Chaos Corner V03 N06 8 October 1993 Copyright 1993 by Robert D. Cowles; Ithaca, NY 14850.

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

Skeptic Tank!

Chaos Corner V03 N06 8 October 1993 Copyright 1993 by Robert D. Cowles; Ithaca, NY 14850. Permission is hereby granted to republish complete issues in unaltered form. Republication of partial issues must reference the source and state that subscriptions to Chaos Corner are available (free) by sending electronic mail to -------------------------------------------------- Welcome to 175 New Subscribers For those who wonder if we have been completely idle here in the Corner, since it has been almost two months since the last issue ... if nothing else we have been victims of our own success with many requests for files and an unprecedented number of new subscriptions! Chaos Corner has doubled in size just this year to over 1000 subscribers. -------------------------------------------------- Puffin is no longer an ftp site Some earlier issues of Chaos Corner referred people to files stored on ... that site was maintained somewhat out of perversity to see if we could provide an anonymous FTP site running on a DOS/Windows machine. While it was a challenge for a while, after converting the machine to OS/2 and IBM's TCP/IP the system just runs and no longer provides a challenge. Since we are under some pressure to reduce the number of machines we maintain, puffin will soon disappear and you should look on for back issues of Chaos Corner in the /pub directory. -------------------------------------------------- All mail order is not the same -- beware We have had several mail order experiences in the past two months. In one case Dr. Chaos started worrying about the future availability of memory for our ThinkPad and thought we should call around and get the best deal before prices went too high. The second experience was that of ordering the new version IBM's TCP/IP (2.0). Ordering Memory from Nevada Computer (They run full page ads in the back of PC Week) .... Sequence of Events: August 18 (Wed) Ordered Memory for $259 + 8.25 shipping - was told it would ship the following day (Thu.). At this time, a charge for $297.25 was posted to my credit card. August 24 (Tue) Called to say memory had not arrived. Was told that the memory had shipped on Friday, August 20. August 25 (Wed) Called to say memory had not arrived. Was told that UPS shipping time was 5-7 days from Nevada to New York. I asked what I had been charged and was told $297.25. I pointed out that that was the wrong amount, the person I spoke to checked and agreed and said he would enter a note for me to be credited the $30 ... it would happen on Friday, Aug 27th and they would fax me a confirmation. August 31 (Tue) Called to say memory had not arrived. Carl told me it had been shipped on August 27th, 2nd day air, and that it should be there the following day. I asked if they normally got three day service for 2nd day air. (Some general mutterings about UPS service was the only response.) I asked about the credit and there was no record of it going through. I once again asked that it be put through since by now I had received the credit card statement. September 1 (Wed) Called to say the memory had not arrived. Was told by Carl that it had gone UPS ground, had been shipped on the 27th, and I could expect it in 5-7 business days. I asked that the whole amount for the memory be credited to my account and they re-bill me for the proper amount, $267.25. Was told it would be taken care of on Friday and that a notation would be made in the record. I also asked that I be faxed a confirmation that it was done. Also talked with the manager (Mark) so it was clear what needed to happen. September 8 (Wed) Called to say that memory had not arrived. After waiting on hold for 10 minutes to talk to the manager (Mark) I called back and spoke to Neil (Neal?). I explained that they could still recover if I had the memory by Friday (eg, send it to me by Federal Express) and if they straightened out the charge to my credit card. September 10 (Fri) Called Visa to see if any credit had been posted to my account. None had. It has now been over 3 weeks since I ordered, and they have been unable to get me the memory and have been unable to get the charged amount correct. As a point of reference, throughout this time, their ad in PC Week carried a price of $259+8.25. September 12 (Sun) A visitor pointed out there was a box from Nevada Computer on the front porch. September 13 (Mon) 10:15a Talked to Dave ... getting the credit shouldn't be a problem if I talked with Mark, the manager. I should call back at about 12:30. 1:15p Talked to Mark. He claimed that the credit had been issued on the 8th, and that it just took a while for it to show up at the credit card company. He also explained that the memory had shipped to me on August 30 (!) because it had been backordered (!). He never remembered having talked to me before so he didn't remember any of the other dates I had been told that the memory had shipped, or that I had never been told that the memory was backordered. We had a fairly unpleasant exchange about the credit for the overcharge and it ended when he said he would mail me confirmation that the credit had been sent in. 1:30p Verified that the credit had not been posted to the credit card company. September 20 (Mon) 2:20p Verified that the credit had been posted on September 15 (Wed) and processed by the credit card company on Friday, September 17. Sorry to have put you through all that ... but I promised them that I would let you all know how much pleasure I had in dealing with them. The other experience (ordering TCP/IP) was with Indelible Blue, a company in North Carolina that specializes in OS/2 software. While they didn't have the product right away, they told me that was the case, and they didn't charge my credit card until the day AFTER shipping the product. (Just a satisfied customer -- 800-776-8284, 919-834-7005). -------------------------------------------------- Mailbag - Mail Delay Explained With respect to the mail delays going on across the Internet when we sent out the last issue of Chaos Corner, our sources tell us that a subscriber to the White House news summaries located in Japan requested all 1000+ articles and gave as an electronic address something that couldn't receive mail. My informant claims that the message bouncing was discovered and stopped in Washington DC at 9:20 AM, but the messages continued to flow throughout the day. -------------------------------------------------- Frog on Glass? Joe Morris at Mitre Corporation points out that we should be seeing an exciting new book in the bookstores. Aimed at kindergartners, the book is called _Kermit Learns Windows_. What will happen next? Perhaps a book that explains that purple dinosaurs with three fingers find that MacOS with a one-button mouse is the easiest to use? -------------------------------------------------- Mailbag - gzip is NOT zip or pkzip David Camp points out that gzip is not a clone of zip or pkzip; rather it uses its own, completely different compression algorithm (hence the file extension of '.gz' rather than '.zip'). -------------------------------------------------- Ever wonder if CallerID is active for you? In North America there is a facility that is becoming available that lets the called person know the telephone number of the calling person. People aren't always aware that they are no longer anonymous when they make calls, or they may have requested that CallerID be blocked for them and wonder if the block has really been put into effect. If you call (from North America) 1-800-852-9932, a digitized voice will tell you the number you are calling from (if CallerID is active for you). -------------------------------------------------- Want to find out more about COSE? A number of Unix vendors have banded together (under the threat of Windows NT from Microsoft) and are attempting to end some of the incompatibilities that have plagued Unix over the years. One of the first specifications available from the consortium is the Common Interface Specification (COSE CIS). The Open Software Foundation is distributing the specification at no charge ... either call OSF Direct at 617-621-7300 or send an electronic mail request to They request that you include your surface mail address. -------------------------------------------------- Interested in free faxing? A Internet Fax services are being set up and provide the capability to send free faxes to certain areas. People that want to sign up to provide the service can limit the area that they serve to just the local community. For a current list of the areas served, send electronic mail to and write to for more information. -------------------------------------------------- Information on the PowerPC A list of frequently asked questions about the Macintosh version of the PowerPC is being developed and is posted every two weeks to the newsgroup comp.sys.mac.hardware. Another source of information is the free magazine RS/Magazine ... write to RS/Magazine, PO Box 3272, Lowell MA 01853-9876 (fax number 508-256-9864). Last but not least, IBM is in the process of producing a second volume of its Technology Book about its POWER architecture. A draft of the book can be found on the server in the /pub/rs6kpapers as (look for compressed versions there too). -------------------------------------------------- Incomplete Guide to the Internet The July edition of "The Incomplete Guide to the Internet and Other Telecommunications Opportunities Especially for Teachers and Students, K-12" is available from Look in the directory /Education/Education_Resources for copies of the Guide in a variety of formats: PostScript, RTF, WinWord, Mac Hqx compressed, and text. -------------------------------------------------- Microsoft is on the Internet! Tired of listening to music while waiting in the Microsoft support queues? Tired of paying CompuServe for the pleasure of searching the Microsoft Knowledge Base? It is now available on the Internet! As of October 4th, the Microsoft Support files are accessible on the server including Knowledge Base articles AND both supported and unsupported drivers, patches, and files associated with various Microsoft products. Congratulations to Microsoft for providing this service! -------------------------------------------------- Books Books Books Prentice-Hall has opened their online store. Look at for catalogs covering an increasing number of subject areas. They also accept orders electronically .... get the order form from the directory /pub/ptrph_cat/net.comm (get either ord-int.lst or ord-na.lst depending on whether or not you live in North America). -------------------------------------------------- French News Available online? We have an unsubstantiated report that it is possible to subscribe to a online French news service by sending mail to: with the Subject: INSCRIPTION (and no message body). Can any kind reader verify this? -------------------------------------------------- FTP archive sites on the move Since our last issue, the archive site for the X-Window consortium has moved from to become the easier to remember ( The other change is a sad report that after a number of years of threatened cutbacks, the US Military has finally closed down the huge PC archive site, SIMTEL20. SIMTEL20 was mirrored at a number of other sites and the most official copy of the last state of the archive is at Arrangements are being made for a replacement site but nothing beyond that has been announced. Another recent loss is the site that distributed hourly GIF files giving US weather information. When Hurricane Emily was approaching the eastern coast of the US, so many people were retrieving files that the computer was unable to service the requests. As a result, the service was removed and the hourly weather maps are not available from that site. They are, however, available from in the directory multimedia/images/wx. -------------------------------------------------- Files available from Dr. Chaos Need to know the sound frequencies associated with various musical notes? Dr. Chaos not only has the frequency list, but the C program that generates the list. For you mainframe or ex-mainframe programmers out there, Herb Hellerman at Amdahl has produced a chronology of the IBM System/370 market from its roots through 1990. A list of vendors for Object-Oriented DataBase Systems; a guide to games on the PC; a list of Frequently asked questions about Wolfenstein 3D; and Frequently Asked Questions about PS/2 computers. -------------------------------------------------- Get you Free Subscription Here! Just send a message to Dr. Chaos - and ask to be put on the subscription list. It's that easy. Don't delay ---- act now! Dr. Chaos (I have a Master's degree ....) .


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank