Main Line Computer Users Group - Nov 2000 Issue 22

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - NOV 11 th

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


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

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

Last time, we were quite successful in installing Windows 98 SE - with no real hitches (see the account on p.5). That gives us a choice of two installed OSes (Windows 95B, OSR 2.1, and Windows 98 Second Edition). So, the demo will continue with the next step - namely the installation of increasingly prevalent LINUX OS. Our presenter will be member John Murphy, who has selected the "distribution" by the Corel Corp. This choice was based on the user- friendliness put into the installer by the Corel.

[continued]

MAIN LINE AMIGA USERS - John's Place

At our October meeting I presented the second of the Bounce-back Videos. We also continued with the discussion of OS3.5 issues.

Yours truly will attend the PC SIG meeting in November to watch the installation of Linux on the club PC. Amiga SIG members are invited to attend this meeting to learn more about this alternative OS.

NOVEMBER MEETING LOCATION

Special Note: We will be joining the PC/128/64 SIG at Villanova (St. Augustine Center, room 110) for the installation of Linux on PC hardware!

[continued]


PRIVACY ON THE INTERNET ???

The above title has become somewhat of an oxymoron! It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain privacy or control the lack of it, if you are a significant internet user.

An example is the free CueCat that you can get at your local Radio Shack (and elsewhere, I understand). This little baby contains a unique identifier that is linked to your computer and to you! It allows the CueCat folks to track your use of the device to move around the net. The company says they don't do this - but don't hide that they could!!

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A COMMODORE HISTORY - IV

User's groups were popular among other brands of computers, but probably not to the extent that they were popular among Commodore users. The Commodore was seen by many as the ideal hobby computer and many of those who had lower budgets had been attracted to the Commodore because of its price. Frequently these individuals (who often had more time than money) developed an incredible loyalty toward the Commodore computers. It was amazing that many of these Commodore users often showed more commitment to the Commodore 64 than Commodore Business Machines did. A large factor in the success of the Commodore 64 was its amazingly versatile, futuristic, and user-friendly design. The fact that this amazing computer had more memory, a nicer keyboard, and was easier to interface with peripherals than most computers of that era made it so it was and still is (in many ways) an ideal computer for educators, hobbyists, game players, beginning programmers and musicians. For the money, it was also hard to beat as an affordable home word processing system. Its only weakness was in the area of larger business applications because of its 40-column video display, limited disk storage, and slow disk access.

The powerful combination of Commodore chips allowed some amazing capabilities. The Commodore 64 utilized the Commodore 6510 microprocessor chip which was an advanced version of the Commodore 6502 microprocessor which had been used in the Vic-20, Apple 2, and Atari models. The 64 had revolutionary sound via the 6581 Sound Interface Device (SID) chip and was probably the first home computer to be able to emulate the human voice without additional hardware. This SID chip provided for 4 different voices and many sophisticated sound forms. The C- 64 had superior 16 color graphics with sprite capabilities due to its 6567 Video Interface (VIC) Chip. The other support chips in the Commodore 64 were equally impressive for that time period. At the same time the early IBM home computers were non-color and non-graphic machines with sound that amounted to little more than beeping.

The Commodore home computers were fairly reliable considering their low price tag and sophistication. Many individuals went for years with very little maintenance and repair work required. However, certain problems with the hardware did manifest themselves periodically and somewhat predictably. Many of the repairs required for these computers stemmed from static electricity discharges blowing out the 6526 CIA chip-- usually from touching the joystick or game port after picking up static electricity from walking across carpet or touching the front of the television or monitor. This would result in some keyboard or joystick control malfunctions. Power supplies would occasionally fail or develop deceptive heat-related problems sometimes blowing out ram chips in the process or causing strange looking colored blocks or characters to appear on the screen. The 906114 PLA (logic array) chip (sometimes labeled with the number 82S100N or PLS100N) would sometimes fail spontaneously causing the computer to no longer have a picture. The 6581 SID sound chip would sometimes go out-- usually due to a monitor being connected improperly. On rare occasions the 6510 microprocessor, the 6567 NTSC VIC (video chip), the 901227 Kernal ROM, the 901225 Character ROM, or the 901226 BASIC ROM would fail. The Commodore disk drives would periodically need alignment and cleaning and an occasional chip replacement or bridge rectifier or such. Keyboards would likewise need to be cleaned infrequently. Because of the interdependency of each of the internal components of the Commodore computers. It is not unusual for Commodore computers to have similar symptoms while actually having different underlying problems.

Even when experiencing occasional hardware problems the Commodore users rarely felt like they were at the mercy of the service wolves, due to the many options which they had. Often times there were simple and easy to implement solutions for Commodore malfunctions.

[Part V - next time]

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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MEMBERSHIP 2001 ! - our annual renewal "campaign" is underway and we are hoping that all of our current members will renew for the "real" first year of the next millenium ...

As of this writing, we have 8 renewals in hand - about 25% of what we hope to achieve. So, how about filling out that form on the last page of THIS issue and sending it off to the treasurer? As usual, anyone joining in October thru December gets the rest of 2000, plus all of 2001!

Oh yes, and keep your eyes and ears tuned for friends or acquaintances who might be candidates to join MLCUG. We still think that user groups, including ours, are a GOOD IDEA!

AND SPEAKING OF USER GROUPS - at the last meeting, Emil mentioned that he had learned of a user group which apparently has gone opposite to the downward trend in membership. The South West Florida PC Users Group (SWFPCUG) has grown to some 17 chapters and over a thousand (yes, 1000+) members!! The members are, apparently, mostly from the huge retirement community down there.

The group puts out a 44-page monthly newsletter - Emil had a sample copy for folks to look over at the meeting. They have a fine website (www.swfpcug.org) and quite a support organization. Their main meeting typically has a few hundred attendees - meeting in a large auditorium. Not exactly the intimate setting that MLCUG offers, but necessary to serve such a large group.

They have $30 annual dues, not out of line with the benefits such a group offers. We have no illusions of growing like that, but I wonder why they are able to do so well - while the opposite is true around our neck of the woods?

Any thoughts on this question?

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 V: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, maim or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you in prison or in the electric chair.

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WIN TIP OF THE MONTH - for Win9x

Prior to Re-Installing Windows

We suggest that the following be copied to your D: (for "data") drive before tackling the re-install of Win95B [A similar process is fine for Win98 - about that in the future]:

  1. create a directory on D:, titled "Win95B"

  2. using Windows Explorer (not File Manager), copy the following files and directories from your Win95B CD-ROM to this new Win95B directory on D:
    • admin
    • drivers
    • funstuff
    • help
    • other
    • win95
    • readme.txt
    • setup.exe
With the two files and the other directories, you can install or re-install Windows from your D drive:

1) boot your PC from a floppy

2) at the A:

  • , switch to D: drive

    3) switch to Win95B directory

    4) run setup.exe

    and away you go!

    ***************************
    POWER TOOLS

    by Emil Volcheck

    I continue to be fascinated by the website operated by the "Windows Magazine" folks. In particular, I have commented on the utilities column: "Karen's Power Tools". You can check it out at:

    www.winmag.com/columns/powertools/

    The neat thing about this column is that it not only provides some good tools, but also commentary on the world situation, snippets of computer history and lore and source code!

    The source code is in Visual Basic 6.0; so mortals have a chance to analyze what she does and how she does it. The most helpful way to learn programming.

    A recent tool of value is Karen's "Net Monitor" which will, at your chosen interval, attempt connection to a specific website. It keeps track of the time required to download the page and reports on (and logs) any difficulties encountered. Can be very helpful to get insight on potential problems you may be having with some thing or place on the net that interests you. I used it to check on the reliability of our IDSL service over a 24 hour time span (it checked out just fine - with a quick connection every 5 minutes!).

    So, if you think you might have an interest in learning to do some useful programming for the PC, this site (and an investment in a copy of Microsoft's Visual Basic 6 programming kit) may be just your thing...

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    This Is a Hacker's Dream Job

    [tidbit from Compuserve]

    It's a catch-22. A British information technology company has created an anti- hacking division whose function will be to hack into big corporations -- with their consent, of course -- and for an annual fee of $10,000. The best people to do the dirty deed are hackers themselves.

    But the Brit company, IXsecurity, says they need not apply. "I am not a hacker, and we don't hire hackers. No criminals will work here. It's a matter of trust for our clients," said IXsecurity's top anti-hacker Ian Vitek, a former security guard. He acknowledged that some rivals even paid hackers' court fines in order to tempt them into a job, but he condemned this as a practice that would encourage cyber-vandalism.

    The idea behind the new company is to expose corporations' high-tech weaknesses so they can be corrected before a malicious hacker gets in. Particularly vulnerable in recent months have been Internet banks, government and defense agencies, Web portals, and others. "Companies are putting their business- critical systems out on the Web through an Internet interface and opening themselves up to hackers," said IXsecurity's general manager Christer Stafferod.

    Here's a shocker: 80% of the companies IXsecurity tested in Sweden over the last year were successfully hacked into from the Internet!

    ***************************
    EVEN THE BEST MISS IT!

    In 1943, Thomas Watson, then Chairman of IBM - at the dawning of the computer age - is reported to have given the following sales forecast for their first mainframe computer (the IBM Automatic Sequence Controller Calculator):

    "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers"

    ***************************
    LAST MONTH'S PC/128/64 MEETING
    ***************************

    As in September, we interspersed Q & A with the portions of the demo where the PC was doing something uninteresting! Again, it allowed us to kill two birds with one stone. Hopefully, it also continues to be helpful to attendees. Maybe it will encourage renewals?? [ha!]

    Last month, the demo continued on upgrading the club PC - partly to give it more capability and partly to exemplify for attendees things they likely may want or need to do at some time in the future.

    And, we had what appears to have been another good meeting - from two standpoints: good exchange of info and experience amongst attendees and another successful demo.

    We actually started with general announcements and pass-outs.

    Then we began the two part demo: 1) install Win98 SE on an empty partition on the club PC's hard drive, to be followed by 2) installing Boot Magic to allow us to run either from the Win95 or Win98 partition (and eventually from the Linux partition, we hope!).

    The process went as follows:

    1. booted up with Partition Magic 4.01 - needed to allow us to un-hide the FAT32 partition where 98 was to go and hide the existing 95 partition - OK. This is necessary, since DOS/Windows does not like to have more than one active, bootable partition.

    2. since we had previously put a copy of the Win98 CD-ROM on the D: (for data) drive, we switched to the Win98SE directory on that drive and started the Windows 98 setup.

    3. we spent a few minutes going thru the choices to do Microsoft's "typical" setup of Windows 98.

    4. then, while system testing and file copying proceeded, we did Q & A on member questions and problems.

    5. when setup reached the point where it needed to restart the computer to begin actually running 98 for the first time, we paid attention to the system.

    6. got a good lesson for attendees here - on the importance of entering the CORRECT authentication code for your copy of Win98. Yours truly had mis-typed one pair of ,haracters and incorrectly copied another pair, when I recorded the 25-digit code prior to the meeting (since the CD - with the correct code on it - was at home, I did not have it to refer to). But, I finally got it right and the install proceeded just fine.

      [an aside - it is a good practice to write serial numbers or authentication codes on the CD itself - with indelible marker - so you do not lose it and the ability to re-install the OS or application. It is also a good practice to keep a record, backed up, somewhere else of these critical bits of info!]

    7. the installation went with no apparent hitches and the PC came up nicely. I deleted some of the junk on the desktop, that the installer puts there even if you don't want it, and in the Program Files directory, successfully completing the first part of the demo.

      NOTE: the installation did NOT correctly install the sound card (an expected result as sound cards are tricky beasts) - more later on this.

    8. then we ran the Partition Magic CD and installed Boot Magic - short and sweet. We showed how Boot Magic lets you select which OS you want to run and how set it to default to whichever one you want to usually go to. Thus, successfully completing part 2 of the planned demo.

    With the above steps completed, we folded our tent and ended the meeting.

    I brought the club machine home and fired her up to see just how much of the hardware had been correctly detected by the Win98 installation. The results were quite good. The following had been correctly detected:

    Of course, the required mouse, hard drive and RAM were properly identified and used.

    So, the only hardware that was not detected properly was the sound card. Its presence had been noted, but it appeared in Device Manager as a set of "Other Devices" (three items).

    I "removed" all those - as well as the "Gameport device" with Device Manager, then restarted the computer. When 98 noted that it had found a sound card, I directed it to the floppy that contains the proper drivers for the card. This step went fine and we now had sound ....

    To "finish" off the installation "demo", I installed the Logitech Mouseware v8.2 that we have on the 95 partition - to enable the 3-button mice that are used with the computer. I also installed Netscape Communicator v4.08, and bumped it up to 128-bit encryption with "Fortify for Netscape" and tested that we could access the internet thru the network card - we could! Since I was at home for this, I used the ethernet that links our computers to our IDSL service - this uses the same hardware and software as the ethernet system at Villanova.

    All in all, again a very nice demo I feel...

    For next time, we'll take a few minutes to let folks see what the "typical" install gives versus what we could select to install, if we had taken the time to do a custom install. We may opt to do some customization, if it looks like there is something we really would like to have - or remove.

    Hopefully, then we'll be able to install the third OS - Linux. Tentatively, we will likely choose to go with the new Corel Linux distribution - for which we have the free install CD from Corel Corporation.

    When that is in place, the computer should be ready to tackle most any demo or program task that we would like to do - short of "AWESOME GAMES"....

    ***************************
    Trouble with Windows Errors?

    Here's help in deciphering those cryptic messages:

    WinErr: 009 Horrible bug encountered - Only God knows what has happened.

    WinErr: 00A Promotional literature overflow - Mailbox full.

    MAIN LINE AMIGA USER HAPPENINGS

    by John Deker

    At our October meeting I presented the second of the Bounce-back Videos. We also continued with the discussion of OS3.5 issues.

    Yours truly will attend the PC SIG meeting in November to watch the installation of Linux on the club PC. Amiga SIG members are invited to attend this meeting to learn more about this alternative OS.

    NOVEMBER MEETING LOCATION

    NOTE: We will be joining the PC SIG at Villanova for the installation of Linux on PC hardware!

    TIME TO CAST YOUR VOTE
    (YOUR VOTE REALLY MATTERS!)

    Some of you may be thinking hard about renewing your membership and paying your dues for another year of association with MLCUG. This may be especially true if you're an Amiga supporter and currently participate in the Amiga SIG. I know some of you have essentially discontinued using your Amiga in favor of your Mac or PC. The pressures are great to follow these platforms.

    This year will prove to be a pivot year for me as to whether I will continue to run the Amiga SIG despite the promise of significant changes to be wrought by Amiga Inc. Without the true commitment, enthusiasm, support, and regular monthly attendance of at least a handful of people to support the Amiga platform during this round of membership renewal, we may be faced with the reality of disbanding the Amiga SIG. In this case, your vote to renew your membership in the Amiga SIG really does matter. Unlike your vote during November's political elections, it will be plainly obvious that your vote to renew your ASIG membership and continuance of monthly attendance really does matter when it comes to maintaining an Amiga SIG during the year 2001. Remember, the first step is to vote with your MLCUG membership dues. The second step is to attend the ASIG meetings regularly.

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    MEETING REVIEW...
    BB VIDEO + MORE OS3.5

    In order to provide space for the Amiga announcements below, I've cut short the normal meeting review. Suffice it to say that our meeting was small on attendance and focused on a Q&A session around OS3.5 issues.
    We also viewed the second edition of the Bounce-back Video.

    AMIGA INC ANNOUNCEMENTS
    BOING BAG 2

    With the recent announcement of OS3.9, there is indication that the release of BB2 is being reconsidered. BB2 was to be the second release of patches for OS3.5. Many of these patches have been incorporated into OS3.9. So the release of BB2 would be superfluous.

    URL : http://www.amiga.com/corporate/102100-mcewen.shtml
    Title: Amiga - So the World May Know

    Oct 21, 2000 - Executive Update (extracts, ed.)

    ...
    AmigaOS 3.9

    Shipping this Christmas 2000 an upgrade for the AmigaOS! Version 3.9 of the AmigaOS will be shipping, and ready for your holiday season. AmigaOS 3.9 is being developed in concert with Haage and Partner GmbH, and a new web site that will include a feature list, and other bits of information will be available shortly. OS 3.9 will be available for under $40.00...

    AmigaONE

    ... It is because of the community that we are pleased to announce the first in a series of new hardware that has been designed by Amiga, and soon to be manufactured by Amiga OEM partners.

    The first in the AmigaONE series of products are the AmigaONE PPC 1200, and AmigaONE PPC 4000 cards from Eyetech. Available to developers in December this year, these new products are designed specifically for the Amiga Community.

    We also are announcing another partner bPlan GmbH who is also creating a new AmigaONE PPC based desktop computer. More details will emerge shortly about bPlan and the products that they will be offering...

    URL : http://www.amiga.com/products/one/pr.shtml
    Title: Amiga Announces the AmigaOne

    October 21, 2000, Melbourne, Australia - It is with great pleasure that we are able to announce the first new Amiga hardware in over 6 years. The AmigaOne, our first consumer product, will be targeted at the desktop and workstation market. Further products to follow will cover the markets from Personal Digital Assistants and upwards. All these products will run a single piece of software, the revolutionary Amiga Digital Environment (DE).

    We completed the AmigaOne specification three months ago, and dubbed it the "zico". It is a specification and not a product because Amiga is a software company, not a hardware manufacturer. The ability of the Amiga DE to host itself on multiple hardware and operating system platforms frees us from hardware dependency and gives our partners and our customers the freedom to chose the hardware that best suits their needs and tastes.

    The zico specification is as follows;

    - One AmigaDE friendly host processor (PPC, x86, Arm, SH4, MIPS)
    - 64MB+ memory
    - Next Generation Matrox graphics card
    - Creative EMU10K1 based audio card
    - 10 GB+ HD
    - CD/DVD
    - USB 1.0
    - Firewire
    - 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
    - 56k modem
    - Spare PCI slots for expandability

    ... The AmigaOne process involves close co-operation between Amiga and our partners' hardware groups, the running of the AmigaDE on the hardware, and a thorough quality certification of the final product. Only then can the product be called an AmigaOne.

    Whilst still in detailed negotiation with several companies, we are delighted to announce the first partner company and its initial set of AmigaOne products.

    The Eyetech Group Ltd, of Stokesley, U.K. already has an excellent reputation in the Amiga community. They have done much to keep the classic Amiga alive during the last five years, and we feel that in the creation of the first new Amiga machines and the transitioning from the classic to the next wave, that experience will prove invaluable...

    ... Eyetech is focusing on an immediate need in the existing Amiga market. Many have already invested considerable resources in their classic Amigas, both in terms of hardware and in terms of software. Whilst keen to move forwards with the AmigaOne, they also want to maximize their investment in the classic platform.

    The Eyetech AmigaOne PPC 1200 is a custom board which uses Eyetech Predator technology with the "zico" specification to provide a perfect synergy of classic and next generation. It provides all the functionality of the standalone AmigaOne PPC, but has been extended to mate with a classic Amiga A1200. This allows customers who have a serious investment in the classic Amiga to continue to use their machines whilst also having a brand new Amiga at their disposal. The 68k processor in the A1200 will be emulated at a substantially increased level via the PPC processor on the AmigaOne, whilst the classic operating system can take advantage of the AmigaOne's next generation hardware resources.

    The AmigaOne PPC 4000 machine is similarly designed to allow customers who have a significant investment in their classic Amiga A4000 to be able to move that investment forwards whilst also benefitting from the next generation capabilities of the AmigaOne.

    The Eyetech AmigaOne PPC 1200 will be available as an upgrade for owners of towered A1200 computers, the Eyetech AmigaOne PPC 4000 as an upgrade for Amiga 4000 desktop computers in tower conversion cases. Options for producing AmigaOne PPC upgrade designs for other Classic Amiga designs (such as the A3000 and Amiga International A4000T) will be looked at (subject to demand) once the A1200 and A4000 products are released.

    In order to implement all the features of the AmigaOne specification the, A1200 and A4000 upgrade versions will feature one AGP and six PCI slots, a user-upgradable G3/G4 (Macintosh-type) cpu slot, up to 512MB SDRAM and a high speed IDE/ATAPI interface. The system will be dual-bootable both into the Amiga DE and into Classic Amiga Workbench. This latter feature will allow purchasers to have the performance benefits of full G3/G4 cpu speeds and 512MB of SDRAM memory whilst running Classic Amiga software. Both these boards are scheduled to ship in 1Q01, with developer versions being available in December 2000...

    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  2000/01  Steering Committee Meetings
    

    November 11 November 15 December 9 December 20 January 13 January 17

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