Main Line Computer Users Group - Dec 2000 Issue 223

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - DEC 9 th

.. GREETINGS OF THE HOLIDAYS ..


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

Following the custom of recent years, we are planning something special for the last, holiday, meeting of the year - and especially for this last meeting of the second Millenium!

In addition to some time for questions and some time for problem solving, we'll be having our annual raffle (with prizes for a winner who might be a PCer, an 8- bitter or an Amigan). There will be an ample supply of goodies and drinks to keep us going. And, for the program - we have a special surprise in store for attendees. You'll have to come to find out - but just let's say that the subject is very appropriate for computer buffs and those folks who have "everything" but want something else!! Bring a friend!

[continued]

MAIN LINE AMIGA USERS - Room 110

The January meeting of the Amiga SIG will be held at my home as has been the custom of the past year. Since I have family commitments out of town in December and because it is the holiday season, all Amigans are invited to attend the club's Holiday celebration in conjunction with the PC/C= group at Villanova University. NOTE: We will NOT have a separate Amiga presentation. [John Deker]

Sad to say, but there were only two Amigans at the last meeting. I will have to say though that the last meeting was held in conjunction with the "PC" group where a version of Corel Linux was installed on PC hardware. See Emil's write- up on this meeting elsewhere in this issue.

[continued]


COMPUTER CHOICES ???

This is the time of the year when a lot of folks are looking for gifts - mainly for others - sometimes to answer the question "what do you want for Christmas?". A club like ours provides an ideal venue to get suggestions on and answers to those kinds of questions. The December meeting will be a particularly good opportunity; so why not plan to take advantage of it? See you there???

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A COMMODORE HISTORY - V

Fuses (which were usually easy to replace) would get blown out in the computer, drive, or power supplies periodically, but they were all usually available at Radio Shack stores. New cables or external cleaning of contacts was sometimes all that was required. Some seemingly complex problems (especially with the Commodore 128 and Amiga) stemmed from the fact that various chips sometimes became loose in their sockets and could be easily pushed in tighter or removed and reseated. The good news was (and still is) that (even in a worst-case scenario) the Commodore computers and peripherals could usually be totally replaced with a new replacement unit for less than the average minimum repair fee for most IBM and Apple systems.

As used Commodore computers became widely available at amazingly low prices during the late 1980's and throughout the 1990's many of the Commodore repair centers had difficulty staying in business. Despite this, there are still a few local and several national places who do Commodore repair work, sell parts and manuals, and have diagnostic software and hardware tools and information available.

Commodore had to constantly work to develop peripherals to go along with the blossoming market during the 1980's. Because Commodore was marketed so widely in so many large national department stores and in so many foreign countries there began to be a big demand for these accessories and peripherals. During the mid to late 1980's individuals walking into most major department stores which sold computer products would typically have seen software and hardware for IBM, Apple, Commodore, and often times Atari side-by-side or in close proximity.

The VIC 1525 Printer

The Vic 1525 printer and a higher quality model 1526 had replaced the early Vic 1520 printer. The Vic 1540 disk drive was replaced by the model 1541 drive.

Commodore also continued to work behind the scenes to develop new computer models. Commodore unveiled the Commodore SX-64 portable computer around 1984 which was incredibly nice and affordable for its time period. The SX-64 computer had a detachable keyboard and a 5" color monitor and a floppy drive built in. It needed to be plugged into an AC outlet, but for its time it was amazing. It is still considered to be one of the nicest collector's items available. The SX-64 did not become as popular as the Commodore 64 did, but the fact that it had almost total compatibility with the desktop Commodore systems made it quite popular-- especially to those who needed to travel and/or go to Commodore User Group meetings.

The Commodore 128 computer and 1571 disk drive

Then in about 1985 Commodore released the beautiful Commodore 128 computer (utilizing the Commodore 8502 microprocessor) which had three different modes of operation and two different display options. One of the reasons the 128 was quite successful was that it had the advantage of being able to use virtually all Commodore 64 software (while in the 64 40-column mode), peripherals, and accessories and yet also had a (rarely used) CPM mode and a fairly popular Commodore 128 mode which allowed an 80-column display, as well as the 128k of memory, BASIC 7.0, a numeric keypad, and a faster higher capacity disk drive-- the 1571 floppy drive. Therefore, the Commodore 128 overcame many of the weaknesses and drawbacks which the Commodore 64 had with regards to business applications.

All of the Commodore disk drives at this time were 5 1/4" floppy drives. However, Commodore eventually also released a 3.5" disk drive-- the Model 1581 which had significantly higher storage capacity (800k). The Commodore 128 could use the monitors and disk drives designed for the Commodore 64 quite well. However, to take advantage of the increased disk speed and storage capabilities of the 128 the 1571 or 1581 disk drive was required.

[To be continued - Part VI 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 most of our current members will renew for the "real" first year of the next millenium ...

As of this writing, we have 18 year 2001 members - about half 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? Or, come to the next meeting, with the form and your check? Make Stew happy - and have some fun with the rest of the folks who'll be there!

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!

NEXT YEAR - the rooms at Villanova have been reserved for all next year. That means we really do plan to give it a go for another twelve months. Our thanks to Prof. Frank Maloney, who continues to sponsor the club and give us an enviable facility to meet in. We have been especially lucky over the last 17 years (yes, that many) to have had the use of the university's rooms. Thank you, Frank!

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).

LUNCH - some of us regularly adjourn after the meeting for lunch at the Villanova diner. However, with all the food planned for this meeting, there'll not be room for more lunch! But, then there's January and beyond!

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THE BILL OF "NO RIGHTS"

Article VI: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you up.

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WIN TIP OF THE MONTH - for Win9x

SYSTEM PROPERTIES SHORTCUT

The next time you need to open the System Properties dialog box, don't waste your time opening the Control Panel and double-clicking System (unless you're already in the Control Panel). Assuming you're staring at your desktop, there's a much faster way. Just hold down Alt as you double-click My Computer. Who knew?

[And it really works!!! .ed]

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RETURN OF THE BEATLES

Yesterday, All those backups seemed a waste of pay. Now my database has gone away. Oh I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly, There's not half the files there used to be, And there's a millstone hanging over me. The system crashed so suddenly.

I pushed something wrong. What it was I could not say. Now all my data's gone and I long for yesterday-ay-ay-ay.

Yesterday, The need for back-ups seemed so far away. I knew my data was all here to stay, Now I believe in yesterday.

By the Way - in one of our early 2001 meetings, we'd like to devote program time to the topic of BACKUPS. YOUR experience will be valued - whether you got caught or had the day saved for you!!!

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MSN Cookie Data Crosses Domains

With all the PR going on about the privacy and security aspects of the "cookies" that websites store on your hard drive, the item below is particularly interesting. It points up an additional way that is apparently available to use cookies to track you even more broadly than I previously thought. [EJV]

"All you Microsoft fans out there might enjoy reading this little report:

http://www.pc-help.org/privacy/ms guid.htm

The user doesn't know it, but he's just visited MSN.COM and received a cookie from MSN.COM. Not only that, but MSN.COM has passed that cookie's unique identifier back to www.bCentral.com. ... The most interesting thing about all this is that it accomplishes cross-domain exchange of cookie information. ...MSNBC, where accessing practically any page or article, including the main home page, forces the same invisible redirections through the MSN ID server.

Also, links throughout the pages encountered by users of HotMail.com lead ultimately to the MSN ID server. ... This data-passing tactic allows Microsoft to take undue advantage of those users (a huge number of them) who have placed MSN.com in their [Internet Explorer] Trusted Zone...."

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ANOTHER WIN TIP OF THE MONTH

CHANGE REGISTERED USER INFO

We frequently receive requests for the steps required to change Windows 95's registered user information--the name and organization that appears in the System Properties dialog box. (You all remember the shortcut to System Properties from our last tip, right? Hold down Alt as you double-click My Computer.) All it takes is some quick Registry editing. (Note: As always, back up your Registry files--System.dat and User.dat, hidden files in your Windows folder--before proceeding.)

To open the Registry Editor, select Start, Run,

then type: regedit

and click OK. Navigate your way to:

HKEY LOCAL MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows \CurrentVersion.

In the right-hand pane, you will see "RegisteredOrganization" and "RegisteredOwner" in the Name column. Right-click the one you want to change, select Modify, and on the Value Data line of the resulting dialog box, type the correct information. Click OK, repeat these steps for the other value, if desired, and close the Registry Editor.

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LAST MONTH'S PC/128/64 MEETING
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Our meeting - on Veteran's Day - went very well. We took a few moments to applaud several of our members whose military service to the country goes back to World War II - we owe them our thanks.

For the third month in a row, we had a well attended and successful meeting demo! Joined by a couple of members from the Amiga SIG, we had 19 attendees to observe (and learn from?) John Murphy's demo on installing the Linux OS on the club's PC.

With the completion of the demo, we now have four (4) OSes installed on this computer - each in its own, roughly 3 GB, partition. They are, in order of installation:

Any can be selected at power-on, or restart; and share a common roughly 2 GB data partition. So, it should be possible for almost any demo to be run at the wish of the presenter. We'll see how this actually serves us over time!

As for the real action in the November meeting, after we had a short period for announcements, John inserted a boot disk and the Corel Linux install CD in the computer and restarted.

When operation resumed, the installation of Linux started automatically.

It was necessary to answer a couple of queries:

- where to install (we accepted the default 3 GB space at the beginning of our second hard drive - that we had allocated for Linux)

- what type of install we wanted (John selected the so-called "Desktop Plus" which included the roughly 450 MB of basic files, but also some 300 MB of developer's tools - and to include Corel WordPerfect 8 for Linux, which was part of the "Deluxe" edition of the Corel distribution that John used).

Then the installation began the process of copying the roughly 800 MB of stuff and installing the various "packages". This was estimated to take some 20 minutes; so we went back and started round the table with Q & A, since watching a progress bar on the display is a pretty wasteful way to run a meeting!

The actual process took 23 minutes, by John's measure, at which point the system was restarted and came up running Corel Linux with the default KDE GUI desktop. As with other OS installs, the first startup has the sytem checking on the hardware, installing drivers, etc.; so this takes quite a few minutes.

When it indicated it was ready, John restarted the system and we got a quicky look at the GUI version of the LILO boot manager - that controls which flavor of Linux comes up - or what alternate OS might load. We found that LILO would only give us access to Linux or the version of Windows that was in the "active" partition (which was Win 95B in our case). It did not appear that we could get it to give us access to 98 SE or ME even tho they are on the system.

John gave us a very quicky tour of the KDE and some of the features of the Corel distribution. Should folks be interested in more in depth stuff, John or Pete Whinnery will be able to do those demos.

At this point, we did not have all the hardware recognized - the sound card was not active and possibly not the network card (TBD off-line) - but we were running out of meeting time. So, we restarted to get back to Windows. Then we could reactivate the "Boot Magic" boot manager. With that in place, we could jump to any of the four installed OSes.

So, we took a few minutes to let folks see the startup of Windows ME - now available for a future demo, if attendees want to see it (maybe to help them decide whether to get it???).

Before the next meeting, John will check out the network card and sound card operation; so they will be in hand for that meeting.

At our next demo meeting, our tentative plan is to upgrade the Corel Linux 1.0 to the latest, Second Edition, distribution; so folks can see how well (or not!) it goes. AND, while that proceeds, we'll be having our annual holiday "party" with goodies. a raffle and whatever.

We hope that folks will turn out in droves for that meeting - and make sure they renew for 2001!!

All in all, a good meeting, Emil ...

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Trouble with Windows Errors?

Here's help in deciphering those cryptic messages:

WinErr: 00B Inadequate disk space - Free at least 500MB.

WinErr: 00C Memory hog error - More Ram needed. More! More!

MAIN LINE AMIGA USER HAPPENINGS

by John Deker

Sad to say, but there were only two Amigans at the last meeting. I will have to say though that the last meeting was held in conjunction with the "PC" group where a version of Corel Linux was installed on PC hardware. See Emil's write-up on this meeting elsewhere in this issue.

The next meeting of the Amiga SIG is scheduled for January at my place as has been the custom of the past year. Since I have family commitments out of town in December and because it is the holiday season, everyone is invited to attend the club's Christmas celebration in conjunction with the PC group at Villanova University.

DECEMBER MEETING LOCATION

NOTE: We will be joining the PC SIG at Villanova for Christmas merriment! We will NOT have an Amiga presentation.

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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'TIS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS...

And it is a very silent night for the Amiga SIG. We wait with abated breath to see if Amiga Inc will deliver yet another version (3.9) of the classic AmigaOS in time for Christmas - this time with few bugs, please. Also being wrapped up is the SDK (Software Development Kit) for Windows equipped PC's. It follows directly on the heels of the Linux version. I covered some of these announcements in last month's newsletter.

Since last month's meeting was a joint meeting with the PC SIG to review a Corel Linux installation, I really have very little to report for this newsletter. So I will wish all of you the best in life for the holiday season and ask that Amiga SIG members rejoin me after the new year for what promises to be at least an exciting new year for Amiga Inc and the few hardcore Amiga users.

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.

[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

December 9 December 20 January 13 January 17 February 10 February 14 **

* = 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 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