Main Line computer Users Group - Dec 1999 Issue 211

**** DECEMBER 1999 ******************************** ISSUE #211 ****


MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - DEC 11 th


MAIN LINE PC/128/64 USERS - Room 110

At the last meeting of the year, there will be just 20 DAYS before THE DAY! This is a month of special features - see item below also. During the first hour, we'll have announcements and some Q & A - including any final cracks at the Y2K situation. Starting at 10:30 and continuing each half hour thru 11:30, we'll have a raffle drawing (for 8-bit, PC or Amiga users), tickets will be $1 each, 6 for $5 (to help with building up our rainy day fund)!

Around 11:00, we'll break out the deli tray and everyone can enjoy some treats. Thru all this, we hope folks will have a chance to chat and enjoy the main feature!!! NOTE: December meeting attendees will get a token of thanks!



Merry Christmas and, hopefully, a Happy New Year as we get closer to Y2K!

Our wishes go out to Ted Dean who could not attend last month's meeting due to his recent back surgery. We hope he mends quickly and fully.

Our small group covered a wide number of topics at our November meeting. Some of the more technical subjects are covered below.

For December, come to the meeting prepared to pay your club dues if you have not already done so. Our December meeting is typically more people and celebration oriented than technically oriented. We're sure to have some



Do you have an interest in "photo quality" printing? Some of the best such use dye sub technology and we'll have two on view. Charlie Curran will have his Sony digital camera with its companion Mavica dye sub printer, to snap and immediately print photos. Layton Fireng will have his ALPS dye sub printer to show us more of what it can do...

Getting Started with Linux - II

6/2 Basic System Tasks

Remember when everyone upgraded from Win 3.1 to Win 95? For a while, people scrambled to figure out how to do the same things under 95 that they had done for a years under 3.x. It's no different here. If you have experience with other operating systems, but not with Linux, you'll need to adjust to different ways of doing things. Some tasks may be similar, some entirely different, and some may have no equivalent to anything you've ever done before.

6.2.1 Booting Your Lioux System

The process required to get your computer running Linux may vary a bit from what you're used to. If you have no other operating system installed on your computer, just apply power, and wait. You'll see the computer pause for a moment while it says something about "LILO", but it should continue, displaying all sorts of strange messages.

However, if you are sharing your computer between Linux and another operating system, you may have one of the following tasks to perform:

*!Selecting Linux at the LILO prompt -- If you elected to install LILO, and you entered boot labels for other partitions containing other operating systems, your computer will be configured to dual boot. This means that you can enter the name of the operating system you want to boot at the LILO Boot: prompt. If you press the [Tab] key at the LILO prompt, you'll see a list of the operating systems LILO can boot for you. Select the entry for your Linux installation, and you're off and running!

* Booting from a diskette -- If you created a boot diskette when you installed Linux, you can boot from that to get Linux running. Make sure the diskette is inserted in your computer's first diskette drive, and start the boot sequence by applying power, pressing the reset button, or typing the [Ctrl], [Alt], and [Del] keys simultaneously.

Logging In, Logging Out

After Linux boots, you'll see something similar to this on your screen:

Linux release 5.1 (Manhattan) Kernel 2.0.34 on an i586 login:

Logging In

The first time you log into your Linux system, you'll have to log in as 'root'. This is the name of the user account that has full access to everything on the system. Normally, the root account is only used when performing system administration tasks, such as creating new user accounts, shutting down the system, etc. That's because root's unrestricted access can wreak havoc, if you enter the wrong command. So be careful when logged in as root, and use the root account only when needed!

To log in, enter root at the login: prompt. Press the [Enter] (or [Return]) key. A Password: prompt should appear. Type the same password you entered back in Section 5.7, pressing [Enter] when done. You should then see something like this:

[root@mlcug /root]#

Logging Out

When you're finished, you should log out. Although many shells have a logout command, most people simply type [Ctrl]-[D]. You'll be at the login prompt you saw when you booted!your system.

[Part 3 - next month]


NEW MEMBER!!! - yes, we picked up a second new member, thru Marty Caulfield's good offices. He's Patrick Sebastian from King of Prussia PA. One more step to achieving the core of new/renewals for a successful year 2000! Welcome, Pat - we hope you'll get much out of the club. We hope to see you at the next meeting - as I'm sure that you'll have some experiences of value to provide to us.

RENEWAL TIME! - thru the end of November, our Headcount 2000 has got to 19 new/renewed members. This is large enough to insure that we can continue thru next year. But, it means that more than half of our current members have elected to NOT renew. So, let's hope we continue to get renewals - and even more new members.

With our dues held at the $15 level, the club continues to offer, we feel, a good investment for a wide variety of computer users - of all skill levels. We hope all our as-yet unrenewed members will agree and continue into 2000.

Please make treasurer, Dewitt Stewart, happy by renewing promptly. The deadline for receipt of 2000 dues is December 31st. Send your $$$ (form is on page 10) and, if you have computer using friends - PC, 64/128 or Amiga - tell them of us.

Linux Tidbits

With the rather momentous ruling by Judge Jackson, last month, that Microsoft is a monopoly, there are arising more visions of favorable impact on users and vendors of Linux technology.

This open source operating system has been getting a lot of media hype (unfortunately, our modern media folks seem to have that as their prime MO!). It is bringing new vendors to the attention of computer users, notably Red Hat Software, Caldera - and, most recently Corel. This latter company is well known for their venerable Word Perfect (now availabme for Linux) and Corel Draw - a premier graphics tool. They are now "marketing" their release of the Linux OS which can be bundled with Word Perfect. The OS has continued to gain adherents and converts, but it has a very long - and not certain - road to be any kind of a threat to Microsoft.

Since a couple of our most active members are also active Linux users, we hope to take advantage of their skill and knowledge to provide some insight into the merits of Linux. Perhaps, also to help golks decide if they wish to explore it on their own.

On page 2 is the second part of a (probably) four part article by Pete Whinnery that covers some of the beginning aspects of Linux. If you have any interest at all, plan to attend the club meetings where Pete will be doing regular (irregular?) demos and be available to answer questions. Member John Murphy is also getting himself up on the OS and provides a fortunate complement to Pete's work. We thank them for the assistance they are provieing.


FOR SALE: the club still has a very large inventory of Commodore stuff - software, computers, disk drives, monitors, printers, etc. We have recently been getting a number of sales via the info posted on the MLCUG web page. But, those sales have just scratched the surface of our inventory!

So, if you are in need of replacements or augmentation, please!contact Charles Curran - he has most of the stuff and the prices are VERY reasonable!!!


The November PC/64/128 meeting had some 14 attendees. As in October, we had a very good info interchange amongst the attendees for about an hour. One topic covered was a "new" aspect of the boot/rescue disk subject - we'll have an article next month.

Then we turned to the next part of our planned Y2K discussion. A summary of that portion of the meeting is on p.5. You may want to look that over prior to the December meeting, particularly if you have Y2K type questions to surface there.


by Emil Volcheck

In our November meeting, we did the second part of give-and-take on various aspects of the Y2K situation - as it relates to personal computers. And, especially, to those that are owned by MLCUG members.

  1. what kind of hardware do you have, what Y2K problems does it have & what preps have you implemented or plan to

    - you can use y2kzip.exe from the BBS to test PC hardware

  2. what OS do you use & what Y2K prep have you done (or need to do) - you can use win95y2k.exe from the BBS to update any Windows 95 system

    - you can download an updater for Windows 98 from the Microsoft website, if you are using Windows 98 2nd edition, you should be OK

  3. what applications do you use, what Y2K problems do they have, what Y2K fixes have been made available, what Y2K fixes have you done

    - contact your software vendor for the expected fate of your applications

  4. in the light of the above, what Y2K problems do you have left & how do you plan to cope with them

    Only a bit of time left at the December meeting to get help on the latter!!!


by Emil Volcheck

Did you see the movie, ET? Have you been abducted by an alien spacecraft while traveling on a lonely country road? Do you think there might (unfortunately) be other folks out there - like us?

Well, whatever your answers to the above questions, there is a serious - tho unofficial - effort to identify signals from planets elsewhere in the universe (really elsewhere in the Milky Way) that might be headed our way. The signals might be intentional, or accidental (i.e. we did not really intend to beam Jackie Gleason, or the Beatles, to the inhabitants of epsilon Eridani; but they are on their way!). The project is called SETI@home and is operated as one part of the main SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program.

Anyone with a personal computer (Win, Mac, Linux, Unix, VMS) and an internet connection can partake in the search. You do that by joining a group, now over one million strong, who download data packets - from the Arecibo 1000 foou radio telescope - analyze them and send the data back to the SETI project for review. The object is to determine if the received data contains any signature of the LGM (Little Green Men) and roughly where they might be coming from.

You download the software (or get the Windows version from the MLCUG BBS) for your operating system and install it. Once that is done, you connect to the SETI server, via the internet, get your data then analyze it in the moments when your computer is not doing useful work for you. Actually, the program is a screensaver which comes on when you are not using your computer, analyzes the data, then lets you know when it is done; so you can send back the results and get the next packet - ad infinitum or until the LGM show up or the funding money runs out.

I joined the project about a month ago and actually, as I'm writing this, have three computers that are analyzing SETI data in their spare time and sending the results back to the project server located at the University of California, Berkeley.

To give you a quantitative feel for the activity, as of November 29th at 06:30, the better performing of my systems performed as follows:

Total participants 1,462,423 My position 293,684 Ranking 79.408% Data packets completed 25 Average time per packet 15h02m21.5s

If you would like to learn more, we can look at it at the next meeting - or you can checkout their website (, then ask questions at the meeting - or just download the software and GO


by John Deker

Merry Christmas and, hopefully, a Happy New Year as we get closer to Y2K!

Our wishes go out to Ted Dean who could not attend last month's meeting due to his recent back surgery. We hope he mends quickly and fully.

Our small group covered a wide number of topics at our November meeting. Some of the more technical subjects are covered below.

For December, come to the meeting prepared to pay your club dues if you have not already done so. Our December meeting is typically more people and celebration oriented than technically oriented. We're sure to have some raffles and some food to celebrate the forthcoming holiday season, but we'll also be prepared to offer some technical help if really needed. If possible, I'll try to get Bill Bacon to show off his recent installation of OS3.5.


Just a reminder, it is now time to renew your membership in the club. So, give some careful thought to what you want from your membership and what you have received this year from being a member. Hopefully you've found camaraderie, knowledge, and fun by being a member.


At our November meeting we discussed the future of the Amiga SIG. Beginning in Y2K, we'll plan to meet at my house in Lafayette Hill, or so we agreed. It all depends on whether I get my back porch better furnished, but plans are to try this new meeting location in January.! A real plus is that we'll have Internet connection capability. We've not been able to really demonstrate any Internet software for some time.



Have you checked the firmware version of your Phase5 Blizzard accelerator SCSI-Kit-IV SCSI interface recently? Checking it is easy. Just open a shell CLI window and type,

version 1230scsi.device

You should get a response similar to this,

1230scsi.device 8.1

where "8.1" is the version number. If your version number is less than 8.1, you can update your device driver by downloading SOFTSCSI.ZIP through the Phase5 Web site. There's a USA download at,

SOFTSCSI.ZIP contains a software patch for your ROM based firmware.

The upgrade to version 8.1 should solve most crash and lockup problems you might be experiencing.


Did you have to re-set your Amiga's clock recently to accommodate the time change from EDT to EST? If so, you might want to download and install CLOCKDAEMON.LHA from Aminet. This little commodity does some nice things to automate the seasonal change of your Amiga's clock between daylight saving time and standard time.


A multi-featured editor called TurboText comes with Cloanto's Amiga Forever version 3 software. This editor appears to be one of the best available editors for the Amiga because it can be highly configured to use various definition files. Some definition files enable emulation of other editors and some enable unique functions. The following definition files are shipped with TurboText. Others can be created by the user for specific tasks.

Provides a fairly complete emulation of the MS-DOS BRIEF editor. Functions specific to the PC-compatible world are not implemented, and in many cases not needed. Written by Jamie`Clark.

Provides menu and keyboard definitions to emulate the CygnusEd 3.5 editor. The emulation is fairly complete, although many menu functions bring up requesters instead of performing the action directly. The non-standard CED Environment menu is instead split into 3 separate menus.

Contains menu and keyboard definitions to emulate the AmigaDOS 2.0 Ed editor. The menus are virtually identical to the standard Ed menus. Extended commands are also supported, but repeating extended commands is not.

Contains menu and keyboard definitions to emulate the AmigaDOS 2.0 MEMACS editor.

Contains menu and keyboard definitions to roughly emulate the MS-DOS QEdit editor. The emulation is not exact because there are various things that QEdit and TurboText do differently, the most obvious of which are block commands, window operations, and macros. Written by Chris`Bailey.

Provides a relatively faithful emulation of TxEd+ 2.0. Almost all operations are identical, except for printing the clipboard which automatically sends the output to the current Print Device (as defined in the Miscellaneous section of the preferences requester) instead of opening up the file requester to let you pick a print device.

Offers a rather complete emulation of the standard WordStar keyboard command set. The only significant difference is in the way selection blocks are handled. TurboText always attaches the end of the selection block to the current cursor position, while WordStar doesn't. This means commands to move the cursor to the start of the block, or hide the block do not work.

This file is loaded automatically whenever the editor is started. All definitions it contains override TurboText's built-in defaults.

Contains definitions which mimic TurboText's built-in default definitions. That is, if you start TurboText when there is no TTXStartup.dfn file, the editor is configured identically to what this file describes. The reason for this file is twofold. First, when testing new definition files, it is often convenient to come back to the standard definition file until the new file is completely working. Second, having the original definitions allows you to use it as a starting point for modifications. This file contains many comments!to help you design new definition files.

Contains definitions to allow TurboText to interface to the SAS/C++ 6.50 development environment. Written by Ken Yarnall.

This file contains a dictionary and a template list to aid Ada 83 programmers. Written by Marc Criley.

This file contains a dictionary and a template list to aid Ada 9X programmers. Written by Marc Criley.

This file contains a dictionary and a template list to aid ARexx programmers. Written by Steven D. Kapplin.

This file contains a dictionary and a template list for 68000 assembly language programmers. Written by Rhett Anderson.

This file contains a dictionary and a template list to aid HiSoft BASIC programmers. Written by Steven D. Kapplin.

This file contains a dictionary and a template list to aid C programmers. Written by Mike Sinz.

This file contains a dictionary and a template list to aid COBOL programmers. Written by Chris Bailey.

This file contains a dictionary and a template list to aid Modula-2 programmers.

This file provides a Danish version of the standard TurboText menus and requesters. Written by Steen Rabøl.

This file provides a German version of the standard TurboText menus and requesters. Written by Alexander Horn.

This file provides an English version of the standard TurboText menus and requesters.

This file provides a French version of the standard TurboText menus and requesters.

This file provides an Italian version of the standard TurboText menus and requesters. Written by Sebastiano Vigna.


The 3.3 update version of!AWeb is available as a free download from the AmiTrix web site. The new version offers some new features, like:


EaglePlayer is a shareware music player which has been around for quite some time. Recent versions, V2.01b is available at, are notable in that they can buffer music files in fast ram. This is an important capability when music file sizes exceed that of available chip RAM. EaglePlayer supports directly or indirectly more than 150 music formats including CDDA, MPEG audio (requires mpega.library), AIFF, WAV, Datatype, and raw formats.


Was OS3.5 rushed to market? I think so. Several issues and problems exist in the most recent release. Current known weaknesses and problems include:

It's too bad that OS3.5 wasn't more fully debugged and developed before being brought to market. In my opinion, it offers very few really functional improvements, and therefore no driving reason to upgrade from OS3.1. In my opinion, the most important new function for the user is FFS (FastFile System) support for hard drives bigger than 4GB. There are other functional improvements, but most users would be hard pressed to be able to identify them as they are mostly cleaned up programming code.


Bill Bacon gave us an over view of his Java programming efforts. Bill has been taking a course in Java at the Montgomery County Community College this semester. Bill used some examples from his homework to give us an idea what Java programming looks like. All of his programming development efforts have been on the college PC's. Bill hasn't tried any of the Java software ported to the Amiga.


Netscape and MSIE are available for use on the Amiga! What's that you say? Well specifically, Netscape4.05 and MSIE4.01 have been available to users of 68k Mac emulators. I had a chance to demonstrate both browsers very briefly during the meeting.

    _   __      _  <>_  __      _
   /\\   |\    /|| ||  /  `    /\\
  /__\\  | \  / || || || ___  /__\\
 /    \\_|  \/  ||_||_ \__//_/    \\_

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.


Meetings are 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.

[The map goes here]

Enter from the ITHAN AVENUE main gate, then proceed to the 2-level parking building adjacent to St. Augustine, on the Ithan Avenue side.

NOTE: maps oo our webpage -

64/128/PC/Amiga Meetings  1999-2000  Steering Committee Meetings

December 11 * December 15 January 8 * January 19 February 12 * February 16

* = second Saturday ** = second Wednesday ********************************************************** EDITOR: Emil J. Volcheck, Jr. 1046 General Allen Lane West Chester, PA 19382-8030 (Produced with C-128D/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: PUBLICITY: Robyn Josephs 610-565-4058 DISK ORDERS: Charlie Curran 610-446-5239 VILLANOVA SPONSOR: Prof. Fraok Maloney, Dept. of Astronomy


PRESIDENT: Emil Volcheck 610-388-1581 SECRETARY: Charles Curran 610- 446-5239 TREAS./MEMBERS:Dewitt Stewart 610-623-5145 AMIGA SIG/SYSOP: John Deker 610- 828-7897 INTERNET/Linux:Peter Whinnery 610-284-5234 DATABASE: Layton Fireng 610- 688-2080 AT LARGE: Tom Johnson 610-525-3440