WCO's setup for PPP:
To call WCO's system (see local numbers on inside front cover), you can use the same modem settings you would use to call a BBS. When you dial WCO's system, you will see a menu showing (for now) 3 options: 1) BBS; 2) Unix Shell; 3) New User.
1) BBS: This is a good starting point. The BBS is full-featured and the Bulletins have Internet tutorials. Also, from the BBS you can move to the Unix Shell.
2) Unix Shell: This moves you right into a Unix shell login. For best results, some Unix knowledge is helpful. The shell gives full text-based Internet access.
3) New User: This sets up a new account on the BBS, giving you information about our Internet services. Once you answer the initial questions, you can access the BBS with option 1 on your next call. You can sign up online for full Internet access.
PPP/SLIP: These Internet sessions are automated. The same screen with 3 choices appear, but instead of picking one of the three choices, your computer software takes over. After a successful PPP connection, no activity will be seen on your computer until you start TCP/IP client software such as Mosaic.
WCO does not lock you into a single software package. While proprietary packages are easier for the beginner to use, they can (sometimes dramatically) limit your Internet access. What you need for PPP/SLIP: You will need TCP/IP "socket" software for your computer. Your best bet may be to buy a book that includes a software disk or CD. This combination gives you the software you need with documentation, tools, and a guidebook to what's out there to explore.
All software packages require setup information. When you join WCO's Internet service, we work with you to setup your connection. The new generation of graphical Internet tools require some "tweaking", but once you configure things, you are ready for a world of exploration!
Something about the end of the calendar year, perhaps the drive home from work in the dark, thanks to Daylight Losing Time, makes men want to buy a new car and to upgrade their software to the latest version. (Yes, I did write men, as the effect appears to be gender specific.) The auto looked at, test-driven, and yearned for, is usually small, sporty, and brightly colored. The auto purchased is usually larger, more practical for family use, and less expensive. Software upgrades are sometimes bought in the same manner.
There was a report a few years ago that productivity in the United States has decreased since the advent of the PC in 1981. I think the decrease is due to everyone having to relearn all of the keystrokes and mouse movements every year, as new upgrades (version creep) are loaded onto their machines.
Windows has been a tremendous contributor to the decline in useful work output, between the choices of background colors, screen savers, font types, and the Unexplained Application Errors in v3.0, replaced by General Protection Faults in v3.1. Productivity is not helped by the lack of a bell when it's time to change disks in most installation or diskcopy programs.
Solitaire was brought to Windows from the Mac so first-time mouse users could practice hand-eye-mouse-click coordination. Many games have a Boss key to bring up a fake spreadsheet on the screen in case you're playing during company time.
I started with SuperCalc (SC) on a CP/M machine, graduated to Multiplan (MP), and moved both of those to the IBM PC. Then I saw Lotus 123. Wow! Color graphs, multiple fonts, spreadsheets larger than 64K! I grudgingly learned new keystroke sequences and math formulas to replace the ones I'd painstakingly debugged in SC or MP. Then, Quattro Pro came out at an unbelievably low price, with no annoying copy protection, and more powerful math functions. And - the keystrokes could be the same as 123, SC, or MP.
I kept Multiplan around because it could be used across platforms, on the Mac, CP/M or DOS. I paid $30 - $40 every couple of years, usually direct to Borland, for their Quattro upgrades, which could read and write 123 files, as long as you didn't use the unique Quattro math functions. If I saved my .WQ1 files as .WK1 (Lotus 123), the formulas were converted into numeric values.
When Excel for Windows came out, I tried it. I didn't like having to enter =, +, or - to start a formula (e.g. if I entered 5/8 in Quattro I saw 0.625 on the screen.) I also preferred to hit F2 to edit the cell I had highlighted, not mouse up to the upper-left and double-click. I see that the "New Improved" Quattro 6 for Windows now requires =, +, or - to start a formula, unless it's a date. Now, Excel 5 lets me hit F2 to edit a cell. Excel also reads my Quattro .WQ1 files.
So, what's there to get excited about with the new model year? Quattro 6 for Windows now has OLE 2 Client/Server links and Formula Composer, "a dialog box that lets you see what your changes do to the data." (It does not have 123 keystrokes anymore, "thanks" to a court decision.) Excel has 123 strokes (how come?), 3 "Wizards" (compared to Quattro's 30 "Experts"), and is compatible with the Mac version.
Lotus has been regularly improving their product. Version 5 of 123 for Windows is being released as an upgrade, with a street price of $99 (with a $30 rebate coupon). It's advertised as the only spreadsheet that's completely compatible with 123 for DOS and all earlier versions of 123 for Windows. Wow!
For $149, Lotus also bundles in their Approach v3.0 database. Last, but not least, Lotus offers Smart Suite, bundling all of the above with Ami Pro v3.1, Freelance Graphics v2.1, and Organizer v1.1 upgrade for $299. (Call 1-800-TRADE-UP, ext. 8848 to get a free demo disk of v5 of 123, or ext. 8849 to get a free Lotus Product Gallery CD.)
Corel is reported to be bringing out a new 32-bit suite for Windows 95, which will include OLE2.x, Wordstar (newly acquired), Chart, Presentation, CorelDraw, and networking support. It will be distributed only on CD-ROM. Of course, you need to have a CD-ROM to install the disks, which adds another facet to your hardware needs. I suspect that Microsoft has invested in the DRAM, video accelerator, floppy and hard disk markets, since each upgrade of their software requires upgrades in those items. Add CD-ROM to that list.
There are hints that CD-ROM may be the latest version of copy protection. In high volume, it costs less to produce a CD-ROM than a single 1.44 M floppy. Microsoft, Novell, and others are reported to be readying CD-ROM Suite packs, which contain all of the coordinated products, with most of them enabled only as demonstration versions.
Once you decide that you want the full-blown version of an application, you call and give them your credit card number and they give you a password that unlocks the particular files on your CD-ROM. That's a sneaky way to bypass the reseller's income stream. I wonder how soon the passwords will appear on the Internet forums? Or will they include a personalized floppy with an embedded serial number to keep you from using a free password (then a copy of the personal file, with its password, will probably appear on the boards.)
There is also talk of a special format used on Microsoft's 3.5 distribution floppy disks - 1.7 MB, 21 sectors - which can't be copied or formatted by PCs. The disks load a reader program that allows the software to be installed. There is a freeware TSR to permit copy and format of these disks on Compuserve already. Older 3.5 floppy drives might have problems with these disks...
There have been lots of articles about upgrading your PC with a faster microprocessor chip or upgrade module. The economics of the upgrade don't make a lot of sense to me. What's the advantage of taking a perfectly good DOS machine and making it into a poorly equipped Windows machine? If you really want to run Windows, you should have a 386 CPU, 8 MB DRAM, a video accelerator graphic card, and a fast (14 msec) hard drive. A math co-processor isn't needed unless you're doing CAD or math intensive programs.
The typical price for a 286-to-386 (486SLC) upgrade chip is $289. For that price you can get an AMD 486 DX2-66 on a VLB board with 256K cache. If you upgrade the CPU chip in an AT with 1MB DRAM, a slow hard drive, and EGA video, you are putting a Porsche engine in a VW Beetle. It screams away from traffic lights, but overall, it's still a Bug. If you already have a 386 or 486, you can install Intel's OverDrive replacements. These chips fit in the extra socket on the newer motherboards, turning off the original CPU chip. The same thing happens when you put a 486DX chip into a board that has a 486SX, as the crippled (no math coprocessor) SX is turned off.
What a waste - why don't they utilize the power of the original chip to do steady things like keyboard monitoring, interrupt control, memory management and disc buffering? It seems unproductive to disable a working device so that a faster device can do all of its work. Why not have a multi-processing system?
Page 21 had ads for Liberty (www.liberty.com), the Construction Bid Source and Terminal One BBSs, and Atlantis Internet.
Even before I needed one of these support groups myself, I had been fascinated by their existence. One of the more seductive features of being online is the false sense of intimacy it engenders, but there's nothing false about the camraderie here. People who participate regularly soon start talking about their jobs and their families, along with their medical problems and their doctor visits. New participants are probably taken aback with how close some of these groups seem to be, but newcomers, too, are warmly welcomed into the fold.
Some types of groups are more useful than others. A couple of years ago, alt.support.cancer appeared as the first designated support group on Usenet (although other groups, such as misc.handicap and alt.recovery already existed). This group has never had very much traffic because of the big differences in cancer diagnoses and treatment in the population. The arthritis groups online suffer a little from the fact that there are a number of different types of arthritis and few treatments for any of them, so the bonds of shared experience are weakened. And the turnover is high in any group where the condition is not chronic.
But people suffering from chronic medical conditions, and even chronic psychological conditions such as depression, have a good chance of finding a group or a mailing list especially for them. People readily share their stories and talk about their experiences with diagnosis and treatment. This comparison of medical care not infrequently leads participants to finding more informed doctors, and to people being much more proactive in the management of their conditions. Discussion of efficacy of drugs is also very useful in that it gives participants some information before they decide whether or not to invest the time and money trying out expensive and often marginally effective treatments.
Some groups have doctor - participants similarly afflicted and their participation helps keep down noise and speculation over useless treatments. But this doesn't necessarily rule out discussion of alternative treatments. Some people with multiple sclerosis, for example, want to know about the controversial therapies, such as bee-venom therapy and replacement of amalgam teeth fillings. The experiences of some are recounted for others to read and from which to draw their own conclusions.
And since we don't know who's reading the groups, there are often surprises, such as the day an anesthesiologist gave up his lurker status on the multiple sclerosis group to answer a complex question that a reader had posed about anesthesia. The only down side to the way many Usenet support groups are set up is that most of them (not all) are in the alt.* hierarchy, and are not accepted into all Internet sites. Ask your Internet provider.
John Grohol publishes
the Psychology & Support Groups Newsgroup Pointer
every two weeks, and it's automatically posted to the
support newsgroups. He's done a great job of keeping
up with them all. To retrieve the current list:
ftp rtfm.mit.edu. "psychology-and-support" is in the
This is the most current list:
Perception, memory, judgment & reasoning - sci.cognitive
Medicine amp; related products amp; regulations - sci.med
Medical discussion of AIDS amp; HIV - sci.med.aids (m)
Nutrition amp; diet - sci.med.nutrition
Dialog amp; news in psychiatry amp; psychobiology - sci.med.psychobiology
General psychology - sci.psychology
Research issues in psychology - sci.psychology.research (m)
Digest of general issues in psychology - sci.psychology.digest (m)
Diabetes, hypoglycemia - misc.health.diabetes
General discussion of AIDS amp; HIV - misc.health.aids
General help with psychological problems - alt.psychology.help
Personality taxonomies/assessment/models - alt.psychology.personality
Recovering from all types of abuse - alt.abuse.recovery
Recovery for abuse offenders/perpetrators - alt.abuse.offender.recovery
Alternate models of dealing with abuse - alt.abuse.transcendence
General topics in recovery - alt.recovery
Recovering from sexual addictions - alt.recovery.addiction.sexual
Codependency - alt.recovery.codependency
Recovering from the effects of religion - alt.recovery.religion
Recovering from sexual abuse - alt.sexual.abuse.recovery
Moderated version:alt.sexual.abuse.recovery - alt.abuse-recovery (m)
Partners of childhood sexual abuse survivors - alt.support.abuse-partners
Anxiety and panic disorders - alt.support.anxiety-panic
Arthritis - alt.support.arthritis
Asthma - alt.support.asthma
Attention-deficit disorders - alt.support.attn-deficit
Fat-acceptance with no dieting talk - alt.support.big-folks
Cancer - alt.support.cancer
Cerebral palsy - alt.support.cerebral-palsy
Crohn's disease amp; ulcerative colitis - alt.support.crohns-colitis
Depression amp; mood disorders - alt.support.depression
Developmental delay - alt.support.dev-delays
Parents amp; family of children with diabetes - alt.support.diabetes.kids
Dieting/losing weight/nutrition - alt.support.diet
Persons w/ dissociative disorders (eg.-MPD) - alt.support.dissociation
Divorce/marital breakups - alt.support.divorce
Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, etc.) - alt.support.eating-disord
Epilepsy - alt.support.epilepsy
Former cult members amp; family amp; friends - alt.support.ex-cult
Disorders of migraine and headache ailments - alt.support.headaches.migraine
Learning disabilities (eg.-dyslexia, etc.) - alt.support.learning-disab
Loneliness - alt.support.loneliness
Multiple sclerosis - alt.support.mult-sclerosis
Effects of second-hand smoke - alt.support.non-smokers
Like above, but moderated (m) - alt.support.non-smokers.moderated
Obesity - alt.support.obesity (m)
Post polio syndrome - alt.support.post-polio
Individuals with prostatitis - alt.support.prostate.prostatitis
Issues of interest to short people - alt.support.short
Shyness - alt.support.shyness
Sleep disorders amp; problems sleeping - alt.support.sleep-disorder
Social phobias - alt.support.social-phobia
Spina-bifida - alt.support.spina-bifida
Help being a step-parent - alt.support.step-parents
Stopping or quitting smoking - alt.support.stop-smoking
Stuttering amp; other speaking difficulties - alt.support.stuttering
Issues of interest to tall people - alt.support.tall
(including Marfan syndrome) Tinnitus/ringing ears/other head noises - alt.support.tinnitus
Tourette's syndrome - alt.support.tourette
Transgendered amp; intersexed persons - soc.support.transgendered - alt.transgendered
Other support topics amp; questions - alt.support
For all interested or involved w/ adoption - alt.adoption
Causes amp; treatment of infertility - alt.infertility
Self-improvement tips amp; techniques - alt.self-improve
People far from average height - alt.sigma2.height
Causes amp; treatment of allergies - alt.med.allergy
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) - alt.med.cfs (m)
Fibromyalgia fibrosis - alt.med.fibromyalgia
Page 22 had ads for the Internet Roundtable Society, and DSP Internet (www.dsp.net).
Internet Access, based in San Francisco, is a pioneering company that produces Internet multimedia events, including MONK magazine's SF party, the Burning Man extravaganza in the Nevada desert, and the MBONE (Multi-casting backbone, an Internet link between about 1,000 workstations) broadcast of the Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge concert. In the words of founder Alfredo Lusa, "virtually, anything is possible."
Recently, internet access produced "In Search of Atlantis," an hour-long cybertour dive off the coast of Hawaii, broadcasted live over the Internet. The underwater excursion explored the Atlantis wreck, a sunken WWII vessel. The videotape of this event will be presented at Mecklermedia's Internet World 1995, to be held in San Francisco in April. Along with the video, the logistics of the operation, including HSD Cylink radio modems, underwater cables, multi-cast video conferencing, and open water diving will be discussed. Besides conducting seminars throughout the Bay Area, Internet Access is pushing the envelope in the field of cybertour videoconferencing with the use of CU-SeeMe software.
CU-SeeMe is freeware for the Mac and PC. With cameras and digitizers, CU-SeeMe enables videoconferencing over (e.g., Internet) networks. CU-SeeMe was developed by Cornell University and you can ftp it from gated.cornell.edu (cd /pub/video).
Internet access is developing a Web site to serve as headquarters for CU-SeeMe activities. A reflector is a CU-SeeMe server to which people can log on (20-50 a time) and see and talk to each other. Internet access is working with several organizations to create a continuously-updated CU-SeeMe listserv to provide schedules for times and reflectors.
Many people wonder about the information superhighway, asking what is it? Where is it? Who is responsible? Well, the infobahn is the land of do-it-yourself. It's rest stops are collections of works by many people using a variety of media, such as software and CD-ROM applications, information archives, and communiques between individuals and groups of individuals.
Every Sunday from 10am to Noon on 1080am, creative personalities and industry professionals meet to talk about recent and future developments in the new desktop communications media. Current and past guests include Eric Roberts, president of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR); Carla Sinclair and Mark Fraenfelder, the editors of bOING bOING Magazine, Eric Theise of the Internet Crash Course series; and Visionary Stampede, a San Francisco Bay Area CD-ROM project. In weeks to come, fans will hear about videoconferencing and "The Virtual Trade Show", plus business on the Internet.
RadioNet is the brainchild of Executive Producer Cynthia Zwerling. She promises, "You'll discover interesting new ways to use your computer to learn, meet new people, and get involved." Every week, fearless John Bates, the Silicon Surfer, gives the cyber surf report about cool Internet destinations. RadioNet is the forum for low tech talk about high tech.
Page 23 had ads for Wolfgang Henke Networks (www.whnet.com), Tiger Team (www.wenet.net/~csangha/), Nitelog / Red Shift (www.redshift.com), Party Line (www.partyline.com), and the Roadkill Grill, iNFormation Exchange, California Systems, Catalina Avenue, and Sacramento Pacific Exchange BBSs.
Pages 24-26 had listings of hundreds of BBSs.
Pages 24-27 had ads for the Searchlight of San Luis Obispo, Dragon Keep International (www.dkeep.com), The Association of Online Professionals (www.aop.org), GTEK (www.gtek.com), CD Optix, DC-to-Light, and MTR Electronics.
Page 28 had a full-page ad for the WCO Internet Service.
End of Issue 22. Go back, or to
Issue 23, or to
Mark's home page.