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(C) Sun Feb 16 12:37:34 EST 1997 Explorer Post 369

Explorer Post 369

Explorer Post 369

Table of Contents


Calendar of Events:

October 14 Exploring Radical Event

October 31 Halloween Party

November 1 Basic Leader Training

November 7 Election Reporting

November 20 EOA Meeting

December 11 InterNet Night in Aust.

December 18 Christmas Party

December 16, 17 Food Drive

December 25 No Meeting

January 1 No Meeting

January 23 Advancement Tests

January 30 Post Elections

February 2 Exploring Ski Trip

February 3 Court-of-Honor

February 4 Scout Sunday


Happy Birthday

Stephen M. Gladfelter 10/22/76


EOA Needs Your Officers

The Scouter

All Post Officers and leaders are invited to the November 20th E.O.A. meeting. We need your representation to help plan activities and get information back to your Posts. The meeting will be held at 7:00pm at Shoney's Restaurant on Brice Road just north of I 70 East.


Camp Falling Rocks

James D. Corder

Our campout of 10/6/95 was a huge success. It was our first Toady training course. I am proud to announce that we received rave reviews from not only the Toadies but also their parents and members of the Troop as well.

We went to Camp Falling Rocks in Licking County. We wouldn't let anyone use matches or lighters for the entire weekend. We cooked on open fires. The youth didn't believe that one could start a fire without matches, but they did:-)

The Explorers didn't have withdraw symptoms from the lack of computers. I think they made it through real well. Ok, I must admit that only the Explorers that where Eagle Scouts went:-(

I am happy to say that we didn't have one argument or fight and everyone returned with 10 fingers and 10 toes.


September Court of Honor

James D. Corder

We had about 25 people at our Fall Court of Honor at Orten Davis Park in Whitehall, Ohio. Everyone form the Toadies to the Explorers showed up.

For the first time in my 15 years as an Exploring Advisor I am proud to announce that we had an Explorer work on merit badges. DJ Gregor successfully completed Swimming, Leather Work, and Mammal Study.

Roy Niedzielski, Joe Harvey, and DJ Gregor received their System Administrator Collar Pins.

Joe received his red introductory Engineering cords, while DJ advanced to the blue Intermediate Engineering cords.


The War of Computers

Getting SCSI to Work Part II

DJ Gregor

In the last issue article I mentioned all of the work that I had gone through to try to get my SCSI hard drive to work. It seemed like there was something wrong with the drive, controller, or cabling, but I had tried everything I could think of to test it.

Well, I decided to check the SCSI controller once more and see if I had incorrectly set the jumper settings or something the last ten times I looked. Everything looked fine, but I did notice one small thing--the silk-screen mask was off-center a little bit around some of jumpers that select the IRQ. After closer examination, I saw that the jumper on the end did not have a label. I then ran around the house looking for the manual for the SCSI card.

When I found the card I sat down at my workbench and compared the jumper labels in the drawing with those silk-screened on the card. The last jumper was supposed to be for IRQ 12, but IRQ 12 was the next to last jumper on the card. WAIT! The silk-screen mask was compressed, and all of the IRQ labels were pushed together. It ended up that I had the jumper on the pins that were labeled IRQ 12, but because the silk-screen was off it was actually on IRQ 11! The stupid silk-screen caused me to jumper the board for the wrong IRQ! I was then puzzled--the driver for the card was supposed to auto-detect the IRQ. So, even if I did jumper the board for the wrong IRQ, wouldn't the driver detect the interrupt that I actually set the card for? After investigating the card, I noticed there were two sets of jumpers for IRQ. It seems that only one of them is the actual hardware IRQ. The other one controls a few bits on the SCSI controller, which the host computer can read. It ends up the by setting the second set of jumpers, the host processor can read the jumper settings and then know what IRQ the board is on.
The War of Computers Part 1
Your First Computer Part 2
Your First Computer, Part 3
Your First Computer Part 4


Order of the Arrow

Joe Harvey

Since only Roy and I are a part of the Order of the Arrow [OA], and I don't really know what you International People know about the OA, I am going to write about it and hopefully explain and clarify the OA for you, without breaking my vow to silence.

First, Order of the Arrow is defined to do the following by the Order of the Arrow Handbook, To recognize those campers-Scouts, Explorers, and Scouter-- who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and by such recognition cause other campers to conduct themselves in such a manner as to warrant recognition.

To develop and maintain camping traditions and spirit.

To promote Scout camping, which reaches its greatest effectiveness as a part of the unit's camping program, and to help strengthen the district and council camping program both year around and in the summer camp, as directed by the camping and activities committee of the council.

To crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others. To simply reword, Order of the Arrow is designed to help people be recognized for and become better campers by themselves and with a group. They are also around to provide service above the normal scouting level.

Now there are Three levels of People in the Order of the Arrow. The people that complete their ordeal are allowed to join and receive their Ordeal Sash. This is just a white sash with a red arrow on it. The next step far less people achieve is Brotherhood. These people have what looks like a Ordeal sash but it has a red bar at either end of the Arrow. Finally, there is a group that fairly few people get into. This is the Vigil Honor. It looks like the Brotherhood sash, but it has a triangle in the middle of the arrow that points towards the front point of the arrow.

Every year a group of O.A. officials go around and have troop elections. Each troop elects a certain number of people to be candidates. These people are later tapped or brought to the found of a crowd by Indians. When this ceremony is complete the return to their troops. They go on their ordeals without their troops later on O.A. campouts.

After that I can't tell you what happens because of the promise that each member make to not tell any non-O.A. member about the ordeals and the unit meetings. It was a great experience for me though and I am glad that I did it. I really learned a lot.


Joe creates his article for the ExpNews!

The War of Computers Part 1

Andy P. Drake

Do you remember your first computer? Most people do, or at least remember the first contact they had with a computer, whether it be at home, in a bank, seeing one on tv, at a friends house, or perhaps in some store. But do you remember the little known economic war of the late 1970's and early 1980s called the Home Computer Wars? It was a conflict of truly international proportions, one which involved a few big players and hundreds of tiny ones, with everything settling out in the end to just a couple of companies, and one true standard. It could arguably be said the Home Computer Wars had several phases really, the first phase beginning about 1980, and ending about 1983, the second phase beginning about 1984 and lasting until 1991, and the final phase, the one we are currently in, lasting from then until now.

Chances are if you were going up in the late 1970's and early 1980's, you were very much a participant in the war. Most great systems administrators and quality programmers had very humble beginnings on the machines in this period, whether it was programming in assembly, or perhaps going the easy way, BASIC. Either way, some truly great programers came out of the era, and with them came a new concept in computing.

While it was Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniac who initially fired the first salvos of the Home Computer War, launching their Apple II in 1977, it was really the Altair, the first practical microcomputer, who started the revolution itself. For those who don't remember the Altair, it was an Intel 8080 based machine with a whopping 256 bytes (not Kilobytes here kiddies), room for 8 expansion cards on its S100 expansion bus, and a front panel that looked out of War Games and WOPR. But it was the machine that made the hobby practical, and at once people began to write programs and build expansion cards for the box. Even at one point, Cromemco introduced a Unix variant that ran on the box, Cromix. The Altair, in all practical sense, allowed people to really take the computer home with them from the office, where many professionals had been using mainframes and minis for years. Suddenly, computing power was in the hands of the ordinary people.

But, the Altair had it's flaws. First, it was a kit, and for many hobbyists, this proved difficult to build, as wiring its front panel meant several hours of careful soldering. Second, the amount of memory shipped with the product meant that only pitifully small programs could be run, and finally, there was no initial way to save your masterpiece other than on a piece of paper written down. These last set of problems were overcome fairly quickly though. Paper tape readers were quickly integrated from the mainframe world where they were fairly plentiful. And soon, companies came out with memory, video, and disk expansion (the drives from Shugart being some of the first) to solve other problems. Eventually, Bill Gates wrote a version of BASIC that would run on the Altair, and eventually compatible, prebuilt machines like the IMSAI, thus opening a completely new market for prepackaged software.

The revolution from this point developed rapidly in ensuing years, with hundreds of companies entering the computer craze, and thousand of users attracted by the images of technology at their finger tips.

It was Apple Computer though who made the home computer something to be proud of. It transformed the WOPR like bulk of an Altair, into something that would look respectable on a desktop, and in the process produced with the Apple II, if not remarkable hardware, remarkable packaging. In a word, the Apple II looked slick, had an open bus for development, and came with friendly packaging that signified that this was a computer for the hobbyist who wanted something better, or for the person intent on truly utilizing their computer for practical applications. With this idea, sales of the Apple took off, and the fortunes of Apple rose as fast as the dealership could be signed up.

Is it a Toy or is it a learning Tool?

There was one significant problem with the Apple II series, and mainly it was a question of money. The profit margins on Apple machine were some of the highest in the industry, if not on the core unit, at least on the peripherals and software that made them run effectively. If you had the money, you too could join the rapidly growing club of Apple computer hobbyists. Apple's strategy of targeting education and small business insured Apple IIs would be the fist consideration of many when computer shopping began. But it was the high Apple prices that would open an entire new market, the Home Computer.

Quite simply, Apple promised to be the do it all computer, including running small businesses and education, which made it fine for those who wanted to do all that, but a pretty expensive piece of hardware for those who wanted to find out what computer were all about, do simple word processing, and communicate with the rest of the world. So, at least initially Apple took a higher, more expensive market segment than other competitors. The question then becomes, who were the contenders in the first phase of the home computer wars? It boils down to several companies.


Our Principals:

1) Honor before all else.

2) The difference between a winner and a looser is that the winner tried one more time.

3) K.I.S.M.I.F.


Our Creed:

Exploring: Enthusiasm, Energy, & Excellence.


Post Finances

Explorer Post 369 has -$190.00.


Up-an-Coming Post Expenses

12/01/95 Post Charter $30.00

12/01/95 Post Insurance $85.00


Up-an-Coming Member Expenses

Registration 11/01/95 $15.00


Explorer Post 369:

Explorer Post 369 was chartered on December 31, 1994 to the Reformation Luthern Church.

Explorer Post 369 specializes in UNIX for Programmers while emphasizing a deep theme of Engineering Computer Information & Science

Membership in Explorer Post 369 is open to young men and women between the ages of 14 [and in high school] and not yet 20. Annual Membership fees are $15.00.


InterNet Night in Australia

nichol@sydney.DIALix.oz.au

The date of our InterNet Night is December the 11th. The time is Australian 7:30pm - 9:30 pm. I will keep you informed of the exact time + a chat-mail room later.

Tell anyone to come along if the want. The more the better.


Advisors Corner

James D. Corder

Last week, at our Post meeting, I came to the realization that 3 of our youth members are full fledge System Administrators. Two are UNIX System Administrators while one is a Personal Computer, Amiga, Mac, System Administrator.

Our Post President, DJ, a student of Pickerington High School, is a System Administrator for CMHC Systems on their UNIX Support Team.

Andy P. Drake, a student of The Ohio State University, is a System Administrator for the Great Lakes Forecasting System, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering Graphics, The Great Ohio State University.

Karl Matthias, a student of The Ohio State University, is a System Administrator for Student Repair Technician 3, Public Site Support, University Technology Services, The Great Ohio State University.

It is truly a joy to work with such gifted youth. My hats are off to both the Explorer and their parents.


Eastmoor High School

James D. Corder

On Wednesday October the 18th I had the extreme pleasure of visiting Eastmoor High School through the Learning for Life program of Boy Scouts of America. [BSA]

The mission of Learning for Life is "to serve others by helping to instill values of good character, participating citizenship and personal fitness in young people, and in other ways prepare them to make ethical choices in their lifetime for achieving their full potential"

BSA partners with the High School in providing career presentations. Though the students one speaks with are not necessarily bound to the career and/or topic you will speak on they are investigating to see if it would be of interest to them.

I was approached by Brigid Mercer, Exploring Executive of the Simon Kenton Council to see if I would speak about a career in the Engineering Computer Information & Sciences. Of course I responded with a resounding YES!!!

My Employer, Nationwide Insurance, encouraged me in this endeavor.

As I entered the hallowed halls of Eastmoor High School it brought back many fond memories of my scholastic achievements. Though the beebob and grunge look through me for a loop the students are, for the most part, the same as when I was a wee lad. As I traversed the hallways towards the school office I did feel somewhat out of place. But I was quickly put to ease as I met up with Burt Feldman, a guidance councilor for Eastmoor High School.

The bell rang and the halls emptied of all the students and a quite hush fell as if the Building gasped a sigh of relief. Mr. Feldman suggested that we go to the School Library before the next class to miss the mayhem of the students once again unleashed upon the corridors.

As a great author once said: again the bell tolled but this time it was for me. [or something like that:-]

The library filled with about 60 students with a verity of backgrounds and upbringings. It was most defiantly a shock to hear young ladies of 15 speaking about their children and the rough night they had as their daughter kept them awake.

In the beginning it was hard for me to get and maintain the attention of the students for I had two hecklers that would mock my every syllable. I thought that I would be doomed from the start. Fortunately for me an official of the school quickly removed the offending individuals and the fun began. Though the majority of students could care less about my career in general the were mostly interested in my financial endeavors. I was hard press to skirt the issue since the youth truly wanted to know what I personally brought home in my pay packet.

As the session came to a close I thought that I did not live up to my part of the bargain. I felt that I did not lived up to the expectations of the youth. A gracious good by was given and I quickly headed for my vehicle.

As I began to place my key in the door I heard a teacher beckoning my name. I was requested to give yet another presentation. In fact I spoke for two more periods. I guess that I was fortunate enough to have touched several of the youth in the first session. This had inspired the teacher to ask for my services for yet another period.

Though my topic left Engineering and went to career and family planning it was deeply appreciated by the students.

As I once again parted for work, I was asked to come back and give yet another talk. This time it will be to the computer class:-) As my grandfather said: "If you can change a life for the better, you are a success!!!"

I would like to think that today I was a success.


Explorer Officer Association

Robin M. Fisher

Hello, I am one of the advisors of Explorer Post 272 of CompuServe. Our Post is beginning its third year with 55+ students. We are looking forward to many activities this year and incorporating all seven aspects of Exploring.

Part of Exploring is the Explorer Officer Association (EOA). The EOA consists of Post Officers and members-at-large from the council. The EOA is the group that plans activities such as the Fall Party held on October 14th and a ski trip in early February. There is one problem with the EOA...we need input from the entire council.

Another part of Exploring is the Advisor Roundtable for the Advisor Council.

Both meet the third Monday of every other month. Our next meeting is on Monday November 20. The meetings are held at the Shoney's Restaurant on Brice Road and I 70 East. Shoney's is on the northwest side of I-70. The meetings begin at 7:00pm

Please accept this as a personal invitation to the meeting for you as the Post Officers. The EOA is open to all Post members and the Advisor Roundtable is open to all Advisors.

This meeting is an open exchange of ideas and to get to know the other Explorer Posts in the Simon Kenton Council. Thank you for your time and I hope to see you, in person, at Shoney's on Monday November 20th.


1997 10th Mega Australian Venture

Australian Scouting Association

Mega 10 is: p New adventures p New Friends p Thrills (and spills) p New Experiences p New Places p Getting away from it all.

369!

p Doing something completely different. Ten days over the top fun, action and adventure where you will have the time of your life with 2000 Australian Venturers and hundreds from overseas.

If you will be 14, 15, 16 or 17 on 3rd January 1997 you are invited to come. Find out more from your Leaders or Unit Council.

If you are a Leader, come yourself and join in the fun and excitement. Mega 10, 3rd - 12th January 1997, South Australia.


MPEG comes to those who wait.

Andy Drake, Post 369 SecretaryTreasurer

If you've watched TV anytime recently, you will have most likely been bombarded by ads for new video game consoles - Sony's new Playstation, the Sega Saturn, or perhaps Atari's Jaguar and the Phillips CDi. Included in much of the hype is the phrase "full motion graphics" - but what exactly does that mean, and what exactly is the deal with MPEG decoders?

Quite simply, full motion video refers to the process of updating a video image approximately 30 frames per second, or just beyond the speed with which the human eye can read data, and visually things begin to blur together (which is entire basis for animation). What does this mean for the end user? For one, it means much higher quality graphics, hence better games and presentations. Only as recently as 10 years ago did computers truly begin to become powerful enough to have the horsepower to do this, and it was only a couple of years ago that the system for laying out streams, or sequences, of animation was decided on. This standard is called MPEG for short, and simply refers to the format for which pictures or animations are sequenced together.

The downside to full speed, full motion video is the space required to store it, often megabytes and megabytes at a time. If you add sound or other special effects, then the size requirements only get bigger. To combat this, the MPEG group decided on an algorithm that compresses the data stream so that it will take up much less space, yet retain as much quality as possible. The downside to compression is of course the CPU horsepower needed to uncompress and play back the stream quickly enough, as if the animation part wasn't hard enough. At the same time, since compression sacrifices quality for size, most MPEG streams tend to be small, grainy, or blocky. Most computer manufacturers either ignore MPEG all together, with users of only the fastest machines could use specially written utilities to play back grainy MPEG sample in tiny windows, or only the highest powered workstation could play the streams back in full screen, full speed, and full clarity.

Space was a problem as well. Though relatively compact, streams could either be played from RAM (which is limited obviously), played from a really fast hard drive, or played from a double speed (150ms) or faster CD-ROM drive. Animations tend not only to be large, but a single movie can often have over a million frames in a ten minute period. Therefore, CD-ROM, with it's huge storage capacities, and recently upgraded speeds, makes an ideal medium for playing MPEG streams.

To really make MPEG practical, it took a company by the name of C-Cubed to introduce a series of MPEG chipsets that allow firms to harness the power of MPEG, only without the CPU overhead. These special chips do the MPEG decompression (and some compress as well) on the fly and without assistance. The first company to incorporate this technology was Phillips Consumer Electronics, with their CDi video game system. Other companies like 3DO, Commodore and MediaVision soon incorporated the chips as well, and made modules that would play the Phillips MPEG Video-CD standard movies. My Amiga CD32 is just such a system.

As things go, my module isn't very impressive. It merely plugs into the back of the CD32 console and screws in place, very innocuous in appearance, one that belies the power hidden inside. Once you insert a movie into the CDROM carrier, the magic truly begins - a special menu comes up and allows you to play the sequences stored on the video CD (you can even skip past that stupid FBI warning). So, the question that most often comes up is, how is the quality? From watching several movies, I'd safely say the quality is above VHS grade, on color composite or RGB monitors with high fidelity. The picture breaks down on large screens where the dot pitch (or pixels per inch) isn't as high, though using composite monitors or more professional devices goes a long way to preserve the signal. In this case, there is hardly a trace of pixalation or grain to be seen, and the colors seem a little richer than that of VHS, bordering on the SVHS.

As for peculiarities with the system, there are relatively few. First, full length movies come on two CD's, as at most a standard Video CD can only hold 68 minutes of video. This isn't the problem I thought it would be; the movie producers cut the segments well, usually at transition points. Also, my MPEG decoder has freeze frame capability, a feature that most consumer VCR's cannot reproduce. When most VCRs pause, a line or scratchy picture appears through the picture screen. When my CD32 with MPEG module pauses, the picture is crystal clear, and perfect for a video source. This is because the MPEG is simply paused on a picture which has been fully loaded into memory, and isn't in the middle of a sequence of electrons arranged on tape. Professional level VCR's, and some consumer units get around this, but the freeze frame feature is handy.

Another interesting thing is that the CD32 MPEG module is supported under AmigaDOS as well, and allows me to simply pipe an already sampled MPEG stream to the MPG: device and play it back in real time, an effective multimedia tool. While my module cannot sample video from another source and create MPEG streams, it can play them back from all kinds of sources.

All in all, MPEG is an interesting thing, especially when its combine with something like a game machine. And while it doesn't allow you to copy movies to CD, it does perform an impressive technical feat by the automatic decompression of huge amounts of data. See you at the movies!


Food Drive

James D. Corder

The 1995 Food Drive is only a few months away: December 16, 17

In December of 1994 Explorer Post 369 assisted Saint Stephen's in delivering Christmas Dinner for over 3,000 people. Last year on the Saturday before Christmas we moved two basketball stadiums of canned foods and sorted them into grocery bags. Meanwhile, in the other room, Christmas gifts where packaged up for hundreds of needy children.

On the Sunday before Christmas we sorted thousands of bags for delivery.

Your assistance is requested for Explorer Post 369's annual Service Project.


G'Day All

Sarah Jones

I am one of the Honnary Members of Explorer Post 369. I can be contacted by E-Mail at:

sarah.jones@sawadais.apana.org.au

I am an Assistant Cub Scout Leader with the Angle Vale Scout Group in Elizabeth District South Australia Branch.

Cubs in Australia are age 8 - 10.5 years of age and we meet as a Pack each week instead of once a month like backs do in the BSA. Also, we are totally coeducational as well. I hope to write a bit more about Cubbing in Australia for future ExpNews Newsletters. But as a first year collage student (or freshman in your terms) i am coming up to end of year exams in 5 weeks. After that I will be able to sit and write more about Cubbing `Down Under' and some of our many and varied activities.


The AT&T Trivestiture

The Inter Net

The second company has finally come up with a new name: The Death Star, an unpronounceable character, and we would be referred to as "The company formerly known as AT&T."

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Quote of the Month

Steven Covey

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.


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