[mod.mag.fidonet] FidoNET Newsletter, Volume 4, # 12

pozar@hoptoad.UUCP (03/31/87)

     Volume 4, Number 12                                 30 March 1987
     |                                                  _            |
     |                                                 /  \          |
     |                                                /|oo \         |
     |        - FidoNews -                           (_|  /_)        |
     |                                                _`@/_ \    _   |
     |        International                          |     | \   \\  |
     |     FidoNet Association                       | (*) |  \   )) |
     |         Newsletter               ______       |__U__| /  \//  |
     |                                 / FIDO \       _//|| _\   /   |
     |                                (________)     (_/(_|(____/    |
     |                                                     (jm)      |
     Editor in Chief:                                   Thom Henderson
     Chief Procrastinator Emeritus:                       Tom Jennings

     FidoNews is the official newsletter of the International  FidoNet
     Association,  and is published weekly by SEAdog Leader, node 1/1.
     You  are  encouraged  to  submit  articles  for  publication   in
     FidoNews.  Article submission standards are contained in the file
     ARTSPEC.DOC,  available from  node  1/1.

     Copyright (C) 1987,  by the  International  FidoNet  Association.
     All  rights  reserved.  Duplication and/or distribution permitted
     for noncommercial purposes only.  For use in other circumstances,
     please contact IFNA.

                             Table of Contents

        Thanks from TJ
     2. ARTICLES
        Allied Health Teleconference Network
        Proposed Bylaws for the Intergalactic Sysop Alliance
        PROPOSAL: Another Addressing Scheme for FIDONET
        Satellite Fido - Update
        Announcing a New Mensa Echo!
     3. COLUMNS
        Column Without a Name
        A Discussion on ASSEMBLER Language
     4. NOTICES
        The Interrupt Stack
        Packet Switching Networks

     Fidonews                     Page 2                   30 Mar 1987


     Tom Jennings

             This is a long overdue letter of  thanks  to  the  people
     who've nominated me for the Andy Fleugelman award.  My long delay
     in writing this probably comes across as rude,  and  for  that  I
     apologize. I really do appreciate the nomination.

             The  timing  is pleasantly odd;  I'm suffering from plain
     old programmer burnout,  plus making major decisions as to what I
     want to do with myself,  etc not related to anything Fido.  Also,
     physical things like no computer (due to major  construction  for
     the  last  few  months  - we stopped last week) makes it tougher.
     Computers have lost all their fun for me,  so  it's  time  for  a
     *long*  break.  (skateboarding  is  much  more  interesting,  and
     everyone says it's foolish and a  waste  of  time,  enhancing  my
     enjoyment  that  much more.) It's nice to get this at a time when
     things are becoming un-fun.

             Rumor  killing  information:  v12  is  not  dead,  merely
     excruciatingly  late.  It  will be ready this summer (I think I'm
     nearly a YEAR late at this point ...),  the software  is  working
     fairly  well,  I'm  finishing  some  stuff in the Fido area,  the
     FidoNet stuff working fairly well.  I'm backing  out  some  major
     features for a future minor rev,  in the interests of getting out
     a reliable program that meets all needs.  Unlimited nodes  (32767
     cubed) much faster, etc.  Manual is coming out nice. Details at a
     later date.

             When it's nearly ready,  I'll announce to Fido Software's
     customers  by mail,  and IFNA members via this,  of what the full
     story is, with all the details.

             Anyways,  things have obviously changed a  lot  in  three
     years, the net is nearly unrecognizable to me (not a complaint!),
     and I'm glad to see things are changing and growing. One of these
     days  I'll  run  another  Fido/FidoNet in the net,  but not for a
     while ...

             And once again thanks to everyone for the nomination, and
     to everyone else who makes the net run smoothly!

                             Tom Jennings
                             San Francisco
                             20 Mar 87


     Fidonews                     Page 3                   30 Mar 1987


     Bill Hliwa, Sysop
     The Med Tech FIDO (260/10)
     State University of New York at Buffalo

                  The Allied Health Teleconference Network

          The Allied Health Teleconference Network (AHTN)  is  in  the
     planning  phase and participants are now being sought.  This will
     be a specialized EchoMail conference  covering  topics  including
     but not limited to:

               Medical Technology (Laboratory Science)
               Physical Therapy
               Exercise Science
               Occupational Therapy
               Health Education
               Biomedical Engineering

          We would like to see as many participants as possible "state
     side", but are also very interested in locating practitioners and
     educators in other parts of the world.  External funding is being
     secured for  this three  year study,  so that we plan to POLL all
     participants for their mail (anywhere in the world!).

          Discussions will be moderated and  we  hope  to  arrange for
     "guest speakers" who will answer user's questions and add insight
     to current topics.

          o    Is your  board  based  in  a  clinical health

          o    Is your board at a university or college with
               a school of Allied Health or  programs in any
               of the above disciplines?

          o    Do  you  have  users  with  backgrounds in an
               Allied Health field?

          o    Do you know of a local university, college or
               hospital   that   might   be   interested  in
               participating through your board?

          If you can answer  `yes' to  any of  these questions, please
     contact me,  Bill Hliwa,  at The  Med Tech  FIDO (260/10) or land
     mail at:

               William R. Hliwa, Jr., Cl. Asst. Prof.
               State University of New York at Buffalo
               Dept. of Medical Technology, AA107
               462 Grider Street
     Fidonews                     Page 4                   30 Mar 1987

               Buffalo, NY  14215


     Fidonews                     Page 5                   30 Mar 1987

                             PROPOSED BYLAWS
                                 for the

     This document contains the proposed bylaws of an organization  to
     be known as the Intergalactic Sysop Alliance,  herein referred to
     as ISA.

      1. ISA shall exist solely to serve the Knights of ISA,  and such
         others as the Knights shall desire served.

      2. The following orders of Knights are established:

         A. The  Order  of  the  Golden  Dawn.   To  be  eligible,  an
            applicant must be the system operator in good standing  of
            a  PUBLIC  ACCESS  node,  and  must  have  paid any tithes
            required.  A Knight of the Order of  the  Golden  Dawn  is
            entitled to one vote.

         B. The  Order  of  Mercantile  Grammarie.  Any  entity  which
            profits by the existence or operation of the Intergalactic
            Sysop Alliance shall be eligible  to  join  the  Order  of
            Mercantile  Grammarie  by  paying the required tithes.  If
            said entity would otherwise be eligible for the  Order  of
            the Golden Dawn, then it shall be entitled to one vote.

         C. The Order of the Rose and Cross.  The Council of Lords may
            award membership in the Order of the Rose and Cross to any
            being which they feel worthy.  Knights of the Order of the
            Rose and Cross are exempt from paying tithes,  but are not
            permitted to vote.

         D. The Order of  the  Garter.  Any  being  wishing  to  be  a
            Knight,  but not qualifying for any other order,  may join
            the ranks of the Order of  the  Garter  by  submitting  an
            appropriate  contribution  to the Keeper of the Exchequer.
            A Knight of the Order of the Garter  is  not  entitled  to

      3. Applications for knighthood shall be submitted to the Mundane
         Interface.  The  Mundane  Interface  shall  have the power to
         grant knighthood to all qualified applicants.

      4. The Council of Lords shall have the power to strip any knight
         of his knighthood if his character, reputation or conduct are
         such that he is deemed unsuitable to exercise the powers  and
         perogatives of knighthood.

      5. Tithes  shall be set by the Council of Lords,  and be payable
         in advance. For members outside the United States territorial
         zone of the planet Earth,  the Council of Lords shall  assess
         such additional costs as may be required.

      6. The  Mundane Interface shall notify all Knights of any tithes
         required to keep their peerage  not  less  than  thirty  days
     Fidonews                     Page 6                   30 Mar 1987

         prior  to  the  date the tithes are required.  Any Knight who
         submits his tithe within thirty days of  the  deadline  shall
         not be regarded as having lapsed.

      7. No  entity  shall  be a Lord of the Network or hold any other
         position within the Intergalactic Sysop Alliance unless  they
         qualify under all applicable statutes.

      8. The  Council  of Lords shall be five in number,  and shall be
         elected annually by the Knights.  Each Knight  may  cast  one
         vote, consisting of five choices for Council of Lords.

      9. The  Council  of  Lords  shall be elected by ballot cast at a
         time selected by the previous Council  of  Lords,  save  that
         they  may  not  wait  longer  than  eighteen  months  between

     10. The  Mundane  Interface  shall  notify  the  Knights  of   an
         impending ballot not less than three months before the ballot
         is scheduled to take place.  The Mundane Interface shall also
         take  nominations for Council of Lords up to one month before
         the ballot.  Any Knight may be  nominated  for  Lord  of  the
         Network  by  submitting  a  petition  endorsed  by  ten other

     11. The Mundane Interface shall close nominations  and  post  the
         list of candidates one month before the scheduled ballot.  If
         less than six Knights are nominated for the Council of Lords,
         then  the  Mundane  Interface  shall  consider  them  elected
         without a formal ballot.

     12. The Mundane Interface shall arrange for the counting  of  all
         votes received, and shall post the result.  Votes received by
         the  Mundane Interface after the close of balloting shall not
         be counted.

     13. At the first meeting of the Council of Lords each  year  they
         shall  elect  one  of  their  number to be the Emperor of the
         Network,  who will preside over all meetings of the Peers  of
         the Realm.  They shall also appoint the following officers:

         A. The Whipping Boy
         B. The Chief Executioner
         C. The Grand Wizard
         D. The Mundane Interface
         E. The Keeper of the Excequer

     14. The Council of Lords shall meet when and as they please,  and
         shall conduct their business as they see fit.

     15. A majority of the Council of Lords shall constitute a  quorum
         at any meeting.

     16. Questions  of order and procedure not otherwise determined by
         these By-Laws or by the parties involved shall be settled  by
         private duel, or by Trial by Combat.
     Fidonews                     Page 7                   30 Mar 1987

     17. The  Whipping  Boy  shall,  subject  to  instruction from the
         Council of  Lords  and  with  the  assistance  of  the  Chief
         Executioner,  represent  ISA  in  its  relationships with the
         public and the various governments, governmental agencies and
         officials with which ISA may be concerned and  shall  be  the
         official  spokesperson of ISA in regard to all matters of ISA

     18. In the absence or disability of the Whipping Boy,  the  Chief
         Executioner shall assume the duties of the Whipping Boy.

     19. The Mundane Interface shall:
         A. Be responsible for the maintenance of the corporate status
            of ISA and the filing  of  all  reports  and  certificates
            which may be required of ISA under the corporation laws of
            the State of Missouri.
         B. Maintain the corporate membership and  voting  records  of
         C. Perform  other  duties as described in applicable By-Laws,
            of which there are plenty to keep any mortal occupied.

     20. The Keeper of the Exchequer shall:

         A. Be  the  recipient  of all monies of ISA and shall deposit
            the same in the  name  of  ISA  in  a  depository  of  his
         B. Sign  checks  drawn  by  the  Whipping  Boy  in payment of
            obligations known by him to be proper and authorized.
         C. Post an annual finance report in FidoNews.

     21. The Grand Wizard shall:
         A. Be responsible for maintenance of the master NODELIST, and
            the distribution of the weekly update file thereof.
         B. Ensure  the  smooth  operation  of  the  ISA  NETWORK   as
            prescribed by the Council of Lords.

     22. There shall be an official publication maintained by ISA,  in
         the form of a weekly journal,  the name  of  which  shall  be
         FidoNews. A copy of this journal shall be available each week
         to  every Knight in good standing.  The general management of
         this journal shall be in the hands of  the  Lord  Chancellor.
         The  policy of the journal shall be determined by the Council
         of Lords.

     23. These bylaws may be amended by a majority of the Knights  who
         are empowered to weild a vote.

     24. Without changing their import, the Mundane Interface may from
         time  to  time,  on notice to the Council of Lords,  renumber
         these By-Laws so as to serve the purpose of ready  reference.
         References  in  these By-Laws to Articles shall be corrected,
         when necessary,  by the Mundane Interface to conform  to  the
         renumbered Articles.


     Fidonews                     Page 8                   30 Mar 1987

     Steve Butler
     SEAdog/OPUS 138/0

                   Another Addressing Scheme for FIDONET

     FidoNet has grown tremendously in the three  years  that  I  have
     been  a  FIDO  sysop.  If  the  recent growth in REGION 17 is any
     indication, the growth spurt isn't over yet.

     With growth comes increased traffic which tends to  plug  up  the
     mail  hour.  The  next 10,000 nodes will certainly change the way
     we move messages through FidoNet.  In fact,  it should change the
     addressing  scheme  in like manner as the last 1000 nodes took us
     to a two layer address.

     There is effort underway to patch the current  scheme  with  ZONE
     gating and POINT mapping.  The mechanism should work, but it is a
     bandage  put  onto  an  existing  structure in an effort to allow
     current software to coexist.  The current methods  for  extending
     the  addressing scheme depend on two added pieces of information:
     1) ZONE,  and 2) POINT;  but these should become an integral part
     of the address.  Even so,  the two additions do not go far enough
     to solve some current or future problems.

     Since there are major programming efforts underway for nearly all
     the FidoNet software,  now is the time to  discuss  alternatives.
     This  should  be  done before any development group has committed
     themselves to a particular scheme.  This proposal is presented as
     a basis for such a discussion.  The ultimate  implementation  may
     take  several  years;  but having an identifiable long range goal
     that all authors are working toward will be much better than  the
     current  method  of patching the system when necessary to make it
     function for the next iteration.

     A multilayered network is needed with an addressing  scheme  that
     is  extendable on both ends.  In addition,  every level could act
     similar to today's HOST and HUB  designations  and  take  several
     features  of  the  proposed ZONE and POINT scheme.  This proposed
     scheme will use the  current  terms  including  ZONE  and  POINT.
     Please  look  beyond  the  current meanings and attempt to find a
     homogenous application for every term  and  substitute  your  own
     verbiage for those at variance with your usage.


     The functional parts of this new addressing scheme are:

            term         value

          DIVISION       0-255
          ZONE           0-255
          NET            0-255
          HUB            0-255
     Fidonews                     Page 9                   30 Mar 1987

          NODE           0-255
          POINT          0-255

     This  gives  a  255 fan out factor at each level which may be too
     big!  When was  the  last  time  you  attempted  to  contact  255
     different nodes in one night?

     The  ZONE  could  become synonymous with our current REGION.  The
     DIVISION could initially be identified with  the  7  geographical
     continents;  there  could  be  lots of expansion at the top!  The
     current NODE (2 bytes) could be split to identify HUB and NODE.

     EXAMPLE:  Assume that REGION 17 becomes ZONE 17 in DIVISION 1,
               my address of 138/0  would be  1\17:138/0'0.0

     A shorthand method of entry  (similar  to  today's  NET  default)
     could  be  devised based on the unique delimiters.  Thereby other
     nodes in DIVISION 1,  ZONE 17 could address 138/ (or either  :138
     or  :138/).  The  software could default the left side to that of
     the current system and default the right side to zero.  In  fact,
     since  message  packets would never leave that address area,  the
     short form could be stored.

     This would make the  ZONE  (REGION)  and  HUB  identification  an
     integral  part  of  the  address.  Each level could have a second
     entry at the NODE level similar to today's method of HOST and HUB
     duplicate entries.  In fact, it would be constructive to restrict
     the usage of the 0 entry such that a 0 would never appear to  the
     left of a non-zero number.  This would facilitate the changing of
     HOSTs at any and all levels.


     Since  the  addressing to each level would be unique,  each level
     would act as the HOST to those immediately beneath (descendants).
     This would include the assigning of address numbers  and  sending
     the  add,  change,  delete  information  to  the next higher HOST
     (ancestor) and delivering the incoming mail.

     This would decentralize the creation of  the  master  node  list.
     Each  level would simply send a DIFF file of his layer (including
     the descendants) up to the ancestor (up one level).  The DIVISION
     systems could exchange the divisional  DIFF  files  and  build  a
     master DIFF file for distribution down through the network to all
     the descendants.

     In  fact,  this  mechanism could be automated so that each system
     knew what changed about it during  the  past  x  period  of  time
     (maybe  daily  at the low levels).  It would send the appropriate
     DIFF information up.  This could start with the  POINT  informing
     the  NODE.   The  NODE's  machine  could  collect  all  the  DIFF
     information sent by the POINTs,  add the DIFF for  the  NODE  and
     send  the  package up to the HUB.  The HUB would collect what was
     delivered  by  the  various  NODEs  and  send   the   appropriate
     information  up to the HOST.  Each level would send the packet IF
     Fidonews                     Page 10                  30 Mar 1987

     AND ONLY IF there was something to report.  Finally,  the  master
     DIFF  would  be  created  and  distributed  back down through the
     layers.  An option would allow  each  layer  to  distribute  that
     layer's   DIFF   file.   This  is  on  the  assumption  that  the
     information within a given area is more critical than  that  from
     down under, up over, or across the way.

     The  systems  could detect the DIFF file and automatically update
     the local copy of the nodelist on the fly  rather  than  a  batch
     operation once a week.


     Current routing principles could be extended to all levels.

     The  sender  would  route  traffic  to one level below the lowest
     common address.  Thus, traffic between POINTs of the same SPONSOR
     could go direct, ie, between siblings.  Traffic from a NODE would
     flow down to the POINT.

     Extend this concept up one level and include  transient  traffic.
     NODEs  within  the  same  HUB would go direct sibling to sibling.
     HUBs within a common NET,  etc.  Incoming traffic would flow down
     one  level to the NODE.  Likewise,  the NET,  ZONE,  and DIVISION
     levels would repeat the concept at their address layer.

     A system within a NET (say 1\17:138/) sending traffic to a system
     in another NET of the  same  ZONE  (say  105/)  would  route  the
     traffic to the INBOUND NET HOST (address 1\17:105/0'0.0 or 105/).
     Similar  action would happen at the ZONE level within a DIVISION.
     Inter-DIVISION traffic is routed between the  DIVISION  siblings.
     Thus,  today's  principle  of routing could be extended to multi-
     layer schemes.

     In short, the routing could say:

        1) Can  the  traffic  be  routed  through  one of my immediate
           descendants?  Otherwise,

        2) Can this be routed through a sibling of mine,  ie,  we have
           the same host?  Otherwise,

        3) Locate  the  lowest  common ancestor.  Go one address level
           down and send the traffic to that system.

           NOTE:  All  DIVISIONs  are  considered  to  have  a  common
                  ancestor (until the scheme is extended).


     This  routing  could  take  place  if the ancestor (next level up
     host) has  indicated  a  willingness  to  serve  as  an  OUTGATE.
     Perhaps a flag in the NODELIST is needed or an indication of some
     sort  to  the software that the ancestor (or designee) is serving
     Fidonews                     Page 11                  30 Mar 1987

     as an OUTGATE.

     The default routing would happen until such time as  the  traffic
     leaves  the domain of the immediate ancestor.  When that happens,
     the traffic would be routed to the parent rather than  one  below
     the lowest common ancestor.  Thus,  traffic going outside the NET
     would be routed to the NET HOST (serving as OUTGATE).  A  similar
     function  could take place at the ZONE and DIVISION level.  Since
     the DIVISIONs don't have an  explicit  ancestor,  they  would  by
     definition  be  in  the  same  "larger  address scheme" and would
     exchange packets as siblings.


     The current NMH of 9:00 - 10:00 UCT for  EVERY  node  in  FidoNet
     (North  American)  will become plugged somewhere in the growth to
     10K nodes.  Certainly by the time there are 100K nodes  in  North
     America, the one hour sacred period will be a thing of history.

     To  facilitate  that  move  the  NODELIST  of  the future (next 5
     years?) will need to support the software developers  to  a  much
     higher degree.  Let us accept that the current authors will relax
     the  mail requirements and ask,  "What will be the implications?"
     This is one scenario.  This author invites everyone to  think  it
     through and discuss what changes would be needed to make it work.

     Taking  a  lead  from the current POLICY3 statement,  the HOST at
     each level could dictate  the  time  period  that  the  immediate
     descendants  MUST be in a MAIL ONLY slot.  That is,  the HOST has
     declared the time  period  during  which  traffic  will  be  sent
     DOWNWARD.  This  is  done  at  every level and would be different
     time frames.  We would assume that a  rippling  effect  would  be
     seen and that a HOST at any given level could build in a delay of
     a  few  hours  to bring his system into low cost time periods (if

     The NODELIST would carry this information for each system:

          1)  Times that incoming mail can be accepted.

          2)  Times that MAIL ONLY is taking place.

          3)  Times that outbound DOWNLINK will happen.

     Each system would observe the DOWNLINK period of the ancestor  as
     a MAIL ONLY period.

     SEAdog  4.0  allows the mixing of outgoing MAIL with incoming BBS
     callers.  There is indication in the MEADOW  echo  that  Wynn  is
     being  asked  to  do something analogous.  Again,  accepting that
     within the next five years the "standard" system will allow  this
     then  we see a mechanism for a system to decide if it can place a
     call to an intended recipient.

     As each system came into its allowed outgoing time frame a  check
     Fidonews                     Page 12                  30 Mar 1987

     is made to see who is flagged to:

          1)  accept mail.

          2)  be MAIL ONLY.

          3)  be almost ready for downlink.

     The system could then prioritize the outgoing packets:

          1)  Those  almost ready for downlink.  Try to get the bundle
              there before the downlink starts.

          2)  Grab MAIL ONLY slots.  (Why compete with BBS callers  if
              we don't have to?)

          3)  Whoever else can accept mail.

     In  this manner,  the NMH could become a ZONE MAIL HOUR or even a
     NET MAIL HALF-HOUR.  HUBs and NODEs would set their own  DOWNLINK
     schedules independent of the layers above them.


     As  FidoNet  grows  larger  SysOps  will  ask themselves if it is
     really necessary to carry all those phone numbers.  Just as  with
     the  phone  system  many  of  the  numbers  are never used by the
     majority of  systems.  The  current  POINT  talk  indicates  that
     POINTs  would  not  be  carried.  While  the proposal above would
     support the POINT entries  (certainly,  a  NODE  would  need  the
     descendent  POINTs),  the  general NODELIST could survive without
     them.  Perhaps an index file could indicate if  the  address  was
     valid  and  point to the entry in the NODELIST.  A zero value for
     the pointer would indicate that the local NODELIST did not  carry
     that entry.

     Similarly,  the  current  ZONE  GATING  would keep only the local
     "ZONE" in the NODELIST.  In the proposed scheme,  this  could  be
     correlated with the DIVISION level.  Therefore, addresses outside
     the  local  DIVISION  might not be in the NODELIST.  Albeit,  the
     structure would allow their presence.  Again,  a  separate  index
     could  indicate  the validity of an address without requiring the
     entry to be present.

     This opens up some "tricks" the could be played.  DIVISION  level
     entries  could be added with the phone number of a "local" system
     acting as a link to the specified  DIVISION.  Both  the  STANDARD
     and  OUTGATE  routing  would  automatically  send  traffic to the
     "link".  The "link" would have the  real  phone  number  in  it's
     DIVISION entry and would forward the traffic.

     This  mechanism  of substituting phone numbers would allow gating
     type functions to occur at any layer.

     Fidonews                     Page 13                  30 Mar 1987


     The benefits then:

       1)  Make routing implicit within the address.

       2)  Negate the need for special node numbers within a  DIVISION
           to handle gateway functions.

       3)  Every level acts as HOST/HUB to the immediate descendants.

       4)  NODELIST  preparation  and maintenance is decentralized and

       5.  Mail Hour becomes a local item rather than an international


     Just as with the phone system, occasionally the need arises for a
     phone number not contained in  the  DIVISION  nodelist.  NODELIST
     ASSISTANCE  to  the  rescue.   An  additional  feature  could  be
     supplied whereby a system could send an ENTRY REQUEST and  obtain
     a NODELIST type entry in return.  This request would be routed to
     the  asked  about  system.  Any node along the path that knew the
     complete answer would  respond  to  the  request.  This  response
     would  automatically  be  added  to  the personal nodelist of the
     requesting system.

     This may not provide all the solutions now  being  looked  at  or
     for; but, we want to propose something that will bring all of the
     current  software  writers together and to foster the exchange of
     ideas throughout FidoNet.

     A few nodes in REGION  17  have  bounced  this  idea  around.  In
     addition,  certain  ideas of the ZONE and POINT concept now being
     explored by others were appropriated without giving  due  credit.
     We apologize in advance to Bob Hartman,  Thom Henderson and Randy
     Bush and wish to credit them for much of the current  exploratory
     effort underway.


     Fidonews                     Page 14                  30 Mar 1987

                     Equatorial Communications Company
                     Satellite  Transcription Services

                           Ken McVay, Opus 340/20
                       Home of the Old Frog's Almanac
                            (Data)  604-758-3072
                            (Voice) 604-758-4137

     The information which follows is the result of an article I wrote
     some time ago in FidoNews,  in which I discussed the  exploration
     of  satellite  tranceiver use for matrix mail.  This article will
     provide others interested in message tranceivers with as  bit  of
     information  about  one  company  that provides both hardware and

     The  company,  Equatorial  Communications,  is based  in  Silicon
     Valley.  In  Canada,  the  company's  services  are  provided  by
     Telesat,   a   50%  government-owned  monopoly.   Telesat's   use
     eliminated the need for Equitorial to operate under Canadian  law
     as  a  public utility,  with all the bureaucratic  nonsense  that
     would have entailed.

     Equatorial was founded to provide low-speed data links that would
     be  cheaper  than  telephone company wires,  and to  market  such
     network  services.  They did not wish to compete with  high-speed
     satellite  services,  such  as  those  which  transmit  voice  or
     television signals.

     The  following  information is taken from the San  Jose  Business
     Journal,  September  30,  1985,  and is a bit out  of  date.  The
     article was sent to me by the company.

     "Like  Bell  selling phones to use with its  network,  Equatorial
     also sells low cost satellit stations for its  customers,  giving
     it  wo distinct parts -- a group that makes hardware and one that
     provides network services."

     "Its customers are primarily large companies that spend  millions
     of  dollars a year on phone lines for computers.  Equatorial  has
     little  trouble  getting their attention with a way to  cut  that
     part of the phone bill by 20 percent to 50 percent."

     "Equatorial  sells two types of network services,  which use  two
     kinds  of satellite stations.  Its first service was distribution
     -- a central computer sending data to many sites that could  only
     receive  data,  not  transmit.  Its newer service can  connect  a
     number of sites interactively -- each computer or terminal hooked
     to the satellite can receive and send data to others."

     I did not request costing data from the company when I spoke with
     them  - I felt it would be irrelevant at this point.  The article
     quoted  above  mentions that the "average investment"  is  "about
     $10,000.00  per  site." As that was some time  ago,  as  computer
     technology  goes,  it should now be somewhat  lower....I  believe
     that  we  are not far from the day when such technology  will  be
     Fidonews                     Page 15                  30 Mar 1987

     well within the reach of matrix sysops.

     The  following  data  relates  to the  C200  Series  Micro  Earth
     Station, and was provided by the company upon request...

     The  system  uses a small parabolic antenna,  which permits  easy

     C  Band  Satellite  performance "is  not  affected  by  different
     environmental changes such as rainfall."

     Receiving Rate: 19.2Kbps, with multiple protocol options.


     The   ECC   C-200   series  Micro  Earth  Station  is   a   small
     Transmit/Receive earth station,  suitable for installation on any
     premises,   to  provide  data  communications  between  a  remote
     computer,  terminal or personal work station and a host  computer
     or  another  remote facility.  It is configured as a part  of  an
     Equatorial  two way satellite data communications network,  which
     consists of a Master Earth Station,  the satellite,  and a number
     of   Micro  Earth  Stations.   This  networking   capability   is

     Data  Terminal  Equipment Interface:  The DTE interface  has  the
     following major attributes:

     * Two  interface   ports   are   provided.   Each   may   operate
       independently  using  the  same  data  communications protocol.
       Each can be used with either standard RS232 interfaces or  with
       RS422  signal levels.  Standard RS232 modem control signals are

     * Port Data Interface.  Each port may be  independently  operated
       simplex,  half  duplex  or  full  duplex at any data rate up to

     * Port Protocol Interface.  The system supports a number of  data
       communication protocols.  The IBM 3270/SDLC family is supported
       in a device emulation mode,  in which the C-200  appears  as  a
       3705 communications port. Other protocols are also available.

     Network  Interface:  The C-200 receives data from the network  at
     the rate of 153.6Kbps.  This datastream contains packets destined
     for  all  stations  on the network through use  of  broadcast  or
     individual  station addressing....The return path from the  Micro
     Earth Station to the Master Eaarth Station operates at 1200 bps.

     Further technical information may be optained from the company:

     Equatorial Communications Company
     189 N. Bernardo Avenue
     Mountain View, California 94043
     (415) 969-9500
     Fidonews                     Page 16                  30 Mar 1987


     Fidonews                     Page 17                  30 Mar 1987

     Christopher Baker
     Metro-Fire Fido, 135/14(0), XP:

                            Another Mensa Echo:

     I am beginning a New Mensa Echomail conference for *Mensa members
     only.  MENSANS_ONLY is available from  135/14.  Tie-ins  will  be
     provided to Mensa Sysops upon request to this Node.

     The  only  requirement  for  participation is verified membership
     (past or  present)  in  American  Mensa,  Ltd.,  or  any  of  the
     International Mensa organizations.

     This  Echo  should  not  be  confused with the General Mensa Echo
     coordinated by The Flying PC,  109/612,  and Jim Kay.  Metro-Fire
     also  participates  in  that  Echo.  MENSANS_ONLY  is provided to
     augment the services provided  in  the  General  Mensa  Echo  and
     differs in that Mensa membership is required for participation in
     the MENSANS_ONLY Echo.

     For  more  information  on Mensa and the General and MENSANS_ONLY
     Echos, SEAdog capable Nodes may GET the file, MENSA.ARC from this
     Node.  File requests by NetMail message will be  honored  by  the
     following NMW.

     Mensan  Sysops  requesting tie-in must provide their Name,  Mensa
     membership number,  date of qualification,  and their Node number
     for   Echo   routing.   The   AREAS.BBS  name  for  the  Echo  is

     Metro-Fire Fido, 135/14, is available at 305-596-8611,  1200 bps,
     24  hrs.  Access  is  by  verification  only.  Weekend  access is
     available by on-line verification.

       * Mensa is an international  organization  of  individuals  who
         have  scored  in  the  top  2%  of  the general population on
         various standarized intelligence  tests.  Mensa  embraces  no
         political, religious, socio-economic, ethnic or racial views.


     Fidonews                     Page 18                  30 Mar 1987


          Well this  column has  been going on for about a month now,
     and I  think it's  going to  be more  regular than  I  initially
     thought. It's  is much  easier to  write a  few pages every week
     than I  had originally  thought, try  it yourself  if you  don't
     believe me!  I would  love to  see someone  else do  some fairly
     regular writing  for FidoNews,  and I'm sure the editor wouldn't
     mind seeing some more contributions either. I had some time this
     past week  to go  through some of the backlog that's been piling
     up, so here goes.

          First off,  I've had  a chance to look over some new (to me
     at least)  modems from  US Robotics. The first of these is their
     2400 baud  internal (Microlink)  in the  VAR modem package. From
     what I  understand, this  modem is  meant for  dealers  who  are
     putting together  complete packages  for a specific application,
     however you  can usually  find a few dealers who will sell it to
     you separate.  All you get is the internal modem, a registration
     card, a FCC ID sticker/card, and one card summarizing the switch
     settings and  modem commands.  This is  definitely not the modem
     for someone  brand new to PCs and telecommunications, however it
     may work  out well  if installing  cards and  using a  modem  is
     nothing new  to you.  I  paid  $240  for  mine,  and  it's  been
     performing beautifully for the past week. I put the Phonegate on
     the shelf  as a  spare since it did have a few problems (speaker
     was never  fully off  and it  sometimes didn't  take a command).
     Since the  modem can  be configured  for COM1  through COM4, you
     should be able to squeeze it in somewhere. I have also been told
     that it will work in an AT, many internal modems won't, although
     I don't  know how fast an AT can be before it stops working, but
     it is probably over 8 megahertz. It doesn't have much in the way
     of volume  control, only  a switch  for high  or  low,  but  the
     command set  is very  nice. One  of the  better additions to the
     Hayes command  set is  ATI4, which  displays the modem's current
     settings. This  could be very useful if you were having problems
     with a  program and  thought  it  might  be  an  improper  modem
     setting. It  also has  a few internal help screens for a command
     summary, a  dial command  summary, and a S-register functions in
     case you  lose the card and need some help. US Robotics has also
     added a  new (to  me at  least) option  on the  speaker commands
     (ATMx) which turns the speaker on after the last digit is dialed
     and off  when the  carrier is  detected, no  longer do I have to
     listen to  the modem  dial, yet  I can  still hear  if a  person
     answers the phone or if the line has been disconnected. It seems
     to be working very well, and I am pleased with it's performance.

          Another new  modem from  US Robotics is the Sportster 1200,
     an external  300/1200 modem.  It's missing  most of  the  status
     light that  I've come to expect from an external modem, although
     it does have the most necessary ones. A power/carrier detect and
     a send  data/receive data  light are  just to  the right  of the
     power switch which is on the front of the modem. I haven't given
     it as  thorough a  workout as  the VAR modem, but it worked very
     Fidonews                     Page 19                  30 Mar 1987

     well on  the occasions  I did  use it.  One of  the nicer things
     about the  modem is  a quick  reference to  commands and  switch
     settings on  the bottom of the modem, I've had too many problems
     with other  modems just because someone can't find the book that
     came with the modem to not enjoy extra touches like this! To old
     timers, the  modem will  look strange since it's turned sideways
     to the  way a  Hayes is  oriented, but  as it  works well and is
     reasonably priced  (I believe  the list  price  is  $149)  I  am
     satisfied with  it and would recommend it to someone looking for
     a 300/1200 baud external modem.

          I've finally  gotten around  to looking  at TELIX,  which I
     mentioned a few weeks ago when I reviewed OPUS. I don't think it
     will replace  ProComm as  my communication  program, although it
     does have  the SEAlink  protocol which  is nice  for downloading
     from an  OPUS board.  I just  received the  latest version  this
     morning (I  was using  version 2.10),  so I  know the  version I
     looked at is a little out of date, but I everything should still
     apply to  the new  version. The  only reason  I'll probably stay
     with ProComm  is because I am used to it, I can still access the
     SEAlink protocol  (I've got  a straight  SEAlink program  that I
     call through  the independent  editor feature of ProComm), but I
     will admit  it's easier to use TELIX when I need to use SEAlink.
     I'll probably  end up  using TELIX whenever I call an OPUS, much
     the same  way as I use KERMIT when I call a UNIX system. Some of
     the nice  features in TELIX include multiple dialing directories
     (each holding  up to  150 phone  numbers), all  my favorite file
     transfer protocols  (Kermit, SEAlink, Telink, and YMODEM to name
     a few),  script files, and an automatic redial queue. TELIX only
     needs 128K  of free  memory,  which  is  less  than  many  other
     programs, so  it may  become quite  popular with  those  of  you
     running a multitasker such a DoubleDos.

          It run's very quickly, and if you're starting it up for the
     first time  it "guides"  you through  the  initial  installation
     (which com  port, what  baud rate,  monitor type, etc.) which is
     very nice.  One feature that may have me switch over to TELIX is
     it's support  of keyboard  macros, which I used for my passwords
     on different  systems (you should NEVER use the same password on
     all the systems you use). The manual is fairly easy to read, and
     hackers will  like  the  section  describing  the  configuration
     file's format.  It's a nice program that works well, and I would
     recommend it to anyone looking to change communication programs.
     The latest  version is available from The ASCII Exchange (148/1)
     416/622-8254 (SEAdog  file requests accepted) and The PC Pub BBS
     416/487-2889 and  416/487-4134, both  of which also have message
     sections dedicated  to TELIX.  My net  host who  mailed  me  the
     program is also trying to get the TELIX message section into our
     net via  echomail, so you may be able to read some more about on
     boards in your own net.

          As a  side note,  if you  are running  TELIX from something
     other than  it's home  directory you  must have  an  environment
     variable set  to tell  it where  to find it's support files (SET
     TELIX=C:\BIN\TELIX\ in  my case).  Make sure  however  that  you
     include a  backslash at  the end  of the pathname, I've seen too
     Fidonews                     Page 20                  30 Mar 1987

     many messages  in the  TECH echomail  area on  ProComm, we don't
     need repeat this bit of history with TELIX, do we?

          That about ties it up for this week. Instead of a best book
     I'm going  to describe  "Learning  DOS"  from  Microsoft  ($50).
     Learning DOS is a disk based tutorial on MS-DOS (or PC-DOS) that
     also includes  a disk  based DOS reference. If you are still new
     to your  MS-DOS machine  or know of someone who is, this program
     was written  for you.  It has  2 versions,  one for  people on a
     floppy based  system  and  another  for  hard  disk  users.  The
     tutorials  are   complete  and  include  practice  sessions  and
     summaries. It  can also  provide a hint while you're practicing.
     Some of the topics covered include preparing a floppy disk, mode
     settings for hardware, fixed settings (autoexec.bat, config.sys,
     etc.), and  organizing files  with directories. It is one of the
     best tutorial  programs I've  seen, and almost completely covers
     the topics new users need most.

          I'm still  trying  to  beat  StarFlight,  and  have  almost
     completed Leather  Goddesses of Phobos. Hopefully next week I'll
     have gotten  around  to  looking  at  some  new  games.  In  the
     meantime, I'd  like to hear from anyone who has some comments on
     anything I've  written, so  at the least send me some mail. Even
     better then  sending me  some mail is to write something of your
     own for  FidoNews. My US mail, FidoNet, and USENET addresses are
     listed below. If you are a user of a BBS, please mention to your
     sysop that  mail to me must be routed through 157/0, 157/502, or
     157/1. Sysops  who send  me mail,  just make  note of  the  last
     sentence. All  of those  systems are  running  SEAdog  and  will
     accept a  file  to  forward  to  me  as  well.  Until  the  next

     Dale Lovell
     3266 Vezber Drive
     Seven Hills, OH  44131

     FidoNet:  157/504
     USENET: ..!ncoast!lovell


     Fidonews                     Page 21                  30 Mar 1987

                            TALKING   ASSEMBLER
                                Ned  Sturzer
                     OpusNODE 362/1 -  Chattanooga, TN.

       Assembler language has the reputation  of  being  difficult  to
     learn  and  use.  This is for the most part an unjustified label.
     What is true is that a considerable  knowledge  of  the  computer
     architecture  is  necessary  - more so than in BASIC.  It is also
     true that I/O is a pain in assembler and it is  often  useful  to
     write assembler subroutines and leave the I/O to BASIC.  In these
     articles I will try to  combine  the  necessary  background  with
     specific programming examples without being too tedious.

       As  I  have  to  start somewhere I will assume you already know
     hexidecimal (hex) notation.  It can be mastered in a short  time.
     Now  --  the  PC  can be thought of as a magic box which performs
     logical and arithmatic calculations. The input to and output from
     this magic box are stored or pass through three types of  waiting
     areas: registers, memory locations, and ports. Best known are the
     memory  locations.  Each  location  is assigned a name,the lowest
     being 0 and the highest (in 8088 machines such as the Tandy 1000)
     being FFFFF.  Thus there are 1 meg  of  memory  locations.  Don't
     worry about extended or expanded memory for the present.  In each
     location is to be found 1 byte=8 bits.  The standard labeling  of
     the bits in a byte is

                       B   B   B   B   B   B   B   B
               bit #   7   6   5   4   3   2   1   0

       You can see that it would require 2 1/2 bytes to store the name
     of a location. Instead of worrying about half bytes the following
     clever though clumsy ruse is used.  A pair of two byte numbers is
     used, XXXX:YYYY and this represents the address XXXX0+0YYYY.  For
     example,   address   1A35E   may  be  represented  by  1A35:000E,
     0C0D:E28E,  and many other pairs  besides.  XXXX  is  called  the
     segment  and YYYY the offset.  In most cases when referring to an
     address the segment will already have beeen established and  only
     the offset will be stored in a memory location. In this situation
     the  convention  is  to use the format LSB/MSB (least significant
     byte/most significant byte).  An offset of 4A87 would  appear  at
     memory  locations  of  say 1339F and 133A0 as 874A.  Should it be
     necessary to store a full segment:offset type address in  a  four
     byte sequence of memory, the convention is

         Offset     Offset     Segment     Segment
          LSB        LSB         MSB         MSB

       Thus  the address 200F3 could appear stored somewhere in memory
     as 0F200300, i.e.  200F:0003.  In a later article we will discuss
     what appears in memory where, that is, the memory map.

       While  the  idea  of memory locations will not be unfamiliar to
     BASIC programmers,  the concept of registers may.  Registers  are
     simply   special   memory  locations  distinct  from  the  memory
     presented above.  The  8088  has  14  such  registers  each  with
     Fidonews                     Page 22                  30 Mar 1987

     distinct though somewhat overlapping functions.  The names of the
     registers  are  AX,BX,CX,DX,CS,DS,ES,SS,SI,DI,BP,SP,IP,  and  the
     last register which does not have a name but is  referred  to  as
     the flag register.  All 14 registers are 2 bytes (= 1 word) long.
     The high and low order bytes of AX,BX,CX, and DX may be addressed
     independently and  in  this  case  are  denoted  AH,AL,BH,BL,etc.
     Unlike memory,  when memory locations are stored in resisters the
     MSB/LSB convention is used.  The reader should not  dispair  over
     these  complexities  since  the assembler instructions do all the
     flipping and shifting themselves.

       The details on the use of the registers will come later  but  a
     quick overview is appropriate.  The "S" registers are usually set
     to contain the segment component of the location of the assembler
     program in memory or the segment component of data areas used  by
     the  program.  The  SS,SP  pair usually point to the active stack
     location.  More on the stack later.  The ES register is  used  in
     certain  instructions  which  loop  through  data  areas.  The IP
     (instruction pointer) register is the  offset  component  of  the
     next  instruction  to be executed.  The "X" registers are general
     notepads for data and are the workhorses  of  most  programs.  CX
     also  functions  as a loop counter.  The so-called base and index
     resisters, BP,SP,SI, and DI, are used to access tables.  The flag
     register  is  a set of 9 one-bit switches which represent various
     machine states. The remaining 7 bits are not used.

       To be useful the computer must be able to read and/or write  to
     devices external to itself such as a keyboard or printer. This is
     effected  through the use of ports.  There are 64K possible ports
     on the 8088 labled 0 to FFFF.  It is in the meaning of  the  port
     assignments  that  the  various IBM compatible computers show the
     greatest distinctions.

       I have covered a large canvas of topics in  a  short  space  of
     time and have still not covered all the requisite background.  If
     these concepts are new to you do not be discouraged if  they  are
     unclear in your mind. At this stage it is only important that you
     be aware of these ideas, not that you be their master.

       At  least  we  may  now  begin  to consider our main interest -
     Assembler Language. The computer understands various sequences of
     bits to represent operations to be carried out on the contents of
     the several memory locations, registers,  and ports.  Needless to
     say  a  programmer  would  quickly  go bananas trying to write or
     interrupt a sequence  such  as  binary  101000111001011000101011.
     Even  if  this  sequence is represented by hex A3962B it is still
     difficult to think  in  these  terms.  Writing  in  8088  Machine
     Language  is  obviously tedious and prone to error.  Much of this
     difficulty is overcome through  the  use  of  Assembler  Language
     which  closely  mimics  Machine  Language but is easier to grasp.
     Just as important Assembler Language is  functionally  equivalent
     to Machine Language.  Consider the Assembler Language instruction
     represented by mov [2B96],AX. This instruction tells the computer
     to put into memory,  starting at the location  whose  segment  is
     whatever  is  contained  in  the  DS register and whose offset is
     2B96,  the same value as in the AX register.  This is exactly the
     Fidonews                     Page 23                  30 Mar 1987

     function  performed  by Machine Language A3962B as above.  Indeed
     the Assembler translates  mov  [2B96],AX  into  A3962B.  However,
     Machine  Language  8906962B performs exactly the same function as
     A3962B yet both are disassembled to  our  friend  mov  [2B96],AX.
     Assemblers  follow  the rule that if two or more Machine Language
     instructions  perform  the  function  intended  by  an  Assembler
     Language  instruction  then the Assembler will chose the shortest

     In the next  article  we  will  begin  discussing  the  Assembler
     instructions  in  detail.  There also remain numerous side topics
     which should be explored  such  as  the  stack,  interrupts,  the
     memory and port maps, BIOS and DOS.

     I'll conclude with a review of the tools you will want to acquire
     if  intend  to write programs in Assembler.  Naturally,  you will
     need an assembler and disassembler.  The assembler converts  your
     Assembly   Language   program   into  Machine  Language  while  a
     disassembler converts a Machine Language program  into  Assembler
     Language. In these articles I will always use the Microsoft Macro
     Assembler   3.01.   This  package  includes  both  assembler  and
     disassembler and  the  manual  is  complete  though  obtuse.  The
     disassembler  provided  by DEBUG in DOS 3.0 or higher is adequate
     but DEBUG's assembler is not.  As far  as  I  know  a  linker  is
     included  with  all  assembler  packages.   The  Microsoft  Macro
     Assembler sold by Radio Shack is a low version number. Don't drop
     below version 3.0.

     A  book  detailing  all  the  Machine  Language  instructions  is
     required.  R.  Rector and G. Alexy, The 8086 Book, Osborne, 1980,
     is  a  standard.   Two  books  all  PC  programmers  should  have
     regardless of the language they write in are R.  Davies,  Mapping
     the IBM PC and PCjr, COMPUTE!, 1985, and P.  Norton, Programmer's
     Giude to the IBM PC,  Microsoft Press,  1985.  There are a number
     of books which assist in teaching you Assembler Language.  By way
     of example I mention P.Abel,  Assembler for the IBM PC and PC-XT,
     Reston, 1984. Somewhat more advanced is R. Jourdain, Programmer's
     Problem Solver for the IBM PC, XT & AT, Brady,  1986.  One of the
     best  sources  for  programming  technique are the examples in PC
     Magazine.  Finally, every Assembler Language programmer will need
     a  DOS  Technical  Reference Manual (or equivalent).  A Technical
     Reference Manual for your computer is also useful.

         OpusNODE 362/1 - (615) 892-7773 - The Last Resort
                  Chattanooga, Tennessee - 1200/2400


     Fidonews                     Page 24                  30 Mar 1987


                          The Interrupt Stack

     27 Apr 1987
        Start of the Semi-Annual DECUS (Digital Equipment Corp. Users
        Society) symposium, to be held in Nashville, Tennessee.

     17 May 1987
        Metro-Fire Fido's Second Birthday BlowOut and Floppy Disk
        Throwing Tournament!  All Fido Sysops and Families Invited!
        Contact Christopher Baker at 135/14 for more information.

     21 Aug 1987
        Start of the Fourth International FidoNet Conference, to be
        held at the Radisson Mark Plaza Hotel in Alexandria, VA.
        Details to follow.

     24 Aug 1989
        Voyager 2 passes Neptune.

     If you have something which you would like to see on this
     calendar, please send a message to FidoNet node 1/1.


     Bill Allbritten, 11/301

     I just spoke with a Mr.  Mayer of the FCC-(14:30,  26MAR87) about
     the  decision on re-regulating packet switching networks known as
     proposal computer III.  He said  that  today's  decision  was  to
     leave  things  alone,  that  is  to  leave  the  enhanced  packet
     switcher's deregulated.


     Fidonews                     Page 25                  30 Mar 1987

                 The World's First   /  \
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                    (________)     (_/(_|(____/ (jm)

            Membership for the International FidoNet Association

     Membership in IFNA is open to any individual or organization that
     pays  an  annual  specified  membership  fee.   IFNA  serves  the
     international  FidoNet-compatible  electronic  mail  community to
     increase worldwide communications. **

          Name _________________________________    Date ________
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          Net/Node Number ______________________
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     Send your membership form and a check or money order for $25 to:

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     Thank you for your membership!  Your participation will  help  to
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     ** Please NOTE that IFNA is a general not-for-profit organization
     in formation and Articles of Association and By-Laws were adopted
     by  the  membership  in January 1987.  An Elections Committee has
     been established to fill positions outlined in  the  By-Laws  for
     the  Board  of  Directors.  An  IFNA Echomail Conference has been
     established on FidoNet to  assist  the  Elections  Committee.  We
     welcome your input on this Conference.