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FRANK'S FALLACIES, FACTS, AND FICTION

(February 1995)
Hello, if you missed this article in last month's edition of the
LANET Times, I plan to contribute a regular article. Am willing to
discuss anything that does not get me arrested. If nobody objects,
it will usually have something to do with Netware-related computing.
If I get any comments from anyone, I will try to incorporate them
into these articles.  Responses and reactions can be:
e-mailed to: fchao@cerf.net      (for you Internet-types)
or
via messaging via the LANET BBS  (more on that later)
or
faxed to 800-316-8206 (my newfangled store-and-forward fax mailbox).

Let me know with each missive if I have permission to use your
name, otherwise I will refer to you as "a LANET member" or other
protective moniker. I am a great believer in freedom of speech,
but am aware of the fact that exercising this right can reduce
one's freedom to make money.

FICTION ??

Nothing ever gelled out of the IBM will gobble Novell rumor. The 
people who were out spreading it quit talking about it. The hottest 
rumor that I am now hearing is that Windows 95 will become 
Windows 96. While, I am hearing it a lot in my travels around town, 
I have not been able to ascertain the fuzzy line between where the 
humor stops and a good rumor begins. Keep me posted. 

FALLACIES ??

As I run around Southern California in attempt to generate the 
income to pay for my Netware education, I keep hearing the same 
things about the Internet, also known as the Information 
Superhighway or the IWAY, from people with a significant greater 
quantity of cranial matter than I. Here are the 2 most common  
fallacies that other-wise intelligent people are telling me:

1) It is dangerous to connect a PC or Macintosh to the Internet 
   because of all the hackers that are waiting like vultures to 
   descend on the unsuspecting.

2) The Internet is a place for perverts and weido's, just look at 
   the "alt.wierdo" newsgroups.

Let's start with the first fallacy:

If I am dialed into an Internet provider such as Netcom, Cerfnet, 
   or Kaiwan either

1) via terminal emulation (such as with Procomm, Crosstalk, 
   Microphone, Telix, Bitcom, Qmodem, etc.)
or
2) via a slip or ppp connection (such as Netmanage Chameleon or 
   Frontier Technologies Super TCP, etc.),

how the heck is a hacker somewhere going to access my PC or MAC?  
These protocols are brain dead for remote access. They make the 
remote provider do 99 percent of the computer processing. The 
formentioned communications protocols are meant to be 
uni-directional. They do not have the smarts to allow the outside 
world to access my local computer. The reality of the matter is that 
only computers running Unix are "smart" enough to support remote 
bi-directional access and only they are the ones that hackers can 
get into.

Now let's discuss the second fallacy. Why is it that every time I 
sit in on a formal instruction session on accessing the Internet, 
the instructor demonstrates the insane stuff in the "alt.wierdo" 
newsgroups of the Usenet part of the Internet. 99.999 percent of 
the stuff in Internet newsgroups is "normal" discussion, just like
if you and I sat down and talked in a sober setting. Even 99.999
percent of the stuff in the "alt." section of Usenet News 
consists of normal discussions on various subjects: computers,
hobbies, sports, politics, health, etc. Internet-based discussion 
groups are a major morale booster for several invalid friends of
mine: The less computer-literate ones have me slaying trees with
my laser printer for printouts from newsgroups that pertain to
social and health-related issues. The more computer-savvy ones
access Internet e-mail either either the "big boards" like 
Compuserve or America Online or the "small boards" like Netcom or
Kaiwan. 

FACTS ??

Of all the various backup programs out there: Fastback, Norton 
Backup, Central Point Backup, Microsoft Backup (part of MS DOS 5.0 
and higher), etc., only Norton Backup for Windows (NBW) is totally 
reliable in a Netware environment. I have used every DOS and Windows 
version of the above-listed programs for the past 5 years, only NBW 
has withstood the vagaries of Netware computing. Do not get me wrong, 
all of them work reasonably well in a standalone PC. But after 
loading Netware client, either the NETX or VLM flavor, one separates 
the women from the girls and only NBW does not fail on me. Let me 
know if you have any opinions about this, as this is just my own 
experience--several hundred hours of experimenting with software on
behalf of those who pay me to have all this fun.

You get what you pay for when you select an Internet provider: my
friend John was having a problem with the mail function at his
"mom and pop" Internet provider. After calling the help desk several
times, he gave up and mentioned his problem with me. We logged into
his account and set a few simple Unix profile parameters and his
problems are now history. The "backwoods" Internet provider did not
have a person working their help desk that knew basic Unix account
parameters, despite the fact that they own half a million dollars 
worth of Sun workstations and software. Let the buyer beware--or 
learn a lot about Unix account configuration.  It is not rocket 
science. Choosing an Internet provider is like selecting any other 
vendor: the more competent ones cost more but mean less headaches 
and work on your part.

Upgrading from MS-DOS 6.2 to MS-DOS 6.22 sometimes damages the 
low-level format on some IDE hard drives. I learned this last week. 
My friend Lee and his wife own a generic PC clone with an 
2-year old AMI bios. After upgrading from 6.2 to 6.22, many of their 
applications quit working. Wierd error messages popped up on their 
VGA monitor. For example, when they tried to run MS-DOS edit, with 
no TSR's loaded, the error message: "Out of Memory" popped up on 
their monitor. I spent 4 ugly hours trying everything: prayer, 
profanity, changing SIMM modules, removing the "Soundbuster" card, 
changing the VGA controller card, changing the motherboard, changing
the Intel 486/33DX chip, reloading from scratch all software, 
including DOS, etc. and nothing would work. I then took his PC to 
a PC guru who showed me that running low level format program of the 
AMI bios setup and reloadeding all software solved the problem. This 
the one exception to the rule that one should never low level format 
an IDE drive. If anyone needs the name and number of this PC guru, 
drop me a line--I forgot to get his permission to use his name for 
this article.

El Camino College in North Torrance just became a Novell Authorized
Education Partner (NEAP). Instructor Bill Saichek (310-660-3204) 
and his small hoard of lab assistants is dedicated to the task of 
providing Netware education in accordance with all of Novell's 
stringent rules and regulations. Tuition and books for his Netware 
3.12 class is a fraction of what it costs at the other Netware 
schools around town and everything is the standard stuff that comes 
in the red and white boxes. Student response has been overwhelming. 
I did not know that that many people had an interest in Netware. 
I hope that they do not all end up with CNA's and CNE's before I get 
mine. General information about the school can be obtained by 
calling 310-532-3670.

I finally got a chance to install Netware 3.12 from a CD-ROM. The 
CD-ROM installation is not quite as smart as the installation of 
the "pile of floppies" version. After installing step-by-step per 
the installation manual, the cd'ed over to the C:\SERVER.312 
directory and confidently fired up server.exe. To my dismay, this 
caused the server/PC to reboot! A few more attempts yielded the 
same results. After 6 hours of struggling with it, during which I 
said a few things about Novell that I probably should not repeat, 
I finally solved the problem: some of the files that are needed 
in the C:\SERVER.312 directory were not placed there. These files 
are located on the "Netware 3.12 Admin. License Diskette". After
copying these files from this diskette to my C:\SERVER.312 
directory, the server started working like a champ. And don't get 
me wrong: I put that diskette into the drive at the time the 
installation program (on the CD-ROM) told me to. The program failed 
to copy some of the files over to C:\SERVER.312 when it was supposed 
to. Hopefully, Novell has slipstreamed a fix onto their 3.12 
CD-ROM by the time that the rest of you are brave enough to try 
installing from their CD-ROM. If not, take 2 tylenol and contact me 
if you run into this problem and we can keep the other members of 
this fine group informed about this problem.

I still have not figured where to send my LANET dues to. I left a 
couple of messages on the BBS but I think that I am the only 
(ex-) LANET member that is using it. I think that not only was I the 
only person that logged onto the BBS during the month of January but 
I logged on more that the sysop by logging on twice. If anyone has a 
clue about how I can pay up, drop me a line. They will probably stop 
sending me these newletters fairly soon if I do not find a way to 
inject them with my dues money. If that happens, I will not miss my
own rantings and ravings but I would certainly miss the excellent
verbiage provided by the other writers of this rag.

See you next month.

(The previous diatribe is solely the private opinion of the author
 and neither LANET, SCNUI, NUI, the author's unsuspecting employers
 and clients, nor anyone else for that matter vouch for the validity
 for what was stated.)

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