Hocus Newsletter March 1999
MAUG Newsletter March 1999

The Milwaukee Area T.I. User Group Newsletter
********* March 1999 **********


=============================================================

Club Officers
------------------
President Ted Zychowicz tedzychowicz@juno.com 414-453-1034
Vice-President Jonathon Johnson johnsonn@milwaukee.tec.wi.us
Treasurer Denis Dann denisd@execpc.com 414-545-5933
Newsletter Gene Hitz genehitz@juno.com 414-535-0133
Geneve Tim Tesch ttesch@execpc.com

MAUG Web page http://members.tripod.com/~genehitz/maug.html
**** Our Newsletters are now also on our web page ****

Mailing address 4122 N. Glenway, Wauwatosa, WI 53222-1116

Main MAUG meeting 3rd Saturdays - noon til 4PM
Mayfair Community Room, Mayfair Shopping Center, North Avenue & Hwy 100

PC Hocus meeting (PC SIG) 3rd Thursday - 7PM til 10PM
Franklin State Bank, 7000 South 76st Street

Annual dues now only $5.00

==============================================================

Index:

(01) TALK-BACK - Letters to the Editor
(02) Linux - The Next Operating System??
(03) The Y0K Problem
(04) Y2K Problem in Calendar Maker
(05) New Computer Viruses
(06) HX-1100 Video Interface for CC-40
(07) Mass Storage for CC-40
(08) You Think Maybe??
(09) Genial TRAVelER Files Available On The Internet
(10) MIDDLE AGE - You're getting old when....
(11) New Year's Resolutions for Internet Junkies
(12) Cleveland TIers Make Big Plans For TIMUG99
(13) International T.I. Users Fair -- TREFF
(14) The Cleveland Area User Groups Newsletter
(15) Travel Without Leaving Home - Interesting Places to Visit on the Internet
(16) Having a Computer Problem? J'ever try calling "User Support"?
(17) And It's All Free!
(18) Puzzle Column - March '99




"The American Psychological association classified Internet use as
addictive, in the same way drugs, gambling, and video games are
addictive."

"In China two brothers were sentenced to death for using computers to
redirect the equivalent of $31,400 to bank accounts they controled"

======================================

(01) Talk Back -- Letters to the Editor

(let's hear from all you folks out there )
(let us know what you think about our newsletter)
(what you like and what you dislike )
(what we should change, what you disagree about )
(and try working on our puzzles. )

From: GBBasics@aol.com

Gene,
You are doing GREAT for first time out. Both the January and this issue
(February) are terrific. It's a pleasure to receive.
Glenn


Return to Index
======================================

(02) Linux, The Next Operating System?

(rhymes with "peanuts")

Linux Up Close - Time To Switch (Sm@rt Reseller - Jan 25,1999)
Commercial Linux Releases Are Ready For Your Server Business
The ZD Labs resuilts are in: Each of the commercial Linux releases ate
NT's lunch.
The Best Windows File Server: Linux
Linux Is The Web Server's Choice

As Linux begins to chart new territory, Intel has much to gain - and
lose.
(INFOWORLD - Jan 18, 1999)
Linux could prove to be both boon and bane to Intel. Thr primary reason
Intel needs Linux is Windows. Intel keeps making computers faster, more
scalable, and more affordable. As Intel computing power has increased,
the price of Intel chips has decreased. That makes Intel-based computers
increasingly competitive with higher-priced RISC boxes.
The problem for Intel is that Microsoft keeps making Windows fatter,
slower, buggier, and more expensive. That means Wintel-based computing is
less competitive with higher-priced RISC architectures than it should be.
Enter Linux. Linux offers the speed, stability, and scalability that is
lacking in Windows NT. It has a remarkable level of compatibility, and it
does all this at a rock-bottom price

Linux is making the transition from bit player to overnight sensation
(INFOWORLD - Jan 11, 1999)

Next Stop, The Desktop? (INFOWORLD - Jan 18, 1999)
Many different versions (actually all the same system, just different
ways to set it up and different interfaces and options included)
Red Hat SuSe Caldera
Slackware Debian HiTech
Gnome & KDE are the two big windows-like interfaces(managers) along with
FVWM2 and CDE

Where To Get It
The sites where you can download various Linux systems are growing daily.
Among the popular ones are debian.org, linux.org, linux-center.com,gnome.org,
fsf.org, linuxmall.com, linuxberg.com, ssc.com/linux, and redhat.com

Applications Available
This list is also growing almost daily (and all free) Word Perfect,
Netscape Communicator, GIMP Image Editor, Applixware suite, StarOffice
suite (Microsoft Office look-a-like) and many of the latest games

I'm Trying It
Well, I've downloaded a bunch of stuff and have tested it, but so far
haven't gone all the way with it. I'll keep you informed of my progress

-----------------------------
Linux Users To Converge On Microsoft Seeking Refunds

By Therese Poletti

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A small but growing group of computer
owners who would rather use the upstart Linux operating system than
Windows are demanding refunds for the built-in Microsoft software they do
not use.

In an initiative called Windows Refund Day, a grass-roots group plans to
converge on one of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT - news)'s Silicon Valley
offices Monday in the hopes of getting refunds.

The refund movement is gaining widespread support among users of Linux, a
version of the multi-user UNIX operating system designed to run on
personal computers and server computers based on Intel Corp. (Nasdaq:INTC
- news) chips.

Linux, developed by a Finnish programmer Linus Torvalds in 1991, is still
maintained by Torvalds and a group of far-flung programmers, and given
away over the Internet. No company has control of Linux, but a few
companies now distribute the software for a fee and provide Linux service
and support.

Windows Refund Day organizers are hoping to glean more attention for the
alternative operating system, which is becoming more widely used in
network servers, and to protest against the fact that it is nearly
impossible to buy a personal computer without Microsoft Windows already
installed.

All copies of PCs sold with Windows come with an end-user licensing
agreement that states that, if the user does not agree to the terms of
the agreement, they can request a refund, but people who seeks a refund
usually find themselves in a Catch-22 bureaucratic nightmare.

``A lot of people have tried to get their refunds for unused Microsoft
products in the past and they run into bureaucratic obstacles,'' said Don
Marti, an organizer of Windows Refund Day and president of Electric
Lichen, a Linux marketing company based in San Francisco.

A Microsoft spokesman, Adam Sohn, said that users who do not agree to the
terms of the licensing agreement should contact their computer
manufacturer for a refund.

``They might say, 'hey if we sold you the PC and you are not using
Windows, we don't want to be supporting a PC that is not using
Windows,''' Sohn said. ``Their license expressly states that, if you
don't agree to the terms, that person should go and contact their OEM
(original equipment manufacturer) and get instructions for a return and a
refund.''

And the nightmare begins. Most computer makers require the user to bring
back the whole computer for a refund, not just the software.

Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq:DELL - news), for example, requires the user
to send back the entire PC to obtain a refund for the whole system within
30 days. ``In our current build-to-order system, an operating system is
required to build and ship a fully-tested system,'' said T.J. Reid, a
Dell spokesman. Dell will offer customers Linux on servers, if they
request it, but Reid said it is ``extraordinarily rare'' for a customer
to request an operating system other than Windows on a desktop computer.

While the percentage of Linux users on the PC is indeed still a small
fraction compared to Windows, which dominates the market, International
Data Corp. recently said Linux is the fastest growing network operating
system and 1998 server installations were growing at a faster pace than
Windows NT.

One intrepid individual, an Australian named Geoffrey Bennett, over a
four-month period argued in e-mails with Toshiba Corp. that the contract
says he can return the operating system to the manufacturer, not the PC.
Bennett was eventually sent a refund of $110 (Australian) by Toshiba and
he published his saga on the Internet, which has inspired users of other
alternative operating systems, such as Linux, BeOs, FreeBSD and others.

So what started out as a small grass-roots movement in the San Francisco
Bay Area for a Windows Refund Day has now attracted the attention of
other Linux groups around the world. Web sites in other countries, such
as Japan, the Netherlands, France and New Zealand, have been created,
explaining to users how to seek refunds by returning the world's dominant
operating system. Linux users in two areas of Los Angeles and in New York
City also plan their own refund days Monday, with organized visits to
Microsoft offices in those regions.

Information posted on the Windows Refund Day Web site
(www.hugin.imat.com/refund/) explains that all participants must be
polite but firm as they descend upon Microsoft offices and the purpose is
not to complain about Microsoft products. Organizers for the visit to
Microsoft's Foster City, Calif. office said they expect hundreds of
participants, because with the President's Day holiday in the U.S., many
people with the day off will be able to join. Microsoft's offices are
going to be open, they said. ``It will be a spectacle in some way. That
spectacle will depend on the people and the energy that all comes
together in that place,'' said Marti.

Larry Augustin, chief executive of VA Research, a privately held systems
vendor that develops PCs and server computers running Linux, said one of
his staff plans to drive a truck with a rock band. T-shirts will also be
given out, perhaps with a Penguin logo, the symbol for Linux because its
creator Torvalds loves Penguins.

Do the organizers really expect Microsoft to begin writing checks when
they arrive?
``Microsoft is very good at handling press. I expect them to be prepared
with something. I don't know what it will be,'' Augustin said. ``It's
going to be a fun event...regardless what Microsoft does, we will have a
good time.''

p.s. Microsoft served them refreshments but blew them off as far as
refunds went

Return to Index
======================================

(03) The Y0K Problem


While browsing through some dust-covered archival material in the
recesses of the Roman Section of the British Museum, a researcher
recently came across a tattered parchment.

After some effort he translated it and found that it was a letter from a
man called Plutonius with the title of "magister fastorium," or keeper of
the calendar, to one Cassius. It was dated, strangely enough, 1 B.C.,
January 7 -- or 2000 years ago (remember, there was no year zero). The
text of the message follows:

Dear Cassius,

Are you still working on the Y zero K problem? This change from BC to AD
is giving us a lot of headaches and we haven't much time left. I don't
know how people will cope with working the wrong way around. Having been
working happily downwards forever, now we have to start thinking upwards.
You would think that someone would have thought of it earlier and not
left it to us to sort it all out at this last minute.

I spoke to Caesar the other evening. He was livid that Julius hadn't done
something about it when he was sorting out the calendar. He said he could
see why Brutus turned nasty. We called in the consulting astrologers, but
they simply said that continuing downwards using minus BC won't work. As
usual, the consultants charged a fortune for doing nothing useful.

As for myself, I just can't see the sand in an hourglass flowing upwards.
We have heard that there are three wise men in the East who have been
working on the problem, but unfortunately they won't arrive until it's
all over. Some say the world will cease to exist at the moment of
transition.

Anyway we are still continuing to work on this blasted Y zero K problem
and I will send you a parchment if anything further develops.

Return to Index
======================================


(04) Y2K Problem in Calendar Maker


More changes made to Calendar Maker. What bothered me was that if
they'd
made a mistake about the leap year, there would have to have been
something
else in there to compensate in years 2001 and beyond.
Sure enough, there was an IF-THEN in line 970, to wit :: IF Y>2000 THEN
990
(at the end of that program line.)
Once I'd corrected the other mistake (in line 910) this IF-Then would
cause a
problem in 2001 and every year thereafter. To prove this, I printed a
one-
month calendar for December 2000, then another one-month for January
2001. As
expected, with that IF-THEN still in line 970, December 2000 ends on a
Sunday
and January 2001 starts that same Sunday. WRONG!
Took out the :: IF Y>2000 THEN 990, saved the program and ran it again
for
January 2001. This time January 2001 started on Monday, as it should, so
the
calendars should be accurate from there on.
To Summarize this far, we changed line 910 from:
IF (Y=2000)+(Y=1600)<0 THEN 940
to read:
IF (Y=1600)<0 THEN 940

Then in line 970, removed the last statement in that line, to wit:
:: IF Y>2000 THEN 990

These changes take care of the years 2000 and beyond. All are in the XB
program CREATE on the set's Program disk.

The other changes that I've made are to convert the program from working
with
9-pin printers over to 24-pin. Two programs need changing for that: In
the
program CM991, line 820, replace CHR$(27);"A";CHR$(8); with
CHR$(27);"+";CHR$(40);
For some reason ESC "A" 8 was there twice, in that same line, so one
occurence
can be eliminated. The same needs to be done in CM992, at line 570,
where
again there were two ESC "A" 8 strings in succession.
Best Regards,

Bruce Harrison

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======================================


(05) New Computer Viruses


Ellen Degeneres virus.............
Your IBM suddenly claims it's a MAC

Monica Lewinsky virus..............
Sucks all the memory out of your computer

Titanic virus......................
Makes your whole computer go down

Disney virus......................
Everything in the computer goes Goofy

Mike Tyson virus................
Quits after one byte

Prozac virus.......................
Screws up your RAM but your processor doesn't care

Lorena Bobbit virus..................
Turns your hard disk into a 3.5 inch floppy

Ronald Reagan virus................
Saves your data, but forgets where it is stored

Dr. Jack Kevorkian virus...........
Searches your hard drive for old files and deletes them

AT&T virus..............................
Every 3 minutes it tells you what great service you are getting

MCI virus...............................
Every 3 minutes it reminds you that you're paying too much for the AT&T
virus

Arnold Schwarzenegger virus.............
Terminates and stays resident. It'll be back

Return to Index
======================================

(06) HX-1100 Video Interface for CC-40


From: michael.becker@man.adtranz.de

There was another very rare device for the CC-40, the HX-1100 video
interface. I use it with the ALDS-cartridge for the CC-40, the
Editor/Assembler for the TMS-7000. It is very nice to have
40-column-color-display now with the video-interface. It uses the same
VDP as TI99, the TMS9129, which is the modern version of TMS9929 (I used
the European PAL-version, but TMS9118 is the composite-NTSC-version,
TMS9128 is NTSC-color-diff-version). Is is used as an output-device and
supported by the ALDS-modul. I can make up to 15 devices, because I own
15 VDP's and TMS70C00, which is the core of the card. I made only one
prototyping board myself with wire-wrap (hard work!) from an engineering
sample of TI in the past (over 5 years ago!).

To make a pcb, I need more than 10 interested persons, that's the
problem!

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======================================

(07) Mass Storage for CC-40


Walid wrote:

>The CC40 is pretty much just a curiosity without any means of mass
storage, and that is too bad for it is quite powerful for its size. I
currently use a couple of RAM modules to store programs in, but I'm not
sure how long the battery in these modules will last.

---------------------

From: Charles Good

Since wafertape drives are unreliable and since both wafertape drives and
quickdisk drives for the CC40 are very hard to purchase, you might
consider an alternative solution to mass storage for the CC40: the TI74.

These can be purchased new. Almost all software written for the CC40
will work on the TI74, including all the software posted at Dan Eicher's
web site which is http://people.delphi.com/eicher/.

You can purchase a cassette interface for the TI74 that reliably stores
its programs and data files. You can also purchase for the TI74 a PC
interface that lets you save and load programs and data from the hard
drive of a PC. I have used both these products and they work well.

All these products are available for purchase at High Tech Solutions.
See their web site at http://www.hightechsolutions.com/ti7495.htm

Charles Good
cgood@im3.com

Return to Index
======================================

(08) You Think Maybe??


If you think GPF's and Fatal Exception errors were bad, wait til you see
the "Go Have a Donut; It May Take a While to Straighten This Out"
error message in Windows '98
- - - - -

I have a question for all those work-aholics reading this.
If work is so great, how come they have to pay us to do it.
- - - - -

Before I retired, I held a really responsible position. Basically,
anytime anything that went wrong, they said I was responsible for it.
- - - - -

Speaking of retiring, after I left, my boss was asked when they were
going to fill my vacancy. All he said was, "He didn't leave any."
- - - - -

I do have some advice for those youngsters just starting out in the
workplace. When you apply for a job, just remember, they're looking for
educated 20 year olds with 30 years of experience.
- - - - -

I always try to understand the other fellow's point of view -- even
though it's wrong.
- - - - -

My boss says that there's no "I" in team. I like to remind him that
there is an "M" and an "E" though.
- - - - -

People are like toes. There are many in the world, but only a few you
can actually count on.
- - - - -

If I were one of the Spice Girls, they would probably call me "Old
Spice."
- - - - -

My brother-in-law is so dumb that if brains were taxed, he'd get a
rebate.
- - - - -

If the No. 2 pencil is so popular, why is it still No. 2?
- - - - -

Why do smokers hold their smoldering cigarette out the car window?
Roll up the window and enjoy it all!


------------------------------------

The businessman dragged himself home and barely made it to his chair
before he dropped exhausted.

His sympathetic wife was right there with a tall cool drink and a
comforting word. "My, you look tired," she said, "you must have had a
hard day today. What happened to make you so exhausted?"

"It was terrible," her husband said. "The computer broke down and we had
to do our own thinking."

Return to Index
======================================

(09) Genial TRAVelER Files Available On The Internet


Genial Traveler files are now available in a directory called "genitrav"
under "pub" at ftp://ftp.whtech.com. The CaDD GT package has been
uploaded to Don O'Neill's web site and is available to any TI user. The
package consists of two files: genitrav.exe (about 15 Mb) and gtdisks.exe
(about 3 Mb). genitrav.exe is a self-extracting file that will create a
54 Mb Adobe Acrobat pdf file. This pdf file contains an introduction to
Genial TRAVelER, a list of all issues and their contents, a list of all
files on the GT disks and every D/V80 file on the GT disks. It totals 925
pages. gtdisks.exe is a self-extracting file that contains all the GT
disks in PC99 format.

Return to Index
======================================

(10) MIDDLE AGE - You're getting old when....


Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty. But everything else starts
to wear out, fall out, or spread out.

There are three signs of old age. The first is your loss of memory, the
other two I forget.

You're getting old when you don't care where your spouse goes, just as
long as you don't have to go along.

Middle age is when work is a lot less fun - and fun a lot more work.

Statistics show that at the age of seventy, there are five women to every
man. Isn't that the darnest time for a guy to get those odds?

You know you're getting on in years when the girls at the office start
confiding in you.

Middle age is when it takes longer to rest than to get tired.

By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go
anywhere.

Middle age is when you have stopped growing at both ends, and have begun
to grow in the middle.

Of course I'm against sin; I'm against anything that I'm too old to
enjoy.

A man has reached middle age when he is cautioned to slow down by his
doctor instead of by the police.

Middle age is having a choice of two temptations and choosing the one
that will get you home earlier.

At my age, "getting a little action" means I don't need to take a
laxative.

Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid
you.

The aging process could be slowed down if it had to work its way through
Congress.

You're getting old when getting lucky means you find your car in the
parking lot.

You're getting old when you're sitting in a rocker and you can't get it
started.

You're getting old when your wife gives up sex for Lent, and you don't
know till the 4th of July.

You're getting old when you wake up with that morning-after feeling and
you didn't do anything the night before.

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======================================


(11) New Year's Resolutions for Internet Junkies


1. I will try to figure out why I *really* need 7 e-mail addresses.

2. I will stop sending e-mail to my wife.

3. I resolve to work with neglected children -- my own.

4. I will answer my snail mail with the same enthusiasm with which I
answer my e-mail.

5. I resolve to back up my 10GB hard drive daily...well, once a
week...okay, monthly then...or maybe...

6. I will spend less than one hour a day on the Internet.

7. When I hear "Where do you want to go today?" I won't reply "MS Tech
Support."

8. I will read the manual.

9. I will think of a password other than "password."

10. I will stop checking my e-mail at 3:00 in the morning.

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======================================

(12) TIMUG'99
(2nd February Update)


As of this posting, we are happy to announce that Bruce Harrison, Lew
King and Ron Markus are giving seminars at TIMUG'99. Bruce's talk is
titled, "The End of an Era". Lew will be showing us how he gets the TI
to communicate with a 56k baud modem. Ron's seminar will be featuring
hardware and software offered by RamCharged Computers.

A map, with recommended routes, on how to get to the Middleburg Hts.
Recreation Center and Spang Mansion, along with area information, has
been published on Harry Hoffman's web page
(http://members.stratos.net/harryhoffy/newsletter) and also on Rich
Polivka's web page. Map and area information will be sent via e-mail or
U.S. mail to
those who register to attend TIMUG'99.

The conference schedule for TIMUG'99 is as follows:

What: Preconference get together party
When: Friday evening - May 14, 1999 from 7:00 to 10:00 pm.
Where: Middleburg Hts. Recreational Hall - Bagely Road, Middleburg Hts.,
Ohio

What: TI-99/4A and Myarc Geneve 9640 M.U.G. conference (TIMUG'99)
When: Saturday - May 15, 1999 from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm (See schedule
below.)
Where: Spang Mansion - Kolthoff Road, Brookpark, Ohio

Time Event
7:00 AM - 9:00 AM Set-up tables and displays
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Seminars and demonstrations
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM M.U.G. officers/members conference
5:00 PM - 5:15 PM Jim Peterson Achievement Awards
5:15 PM - 6:00 PM Clean up
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Pizza party


As you can see, the conference seminar and demonstration schedule is
still wide open. Please let me know what you would like to present at
the conference and how much time you require as soon as possible. All
seminars and demonstrations will be video taped. These tapes will be
available for purchase from TIers around the world at $5 per tape.

Like the conferences in Lima, TIMUG'99 conference in Broopark, Ohio will
be
*** Free ***! There will be no admission charge or table set up fee.
(However, we will accept donations to help defray TIMUG'99 conference
site and support costs.)

If you have questions and/or wish to make conference reservations
........

Contact: Glenn Bernasek, 13246 Harper Road, Strongsville, Ohio 44136
Phone: (440)846-0865 (After 9:00 pm EST) (All messages will be answered.)
E-mail: GBBasics@aol.com

One last important note: Tables are in very short supply. There are a
number of 8 seater round tables available which could serve as user group
tables. However, rectangular tables must be rented. There will be no
charge for tables we have to rent, but there will be no tables for last
minute shows either. The cut-off for accepting requests for tables will
be midnight (U.S.A. Eastern Standard Time), April 30, 1999. Our advice
is ... Put your reservations and table requests in early.

Return to Index
======================================

(13) International T.I. User Fair -- Treff


From: Arnold Oliver

TI-Club ERRORFREE invitation to the

14. INTERNATIONAL TI-USER TREFF
in Freiberg/Neckar (near by Stuttgart/GERMANY)

date: 1. - 3. Oktober 1999
adress: Kleintierzuchtvereinsheim Geisingen
Austrasse 3 71691 Freiberg/Neckar
time: Friday it starts at 10:00
Saturday and Sunday at 8:00

it is possible to get there food and drinking

further informations:

Wolfgang Bertsch Oliver Arnold
Helenburgweg 61 Implerstr. 8
74321 Bietigheim-Biss. 81371 Muenchen
phone ++49/7142/221642 phone ++49/89/7258502

oliver.arnold@gedos.de

!!!! You are welcome to the treff !!!!

Return to Index
======================================




(14) The Cleveland Area User Groups Newsletter


The Cleveland Area TI-99/4A User Groups newsletter can now be seen at
our Web page at: http://members.stratos.net/harryhoffy/newsletter/

TIMUG'99 Information
=http://members.stratos.net/harryhoffy/newsletter/timug99.htm

TIMUG'99 Map & Directions =
http://members.stratos.net/harryhoffy/newsletter/timugmap.htm

1999 JIM PETERSON ACHIEVEMENT AWARD NOMINATIONS =
http://members.stratos.net/harryhoffy/newsletter/jpawrd99.htm

You will find our newsletter, including the officer list, TI
MUG`99 info with a map of the area and motels. We are in the
construction stage and my friend Craig tells me that is a never ending
one:-)

Please send Email to let us know how you liked our page. Exchange
groups can let me know if they are going this way to offset the cost of
snail mail. There are hyper links to some of our officers, with more
links to other TI sites to follow!

Return to Index
======================================

(15) Travel Without Leaving Home


Interesting Places to Visit on the Internet
by Nancy Preffitt from The Icon, Springfield MO newsletter

Don't let your brain wither just because the weather's bad and you can't
get outdoors. Travel the world from your computer chair on the Internet.
Here are some sites that you might find interesting.

If you have lots of home repairs that you've been putting off because you
really aren't sure just how to do them, check out askbuild.com. There's
lots of information here and doing the research is a good excuse for not
fixing that drippy faucet for a while longer!

When your kids/grandkids are driving you bonkers because they're bored,
visit the Sesame street page at ctw.org. There are activities for several
age groups that should keep them occupied for a little while.

If you need to travel for real, bad weather or not, check out
tripspot.com. It has all sorts of travel information from suggestions for
where to go, what to do when you get there and how to travel. Help in
finding the lowest airfare too.

greatfood.com is a very commercial site with lots of food-y items to
purchase, but there are some interesting recipes there too.

When you absolutely must shop and the roads are bad, try these sites.
shopping.com, wal-mart.com, or bottomdollar.com.

The New York Times site is quite interesting. You can spend a long time
there and not feel you've wasted your time. The address is nytimes.com.

mediconsult.com offers much information on different diseases with links
to more details on specific conditions.

When you get e-mail that has a story that sounds a little fishy, it may
be an urban legend rather than the truth. Check it out at
urbanlegends.miningco.com so you will know for sure.

Return to Index
======================================

(16) Having a Computer Problem?

J'ever try calling "User Support"?

A Typical User Support Diary:

Monday
8:05am
User called to say they forgot password. Told them to use password
retrieval utility called FDISK. Blissfully ignorant, they thank me and
hang up. God, we let the people vote and drive, too?

8:12am
Accounting called to say they couldn't access expense reports database.
Gave them Standard Sys Admin Answer #112, "Well, it works for me." Let
them rant and rave while I unplugged my coffeemaker from the UPS and
plugged their server back in. Suggested they try it again. One more
happy customer...

8:14 am
User from 8:05 call said they received error message "Error accessing
Drive 0." Told them it was an OS problem. Transferred them to
microsupport.

11:00 am
Relatively quiet for last few hours. Decide to plug support phone back
in so I can call my girlfriend. Says parents are coming into town this
weekend. Put her on hold and transferred her to janitorial closet down
in basement. What is she thinking? The "Myst" and "Doom" nationals are
this weekend!

11:34 am
Another user calls (do they ever learn?). Says they want ACL changed on
HR performance review database so that nobody but HR can access database.
Tell them no problem. Hang up. Change ACL. Add @MailSend so performance
reviews are sent to */US.

12:00 pm
Lunch

3:30 pm
Return from lunch.

3:55 pm
Wake up from nap. Bad dream makes me cranky. Bounce servers for no
reason. Return to napping.

4:23 pm
Yet another user calls. Wants to know how to change fonts on form. Ask
them what chip set they're using. Tell them to call back when they find
out.

4:55 pm
Decide to run "Create Save/Replication Conflicts" macro so next shift has
something to do.

Tuesday
8:30 am
Finish reading support log from last night. Sounded busy. Terrible time
with Save/Replication conflicts.

9:00 am
Support manager arrives. Wants to discuss my attitude. Click on
PhoneNotes SmartIcon. "Love to, but kinda busy. Put something in the
calendar database!" I yell as I grab for the support lines, which have
(mysteriously) lit up. Walks away grumbling.

9:35 pm
Team leader from R&D needs ID for new employee. Tell them they need form
J-19R=9C9\\DARR\K1. Say they never heard of such a form. Tell them it's
in the SPECIAL FORMS database. Say they never heard of such a database.
Transfer them to janitorial closet in basement.

10:00 am
Perky sounding intern from R&D calls and says she needs new ID. Tell her
I need employee number, department name, manager name, and marital
status. Run @DbLookup against state parole board database, Centres for
Disease Control database, and my Oprah Winfrey database. No hits. Tell
her ID will be ready tonight. Drawing from the lessons learned in last
week's "Reengineering for Customer Partnership," I offer to personally
deliver ID to her apartment.

10:07 am
Janitor stops by to say he keeps getting strange calls in basement. Offer
to train him on Notes. Begin now. Let him watch console while I grab a
smoke.

1:00 pm
Return from smoking break. Janitor says phones kept ringing, so he
transferred them to cafeteria lady. I like this guy.

1:05 pm
Big commotion! Support manager falls in hole left where I pulled floor
tiles outside his office door. Stress to him importance of not running
in computer room, even if I do yell "Omigod -- Fire!"

1:15 pm
Development Standards Committee calls and complains about umlauts in form
names. Apologising for the inconvenience, I tell them I will fix it.
Hang up and run global search/replace using gaks.

1:20 pm
Mary Hairnet from cafeteria calls. Says she keeps getting calls for
"Notice Loads" or "NoLoad Goats," she's not sure, couldn't here over
industrial-grade blender. Tell her it was probably "Lettuce Nodes."
Maybe the food distributor with a new product? She thinks about it and
hangs up.

2:00 pm
Legal secretary calls and says she lost password. Ask her to check in
her purse, floor of car, and on bathroom counter. Tell her it probably
fell out of back of machine. Suggest she put duct tape over all the
airvents she can find on the PC. Grudgingly offer to create new ID for
her while she does that.

2:49 pm
Janitor comes back. Wants more lessons. I take off rest of day.

Wednesday
8:30 am
Irate user calls to say chipset has nothing to do with fonts on form.
Tell them Of course, they should have been checking "Bitset," not
"chipset." Sheepish user apologises and hangs up.

9:10am
Support manager, with foot in cast, returns to office. Schedules 10:00am
meeting with me. User calls and wants to talk to support manager about
terrible help at support desk. Tell them manager about to go into
meeting. Sometimes life hands you material...

10:00 am
Call Louie in janitorial services to cover for me. Go to support
manager's office. He says he can't dismiss me but can suggest several
lateral career moves. Most involve farm implements in third-world
countries with moderate to heavy political turmoil. By and by, I ask if
he's aware of new bug which takes full-text indexed random e-mail
databases and puts all references to furry handcuffs and Bambi Boomer in
Marketing on the corporate Web page. Meeting is adjourned as he reaches
for keyboard, Web browser, and Tums.

10:30 am
Tell Louie he's doing great job. Offer to show him mainframe corporate
PBX system sometime.

11:00 am
Lunch.

4:55 pm
Return from lunch.

5:00 pm
Shift change; Going home.

Thursday
8:00 am
New guy ("Marvin") started today. "Nice plaids" I offer. Show him
server room, wiring closet, and technical library. Set him up with IBM
PC-XT. Tell him to quit whining, Notes runs the same in both monochrome
and color.

8:45 am
New guy's PC finishes booting up. Tell him I'll create new ID for him.
Set minimum password length to 64. Go grab smoke.

9:30 am
Introduce Louie the custodian to Marvin. "Nice plaids" Louie comments.
Is this guy great or what?!

11:00 am
Beat Louie in dominoes game. Louie leaves. Fish spare dominoes out of
sleeves ("Always have backups"). User calls, says Accounting server is
down. Untie Ethernet cable from radio antenna (better reception) and
plug back into hub. Tell user to try again. Another happy customer!

11:55 am
Brief Marvin on Corporate Policy 98.022.01:

"Whereas all new employee beginning on days ending in 'Y' shall enjoy all
proper aspects with said corporation, said employee is obligated to
provide sustenance and relief to senior technical analyst on shift."

Marvin doubts. I point to "Corporate Policy" database (a fine piece of
work, if I say so myself!). "Remember, that's DOUBLE pepperoni and NO
peppers!" I yell to Marvin as he steps over open floor tile to get to
exit door.

1:00 pm
Oooooh! Pizza makes me so sleepy...

4:30 pm
Wake from refreshing nap. Catch Marvin scanning want ads.

5:00 pm
Shift change. Flick HR's server off and on several times (just testing
the On/Off button.). See ya tomorrow.

Friday
8:00 am
Night shift still trying to replace power supply in HR server. Told them
it worked fine before I left.

9:00 am
Marvin still not here. Decide I might start answering these calls
myself. Unforward phones from Mailroom.

9:02 am
Yep. A user call. Users in Des Moines can't replicate. Me and the
Oiuji board determine it's sunspots. Tell them to call
Telecommunications.

9:30 am
Good God, another user! They're like ants. Says he's in San Diego and
can't replicate with Des Moines. Tell him it's sunspots, but with a
two-hour difference. Suggest he reset the time on the server back two
hours.

10:17 am
Pensacola calls. Says they can't route mail to San Diego. Tell them to
set server ahead three hours.

11:00 am
E-mail from corporate says for everybody to quit resetting the time on
their servers. I change the date stamp and forward it to Milwaukee.

11:20 am
Finish @CoffeeMake macro. Put phone back on hook.

11:23 am
Milwaukee calls, asks what day it is.

11:25 am
Support manager stops by to say Marvin called in to quit. "So hard to
get good help..." I respond. Support manager says he has appointment
with orthopaedic doctor this afternoon, and asks if I mind sitting in on
the weekly department head meeting for him. "No problem!"

11:30 am
Call Louie and tell him opportunity knocks and he's invited to a meeting
this afternoon. "Yeah, sure. You can bring your snuff" I tell him.

12:00 am
Lunch.

1:00 pm
Start full backups on UNIX server. Route them to device NULL to make
them fast.

1:03 pm
Full weekly backups done. Man, I love modern technology!

2:30 pm
Look in support manager's contact management database. Cancel 2:45pm
appointment for him. He really should be at home resting, you know.

2:39 pm
New user calls. Says want to learn how to create a connection document.
Tell them to run connection document utility CTRL-ALT-DEL. Says PC
rebooted. Tell them to call microsupport.

2:50 pm
Support manager calls to say mix-up at doctor's office means appointment
cancelled. Says he's just going to go on home. Ask him if he's seen
corporate Web page lately.

3:00 pm
Another (novice) user calls. Says periodic macro not working. Suggest
they place @DeleteDocument at end of formula. Promise to send them
document addendum which says so.

4:00 pm
Finish changing foreground color in all documents to white. Also set
point size to "2" in help databases.

4:30 pm
User calls to say they can't see anything in documents. Tell them to go
to view, do a "Edit -- Select All", hit delete key, and then refresh.
Promise to send them document addendum which says so.

4:45 pm
Another user calls. Says they can't read help documents. Tell them I'll
fix it. Hang up. Change font to Wingdings.

4:58 pm
Plug coffee maker into Ethernet hub to see what happens. Not (too) much.

5:00 pm
Night shift shows up. Tell that the hub is acting funny and to have a
good weekend.

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(17) And it's All FREE!!


It's hard to list all the things that are free (computerwize) nowadays
because the list keeps growing. I started first with JUNO, a completely free
e-mail service. It allowed me to send and receive dozens of messages at a
crack for just the cost of one local phone call. I learned how to download
programs, web pages and chat rooms with just email. Now I use NETZERO, a free
internet access service that allows me to surf the net and I can even access
my JUNO account while on-line. Besides all the information available on-line
you can get all kinds of free e-mail services and even set up your own web
site. And they have all the facilities, options, and tools for creating your
site. If you're not satisfied you can download dozens of page builders to
jazz up your page off-line and then simply paste it in. Once on the internet
you can download games, programs, pictures, music, files, upgrades, drivers,
you name it, it's all there, and all free for the taking. With LINUX you can
get a new free operating system to replace Windows and dozens of files to run
on it. There are games that can be played online, contests and free drawing
available all over the place, just to entice you to visit their site. Even if
you never win, free things are still sent out. I've received three T-shirts
and a whole slew of CD's with demos and actual commercial programs. I'm
subscribed to a number of e-mail lists that keep sending me lists of free
programs to download, coupons and how-to-do-it's. I've downloaded needed
income tax forms plus complete income tax documentation. A short time ago
they were offering a free computer to 10,000 lucky people. I signed up for
it along with two million others. Microsoft allowed anyone to download their
Office Suite 2000 absolutely free but had to take it off when the site was
swamped. I've bought airline tickets much cheaper that I could find at any
travel agencies. Why is everything so cheap or free? It's all paid for by
advertising, the same as your television programming. Everything comes with
advertising included. If you see the ads enough, sooner or later you'll buy,
at least that's what they hope. My favorite lists include "Completely Free
Software" (freeware), "Softseek" (shareware), "Slaughterhouse" (more free
stuff), and "Neat Net Tricks". Find them on my site's LIST page.

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(18) Puzzle Column


The winner of last month's puzzle is our old friend Tom Wills

01. All that glitters is not gold
02. A Day late and a dollar short
03. Donít judge a book by itís cover.
04. A stitch in time saves ten(nine)
05. If your going to dance your going to have to Pay the Piper
(should be "It takes two to Tango")
06. Beauty is in the eye of the be(e)holder
07. Easy come Easy go
08. Hear (Here) today gone tomorrow
09. A picture is worth a 1,000 words
10. Two (w)Rongs donít make a right
11. Pride goeth before a fall.
(should be "Better late than never")
12. Diamonds are a girls best friend.
13. Once bitten twice shy.
14. A Penny saved is a penny earned
15. Early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.
16. Donít count your chickens before they are hatched.
17. 10 - 4 good buddy
18. Awl (All) for Juan (one) and Juan (one) for Awl (all).
19. 2B (To be) or Not 2B (to be), that is the question.
20. Let sleeping dogs lie

That's 18 right out of 20, pretty darn good!
Let's see how well we do this month.

Puzzle Column - March '99
Logical & Mathematical IQ Quiz

See how many of these brain teasers you can solve. When you're finished,
you can rank yourself with the scale below. This isn't an actual IQ test,
but should give you an idea of how sharp your math & logic skills are.
You can improve these skills by practicing with puzzles like these, which
can be useful when for taking standardized tests, & for real life
situations.


Number Correct Logic & Math IQ
0-1 Need Improvement (IQ < 90)
2-3 Average (IQ 90-110)
4-5 Above Average (IQ 110-130)
6-7 Gifted (IQ 130-140)
8-9 Highly Gifted (IQ 140-150)
10 Genius (IQ 150+)


1. Two trains, each two miles long, enter two one mile long tunnels that
are two miles apart from one another on the same track. The trains enter
the tunnels at exactly the same time. The first train is going 5
miles/hour, and the second train is going 10 miles/hour. What is the sum
of the lengths of the two trains that will protrude from the tunnels at
the exact moment that they collide, assuming that neither train changes
its speed prior to collision?

2. You have a box that fits inside of a box that fits inside of a box
that fits inside of a box that fits inside of a box, for a total of 5
boxes. Assume that no two boxes can fit inside of a box, unless one is
inside of the other (e.g. the two smallest boxes could not fit inside of
the largest box, unless the smallest box was inside of the second
smallest box), & the
boxes cannot be altered (e.g. folded, cut, or torn). Using only these 5
boxes, how many different arrangements are there to place a gift in the
boxes, if the gift can only be inside of the smallest box that is being
used? Example: The gift in the second smallest box inside of the largest
box would be 1 arrangement.

3. Solve the preceding problem for 6 boxes.

4. 9 out of 10 doctors say that 2 out of 10 doctors never tell the truth.
All doctors who lie always do so, & all doctors who tell the truth always
do so. What are the lowest & highest possible percentages of doctors who
tell the truth?

5. You have 1,432 feet of fence. A fence post must be placed for every 4
feet of fence, so how many fence posts will be needed?

6. If you take 7, then 17, & then 8 from me, you have 160. But if you
take 6, then 17, then 8 from me, you have 170. Finally, if you take 1,
then 4, then 1 from me, you have 762. What am I?

For problems 7-10, replace the ? in each series of numbers with the most
appropriate number.

7. 18, 14, 12, 11, ?, 10.25

8. 11, 12, 26, 79, 81, 163, 491, 492, ?

9. 4, 1.33, 4.17, 1.39, 4.36, 1.45, ?

10. 7, 0, 5, 8, 8, 2, 3, ?
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