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Prez Sez -- March 1998

A Message From President Pat Hughes

What is happening with the TPC lately? If you have been away from some of the recent meetings (like me) and/or not keeping up with the newsgroups (like me again) you may not be aware of some of the issues that are going on in the background. Let me attempt to bring you up to date. As you look through the following questions please give some thought as to where you might be able to assist your fellow TPC members - everything little bit helps!

Do we need a new...

  • a) President?
  • b) AJ format?
  • c) New Members Assistance?
  • d) Constitution?

Let's take a closer look at the above.

a) President - I'll get back to this later but when is the last time you saw me?

b) Algorithmica Japonica format - for example what if we took a hint from many magazines these days and began offering extended versions via our homepage for members only? This assumes that we have more articles submitted than we can fit into one edition and this does not happen very often but we save a few trees and going to an electronic format completely. Neither of these is necessarily easy nor has a decision been made to go this direction as yet but as we get more and more old issues on the net it does look interesting.

c) New Members Assistance? I won't jump the gun here but a new fellow in the club has seen a need for this and we believe he has a good idea! Being a new member himself he can see what is needed. In addition to our current friendly greeting and offer of assistance, a package of new info and a who's who would help people to get up and running faster. I don't want to put too much pressure on the guy right away so I won't mention his name but I'm sure we'll be hearing more from him in the near future.

d) Constitution? Yes, we do have one and it is a rather long document. It is getting rather outdated with one prime examples being the end of our BBS which means that a "BBS Sysop" is no longer a requirement. That is not to say there are not similar and perhaps somewhat more involved duties being provided for our Newsgroup and Homepage presence on the Internet but it may be time to at least change the title.

Another position is that of Librarian. Back in the days before anything and everything was available over the 'net with a simple local phone call to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) you had to make long distance calls to the States or other countries. Once the club got a local version of shareware and demo software the Librarian would keep these floppies and CDs and loan them out to club members. Well, I can't actually say where the CDs are and Brian, our last Librarian, has left both the club and the country (though there is a rumour that he has returned to Japan?) and thus another bit of history is left in the club's constitution. That reminds me - if, like me, you donated CDs to the club and want them back please let me know. I'm not worried myself because you can get newer versions on the 'net these days usually. But some people might like those old CDs back so send me a mail and I'll see where they are.

To close this topic out I will mention that in order to change the constitution we need a member's vote and it seems we always have more pressing items (as you saw above). However, some day we may suggest you take a look at this document which is of course available via the TPC homepage - and my thanks to the man who got it there!

I believe that these topics will be brought up during forthcoming meetings to make members a little more aware of what is happening behind the scenes but for now the above gives you an idea of what issues we are handling in addition to the presentations that many members come out to see every month.

Members can keep track of some of these issues in the tpc.clubbiz newsgroup though admittedly there are times when we we may have done some fast communication through the Executive Lounge newsgroup which is limited to executives only. Nothing to hide of course - just trying to handle issues fast and if the Thread (topic) starts there we are sometimes lucky enough to resolve the topic before it makes its way over to the Clubbiz newsgroup. Of course, you become an Executive and access is yours! <g>

Which brings us back to the first item of new President. The job change that I had thought would free up more time has instead kept me both out of town as well as out of the country for the past three months. If this continues any longer I will have to seriously have to consider requesting someone else to take over my duties which in fact Ken has been doing already for the past few months in addition to his hard work getting people organized for presentations and involvement with all the topics I have mentioned briefly above.

At the very least I hope that members will consider this position and others when we have elections in October. It seems far away now but comes up very fast. Either think about it yourself or encourage someone you know - or suggest their name to us and we'll encourage them. <g> That is how many people got into these positions and on the whole all who made it here have enjoyed the challenges!

A couple of technical notes to end on. I have not used any new software or at least none that would be of interest to anyone outside the Printed Circuit Board manufacturing industry - but I do have a couple of notes regarding MS Internet Explorer 4.0 which I continue to use for mail and newsgroups. I had planned to move on to Netscape 4.0 for comparison but time, a backlog of messages and overall satisfaction has kept me using MSIE 4.0. Also, I have found Outlook Express to be much "lighter" to run that the original Outlook program - and a little more stable as well.

1) Newsgroups - if you want to work offline to read your newsgroups and get more downloaded than just the headers for the messages I have found that you need to set a couple of items:

a) Tools - Options - Read - Download ### headers at a time. Remove the Check Mark from here.

b) Right Mouse Button (RMB) click on your newsgroup use either - Mark for Retrieval - All Messages or - Properties - Download - All messages (headers and bodies) Both of the above seem to work, I preferred the Properties way because it seemed more detailed but the first method from the RMB is handier.

Now when you do Tools - Download All it really will download all messages in your groups - and not just headers which I kept getting! Also under Properties you will find Local Files that give you additional options such as Reset in order to bring down old messages (marked as Read) once again.

2) Mail - another problem I had concerned garbage within my messages when my reply appeared on a friend's screen. (I have the International package for English MSIE 4.0 and I have Japanese enabled and it works fine for message content although the Subject line does not show Japanese.) I've not seen this problem myself because it was on his screen but his advice was as follows:- Tools - Options - Read - International Settings - Remove. Remove any character set mappings here (e.g. Japanese)

That is it for another issue. I am sitting in a hotel room in Portsmouth NH right now and have been into Boston with a couple of clients for my first (semi-) day off in a couple of weeks. I didn't pick up any new software or hardware but did make it to the Science Museum - very well done and enjoyable for adults as well as children - and the Computer Museum. The latter was also enjoyable allowing you to walk inside what would be the internals of a computer, shows an easy explanation of Ethernet networking and gives a good historical perspective on computers. Unfortunately the Virtual Reality visors are no longer available - it appears that too many people dropped them and they are now on show instead of available for use. I hope that is a good sign of how realistic the products were and not merely an indication of the clumsiness of the users!

Until next time - please think about what the club is doing and how you can help your fellow members have a better experience through the TPC!

© Algorithmica Japonica Copyright Notice: Copyright of material rests with the individual author. Articles may be reprinted by other user groups if the author and original publication are credited. Any other reproduction or use of material herein is prohibited without prior written permission from TPC. The mention of names of products without indication of Trademark or Registered Trademark status in no way implies that these products are not so protected by law.

Algorithmica Japonica

March, 1998

The Newsletter of the Tokyo PC Users Group

Submissions : Editor

Tokyo PC Users Group, Post Office Box 103, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150-8691, JAPAN