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FRANK'S FALLACIES, FACTS, AND FICTION

(December 1994)
Hello, by way of introduction, I plan to contribute a regular article
to the resurrected LANET News .
I am willing to discuss anything here that does not get me arrested.
Usually it will be something to do with Netware-relating computing.
I also plan to incorporate in these articles, the reactions, wisdom, and
flaming responses of those who read these columns. Responses and reactions
can be sent to:
fchao@cerf.net     (e-mail)
or
messaging via the LANET bbs

With each missive, please tell me if you wish to be quoted anonymously
or if I can use your name. That of course, will depend on whether what
you say would be career-limiting if it is associated with you by 
current and prospective clients, customers, and employers. If you contact
me with comments, etc. and do not tell that I can use your name here, I
will protect your anonymity and refer to you as "a LANET member" or some
other protective moniker. Also, I strongly advise that you refrain from 
naming customers and clients. You will find me doing that in order to keep 
my existing income streams from aborting.

FALLACIES



During the last 5 weeks, I have been hearing various versions of the
Novell has been bought by IBM rumor. I have heard various versions of
this little gem. One client of my stated that it was a "done deal". 
Another scuttlebutter stated that that IBM was contemplating to by 
Novell. A middle ground version has popped up in the gossip columns of
various trade rags. But nothing in the way of substantial journalism 
has developed. My guess is that someone was bored out in Wall Street land
and decided to inject a few rumors in hopes of upping the buy/sell volume
of IBM and/or Novell stock. Will keep you posted. 

FICTION
A client of mine bought of stack Microsoft Office Professional upgrades
for his AST 386/33's. It clearly states on the box and in the manuals that 
that the minimum CPU is a 386 SX and that the the minimum of RAM that is 
required is 4 meg. What they do not tell you is how long Excel or Word will 
run before yielding a "Progman error". These clients were running only one 
application window at a time, no DOS TSR's in the background, 10 MEG 
permanant Windows 3.1 swap files--in other words, clean systems from the 
point of view of Windows, and neither Excel nor their Word or Excel files 
were between 50k  and 400k in size and they were receiving the one fingered 
"Progman error" message every 3 to 5 minutes. After upgrading these PC's to 
8 or 16 megs of proprietary AST RAM SIMM, these problems disappeared. 
Another client of mine is trying to get Personal Netware on an XT with
1 meg of RAM. So far, is error message and lockup city. I have not had the
time to get out to her site to see if I can figure out what is happening so
I will reserve judgement on this one and have more about this situation
later. And don't tell me have this client toss out her XT's. They love them
and they plan on keeping them forever. The customer is always right, as
usual. This client also loves their little Netware Lite 1.1 LAN and are
willing to use it forever. Of course, I could get more grocery-generating
work out of them if they upgraded to the latest Pentium-based PC's running
Netware 4. Of course, if I become the only consultant in town that still
supports Netware Lite, my time charges might rise a bit.

FACTS ???
A client a large corporation had a series of what he thought were defective
SCSI hard drives (Quantum Prodrive LPS 120S). After installing each one,
his various SCSI II cards failed to communicate with each of these drives.
Of course, they then sent back to the beleagured distributor who promptly 
shipped out another one with apologies. After several of these iterations, 
this client asked me to spent some time to determine the root cause of it 
all. After running the usual diagnostics, changing out a few SCSI cards, 
issuing a few controlled profanities, the usual, etc. I finally narrowed in 
on the problem: the screws that were being used to mount the drives were too 
long and they were biting into and gouging the edge of the printed circuit 
boards of these drives. Whenever this happened, one or two of the etched 
printed circuit traces were being cut by the mounting screws. Not real great 
design on the part of Quantum. We attempted to call Quantum tech support 
number and found out that 
1) their faxback option yields technical literature that does not cover
   this particular older model of drive, and
2) when we hit the touch tone option to speak to a live tech support person,
   we were put on music on hold for 2 hours. At the 2 hour point, we did not
   like the Henry Mancini tune that they were playing so we aborted the
   call.                                        
Last subject: my LANET membership has expired and I will gladly pay up, as 
soon as I can find out who will take my money. When I joined LANET last 
year, I paid SCNUI and they never got my name to Sherman, he never
got proof that I had joined. So for the last 12 months, I have been a 
undocumented member. Hope that the newly elected leaders can straighten out
the communications between SCNUI and LANET. LANET is a great group and I 
have learned a lot from the meetings and other activities.

See you next month.

(The previous diatribe is solely the private opinion of the author and
 neither LANET, SCNUI, NUI, the author's employers, or anyone else for 
 that matter vouch for the validity of what was said.)


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