Chaos Corner v01n02 10Jul91 Here we are, back again. Things seem to remain busy here in th

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Chaos Corner v01n02 10Jul91 Here we are, back again. Things seem to remain busy here in the Corner even with a birthday, a holiday, and a day at work with *no* interruptions. -------------------------------------------------- File transfers This time we'll spend a little time trying to demystify some of the hocus-pocus and spells that surround transferring files. You should be warned, however, that this attempt cannot be entirely successful. Successfully transferring files *does* require magic, good karma, or *something* that always runs out just when the network daemons are closing in. Can *I* transfer files using FTP? Isn't that a Unix thing? If you have a userid on a Unix, VMS, or VM/CMS system, then just enter the ftp command to find out if it's available. FTP will prompt you for input and you can exit by entering "quit". If you have a PC with an ethernet card there are a number of commercial, shareware and free products that will get you started. NCSA (the national supercomputer center in Illinois) has PC (and Mac) software implementing ftp client (you can get/put files from/to other systems) and ftp server (other systems can get/put files on your workstation). For DOS/Windows users, Dr. Chaos likes the network version of WINQVT from QPC Software that implements ftp client and server, telnet client, and allows one to read Network News. Both of these programs support the use of the free Clarkson packet drivers to provide the interface to the ethernet card (the packet drivers are in "drivers.zip" at sun.soe.clarkson.edu in directory pub/packet-drivers). Unfortunately, neither of these programs support telnetting to the IBM mainframes in 3270 mode. On the Macintosh side, you need a network connection (ethernet or PhoneNet), MacTCP, HyperCard and then you can use a great HyperCard stack written by Doug Hornig in CIT's Information Resources division called HyperFTP. If you want to get files for your workstation but you don't have a network connection, an option is to transfer the files to your userid on a timesharing system (Unix, VMS, VM/CMS) and then use a serial communications program like Kermit, C19, or a number of others to send the file down (download) to your workstation (the timesharing systems are often on raised floors, so the data goes "down" to get to your workstation). Every time you transfer a file, an incantation has to be performed to get the computers at each end to cooperate -- by increasing the number of transfers you increase the likelihood that you will forget some of the spells, or get them in the wrong order and the whole thing won't work. Going through the whole procedure again to correct an error isn't too bad when the file transfers proceed at the 20-40 KB/sec rates you can often get from some sites on the Internet (if you aren't crossing an ocean), but transferring even a 200 KB file over a 2400 baud link will take longer than 20 minutes! The bottom line is, get a network connection if you possibly can! MailBag -- (Read! Dr. Chaos) -------------------------------------------------- LPR LPD and archie Gerhard Rentschler at U. of Stuttgart asked if I knew of a place where they could get copies of the LPR command and the LPD daemon, since they are not included in UTS 2.1.1 (Amdahl's version of Unix). I didn't know where they were located, but Dr. Chaos came to the rescue by telneting to archie at quiche.cs.mcgill.ca and very quickly coming up with about 10 different sites, on both sides of the Atlantic, that had the source for that BSD Unix software. By the way, a recent posting claimed that fully 40% of the TCP/IP traffic in and out of McGill University is "archie-related" -- archie is really a valuable service for finding software on the net, and McGill is starting to distribute the software and database in an attempt to improve the service and spread the load. -------------------------------------------------- The Macintosh sit and hqx extensions explained Both Bob Blackmun at UNCCVM.BITNET and Rob Vaughn from the Cornell Materials Science Center sent mail to Dr. Chaos explaining the .sit and .hqx extensions on archived Macintosh files. The .hqx extension means that it has been processed by BinHex to turn the binary file into a printable ASCII file -- one that could be sent through e-mail. The .sit extension means that the original files were compressed into a library by the utility StuffIt!. Therefore, to make the file internettour.sit.hqx useable, you would first use BinHex to turn it back into binary, and then use StuffIt! to uncompress and restore the original file(s). -------------------------------------------------- Question on emulating a vt100 on a 3270 Bob Blackmun also asked if there was any software that would allow people using telnet from VM (in a 3270 session, for example) to emulate a VT100 terminal. As far as Dr. Chaos knows, there is no such software available, but maybe some of you might let him know of a solution. -------------------------------------------------- Chaos Corner feedback Roger Garnett of Cornell Agricultural Economics suggests Dr. Chaos delve more into the networks at Cornell and carry items about what is available on local archives or BBS servers. Dr. Chaos would certainly be glad to pass along announcements or blurbs that he receives. (Why does it always seem harder to get information about where you are than anywhere else?) -------------------------------------------------- FTP and potential problems under VM/CMS Steve Peterson from Penn State had a problem trying to FTP the internettour file from Pelican to a VM/CMS system -- he got a message about an invalid filemode HQ. The problem lies in the way CMS FTP command creates default CMS file names from Unix file names. CMS "tokenizes" the Unix name by: (1) making all the characters uppercase, (2) separating tokens at the point where a '.' appears, (3) truncating the first two tokens to 8 characters, if necessary, (4) mapping the 3rd token to the CMS filemode which is either one letter or one letter followed by a digit (usually 0, 1, or 2). In the case of the file "internettour.sit.hqx" CMS tries to create a file named "INTERNET SIT HQ" and fails because HQ is not a valid filemode. The solution is to specify on the "get" command what the local file name should be; that is: get internettour.sit.hqx tour.sithqx will result in the file being stored on the A-disk (the default) with the name "TOUR SITHQX". -------------------------------------------------- Chaos Corner Feedback (Master's Degree?) Dr. Chaos notes that only newsletter recipients on the west coast (Dave Gomberg at UCSF and Ted Johnston at SLAC) seemed particularly concerned about his credentials and what his Master's Degree might be in. Maybe only keep their radios turned on. Considering the number of sentences that end in prepositions, the degree is NOT in English! -------------------------------------------------- Request for faster network links Walter Wehinger, University of Stuttgart, would like to see the network bandwidth for the international links improved. He is concerned that his poor collector's soul will get mad because of the poor response time between Germany and the US. Dr. Chaos points out that according to his copy of the network map (from site nic.eu.net, directory ripe/maps), the thickest, widest black line goes from Cornell to CERN (site of a *very* high-energy particle collider) in Geneva, and there it stops. He suggests that CERN, at this point, must be the sink of all network information and that they must be encoding it into the particle beams and storing it in the accelerator (opposing views go in opposite directions), and that understanding the politics governing information flow across national boundaries in Europe is not even close to the area in which he received a Master's Degree. -------------------------------------------------- GIF files and all that stuff Mark Sincock of CIT asks what a GIF file is. Dr Chaos immediately started babbling TLAs (three letter acronyms) and for quite some time it was not possible to make out more than RLE, BMP, TIF, PCX, and MSP. After several moments, I was able to gather that a large number of formats exist for files that are graphical images. The CompuServe Information Service developed one such graphical image format (gif) and it has proven to be quite popular -- if for no other reason there exists an incredibly large number of images stored on CompuServe available for downloading. Programs to view GIF files and convert them to other image formats exist on a large number of platforms. Dr. Chaos seems partial to WinGif on his DOS/Windows systems. Users of Macintosh systems have suggested Giffer and QuickGif as being good programs. -------------------------------------------------- Unix Security (sic) and COPS Kim Kohler of CIT responded to the question in the last issue concerning COPS -- the set of programs and scripts to test the security of your Unix system. She recommends it for use by new Unix system administrators who aren't sure what to look for -- COPS provides a "quick and dirty" test of the system. -------------------------------------------------- Chaos Corner archived online? Peter Siegel at the Cornell Theory Center asks if there will be an online archive of "Chaos Corner." Dr. Chaos was momentarily pleased at the suggestion but finally realized that "quality" was not the issue and who's-disk-space-it-would-occupy was. Watch for future announcements on the availability of back issues. That's it for the MailBag this time around. Remember to send questions and comments to rdc@cornella.cit.cornell.edu (Read! Dr. Chaos) What going on? (Random Dr. Chaos) -------------------------------------------------- Unix Internalional (UI) and Atlas Unix International has announced plans to unveil in September their Atlas Distributed Computing Architecture. Claims are that it will be compliant with the rival OSF's Distributed Computing Environment and include extensions in the areas of object-oriented technology, distributed systems management, and distributed transaction processing. Development on Atlas is starting this summer and continues through 1993. With that schedule, it will be an interesting race between the OSF DCE and DME products vs. UI's Atlas. Dr. Chaos wonders if Atlas being DCE compliant means that UI will have to throw out Sun's RPC? -------------------------------------------------- RAID disks announced for RS/6000 RAID disk drives capable of transferring data at 18 MB/sec and available in capacities ranging from 10.8 GB to 43 GB have been announced for the IBM RS/6000 by Maximum Strategy. A transfer rate 4 times that of IBM's mainframe disk drives at a cheaper price per byte! -------------------------------------------------- C version of ADABAS and Natural soon to be available Software AG has announced the first Unix implementations of ADABAS and Natural will be tested on HP 9000 machines this summer, and implementations for Sun, DEC, IBM, and SCO systems will be available by the end of this year. Although this version is written in the C language, it is supposed to be source code compatible with the mainframe versions of those products. -------------------------------------------------- Apple and IBM deal in the making? Apple and IBM are rumored to be working on a deal allowing Apple to use RS/6000 chip sets in future computers. In addition, there is talk of cooperation on future object oriented operating systems (code name Pink) able to run both OS/2 and Macintosh applications. As evidence of a "new IBM" we see quotes such as:"They need to understand that they can survive in this industry without being a monopoly." This sentence being spoken by IBMer Lee Reiswig (aka Blue Ninja) about Microsoft. Is it time to sell Microsoft short? -------------------------------------------------- Portable database front-ends Blyth Software Inc. will soon be shipping toolkits to give developers the ability to create database front-end programs that are portable between PCs (running DOS or DOS/Windows) and Macintoshes using the Data Access Language (DAL). Working under a license agreement with Apple, they will be producing OS/2 and Unix versions of the toolkits in the next year. This is good news because it means CIT can start investigating applications using Apple's DAL without the fear of being locked into a single vendor technology. (Has that stopped anyone before?) -------------------------------------------------- Cursive writing you can read Many people have the perverse idea that digital devices ought to be able to simulate analog devices. As a result, computers often have programs written for them to display the face of an analog clock. The latest in this analog-on-digital line is a small PC program called SCRIPTO that reads text and outputs block cursive to the screen or redirected to a file. It's great for making up a signature file to append to all your mail files. (See the initials below for sample output). There is a separate file containing the font that you can easily customize if you want to "improve" the output. SCRIPTO.ZIP is available on Simtel20 in the pd1: directory, or at wuarchive.wustl.edu in the /mirrors/msdos/txtutl directory. .---. .-. / ( / | ,_. / : /_ __ __ __ / | / : / / ) __) / ) (_ /__,/ / :_ @ (__./ / (_ (__(_ (__/ ___) -------------------------------------------------- International Text Editor (NOT) ALED153.ZIP described as "a small programmer's text editor" -- should be just the thing for all you small programmers out there. This program has stirred up an amazingly heated discussion on one of the Usenet news groups as being yet another example of a program that did not take into account the needs of people using languages other than American English. I haven't actually used this program, but it caught my eye because of the description and the long Usenet discussion. It is at wuarchive in /mirrors/msdos/editor. -------------------------------------------------- Kaleidoscope program of PC DAZE41F.ZIP in the /mirrors/msdos/graphics directory is really a great kaleidoscope program for EGA or VGA displays. I was particularly impressed with the patterns this program was able to produce on an EGA. -------------------------------------------------- Current Virus scanning software SCANV80.ZIP, CLEAN80.ZIP and VSHLD80B.ZIP in /mirrors/msdos/trojan-pro are current copies of McAfee Associates PC virus protection programs. -------------------------------------------------- Windows utilities and update to version 3.0a Several interesting Windows 3 utilities are now available in the /mirrors/msdos/windows3 directory. ACHART12.ZIP displays a chart of all the characters (printable and control characters) in several character sets. WINHV11.ZIP is a hex file viewer that allows you to specify search strings. Last and definitely not least, Microsoft has finally reacted to all the complaints about Windows applications being unstable and the number of times users are seeing the infamous message "UNRECOVERABLE APPLICATION ERROR, Terminating current application." (At this point, if you are lucky, you can still gracefully exit your other applications and re-boot the machine. This message is known as the "UAE message.") The solution to these problems is to provide a program (DRWATSON.ZIP) that will trap the UAEs and display lots of cryptic diagnostic information. An application developer can send this information into Microsoft and their software engineers can figure out where the application is going astray (it couldn't be a Windows bug, could it?). In any case, if you do any development of Windows applications, this program is a must, and it's only about 2 years too late. If you are not an applications developer but are still bothered by UAE messages, the general consensus on the net was that you could use it as leverage to get Microsoft to send you a free upgrade to Windows 3.0a ... where a lot of bugs are fixed. If you act quickly, the updates to bring Windows up to 3.0a are rumored to be at cica.cica.indiana.edu in the pub/pc/win3/misc directory. Look for win3a1.zip, win3a2.zip and win3a3.zip. You will need about 1.3 MB of disk space to transfer these files. Create a new directory, say C:\WININST; unzip the files into that directory (1.5 MB) in numerical order. (The third zip file will replace 4 files that were munged originally.) If you execute SUBST A: C:\WININST then run switch to the "new" A: drive and run SETUP. In less than a minute you will have an updated Windows 3.0a system. -------------------------------------------------- New release of NCSA Telnet for PC available The /mirrors/msdos/ncsatelnet directory contains the just released version of NCSA's TELNET (2.3.01) for PCs ... update.tel is an ASCII file that describes the changes in this version, and info.tel is a description of NCSA Telnet and its utilities (FTP, etc.). -------------------------------------------------- Plan 9 from Outer Space The original developers of the Unix operating system are still working for Bell Labs and still developing operating systems. The latest is called Plan-9 (after a science fiction movie called "Plan-9 from Outer Space"), and while not available outside of AT&T (the movie is available), some documentation is available as a PostScript file at ftp.cs.toronto.edu in /doc/plan-9.ps.Z (this is a Unix compressed PostScript file; there are decompression utilities for this format on a number of other platforms -- let Dr Chaos know if you need help). -------------------------------------------------- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Many of the Usenet news groups have periodic postings to remind new readers the purposes of the newsgroups, proper etiquette on the network, and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs). Copies of these periodic postings are maintained at pit-manager.mit.edu in the /pub/usenet/ directories. These postings, particularly the FAQs, provide valuable information and work-arounds for problems commonly encountered in any number of areas. The newsgroup "comp.mail.misc" maintains an Inter-Network Mail Guide; "comp.binaries.ibm.pc" maintains a Beginner's Guide to Binaries and a Beginner's Guide to FTP; and newsgroups "rec.sport.basketball" and "rec.sport.football" contain the weekly results of the sportswriters' poll during the course of the sport's season. Jonathan Kamens of MIT's Project Athena maintains this archive on a volunteer basis. At the site sh.cs.edu in the nsfnet directory, you can find two files that may be useful: "questions-and-answers-beginners" and "questions- and-answers-advanced." These files provide background information on NSFNet in addition to telling how to access nic.ddn.mil and query the "whois" database to find out if a site has a computer on the Internet. -------------------------------------------------- CD-ROM from 1991 Sun User's Group meeting The Sun Users Group has announced their 1991 SUG CD-ROM. The CD-ROM contains over 300 MB of source code, software archives, compiled Sun 4 binaries and nearly 200 MB of Sun Microsystems' software patches. Prices vary from $260 to $330 depending on whether you are a SUG member and if your location is domestic or international. The contents appear to be quite impressive and Dr Chaos has an electronic copy of the order form if you are interested. -------------------------------------------------- Radio Shack CD-ROM drive (continued) In the last issue we reported that Radio Shack was selling a CD-ROM unit and expansion card for PCs at $399. The local dealer did call back and let Dr Chaos know that the drives were available 5-6 days after you place an order. We blindly (blush) reported the information from Byte that the drives were a little slow on access time but transferred data at a rapid 150 KB/sec -- we didn't realize at the time that *all* CD-ROM drives transfer data at 150 KB/sec. There is a very nice summary of CD- ROM technology written in 1988 by Andy Poggio of Apple Computer that Dr Chaos has enjoyed. "If you are buying a CD-ROM drive, ... two factors NOT to consider are capacity and data rate. The capacity of all CR-ROM drives is determined solely by the CD they are reading. ... All CD-ROM drives read data at a net 150 Kbytes/sec for CD-ROM data." This summary is in the archives for the CDROM-L mailing list on BITNET, maintained by the LISTSERV at UCCVMA. Let Dr. Chaos know if you need more info. -------------------------------------------------- Unix Windows on DOS (multiple Unix sessions on one line) The fascinating program award this time goes to some software called Unix Windows. While running from a single DOS PC over a single communications port, Unix Windows allows you to have up to seven shells running at once. The protocol requires you to have a server running on the remote Unix machine to manage the switching between windows, etc. The author promises to have a new version out Real Soon Now that includes many more features (like X/Zmodem file transfer), and he speaks in glowing terms of a future version written to run under Windows 3. For now, you can get the programs from wuarchive.wustl.edu in the /mirrors/msdos/modem directory under the name UWPC105.ZIP. -------------------------------------------------- More AIX software archived software On the RS/6000 AIX 3.1 front, byron.u.washington.edu has collected programs that have been ported to AIX 3.1. Dr. Chaos poked around at the site and found things like kermit, emacs, and xntp among other things. If you have an IBM RS/6000, it might be a good place to keep an eye on (or a good place to contribute to if you have already ported some software). -------------------------------------------------- GIF weather map updated hourly For those of you more interested in looking at a tube than out the window, how do you get a picture of what the weather is like? The answer is that at site vmd.cso.uiuc.edu in directory phil.515 there is a GIF image of a national weather map containing station reports, isobars, the radar summary, any current severe weather watch boxes, and the latest position plot of warm and cold fronts. At approximately 15 minutes past the hour you can retrieve the just-updated file wxmap.gif and see what's going on across the nation (even better than looking out the window, right?). -------------------------------------------------- Mac utilities for viewing GIF image files If you would like to be able to view GIF files and you are most comfortable with the Macintosh environment, the most popular utilities seem to be Giffer and QuickGif. Dr. Chaos hasn't used either program but has just sent copies to his delta-tester. If the tester promises to report back, he will be told where he can access "cowgirl.gif" (*only* as an experiment to test the features of the programs). The programs came from (where else) wuarchive.wustl.edu in the /mirrors/info- mac/art/gif directory and the files are named giffer-110b1.hqx and quick-gif.hqx, respectively. Dr. Chaos is having trouble with this delta-tester since BinHex seems to consistently give a checksum error for files this guy downloads from VM/CMS (even though binary transfers have been done in all cases). Righteous Dr.Chaos is *confident* the *HE* is not doing anything incorrectly -- does anyone have suggestions for the tester? -------------------------------------------------- GIF, fractals, balls While cruising the network, Dr. Chaos noted in the download statistics from garbo (a well known archive site in Finland) that the file balls2.gif was being downloaded very frequently. Quickly checking wuarchive in the /graphics/gif/b (the GIF files are stored in the directory corresponding to their first letter) directory, he transferred the rather large file (over 500KB) to pelican (a RS/6000). Using the motifgif program to display the file, he discovered that balls2.gif is a beautiful picture that appears to be the Mandelbrot set in 3-D, where the surfaces are silvered balls that show the reflections of the other balls. His immediate reaction was to transfer it to puffin (a PS/2-80 running DOS/Windows), use the WinGif program to convert the GIF file to a BMP-format file the same size as the screen (768x1024 pixels), and then load it as wallpaper (the Windows background). It is really great! That's all for now. If you would like to receive electronic copies of Chaos Corner or have comments/questions/objections, send them to: rdc@cornella.cit.cornell.edu .---. .-. / ( / | ,_. / : /_ __ __ __ / | / : / / ) __) / ) (_ /__,/ / :_ @ (__./ / (_ (__(_ (__/ ___) (I have a Master's degree)

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank