Category : Communication (modem) tools and utilities
Archive   : ZIFF.ZIP

Output of file : ZIFFPLUS.DOC contained in archive : ZIFF.ZIP
ZiffPlus - ZiffNet Script File
Copyright (c) 1991 by Ziff Communications

Version 1.00
October 6, 1991
by James D. McDaniel, CIS # 72241,322


ZiffPlus is an Aspect(tm) script file written for DataStorm's
ProComm Plus 2.x. Its design allows easy access to all the ZiffNet
and CIS forums. ZiffPlus is not meant as a replacement for CIM or
TAPCIS, but rather is intended to find a home with the many PCPLUS
users who do not have either of these two fine programs.

ZiffPlus' features include automatic logon to all the ZiffNet
forums and several selected CIS forums. It will capture all
messages, requested file descriptions, and online usage into a log
file. A new log file is created for each day you log on based on
the date. Any of these log files may be viewed from the main menu.
You can also name up to 5 files for automatic download from any of
the included forums.


ZiffPlus maintains a configuration file with the user's settings.
The file name is ZIFF.CFG. ZiffPlus uses the dialing directory to
obtain the phone number and baud rate. It is recommended that you
use ANSI emulation with 7 data bits, even parity and 1 stop bit.
Any time you are 'Auto Logged' on, you can use the F5 or F6
function keys to GOTO another ZiffNet forum. Your emulation must
not use the F5 or F6 keys or the GOTO forum menu will not work
right. See the paragraph on Key Mapping. If you have a 9600 baud
modem, you might want to consider making two dialing directory
entries in PCPLUS: one entry for calling CIS/ZiffNet at 9600 baud,
and the other for 2400 baud.

In the ZiffPlus script there is a low (normal) speed option and a
high speed option. If you use different speeds for manual and
automated access, you must put the PCPLUS dialing directory number
for the low speed in Option 1 and your high speed dialing directory
number in 2. If you use only one baud rate, put the same dialing
directory number in both options. Since the script is configured
to use both numbers, ZiffPlus requires an entry in each option.

ZiffPlus comes with the compiled ASX script and does not need to be
compiled again. Still, you may wish to make script changes. One
reason why you might want to edit and recompile ZiffPlus would be
to change one of the variable settings found at the start of the
script. The script supports color or black and white settings.
You will need to modify and recompile the script if you want to
change the colors. Another reason might be to change the selected
or the default CIS forum (IBMOS2). If you do modify it, you should
keep an unmodified version of ZIFFPLUS.ASP for reference. See the
heading "ASPECT SCRIPT" for warnings if you decide to recompile the

Key Mapping:

To make sure your Key Mapping is clear for the F5 and F6 keys, do
the following: Start PCPLUS with no script active. Press Alt-F8
and use the PgUp and PgDn keys until the selected emulation in the
bottom left corner of the screen is correct. The recommended
emulation is ANSI. When the emulation is correct, press the F5
key. Use the Delete key until all characters next to the F5 key
are gone and then press the Enter key. Perform the same operation
for the F6 key. When you are done, you should not see any
keystroke entries next to the F5 or F6 keys. If this is correct,
press Alt-S to save and then Esc to exit.


To start this program you can load PCPLUS, press Alt-F5 and enter
the name of the script (which should be ZIFFPLUS). You may need to
enter the path. You can load ZIFFPLUS.ASX from the DOS prompt if
you like with the DOS command:


(This DOS command is NOT case sensitive, use of the lower case 'f'
emphasizes its usage only.)

ZiffPlus also comes with the batch file ZP.BAT which can be used to
start ZiffPlus. This batch file uses the PCPLUS environment
variable to find PCPLUS and it uses the new environment variable
ZIFFPLUS to find the ZiffPlus script. To set the variables, add
the following to your AUTOEXEC.BAT file.

SET PCPLUS=d:\path

The value d:\path should be the drive and directory where both
PCPLUS and ZiffPlus are located. It is recommended that you create
a separate directory for ZiffPlus and place all of it files there.
You can also place ZiffPlus in the PCPLUS directory if you wish.

There is an option from the Main Menu of ZiffPlus which will terminate
the script, if required. The Esc key aborts the program only when you
are online. At all other times, it moves you back one menu at a
time, to the first menu.


Main Menu:

ZiffPlus contains nine user menus. Each of these menus includes
a help screen you can bring up by pressing the F1 key. The Main
Menu help screen also allows you to read this document file if you
need to. Pressing Enter on the copyright screen takes you to the
Main Menu.

The Main Menu includes 9 options. Each option that ends with "..."
leads to another menu when selected. Any option that ends with
"" logs on to CompuServe when executed. You may use the Esc key
to back up one menu at a time. All arrow keys and the enter key can
be used to navigate through the menus.

The nine menu options are:

1 After Hours, Editorial, Programming, UtilForum
2 Computer Shopper, PC Week, PC/Contact, Practice
3 File Finder, Reviews Index, SoftLib Library
4 Billing, Electronic Mail, Terminal Setup
5 Selected CompuServe Forums Menu
6 Read Message and File Capture Logs
7 Shell to DOS. Type Exit to Return
8 ZiffPlus Configuration
9 Exit ZiffNet Script. You may exit to DOS or Procomm

- ZiffNet Forum Menus (Options 1 and 2):

Option 1 provides access to the four PC MagNet forums: After Hours,
Editorial, Programming, and UtilForum/Tips. Option 2 takes you to
the forums for Computer Shopper, PC Week, PC Computing, and the
ZiffNet Practice Forum. (Connection time costs are suspended while
in the Practice Forum, excluding any long distance costs you pay
apart from your CIS/ZiffNet bill).

Selecting any of the ZiffNet forums will take you to the Forum
Action Menu. This menu provides four options for the forum you
have selected. See Forum Action Menu description for more

- File Finder, Reviews Index, and SoftLib Database (Option 3)

You have three main choices here. Selecting the ZiffNet File
Finder or Reviews Index will automatically log you on to ZiffNet
and then take you to the selected area. The third will also
automatically log you on to ZiffNet, but will proceed to the
SoftLib (Software Library) database and switch to manual. A fourth
option in the sub-menu allows you to download up to 5 files at a
time. After you enter each file name to download you will be asked
if you wish to download another. Answer Y or N. When you have
entered five file names or you have answered N to 'download more
files', you will be asked if you wish to continue the download.
Answer N and you will return to the SoftLib menu. Answer Y and you
will go into the automatic download mode.

- Selected CompuServe Forums (Option 5)

This menu provides 8 options. Its operation is similar to the
ZiffNet Forums menu. You may select from pre-defined menu options
to access DataStorm's Forum, IBM Hardware Forum, IBM Application
Forum, IBM Systems Forum, IBM Communications Forum, Microsoft
Advanced Windows Forum, and Microsoft Operating Systems Forum. The
first menu option will allow you to enter any CIS forum name and
provides the same functions that are present for all other
specified forums in ZiffPlus.

It is possible to make script changes that allow access to other
forums not used in the script. Print out the ZiffPlus script and
read through the ProComm Plus Aspect(tm) Script Language Reference
Manual before attempting to make script changes. Always save an
original copy of the script for future reference and to restore
from in the event of a script problem.

- Read Capture Logs or Messages (Option 6)

When you select this option you will be presented with a list of
ZiffNet log files from the directory you specified in the
configuration menu. Forty files at a time will be displayed. If
more than forty files are present, they will be paged.

ZiffPlus log files use the naming convention ZIFFmmdd.LOG. The
'mm' becomes the month the log file was made, and 'dd' will be the
day. ZiffPlus does not track the year. It will append to any
existing file with the correct name and directory location.

Each option that will save data to the log file while online will
give you a chance to change the eight character filename when that
option is selected. The first question is a Yes or No answer.
Answer N to use the default capture log filename. Enter Y to
change the filename. The capture log file will be stored in the
directory you selected in the ZiffPlus configuration menu. The
file extension will always be LOG. When you enter the eight
character filename, DO NOT enter a back slash or a period. Only
valid filename characters are allowed. The resulting file may be
viewed along with the other default capture file names.

Each time a log file is opened, a time and date stamp will be
placed at the point were the file was opened. The first time a
file is opened, it will be at the beginning. If a capture file is
opened more than once, the marker will be placed at each new open

Viewing of the log file is done through whatever path\filename you
have entered in the ZiffPlus configuration menu option. This
program may be a file viewer or ASCII editor. The default file
name is PCEDIT /N. This calls the PROCOMM PLUS editor PCEDIT. The
/N option bypasses the opening screen in the editor. The PCPLUS path
is not set with the default name. Unless you add PCEDIT's path
or your PCPLUS directory is in your path, PCEDIT will fail to load.

- Shell to DOS (Option 7)

Use this option if you need to perform some task that can only be
done at the DOS prompt. ZiffPlus will keep track of the PCPLUS
default directory when you shelled out. You need only type EXIT to
return to PCPLUS and ZiffPlus will do the rest. DO NOT load any
TSR type programs while shelled from PCPLUS as you will not be able
to return correctly to PCPLUS.

- ZiffPlus Configuration (Option 8)

Configuration of ZiffPlus could not be easier. For the most part
you will not need to recompile ZiffPlus for use with your system.
All required ZiffNet configuration menu options are saved in the
file ZIFF.CFG and are loaded each time ZiffPlus is run. The script
controls the default offline colors, which can only be changed in
the script file. These are remarked and located at the top of the

The ZiffPlus Configuration Menu has 12 options. Two are dialing
directory numbers, two are directory names, one is a filename (with
optional path), and your password is here along with your CIS
number and a screen blanking interval. Pressing the Esc key
returns to the Main Menu without saving the new setup. Please note
that this may cause problems in the configuration. (See Option "C"
color selection.) If you press the F1 key, a help screen will be

-- PCPLUS Dialing Directory (Options 1 and 2)

Options 1 and 2 require the entry of the PCPLUS dialing directory
number in which you have entered the CIS/ZiffNet phone number. Do
not enter the actual phone number. Option 1 is the slow speed mode
dialing entry that you would use while in the manual mode online to
CIS/ZiffNet. Option 2 is your automated high speed dialing directory
number. Options 1 and 2 should be the same number if you use only
one speed.

For each dialing directory entry used by ZiffPlus, you should select
the ANSI keyboard emulation, 7 data bits, even parity and one stop bit.
Your CIS/ZiffNet online set up should match this configuration. ZiffPlus
will try to override the data bit and parity settings of PCPLUS to the
correct value when PCPLUS dials the phone number.

-- CIS or ZiffNet ID Number (Option 3)

Option 3 is your CIS or ZiffNet ID number. Do not attempt to log
on without this number and your password in place. If your present
number or password are correctly entered and do not appear to work,
call CompuServe and report the trouble.

-- CIS or ZiffNet Password (Option 4)

Option 4 is your CIS or ZiffNet password. You will see that it
appears as ******** once entered. If you select Option 4 to change
your password, the previously existing password will appear. If
you do not wish to change it, press Enter. Your password is
limited to 24 characters.

-- Capture Log File Directory (Option 5)

Option 5 is your capture log file directory. This directory should
exist before you attempt to use ZiffPlus. If it does not, ZiffPlus
will create one with the same name as entered. Please ensure that
the name you enter is correct. There is a 37 character limit on
the complete path name.

-- ASCII File Editor/Viewer (Option 6)

Option 6 is the drive\path\filename of your ASCII file editor or
viewer. While you may only need a viewer, an editor will permit
you to search for a specific string of text. If this file is in
the default directory or in your path, you don't have to specify
the drive and path name.

-- Default File Download Directory (Option 7)

Option 7 is your default file download directory. When files are
downloaded using CompuServe's Quick-B+ protocol, CIS/ZiffNet
requires the addition of the download directory name. ZiffPlus
does this for you, adding the download directory name to the
requested file name if you have not done that yourself. ZiffPlus
will use your root directory if you have not designated a specific
default download directory. When you enter a directory name, it
should already be present. If it is not, ZiffPlus will create it
for you. Please ensure the name you enter is correct. There is a
37 character limit on the complete path name.

-- Default Forum Mode (Option 8)

Option 8 selects your default forum mode. This will be either Menu
or Command. This option is a toggle, and will switch back and
forth between these settings each time an 8 is entered. All of
your CIS and ZiffNet forums must match this setting. If you have
changed your online prompt character or initial menu you may have
troubles with ZiffPlus.

-- Screen Blanking Interval (Option 9)

Option 9 selects the screen blanking interval. The interval may be
from zero to 9999 seconds. When set to zero, screen blanking is
disabled. When set to any other value, ZiffPlus waits for the
entered period of time for a keystroke. The screen will be blanked
if one is not entered before the time expires. Press any key to
display the screen. The keystroke, no matter what it is, will be

-- Black & White or Color Selection (Option "C")

Option "C" selects the B&W or COLOR mode using colors pre-defined
in the script files. This option is a toggle and switches back and
forth each time a "C" is entered. You must save the new color
after each toggle. If you do not, portions of the ZiffPlus menus
will be a mix of color and black and white. ZiffPlus reruns the
internal color setup procedure when you save the selection. You
can edit the ZIFFPLUS.ASP file for your own preferences and
recompile the file. ZiffPlus uses the PCPLUS numeric color values.

-- Online Line Display Option (Option "M")

Option "M" allows you to select your online line display format.
When ZiffPlus is run, the screen setting is 25 lines by 80
characters. You may select a different online display
configuration if you prefer. Pressing M runs through a cycle of
all of the PCPLUS pre-defined screen modes. You must go online to
see the effect of your selection. The selections have no effect on
the appearance of the ZiffPlus menu screens. Each option works as
described in the PCPLUS manual.

-- Save Configuration (Option "S")

The "S" option saves your settings in the ZIFF.CFG file. If you
change your color setting, you should re-save your set up. The
script will return you to the main menu after your entries are saved.

If you share a copy of ZiffPlus with your friends, please do not give
them a copy of the ZIFF.CFG file. If you forget and pass out a copy
of ZIFF.CFG, go online at once and change your password.


The Forum Action Menu provides four options:

1 Auto logon to the selected forum
2 Read new forum messages
3 Read new file descriptions
4 Automated download of up to 5 forum files

This menu is accessed by both of the ZiffNet Forum Selection menus
and the CompuServe Forum menu.

- Auto Log... Selected Forum (Option 1)

When you select this option, ZiffPlus dials the slow speed dialing
number that you set through Option 1 on the Configuration screen.
When the modem connects to CIS/ZiffNet, ZiffPlus transmits your
ID number and password. Once acknowledged, ZiffPlus issues a `go
to forum' command. Once in the selected forum, ZiffPlus goes into
the idle state. At any time while online from this selection, you
may press and hold down the F5 or F6 key. After a few seconds, a
ZiffNet Forum GOTO menu will appear. Use the arrow keys to select
the desired ZiffNet forum and press Enter. If you have not cleared
the Key Mapping for your F5 and F6 keys, you will send unwanted
characters to the online host. The slight time delay in
recognizing the key press is a result of the time PCPLUS allows for
online operations before it processes script file keyboard entries.
When you go offline by entering an OFF or BYE command, ZiffPlus
goes back into operation, taking you back to the menu from which
you accessed CIS/ZiffNet. If you issue a LOG or HELLO command,
ZiffPlus will not exit you out of CIS/ZiffNet. You will have to issue
a hang up command (Alt-H) as you normally would to disconnect the
line and activate ZiffPlus. This will take you back to the last
offline menu.

- Read New Forum Messages (Option 2)

No other option selections are required if you select to read all
new messages. ZiffPlus will go to the selected forum and keep
reading messages until all new messages (those which were posted
and numbered after the last message you read in the forum) are
captured. If you have not been to the forum for some time, you
might prefer to read the messages first in manual mode so as to try
to not capture the entire message base. This may take some time if
there are substantial number of messages posted since the last
message that you read. If you go to an area on a regular basis, at
least once a week, use this option and then read the messages
offline to save money. How often you should access a particular
forum, to avoid having messages scroll off before you capture them,
depends on how active the forum members are in posting messages.
The greater the volume of messages, the faster the older messages
will scroll off.

- Read New File Descriptions (Option 3)

You can read all new file descriptions in any one library of the
selected forum. You can specify the forum and the date range (how
many days old the file descriptions may be) for your search. You
may also specify a Library number range if you like. If you enter
a library range, all libraries within that range will be checked for
files that have been posted for the maximum number of days you have
entered. After these entries, you will be given one more chance to
abort before ZiffPlus logs on and captures the requested file

- Automated File Downloads (Option 4)

You may select up to 5 files at a time. The files must all be from
the same forum, but can be any library mix in any order. You
will first be asked to enter a library number. You will then be
asked to enter the filename. The entry does not appear in the menu
until you have completed the filename and pressed Enter. (At the
moment, ZiffPlus does not allow you to edit an entry once it has
been entered onto the menu, so if you make a mistake you will have
to abort the process as described below and start over.) As you
enter each file selection, you will be asked if you wish to enter
another. If you answer Y, you can enter another file name up to a
limit of 5. If you answer N or you have entered the 5 file names,
you will be asked if you wish to continue the download. If you have
made a typing mistake or changed your mind, answer N to continue. You
will return back to the previous menu which will be completely clear of
entries. If you answer Y, ZiffPlus will logon to CIS/ZiffNet,
proceed to the selected forum and download the requested files.


It is possible to modify the PCPLUS script to include your own
custom aspect script code. I highly recommend you read through the
Procomm Plus Aspect Script Language book before you attempt to
modify the ZiffPlus script. One note: Due to the size of this
script, you will need the Large Model Aspect Script Compiler. Only
the small model comes with PCPLUS. The file is free to download
(except for connect charges) from the CompuServe DataStorm forum.
Enter the command "GO CIS:DSTORM". If you are not yet a member of
the forum, please join before proceeding on. Then enter "Lib 3"
for the Procomm Plus 2.01 Library. Download the file ASPLRG.ZIP.
UnZip this file with PKZip 1.10 or later and copy the file to your
PCPLUS directory. It will overwrite the older file since the file
is still called ASPCOMP.EXE.


You should have no problems with ZiffPlus while offline in the menu
mode. However, when you go online problems might occur. If you
have changed your CIS/ZiffNet prompt, ZiffPlus will most likely not work
right. If you call on a noisy phone line, some characters could be
missed. For the most part, wait at least 30 seconds before aborting
any online functions. Please test all automated functions first before
you leave ZiffPlus on its own to download files or data. When you are
offline the Esc key is used to go back one menu or abort configuration
entry. When you are online, the Esc key can be used to abort ZiffPlus.

ZiffPlus works best when used in conjunction with a disk cache. ZiffPlus
has been tested with Norton's 6.01 NCACHE and PCTOOLS' 7.01 PC-CACHE and
found to work fine with both. Other disk cache programs should work
fine with ZiffPlus if they work with PCPLUS. If you use ZiffPlus with
no disk cache loaded, you will notice some slowdown of the program
during disk reads.

Please let us know of any troubles you might have with ZiffPlus.
Thank you for using ZiffNet.

  3 Responses to “Category : Communication (modem) tools and utilities
Archive   : ZIFF.ZIP

  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: