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(C) Sat Feb 15 10:16:00 EST 1997 Explorer Post 369

Explorer Post 369

Explorer Post 369

Table of Contents

Calendar of Events:

September 8 Court-of-Honor

July 30 Exp Test

October 29 Halloween Party

November 5 Election Reporting

December 17 Christmas Party

December 24 No Meeting

December 31 No Meeting

January 3-12, 97 10MegaVenture

July 28-Aug5 1997 BSA Jamboree


Using a Zip Drive under Solaris 2.x

James D. Corder

For some time now I have wanted to purchase a "Zip 100" floppy disk drive. However, I did not want to place it on anything with a Matel chip inside. It was my intension to attach the Zip Drive to a Sun SparcStation running Solaris 2.5.

I ran into my first problem when I thought the Personal Computer Salesman would understand the concept. I asked for a DB25 to DB50 Mini-SCSI cable. I was presented a DB25 to Centronics cable, and the race was off:-)

The Sales Rep. asked why I wanted such a strange cable. I began to explain that I wanted to use the Zip Drive on my home network. I explained that I had a Sun SparcStation. He assured me that the Zip Drive would work on a system sold by Sun Television and Appliances and asked if I had upgraded to Windows 95 yet...

Sometimes it is just plain fun to be a UNIX bigot.

When I arrived at home, I had to make the cables at hand work. Therefore, I tore open my 150MB1/4" drive and replaced the ribbon cable with a Centronics cable, so I could attach the drive. Of course the Solaris system had no idea a new device was added. Then a simple reboot -- -rv and we where off.

Now that the /dev/dsk files where in place it was time to begin format. Whops, an unknown drive type. I asked Solaris to attempt to self configure the drive as a "hard drive." Oh well:-)

I went to get the manual out. Unfortunately the device was made for DOS. Therefore, it did not contain the necessary information to build a format.dat entry.
# /etc/format.dat Zip Drive Entry
disk_type = "Zip 100" \
: ctlr = SCSI \
: ncyl = 2406 : acyl = 2 : pcyl = 2408 : nhead = 2 \
: nsect = 40 : rpm = 3600 : bpt = 20480
partition = "Zip 100" \
: disk = "Zip 100" : ctlr = SCSI \
: 2 = 0, 192480

After figuring out the dat entry everything else was up hill. A quick format and partition followed by a newfs.

The Zip 100 is only 98MB unformated and about 87MB formatted. But it was a fun task. Ok, now I have to see if I am going to use it or not:-)

Finding your pot of gold!

Anyone Can Go to Europe for Spring Break

Karl N. Matthias

This spring my roommate and I went to London for six days. While I would have liked to stay longer, there is only so much time allotted for spring break. Whenever I talk to anyone about where I went, they always say something like, "Wow, I wish I could have done something like that, but I don't have the money." The point of this article is to demonstrate that with just a little work, anyone can go to Europe for spring break. My entire vacation cost me not more than $700, including all expenses.

By far the most prohibitive cost of the entire trip is the airfare cost, as one can easily imagine. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find that spring is an extremely inexpensive time to fly internationally. The earlier in the year that you buy the tickets, the cheaper it gets, starting in January. As an example, my roommate and I were able to secure round-trip tickets to London from Columbus, OH, by way of Atlanta for $450, including all taxes and fees. That's half of what you pay during the summer months. Had we been able to get things organized earlier on, we could have gotten them for about $350! All of a sudden spring break in Europe starts to look like a much more accessible option.

The way to get these cheap rates is to call around to the different airlines, even foreign ones, and see what you can find. You never know what are currently being offered. Just because one airline wants $800 for the tickets doesn't mean that another one will be the same price. In fact, at the time we bought our tickets, the next cheapest airline wanted $650! So, don't be discouraged, the tickets are there. Of the four definite costs (airline, hotel, food, and entertainment), airline is the most expensive, followed closely by hotel. Students have better options here than anyone else, because youth hostels and student hotels allow you to stay places for extremely low rates.

There are, of course, many different kinds of hostels and hotels, and pricing varies accordingly. We chose to stay in a student hotel, with some of our friends who had been studying abroad and who met us there. It was more expensive than the hostels, but we also got breakfast included in the price. In London, hostels were available from $7 per night to $25 per night, and our hotel was $22.50 per night per person. All told, the hostel may have been cheaper, even had we purchased breakfast elsewhere, so keep this in mind. My friends who stayed in hostels in Europe said that they were, in fact, nicer than our hotel, so don't worry that you $10 per night will land you in a slum, this is certainly not the case.

Entertainment is up to one's personal choice, but included in the $700 I spent (grand total) were about 10 museums, 2 broadway shows (Les Mis and Miss Saigon), all my meals, all transportation costs, and 2 nights in a pub with my friends. Transportation is easy in most European cities, because public transport, including rail and bus, is all relatively inexpensive. Food is not so cheap, but in England, at least, you can eat in a pub, where the food is usually quite good, for less money than a sit-down restaurant, and you needn't pay a tip because you get the food from the counter.

I found that the absolute cheapest way to eat around Europe is to eat your big meal at breakfast if the cost is already included in your bill, or at lunch, when some restaurants offer specials. Fodor's and Let's Go guides can point you in the direction of decent inexpensive restaurants in most European cities.

While your European spring break is certainly not a luxury tour, you can easily see the sites and take in some culture without breaking your bank account. Most students can usually save up enough money during summer to pay for a $700-$800 vacation at spring break if they really want to make the effort to do so.


James D. Corder

Never Give UP! Just Keep Giving!

Engineering Placement Exam

James D. Corder

The UNIX Engineering Placement Exam for the secondary honor cords will be given July 30.

Remember that these test are only given twice a year. Our Post already has one Gold Cord, will we have a second? Will it be you?

Finding the holy grail?

Andy P. Drake

I'm a packrat. When I get set on aquiring an item, usually I get it. Sure, it may be ten years after I originally want it, but it'll come around the bend. Recently, I aquired an interesting piece of computer memorabilia that I've been wanting for quite a while - a Joyboard.

To give you a little background, a Joyboard is a device that plugs into the joystick port of an Atari 2600 game system, or appropriate compatable port found on lots of home computers including the Atari 400/800 and the Commodore VIC-20/C64/C128. It's for the most part a flat board mounted on a pivot, essentially able to control a video game by the movement and placement of your feet.

The Joyboard served as an important tool for one small Los Gatos, California company, namely, Hi-Toro Incorporated, the forrunner to Amiga.. Funded by seven Florida doctors, Hi-Toro was originally started to build a super new video game system designed to take video games directly from the arcade into the home. Money problems beset the firm early on, and after one reoganization into Amiga Incorporated, it was clear that something had to be done to bring in at least a mocadm of money to offset the large capital outlays that were going into the design of the killer game machine,and ultimately home computer, the Amiga 1000.

Enter the "joyboard." An instant concoction designed over a weekend, the joyboard was simple, strightforward, and had but one purpose - to be a cash cow. Therefore, very little marketing or investment were made in the product. In most senses, there didn't need to be much, as Amiga was simply marketing a joystick to an already expanding Atari 2600 market. In fact, the designers faced a semi-serious problem - how would you fire at objects with your feet without loosing the balance needed to keep the board level and your video game on course? In the end, the fire cotnrol buttons were sacrificed, and a game specifically for the joyboard was produced - "Guru Meditation."

Guru, following the skimpy design and zero marketing effort of the joyboard itself, was a game designed around a little monk or guru sitting on a pivot. The main goal was to keep him in perfect balance and meditating, otherwise he would fall off on either side of his perch. Naturally, to do this required being as still as possible because the joyboard could be rotated in every direction. This is more of a challenge than it first appears, as feet are not as easy to subtly control as hands are, and the fact that the weak counter-balance springs inside the joyboard made for very little resistance to movement.

Out of all this came a couple of things. First, the money the joyboard generated was enough to keep Amiga afloat until serious companies like Atari and Commodore would step in to save the day. At the same time, the joyboard provided a legacy until almost 1991 in the form of error messages. The Amiga operating system, consisting of Kickstart and Workbench, until the release of System 2.04, didn't use a standard, generalized error message. Instead, Workbench would output a "Guru Meditation Error", followed by a systems status report. In bright orange text enclosed by a blinking orange box, and set against a black background, this system error set Amiag apart from everyone else. Sure, the Mac had its "Bomb", Unix had Kernel panics, and Atari had "General Errors", but no-one else had something as esoteric as a "Guru Meditation Error." Commodore decided to ax the Guru because Workbench 2.04 was designed to bring the Amiga up to more modern appearances, but many in the Amiga community still run an OS patch designed to put the Guru back in the error, and retain some uniqueness in the machine.

As for the story of my joyboard, I was browsing one muggy Saturday afternoon at a garange sale not far from my house when I noticed a table of old electronics items, including some Atari peripherals. Always curious, I walked over to find a flat, black joystick device. Due partially to the heat and partially from never actually seeing one before, I thought it might have been from Wico, one of the leading producers of Atari compatable joysticks. As I looked closer, I saw the words "Joyboard Power System by Amiga" and knew that I hit paydirt. Once I found out everything on the table was fifty cents each, I grabbed the Joyboard and franticly hunted for the Guru game.

Alas, the Guru Meditation game was long gone, probably the victim of being tossed out in a basement or garage cleaning. Still, the joyboard from an artifact standpoint is quite a find, much like locating an original Apple I, though obviously worth quite a bit less. At this point, you can't really find any earlier Amiag products, as probably the breadboards the first prototype machine was built on are long since trashed. I guess it's a little obsessive to look for those, but I guess you never know when something is going to turn up.


James D. Corder

For you shall reap what you sow: and in the garden of life the seeds of success are planted in your hart.

If your hart is bitter and cold your fruit shall too be bitter.

However, if your hart is full of sweet love and carrying for others then the fruits of your labor shall blossom in your hart.

Post Finances

Explorer Post 369 has -$455.00.

Quote of the Month

It is not a matter of what you achieved It is a matter of what you are achieving?

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.

Up-an-Coming Post Expenses

12/01/96 Post Charter $30.00

12/01/96 Post Insurance $85.00

Up-an-Coming Member Expenses

Registration 11/01/96 $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.

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