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Prez Sez - April 1998

A Message From President Pat Hughes

Once again your president in abstentia writes from beyond the... well actually I should be standing in front of you this evening - or at least those able to make it to the April meeting. To all others - greetings and perhaps see you in May?

What is happening with the club lately? Good question - I had to catch up a bit through newsgroups and a bit of e-mail and even personal contact to find that out. So let's see:

Earthquakes, Macro Virus, "Pie on Bill's face," "Yakuza vs Police" in Akihabara, ISDN, Mobile phones...

That is a short sample of the recent topics from the newsgroups and actually I've added the last two myself because this is what I've been up to and they have been discussed in the past in the newsgroups. I'll look at a couple below and others you can delve into yourselves.

Earthquakes

Are you aware that we have a newsgroup called tpc.earthquake@tokyopc.org? This carried over from the newsgroup on the old BBS and was started up (by Mike Lloret I think?) shortly after the Kobe earthquake. The idea was to exchange contact information and ideas e.g. what type of goods to keep ready for when (not IF but WHEN) the next big one hits. Other topics concerned which parts of town were considered safer based upon such things as proximity to Tokyo Bay (tsunami - tidal waves that is) and high ground vs low ground, parts of Tokyo that had a more solid rock base vs loose sand or "reclaimed land."

Things have been very quiet on that group a very long time but it recently started up again after the recent snowfalls showed how quickly this city can grind to a halt. If you're curious about what to prepare (food, water etc.) and whether your part of town is a fire hazard (e.g., Suginami-ku where I live is considered such because of a lot of older buildings and few open areas to escape to) then take a look in there - or toss in a question/opinion if it seems quiet!

Macro Virus

This is not that new actually and I think that there are ways to check for this including Word itself which can't actually tell if the macro is dangerous but it will warn that there is a macro and that it might be better not to use a macro from someone else. An interesting way of messing up your (or someone else's) system came from a friend of mine. It is not a virus but it will cause problems. A fellow employee sent him the registry file for him to look at as part of debugging. Instead of just opening it to look it over, my friend double clicked the file which caused the values to overwrite those in his registry. Next time he rebooted... well, he spent the entire day re-installing his system. Not all problems come from intentional viruses!

ISDN

I finally got hooked up! I could have done it a long time ago but didn't really need it (except for the odd time when I was on-line for a long time and then told later "I tried to call you but..."). However, now that I'm working from home (when I am home that is) I decided that I needed to split the phone bills between personal and business and if I was going to do that I might as well get in an ISDN line and do it right.

Getting ISDN can be a bit of a pain if you choose to do it yourself and go down to NTT and fill out the paperwork. Yes, you have to go in person to the phone company to ask them to change your current line even though they don't have to come to your house to do it. You cannot request it over the phone... but how many people living in Japan are surprised to hear that? <g>

Anyway I didn't want the headaches (and wasn't here often enough) so like many friends both in TPC and outside it, I contacted Naomi and I'd like to give a little plug here:

BRICKS

  • Naomi Nakayama
  • Bricks Corporation
  • Tokyo Chofu
  • TEL: 0424-42-8477
  • FAX: 0424-42-8478
  • e-mail naomi@bricks.co.jp
  • http://www.bricks.co.jp

Naomi will take care of the paperwork for you and all you have to do is contact her by e-mail or phone and arrange the details. If you have questions about cost or ISDN in general just check her web site and you'll find out what, why, how to/not to and all this is in both Japanese and English!

The reason I am particularly impressed is that Naomi took care of all of this for me while I was in America! The only reason I had to get involved was to be at home when they put in the new line. (Note that if you are upgrading your current line to ISDN they do not need to come to your house at all - well, maybe if you have some extremely primitive can and string setup I suppose they might but my understanding is that it is all done from their end.)

Would I say that I've seen an extreme difference in speed? Not really - not for looking at ordinary pages or doing e-mail at 33.6kbs. However, if you are up/downloading files then yes, I do see a definite difference - same for web sites that are heavy into graphics. Only adds a bit more per month to your phone bill and depending upon your ISP you may not have to pay more for the connection speed. If the ISP can handle it that is - e.g., I use GOL and it is an extra 3,000 for a personal account to get 128k speed (speeds of 64k and below are all the same). However, friends of mine use AT&T and while they like the service there is no 128k available yet. All in good time I'm sure.

Mobile Phones:

Well, this should be Mobile Computing but I would suggest you read Ken Cotton's article in Computing Japan about an interesting solution. I've decided to go the same route (Nokia Soft Data which means no PC-Card to do e-mail from your notebook via your cellular phone) but I've yet to get the phone. The initial difficulty is that the Nokia phones are not widely available.

A local DoCoMo shop told me this is because they are big, expensive and not state of the art. Interesting. They showed me other Japanese models that were "much cheaper" at 5,000 to 15,000 each. They also told me that the cable that Nokia Soft Data uses is okay with any DoCoMo phone. I'll be testing that soon enough as I've ordered the software (with cable of course).

I have also contacted Nokia and they put me in touch with another company that actually sells the phones and I found out that the phones are now only 3,000 each and while it is hard to find the 800MHz model (which gives you wider coverage in Japan) they sent me the application which I'll send back shortly and then they'll send me the phone. Perhaps by the next meeting I'll be up and running...

Of course all this is only good in Japan - can't use it outside the country. There is talk of a new phone being developed this year that will support both the Japanese format and the standard(s) more common in the rest of the world but we'll have to wait and see.

For more club-related news you'll have to look into the newsgroups or come along to the meeting - where I'll be catching up as well.

I remain quite happy with Outlook Express - more so since they added the ability to input Japanese in your e-mail while running under Win95 English. I think I wrote about this before but if not and you want to know where to download the plug-in just send me mail - or look into the tpc.windows newsgroup!

Netscape I still have not gotten around to using because I used the above for e-mail and MSIE for the web. I found that it is extremely easy to download a web page and its links (only up to 3 deep though) and this is handy when you want to get a bunch of pages from a site and look at them off-line. However, I don't recommend doing this to the MSInternet Explorer site - after more than 35 minutes, over 500 hundred pages and over 10MBytes I had to "skip" that page. Guess I'll look for what I want on-line.

What to look forward to in the near future? Live web access during meetings is in the works and this will have an impact upon the types of presentations we can look forward to. Input about presentations is always welcomed and if you want to find out what is showing the next month please check the TPC homepage!

Have a good ohanami!

NEC ATERM IT65 connection to Serial Port

If you use the digital connection (straight from the unit to your serial port) then you don't need to use the installation CD. The CD is if you need to run an ordinary modem connection to your ISDN unit which I'll be doing soon but for now I took the short route.

Screen shots will be below if there is space but otherwise the steps are rather straightforward. Not a complicated installation but if you are running Win95 English then you probably don't want to use the Japanese installation software - as cute as it is.

1.gif (6950 bytes)

1. Ctrl Panel - Modems - Add

2.gif (5723 bytes)

2.If you get a screen asking "What type of modem do you want to install?" then select "Other" and Next

3.gif (7334 bytes)

3.Select "Don't detect my modem..." Next

4.gif (6997 bytes)

4. Have disk...

5.gif (2831 bytes)

5. Browse... to your CD drive which for me was F: and then go to e:\intnet\win95\mdmnit.inf followed by OK, OK

6.gif (4500 bytes)

6. IMPORTANT - select AtermIT SYNC115, Next

7.gif (7812 bytes)

7. Select your Port. I used Comm Port [COM1] but pick which the one you'll connect the cable to.

After that you have a Next followed by Finish and you are all done! Well, the default Properties were okay for me anyway. You might like to take a look at them and set up your speed but with luck default will work.

Now to use if of course you might be able to just pick "Send" in your e-mail program and it will connect automatically but if not and you want to make an icon for your desktop please follow the following steps:

a.gif (4545 bytes)

a) Programs - Accessories - Dial-up Networking

Make New Connection

b.gif (8407 bytes)

b) Select "AtermIT SYNC115", give it a name you'll remember then Next after doing the Configure (which as I said above the default worked for me but might be worth checking)

c.gif (7055 bytes)

c) Enter phone number (3570-7760 is one of the GOL numbers) and set your country and area code

After that you have a Next followed by Finish and you are done! If something doesn't work make sure you've got the cables correctly connected - e.g., if you selected COM1 then make sure you don't have the cable on COM2.

Happy (high-speed) surfing!


© 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

April, 1998

The Newsletter of the Tokyo PC Users Group

Submissions : Editor


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