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Christophers Napkin Sketch by Al Gleichman

In the Trenches with LAROKE

Konsultant's Log, Cyberdate 05.03.1997 (Feeding Softwarez to HAL 9000)

    Situation Report
    Take Charge And Move Out
    United States of America
    Mission Report
Previous HAL Articles:

Cyberdate 04.19.1997 Moving the HAL 9000

Later HAL Articles:

Cyberdate 05.10.1997 HAL gets more software

Cyberdate 05.17.1997 HAL's softwarez feeding frenzy continues

Cyberdate 06.14.1997 When it rains, it pours

Cyberdate 08.23.1997 When we last left our hero, HAL . .

Cyberdate 09.06.1997 Kurrent Konundrums Debut

Cyberdate 10.04.1997 Putting out brushfires

Cyberdate 10.11.1997 P2's transformation slips into high gear

Cyberdate 10.25.1997 More fun with P2, HAL and 4-Bits

Previous P2 Articles:

Cyberdate 04.12.1997 Case of the Phantom Printer

Cyberdate 02.24.1997 Where's my !@#$% FONT MENU??

Later P2 Articles:

Cyberdate 06.28.1997 Restoring a Flash BIOS Meltdown

Cyberdate 09.20.1997 A Typical week of headbangers

Cyberdate 09.27.1997 Getting P2 ready for his new user

Cyberdate 10.11.1997 P2's transformation slips into high gear

Cyberdate 10.25.1997 More fun with P2, HAL and 4-Bits

Cyberdate 11.08.1997 P2 and 4-Bits - Light at the end of the tunnel

Cyberdate 12.06.1997 P2's configuration suffers a relapse

Cyberdate 12.23.1997 Re-glazing P2

Cyberdate 02.04.1998 P2's lobotomy recovery

Cyberdate 02.23.1998 Moving P2 is as much fun as pulling teeth


Allaire Corporation Homesite 2.5 HTML editor

America OnLine Online Service

Baseline Data Systems, Inc. Internet Accelerator v4.1 (no longer offered)

Corel Corporation Corel WordPerfect Suite v7.0 for Windows 95

IMSI Software Hijaak Pro v4.0 (formerly Quarterdeck Corporation)

International Business Machines IBM Aptiva Stealth PC

Invisible Software Invisible LAN Network Operating System and network adapters

Micrografx, Inc. Windows Draw v3.0

Microsoft Corporation Windows 95, Internet Explorer, Internet Mail, Visual FoxPro v3.0

MSN Microsoft Network

Linksys Ether16 LAN Card


SITREP: Well, Sports fans, We last left our Hero, HAL, up and running, and backed-up! (That's data backup, by the way, not constipation.) See the last article in this series on HAL 9000 if you haven't been following along and feel the need for some continuity. I'm not going to spend much time on background here. There are too many bitter truths ahead of us in this episode. Now that Hal was running in a minimal but stable state, it was time to mess him up with some software.

TACAMO: We will be installing and configuring several software packages in this article, with varying degrees of success. First on the list is AOL (America Online).

A 2.x version of America OnLine had been pre-installed on HAL when he was purchased. Knowing I would be able to enter my existing AOL account info, in lieu of starting a new account, I activated it. AOL installed without problems. I then logged on and went to keyword "UPGRADES". I downloaded and installed the AOL Windows 95 version 3.0.

As far as I can tell, at first glance, this is the same as Windows 3.x version 3.0 except that it uses Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 as a Internet Web browser instead of the outdated browser used by other versions of AOL. It looks the same as the old browser interface, but "under the skin", it's using MSIE. In fact, it changes your existing MSIE "Start" page and "Search" page to AOL defaults without even asking you. I had to reconfigure MSIE back to the Start and Search pages I wanted after the rude AOL installation program had it's way.

I was also sorry to find that the AOL modem setup was the same as previous versions. It accesses the modem directly instead of passing it's requests to the Windows 95 modem interface. This means I have to close down my Telephone answering software before I logon to AOL so that it will not report that it can't find the COM port. If it properly interfaced with Windows 95, I could expect the phone answering software to release the modem to AOL as it does automatically when I activate my ISP dial-up connection (I can not be too hard on AOL since Microsoft's own product "Internet Mail" will often lockup the computer when activated if the phone-answering software is active).

== UPDATE ==

Cyberdate 03.04.1998
AOL Logon work-around
Not long after this episode was published, I discovered a way to logon to AOL without shutting down the telephone answering software first. This work-around method will only work if you have an alternate TCP/IP Internet connection. If you have an Internet ISP or other TCP/IP session established, you can logon to AOL using the TCP/IP protocol.
This is accomplished in my case by logging on to my local ISP, then starting AOL.
At the AOL Welcome Screen, the "Setup" button is clicked, then the "Edit Location" Button.
In the "Network Setup" Screen, under "First Try", select "TCP/IP" from the "Network" Drop-down List but make note of the old setting so you will be able to restore your current configuration if you have to. Do not change any of the other settings. Click the "Save" Button.
The first time this setting is chosen, AOL will create a "Reserved Connection (do not use)" connection in your Windows 95 "Dial-Up Networking" Folder for AOL's use. In the future, AOL will use this connection to establish a TCP/IP session whenever you choose to logon to AOL using TCP/IP instead of dialing the modem.
Another advantage to using TCP/IP for AOL Logon is bypassing the usual AOL busy signals many AOL users experience.
If the AOL TCP/IP connection quits working for any reason, it can sometimes be restored by deleting the AOL Reserved Connection from the Dial-Up Networking Folder, Restarting Windows 95, and having AOL Setup Reinstall the connection.

I installed LAROKE's copy of Hijaak Pro version 4.00 (for Windows 95) from CD-ROM and to all outward appearances to date, it installed properly. This is a graphics conversion and capture software utility. I use it to make the "Screenshot" graphics I use on this site among other things.

Later in the day after installing AOL and Hijaak, I logged on to the Microsoft Network and discovered I had lost HAL's sound capabilities. After logging off and scrambling around for about a half-hour, I found the "Speaker Mixer" volume controls dialog, and found that two of the five volume settings had the "Mute" checkbox "checked". I "unchecked" them and had my sound back. I have no idea how they were muted unless the AOL or Hijaak installations caused the change. I didn't change it. This is not an easy control dialog to find. I'd know if I'd been here before!

The WordPerfect Suite installation on P2 was flawed from the beginning. Due to lack of harddrive space, I had installed it on the server Old Blue from P2. This strategy did not quite work and the installation was workable though imperfect. This time I installed it on HAL since I had the room, and it is (so far) a much more satisfying solution.

Sooner, or later, I have to convert my daytime employer's old dBase IV (DOS), FoxPro 1.01 (DOS) and FoxPro 2.6 (Windows 3.x) database modules into one Visual FoxPro Application. I installed LAROKE's copy of Visual FoxPro 3.0 Professional Edition for this purpose. This installation also proceeded smoothly.

I downloaded and Installed Homesite 2.5 Pre-release, an evaluation copy of an extensive HTML editor. I haven't worked with this Web site publisher for very long yet, but I have enough experience with it to know I will be sending in the fee and keeping it when my evaluation period is up. I will have more to say about this product in a future Tech Investigation article.

The installation of this product was covered in Tech Investigation Article 3, Konsultant's Log Cyberdate 04.26.1997 Internet Accelerator Phone Book (e-mail address organization).

At this point I had to install a font on HAL to edit a word processing document. I went to the Windows 95 "Fonts" folder in the Control Panel, and low-and-behold, the "Install new font" menu item was missing, just like on P2 several weeks ago (Konsultant's Log, Cyberdate 02.24.1997 Where's my !@#$% FONT MENU??). I don't know which of the just-installed programs is the responsible culprit, But I suspect Corel WordPerfect Office. Why? Because WordPerfect installs a lot of fonts during setup. Since the "Fonts" folder is marked with a "System" file attribute, it is protected under normal circumstances from having files written to it. I think the WordPerfect installer turns off the System attribute to put its fonts in the folder but does not reset it afterward. On the other hand, Visual FoxPro also puts fonts in this folder.

I needed to Install LAROKE's copy of Micrografx Windows Draw for the work I do for both companies (LAROKE and my day job). The problem I encountered was that the Installation disks were the old 5-1/4" format and none of the three Microsoft network machines had 5-1/4" drives.

Since the 3-1/2" drive on P2 was broken anyway, I decided the fastest solution was to replace it with a 5-1/4" drive from one of the old machines I keep in the "Elephant's Graveyard" for "just such occasions".

After opening up machines and swapping drives, I started up P2. During system bootup I triggered CMOS system setup program, and changed drive A from 3-1/2" 1.44Mb to 5-1/4" 1.2Mb, saved the change to CMOS and restarted. When the "Starting Windows 95" message appeared I pressed the "F8" key and choose "Start Windows in Safe Mode" from the menu that appeared. I didn't know if the drive change would confuse Windows 95, and I didn't want to take any chances. Safe Mode loads the minimum drivers necessary to run. Once Windows came up in safe mode, I went to the Windows 95 "Device Manager" dialog and removed the "GENERIC NEC FLOPPY DISK" and "Standard Floppy Disk Controller" objects. Then Windows was shutdown and P2 was rebooted again. As predicted, when Windows 95 came up, it discovered a new device (a 5-1/4" floppy drive) and automatically installed drivers for it.

This could have been a "Catch-22" situation since Windows 95 will sometimes ask you to insert the Windows 95 Installation disks when it discovers a new device, and the installation disks for P2 are 3-1/2" disks. I had gambled that these drives are so generic that Windows would not ask for the installation disks, and I lucked out this time. Some wise country boy once said "Even a blind pig gets an ear of corn once in a while."

== UPDATE ==

Cyberdate 03.07.1998
"Insert disk" work-around
It's not an absolute necessity to install drivers from floppy diskette. Before doing something like the above, you can copy all the Windows 95 Installation diskette "CAB" files to a subdirectory on the hard drive. When asked to "Insert disk", you can redirect the request from the floppy drive to the hard drive subdirectory.
Many network system adminstrators do this on all the PCs in their system. After the first time Windows 95 is redirected to the installation file subdirectory on the hard drive, it will look there in the future when it needs Windows 95 installation files (until redirected again to some other location). This is a great timesaver if you have the extra disk space needed for the subdirectory.

Now I was finally ready for the Windows Draw installation. Under the Microsoft Network, I could not determine how to map the A: drive on P2 as the A: or B: drive on HAL, so I mapped it as HAL's drive O:, even though I suspected this might cause the installation program to choke if it was inflexible regarding installation drive designations.

When I started the installation program using the Windows "Run" command from the "Start" menu, it loaded without complaint. Hopefully, I proceeded through the installation dialogs, entering the serial number, destination drive and directory, and choosing which components to install. After the last dialog I clicked the "Continue" button to begin the actual installation process. files started copying until an error dialog with the message "missing archive" was displayed. I tried a couple of times but couldn't get past this point. Time to reskin this kat.

The program had not asked for the second disk to be placed in P2's floppy drive, which led me to believe the error was occurring when the installer needed a file that was on disk 2. Examining the files on the 7 installation disks revealed files with names "DISK_001.MDA", "INSTALL.EXE", "INSTALL.MDA" and "MANIFEST.BIN" on disk 1; "DISK_002.MDA" through "DISK_006.MDA" on disks 2 through 6, respectively; and "DISK_007.MDA", "H_DAY26.DRW" and "MGXIMP.FLT" on disk 7. It seemed reasonable that the file extension might stand for "Micrografx Draw Archive". The installer might work if all the files were placed in a temporary subdirectory with the installer, and that temporary directory mapped as drive O:.

All the files were copied to a subdirectory and the installation program was run one more time, and it ran like "greased lightning". It took only a few seconds to install Windows Draw after the setup dialogs had been traversed and the process actually began, the only problem being it did not interface with the Windows 95 desktop very well. When finished, there were no icons or start menu entries for Windows Draw. That's easy enough to do manually though, especially since I only wanted the one icon for the program (I didn't need icons for help files, readme files, etc.). The process involved finding the Windows Draw program file with the Windows Explorer file manager, right-clicking on it's icon for the context-sensitive menu, and choosing "Copy" to put it on the "Clipboard". Next, right-clicking on the Windows 95 "Desktop" and choosing "Paste Shortcut" from the desktop context-sensitive menu gave me the desktop icon I wanted. Similarly, right-clicking the "Start" button and choosing "Open" from it's context-sensitive menu, then double-clicking the "Programs" folder, and pasting another shortcut in it gave me a "Windows Draw" item on the Start Menu.

I compacted the installation files in the temporary subdirectory on P2 into a "ZIP" file and moved it to the server Old Blue for safe-keeping. If I have to do this again, maybe it will be easer next time...maybe not.

MISREP: That's enuf fun for this installment. There is a lot of software yet to install on Hal, but Windows Draw, especially, had taken longer to setup than it should have because of the diskette incompatibility, but I felt good about my "shade-tree mechanic" solution to the problem. That good feeling was popped like a soap bubble the next day when I saw Windows Draw v5.0 (much expanded and compatible with Windows 95) in a software store for less than forty dollars. I didn't buy it but I probably will.


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LAROKE Microcomputer Consultants
155 East Boca Raton Road
Boca Raton, Florida 33432
(561)368-0659 (Tel & Fax)

Issued Issued Saturday May 3, 1997

Updated Saturday March 7, 1998

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