Chaos Corner v01n01 25jun91 A Beginning? or is it An Introduction? This is the first in wh

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Chaos Corner v01n01 25jun91 -------------------------------------------------- A Beginning? or is it An Introduction? This is the first in what is hopefully a series of reports on random and (in my opinion) interesting things I have come across recently that might be of interest to some of you. Since I spend a lot of my time (when not in meetings) reading about or banging on new things, I think it is important to pass along what I might have discovered. Future topics will probably include such things as file transfer software, compression utilities, graphics viewers, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Comments, criticisms, and contributions can all be directed to One of the first resources that I am going to be pushing is the network (Internet and BITNET) and the community currently using the network to discuss almost any topic you might imagine (yes ... that one too!). There are three major information transports: file transfer, network news, and mailing lists. -------------------------------------------------- FTP The most direct transport in terms of your actions is "anonymous FTP" (where FTP means File Transfer Protocol). A large number of sites maintain archives of computer software, graphical images, inane discussions, and it is available to anyone with network access. The standard list of "known" sites that make files available to anyone across the network (anonymously) is normally accessible from a machine named in the directory "/pub/ftp-list" in the file "ftp.list". In case you want to try out getting the list, I have put a copy of the June 24 list on pelican, the RS/6000 in my office. To get the list for yourself enter: ftp anonymous (in response to request for userid) @ (in response to request for password -- I would enter rdc@cornella) cd pub ("change directory" to the "pub" directory) get ftp.list (retrieve the ftp list. In CMS the file will be named FTP LIST) quit (end the FTP session) The file is about 3200 lines long (a little over 160 Kbytes), so you may want to be sure you have enough disk space to hold it. Remember, when transferring compressed or executable files enter the "binary" command before issuing the "get" command. If you want to list the files available, use the "dir" command; use "cd " to move down in the directory tree, and "cd .." to move up one level in the directory tree. -------------------------------------------------- Network News Network News is a set of more or less formal discussion groups on any number of topics (racism, fitness, french culture, movie reviews, etc.). The more formalized discussion groups are moderated which helps to remove a lot of redundant questions and answers. Since some people want to see the "raw data" there are sometimes unmoderated versions of the moderated newsgroups. Some number of the newsgroups also exist as mail lists (see below) or carry postings from mail lists in the newsgroup. If you want more information about getting access to Network News you will need to ask around and/or get a userid on Vax5. -------------------------------------------------- Mail Lists The easiest way to get involved in network discussions is through mail lists. There are both Internet mail lists and BITNET mail lists ... sometimes there is a connection between these for the same group and sometimes there isn t. For more information on BITNET mail lists that are currently available, from CMS enter the following command: tell listserv at suvm list global and from Unix or other systems send mail to where the text in the mail file consists of "list global". For CMS, the file LISTSERV LISTS is returned to your reader in Card Dump format (use the CARD LOAD command to read it in), for requests via mail, the response is returned as a mail file. If you see a list you want to subscribe to, just "tell" or send mail to a listserv "subscribe ". If I wanted to join the Macintosh News and Information list I would enter (from the CMS userid where I wished to receive the discussion list mail files): tell listserv at yalevm subscribe mac-l Bob Cowles and I would shortly receive messages back that my subscription had been accepted. Alternatively, I could have sent mail to the listserv that consisted of the line "subscribe mac-l Bob Cowles". -------------------------------------------------- Internet Interest Groups and Mailing lists The Internet Interest Groups "List of lists" is available via anonymous FTP from in the file netinfo/interest-groups . The file is over 500,000 bytes long at this time. To get the file in smaller pieces via electronic mail send mail to with the following line in the body: Send netinfo/interest-groups Requests to be added or removed from a mail list should never be sent to the list itself. For listserv's you would "tell listserv at unsubscribe " and for Internet mail lists you send a mail file to -request@ requesting the desired action. (Note the addition of "-request" to the name of the list.) -------------------------------------------------- Guided Tour of Internet for Mac Macintosh HyperCard As I write this, I am transferring a file from a computer at U. Mich that is a hypercard stack providing a guided tour of the Internet. The file internettour.sit.hqx is located in the "pub" directory on For a future issue, perhaps someone will be kind enough to explain what the "sit" and "hqx" suffixes mean. Any takers? What's going on? -------------------------------------------------- Bug reports available from vendors Borland bug reports for TC++ and BC++ are available via anonymous FTP from in the directory pub/Turbo-C++/bug-report and the file is updated on the first of every month. I seem to recall seeing that there are Apple bug lists available on, but I'm not sure. For Microsoft bugs,the only thing I know about is available on CompuServe and that gets expensive fast (has anyone been touched by Microsoft's new outreach program? A kinder, gentler Microsoft -- except to IBM!). Hmmm, I just looked on and didn't find anything but Unix stuff; I ll leave it as a puzzle until next time. -------------------------------------------------- Online PC Software Extensive collections of PC software are available online. The has copies of a number of PC archives (including Simtel, PC-BLUE, and the Usenet contributions in and I find I am more successful at getting software from the wuarchive than from Simtel. I used to spend long periods just trying to get connected to Simtel and not get bounced for too many anonymous users; then there was a good chance of the connection getting dropped somewhere between here and White Sands (yes, Simtel really is at the White Sands Missle Range) in the middle of a transfer. In addition, Simtel runs on an aging DecSystem 20 and there are some real strange incantations for getting transfers of binary files to work between that machine and an IBM system. -------------------------------------------------- Online Windows software For Windows3 applications the best place I ve found is Look in the pub/pc/win3 directory. One of my favorite applications is QVTNET in file in the directory pub/pc/win3/util. QVTNET runs under Windows 3 and allows you to telnet (vt100 emulation only, no 3270 emulation) and ftp right from within Windows. It comes with a special module that handles the interface between the Ethernet packet driver (you have to get that from Clarkson) and the Windows dispatcher so that packets don't get lost while you're writing something like this in WinWord. QVTNET also allows reading Network News (if you can find a systems administrator who will give you access) and runs FTP server software that allows me to move stuff between CornellA and my PS/2 at work when I am logged on from home. If you try an anonymous ftp to, the software can be seen in action. The "world's largest BBS," Exec-PC in Milwaukee, has all of its files mirrored at -------------------------------------------------- Weather, space and other images If you're looking for pretty pictures, has many space-related images including ones from the Voyager missions and current images being sent back from the Magellan mission to map Venus. Daily satellite weather photos showing that we still aren't going to get rain are available on (you will need to enter "cd phil.515"). To the south of us, (yes, it's in Mexico) has a lot of GIF image files but more importantly contains a list of known GIF file archive sites on the Internet (I have a copy of that file if you're interested). An alternative that I have seen mentioned is to ftp to (yes, it's in Finland) where GIF files are stored by subject. If you see a GIF file that you want, write down the name and then retrieve it from (it will probably be there) where they are stored alphabetically. Please try to find the GIF you want at a US site before using the international network links. Some warped minds spend time looking for X and R rated GIFs, but by NSF policy they are not allowed to be stored on a US site that is connected to the Internet. Of course, CompuServe (the source of the GIF image format) has an extensive library of images. -------------------------------------------------- Postscript viewer - Ghostscript If you have ever wanted to view a PostScript file on your PC screen, check out Ghostscript (available at Simtel or wuarchive among other places). The latest version is 2.2.1 and comes with support for EGA, VGA and Hercules displays and a number of fonts are also available (in additional files). Look for GS22.ZIP for the executable and GS22FNT*.ZIP for the fonts. -------------------------------------------------- Great Roads survey Taking a trip this summer? The newsgroup has been compiling a Great Roads Survey. The current list contains about 75 roads in the US and can be found at in the pub/usenet/ file. You are also invited to send in your own nominations for your favorite roads to be added to the list. (I wonder if Cayuga Heights Road would qualify, it certainly has enough dips!) -------------------------------------------------- The COPS security package A package of programs that address areas of Unix security is available: the Computer Oracle and Password System (COPS). Version 1.02 attempts to automate security tests that are often performed (or should be performed) by a Unix system administrator. The files are found at Does anyone have experience with this package? -------------------------------------------------- Online library card catalogs A list and guide to the over 200 library systems that can be reached across the Internet is available at in the library directory (in ASCII, PostScript, and WordPerfect 5.1 formats). FLASH! The catalog is now searchable on-line. To access the catalog TELNET to and enter LIBS to the prompt for a username. This will not work well from CMS, but other versions of TELNET that can emulate a VT100 terminal should be OK. The database search software is available for evaluation only; they want you to run it on your own VAX if you like it. I also have a crude PC Hypertext implementation of a database that allows you to wander through the listing of the library systems. Ask about it if you're interested. -------------------------------------------------- Archie Along the lines of interactive access to search software, if you are looking for something that might be available by anonymous FTP, try TELNETing to and logging on as "archie". There is extensive help available once you are on. This one even works OK from CMS, but is bettwe from a emulator that understands VT100 terminals. -------------------------------------------------- X Window System software For X Window System software, the place to look is in the contrib directory. The compressed file x-source-list.Z is a growing catalog of the programs that are available (there is much more available than is in the catalog). One example of a program available is xmartin (in xmartin.tar.Z of the contrib directory) that allows a number of options for decorating the background of your X display (known as the root window). While I have no direct experience, there appear to be options to generate some of the fractal patterns that you can see in Clifford Pickover's new book published by St. Martin's Press titled Computers, Patterns, Chaos and Beauty (Graphics from an Unseen World). I met Pickover when I visited IBM Research at Yorktown Heights last November and got to glance through a copy of the book then; now I have my own copy. -------------------------------------------------- CD-ROM Radio Shack now has a CDR-1000 CD-ROM drive they are selling for $399 that fits into a half-height slot and comes with an adaptor card that goes into a short 8-bit slot. According to Byte Magazine, the transfer rate is good (150 KB/sec) but the seek time is slow. Of course, there is a headphone jack on the front of the drive and audio output jacks on the back of the card if you really insist on playing music. I called the local dealer at Pyramid Mall and he told me that they are "order-only" items for right now, so don't expect to walk-in and carry one out with you. He promised to get back to me with information on the actual lead time to get a drive but I would imagine that the blurb in Byte (July issue) won't make it any better. -------------------------------------------------- Macintosh help for a small screen On the small Mac front (also from Byte Magazine) Technology Fusion, Inc. has a TotalVision product that goes into a 9-inch display Mac (Classic, SE, or Plus) and tricks it into thinking the screen is 1024 x 1024 rather than 512 x 342. As the mouse cursor touches the edge of the screen, it pans across the virtual desktop at hardware speed. "Hardware flex" and "hardware zoom" modes are also available. I'm still trying to figure out if I should repair my Mac at home and get a hard disk. The diagonal lines that go across the display suggest that a "hardware zoom" from a height of about 6 feet might be the most cost- effective option. -------------------------------------------------- Convertor from Fortran 77 to C Finally, for those of you who could never quite master the C programming language, help is here! At you can get from the pub/msdos/fortran directory and it will convert fortran 77 code into C (source is available too, if you want it for other than a Intel platform). The really neat thing is that if you have a C compiler, this effectively gives you a fortran 77 compiler for free! I'm amazed at how once I got started there seemed like no good place to stop. Let me know what kinds of things you find most interesting and what you really hate; that way I won't have to make up the letters in the questions and feedback section. Dr. Chaos (I have a Master's Degree)


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