Main Line Computer Users Group - Sept 2000 Issue 220


MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - SEP 9th

MAIN LINE PC/128/64 USERS - Room 110

As has been our recent custom, we will start with a round-the-table for news/info items, then a second round for problems that do NOT relate to upgrading of your system.

Last month, we started the installation of the second hard drive for demoing - in the club PC. But, Murphy interfered and we were not able to finsih. However, the minor problem has been taken care of and we expect to fire up the new drive, move the OS from the old to the new drive and get to the point where we are using the new drive as primary - with the old one becoming the secondary drive. Then, we'll prep for the next steps - getting two more OSes in (Win98 and Linux). Hope you all can come to learn!



August's meeting agenda saw a slight change from the PPC Linux installation we had planned for Bill Bacon's A3000. Bill and I had problems getting Linux to install before the meeting. Instead, our August meeting focused on some of the "successes" I've had with Linux m68k on my A2000. Some of the details can be found below.

For September, Bill Bacon suggested I should do a presentation on third party OS enhancing software that is frequently required to be installed to run many commercial, shareware, and freeware programs. These programs include MUI, ClassAct, the ixemul libraries, the various Rexx libraries, various archivers, datatypes, and other software



As you know, one of the last (if not THE last) hardware upgrades for the C- 64/128 system was the SuperCPU, developed and sold by Creative Micro designs (CMD) in E. Longmeadow, MA. Several of us own and appreciate this bit of tour de force!

While it is still not super easy for 8-bitters to cruise the internet, there is a website for SCPU affionados. Try the SuperCPU Home at:


and educators with several user-friendly and affordable peripherals (such as joysticks, a "datasette" cassette storage device, modems, printers, and shortly thereafter the VIC-1540 floppy drive, etc.) being released.

During the early 1980's, IBM was promoting the PC Jr. computer which was radically inferior (in most ways) to the rest of the home computer systems on the market and vastly more expensive. Commodore was, therefore, really receiving more competition from the Atari 400 and 800, the Texas Instruments 99, the Radio Shack Color Computer, and the Apple 2 computer. Despite the rivalry between these 8-bit manufacturers, much of the credit for innovation goes to Commodore largely because Commodore consistently pushed the price down and because the Atari and Apple computers used the Commodore 6502 processor as their main microprocessing chip.

In the very early 1980's unique marketing schemes were developed by different firms trying to cash-in on the developing computer craze. The fascination that many people had begun to experience with the fledgling computer video game, educational, business, and word processing capabilities of these computers quickly led to various multi-level marketing groups trying to involve people in selling these machines. There were few computer stores at the time and most of them were small. Computers were somewhat of an uncertain novelty item which many of the larger electronics and department stores were a little slow to embrace because of the uncertainty and lack of experience in dealing with such products. Consumers were often equally tentative and uncertain, although there was a great deal of enthusiasm on the part of those who were keenly interested in such products. Many factors such as these created opportunities and schemes for the smaller and more adventurous and creative individuals who wanted to get involved -- sometimes in unconventional ways. Often times, young and penniless entrepreneurs developed some hot-selling Commodore software or hardware on a very low budget, resulting in overnight fame and fortune.

Just as the Commodore Vic-20 was beginning to become fairly popular and many stores and some multi-level marketing programs had acquired significant inventories of Vic products, rumors began to emerge that Commodore was working on a vastly more powerful version of the Vic-20 to be called the Vic-64 and eventually called the Commodore 64 (many came to casually refer to it as the "C-64" or just the "64"). As the rumors of the impending release of the Commodore 64 continued, they sparked excitement and uncertainty in the Commodore market. Those who had invested quite a bit of money into the Vic-20 line found themselves with ambivalent and mixed emotions. This was probably the first experience which many individuals had ever encountered with the phenomenon we now refer to "upgrading". Undoubtedly, some became resentful. Some of those who had developed their marketing strategy and acquired large inventories of Vic-20 products found themselves scrambling around to modify their plans or to obtain price-protection as the value of Vic-20 products began to plummet rapidly.

Commodore had originally planned to release the Commodore 64 for nearly $1000 (without any floppy drive or monitor), but by the time it actually hit the market, they had already decided to reduce the suggested retail price to just under $500. This was still a lot of money back then; keep in mind that $500 back then was about the equivalent of $1000 today. Still, it was the best deal on the home computer market -- especially since it had a built-in RF modulator for connecting directly to a regular television set. Amazingly, the price of the Commodore 64 plummeted to under $300 within a matter of months, and a few months later was down to $200. Suddenly, customer interest in these amazing new computers began to heat up.

About this time many sizeable chain stores (some of which had already been

[Part III - next time]


THE TIME IS A-COMING! - next month begins our annual renewal "campaign" - that determines the fate of the club for another calendar year. At the end of the 1999 recruiting year, our membership stood at 42. With the passage of a year, we were able to get back only to 38 - or about a 10% loss.

We did manage to get some truly new members during Y2000 so far, but our losses outweighed those gains.

We welcome the new members and hope that they have found the club useful enough to be motivated to rejoin. And, obviously, we hope ALL our old members will also rejoin.

If we are able to get to at least the 35 level in renewals (and hopefully, add a few new members, too), we should be able to get comfortably thru Y2001. At that level, the member dues will cover the cost of publishing the monthly newsletter, which is our single largest ongoing expense.

Thru the sales efforts of Charles Curran, we were able to add a little to our bank account; so that we reached our financial goal of having a $1,000 rainy day cushion. That goal was set to allow us to replace the club PC in the event of a full hemmorraghe, or to recover from a similar fate with the BBS - these being our main vulnerable financial investments.

So, start thinking about renewing - and remind other folks that if they join before the end of the year, the dues will cover not only the rest of this year but all of next year, too. Anyone joining in October gets 15 months membership for the price of 12!

APPEAL - many of you will remember the sky show program called "Sky Travel" for the C-64. You also may recall that there were a number of hidden items that would show on your screen when you hit certain combinations of date, time and place. However, your editor has lost the reference to an article - most likely in Commodore magazine that described them. If any member (or other reader) can dig up the reference, it would be most appreciated. My recollection is that the info was on a single page of text on a rectangular background (which may have been in color, but I'm not sure).

LOADSTAR - see p.5 for some news on the Loadstar front - for PC users who still have an interest in their Commodore technology - via the emulation route.

PERSONAL WEB PAGES - do you have a personal webpage? Would you want to have its URL published in the NL? If so, let Emil know that URL. And, if we get some significant response, we can dedicate a spot for such notices here.

And, don't forget, the MLCUG webpage is another place for a member link to be published. Just leave a message on the page for our web maestro, Peter Whinnery.

DOWNLOADING - from the MLCUG BBS. Our BBS is a handy, local source of (we hope) useful files that is available to the members for up or downloading. The BBS software has a particularly good implemenatation of a range of transfer protocols that are used for this operation. However, many of you report that you have problems getting or giving files.

So, at the last meeting, a procedure for doing so was distributed. It was generated by going thru an actual downloading process and capturing everything that happened on the screen. Then, in the resulting file, each step was annotated with comments to explain what was happening and suggesting good options, selections or procedures to get best results.

All copies were snapped up - but more will be available at the next meeting; so come grab one, if you are interested.

LUNCH - some of us regularly adjourn after the meeting for lunch at the Villanova diner. Attendees are invited to join the fest - for more conversation, with food!


Article II: You do NOT have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone - not just you. You may leave the room, change the channel, express a different opinion, and so on; but the world is full of idiots and probably always will be.


A Dialog for All Drives

Here's an easy way to view the properties for multiple hard drives all at once. Open My Computer and select all your hard drives by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on each drive. Next, right-click on any one of the drives and choose Properties from the Context menu that appears; Windows will create a single dialog with tabs for each drive. It also works for floppy, removable and mapped network drives.


At several recent meetings, we have mentioned the (PC) Power Tools column, by Karen Kenworthy, published by These weekly columns - which are available by free email subscription - or from the webpage: - provide useful utilities for the average computer user. But, they also provide some nice training for budding programmers!

As previously mentioned, these utilities are programmed in Microsoft's Visual Basics v6.0. Both the final runnable application AND the VB& source code are available on the website.

Interestingly enough, the current version of the eLoadstar product is implemented in VB6 also!

As Dave Moorman, the eLoadstar guy noted, he taught himself the use of VB from a Sams publication. So, members who would like to try some actual programming - maybe learning how Dave did it - can get one of the many VB books and go at it. The large number of Power Tools gives you a potfull of fully accessible source code to work on, learn about and improve. Go for it!

@ How about an aid for your faithful  @
@ editor?  In the form of an article  @
@ for YOUR newsletter?  It can be a   @
@ short or long one - in one or many  @
@ parts.  It can be a tip, review or  @
@ harangue (polite, of course) on the @
@ software, hardware or technology of @
@ your interest and choice.           @
@                                     @
@ You can get it to me by snail mail, @
@ on a floppy or zip - by email to    @
@ - by email on the    @
@ MLCUG BBS (in the message body or   @
@ as an attached file - it can take a @
@ file of ANY kind).                  @
@                                     @
@ With that much latitude, I'm sure   @
@ that every MLCUG member surely has  @
@ an item of value to pass on to the  @
@ rest of us.  How about it?????      @
@                                     @
@         NO item this time!          @
@                                     @


FOR SALE: the club has an increasingly 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 ouinventory!

So, if you are in need of replacements or augmentation, please contact Charles Curran (610-446-5239 or - he has most of the stuff and the prices are VERY reasonable!!!


Again we started the July meeting with our hour+ of round-the-table announcements, followed by Q&A (i.e. problems being solved???)! However, for the FIRST TIME in memory, there was so much discussion that yours truly did not have the time to cover the raft of tidbits that he had brought along! Amazing...

For the "demo" part of the meeting, we opened up the club's PC and took a gander at the insides - crowded with cables! Our intention was to install, and get running, a second hard drive to provide more space to increase the demo capabilities of the computer. We wanted to get space for more than one copy of Windows; so we have a "regular" and a "demos" version, plus space for some distributuion of Linux (we have way too little space for it on the machine now) and a physically separate data drive, for increased data safety.

Unfortunately, the Murphy (of Murphy's Laws) came for a visit! Much to our chagrin, while the new drive would slide (with some difficulty) into the open drive bay, you could not put in the holding screws as the slots in the side of the drive bay and the pre-tapped holes in the hard drive did not match - but only by a smidgen!! So, after trying to get things to fit, we threw in the towel and took the PC home for prepping.

The prepping is now done. It took only a couple of minutes with a small file to remove about a half millimeter of metal to make the screws fit comfortably. Darn - it was so easy!!.

But, the drive is in place and the needed cable connectors (power and IDE) fit nicely; so we should not have any problems next time (Hear that Murphy???).

BTW, we did take the opportunity to slip in a couple of 16 MB, 60 ns, EDO SIMMs to bring the system RAM up to 64 MB. Not an essential for the way we use the system, but it will be helpful in speeding some tasks up.

See you at the September meeting...


There is some interesting news on this front. In the last couple of weeks, yours truly has been in touch with Dave Moorman of Loadstar. Dave is the author of the rather new "e" version of Loadstar 64 - called surprisingly: eLOADSTAR! Here's the story:

The Loadstar folk's "eLoadstar" project is putting out all kinds of material garnered from the nearly 200 issues of Loadstar 64. And some new material, too, as I understand it.

When the project started, it was based on the FRODO C-64 emulator. And that version is downloadable from the PC clone library on our BBS in a file called: SAMPLER.EXE

When run, it installs the FRODO emulator and a sample issue.

Recently, the author, Dave Moorman, has switched to the VICE 1.3 emulator. This new version has been made available from the PC clone library, also, in a file called: eSampler.exe

When run, this version installs the VICE emulator and the same sample issue of Loadstar as with the FRODO emulator.

However, just very recently, Dave updated the sample issue to reflect the change in emulators. That sample issue has now been placed in the library in a file called: Sampler.d81

For those who would like to give the "new" eLoadstar a whirl, download the esampler.exe and sampler.d81 files. Then, run the esampler.exe to install the system (which will go into a directory on your C: drive called "eLoadstarv".

In that directory is a subdirectory called "eld81". And in it, there will be one file - "sampler.d81". So, rename that file to something else and replace it with the "sampler.d81" that you downloaded.

Now, when you run the emulator - from an icon that was placed on your desktop - you'll get the NEW version.

Have a go and see what the Loadstar folks are producing. As of this writing, they have produced (or, I should say, Dave has produced at least six issues of the new eLoadstar).

I plan to demo the sampler - briefly - at the next meeting. Come take a look. You may want to buy!!

REMEMBER, attendees are asked to nominate their favorite Commodore app(s) for a look-see emulation at those meetings. Yawl let us know - right???

Trouble with Windows Errors?

Here's help in deciphering those cryptic messages:

WinErr: 005 Multitasking attempted - System confused.

WinErr: 006 Malicious error - Desqview found on drive. (Boy, you gotta know some history to figure this one out!)


by John Deker

August's meeting agenda saw a slight change from the PPC Linux installation we had planned for Bill Bacon's A3000. Bill and I had problems getting Linux to install before the meeting. Instead, our August meeting focused on some of the "successes" I've had with Linux m68k on my A2000. Some of the details can be found below.

For September, Bill Bacon suggested I should do a presentation on third party OS enhancing software that is frequently required to be installed to run many commercial, shareware, and freeware programs. These programs include MUI, ClassAct, the ixemul libraries, the various Rexx libraries, various archivers, datatypes, and other software that hasn't crossed my mind yet. If there is interest, we'll even review the best desktop enhancement / replacement I've yet used on any computer, DOPUS 5.x, and some of the DOPUS desktop (workbench) configurations that make the AMIGA the FRIENDLIEST desktop of any computing platform.


As you probably know by now, the Amiga SIG will no longer meet regularly at Villanova University. Instead we will continue to meet at 2210 Lantern Lane in Lafayette Hill. 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.

During our May meeting we discussed our summer schedule. Since the SIG is so small it is important that members keep each other informed of their vacation schedules. As it is right now, non of the attendees at the last meeting have a vacation conflict with the summer schedule. I ask that members keep the SIG leader informed if there is a change which would cause a personal conflict. Thank you.


Members wishing to stay in contact with Ted by email can reach him at:

    _   __      _  <>_  __      _
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We began our meeting with a slight change from the norm. To get an insight into what our Amiga SIG users are about when it comes to computers, I asked each of them to name their 2 most frequent uses of computers. It didn't matter whether it was for work or for play or what platforms they used. The object was to get a perspective of what might be subjects of potential future value to them.

The results included database use of both a corporate and personal nature, emulators, programming, spreadsheet use, tools to support alternate hobbies, and web surfing.


I was asked a couple of questions about how I prepare my Amiga SIG newsletter articles. The answer is that I use some relatively simple Amiga software and take about 2 nights and 4-6 hours total to create both the text based and HTML versions. I use the second night as a way to renew my perspective on what I've written the night before and thus give myself a chance to filter out awkward grammar and correct other details.

Here's the software I use:

TRANSWRITE -- by Gold Disk, no longer commercially available. Their software package was bundled with the Amiga back in 1991 and included this simple text-based word processor that is much like "The Write Stuff" for the Commodore C64. Some of the uniquely simple to use features of this word processor include change to upper or lower case, join or separate lines used in conjunction with setting the window width to a specific number of columns, and a simple, but powerful search and replace function.

TW2HTML -- from Aminet. This command line driven software does the initial, simplistic conversion of my Transwrite documents to HTML. I then use Transwrite as an editor to finish and polish the HTML format for use on the club's Web page.

AWEB -- distributed commercially by AmiTrix Development. This Amiga browser comes closest to displaying HTML documents with the same look as MSIE and Netscape. AWeb also has the capability to define a default editor and it contains an edit function in its menu. While checking my HTML document for proper display, I can select the menu edit function and immediately send the document to Transwrite for further editing. Saving the revised document from Transwrite updates the HTML document on disk and reloads it into AWeb for further review.


See "SOMEWHERE BETWEEN OS3.1 & 3.5" near the end of this article for how to take advantage of some of the OS3.5 enhancements without doing a full OS3.5 install.


The last time we dealt with Linux was a few months ago when we did an ad-hoc installation from "The Amiga Unix Compendium V1.2". At that time we had just enough meeting time available to complete an installation without time to boot Linux.

Our August meeting was spent reviewing some of the basics related to understanding and configuring the Linux system. This required that we review some of the basic shell commands. Here are some of the key points from this review:

  1. Don't start Linux or any Unix variant unless you know how to properly shut it down. Use the command "shutdown -r now" for a clean exit. If you need an emergency reset on your Amiga, DON'T use the "ctrl-amiga-amiga" key combination. Instead try the PC key combination "CTRL-ALT-DEL". It should start the shutdown process.

  2. Get yourself a Linux manual. The unofficial RedHat 5.1 port for the Amiga does not have sufficient on-disk documentation. I recommend purchasing the book, "Red Hat Linux Secrets, Third Edition", by Naba Barkakati for about $32 as it includes Red Hat Linux 6.1 on CDROM for the PC. This is a perfect cost effective combo if you also want to run the AmigaNG SDK (Software Developers Kit) on a PC.

  3. Linux supports 7 local user environments or screens. You can toggle between them using ALT-F1, ALT-F2... thru ALT-F7. This is ideal for making configuration changes as Root and seeing the effect while logged on as another user.

  4. On the Amiga use the shell "makewhatis" command to create your online help "man" pages. The "man" command is extremely useful for getting online help. To exit from "man" use the "q" key to quit.

  5. You can exit from most things with either a "q", "x", or "Ctrl-c".

  6. Study FSTAB and the "mount", "df", "ls" and "ln" commands in the "man" pages to learn how to mount and list floppies, CDROMS, and filesystems, and to link to your modem. Also check out commands like "more" and "cd" if you don't know about them already. Use "more" to view files like DMESG to review the details of your startup.

  7. You will likely want to link in your modem. Instead of following the Amiga Linux CDROM instructions, I suggest you link your modem to ttyS0, ttyS1, or ttyS2. Information about these link points can be found in the book mentioned in item #2.

  8. The "startx" command will start the X-windows daemon or GUI server. You can use the Windows like "Start" menu or the "CTRL-ALT-BKSPC" key combination to shut it down.

  9. I've not been able to find a Web browser for the m68k. There has been a hint that the Debian distribution of the m68k Linux may include a Netscape/Mozilla browser.

We had only a few minutes to talk about NetBSD. NetBSD 1.4.1 is on the "The Amiga Unix Compendium V1.2" CDROM. Here are some of the points discussed about NetBSD during the meeting:

  1. Access to the hardware RTC (Real Time Clock) on my A2000 was broken under NetBSD.

  2. I was unable to mount an AmigaDOS partition.

  3. Apparently X-windows requires significant configuration before it will run on NetBSD.

  4. NetBSD uses the Berkeley kernel and the Berkeley Fast FileSystem (BFFS). The archive BFFS1.3.LHA is available on Aminet in the aminet/misc/emu/ section. This includes a filesystem which will enable the Amiga side to read and write to BFFS.

Last month I listed files from OS3.5 that the OS3.5 wary Amigan can install in OS3.1. I again provide that list of software plus a few more files, and they are SETPATCH, AMIGAOS ROM UPDATE, AMIGAGUIDE.DATATYPE, AMIGAGUIDE.LIBRARY, INSTALLER, and TEXT.DATATYPE. The AMIGAOS ROM UPDATE file should be installed in your DEVS: directory, and it requires that the new version of SETPATCH be installed for it to be of any use.

NOTE: A fair number of the following files come from the free 3.6MB Boing Bag 1 (BB1) download at:

 ------------------  -----  --------
*amigaguide.datatype 44.13  BB1
*amigaguide.library  44.4   OS3.5 CD
*AmigaOS ROM Update  44.6   BB1
 CPU                 44.3   BB1
 DiskCopy            44.5   BB1
 FastFileSystem      45.1   OS3.5 CD
 Info                39.18  Aminet
*Installer           44.10  OS3.5 CD
 List                43.2   BB1
 Mount               44.6   OS3.5 CD
*SetPatch            44.6   BB1
 ShowConfig          44.7   BB1
*text.datatype       44.10  BB1

* = Added to list since last month

These files offer improved hardware support for newer CPU's, bigger hard drives and partitions, better identification of expansion boards and devices, and fix a bug or two. The new SETPATCH will add support for GlowIcons and NewIcons as well as integrate the NSD (New Style Devices) command patch that previously required the NSDPatch found on Aminet. You no longer need the NSDPatch command if you use the new SetPatch. However, you will still need the NSDPatch.cfg file to be in your DEVS: directory.


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 (Amigans at John Deker's house).

[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 on our webpage - ----------------------------------------------------------- 64/128/PC/Amiga Meetings 2000 Steering Committee Meetings

September 9 September 20 October 14 October 18 November 11 November 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: PUBLICITY: Robyn Josephs 610-565-4058 DISK ORDERS: Charlie Curran 610-446-5239 VILLANOVA SPONSOR: Prof. Frank Maloney, Dept. of Astronomy


PRESIDENT: Emil Volcheck 610-388-1581 SECRETARY: Charles Curran 610- 446-5239 TREAS/MEMBERS: Dewitt Stewart 610-623-5145 SYSOP/AMIGA SIG: 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 AT LARGE: John Murphy 610- 935-4398