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Ionic Column      in exile

by David Parry

Englishman David Parry lived, worked and played in Tokyo from 1980 to 1994 and was a member of TPC from 1986. He was Newsletter Publisher from late 1988 to early 1990. The Ionic Column has been going since early 1992. It even won a prize and an honorable mention back in 1992. Currently based in Düsseldorf and working as a translator, David Parry returns to Japan electronically via the Internet.

This month I will comment about installing Windows 2000 and Pegasus, as promised. The short version: my PC systems are stable, but installing Windows 2000 was not easy, and you really do need the service packs.

To go into a bit more detail: Windows 2000 has a lot of NT in it, and while it should be more stable as a result of this distinguished lineage, it ain't necessarily so. I was almost at the point of giving up and going back to Windows 98 more than once, out of sheer exasperation. Installing Service Pack 2 for Windows 2000 made an almost miraculous change, on my PCs at least. I don't know if I have the latest update, but things are working now and I don't want to mess around too much in case I stir up a hornet's nest.

Cobweb-ware
I had expected difficulties in finding updated drivers, since much of my hardware predates Windows 2000, but the CD seems to have had most of the ones I needed. A quick search of the Matrox website revealed that my 1998-vintage Millennium II video cards are cobweb- ware, with drivers frozen in time somewhere at the end of the last millennium. I downloaded what they had, and have not had any problems that I can trace to the video side.

Deworming
It was a different matter with the Leprechaun Virus Buster antivirus software, which I had thought would be no problem in view of the constant updates, but it turned out that there were separate versions for Windows 98 and 2000/XP, so I had to download and install a new version. In the meantime, my PC had acquired a bad case of Klez and had to be dewormed, just like the family mutt. Once the virus protection was in place, I noticed that the PC was running noticeably more slowly and queried this with the ever-helpful folks at Leprechaun. I got a reply overnight, with a new driver that helped a bit! After that, I was kept too busy by work and the need to rebuild a total of 4 PC systems in a hurry before I left for England with one of them.

98 games
After some thought I put Windows 98 on the PC to be taken to my parents, since I think it is easier to install, it can be stable enough if you are lucky (and especially if you have not filled up your system with all kinds of odd programs that clog up the registry or worse), and the lucky recipients will probably want to use it to play games much of the time. And since games are more hardware-dependent, they are more picky about which operating system they deign to run under. I have a collection of "last version but one" games that I got at prices that don't justify the price of a blank CD (or two, if you are unlucky when copying) and printing a sleeve, and many of these say that they work with Windows 95.

In the end I had no major problems running any of the programs that I normally use, with the exception of setting up the new e-mail system. One odd quirk is that while I can still run my Q&A database program, a venerable DOS program going back perhaps 15 years, under Windows 2000 I do not get back to Windows when quitting the program, instead I have a DOS window that has to be cleared as well. Some of the commands and utilities have changed, or the way they work, but I finally managed to figure out what I needed.

Faster UDMA
The biggest problem came when I tried to set up UDMA66 - or was it UDMA 100? - to get my IDE hard disks to run a bit faster. The short version is that I abandoned the attempt to set it up on the boot drive, since anything that requires a special driver to be loaded spells trouble if anything goes wrong. Along the way, I discovered that the faster versions of UDMA require a special cable, and that the removable disk trays that I had then cannot be used with a fast UDMA controller, since the connectors are different. So I removed the trays and installed the hard disks in the usual way, but with fans at the front to improve ventilation. It had always struck me that the removable trays were a potential hazard for a build-up of heat in the confined space, even if you left the lid off, as I did. Admittedly there are also removable trays that have fans at the front, but I decided against them in view of the cost and the problem of fast UDMA connectors.

Out with the scuz
One result of the swapping and rebuilding was that the 4 GB SCSI hard disk was removed and donated to a friend. What with all the various problems I had in the past, I cannot say if a SCSI controller added to the problems, since the all-IDE system that followed it had its own troubles initially. I also took out the SCSI Zip drive from the e-mail PC, cursing the day that I bought the SCSI version instead of the IDE model installed in the main PC. This means that I cannot transfer files between the two PCs except on diskette, and the Zip drives had been an insurance against a failure of the network, but it seems that Windows 2000 is a bit more network-friendly and stable. I hope it remains that way, as I now cannot transfer larger files between the two machines except over the network.

The flying horse
For some time I had wanted to drop Outlook Express and use another e-mail program. My choice fell on Pegasus, which is free - with the option of registering it by buying the online manual in Acrobat PDF format that you can print out for yourself. No longer does registration mean another slim volume in the bookcase. And in some cases, not even a CD either, or at least, not a mass-produced and silk-screened disk. I suppose it saves on non- virtual clutter, since a lot of master CDs for the various programs I have are by no means full to the brim, and I can consolidate a large number of separate small programs onto one CD with judicious selection and copying.

Cue for queue
My impression is that Pegasus is a plain and unadorned program, perhaps in keeping with the fact that it also runs under Netware, and certainly less slick than the likes of Outlook Express. The latest download is for version 4.01, which has been described as "buggy" on a list server dedicated to devotees of the flying horse. (Horse and buggy?) Inevitably, the program has its own way of working, and I had not noticed that the "Send" button does not actually send mail, it just puts it in a queue, and you then either review the queue to decide what to send or else beam the entire collection of patiently waiting mails to the world at large. Alas, I was not aware of this point initially, and my outgoing e-mails composted for a while until I accidentally hit the "Send queued mail" button and noticed that a lot of messages had been uploaded. And as luck would have it, one of them concerned a possible translation job, which had of course been long allocated to someone else by then.

Only convert
The main reason that I had chosen Pegasus was because it was supposed to be able to import e-mail and address books from both Outlook Express and CompuServe. The program does not have any converters or import functions as such, but I had tracked down references to a number of third-party programs that promised to do the trick. It turned out that most of the programs were for address books, and I finally managed to import my old address book from Outlook Express. The layout and the fields are very different, so a lot of manual editing was called for. Pegasus has a name field and a key field, and I had hoped to be able to sort on the key field, but I have not found a way for the program to do this permanently, so I ended up editing the names to sort them in a meaningful way. To date I have had no success with any of the mail converters that I have tried; one of them supposedly produced the appropriate files, but Pegasus does not recognize them. Someone suggested forwarding my old mail to myself, which I tried. Apart from the volume of mail involved, the biggest problem is that the name of the sender is then replaced by my name. Not very helpful. So here is a chance for reader feedback and a chance to be quoted in print: how can I bring the old e-mail into Pegasus?

The gottchas of ADSL
The rebuilding of the e-mail PC (the PII/350 that had formerly been my main machine) included the setting up of ADSL. Currently there are three options for ADSL over here: via a network interface card (NIC) to a wall-mounted modem, via USB 1.0 to a wall-mounted modem, or via an internal modem direct to the wall outlet. The nice folks at AVM have a new model of their best-selling Fritz! card that combines their long-established ISDN card with an ADSL modem in one combo card with two connections. This seemed to be exactly what I wanted, and it would avoid the ticklish problem of two NICs in one PC. But nothing happened after I installed it. A quick visit to the local Telekom showroom produced the answer; the internal modem was built to handle a newer standard, and my wall-mounted modem and the wall outlet used an older standard. This left me just a little miffed, since the modem was all of two years old. So I had to use the existing wall modem and set up a second NIC. The combo card is shelfware, but will come in useful one day.

But the best was reserved for last. Pegasus works on the basis of a main online provider, and it is not that easy to set it up for multiple ISPs. The workaround is to set up the dialing procedures in "Network and dialup connections" and to make an icon for it for quick access. It is less convenient than before, since I have to dial separately. But why not use ADSL? Here I discovered that T-Online had set me up with two mailboxes, since the ADSL account is a separate one. In short, at the moment I cannot download or upload my mail with ADSL, only ISDN. It is possible to swap from ISDN to ADSL in the dialing setup and to browse the Web at high speed, but for the moment I cannot use ADSL to speed up my mail.

That will no doubt be resolved once I get my own domains set up, which I hope to do soon. My intended future ISP is slow to reply to his e-mail! But once I have set up my domains with their mailboxes away from Telekom, I should be able to use ADSL for everything.

That's all for this month. Hopefully, I will have the details of my new e-mail addresses and Webpage in the next issue, but rest assured that the old ones will continue in use for a long while yet.

Comments or feedback or more information? A burning desire to be quoted in print?
Contact me at DAParry@compuserve.com, DAParry@t-online.de or
http://www.core-ad.co.jp/parry .



© 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

July , 2002

The Newsletter of the Tokyo PC Users Group

Submissions : Editor


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