Main Line Computer Users Group - Jan 2001 Issue 224

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - JAN 13 th

.. WELCOME TO THE NEW YEAR! ..


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

After the holiday party meeting last month, we'll be back to a more normal kind of meeting again, in January. We will take time for sharing holiday (gift) experiences, tho!!

There will be time for questions and problem solving. Then, we'll turn the meeting program over to member John Murphy. He will pick up where we left off at the November meeting - continuing to install Linux (the Corel distribution) on the club's PC. He will show how he got Linux to recognize the sound card, which it missed on the initial install. And, he will attempt to get the network card "installed". If successful, John plans a quicky demo of the Linux version of Netscape on the web.

[continued]

MAIN LINE AMIGA USERS

Interest in and attendance at the Amiga SIG meetings in 2000 waned seriously as the year progressed. Because the "known" Amigans in the club are now numbering only 2-3, the Amiga SIG will go into a holding pattern and formal meetings will be discontinued until further notice. SIG leader, John Deker, will - for now - be dropping in on the PC meetings at VU, especially those involving Linux.

If any members are making good use of their Amigas - or know of folks who are - they are urged to contact John (see page 7) on interest in a possible resumption of the Amiga get togethers - at John's place or other potential location. We will continue to make very good use of the club's A2000 for the BBS, which is still going strong!!!


FUTURE PROGRAM TOPICS

With the New Year, we are asking the question: "what do you want for programs?" In particular, we hope to deal with the subject of backups and restores (esp. with big hard drives!), internet security and programs or utilities that members consider to be especially useful (that is, they actually do USE them, REGULARLY!). But, put on your thinking caps, identify those topics that may interest you the most and plan to participate in upcoming meetings about them.....

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A COMMODORE HISTORY - VI

Also to take advantage of the 80-column mode, an RGB monitor was required. Therefore Commodore made several monitors which had both an RGB mode and a composite (audio/video or audio/chroma/luma) mode. Other manufacturers such as Philips (Magnavox), Thompson, Teknika, Amdek, and a few others also made monitors which could support both the 40 and 80-column mode of the Commodore 128. Most of these same monitor manufacturers (and others such as Sakata and BMC) had also previously made models for the Commodore 64 and wanted to continue profiting from the Commodore consumers. In fact, Philips (Magnavox) actually made many of the Commodore brand monitors for the 128. In fact, it was not uncommon for Commodore to subcontract with other manufacturers to produce peripherals with the Commodore name on them. Most of Commodore's printers, floppy drives, and monitors were actually made by other manufacturers to Commodore's specifications. Most of these Commodore branded printers and monitors were essentially identical to existing or subsequent models made and distributed with OEM (original equipment manufacturers) brand name-- except that the Commodore version almost always had special Commodore features and/or interfacing. Commodore- compatible floppy drives made by other manufacturers also emerged, but they were independently developed (for the most part) due to the fact that the Commodore 64 and 128 drives were "intelligent peripherals" possessing chips that Commodore had decided not to license or supply to its competitors.

Hard drives were not common (or affordable) back then, so virtually all Commodore programs had to be run off of floppy disks, datasette cassette tapes, or cartridges. The Commodore drive was fairly slow in loading programs, so many different utilities, cartridges, and hardware modifications became available on the market for speeding up disk access.

By the mid and late 1980's a staggering selection of software was available for the Commodore 64 and 128. Literally thousands-- if not tens of thousands-- of different commercial titles had been marketed and an equal or greater quantity of public domain and shareware programs were available.

Unfortunately, not many games or educational programs took advantage of the 128's advanced modes, because software developers chose to write programs for the larger base of users who owned Commodore 64 machines-- knowing that their programs would automatically work in the 128's C-64 mode. There were, however, numerous business, word processing, and developmental programs and some telecommunications programs written to take advantage of the Commodore 128 mode. Many of these features and programs became useful as businesses, writers, programmers, and modem [users] and BBS (electronic bulletin board services) began to see the advantages of using the Commodore 128 for serious professional applications.

We owe quite a debt of gratitude to many of these early developers and computer users who began to develop and utilize the fledgling computer software and telecommunications industry. Fortunately, Commodore and other manufacturers provided a good selection of software and telephone modems, such as the model 1600, the 1650, the 1660, the 1670, the 1680 modem. If it had not been for pioneering efforts of individuals like this we may not have had the great capabilities which we have now with computers and the Internet.

The Commodore 64c

The Commodore 1541-II floppy drive

Around 1986 or 1987 Commodore released the Commodore 64c computer which was essentially functionally identical to the original Commodore 64 except it was more sleekly designed and more attractive. Commodore also released the 1541c and the 1541-II floppy drives to go along with this nicer looking Commodore 64c.

[To be continued - Part VII next time]

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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MEMBERSHIP 2001 ! - we have now reached the end of our membership "drive" for the year 2001. If you have not renewed your membership in MLCUG, then this is your LAST ISSUE!!!

We hope that ALL of our readers will renew so as to prevent the catastrophe of missing an issue. But, even more, we hope that all who do renew will take advantage of the unique things that the user group can offer by attendance at our meetings.

You can quietly cry in your beer at home when you have a problem or question - or you can come to the meeting for help. Or you can log onto the BBS, where a post can bring very rapid responses that can help in your hour of need!

And because we do not want to limit our largesse, 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!

NEW YEAR - the rooms at Villanova have been reserved for all of 2001. 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 18 years (yes, that many) to have had the use of the university's rooms. Thank you, Frank!

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Gem of the Day:

The church is near but the road is icy; the bar is far away but I will walk carefully.

-- Russian Proverb

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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CHESTER COUNTY BENEFIT

Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2000 07:28:53
From: CCIL President
To: emilv@ccil.org
Subject: Seasons greeting from the volunteers of Chester County InterLink (CCIL)

Dear CCIL Users:

Seasons greeting from the volunteers of CCIL. We hope that your holiday season is filled with happiness and good things.

CCIL remains one of the last free-nets in the country. As we approach 2001 we hear news reports of for-profit companies abandoning their free-Internet access programs. Be assured that it is our intent to be around for the long haul. We feel a passion about insuring that ALL citizens of Chester County have affordable and equitable access to the Internet. Through community involvement and the generous financial support of you, our users, we can succeed in that goal. If you have not already sent your donation for our annual fund drive, please do so. We need your support. Thank you to those that have already donated.

As we reflect back on the past year, we feel a sense of accomplishment. We were successful in building on a 6 year old system. We completed the conversion to graphics and added a way to check e-mail from any web browser (Webmail). We have made our web page more dynamic by giving our users a place to post their community announcements. CCIL users can also administer their own mailing list for their favorite organization, neighborhood, or family. We have hosted the web sites for two new non-profit organizations as well as involved a few more volunteers.

We also continue our work with long time partners such as the West Chester and Downingtown Senior Centers who both have active computer user groups. We still host a page for the homeless shelters in the area where they share information on the availability of beds that day.

Thank you again for another great year. Please refer to our home page (http://www.ccil.org ) from time to time to see what is new!


 Mark Sammarone,
 President, Chester County InterLink
 prez@ccil.org

P.S: If you have an Internet project that you would like to pursue in the coming year we would like to hear from you. Also, in 2001 we will be looking for a part-time Executive Director to help us expand. Have any interested person send an e-mail to Prez@ccil.org.

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THE BILL OF "NO RIGHTS"

Article VII: You do not have a right to a job regardless of race, creed, sexual preference or religion. Take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful and self-supporting. Don't expect a free ride from the government or your community.

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WIN TIP OF THE MONTH - for Win9x

WHERE TO FIND CD-ROM EXTRAS

Throughout our tips, we frequently refer to Windows 95 components that need to be installed off the original CD -- things like the Character Map, Mouse Pointers, and ClipBook. Don't have the CD? Not a problem. Microsoft has made most of these "extra" components ("extra" because they don't appear on floppies) available for download. Point your Web browser at:

support.microsoft.com/support/kb /articles/q135/3/15.asp

and look over the list of available components. Then, just select one of the blue file links at the bottom of the page (under How To Download CD-ROM Extras From Online Services) to start the download process.

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Read only files

Speaking of backups - many recommendations are afoot on using CD "burners" to make file backups. However, some care is needed in doing so:

Folks pointed out that files provided on a CD and which are copied from the CD to your hard drive, or a floppy, or whatever, come over as read only files! So, if you wanted to have your backup files on a CD, there could be a problem when you tried to restore those files from that CD!

I checked a commercial CD-ROM and all the files I looked at had their "read only" bit set - confirming this info.

However, when I looked at a pot full of files that I had copied to a CD-RW disk, the files had their a, r, s & h attributes the same as the original files on the hard drive that were copied to the CD-RW. So, it would appear that if you backup files to a CD-RW, they can then be copied back in their original form.

When I checked various files that had been backed up to a CD-R, they were, indeed, ALL set to be read only files! So, when you restore from the CD-R you will find that some programs will not run and many data files can not be used. Removing the read only attribute to make the files changeable could be real tedious - and it is easy to miss some.

Any feedback from folks who are using CD-RW drives for backup?????

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ANOTHER WIN TIP OF THE MONTH

START YOUR DAY WITH A MIDI FILE

Tired of the little ditty that plays (or the silence) when you start Windows 95? Start your day with a MIDI file. Place a shortcut to any *.mid file in the Startup folder, and that song will play every time you start Windows.

First, silence the sound that currently plays at startup. Select Start, Settings, Control Panel, and double-click Sounds. Inside the Sounds Properties dialog box, under Events, select Start Windows. Select None in the list of sounds under Name, and then click OK.

Now place a shortcut to the desired *.mid file in your Startup folder. Open any Explorer window and locate the *.mid file you want to use--for example, Windows\Media\Canyon.mid. Next, open your Startup folder by right-clicking the Start button, selecting Open, double-clicking Programs, and double-clicking Startup. Right-click and drag the *.mid file into the Startup folder, release the mouse button, and select Create Shortcut(s) Here.

Finally, a Properties adjustment: Right-click the new shortcut, select Properties, and click the Shortcut tab. Edit the Target line to read exactly:

c:\windows\mplayer.exe /play /close c:\windows\canyon.mid

where c:\windows\canyon.mid is the target of your new shortcut. Now click OK.

That's all there is to it. The next time you start Windows 95, the *.mid file starts, too!

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LAST MONTH'S PC/128/64 MEETING
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December was our "regular" holiday party meeting - attended by about 16 members (ca. 50% of the membership). We had several highlight items:

A good time appeared to be had by all attendees - we missed those folks who did not make it, it was a good meeting. Hope to see more folks in January.

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FOR YOUR INFORMATION

The following contribution was provided by Martin Caulfield - from the Business Section of the Philadelphia Sunday Inquirer, November 12, 2000, written by Reid Goldsborough:

"The Best Utilities Can Help You Work Better"

Every time Microsoft releases a new operating system, the question arises: What utilities do I need for my computer?

Computer utilities are small programs that help you work better with your hardware or existing software. Unlike application programs, they don't let you do anything externally, such as prepare a letter or budget.

To its credit, with each new version of Windows, and before that with DOS, Microsoft has bundled in utilities you previously had to pay extra for.

Windows ME, the latest version, includes tools for restoring corrupted system files, sharing an Internet connection among multiple personal computers, reattaching files that became fragmented, viewing graphics, deleting unnecessary files and backing up data and programs. Unfortunately, the utilities that Microsoft typically provides are more limited the "third party" programs, and this continues with Windows ME.

That's why utilities remain popular. Five of the 10 best-selling business software programs are utilities, according to the latest numbers from the market research firm PC Data.

Whether you use a PC in business or at home, utilities can boost your productivity. They can also be fun, in a geeky sense, to experiment with.

There's a slight risk to such experimentation, however. Infrequently, a poorly designed utility can corrupt other software. The remedy typically involves simply reinstalling the corrupted software, though very rarely it can necessitate wiping your hard drive clean and reinstalling everything.

What's more, when used carelessly, some utilities can temporarily disable a computer, which is why, in organizational settings, some system administrators restrict the use of utilities to advanced users.

The financial risk of using utilities is usually small. Most cost little, and some are free, released to the public by the developer in an act of good will, to promote a consulting or publishing business, or to show off programming virtuosity.

Here is a roundup of some of the best utilities on the market today, including common ones as well as little gems you may not have heard of.

Norton SystemWorks: Peter Norton popularized third-party utilities in the 1980's. After he sold the store to utility powerhouse Symantec Corp., his products kept their well-respected brand name, though they occasionally experienced the indignity of bug infestation.The latest version of Symantec's everthing-but-the-kitchen-sink utility suite, Norton System Works, seems stable. Included are top-notch tools for system maintenance, debris clean-up and virus protection. The pro version also offers fax and drive imaging programs.

Norton AntiVirus: Virus protection is the most vital tool missing from all versions of Windows. If you don't otherwise have access to anti-virus software, buy this.

PowerDesk: One of the earliest types of utility was the file manager. Though Windows Explorer, which comes with Windows, offers everything that most people need to copy, move and otherwise manage files, you can do better with PowerDeck if you work with lots of files.

This program was recently sold by Mijenix, its creator, to Ontrack, best known for its data-recovery services. The programs's two-pane view of the files on your hard disk and its bundled tools for working with Zip-compressed files are the most useful of the many improvements over Windows Explorer.

Partition Magic: Dividing a hard drive into "partitions" is an effective way to stay organized if you have lots of programs or run multiple operating systems from one computer.

This is the best collection of tools for managing these partitions. The most innovative lets you quickly move programs and associated files and links from one partition to another.

TweakIE: As its name implies, this small utility lets you tweak IE - Microsoft Internet Explorer. Among other things, it can help you cover your tracks when surfing the Web by instantly wiping out your history, cache and cookies lists.

RoboType: This FREE utility, distributed by PC Magazine, lets you quickly insert "boilerplate" text - a word, phrase, or even paragraph you use again and again - in any program.

AI RoboForm: A FREE offering from Siber Systems, this program instantly fills in those pesky Web forms for you. The "AI" in the product's name stands for artificial intelligence.

On The WEB:


www.symantec.com/sabu/sysworks
www.symantec.com/nis
www.symantec.com/nav
www.ontrack.com/powerdesk
www.powerquest.com/partitionmagic



www.tweakie.com
www.zdnet.com/downloads/stories/info
    /O,OOOOHO,.html
www.roboform.com

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 meeting in Room 110.

[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

                      January 13                        January 17
                      February 10                       February 14 **
                      March 10                          March 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