Selected articles from this months Lilypad newsletter can be seen here in their entirety.
The August 1996 issue can be purchased for $1.50 at many local stores.
It features the articles listed below as well as others.
[Newsletter of the Rochester Computer Club, Rochester
NY. Non-profit newsletter use permitted with credit, and copy of the results
RCC Newsletter Quick Jump
The President's Page
Aug '96 Issue Lilypad p.1, Marty Becktell-Pres
[Newsletter of the FROG Computer Society Rochester NY. Non-profit newsletter use permitted with credit, and copy of the results to FROG.]
Where do I start? Instead of being the middle of a quiet summer, July has been a very busy month for the FROG Computer Society and its members. We started off the month revisiting the nice people at Media Play in Henrietta for our monthly Program meeting. I felt more like a guest in a friend's home than in a commercial business. The staff was so enthusiastic and friendly I really didn't want to leave. Oh, and by the way, they donated a lot of door prizes- both for that evening and for the picnic the next weekend.
Yes --- WHAT a Picnic!...
A few days later we met again for the fourth annual FROG Family Picnic. Again this year it was at the Brighton Town Park on Westfall Road. In honor of the Atlanta Olympics we had the Geek Olympics. Actually I don't think it was in honor of Atlanta, but more as an excuse to prove (or see if) we could get out from behind our desks and do something physical.
Several events had to be canceled due to hardware failures; and some more were hit with either software bugs or GPFs. The mouse toss was canceled because no one wanted to catch a mouse.
We started off, in typical Olympic fashion, with the Olympic torch. Unlike in Atlanta; we weren't going to run all over the country asking for directions to the stadium; we downloaded the flame directly from Athens, Greece over the internet. Winners of the events held were:
The complete pictorial record can be viewed on the WorldWideWeb at http://www.vivanet.com/~frog/picnic/picnic.html
I would like to be able to mention everyone that helped out for the picnic, but I can't. It seemed that every time I looked around during the day someone different was busy doing some task that they had found needed doing. The fun continued. That night we were featured on both Channel 8 and 9 news broadcasts. On Monday we had coverage in both the D&C and Times-Union. Good job, Froggers! I sure felt proud for the next few days with the comments of co-workers and friends.
By the next weekend the pictures were back and up on the FROG web page. I can't say enough about what Jim Kane has done on our web site. Course I wonder how many other people have copies of the first layout that Jim did? If you haven't been to our web site, do so soon. Jim is expanding it daily, and there are some great ideas that will soon be implemented that may revolutionize link pages coming soon.
After the games we made short order of the food, and even shorter order of the table of donated software. Everyone left with something, with the "athletes" getting first choice- more for their courage than their prowess. Bob Frank deserves a thank you from each of us for his massive and successful software solicitation.
PC3 / FROG?...
With all the other things that were going on with FROG earlier this month, I got a mail message from a FROG member that has started a project that has taken a lot of my time. David Osofsky's message was open, so I expect that a lot of you have read it; I won't go into too much detail. The bottom line is that your officers and the officers of PC3 are in discussion about combining the two users' groups. What I want to cover in this column is my attitudes during the discussions, areas of consolidation, and what I need from the membership.
On a Roll...
I consider my first responsibility is to the members of the FROG Computer Society. We have been through some hard times in the last few years and we are starting to get on a real roll in expanding not only our membership, but the quality and quantity of programs that are available to members. I don't want to see that jeopardized. I also don't want to see those things that make FROG unique get lost. These things have been foremost in my concerns for a long time. Some changes are inevitable, like a change in focus from DOS to Windows, but all changes are not inevitable.
I also cannot put us in a position that the costs of supporting present programs threaten us financially. In that regard I have Steve Staub watching the pocket-book. Steve is already doing some financial models that we can play with to do some 'what ifs'. Equally I am concerned with what an influx of members will do to us in those activities that require volunteers- like putting together the LilyPad.
The Areas of Consolidation
Nick and Paul (PC3 sysop) are in discussions on combining the BBSs. I have talked with Nick and am satisfied that his concerns include all of mine plus a whole lot more. The only issue I have still open is the cost, and I know that there are others that will be raising that issue.
The newsletter will initially be discussed by the editors. We will continue to print, and eat pizza- I mean collate, staple, label, and mail the issue the last Sunday of the month.
We have already submitted our room requests to Brighton High, so the one meeting will be the second Tuesday of the month there. We are also working with Media Play on a second monthly program meeting for a few months in the fall. After a trial we will decide if we want to and can continue to support a second program meeting.
What I Need From the Membership...
Of course I need feedback. The preferred format is with internet mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; next is mail on the POND. It will be much more effective for me to have written communication rather than my cryptic notes from a phone conversation. That is not to say that I don't want phone calls, I have always enjoyed conversations with members.
Another Way to Boot It
Aug '96 Issue Lilypad p.3, Peter Moore
[Newsletter of the FROG Computer Society Rochester NY. Non-profit newsletter use permitted with credit, and copy of the results to FROG.]
System Commander 2.3, from V Communications, is a special-purpose utility program for people who want more than one operating system on their PC. It works rather like the Boot Manager utilities that come with OS/2 Warp or Windows NT. When one of these is installed, it lets- OK, forces the user to choose at each boot-up which operating system to load.
This is different than Windows 95's or Warp's Dual Boot option, which simply keep multiple copies of the various boot files under different names, and rename them and reboot as appropriate. With a boot manager program, each operating system is usually stored in a different disk partition, with the chosen partition becoming active when it's selected.
System Commander is a boot manager on steroids, megavitamins, and rollerblades. It even comes with the detailed manual I wished were included with Partition Magic. For example, the manual doesn't get around to Installation until chapter three. Now that's comprehensive.
System Commander 2.3 has a very short list of system requirements: an Intel x86-compatible processor and a hard disk (IDE, EIDE, and SCSI are mentioned). It installs into a working DOS or Windows 95 partition, or replaces an OS/2 Boot Manager partition.
My test system is the same one I used with Partition Magic: AMD 486/133, 16 megs RAM, 1-gig EIDE hard disk with four partitions, running MS-DOS 6.22/Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows 95, and OS/2 Warp.
System Commander is generally intended to be a set-it-and-forget-it utility, unless you're either more experimental or more anal-retentive than I am. That is to say, yeah, I want multiple operating systems on my hard disk, since I can't afford lots of separate computers; but I don't belong to some OS-of-the-Month Club. In addition to the three I now use, I'd consider things like Netware, Windows NT, and/or Linux- though soon even a gigabyte hard disk will be looking awfully restrictive. Arghh!
So basically, once System Commander is set up properly, it shouldn't need to be tinkered with until the next time an OS is installed or removed. I mean, this program only does one thing: boot the computer. It's an important thing, but if it works, it works.
When I installed System Commander, I was already using DocsBoot ("Doc's Boot"? "Das Boot"? I'm sure there's an inside joke there somewhere_), a shareware boot manager utility that I had downloaded from PowerQuest Corporation's BBS. They wrote Partition Magic, (two thumbs up) which is mentioned in System Commander's manual. So first I had to disable DocsBoot without mangling my delicate hard disk. Eventually I figured that out, and got my hard disk to boot to Win95 every time. Okay.
Then I ran the install program. I should state parenthetically (I love parentheses [and this is the way I talk, too]) that I had set DocsBoot to hide any boot partition that wasn't active, to avoid confusing the active OS, or me. Well, I ran System Commander's installation program, telling it to put its files onto drive D:, which is NOT a bootable partition, and where I can therefore keep any programs that I want to be visible to EVERY operation system.
System Commander hemmed and hawed, and told me it REALLY wanted to be installed in a bootable partition, requesting only that it not be placed in DoubleSpace/DriveSpace/Stacker volumes. I told it to just do as it was told, and finished the installation. It didn't work. At least it didn't say "I told you so."
Okay, so I deleted it and reinstalled, reluctantly letting it put its boot files into my Win95 partition's root directory. These consist of SYSCMNDR.SYS, SYSCMNDR.HLP, and a rewritten CONFIG.SYS file, which now says FILES=100. It also created a folder called \SC, where it put 597K of other stuff.
I rebooted, and it seemed to work, with only one glitch. It kept un-hiding either my Win95 partition or my DOS partition, whichever wasn't being used to boot the PC at the moment. It assigned it the letter F: and left it hanging out in front of God and everybody. Not good. At this point I ducked my manly head, looked around to make sure nobody was watching, and (er-hem) cracked the manual.
Cleverly concealed many layers deep in the setup menus, but revealed on page 75-6 of the Fine Manual, I found the following choice: "Primary partition accessible on drive n." Tinkering with this setting gave me back my orderly system, with three alternate C: drives, only one of which is visible at a time. Took me quite a while to figure this stuff out, because unless you're the type that reads a manual front to back before installing a program (which I plan to start doing the week after my cat graduates from RIT), you won't find all the nitty-gritty technical details you need to know about a powerful system utility program without a heap o' preliminary shuckin' and' jivin'.
With a program like System Commander, "operation" is almost synonymous with "installation." Okay, I could theoretically test it some more by installing another operating system, or deleting one. But let's be realistic; I'm temporarily short of qualified OS candidates, time for tinkering, and a burning ambition to crash my system more than once a month.
Incidentally, the program also lets you password-protect the machine, or specific partitions. It also lets you put up to 32 operating systems in a DOS partition, or over 100 different systems on up to 14 different hard drives. There's also some built-in protection against boot-sector viruses.
V Communications offers tech support information in two places that I could see. Sort of. Well, actually, one of them is on the back cover of the manual, where it gives their phone and fax numbers. Okay, it doesn't say "tech support," but it is in fact the same number listed under Support in the only other place I found. Buried a few layers deep in the menu structure of SCIN, the information/configuration program in the \SC directory, is information on contacting V Communications via phone, fax, BBS, or Internet. Know this stuff in advance, because you might have a little trouble finding it in a hurry.
The manual, as I may have mentioned, is excellent. There is exhaustive information about what System Commander does, how it works, common configurations, questions and answers, and lots of troubleshooting detail. This is almost a little reference book. Understand, this is not a Harlequin romance; it's well-written, but technical, information for people who already know enough about PCs to do geeky things like put lots of operating systems on one compute
I like System Commander a lot. For those who want or need to juggle multiple operating systems, System Commander is a seriously great utility.
WordPerfect 7 --- now Corel's!
Aug '96 Issue Lilypad p.5, Bill Roush
[Newsletter of the FROG Computer Society Rochester NY. Non-profit newsletter use permitted with credit, and copy of the results to FROG.]
[Bill is Editor of Throughput , the newletter of the SouthWest International Personal Computer Club in El Paso, TX. His observations are covered by that publication's copyright; and are reprinted with permission.]
WordPerfect critics' battle cry has been "But they don't have anything for Windows 95!"
Corel, WordPerfect's new owner, has corrected this situation in a big way. WordPerfect is now the WordPerfect Suite, and what a package Corel has put together! WordPerfect 7, Quattro Pro 7, Presentations 7, Envoy 7, AT&T;WorldNet including Netscape, CorelFLOW 3, Sidekick 95, Dashboard 95, and Corel's always big (10,000) bundle of Clip Art and 150 fonts.
Tiger Software is offering this package for a $269.99 retail and $99.99 upgrade. A somewhat comparable package (Word, Excel, Power Point, Scheduler) from Microsoft is $451.00 retail and $181.00 (after a rebate) upgrade. Lotus SmartSuite (Word Pro, 1-2-3, Approach, Freelance, Organizer) comes in at $377.00 retail and $137.00 upgrade. Microsoft and Lotus prices are from the Provantage Catalog #36.
From the price structure it's clear that Corel is trying to improve on their share of the suite market. For the dollar-conscious folk's Corel WordPerfect is a clear winner.
This review is based on the Beta 3 Version which runs from the CD. Therefore, I do not have any meaningful time to do comparisons. Running a word processor from a CD is a flash back to when everything was run from floppies- slow and slower!
PC Magazine's "Editor's Choice" for Windows 95 word processors went to WordPerfect 6.1. How does WordPerfect 7 compare with 6.1? Very well! 6.1 users will feel right at home.
The Menu Bars are identical in both versions. The version 7 toolbar has a few changes. The Open, Save, Print, Cut, and Copy icons have changed to Microsoft's interpretation of these functions, WordPerfect and Microsoft were close before version 7. The Paste icon has changed from the "glue pot" to the "clipboard." All other icons on the toolbar are identical.
Three icons were Dropped, Paragraph Format, Text Art, and Grammatik. These icons are not available in the Edit Preferences option. Paragraph Format is available on the Format Menu, Text Art is available on the Graphics Menu and is much easier to use. Grammatik and the Thesaurus are now included when you open the spell checker, each with a "file folder tab." The thesaurus now includes a dictionary and has sample sentences.
Version 7 added three icons: Highlight, Quattro Pro, and Address Book. The Highlight icon will highlight your text with the yellow (default) or any other color. This was designed for workgroups where each person has a different highlighter color. It does not replace nor is it connected with editing highlighting.
The Address book was hidden down in the Template Menus in 6.1 and required some study before using. The version 7 Address Book is much easier to use and takes on "contact" look and feel.
There is one change on the power bar. Columns were dropped in favor of QuickFonts. QuickFonts is a listing of the last 20 fonts used and their attributes. Columns can be added to the power bar if desired. Columns are available on the Format Menu.
The first things I noticed on the editing screen were some blue lines near the edges of the page. Margins are now shown on the "page." Margins are measured from the edges of the paper as opposed to the ruler-bar marking. The mouse pointer turns into a double headed arrow when placed on a margin and the margin setting appears in the yellow info box. You can drag the margin to a new position while watching its effects on your text. Columns are marked with red lines, headers and footers are shown in purple.
The Win 3.1-style "I" beam mouse pointer is no longer with us, (RIP) never did like it. The mouse pointer is the open arrow (') that is used in just about every other program. It has a gray vertical bar (shadow) that moves between the characters in your text, letting you know where the insertion point is located.
As I entered some meaningless test gibberish in the edit mode, I noticed a little square box in the margin at the beginning of a paragraph. These are "Hot Spots," left-clicking on a hot spot brings up a "palette" (menu) of frequently used functions. This is not the same as "right-clicking in the paragraph." The right-click still brings up the intelligent menus.
The, now standard, Real Time Spell Checker is also included. The unrecognized word is marked with a red tick mark under each character in the questionable spelling. It can be turned off if you don't like all that red on your editing screen. Right-clicking on a marked word will bring up an intelligent menu with the same word offerings as the spelling checker. You can change to the correct spelling with one mouse click. If the desired word is not listed, spell check is an option on the smart menu.
The documentation included with Beta 3 is for version 6.1. This is explained on Corel's home page and also by the knowledgeable person on the 800 number. He also advised me to run the Beta from the CD.
The on-line help has taken on a new meaning. The help menu entry is "Help Online." Help online is using the Internet or CompuServe for your help functions. Clicking on "Internet" calls up Netscape, after you click on the connect button in the Win 95 dialer, you are connected to "www.wordperfect.com/help." This site is under construction and as of press time was not always up. The other "Help Online" option is CompuServe. Clicking on CompuServe calls WinCim which dials the phone and takes you to the Corel forum.
Long file-names are a part of Windows 95 and are now a part of WordPerfect, as expected. The File history list is the last nine files. WordPerfect says ten, Beta! When the mouse pointer is moved to a file, it shows you the extension, unlike some other Win 95 products; it also shows you the path. This comes in very handy if you have different clients on different floppies. The new features in quick correct are appreciated. One is drawing a single or a double line across the page, just type in three equal signs in a row, at the left margin (followed by enter) or three hyphens. Some other additions too quick correct are: Ordinals, CAPS lock and indent. Ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd) are changed to the ordinal in superscript (1st, 2nd ).
The caps lock realizes that not all of us are expert touch typists and sometimes we look at the keyboard instead of the monitor. (If they did not want me to look at them, why did they put markings on top of the keys?) Caps lock will turn off the caps lock, and change the case back to normal. The action's triggered hitting the shift key for the first character in a word, followed by releasing it for the remainder of the word. For those words like dBASE, just enter with the shift key and all is fine.
Indent will indent the complete paragraph when you tab at the beginning of any line in a paragraph except the first. This will save a lot of people a lot of time. Tab the second line without tabbing the first line and you get a hanging indent.
The upgrade help does not reference WordPerfect 6.1 for Windows. Many of the upgrade features are included in 6.1 for Windows, (Make-It-Fit, etc.) The installation of the beta copy went without any problems. WordPerfect picked up my preferences, supplemental spelling dictionary, and quick correct entries. It did not add any fonts!
Are there any things that I did not like? Yes, a couple. The Templates generated in 6.1 must be redone. The macro dialog box does not include the purpose of the macro.
Are there any revolutionary changes in upgrading from 6.1 to 7? I did not find any except for the price structure and what is included. I rate it as an evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but that's OK. Will I buy the released version? Yes. Would I recommend it? Yes. Will you buy it? That's between you and your check book. It is worth the money.
Lotus Word Pro 96
Aug '96 Issue Lilypad p.7, Marty Bectell - Pres
System requirements for Lotus Word Pro 96 are Windows 95, a 486 (except Dave Osofsky ran it on a 386DX), and 8 Meg of RAM. I tested it on a 486DX66 with 16 Meg of memory. Hard drive space is 17 Meg. to 46 Meg for a complete install. I selected a fairly broad set of features and used 38.8 Meg.
I must start by admitting that I am a long time Word for Windows user. Not that I intended to do a comparison but over the years I have developed a concept of how a word processor "should" work. In the past I have tried to work with other word processors and wasn't able to get my habits to fit into the new interface. One popular DOS based word processor was so frustrating to me that I finally came to the conclusion that the red switch on the side of the computer box was put there to exit this word processor. I quickly discovered that is not the case with today's word processors. Windows has given us a consistent interface.
In our reviews we have gotten away from spending much time on the software installation. I found the installation refreshing. I always use a custom installation as it gives me a chance to see some of the features of a program; and I usually find a neat feature or two that is not installed with a default install.
What was surprising was the import capabilities. Not only does Word Pro have the common word processing formats, and some that are fairly obscure, it also has a wide selection of databases, graphics, spread sheets. The import and export feature is a reason alone for considering this product. One word of caution, some of the export filters on the CD version are not included in the disc version, but they can be downloaded off the Internet.
The first thing I do before installing a program is to look on the first disk or CD for a readme file. This is, as they say, late breaking news- usually documentation errors and hardware and software incompatibilities that the company has found since the documentation was printed. The main value is that there maybe some clarification about installation. Lotus Word Pro 96 had a 46KB text file that was full of lot of useful information.
The Word Pro window is fairly typical with a few nice features. The icons on the toolbar that no-one can ever remember, have balloons that appear with a description of what the icon does, if the mouse pointer hovers for a moment over the icon; Lotus calls them SmartIcons.
A right mouse click brings up a dialog box that lets you select text or page properties. By making a selection you open an Infobox where you can change the font, point size, attribute, color bullets, numbering. The changes are made on the selected text so you can preview them before making a commitment. I often need to change the page properties to get the text to either fill a page or get rid of a second page. Ami Pro96 is much easier than going through a series of menus only to find that it needs to be done again.
Another feature is Team Computing which allows you to e-mail a copy to a series of people for their review. This is a common feature of Win95 word processors; what is unique is that you can make parts of the document unreadable to certain reviewers. When the document gets back, comments and changes are seen in different colors so you can tell who did what.
Now that I have worked with it, some many of the features are getting more comfortable. One of those features is the spell checker- it doesn't block the text, but instead opens a menu bar. Making corrections does require clicking both the correct word and the replace button.
The program is not with out a few warts. When I opened a HTML document, I thought the program crashed; but after a few minutes the file was loaded. The same thing happened when I opened a WinWord document. The program can be slow at times.
I saved the review as a Word 7.0 document, but when I opened it in Word I couldn't get some of Word's features to work, like the spell checker. The finger can not necessarily be pointed at Ami Pro though. But for doing basic text editing I did not see that as a problem- only when importing or when using fancy formatting. Also Word Pro 96 files were not listed in Start Documents, but the Word documents I imported were listed.
My interest in doing this review was very much curiosity. I wanted to see what Lotus was up to these days and professionally I wanted to see how it compared to Word for Windows. When I set down to look at it I decided that I did not want to review it as a comparison due to my experience with Word But I must say that the program did impress me. I can't say I'm ready to change, but ask me again in a couple of months.
If People Bought Cars Like Computers
Aug '96 Issue Lilypad p.8, Frank Howden
[This has been circulating among Internet humorists for awhile; origin unknown.]
What if people bought cars like they buy computers? General Motors doesn't have a "help line" for people who don't know how to drive, because people don't buy cars like they buy computers.
But imagine if they did...
Helpline: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"
Customer: "I got in my car and closed the door and nothing happened!"
Help: "Did you put the key in the ignition and turn it?"
Cust: "What's an ignition?"
Help: "It's a starter motor that draws current from your battery and turns over the engine."
Cust: "Ignition? Motor? Battery? Engine? How come I have to know all of these technical terms just to use my car?"
Help: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"
Cust: "My car ran fine for a week, and now it won't go anywhere!"
Help: "Is the gas tank empty?"
Cust: "Huh? How do I know?"
Help: "There's a little gauge on the front panel, with a needle, and markings from 'E' to 'F'. Where is the needle pointing?"
Cust: "I see an 'E' but no 'F'."
Help: "You see the 'E' and just to the right is the 'F'.
Cust: "No, just to the right of the first 'E' is a 'V'.
Help: "A 'V'?!?"
Cust: "Followed by 'R', 'O', 'L'..."
Help: "No, no, no sir! That's the front of the car. When you sit behind the steering wheel, that's the panel I'm talking about."
Cust: "That steering wheel thingy - Is that the round thing that honks the horn?"
Help: "Yes, among other things."
Cust: "The needle's pointing to 'E'. What does that mean?"
Help: "It means that you have to visit a gasoline vendor and purchase some more gasoline. You can install it yourself, or pay the vendor to install it for you."
Cust: "What? I paid $18,000 for this car! Now you tell me that I have to keep buying more components? I want a car that comes with everything built in!"
Help: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"
Cust: "Your cars suck!"
Help: "What's wrong?"
Cust: "It crashed, that's what went wrong!"
Help: "What were you doing?"
Cust: "I wanted to go faster, so I pushed the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor. It worked for a while, and then it crashed- and now it won't even start up!"
Help: "I'm sorry, sir, but it's your responsibility if you misuse the product."
Cust: "Misuse it? I was just following this damned manual of yours. It said to make the car go, to put the transmission in 'D' and press the accelerator pedal. That's exactly what I did; now the damn thing's crashed."
Help: "Did you read the entire operator's manual before operating the car sir?"
Cust: "What? Of course I did! I told you I did EVERYTHING the manual said and it didn't work!"
Help: "Didn't you attempt to slow down so you wouldn't crash?"
Cust: "How do you do THAT?" Help: "You said you read the entire manual, sir. It's on page 14. The pedal next to the accelerator."
Cust: "Well, I don't have all day to sit around and read this manual you know."
Help: "Of course not. What do you expect us to do about it?"
Cust: "I want you to send me one of the latest versions that goes fast and won't crash anymore!"
Help: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"
Cust: "Hi! I just bought my first car, and I chose your car because it has automatic transmission, cruise control, power steering, power brakes, and power door locks. How do I work it?"
Help: "Do you know how to drive?"
Cust: "Do I know how to what?"
Help: "Do you know how to DRIVE?"
Cust: "I'm not a technical person! I just want to go places in my car!"
Help we can do without?
Aug '96 Issue Lilypad p.9, BNA Daily Report
Resolution urges congressional Internet use...
A resolution introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives [in early June] by Rep. Rick White (R-Wash) and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va), and in the Senate by Sen. Larry Pressler (R-SD), is intended to promote lawmakers' use of the Internet to communicate with constituents, make information more accessible to voters, and induce Congress to work with the Internet community to find out more about Internet-related issues. "We need to bring Congress on-line for the 21st century," says White. "The Communications Decency Act is a pretty good example of what can happen when Congress passes laws on something it knows little about." White predicts that when Congress revisits the Act next year, "a more educated Congress will develop a solution that protects our children and protects our free speech."
(BNA Daily Report for Executives 14 Jun 96 A1- picked up by the Editors of AOL's Usere Group Forum)
FROG Program Notes
Aug '96 Issue Lilypad p.10, Robert Frank
Our July meeting at Media Play in Henrietta was about as good as it gets! Al Biles entertained us, educated us and amazed us. Those of you who missed Al's performance, we were introduced to his computer program, Gen-Jam. Gen-Jam improvises original jazz compositions tuned to the listener's ear. Quite fascinating. Al with the help of all in attendance created an original master piece right before our eyes. I was amazed at how quickly the creation process took. Literally in the time of his presentation Al filled us in on the theory of his computer program and created a musical master piece. Al's Gen-Jam program is not for sale, but he does sell a CD at Media Play, Virtual Quintet. I purchased my own copy the night of our meeting at its well worth it's $12.99 price. Thank you Al for a fine presentation!
We also owe a BIG THANK YOU to Lisa Fischer, Ben Laurrow and everyone at Media Play. Media Play treated us like kings and queens! We were treated to wonderful tasty treats, delicious coffee, more door prizes that you could shake a stick at, and to top it off, a 10% discount off anything in the store. What more could they have done to make us more welcome? How about a generous donation of prizes to be won at our Geek Olympics? They did that also!
Media Play in Henrietta and Greece are valued supporters of our user group every month. They purchase our LILYPAD and distribute them to their customers at both of their stores every month of the year. It's so nice these days of the chain and super stores to find a retailer that is interested in adding something to the community. If the FROG Computer Society had an official sponsor, it would have to be Media Play. Their continued support is certainly appreciated and I for one hope we'll have a long and mutually beneficial relationship.
Our August meeting will be held at Media Play's Greece store in Ridgemont Plaza. They are going to have a tough time out doing their sister store in Henrietta, but they assure us they are going to try! I'll be coordinating our visit to Media Play in Greece with their staff during the next couple of weeks. I'm sure it'll be an enjoyable time for everyone who attends.
In August our own Brock Brock, the man so nice they named him twice, will be presenting DeLorme Mapping software. DeLorme Mapping is an industry leader in CD-ROM mapping software. This is an example of presentations I would like to more of at our meetings. Brock is so impressed with this product that he wants to share discovery with the rest of our members. Brock has contacted DeLorme and they have donated a couple of copies of their product that will be raffled off at the August meeting. We'll be also using the supplied software during the presentation, so literally you'll have a chance to win the software being presented. The mapping software along with door prizes that will be donated by Media Play, should make several lucky people happy at our next meeting. Be there or be square. The schedule for our August meeting:
Before moving on to other topics, I need to mention another less serious event that took place in July. Our annual picnic was held at Brighton Town Park. Maybe you saw a video clip on the news or a picture in the newspaper? It was a gorgeous day with plenty of good food and good times. Special thanks has to be offered up to the Becktell family for almost single-handedly making this outing such a success. Thank you Marty, Rainy, and Stu! Also many thanks to the many people that attended the picnic that jumped in to help out.
On the subject of the Program Committee, I would like to see a couple of volunteers to help in promoting our user group and programs. If you ask me, I think the FROG Computer Society is a well-kept secret. I would like to see that change.
Media Play will post announcements about our upcoming meetings on their community announcements bulletin board if someone would create them and mail or fax them to Media Play.
Also, announcements could be offered to our local newspapers for their community announcement's page. The is also a local events echo via Fidonet and I imagine the Internet. We could even contact professional groups and other user groups if the subject of the program is of special interest. All we need to make this happen is volunteers. Anyone interested in helping out, catch me at a meeting, give me a call, or drop me an e-mail message. I would like to see our programs better promoted in the future and in turn our user group better promoted.
In light of what I've said above, our upcoming events are as follows:
Now, in the membership has its privileges corner. I would hope by now everyone knows that as a member of our user group you can request the software committee to solicit software for you to review directly from software publishers at no cost.
Tom Barrett has been doing a wonderful job in filling the requests he has received and while we cannot guarantee we'll be able to get the software you requested, our batting average is pretty good. So good in fact that a software package I requested to review last May has just arrived for my review.
This software package I didn't think I would ever actually see. I requested AutoCAD version 13 from Autodesk for review. Those of you who are not familiar with AutoCAD, it's a full fledged professional CAD package that has a street price of around $2800.00! When I requested this software package I didn't actually think Autodesk would ever send out such an expensive software package to me to review, but I figured I had nothing to lose. Surprise, surprise, they actually sent it out to me. I can hardly believe it.
This could have been just easily been one of you. You haven't got anything to lose, let us know what you would like to review for publication in the LILYPAD and we'll see what we can do. Receiving this one software package basically covers my dues to the FROG Computer Society for the next hundred years. Membership does have its privileges.
Until our next meeting, take care and I'll see you there.
I can be contacted in the following ways:
Aug '96 Issue Lilypad p.13, Jim Kane
Lots of new goodies have been added to the FROG site on the net. We now have a link to our parent APCUG, a write-up on the incredible July FROG picnic including a gallery of about 20 pictures (the more you hear about it the more you'll wish you woulda/coulda gone!), announcements of upcoming meetings, and a description of the next main meeting.
Often we're able to get information out a lot quicker than the LilyPad, simply because we don't have a monthly timeline. We can, if we have the time, put something up the same day we receive it.
Currently we're working on adding new links to cover "Member Pages", "Members Favorite Web Pages", "Local Web Sites", "Latest Drivers", Shareware/Freeware", "Creating Web Pages", "Web Search Tools", "Computer Companies", "Computer Magazines", and other ideas I'm sure you'll come up with
Your help is needed and there can be something in it for you! We will help you with HTML and/or the internet in return for your help with gathering data needed for the web site; how's that for a deal!
Ideally, this should happen through the Internet SIG we're in the process of setting up. We have an enthusiastic candidate for SIG leader and he's working on a place for the group to meet. If we are successful in starting an Internet SIG, the FROG web page would likely become a subgroup of that SIG. Perhaps we'll set up a web page committee.
At any rate if you're interested in gathering data for the FROG web page (we'll teach you how if necessary) and in turn getting some help with HTML or the internet (I'd probably help you even if you didn't gather data but I wouldn't be as enthused); or if you're interested in being a member of the Internet SIG or the FROG web page committee- e-mail us at email@example.com or call Jim Kane at 865-3345.
"Ask not what FROG can do for you, but rather what can you do for FROG". 'Til then, good surfin'.
Aug '96 Issue Lilypad p.13, Stu Becktell
This is a review of MTV Unplugged. MTV (Music Television), as many of you know, is a popular cable television station that shows music videos.
You need a 486 66/DX2, 8 Megs of Ram, Windows 3.1x, A 2x CD-ROM, SoundBlaster or 100% compatible, and a SVGA card with 1 meg on card. I heard the street price is $19.95.
MTV Unplugged is the exclusive CD-ROM to MTV's critically-acclaimed television show. This software contains biographies, footage, and photographs from more than 50 unplugged performances.
One of the nice features is that you can go backstage and watch what they have to do to make the show possible. MTV Unplugged has over 75 Unplugged Artists
There are also NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN live performances. Most of the performances are in full-screen, full-motion video. There is unreleased footage including three full length performances from Paul McCartney, Lenny Kravitz, and 10,000 Maniacs. You can see the making of MTV Unplugged. The shows start in late 1989 and end in early 1995.
I found that on my computer there were static lines. That may just be my video card.
This product is great if you have been watching the TV show for a while and like the show a lot. This program could have been better if they had put in a category where the videos cycled through randomly like a screen saver.
So You Want to Go Into Business
Aug '96 Issue Lilypad p.14, Stevan Brown
[This article was originated in the June 1996 issue of microCHIP, the newsletter of the Mid-Hudson Computer User Group. Reprinted here with permission.]
Currently I run a business, Circular Dimensions, out of my home (till I run out of room), in Poughkeepsie NY. I have been doing this for just over three years.
Why a column like this, in a computer user group newsletter? My man Friday is my computer. It's used for record keeping (most important), financial tracking, direct mail, brochures, art work, etc. Without a computer, I would have to say I might not be in business. Why? Well, the costs of doing the other things without one. At best guess, I have saved more than 1/3 of my total operating costs by using my computer.
When one wants to start a business or buy a business, there is a tremendous amount of education involved. My workplace put me in the "surplus" situation. My magnanimous ex-employer saw to it that I was provided with an opportunity to pursue courses toward new employment or life-style endeavors. These courses fueled my thirst for knowledge and with that knowledge "I jumped right in."
Armed with the education of what it's like to be in business and the ups and downs; the next step is: Select Something You Like to Do. The first step in being successful in being in your own business is you must like the thing you want to do. The key is you.
The process seems very simple, i.e., money in = money out. The killer is details; and that's where the computer becomes a keystone for success. What the computer can do for you and how it can keep your business afloat, is what it is all about.
If you want to go into business you've got to ask yourself "Do I feel lucky?"
Success in business is not really a matter of luck, but sometimes it helps. People sometimes associate "wealth" with success, or vice-versa. In reality success is whatever you, the business person, define it. The question "What is the formula for Success ?" is often asked and the answer is sought after like the Holy Grail.. Why a formula? A formula has a definite set of values and as an equation, when solved implies that the statements made for the values are literally correct.
My formula is: S = ME2 where: $uccess equals Motivation x Education x Evolution.
Easy, huh? Let's look at the formula's values.
$uccess has, from the IRS viewpoint, one basic finite definition. If you make money, that is, your cash received exceeds the cost of doing business, you pay taxes (sole proprietorship). On the other hand, if your business can earn 8 - 15% after expenses per year (and that includes your salary - which will be discussed in the next microCHIP) you are doing better than investing your money, you're making money!
The other side of the equation is what makes your business grow. Motivation to endure the problems of being in a business. No business survives without it. The word "Quit" is stricken from your vocabulary and replaced with the word "Options."
Education is the cornerstone of your business. Here you will learn about cash flow, advertising, networking, bookkeeping, personal scheduling, etc., and changes to your "industry."
Evolution is what will permit your business to grow. Being able to evolve and develop new products or substitute products to replace old un-saleable products is what will give your business continuity.
This article can not provide answers to motivation and evolution. These are the entrepreneur's tasks; in some cases they are philosophical, business-dependent, and moral in nature. While I can provide wisdom for these two, I will concentrate on providing you with an insight into the educational aspect and show you how a computer can work for you.
It has been my experience that people who are about to purchase computers do not know how to "spec" them. I have seen and heard of many business people who have purchased machines only to find that the specifications required for their business are not met by their present purchases and that modifications are either costly or impossible.
Education in the makeup of a computer and matching its capabilities to your required tasks is essential for doing the job. In addition, just as evolution is necessary in your business, your computer must also be able to evolve to meet your business needs.
Unless your business requires computer graphics or multimedia, the following generic computer configuration list should provide an adequate starting-point for most small businesses. The items in the list below represent a minimum requirement.
Leaving out some part of the following will result in two problems: installation and compatibility costs above the cost of the add-on item. The cost will be about $2,000 plus-or-minus 15%.
In my opinion, a tape back-up unit is mandatory as well as a UPS (Un-interruptible Power Supply). In addition, you will have to decide on a printer (600 dpi preferred); the use of color is an option.
Welcome to your standard stand-alone business computer for your office. This equipment is capable of handling all your computer start-up requirements, and can be sectioned 179 (IRS) and deducted the first year. If a lap-top is considered, really evaluate this requirement for a start-up business, and perhaps also plan for a desktop machine.
Specs Min. Req'd. Notes ----- ----------- ----- Warranty 1 Year 3 year, if possible Support toll free Very important CPU 90 -133 MHz 120/133 recommended RAM 16 MB Min. memory configuration Hard Disk 1.2 GB 1.6 GB is common Video 15" SVGA Diagonal screen meas. Video Card 2 MB Min. to see true color screen CD-ROM 4x 4x minimum Tape Back-up 800 MB (min) 1.2GB+ recommended FAX Modem 14,400 bps 28,800 commonly available UPS 250-450 watts 450 watt gives min 20 minutes operation with power failure, and surge protection Printer 300 dpi 600 dpi recommended for graphic representations Software included OS plus a "Suite" Win95, and/or Win 3.1 OS/2 only for experienced PC users)
Shopping for a computer is no different than for a car or house. With a chart similar to the one above, you are ready to shop. In business terms, you're going to acquire Capital Equipment for your business. Don't overlook other sources of expertise such as consumer magazines or people who are in your same line of work. An important item often overlooked is support. Unless you are a computer WIZ, you are going to need help from time to time. Who's going to provide the support and how much is it going to cost?
This is a bite out of your wallet, but no one said going into business was going to be cheap. There are other things to think of:
* What's a good business name? * Can you create a fancy logo? * What type of invoice (billing) documents will you use? * What about business cards? * Will you require a separate phone line in your home? * How about magnetic signs for the car? * What type of advertising will you attempt?
Aug '96 Issue Lilypad p.16, Bill Wells
I arrived at 5:45 PM and found that our friends at MEDIA PLAY had set aside a cozy corner for our meeting. AL BILES, a jazz musician and computer-science and information technology Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology (and later to be the feature attraction), was busy setting up his audio and electronic wares. Standing idly by was a gentlemen named JOHN ARMISTON who is employed at Xerox in the computer field and also a student of AL BILES; he came to our meeting solely to catch AL's act.
By six o'clock quite a few of the faithful had arrived, with none of our NEW USERS Group's first team in sight. Meanwhile, JOHN ARMISTON, who just happened to be standing in front of the first row, was overheard answering a question. That brought a response from the second or third row, which led to another question and before long the group exchange was in full swing. Most queries were about bulletin boards and John's answers generally stated what he would and would not do if he ran a BBS. It wasn't long before CLICK and DOUBLE CLICK, (NICK FRANCESCO and MARTY BECKTELL) arrived to pick up after John and we thanked him for his participation. By this time quite a crowd had assembled which allowed NICK and MARTY to cover a wide range of questions in their whimsical, adroit style.
From Note-Book screens that die, (have it fixed or plug in a monitor), Java and V-Shields,(scans up-load, down-load, saves, and monitors constantly for viruses). Their range was wide and as always; they are a welcome and knowledgeable duo well received by those present. A break period was announced so everybody could enjoy coffee, cookies and candy, free to all and provided by our generous hosts, MEDIA PLAY. At the same time and most pleasurable in the back ground, AL BILES played solo trumpet, accompanied by a soft percussion program..
Program Chair BOB FRANK introduced AL BILES, a native of Oklahoma and Kansas City who has been associated with RIT since 1980.
Who needs a band when you have software? AL BILES has created the perfect backup band consisting of tenor sax, acoustic piano, bass, drums, vibes, marimba, French horn and synthesizers- all performed by a piece of computer software he created called GEN-JAM. Straight-ahead jazz, Latin, funk and new-age sounds, plus room for improvisation- all are generated.
How does GEM-JAM work? It applies the principles of natural genetics to jazz by evolving a population of musical ideas. He gave each of us a paddle, red on one side and green on the other. He then played five sets of harmonic jazz as background with tenor sax as lead. Asking us to hold up green if we thought a passage good, and red if we did not like it.
Meanwhile with fingers on his note-book keyboard he roughly and swiftly tabulated our preferences. Somehow it rewards the good licks as it discards the bad, thereby ending up with the best. As you listen you never suspect that most of the sounds were not created by live musicians.
Al solos live on trumpet and fluegelhorn while the software provides back-up. As the Al Biles Virtual Quintet, he has performed at The Depot, Media Play, the George Eastman House, Eagle Vale and on WXXI. He then asked for questions and the many that followed were covered to everyone's satisfaction. It was a very enjoyable and well received hour or so; and AL was rewarded with a big round of applause; and of course, a FROG MUG. For more information, call (716) 621-6270.
Pres. MARTY BECKTELL presided over club business.
NICK FRANCESCO thanked the membership for patience shown during extended transition period. Everything seems to be down to the last program. We must show more patience while Vice-Prez WAYNE HOWARD settles into his new job- a position that requires him to travel twenty days a month. That makes it difficult to meet with NICK who also is busy. Rest assured though, that the end is near. NICK thanks you, those of you who are the users of FROGPOND for placing us way up there locally, in popularity and preference, among all Bulletin Boards.
DICK COMEGYS reminded all that his term as publisher of the LILYPAD will soon end and that his successor, STEVE STAUB will need articles- lots of them, so get busy and take pen in hand [or fingers to keyboard- even more helpful if on-disk in ASCII text! -RWC].
JIM KANE would like help with the FROG WEB PAGE. If help does not come his way, he is afraid it becomes his page and not FROG's- which he feels is undesirable. Contact him at 865-3345.
4th ANNUAL FROG FAMILY PICNIC- and GEEK OLYMPICS
So ran a banner strung across the south outer wall of the lodge at Brighton Park Sunday, July 14,1996; and thereby hangs a tale. The picnic obviously has been done before but the "GEEK OLYMPICS?" What could that possibly mean?.
It seems that the fertile brain of FROG Pres. MARTY BECKTELL, in keeping with the present mania and hype surrounding the Atlanta Olympic Games decided to promote a few tongue-in-cheek computer-connected events. Such as the hard-drive shot-put, the CD ROM disc throw and the 3-1/2 disc bucket target toss.
The local media was alerted; and apparently because it was presented as a sporting event with a twist- lo and behold WROC-TV Channel 8 and the Democrat and Chronicle arrived with full equipment. Naturally, enthusiasm ran high and many entrants strove mightily to throw an unwieldy 8X5X2 hard drive all of possibly thirty feet, accompanied by cheers and catcalls. A tradition just may have taken root; and in future years more innovative events might be added.
Brighton Park is the perfect place to host such a gathering. The setting is beautiful, the lodge is the right size and the facilities are first-rate. I can only hope that we return again and again. As is usually the case, there was a wonderful variety of tasty food to please every palate with seconds and even thirds available to all.
When tickets were drawn for prizes MARTY had enough goodies so all went home with something. Those of you who for whatever reason opted not to come missed a well run, enjoyable time; and we hope that you will reconsider and join us next time.
JULY PLANNING MEETING, St Stephen's Church
Pres. MARTY BECKTELL opened the meeting by reading his agenda and asked for additions.
He directed Treasurer STEVE STAUB to keep FROG's bank account at a balance of $1000.00 or above to avoid a surcharge.
We are again looking into ways of having a Kids Page of some kind in the LILYPAD. I believe that because of STU Becktell's interest and participation in all FROG activities he could be a catalyst. He already attends meetings, writes for the LILYPAD and performs all sorts of chores when asked. In addition I am certain he is better versed in all matters related to computers than most of us.
I appeal to all you members who are parents to encourage your youngsters to actively take part in some way, no matter how small, to ease their progress into the increasingly technological world. It's their future. Any thoughts or ideas relay to MARTY BECKTELL at 473-7644.
Our own man of many names (all similar), BROCK BROCK will be the presenter at the August PROGRAM MEETING. We are again invited by MEDIA PLAY to use their store at Ridgemont Plaza. After our wonderful reception at Henrietta we can't wait to experience whatever Greece has in store for us.
The FROG 4th ANNUAL FAMILY PICNIC was a huge success judged from many angles but none more delightful or intriguing than the GEEK OLYMPICS. To have the video and print media appear with all necessary equipment to seriously record the events made for some hilarious and strenuous attempts at proficiency by obviously overweight and ungainly members. All you have to do is scan the print pictures or video images from the newscast and you are rewarded with a high appreciation for fun and games. Everybody joined in the true Olympic Spirit and Tradition, embodied in our efforts, it was amateurism of the purist form. What else?
Program Chair BOB FRANK suggests that with the video tapes we start a record which can be added to and occasionally shown at meetings.
A year or so ago there was a straw blowing in the wind concerning two viable PC users groups (FROG and PC3) and why both co-exist in Rochester. Apparently the same wind is blowing our way again, and we do not know what to make of it. Our position is solidly based in FROG identification and existence but life to-day teaches us to approach every and anything in an open minded manner so we will wait and see what overtures, if any, come our way.
Aug '96 Issue Lilypad p.19, Steve Staub
In the July LilyPad I mentioned that in this issue I was going to have a mini-survey. The reason for this is that several members are having problems with their computers. One of the reasons for the formation of FROG is to help make computing more user friendly for its members.
Starting this fall I will publish the areas that members are willing to help in. A complete list of areas, volunteers name and the best time to reach them will be a part of the LilyPad.
Print the survey and mail it to:
FROG Survey c/o Steve Staub 1945 Ridge Rd E. - Dept. 5180, Rochester NY 14622-2467
For faster turn around time you can leave me a message in the Members-Only area of the POND.
I am willing to help any member of FROG Computer society one on one with their computer problems in the following area(s) 1. ___________________________________ 2. ___________________________________ 3. ___________________________________ NAME: _________________________________ PHONE #__________________________________ The best time to reach me is_____________________________ the best day is________________________________ ================================ I would like to be part of a car pool to FROG activities as a DRIVER RIDER BOTH [Check appreciate box(s)] NAME: _________________________________ PHONE #_________________________________ The best time to reach me is______________________ the best day to reach me is_______________________
With Thanks to All
Aug '96 Issue Lilypad p.20, Dick Comegys-Editor/Publisher
LilyPad Editor/Publisher Dick Comegys hangs it up once again...
These will not- God willing- be my last notes in the LilyPad; but it's my last issue (God willing!) as Editor/Publisher!
It was a year-and-a-half ago that I picked up the job_ after having left it to Ray Miller back in 1992. Actually it was earlier than that when Ray launched into the brave new PC world of Desk-Top Publishing. October 1989 was the issue that left behind the trusty Osborne-01 and WordStar.
I contributed and reviewed the copy for Ray for the next three years; then with the November 1992 issue, blessed him on his way as Editor/Publisher.It was only a year later that Ray died, leaving the enterprise in the hands of David Olsen- who blew away the task with the Jan 1995 issue.
By that time armed with a '386sx and updated Geoworks, I re-settled into the Editor's chair for what I hoped was a short-term encore. The past 18 months have brought me Win95 (short-lived on an AT&T Globalyst NoteBook), OS/2 as a very reliable replacement for one who avoids Windows; and then a Globalyst Pentium- Win95-dependent! At least in terms of MODEM and SoundCard.
As noted last issue, I've shadowed that with OS/2 to get some real work done on the Pentium with my still-effective DOS applications.
All of that's a lot bigger jump than I took in the first 10 years of personal computing- most of that on the Osborne-01. And like the old driver of the Ford Model-T- or maybe the pilot of an open-cockpit biplane- I don't remember having as much fun since!
Some of that's sheer cussedness. But there was the challenge of mastering command-lines, building menus, BASIC programming that was really basic! That's not encouraged much anymore; Win95 doesn't even have a BASIC program included- or much of anything else that encourages independent decision-making. It operates on the premise that Bill Gates knows what's best for me.
The hell he does!
And it doesn't help that the Win95 system keeps counting things on me- the last however-many files I've opened (the most recent accessible in the "Documents" start-up folder), the last graphics I looked at; the last programs I ran.
It's enough to make me keep far away from "interactive" WEB sites and Microsoft's On-Line services- God knows how much they're learning about me, while I think I'm learning about them!
But there are whole new worlds of possibility. We handle heaps of data we never dreamed of ten or fifteen years ago. I figured 50 180kb disks would cover my needs with St Stephen's and SWEM for years; and in fact they did. That's less than 10megs- data and programming! Today OS/2 wants 50megs just for system files; and Win95 wants over 100! and SWAP and CACHE room on top of that.
It was only three years ago that a '486 chip running at 50mhz was a pretty hot item- sometimes all too literally hot! Today it's to be sneered at; my sub-100mhz Pentium is bargain-basement, and the newest Pentium-Pro's claim 200mhz. So what do you think by Christmas?
And there's the whole phenomenal Internet- in particular, the World-Wide-WEB. Not much more than two years ago, the Internet was only for the geekiest with a University connection. The transfers were arcane, the utilities user-friendly only in name.
Today my 83-year-old mother's on the Internet; and so is everybody else. I can't get any work done!
So it's time to let this thing go, once again. Steve Staub- perhaps more fearless than wise- is taking up the monthly task of pulling together these 20 pages of news, observations and occasional guffaws. You can help! Send him your thoughts, your questions, your pictures- and your prayers!
Peace to all!
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