[mod.mag.fidonet] FidoNET Newsletter, Volume 4, # 11

pozar@hoptoad.UUCP (03/26/87)

     Volume 4, Number 11                                 23 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

        What's IFNA Up To?
     2. ARTICLES
        BROADCASTING Echo Conference
        Copyright warning, re: FidoNews and on-line info theft
        SeaDog has arrived !
        What's in a name?
        The End of FidoNews?
        Amateur Radio Novice License:  A Better Bargain
        And Now for the Rest of the Story!
        Convoy to the Wall
     3. COLUMNS
        Column Without a Name
        Technical Topics - Getting It From There To Here
     4. FOR SALE
        Magazine on Disk for IBM PC and Compatibles
     5. NOTICES
        The Lost Issue
        The Interrupt Stack

     Fidonews                     Page 2                   23 Mar 1987


                             What's IFNA Up To?

     What has IFNA been  doing  lately?  The  big  public  hooraw  for
     longer than I care to think about has been the bylaws, but that's
     over now.  Onward!

     Plenty of things have been happening.  Here are a few:

     1) Some more political junk.  Now that we have bylaws, we have to
        start  electing  a  Board  of Directors.  Lucky for me I don't
        have to do anything about  it.  A  Nominations  and  Elections
        Committee  has  been  appointed,  with Bob Morris (141/333) in
        charge.  I gather that,  much to my surprise,  he is  actually
        well  on  his way to having a full slate for folks to vote on.
        I would have sworn that we'd never find twenty people  willing
        to sit on the board,  but it's starting to sound like we might
        just make it.

     2) The next conference is starting to take  shape.  A  group  has
        formed   to   host   the  event  (probably  somewhere  in  the
        Washington,  DC area),  and has even found a commercial backer
        to provide most of the front money.

     3) The Technical Standards Committee is continuing its fine work,
        and building on the excellent foundation it started  with  the
        Basic  Protocol  Standards  Document.  A subcommittee has been
        formed to  investigate  and  evaluate  9600  baud  modems.  No
        vendor seems to quite have a modem yet that will work with our
        existing software on typical phone lines,  but they are coming
        close.  At least two modem manufacturers are working  actively
        with IFNA to modify their hardware for our needs.

     4) While  we  don't  have  the  resources  (yet) to start our own
        lobbying  group,   Kurt  Reisler  (109/74)   is   working   on
        establishing  a legislative watchdog group to keep us informed
        on pending Federal legislation which may affect us.

     5) International mail isn't fixed  yet,  but  the  mechanism  for
        handling  it  has  been worked out,  and the pieces are slowly
        being put in place.  More on this in a future issue.

     In short, IFNA has been making like the proverbial duck.  You may
     not see much  activity  up  top,  but  we're  paddling  like  mad


     Fidonews                     Page 3                   23 Mar 1987



     Broadcast_Software BBS
     9026 Natural Bridge Rd
     St Louis, MO 63121
     Fido 100/517
     Echo operated by Glen Jackson

     We are looking for FIDO's that would like  to  participate  in  a
     national   Broadcast   Echo.   This   Echo   will   be  used  for
     engineers,radio programmers, and market executives.

     Very much in the infant stage,  even at our  net,  we  feel  that
     there could be more interest developed if implanted on a National
     level.  This  echo  could  also  be made available to the general
     public in order for  them  to  ask  questions  of  the  broadcast

     100/517 will handle all of the polling for the Echo.

     We will set up our echo conference under BROADCAST.

     Any  SysOps  interested,  please  contact  Glen  Jackson  at  the
     Broadcast_Software Fido 100/517. Target date is March 25th.


     Fidonews                     Page 4                   23 Mar 1987

             Copyright, FidoNews, and on-line information theft

     from Mark J. Welch, Fido 161/459
          Berkeley, California

     I read the March 2,  1987 issue of FidoNews (volume 4,  number 9)
     with some interest (partly because one of my articles appeared in

     However,  I was surprised to find that a copyrighted article from
     InfoWorld magazine was also  "dropped  into"  the  issue  in  the
     notices section ("Trojan PC-Write Can Trash Your Disk," page 15),
     without  any  note  that  the  reprinting  of that article was by
     permission [or not].

     This, my friends,  is a copyright violation (unless InfoWorld had
     given permission to reprint the article;  usually, when magazines
     give such permission,  they require a tag line  noting  that  the
     article   was   "Copyright  1987  by  Mag_Name,   reprinted  with

     The reason I mention this is not to get anyone in trouble,  and I
     doubt  that  InfoWorld  would  take  any  action except to send a
     polite (or maybe nasty) letter if they found  out  (I,  for  one,
     don't consider it worth mentioning to them).

     Still, I'd like to point out that we, as BBS sysops, programmers,
     and writers, should take more care to respect copyright laws.

     You don't want your commercially-released computer program, which
     took  you  18  months  of 16-hour days to write,  to be posted on
     every bulletin-board in the country.  As a  professional  writer,
     you  don't  want  your  copyrighted  article,   written  for  one
     publication, to be republished by ten other magazines unless they
     pay you for the privilege. And as a BBS sysop, you probably don't
     want to be defending a  copyright  case  and  have  the  opposing
     attorney  confront  you  with  the  fact  that  you had dozens of
     illegal copies of copyrighted articles and programs on your  BBS,
     and took no action to remove them.

     So  what  *should*  we do?  In the case of the InfoWorld article,
     someone (e.g,, the person who sent it to Thom) should have called
     InfoWorld (800-344-4636) and asked for permission to reprint  the
     article,  and  affixed  the  appropriate permission notice to the
     article.  Mentioning the author's name (Jeff  Angus)  would  also
     have been a nice, polite thing to do.

     If  InfoWorld had refused to grant permission (or if there wasn't
     time to comply with their usual desire for  a  written  request),
     the  information  in  the article could have still been used,  by
     paraphrasing it or by calling QuickSoft or the LA sysop quoted in
     the article to independently obtain the information. (Even though
     only two paragraphs were posted,  they included  virtually  every
     word of the original article and no new material,  and thus don't
     count as "fair use.")

     Fidonews                     Page 5                   23 Mar 1987

     Again,  I don't think that this incident is significant except to
     point  out  the  conflicts  that  exist between on-line and print
     media, and between various on-line media.  This certainly was not
     the  first time that copyrighted information has appeared on-line
     without authorization;  I have seen many newspaper  and  magazine
     articles,  and many CompuServe news items, copied generously onto
     public BBSs without any thought that it might not be legal to  do

     If  CompuServe  or  InfoWorld  writes  a news item,  and then the
     author's efforts in obtaining and writing the item are stolen and
     posted on "free" BBSs and newsletters,  fewer people (eventually,
     no one) will bother to read or pay for the "legitimate" copy, and
     theoretically  the  firm gathering the information will go broke,
     resulting in no information-gathering at all.  As a  professional
     journalist who relies on words for my food, clothing and housing,
     I'm  more  than  a  little  bit scared by this scenario,  however

     In the U.S.,  like it or not,  information is an asset and people
     have a right to be paid for their words. If we, as sysops and BBS
     users,  fail to respect copyright laws, we can't expect others to
     respect the laws either.

     Also,  by violating copyright laws,  knowingly or not,  we invite
     the  wrath of publishers desparate to save their jobs and profits
     and,  even more frightening,  of legislators concerned about  tax
     revenues and the emerging information-based economy.

     "Let's be careful out there."

        Mark J. Welch                Fido 161/459 [private node]
        P.O. Box 2409                BIX 'mwelch'
        San Francisco, CA 94126      CompuServe 76137,2643
        (415) 841-8759 [voice, Berkeley, CA]

     (Yes,  I  know  I'm beginning to sound like a pest,  since all my
     FidoNews articles seem to complain about  something.  My  concern
     this   time  comes  from  *everything*  I  do,   though:   I'm  a
     professional journalist [formerly  at  BYTE  and  InfoWorld,  now
     freelance],   a   computer  programmer  [author  of  the  Generic
     Adventure Game System], and a law student [!].)

     (Disclaimer: this article does not constitute legal advice.)

     (This article may be reproduced without permission,  but may  not
     be excerpted out of context or in a misleading way. -mjw)


     Fidonews                     Page 6                   23 Mar 1987

     Jerry Hindle, 123/6,  MemphisNet
     2400 baud MAX, 901-353-4563

                              Notes from MemphisNet

          Well,  I finally got SeaDog (version 4.0) in and set  up  on
     the  system  here.  What this means to the rest of the FidoNet is
     easy to figure out.  You are now able to do  file  requests  from
     the  Distribution  Areas  for both Fido and Opus.  If you wish to
     find out what files are in these areas  then  you  will  need  to
     request  the  file  "distrib.arc"  from 123/6 (or 123/0).  I will
     honor file requests up to 0200 Central Standard  time  (ie  1  hr
     BEFORE  the  National Mail Hour) and will resume honoring them at
     0430.  You will be wasting your money to try  requests  any  time
     between  0200 and 0430.  Any file in the Fido,  Opus,  or (in one
     instance) General file areas is available.

          Ok now that I have that out of  the  way  I  would  like  to
     comment  on  a  few  things  that  have  happened since I stopped
     writing a couple of months ago to give the issue  to  the  ByLaws

          I  GOTTA  agree with Mr Thom Henderson on the fact that Fido
     (opus,Collie,  etc) is supposed to be FUN !  If you take the  FUN
     out  of it then it simply becomes ANOTHER JOB (which I don't need
     right now) and ANOTHER PAIN in the keester (again  I  don't  need
     this).  I  had a sneaking hunch the Thom wrote those By-Laws that
     appeared in Fnews with the  rumor-mongers,  and  the  Grand  High
     Executioner.  Something told me it was just his style. I say that
     if Fido is going to become a corporate giant in this world  (like
     some  of  you out there want it to) that I wanna buy STOCK and at
     least get a return for my investment (of time and equipment).  If
     we  are going to run this like big business maybe we better start
     hiring people to do the managing and PR and office  stuff,  maybe
     we  better  apply for a TAX number,  maybe we better start filing
     corporate returns and hire a CPA full time to manage  the  books,
     maybe we oughta start advertising.  Sounds ridiculous doesn't it?
     Well for a big corporation the above stuff is  NECESSARY,  for  a
     hobby it is not only not necessary,  but downright STUPID!  I for
     one don't give a @#$%$%^ if they do decide to go corporate, to me
     it is,  always has been,  and ALWAYS  will  be  a  HOBBY,  not  a
     business.  If we start running things like a business then we are
     bound to attract attention to ourselves in the form of government
     regulation  and  snooping  into  records (again something I don't
     need OR want).  As examples (and I am not picking on anyone here)
     if Mike wanted to run his net like a business,  let him  register
     his net with the state corporate comptroller,  if I wanted to run
     MemphisNet like a business I would certainly HAVE to register the
     company with at least the county tax office and file tax  returns
     etc.  This  could  really  get to be more then even a 5 or 6 girl
     office could handle for  IFNA  since  they  would  have  to  file
     reports with ALL 50 states to comply.  I say stop all this BYLAWS
     crap,  election  crap  etc.   Sure  collect  dues  (donations  or
     whatever  you  wanna  call  them)  to  help  defray  the costs of
     administration,  but don't add to those costs  by  doing  exactly
     Fidonews                     Page 7                   23 Mar 1987

     like the government does and adding a bureaucracy to it.  the old
     adage of KISS applies here (Keep It Simple Stupid).

          Now on to other news....

          Seems as though Tom Jennings  has  decided  to  depart  from
     APPLE  (at  least  according  to the rumor-mongers <hehe>) and go
     into business for himself.  Great,  but the only thing I know  of
     that  Tom  has  that  I  think  could  even  be  a  money  making
     possibility, other then his computer smarts,  is FIDO.  Who knows
     maybe  version  12  is  being held up for no other reason then to
     build a distribution chain to sell it.  I applaud Tom for  daring
     to  leave the "relative" security of APPLE and quote "go for it",
     all I question is the rumor (and please Tom correct me  if  I  am
     wrong)  I get here,  that we may wait till 1988 for 12a to arrive
     on  the  scene.   Tom  open   your   eyes   and   look   at   the
     nodelist.....more  and  more  nodes  are converting to OPUS for a
     variety of reasons,  the least of which is lack of feedback  from
     the  author  about bugs,  we report this bug and that bug and the
     same thing is always given as the answer "yep that's a  bug".  If
     this  keeps  up  then  by  the  time  you do have your skateboard
     technique down pat,  this will be  know  as  OPUSNET  instead  of
     FidoNet.  every  day  you  wait is that much less chance you will
     have of making 12 a commercial success,  if in fact this is  what
     you are shooting for.

          Now  to  the  last  of  the  news items...and this is more a
     request than news.

     Ives NSW Australia) PLEASE have him contact me ASAP. I sent him a
     set  of  34 disks out over 3 months ago and have heard NOT a PEEP
     from him since.  This despite the  fact  that  I  have  requested
     other callers from down under to contact him asking him to let me
     know if he even got the disks (I checked with the post office and
     they  are  presently  TRACING  the  package  to  see  if  it  was
     delivered).  I sent those disks out free with  the  PROMISE  from
     Bill  that they would be returned to me with the latest stuff for
     Fido from down under.  I have gotten this  stuff  from  my  other
     users from Aussie land already,  however I would like to know why
     there has been no return contact.  Bill I have  tried  everything
     else  short of getting on Quantas and flying down to see ya (wish
     I could,  but alas the $$$$ ain't there) and still  nothing,  how
     about it, huh? TALK TO ME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


     Fidonews                     Page 8                   23 Mar 1987

     David Melnik, 107/233

                             What's in a name?

          There has been a lot of talk around the net,  intentional or
     otherwise,  about  the  implications  of  the names people log in
     under.  As it has been said before, we are part of a great medium
     here and, as it can never be said too often, A VERY POWERFUL one,
     Fidonet!   With  this   means   of   communication   comes   many
     responsibilities,  one of which is taking responsibility for what
     one writes.  I could  have  easily  written  this  note  under  a
     pseudonym  that  gave no indication of who I was,  but that would
     have made this comment essentially worthless.

          What I'm trying to say is if one is  part  of  a  single  or
     local BBS,  then alter egos are fine,  but if someone writes msgs
     that travel across the country or even the state then the  sender
     should be identified!  For Net business (i.e.  IFNA,  SYSOP or By
     law feed back echo) it is essential that a real name is used!!

         It is very discourteous if one obscures  ones  identity  when
     trying  to  have  any form of communication with someone.  I have
     been the victim of not responding to msgs from people I  did  not
     know  only  to  find  out later that they were people I knew (and
     owed a favor to),  but under  an  alter  ego  and  therefore  not

     Please,  heed this warning,  if you have some thing to say, don't
     hide behind a name,  say it using your given  name!  People  will
     respect  you  for  it  and  the  ones that don't aren't worth the

     PS. Don't send mail as SYSOP,  most of us are already a sysop and
         sending mail as SYSOP just adds to the confusion.


     Fidonews                     Page 9                   23 Mar 1987

     Bob Swift
     The Power Station
     SEAdog/Opus 140/24

                        Is This The End of FidoNews?

     Here it is,  Wednesday night and still no  sign  of  this  week's
     FidoNews.  After  Thom's  Editorial in Volume 4,  Number 7,  I am
     beginning to wonder if this is the beginning of the end  for  our
     beloved newsletter.  I don't know about you, but I want to see it

     How many  of you  remember back  to September  1986 to  "The  Day
     FidoNews Didn't  Come Out"?   A  pretty disturbing  time  for  us
     "FidoNews Junkies", wasn't it?  Well, that is NOTHING compared to
     the present  situation and  the very  real possibility  that  the
     newsletter will be discontinued without our support.

     I have  read (in the FidoNews Article Submission Guidelines) that
     the estimated  readership of FidoNews is SEVENTY THOUSAND.  Where
     are  you  all?    Surely  there  are  a  few  of  you  that  have
     considerably more  literary talent  than I  have that  can submit
     something of interest for publication.  The Submission Guidelines
     clearly state  that "All of the articles which appear in FidoNews
     are written  by users  of FidoNet(tm)".    Note  that  this  said
     "users", which  means you  don't HAVE  to be a SysOp to submit an
     article.   I have seen a number of Bulletin Boards with a special
     file area  devoted to  "Articles &  Stories", and  have seen some
     excellent work there.  Why not share it with the rest of us?

     Perhaps some  of you  are saying  to yourself,  "But I don't know
     what to  write about."   That's easy.  Simply choose a topic that
     you are  interested in, or something that is affecting the way we
     operate our systems, or something that you want the rest of us to
     know about.   How  about  topics  like  the  recent  PC  Magazine
     decision to  allow their  software to  be posted on BBS's and how
     that affects  the BBS  community, a  review of a new product like
     the Commodore  RAM Expansion,  or maybe  just some Tips & Tricks.
     These are all articles that I would like to see here.

     It has  been said  that many  of you  are  opting  to  post  your
     articles in  the EchoMail  areas rather  than submitting  them to
     FidoNews.   Perhaps this  is one  reason  why  a  number  of  the
     EchoMail conferences  are becoming too large to handle or follow.
     I look  forward to  reading the  FidoNews every  week because  it
     usually gives  me a  brief rundown  on a  number of  topics and I
     don't have  to sort  out the  interesting and  useful information
     from the "flames".

     It is  my feeling  that this  newsletter belongs  to  all  of  us
     (despite the  Copyright notice  on the cover) and is in danger of
     going under  if WE  don't contribute.  WE means you and me.  This
     is my  contribution, where's yours?  With a readership of seventy
     thousand, that  should leave  at least sixty-nine thousand of you
     that we  have yet  to hear  from.  I look forward to reading your
     Fidonews                     Page 10                  23 Mar 1987

     articles in FidoNews for a long time to come.  Thank-you.


     Fidonews                     Page 11                  23 Mar 1987

                Enhancements to Amateur Radio Novice License

     Steve Bonine, KB9X
     Sysop, Cope BBS, 115/777

     Many of the users of  Fido  are  amateur  radio  operators.  This
     should come as no surprise, since there is much in common between
     modeming  and  the  hobby  of  amateur radio.  Both are basically
     communication with peers who have a  common  interest;  only  the
     mode of communication is different.

     Amateur  radio is the only hobby which is licensed by the Federal
     Government.  This is a  mixed  blessing.  Without  some  form  of
     "weeding  out"  process,  amateur radio would degenerate into the
     chaos which marked Citizen's Band radio  a  few  years  ago.  The
     high  standards  of  conduct and self-regulating of amateur radio
     have long been a source of pride to the fraternity.  Most current
     operators feel that the requirement to learn Morse code to obtain
     the entry-level Novice license should not be compromised.

     On the other hand,  this requirement  to  learn  Morse  code  may
     discourage  too  many  potential ham radio operators.  Why should
     someone who wants to use radio with a PC and modem take the  time
     to  obtain  a Novice license,  which only allows the privilege of
     using Morse code?  To  address  this  issue,  changes  have  been
     approved which improve the entry-level Novice license.  Beginning
     March 21, Novices can use voice and computer modes in addition to
     the code privileges that they previously earned.

     Packet  radio is a recent development in the hobby.  Using AX.25,
     the  amateur-radio  implementation  of  standard  X.25   computer
     protocol, it is possible to connect computers using radio instead
     of   telephone   lines.   There   are   radio-based  BBS's,   and
     conversation between operators in different countries is possible
     and becomming common.  The protocol supports relaying  a  message
     through  several  stations;  thus  it  is feasible to communicate
     through a large area.

     On a segment of the ten meter band,  Novices can use  up  to  200
     watts of power.  (This compares with the 5-watt maximum for legal
     Citizen's band transmitters.) This frequency, 28 MHz, is close to
     the Citizen's Band.  Conditions depend upon the  11-year  sunspot
     cycle,  which  is currently at its minimum,  so the range of this
     band will be limited for the next few years.  During the years of
     sunspot  maximum,   it  is  an  excellent  band   for   worldwide
     communication,  and  during  the summer it is likely to "open up"
     for nationwide communication even now during the sunspot minimum.

     On a segment of the 220 MHz band, Novices can use up to 25 watts.
     Packet-radio activity is growing on this  frequency  band,  espe-
     cially  in  urban areas.  An influx of new operators will make it
     more popular.  Range is limited to line-of-sight,  but the flexi-
     bility  of packet radio provides coverage throughout metropolitan

     In short,  the Novice license is a better bargain than ever.  For
     Fidonews                     Page 12                  23 Mar 1987

     information  about  classes  in  your area,  contact the American
     Radio Relay League, 225 Main Street, Newington CT 06111.


     Fidonews                     Page 13                  23 Mar 1987

     Tim Peeters
     OPUS 139/630
     Appleton, Wi.

     In the last couple of months  FidoNews  has  published  numerious
     articles about the plight of the poor ShareWare authors.  We have
     listened  to the Mark Welch's pleaded their cases looking for our

     I found it quite interesting when the Sysop  of  The  Fox  Valley
     Techinical  Institute's bulletin board,  a local BBS,  posted the
     following message on my board:

                          * * * * * * * * * * * *

     Notes from the 1st Annual Shareware Conference, by Judith Brown

     I was lucky enough to attend the 1st Annual Shareware  conference
     in  Houston  on February 21st for authors,  librarians and system
     operators.  The following are some notes which I thought  may  be
     of interest.

     Jim  Button  has  been  "locked  in  a  closet for the past year,
     existing only on Twinkies and Coke which have been passed to  him
     through  the  door."  He  has  thrown  out  the  source  code for
     PC-File III and is completely rewriting it in  another  language.
     PC-File +  will be announced in the first half of March.  It will
     run 5 times as fast as PC-File III and be twice as easy  to  use.
     Last year Button's income was in excess of $2,000,000.

     Marshall  Magee's  commercial  version  of  Automenu 4.0  will be
     released  March  26th  as  shareware.  He  now  has  over  15,000
     registered   users   and   is  receiving  an  additional  500-700
     registrations per month.  Not bad for a young man whose dad  told
     him to forget about computers because they were a passing fad!

     Bob   Wallace   who   wrote   PC-Write   just  recently  released
     version 2.7.   He  employs  20  people  and  currently   recieves
     $40,000-$50,000  per  week.  Version 3.0  will be going into Beta
     testing in March or April and the final version will be  released
     in May or June.  There will be no manual included on the disk due
     to  space  limitations,  however  extensive  on-line help will be

                         * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     Surprised?  I'm not.  I would imagine that Smith & Barkelew,  the
     authors  of  PROCOMM,  along  with  many  other quality shareware
     Fidonews                     Page 14                  23 Mar 1987

     authors enjoy similar rewards.  I think if you have  a  Shareware
     product  that's really worth something compensation is really not
     a problem.


     Fidonews                     Page 15                  23 Mar 1987

     Todd Looney
     Vietnam Veterans Valhalla

                             CONVOY TO THE WALL

          Plans are well underway and continue for a nationwide convoy
     to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.  All  convoys
     are  scheduled to arrive in D.C.  for a July 4th memorial service
     at the Wall.  According to Bob Castagna,  Organizing Chairman  of
     the  Convoy to the Wall,  an estimated two million vets and their
     families are planning to be there.  The  following  timetable  is
     reprinted  without  the  permission  of  Penny Decker,  Editor of
     Pathfinders EVAC  (Effective  Vietnam  Veterans  Action  Center),
     Klamath,  Oregon  (but  nothing  but good can come of its further
     distribution to the  hundreds  of  veterans  are  active  in  the
     International  Vietnam  Veterans Echomail Conference [yes...it is
     now being hosted in Europe!],  not to mention the countless  vets
     who read the Fido Newsletter, so I hope she will forgive me).

          For  further information,  please contact Bob Castagna,  VVA
     Chapter #179, P.O.  Box 823, Medford, Oregon, 97501, or just send
     a  message  to  me  at  Fidonet  (tm)  node  143/27  in San Jose,
     California (I have Seadog running here so you can crash it to  me
     anytime  of  the  day  or  night).   Make  your  plans  now...the
     departure date is less than 4 months away!

                            CONVOY TO  THE WALL
                            ROUTE AND TIMETABLE

                              Northern Route
     CITY                 ARRIVE        DEPART      HWY/ROUTE
     Medford, Or.                       6am 6/26    I-5, 44, 395
     Reno, Nv.            Noon 6/26     2pm 6/26    I-80
     Salt Lake City, Ut   2am 6/27      6am 6/27    I-80
     Denver, Co.          8pm 6/27      6am 6/28    I-80
     Omaha. Neb.          8pm 6/28      6am 6/29    I-80
     Chicago, Ill.        4pm 6/29      6am 6/30    I-65, I-70
     Pittburgh, Penn.     7pm 6/30      6am 7/1     I-76, I-70, I-81
     Winchester, Va.      1pm 7/1
     (Staging area until July 4th)

                               Central Route
     CITY                 ARRIVE        DEPART      HWY/ROUTE
     Los Angeles, Ca.                   6am 6/26    I-10, I-15
     Gallup. New Mex.     1pm 6/26      3pm 6/26    I-15
     Cedar City, Ut.      7pm 6/26      6am 6/27    I-15, I-70
     Denver, Colo.        8pm 6/27      6am 6/28    I-70
     Kansas City, Kan.    8pm 6/28      6am 6/29    I-70, I-64
     Louisville, Ky.      7pm 6/29      6am 6/30    I-64
     Fidonews                     Page 16                  23 Mar 1987

     Charleston, W. Va.   2pm 6/30      6am 7/1     I-79, 40, I-81
     Winchester, Va.      3pm 7/1
     (Staging area until July 4th)

                              Southern Route
     CITY                 ARRIVE        DEPART      HWY/ROUTE
     Los Angeles, Ca.                   6am 6/26    I-15, I-40
     Gallup, New Mex.     9pm 6/26      6am 6/27    I-40
     Amarillo, Tx.        4pm 6/27      6am 6/28    I-40
     Little Rock, Ark.    7pm 6/28      6am 6/29    I-40
     Nashville, Tenn.     5pm 6/29      6am 6/30    I-40, I-81
     Roanoke, Va.         5pm 6/30      8am 7/1     I-81
     Winchester, Va.      1pm 7/1
     (Staging area until July 4th)

          My wife Nancy and I plan to take the Central Route (we  HATE
     I-80!) and will be forming our own convoy departing San Jose, Ca.
     at 9am 6/25 and to ariive in Los Angeles,  Ca.  at 7pm 6/25,  Hwy
     101,  I-5.  We will be ready to depart 6/26 at 6am.  Hope to  see
     as many of you there as possible!


     Fidonews                     Page 17                  23 Mar 1987


          Well, it's  been a  busy week  so this  may turn out shorter
     than the  previous columns.  Monday night  the local net had it's
     monthly meeting  and we  covered a lot. We had several new boards
     start since  the last meeting, all of which needed to be educated
     in our  net's routing  and echomail.  We've also had a few people
     switch over  to OPUS,  and several  are waiting for SEAdog 4.0 to
     come out.  All in  all, it  made for a busy meeting. Work kept me
     fairly busy  the rest  of the  week, with Saturday being the only
     day I had a good part of free.

          Sunday was shot because of a Hamfest being held in the area.
     If you've  never attended one of these, I strongly urge you to go
     to the next one. Despite the name, there is quite a lot available
     for computer  buffs in  addition to amateur radio operators. Most
     of the stuff is usually marked down quite a bit also, I picked up
     a few books by QUE at $8.00 apiece and a box of paper for $20.00.
     You can  usually find a few good bargains at every show. One more
     thing I'd like to mention about the show, one of the people there
     was selling  Public Domain/Shareware/whatever (nothing wrong with
     this, as  they had okayed it with the respective authors and were
     only charging  $5.00 a disk). On most of the packages there was a
     sticker which urged you to pay the author's licensing fee. All to
     many of  us tend to ignore the license on these type of programs,
     and we  should try  to pay  for those  programs we use before the
     programmer's stop writing shareware type programs.

          I didn't  have a  chance to  look over any new programs this
     past week,  so I'm  going to  go over  some programs I've had and
     used for  awhile. This  first of  these programs  is  Certificate
     Maker from Springboard (list price $59.95). This program has seen
     a lot  of use  in the  past few  months, mainly  by others  in my
     family who  needed or  wanted to  give out certificates to others
     for a  variety of  reasons. It  comes  with  a  wide  variety  of
     certificates to  fit any  given  situation;  from  church  groups
     (support for most of the major religions) to the office Christmas
     party (Most  Coffee Breaks  award),  Sports  awards  (almost  any
     sport) to the outright ridiculous (Backseat Driver, Party Animal,
     etc.). I only have two complaints about the program, the first is
     that you  have no way to preview the certificate. The only way to
     see what  will print  is to  actually print the certificate, I've
     gone through too much paper through lack of being able to preview
     a certificate.  My other  complaint is  that you  have no  way to
     design your  own certificate,  you're dependent on Springboard to
     come out  with Certificate  disks  or  go  with  a  very  general
     certificate (No  pictures, "seals"  or anything  interesting).  I
     think this is a very serious limitation on an otherwise fantastic
     program. You  are able  to do  an equivalent  of a form letter by
     creating a  list of people for which to print a certificate, this
     could be  very useful  for grade  school teachers (just enter the
     names of  those who  have completed the multiplication tables and
     have the computer print each one a personal math award) or anyone
     else who  needs several identical certificates with only the name
     Fidonews                     Page 18                  23 Mar 1987


          Since  Certificate   Maker  comes   with  over  one  hundred
     certificates and Springboard is supposedly working on certificate
     disks, I  don't see  any immediate need to be able to design your
     own certificates.  I know  I'd be  hard put  to come  up  with  a
     purpose  not  covered  by  the  certificates  included  with  the
     program. It  is very  easy to  use, and I'm sure many of you will
     find uses for it that Springboard hasn't even thought of yet. I'd
     strongly recommend  this program  to any  grade school  teachers,
     people associated  with any  of the  scouting programs, and youth
     group leaders.  Other groups  that I  can see  using this program
     include business  that have  an inhouse training program, parents
     who are  involved with  their children's education (room mothers,
     teacher assistants)  and anyone  who would like to award a friend
     with one  of the  stranger certificates  (look  at  the  previous
     paragraph for some examples).

          Another program  that has  been a  favorite of mine is XTREE
     from Executive  Systems (list  price $ 49.95). This is one of the
     most useful  programs I've  ever come  across. It's  a visual DOS
     shell, but  don't let  those fancy  phrases confuse you. When you
     start it up it shows you a visual picture of your directory tree,
     as you  move the  highlight bar  up and  down the tree (using the
     arrow keys)  you can  see some  of the files in each directory at
     the bottom  of the  screen, press return and you can look through
     the files in that directory. Press return again and the directory
     tree vanishes  and it  uses most  of the  screen to  show you the
     files in  the directory. In addition to the DOS functions rename,
     copy, delete;  you can  view a file in either a debug type format
     or in  ASCII, move  a file  to a different directory, and tag and
     untag files.  Tagging files  is a  way of  marking them for XTREE
     only, you  can then perform a file operation on a whole series of
     files. My  biggest use  for this  is when I clear off space on my
     hard disk,  XTREE keeps  track of how many bytes have been tagged
     so I  can tell  at a  glance how much space I've "freed up." Once
     I've gotten  things down to a reasonable level, I have XTREE show
     me every  file on  the hard  drive and  have it delete all tagged
     files. I've also tagged files for copying to floppies, I've had a
     few requests  for my  entire download  library and XTREE can copy
     the tagged  files and  preserve the directory structure. This way
     everything is  organized on the floppies the same way it is on my
     hard disk,  if the  person is  looking for the word processors he
     finds the floppies with the subdirectory "\WORDPROC" and looks at
     the files  in the subdirectory. It could also be used as a way to
     backup a  hard drive  and have  executable files  on the floppies
     instead of files only useful to the restore program.

          There is  a demo  version of  the program available on a few
     bulletin boards,  I originally got interested in the program from
     the demo that was sent across USENET. The demo is limited only by
     the fact  that it  can't write  to a  disk, and  this isn't  that
     serious of  a limitation.  Most people  should be  able to decide
     from the  demo whether or not to buy the program. It can still be
     used for  a variety of housekeeping purposes such as looking over
     text files  (documentation, system  logs, etc.),  seeing how much
     Fidonews                     Page 19                  23 Mar 1987

     space a  program is  taking up  and printing  the directory tree.
     Several  of   my  friends   have  bought   the  program   on   my
     recommendation (or  seeing it run on my machine) and now swear by

          No  new   games  this  time  around,  I'm  still  busy  with
     StarFlight and  Leather Goddesses of Phobos. I've gotten a little
     further in each of them, but still haven't beaten either of them.
     A  friend   was  kind  enough  to  laminate  the  starchart  from
     StarFlight for  me, and  it's helped  a lot  since I  feel better
     about drawing  on it  now. I've  heard that  quite a  few graphic
     shops or  printers can  do this for you, and I picked some grease
     pencils up  from an  office supply store in the area. It can make
     navigating a  lot easier because of the short cuts available, and
     I can  tell at  a glance  if I'm  near  any  known  mineral  rich
     planets. I've  been beating  my head  against the wall on Leather
     Goddesses, Infocom  has come up with some pretty bizarre problems
     and solutions  for this  game. It  is still very entertaining and
     has provided me with many hours of enjoyment, although any chance
     of believability  went out  the door  a few  days ago. Both these
     games are  still highly  recommended, although  if you don't care
     for text  adventures you  probably won't enjoy any of the Infocom
     games. (Yes,  I know  they have  a graphic  game. I  just haven't
     bought a copy at this time.)

          Best book  this time  around is not a computer related book,
     although it  deals with  computers. It's  "Hackers, Heroes of the
     Computer Revolution" by Steven Levy. I've found it very enjoyable
     reading and  it gives  me a  new perspective on the home computer
     market. The  book is  divided up into three sections on different
     times and  places in  this "revolution."  The first goes into the
     early days  (how early?  how about  a DEC PDP-1!) of computing at
     MIT and  can be  fairly amusing at times. The second section goes
     out to  California and  the  "Hardware  Hackers"  who  built  and
     designed machines  like the Altair, Sol, and Apple computers. The
     third section pretty much follows around the beginnings of Sierra
     On-Line and  the Apple  II computer. The trailing minisection can
     cause a  little bit  of self-examination, and out of curiosity if
     anyone has  a recent  copy of  the public  domain EMACS,  I would
     appreciate it  you could  send me  a copy of it along with source

          Once again  I welcome  your own  comments on  anything  I've
     mentioned in  my column, or something you think I should see (and
     possibly write  about). My US mail address is below along with my
     net/node number  and USENET  address. If  you're a user of a BBS,
     please mention  to your  sysop that  mail to  me must  be  routed
     through either  157/0, 157/502,  or 157/1. They should understand
     what that  means, and  sysops please  take note  of the  previous
     statement. These  nodes will  also forward  files to  me and  are
     running SEAdog so you shouldn't have to worry too much about mail
     schedules. Hmmm...  this wasn't  really shorter  than  the  other
     columns, must be getting easier to write 'em!

     Dale Lovell
     Fidonews                     Page 20                  23 Mar 1987

     3266 Vezber Drive
     Seven Hills, OH  44131

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


     Fidonews                     Page 21                  23 Mar 1987

     Bob Arnold

              Technical Topics - Getting It From There To Here

     Many  sysops  know that files can be transferred  between  widely
     differing machines and stored for further transmission. What many
     people  fail to realize is that (more or less) ASCII files can be
     exchanged AND USED on almost any system.

     Why  I  said more or less above is the subject  of  this  column.
     ASCII  codes  are NOT necessarily used intact on  other  computer
     systems. For example, the old Atari 8 bit line uses a Decimal 155
     as  the  carriage  return as well as several  other  non-standard
     characters.  The entire Commodore line (except for the Amiga  and
     the new PC compatible products) are even stranger still.  Another
     problem is the various word processing programs used. Even in the
     PC/XT/AT world, WP programs use their own unique storage methods.
     For example, a file created under Multimate is in NO WAY directly
     compatible with WordStar or almost anything else.

     Having multiple computer systems here I've learned a considerable
     amount about getting files from one  system  and  WP  program  to
     function  on  a totally different system and program.  I'll cover
     some of the basics first.

     You'll  need  a utility that will let you look at the file AS  IT
     RESIDED  ON  THE  DISK.  I suggest NU  from  the  Norton  Utility
     package but others are equally suitable.

     With  this  type of utility take a look at the file and see  just
     how  bizarre it might be.  If you're lucky,  the file will be  in
     standard  ASCII  with at least carriage returns  (or  some  other
     unique character) either at the end of each line or paragraph. If
     not then you may be in trouble.

     What  you do next depends on just how the file will be used  when
     you're  finished with it.  If it will appear as a bulletin or  be
     used  on a BBS then you'll need to make sure that it's limited to
     no more than 80 characters per line,  has ALL characters in 7 bit
     ASCII (the 8th bit must be off) and that each line must end  with
     a carriage return and a line feed (CR/LF) character.

     This will ensure that when the file is typed or displayed that it
     will look as intended. How, you ask, do you change a file around?

     As a starting point,  try your trusty WP program. If it will load
     the  file  you can do the required editing by hand and in  a  few
     rare  cases this might be the ONLY way.  If you're lazy (like me)
     and  do  a considerable volume of material on  a  regular  basis,
     you'll  want  to automate as much of the process as  possible.  I
     found  an  old BASIC program on an local BBS and ported  it  from
     CP/M to PC-DOS using UNIFORM to read my Kaypro's DSDD 390K disks.

     Since  MBASIC  under  CP/M  and  BASICA  or  GWBASIC  are  almost
     identical in syntax I saved the file as an ASCII file on the CP/M
     Fidonews                     Page 22                  23 Mar 1987

     disk  using  MBASIC's ",A" option and load it into the GWBASIC  I
     use on the clone.  Yes,  if you didn't know,  Microsoft BASIC  on
     many  diverse  systems  usually  will load  directly,  or  has  a
     provision to convert, a standard ASCII file into a BASIC program.

     The original BASIC program was written to convert text files that
     were  terminated  in  a  carriage  return  only  at  the  end  of
     paragraphs  into files where each line was 55 characters or  less
     long  marked  at  the end by a "soft" carriage  return  and  each
     paragraph was terminated by a normal return. This is the standard
     AppleWriter  to  WordStar document mode convresion.  The  program
     runs well but it's slow,  handling about 1k a  minute.  Compiling
     with BASCOM under CP/M speeded things up considerably.

     Fortunately  for me,  the PC-DOS BASIC conversion ran exactly  as
     had  the  CP/M  BASIC version so no  serious  modifications  were
     needed for that particular problem.  Compiling it with QuickBasic
     increased the speed here too.

     With  a simple BASIC framework like this it's possible to  change
     the  program to do almost any type of conversion as long  as  the
     file  is reasonably standard ASCII with no bizarre storage method
     used. I've modified it  so many times that my working copy  bears
     little resemblance to the original program.  Other techniques are
     needed for files using strange storage formats.

     A case in point is an ongoing project involving a file created on
     Multimate.  This program stores the files in blocks of 512  bytes
     with  block  and format information inbedded in  each  block.  It
     doesn't  even store a document in the proper order if you've done
     any editing on the file.  It's almost impossible to convert  this
     raw file to another format such as WordStar document mode without
     considerable  manual effort or a complex conversion utility  that
     would take too long to write.

     The answer? I printed the file to disk using the PRINT section of
     Multimate  and  then  ran a modified version  of  the  conversion
     program  on  it to remove imbedded codes intended for  the  daisy
     wheel printer the file was printed on. The original 150K file was
     stripped down to a bit less than 110K using the various utilities
     involved in the conversion.

     This  is a topic that can occupy an entire newsletter  and  still
     not  cover all of the situations you can run into so I'll outline
     some of the basic steps involved in the typical conversion:

     1) Understand the format of the SOURCE FILE using  some  type  of
        disk editor utility to look at the raw file.  Simply typing it
        on the screen or loading it into your WP will NOT give you all
        of  the  details you need to know.  Look for unique characters
        that mark the ends of lines and paragraphs and check to see if
        the file has any characters with the 8th  bit  on.  Make  sure
        that  the  file is stored in the proper order and that its not
        scrambled into blocks out of sequence.

     2) Compare the SOURCE format against the DESTINATION  format  and
     Fidonews                     Page 23                  23 Mar 1987

        see exactly where the differences are.  If there are but minor
        differences  then  by  all means use a WP to correct the file.
        If the differences are great and it  would  take  considerable
        time   to  do  a  manual  conversion  then  grab  that  trusty
        conversion utility and do some modification on it  to  do  the

     3) After  conversion by whatever means possible,  verify that the
        file is indeed in the destination format  by  using  the  disk
        editor utility.  Small changes may be needed and can easily be
        done  with  your  WP program.  All conversion routines are not
        perfect!  There will almost invariably  be  a  situation  that
        shows up that you haven't dealt with before.

     4) If  all  else fails,  try to find out what program created the
        file and see if there is a  way  to  have  the  original  file
        printed to disk by that program to make a "standard" file.

     As an example of how this all works,  I wrote this on  WordStar's
     document  mode with the justification on.  I'll print it to  disk
     when I'm finished but this particular version of WordStar doesn't
     turn  off the high bit when it prints to disk.  I'll run the file
     thru  a conversion utility that strips off the high  bits,  makes
     sure  that each line is limited to the length  specifications  as
     set  forth in the article info file that Thom Henderson  provided
     and that each line has a CR/LF at the end.  I then take a look at
     the file by using the DOS TYPE command and if all looks good I'll
     forward it by netmail/netfile to 1/1.

     Seems  like  a long way to go doesn't it?  There's a way  to  get
     almost any ASCII file file created on one system into another and
     have it useable. You just have to look for it a bit.

     As a sysop, next time you get a file sent in for display for your
     system  from an Atari or Commodore owner just take a few  minutes
     to  analyze it.  You might find the conversion to standard  ASCII
     will  be minor and you've got another usefull contribution to the
     system instead of a worthless file.

     As  for  the BBS users out there,  ask your sysop if  he/she  can
     convert  files  from  other  computers and  don't  be  afraid  to
     contribute interesting items to both your own local system and to
     the  FIDO  newsletter.

     I'll  do  file conversions for material intended  for  newsletter
     submission  here at 260/320 and forward them on to Thom if you're
     using  another  type of computer that doesn't  generate  standard
     ASCII files. Just send me a netmail message FIRST and ask because
     I  expect  to  get  swamped and may have a  backup  of  files  to



     Fidonews                     Page 24                  23 Mar 1987

                                 FOR SALE


     BIG BLUE DISK, the magazine on disk for the IBM PC and
     compatibles, is currently available at Waldenbooks stores and
     many other retail locations, as well as by mail subscription.
     It is contained entirely on a floppy disk.  Each issue contains
     programs, articles, feedback from subscribers, program reviews
     and demos, and more.

     For example, issue 6, on sale soon, contains 2 disks full of
     features, including:

     - Foolagain's Island:  In this April Fool parody section, we take
     a peek (and a poke) at PC-STRIFE, the ONLY magazine on disk.

     - Kalah:  A computerized version of an ancient strategy game.

     - Political Preference:  Are you "left," "right," or just left
     right out?  Find out with this program.

     - The Reminder System:  Remember appointments, anniversaries, and
     other important dates with this handy program.

     - Color Test:  Determine monitor color combinations.

     - The MV Command:  Move files around between subdirectories.

     In addition, there are other programs, articles, and regular
     features, including feedback from our readers.

     You can order this issue by direct mail by sending $9.95 (check,
     money order, or Visa/Mastercard/American Express accepted) to:
     BIG BLUE DISK, DEPT F2, PO BOX 30008, SHREVEPORT, LA 71130-0008.

     Mail subscriptions are also available:  One year (12 monthly
     issues) costs only $69.95.  (A 41% savings over newsstand
     price.)  A six-month subscription is available for $39.95.

     Lots of interesting stuff is coming up; issue 7 contains a full-
     featured database program, plus the first in a series of the
     humorous, animated (mis)adventures of our unique character,
     Alfredo.  Subscribe now and don't miss anything!

     BIG BLUE DISK requires an IBM PC or compatible, with at least
     256K and MS-DOS 2.0 or later.  Color graphics is recommended.

     Send questions/comments to Daniel Tobias on FIDO 380/2.


     Fidonews                     Page 25                  23 Mar 1987


     Due to a glitch that developed in  our  system  when  we  changed
     machines, we seem to have sent out an empty newsletter last week.
     Accordingly, Volume 4 Number 11 has been officially delayed until
     this week.  We'll try not to let it happen again.


                          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.


     Fidonews                     Page 26                  23 Mar 1987

                 The World's First   /  \
                    BBS Network     /|oo \
                    * FidoNet *    (_|  /_)
                                    _`@/_ \    _
                                   |     | \   \\
                                   | (*) |  \   ))
                      ______       |__U__| /  \//
                     / Fido \       _//|| _\   /
                    (________)     (_/(_|(____/ (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 ________
          Address ______________________________
          City & State _________________________
          Phone (Voice) ________________________

          Net/Node Number ______________________
          Board Name____________________________
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          Is there some area where you would be
          willing to help out in FidoNet?_______

     Send your membership form and a check or money order for $25 to:

               International FidoNet Association
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     Thank you for your membership!  Your participation will  help  to
     insure the future of FidoNet.

     ** 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.