Main Line Comuter Users Group


Mar 2002 Issue 238

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - MAR 9 th

LOOKING OVER YOUR SHOULDER?


THIS MONTH'S CONTENTS
  • All Forms of Security
  • Announcements/Comments
  • MyParty Virus
  • Hoover!
  • Future for Windows - I
  • Future for Windows - II
  • LAST MONTH'S MEETING
  • Marking Messages on the BBS
  • PhotoElements from Adobe
  • A Good Story - Dell Inspiron
  • MAP/Masthead/Meeting Schedule
  • RENEWAL & Membership Form
    MAIN LINE PC/128/64 USERS - Room 110

    Well, enough of the BBS for now (tho any followup questions from the February meeting will be taken this time round). We'd like to tackle a very contemporary topic - Internet Security !!! It is all over the map now. More viruses than ever! More holes in operating systems being uncovered everywhere (see the comments immediately below).

    There seem to be so many different types of problems - from privacy violations, identity theft, messing up your computer, using your computer for clandestine tasks without your knowledge, and on and on and so forth! Where to start? And, how to tackle it all?

    At the March meeting, we'll endeavour to go for a couple of them: the viri problem and preventing internet invasions. However, depending on comments and questions from attendees, we may cover other topics or feed them into future meeting planning.

    For the viri - we'll have a brief updating on anti-virus software, mainly Norton (which we use on the club machine).

    For the invaders, we'll be demoing the latest version of the freeware firewall, Zone Alarm, which has garnered the praise of the industry and consumers. Your questions, please!


    ALL FORMS of SECURITY

    Comcast party line! - well, it seems that this major American corporation, in the name of "improving efficiency", was engaged in significant tracking of web surfing for its cable internet service customers.

    They apparently stopped as soon as the word got out. The newspapers did not say exactly how their activity was identified, as they had been quite quiet about it. However, since users could not tell what was going on, how will they know that it has not been resumed (to further improve efficiency?). What they will say if any folks ask if their NEW cable internet account will be monitored. (cont'd)

    ########################################
    ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
    ########################################

    THE NEW YEAR! - since the January meeting, we have wound up our renewal

    THAT NEW COMPUTER! - did someone you know get a special present from Santa resources of MLCUG to help you help, too.

    WANTED - We want to buy printers. We are interested in Commodore 1520, Atari 1020, and Tandy CGP-115 printers/plotters. Believe that they are all built around the same Alps engine and are much alike. Please let us know if you have any to sell. Best Regards, Edward Thomas, "DCS Industries" , 2/26/02

    NEW/NOVICE USERS - while on this subject, your steering committee is seeking member input on how we can better help the N/N members of MLCUG itself. It's not always convenient, or possible, to have the time during a presentation to fill in all the knowledge gaps amongst all the attendees. As a result, we know there are questions folks come away with from the meetings. How might we best approach filling that gap? If you have any suggestion(s), please bring them up at meetings (the sooner, the better) or get them to a committee member (see p.7 for names).

    LUNCH - a half dozen or so of the regular attendees, regularly tackle lunch at the Villanova Diner after the meeting. Why not join us? It is a good time to get a little more help (or give it) and just to have fun talking about our common interests. The food is really pretty good, too.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ALL FORMS OF SECURITY

    [continued from above]

    And, will YOU ask if you will be monitored, if you sign up?

    BUT, when it comes to malicious activity on the internet, the following item will only give you a hint!:

    RSA: Security in 2002 worse than 2001

    According to this CNN article, SecurityFocus co-founder and CEO, Arthur Wong, presented a view of past and future security problems to attendants at the RSA Conference 2002. "On the Web server front, Microsoft was again the most popular target. Microsoft's IIS (Internet Information Services), the software that was exploited to spread Code Red and Nimda, was attacked over 17 million times, Wong said. SecurityFocus customers running the open-source Web server Apache were attacked only 12,000 times, he said, meaning that IIS systems are '1,400 times more frequently attacked than Apache.'"

    While the emphasis here was somewhat on the world vs. Microsoft, the sheer magnitude of the invsions is staggering...

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    MYPARTY VIRUS FEATURES DANGEROUS SNAPSHOT

    And just to add to the fun, this item was posted January 28, 2002:

    ANTI-VIRUS OFFICIALS are warning users to be on the lookout for the new "Myparty" virus that preys on the popularity of personalized, photograph Web pages offered by companies such as Yahoo and AOL.

    Featuring an e-mail subject heading of "new photos from my party!" the virus attempts to trick users into thinking a link inside the e-mail points the reader to a friend's photo Web site, according to anti-virus officials at McAfee and Symantec. However, the URL is actually an attachment containing a portable executable .com file that launches itself to every address in a user's Windows address book and addresses found within .DBX files, said Vincent Gullotto, senior director for McAfee AVERT (Anti-Virus Emergency Response Team), in Santa Clara, Calif.

    For the full story:

    www.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/02/01/28/020128hnmyparty.xml?0128mneb

    ****************************************
    HOOVER !

    Father Murphy was playing golf, with a parishoner. On the first hole, he sliced into the rough. His opponent heard him mutter "Hoover!" under his breath.

    On the second hole, the ball went straight into a water hazard. "Hoover!" again, a little louder this time.

    On the third hole, a miracle occurred and Father Murphy's drive landed on the green, only six inches from the hole! "Praise be to God!"

    He carefully lined up the putt, but the ball curved around the hole instead of going in. "HOOVER!!!!"

    By this time, his opponent couldn't withhold his curiosity any longer and asked Father why he said "Hoover".

    "It's the biggest dam I know".

    [from the internet via the AFMS Newsletter, V55N3, Feb 2002]

    ****************************************
    FUTURE for WINDOWS - I

    The next article covers a rather technical view of the (Microsoft) view of where they are headed with Windows. However, in the course of those moves, it sure wouldn't hurt if they figured out how not to leave newbies floundering around with basic concepts!

    Concepts like - what is a file? The writers of recent versions of Windows, the primary entrance point for these new users, have moved to provide a huge variety of "wizards" to help folks do things (like get your internet connection going). They are successful to a great extent, but at the same time they continue to hide what is actually going on; so they do NOT raise the (new) user's level of understanding. As a result, when things don't go right (and that time WILL COME!), the user is at a loss on what to do.

    An acquaintance in this select grouping called his new computer manufacturer's tech support group to get help in viewing the directory of a floppy disk!!

    ****************************************
    FUTURE for WINDOWS - II

    If you are interested in what Microsoft might have for plans down the road, you might take a look at this article:

    "Road Map for Windows through 2006", Jan 14, 2002,

    Now that the consumer and enterprise Windows OS code bases are converged, Microsoft appears ready to settle into a rhythm for release delivery. We believe the dates will be decided on the basis of the following factors:

    * For consumers, PC OEMs (and Microsoft) would like to have an OS refresh once per year- preferably in time for "back to school" but otherwise in time for the year-end holiday season. These refreshes may be an "enhancement pack" or a full release.

    * For the enterprise, Microsoft has stated that it is attempting to deliver a major release every 18 months. Because of the annual deadlines for the consumer offerings and the desire of enterprises to avoid annual releases, we believe it is more likely that Microsoft will attempt to have a new release for the enterprise every two years. To synchronize with the consumer deliverables, the enterprise clients will probably become available in the third or fourth quarter every other year.

    * For servers, delivery dates will also be driven by the consumer releases but will be delayed by three to six months after the client releases (to complete more thorough testing and finish server-oriented enhancements). Datacenter Server will be delayed by at least two more months for OEMs and Microsoft to complete configuration testing.

    Although the specific content of these releases will undoubtedly change, there are several fundamental enhancements that can be considered as the primary focus of these releases.

    2001/2002: Focus on consumers

    Now called Windows XP (for clients) and Windows .NET (for servers), this release is primarily intended to convert the installed base of Windows 9x-based clients over to the Windows NT kernel. It has been two years since Windows 2000 was released, so there are certainly beneficial enterprise enhancements (Active Directory improvements, 64-bit variants, server management, and recovery enhancements), but these can be considered relatively minor in terms of enterprise impact. The clients were delivered in the fourth quarter of 2001. The server packages will follow in the second quarter of 2002 (0.6 probability), although there is a chance they could make the first quarter of 2002 (0.2 probability) or slip to the second half of 2002 (0.2 probability).

    Because of consumer market requirements, Microsoft will ship an interim release of Windows or an enhancement pack targeted at consumers for the holiday season of 2002 (0.8 probability).

    2003/2004: Focus on enterprise

    The next major release for enterprise client users can be expected in the second half of 2003 (0.6 probability) or the first half of the same year (0.4 probability). The server packages will ship in the first half of 2004 (0.6 probability) or the second half of 2003 (0.4 probability). The major focus in this release will be enterprise server capabilities-with a special focus on work management (perhaps allowing better mixed-workload capabilities), dynamic-partitioning support (needed to complement the "static-partitioning" support enabled by OEMs), and additional integrated management tools (e.g., resource management and tracking). For the client, there are likely to be enhancements to the user interface, especially targeting consumer requirements and aligning the OS better with the .NET strategy, Office .NET, MSN, and bCentral. Again, a minor release or enhancement pack will probably be made available for consumers in the fourth quarter of 2004.

    2005/2006: Focus on architecture

    Although the specific enhancements for this release are bound to change over time, we believe that this release will be focused on fundamental changes to shift toward a unified storage model (0.6 probability).

    Unifying storage is a significantly difficult task-bringing the data engine for SQL Server, Exchange, Active Directory, registries, and many others together using a single storage engine. This vision was first outlined in a release called Cairo (focused on a unified and object- oriented file system) and first targeted for 1995. Much of the Cairo vision was delivered in NT v.4.0 and Windows 2000-except for the unified storage model, which was the heart and soul of Cairo. Also, Microsoft didn't even have the arrangement with Sybase that led to SQL Server until 1995.

    Microsoft's current plan is to use SQL Server as a base, in a project that's code-named Yukon, as the unified storage engine. This plan represents a major shift in strategy for Exchange and Active Directory, and there are significant challenges and risks involved. It is likely that Microsoft will not be able to complete this task in a single release-especially by 2006 (0.7 probability). Regardless, this will be a release as significant in its scope and complexity as Windows 2000 itself.

    Enterprises can expect a major client release in the second half of 2005, followed by a major server release in the first half of 2006 (0.6 probability).

    Bottom line Release dates should become much more predictable for enterprises now that the enterprise and consumer Windows products are using the same code base and given the consumer market requirement to deliver something during the back-to-school and/or holiday seasons every year. Enterprises can expect major improvements targeting consolidation and workload management for servers in the first half of 2004 and a significant architectural change to the Windows OS in 2005 to 2006. [extracted from TechRepublic, Inc. By T. Bittman]

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

    We had 16 attendees for February's primarily tutorial on using the MLCUG BBS.

    After a round of announcements and a few questions, Emil Volcheck handed out a 27-page write-up that contained the updated contents of five (5) files:

    * setting up the Windows-supplied terminal emulatorHYPERTERMINAL, for connecting to the BBS

    * first time contacting the BBS and establishing a new account on it

    * downloading files from the BBS file libraries to your computer

    * uploading files from your computer to the BBS file libraries

    * attaching files to BBS email and retrieving same from email sent on the BBS internal email system

    The latter four sets of instructions were prepared from capturing all that transpires in each operation while performing it with the MLCUG BBS system. So, they show just what you would see on your screen, if you were to do it.

    The first of these files was uploaded to the "Other Files" BBS file library with the title "Hypertrm.pdf". The latter four are combined in a second file titled "mlcugbbs.pdf".

    For this meeting, he had prepared "slide show" versions of each file; so they could be gone thru on the screen. That allowed for his comments (or others), questions by anyone and attendees were able to make notes on their personal copy of the handout. This is as close to "hands-on" as Emil could figure how to get, without everyone having their own computer connected to the BBS !

    Because of the extent of the discussion and the questions, we were not able to go thru all of the articles completely. We did do so for: Hyperterm, Setting up an account and Downloading files. We skipped Uploading and did about half of the Attaching files article. If folks have enough followup questions at the next meeting, we can fill in the blanks.

    However, Emil noted his feeling that, if all the effort of the full meeting last month (with the BBS actually running at the meeting), plus all the show and discussion at this go-round, does not result in the more members starting to use the BBS, he's going to consider it a lost cause....

    NOTE: if anyone would like to obtain a copy of the large handout, please let Emil know. Since they were duplicated commercially, if enough new copies are needed, he'll make another run. The pdf files can be downloaded - AND copies of the files will also be at the next meeting.

    ****************************************
    Marking Messages

    by John Deker, Sysop

    At the February club meeting, I mentioned "marking" msgs

    Here's what the BBS literature says:

    (M)ark: This will let the user mark/un-mark the current message for later retrieval. Messages are automatically marked when the logon mail search is performed.

    Just within the past few minutes I did some testing of this option.

    The option to MARK msgs is a limited feature. It is limited to your current session on the BBS.

    From what I can tell, marking a msg could prove of some use within a session if you want to return to the MARKed msg later in the session without having to remember the msg number.

    When reading msgs, there is an option to read MARKed msgs just as there is an option to read msgs FORWARD or REVERSE. The read MARKED msg option may only appear if you have marked a msg. I didn't pay close enough attention to be able to say whether the MARKED msg read option is available all the time or ONLY when you have MARKED a msg during the current session.

    MARKED msgs do not survive a logoff. They are NOT MARKED the next time you logon.

    As John said, useful but limited...

    ========================================
    Photo elements (from Adobe)

    At the last couple of meetings, member Layton Fireng has commented on the capabilities of Adobe's new, lower-cost graphics manipulation program. It is aimed at folks without the interest in, or deep pockets for, their flagship product, PHOTOSHOP. He made this recent post to the BBS:

    "I just printed a 3"x22" panorama stitched on Photoshop Elements. They supplied six 2meg files that I then stitched together, to make the panorama. The result is a print of photographic quality. Hopefully I will remember to bring it to the next meeting. I encourage anyone interested in good pictures to consider this program. The Epson printer allows the printing of panoramas, and supplies 8"x23" paper for printing them." [Layton Fireng]

    The software is in special offers: Amazon.com has the $100 program for $40, after $60 rebates, CompUSA had it for $50, after rebate. Keep your eyes peeled.

    ****************************************
    A Good Story

    This item was posted by the snowbird, James Hoffmann , the PCUG member who is responsible for a lot of the material this month.

    Dead Dell Inspiron 2500 Laptop

    This story may help someone in the future. Since it happened to me, I've found another Dell owner who had the same experience.

    Am in Estero, FL: Had my laptop on, but not using it. In the late afternoon, a tree fell outside of our community (beautiful weather), took out a high voltage line, which in turn blew a main transformer outside of our community - not one of the interior transformers. I've heard transformers blow before, but this one was different. No BIG Bang, just a small one, but there was a prolonged, loud, humming sound - as if the lines were vibrating. Went and checked the computer. No indicator lights were on. Pressed the Start button and the Power and Battery Status lights blinked. Nothing else happened.

    Called Dell and got a sharp technician. He had me remove the battery pack, the floppy drive, the CD drive, and the hard drive. That's one way to learn about your computer in a hurry.

    Had me plug in the power cord - I had removed it earlier. Had me press the Start button. Computer started to boot and finally a message came up that it couldn't find an Operating System.

    Tech then had me turn off the unit and reinstall the hard drive. Turned the unit back on and it booted to the desktop.

    Turned it off and reinstalled the floppy and CD drives, and the battery pack. Rebooted and I was back in business.

    I had had visions of a major problem, but such wasn't the case. It seems that a voltage spike or surge can sometimes impose an electrical charge on the system which prevents a relay or something from closing.

    Told a friend about it and found out that he had gone through the same process last year.

    I guess that all's well that ends well!

    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  2002  Steering Committee Meetings
    
                          March 9                           March 13 **
                          April 13                          April 17
                          May 11                            May 15
    
         * = first Saturday     ** = second Wednesday at Tom Johnson's home
    ***************************************************************************************
    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