Main Line Computer Users Group - Jan 2000 Issue 212

**** JANUARY 2000 ********************************* ISSUE #212 ****

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - JAN 8 th

JOIN US FOR YEAR END TALL TALES !!


THIS MONTH'S CONTENTS
MAIN LINE PC/128/64 USERS - Room 110

At the last meeting of the year, we had some discussions, a good layout of vittles and some graphic demos. We also did our last shot at the Y2K readiness. For January, we will have our usual announcements. Then, we can take some time to discuss in what way(s) the Y2K arrival may!have impacted you and/or your hobby! Hopefully, there were enough tips passed along these last couple of months that each of you got thru with no major difficulties!

I would like us to take some time to tell others how the applications that you use may have been affected by the date change. I'll have three examples to start the conversation - y'all come and share your useful experiences!

[continued]

MAIN LINE AMIGA USERS - John's Home

By the time you reae this, it will already be Y2K. I hope everyone survived the transition to the new century mark without mishap. Hopefully we'll be looking back on Y2K as mostly hype, and of very little substance.

SPECIAL REMINDER

BEGINNING this month, the Amiga SIG members will be meeting in more friendly surroundings, namely my home, AND AT A NEW TIME, 9:00AM to 11:30AM! For travel information, call me at home at 610-828-7897 evenings, email me on the club BBS (610-828-1359), or email me at jwdeker@voicenet.com. The location is Lafayette Hill, PA and only a couple of blocks from the intersection of

[continued]


A CHANGE OF VENUE !

For many years, the Amiga SIG has been meeting in a nearby room to the 8-bit cum PC SIG. However, because of limitations on facilities at VU, the Amigans are going to try meeting at leader John Deker's home - with access to phone line(s). We still plan to get together for lunch at the VU Diner afterwards. ALL are inviued to lunch and chat!!

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Getting Started with Linux - III

Accounts and Passwords

As we mentioned earlier, it's a bad idea to use the root account all the time. Inevitably, you'll end up making a mistake, and the access checks that normally protect you won't be there. Well, if you're not supposed to log in as root, who exactly are you supposed to log in as? Yourself, of course! But to do that, you'll need to know how to add user accounts uo your Linux system.

Accounts

As it turns out, there are several different ways of creating new accounts. We'll use the most basic method; the useradd command. Basically, all you need to enter (as root, remember!) is:

  [root@mlcug /root]# useradd name

Passwords

The passwd command can be used to:

   [root@mlcug /root]# passwd name 
   New UNIX password: 
   Retype new UNIX password: 
   passwd: all authentication tokens 
           updated successfully

Once you're logged in to an account, you can change that account's password by using the passwd command without the account name. In this case, you will be asked for the account's current password, followed by the new password:

   [blarg@bigdog blarg] passwd 
   Changing password for name 
   (current) UNIX password: 
   New UNIX password: 
   Retype new UNIX password: 
   passwd: all authentication tokens 
           updated successfully

Shutting Down Your Linux System

Even though you may not be running any programs when you're ready to shutdown, that doesn't mean there's nothing running on your Linux system. To see what we mean, issue this command: ps ax

You may be working with files, and if you simply turn off your computer, these processes won't have a chance to close those files, and finish running in a clean manner. So when the time comes to shut your system down, you'll need some way of telling all these processes to finish up, and exit cleanly. And the way this is normally done is with the shutdown command. The shutdown command can only be run by root, so you'll need to either be logged in as root, or you can use the su command to 'become' root. The basic syntax for shutdown is:

shutdown

Please Note: The shutdown program resides in /sbin. If your PATH environment variable does not include /sbin, you will need to include the full path when you enter the command (i.e., /sbin/shutdown -h now). In most cases, you should include one of the following options:

* -h Halt system when shutdown ended
* -r Reboot system when shutdown ended

If you don't include either option, shutdown will bring your system into 'single user' mode. Unless you know why you want to be in single-user mode, you probably don't want to be in single-user mode. Simply enter the shutdown command (this time with -h or -r), and the shutdown will complete normally.

[Part 4 - next month]

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
########################################

RENEWAL TIME! - the FINAL REMINDER! If dues for Y2000 are not paid this month, this is the LAST newsletter the reader will receive. As a further reminder, there is a RED stamped note on the froot page of this issue. We got to about 30 new/renewal members by year end - more than enough to keep going for another year - but not where we would like to be...

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.

Send your check to treasurer, Dewitt Stewart (form is on page 10). If you have computer using friends - PC, 64/128 or Amiga - tell them about us.


Person of the Century!

Well, Time Magazine gave in to political correctness with the "Person of the Year" and the "Person of the Century" - both of whom happened to be men. But, with the latter, they tagged a a truly great one. Their words were:

"In a century that will be remembered foremost for its science and technology - - in particular for our ability to understand and then harness the forces of the atom and universe - - one person clearly stands out as both the greatest mind and paramount icon of our age: The kindly, absent-minded professor whose wild halo of hair, piercing eyes, engaging humanity and extraordinary brilliance made his face a symbol and his name a synonym for genius, Albert Einstein."

I can't add to that tribute...


Web Browser Tips

Instead of just clicking a link, hold down the mouse button while on the link to reveal a 'contextual menu'. Use the Open Link in New Window choice, A LOT!, to make it real easy to view a variety of links while not having to go crazy with the Back button! [Randy Zeitman]

The contextual menu works on all sorts of goodies in Netscape:

Click and hold on a picture or graphic and you can Save or Copy. Click and hold on a link and you get Go To, Save as Bookmark, Copy Location, and more AWA New Window with Link.

You can click on a pic or graphic and quickly drag it to the desktop or a disk (outside the browser window) to be saved there. You can drag a graphic, pix, sometimes text, or a folder, into an open browser window to view the item or its contents. [calabaza]

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BOOT/EMERGENCY/STARTUP DISKS

by Emil Volcheck

Back in October-December of 1998, we had a series of articles on the preparation of bootable disks for Win95 that provide capability to recover from "disasters" and be able to perform repair functions or re-install your Windows 95 OS.

However, one deficiency of the normal Win95 startup disk, and of other boot disks, is their inability to provide access to your CD-ROM drive - a necessity to re-install the OS. Work arounds were suggested for that deficiency.

But, a vastly easier solution has been identified - from Microsoft no less! That is the Windows 98 Startup Disk. When you prepare this disk - analogous to the Win95 startup disk - it provides access to the CD drive directly.

I've tested this startup disk on several Windows 95 - NOT Windows 98 for which it was intended - machines. It has worked very nicely to provide CD drive access. On my own desktop PC, which has a 4-slot CD changer, it even provided access to ALL FOUR of the CD slots!

I've prepared one of these disks and updated the readme file to correct for some typos and grammar errors provided by the Redmond folks. I will have copies available at the next meeting (and subsequent meetings) for members to have for use on their Win98 or Win95 systems (there will be a $1 copy fee - that goes into the club treasury).

I'd like to have as many folks as possible try it on their machines (and tell us how well it works) to see how many CD-ROM drives fool it !

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

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!!!

***************************
64/128/PC MEETING
***************************

For the December PC/64/128 meeting had some 16 attendees (very good for us!) - and we hae a party plus computing!

I want to express special thanks to Charles Curran for the super effort he provided. Much of the party stuff was provided by him - coffee makers, tablecloth, all the utensils, condiments, coffee, tea, chocolate, napkins, a big variety of flavored goodies, a great assortment of quality COOKIES and so forth. He really made the eating and drinking smooth and delicious!

In addition to all those efforts, he brought in and neatly demoed his Sony digital camera and its companion Mavica dye sub printer. He was able to snap photos with the camera and turn them into 4x6 prints (of the high quality that dye sub printing can deliver) almost "instantly". The printer - connected to the big screen TV - without the intervention of a computer - does the printing, including thumbnail cards for all the photos on the floppy that the Sony Mavica camera uses for image storage. A lot of attendees got a high quality photo of themselves on order - they'd just call out the number of the thumbnail and in a couple of minutes they had their pix. The cost for an individual photo runs around 60-70 cents (excluding, of course, depreciation on the substantial investment in the camera and printer - around $1K). A very illuminating and impressive demo of digital imaging technology that is available to any of us (with money, that is)!!!

There were a number of features of the system that there was not enough time to demo; so we may have a rerun at a future meeting - if folks!are interested.

So again, my thanks to Charlie for doing so much to make the meeting the success that I feel it was.

And, since our December meeting had a dye sub theme, I have to congratulate Layton Fireng on a successful demo of the capabilities of the ALPS MD-1300 dye sub printer. Almost everything worked - no mean feat in the fickle computer world!!!

He showed us the two printing modes - one using inks in four colors (C, M, Y, K) and the other using dye sublimation with four ribcons (C, M, Y + overcoat).

We were already familiar with what the printer could do - but seeing it in action (well sort of slow motion as this high quality printing is NOT speedy) was well worth it.

As with the Mavica printer that Charlie Curran demoed, a 4x6 print runs about 60 cents in dye sub, cheaper with the inks and about $2 for an 8x10 print. The quality of these printings is really quite impressive.

With these two demos, all the free lance discussions and the great eats, I think we ended the 19xx's with a fine time! Let's hope the new year will bring us more of the same comradery and knowledge sharing.......


OUR Y2K MEETINGS - III

by Emil Volcheck

In our December meeting, we had a give-and-take discussion on questions on the Y2K situation - left over from the last two meetings. We still had a few members who had not checked their systems - and, especially, applications - for Y2K suitability.

Since the various software authors have taken different routes to deal with Y2k, there is no one answer as to how to define the compliance of a specific application. In particular, since I think folks recognize that we are NOT going to give up 2-digit dates, the programmer has to decide how to implement that inevitability! And, they were by no means unanimous in the approach they took!!

So, when it comes to the specific applications that YOU USE, you need to (still) determine:

So, as noted earlier, we will re-visit this aspect of the now-sort of history Y2K situation - that will linger with us for more than a bit.

All members are urged to come to the meeting and mutually share ewhat has transpired.


History Repeats

It is said that history repeats itself - but folks may have sort of doubted it with technology. But, it looks like it has come sound again:

Recently IBM announced their plan to build the superest, supercomputer - capable of performing a quadrillion floating point operations per second! It will consist of a conglomerate of a million simple microprocessors - with a simple instruction set and very speedy processing of same.

They noted that there will be only 57 instructions in the CPU's set - compared to hundreds for a typical Intel CPU, like a Pentium.

Do you recall that in the mid '70's, MOS Technology developed and sold the 6502 microprocessor that formed the foundation of the Apple and Commodore personal computers? Do you further recall that the 6502 was a simple microprocessor - with a simple instruction set and speedy processing of same? Do you further, further recall that the 6502 has 56 instructions in its set?

Well, what about history now?


SETI @ HOME

by Emil Volcheck

Just a quicky update from my item of last month. At the present time, I now have 4 computers (3 PCs and a Mac) running the SETI softwarer - with unit processing times ranging from 14 hours/data packet to 42 hours.

On December 28th, they had processed 60 units of data. This puts me in the 88.2% level of SETI participants. Actually, I've processed over a 100 packets, but part of them were done on a different account - I'm now having all the computers putting their results in the same account.

You can check my progress at any time, by logging onto the website (setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu), selecting User Accounts, then Account Status. At the dialogue box, enter: mtcuba@udel.edu. When you press return, you'll see my stats!!!

If you would like to learn more, ask at the next meeting - look over that. Or just download the software and GO!

MAIN LINE AMIGA USER HAPPENINGS

by John Deker

By the time you read this, it will already be Y2K. I hope everyone survived the transition to the new century mark without mishap. Hopefully we'll be looking back on Y2K as mostly hype, and of very little substance.

BEGINNING this month, the Amiga SIG members will be meeting in more friendly surroundings, namely my home, AND AT A NEW TIME, 9:00AM to 11:30AM! For travel information, call me at home at 610-828-7897 evenings, email me on the club BBS (610-828-1359), or email me at jwdeker@voicenet.com . The location is Lafayette Hill, PA and only a couple of blocks from the intersection of Ridge Pike & Joshua Road, and 1.5 miles from the intersection of Ridge Pike and the Blue Route (I-476).

More friendly surroundings includes a telephone link to the BBS and the Internet. No longer will we be "in-communicado". So, January's emphasis will be on telecommunications after having been without that capability for so long. Specifically, the focus will be on the club's BBS, TCP/IP stacks, Amiga Internet browsers, SSL, and FTP. We'll likely cover telnet, Internet email, and Net News at some future meeting.

There may even be donuts, coffee, and orange juice for a real change of pace!

MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL TIME

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.

THE FUTURE OF OUR AMIGA SIG

Please see the introduction paragraphs on the first page of this newsletter about the Amiga SIG's new meeting location. We will no longer meet regularly at Villanova University. We will also be trying to start our meetings a half hour earlier at 9:00AM instead of 9:30AM. So, please note the change of starting time.

MEETING REVIEW...

OS3.5 ISSUES

At our Christmas meeting we took some time to review OS3.5. The first thing one notices about OS3.5 is that it comes on CDROM instead of 800k floppy disks. On the CDROM is a complete version of OS3.1 as well as the expected OS3.5. If you're still running an earlier version of AmigaOS than OS3.1, you'll need to install OS3.1 before OS3.5.

WARNING: Keep the latest version of the Amiga OS that you have on floppies. If something disastrous happens to your hard drive, you'll need the floppy version to get restarted. You'll also want to keep a CDROM driver for any future recovery efforts.

The most annoying thing about installing OS3.5 is the PC-like commercial promotions & pictures. Like the PC, it is obvious that the picture commercials slow down the installation. I would have preferred simple, quick, text messages in a window.

The most noticeable change after installation is the new icons. Most people will probably perceive them to be an improvement over the typical 4 color icons, but they come with a price. They are 4 to 8 times bigger byte-wise, and slow down the system almost imperceptibly, but they do slow it down. They also take a byte or two out of hard drive space. Users who favor function over appearance will likely complain.

The next thing that will most likely be noticed is that some of the preference interfaces have actually changed. The most notable in my opinion is the printer preference. I think there are probably over 100 supported printer models instead of the dozen or so found in previous OS versions. Also, printing to a file or an appropriate device driver is now just a click or two away. The device driver option is a very convenient feature if you network with Envoy.

These are the obvious changes. Not so obvious is the 64-bit FastFileSystem and supporting code in INFO, HDTOOLBOX, etc. The Amiga is no longer limited to supporting 4GB drives and 2GB partitions using 512 byte sectors. Its capability now extends support into terra-byte territory while still using 512 byte sectors.

Whether the new operating system is really worth the price of admission can be a real issue, especially after you find out about the bugs. There are bugs. New code is being written to patch the problems. NOTE: The Amiga has always had patches to the OS in the form of SETPATCH. Current known bugs include a defective CPU command - just substitute the OS3.1 version; and a problem with the SNAPSHOT function as it relates to disks without a DISK.INFO file. These are two bugs known to me. Others may, and probably do, exist.

THAT NETMASK MAN
(Getting Network Technical)

Here's a temporary example Gateway setup that works for me on a mini LAN. I'm using 2 Amigas & a PC on the LAN. I'll call the machines A1200, A2000, & PC4333 based on the different models. Here's the simplified topography of the setup:

               (cable)                      (cable)
A1200 <------------------------> A2000 <----------------> PC4333
      (AmigaLink on floppy port)       (10Base2 Ethernet)

Here's the Host List:

192.168.0.1   pc4333.deker.net  pc4333 ; Ethernet
192.168.0.3   a2000.deker.net   a2000  ; Ethernet
192.168.0.11  a2000.deker.net   a2000  ; AmigaLink
192.168.0.12  a1200.deker.net   a1200  ; AmigaLink

The A2000 acts as a Gateway for the other computers. PC4333 uses 192.168.0.3 as its gateway while A1200 uses 192.168.0.11 as its gateway. Both IP addresses are associated with a specific hardware interface on the A2000.

Here's the corresponding NetMask & associated SubNet setup:

IP Address      NetMask           Subnet Addr    Broadcast Addr
-------------   ---------------   ------------   --------------
192.168.0.1     255.255.255.248   192.168.0.0    192.168.0.7
192.168.0.3     255.255.255.248   192.168.0.0    192.168.0.7
192.168.0.11    255.255.255.248   192.168.0.8    192.168.0.15
192.168.0.12    255.255.255.248   192.168.0.8    192.168.0.15

Any LAN has a Network Address & a Broadcast Address when using TCP/IP. For a standard ALL ETHERNET LAN using 192.168.0.? as the range of IP addresses, the Network address is 192.168.0.0, the bottom of the range of addresses. The Broadcast address is at the top of this range, or 192.168.0.255. Both the network address & broadcast address are reserved addresses and cannot be assigned to any computer. The default Netmask for the LAN in this case would be 255.255.255.0.

By varying the netmask, the number of computers that can be in the subnet can be changed. Acceptable netmask values include 0, 128, 192, 224, 240, 248, and 252. 254 is an unusable netmask value because it restrains a subnet to only 2 addresses, the Network Address & the Broadcast Address, and leaves no addresses for computers or other hardware. Can you determine why there are only a few acceptable netmask values? If you express them in binary form, I think you'll understand why.

When dividing a network into smaller groups when different interfaces are being used, the Subnet address corresponds to the Network address, and the subnet has a corresponding broadcast address at the top of each subnet.

So, how does the netmask get determined? Here's an example for the above situation for my LAN. We will work with the last number in the IP address. For example, the "?" in 192.168.0.? is the number we'll focus on. We'll also be converting this number to BINARY format.

  1. In!BINARY, decimal 255 looks like 11111111; and decimal 0 looks like 00000000.
  2. We want the binary form of the subnet address to end in "0" as in 11111110; and the broadcast address to end in "1" as in 00000001.
  3. For each subnet, we need to allow enough addresses for the number of machines on the subnet by selecting a proper netmask.
  4. The binary form of the netmask number will always be allocated 1's starting from the left position.

For the network example given above, the ethernet will accommodate IP addresses 192.168.0.0 to 192.168.0.7, including the subnet & broadcast addresses. In binary form the first and last available address numbers look like this:

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1  = 1 decimal; host address of first computer on subnet
0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0  = 6 decimal; host address of last subnet computer
1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0  = 248 decimal in netmask 255.255.255.248
---------------
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  = 0; we AND the 6 (last machine in subnet) & 248
                      (Netmask) to get our subnet or network address.

IN FACT, ANY IP ADDRESS IN THE SUBNET ANDED WITH THE NETMASK RESULTS IN THE SAME SUBNET ADDRESS!

For the AmigaLink subnet our IP addresses, including subnet & broadcast addresses, range from 192.168.0.8 to 192.168.0.15. In binary they look like this:

0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1  = 9 decimal; first computer host address available
0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0  = 14 decimal; last computer host address available
1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0  = 248 decimal in netmask of 255.255.255.248
---------------
0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0  = 8; we AND the 14 & 248 together to get our
                      subnet address.

NOTE the patterns. The Netmask has 1's on the left & 0's on the right. Only the 1's on the right side of the IP addresses change. A subnet address range begins with an even value & ends with an odd value just as if we weren't using a smaller subnet than the standard IP addressing provides. The netmask value determines the maximum number of device addresses that can be used!on a subnetwork.

TED'S MEANER A4000

After last month's meeting, Ted Dean and I spent some time working on his A4000 tower. For whatever reason, Ted's A4000 has not been the speediest of Amigas and he had been unable to get SHAPESHIFTER running since his "upgrade" to an A4000 with PPC.

I'm happy to report that Ted's machine now "flies", and that SHAPESHIFTER works again. How we got there I'm not quite sure, but we did re-install all the Phase5 software and upgraded to the latest library files using downloaded updates from the Phase5 Web site. Somewhere along the way, Ted's A4000 took on a new personality. Normal screen updates and directory accesses with the embedded 50MHz 68060 makes most Win95 400MHz PC's look like they're standing still when doing comparable tasks.

To enable SHAPESHIFTER to run with Ted's Phase5 hardware, we removed the PREPAREEMUL (it was already disabled since it slowed the system down) command from the beginning of his STARTUP-SEQUENCE file and substituted uhe following command using the Phase5 software:

SYS:CYBERTOOLS/CYBERMAP ROM PATCHMAC

We also added 3072 buffers to the existing 256 buffers on the partition containing the SHAPESHIFTER Mac HardFile. We used an ADDBUFFERS command in the USER-STARTUP file to make the additional allocation.

When we were done, SHAPESHIFTER was booting and running from the hardfile very nicely.

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

DIRECTIONS FOR ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER MEETING ROOM

Meetings are in the St. Augustine Center at Villanova University. The 8-bit and PC sessions will be in Room 110 (Amigans at John Deker's house).

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 on our webpage - http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug/


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

                      January 8                         January 19
                      February 12                       February 16
                      March 11                          March 15
     * = first 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: http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug
           PUBLICITY: Robyn Josephs 610-565-4058
         DISK ORDERS: Charlie Curran 610-446-5239
   VILLANOVA SPONSOR: Prof. Frank Maloney, Dept. of Astronomy

MLCUG STEERING COMMITTEE:
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