PENINSULA COMPUTER CLUB

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Volume 13, Number ..........................Supporting PC platforms..........................March - April 1997


Bob What if 2000 gets here and...by Bob Wallace
We've touched on this subject briefly at several of the monthly meetings, yet not much is generally known of what we might experience when the date rolls over to the year 2000 in just a little more than 1,000 days from now. The closer we get to it, the more we're going to hear about it, as was noted in one of the GT Network's Echomail conferences sponsored on the Netmail system here in San Mateo over the past weekend. Herewith a few details from that message from Bill Watts, a GT Sysop in Denver, and a Systems Analyst responsible for watching over nearly 800 computer systems at his day job.

The date problem comes down to something like this. We finally get into the year 2000, with all computer systems capable of handling that date rolling over into it at midnight, just as it's done for whatever number of years you've had it. Or, when you first turn it on in the daytime, it comes up with the appropriate date from the internal clock. Either way, this is where some amount of amusement is going to descend upon you. Take a look.

As suggested by Bill Watts in his message of this past weekend, start the Windows-based computer (presumably one with Win 3.1x on it, rather than Win95, although Win95 may have similar problems), then exit Windows back to the DOS prompt. At that point, switch into your Root directory by typing at the C:\WINDOWS prompt: cd\ to get into that base directory. At that point, change your DOS Date by typing "date 3-13-2000" to get the system date moved ahead a full three years. Then, tell DOS you want to "edit autoexec.bat" and get into that relatively small text file. You don't have to change anything in it, just save it before exiting from it, so that the date on that file is changed to 3-13-00, as you'll quickly note if you do a DOS Dir listing of *.BAT files.

Now that you've tried this little project, go back into Windows, and once there, bring up the Main icon to get to your File Manager. Change into the Root directory again within File Manager, then click on the icon for your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. Check the window with the date/time listing on it to see what comes up. Be surprised if it doesn't show up as 3/13/:0 on your monitor. That's the 'bug' that's lurking out there in computerdom for each of us in 1,023 days.

While this one may appear reasonably easy to fix for DOS, it may not be as easy to work with for other programs such as dBASE IV or dBASE V. Relational databases can use the DOS Date function to check for various things, depending on the query one sets up while running that program. Given a tendency on the part of database programmers to use the DOS Date function as part of its coding, the MM/DD/YY string of characters, how will we make any date-related checks of one or another field when the last two numbers are both zeroes, yet the date we're attempting to make a check against will show up as being 97 or 98 or 99? Good question, and no easy answers for you at the moment.

Unless the database programmer is aware of the limitations for use of the DOS Date function within the database? That's one possible way out of this upcoming predicament, and not only for database programs. Others might have similar problems. But here's one possible workaround for database usage, that being to include within the database structure a field for OLD_DATE and NEW_DATE, with queries to the database included within the database structure, itself. Understand, for the moment at least, that I've not done anything in this area as of this past weekend, so I'm guessing that it's possible to use this as a means of getting around the year 2000 potential for computer disasters.

It will not be only for the year 2000, however, as any checks being made backward that go into the years that include 19nn will also have to use a field within the database structure, I'm sure, in order to facilitate date checking and reckoning once we reach that magic number of 2000 on the calendar. Given the marvels of relational databases in doing relatively simple math as part of their internal functioning (subtraction is about as easy as it can get), it may not be that drastic a change, provided those managing such databases make a very easy change to their database structures now, and migrate their database into the new structure and add the NEW_DATE information (or something similar to it) into the way information is processed within a specific database file.

This is one problem not likely to go away all that easily. As Bill Watts also noted in his message of this past weekend, his place of work has changed out 200 PCs last year, is swapping out another 266 this year, and has plans for making a change of another 300 for next year. That's no small potatoes! This in a company with only seven technicians!

While PCs may be relatively easy to work with, for the most part, Bill also suggests that mainframe computers will be in even worse shape. Most of those larger systems use COBOL as their language, with most programs written in the 70s and 80s. All of that code will have to be checked to see what problems are likely once the calendar rolls over into the new year on January 1, 2000. Bill suggests that we'll see many companies advertising very soon for COBOL programmers in an effort to update their software code to allow for a smooth transition between the 1999 and 2000 dates, and that COBOL programmers will be in high demand for about four years, all of it a result of the century changing from the 19s to the 20s. And we thought computers would simplify our lives!


MyronThe Computer Interest Survey by Myron Gershenson
For quite some time Susan Faulk has done a wonderful job of finding speakers and programs for our meetings. Others on the board have helped, but the lion's share of the work has been done by Susan. In an effort to offer some assistance for future programming, the board authorized a survey be taken on a quarterly basis in which there will be a list of ten popular items, i.e., word processing, spreadsheets, graphics and the results stored on an Excel spreadsheet. This would give us some idea of the ongoing interests of our members. The first results are in, tabulated and reported. The next survey will be taken at the April meeting. If any members wish to have an specific categories included in the survey, please contact Myron Gershenson at myrong@juno.com

Email by Juno
I would like to tell you about a wonderful email service provided by Juno. The company does not charge a fee (its income comes from advertisers) but is so simple that it is fun to use. While you cannot send files or enclosures in the email, if you have a simple message I don't know of a program that is easier to use. It includes the capability to print the message, spelling checking and for me, best of all, if someone sends you a message, the address of the sender is automatically included in your address book. If you have forgotten as many addresses as I have you will appreciate this feature. While the company says it makes its money on advertising, I haven't seen any. All I can tell you is that after using Juno about a year I can report that the program is flawless, simple, easy to use, efficient and most importantly, FREE. If you would like a disk sent to your house let me know or send me an email at myrong@juno.com. Be sure to include your address and I will tell the company and they will send it right out.
For anyone using one of several off-line message editing programs, you can use the name you are sending a message to on the "To:" line, but then on line one of the text portion of your message, include: "To: myrong@juno.com" to get a message sent to Myron at JUNO.COM, in this instance. -Ed.


JudyUpdating our Web Page A page under construction by Judy Oliphant www.sirius.com/~jlo

How many of you have seen the Club's Web Page? Show of hands please. I count five. Ok. The rest of you I ask, why not? It's very disheartening to myself as your Web master that after months of hard work and time and cost that I have made on my own that only five PCC club members in a room of 25 or more have seen the club's web page.
Next question is, why? And those of you who have seen it, why have you not sent me any comments good or bad? I want to hear from you. A web page is work still in progress; it's not done yet. It's like the painting of the Golden Gate Bridge. Once they get done painting one end of the bridge, they gotta begin from the other end and do it all over again. The same goes for our web page. We're not done yet..
The input generated from these comments will help me make our web page better. After all, this is our Web Page. It's like the dust that settles on our tabletops. It's always there, and there is always work that has to be done. It's an on-going process and it takes the input from the club members to make it.


PenBBS Update by Bob Wallace

It's been quite some time since we discussed downloading from the bulletin board, whether that be the Hints BBS or the club's Peninsula BBS. Both have the same command for starting a download of one or more files. The only other thing to consider before starting a file transfer is the protocol to be used for it. In most instances, you'll have X- and Ymodem available to you, and by far the better choice, Zmodem. The only consideration from your perspective is what it is that's available within your communications software. If Zmodem isn't, I'd suggest as strongly as possible that you upgrade to a later software program, one that allows for Zmodem file transfers either as an internal or external protocol. The difference can be startling!

As noted a moment ago, it takes only one command at the BBS's Main Menu to get a file transfer started, that being the "D" (for download) keystroke. If you have not yet tagged one or more files for your download, the Host program will ask which filename you want to select for your download. If you have already tagged one or more files, those already tagged will be sent once you give the "D" command.

For some computer users, it may have been quite some time since you've logged on to a bulletin board, thus may not be aware of some of the current file archives available from either of the bulletin boards connected with the Peninsula Computer Club. The next pages will include a listing of Shareware files posted in recent months, much as you'd find them by calling the bulletin board and making a check of recently posted archives.

For those calling the club's bulletin board, you can use the LU command, the "Latest Uploads" listing for the Peninsula Bulletin Board. If you are only interested in the latest Shareware files, change into that specific File Area by issuing the "C" command to get a listing of File Directories available to you, then choose the appropriate directory by number. The Host mode will change into that file area, and display the file archives posted in that directory.

For callers to the Hints BBS, you can issue the "N" option at the Main Menu and get a listing starting from, usually, the last time you were on that bulletin board. Whether on the Hints BBS, or the club's bulletin board, each system provides a means for finding the most recent files available for download. Try it, it's fun!

This is a display typical of what you would see when checking for new archives posted to the BBS. -Ed.

Searching: BOARD 1 AREA 6 - Shareware Files

CDQ95V20.ARJ 443,221 2-07-97 1-08-97 CD-Quick for Win95, v2.01 (ASP)
From the makers of PC Mag's 1995 Best Shareware of the Year Award winner! CD-Quick will improve the performance of ANY CD-ROM drive by storing frequently read data in fast RAM or on your Hard Drive. Uses advanced caching techniques for top performance. Includes the utility QuickMon, to show cache statistics in real time. Setup program makes installation easy. For Windows 95 only. Shareware $29

COELI380.ARJ 789,234 3-08-97 3-02-97 Coeli - Electric Planisphere (ASP)
Super VGA model of the skies as seen from Earth. Coeli combines practical planetarium and ephemeris with real-time star chart. View the heavens from any place or time with advanced star and constellation search inside a point/click interface. Readouts includes rise, set, and transit times, apparent and absolute magnitudes, astronomical twilight, distance, co-ordinates, phase, and much more.

DH120.ARJ 224,221 2-07-97 1-27-97 Doghouse Reminder System v1.2 (ASP) for Windows. Simple and intuitive interface with configurable advance warning. Great for those You can instruct Doghouse when to start reminding you of an upcoming event. And the reminder will pop up daily from then on - telling you how many days you have to go.

EDDY8G.ARJ 365,750 2-01-97 1-26-97 Eddy v0.8g (ASP) EDit DirectorY
Do ANYTHING you want to disks/files, plus lots you never though of and won't find elsewhere! DOS Shell and File Manager-like tasks really easy. Seldom-needed stuff (edit hex files, sectors, RAM, etc) can be lifesavers! Reviews say: clean, easy to use, well written * quality (like) Norton. NEW: Touchdown Keys (tm) accessibility option, enhanced directory packing, KWIC Index.

FMSU340.ARJ 183,520 3-08-97 2-25-97 File Manager StepUp (ASP) v3.40
Add-on for Windows v3.1x/Win95 - featured in Windows Magazine, Superior Shareware section, FM StepUp makes working with File Manager easier: provides history lists and 3D effects for dialog boxes, customizable Execute Menu and Quick Menu a'la Windows 95, useful utilities; means to easily view, edit or print arbitrary files, and _much_ more. Supports Long File Names when used with FMLFNS under Win95. $29.95.

I_M311C.ARJ 429,336 3-08-97 2-28-97 Integrity Master v3.11c (ASP)
Virus scanner and data integrity. Works well under DOS, OS/2, Win95, Win3.x. Easy to use but protects against much more than just viruses. Hardward glitches, software bugs, even deliberate sabotage are detected. If a virus strikes, IM identifies it by name and unlike other programs) also identifies any viral damage. It will even detec new and unknown viruses in memory and provides full CMOS protection.

KNK311.ARJ 463,625 1-25-97 1-01-97 Kith & Kin v3.11 (ASP)
Windows genealogy. UK's Number 1 Genealogy Shareware. Excellent shareware program for documenting and storing family trees. Graphic interface, timeline, zoom, stats, relationships, etc. Pictures, maps, diagrams, sounds, etc., may be embedded in or linked to a person or family. Many more new features. Win 3.1 / Win95. Needs 286+ (386, 8Mb reccomended), VGA+. By SpanSoft.

MTWIN16.ARJ 977,092 2-01-97 1-01-97 Musical Tutorial v1.6, Windows 3.1 (ASP)
An excellent way to encourage musical study using a graphically oriented environment. Treble / bass note and chord sight reading. Associate notes to piano keys. Chord dict. Musical games. Play, view and print scales, chords and triads. User log. Play classics. Print sight reading papers. Intervals, ear tests, key signatures, etc. Makes music lessons fun for children or adults.

PEOPLE20.ARJ 715,186 1-25-97 1-06-96 People Clip Art v2.0 (ASP) 30 color PCX images of people at work and play. Includes artist, babies, bank, business, construction, cleaning, florist, dancing, chef, groom, hippie, land- scape, doctor, nurse, musician, police, sports, romance, student, teacher, and more. Our Installer shows you samples before the clip art is unpacked. Elfring Soft Fonts, $25 registration.

RDHND225.ARJ 101,175 2-01-97 1-18-97 RedHand Security Monitor v2.25(ASP)
RedHand will tell you exactly what someone did on your computer while you were away, exactly when they did it, and how long it took, and they won't even know they were being watched!

READ35.ARJ 82,745 12-26-96 1-01-97 Read v3.5 - A compact MS-DOS
program for reading or editing ASCII text files of virtually unlimited size. Features include a File Selection Menu, Large Text Mode, Word Wrap, Block Editing and Search-and-Replace. Full Mouse and Printer support. Many customizable features. On-line help plus external documentation. Fully functional shareware. Registration: $15 US.

RM14.ARJ 3035,362 3-08-97 2-22-97 Rescue Me Backup System v1.4 (ASP)
Backup and Restore files easily and safely. Supports ZIP, SyQuest, Jaz, floppies and more. File compression is available to conserve disk space. For Windows 95 3.x. A must have for anyone who has ever lost an important file.

SCRIPT10.ARJ 415,907 1-25-97 1-10-97 ESF's Script & Calligraphy Fonts v1.0 (ASP)
Ten kerned TrueType Script style scalable fonts for Windows 3.1 or Win95. Run SETUP to preview and selectively install. Includes: Aristocrat, Brush, ESF Elite, Grandam, Hotpress, Jessica, Old English, Saffron, Tech Bold, and Zap Chance. $25 shareware payment. By Elfring Soft Fonts.

TIMCLK13.ARJ 587,520 2-07-97 1-26-97 PC-TimeClock v1.3 (ASP)
Win3/Win95/WinNT. Tracks and reports your computer usage by project and/or category. PC-TimeClock (TM) can help you with client billing, and can also save you money at tax time by reporting how much of your computer use was for business purposes. It is inexpensive, easy to use, and provides the information you need to document your business deduction for depreciation of your computer.

WINZIP95.EXE 345,015 2-01-97 8-14-95 WinZip v6.0 for Windows 95 and Windows NT (ASP)
Includes long filename support and tight integration with the Windows 95 shell. ZIP and UNZIP without leaving the Explorer. Brings the convenience of Windows to Zipping External programs not needed for ZIP, tar, gz, a "Recommended Download," Windows Magazine 8/95. "Cadillac of Unzippers," PC Magazine 3/14/95. "Slick and Intuitive," Computer Shopper 5/94. "Best Utility," 1994 Shareware Industry Awards.

WSPELL13.ARJ 1097,109 2-03-97 1-10-97 Weekly Speller v1.3 Win95 / 3.1 (ASP)
An excellent way to encourage children to practice weekly spelling lists. Provides an easy mechanism to quickly input spelling lists that can immediately be used for spelling practice or games. Printed reports allow parents/teachers to monitor progress. Optional password protection can be enabled on the spelling list editor. Makes spelling lessons fun for children or adults.

ZPAY3V41.ARJ 875,758 3-04-97 1-01-97 ZPAY 3 v4.1 Payroll for DOS (ASP)
Pay by any pay period; hourly, salaried, commissioned, non-employee workers; prints Checks, W2s, 1099-MISC forms and reports galore. Built-in data backup and restore with file compression. You can pay an employee in as little as three keystrokes! Password protection. From the creators of the popular PayWindow Payroll System for Windows.


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