Main Line Computer Users Group - June 1999 Issue 205

**** JUNE 1999 *************************************** ISSUE #205 ****

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - JUN 12th

NOTE: SECOND SATURDAY!!!

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THIS MONTH'S CONTENTS

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MAIN LINE PC/128/64 USERS - Room 110

Over the course of computer software development, file sizes have continued to increase in size. When not constrained by memory (as in our trusty 8-bit machines, tho with RAMlink and SCPUs, even this has changed, too) the files grow endlessly. To transport and archive them is increasingly a daunting task.

For this month, member John Murphy (in real life, a computer system professional) will demonstrate the making (aka "burning") of CD-ROM disks. This requires a CD drive which can not only read, but also write the CD-ROM medium.

If you wonder if this technology is for you, come out and look, listen and query our expert!

[continued]

MAIN LINE AMIGA USERS - Room 210

At our May meeting only two members showed in addition to myself. That was very disappointing to say the least as I had hauled out both my Amiga and PC hardware for the meeting. It was kind of like being all dressed up with no where to go. I'll blame the low attendance on the non-standard second Saturday meeting date and late Spring weather.

Hopefully, there will be a better turnout next month, but that may be in jeopardy too as it again will be a second Saturday schedule as a result of other Villanova activities. At this time the planned presentation for June is an all-hands meeting on how to "burn" (write) a CD-ROM. John Murphy is the presenter - see elsewhere on this page for more info.

[continued]

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MEMBER SURVEY - 1999

On pages 7 & 8 of this issue is a member survey form that EVERY MEMBER is being asked to fill out. Please extract those pages - provide the requested info, fold, staple and then stick on a stamp and mail it back. It is very important that we get a response from ALL of you - as an aid to guide the club's future!

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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MEETING DATE IS CHANGING! - over the last few years, we have been forced to flop our meeting date from the "normal" 1st Saturday to the 2nd to either avoid holiday weekends or escape some major VU activity. However, a look into the future indicates that 2nd Saturdays are much clearer of conflicts. So, for the rest of 1999, we will test switching to the SECOND SATURDAY, as listed below. Please mark your calendars now for:

         Jun 12
         Jul 10
         Aug 14
         Sep 11
         Oct  9
         Nov 13
         Dec 11

Please note that unforeseen circumstances may dictate change; so watch the newsletter and check the BBS (610-828-1359). The table on the next to the last page of each issue will have the succeeding 3 months schedule (as usual) as of the time the NL goes to print. Be sure to check it out each issue.

Because of this date change, we will need to switch the Steering Meetings to the THIRD WEDNESDAYs; so they occur after the regular monthly meeting. This schedule will also be in the boiler plate table. As a reminder, if you would like to provide input into some of the workings of the club, you are welcome to attend the (informal) steering meetings and do it.

WHEELS 64 & 128 - if you purchased either or both of the GEOS upgrades from Maurice Randall (or CMD), a free upgrade has been issued. You should be getting it directly from Maurice, by mail.

If you have not received your diskettes in the next week or so, you probably should contact him to see when you can expect to get them.

MEMBERSHIP STATUS - we still have only 41 1999 members, all renewals from 1998. If we are to get some new blood, each of you should 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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4) When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk, and the microcode instructions cause unnecessary RISC, then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM. Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your Mom.

SPEAKING OF GENEALOGY - last month's PC/128/64 meeting was devoted to internet genealogy. About two weeks after that meeting, the world's single largest collection of such information was opened for regular (as opposed to test) access thru the internet.

This collection is the one maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (the Mormon Church). At this point in time, they have records on some two billion individuals!

The first major on-line access to their collection covers some 3-400 million records (expected to be around 600 million by year end). You probably saw the news items about just how popular this information is - but, here is a sample news tidbit from the Compuserve news flashes:
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Genealogy Web Site Swamped

When the Mormon church unveiled a Web site on Monday that features the records of 400 million names of people who lived as long ago as 1500, it encountered a very modern problem: computer overload. The site's search engine actually plows through all those millions of names, as well as offers links to 4,000 other Web sites devoted to genealogy. But Monday's (May 24th:ed) incredibly high demand shut down the area for six hours as partner IBM added a backup computer to handle the traffic. When it came back up, the site was handling 500 hits a second.

"It's triple, quadruple what they anticipated," said Jan Walbridge, an IBM spokeswoman. "They did plan for a backup system, but they didn't think they'd have to use it so soon." The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' also plans to add millions more names this year from its records on 2 billion dead people, the largest collection of genealogical data in the world.

For more than a century, the Mormon church has dispatched members throughout the world to copy, photograph, and microfilm parish and civil records. The goal is to help members find names of ancestors to baptize by proxy, an ordinance that Mormons believe gives the dead the opportunity to embrace the faith in the afterlife. Access to the site, located at:

http://www.familysearch.org, is free.

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The total for the first full day of operation of the site had hits ranging from 10-30 million - estimates from various sources!!! Now that's popular!!!

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Mini-Tip!
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Save, THEN Print! - words for the wise, and not-so-wise! In spite of the longevity of printers on the scene, computers still appear unable to totally cope with talking to them. And, if she hangs once you have started to print - you've lost it! And it DOESN'T matter what KIND of computer you use...

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
$ 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. (3)

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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GENEALOGY ON THE WEB

One of the more popular (and valuable) uses of the internet is aiding folks in searching for info on their ancestral trees. At last month's PC/128/64 meeting, member Layton Fireng, gave us a glimpse of what's there. Layton has acquired info on his own family tree going back to about 1066!, with a lot of material garnered via internet sources and email contacts with other folksundive in their family pursuits.

Searching on the internet is not to be undertaken lightly - for example, one site Layton contacted - Cindy's List - has some 30,000+ links to websites that contain genealogical information!!! Random is not the approach to use!

In future issues of the newsletter, we hope to provide some tips to help those who are interested. BTW, if you have been involved in this "hobby", why not share some of what you have learned? With a view of how complex the data sources are, everyone's experience is bound to be useful!

Meanwhile, if you want to get some experience under your belt, we can suggest a few starting points, to wit:

At upcoming club meetings, take the opportunity to share approaches and sites that you feel are especially useful. Perhaps, we can encourage more folks to use this valuable asset. Oh, yes, and see the item on p.2 ....

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NICKEL KNOWLEDGE

Electricity is actually made up of extremely tiny particles, called electrons, that you cannot see with the naked eye unless you have been drinking. Electrons travel at the speed of light, which in most American homes is 110 volts per hour. This is very fast. In the time it has taken you to read this sentence so far, an electron could have traveled all the way from San Francisco to Hackensack, New Jersey, although God alone knows why it would want to.

The five main kinds of electricity are alternating current, direct current, lightning, static, and European. Most American homes have alternating current, which means that the electricity goes in one direction for a while, then goes in the other direction. This prevents harmful electron buildup in the wires.

- Dave Barry, "The Taming of the Screw"

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ZIP DRIVE UPGRADE

[by Emil Volcheck]

Recently, I ordered one of the new 250 MB internal IDE zip drives. After it arrived, I installed the beast. However, since it was going into a Win95 computer and was replacing an internal SCSI zip drive, I had to follow a careful sequence to avoid problems.

For your edification, these are the steps that were involved:

All the above went fine - with no significant error messages and no upchucks! The zip drive worked at this point.

Then installed the new versions of the drivers and tools that came on a CD-ROM with the drive; so it would be "up to date".

So far, so good - will report any problems should they arise........

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Computer Messages

  1. Home is where you hang your @
  2. The E-mail of the species is more deadly than the mail
  3. A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click
  4. You can't teach a new mouse old clicks
  5. Great groups from little icons grow
  6. Speak softly and carry a cellular phone
  7. C:\ is the root of all directories

MAIN LINE AMIGA USER HAPPENINGS

by John Deker

At our May meeting only two members showed in addition to myself. That was very disappointing to say the least as I had hauled out both my Amiga and PC hardware for the meeting. It was kind of like being all dressed up with no where to go. I'll blame the low attendance on the non-standard second Saturday meeting date and late Spring weather.

Hopefully, there will be a better turnout next month, but that may be in jeopardy too as it again will be a second Saturday schedule as a result of other Villanova activities. At this time the planned presentation for June is an all-hands meeting on how to "burn" (write) a CDROM. John Murphy is the scheduled presenter. Look for more details by Emil in this newsletter.

Yours truly purchased a writable CDROM drive at the recent Software Hut picnic. (See last month's too late newsletter announcement about the picnic.) Though I have not yet installed the drive, I hope to do so in the next few weeks. What I'd like to do is burn a few CDROM's that would contain shareware and freeware software that might be of interest and value to our club members. If you have software that you think should be on the CD, I'd like to hear about it. I'd also like to hear from members as to whether they would be interested in a CDROM of club sponsored software.

The intended presentation for our May meeting, networking an Amiga part 2, was only superficially presented to the two attendees, Bob Kanach and Bradley Ross. I will probably repeat this presentation in the intended detail at another future meeting.

MEETING OVERVIEW

Most of the formal presentation was a lite discussion and rehash of the last meeting subjects though with more of an Amiga interest rather than the PC focus of the last meeting. The one new presentation and hi-lite at this meeting was the Virtual Network Computing (VNC) software from the AT&T website at
http://www.uk.research.att.com/vnc/index.html. Several versions of this software exist for PC, Mac, and Unix platforms. The archived software packages include both client and server.

So what does VNC do? VNC allows remote control and viewing of another computer across a network such as the Internet or a LAN. Obviously, such software has value and is at the same time potentially dangerous. It is valuable for remote configuration and viewing of problems, but at the same time dangerous if the wrong unscrupulous persons gain access to a computer. Such persons could really wreck havoc.

For the demonstration to work, I found client software for the Amiga on Aminet and a complete VNC software package for Win95 at the AT&T site. The client software is called VVA or VNC Viewer Amiga. At this time there isn't any server software for the Amiga. The closest equivalent software to VNC is the Siamese System software for the Amiga and PC. The mentioned VVA software limits the color depth of the display to 8 bits for the Amiga, and displays PC screens larger than the Amiga client screen as virtual Amiga screens. Overall, the software is somewhat sluggish, especially with an Amiga client. The sluggishness is especially apparent on native mode Amiga screens, even those Amigas powered by 68060's.

Beyond the VNC hi-lite of the meeting, we covered such topics as the differences between AmiTCP, Genesis-AmiTCP, and Miami. We also looked at some of the AmiTCP config files.

SOFTWARE WORTH MENTIONING

PC SIDE

VNC -- Virtual Network Computing is a simple way to redirect the screen display of a remote computer to your local desktop. Control of the remote computer can also be redirected. Visit http://www.uk.research.att.com/vnc/index.html to find out more information.

AMIGA SIDE
(Files from Aminet on the Internet)

VVA -- VNC Viewer Amiga is a VNC-client for the Amiga. It can be used to connect your Amiga to a VNC-server.

A VISIT TO NEPAUG

On Sunday, May 16th, I visited with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Amiga Users Group in Milton, PA. No one was quite sure what to call the group, so we named it NEPAUG on the spot. This group is what remains of a couple of former Amiga User Groups.

NEPAUG normally meets on the third Sunday of the month at the Milton Borough Hall, a converted RailRoad Station at the intersection of Filbert St. and Route 254 in downtown Milton across from the Police Station. The users meet from 1PM until about 5PM. Attendees come from far and wide, some from Hazelton, Scranton, and in my case, Philadelphia. Milton is located just south of I-80 and about 24 miles west of Bloomsburg, PA. From Philadelphia starting at the bottom of the PA turnpike NE extension, Milton is about 140 miles distant and a little over 2 hours travel time.

The May meeting was attended by about 6 users including myself, though there are about 11 official members on the membership list I was given. Just about everyone brought their Amiga to the meeting showing that they are undaunted by the effort of moving their hardware around to have some group fun with their computing hobby. About half the users have A1200's and about half have A4000's. There are a few users with other Amiga models.

The meeting is extremely informal compared to our meetings. The purpose of the informal arrangement is to be able to see what others are doing with their Amigas and to help others who have unresolved problems. In my case, I took both my A1200 and PC to demo my mini LAN setup which I presented at last month's MLCUG meeting. I was also able to give some advice to one user who was having problems configuring Miami using the slow serial port on an A500.

By the way, NEPAUG pays $5 each month to the Milton borough to be able to use the borough hall for the day. They also get access to a telephone line for BBS and Internet connection.

Some of the power users at the meeting were running Amiga 4000's with PPC accelerators and 128 megs of Fast RAM. One user had a PicassoIV video board for his 4000 and was able to demonstrate its capability to play a CDI movie in a fully scalable window. The scaling is done by the Picasso board so that even a 68060 can handle the MPEG playback without too much problem.

It was refreshing to see some pretty savvy users working their Amigas hard and having fun at the same time. If any reader is interested in attending one of NEPAUG's future meetings, let me know. Maybe we can arrange a car pool to a future meeting.

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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.

                        MAIN LINE COMPUTER USERS
                       MEMBER SURVEY - JUNE 1999
                                    
As most, if not all, of you are aware, we have given much attention to
users of IBM compatible PCs in the last year - as a result of member
questions and interests expressed at our meetings.  But, to get a
better handle on just where we should aim the club in the future, we
need input from EVERY MEMBER!.

The Steering Committee is asking that each of you take a few minutes to
provide your thoughtful input on the information below.  If you have
questions about the survey, please feel free to contact Emil.

Send your form to Emil Volcheck, 1046 General Allen Lane, West Chester
PA  19382-8030 by the END OF JUNE.  If a response is not forthcoming,
Emil will be contacting you directly to get the form filled out!!!

Your Name:------------------------------------------------------- 

COMPUTER SYSTEM(S):

Check the hardware systems in the list below which you use and provide
a rough estimate of how you divvy up use, if you use more than one
system.

  System             Type               % Useage      % Useage
                                        Current       Next Year 

 PC/clone  -----------------------      --------      --------

 Amiga     -----------------------      --------      --------

 C-64                N/A                --------      --------

 C-128               N/A                --------      --------

 Macintosh -----------------------      --------      --------

YOUR CURRENT/EXPECTED USES

Please provide input on what you use your system(s) for and what you
want to learn about thru meetings or the newsletter:

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Again, thanks very much for your input - Emil Volcheck, Prez




MAIN LINE COMPUTER USERS                             *        *
1046 General Allen Lane
West Chester PA 19382-8030


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                                       FIRST CLASS





                        TO:  EMIL VOLCHECK
                             1046 GENERAL ALLEN LANE
                             WEST CHESTER PA  19382-8030