Main Line Computer Users Group - 2000 Issue 22

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - OCT 14 th

http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug


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

Following the pattern from last month, we'll plan to intersperse portions of the program/demo with Q & A round the table. The better to help pass over slow demo items!!

Last time, we had an eminently successful program - with nary a single problem (see the account elsewhere). That put us in the position of having an installed and working, new primary boot drive on the club PC. The demo will continue with the next step - namely the installation of Windows 98 SE and the Boot Magic utility. When finished, we will be able to boot up either Win95B or Win98SE - as needed for demos or info gathering. It is our fond hope that it will go as well as last month's program did!

[continued]

MAIN LINE AMIGA USERS - John's Place

At our September meeting I presented OS enhancing software as suggested by Bill Bacon last month. The presentation included software like OS3.5, Directory Opus, PFS3, artser.device, ClockDaemon, KingCON, and MUI. Information about this and other software can be found in the included meeting review section.

Our October meeting should bring a brief review of the d'Amiga as well as a general Q&A session.

REMINDER: since the beginning of the year the Amiga SIG no longer meets regularly at Villanova University. Instead we continue to meet at 2210 Lantern Lane in Lafayette Hill. We are trying to start our meetings at 9:00 AM instead of 9:30.

[continued]


RIDING OFF INTO THE SUNSET!!

The following posting documents the departure of one of the stalwarts of the Commodore era:

"Hi all, I just wanted everyone to know that I'm no longer developing or supporting Novaterm. This is probably not a surprise as I've been out of touch for a while! I've made Novaterm 9.6, the last beta version of Novaterm 10, and all source code freely available on my FTP site: ftp://ftp.exitlight.com/Novaterm/ [cont'd]

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A COMMODORE HISTORY - III

carrying Vic-20 merchandise) began to carry Commodore 64 items. Regional electronic superstores got involved as did a significant number of smaller computer dealerships. Eventually, Commodore 64 and Vic-20 software and hardware were carried by such national department stores as Sears, Montgomery Ward, Fred Meyer, LaBelles, K-Mart, and many others. Also, many toy stores such as Lionel Play World and Toys'R'Us began to sell these computers. The price dropped by another $50, and dealers were buying the Commodore for just over $100. Commodore became so popular that Commodore even offered shares of stock on the stock market for several years.

As the competition among retailers heated up, it was not uncommon to see retailers willing to sell the Commodore 64 systems at cost or even at a slight loss in order to lure people into their stores. The strategy (which usually paid off) was that customers would see the computer selling at an incredibly low price of near $100 and come to buy the computer and end up buying the 1541 disk drive, a Commodore printer, Commodore modem, a 1702 Commodore monitor, and a bunch of educational software, games, supplies, and accessories to go along with it. By the time the customer walked out the door, the purchase usually resulted in significant profit to the retailer.

Many after-market and 3rd party manufacturers subsequently began to create and market Commodore-compatible software, hardware, books, and accessories in an effort to get in on the blossoming industry. Many Commodore magazines also became established -- some of which even included monthly disks with many free programs on them. Many of our present software and hardware giants got their humble start during this period. Microsoft's Multiplan became a very popular spreadsheet for Commodore. Other companies such as Electronic Arts, Accolade, Activision, Cinemaware, Cosmi, Batteries Included, Sublogic, Epyx, Access, Infocom, Mastertronic, etc. soon became household words. Commodore service and repair centers became quite common. Training centers taught computer fundamentals and programming using Commodores. Many schools, universities, research centers, and educational enterprises began using Commodore computers. A significant number of small and medium size businesses used Commodore computers as well.

Unique marketing approaches continued to develop as smaller companies and private individuals began developing the concept of shareware or freeware. This new concept was based on the idea that a programmer could write and copyright a useful or fun program and then freely distribute copies of it to the public on the condition that end users would pay a registration fee to become an official user of the program. Usually a relatively small fee was supposed to be sent directly to the program's author. Often times the author would provide an updated or more complete version or accompanying manual or program add-on or other benefit as an incentive to pay the registration fee. This kept overhead, production, and marketing costs down by relying on grass roots distribution and the "honor system" of marketing. Several shareware and freeware programs became fairly famous during this time, but undoubtedly a great many programmers' dreams never quite lived up to expectations. The idea of try-before-you-buy software has continued to evolve up to this day, becoming more and more sophisticated and creative.

Also, during this same time period a great number of public domain programs began to emerge. There were many programmers who had written and not copyrighted their programs for various reasons whose program began to be freely distributed without any registration fee being required. This greatly added to the availability of affordable software.

Another interesting phenomenon-- Commodore User's Groups-- began to unfold during this time. This phenomena was a result of the need and desire of people to share information regarding their computers and uses.

[Part IV - next time]

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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THE TIME HAS A-COME ! - our annual renewal "campaign" has begun - which determines the fate of the club for another 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.

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 the goal for setting the dues level.

As of this writing, we have 3-4 renewals in hand - 10% of what we need. So, how about filling out that form on the last page of each issue and send it off to the treasurer? Anyone joining in October thru December gets the rest of 2000, plus all of 2001!

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!

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THE BILL OF "NO RIGHTS"

Article IV: You do NOT have the right to free food and lodging. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need; but we are growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes, who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of couch potatoes.

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WIN TIP OF THE MONTH - for Win9x

[by Emil Volcheck]

Well, this "tip" is more in the form of a sermon! Whether using a PC, a Mac, an Amiga or a Commodore computer - backing up and being prepared for emergencies has been our theme. We're not perfect, but we try. So, here's a recent example lesson:

One of our members got infected with a "virus" and was told that he was sending out infected email. Based on some info he had got from a recipient, I was able to identify that he had the "Happy99 worm" (actually not a virus, but nasty nevertheless).

He acquired Norton Anti-virus which confirmed that Happy99 was the culprit. NAV provided assistance in removing said worm. However, in the process - for some reason - a critical system file was deleted. As a result, he could no longer startup Windows.....

I was able to supply him with the deleted file, but had to provide a boot disk along with it as he did not have a boot disk and could not startup his computer to do any troubleshooting, etc.

An excellent, tho troublesome, example of why one should be prepared with some rudimentary tools!

With the proper boot disk, he probably could have extracted the file directly from his windows CD.

Maybe we have a need to republish the Emergency/boot/rescue/startup disk series????

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NOVATERM'S GONE!

[continued from p.1]

All software and source code can be freely copied and distributed.

I want to thank everyone for their support over the years. I've appreciated all the positive feedback and suggestions. It's always a pleasure to work on a product that people find useful - especially when you've worked for companies whose products were never used by anyone!

Currently my day job is as a software development lead for Loudeye Technologies [NASDAQ:LOUD] (http://www.loudeye.com/), a company that does high-volume encoding of video and audio for Internet streaming. The development work is all Java server-side enterprise applications. I also have a video production business, where we've done everything from TV and radio commercials to comedy and extreme sports video. A lot of our work is up on our site at http://www.exitlight.com/ (video is best viewed over a broadband connection of course). As you can imagine, both of these things keep me very busy, which is why I have not been supporting Novaterm.

Here is how I last left development of Novaterm 10: It has a fully functional TCP/IP stack using SLIP (though not without bugs), a Telnet application, and the beginnings of an FTP module. I completely rewrote everything in 100% assembly. Most of the original features from version 9.6 are ported (phone book, buffer, multiple devices, etc.) Every module (except for the bootstrapper) is written as dynamically relocatable code, assembled with a special assembler that I wrote for the purpose of generating relocation data along with the code itself. The special assembler is written in C++ and also supports 6502 extended opcodes and the 65816 instruction set (i.e. it can assemble native code for the SuperCPU). All of the source code for version 10, version 9.6, and the assembler is in one big tgz (tar-gzip) file. It's meant to be unpacked on a Linux system, which is where I did all the development.

The source is freely available for any use; copy it, plagiarize it, study it, learn from it. I won't have time to answer detailed questions about it (in fact I remember very little about it), but I believe it will still have value nonetheless.

Soon I'll be offering my Commodore equipment for sale. I've accumulated a few goodies over time that I used in development which should be nice additions to a collection.

Nick Rossi, Exit Light Productions
http://www.exitlight.com/

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LAST MONTH'S PC/128/64 MEETING
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As mentioned elsewhere, we ran the Sept. meeting in the mode of - start a demo, while it runs, do Q&A, then repeat. It worked well and we not only learned something, but had a lot of good exchanges. We succeeeded in doing quite a lot. So, here is a summary of just what we did and how each step went!!
----------
Last month, our demo was upgrading the club PC: 1) to make it more useable for meeting demos (and "safer") and 2) to provide some hands-on experience for the critical steps, in real time, for our member's edification.

The primary activity involved the addition of a new 10 GB hard drive to supplement the existing 5 GB hard drive. Then to make the new drive the bootable master drive and divide up both drives to allow the installation and use of multiple OSes. Quite a number of discreet steps are involved. The first was to physically install the second drive in the computer and hook in the power and IDE cables. That failed in Aug. due to a very slight misalignment of the screw slots in the drive bay where the new drive was to be installed. So, attendees got to see the new drive and where it would go and then we folded....

Between meetings, Emil did a very, very light filing of the screw slots; so the drive slid in and lined up the screw holes. As it turned out the IDE and power cable spare connectors were very nicely positioned to fit the new drive. So, the system was ready for September.

We began by setting the jumper on the new drive to make it a slave - with the old drive still remaining the master that booted. Then, we connected the IDE and power cables and powered up the system. However, we did not boot from the old hard drive, but from a Partition Magic v4.01 boot disk.

This brought the computer up with PM4.01 - ready to start the process. Since the various steps would take real times to complete, the meeting strategy was to start the demo right at the beginning of the meeting. Then when the PC was performing a lengthy process, we could discuss what was going on to be sure all understood what we were doing - and allow for other discussion or Q&A, if the step was fairly lengthy.

Here are the steps that we were actually able to do today - over the course of approx. two hours:

  1. we asked PM to clone the bootable C: drive into the free space of the new drive - it did so in a few minutes. Giving us a roughly 2 GB clone of the original 2 GB partition

  2. then we had PM expand this new partition to 3.2 GB, create on the new drive a second 3.2 GB formatted partition for a second OS - leaving about 3.2 GB of free space for a future 3rd OS partition. PM did this - hitchless.

  3. then we powered down and switched the jumpers on both drives to make the new drive the master and the old drive the slave.

  4. then we powered back up and let the system boot into Windows 95, in the cloned partition on the new master drive. She came up as hoped and everything looked as usual - as it SHOULD have looked!

  5. having some confidence that we were now OK and using the new hard drive as our primary drive, we rebooted with the PM4.01 boot disk.

  6. then we had PM delete the two partitions on the old drive that had our Linux install, then asked it to shorten up the extended partition that held both the Linux partitions and the old D: data partition to just encompass the latter. This made the Linux space "free space". Went fine!

  7. then the biggy - that was a quicky - we had PM delete our old original C: drive partition to give free space that was additive to the free space created by the Linux deletion. This, of course, was almost instantaneous (and final!).

As a side effect of this last step - we now had all our original drive letter assignments restored - they had moved around in the earlier steps as new partitions appeared or got relocated. But, of course, the C: drive is now on the new 10 GB hard drive, while the D: drive remained in its old position on the old 5 GB hard drive. When we booted up into Windows, everything looked good. There were a couple of shortcuts that got mixed up as Windows tried to keep them in sync with our drive motions - but that was easily fixed. We'll obviously now watch for any side effects of the changes, but we appear to have everything pretty much as we wanted them. All this went without error messages, blue screens or cryptic error boxes! I have to say that I'm really pleased with how Partition Magic conducted itself!

After I got the PC home, I did one very slight bit of fine tuning - namely, to expand the old D: data partition from 1.8+ GB to a more or less even 2 GB, leaving a little under 3 GB for the re-install of Linux (which will be the subject of a meeting demo in either October or November).

Finally, I ran scandisk and defrag on both the C: and D: partitions - all came up clean - no errors were reported.

A very pleasantly successful meeting demo!!!

Good luck to all who try something like this, Emil ...

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Trouble with Windows Errors?

Here's help in deciphering those cryptic messages:

MAIN LINE AMIGA USER HAPPENINGS


by John Deker

At our September meeting I presented OS enhancing software as suggested by Bill Bacon last month. The presentation included software like OS3.5, Directory Opus, PFS3, artser.device, ClockDaemon, KingCON, and MUI. Information about this and other software can be found in the included meeting review section.

Our October meeting should bring a brief review of the d'Amiga as well as a general Q&A session.


AMIGA SIG MEETING LOCATION

Since the beginning of the year the Amiga SIG no longer meets regularly at Villanova University. Instead we continue to meet at 2210 Lantern Lane in Lafayette Hill. We are trying to start our meetings at 9:00AM instead of 9:30AM. So, please note the change of starting time.

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MEETING REVIEW...
MAINTAINING CONTACT

One of the first things we did at our September meeting was to collect email addresses. Our current membership form doesn't request this information, and I thought it might be a good idea to have this information to provide another way other than our BBS to maintain contact between meetings. I plan to distribute this information to all the September meeting attendees before our October meeting.

HACK, HACK, WHO'S THERE?

Enhancement. Enhancement, who? Enhance your Amiga's operating system with ease.

Operating System enhancements were the focus of our September meeting. The presented list of software included OS3.5, DOpus 5.x, PFS3, artser.device, ClockDaemon, SetNoClick, TrueMultiAssigns, HyperText Datatype, ECIconDOS, KingCON, Ed-Startup, and MUI. Forgotten and overlooked were TurboPrint and "ixemul.library", but I've given both coverage here.
What follows is a brief description of some of the above software.

OS3.5

The greatest amount of time was spent on the newest Amiga operating system upgrade. Within the Amiga community there are some mixed feelings and thoughts about this product as it has created some notable bugs. One can argue that this latest version of the OS did not have enough incubation time before being offered to the public. A significantly sized patch package called Boing Bag 1 was released only a few months after the CDROM release of OS3.5.

What does OS3.5 offer as an incentive to upgrade from OS3.1? The noteworthy features include:

Though most users will install OS3.5 using the included installer software, it is possible to install it manually. Here's a rough outline of the manual installation process that I recently used to get around the 20MB free hard drive space check:
  1. Add SetPatch to C:

  2. Add "Amiga ROM Update" & NSDPatch.cfg files to "DEVS:". NOTE: If you have an A1200 or A4000 with IDE interface, you will probably have to modify the SetPatch command in the S:Startup-Sequence file to read, "C:SetPatch QUIET NOROMUPDATES=scsi.device" to be able to use a HDToolBox like utility to partition your IDE drive. Also, if you previously used NSDPatch, disable it as the OS3.5 SetPatch incorporates the NSDPatch function. NSD is the acronym for New Style Device. The NSDPatch standardizes the way device drivers respond to system commands and queries.

  3. Add new libraries to LIBS:. NOTE: If you just want to display the new Glow icons on your OS3.1 system, install just SetPatch and icon.library. These two files are in the free BB1 (BoingBag 1) download.

  4. Add serial.device to DEVS:, but avoid anything that updates the printer. Some of the new printer drivers do not work, I've read this to be true for the drivers in BB1.

  5. Add the new C: command files, EXCEPT LOADWB. You can try adding LoadWB after step #7. The new LoadWB requires some new gadgets in Classes, etc., to activate the new fuel gage feature.

  6. Add the new Classes EXCEPT DATATYPES, especially the picture.datatype! If you run screens in native Amiga modes, the new picture.datatype can cause some problems.

  7. Add the new Locale directory files. (See note on LoadWB in step #5.)

  8. Add OS3.5 files from System, Tools, and Utilities directories. If you use Visage, use the OS3.5 icon editor to load and save back the visage icon. You'll need to use the icon scale function to get the icon the correct size. This will fix the problem of running Visage from its icon under OS3.5.

  9. Add new Prefs files as you desire. The new preference files are generally much larger than the old prefs. I'm not sure why in most cases. Avoid the printer prefs and printer driver updates. The new Reaction preference looks to be a variation of the old Classes preference. You should either remove or rename the old Classes preference as there is a filename conflict if you install all the files from the OS3.5 prefs directory.

  10. Experiment with the printer updates if you feel adventuresome. Printer related files are in DEVS: and Prefs:.

  11. I'm not quite sure how all the new default icons get added/activated in Env-Arc:Sys/. You might check for a new Startup-Sequence script for S: and see if that gives any insight. I've avoided the new glow icons in most cases. I still use the MWB icons. There are quite a few new default icons to add, and this uses valuable memory and disk space. Thus, another reason to avoid the new icons in preference to keeping resources available for more important functions.
PFS3

PFS3 is a commercial filesystem enhancement which is well worth the investment if you value your files and data. It provides the following worthwhile features:

DOPUS (DIRECTORY OPUS)

This has to be the BEST GUI DESKTOP (ah... Workbench in Amiga speak) I've seen on any computer platform including Mac, Windows, and Linux. There isn't any user interface more capable or more versatile than DOPUS! Features include, but are not limited to:

DOpus is commercial software.

TURBOPRINT

TurboPrint provides one of the best, if not the best, printer support on the Amiga. For compatability with OS3.5 "printer.device", you should be using at least version 6.07 of TurboPrint. This is commercial software.

Besides all the normal printer stuff one would expect, TP (TurboPrint) adds Postscript support and capability to non-postscript printers, ala Linux, using Ghostscript as the translator. Applications that support postscript are able to print in postscript through the Ghostscript software. Many times this is quicker than printing in straight graphics mode.

In addition, TP includes an interface to easily manipulate graphics for easy printing.

KINGCON

This software was covered in the August newsletter. The software can be found in the Aminet archives on the WWW.

ARTSER.DEVICE

Bottom line, "artser.device" performs better and faster than the standard Amiga "serial.device". Use "artser.device" when you don't have an alternative hi-speed hardware serial port such as the GVP I/O Extender or the HiSoft Whippet. Almost all Amiga communication software allows the user to select what serial port device to use. Artser can be found in the Aminet archives on the WWW.

CLOCKDAEMON

This software received limited coverage in the December 1999 newsletter. Besides its capability to control the transition between standard time and daylight saving time, ClockDaemon sets your hardware clock to GMT while using the locale setting in Preferences to set the software clock to local time at bootup. This is perfect for the user wishing to also use his/her Amiga to run Linux. This software can be found in the Aminet archives on the WWW, and requires "ixemul.library", also found on Aminet.

IXEMUL.LIBRARY

Essentially this is a BSD Unix kernel running under the Amiga OS. The code for handling Unix signals is taken almost verbatim from the BSD kernel sources. Multitasking and file I/O is, of course, passed on to the Amiga OS. Because the library resembles BSD Unix so closely, it has made it possible to port almost all Unix programs. Version 48.0 of "ixemul.library" can be found in the Aminet archives on the WWW.

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).

[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 of the building.

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


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

                      October 14                        October 18
                      November 11                       November 15
                      December 9                        December 20

     * = first Saturday     ** = second Wednesday @ Tom Johnson's
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 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 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