demo. In the Amiga article on p.4, John Deker provides some of the detailed background on the topic.

For those of us there (only 14 members showed), it was quite a spectacle! John lucked out with the hardware and software all working. So, he could show us sharing of resources across the platforms - including use of a number of Amiga utilities to scarf up PC-based info.

The piece de resistance came right at the end when John had the PC display showing the screen of the Amiga and he could access the software - running on the Amiga, but appearing on the PC - with either computer's keyboard or MOUSE! No matter which system he touched, the software responded! Take a good look at his writeup. If members are interested in more practical networking info, we should be able to cover that in a future meeting. Let us know, if you have such an interest...

Our thanks to John for such a gee-whiz demo (and the effort it took to pull it off)!

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DIRECTORIES

[by Emil Volcheck]

The problem of getting directory listings in Windows was recently addressed in the Tech Life section of the Philadelphia Inquirer. I thought you might be interested in the email message - on the topic - that I sent to the column's author - John Fried.

"John - this is a followup to your column in Tech Life last week, regarding printing directories from Windows. I have asked a number of 'experts' before about how to do it - with the general conclusion being that there is no good way.

However, there is an excellent and powerful way to get the information in any DOS or Windows system. That is - use the DOS directory command (which is quite powerful!).

On my desktop PC - running Win95 - the sequence I use is:

  1. click START
  2. select PROGRAMS
  3. select ACCESSORIES
  4. click MS-DOS Prompt
  5. type cd\path
    [where path gets you to the directory you want to print]
  6. type dir /o > prn
    [to send the alphabetized directory to the printer]
  7. type exit
    [to get back to Windows]

Assuming your printer responds properly, you'll get a detailed listing of the files in the directory, alphabetized, with both the 8+3 and long filenames.

Frequently, I like to have the directory in an editable file; so I can annotate and file the information. To get that, I use the following in place of step 6 above:

6. type dir /o > c:\filename.txt

This will put the directory information in a text file in the root directory of the C: drive (so I can remember where to look for it). One can then edit that file to your heart's content and file it as needed or desired.

As you are aware, there are a lot of switches that can be used with dir - the /s being especially useful as it causes the contents of any subdirectories to also be listed, not at all easy to do in Windows Explorer or File Manager.

I would like to hear of a better method, but even Microsoft has no suggestion on a way. About a year ago - in their Microsoft Insider, as I recall - they addressed the same question and could offer nothing - not even the approach I outlined above!!!

I'm still looking, Emil Volcheck..."

MAIN LINE AMIGA USER HAPPENINGS by John Deker

Our April meeting was an ALL SIGS combined meeting in Room 110 in the St Augustine building at Villanova. The Amiga SIG did not meet formally. So, we had very little Amiga specific discussion. Emil led the meeting with several opening remarks. They were followed by the BIG EVENT, namely an introduction to networking over a Local Area Network (LAN) using a PC connected to an Amiga by Ethernet. This is one of the simplest networks that one can create. It also demonstrated cross-platform connectivity between an Amiga and a PC.

Since this was a combined meeting of C64/128, PC & Amiga users, and because many of the 8-bit and Amiga users also use or have PC's, the details of the configuration tended to favor the PC based on time constraints. Detail Amiga software and hardware setup is scheduled to be covered at our May meeting.

MEETING OVERVIEW - SO YOU WANT TO NETWORK, HUH?

LAN TYPES

Networking is not a simple subject to cover in a small amount of time. It is probably even sometimes confusing for those who work with it, especially trying to remember who or what machines should be connected together and how to set all the different access permissions. Configurations can be made at several levels including the user, group, or machine level. Each configuration has to work in harmony with the others for things to work smoothly for the user.

In our demonstration, we had the simplest of LAN setups, and we focused on the SMALL, simple home or office LAN with peer-to-peer networking where each machine is both a server and a client, and there is no central, main server. In a peer-to-peer environment, each user generally determines what directories, printers, and other resources of his machine will be available to other users of the system. Peer-to-peer networking works well within a small group of users, but is very unmanageable in a large network.

HARDWARE CONSIDERATIONS

There are several ways to build a simple network at the hardware level. Where two machines are involved, serial port or parallel port connections can be used to move data relatively slowly using either Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) or Parallel Line Internet Protocol (PLIP). To setup more than two machines would require multiple serial or parallel ports on each computer using I/O expander cards and complicate the network configuration. Ethernet cards are the best way to connect a simple network of more than two computers. Besides, serial and parallel port connections do limit the distance between machines more than Ethernet does.

One of the basic network configurations in use today is Ethernet. This requires an Ethernet card plugged into an ISA or PCI slot on a desktop PC or the Zorro slot on an Amiga. Some PC's and Amigas can use a PCMCIA Ethernet card. On the PC, Ethernet cards are inexpensive and can be bought for under $30, especially ISA & PCI type cards. Ethernet cards are much more expensive on the Amiga and cost between $80 and $200. However, Amiga Ethernet cards often include extra serial and parallel ports so as to be able to connect to older Amigas like the A1000 and A500 which do not have Zorro or PCMCIA slots.

When buying ethernet cards, be aware there are two basic wire connection types, 10BaseT (twisted pair using a Western socket and associated cabling) and 10Base2 (cheapernet, using RG58U coax and BNC connectors). 10BaseT requires extra hardware like a router when connecting more than 2 machines. There is also a newer and faster Ethernet standard today which uses 100BaseT. Note, I haven't seen any 100Base2 cards for the faster speed. Currently, there aren't any fast Ethernet cards made for the Amiga. So, when designing a cross-platform LAN, be sure to consider what hardware is available for the different computer types.

SOFTWARE PROTOCOLS

The most widely used network in existence today is the Internet. I like to use the word INet to refer to the Internet.

The software backbone of the INet is the TCP/IP stack of protocols. TCP stands for Transmission Control Protocol. IP stands for Internet Protocol. In simplest terms the TCP/IP stack is two layers of software. The IP layer handles the INet IP address resolution and filters out message packets not intended for a specific Ethernet card as each card has a specific IP address associated with it. The TCP layer in simplistic terms handles the routing of message packets between various applications such as browsers, telnet, and FTP, and the IP software layer. Below the IP layer is the device driver software. The device driver is responsible for sending and receiving message packets to and from the Ethernet card and controlling card thruput. Here's a simple visual of the layers of software between user and hardware:

  1. User - You are here
  2. Applications - FTP, etc.
  3. TCP - codes msg for appropriate app
  4. IP - IP address code resolution
  5. Device driver - msg flow regulator
  6. Ethernet card
  7. Cabling to network & world

On a Win95 machine, the TCP/IP software comes bundled with the system. The TCP/IP stack in the Win95 package is relatively simple software. It does not allow for sophisticated routing such as building gateways. The Win95 TCP/IP bundle includes a few pieces of client software for Telnet, FTP, IPC, CIFS, and HTTP. On the server end of the business, the Win95 TCP/IP software offers all of the client features except Telnet.

On the Amiga, all networking software must be procured separately. However, most of it can be had for free by downloading the software from Aminet. Getting it is not easy though if you don't already have the software, at least some of the basics. In my case, I got some of the basic software from Compuserve back when they supported basic terminal programs. Today, to get the software from Aminet with your Amiga would require finding an ISP (Internet Service Provider) like Voicenet, who offers a "shell" account. With a shell account you can use a basic terminal program to activate an FTP client on the ISP server to retrieve software from the INet. The learning curve is a little steep, but learning to use FTP is a do-able thing. See the "Software Worth Mentioning" section to see some of the software that can be retrieved from Aminet and what is available commercially.

LAN APPLICATIONS DEMOED

For presentation purposes, we demonstrated several applications running over the mini LAN we setup for the meeting. The LAN consisted of a PC running Win95 software and an Amiga 1200 running AmigaOS 3.1 and AmiTCP version 4.3 for the TCP/IP software. The applications that we were able to demonstrate were limited to easily available client and server software. For every client software to be useful, there has to be server, also called daemon, software on the target computer. In some cases we only had server software available for one computer. Telnet was an example of this situation. A Telnet server was only easily available for the Amiga.

Below is a listing of the LAN client and daemon (server) software that was on each computer. Where there was a client on one computer and a daemon on the other, we were able to demonstrate the application in at least one direction. If client and daemon existed on both computers, we were able to demonstrate connectivity in both directions.

Here's the list of client and server software easily available for the PC:

Application    Client    Daemon
===============================
Ping           Yes       Yes
Telnet         Yes       No
FTP            Yes       Yes
HTTP(browser)  Yes       Yes
IPC(WinPopup)  Yes       Yes
NFS            No        Yes
CIFS(SMB)      Yes       Yes
Amiga Siamese  No        Yes

Here's the list of client and server software easily available for the Amiga:

Application    Client    Daemon
===============================
Ping           Yes       Yes
Telnet         Yes       Yes
FTP            Yes       Yes
HTTP(browser)  Yes       Yes
IPC(AmiPopup)  Yes       Yes
NFS            Yes       No
CIFS(Samba)    Yes       Yes
Amiga Siamese  Yes       No

All of the above software was essentially demonstrated, though Ping was not officially demonstrated, but was instead used to test the LAN before the presentation.

CIFS, or Common Internet File System, is Microsoft's catch phrase for their built-in LAN software. Samba was developed on the Unix platform to enable Unix machines to connect to PC's with MS operating systems and LAN software. Samba is currently under active development, and a few versions have been ported to the Amiga.

The Amiga Siamese System is Amiga specific software that enables an Amiga to take advantage of a single PC's resources such as hard drive, clipboard, video card, and printer to name a few. It was interesting to see the Amiga's video display show up on the PC monitor and find the Amiga's & PC's keyboards & mice were active simultaneously and controlling everything on the PC's screen. In some ways the PC & Amiga had merged to become one machine.

The demonstrations were probably the hi-lite of the presentation for most attendees.

CONFIGURATION STUFF - HOW TO...

FOR THE PC

Following the fun of the demonstrations, we entered into issues about configuration. Because of time constraints and the nature of the audience, many attendees knew little or nothing about the Amiga, we tended to focus on how to configure the PC for LAN use. This was very difficult to demonstrate as I was reluctant to really mess with an already LAN configured PC. However, we were able to point to some of the different areas that can and must be configured.

The first thing to do in setting up an Ethernet LAN on a PC is to install the Ethernet card. We really didn't refer to this during the meeting. The best thing to say here is to follow the instructions that come with the card. Device driver software should be included with the Ethernet card, and will need to be installed. If I remember my efforts, Win95 detected my PnP Ethernet card and tried to find the driver on the Win95 CDROM. I had to point Windows to the floppy disk that came with the card. When you're done installing the hardware and driver software, you should check the success of your efforts by looking at System Properties in the Control Panel and selecting the Device Manager tab. Check the Network Adapters to see if everything is installed properly.

Once you get the Ethernet card installed successfully in the PC, go to the Control Panel and double-click the Network icon. Using the configuration tab, make sure your Ethernet card and driver show up as an adapter. Use the ADD button if necessary. If you're going to connect to a Microsoft LAN, make sure the following also show up in the window of the configuration tab:

Client for Microsoft Networks NetBEUI for your adapter TCP/IP for your adapter

Once TCP/IP is installed for your adapter (Ethernet card), select it and click on properties. On a small LAN without a name server, you'll need to specify an IP address for your Ethernet card. For a private LAN, the following IP addresses are officially available per RFC1597:

10.0.0.1 - 10.255.255.254
172.16.0.1 - 172.31.255.254
192.168.0.1 - 192.168.255.254

Each card on the LAN must be assigned a UNIQUE IP address. You'll also need to specify a Subnet Mask. On my home network, my 3 machines are numbered:

192.168.0.1 - 192.168.0.3

and a subnet mask of:

255.255.255.0

is used on each of my computers.

Before you leave this panel, you'll need to select the DNS Configuration tab and fill in the Host and Domain name information. To expand a little on my own home setup and to provide an example of Host and Domain names, here's the way I've setup things at home:

IP Address     Name
==============================
192.168.0.1    pc.deker.net
192.168.0.2    a1200.deker.net
192.168.0.3    a2000.deker.net

where the host names are pc, a1200, a2000 respectively, and the domain name is "deker.net". Also, insert the domain name in the Domain Suffix Search Order window. Preferably the domain name of your local LAN should be searched before any other. Click OK to save the IP and name information and return to the rest of the network setup.

If you are going to offer access to files and or a printer FROM your computer to other users, select the File & Print Sharing button and select the appropriate responses.

Next select the Identification tab. Use this tab to give your machine a UNIQUE name in the Network Neighborhood if you are setting up a MS LAN system. Your computer name should be unique while the Workgroup should be the same for all machines in a given realm of the Network Neighborhood. The Computer Description can be filled in with anything you like. On my home LAN I use LAN1 as the workgroup and pc4333 as the name of my PC.

Next select the Access Control tab. Here I had problems configuring User Level Access Control when networking with my Amigas. So, I opted for the less secure Share Level Access Control. I leave it to you to figure out how to setup User Level Access Control. The easiest setup is to do what I did and opt for Share Level Access Control.

At this point, you should select OK to save your network configuration. Win95 will probably want to reboot at this point.

To share your directories and printers with others, right click on the directory or printer icon and select the Sharing... option and fill in the share information. For directories, you can right click on a directory in My Computer to access the Sharing... option.

If you want to offer HTTP and FTP services to others, you will need to go the Personal Web Server in the Control Panel. Setting up the Web service functions is pretty straight forward with the possible exception of specific security in the Administrator section. There's enough online documentation in the Administrative section to be both helpful and confusing at times. I'll leave you to wrestle with the MS instructions.

Remember to pay close attention to security issues throughout all your configuration efforts, especially if you connect to the outside world through the Internet, and especially if your connection to the INet is not on a temporary basis such as with PPP (Point to Point Protocol).

SOFTWARE WORTH MENTIONING

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FUTURE MEETINGS

If you have either software or hardware for your Amiga that has taken your fancy, please bring it to our attention. I'm sure your specific interests will be of interest to others. Let me know if this is the case at the next meeting, or leave me email on our BBS. Remember, a user group is only as rewarding as the sum of the efforts of its individual members.