Table of Contents
Do you want to make friends? be friendly. Forget yourself Carnegie
Explorer Post 369
The members of Explorer Post 369 would like to thank Mr. Brett Bringardner for the needed donations of:
and Mr. James M. Smith for:
These kind gifts will help the youth members of our UNIX System Administration mentor program to learn the unique operating system of UNIX.
Explorer Post 369 helps out at the Mapel Sugar Festival
James D. Corder
With thousands of people coming to celebrate the Maple Sugar Festival and all wanting a hardy breakfast Explorer Post 369 had their day cut out for them. Breakfast alone took over 60lbs of dried pancake mix and about 25 cases of bacon not to mention sausages.
It had been a long time since I worked in a fully equipped restaurant size kitchen. It was interesting making pancakes in a five gallon mixer, heating up a 3' x 10' gas fired griddle and making bean soup in a 30 gallon vat.
I am proud of the members of Post 369, thay all chiped in. I belive that it is an impartive part of life to help others. "Service" is one of the six key points to our program: Career, Social, Citizenship, Outdoor, Service, Fitness.
Explorer Post 369's Bylaws
Encouraging the skill and desire to help others. Gaining a keen respect for the basic rights of others.
I am reviewing the implementation of a proxy server implemented by Time Warner Communications' Road Runner Service.
Let me begin by explaining my views of what a proxy server is designed to do. It is my understanding that a proxy server is used for people who are on a somewhat slow connection. It begins when the user attempts to retrieve a document. From there, the proxy server intercepts the request, and then retrieves the information. From there, the server sends the information down the line to the user. The whole purpose is, as I understand it to A. allow users faster access (the server always has a faster connection that the user) and B. cache the documents for a period of time making it less stressful on the server/proxy. The whole idea of the proxy is sound, and is a fantastic idea.
The first application of a proxy server I am planning to talk about is currently implemented by Time Warner Communications' Road Runner service. Road Runner uses a proxy server to do two known things; cache web pages, and to allow/deny access to materials on the web. To me, this seems in a way redundant. Why bother with a proxy server on a service that is designed to allow for high speed access?
After some investigation, I can say that I now sort of agree with Road Runners' implementation. The only thing that tends to get irritating is when I get a message along the lines of "proxy- server was unable to load the document <url> for <reason>. I also feel the use of the proxy server causes unneeded stress on their server. Each user has a cable modem; each roughly the equivalence of a T1 (or so it is claimed). I am sure there are other reasons why Road Runner uses the proxy server, I just highly doubt they plan on telling people; to do so could cause a potential security hazard.
For more information on the Road Runner service, please point your web browser to http://www.columbus.rr.com. For information of the cable modems in use by Road Runner, please visit Motorola at http://www.mot.com or for the cable modem specifications them selves go to http://www.mot.com/MIMS/Multimedia/prod/data.html.
The graphical extensions to microprocessors found in the typical PC have yet to overcome the technological(that is, performance) edge that Sun's workstations hold. Instructions for 3-D graphics operations and video compression, for example, are still only in the planning stages for Intel's MMX2. Furthermore, although MMX began shipping in early 1997, the majority of users will not derive any benefit from the capabilities of its current offerings. There would have to be a new generation of infrastructure for MMX support, including new operating systems (such as Windows 98 or Windows NT 5.0), new compilers, run-time libraries and developer tools in order to see even half of the multimedia capabilites in MMX that Sun customers already have. Bottom Line Sun workstation users enjoy the cuting-edge advances in multimedia and graphics that users of other workstations and PC workstations only dream about and will have to wait a long while before they see it on their computers.
Our mission with this channel is to create a friendly environment for Explorers (or their international counterparts) to converse, exchange ideas, discuss experiences, and to talk about Exploring in general.
For a lot of people, the only question at this point is: "What is IRC?". IRC stands for Internet Relay Channels. It is simply another part of the internet, one that is commonly overlooked. Using IRC, many people can talk with each other at the same time, no matter what the distance. Having a group of friends in a single channel can be useful for many obvious reasons (planning, homework, or just having a good time).
In order to provide a secure channel for Explorers, I looked for an IRC server that could provide some sort of channel service, and at the same time allowed us to use our own bots. DALnet & UnderNet were my top picks, due to their long term stability. I settled on UnderNet because it's channel service bot seemed less intrusive, more secure, and longer lasting. Bill Schwanitz our Vice-President of Program undertook it upon himself to set up his own IRC bot. One that was more configurable than the UnderNet channel service bot. This bot has been prepared well by Bill, and will handle most of the day to day operations of the channel. Such as opping the users that are validated for it, and for keeping the channel free of obscene language. The bot was extremely hard to set up the first time, but Bill did a superb job.
Our channel can be found on any of the UnderNet servers, simply connect to us.undernet.org, and join #Exploring. If you have never used IRC before, please look at our web page located at: Click Here I have tried to go into detail on how IRC works, and you can find an IRC client for all the major platforms there. If you are interested in Exploring, want to talk with other Explorers, or simply want to chat live with the members of Post 369, please join us in #Exploring any time of the day!
James D. Corder
I am extremely proud of Explorer Post 369! The youth members worked together to accomplished one of their goals. They wanted to create a medium for Explorers in all 50 states to be able to simultaneously communicate with one-an-other at virtually no expense. They Did It! Explorer Post 369 set up #Exploring on the UnderNet IRC server. Now, Explorers and Rovers around the world can come together and "chat" with one another for the cost of a local phone call. Explorer Post 369 has already used their IRC channel to hold virtual Explorer Officer Association meetings [EOA]. The youth members have created a roBOT program that automatically maintains the channel 24x7.
I am the president of Explorer Post 369. This bestows quite a bit of responsibility on myself. I believe as president, I have an opportunity to learn from the other Explorers, and to help move Exploring for the whole council forward. Helping to organize camp-outs, and other activities is small when working with the EOA (Exploring Officers Association) is considered. By being able to work with the EOA, I can be a part of Exploring everywhere. Working with computers is great, and a lot of fun, but there are other life skills that are needed, and to me, being Post President provides me the path to enhance those skills such as leadership, and communication for myself, and others.
As far as our own post is concerned, I have quite a few plans. Many spawned with collaboration from other members of 369. First, I would like to see us provide a world-wide channel on the IRC network, UnderNet, dedicated to discussions on Exploring. Ideally, the channel would host up to a hundred Explorers, all able to share ideas and experiences. Following this IRC channel, I want our post to initiate more Internet based activities, and services. Our current long term goals include showing off our computing abilities at the Ohio State fair. Multi-Player games, and real-time action.
I can't say what we will do with the post from month to month, or even week to week. But as we come up with ideas, you can be sure Post 369 will be doing new, and original activities.
Eric M. Stewart
As we are a Unix group, many times in these newsletters we've talked about topics in the Unix world. They range from business mergers and new products to the particulars of a certain system or package. Realizing that many of our readers may not actually run or have access to a Unix system, I'll be covering the basics of how to turn your home PC into a Unix machine while maintaining the current operating system for your usual tasks. I'll call this capability to choose which OS you want to run a "multiboot" system. With this, the reader can try out what we talk about or at least shed a better light on the subject.
First, I'm going to make a few broad assumptions that will limit
the scope of this article.
Having installed a few flavors of Unix alongside other OS's, the number one thing to do before jamming CD's in the drive is a little planning. This will save you a lot of time and reduce your chance for error. Some things to consider which I discuss here are:
1. What flavors of Unix will work with your hardware?
Ok, you just went out and replaced that trusty eight year old ISA VGA video board with a 3D AGP bus phaser rifle. This thing makes Quake II look like the real thing. Well, it also limits your choice of graphical Unix severely. The situation is improving rapidly but you should search the net for "your_video_board and Unix" to see what OS supports it. You can put anything on a SCSI or IDE interface in the "supported" list so long as it's not a CDR or some proprietary dongle of some kind. Any Pentium or 486 motherboard is ok. You will want to open up your box and jot down all the numbers off the chipsets and search for specific bugs. Yes, chips are not perfect. Not all of them do math or I/O accurately. Usually anything having true Sound Blaster emulation will work (you want to listen to The Police while figuring out how to set up Sendmail right?). Standards based network boards and modems from any major vendor are supported. Anything with a programmable DSP chip on it like the IBM MWave will remain lifeless. In general, accurately identify all your hardware and search to see what Unix flavors support it. If all of it is, you can continue or replace it with what is supported.
You will also need to know precisely what IRQs, I/O addresses, DMA channels and other resources your hardware uses. Actually, having Win95 can be a good thing for these jumperless boards that are popular now. It can tell you what resources they are using and set them for you. Most Unix systems have limited or hard to find hardware diagnostic capabilites and have a tough time setting anything because the PC hardware vendors won't release their specs to the Unix coders.
2. How much disk space will it require?
This is easy to figure out and is worth doing. There is nothing worse than having spent a few hours installing packages to get the "NO SPACE LEFT ON DEVICE" message on the last one. You can pack the essentials in less than a couple hundred meg but until you have a need to or learn the art of compaction, figure on about 600MB or so. Gigs are cheap, buy one:-)
3. How can you rearrange your disk to obtain this space?
Having your current OS use the entire drive on one partition may seem easy to handle but it is quite inefficient and doesn't lend itself to flexibility. For reference, Win95 can be installed in under 95 Megs (cute huh), MSOffice in 75MB, the rest is usually non-essential or rarely used. Again, the best solution is to buy another drive. It's also safer.
Let's say you've done the math and can squeeze a full install of Unix on your current drive with an acceptable growth margin, you need to give it a partition(s) to live in. Some of the Unix systems come with a program to resize your Dos partitions without losing data. This is an extremely useful thing. I use a separate program called Partition Magic. It does what's needed and provides a good amount of info and options that make life easy.
WARNING: Repartitioning, Formatting, Writing Boot Records and generally messing with the logical data structure of your disks is inherently the best way to KILL your data.
Backup up all your data and keep boot and utility disk that work handy before changing anything!
If something goes wrong and you have a backup, you can sit back and laugh. If not, you can only blame yourself. That being said, I've never lost data but have encountered no-boot situations mainly because I scrambled the boot record or goofed a kernel build which is not difficult to fix.
4. What to do if you reboot and nothing happens?
You've got those boot, utility and backup disks and CD's right:-) Assuming your partition tables are still intact, you can rewrite your master boot record (the first 512 bytes of your disk) and start over from Win95 as if nothing happened. If the partition tables were scrambled, it's time to write zeroes to the disk and reload it all unless you backed them up. If a particular OS will not boot, you can rewrite the individual partition boot records. Since you've got your backups, the best thing to do is to experiment and TRY to break your data so you can see firsthand how things work and how to fix them. The worst that can happen is you'll have to write zeroes and reinstall. If you learn enough, you'll figure out how to manually edit your disk to fix obscure problems or reconstruct things. Norton Disk Editor is good for this. It's better to do it now than worry about how to handle it later.
5. Where will you go if you need help during the install process?
Having access to another working machine with net connectivity is highly desirable. You can get the info you need and apply it instantly. Make every effort to search for and actually READ the available info. The Unix community is willing to help with real problems that haven't been answered before. However, there are huge amounts of documentation available. I suggest finding a few good sites or books covering installation and reading them before sitting down to do the work. Usually, if you're interested in Unix, you'll have some friends who will also assist because they want to wipe you out playing Net Doom in Xwindows:-)
6. What quantity and quality of resources are available after you have a working system?
Again, this is a big issue to your success. For new users, documentation is a good thing. Search for it, learn it, live it, love it. The man pages, although technical, are the best thing since sliced bread. Type "man man" for starters.
7. Where to go now?
If you spend time on the net, you will want to secure your system from intruders. Not only to protect your own data but to prevent others from using your system to do damage elsewhere. Look at things like file permissions, user access, running services, known bug reports, firewalling and the like. Shut down anything not absolutely necessary. And while you're figuring out how to do all of this and testing the results, keep an eye on what processes are running and your network traffic for strange things. Unix distributions are getting better out of the box but there are still a lot of gaping holes.
You were given the "root" account at install time. When you log in for the first time after a successful install, create a separate account for yourself and use it by default. Although root is all powerful, with it comes knowledge and responsibility. Making a mistake as an ordinary user will not bring your system down but as root it will.
There are so many other fun and useful things to do. Grab the reins and go!:-)
In general, preparation, experimentation and ultimately spending time in the Unix universe is the best way to get started. Start using it for E-mail, web surfing, writing papers, spreadsheets, networking in your office etcetera and before long, Win95 will be left only for Mechwarrior. Either way, you'll know if you like it and can then judge it objectively from experience.
I've been doing different things in Unix and Win95 for over a year now. The networking, programming and automation capabilities of Unix in a networked environment far and away surpass anything else. Unix runs on nearly everything. I must give credit to Windows for its GUI and application integration. Each OS has its own strengths and weaknesses and that debate is not the subject of this article.
Ultimately, I chose Red Hat Linux because it had support for my particular video card, had a ridiculously simple install process which let me actually USE and start learning the OS in about an hour, and was essentially free. Technically anything running XFree86 with the proper server from XSuSe will support the NVidia Riva chip on my video board. As time goes on and more Gigs come online, I'll be adding Solaris, FreeBSD and whatever else rears its head. Some of them will be stuck in VGA mode and each one has it's place. Win95 will always remain because it has the coolest diversions from doing real work (games) however, after being MicroWashed(?) for so many years, Unix is the best new experience since flight training and paintball. So grab a bag of chips, dig in and ENJOY!!!
Ian Jones, age 12
I want to be a toadie because only a few in our Troop get picked and its neat to be with the Explorer Scouts, and to be able to go on the campouts, meetings, and eat-ins, and be only one of a few allowed in the Explorers meeting room.
Also being a Toadie I get to wear a white cord on my left shoulder indicating my status not to mention certain "bragging" rights in the Troop. As a Toadie I will represent the Boy Scouts, Troop 369 and the Explorers by always doing my very best.
If you would like to you can e-mail me!
Explorer Post 369 has -$1,383.00
Floor Fund Need $1,200.00
Floor Fund In Hand 811.00
Flower Sale Flyers -13.00
Floor Fund In Hand $798.00
Pledges Outstanding FF, $0.00
Room Fund Needed $3,800.00
Room Fund $0.00
Computer Fund Needed $0.00
Computer Fund $0.00
12/01/98 Post Charter $30.00
12/01/98 Post Insurance $85.00
Monthly ExpNews $75.00
Perl Book 5/98 $25.00
Registration 11/01/98 $15.00
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