11/20/95 CompuNotes Issue #25
Patrick Grote, Publisher and Editor
CompuNotes is a weekly publication available through an email
distribution list and many fine on-line networks!
We feature reviews, interviews and commentary concerning the PC industry.
This Week's Contents:
-=> Free Credit Report Address Change <=-
-=> Stonekeep is Coming <=-
-=> Running Linux Book <=-
-=> Norton Utilities for Windows 95 <=-
-=> Reader Responds to our Review of USR Sportster <=-
WEB SITE OF THE WEEK
-=> GT Software Debuts <=-
-=> The Point Changes for Better <=-
FTP FILE OF THE WEEK
-=> Electronic Christmas Cards <=-
-=> Roger Kresege, On-line Support Guru <=-
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NEWS OF THE WEEK| This section is dedicated to verified news . . .
All News (C)opyright Respective Owner - Will Only Reprint
-=> Free Credit Report Address Change <=-
ORANGE, Calif.,--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 17, 1995--The address that
consumers may write to request a complimentary copy of their credit
report has changed. The new address, effective immediately, is:
TRW Complimentary Report
P.O. Box 8030
Layton., Utah 84041-8030
Since April 1992, TRW has voluntarily offered all consumers
nationwide a complimentary copy of their credit report once a year when
requested in writing. TRW believes giving this ready access to credit
history information encourages consumers to become active participants
in managing their credit. TRW remains the only credit reporting agency
to make this offer.
TRW wants consumers to be able to review their credit history
quickly and easily, but it also wants to protect consumers' financial
privacy. To assure prompt and secure service, please remind consumers
to include with the request:
o their full name, including Jr., Sr., III, etc.
o complete address(es) for a five-year period, including zip
o Social Security number
o spouse's full name, if married
o year of birth
o a copy of their driver's license or a current billing
statement (sent by a department store, utility or
government agency, for example) that shows both their name
If, because of space of air-time limitations, you cannot include
complete instructions for written requests, please advise consumers to
call TRW at 800/682-7654 for information.
The TRW Inc. Internet home page is located at http://www.trw.com.
For details on getting a complimentary credit report and an abundance of
information that helps consumers better understand credit reporting and
other financial issues, click on the Consumer Credit Information
TRW Information Systems & Services, based in Orange, Calif., is a
leading provider of consumer, business and real estate information
services for financial services and retail markets. TRW Inc. provides
high-technology products and services to the automotive, space and
defense, and information services industries. TRW Inc. sales in 1994
totaled $9.1 billion.
-=> Big Budget CD-ROM <=-
IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Studios have been made or
destroyed in the fortunes of a single film, but now one studio's
facilities have been built as a result of one project. Interplay
Productions has literally grown into a complete multimedia studio in the
wake of its $5,000,000 production of Stonekeep(TM). Scheduled to arrive
in stores November 8th, Stonekeep is perhaps the most expensive CD-ROM
project ever created.
"We have assembled a state-of-the-art multimedia studio literally as
a result of our production of Stonekeep," said Brian Fargo, CEO of
Interplay Productions. "Our music studio and 3-D art studio were
created to facilitate the production of Stonekeep, but now serve to
support all of our titles. It's amazing that the legacy of Stonekeep
will go beyond just being one hit game."
Stonekeep was instrumental in creating the fully contained sound
studio that it is today. Interplay's music studio is comprised of nine
music/sound studios that include three sound-effect design studios where
Interplay's talented sound designers created the game's original sound
effects and musical score. The studios have extensive high-end outboard
equipment including Langevin, Focusrite, Eventide and Desper
Interplay's state-of-the-art 3D graphics studio houses over 30
high-end PCs loaded with RAM, eight Silicon Graphics workstations and 2
DEC Alpha computers. The latest acquisition is an SGI Challenge(TM)
server that is loaded with 512MB of RAM and 29-gigabytes of hard disk
space. Much of this equipment was instrumental in creating the epic saga
that Stonekeep has become and now supports Interplay's vast array of
other titles in development.
"When we set about to create our vision, we were just looking for a
means to produce Stonekeep," said Michael Quarles, the game's producer.
"I am proud that what we set about to do will have such a huge impact on
Interplay and all of our subsequent software."
REVIEWS OF THE WEEK | Interesting software/hardware you may need . . .
"Running Linux" Book review
Reviewed by Danny Williams
I found out I needed a computer running Unix on my LAN if I ever
wanted to provide decent electronic mail or other Internet services for
the company. I thought it would never happen - I thought Unix was just
too expensive, required big expensive computers, and would be impossible
for me to learn without a long series of college classes. Boy, was I
wrong. There is a version of Unix called Linux that is affordable
(free!) and will run on even that old 386 that I retired to a dusty
closet last year. I also found I could learn the basics very affordably
through an excellent book titled "Running Linux."
Linux will run on a 386SX with 2Mb of memory, although processors up
to and including the Pentium are supported. Bring the RAM up to 4Mb and
you can run Linux with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) like Windows or
a Macintosh. A typical installation will take 40Mb of disk. Of course,
the more memory and disk you have, the easier your life will be, but
that hold true with just about any operating system. So if you have that
much machine or better, you have the hardware it takes to give it a try.
Learning how can be a little trickier - you can spend hours combing
through FAQ's (Frequently Asked Question files) and newsgroups to
hopefully find some of what you want or you can pick it up in this one
clearly written, well indexed volume.
For a beginner or re-beginner like me, "Running Linux" by Matt Welsh
and Lar Kaufman is an excellent starting point. This 575 page book had
enough basic information that those who have only heard of Linux and
want to try it our can get started - it even tells you where and how to
get all the parts you need free from the Internet. It's also loaded with
enough t tips and suggestions that a seasoned Unix "jock" will also pick
up plenty of useful information.
As a testament to its usefulness, "Running Linux" has only been in
my hands about a week and it is already dog-eared and filled with
bookmarks pointing to important stuff. I've also filled a loose-leaf
binder with pages downloaded from various sources referenced in the book
. One of the strongest points of "Running Linux" is that it does not
try to tell you EVERYTHING. If it did it would be as big as an
encyclopedia and you would never be able to find anything. Many topics
are described briefly or with enough info to get you started on a simple
configuration then tell you where to look for more detailed information.
This keeps the size manageable and the organization clear.
The opening chapters describe a brief history of Linux , a
comparison of Linux to other operating systems, exactly what hardware
you need to run Linux, other sources of Linux information, and where to
get and how to install your copy of Linux. The install chapter is where
you start getting your hands dirty. Follow the sections and you will be
lead by the hand through the whole procedure from repartitioning your
hard disk (or not!) to finally booting it up and logging in for the
first time. For someone not familiar with Unix and its variants, this
can be a scary process using only the online documentation. "Running
Linux" makes it painless, however, and provides a lot of background that
provides peace of mind.
Once installed and logged in, what do you do? This is where "Running
Linux" really shines. Before I had "Running Linux, "I pulled one of my
old Unix manuals out of the attic, blew off the dust, and got very
confused. The manual assumed I already knew a good deal of the simple
functions of Unix, like how to edit a or assign rights to a file.
"Running Linux" has three very important chapters that do a good
introduction to Unix system operation and administration - Basic Unix
Commands and Concepts will get you logged in, entering basic commands at
the command line, and looking up on-line help. Essential Systems
Management move the bar up a notch to creating accounts and managing
passwords, archiving and compressing files (like DOS users might do with
ZIP or ARJ), making backups, building and compiling your own Kernel, and
recovering from disasters.
The Power Tools chapter is an excellent intro/review of Unix
editors. You can use some of these to format nice documents with fonts
and columns and various typestyles, but I was happy to finally be shown
a way to edit all those configuration n files that seem to need tweaking.
One of the most common Unix text editors is the small, efficient `vi'
- the visual editor. Although the commands are quite different from the
WordStar and MSWord I've been using the last few years, they are very
efficient once learned and the tutorial in "Running Linux" did a far
better job than the fat textbooks I had referenced before. There are
similar tutorials on Emacs (a bit fancier than vi, with pseudo windows
and colors and t hings) and using Tex and Latex ( text processing that
can produce book layouts and mathematical formulae ready for printing).
All that is in roughly the first half of the book, and gives you
enough to get started and actually get some useful (and pretty cool)
stuff done. The rest of the book gets a bit more technical and complex,
but still is easy to follow provided you have some background. The
chapter on Programming for Linux is not a substitute for a few
programming classes, but can help you use your any previous general
programming experience to write programs for Linux. You will need to
know well all your lessons on editors from the previous chapter.
Once you have your computer running fine by itself, Networking and
Communications will tell you how to connect to the rest of the world.
There are excellent introductions to all the hot topics like the Web,
FTP, and mail. "Running Linux" makes it possible for even someone with
as little background as me to network a Linux box to a LAN, use it as a
gateway to the Internet, and set up a Web Server. It is certainly well
written enough t that I am encouraged to try with a good chance of
Now, if you will excuse me, I have a Kernel to compile, an ethernet
board to install, a Web page to design, and still some more reading to
by Matt Welsh and Lar Kaufman
Published by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
103 Morris Street, Suite A
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Norton Utilities for Windows95
Reviewed by Doug Reed
Norton Utilities is the third of Symantec's new suite of Windows
'95 applications. The first two, Norton AntiVirus and Norton Navigator,
were covered in previous reviews. Norton Utilities completes the set,
giving the user a complete set of tools for maximizing performance and
protection against disaster.
To begin with, Norton Utilities comes with a program called
Tuneup. Tuneup is used prior to the installation of Windows '95 and its
goal is to prepare your computer for the transition. Once Windows 95 is
installed, then Norton Utilities can be installed. The most noticeable
feature of Norton Utilities is the System Doctor. System Doctor runs as
a toolbar on your Windows background, constantly monitoring your system
to warn you of problems. The conditions which prompt an alarm can be
left at default or altered to suit your needs. You can also alter the
System Doctor displays to show information about your system that you
consider important. When a problem is detected, System Doctor can either
repair the problem itself or ask you what course of action you would
The other most visible portion of Norton Utilities is the Norton
Protected Recycle Bin. This application adds an additional layer of
protection geared towards recovery of mistakenly deleted files. In
Windows '95, files that were overwritten, deleted from within a Windows
application, or deleted from within a DOS box are not added to Recycle
Bin but are simply deleted. With Norton Utilities, these files get sent
to the Recycle Bin. The ability to recover overwritten files is an
especially nice feature. When prompted, it can call up the Norton
Unerase Wizard, which will assist in recovery of deleted files.
Norton Utilities also comes with the Disk Doctor, which can
examine your hard drive, determine whether there are any problems, and
repair them. Another nice application that helps with hard drive
problems is Image. Image stores a 'snapshot' of your drive's critical
information, which can then be used should you encounter any problems
attempting to use your computer. Norton Utilities also includes the
ability to generate a Rescue disk, which enables Norton Utilities to
diagnose and repair problems with your system that are preventing it
from loading and running properly.
Norton Utilities also comes with additional applications that
are useful. SpaceWizard does exactly as its name implies, it finds space.
SpaceWizard searches your hard drive, looking for old or seldom used
files that can be either compressed, moved, or deleted. SpeedDisk is
basically a defragmentation program, rearranging files so that they take
up contiguous clusters (and thus less space). SpeedDisk also works to
place frequently used files first on the disk, providing faster access
to these files.
Ever wonder how your system compares with others? Well, the
System Information application of Norton Utilities will tell you. In
addition to providing basic information about your computer such as the
CPU, memory, drives, etc..., System Information will perform a benchmark
test and compare it with standardized systems.
As mentioned above, Norton Utilities completes the trilogy of
Norton applications by Symantec for Windows '95. As with Norton
Antivirus and Norton Navigator, Norton Utilities is pretty much a
must-have. Why? Because protection against hard drive failure is very
important. Sure, you can use the backup program that comes with Windows
'95 to save critical data, but what are you going to do to get the
system running again so you can restore those files? Norton Utilities is
a good program suited for that very purpose with a solid reputation
behind it. The only negative I can think of for any of these three
programs is that with all three running it does tend to bog the system
down a bit if you only have 8 megs of physical RAM. That's okay in my
book; I'll gladly take a slight speed hit in order to insure that I'll
still be up and running tomorrow.
10201 Torre Avenue
Cupertino, CA 95014
From: [email protected]
To: The Publisher, CompuNotes
I found the review ( in issue 17) of the US ROBOTICS "Sportster"
28.8 modem, and the software included with it, very interesting, in-
formative and, with the single objection hereinafter lodged, objec-
tive. In regard to my objection, I perceive the problem MAY lie in
the reviewer's unstated bias, which blemishes an otherwise very fine
commentary. I will explain.
It is rapidly becoming a reality in the computing community, that
novices and experts alike may be classified under one of two heads,
like the famous Kalikacs and Martins, viz, those who do Windows (OR
other Graphical User Interfaces ["GUI"]) and those who do not. When
any person sets out to review a piece of software he ought to de-
clare, at the top of the piece, whether he is, in fact, a K or an M
type. In the instant case I deem M. Grote to be a K type (pro GUI),
even though he does not so declare and even though he may not
himself know it. (And even though the instant issue of his very fine
publication more thoroughly and competently unmasks Windows 95 than
any other I have found.)
I, myself, lest you be in doubt on the subject, am an M type. I do
NOT do Windows and I don't go with those who do. Consequently, you
who read further will know the prejudice of my perspective.
In my trade (I am a simple craftsman who has "customers" and NOT
"clients") I recommend, sell and configure hardware and software to
SMALL business users, where the OWNER, whose own pocketbook is di-
rectly affected, makes the decision. In that connection, I try many
brands of software and hardware, seeking that which provides the
most "bang for the buck". Apropos of the current subject, I have
found that the leading (and not so leading) modems available in the
market place tend to package one of two combinations of fax and
communication software, namely, either Smith Micro Software's
QuickLink ][ ("QL2"), which combines both data and fax capabilities
in a single program, and Delrina's "LITE" suite (Win Fax LITE, Dos
Fax LITE, Comit for Windows LITE, and Comit for Dos LITE). For
reasons which will appear, I prefer QL2.
Both QL2 and the Delrina LITE suite are abbreviated versions of the
publishers' more extensive (not necessarily more competent) pro-
ducts; both were originally designed for one environment and then,
to meet either real or imagined market demands, modified to cover
another. In fine, QL2 is primarily a DOS product which only stands
in for a Windows application; conversely, Delrina's DOS LITE suite
is a Windows wolf which also goes abroad in DOS clothing. Of the
two it must be said that QL2 is a better stand-in for Windows than
the Delrina product is for DOS, but neither is a fair substitute for
the real thing.
Neither modem-included product contains a good data program. The
best that can be said is that they are adequate for connecting with
a local, friendly BBS and downloading Telix, Lync, or any of a score
of other shareware and freeware communication programs. (QuickLink
Gold, which, inter alia, adds Zmodem, is also a very good communi-
cation program and, for this reason, worth the money for those M
types who do, or plan to do, a substantial amount of data communi-
cations involving the transfer of files). Hence, I consider the
modem-included software appropriate only for handling faxes.
I like QL2 for handling faxes because: 1) Smith Micro Software
will actually and promptly answer inquiries addressed to them by
phone (714-362-5810), the internet ([email protected]
(714-362-2399) or a message left on their BBS (714-362-5822); and 2)
with QL2 facsimiles can be sent, received, viewed and printed from
the command line with a few simply crafted custom batch files with-
out all that mousing and clicking needed in Windows.
But two brief paragraphs will show how simply all incoming and out-
going faxes are handled with custom batch files under QL2:
1) Entry of the command, CVT, followed by a file name, will
"convert" any ASCII text file to the fax format (actual-
ly, a second file, with the extension QFX, is created,
leaving the original file intact); thereafter: optional-
ly, VSF, followed by a press of F3, will review the fax
file to the screen; optionally, PSF, followed by the
press of F3, will print it; and finally, SF, followed by
a press of F3 and the destination telephone number, will
send it. (Alternatively, SFX, followed by the file name
and the destination number, will create and send the
facsimile in one fell swoop).
2) RF produces a screen of the received fax file names
(e.g., FAXxxxx.REC, where xxxx is a series of consecutive
numbers) in order of date and time received; VRF, fol-
lowed by a two digit number, will view a designated
received fax; substitute PRF for VRF and the fax is
Now while each of the foregoing operations can be accomplished by
loading QL2 and using the menus provided in it (and for those who
insist, a mouse is supported), nothing, to my mind and inclination,
is so quick or easy as a batch file operated with a few key presses
entered from the command line - nor so easily learned by what M.
Grote calls the "normal, novice user".
For those M types out there, the custom batch files for QL2, and
some helpful tips, are available free of charge by sending your
Creative Business Synergies, Inc.
One Biscayne Tower, #4529
Miami, Florida 33111-04529
Internet: [email protected]
Those K types who are dissatisfied with QL2 may swap it for Del-
rina's LITE suite by exchanging original documentation, disks and
registration cards with someone who is dissatisfied in the opposite
direction. Look around and make inquiries; there are many who,
being M types, will be eager to exchange Win Fax LITE for QL2 if the
opportunity presents itself, although, being aware of the false pop-
ularity of Win Fax LITE, they might demand boot in the exchange. If
you cannot find any takers locally, Creative Business Synergies is
frequently in possession of surplus copies of the LITE suite and
will make the swap; short of that, CBS, and others, may be willing
to purchase QL2 for a small but significant sum, thereby in part
defraying the cost of obtaining a Windows replacement.
Finally, under no circumstances should anyone assume that his dis-
satisfaction with a software product packaged with a modem will be
eliminated by purchasing the publisher's "upgraded" product. The
upgraded product will, at core, be just what its "lite" relative is
- either a DOS, or a Windows, application and NOT both. "You cannot
both run with the hare and pursue with the hounds."
Now about M. Grote's claim that that QL2 "is a very user unfriendly
program": I cannot, given the complexity of its capabilities (e.g.,
the ability to shrink a received fax vertically so as to avoid un-
necessary spill-over of one or several lines to another page), con-
cur. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the easiest and most intui-
tive, I rate it an 8. To one accustomed to a GUI it may seem un-
friendly, but that is simply because he approaches it from a stand-
point from which the program was never intended to operate. Rated
solely by its ability to operate from the command line, or from its
own internal menus, I find it friendly indeed - not for what M.
Grote calls the "normal, novice user", but for the modestly educated
one. After all, where would we be as a civilization and a culture
were we to gear everything (as we, alas, have an increasing tendency
to do) to the five-year-old. He who would use a computer, just as
he who operates anything else, assumes the obligation to acquire the
necessary knowledge, directly, through his own acumen, or indirect-
ly, through friends and others. Verbum sat sapienti est!
In conclusion, it all comes to the postulate of the wise cow who said,
whilst licking her own calf, "Everyone to her own taste". And ability!
Pro-Entropy (C)1993-95 by DAR Systems International, All Rights Reserved
Internet: [email protected]
Real Name: Teri Robinson
Call PRO-ENTROPY for the latest chaos at 305-994-3578 (14.4K/8/N/1 24 hours)
WEBSITES OF THE WEEK! | This section is devoted to cool WebSites . . .
-=> GT INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE HITS THE WEB <=-
The Company Behind DOOM II, Mortal Kombat 3 and SuperKarts Unveils
Interactive World Wide Web Site
New York, NY, October 17, 1995 P Web surfers looking to
interactively experience the hottest software titles need look no
further. Today, GT Interactive Software (GT), a leading software
publisher, officially debuts its site on the World Wide Web
(http://www.gtinteractive.com). The site, known as GT-Web, offers users
an interactive journey through GT's playground of multimedia titles.
GT-Web gives users in-depth information on GT's current hits such as
DOOM II*, The Ultimate DOOM*, and SuperKarts*; exciting previews of
highly anticipated new releases including HEXEN* and Mortal Kombat 3*;
and details on special GT contests, promotions and giveaways. Users
navigating through the site will feel like the information is flowing
around them as pages "dynamically generate" to provide a truly immersive
environment. In addition to game information, users can download game
demos, 10 to 30 second QuickTime* videos of gameplay, and audio samples;
participate in forum discussion groups, purchase game merchandise such
as tee-shirts and hint books, and order titles.
"GT-Web is the ultimate site for web users looking for a fun way to
experience the hottest titles on the market," said Allan Blum, vice
president of marketing for GT Interactive Software. "Our site will
continuously evolve with new titles, promotions and leading-edge
The site also provides details on Deathmatch '95, the largest online
deathmatch ever. The international tournament is sponsored by GT
Interactive Software, Microsoft, id Software and DWANGO (Dial-up Wide
Area Network Gaming Operation), the ultimate high-speed multi-player
gaming network. Finalists will meet face-to-face for a showdown on
DevilUs Night, October 30th, at the launch event for id Software and
Raven Software's HEXENP Beyond Heretic, the most immersive, real-world,
combat-action computer game ever produced.
GT-Web offers a variety of areas to explore, such as GT Products,
What's New and Product Support.
Everything gamers need to know about the coolest products, including
the smash hit DOOM II, the medieval blast-fest Heretic, and go-kart
craze SuperKarts, can be found in this extensive area, including
in-depth descriptions of the titles; visually captivating screen shots;
downloadable QuickTime movies of gameplay; audio samples and demos; and
merchandise ordering information.
Those looking for information on soon to be released titles can
access the What's New section. This special area contains "mini sites"
providing comprehensive overviews of titles that will top the charts and
gives users a first look at pre-release screen shots.
GT-Web will also provide users with product support. Questions
about game play and system compatibility are answered by GT's expert
staff of technicians. This section also hosts forum discussion groups,
lists FAQs (frequently asked questions) and contains hyperlinks to
Headquartered in New York, GT Interactive Software, through
alliances with major software publishers, merchandises, markets and
distributes software titles for computer and gaming platforms via mass
merchandisers and specialty retail chains. In addition, through
strategic partnerships with developers and rights holders, GTIS
publishes select computer software titles. # # # GT Web is optimized for
Netscape Navigator 1.1 or later.
-=> Look what's new at Point! <=-
The following is a Point Update! (http://www.pointcom.com)
Our current traffic is over 5 million hits per month with over
625,000 unique hosts per month and over 750,000 page views per month.
Our advertisers have been receiving an average of between 10 and 14%
interactive rate or "clicks" or "redirects" to their ads! This number
blows our competition away!
Our rates for the 4th quarter are firm at 20 CPM (cost per thousand)
based on impressions. Your client can buy a basic package of a certain
guaranteed number of impressions for the quarter or simply buy specific
weeks and "pages". I can work up a schedule based on your clients
budget that would be both affordable and provide maximum exposure.
I hope this information is helpful. If you need any further
information, feel free to call me.
And..........check out our new service, http://www.pointcom.com/now
COOL FTP FILE OF THE WEEK | You may need this file . . .
Computerized Christmas Cards 1.3 DOS IBM/compatible
semi-animated musical XMAS cards. You select from 3 exciting cards,
personalize, and the program saves your card to a floppy disk. You can
send it to anyone who has access to an IBM/compatible computer EGA or
better. The cards play 10 Christmas carols. This is a great customer
relations device for businesses.
You can find this as CXMASC13.ZIP on the following FTP site:
INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK | Interesting people you should know about . . .
I am humbled by Roger Kresge. My main business is network and
computer consulting and in my main business I am the terminator. I'm the
guy they call when they've tried everything and can't fix it. Roger is
the guy I call when I can't figure it out
So, why do you care we are interviewing Roger? Well, he not only
possesses the knowledge of three normal people, but he freely shares this
information on various messages forums such as RIME and Usenet. He never
tires of answering the same questions again and again and is never at a
a loss with a possible solution. It is because of people like Roger that
the on-line world is prospering and growing. Well, Roger and private
You can contact Roger at [email protected]!
PG: You are quite a qualified fellow professionally. Can you list your
qualifications and describe them? With the Novell qualifications can you
touch upon what it took to make it there?
RK: Novell CNA, CNE, ECNE and CNI. Soon to be Master CNE as well. 4+
years learning PCs starting as a hobbyist, then into telephone tech
support (and network specialist), and finally as a systems engineer and
I found that I was very interested in networking, so worked extremely
hard at learning everything I could get my hands on. Most of the
knowledge that goes into the certifications is self-taught and/or based
on much field experience. In addition to the certifications I've had
articles published in trade magazines like "Network Administrator", and
co-authored a self-teaching book (yet to be published) on obtaining a
PG: What is the question you are asked most when it comes to supporting
a NetWare network? Why do you think folks ask it?
RK: I don't think there is any one question, but I see an awful lot of
people who don't bother to read the manuals. I think they expect that
managing a NetWare network and file server will be something they can
play around with until they get it right, and they forget that their
company's entire operation is riding on the availability of their
network. Guesswork doesn't work.
PG: Obviously you don't answer questions on-line for a living. What do
you do for a living?
RK: Primarily spend my time working as a Consulting Engineer for Inacom
Information Systems in Lancaster/Harrisburg, PA. I consult on the
design, implementation, installation, configuration, maintenance, etc.,
of customer networks large and small. I've worked on everything from
"mom and pop" shop 5 node networks to Fortune 500 multinational
PG: Do you think the direction Novell is taking is good or bad?
RK: Yes. Seriously, there is good and bad in everything. They
make great products, but can't market for squat. Microsoft makes
pathetic to mediocre products but has an incredible marketing machine.
I'd like to think that quality product will succeed over marketing hype,
but I'm also afraid the hype may win out in the end.
PG: There have been recent changes in the CNE program. Is this how you
would have changed it to make it better? If so, why? If not, why?
RK I'd have gone to the current "performance-based" testing years ago.
I'm glad Novell has added an across-the-board requirement for
certification in NDS for all future CNE candidates.
PG: Describe some of your hands on networking experience in real life.
What was the most challenging installation you have wrestled with?
RK: That's gotta be the 60-site frame relay network I helped build for a
two-county consortium of public school systems. It included routing
requirements for Appletalk using AURP, TCP/IP primarily for management,
allowance for IPX in the future, and was required to bridge LAT. The
hardest part of it may have been designing the addressing scheme. But
then again, it may have been even more difficult getting educators to
understand and cooperate with my company's need to make a profit (i.e.,
my team was not on an unlimited time budget).
PG: What hobbies do you have?
RK: Computers, reading science fiction, and I'd like to get into model
railroading when my younger son finally moves out to go to college next
PG: What is your home computer setup like? Do you have a LAN at home? If
so, describe it.
RK: I've got a NetWare v4.1 file server running on a NEC Powermate
386-16, 10Base2 with a spare connection for my Compaq Aero laptop, plus
a 486DX2-66 that I built myself from parts. The network is primarily
used for testing and experimenting.
PG: What type of music do you like? What groups?
RK: In my previous career I was a radio personality/disc jockey for
nearly 20 years. My preference leans toward oldies, but my car radio is
tuned to the local classical music station. I can't stand most
commercial radio that I hear today, so I don't listen to it.
PG: What sports do you like? Why?
RK: To watch, hockey (Phildelphia Flyers and the AHL's Hershey Bears),
baseball, football. To play, I used to play a lot of tennis. Today I
coach a slow-pitch softball team in the local church league, and play
pitcher and first base.
--- END INTERVIEW ---