Category : Communication (modem) tools and utilities
Archive   : RECONU22.ZIP
Filename : RECON220.DOC

Output of file : RECON220.DOC contained in archive : RECONU22.ZIP

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Recon (tm) version 2.20
Update Booklet

June 1993 release, Shareware

Copyright 1989-1993, Amdox Corporation

³ ÚÄÄÄÄÄÁÐÄÄ¿ ³ Association of
³ ³ ³ÄÙ Shareware
ÀÄÄij o ³ Professionals

Copyright (C) 1989-1993, Amdox Corporation. All rights reserved.

Other brand and product names are trademarks or registered
trademarks of their respective holders.

Product of CANADA.

***************** WARRANTY DISCLAIMER ****************

Recon (tm) v2.20


Users of Recon must accept the following disclaimer of




As it cannot be guaranteed that loss of data will not occur,
Recon should be tested with non-critical data. As always,
judicious backups are a wise and necessary continuing precaution.

***************** WARRANTY DISCLAIMER ****************

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page i

Table of Contents

For ease of use, this update booklet (Recon220.DOC) has been
laid out to parallel the main version 2 manual (Recon201.DOC).

The sections are numbered in identical fashion, but only
sections that have changed, or have been added, are included.

1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.1 Summary of features. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1.2 What's new ? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.3 What is Shareware. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.4 Registration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.5 Distribution Policies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
1.6 Association of Shareware Professionals Ombudsman . . . . . 8

2 Installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
2.1 Documentation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
2.2 Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
2.3 Starting it up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
2.4 Help!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
2.5 Where to from here?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
2.6 Support & Thanks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

3 Tutorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

4 Start up Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
4.17 Removing file noise, the /CLEAN parameter . . . . . . . . 17
4.18 Tappet deselect mark, the /DESLCT parameter . . . . . . . 17
4.19 Message redirection from forums to mail: /SFMU. . . . . . 17
4.20 Default location for import/export: /MES. . . . . . . . . 18
4.21 Turning off automatic reply flags: /NOREPLYF. . . . . . . 18
4.22 Ignoring Expanded memory: the /NOEMS parameter. . . . . . 19
4.23 Default quoting style: /QUOTE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

5 INTERACTIVE mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
5.1 File panel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
5.1.4 AGE/Save&Exit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
5.1.7 Edit Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 global/forum: View/Send. . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
5.2 Navigate panel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
5.2.1 scroll UP, scroll DOWN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
5.2.2 msg UP {flt}, msg DOWN {flt}. . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Barring UserID's, the Twit Filter . . . . . . . . . 25
5.3 Action panel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
5.3.4 Invert. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
5.3.8 HOLD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page ii

5.4 View panel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
5.4.2 Filters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Filters: NEW. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Filters: UNREAD flag. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Filters: NEEDS REPLY flag . . . . . . . . . . . 29
5.5 Connect panel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
5.5.3 Recon editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Cut&Paste . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Text import/export. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Auto-Signature Paragraph. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Reply cleanup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Sending it. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
5.5.5 DOWnload from LIB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
5.5.6 Scripts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 REAd thread from ROOT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 REAd SUBject . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
5.5.7 DEselect. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
5.5.8 UserID list . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 LOOKUP UserID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
5.6 Other panel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
5.6.2 Jump PARENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

6 BATCH mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

7 Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
7.1 Updating from 2.01 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
7.2 Moving Recon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
7.3 DOS/Windows and EMS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
7.4 OS/2 2.1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
7.5 Program notes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
7.6 Sysop functions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

8 Document Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 1

1 Introduction

Today's CompuServe navigators are very efficient at capturing
and downloading messages. But once you have all those messages,
through multiple sessions and they start piling up, you very
quickly acquire a significant handling problem.

This is where Recon comes in! Recon will let you review
downloaded messages from within message files that are kept trim
and sorted into context.

Recon will sort and rethread both forum and mail message
files, even INTERNET/CMail messages, removing dead text and
duplicates in the process.

Recon provides an enhanced, powerful file viewer/navigator,
which lets you compose your replies, generate download scripts,
and other online activities.

Recon also provides sysop functions, but with the added
benefit that your offline message file is changed to reflect any
online CHAnge type commands immediately!

Recon can keep your files under control by surgically pruning
out older messages, according to your fine-tuning instructions.

Recon also can act as a general CompuServe format message
file manager allowing you to sort, browse, prune, and organize &
archive CompuServe message files, much like a directory file
manager lets you work with files within directories.

Recon can also help organize TAPCIS and the hodge-podge of
TAPCIS add-on programs with its use of an intelligent memory
swapping MENU Shell.

Recon 2.20 is now completely compatible with GOLDEN COMMPASS,
an OS/2 Compuserve Navigator.

Recon 2.20 also is compatible with Ozcis version 1.x, but for
forum files only. See the Ozcis manual for details.

Recon 2.20 is a significant upgrade in features and power,
but still remains within the comfortable Recon 2.01 "framework".
Many of the most asked for enhancement requests have now been
attended to.

See What's New for some of the details, we think that you
will soon find Recon 2.20 indispensable.

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 2

1.1 Summary of features

Recon can be used interactively using its pull down menus, or
it can be run in a BATCH file driven completely by command line
parameters. As a summary, Recon:

o loads specified compuserve message files
o removes end of message blank lines and other dead text
o cleans up line noise, and CR/LF mismatches
o reconstruct message numbers of OUTBOX messages
o reconstruct message number thread links
o sorts messages into user specified order, including
CompuServe thread order
o handles CMail and INTERNET messages transparently
o marks duplicates for deletion
o optional date or file size, driven extraction/archiving
o can embed navigation information for an alternate viewer
o saves the cleaned/sorted file to disk, backing up the
o handles up to 2000 messages/file and 1000 lines/message

When used interactively the user interface includes:

o context sensitive hypertext HELP
o user definable SHELL to co-ordinate other programs/add-ons
o pulldown menus (with optional mouse support)
o sysop thread management commands
o filespec pick list/directory boxes to choose files
o global/forum specific settings, can be set interactively
o ability to sort by thread, chronologically,
alphabetically, and by section
o full screen message viewing with a local index
o a full screen scrolling index
o extensive and very flexible navigation commands
o a "bar" filter, can block view of selected users for you
o unread messages are automatically noted for you
o you're reminded where a reply is suggested
o a full featured MESSAGE REPLY EDITOR, with
- block commands
- cut and paste
- import and export
- configurable auto-signatures
o can direct OUTBOX copies to your .MSG files
o BINARY/ASCII file forwarding by CMail
o a search facility, displays messages containing a phrase
o New, MARKed, Branch, & UserID message display filters
o Sticky NEEDS REPLY and UNREAD status flags
o message MARKing: single, branch or thread, or section
o date driven message MARKing
o automatic AGEing
o MARKed message/thread/branch/section copy, delete and move
o editing of: message number, in reply to number, subject
o message printing
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 3

1.2 What's new ?

New STICKY Message Status Flags

Recon 2.20 now retains status flags across file loads/saves,
and contains two new status flags:

o UNREAD status
o NEEDS REPLY status

These will keep track of individual message status across
file save/loads, and are set and removed for you automatically.

Reply Editor Enhancements

o Import/Export from/to files or the Recon clipboard

o Flexible line oriented cut&paste quoting

o Nine quoting formats

o Editor Block copy/move commands.

The reply editor will now even hide or translate illegal
characters (like box and line characters) for you!


Recon 2.20 will add a "signature" paragraph for you
automatically, you have the choice of global or forum-specific
ones, or you can even request a special signature paragraph on-


The message text or the auto-signatures can include a set of
"metavariables" (eg. $DATE$) that are expanded as Recon 2.20 posts
your message.

File|Load Enhancements
Recon 2.20 boasts more efficient, and yet faster file loads.
Some problem files that you unexpectedly couldn't load before, you
now can.
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 4

File|AGE Enhancements

File AGEing is now even more flexible, and more robust.

Many small changes

These are some of the highlights, but there are more than a
hundred individual changes & enhancements!

1.3 What is Shareware

Shareware distribution gives users a chance to try software
before buying it. If you try a Shareware program and continue to
use it, you are expected to register.

Copyright laws apply to both Shareware and commercial
software, and the copyright holder retains all rights. Shareware
authors are accomplished programmers, just like commercial
authors, and the programs are of comparable quality -- in both
cases, there are good programs and bad ones! The main difference
between the two is in the method of distribution.

So Shareware is a distribution method, not a type of
software. You should find software that suits your needs and
pocketbook, whether it's commercial or Shareware. The Shareware
system makes fitting your needs easier, because you can try before
you buy. And because the overhead is low, prices are low also.
Shareware has the ultimate money-back guarantee -- if you don't
use the product, you don't pay for it.

1.4 Registration

Recon is copyrighted Shareware, it is NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN, it
is NOT FREE. If you find Recon of value and continue to use it
after a twenty-one day evaluation period you MUST register your
copy of Recon.

When you register Recon version 2.20 you receive:

o a serial number and license for one copy of Recon 2.20
o an advance, low cost upgrade certificate for version 3.0
o any technical updates of Recon 2.20 available at that time
o a printed, perfect bound, 136pg, 7" x 9" manual
o an update booklet detailing changes since 2.01
o free bonus standalone utilities (as available)
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 5

When you upgrade to Recon version 2.20 from 2.01 you receive:

o a license for one copy of Recon 2.20
o an advance, low cost upgrade certificate for version 3.0
o any technical updates of Recon 2.20 available at that time
o an update booklet detailing changes since 2.01
o free bonus standalone utilities (as available)

And whether you newly register, or are upgrading, you get:

o a greater voice in suggesting future enhancements
o the satisfaction of supporting the shareware concept

If you have not previously registered version 2.01, and after
an evaluation of Recon 2.20 you wish to register, or if you would
just like a pre-registered copy to be shipped out to you, the cost

In USA & Canada: $38.00
7.00 shipping & handling
total of $45.00 US ($56.00 Cdn)

Outside USA & Canada:
5.00 additional shipping
total of $48.00 US ($60.00 Cdn)

If you are registered for version 2.01, you can request the
upgrade package for version 2.20 by forwarding:

In USA & Canada: $12.00
7.00 shipping & handling
total of $19.00 US ($24.00 Cdn)

Outside USA & Canada:
5.00 additional shipping
total of $24.00 US ($30.00 Cdn)

For 2.01 users, note that the full package version 2.20
documentation consists of the 2.01 manual, that you already have,
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 6

plus an update booklet. If you have registered version 2.01
already you should request the upgrade package only.

You have four options for registering or upgrading:

1) By regular mail: forward your name, CompuServe UserID,
(and serial number if upgrading) and check or money
order made payable to Amdox Corporation to:

Amdox Corporation
217 Terrace Hill Street
Brantford, ON, Canada
N3R 1G8

If you have the evaluation copy of Recon then you can
use the included handy (optional) fold up registration
form/envelope, (print it by typing COPY MAILER.REG PRN)
then all you need is a stamp and a check.

US POSTAGE to Canada is a little MORE than US domestic.

Don't forget to send YOUR CompuServe UserID, and your
serial number if upgrading!

2) By FAX: Visa, MasterCard, American Express:

FAX: (519) 753-7867 (Amdox Corp., 24Hr fax)

Forward your credit card number and expiry date, as well
as name, CompuServe UserID, and serial number if

You can complete and FAX the printed MAILER.REG form as
a guide for the information necessary.

3) By telephone: Visa, MasterCard, American Express:

call (519) 752-5453 (Amdox Corporation)


Don't forget to have YOUR CompuServe UserID (and serial
number if upgrading) handy!

4) By Compuserve MAIL: This is by Visa, MasterCard or
American Express card, you can forward the information
directly to us by CMail at 76672,1273.

Alternatively, select Help|Register or Help|Upgrade
from the menu options, or if you have an evaluation copy
of Recon 2.20, just answer YES when Recon asks if you
would like to register/upgrade.

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 7

Recon will then ask for credit card and mailing
information, and then automatically direct your
navigator to send a CompuServe MAIL message direct to us
at 76672,1273.

Your credit card will be charged in Canadian funds. You
will receive a confirmation by CMail when your order is

The registration fee licenses one copy of Recon for use on any
one computer at any one time. You must treat this software just
like a book. An example is that this software may be used by any
number of people and may be freely moved from one computer
location to another, as long as there is no possibility of it
being used at one location while it's being used at another.
Consider it like a book, a book cannot be read by two different
people at the same time.

For commercial users of Recon, site-license or multiple
license discount arrangements may be made by contacting us at the
above address.

1.5 Distribution Policies

Recon (tm) and its documentation are COPYRIGHTED, and are NOT

Anyone distributing Recon for any kind of direct fee must
first contact Amdox Corporation at the address above for
authorization. Authorization will generally be automatically
granted to distributors recognized by ASP as adhering to its
guidelines for shareware distributors, notification is still

The above restriction does not apply to the case of normal &
usual connect charges on a BBS, where no other specific charge is
made for obtaining a copy of Recon.

Individual users are encouraged to pass a copy of Recon along
to their friends and colleagues for evaluation.

When secondarily distributed, Recon must be in its original
compressed form and accompanied by its full on-disk documentation
and other information files. The distributed software and
documentation may not have been modified in any way.

No secondary distributor is authorized to "register" a copy
of Recon. Registration fees may only be sent directly to the
author as outlined above in section 1.4. Note that the
registration fee is exclusive of, and over and above any fees that
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 8

may be charged by a secondary distributor.

1.6 Association of Shareware Professionals Ombudsman

This program is produced by a member of the Association of
Shareware Professionals (ASP). ASP wants to make sure that the
shareware principle works for you.

If you are unable to resolve a shareware-related problem with
an ASP member by contacting the member directly, ASP may be able
to help. The ASP Ombudsman can help you resolve a dispute or
problem with an ASP member, but does not provide technical support
for members' products. Please write to:

ASP Ombudsman
545 Grover Road
Muskegon, MI 49442-9427

or send a CompuServe message via CompuServe Mail to:

ASP Ombudsman 70007,3536

or send a FAX to:

ASP FAX (616) 788-2765

In communications with the Ombudsman please include a
telephone number and/or FAX if available.

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 9

2 Installation

Recon consists of at least:

PACKING.LST a list of all files in package



RECON.OVR | the actual software

RECON220.DOC this document
RECON201.DOC version 2 manual

MAILER.DOC an optional fold up registration form

2.1 Documentation

MAILER.DOC is an optional quick and handy all-in-one fold up
registration form and envelope, print it by typing:


To register or upgrade just fill it in, staple your check
INSIDE it, TAPE it closed as shown, (DO NOT USE STAPLES ON THE
EXTERIOR) and stamp and mail it.

RECON220.DOC and Recon201.DOC are the installation and
update, and the tutorial and reference documentation,
respectively. They contain no special formatting commands, can be
viewed with any DOS text file viewer or editor, and should be
printable on most any printer.

The maximum line width in the document is 76 characters and
it requires no more than 60 lines per page to print. Though not
strictly necessary, setting your printer to 12 cpi with a 1.5 inch
left margin (on 8.5 inch width paper) should result in a nicely
centered printout. If you load this document into a word
processor, be careful to allow at least 60 lines/page.

For a formfeed paper printer insert the paper and set your
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 10

printer to start printing towards the top of the page, ready to
print on approximately the fourth line. Note that most page
printers (laser, inkjet, or impact with a cut sheet feeder) will
by default begin printing on line 4. Then type at the DOS command




The documentation file includes "box drawings", these use
certain characters which may not be available on some printers.
Generally such printers replace these special characters with
italicised letters. If you are able to, choose the "IBM mode" on
such a printer.

2.2 Software

If you ordered a pre-registered copy of Recon on disk, then
the included on-disk RINSTALL utility, after asking a few
questions, will have already automatically installed Recon for

If you downloaded Recon from CompuServe, a BBS, or just got
an evaluation copy from a friend, installing the software is still
quite straightforward. Just copy RECON.EXE, RECON.OVR and
RECON.HLP into the same directory that contains your navigator
program and you are ready to go.

You DO NOT need to, and SHOULD NOT erase any information
files (Recon*.DAT, Recon*.SET and Recon*.PCK) that a previous
version may have created. These contain file time stamp data,
your previous pick lists, and other information useful to Recon.

RECON.OVR contains Recon's overlay files, this reduces the
amount of working memory that Recon requires. The overlays can
take advantage of EMS memory if you have it available.
(section 4.9)

Even without the RINSTALL utility, you may also optionally
install Recon in any subdirectory, the procedure is described in
the reference section. (section 4.2, 4.13)

To run the program just type RECON at the DOS command line,
just like any other program that you run, you must be in the same
directory that RECON.EXE and RECON.OVR were copied into, or that
directory must be on the DOS PATH, or you must use the file's path
in the command line you specify.

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 11

2.3 Starting it up

Recon should already be installed as outlined above. Change
(using "CD") into the same directory as you copied Recon into
(RECON.EXE, RECON.OVR and RECON.HLP) and then type RECON at the
DOS command line.

The possible error messages include:

1) "Bad command or file name"

This message is from DOS indicating that RECON.EXE is
not found in the current directory nor on the DOS PATH,
see the above paragraph.

(402) Overlay Error"

This message is from Recon, it means that Recon cannot
find the RECON.OVR overlay file, see the above

3) "PARAMS.CIS not found"

This message is from Recon, it would suggest that either
you have not copied RECON.EXE and RECON.OVR into the
same subdirectory as your navigator, or that the
PARAMS.CIS file has been previously erased, moved or
never created.

Unless you are registered for version 2.20, when Recon first
executes you will be shown a screen which reminds you of the
SHAREWARE nature of Recon. There is a twenty-one day free
evaluation period. At the bottom of that screen you will see
something like the following:

Would you like to register, through CompuServe MAIL?

A cursor will be blinking, the message is self-explanatory,
if you wish to send off a registration just press Y or [Enter],
otherwise press any other key and you will continue.

At other times you may see a cursor blinking under a double
sided arrow, it indicates that the program has paused, generally
for the purpose of letting you read the screen, or see the results
of a multiple stage action.
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 12

Sometimes Recon will "timeout", and automatically continue
after a set period of time. At other times the program will wait
indefinitely until [SPACE] is pushed. Alternatively you can
press the [Esc] key in place of [SPACE].

For mouse users you can also click and release the RIGHT
button, Recon considers this equivalent to pressing [Esc].

Next comes the main opening screen. Along the top you will
see the pulldown menu bar, with the File panel pulled down and the
light bar sitting on the Pick option.

2.4 Help!

Context sensitive Help is accessible throughout the program
by accessing the Help option. You can access Help by using the
local hot key H while in the top line of menu choices, or global
hot key of [F1].

Mouse users can click and release both buttons, to access

While in Help if you press [F1] again, or click both mouse
buttons, a Help Index of topics will be displayed. You can then
pick a topic from that index.

2.5 Where to from here?

For ease of use, this update booklet (Recon220.DOC) has been
laid out to parallel the main version 2 manual (Recon201.DOC).

As necessary, a leading section in each chapter is prefaced
to highlight minor general changes from version 2.01.

Sections that have significantly changed are replaced
entirely in the text here, and referenced with the same section
number as in the version 2 manual.

Sections that have been added as new, that introduce
completely new features, carry on with the numbering scheme at the
end of each section.

IF YOU HAVE NEVER USED RECON BEFORE -- then you should either
read through the tutorial section of the version 2 manual, or if
you do not like a walkthrough approach to learning a program, then
study the reference sections there.

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 13

The following is the layout for the version 2 manual

Section 3 is the walkthrough tutorial.

Section 4 explains optional command line and DOS environment
variable options, you can probably save this section for

Section 5 is the reference section for INTERACTIVE mode
Recon, this is how you will likely be using Recon most
of time.

Section 6 is the reference section for BATCH mode. Batch is
useful for sorting and cleaning up message files that
you don't need to view.

Section 7 contains appendices with useful ancillary
information on Recon

The following is the layout for this update booklet

Section 3 is omitted, there are no changes to the tutorial.

Section 4 introduces several new command line parameters.
Most of the previous startup options remain the same.

Section 5, the reference section for INTERACTIVE mode Recon,
introduces quite a number of new features and changes.
You will want to spend some time here.

Section 6 is the reference section for BATCH mode. Batch
mode remains unchanged from version 2.01.

Section 7 is completely changed, but still contains
appendices with useful ancillary information on Recon.

Included in the shipped out package are sticky marks that you
can place, and use to cross-reference these changes in your 2.01

Though it is not suggested, if you must go off exploring on
your own, then as long as you do not SAVE or WRITE OUT a file,
DO NOT run Recon in BATCH mode, and DO NOT "compose" a reply you
will not cause any changes to any of the message files that RECON
"looks" at.

There is context sensitive help available throughout, and
this should assist you in getting to know the program. However you
will not get the full value out the Recon unless you at some time
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 14

read through the documentation.

IF YOU ARE AN EXPERIENCED USER -- of version 2.01 you should
have little trouble intuitively adjusting to most of the new


Appendix 7.1 Updating from 2.01. This contains some quick
and VERY important notes.

You should still at some time at least skim through the
reference sections and in particular read the sections referenced
in What's NEW (section 1.2) in order to formally review and
understand any changes.

2.6 Support & Thanks

Questions, comments, thanks, or jeers are all welcome. This
software is supported on CompuServe, address messages through
CMail to Recon Support at UserID 76672,1273 or leave a message in
the TAPCIS forum (Scripts and Tools section) or the OS2AVEN forum
(Golden Commpass section).

My sincere thanks go out to all of those who have helped to
improve Recon by offering up their wish lists, suggestions and

Also a very special thanks to all the brave and tireless
BETA/GAMMA testers.


Orest Skrypuch

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 15

3 Tutorial

This section is intended for those who learn best by a
program walkthrough. Although some of the more entry level
information may not be duplicated elsewhere, all of the important
Recon specific feature information contained in this section is
also found in the reference sections.

If you find that you instead learn best by just running it,
and exploring, then at least quickly review the reference
sections. Recon's context sensitive hypertext will help a great
deal, as it largely duplicates the complete reference section.

The tutorial section is completely unchanged from version
2.01, please refer to section 3 of the printed 2.01 manual or the
Recon201.DOC file.

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 16

4 Start up Options

You will usually start Recon by simply executing a plain:


at the command line, or in a batch file. Typing:


will list most of the common command line parameters.

The following is a list of the new command line parameters
introduced with Recon 2.20, they are fully discussed below:


These are a list of the command line parameters that were
available with Recon 2.01, for information on these please see the
version 2 manual (RECON201.DOC):

/COLOR:### /A
/Q /NPH /MAGE:###

If included on the command line, MUST be listed
first on the line, otherwise order is not important. Embedded
spaces between the parameters are optional and are ignored, and
upper/lower case characters are considered equivalent.

These are the four DOS environment variables that Recon


Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 17

4.17 Removing file noise, the /CLEAN parameter

There is an important change in the default behaviour of
Recon's file character cleanup when it loads a message file.

Starting with Recon v2.01, unexpected non-text characters
were stripped out of files. However this function adds a
significant amount of overhead when a file is loaded, if there are
a number of such instances. If you don't mind seeing these
relatively harmless abominations in the view of messages, then you
may prefer this for the extra load space, and slightly faster load
speed. In some specific instances it could DOUBLE your effective
load capacity, but you are still constrained by the maximum
capacity of 2000 messages.

You should probably run with the new default (without
/CLEAN), and judge whether you like the difference.

If you would prefer to have Recon act as before, if you have
very noisy files due to bad telephone connections for example, and
were never troubled by running out of load capacity, then use the
following switch:


on startup to maintain Recon 2.01 behaviour.

4.18 Tappet deselect mark, the /DESLCT parameter

Tappet, a thread marking utility, allows you to mark a thread
as selected or as not selected for downloading by marking it with
a " " (blank). If you would prefer to use another character to
mark a thread as not to be downloaded, such as the alternate "X",
then use the following switch:


4.19 Message redirection from forums to mail: /SFMU

A command is now available to specify that all responses
directed to MAIL are to be instead (optionally and automatically)
forwarded through a specific forum's software rather than by CIS
MAIL. The obvious use for this is for individuals that have a
free flag on a given forum.

This option will not only forward the message appropriately,
but will also place the OUTBOX copy of the message in the MAIL.MSG
file (default behaviour), as Recon would normally do for CMail
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 18

This is implemented with a command line parameter:


The above would cause a "Forward Mail from MYFORUM forum" to
be included in the final Send Message discussion.


The above would in addition consider this to be the default
method of forwarding all messages headed for CMail.

BE CAREFUL of the length of the message, this option cannot
ensure that the message length is short enough for the forum
software to forward.

With the new long message format (about 10000 characters)
this will seldom be a problem, but you may wish to restrict any
such messages to approximately 20% or less of the maximum CMail
length. Watch Recon's "message length" indicator as you compose.

4.20 Default location for import/export: /MES

A default directory for the import/export dialog can be
specified with the /MES command line parameter, for example:


This might be a directory where you keep message text
fragments, needed for simple quick replies to repetitive
questions, of critical value for support reps and sysops.

If the /MES command is not specified, the default directory
becomes the message file storage directory. The default for the
filespec is *.MES.

See section 5.5.3 for details about reply editor
import/export and cut&paste.

4.21 Turning off automatic reply flags: /NOREPLYF

Recon automatically senses, and sets a NEEDS REPLY status
flag for new messages. If you tend to use other means for
replying to messages, this might include sysops that reply online
for instance, then you can disable the NEEDS REPLY flag logic
with the /NOREPLYF startup command, for example:


This will entirely disable Recon's automatic setting of this
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 19

status flag. It may still be set manually with
Action|Invert|Needs Reply. See section for more details.

4.22 Ignoring Expanded memory: the /NOEMS parameter

A /NOEMS parameter has been added, this will direct Recon
to ignore EMS, even if it is installed. This was included to aid
those with unusual non-standard hardware setups. Example use:


4.23 Default quoting style: /QUOTE

There are now nine quoting styles available in the internal
reply editor's cut&paste, see section for more details
about cut&paste.

A menu appears allowing you to choose one. If you prefer to
change the default one that is specified, use the /QUOTE switch,
for example to choose the second quoting style use:


If you are sure that you would always, and only choose one style,
then you can eliminate the menu selection for the quote style
altogether, by adding a leading $ character, to force the second
quote style, use:


Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 20


This is the usual way that you would run Recon. Whenever you
load a file interactively, Recon does all of the sorting,
duplicate detection, OUTBOX fixing, optional AGEing, and so on.

You only need to use BATCH mode to process files that you
don't need to view as well. So consider INTERACTIVE mode a file
fixups + viewing + action mode, and BATCH mode as fixups only with
no viewing.

You never need to run both BATCH and then INTERACTIVE mode on
a given file sequentially, no harm will come of it, but you are
duplicating Recon's work.

Once Recon executes you are presented with a pulldown menu

The major changes in interactive mode operation relate to
file aging, new filters, UNREAD and NEEDS REPLY flags, and the
many rich enhancements in the reply editor, only these are
detailed below. Section 5 of the version 2 manual fills out the
complete set of interactive features.

5.1 File panel

5.1.4 AGE/Save&Exit

This option extends on the File|Save&Exit command (section
5.1.3), by also AGEing the file before it resaves it. When Recon
ages a file, it moves generally older messages to another file for
archiving, called an ".OLD" file. You have complete control as to
what exactly is aged, and when.

Recon 2.20 improves on the aging functions in a number of
ways, making them even more flexible and somewhat more
predictable. In particular there are now new safeguards to
protect against unexpected large age-outs of a file, that
occasionally occurred with Recon 2.01, when files contained very
long threads.

In addition, sysops are now provided with an easier, and more
direct way to maintain their offline message file as nearly
identical as is possible to the actual, current online message
database. See the threadAGEdays=-1 discussion below.

AGEing consists of first deleting threads and messages from
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 21

the current file, based on the AGEing criteria you specify, and
then optionally appending these to an .OLD file. Appending them
is disabled if you are AGEing an .OLD file.

Messages that are new to Recon, or are noted with an unread
or held status, or if they are marked as requiring a reply, will
never be aged, regardless of the criteria that you set. However,
this is only true for interactive aging, batch aging works a
little differently. Section 6 discusses batch aging.

The initial default age for AGEing threads is 50 days, 60
days for messages, and 2000 messages for the size of the file.
These are not intended to be effective defaults, and in fact will
block just about any aging from occurring. These are set to this
initially so you don't inadvertently age out messages before you
fully understand the process.

You can quickly change the default settings by using the
Edit|Settings command, (sections 5.1.7) or by editing the
Recon2.SET file directly with a text editor. These parameters can
be set differently for different forums, and are probably the most
likely parameters to be set on a forum specific basis.

It is probably easiest to ignore the thread and message
AGEing settings altogether, that is just leave them at their
defaults and only use file size AGEing. Then, Recon to a large
extent will auto-adjust its AGEing to the activity of the forum
for you! For example use settings as below:

threadAGEdays=50 (default)
messageAGEdays=60 (default)

In other words, the usual goal of AGEing is to keep your file
sizes trim and workable, and forum specific settings for AGEing
threads and messages will do that with some tinkering, but Recon's
unique use of file size AGEing will let Recon do all the tinkering
for you.

Most users will probably opt for this easier, more automatic
aging method. It takes all the guess work out of judging how busy
forums are, and allows for much more consistent message file

If you prefer to age strictly by dates, then set the thread
and message date parameters, and set the file size aging parameter
to -1 in order to turn size aging off:


Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 22

You MUST turn file size aging off by setting it to -1, else
the high default target for file size (2000 messages) will tend to
protect the file messages, and in effect override any aging
altogether. This is subtly different from Recon 2.01 behaviour,
where the fileAGEsize parameter was treated as a maximum, rather
than a target file size.

Thread AGEing will age (move to an archive file) threads that
have their most recent message earlier than a given date.

Message AGEing further trims the file, by AGEing just
individual older messages within threads that will themselves not
be AGEd and removed. Note, that it is not meaningful to set the
message age to less than the thread age, if messageAGEdays is not
set to greater than the threadAGEdays setting, then it is ignored.

After a first cut of AGEing by thread & message age, the file
is then file size AGEd. This operates by further trimming a
message file down towards a target file size. If thread and
message AGEing already resulted in a file less than this target,
then no file size AGEing takes place. The corollary is that if
you set the thread and message AGEing parameters to large values
(eg. their defaults or higher) then the file will be aged
principally by the file size AGEing setting alone. It is entirely
your choice, you may wish to steer an intermediate course and use
a mix of both methods.

An example will help to clarify all this. Let's say you had
an age setting of threadage=8 & messageage=15, and further let's
say that would result in a message file of 1236 messages after
threadage and messageage AGEing.

If you set fileAGEsize=1000 then Recon would further reduce
the size of the file by dynamically and sequentially reducing the
threadage & messageage settings for that AGEing session, until
the file is trimmed to close to the 1000 message target, usually
within twenty messages or so. So the file size AGEing process in
this instance would remove approximately another 236 messages.

As the default setting is 2000 messages, this will prevent
just about all aging, you must either turn file size aging off
(set it to -1) or adjust the setting downwards for any aging to

Sysops will find that the combination of turning the file size
aging and thread aging to off (fileAGEsize=-1, threadage=-1), and
then setting the messageage parameter to the scroll rate on their
forum, will automatically keep their offline message file a very
near representation of their online message database! For
example, if your forum's scroll rate was approximately ten days,
you would set your parameters to:

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 23


Also note that ANY file can be AGEd, not just .MSG files.
The file that aged messages are appended to always takes the form
of forum_name.OLD, where forum_name is the name of the forum of
origin of that message. The .OLD files are placed in the message
file storage directory.

Announcements within .MSG files are treated a little
differently. All of the not NEW (old) announcements are deleted
if AGEing is specified, regardless of their age. If you wish to
keep a given announcement then place a HOLD on it with
Action|Hold|Toggle HOLD. (section 5.3.8)

Under no circumstances will a NEW, UNREAD, HELD or a message
that needs a reply, will be aged with this command. In contrast,
this is not the case for batch mode aging, see section 6 for more
details on batch mode aging.

Pseudo "announcement messages" as captured by a FRONTEND
script and stored in the MAIL.MSG file are aged as normal
messages, not as announcements.

5.1.7 Edit Settings

Only one item is slightly changed in this section. global/forum: View/Send


When set to ALL removes all but the latest, newest forum
announcement that is captured when you enter a forum. When set to
SHORT, all short, typically trivial announcements will be removed.
Otherwise announcements will accumulate in the file until you AGE
it. In any case, AGEing a file will delete all old and read
announcements, regardless of the announcements' ages.

Recon 2.01's cleanANN=OFF is translated to NONE, and
cleanANN=ON becomes ALL.

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 24

5.2 Navigate panel

5.2.1 scroll UP, scroll DOWN

You can page through a long message (longer than one screen)
using the [-] and [+] keys, you will be prompted in the Navigate
panel (or Navigate strip) as well as in the bottom right hand
corner of the message text display when these keys are active

For the convenience of laptop users who may not have
dedicated grey [-] and [+] keys, you can also use the [-] and [=]
(unshifted [+]) adjacent to the number row.

The scrolling will be one line at a time, scrolling can also
be set to proceed one display screen at a time, or with one line
of overlap. This setting is saved in the Recon2.SET file, and can
be accessed and changed using File|Edit Settings. (section 5.1.7)

Mouse users can click on the top half of the message text to
scroll UP, and the bottom half to scroll DOWN. (mouse hot zones
are active only when there are no menu panels pulled down)

New for Recon 2.20, you can scroll by line if you have page
scrolling set as default, or scroll by page if you have line
scrolling as default, by using the combination of the Alt key and
either the [-] and [=] (unshifted [+]) adjacent to the number row.

Note, that the Alt key in combination with the dedicated grey
[-] and [+] keys, will not work.

5.2.2 msg UP {flt}, msg DOWN {flt}

These options will page to the preceding message, or to the
next message. If filters are active, then messages which do not
satisfy the current filter criteria will be skipped. The [PgUp]
and [PgDn] (next section) and some "major" scrolling options
override the filter settings.

The shortcut keys are the [UArr] and [DArr] keys on the
cursor/number keypad. These keys as short cuts are not accessible
if a menu panel is pulled down, as then the arrow keys move the
lightbar among the choices in the pulled down menu panel.

Note that if the displayed message is longer that one screen
in length this option will not page within the message, it will
always move by whole messages.

The [SPACE] can be used as an alternative "no thinking
necessary" key. If the displayed message is only one screen long,
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 25

then the [SPACE] acts as the [DArr] key, if the displayed
message is longer than one screen, then the [SPACE] acts as the
[+] key until it gets to the end of the message, then it "does" a

Mouse users can click on the -- continued -- line, or on
the bottom rule (second line from the bottom) to simulate the
[SPACE] key. (mouse hot zones are active only when there are no
menu panels pulled down)

If you have BARred certain UserID's (see next section), then
Recon will pull a curtain over the message text of messages to or
from such UserID's, in order to keep your blood pressure down.
This only occurs if you navigate to the given message using one of
these two commands. Barring UserID's, the Twit Filter

A "BAR" filter is now included, this will have Recon
momentarily display, but then quickly cover with a curtain the
text of any messages either From or To, any of up to ten UserID's.

On Recon startup, a file with the name of Recon2.BAR is
looked for in the message file storage directory, and the first
ten lines containing valid CompuServe UserID's are accepted as
barred UserID's.

For example, if the Recon2.BAR file contained the below two

Loud Mouth Harry 77777,222
Whining Alice 77666,1111

then Recon would "bar" messages From or To both 77777,222 and
77666,1111 from your view.

5.3 Action panel

5.3.4 Invert

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 26

³ ³±invert±±ALL±±MARKS±±±±±±±±±±±³
³ ³ invert ALL DELETIONS ³
Ôͳ invert MESSAGE MARK * ³
³ invert MESSAGE DELETE [Del] ³
³ invert UNREAD flag CtlU ³
³ invert NEEDS REPLY CtlN ³

This option will invert (toggle or flip) either the MARK
status or the DELETED status of the specified group of message(s).
It will also manually toggle the state of either of the new
Recon 2.20 UNREAD and NEEDS REPLY status flags. For the
commands that turn all of the UNREAD or NEEDS REPLY status
flags, and for more information on these special status commands,
see section 5.4.2 on the View panel.

ALL MARKS and MESSAGE MARK toggle the MARK status of ALL
messages, or only the currently displayed message, respectively.
If a message is MARKed, it will become unMARKed, and vice versa.
The MRK indicator along the bottom status line as well as the
mark indicator(s) in the local index display will light or
disappear. The * key is the shortcut key for the latter option.

status of ALL messages, or only the currently displayed message,
respectively. The DEL indicator along the bottom status line
will light or disappear as appropriate. The number of messages to
be deleted is displayed on the bottom line in parentheses. None
of the messages are actually deleted until a SAVE is done. The
[Del] key is the shortcut for the latter option.

Note the difference between this command and the
Action|Delete|message command. (section 5.3.6)

5.3.8 HOLD

This command tells Recon to place a HOLD on a message, or a
group of messages within the current file. (this is not a sysop

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 27

³ hold NEW to FINISH ³
³ hold ALL NEW ³
³ hold this THREAD ³
³ CLEAR ALL holds ³

This means that a HELD message WILL NOT be AGEd, even if it
would normally match the criteria. In general, this is useful for
keeping messages around indefinitely.

In addition when you have the NEW filter ON, a HELD message
will shine through.

Previously putting a hold on the rest of the new messages
with Action|HOLD|NEW to FINISH could be used for the situation
where you have checked half of the new messages, but want to
complete reading/replying later. You still can do this, but don't
need to, as Recon 2.20 provides automatic READ/UNREAD status flags
for each message. See section 5.4.2 for more information on these
status flags.

Note that for DELetion status will override, even a hold

5.4 View panel

The View panel contains two complementary groups of commands.
Those that allow you to search for text, and those that set
filters to only display certain messages.

NOTE, that any search that you specify will only look within
messages that would normally be displayed by the currently set

5.4.2 Filters

"Filters" allow messages to be displayed only if they meet
specified criteria. If there is more than one criteria, they are
grouped together as logical AND. For example, if both the NEW and
MARKed filters are set, then for inclusion a message must meet
BOTH of the criteria.

The NEW filter is special in that when set, not only will
it filter in messages that are physically new to the file, but
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 28

will also filter in messages that are HELD and messages that
have an UNREAD or NEEDS REPLY status. The UNREAD and
NEEDS REPLY status flags are discussed below.

individual messages are all preserved across file save/load

The DELETED filter hides rather than displays messages.

The Navigate|msg UP {flt} and Navigate|msg DOWN {flt}
commands as well as the search facility respect any active
filters. Note that when you first set a filter condition, you may
get a "blank screen" and may need to do one msg UP {flt} or msg
DOWN {flt} to get to a message that meets the filter criteria. Filters: NEW

When set this filter allows display of messages that are
physically new to the file, and to Recon, or that have one or more
of the following status: HOLD, UNREAD, NEEDS REPLY. If this
filter is already set, then this command will turn the filter off.

The global hot key is AltW.

Mouse users can click on the status line fN to toggle the
filter. (mouse hot zones are active only when there are no menu
panels pulled down) Filters: UNREAD flag

View|clear UNREAD will do exactly that, it will remove the
UNREAD status from all of the messages in the current file,
causing them to be noted as already read.

This function will only need to be used in unusual instances,
you will normally be able to rely on Recon's automatic removal of
the UNREAD status of a message, as you scroll.

An UNREAD status is different from the "NEW" flag, note that
a message can be UNREAD, but may not have just been newly added to
a file. The UNREAD flag is automatically turned on for
appropriate messages when a file is loaded. It is automatically
turned off when you scroll past the message using the
Navigate|MsgDn{flt} command. (hot keys DnArr or SpaceBar) It can
also be toggled with the Action|Invert|UNREAD command
(section 5.3.4) for individual messages. This easily lets you
view say half the new messages in a file, then File|Save&Exit,
download some more messages, and still have Recon point out all
the UNREAD messages for you.

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 29

A message set as UNREAD will not be aged by the interactive
command File|AGE, however batch mode aging will ignore this

This sticky UNREAD status flag may very well be the single
most valuable new feature in Recon 2.20. Filters: NEEDS REPLY flag

The View|clear NEEDS REPLY command will remove the
NEEDS REPLY status from all of the messages in the current file.

This function will only need to be used in unusual instances,
you will normally be able to rely on Recon's automatic removal of
the NEEDS REPLY status of a message, which occurs when you in fact
reply to the message.

A message set as NEEDS REPLY will not be aged by the
interactive command File|AGE, however batch mode aging will ignore
this setting.

The automatic NEEDS REPLY status of a message is set
intelligently by Recon on messages that it feels qualify during a
message file load. If you write replies extensively outside of
Recon, for example you post replies interactively while online on
CIS, then you may wish to disable this function. See section 4.21
for details about the /NOREPLYF parameter.

This is sticky across files saves/loads, and can be toggled
with the Action|Invert|NEEDS REPLY command (section 5.3.4).

This sticky NEEDS REPLY status flag will be a very valuable
addition for users upgrading to Recon 2.20.

5.5 Connect panel

5.5.3 Recon editor

Recon's internal editor has been greatly enhanced for version
2.20, it now includes cut & paste from the parent message with
nine quoting styles, import/export of files, as well a line
orientated block editing commands.

If you elect to use Recon's own internal editor, a text
editor window will open up allowing you to enter text. The top
eight lines will be occupied by the ROOT (the parent) message, to
which you are replying. Note that you can scroll this parent
message. There is a status line at the bottom giving the current
cursor position, the percentage of the maximum allowed length your
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 30

message is, the current "typing" mode (Insert is default), and
whether word wrap is ON or OFF. (if active, word wrap will occur
at position 77)

When the message is 90% (about 9000 characters on a forum,
and 45000 characters in CompuServe Mail) of maximum possible
length, the percentage on the status line will blink in yellow
(bold in mono). You will not be permitted to enter more text when
the message is 100% length. The maximum length possible may on
occasion be affected by the amount of available memory.

With the new long messages allowed on CompuServe, if would
seem seldom necessary any more, but you can "split" a message if
it is too long. Just include:


on the last line of the first part of the message, (part 1) and
"send it". Then immediately compose and send another message to
the same individual. This second message will form "part 2" of
the split message.

A help screen listing all the possible commands is accessed
by [F1] or clicking both mouse buttons.

In the internal editor most of the keyboard cursor keys work
as expected, also WordStar editor keys are accepted. Six SPECIAL
KEYS: [F5]/[F6] scroll the ROOT message up and down one line,
[F3] reformats the current paragraph, [F4] reformats the entire
message, [F8] activates cut&paste, and [F9] starts the
import/export dialog. Cut&Paste

In order to quote from the parent message (if any), you start
the dialog with [F8]. A highlight bar appears in the parent
message, which you can move with the cursor arrow keys, this will
in turn scroll the message if necessary. Once you've found the
correct starting point you press [Enter] to anchor it. You can
then extend the highlight block down to find the ending anchor
point, and once again press [Enter]. This marks and snips the
text, and then you are given a choice of nine import styles,
choose one, and then the text will appear in the reply that you
are composing.

You can set the default quoting style with the /QUOTE
parameter, see section 4.2.3. Text import/export

The import/export dialog is started by pressing the [F9] key.
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 31

You then have the choice of importing text from or exporting the
currently blocked text to either an on disk file or the Recon
clipboard. The clipboard text is preserved not only between
message composing sessions, but also between Recon sessions.

When you need to find/select a file, if you specify a
filespec with a wildcard included, Recon will open up a
directory/filename dialog that you can navigate in order to pick a

The default directory for this command is the message file
storage directory, and the default for the filespec is *.MES. You
can change the default directory with the /MES startup parameter
(section 4.20). Auto-Signature Paragraphs

An automatic signature paragraph feature has been added. The
text of the paragraph may be up to 255 characters long, including

A default global signature paragraph is stored in the
RECON2.SGN file. This file must be located in your message file
storage directory - where your .MSG files are - together with the
other Recon "data" files (Recon2.*).

If a .SGN file is defined, this will be used
instead of the global RECON2.SGN auto-signature paragraph, for
messages sent to the applicable forums.

Where you have set up a signature paragraph file, to suppress
it on an occasional basis, place alone on the last line of your
message the following metavariable:


There are three metavariables which allow you to embed the
date, time, and day of the week, these will take the date and time
that the message is actually written at, not when it is posted.
If the time that you finished composing a message was 5:12 P.M. on
the 23rd of July 1993, then:

$DATE$ will be expanded to: 23-JUL-1993
$TIME$ will be expanded to: 5:12p
$DOW$ will be expanded to: Fri

A fourth metavariable expands to the Recon version:

$VER$ will be expanded to: 2.20

You can suppress metavariable expansion by prefacing the
metavariable statement with an apostrophe, for example:

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 32

'$TIME$ will NOT be expanded.

The main value for this is to allow discussion about these
metavariables in online messages, without having the metavariables
being interpreted and lost in the reply to its normal expansion.

Although you can use all or any of the metavariables on a
given line, only the first occurrence of each individual
metavariable on a single line will be expanded.

The following is an example of what you might place in your
RECON2.SGN file:

----- start of RECON2.SGN file -----

Joe Schmoe [$TIME$ $DOW$ $DATE$] in Recon $VER$!
------ end of RECON2.SGN file ------

Be careful that you leave sufficient room for the expanded
date/time variables on each line, and that you don't have more
than 255 characters in the expanded signature paragraph, text of
more than 255 characters will be truncated.

No signature paragraph will be added, unless Recon finds a
non-empty RECON2.SGN or .SGN file in the message file
storage directory.

The signature paragraph is added to the message after all
other processing. You will not actually see this in the message
composing screen, but it will be reflected in the upload script,
and the Recon OUTBOX message copy, that is generated.

One other special type of metavariable $@$ will cause
an import of any .SGN file, in any position in the file, for
example the following:

$@mytext$ <----- must be placed starting in the first column

would import a MYTEXT.SGN file into that location, in the
message reply.

Regular $$ (eg. DATE, TIME, DOW, VER) will be
expanded anywhere in the message text, not just in the auto-
signature files. Unlike the $@$ metavariables, these do
not need to be placed at the beginning of the line.

All metavariable processing is done only after a reply is
complete, and "handed off" to Recon with [F7].

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 33
------------------------------------------------------------------- Reply cleanup

New for 2.20, the reply text is now scanned for various types
of illegal text such as high order characters, leading slashes,
beginning "#:" text. These are fixed up for you after metavariable

The box/line characters are converted for you to +, - and |
marks so boxes will somewhat retain their appearance. Other high
order characters are converted to ^ characters. Leading "#:" is
converted to "%:", and leading slashes are preceded with a . at
the beginning of the line.

Also, if Recon thinks that the CIS reformatter might garble
your message, it lets you know and offers you the choice of
sending the message so as to preserve the format. Sending it

You can "pause" the reply by pressing the [Esc] key, you
will then be temporarily exited back into Recon and you can review
other messages or whatever - however you cannot EXIT from or
resort the currently loaded FILE during a PAUSE. As applicable
choose Connect|continue REPLY or Connect|continue MESSAGE to
continue composing.

Once the reply is ready to send, or if you have decided to
discard it, press [F7]. You will then be given the choice of:

³ Continue editing ³
³ REPLY to Fm (as usual) ³
³ REPLY to Fm ³
³ send NEW message (as usual) ³
³ send NEW message ³
³ Discard composed message ³

You have already decided whether this is to be a reply, or a
new message, only one of the pair of REPLY to or send NEW
options will be available.

Sending a reply or new message as usual immediately sends
the message taking the default settings. Otherwise you will be
asked about routing, formatting, and if applicable a CompuServe
Mail receipt.

After a final confirmation the message is placed into the
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 34

appropriate .SND file with instructions to send it on the next
ONLINE session. An OUTBOX copy will also be stored in the .MSG
file, (default) the .SAV file, or not at all depending on your
Settings. (section

5.5.5 DOWnload from LIB

³ ³±download±±±DES±only±±±±±³
³ ³ download FILE only ³
³ ³ download des AND file ³

This option directs Recon to compose a script that will
download the specified file or file descriptions during your next
ONLINE session. (it inserts commands into the .DOW file) Recon
will ask for the forum, library number, and file name. It will
make a guess as to what these might be, based on the current
message header.

If there are a number of possible filenames to download in
the message, you can have Recon search for all of these by using
[Tab], or in the reverse direction with Shf[Tab].

To limit the search you can specify a maximum file age. You
can specify that the search occur either in a single LIBrary, or
ALL LIBraries of the specified forum.

If found the specified description, file, or both (as
specified) will be downloaded.

All downloads are recorded to a CatScan.LOG file. If the
CatScanPATH Recon2.set file parameter is not blank, (section then Recon appends directly to your regular CatScan.LOG
file. (CatScan is a .CAT file utility) Otherwise a CatScan.LOG
file is written out to the default download directory.

BROWSE for KEYWORD will download all file descriptions that
contain the text you specify in their keyword list.

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 35

5.5.6 Scripts

³ ³±DELETE±message±on±CIS±±±³
³ ³ read thread from ROOT ³
Ôͳ REAd message NUMber ³
³ REAd THRead from NUMber ³
³ REAd SUBject ³

This command was a special script that would capture all of
the messages in the current CompuServe thread. Unfortunately the
current CompuServe software has broken this at present.

This may be attended to in an early tech release update of
2.20, and as such was left in the menu, but disabled.

The Connect|Scripts|REAd SUBject command provides an almost
identical function, use it instead.

See section for more information on threads. REAd SUBject

Recon will create a script to read all messages that contain
the specified text in their subjects. You do not have to specify
the entire subject for a message to be downloaded.

Useful for capturing all messages/threads on a given subject.
This can also be used for capturing all of the messages, from a
thread that has been fragmented.

See section for more information on threads.

5.5.7 DEselect

This option only serves a purpose if you are using an add-on
thread marking program that enhances the Mark Headers command.
Two such programs are Tappet and TapMark.

Recon supports both .TMK and .TMD thread mark files, as well
as respecting the TMKPATH DOS environment variable. Recon also
supports TappeT's advanced thread marks. See your thread marker
program's documentation for details.
Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 36

³ ÕÍÍÍÍÍÍÍ DEselect thread ÍÍÍÍÍÍ͸
³ ³ DEselect ONLY ³
³ reSELECT ³
³ Advanced thread marks ... ³

The DEselect ONLY command will deselect the current thread in
the appropriate .TMK/.TMD file, and place that thread into the
"bypassed" group. You will be warned if the thread cannot be
found in the .TMK/.TMD file, or the .TMK/.TMD file itself cannot
be found.

You can specify the character to be used to mark a thread as
unselected with the /DESLCT command line parameter. (section 4.18)

By choosing the reSELECT option you can reverse that to
reselect the thread again.

If you wish to deselect the thread, and as well delete the
thread in your message file then choose DEselect & Delete Thread,
this is the default.

5.5.8 UserID list
------------------ LOOKUP UserID

You can, on the spot, look up a UserID in your regular
UserID.CIS file, or in any file. Also in various parts of the
program you may be asked to fill in a UserID, such as when sending
a new message. The information below applies to both situations.

When you are asked for a UserID and supply one complete with
a valid CIS number, or Compuserve gateway:

Fred Jackson 77777,666


Fred Jackson >FAX: 1 800 555-1212

then Recon will accept it. If Recon does not find a valid
address, then it will do a search of the Userid.CIS file, using
what you specify as a search target, for example you may specify:

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 37

This would locate all the lines in the file that contained
Fred, the search is case insensitive. There is a maximum of
twenty hits. You can then choose the Name/UserId you wish to use.

If you specify a file name prefaced by an @ and then a
search string like so:

@foobar.msg Fred

then Recon will search the specified file for lines containing the
text Fred, the default directory is the message file storage
directory, but you can specify any directory you wish.

If there is no filename following the @ then the currently
loaded message file is assumed:

@ Fred

The UserID Lookup routine is error protected, it will give an
indication of whether it didn't find the phrase fragment, or
didn't find the file (including the default USERID.CIS). It
handles INTERNET, FAX and SYSOP, ALL type recipients cleanly.

5.6 Other panel

5.6.2 Jump PARENT

The parent of a message is the message that the current one
is in answer to. The parent message number, if present, is
displayed at the beginning of the Sb: line. This number is
assigned by CompuServe, NOT Recon.

Choosing this option will let you immediately jump to the
PARENT of the current message, the global hot key is AltJ.

If the parent message has not been downloaded, then Recon
will try to match you to an outbox copy message that might apply.

If a message that does not match the current filter settings
is moved to, a display of the message will be forced regardless,
and the #### of #### on the status line blinks.

Mouse users can click on the third line of the message
header (eg. Sb: #33523-Recon is Hot) to execute the equivalent of
a Jump ROOT command. (mouse hot zones are active only when
there are no menu panels pulled down)

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 38

6 BATCH mode

A potential major use of Recon is to periodically (daily or
weekly) and summarily sort, prune and age your message files. For
this common use, one might use BATCH mode. After the command line
is typed, no further user interaction is required.

However you should note that when Recon loads files in
INTERACTIVE it does essentially the same processing. As such you
may wish to reserve Recon BATCH for cleaning up files that you
don't necessarily need to view at the same time.

To run Recon in BATCH mode use the following command line:

RECON [] /B [/TAGE:###] [/MAGE:###] [/DEL]
[/A] [/ALLFOR] [/ANN:x]

Any of the other non-BATCH specific command line parameters
(section 4) can also be used in BATCH mode to modify Recon's

Batch mode functions and commands have not changed since
Recon 2.01.

One important note, the new Recon 2.20 UNREAD and
NEEDS REPLY status flags will not prevent a message from being
aged with batch mode aging. This is in contrast to interactive
mode aging. (File|AGE)

See the version 2 manual for more information on BATCH mode

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 39

7 Appendices

Additional general information is provided in the version 2
manual (Recon201.DOC), here are some new added notes.

7.1 Updating from 2.01

For the most part your update should be smooth and
effortless. The interface for 2.20 is almost identical, and the
context sensitive help should provide enough hints for you to get
up to speed quickly.

You can install Recon 2.20 directly on top of Recon 2.01, (or
older version) or if you prefer, you can install it to a new
directory. Be very careful not to mix up or mismatch the
Recon.EXE & Recon.OVR files.

When Recon 2.20 starts up, it will look for older version 2
format data files, or for previous versions' data files. If it
finds these then it will load all your previous settings data,
modify them as necessary, and create new version 2 data files.

Here are a few notes and some warnings to alert you to
important ways in which 2.20 differs. The list is not intended to
be a complete listing of new features, but rather highlights only
those points that you might otherwise find confusing or

1) Some command line parameters have been eliminated, or

You will be directed by Recon as to which are no longer
supported on startup, you may need to slightly change
your batch files or menuing setups.

2) A few of the Recon2.SET file parameters' syntax has
changed. These should be converted uneventfully when
Recon 2.20 first starts up. However, if you have
occasion to start up a previous version of Recon using
the same changed Recon2.SET file, these new syntax forms
may end up being flagged and marked as "syntax errors".

3) Recon 2.20 uses a different way of saving individual
message's status information. When Recon 2.20 loads
files processed by previous versions, it will convert
the status marks uneventfully, you will not notice any

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 40

However if you then have occasion to load such a 2.20
processed file, then all the messages will appear as
apparently new to an older version of Recon. This
scenario is unlikely, but might come as a surprise, it
is otherwise harmless.

The new way of saving the information is required
because Recon 2.20 introduces a number of new, sticky,
message status flags. (eg. UNREAD & NEEDS REPLY)

4) Recon's interactive aging behaviour is different, in
particular the file size age parameter now specifies a
target file size rather than a maximum file size. If
left to the high default value of 2000 messages it WILL
SUPPRESS all aging. See section 5.1.4 before you age a
file, to ensure you don't get a surprise.

5) Two new status flags have been added, namely UNREAD
and NEEDS REPLY. These are set and reset automatically
for you, and can be toggled manually as well.

The NEW filter will filter in messages that are unread
(as distinct from being just physically new to the file)
or that need a reply.

6) Starting with Recon v2.01, unexpected non-text
characters were stripped out of files. However this
function adds a significant amount of overhead when a
file is loaded, as such the default for 2.20 is to not
strip out these characters. See the discussion in
section 4.17.

7.2 Moving Recon

There are many relative drive and directory references in
Recon's setup. Here is a six step, bulletproof method to move
Recon, the order of the steps is important:

1) Look in the Recon.EXE directory, and erase a small
TAPCIS.LOC file, if it exists.

2) Look in the message file storage directory, and erase
the Recon2.PCK file.

3) OK, do it - move the contents of the Recon.EXE,
TAPCIS.EXE and message file storage directories, or just
rename the directories, depending on what you wish to

4) Now, go into the TAPCIS parameter screen, and change the
paths to reflect the new download and storage locations.

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 41

7.3 DOS/Windows and EMS

Recon can maximally use up to 1280K of EMS (exPANded memory),
at least 550K is suggested. After you set the amount of EMS
(outlined below) check Recon's File|Status panels, and be sure
that the amount of "available" EMS is sufficient. This will
typically be different from the amount of EMS you actually set due
to overhead.

For a 386/486 machine running DOS/Windows:

o Enhanced mode

Recon can directly use the simulated EMS that Win Enhanced
can provide. Set the XMS/EMS parameter to about 1536. This
is your first and best choice.

o Standard/Real(3.0) mode

You need to install the Win EMS driver, EMM386.SYS in your
config.sys file, and indicate how much EMS memory you wish to
create. Use a line like so in your config.sys file:

C:\windows\EMM386.SYS 1536

Use this as your second choice, or if you have to run in
standard mode. If you are using the EMM386.EXE driver,
whether Window's or DOS's, be sure that you DO NOT have
NOEMS on that line as a command switch.

For a 286 machine running DOS/Windows:

o Standard/Real(3.0) mode

Here you rely on the driver that would have come with your
memory card that provides your EMS. Extended memory boards
do not provide memory that Recon can use, as a contrast to a
386/486 where XMS and EMS can easily be "converted" by EMS
driver software.

7.4 OS/2 2.1

Recon 2.20 runs flawlessly under OS/2, as most other DOS and
Windows programs.

You can run with the install default OS/2 settings for a DOS
simulated session (VDM). Be sure that you haven't reduced the
amount of EMS available for DOS programs, Recon can use about
1280K of EMS.

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 42

If you are having trouble loading any especially large files,
then increase the amount of low conventional memory available to
Recon in its OS/2 simulated DOS session from the default of 628K,
to 720K by restricting the video mode in Recon's session.

7.5 Program notes

Maximum number of messages in a file: 2000 (with EMS)
Maximum number of messages in a file: 1000 (NO EMS)
Maximum number of lines in a message: 1000
Maximum number of forums (current & old): 80
Maximum length of paths (characters): 80

Recon adds a four character status mark to the top line of a
message header that saves all external and internal status
information for that message. Although Recon will not display
these characters, other message file viewers likely will. These
should not interfere in any other processing of the file.

As necessary Recon imbeds "FORUM of origin" information in
new files that it creates. This information is otherwise ignored
and is not displayed by either Recon or TAPCIS. Other message
file utilities that do not strictly follow TAPCIS message file
structure may end up harmlessly displaying this embedded text as
part of the message text of the first message in the file.

Recon creates four small information files, Recon2.DAT,
Recon2.PCK, Recon2.SET, and Recon2.SHL in your message file
STORAGE directory. These should not occupy much more space than
about 4096 bytes each.

Recon2.SHL and Recon2.SET are ASCII text files, and may be
freely edited, see sections 5.1.10 and 5.1.7.

Recon2.PCK and Recon2.DAT are NOT text files, and if you try
to view/edit them you will likely corrupt them.

Recon may also create a temporary swap file, RECONSWP.$$$.
You will never see this file unless you crash your computer while
you are in Recon's shell, even so this file will be erased the
next time you shell.

7.6 Sysop functions

Recon has SYSOP features.

To activate the Sysop commands you need a software key, these
features are hidden only because if you are not a Sysop and try to
use the Sysop features, especially accidentally, you're likely to
HANG the session while online.

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 43

If you are a Sysop please send us a CMail note with a request
for the Sysop KEY. Please identify the Forum or Forums that you
sysop, and please also supply the name/userid of the PRIMARY Sysop
in your forum.

If you prefer, you can just ask around on Sysop only forums
or sections, someone should be able to give you the Recon Sysop
Key information.

You DO NOT need to be registered to receive the sysop key, or
to use sysop functions.

When unlocked, the Sysop commands are included in the Connect
panel, the global hot key to access the panel is CtlS:

³ Forward by mAil ³
³ CHAnge sect/subj ³
³ Hold ... ³
³ sysop DELETE CtlD ³

These are largely self explanatory, but are further documented in
the version 2 manual appendix.

Recon (tm) v2.20 (C) 1989-1993 Amdox Corporation page 44

8 Document Index

.TMD. . . . . . . . . . . . .35 $TIME$ . . . . . . . . . 31
.TMK. . . . . . . . . . . . .35 $VER$. . . . . . . . . . 31
/CLEAN. . . . . . . . . . . .17 import file. . . . . . . 32
/DESLCT . . . . . . . . . . .17 suppressing. . . . . . . 31
/MES. . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Moving Recon. . . . . . . . . 40
/NOEMS. . . . . . . . . . . .19 Navigate. . . . . . . . . . . 24
/NOREPLYF . . . . . . . . . .18 OS/2. . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
/QUOTE. . . . . . . . . . . .19 PARAMS file . . . . . . . . . 11
/SFMU . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Recon2.BAR. . . . . . . . . . 25
AGEing. . . . . . . . . . . .20 Recon2.DAT. . . . . . . . . . 42
Announcements . . . . . . . .23 Recon2.PCK. . . . . . . . . . 42
ASP Ombudsman . . . . . . . . 8 Recon2.SET. . . . . . . . . . 42
BATCH Recon . . . . . . . . .38 Recon2.SHL. . . . . . . . . . 42
CatScan . . . . . . . . . . .34 RECONSWP.$$$. . . . . . . . . 42
CatScan.LOG . . . . . . . . .34 Registration. . . . . . . . . .4
cleanANN. . . . . . . . . . .23 Compuserve MAIL. . . . . .6
Command line parameters . . .16 FAX. . . . . . . . . . . .6
Distribution policies . . . . 7 regular mail . . . . . . .6
DOS environment variables . .16 telephone. . . . . . . . .6
DOWnload. . . . . . . . . . .34 Scripts
Editor, internal. . . . . . .29 DEselect thread. . . . . 35
auto-signature . . . . .31 read subject . . . . . . 35
cut&paste. . . . . . . .30 read thread. . . . . . . 35
import/export. . . .18, 30 Settings
metavariables. . . . . .31 edit . . . . . . . . . . 23
quoting. . . . . . . . .19 Shareware . . . . . . . . . . .4
EMS split . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
ignoring . . . . . . . .19 Support . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Windows. . . . . . . . .41 Sysop . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Filters activate features. . . . 42
needs reply. . . . . . .29 mirror online
NEW. . . . . . . . . . .28 database. . . . . . 22
unread . . . . . . . . .28 repetative replies . . . 18
FORUM of origin . . . . . . .42 suppress needs reply . . 18
FRONTEND script . . . . . . .23 TappeT. . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Help. . . . . . . . . . . . .12 TMKPATH . . . . . . . . . . . 35
HOLD. . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Tutorial. . . . . . . . . . . 15
Installation. . . . . . . . . 9 Updating from a previous
INTERACTIVE Recon . . . . . .20 version . . . . . . 39
INTERNET. . . . . . . . . . .37 UserID
Jump parent . . . . . . . . .37 bar. . . . . . . . . . . 25
Laptop. . . . . . . . . . . .24 lookup . . . . . . . . . 36
Message What's new. . . . . . . . . . .3
PAUSE. . . . . . . . . .33 Windows . . . . . . . . . . . 41
send . . . . . . . . . .33 WordStar. . . . . . . . . . . 30
$$ . . . . . . . . . . .31
$DATE$ . . . . . . . . .31
$DOW$. . . . . . . . . .31

  3 Responses to “Category : Communication (modem) tools and utilities
Archive   : RECONU22.ZIP
Filename : RECON220.DOC

  1. Very nice! Thank you for this wonderful archive. I wonder why I found it only now. Long live the BBS file archives!

  2. This is so awesome! 😀 I’d be cool if you could download an entire archive of this at once, though.

  3. But one thing that puzzles me is the “mtswslnkmcjklsdlsbdmMICROSOFT” string. There is an article about it here. It is definitely worth a read: