Chaos Corner v01n03 24Jul91 Archiving and Compression Here we are again! The topic for tod

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Chaos Corner v01n03 24Jul91 -------------------------------------------------- Archiving and Compression Here we are again! The topic for today is archive and compression programs! An alternative way of putting it is, "I went to that server with the funny name you told me about and got the file, but now when I try to execute it, nothing happens!" Most files that are available for you to retrieve by anonymous FTP are actually compressed libraries. Each system platform has one or more "standard" ways of building libraries and compressing/uncompressing files. There are even some areas of compatibility so that you can, for instance, pull the documentation out of a MS-DOS-style library while you are logged onto VM/CMS and see if the program looks interesting enough to download to your PC over a 2400 baud modem connection. The first concept is one of the library. If a program package requires multiple files, it is very handy to be able to combine the multiple files into a single file allowing easier retrieval from bulletin-board systems and across the network. Because of the even slower speed of normal communications (300 baud), algorithms were quickly developed to "squeeze" the files as they were combined into the library. The compression algorithms became more sophisticated and for some time the standard format in the PC world used the .arc extension. The vendor of the leading program was System Enhancement Associates (SEAware). Along came Phil Katz who wrote an excellent shareware version of the software called PKARC, and he even extended the .arc format to include some better and faster compression techniques! SEAware got upset and decided to sue Phil Katz; and, to make a long story short, Phil was prohibited from using ".arc" and now produces and maintains PKZIP -- using .zip as the filename extension. The grassroots resentment against SEAware was so great, almost all bulletin-boards and FTP sites immediately converted to .zip format files and almost so .arc files can be found any more. Now the problem with .zip is that the format and the software basically belongs to Phil Katz. Progress hasn't been as swift as some people would like; there exist programs to un-zip archives in VM/CMS and in Unix, but there are no utilities on those systems to create archives in that format (a Unix program to create zip archives is rumured to be available Real Soon Now). One format that IS publicly available is the .zoo archive, and recent work has resulted in ZOO 2.1 which has one of the best (space) compression algorithms (but it still runs slowly). The major advantage for ZOO is that the C source is widely distributed and so is available on a number of platforms. There are many suggestions that the archives on the network convert to the .zoo format on some date, say August 15, 1991. The zoo 2.1 files are available on in the mirrors/msdos/zoo directory as .exe files. These are "self-extracting archives" because when you enter the file name as a command, the command uncompresses and extracts all the files that are stored within it. The file you should retrieve is zoo210.exe. For the Macintosh platform, things seem a bit more calm, with the standard utility being Stuffit!, written by a 17 year-old high school student. (He is now in his third year at MIT, so your shareware registration fees will help put him through college). Mac files that have been processed with Stuffit! usually have a .sit extension in the filename. Of course, with Unix, the rule is to not use one utility when you can use two. The program to build libraries is "tar" (tape archive) and the utilities to compress/uncompress files is (oddly) compress and uncompress. Files that are in a tar archive have a .tar extension, and files that have been compressed have a .Z (yes, an uppercase z) extension. So, if I have a file named glarch.tar.Z, I would first uncompress it (uncompress glarch.tar -- will automatically find the file and remove the .Z suffix) and then un-tar it (tar -xvt glarch.tar). You may want to use "tar -cvt glarch.tar" first to see where tar is going to place the files it extracts ... especially if you are running with root privileges! Mailbag -- Questions to Read! Dr. Chaos ( -------------------------------------------------- Vt100 emulation on 3270 On the question of vt100 emulators for people using 3270s, Gerhard Rentschler at University of Stuttgart found a reference on VMSHARE indicating that a company called Trax Softworks had a product (VM/Dialout) that provided some emulation. As Gary Buhrmaster of Cornell points out, the emulation must be very basic (no interrupts on each keypress) unless you are willing to pay a terrible price in host cycles. Nick Gimbrone from Cornell forwarded an item from the IBM TCP/IP List (IBMTCP-L) indicating a product named A-NET from Teubner and Associates also existed that performed the emulation and ran as a VTAM application. -------------------------------------------------- GIF vewers for the Macintosh On the topic of GIF viewers for the Mac, Bob Blackmun at UNCCVM recommends GIF-converter 2.2.8 as being very solid with lots of capabilities for manipulating and storing files in various formats (PICT, TIFF, RIFF, EPS, and others). My tester verified that while the output options are nice, the program does not get along very well with Mac System 7.0. -------------------------------------------------- archie is not edu, it's ca One reader reported problems with connecting to the archie server at Dr. Chaos caught this problem immediately since he has watched me make the same mistake time and time again. McGill University is in Canada (the pink country to the north of us on the map) and therefore the network name ends with '.ca', not '.edu'. -------------------------------------------------- BinHex and StuffIt revealed (sit, hqx, et all) Tom Young of Cornell sent Dr. Chaos an explanation of the Macintosh utilities BinHex 4.0, BinHex 5.0, and Stuffit! that he posted to the info-mac list in February, 1990. It appears that one major confusion might arise from the fact that BinHex 4.0 is actually more advanced than BinHex 5.0. (The 4.0 version is the one that creates files with the .hqx extension.) If you download from a bulletib-board or archive site, a frequent problem is a reported "checksum error." The usual problem is that the posting is actually an e-mail message with the hqx file attached -- and BInHex 4.0 isn't smart enough to remove all the text above the line "This file must be converted using BinHex 4.0". Doing that by hand with word processor and saving the result as "text only" should allow BinHex 4.0 to decode it. Seemingly Random and Self Similar Things -------------------------------------------------- The famous Bill Gates memo Bill Gates, the Microsoft CEO, wrote a memo to his senior exective staff that was leaked to the press and has created lots of opportunities for "analysis" of Gates' psyche and Microsoft's health. Dr Chaos was able to obtain a copy of what is claimed to be the text from the memo. He assures me that the text seems to agree substantially with what has been reported (although it sounds a bit more reasonable in proper context). If you are interested, look for file gates-memo in the /pub directory on -------------------------------------------------- Site license for OSF software In case you are not aware (Dr Chaos assures me that he is ALWAYS aware!), Cornell is a member of the Open Software Foundation and has site licenses for the currently shipping OSF/1 and OSF/Motif products. OSF/Motif is currently at release 1.1 (compatible with X11R4), patch level 2 (otherwise known as 1.1.2). The next patch level (fixes about 150 bugs) is expected to start shipping sometime in August. Contact Steve LaSala if you are interested in obtaining access to this software ( While there is no cost, if you are associated with Cornell, there are some licensing restrictions that you need to agree to before you can get the software. -------------------------------------------------- COPYTAPE --- tape copying utility A utility named COPYTAPE is available (in public domain) that will copy tapes, preserving blocking structure and placement of tape marks, and it reportedly also provides information about the format of the input tape. Has anyone used this program and/or have any comments about it? According to "archie", a copy is located at in the /pub directory under the name copytape.tar. -------------------------------------------------- The GNU utilities The GNU Project (GNU is Not Unix -- yes, it's a recursive acronym) has released a number of Unix-like file utilities (cat, grep, chmod, chown, cp, etc.), and, like the other GNU software, they are available by anonymous FTP from in the /pub/gnu directory. GNU software is free from AT&T licensing restrictions, although you should read the copyleft (that's correct, copyleft) agreement before you use or make available GNU-based software. -------------------------------------------------- PostScript printer initialization Ever wonder how to print a PostScript file generated on a Macintosh from your Unix system on a PostScript printer that hasn't been initialized properly? There is a program on called macPs, it's in /ArchiveVol2/Postscript directory. Assuming that you have the Laser Prep file from a Mac, and the PostScript file you want to print, macPs will act as a filter and edit the prep file into the PostScript file at the appropriate point. Dr. Chaos suggests you could always just use a Mac to drive the LaserWriter ... anyone have some spare 128K Macs? -------------------------------------------------- Unix shell - tcsh If, in the Unix shell game, you are a devotee of tcsh, there is a new version available that is beiing distributed in full (for the first time) under the Berkeley copyright agreement. You can find it locally at in the file /pub/tcsh-6.00.tar.Z. For those of us with fumble fingers, one of the great things about tcsh over csh is the ability to easily do command recall and editing. Of course, Dr Chaos never mistypes a Unix commnad, so he doesn't need this feature. -------------------------------------------------- Viewing Postscript files in an X-Window Ever want to preview PostScript files easily in an X-Window? In a previous issue I referred to a PostScript (well, actually Ghostscript) previewer named ghostscript. There is now an X-Window user interface for Ghostscript available called GSPreview from [] under /contrib/gspreview1.0+wcl.tar.Z. The files for ghostscript are not included here, you have to get them from the same place you get the other GNU software -- in the /pub/gnu directory. GSPreview includes a small patch to ghostscript so the two programs can communicate. X11R4 is required, as is the Athena widget set. This software is announced as release 1.0 (beta) so there might be some rough edges. -------------------------------------------------- Update to Windows 3.0a available There was a possibly confusing item in the last Chaos Corner about an update to Windows 3.0a being available. Dr. Chaos has suggested an improved explanation, so we are going to try again. The update is at in the /pub/pc/win3/util directory. Because of some problems in the initial uploads, there are three (3) files that have to be retrieved (,, and Gerhard Rentschler at the University of Stuttgart wondered how to install updates and it activated Dr. Chaos to start cruising the network looking for the answer. Thanks to Holger Veit at the University of Duisberg we have the following answer: 1. Create a new directory, let's say C:\WININST; 2. Unzip WIN3A1.ZIP, WIN3A2.ZIP, WIN3A3.ZIP (in this sequence; allowing PKUNZIP to overwrite the old files) into this directory; 3. Do SUBST A: C:\WININST; and 4. Set A:, run A:SETUP, answering the questions correctly. The result, as Dr. Chaos can proudly verify, is a working Windows 3.0a. -------------------------------------------------- CPU utilization meter under Windows Some acquaintances of Dr. Chaos have been known to poke fun at his personal computer because it is not only air-cooled, but it doesn't have an indicator to show the CPU utilization. While the recent spell of hot weather has demonstrated the need for water-cooling, real help has come from another direction. Performance Meter 2.0 is a Windows 3.0 program that puts a small CPU utilization bar chart (similar to xload on Unix systems) in the upper right corner of the screen. The program can be found on in file /pub/pc/win3/util/ Dr. Chaos is already trying to figure out how to save the charts into an Excel spreadsheet so he can justify a CPU upgrade. -------------------------------------------------- Command line interface for Windows Several interesting programs Dr Chaos downloaded recently may help him eliminate his annoying habit of bringing up a fullscreen version of DOS every time he needs to do some file manipulation in Windows. Two programs, WINCLI and PSHELL bring the DOS command line to a window with scrollback and (in the case of PSHELL) most of the functionality of 4DOS (including command recall and editing). Another program, File Manager, puts up a window containing what appears to be to independently functioning "Open" dialog boxes with action buttons like "move" and "copy" between them. File Manager seems fairly easy to use and is certainly better than the program that comes with Windows 3.0! All programs are on in the /pub/pc/win3/util directory. PSHELL is in; File Manager is in, and WINCLI is in -------------------------------------------------- WinQVT/Net -- TCP/IP clients for Windows The Windows program Dr. Chaos favors for network access (WinQVT/Net) has just been updated again. SIMTEL20 (and mirror sites like have version 1.73, but version 1.8 has just appeared at in the /pub/pc/win3/util directory under the name The new version has a two-statement script language allowing you to fire up telnet sessions and logon to hosts during the Windows startup (you can also change the foreground and background colors on the FTP and NNTP screens). -------------------------------------------------- Solar Eclipse GIF files While some people were traveling to various parts of the world to view the recent solar eclipse, Dr Chaos viewed the eclipse from a different perspective -- that of the GEOS weather satellite. A series of striking (black and white, unfortunately) satellite photos is stored on in the phil.515 directory. SOLAR17Z.GIF through SOLAR21Z.GIF (the number is the approximate Greenwich Mean Time of the photo - Zulu) is a series of pictures as the shadow of the moon moved across the earth from Hawaii, across Mexico and South America. -------------------------------------------------- Online Card Catalog access under Windows For those of you who would rather conduct searches of library card catalogs than view pretty pictures, there is a newly announced hypertext viewing program that runs under Windows 3.0 and provides connection and search information for the On-Line Public Access Catalogs (OPACs). The software is called CATALIST and it is available from ZEBRA.ACS.UDEL.EDU in the directory pub/library. You will not be able to list the directory, but you can get the readme.txt file that explains how to get everything else you need. Dr. Chaos hasn't had a chance to unpack the files yet, but it does look promising. -------------------------------------------------- Free NFS server software for the PC Dr. Chaos loves connecting his machines together and trying to discover new, unnatural acts for them to perform. The latest activity (performed in the dead of the night) was to NFS mount his PCs hard disk on his Unix system and (gasp) back up the disk to an 8mm tape! It all worked after only about 20 tries (not the fault of the software), and, in fact, the files we discuss here can often be found in the /pub/puffin directory of -- and that directory is REALLY /pub of the DOS/WIndows machine The NFS server software, soss (Son of Sam's Server), can be found on in the /pub/msdos/tcpip directory. The file soss.zoo contains source and executables, and sossexe.zoo contains just the executables. Get for more information. Unfortunately, the software doesn't cooperate with WinQVT/NET, so the puffin directory is present when Dr. Chaos isn't "doing" Windows. Now, the REAL reason for bringing this up is that the aforementioned directory contains some VERY important files ... back issues of ..(you guessed it!).. * Chaos Corner * -- they can be found under the user-friendly names of ccv01n**. where ** is the edition number, and is doc for the winword document, mac for the Macintosh Word format document, and txt for the plain text file. -------------------------------------------------- High speed modems and maximum data rates Ever wonder what is maximum data rate that can be achieved over current voice-grade lines? The current bottleneck (according to the discussion on the comp.dcom.modems newgroup) is the analog-to-digital converter used in the central office. Based on the rate that the converter (called the CODEC) samples the analog line, the maximum data rate is about 22-24Kbps -- of course, that does not take into account any compression the modems may be doing for you. Dr. Chaos was heartened by the possibility of a modem speedup by a factor of 10 over what he is currently using. -------------------------------------------------- BBS numbers for modem manufacturers If you are buying any of the new modems high speed modeme, you should know that many manufacturers have bulletin-board systems available for you to call and receive software, tips, and customer support. Some of the numbers are: Hayes Public BBS 404-446-6336 BBS/email&messages Hayes Public BBS 800-874-2937 BBS/Tech Support Intel 800-538-3373 Tech Support Intel Support 503-645-6275 BBS Telebit Corp. 800-835-3248 Tech Support U.S. Robotics 708-982-5092 BBS Everex 415-438-4650 There are also some cute numbers like 1-800-DIAL-USR, or 1-800-US-HAYES, but Dr. Chaos doesn't like to talk about them. -------------------------------------------------- Info on making your computer noisy As a change in pace from displaying pictures, your computer can also make a variety of sounds. To help you know more about what is available, there is an online newletter carrying information on such topics as: -- Midi BBS listing (issue 4) -- FTP sites that carry sound files and players -- Reviews of new sound software -- Questions asked about playing sound files -- Latest in sound hardware Dr Chaos has not extended his environmental pollution to include the aural sense (yet) -- it is just a little chilling to hear HAL's voice come out of the speaker on your computer. At any rate, the issues of the sound newsletter can be found on in the mirrors/misc/sound directory in the files sound1.txt -- sound5.txt. The program in is supposed to allow PCs to play Mac sound files, and contains a "point-and-shoot" interface for remac. The 5th issue of the newsletter contains a list of FTP sites and BSSs for sound files. Quiet! (or, if you leave in California, Peace!) Dr. Chaos (I have a Master's Degree) Send requests to to get on the e-mail list.


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