Washington Apple Pi

A Community of Apple iPad, iPhone and Mac Users

Ask the Webmaster, Vol. 2

by webmaster@tcs.wap.org

Washington Apple Pi Journal, July/August 1999, pp. 30-35, 54-61, reprint information

The Pi's Web site, at http://www.wap.org, includes an E-mail address where visitors can report problems with the Web site and related topics. But many visitors, as well as Pi members, use the address to ask all kinds of questions, only a few of which relate to the Web site, and contribute all manner of thoughts. The following messages and responses have been edited only for length and to (with one exception) disguise the identity of the participants.

[The first volume of "Ask the Webmaster" was published in Washington Apple Pi Journal, March 1997, pp. 55-61.]

Questions and comments on Web Pages

Q: First I want to thank you for the superb service the WAP provides us for connecting to the WWW. I've tried two others, and neither comes close to the WAP for quality of service. Thanks a lot for your work in behalf of all the users.

I read something yesterday while I was browsing on the TCS about Explorer Service including 100kB or 100kbits of storage for personal Web pages. Is that feature available? What is the directory I can save to? I'm an Explorer charter subscriber, at the higher or highest subscription level, I think.

A: Yes, we do offer member web pages on http://members.wap.org/ If you have any questions about this, please ask them on Conference 1, Board 30 of the TCS.

Q: Will it be UNIX based? What will the homepage addresses be like (i.e. members.wap.org/~[name])?

A: 1) Not at present. Since future versions of Mac OS may have a UNIX core, maybe in the future. 2) Not if we can help it. It will be members.wap.org/[name] (hate those tildes).


Q: Great job on the WebMaster link of the WAP Home Page. That's some funny stuff and I'm very impressed with your answers to the technical questions. The wagon and penquin on the WAP info page is great also. You folks are doing an outstanding job!

A: Thank you.

Q: What I want to know is when youse guys are gonna start sending some humor my way so I can pass it on to the folks here in the Northwest!

A: I could send you a subscription to the Washington Times, but some people might not realize it is a joke.

If you have access to the World Wide Web (and if you have AOL, you do), take a look at:


the famed "Infrequently Asked Questions" section of Washington Apple Pi's web site. [There are] all kinds of strange things here; a couple hundred pages of lunacy.


Q: [In response to a Pi page listing "Easter Eggs" in programs] In Quark (only, that I know of) create an object. Then hold down the Command-opt-shift (I believe its these three) while also hitting the command K (delete) keys. A tiny martian will march out from the left and proceed to disintegrate your object. Uses: none.

A: I'll have to try this. Thanks!

Q: I have an elderly aunt who bought (and still uses) a Mac (something with 5 Mb of memory). She is thinking about getting on the Web, and I thought the friendliest way would be through a Mac users group, but I haven't found one on the Internet. Do you have a listing of Users Groups at WAP? She lives near Bath, ME, which is on the coast about half-way between Portland and Augusta. I would appreciate any help you can give me.

A: We have an extensive list of user groups, updated monthly, on the Pi Web site at:


[At the bottom of the opening Washington Apple Pi page is a "counter" icon that offers a blinking "12:00." It also references a date, January 24, 1984.]

Q: This is my first time seeing your web site. Is the "This page has been accessed "12:00" times since "1984" supposed to be some kind of sci-fi-tech-reference to what 1984 was supposed to bring, or is it just a typo? (I thought maybe it would have been included in your "What's New" page as an "added the counter item".)

A: You need to give a bit more thought about why 1984 has special meaning to Mac users.

Q: I can't think of anything special about 1984. Is that when the iMac was introduced?

A: [No response sent.]

[Someone else, responding to the counter at the bottom of the opening page]

Q: This message counter looks like my microwave after a power cut!! "This page has been accessed times since January 4, 1984."

A: No, it looks like a VCR that has never been set.

Q: Why a VCR?

A: [No response sent.]

Q: I'm looking for a graphic of one of the original Apples (GIF or JPEG) for an article we are doing in our Hawaii Mac & Apple User Society publication, SIGNAL. Can you tell me where I could find such a thing?

A: Try these two links:


which is a color picture of an Apple I, and


which has several pictures of Apple II machines in various flavors.

Q: Didja hear they found the real reason the Heaven's Gate folks committed suicide? Put 39 people together in a room, and make them all use Windows 95, and it's bound to happen. I think this even more likely - if they were MAC users ant had their machines taken away.

A: Probably true.

[The Pi has an extensive collection of fake Apple advertisements at:


These ads attracted a number of letters and suggestions.]

Q: Run thousands of Killer Apps, or


all on one computer

A: I like it!

Q: We don't do Windows...After all, who has that much spare time?

A: Now that has potential.

Q: Fight World Domination. Replace your PC with a Mac...before it's to late.

A: It is already too late: the world is dominated by PCs. At least until Dec. 31, 1999.

Q: Macintosh... a better PC

Mac. Because its NOT PC

MacOS. Because you have work to do!

Macintosh. Because you're not corporate America!

Macintosh. Because I ride a Harley!

A: Not bad

Q: I love the ideas you all have come up with for Apple bumper stickers. I've taken it a step further with my car. I found a guy in Ocean City who makes vinyl stickers and he created a wonderful sticker for me which I now proudly display on my back window.

Anyway, I might get the vinyl-sticker-maker to whip up some of these bumper stickers you have on the web site. Long live the Mac.

A: I hadn't thought of them as bumper stickers, but go right ahead.

Q: Want some more:

The chip powering the first chess computer to beat a human (sorry forgotten his name)


The chip powering the Pathfinder Roamer on Mars


A: Actually, those are already on the site; check all the pages.

Q: How about this: work with your computer, not on it.

A: Very good!

Q: Any serious (legal) objections if I want to take the "Killer Ads" and turn them into buttons (standard Badge-a-Minit 2.25 inch) for use as WaPi propaganda?

A: No objections. Send me some. [He didn't.]

Q: Friends Don't Let Friends Use Windows

A: I'm ashamed; I should have thought of that. I'll add it.

[One page has strange things to do with a microwave oven,


A visitor offered this story.]

Q: I wondered why they didn't just hardboil eggs in the microwave. So, I placed one in there for 10 minutes, and found out. I soon understood that when they were dropping eggs from tall buildings, and small aircraft, there was no mirical that one would survive uncracked. It blew up. It wasn't too long before I had found an audience. I found myself demonstrating, while my father was at work. I had a friend that had consistantly tape recorded his own music, and adventures. He was there, and we counted down 3 times before the audio tape actually contained the blast. One day, when the egg went off, the door on the microwave flew open, and moved one corner three inches. That was the last experiment done on an egg.

After awhile a tried placing a neon bulb in the microwave, but I didn't get the same results as the other fellow. It was bright, but nothing melted. Since then, I have tried to coax others into trying out xenon.

I began to use my microwave to make consentrates, and dehydrate solutions. Then I got the notion that I could make better tear gas than I could buy. So, I broke out the blender, some rubbing alcohol, and jalapenio peppers. Well, I wasn't too satisfied with my results there. So, I went down to the garden shop, and bought Habenero seeds. My main reason for doing this was that the label stated that they were 50 times hotter than the jalapenios. It took awhile, but I did finally get good crop. Shortly after, I began the process of drying them. Over the course of time that they were in the microwave, and I in the other room, the fumes filled the house. As soon as I opened the door, to leave my computer, my eyes started watering, I was sneezing, and I could barely get my lungs half full. I thought that if I got closer to the floor, I could make it to the kitchen, and stop this. It was hours that this stuff seemed to hang in the air. Even with the fan over the kitchen stove, and in the bathroom, nothing seemed stop it. I would go back in the house just see could breath, and couldn't concieve of means of stoppings all tears. It had got to a point that my sinuses were burning, and congested. I finally found that the best way to solve that problem is boil water, and run all the fans that put air outside of the house. The steam occupies airspace in volume as humidity, and running all of the fans, with the boiling water, and the airconditioner on, works to wring out the air, or just get rid of it.

The Flavored Coffee Guy.

A: I am in awe.

Q: My name is [name] and I'm a network manager for a small private school in Baltimore. I'm interested in learning more about your users group. I've came across tons of Mac problems some I fixed some I did not. I would love to be a part of an organization that I could share and gain information with. Any information would be really appreciated.

A: We have lots of information about Washington Apple Pi on our Web server, including a calendar of events, information about classes we offer, various projects we are doing, a membership form -- lots of stuff. If you haven't seen it already, drop in to:


and take a look, especially under:


I don't know if you care, but everything the Pi uses runs on either Macs or Apple IIGS machines. Everything.


Questions and comments on General Information

The Webmaster mail account is regularly filled with spam (bulk advertising sent as E-mail) as well as messages not directly tied to anything in particular.

Q: [This individual sent over 30 messages asking to speak, in person, to someone from the Pi for some unspecified purpose.] Specifically, I am interested in having a brief marketing conversation with a decision maker at Apple Pi. Do you have the phone number of an appropriate individual, so that I might voice chat with them for a few minutes?

A: Beats the heck out of me: your message was utterly without content. It mentioned nothing specific, so I have no idea if you need to talk to our finance people, our technical people, the Webmaster (me), our bulletin board people...

I don't wish to be rude, but your approach so far hasn't sparked much beyond mild curiosity. What do you do, and why should I care? [We got many more messages, but no answer.]

Q: [Part of a message sent at 2:30 a.m. on a weekday.] Attached is a new web page and the file I've used for the graphic.

A: You should be in bed. Come to think of it, so should I...

Q: [A message sent from Israel] can u send me these tricks?

A: Can you explain what you are asking?

Q: My name is [name]. I'm writing to you from MHA Event Management, the event management company that manages the MACWORLD Expo in Boston and San Francisco each year. MACWORLD Expo is the world's most comprehensive Macintosh event, featuring the latest advancements in Mac and Mac clone technology. I am contacting your organization in hopes that we might be able to work out a link trade agreement between our web site, at www.macworldexpo.com, and your web site. I believe that this could be beneficial to MACWORLD and Washington Apple Pi. Please respond with any questions and to indicate your level of interest in this idea.

A: I have no objection. I am somewhat surprised, however: I get hundreds of requests like this, but yours is the first that didn't include the URL you want listed. Peculiar.

Q: Today's paper had a weather forecast for today, tomorrow and Monday. Now, if today is Sunday, and Monday follows Sunday, what day is tomorrow? I told my boss if there's going to be an extra day in this week, I want it off.

A: It is all part of the Year 2000 problem: since so many computers (not Macs, but "other" computers) will fail on Jan. 1, 2000, there is a secret government plot to delay the turn of the century. Just as there are well-known "leap seconds" to get atomic clocks in synch with the rotation of the Earth, there are now lesser-know "leap back days" in which we are forced to relive a day in order to delay the turn of the century.

This extra time was intended to give government and corporate organizations a little cushion for reprogramming or replacing their computer systems. This was supposed to be a secret but, since you noticed, there is a penalty: you are not allowed to repeat this to anyone, or your right to smoke tobacco products will be revoked.

Q: Did you know that dogs are more closely related to walruses than to cats?

A: Uh, no, I didn't know this. This is the kind of fact that is perfect for springing on the unwary:

Boss: "Have you looked over those reports I gave you? We're supposed to have a policy decision out for vetting before going to Congress, and it is overdue."

Me: "Did you know dogs are more closely related to walruses than to cats?"

Boss: [Stunned silence.]

Q: The carnivore order branched into two groups, cats, mongooses and hyenas on one side, dogs, bears, raccoons, weasels, and the pinnipeds on the other.

A: Pinnipeds? But no mention of simians.

Q: May I suggest the tcs crew come up with some kind of address book for the users while on the tcs mail server. I have your address in my explorer list and in my AOL book. But no way, obviously, am I able to remember it while logged on the tcs.

A: Many people don't want their addresses available because they don't want to get junk E-mail. Those who want to be listed are on the Web server at:

http://www.wap.org/info/about/email.html [discontinued]

and officers and directors (and a couple others) are listed at:


Q: [A commercial firm, trying to get the Pi to recommend them as the Pi's "official" Internet provider, asked about our Internet service.] Can you give me a few details about the Explorer service to pass on?

A: Washington Apple Pi is its own Internet Service Provider. It supports only members of Washington Apple Pi, who pay an additional fee to cover the capital costs and telecommunications costs. You can get more information on pricing at:


For security reasons, that's all the information we disclose, though you can take a "tour" of our telecommunications equipment on our Web site,



[A question about the Tuesday Night Clinic]

Q: I want to bring in my mac and printer, but do i need to bring the monitor? Do you have monitors that we can temporarily use?

A: I've never been to one of the Tuesday Night Clinics (I live closer to Pennsylvania than the Pi) but the answer is "yes," they have monitors. Be sure and bring cables, however.

[Fan mail]

Q: [Expletive] you and your e-mail group. Disconnect me from this service or you won't know what hit you.

A: Thou shalt not threaten people brighter than you are. You connected to our Web server; we didn't mail anything to you.

Q: Oh, I'm so sorry. I don't understand this new Windows 98.

A: Have you considered getting a Mac?

Q: I was told Mac was bankrupt.

A: Yes, well, some people think the world is flat, but that isn't true, either.

Q: Really? Do you know where I can buy a Mac in Philadelphia?

[Some days later]

Q: Thank you! I took the Windows thing back and got a Mac. They never told me they sold Macs. This works much better. I didn't realize Apple made Macs. I use to use an Apple in grade school.

A: You're welcome.

Q: I personally manage news web site of Macintosh in Japan. I want your topics, such as trouble shooting at software and hardware, leak of beta software and Apple, and any.

A: Funny! Sure, we're going to violate copyright and confidentiality agreements just for you. At least you are direct.

Q: Whatever happened to AppleLink? I see that Macworld says they can be reached on AppleLink at Macworld1. What's the story?

A: Have no idea what happened to AppleLink aside from the fact that Apple discontinued it. According to rumor, there was no sense in funding a private, transcontinental network after the Internet itself had been "privatized."

Q: Hi, I have a few quick questions about Washington Apple Pi. First, does your software library contain library circulation software? I have a spare Apple IIGS and would like to use it as the catalog/circulation machine in a church library.

A: I have no idea. The Apple II/IIGS library has literally thousands of programs, but since I never owned either, I don't have an answer. I'll send your message on to someone who might know.

Q: Second, is the meeting place accessible by public transportation? I don't drive, and I won't become a member if it is hard or takes too long to get there. I live on River Road in Bethesda, and can take the T2 bus to the metro, but where is the nearest metro station to the No. Va. Community College?

A: The Pi office is near Twinbrooks Metro station; virtually all of the meetings except the General Meeting are held there. I'm not aware of any Metro stations near NoVA; some people carpool to get there.

Q: Our company has 3 PowerBooks to sell. Do you have a "classified" section that I missed? If not, please suggest ways to inform members of local MUGS that these computers are available.

A: Our bulletin board (which is members only) has a classified section.

Q: [A member forwarded a vendor message filled with Web mumbo-jumbo.] This looked like a candidate for you...

A: What they are saying is that instead of doing our own Web site, they'll be willing to do it for us, using state of the art Windows technology. I have to struggle to restrain my enthusiasm.

Q: 1. How to get people to go to your site FIRST even if your competition is using the same, identical 'keywords' as you! (This secret is PRICELESS!)

A: Does that mean worthless?

Q: 2. What Web site marketing pro's do to get superior positioning for their site. (It won't cost you a penny!)

A: Ah, yes: it does mean worthless! Somehow, I don't think I could get a job working at your company.

[more fan mail]

Q: Let's get one thing straight "Dummy" when "Mac and Trash" is in deep trouble who do they go to. I'll tell you who, they got to the P.C. World (I.B.M. and Bill Gates) yea...that who THEY WENT TO I KNOW IT AND YOU KNOW IT. Now you think putting "[deleted]" on the net will save "Mac and Trash". "[deleted]" won't save "Mac and Trash". Why hell, "Mac and Trash" used it for years and they had to get on all fours and crawl to I.B.M. and Bill Gates AND BEG FOR HELP. APPLE IS NOTHING MORE THAN A 3rd PARTY LEFTOVER

The P.C. World WON. I'll be sending you a roll of toilet paper. You need to use it for dental floss. No ones being fooled by what you're "MAKING UP" ON THE INTERNET. NO ONE!!

A: Um, have you tried therapy?

Q: To: webmaster

From: [mailing address in China]

Dear Sirs/Madam:

We got the honor to know you from your internet homepage and suggest we could serve you hereafter. We are a seven years old trading company with a very professional attitude specializing in China origin chemicals/metals and iron raw materials' export. The following is our products list. If you need more details or other raw materials concerned, don't hesitate to contact us.

1) 2,3 acid sodium nitrite

2) 4-bromo-2-fuorobenzyl bromide

3) 4-fluorophenol


74) zinc oxide

75) Zinc sulfate

[Name] International Trade Co.,Ltd.


A: Thank you. We have contacted the Environmental Protection Agency and the Coast Guard, and they will take appropriate measures.

Q: To: webmaster

From: [a Finnish writer]

Subject: Launch from undersea?


Is it possible to put shuttle in deep undersea and lock it there, then use airpumps to pump air to the somekind of tanks which are very very big. Then unlock shuttle and airtanks, the airtanks and sea mass will lift shuttle very high speed above sea. then launch rockets and get in to space. The airtanks were drop off before shuttle reaches sealevel and rockets can be launched then. [N=pgV]

I will be greatful if someone can calculate the results.

A: You even included a formula!

Q: [From the Florida Department of Education]

Hi, I'm a geography teacher and I lost the key to an old crossword. Can you help?

The deepest spot in the ocean is called? 14 letters

I was thinking Marianna Trench but it does not fit! yes? 14 letters but, some answers going down don't line up in the right place with Marianna Trench.

The Atlantic Ocean was named for the _____ Mountains? I get Atlas.

The Pacific Ocean was named by the explorer _____ ? I get Balboa.

Animals that live at the bottom of the ocean are part of the ____ group? (begins with P ends with s seven letters)

Another, The ____ Strait connects the Atlantic and Pacific? I get Panama for six letters.

Last, The Atlantic Ocean was named by the ______?

I believe the crossword squares may be out of order?

Anyway thanks for any help.

A: What qualifications are there for teaching geography in Florida?

Q: Subject: Please pardon the spam! Vote for Craig Dorne for Circuit Court Judge


Dear Friend,

I am excited to share the news that my husband, Craig Michael Dorne is a candidate for Circuit Court Judge in the upcoming September 1st election. Craig and I were both born, raised and educated in Miami-Dade County.


Craig represents the people of the community and guides his campaign with his involvement. We are both proud to call Miami-Dade County "home."

A: Aha! Please contact [name] at the Florida Department of Education; she'll be glad to help you with remedial lessons in geography.

Q: Would you like to improve your website's "findability" in the Search Engines?

A: "Would you like to improve your firm's literacy and intelligibility? Don't be one of those twits who send out incomprehensible press releases! Don't show your limited vocabulary by inventing new nonsense words when there are perfectly good nonsense words already available! Come to our new, low-cost seminar, 'Electronic Commerce for The Complete Bozo,' cosponsored by Microsoft! For only $233,000, this four-day seminar will cover English, paragraph structure, writing complete sentences AND, as a no-cost benefit, the elements of an introductory sentence!"

Q: Since I am online, I have to be careful which keys I hit as some of them mean things.

A: Actually, all the keys mean things, but none of the things are mean.

Q: Have you had it up to here with telemarketers? Are you sick and tired of nagging phone solicitors calling every time you sit down to eat, step into the shower or lay down to sleep? Would you like to stop being bugged by telephone come-ons for everything from credit cards to carpet cleaners? Then [go to this URL for help].

A. Thank you for contacting the Electronic Fraud Division. We intend to give your message all the attention it richly deserves.

Q: Do you know anything about an email virus that is supposedly going around the Internet? Titled: penpal greetings, or join the crew? We got a message from our MIS manager today. Says it can not only infect one's own hard drive, but also all of one's e-correspondants. Now I'm afraid to check my email!

A: Go ahead and check your E-mail, but be afraid to be in the same room with your MIS manager. Reading an E-mail message can:

but it can't infect your computer with a virus.

On the other hand, if someone attaches a program to E-mail, and you run the attached program, that program, if infected by a virus, could spread a computer virus.

This "E-mail virus" hoax is an old one, initially spread to make fun of AOL. AOL is still around, and so is the hoax.

Q: It says in the Pi Journal (which I just received) that the General Meeting date has been changed to [new date]. But the Pi web page, as well as p. 48 of the same issue of the Journal, show the meeting date as [date]. I'm concerned that this is going to create a lot of confusion and cause a lot of people to show up on the wrong date. Which one is the correct date?

A: The date is correct on p. 48, on the Web server, and on the Pi answering machine; it is wrong on p. 25. Three out of four isn't bad...?

Q: That Larry Ellison person, former partner, and current enemy of Bill Gates, says he (Gates) is not Einstein, he is Rockefeller. After reading some recent pieces about Gates, I think he is more like Edison. Steal, steal and steal again, and then lock everyone else out of the market.

A: Gates believes in washing; Edison refused to bathe. Aside from that, you may have a point.

Q: Today, there was an article about the new [Apple] computers, and the web sales, and how it is all too little, too late.

A: Right again! Sheep are so predictable. Some day, it is going to occur to some newspaper somewhere that, while the "safe" thing to print is what everyone else is printing, it won't hurt a thing -- and will get publicity -- to print something nice about Apple. Since the paper is probably laid out on Macs, who knows: the computers could feel better about themselves and work better...

Q: This space saved for the rest of what I was going to write if I had remembered it.

A: I like this! I think I'll steal the idea.

Q: I am a post-secondary student in the fourth year of my Computer Information Systems degree. Currently my girlfriend and I are looking to help finance my schooling and our apartment...

To this end, I am trying to start up my own small software company that is education-oriented, and have now developed a unique student organiser…

If you could please help me by informing your M.U.G. members about the organiser, or possibly by placing [the software] on your website for downloading, I would greatly appreciate it... (This is especially important to us as my girlfriend and I can't live together during the summer without the reservations because of financing.)

A: Let me see if I'm reading this right: you want Washington Apple Pi to, literally, fund your shacking up??

Q: Due to the responsability which rest on your enterprise. We think indispensable to advise you that our site [address] which present the unique totally fire proof system, deserve your attention.

Étant donné les responsabilités qui incombes à votre entreprise nous croyons indispensable de vous aviser que notre site [address] lequel présente l'unique système totalement à l'épreuve du feu, mérite votre attention.

A: We want our Web site to catch fire, so respectfully decline to accept your offer. Even in French.

Q:Could you send us information on membership and/or adding our group to your mailing list(s) for the Visitor Center?

Thanks! Hellenic Int'l. Artists Foundation

A: Huh?

[In response to a notice that some equipment would be down over the weekend for servicing.]

Q: Damn! And I had planned to spend the whole weekend here slaving away over a hot draft tentative proposed preliminary scoping paper for possible alternative options to implement initial recommended guidelines on potential positions impacting future directions we might choose related to unforeseen factors that could influence decision matrices depending on various program development scenarios.

A: I'm going to have to steal that. Expect it to appear on a Web site someday.

Q: To: webmaster

Cc: president@whitehouse.gov; vicepresident@whitehouse.gov

From: [name]

Subject sonar testing in hawaii

Aloha na hanohano ea Greetings magnificent beings, My name is [name] and I reside in the Kohala district on the northwest tip of the big island of hawaii. I am an ambassador for honor magnificence in all beings. I am particularly keen to celebrate diversity. One of the most elegant reasons for living in the part of campus earth is the beauty color and majesty of the oceans and its exquisite residents. The humpback whales are and elegant part of this beauty for a good portion of the time. The navy began some sonar testing during their birthing cycle here. It did have and impact causing toxic water reactions in the fish and adverse effects in the births of at least one newborn whale calf that I am aware of. The humpback whale population then retreated from these elegant waters quite prematurely. I am very concerned with this action having a severe impact on their migratory patterns and their elegant return to ka wai ola, the waters of life here. I consider the actions of the Navy A HUGE SLIP IN MAGNIFICENCE. I am proud of the reputation of vice president Al Gore's as an ambassador for enviromental reverence. I humbly and honoring request that the Navy discontinue any further sonar testing or any other actions in our majestic oceans. Please acknowledge and respond to my message.

aloha puúwai wau a pau óle malama pono

[name and address]

mahalo nui loa i na kokua thanks plenty for your support and assistance.

A: [No response sent.]

[From Japan]

Q: To: webmaster

From: =?iso-2022-jp?B?GyRCNSQ4dzwjTkUxIRsoQg

Subject: =?iso-2022-jp?B?GyRCPzckNyQkNGI8I05FJE4kND5SMnAbKEI=?=





A: Dearest ?iso-2022-jp?:

Thank you for your *3zknnKIEgR email of June 29. Please rest assured that your request will receive our utmost 4TKre5%^62~;;?=+ADkzsx. In fact, I plan to send it this very %&8*32kj3 instant to a team of experts whose entire existence revolves around responding to your @Gvvvr*&$>> questions.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to =8nRElknNDRknnNB$43 and we'll see what we can do to R|nww$3#32nnKKERIesnt.

I remain your humble servant,



P.S. As compelling as your resume summary was, I'm afraid we already have enough computer experts who specialize in email system compatibility. Good luck!


[long list of medications and prices]

Y2K, Y2K Think about where you will get your Prescriptions Jan 1st 2000. From a computerized Pharmacy, or a Mexican Pharmacy that has one telephone, no fax machine, and no computer?

A: We are greatly interested in your offer. Please send all future updates using the computer and Web site you don't have.

Questions and comments on the TCS

The TCS (Telecommunications System) is the Pi's computer-based bulletin board system, dating back to the early 1980s. It is only indirectly related to the Web server and Explorer service, but people send in comments and questions about it, too.

Q: Question: have you done whatever and can I jack my rate back up to above 33.6?

A: No, and no.

Q: another Question: If you haven't done it, would you let me know when you do? And then I can jack the rate up? oh that's two questions.

A: Actually, no matter how fast you run your modem, the TCS is never going to operate faster than about 1500-1600 cps. Even 28,800 bps is overkill.

You didn't ask what the problem is, but I'll tell you: the TCS runs on Apple IIGS computers. The programming is done in AppleSoft BASIC. The connect speed is stored as an integer.

And the maximum value of an integer on an Apple II is: 32,768. So when you connect with a value of 33800, you crash the program with an illegal value. We've written the TCS so it won't accept values above 32,000.

Q: Is there a spot on this Web site to click, and it will transfer me into the TCS? Seems like other sites do something similar to get into their BBS. I'd prefer this method of access, rather than having to use my modem and dial in.

A: You can telnet to tcs.wap.org and -- you're there. To telnet, you need either NCSA Telnet or (much preferred) Nifty Telnet. Both of these are on the TCS, of course...

Q: I really miss the TCS. Any chance it'll be web-accessible in the future?

A: You can read the TCS via the Internet now (and have been able to for some time) if you are a member. If you aren't, no.


Q: How come the weather forecast is never available [on the TCS]?

A: It is a leftover from a very old version of the TCS, and doesn't work anymore. We haven't found anyone willing to volunteer the time to write a new one. And, with the availability of the Web, there isn't as much interest. It used to be fun to look up the weather in Nome on hot summer days...

Q: Have a good day - I am a little concerned about the weather reports - a woman on CNN said a storm was moving in that was going to affect Western Washington and Eastern Texas. A really big Tornado?

A: Washington and Eastern Texas? One storm? That's gotta be a heck of a storm.

Q: The most recent WAP magazine refers to a "searchable TCS file download area." I contacted the updated web-site <www.wap.org>, but could not find the area in question. Please advise.

A: This is for Explorer subscribers. Please ask questions like this on the TCS, Conference 1, Board 13 (for TCS questions), or Conference 1, Board 30 (if you are an Explorer subscriber).

Q: Can my son get his own email account from WAP?

A: Your son can get a TCS E-mail account for $20. In other words, he would get a full TCS bulletin board account, and it would also include mail.

[If you connect to the bulletin board via the Internet through a Telnet session, you are greeted with a notice that you've connected via Zen Link.]

Q: What exactly is a Zen link?

A: A joke. You can telnet into the TCS, making it the only telnet-accessible Apple IIGS bulletin board in the world. Since we didn't think people would believe it was magic, Zen seemed the most likely alternative.



Q: Where do I ask questions about software, such as UNIX for the Mac?

A: Conference 3 on the TCS is devoted to Mac hardware and software questions, answers, gossip, etc.

Q: It seem that some time between 7/25 5:30 pm and 7/26 5:30 pm the password for my e-mail has either been changed or became inoperative. I tried about 6 six and each time it said I had the wrong password. I haven't changed from when I started a couple of years ago. Could this be checked?

A: Your E-mail password and your TCS password are identical. If you can send me a message, you can read your E-mail.

You sent E-mail, therefore you are. That probably would sound more profound in Latin.

Q: I have thoroughly enjoyed your website. It has valuable information and humour. (You'll note by the speeling of humour that I am Canadian.) My question is, do you have a bulletin board? I would like to communicate with Apple Users.


Ellyn from Alberta

A: Yes, Ellyn from Alberta, we do have a bulletin board. It is members-only, but there is no reason why you can't be a member in Alberta, since it is available via the Internet.

Technical Questions

[In the first round, the writer asked how they could see some new features on the Web without upgrading. The answer was: "Upgrade." This is the follow-on conversation.]

Q: Considering human nature I know that humans will continue to develop computers until who knows where; possibly Isaac Asimov's story "The Last Question" tells the tale; and I admire people who are at or near the leading edges of this development, as I expect you are. But I do feel the need to let myself be dragged along, and keep my equipment sufficiently upgraded to participate in some kind of an, I guess, self selected, mainstream of computer usage by the general computer-using public, as distinct from the leaders in computer development.

A: I fully appreciate what you are saying, and in most endeavors tend to have the same attitude. (I just replaced my car, for example, after ten years, because I wanted air bags and ABS brakes; the fact that the new car is "new," or faster, wasn't really a consideration.)

But I don't tend to view computers as "technology" so much as communications tools. I don't need the best telephone, but I need one that allows me to communicate with the fewest restrictions (so I have a wireless telephone with a speakerphone, so I can wander around and talk at it and type at the same time). I want a "magic typewriter" for writing, so I have a Macintosh. I can't draw worth beans -- so I have a Macintosh. I hate soiling paper, so I send reams of electronic mail.

In other words, I don't use my computer to compute that often.

Q: Oh BIGGG question. Ok if a make a photo album for [someone], he prefers JPEG but what application is useable by everyone? That I can put on a DOS disk.

A: There are lots of free utilities, on both Macs and DOS machines, for reading JPEG files. The only thing you have to worry about is writing stupid file names ending in .jpg.




Two men on a goat.jpeg

JPEG files can be read on Macs, PCs, Amigas, UNIX machines -- almost anything.

Q: What does it mean when I get a message from MAILER-DAEMON@iceberg.wap.org (Mail Delivery Subsystem)?

A: You really should ask these kinds of questions on the TCS, Conference 1, Board 30. That way I can answer your question, and also answer the question for another 400 people who also want to know -- rather than write 400 separate messages.

I'd need to see the entire "header" of your message to tell specifically what this was. In general, the mailer daemon is the program that handles mail on a mail server; for some reason (I'd need to see the header) it says your message caused some sort of alarm to trip. There are hundreds of possible reasons, most beyond your control, but the most common is: you misspelled someone's name.

Q: What's the difference between Java and Javascript?

A: Java is a programming language created by Sun Microsystems, and adopted as an industry standard. Javascript is a combination of Java-like elements incorporated as a scripting language by Netscape in Netscape Navigator. In other words, they are related, but different.

Q: What is Apache used for ? Is it on UNIX machines? Is there a free version of UNIX/Linux for 68K Macs? Thanx

A: You really should ask these questions on the TCS.

1) It is a Web server.

2) Yes.

3) Yes/No.

Q: Where is the cents sign key?

A: It isn't a standard ASCII character. You can generate it via the Option key, but you can't transmit it in an E-mail.

Q: Some Macs are programmed clear through 29,000 something. I think mine probably only goes to 2040, but I am sure that will be long enough.

A: Your System software is good until 29940 AD (or 30000 BC, roughly). Some software on your machine won't make it past 2100, however, as the designers deliberately put in limits to (pick one) (a) force you to upgrade, (b) act as a check against accidentally entering ridiculous dates.

I, personally, think it is (a). In any case, a Mac should be the first choice of time travelers.

PS -- The Macs that "only" go to 2040 were the original "toaster" Macs (so named because they lacked a fan and were about the size of a toaster).

Q: I have a mac plus. Where can I get old software for it?

A: Our software library has tons of old stuff that will run on a Plus. But the library, like most other Pi activities, is a volunteer affair run by members for members. Are you a Pi member?

Q: NO I am not. COuld you help me out?

A: Sorry; as I explained earlier, we are a member organization. If you join, yes; if you don't, no.

Q: how do i play decent on the apple talk option

A: I can truthfully say I have no idea what you are asking. AppleTalk is a networking protocol. While it is fun, it isn't a chessboard.

Q: I wonder how to set the internal ID number. I am removing the hard drive from a very fast external hard drive and installing it in place of the existing internal hard drive. I noticed that the ID number switch is wired to the hard drive through a small plug. I wonder if the internal switch plug will ID the previous external drive to "0"...I will find out in a few days...

A: It depends on the manufacturer and what "the small plug" does. Most manufacturers use jumpers to set ID numbers, but if you can set it via the "small plug" it might attach to an array that selectively shorts wires to set the ID.

Best bet: see if the drive manufacturer (not the manufacturer of the box, but the actual drive bubble) has a Web site, and see if it contains specifications and drawings.

Q: I am going to give Claris emailer lite another try. I tried out Eudora, but it too is lite, and I don't really like it. I must have done something wrong, the last time I used this, because I think it should work. I think the full program is just for businesses and such. Have you checked out Jupiter? It's moons are visible through binoculars. Thurs. I could see 4 moons through my scope.

A: Not sure why you had trouble with Eudora, unless it was an old version. I much prefer Claris E-Mailer, and will freely confess I use the "real" version; have no idea how the "Lite" version works. I know the Lite version comes with Mac OS 8, but I immediately deleted it so I wouldn't get confused...

As for Jupiter, yes, I've been watching it, but with eyes only. Speaking of which, I bought a goodie at MacWorld, a wonderful virtual planetarium called Starry Night, by a Canadian company. It has a huge database, so is distributed on CD-ROM only. But if you enter your longitude and latitude correctly in the Map Control Panel, and have your date and time set properly, it shows you what the sky looks like outside. Even better than reality, however, it tells you what you are looking at: click on a spot, and it identifies the star, planet, or whatever it might be. You can even zoom in and take a close look at M100, for example, or even "transport" yourself to one of the planets in the Solar system and look back at Earth. The view of Earth, of course, is accurate, too; if some moon is eclipsing Earth, you won't see it.

A great way to waste time! It has many other features (such as the ability to move back or forward in time, move to other locations on the globe, etc.), but it would take days to explain them all. Wonderful program. Have no idea how much it costs, regularly, since I bought it at discount at MacWorld (and in Canadian dollars, no less).

Q: I am using a powermac, however, I need to transfer some files from mac to another pc running Windows 95 (DOS system), I am kinda stuck here, any suggestion? Is there any software that helps the PCs to recognize and read mac-format disks?

A: No, PCs can't read Mac formatted disks. (Technically, there is a commercial program that allows a Windows 95 machine to read Mac disks, but it doesn't help with the fact that the files, themselves, are still "foreign.")

What you can do: save the Mac files in some format a PC can recognize (such as Word 6.0, or WordPerfect 5.1, or ASCII text, or -- for graphics -- BMP or GIF or JPEG or whatever). Once the files are in a PC-compatible format, use the PowerMac to format a DOS disk (just tell it to Erase a floppy, and select MS-DOS format), then copy the files to the DOS-formatted disk and do whatever it is you need to do with it.

Q: What is the latest MacOS Version an LCIII can use, and what is the latest version of Netscape's Navigator/Communicator that will work? Also what other software do I need to set this up (Open Transport, et al)?

A: And the answer is: I don't know. This is the sort of thing you really should ask on the TCS, since you get an audience of thousands, not one.

The LC III has a 68030 processor, so (providing you have the memory) ideally you would be running Mac OS 7.6.1, with whatever version of Open Transport ships with that, and Netscape 3.0.1. The LC III can have 36 MB or more of RAM, and I'd say you'd need at least 20 MB of RAM to be even remotely funtional with Netscape (since you need room for the operating system, too).

I haven't worked on a non-Power Mac in a couple years, so I'm sorry I can't tell you more.

Q: I'm having trouble with my E-Mail.

A: Since you can send it, and I can receive it, what is the problem?

Q: It keeps saying there is no user by that name.

A: Then you misspelled the address. E-mail addresses are completely arbitrary; there really are no rules. But computers are very literal: if the address doesn't match, exactly, you'll get an error.

Q: I would appreciate it immensely if I could receive some help in making sure that my fonts are available in all my programs (not all are activitated or available in my microsoft office 98 - whatever - you know what I mean).

A: (1) Power up your Macintosh.

(2) When it has finished booting, go to the Apple menu.

(3) Select keycaps.

(4) Check out the fonts you have, and make a list.

(5) Go across the street to Giant.

(6) Buy a large stainless steel kettle.

(7) Buy 3 pounds of fresh cod, 5 pounds of fresh perch, 7 pounds of fresh salmon and (if they have it) two pounds of fresh rainbow trout.

(8) Come back to the complex.

(9) Go to the kitchen area.

(10) Place everything in the kettle.

Q: And exactly how is [the kettle] supposed to help with my font problem?

A: It won't, but I'll be able to say, "That's a fine kettle of fish you have!"

[Sent by a Windows 95 user]


A: I've forwarded your message to NASA, as they are in charge of the space program.

[The following are all one series]

Q: I don't know if you are the proper person to address this request for information to or not but please pass it on if I am in error.

A: The Webmaster is the poor guy who volunteers to run the Web server. Like any volunteer, if you stand up in front, people think you are leading and tend to follow...amazing, really.

Q: I am a retired school librarian. I was told of Apple Pi by a former colleague, [name], librarian at [school] in Prince William County. I think I need to join Apple Pi soon. I don't know what level of help I need though. That's where I need your advice.

A: User groups are -- this will sound trite -- groups of users. They band together to pool their knowledge and conspire against the rest of the world. People contribute in various ways, some by just their membership fees and others by doing things like run Web servers or run special interest groups devoted to various things. As you can probably tell by just looking at our site, we do lots and lots and lots and lots of things, some of them only vaguely related with helping one another. (But we try to at least make them fun.)

Q: To begin with I have a 1996 Canadian Macintosh Performa 5260CD. I have no trouble with e-mail...do that darn well. I belong to two interest groups (I think I'm not supposed to refer to them as listservs) that I enjoy and have no problem with either. I can find almost everything I want to on the Internet...well, I am a librarian and like research.

Now here's what I need help with...

1. My husband and I travel between Manassas, VA and Prince Edward Island, Canada twice a year...we spend 6 month there and 6 months here. I need to attach the computer to isn.net on PEI...I haven't a clue how to do this...I have to get the only MAC person on the Island to come out and do this for me. I need someone to tell me how to do this...it it hard? Same thing when I return here I have to get MacHaven to come out to reattach me to erols. I like these people but I hate to spend the money to do this every 6 months.

A: This is actually easy -- depending. You didn't tell me much about your Performa, but from the number I can tell it has a PowerPC chip. (All Macs with a four-digit name have PowerPC chips). If it has a PowerPC chip, it can run any version of the Macintosh operating system from 7.5 to the very latest, Mac OS 8.5. The newest versions (7.6, 8.0, 8.1, and 8.5) all support something called Open Transport. Open Transport allows you to have "sets" of settings for connecting to the Internet. The sets can be saved so that, when you are here, you use your erols.com set, and when you are there you can use your isn.net set. The latest version of the operating system, Mac OS 8.5, allows you to actually toggle the sets back and forth; before that you had to do a bit more manual work.

The Pi's Tuesday Night Clinic crew could probably show you how to do that -- provided you have a reasonably current version of the Mac operating system and enough memory. I don't think anyone could teach you how to do it via E-mail, however.

Q: 2. I might like to add programs to my MAC...I have no idea what I need, what I'd like, how to install, what to delete...how to update programs??? What level of help do I need there?

A: This is actually where user groups shine. They are essentially communities that form around communications tools: web servers, mail servers, computer bulletin boards, magazines, meetings. Because the technology is always changing, the answers change, so the conversation is always fresh. I suggest you attend our [next General Meeting], and get there early -- 9 a.m. -- to see the Question and Answer session, and get a feel for the kinds of things a user group can do.

Q: 3. I'm having trouble opening attachments, some of my correspondents can't open my attachments....can you teach me about attachments?

A: Attachments are the ticking bomb of the Internet. In order for your machine to talk to another Mac, or another PC, you have to share things in a similar format. E-mail is just text, and all computers can read text. But if you send someone a ClarisWorks document, and they don't have ClarisWorks, the attachment is useless. That is one reason why, when you save things in ClarisWorks, it allows you to choose from a wide variety of different formats.

Graphics and sounds and other "multimedia" things are even harder. Then you have issues of encryption and compression. Adding to the confusion, most users of E-mail have not a clue what format a file might be in, if it is compressed, if it is encrypted, etc.

This doesn't mean the issue is impossible, just that there isn't one answer, but a bunch of answers.

Q: 4. Since I've been from pillar to post, I have had Eudora, Claris e-mailer, Netscape, and now Eudora Lite....maybe I want to return to one of the previous programs ? If I do, and they are all still on my hard drive, how do I do this? How do I know which one I'd like if I went with a new edition of an e-mail program? Do you do consumer info also?

A: This is actually a question of personal taste as well as technology. I like Claris E-mailer, but the full commercial version, 2.0v3, not the "lite" version included with many Macs. Some people like to use Netscape, some like to use Eudora (the full version, not the lite version). All of them -- all of them -- can read the same E-mail. Some of them are much better at handling strange formats, have better address books, etc. But there is no reason at all you can't use the same E-mail program in the US as Canada. Aside from the fact that they spell funny, the words are made up of the same letters, and that is all an E-mail program does: transfer letters from here to there.

I've probably told you nothing specifically useful, but yes, the kinds of questions you are asking are the kinds of things the Pi exists to help with. I joined the Pi for exactly the same reasons.



Return to electric pi

Revised June 30, 1999 Lawrence I. Charters
Washington Apple Pi
URL: http://www.wap.org/journal/