The Champaign-Urbana Computer Users Group

The Status Register - June, 2002

This newsletter will never appear on CUCUG.ORG before the monthly CUCUG meeting it is intended to announce. This is in deference to actual CUCUG members. They get each edition hot off the presses. If you'd like to join our group, you can get the pertinent facts by looking in the "Information About CUCUG" page. If you'd care to look at prior editions of the newsletter, they may be found via the Status Register Newsletter page.
News     Common     PC     Linux     Mac     Amiga     CUCUG

June 2002

To move quickly to an article of your choice, use the search feature of your reader or the hypertext directory above. Enjoy.

June News:

The June Meeting

The next CUCUG meeting will be held on our regular third Thursday of the month: Thursday, June 20th, at 7:00 pm (Linux SIG, one hour earlier), at the Illinois Technology Center. Directions to the ITC are at the end of this newsletter.

The June 20 gathering will be one of our split SIG meetings. The Linux SIG will address the command line interface, it's commands and their uses. Jack Melby will be presenting a CD of shareware and freeware utilities to the Macintosh SIG and will be demonstrating several of them. The PC SIG will be looking at laptops, discussing laptop components as they specify and price compare various units/configurations.


Welcome Renewing Member

We'd like to welcome back our returning member, Bill Zwicky. Bill's done several programs for the club over the years and contributes a lot during discussions. He's a valued member and we're glad to have him back.

We welcome any kind of input or feedback from members. Run across an interesting item or tidbit on the net? Just send the link to the editor. Have an article or review you'd like to submit? Send it in. Have a comment? Email any officer you like. Involvement is the driving force of any user group. Welcome to the group.


Mac OS X 10.1.5 Released


Apple has released Mac OS X 10.1.5, bringing incremental improvements to applications, networking, and third party peripherals. Adding more spokes to the digital hub concept, Mac OS X 10.1.5 adds support for new Canon digital cameras, Nikon FireWire cameras, and external disc recorders from SmartDisk, EZQuest, and LaCie, as well as magneto-optical (MO) drives. Mail and Sherlock have received stability tweaks, and Quartz anti-aliasing of text is now offered for applications that support it (such as the recently released Microsoft Office X Service Release 1). In terms of networking, iDisk access has been improved, as has file searching on local and remote volumes, and navigating Windows NT file servers via AFP (Apple Filing Protocol). Mac OS X 10.1.5 is available through Software Update, or as a stand-alone 21.4 MB download for users of Mac OS X 10.1.3 or 10.1.4; a separate 45.1 MB Mac OS X Update Combo 10.1.5 should be used to update versions 10.1 through 10.1.2. [JLC]


eMacs for Everyone


In a surprising move, Apple has announced that it is now selling the all-in-one eMac to anyone who wants one, barely a month after introducing the low-cost, CRT-based system solely for the education market. (See "Apple Rolls out Education eMac and Faster PowerBooks" in TidBITS-628_.) The move brings the clunky cathode-ray tube display back to Apple's mainstream product line after a much-touted shift to an all-LCD lineup with the flat-screen iMac, but there's one strong reason for the reversal: the eMac's $1,100 price tag puts a 700 MHz PowerPC G4 within reach of more consumers, some of whom are still balking at the flat-screen iMac's $1,400 minimum price tag. The default configuration of the eMac will ship with 128 MB of RAM and a 40 GB hard disk, along with a CD-RW drive and a 56K modem (which weren't standard on the education version). Of course, the eMac still features a 17-inch CRT display, built-in 10/100Base-T Ethernet, two FireWire ports, five USB ports, and an Nvidia GeForce2 MX graphics controller; an AirPort card can be added for wireless networking. [GD]


Apple Speed Bumps iBooks


Apple today announced an update to the slick iBook line that adds faster CPUs, 512K on-chip L2 cache, a more powerful ATI Mobility Radeon graphics processor with 16 MB of RAM and AGP 2X, larger hard drives, and a new video-out port. You can now buy the iBook that has a 12.1-inch screen with either 600 MHz or 700 MHz PowerPC G3 processors and 20, 30, or 40 GB hard drives; the 14.1-inch screen model features the 700 MHz processor and either a 30 or 40 GB hard drive. With both iBooks you can choose between a CD-ROM drive and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo drive and how much RAM you want (starting at either 128 MB or 256 MB, maxing out at 640 MB). Both models also retain their two USB ports, FireWire port, AirPort compatibility, 56 Kbps V.90 modem, 10/100Base-T Ethernet, and built-in microphone and speakers. Pricing starts at $1,200 for the 12.1-inch screen models and $1,650 for the 14.1-inch models. Despite the lack of anything revolutionary here, these changes make a very good computer even better. [ACE]


Virtual PC 5.0.3 Released


Connectix has updated Virtual PC to version 5.0.3, adding new features and fixing bugs. The program's new Password Protection feature prevents users from modifying a virtual machine's settings, exiting full-screen mode, or creating or deleting virtual machines. Virtual PC 5.0.3 also adds Sockets-Based Shared Networking (SBSN) under Mac OS X, improving access between computers on a network, and adds more control over COM port usage in the virtual machine. Addressing performance issues, Connectix also added CPU usage controls, which enable you to dictate how much processor time is used when Virtual PC is the foreground or background application. And for users whose keyboards lack a forward-delete key (such as PowerBooks and iBooks), a new Type CTRL-ALT-DEL menu item is available when Windows locks up. The 5.0.3 update is a free update for owners of Virtual PC 5.0 and later, and is a 10.1 MB download. [JLC]


Eudora 5.1.1 Finally Ships for Mac OS X


Qualcomm has released the long-awaited final version of Eudora 5.1.1 for both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. Eudora users still running Mac OS 9 will appreciate a few small bug fixes, but the big news is the availability of Eudora for Mac OS X. Don't expect major changes - what you'll get under Mac OS X is almost all of Eudora's capabilities in a carbonized application. One important change with Mac OS X: Eudora is now a package containing all the ancillary files and folders for plug-ins and user dictionaries (Control-click the Eudora application, choose Show Package Contents, and open the Contents/MacOS folder for access to the Eudora Stuff folder). Eudora 5.1.1 is a free update for those who paid for Eudora during or after April of 2001, while upgrades for those who bought Eudora before then cost $30, and new versions cost $40: details are on the Eudora Web site. Of course, you can still use all of Eudora's features for free in Sponsored mode with ads, or a reduced set of features without ads in Lite mode. Eudora 5.1.1 for Mac OS X is a 4.0 MB download; 4.3 MB for Mac OS 9. If you're already using Eudora, you can get links to the installers and documentation by clicking "Find the latest update to Eudora" from the Payment & Registration command on the Help menu: if you're using Paid mode, the page will also tell you whether you need to pay for the 5.1.1 upgrade. [ACE]


Mozilla 1.0 released

From: Barry Steenbergh (
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2002 12:37:48 -0400 (EDT)

Hi all,

      In case you didn't hear Mozilla 1.0 was released.

CNet's review:

Download it at:

The mozilla site was VERY slow for me though at June 6, 2002 12:37EDT.

Haven't yet tried it myself but CNet liked it...7 outta 10 rating.


AMD cuts prices to match Intel

By John G. Spooner
Staff Writer, CNET
May 30, 2002, 7:25 AM PT

Advanced Micro Devices has slashed prices of its desktop and mobile Athlon processors just days after a similar move by rival Intel.

The cuts range from 17 percent to 52 percent for mobile Athlon XP chips and between 11 percent and 32 percent for desktop Athlon XP chips. On Sunday, Intel dropped prices of its Pentium 4 processors by as much as 53 percent.

The AMD price cuts help the company keep pace with Intel.

"We're going to do what it takes to stay competitive" on prices, said an AMD representative.

AMD's move is also designed to clear out inventory and make way for faster new desktop and mobile processors. The company is expected to introduce a new Athlon XP 2200+ 1.8GHz desktop chip early next month, followed by a new mobile Athlon XP 1800+.

Intel has long used price cuts as a tool to speed the adoption of its new chips. Last year, it cut Pentium 4 prices quickly to speed up the introduction of new versions.

Spring price wars are an annual ritual for the chipmakers. AMD's aggressive price-chopping means the company doesn't want to give up market share gains, even at the cost of losses on the bottom line, analysts said.

In a recent research note, Merrill Lynch analyst Joseph Osha said he came away impressed with AMD's "tenacity" against Intel and added that the chipmaker is in good shape to "fight the good fight." But he noted that the price cuts will mean "low margins for AMD over the next three quarters."

Nevertheless, AMD has gained a respectable amount of market share from Intel in the last year and a half, especially in Europe and Asia. As of the end of the first quarter, AMD's market share was 18.2 percent, according to Mercury Research.

To hold those market share gains, however, AMD cut prices across the board.

AMD dropped its top three desktop Athlon XP chips by as much as one-third, for example. The 2100+ chip moved from $330 to $224, a 32 percent reduction, while the 2000+ went from $280 to $193, a 31 percent cut, and the 1900+ was reduced 22 percent, from $220 to $172.

Price cuts for the company's mobile chips were even steeper for the company's mobile processors.

AMD's top mobile Athlon XP chip, the 1700+, dropped by 52 percent, from $489 to $235. Meanwhile, the company trimmed the 1600+ by 49 percent, from $380 to $192; the mobile 1500+ by 30 percent, from $250 to $175; and the 1400+ from $190 to $150, a 21 percent drop.

Battling Intel

When it comes to cutting chip prices, Intel historically has had an advantage over AMD. Notably, Intel has been able to cut prices on lower-priced chips because it dominates on high-end--and high-margin--chips.

"We expect Intel to dust off its tactic of using high margins in segments that AMD can't address to subsidize aggressive pricing in markets where AMD is competing," Osha said.

Simply put, AMD has less of a cushion to fall back on. Price cuts pinch profits at either company by lowering the average selling price of processors. For AMD, the severity of price cuts is often the difference between profits and losses.

Where Intel has remained profitable despite price cuts, AMD has had trouble staying in the black, reporting losses in the last three quarters. The company is expected to report a loss of 9 cents a share for the second quarter, ending June 30, according to First Call.

Typically, AMD has been hurt more deeply by price cuts. During the first quarter of 2002, for example, it increased processor shipments from the fourth quarter of 2001, topping 8 million, but processor revenue declined by 3 percent sequentially. In effect, the company sold more chips for less money than in the fourth quarter.

AMD has managed, however, to make greater inroads into the notebook and server market. Those new markets may help it hold the line somewhat on average selling prices because those chips generally cost more than desktop chips.

But Intel is unlikely to let up the pressure, with faster chips coming down the pike.

Intel is eyeing the 3GHz mark on the desktop and could possibly hit 2GHz with its Pentium 4-M mobile chip by the end of the year. With new, faster versions of the chip coming, Intel will cut prices to motivate PC makers to move up to the new chips.

It is also working to boost demand for Pentium 4-M notebooks. So far, notebooks with the chip haven't sold as expected, according to analysts, especially in the corporate market. Price cuts could prompt consumers to purchase the machines in greater numbers.

"Intel has been extremely protective of its mobile market share in the past, and AMD has less history here than in the desktop" market, Osha said.

But AMD won't sit still. The company is expected to march forward with faster Athlon XP processors as well on both desktops and notebooks. It will begin shipping its first new "Hammer" processor at the end of the year. The chip, which will debut to the public in the first quarter of 2003, will run at 2GHz or faster, the company has said.

The company also cut prices on its desktop and mobile Duron processors between 7 percent and 14 percent and reduced its Athlon MP processors for servers between 12 percent and 25 percent.


Folding at Home Progress Report

by Kevin Hisel (khisel @

CUCUG is now the 137th most productive team in the Folding at Home project. Folding at Home is a way for you to donate your unused computer CPU cycles to a good cause--protein research that may some day lead to treatments of cures for disease.

For more information about how to join the team, see the CUCUG Folding at Home Team page at:

It's easy to join the team and contribute to this worthy cause.


Common Ground:

Marker pens, sticky tape crack music CD protection

By John Leyden
Posted: 14/06/2002 at 12:45 GMT

Music disc copyright protection schemes such a Cactus Data Shield 100/200 and KeyAudio can be circumvented using tools as basic as marker pens and electrical tape, crackers have discovered.

The Blue Peter-style hack, which was first unearthed by a reader of works by covering up the outer ring of a copyright protected audio disc.

On copy protected discs this outer track is corrupted, which prevents copying, or even playback, by PCs but is ignored (at least in theory) by regular CD players.

[Editor's Note: A Reuter's article went into a little more detail stating:

Sony's proprietary technology, deployed on many recent releases, works by adding a track to the copy-protected disc that contains bogus data.

Because computer hard drives are programmed to read data files first, the computer will continuously try to play the bogus track first. It never gets to play the music tracks located elsewhere on the compact disc.

The effect is that the copy-protected disc will play on standard CD players but not on computer CD-Rom drives, some portable devices and even some car stereo systems.]

Simply covering up the outer track disables the protection, allowing a disc to be played as normal in a PC or Mac.

The cracking technique seems crude, but Reg reader "insomnia skunk" tells us he was able to use it to defeat the copyright protection on Natalie Imbruglia's 'White Lilies Island' CD, early version of which used Cactus Data Shield 200 anti-rip technology.

He writes: "The process is pretty easy: I took a bit of electrical tape and applied it to the edge of the CD, the 'shiny side', - just a half inch of the stuff - and aligned it with the very edge 'data track session ring' visible on these copy protected CDs. Took the tape out to the outside of the CD and put it in my CD Rom."

"And guess what - it played, and ripped, with no problems at all," he adds.

Celine Dion ate my iMac

Record labels are beginning to ship discs with copy protection technology as a means to tackle music piracy at source, by preventing tracks been ripped on PCs and posted onto the Internet file sharing sites.

Epic/Sony's release of Celine Dion's A New Day Has Come audio disc this month, which included copy protection technology from Key2Audio, caused a furor after online sites reported that attempts to play the disc on a PC caused computers to crash.

The problem can be even more severe for Mac users.

Not only will the Celine Dion audio disc fail to play on new flat-screen iMacs but it will lock the CD tray and prevent the machine from been rebooted properly. This is not something users can fix themselves and means a trip to a dealer for repairs. An article on Apple's knowledge base explains the issue in more depth.

Jim Peters, of the Campaign for Digital Rights, which is protesting against music industry plans to market copy-protected audio discs, said the problem is caused by labels in creating non-standard and corrupt audio CDs, which Apple can't be expected to have tested against.

"It is clearly Sony's fault, and their warning 'Will not work on PC/Mac' isn't the whole truth - it should be 'Will not work on PC /Will kill your iMac'," said Peters.

The symbol for a corrupt CD should be that used for poison - the skull and crossbones, he adds. The CDR has set up Web site documenting Sony's use of corrupt audio discs, aka "copy-protected CDs".


Save power and still use Infrared (Palm III)

from Emil Cobb (

Switching off the 'Beam Receive' option in the preferences->general saves precious energy, as the Palm scans for IR signals continuously when this option is turned on. Switching this option off still allows you to send stuff, but not to receive it without turning it back on first (and off again to save energy... pretty tedious).

However, you can switch the IR receiver ON for just one transmission by writing the following sequence in the graffiti area: shortcut, double tap, and an i (the first character of 'Infrared'...) This pops up a window informing you that the Palm is looking for an infrared transmission. You can either cancel this window, wait till it times out after a 5 seconds, or ... receive the transmission (you didn't really expect something spectacular now, did you?).


Recommended Links

From: George Krumins (

NVIDIA announces new Pixel and Vertex Shader language
Posted by: Joseph Tan, Thursday, 13 June 2002


GETTING INTO CHARACTER: ILM Sticks with SOFTIMAGE|3D for Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones


Hot new burners coming
From: Jim Huls
Posted: Wed May 29, 2002 10:13 pm

You might find this interesting as a hint of things to come.



Camera Saga

From: Jim Lewis (

Do you guys remember 'Creative Computers' from the Amiga old-days? I don't know if you also remember that they routinely advertised out-of-stock (or maybe ONE-in-stock) products in an effort to do a 'legal' bait-and-switch after you placed the order and got your expectations up. My experiences with them were *never* positive with mail orders. The only times I bought from these people with confidence was at a computer show where they had a booth and I could actually put my hands on the stuff first!! I figured they were long gone by now.

But *NO*, they're still at it under some new (and possibly familiar names)! I bought a 1.3mp digital camera from an outfit called '' on Tuesday (solid basic camera, USB, CF memory.. CHEAP). They were listed on a site called for $30 less than the nearest competitor, but with a smaller CF memory card. No biggie, as I plan to buy a larger CF card later anyway.

I got an order confirmation back right away that day, so I was pleased. This morning I went back to check on the shipping status and.. SURPRISE!!

Here's the relevant info:

Item Status Product Description Qty Price
item canceled SC-1300 1.3MP DIGI CAM (SIPIX) 1 $69.00

The explanation of 'item cancelled' below the box is:

*item canceled - This item is no longer
available from Creative Computers and
therefore cannot ship.

CREATIVE COMPUTERS? To say I was a bit surprised would be an understatement! Of course, I was able to find the same item in stock (at TigerDirect) for $30 more (but 2x as much CF memory). No surprise there, once I realized who I was dealing with. Just for grins, I did a little snooping on these clowns:

Non-authoritative answer:
Name: (re-directs to PCMall!!)

Non-authoritative answer:

Non-authoritative answer:

Name: (I put 2+2 together and checked this URL as well.)
It seems that these IPs confirm it's all the same bunch of shysters. Deja Vu, all over again :^)

I can't imagine how these guys have survived for this long with that kind of approach. I guess maybe you *can* 'fool most of the people, all of the time'.



The PC Section:

Hot to get your *fast* file-search back under Windows XP!!

From: Jim Lewis ( with an assist from Kevin Hisel (khisel @

1. Start regedit.exe.
2. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CabinetState subkey.
3. From the Edit menu, select New, String Value.
4. Enter 'Use Search Asst' as the new string value.
5. Double-click the new value, type 'no' in the "Value data" field, and click OK.
6. Close the registry editor.

I have implemented this hack and it works beautifully. If you want to use the default (slow) Search Assistant, just enter 'yes' in the "Value Data" field.

I have also posted this in the WinSig Forum @ Starship CUCUG II...


Beyond Compare

by Kevin Hisel (khisel @

I just ran across a rather obscure Windows application that I downloaded and was blown away by.

I needed to compare two lists of web links and none of the standard tricks seemed to be working. I downloaded Beyond Compare ( and could not believe how cool and how easy it was. This program reduced a chore that I estimated was going to take 3 hours down to 10 minutes.

If you ever need to compare two files--source code, text, HTML, etc.-- Beyond Compare will make the task easy and accurate.

The download has a 30-day free trial timeout so you can try it before you buy it. It's $30 to register a single-user license.


Powertoys for Windows XP

by Kevin Hisel (khisel @

Powertoys for Windows XP have been re-released. Go here:

The 'toys' are all now separate files, so you can just download the ones you want. It appears they all come with installers so installation should be easy going. You must uninstall your old Powertoys first, though.

If you don't know what Powertoys are, go check them out. This is a collection of applications for Windows XP that provide helpful features and extends the capabilities of the OS. One Powertoy in particular you should consider is TweakUI which provides dozens of helpful tweaks and control over the settings of Windows XP.

Thanks to CUCUG President Lewis for the heads-up on this.


Recommended Links

from Kevin Hisel (khisel @

Here are some semi-interesting recent stories:

Wal-mart is now shipping PCs with Lindows...yes, Lindows

British enthusiast downlinks spy plane images on satellite TV

Microsoft comes out against hardware-based copy protection


Two Helpful Applications

From: Skal Loret (
Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 08:27:36 -0700

I have found that the two points of corruption are the registry and the little "extra" files that Windows creates. I have also posted, many times, names of the two applications that I have found that kept me, in about 2 years of running 98SE, from having to do the incremental HD Nuke Tango.

They are:

Mijenix PowerTools(sic) Suite, for the defragmentation and registry maintenance.

Evidence Eraser for the cleaning up of the crap that Windows produces.

They work, and are worth every bit they cost, if not more.

Agita has a price, ya' know...

The other solution is to run a Journaled file system.


From Lockergnome Windows Daily

from Jim Lewis" (

Here are some interesting programs and info gleaned from the June 2002 issues of Lockergnome Windows Daily. This newsletter is written by Chris Pirillo, host of TechTV's 'Call For Help'. It has lots of stuff useful for Newbies and Savvy users alike.

You can subscribe at:


Remember "Taglines" in the BBS days? Those funny little one-liners that get appended to your email signature are back in this Freeware application:

Random Tagline Manager v4.4.2 [2.6M] W9x/2k FREE

{A new signature every time} Having a signature at the bottom of your e-mail adds an extra nice touch of personality to your messages. Ya know, as long as you're not quoting the entire second act of King Lear. They're not bad for business contacts, either. Still, people shouldn't have to look at the same boring signature every time they receive a message from you - so have this program pick one for you (randomly). Variety is the spice of life, as they say. "The install contains over 6500 taglines, but you can add MANY MANY more to the database, or replace these taglines with your own selection. See features page for full listing of features." Also available from the site: TimeTrek: "displays the time, date, day of week. Includes an Alarm, plus a Countdown & Countup type display. Small Desktop footprint; Works with Multiple users; Minimize to System Tray; Displays current phase of Moon."


Have you ever wished you could capture a graphic image from a PDF document? Of course you could always do a screen capture and then load the image into your favorite paint program to clean it up... But there's a better way. Check it out:

PDF Explorer v1.4 Beta [1.0M] W9x/2k/XP FREE

{Keep Adobe files organized} If you tend to create a lot of PDFs, you may need this application at one time or another - especially when it becomes difficult to find a specific document because you have so dang many of them. Which file included that logo I made? Explore for it! You can even extract image files from those pre- made documents. "Using the fast search and select tools, classify your PDF collection over multiple disks, and stop searching for that file that doesn't want to appear. In the CollectorGrid, it's possible to collect rows from the ScanGrid from multiple scans to process later; batch Tools are now implemented; rename filename as title; fast read function (like Fast Edit but without edit fields); auto Update of changed info fields option in preferences; possibility to change the appearance of grids, colors and font in preferences; works okay with Acrobat 4.0 and 5.0." Certainly, if you have more than 100 PDFs on your hard drive, you'll find this tool to be a terrific time saver.


Do you dual-boot with Linux? Do you need to transfer files from the Linux area to your Windows area? Here's the way to do it:


"Ext2Shell is a dynamic link library that will give Windows Explorer the ability to explore Linux ext2 / ext3 file systems. You can explore your Linux system exactly the same way you can with NTFS / FAT16 / FAT32 partitions. Copy files from your Linux partition to Windows units via Drag and Drop. The installation / uninstallation is very simple; Ext2Shell is installed with the Windows Installer. The utility is 'read only' at the moment (you can only copy files from Linux to Windows, not the reverse). One of the consequences is that it is impossible for Ext2Shell to break your file system. Improved the user interface by adjusting the way file size is displayed to resemble standard folders; copy code completely rewritten; no more temporary files and a significant performance improvement." Perfect for you Penguin Shellers out there!


Here's an alternative way to retrieve messages from your free Yahoo email account. Recently Yahoo stopped providing POP3 forwarding service on its free accounts. Here's another way to restore the POP3 access to your Yahoo accounts:

YahooPOPs! v0.2 [373k] W9x/2k/XP FREE

"It's available on the Windows and Unix platforms. This application emulates a POP3 server and enables popular email clients like Outlook, Netscape, Eudora, Mozilla, Calypso, etc., to download email from Yahoo! accounts. We do not go against the license agreements of Yahoo! Mail. This application is completely legitimate and well within the realms of legal software. One day, I stumbled across a Perl script called FetchYahoo, which almost did what I wanted. It downloaded emails from Yahoo's website and presented them in a format such that email clients like Netscape and Pine could read them. But, the format in which it saved the emails is not supported by all email clients, including the one that I use. Making a layman install Perl and to get a Perl script to work could be a nightmare. So, YahooPOPs! was born. YahooPOPs! is an open-source initiative to provide free POP3 access to your Yahoo! Mail account."


Here's a CDDB-like way to catalog your DVDs:

My Review: DVD Profiler Software
Scribbled by Ryan White

I first started subscribing right before your move to California, and didn't even realize that I had TechTV on my cable system. Before I begin to babble too much, I thought that I would point you to a great little utility that I found: DVD Profiler. I am unsure if you or Jake have ever mentioned it before. It is shareware, but only requires a free registration for a fully operational version. I didn't see any spyware installed on my system, and it's really nice and easy to use. All you have to do is enter the UPC code from your DVD and it automatically grabs the information about the DVD including: special features, a list of the cast, running time, etc. Unfortunately it doesn't support other media formats at this time (like Movie Collectorz), but it doesn't have the 25-title limit for the free version. I was trying to find some way to categorize my DVDs - and I know that you also have a large collection. I just thought that I should try to give something back to the Lockergnome community after all of the things that you, Furo, Jake (and Adam), and the other Gnomies have provided me. Note from site: "Premium registrants may choose to disable the ad component that runs in the free version of DVD Profiler."


Finally, here's a little Amiga lore for all you die-hards:

On AIFF and Amigas
Scribbled by Banzai Kai

In a recent show, you made an aside while discussing an AIFF file - to the effect of noting that the Amigas used this file type. Not so. Here's the scoop on Amiga files from an Amigaphile. Back when they were first designing the Ami 1000, Commodore (CBM) got together with Electronic Arts to design a series of programs that would show off the machine. These were: Deluxe Paint, Deluxe Music, and Deluxe Video. The guys (and gals) at EA decided to make the files compatible between the programs. This way, anything you did in DPaint or DMusic could be imported into DVideo without a hitch. They named this format "IFF," for "Interchangeable File Format." CBM loved it so much, that they adopted it as a standard file type for all Amigas and applications.

It worked like this: every file saved in IFF would have a 64-byte "header" at the start of the file. In that header (byte #12 if memory serves) are four characters that identify what type of file it is. If it was an "InterLaced Bit Map," you'd see an "ILBM" written there. If it was an 8-bit sound file, you'd see an "8SVX" in there, and so on. The neatest thing about IFF was that if a new program came out that did something new, you'd merely have to add a new listing for the file type (say "JPEG" for a jpeg), and add it to the IFF database (contained in the "iffparse.library").

When a program would try to open an IFF, it would scan the file header, determine if it was a correct file that it could deal with, and either open or display an error. Cool. The amazing thing is, all this was done back in 1985. Before Windows 3.x, before Mac OS 5.x, even before Atari TOS. The best thing is, you didn't need to have a "dot-3" extension on any file (much like the Macs and Linux boxes today), since the file header would be scanned for the correct file type. The header, by the way, also identified the program that created the file, which, if present on the system, would launch to open the file (if not present, it would give you an "invalid tool type" error, and you'd have to figure out which program to use). Incidentally, AIFF, wav, snd, and other sound files can easily be converted to / from Amiga IFF using a version of "Sox" (also available on Linux boxes). To buy an Amiga (or upgrade one), talk to the folks at SOFTHUT.COM.


The Linux Section:

Unified Linux effort won't faze Red Hat

By Stephen Shankland
Staff Writer, CNET
May 31, 2002, 5:45 AM PT

A move by four sellers of Linux to unite behind a single version of the operating system might help those allies--and boost Linux's popularity--but it isn't likely to dent the dominance of the top dog, Red Hat.

Turbolinux and Caldera International in the United States, Conectiva in Brazil, and SuSE in Germany announced Thursday that they will merge their separate Linux products into a single version called UnitedLinux by the end of the year. The intent of the plan is for the companies to share research costs and to make it easier for software and hardware companies to certify that their products work with Linux.

Although the move might boost the allies' fortunes modestly, it probably won't turn the tables on dominant Linux seller Red Hat. Even pulling together, the UnitedLinux allies simply don't have enough clout to influence the market, said analysts.

"Very little will change," said IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky, who monitors the worldwide sales and revenue of Linux and other operating systems. "If you add up all those people's market share by shipments, it adds up to less than 20 percent of the market. Red Hat has at least twice that share."

The UnitedLinux name is something of a misnomer because the group conspicuously neglected to invite Red Hat until the day before the announcement, and few expect the Raleigh, N.C., company to sign on. Also missing are MandrakeSoft, whose software is used on PCs and higher-powered servers, and Sun Microsystems, which plans to unveil a Red Hat-based version of Linux in the summer.

"It's definitely a pooling of resources in an effort to gain critical mass as a viable alternative to the dominant Linux seller, Red Hat," said Illuminata analyst David Freund. "They are essentially trying to perform an encirclement maneuver geographically."

Mark de Visser, Red Hat vice president of marketing, said that trimming the number of Linux versions is a good way to win support from software companies, but he added that his company has no plans to join the new alliance. "We have that application support today," he said.

UnitedLinux might not be a miracle cure for its members' financial woes, but it's good for Linux, according to analysts, its members and even Red Hat. And Linux could use a shot in the arm.

A needed lift

When Linux was booming along with the Internet and the high-tech economy in the late 1990s, the four main sellers of Linux were Red Hat, SuSE, Caldera and Turbolinux. Each signed support agreements with IBM, critical steps in granting serious credibility to the comparatively young operating system, which began in 1991 as the hobby of Linus Torvalds, then a computer-science student.

Boosted by an open-source programming method that let companies collaborate and drew swarms of loyal programmers to the cause, Linux rose to the point where Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer named it the company's No. 1 threat.

Now times have become more desperate. Start-ups such as Mission Critical Linux and Linuxcare faltered. SuSE and Caldera have undergone job cuts and reorganizations, while Turbolinux has refocused on higher-level software. Even Red Hat has only flirted with profitability, with $79 million in revenue for its fiscal year ended Feb. 28.

Linux companies, like all others, now scrape for every computing dollar spent and take any measure possible to eke out an advantage over competitors. Out of this dire environment, UnitedLinux was born.

UnitedLinux pools some resources while giving much of the technological control to SuSE--a recognition of the reality that SuSE was the only Linux seller that had a development staff with depth comparable to Red Hat's.

"I almost don't consider Caldera and Turbolinux to be in the Linux distribution business anymore," said Bill Claybrook, an analyst at market research firm Aberdeen Group.

Indeed, the combined efforts from the other companies will boost SuSE's development staff only by about one-third, said Holger Dyroff, director of North American sales for SuSE and the company's former chief executive.

The first version of UnitedLinux, set to debut early in the last quarter of this year, will essentially be the next version of SuSE's advanced server edition augmented with other companies' features, Dyroff said. Those improvements include better support for Asian language characters from Turbolinux and basic "failover" software from Conectiva, which lets one server take over when another fails.

SuSE's work to gain all-important certification from hardware and software companies will carry through to the UnitedLinux version, Dyroff said.

With UnitedLinux, each company will sell the same base package of Linux--the kernel at the heart of the software and several higher-level software packages such as user interfaces and configuration tools. They will differentiate in marketing and sales techniques, adding their own components, such as Caldera's Volution or Turbolinux's PowerCockpit management software.

While the companies are pooling developers and research funding, each will keep revenue from the products and services it sells, Dyroff said.

To succeed, UnitedLinux will have to avoid problems that have waylaid prior consortia in which competitors have tried to cooperate, IDC's Kusnetzky said.

"Who's managing this? Is this going to turn out to be a waltz for four people?" he said. "Without any management, this looks to me exactly like the unification efforts of the Unix community in the 1980s, the ACE Initiative. There were a whole bunch of players, no clear leader and a wonderful, dramatic announcement that resulted in no products."

AT&T's ACE Initiative in 1991 sought to unify interfaces that higher-level programs would use to communicate with different versions of Unix, but the move failed to fix the fragmented Unix market. UnitedLinux, by contrast, uses identical Linux software at its foundation, not merely compatible versions of Unix.

Who will gain?

SuSE increased its revenue 40 percent to $35 million in 2001 and believes the UnitedLinux effort will let the company achieve its goal to increase revenue a further 25 percent to 30 percent in 2002, Dyroff said.

Conectiva hopes to gain wider support by tapping into UnitedLinux's certification by major software and hardware companies "that are mainly outside our reach," a Conectiva representative said in a conference call Thursday. "This will strengthen our capability to deal with large projects."

The biggest beneficiaries, though, likely won't be the UnitedLinux members, but rather companies that are hobbled by having to support a wide number of Linux versions.

"For us, life is going to be much easier because of UnitedLinux," said Joseph Reger, chief technology officer of Fujitsu-Siemens, which has to sell its products with different versions of Linux for different geographical areas.

IBM and Hewlett-Packard, the two largest server sellers, each said they'd support UnitedLinux while making it clear Red Hat isn't losing out.

"Our platforms going forward will be Red Hat and UnitedLinux," said Judy Chavez, director of HP's Linux program office. UnitedLinux helps HP achieve Linux support with partners such as Oracle, BEA Systems and SAP, she said.

"IBM will fully support UnitedLinux across our entire portfolio of hardware and software and services," said Scott Handy, director for Linux software solutions at IBM, adding, "We will continue to support Red Hat aggressively across the same portfolio."

But making Linux easier for software and hardware companies to support, and therefore for customers to buy, might actually backfire for UnitedLinux.

"The more Linux gets accepted in the enterprise, the bigger advantage Red Hat has," Aberdeen's Claybrook said. "If Linux moves into the enterprise 50 percent faster, then Red Hat is going to gain 75 percent of the advantage."


The Macintosh Section:

Apple's Xserve rack-mounted server

From: Perry The Cynic (
Date: Sat, 18 May 2002 07:51:02 -0400

On Wed, May 15, 2002 at 09:24:05PM -0400, Mike Whybark wrote:

      Am I on crack, or does this rock?

I cannot speak to your state of intoxication. :-) As for degree of rockiness, as always, there good news and not-so-good news.

The good news is that power-wise, this is a significant improvement over the status quo. DDR memory, fast/wide (66MHz/64bit) PCI slots, multiple IDE channels are a Real Advance (and also Way Overdue). This box does, computer-wise, blow away the "top of the line" Power Macs as they exist today.

The bad news is that it's easy to do that. The up-to-now "high end" Macs aren't anymore, and haven't been for a while. 2GB RAM capacity is low by today's server standards (4GB is standard, >8GB if you're into "high end"). DDR memory is standard Out There (that or RDRAM, but it looks like DDR is winning). The 1GHz G4 is competitive with (say) Athlon MP1800s, but just barely (or, more likely, not quite anymore). So this isn't a Bold Leap Forward into the lead, it's a Long Overdue Catch-Up.

In fact, Xserve looks like it's aimed squarely at the low-end co-location market, for companies who want to just plug in a box at their ISP and walk away. It fits into the typical ISP co-location infrastructure (Gigabit Ethernet, 1U, serial port(! :-), etc.) and still has OS X "warm and fuzzy" interfaces for people who don't get thrilled at command line interfaces over ssh (though it supports that, too). In this market, box pricing actually isn't the most important factor; if you price out 1U co-location, the price of the box is almost incidental to the price of the whole package, and the cost of a few "have to fly to the ISP to fix a problem" events can easily exceed the cost of the box itself. (Did you notice the onsite repair options? If your offices are in Upper Podunk, IA, and your ISP is in San Jose, CA, then having Apple go there for repairs means *you* don't have to fly there.) In other words, that's one market where reliability and predictability are worth money the customer can smell.

Don't for a moment think this is a "high end" server by today's standards. High end is multiple SCSI channels with hardware raid (or OS software that does raid right - raid-5 that is). Ignore the marketing mumble about how four IDE drives are better than SCSI; that's just baloney. It's much *cheaper* though, and good enough for a large variety of applications (particularly streaming video). High End also requires clustering features, which OS X hasn't gotten so far. Your proud rack of 42 Xserve boxes (featured impressively in marketing pictures) is 42 separate computers, and quite unlike one computer with 42 times the power.

A word of warning to those who want to install Xserve in their living room. Figure out how *loud* this baby is first; rack-mount computers tend to be quite loud (fans and power supply); after all, who cares? I couldn't find the decibel numbers in Apple's literature, which means that "surprisingly quiet" is not an attribute they think applies. :-)

Also note that if you stick Xserve into your audio/video stack, you better have plenty of airflow behind it. All of its heat gets thrown back there, and you better have an external fan to forward it, or at least several feet of room. Even if your Xserve doesn't die the Heat Death, it may well cause your less-robust audio components to die prematurely from heat prostration.

In total, I'm pretty excited about this box. Now I'm cheering for features like that in a workstation form factor...


Corrupt Audio Discs Stick in Mac's Craw

by Adam C. Engst (

Accustomed to playing CDs in your Mac? Beware. A number of music labels have released intentionally corrupt audio discs in Europe and the U.S. that look like industry standard CDs and even play in some CD players (see Fat Chuck's Corrupt CDs site and the Campaign for Digital Rights site for lists). But if you ignore or fail to notice the "Will not play on PC/Mac" warning label on the outside of the package - if it's even present - you might be in for a rude surprise.

These audio discs use a copy prevention (a more accurate term than "copy protection") scheme that makes them incompatible with the Red Book format that defines the Compact Disc standard. The desired result is that the discs should play in normal audio CD players, but not in computer CD drives. (See "Copyright: Who Should Benefit?" in TidBITS-618_ for additional coverage of this topic.)

The disc failing to play is annoying in itself, but the rude surprise is that you may not be able to eject the disc. Apple recently posted a Knowledge Base article on this topic, offering a number of workarounds, especially for newer Macs that lack a manual eject mechanism. Worse, according to reports sent to the Campaign for Digital Rights, these audio discs may cause some Macs to crash and some to start up to a gray screen if the disc is left in the drive at startup.

If the disc still fails to eject after you've tried all of Apple's suggestions, you'll need to take your Mac to an authorized repair center and have them extract the disc manually. In the initial posting of the Knowledge Base article, Apple included a comment that this repair would not be covered by your warranty or AppleCare, which, although extreme, was still a reasonable position. After all, the blame for this happening lies first with the music labels for making and distributing corrupt audio discs, and second with the user for inserting it in the CD drive, and only minimally with Apple for eliminating the manual eject hole from some Macs. Still, in a situation where Apple was taking the moral high ground, the warranty comment caused many people to focus on Apple rather than on the perpetrators of these discs, so a modification to the Knowledge Base article removed the comment. (What that means for warranty and AppleCare coverage is thus unknown.) You can read the original in a Mac Observer article from last week.

The music labels should be liable for any charges incurred by users who need to take their Macs into a dealer for extraction. There's a big difference between "Will not play on PC/Mac" and "Do not insert into PC/Mac at risk of rendering computer inoperable." Plus, record stores should post large warnings near such discs in the store or face potential liability themselves. Sure, users shouldn't put these corrupt disks in their computers, but it's certainly possible for someone to miss the warning, if there is one (who reads the outside of what looks like a standard compact disc carefully?). Plus, some people, even knowing that the disc won't play, may be curious about what does happen if the disc is inserted - talk about curiosity requiring the cat take a trip to the vet.

Cartels without a Clue

I don't know what bugs me the most about this situation. High up on the list is the way the music cartel is treating customers: as thieves and pirates. Computer users aren't the only ones affected either, since many normal CD players, DVD players, and car CD players also reportedly have trouble with these corrupt audio discs. Some companies believe that the customer is always right; these music companies seem to believe that the customer is always criminal.

But can that bit of stupidity compete with the uninformed arrogance that copy prevention technologies, particularly when applied in only part of the world, even begin to dent usage of the peer-to-peer file sharing networks? A cursory search showed that numerous tracks from the Spider-Man movie soundtrack, one of the albums listed as corrupt on the Campaign for Digital Rights site, are readily available for downloading. It takes only a single person to make a copy of an audio disc - even if it requires an extra analog-to-digital step - before the music appears on the file sharing networks. Worse, if certain audio discs are known to be corrupt, I can see many computer users downloading copies of the songs rather than purchasing the disc, just to avoid the hassle.

Then there's the fact that covering the outer track of these corrupt discs with a black marker or electrical tape can result in the discs being playable in a computer's CD drive. In other words, a steady hand with a Sharpie is all that's necessary to defeat the copy prevention technology? Ooo, that's secure.

Of these, I think the prize goes to treating customers as criminals. Believing that copy prevention technologies can't or won't be broken, and thinking that they could make any difference are indeed arrogant and uninformed, but treating your customers as criminals not only encourages them to act that way, it also poisons the well for future sales, even for CDs that have no copy prevention technologies in place. I know that my level of disgust with the music cartel has distinctly cooled my enthusiasm for buying music except directly from independent musicians, and I've certainly heard similar sentiments from others.

DMCA/EUCD Criminals

I used the term "criminals" above quite intentionally because according to the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA - check out the "YMCA" parodies below for a giggle), circumventing copyright protection technology for any reason is a criminal offense. There have been many well-documented cases involving the DMCA - for an overview, read the Electronic Frontier Foundation's recent report detailing the consequences of the DMCA after three years. The European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD) has many of the same kinds of provisions and is generating similar kinds of protest.

One spot of light comes from U.S. Representative Rick Boucher (D-Virginia), who plans to introduce legislation that would modify the DMCA to make it legal to break copy prevention technologies to exercise fair use rights. Boucher isn't attempting to legalize all copying - it would still be a violation to copy something with the intent of violating the work's copyright. There's no telling if his legislation stands any chance against the deep pockets of the music and movie cartels, but to judge from the list of Boucher's Internet and technology initiatives on his Web site, he has a clue and may be the best hope for action in Congress.

Creative Commons Launches

Another bright spot is the recent launch of the Creative Commons project, which I mentioned in "A Couple of Cool Concepts" back in TidBITS-617_. Creative Commons is a non-profit organization founded on the notion that some writers, artists, musicians, and movie makers would rather share their creations than exercise the full restrictions of copyright law, which, thanks to the DMCA, are Draconian.

Creative Commons plans to create a Web-based application that will help content creators place their works in the public domain or generate flexible licenses that permit copying and reuse of copyrighted works. Plus, they're working on a way that creators can label their works with metadata that makes clear the available terms of use.

What I like about this approach is that it emphasizes the aspect of creation that desires an audience - when I write, I do so because, more than anything else, I want people to read my words. Yes, I need to earn a living from my writing, but I've managed to do that in a variety of ways while keeping TidBITS free for over 12 years. What I've done with TidBITS isn't rocket science, and although it's also not a model that everyone should, or even could, emulate, it shows that the concept of sharing one's creative works and earning a living are not mutually exclusive, as so many of the powerful industry lobbying groups would have you believe. We'll see how successful Creative Commons becomes, but I have high hopes for them and plan to use their services myself in the future.

Perhaps the best aspect of Creative Commons, though, is that it's applying some creativity to the business end of the copyright debate. We'd all be better off if as much creativity was put into business models as into artistic endeavors and creating copy prevention technologies.


Mac OS X 10.1.5 experiences

From: "Derek K. Miller" (

Initially I found the Mac OS X 10.1.5 upgrade annoying, but now it has suddenly made me happy, largely because of James Denton's Rage Pro "Lombard" fix:

I'm running a Rev. A beige Power Mac G3 with 416 MB of RAM. I have three monitors -- a 17" Apple Multiple Scan 720, a 14" NEC MultiSync 3D, and a 16" Radius PrecisionColor Pivot (no, it won't pivot!).

The problems I had yesterday were:

- First, my machine would not shut down or logout properly -- I had a spinning pizza of death (SPOD) and had to force a restart from the keyboard. This happened a few times then mysteriously went away.

- Second, while the ability to control Quartz anti-aliasing is sort of neat (though I still find the anti-aliasing works more as "blurring" on my CRTs), as many of us discovered with the Office v.X service release, that feature causes problems with PostScript fonts, anyway.

- Third, when I first installed 10.1.5, my beige G3 forgot about how I had my monitors set up -- it insisted on booting up on my 16" Pivot monitor and putting the menu bar and all my (now jumbled) desktop icons there, even though I have it on the left side. Perhaps this was because it runs from the motherboard Rage II+ video, while the other screens run from Rage LT Pro chips on (identical) ATI Xclaim 3D Plus cards. At first I thought it was part of the spinning-pizza logout problem, but it persisted after that went away.

[Tonya and I both saw 10.1.5 get confused about the monitor setup too, but it was just the first time. -Adam]

- Last, I saw no graphics improvements anywhere, although 10.1.5 is supposed to offer Rage Pro acceleration support.

While I could use the Displays preference pane to restore the proper menu bar and icon arrangement, the machine promptly forgot about it again whenever I logged out or rebooted. Argh. (It's also always been true that I can't get Mac OS X to remember that I like the 14" screen at 640x480 -- it always comes back to 800x600, which looks lousy on that old monitor.) Good thing I don't have to reboot much these days -- thank you for that, Mac OS X.

I tried optimizing the system (a.k.a. updating the prebindings) and finding a Displays .plist or preference file to delete, to no avail. (Anyone know where that info is stored?) I was thinking of this as a downgrade.

Now the good stuff that came today:

This morning, I found out on MacInTouch about James Denton's Rage Pro "Lombard" fix (The Lombard PowerBook G3 also uses a Rage LT Pro chip) and a Logitech Mac OS X beta mouse driver I hadn't noticed back in April. I installed them.

- First, Denton's patch is brilliant. Suddenly, things are much snappier all round. And I can say definitively that it works not only on Lombards, but on older machines like my beige G3 with Rage LT Pro cards (I think the Xclaim 3D Plus may be the only PCI card using that chip).

Aside from general snappiness, I have a great comparison of QuickTime performance: I played a movie on the 17" screen, zoomed as big as I could make it, and the stops and stutters were gone! Smooth and clean. Then I moved it to my 16" screen (running from Rage II+), and the herky-jerkys, stop-starts, and sound cutouts (horrible as before) were back. Then I moved it to the 14" screen (Rage LT Pro again), and it played perfectly.

So 10.1.5 does enable Rage Pro acceleration, even on old machines with video cards where it's probably not officially supported. Even better, Denton's patch makes it work even for Rage LT Pro. Rage II+ support is still lacking, and probably will never come, but I can live with that.

- Second, something about installing either the Logitech driver or Denton's fix suddenly let my machine remember where my menu bar was supposed to be -- on restart, everything stayed where it was. (Except the 14" monitor was 800x600 again. Sigh.)

So I was grumpy yesterday, but I'm happy now.


I wrote:

This morning, I found out on MacInTouch about James Denton's Rage Pro "Lombard" fix (The Lombard PowerBook G3 also uses a Rage LT Pro chip) and a Logitech Mac OS X beta mouse driver I hadn't noticed back in April. I installed them.

Of course, Denton's page is hosted at, and all my raving about it here and at MacInTouch, MacNN, and elsewhere has sent people to knock him over the limits we're discussing in another thread. So you probably can't find the fix at the URL I posted earlier until traffic dies down and Apple lets his page come back to life.

Luckily, Denton informs me that the original discussion of the Lombard Rage LT Pro acceleration patch for Mac OS X 10.1.5 (on which he based his little utility) is at Accelerate Your Mac:

You can find detailed discussion there, including instructions on how to perform the patch manually.


Avoiding Trouble in the Move to Mac OS X, Part 1

by Adam C. Engst (

No activity in the Macintosh world has ever inspired as much fear, loathing, and terror as contemplating the upgrade from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X. People are worried they'll be forced to use the command- line (you won't) or that they must reformat and repartition their hard disks (it's not necessary). Others worry that they'll have to spend hundreds of dollars upgrading software (upgrades can be helpful, but aren't always essential) or that Mac OS X's well- publicized shortcomings will prove to be huge obstacles (only if you're entirely inflexible). Then there are the immovable obstacles - old hardware or mission-critical software or peripherals that aren't compatible with Mac OS X.

So the first step is to determine if you can upgrade to Mac OS X. If you lack a relatively recent PowerPC G3- or G4-based Mac, or you're reliant on software or hardware that simply won't work with Mac OS X, you can't upgrade. Similarly, if you don't have some spare time to install the new operating system and become comfortable with the new environment, you shouldn't upgrade - the task isn't hard, but if you don't spend the time up front to do it properly, you'll waste even more time later. No matter what, I strongly recommend that you not stress about the fact that you can't upgrade. Apple hasn't set the technical requirements of Mac OS X to annoy you personally, and the reasons why any given program or peripheral aren't compatible with Mac OS X are many and varied. In short, if you have a Macintosh setup that does what you need, be happy with that and don't worry about Mac OS X until it becomes unavoidable (as it will the next time you buy a Mac).

Set Expectations

If you are ready to make the leap to Mac OS X, the most important thing you can do is to set your expectations appropriately. Apple's marketing materials would have you believe that Mac OS X will somehow change your life. It won't. It's a computer operating system with a graphical user environment - nothing more, nothing less.

For the vast majority of Macintosh users at this point in time, Mac OS X will not enable you to do anything you can't already do in Mac OS 9. Browsing the Web, reading your email, using a word processor or spreadsheet - the primary uses of computers are equally as possible in both operating systems. Until fairly recently, in fact, upgrading to Mac OS X meant losing capabilities for most Mac users. That's less true every week, luckily, and more important, we're seeing new software appear for Mac OS X that has no equivalent in Mac OS 9.

You will have to put some real time and effort into thinking about how you want Mac OS X to work, configuring it appropriately and installing the necessary utilities for interface extras without which you simply cannot use your Mac. Realistically, it took me roughly a day to do the basic installation of Mac OS X and parts of several more days before I'd done enough configuration that I could remain booted into it. Fortunately, it's easy to boot back into Mac OS 9 while you're finishing off Mac OS X's configuration, so you don't have to commit a huge amount of time all at once to the upgrade.

Another expectation you may need to adjust is the amount of control you'll have over the system and how much you'll know about it. Long-time Mac users have often built up idiosyncratic filing systems and ways of working that simply aren't going to mesh with Mac OS X's rigid directory structure and multi-user mindset. All I can say here is, get over it, or you'll just spend all your time being angry about a few nested folders - life's too short for that. Apple has been pushing us in this direction for a long time, first with the System Folder, then the special folders inside the System Folder, then the Applications and Documents folders, and so on. You may not like it, just as you may not like the way Mac OS X can make you feel like a visitor on your own Mac, but these are deep-seated design decisions stemming from Mac OS X's Unix underpinnings, and you'll simply have to accept at least some of them. Consider it a Zen thing.

It's also hard to accept that you're not going to understand what makes Mac OS X tick, particularly if you've built up a store of Macintosh knowledge across many years. My advice here is to think back to when you were first learning the Mac and remember how much fun that was (well, it was for me). I've quite enjoyed learning Mac OS X's quirks and developing new ways of working, and my years of experience have made the process a lot easier than it was way back when.

Survey Hardware

Assuming that your Mac has sufficient CPU power to run Mac OS X, the next step is to evaluate your hardware setup to make sure your system will work with Mac OS X and, if necessary, determine what steps are necessary to make it work.

RAM is essential, and although it's not quite the steal it was recently, it's still sufficiently cheap that you should make sure you have lots. 128 MB may be the amount Apple recommends as a minimum for Mac OS X, but since memory is dealt with completely differently than in Mac OS 9, the more RAM you have, the better (up to about 512 MB for normal use). Check TidBITS sponsor dealram for recent pricing on RAM for your Mac.

As far as hard disk space goes, Mac OS X needs a bit more than a gigabyte for itself. Most Macs that can run it have hard disks of at least several gigabytes in size, but I'd say that if you don't have at least 2 GB free, you should either free up some space or consider upgrading to a new hard drive. That's what I did: I originally bought my Power Mac G4/450 with a 10 GB drive - the smallest available at the time - and when the time came to install Mac OS X, I replaced the almost-full 10 GB drive with a 60 GB Maxtor hard drive that cost about $125. (This isn't the place to talk about the specifics of that installation process; suffice to say that I found Accelerate Your Mac's information invaluable, if a bit rambling.)

Peripherals like printers, digital cameras, external floppy drives, SCSI cards, and tape drives are sticky wickets. Many perfectly functional but older peripherals are not compatible with Mac OS X, and may never be. I recommend determining what is and is not compatible with Mac OS X before upgrading - that information is usually available on the manufacturer's Web site or by calling tech support. If a device isn't compatible with Mac OS X, you have two choices. You can replace it with one that is, handing down or selling the incompatible device as appropriate. Or, if the replacement cost is prohibitive, or if there's simply no compatible replacement available, you can reboot back into Mac OS 9 when you need to use that device (assuming, of course, that it doesn't work in Mac OS X's Classic environment, which most won't). Obviously, rebooting in Mac OS 9 to use a peripheral isn't ideal, but knowing that it will be necessary is an important part of setting your expectations.

I recommend making a list of all your devices, and note which ones are compatible, which ones will require new drivers, and which will need replacing. For those that need new drivers, record the URL to the page where you can download those drivers.

Survey Software

Once you've evaluated your hardware situation, it's time to do the same for your software. My experience is that most Mac users use more programs than they realize. Here's a trick that can help you determine which programs you really use in Mac OS 9. In the Apple Menu Options control panel, set the number of recent applications to track to 99 (the maximum), and then use your Mac normally for a week or two. When you think your usage has been representative, open the Recent Applications folder in the Apple Menu Items folder, view it by name, and copy the listing to a word processing document (select all the files, press Command-C, switch to the document, and press Command-V) where you can make notes.

First, delete from the list installers or other applications that you won't use again. Then, for the remaining applications, visit their Web sites and try to determine if you need an upgrade. If so, note in your list how much the upgrade costs, the URL to where you can get it, and if you'll be able to run the older version in Classic mode temporarily. For instance, I haven't gotten around to upgrading to the Mac OS X-compatible version of Timbuktu Pro, and for the few times I've needed to use it, it has worked acceptably in Classic.

As with your peripherals, if you have an application that you can't do without but which has no upgrade and isn't compatible with Classic, you have two options. Either reboot into Mac OS 9 when you need to use it, or find a replacement program. I won't pretend that these are good options - the main consolation I can offer is that most applications I've tried have worked fine in Classic. A few others, such as the heavily used QuarkXPress 4.1, are compatible with Classic but miserable to use. (When switching from another application to Quark, I recently discovered, you must refresh the screen with Command-Option-Period, something that's perhaps best done with a macro; also, if you're accustomed to switching tools using Command-Tab, you need to use Command- Control-Tab instead or try the Shift-F8 shortcut for switching between the two most commonly used tools.) I'm looking seriously at Adobe InDesign 2 for the next iteration of my iPhoto book.

Survey Interface Usage

There's a class of software that has likely escaped your notice in the previous step - those invisible utilities that make life so much easier in a myriad different ways. Check your Control Panels and Extensions folders and add any utilities you rely on to your list of software, paying special attention to subtle bits like the Retrospect Client software, for which you'll need to upgrade Retrospect backup servers as well. And don't forget to note items that don't necessarily reside in your System Folder such as Palm synchronization conduits (located in the Conduits folder within the Palm Desktop application folder), which still don't exist under Mac OS X for many applications.

Also go back and read the articles I've written about the top Mac OS X utilities for ideas on how you can replace not just third party utilities, but also some of the aspects of Mac OS 9 you can't imagine living without. For instance, my father was flummoxed by Mac OS X's static Apple menu and the Dock; once we installed ASM and FruitMenu, his comfort level increased significantly.

Gather Software

Once you've completed your lists of hardware, software, and interface modifications, I'd encourage you to go out and start downloading everything you can, purchasing programs like Microsoft Office X if necessary, and acquiring any necessary hardware. Obviously, there's no reason you must do this before installing Mac OS X, but doing it beforehand lets you do it at your leisure, rather than all in a rush after installing Mac OS X. Make sure to store all the things you're downloading together so you can get to them easily once the time comes to install. If you're not absolutely certain you will stay with Mac OS X after upgrading, feel free to put off purchasing upgrades to applications you can run in Classic or replacing peripherals that work fine in Mac OS 9.

If you have a slow modem connection to the Internet, not only will downloading these updates in advance remove stress after you installed Mac OS X, you can also get the various Mac OS X updates that you'll need, since otherwise you'll be stuck waiting for Software Update to download very large files as part of the installation process. Plus, should you ever need to reinstall, you won't have to download these installers again.

I'll cover more on that in the second part of this article, as we get into the nitty-gritty of preparing your hard disk, actually installing all this software, and taking your first steps in Mac OS X.


Examining Microsoft Office X Service Release 1

by Tonya Engst (

Microsoft has released the first major update to Microsoft Office X in the form of Office X Service Release 1 (SR1). The update, an 11.9 MB download, updates each primary Office program (Excel, Entourage, PowerPoint, and Excel) from version 10.0 to 10.1. The ReadMe files for SR1 enumerate many changes ranging from specific fixes (you can now type accented and other special characters reliably) to expanded features that did not survive the transition from Office 2001 to X (pasting in custom toolbar buttons) to improvements in speed and stability.

Microsoft also released MSN Messenger 3.0, which adds the capability to transfer files, import and export contact information, and create groups of contacts. This version also updates the interface to more closely resemble Mac OS X's Aqua look and feel. MSN Messenger is a free update, and a 2.3 MB download.

Bug Fixes

The Service Release ReadMe files list a number of fixes. For instance, you will no longer experience "out of memory" errors when trying to open an Excel X file in Excel 98. Plus, you can now print from Excel X with a setting other than "High" chosen in Excel's Page Setup. And in a fix especially welcome to anyone doing PowerPoint presentations from a PowerBook or iBook, Microsoft has squashed a crashing bug that could appear when waking a laptop that went to sleep while connected to a second monitor or projector.

Improved Database Support

Microsoft has improved Office X's FileMaker support - you need not have the entire FileMaker database on a local machine to work with it; instead it can be on a server. ODBC support has returned as well, though it is not everything that ODBC users have wanted. The 10.1 version of Excel includes the necessary hooks to talk to Microsoft Query, the software necessary to create ODBC queries, but you need the separate Microsoft Query for Excel X to make it work. Microsoft plans to release Microsoft Query for Excel X at some point, but it's not in Service Release 1.

However, you can refresh queries created in some other version of Excel in Excel X, assuming you have a driver installed. The gotcha there is that Microsoft no longer supplies ODBC drivers; they suggest that people purchase drivers elsewhere, such as OpenLink Software. It also might be worth checking out ODBC Router from August Software, and other ODBC drivers may be available.

In other database news, the database file that holds a user's entire collection of Entourage X email, contacts, and calendar events can now grow as large as 4 GB instead of the previous 2 GB limit. (That file, in case you want to locate it to back it up, lives in your user folder in /Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office X Identities/Main Identity/Database. If you named your identity something other than Main Identity (or have multiple identities), navigate to the appropriate folder within the Office X Identities folder.)

Palm Synchronization and Transparent Fills

Palm synchronization for Entourage did not make it into SR1; it will be available on 15-Jul-02, according to Microsoft. Another fix you won't find is the capability to print the slick, transparently filled chart objects that the Office X press materials emphasize as an example of how Office X takes advantage of Mac OS X's Quartz display technology. Transparent objects with simple, single-shade transparencies should print from Office programs, but as soon as you apply a gradient (as you must in Excel X), the object prints solid, not transparent. Though this is a minor problem overall, as a press person who blindly jumped on the "wow-that's-a-great- feature" bandwagon, I was chagrined to discover this limitation. (The clumsy workaround is to take a screenshot and print it; instead, I recommend making more chart elements visible by rotating the chart or changing the series order.) Microsoft claims a fix may come in a future update to Mac OS X.

Stability and Performance

While using the Office X SR1 beta versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (but not Entourage) on a 733 MHz Power Mac G4, I noticed fewer outright crashes. In addition, under the 10.0.0 version of Office, I often found myself unable to switch to an Office application (especially Excel) by clicking an interface element, such as a toolbar or window; instead, I had to click the application's icon in the Dock. This problem has disappeared for the most part, though not entirely.

I haven't noticed speed improvements in Excel or Word, though in my small and medium-sized documents performance was already quite good. The ReadMe files suggest that Excel's speed should remain the same, whereas Word's speed should pick up in only a few specific situations such as scrolling in long documents.

However, Microsoft specifically touts speed improvements for PowerPoint 10.1, so I decided to compare a few real-life files between PowerPoint 10.0 and 10.1. I solicited files from a few family members, plus a few people who posted PowerPoint complaints on the Internet. Testing files in this way can be incredibly time-consuming, but it can also reveal information that I'd never stumble upon otherwise.

My youngest sister sent a presentation created for a college assignment. Slides with larger graphics loaded somewhat slowly in 10.0, but 10.1 handled them smoothly. My father's slides had scads of complex graphics illustrating data warehousing, and these graphics did indeed load extremely slowly in PowerPoint 10.0. Happily, Microsoft's improvements enabled PowerPoint 10.1 to handle them efficiently; it moved from being annoyingly slow to offering a smooth user experience.

However, other files suggest PowerPoint could stand another round of improvements. My other sister shared a presentation about chestnut tree growth, which contained many embedded Excel charts, each based on four columns of data. She noted that PowerPoint 2001 couldn't even open the presentation, and that instead of PowerPoint 98 on the Mac, she uses a Windows machine because switching between Excel and PowerPoint to edit the charts takes too long. PowerPoint 10.0 opened her file but ran into trouble with the charts; I expect the actual problem relates to OLE (Object Linking and Embedding, Microsoft's method of sharing data between Office applications). Switching into Excel after double-clicking a chart took about ten seconds, as did returning to PowerPoint. Editing the chart in Excel was unacceptably slow, with several-second pauses just to open a menu. Office X 10.1 performed slightly better - the time to switch between PowerPoint and Excel was a few seconds faster, and editing in Excel was okay. Someone using Office X 10.0 would welcome this improvement, but I still can't recommend that my sister switch to Office X, given this sluggish behavior and her need to switch fluidly between Excel and PowerPoint.

Another source sent a 40-slide presentation that his company exported to a QuickTime movie to play in a public kiosk. Most of the slides contained a few graphics, which both PowerPoint versions handled smoothly. Three of the slides contained QuickTime movies, each about 30 seconds in length. Though performance in PowerPoint was fine, exporting to a QuickTime movie (which Microsoft terms "PowerPoint Movie" format) took about ten minutes in both versions of PowerPoint X. Removing the QuickTime movies didn't decrease the exporting time. Other presentations exported much more quickly (about 30 seconds for one of my father's 33- slide shows); presumably something about the original presentation's graphics is causing the delay.

Further, though the necessary QuickTime movies were in the same folder as the PowerPoint file, neither version of PowerPoint X could find them or recognize them as QuickTime movies until I reinserted them by hand. In limited testing, failing to recognize movie files appears to be a general problem, perhaps related to creating the presentation under a previous version of the Mac OS, and perhaps similar to a problem in Office 2001 that Microsoft fixed in Service Release 1 for Office 2001.

All Together Now

Office X Service Release 1 also installs fixes previously made available by the Office v.X Combined Updater 10.0.03, which in turn brought together the Entourage X Hotmail Update, the Network Security Update (summarized in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-002), and the URL Security Update (explained in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-019).

Service Release 1 doesn't fix every problem in Office, but it does represent a decent effort on Microsoft's part to chisel away some pesky problems. I do recommend installing the service release - your Office experience is unlikely to change profoundly, but you'll hopefully avoid future problems.

[Among many other projects, Tonya Engst just completed a big chunk of the manuscript for Office X for Macintosh: The Missing Manual, which should be available shortly.]


Font installation on OS X

From: John Melby (

[Editor's Note: I had a work related font question and I fired it off to our Mac SIG Chairman Jack Melby. His response was so informative, I thought I'd pass it on.]

The font you sent [graphitelite.TTF] is a PC font. Try putting the attached one in your Classic System Folder's "Fonts" folder (after expanding it, naturally). Restart Classic, and everything should be OK. I converted the font from PC to Mac format [with a little utility called TTConverter 1.5, an OS9 or below program], tried it with Nisus Writer, and it works beautifully.

(BTW, fonts stored in your Classic System Folder's "Fonts" folder are *always* available to OS X, even if Classic is not running [provided, of course, that the disk/partition containing the Classic System Folder is selected as such in OS X's "Classic" preference pane in System Preferences]. Fonts stored in any of the OS X font folders, on the other hand, are always inaccessible to Classic applications.)


Service Manuals

From: John H. Snow (

mpno wrote:

> Looking for the service manual for a Laserwriter 12/640, none of the old
> links to service manuals seem to work. Thanks in advance.

Did you try:


Here's where I downloaded my LW 16/600 manual.

Here's another one.


The Amiga Section:

Latest Amiga One News From Eyetech

Amiga Update Newsletter, 30 May, 2002

The AmigaOneG3-SE

The first model in our AmigaOne range is the AmigaOneG3-SE. This is in effect a 600Mhz G3 Amiga accelerator with built in 10/100 ethernet, USB, PCI/AGP interface and memory slots for up to 2GB of SDRAM. As well as being many times more powerful and at (UKP350/USD500/Euro600*) around half the price of the previously most powerful Amiga PPC accelerator (the phase 5 Cyberstorm PPC 604 240MHz).

In fact you can regard the AmigaOneG3-SE as a high performance accelerator that comes with a free, built in computer! This means that you no longer need an attached A1200 or special tower case if you only intend to run retargetable Amiga applications. (For hardware-hitting applications an interface card to connect an Amiga 1200 motherboard to the A1G3-SE a PCI card interface will be available from Escena). The A1G3-SE also comes with a full range of legacy peripherals, and will run PPC Linux (and PPC UAE) in addition to running the new PPC-only OS4 natively.

The AmigaOneG3-SE will not be shipped to end users until OS4 is ready, but boards for OS4 developers and beta testers are already out in the field.

Amiga Inc, Hyperion and ourselves have also decided to bundle OS4 directly with the boards which we ship to dealers, mainly to reduce shipping and handling costs - and that has resulted in a small overall price reduction to end users of the A1G3-SE + OS4 bundle to ukp 382.94*. There will be equivalent reductions on the dollar and euro prices of the bundle to usd550* and euro652.50*.

Finally it is important to note that the AmigaOneG3-SE is fully quality-validated and licensed by Amiga Inc to run OS4, with all licence fees/royalties paid. AI's licence terms also stipulate that all boards capable of running OS4 must ship with an OEM version of OS4 and must have built-in hardware protection to keep OS4 piracy to a minimum, and this has been built into the AmigaOneG3-SE from the outset.

A list of dealers who have already ordered demonstration / familiarisation boards is posted on our web site ( Don't worry if your favourite dealer is not listed - several have either missed the ordering window or decided to wait until the end user boards and OS4 is shipping. These dealers will be added to the list on our website at the time they order end user boards from us.

Although we are advertising the A1G3-SE as an entry-level machine, have no doubt with OS4 installed it will really fly. The 600Mhz 750CXe cpu that is shipped with it is effectively that fastest G3 cpu generally available and some PPC experts reckon it is likely to deliver several hundred times the performance of an '030/50 with many applications.

Planning for the next AmigaOne - the AmigaOne-XE

We have always said that the AmigaOneG3-SE was to be the first, entry level, board in a range of AmigaOne boards which we have planned to produce. Many people have asked us to give some outline details of what we have planned for later boards in the series. So here is a taster.

The next AmigaOne board we have planned is for an up-market (read more flexible but more expensive) addition to the range. Further details will be published on the Eyetech website and on the AmigaOne mailing list at Yahoogroups at the appropriate time (but not before!).

One of the prime requirements is to provide a socketed cpu module so that user-upgradable performance enhancements can be made as and when faster and more complex chips - and operating system enhancements that use them - become available. Our engineers do not believe that the Intel Slot-1 socket (as planned for the original AmigaOne-1200) is really suitable because of the need to minimise trace lengths between cpu and SDRAM memory at higher clock speeds. In addition both the Intel Slot-1 socket and the Apple ZIF cpu socket are now obsolete and therefore not a sensible choice for a new product not yet launched.

So for the next version of the AmigaOne, the AmigaOne-XE, we have borrowed the latest cpu socket technology from Apple in the form of the purpose-designed `Megarray' socket. This means that we can make low cost, tightly coupled cpu modules using either G3, G4, dual G4, (and possibly G5 - but information on the G5 is still very sparce) technology - for use on the same AmigaOne-XE motherboard. Upgrading cpu power therefore only needs a simple module exchange. The prototype socketed AmigaOne-XE board and the associated plug-in G3 and G4 modules have already been built and tested.

But before you rush off and cancel your pending AmigaOneG3-SE orders to buy the AmigaOne-XE instead, bear in mind that this extra flexibility will come at a price, and until OS4 supports the G4's Altivec coprocessor, without much performance benefit either. And at the moment, unless you are Apple, G4 cpu's are on very tight allocation, which means that it will be several months before they are available to anyone other than Apple at a reasonable price. At the moment the target price for the AmigaOne-XE board with the single G4 700MHz cpu module is around UKP200/USD300/Euro350* more than the AmigaOneG3-SE - and possibly less if Apple's demand for these cpu's drops significantly when the G5 starts shipping.

So does this mean you should cancel your existing AmigaOne-G3 order and wait a few more months? Not at all. We anticipate a high private resale value of used AmigaOneG3-SE boards, but to take the uncertainty out of the process, we, and the majority of other AmigaOne dealers, will underwrite a trade-in value of your AmigaOneG3-SE during a period of 6 and 12 months after its purchase against the purchase of a new AmigaOne-XE with single G4 cpu module. (You are of course still at liberty to sell the board privately for a higher price!).

This trade-in will be at 75% of the current retail price of an A1G3-SE 6 months after its purchase falling by 1% per month (to 69%) at 12 months after its purchase. The board must be traded in to the original dealer where it was purchased, by the original purchaser, be in full working condition and be used as part payment against an AmigaOne-XE with a single G4 cpu module. Individual dealers may also opt to have their own trade-up scheme instead, so please check with them when making your original purchase. Finally this offer does not apply in conjunction with any other discount offer, such as that applied to the A1G3-SE developer boards.

If you've been sitting on the fence wondering whether to buy an A1G3-SE or to wait until an upgradable G4 AmigaOne is available, you can now have the best of both worlds. Order a new, low cost AmigaOneG3-SE now and upgrade within 12 months. What are you waiting for?

* Prices quoted exclude local taxes and shipping charges.

Follow-Up From The Net

{After the information presented above was first made known, we discovered the following exchange on the NET. Alan is Alan Redhouse of Eyetech. Some text removed for readability and to remove e-mail addresses of participants. Brad}

30 May 2002

----- Original Message -----

> Hi Alan.
> About prices... The UKP 382 for an A1 + OS4 is minus VAT, so in total
> it's just shy of UKP 450 with taxes. Presumably, when you trade in
> for a G4 model, you won't need to get OS4 again, so UKP 200 more than
> a G3 is UKP 550 plus taxes, or a bit more than UKP 640. When you
> trade in, you get 75% of the boards cost, is that 75% of UKP 350 or
> 75% of UKP 410 (350 + VAT)?
> Regards,
> Paul

As far as OS4 is concerned all boards, new and refurbished, rewarrantied will need to ship with OS4.x

The offer is primarily made on the hardware, but ....

Personally I would be very surprised if there was not an enhanced version of OS4 which took advantage of some of the G4 features at the time the AmigaOne-XE ships, and it is highly likely that purchasers of the new board would want that IMO.

So as far as we are concerned the easiest solution would be to offer a trade in on the A1/OS4 bundle, and I think that that would be what most of the customers would want to do too. Obviously _we_ can replace the licensed OEM CD of a genuinely traded in copy and destroy the original so that there are no coffee stains etc on the version that is resold.



The CUCUG Section:

May General Meeting

reported by Kevin Hopkins (

As you all know from the email I sent out soon after the May 16 General meeting, I was unavoidably detained at an event at my daughter's school, and, as a result, unable to take my usual meeting minutes for this month's newsletter. Also, due to the unexpected nature of my absence, I hadn't prepared to cover myself with a substitute note taker. So, I resorted to a plee to "everyone who was at the meeting to tell me something, anything about what happened there - your impressions, a bit of information you came away with, a funny quip, anything" via email reply. I promised to "stitch together anything I receive in order to inform those that didn't make it to the main meeting (including me) as to what transpired." I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Norris Hansell, Kevin Hisel, Dave Witt, Greg Kline, Mark Zinzow and Jim Lewis for their help in this regard. As Jim noted, "I find it easy to write about the stuff I'm directly involved with, just not anything else." That was all that was required.

Concerning the Linux SIG, that takes place in the hour before the Main meeting, Dave Witt remembered that "the Linux group watched a Sundance channel movie on Linux."

Moving into the Main meeting, Norris Hansell offer this:

Norris Hansell asked about the font, OpenType Palatino, which is included in Windows XP, does not appear on any MS web site nor any MonoType web site. He wants to see if it works in the Mac version of Adobe InDesign 2.0. In theory, it should, including the entire, new range of type-setting options. No information was readily available around the table. Created by Herman Zapf of MonoType, it is said to contain scores of thousands of glyphs and may be embroiled in licensing disputes. Norris remains interested.

We heard about an excresence of worms and remedies for same.

We saw a networking demo involving machines with Linux, Windows and Mac. It employed several utilities unfamiliar to me.

We heard Mac is backing away from further development of OS 9.

There was the usual, warm helpfulness of members to each other.

Kevin Hisel reported:

I brought up a few items.

- Some Japanese fellow has figured out how to fool fingerprint readers using about $10 worth of household supplies. There goes hundreds of millions of dollars in R&D and product development down the drain.

- Microsoft's legal ploy to get shut down because of trademark infringement may have backfired on them. Not only did the judge not shut the site down, but he questioned whether MS had the right to claim the word "Windows" as a trademark. Ouch!

- I asked Jim [Lewis] about the new Pentium 4 2.54GHz chips and the new motherboard requirements to run such a beast. Jim said that you'll need a specific MB to support the new chips and super-duper fast memory. He threw around a lot of specs but my eyes sort of glazed over.

Someone brought up a new SSH terminal emulator called Putty. It's a FREE Telnet/SSH client that allows you to log into the command line of a machine securely. Apparently it's pretty good and the price is definitely right.

Greg Kline contributed the following:

PC news: Jim Lewis said his 40X CDRW drive had gone belly up, and someone else reported the same problem with the same brand of drive. (Jim can tell you what the brand is.)

[Editor's Note: I asked Jim about this and he responded: "I had ordered and received a LiteON 40x12x48 CDRW drive back about 6 weeks ago from I finally got my new 'Archive' box built (ABit BX6-v2, P3-850, 256MB, 70GB, Win2K Pro) which was to be its home, so I installed it. Zip-Nada-Zilch! Wouldn't even boot. Take the LiteON off... now it works fine. Gotta be the CDRW!

So, I emailed tech support requesting an RMA. Later that day I got the authorization and the drive is now in transit. I'll keep you posted on what happens."]

Greg continued:

Pentium 4 Celeron chips are shipping, making the P III Celerons discussed at the last meeting not quite the value that they were. AMD is expected to weigh in with its response soon.

Mac news: Apple has previewed OS 10.2, code name Jaguar, which is expected to speed up the operating system a lot by off loading its graphics operation to the Mac's video cards, if you have a 32 MB card to take advantage.

Apple announced a new line of rack-mount servers. Jim Lewis said they look cool but are expensive. Jim Huls said you have to factor in the unlimited operating system license that goes with them, which makes them more attractive from a price perspective but still expensive.

Other: Sony dropped PlayStation2 prices by $100 to $199 and Microsoft is following suit with the X-Box.

Some Japanese researcher has been able to defeat finger-print recognition security systems by taking latent prints, from a coffee cup for example, and reproducing them on a Jello layer he then stuck on the end of his finger.

Mark S. Zinzow reported that ....

At the last meeting, I mentioned the upcoming LAG and PCUG meeting topics on campus.

Tomorrow [May 22] is the Linux cluster talk, and on the 2nd Tuesday in June [June 11] the main PCUG topic will be the latest Corel Office (Wordperfect in particular) and OpenOffice. We may also have a presentation on keyboard logging hardware.

[Editor's Note: Anyone interested in getting on the announcement list of these meetings, should probably contact Mark.]

That covers the Main meeting. I arrived in time for the presentation of the evening - networking platforms from the three main operating systems that CUCUG actively supports: PC, Macintosh and Linux. But, like Norris, I suffered from unfamiliarity with the intricacies of the topic and so my notes here are sparse, to say the least. Luckily, Jim Lewis steps up to the plate and fills us in "regarding the PC portion of our networking demo".


The Presentation: Networking the PC, Mac and Linux Platforms

by: Jim Lewis (
Copyright CUCUG, 2002

Our objective: to network three different platforms (Mac-Win-Linux) on a LAN and share files among all three.

The PC process:

We started the project with an agreement on which networking protocol to use for our file sharing. As most of you know there are several to choose from on each platform. Since the Linux box was supposed to be the most complex to configure (don't tell Rich Rollins that :^), we opted for TCP/IP with NetBIOS enabled on IP Class C 192.168.0.x, per Jon Ross' suggestion.

Our equipment consisted of the Club PC, the Club Mac, John Ross' Linux box, an inexpensive Addtron 5-port 10/100 switch and some CAT5 patch cables. Of course, we had a glitch right off with our WindowsXP installation. Unfortunately, we had forgotten to install the 3Com NIC drivers! Luckily, when we installed XP, we retained the option of Dual-Booting back into Windows98 SE, which did have the proper drivers installed. The balance of the program was thus conducted in Win98.

Win98 natively supports several network protocols: NetBEUI (proprietary Microsoft file-sharing from the Windows 3.1 days, since obsoleted with XP), IPX/SPX (normally for Novell-based networks and games) and TCP/IP (the protocol of choice for enterprise-level server-based operating systems and the Internet). Due to security concerns, we had previously set the PC up using TCP/IP *without* NetBIOS support for browsing the Internet only. Local file sharing was accomplished via IPX/SPX with NetBIOS support enabled on that protocol. In order to conform to our network topography for this session, we had to enable NetBIOS over the TCP protocol and assign a unique IP address in the same Class C segment as the other units. This is easy to do, but it does require a reboot with Win98.

Once the reboot was done, our PC was able to 'ping' the other two units successfully. 'Pinging' is a simple packet transfer between two computers that verifies the connection of the two, as well as the transfer speed of the sent and received packets. for our purposes, just a simple command-line test to make sure the target computer is connected and the TCP protocol is functioning properly.

Next, we had to enable 'sharing' on the hard drive to allow others on the network to use our resources. Win98 allows you to make some decisions about read-only or read-write access with password protection for either or both. This is available on the entire drive or just certain folders. We first shared the full drive with full access but later modified this to one particular folder only. In Win98 (and WinXP) this is pretty easy to set up and does *not* require a reboot.

After everyone's configuration was done, the PC was finally able to see both of the other machines in 'Network Neighborhood' and access their shared folders just fine.

As a side note, the Linux and Mac platforms require additional programs to be installed (Samba on Linux and Dave or SoHo on the Mac) to connect to a network of this type. In Linux's case, Samba is included in the OS distribution. With the Mac, you have to buy it. I am told this will finally be incorporated into a forthcoming upgrade of Mac OS X.

Inter-platform networking has certainly come a long way in the last few years! It wasn't all that long ago when this project would have required 3 network administrators and a bout of hair-pulling to accomplish. Tonight within about 45 minutes, three hobbyists had all three machines up and talking to each other. I have to admit, I was impressed!

Jim Lewis

[Editor's Note: Thanks again to all who stepped into the breech and helped out with these notes.]


May Board Meeting

reported by Kevin Hopkins (

The May meeting of the CUCUG executive board took place on Tuesday, May 21, 2002, at 7PM, at Kevin Hisel's house. (For anyone wishing to attend - which is encouraged, by the way - the address and phone number are both in the book). Present at the meeting were: Jim Lewis, Emil Cobb, Mike Latinovich, Kris Klindworth, Rich Hall, Jack Melby, Kevin Hopkins, and Kevin Hisel.

Jim Lewis: Jim began by saying that he thought "the meeting turned out surprisingly well for what we attempted." With only a few glitches, we were able to accomplish file sharing between a PC, a Mac, and a Linux box. "All the machines worked as advertised."

Kris Klindworth asked how much use it had been to the average user and the consensus was "probably not much." But, just knowing it could be done within that short a period of time and with the fact that home networking is becoming more and more popular, most agreed that it had its value. Rich Hall made the point that if he were going to network several computers in his home, they would probably be of the same type (rather than cross platform, as in the demo). But, Kevin Hopkins said just the fact of seeing it done and now knowing who to ask questions of, if one were going to attempt such a thing, was a real benefit.

Concerning the absence of a note taker at the Main meeting, Jim mentioned that he had made an appeal for someone to take on those duties temporarily. He had to admit his disappointment that no one came forward.

Emil Cobb: Emil reported that 21 members attended the Main meeting. There were 14 at the Linux SIG.

Mike Latinovich: Mike said the video shown in the Linux SIG was "pretty good." It would have been better had the screen been bigger.

Mike brought up the topic of Socials. We haven't been doing them as formally as we have in the past and there was some question about the Swap meet portion of those meetings. The Board expressed their approval for anyone to bring in anything they'd like to swap, sell or get rid of to any meeting they like. It doesn't require a specific meeting anymore. Breaks are a great time to conduct this sort of thing.

Mike continued with his favorite part of the Social meetings - the doughnuts. He noted that this time they were very good, despite the fact there weren't any.

Mike said there had been a lot of interesting questions during the main part of the meeting. Norris Hansell had asked a question about OpenType fonts. Mike noted that OpenType and TrueType fonts are virtually the same thing. "OpenType is TrueType version 2."

Mike had harsher words for the networking demo. He said, "The Linux, Mac, PC thing was a big mess. It looked rushed and unprepared." Jack Melby countered, saying "That was the way it was supposed to be." We were going for the uninitiated's discovery of how to performing the networking task.

Kris Klindworth: Kris said the networking demo was "an interesting experiment."

As to future Linux topics, Kris noted that there had been a request for "command line stuff - basic commands and switches." He said they would address that next month. They will look at shell scripting.

Kris asked if there could be a Linux SIG archive on the club's web site for the collection of handouts that had been generated. Kevin Hisel said, "Absolutely."

Kris said he wants to do "security" in the Linux SIG. It could be a three month series.

Jim said the WinSIG would look at the command line.

Rich Hall: Rich noted that there had been a few re-ups. Bill Zwicky renewed his membership.

Rich said he liked the additional, Commo-Hawk newsletter sent to members.

Jack Melby: Jack pointed out that all OS X applications will save in PDF format, as it is built into the operating system.

Jack said next month he would bring in CDs of OS X freeware and shareware utilities. He said enough new stuff has come out since the last time he had created a club CD. He said there were a lot of really nice things. For the Mac SIG, he would demo the stuff from the CD. The CD will be available for $3 each.

Mike Latinovich asked if all of the club Amiga disks had been put on a CD. Kevin Hisel said "No' but that sounds like a perfect project for you."

Kevin Hopkins: Kevin said he had included the Commo-Hawk newsletter in his mailing because of that issues extensive Linux coverage. Did the Linux SIG members find of value? Kris responded positively. Kevin said it had generated some favorable comments and that he could continue to send it out monthly if the members so desired.

There was a discussion of the pros and cons of doing our newsletter in PDF format: the software requirements, the time requirements, and even the desirability of of the format in te first place.

Kevin Hisel: Kevin said he'd vote against PDF. He said, although good for printing, it's not a good format to read and "I've got a 21" monitor." Kris Klindworth said he liked text, too. There was a discussion of just doing the web version of the newsletter and using the emailing to notify members that the issue was available. Kevin offered a few examples of link-only style notices. Jim Lewis said he would like the ability to put a few pictures into the newsletter. The web version does offer this.


College of Dupage Computer Show report

Jim Huls
Sun May 26, 2002 10:45 pm

This month Jim Lewis, Emil Cobb, Rich Rollins, and myself all went to the show to check out the goodies.

Little did I realize that I would fall in to my temptations and pick up a new video card. I'm not going to claim it's the bargain of the year by any means. It's a simple GForce 4 Ti 4200 from Gainward with 64 MB ram that I grabbed for $165. I was planning on getting one of the 4200's originally and ultimately thought I would just go for the low-end with 64 rather than 128 MB. One reason it was cheaper and two, the memory is slightly faster than the 128 version even though the "experts" claim the 128 would be the better investment based on some of the games coming out down the road(not according to my wallet though). Cheap is what really won out though. I just got it installed and am having a hard time adjusting to it in Unreal Tournament. It's so silky sooth in higher resolutions than what I was using with my old ATI AIW128 and at 32 for the bit-depth as opposed to 16. It's just amazing but has definitely thrown my aim off. What can I say but, wow!?!? 2D quality seems to up there pretty well also. I've heard from many how the Nvidia cards typically don't use quality parts to maintain a good signal but this looks every bit and maybe even better than the AIW128 I had which was noticeably better than many cards I've tried.

The show was fun and busier than I would have thought with a holiday weekend. Lots of used goodies at reasonable prices. Not sure what the others got other than Jim L. and his two UPS's for something like $30 total. Not too bad. The food was good and the ride was ahhh...relaxing. Lots of police cars on the way there and back so probably a good thing Rich drove or the trip "could" have potentially been longer.

For those interested and someone usually is the LiteOn burners were about $75 for the 32x while the 40x was about $83. I almost scored what I thought was a wireless PCI card for $45 until I discovered that it was just the pci adapter. Gotta watch those things. The pcmcia card would have probably been another $40 at least. Not what I wanted to spend.

All in all a good time. It'd be fun to get a bus load to go up there. Not a lot to attract Mac folks except a few peripherals, harddrives, memory, etc. Cheap, used systems for Linux folks would be in heaven there I would imagine.

Jim Lewis (
Mon May 27, 2002 5:22 am

Yes, I did pick up a pair of ultra-cheap 700va UPSs by Best Power.. Hee-Hee!! Not as well known as APC (in the consumer market), but a long-time player in this industry and a well-respected name in Enterprise UPS. In the past, they have ranked right behind APC in terms of popularity and I have no reason to think this has changed. At these prices, it pays to treat these units as 'disposable', just working them until the batteries go, then pitching them in favor of another used unit. If you're really hard-core (or find a really *nice* unit), replacement batteries are available locally at the Interstate Battery dealer out on North Mattis.

Once again, if you were looking for a PII or PIII unit, there were many retired-from-service selections with prices starting at about $100.. Particularly notable, was a Dell P3-500, 256MB, 8GB, NIC & sound for $275.. Not a bad server or Linux box! Rich can report on used laptops, he scoured the floor looking for a 'give-away' unit, but didn't find one. It seems that laptops are the one item these vendors are up to snuff on, price-wise. 'Got your ears' on, Rich??

Emil was even able to get a couple of Mac-related items, although Mac support at these events is usually limited to items common with the PC (hard drives, printers, scanners, monitors, hubs, switches, routers, etc.).

Attendance was about 2/3 the norm due to the Holiday weekend, I'm sure. It was actually quite pleasant to be able to move about the aisles without being mobbed to death by 11:30 AM!! Of course there were a few 'Show Babes' worth a second (or maybe even a third) look, milling around after lunch

. For any who are interested in 'pre-owned' UPSs or Laser printers, please contact me! The vendor I got the UPSs from (also the previous home of the $70 HP LJ-6P!!) says they have a couple of *pallets* of UPSs, monitors & printers available!! I intend to take a pass by there (Streamwood, IL) mid-week and buy up a few items. The more I buy, the less they will cost, so let me know ASAP! We'll share the deals .

As to the CUCUG sponsored bus trip... I think it's something we could do on an ongoing basis, maybe every couple or three months. It's been a long while since we've done a CUCUG road trip (Gateway Amiga show in St. Louis), and this one has potential benefit for all our members. It also lets us provide a very valuable service to our members that we haven't done for some time.

BTW, could the organizers of that last trip to the Gateway show please email me with the details on who we used for the bus charter, cost, etc? This was long enough ago, that I don't remember any of the particulars (other than almost being CO-ed to death in the back of that lousy bus :^)

Richard Rollins ()
Mon May 27, 2002 12:57 pm

Well now for something completely different....

I enjoyed the trip as much as everyone else but did not bring anything home but my friends. I tried to make a few deals on various laptops from Hewlett Packard or IBM Thinkpads but the venders were not willing to move on the inflated prices that they were selling them at. The most important thing at any of these shows is to NEVER buy at the venders posted price. There were many deals up there that many in our group (CUCUG) would like to have I believe. Hope we can all make the trip up sometime. Remember the speed limit so the many police on the way don't have to meet you...... :wink:

The printers and UPS's that Jim talked about are just great and anyone thinking about getting one should contact him.

Well until the next time....


Jim Lewis (
Wed May 29, 2002 7:21 am

Maybe we could start a dedicated Forum for show trips? As the time gets closer, we could all check at one place for info...

Also under consideration is a CUCUG-sponsored vehicle rental for these excursions on a semi-regular basis (maybe every 2-3 months). A passenger van with shared driving responsibilities (one person drives up, another the return trip) and maybe a $5/person donation to help cover some of the expenses could be a good way to accomplish this.

Lets hear the feedback, folks...

Jim Lewis
Corporate Agent,
WinSig Chairman


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The CUCUG is a not-for-profit corporation, originally organized in 1983 to support and advance the knowledge of area Commodore computer users. We've grown since then, now supporting PC, Macintosh and Linux platforms.

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Our monthly newsletter, the Status Register, is delivered by email. All recent editions are available on our WWW site. To initiate a user group exchange, just send us your newsletter or contact our editor via email. As a matter of CUCUG policy, an exchange partner will be dropped after three months of no contact.

For further information, please attend the next meeting as our guest, or contact one of our officers (all at area code 217):

   President/WinSIG:   Jim Lewis                621-2343       
   Vice-President:     Emil Cobb                398-0149       
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