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T H E E S T A B - L O I D ____________________________ ---------------------------- Issue #1 1-11-86 ---------------------------- Editor & Host Sysop - Gene Williams A weekly electronic magazine for users of The Establishment BBS (894-6526) owned and operated by Thane Harris Editor - Gene B. Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . You may share this magazine with your friends under the . . condition that the magazine remain complete and intact, . . with no editing, revisions or modifications of any kind, . . and including this opening section and statement. . . If you like the magazine, the Sysop) and I would appre- . . ciate it if you would let your friends know where they . . can log in to find the magazine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (c) 1986 THIS ISSUE: Those of you who have been around a while might remember The Evening Zephyr BBS and "The Zephyr Magazine." The magazine was a thing I would write and upload to the BBS each Saturday night or Sunday morning. Well, the Zephyr has blown off into history. Our illustrious sysop here on the Establishment has conned me into bringing the magazine back to life again, however. So, here it is. At the moment, we have planned to bring you a new magazine each week. Just exactly how well this will work out is largely up to you, the users. The only way it will work is if you get involved. There are several ways you can do this: 1. Be sure to stop by The Establishment AT LEAST once each week to get the new issue. Then read the issue. It doesn't do me much good to write the magazine if nobody is going to be reading it. 2. Make comments and get involved with the discussions. This doesn't mean that I'm looking for, "Wow, that was a good issue, Gene!" comments (although they're nice, too.) I'm more concerned with getting you involved and talking. The one thing I ask is that you confine your comments to the issue topic. (If you have topic suggestions, by all means let me know.) 3. SPREAD THE WORD! When you log into another BBS, be sure to mention the magazine - and The Establishment. To make this work, we need users and readers. .pa TAKING CARE OF YOUR COMPUTER (part 1) I've started work on the fifth book in a series of books on computer maintenance and repair. During the research for these books I had to go through a number of manuals, and talk to quite a few people involved in the field. When I first got into computing I had the usual reaction when it came to thinking about fixing a malfunction. FEAR! I was under the impression that a computer is complex, requiring years of training and experience to understand its inner workings. If something DOES go wrong, chances are good that you can fix it yourself. All it really takes is a bit of time and a bit of thought. Most of the problems come from simply not taking care of your computer. You can prevent about 90% of all malfunctions by taking a few easy steps. The key is prevention. Take care of things BEFORE they happen and you'll have far fewer problems with your computer system. When was the last time you cleaned the disk drive heads of your computer? Or vacuumed out the inside of your printer. Or given your computer a snack of chips and DIP (switches)? At this point it might be appropriate to mention some of the differences between the various computers and to bring up some information that is not generally released to the public. There are some minor differences between the various makes. IBM is a huge corporation - the largest computer-type company in the world. It is company policy for the employees to do little things, such as to dress well, even if you're about to crawl inside one of their mainframes. This attitude has reached through into the design of their computers. Consequently, the IBMs have a tendency to have a "holier than thou" attitude. So, you don't dare spill an ordinary Coke or Pepsi down the keyboard of an IBM. Your computer will feel insulted and is almost certain to go into a temper tantrum pout and malfunction. When spilling things inside the IBM machines, be sure to use nothing but imported champagne - preferably French. That way you let your computer know that you care, and that you understand that the IBM comes from a higher society than other computers. The Commodore computers, on the other hand, come from a nautical background (hence the name). While the Commodores aren't offended by spilled Coke, they much prefer a good, hearty beer. Better yet, toss some foamy ale into the keyboard, or perhaps a bottle of rum (accompanied by a loud, "Yo ho ho"). Commodore computers are also known to be somewhat partial to a thick butter sauce, especially when it has just a touch of garlic in it. If you happen to own one of the earlier Commodores, or any of the special "Official Commodore Diskette"s, sniff carefully and you'll smell the garlic. It was used to lubricate both the mechanical parts of the computer and to provide a nice, slick surface for the diskettes. The use of garlic as a lubricant also helped to keep vampires away, making C64s very popular overseas. (When was the last time you saw fang marks on a C64?) They had to abandon this practice, however. After a few months the end users were complaining that certain parts of the computer were being covered with mold, and that the odor was getting to be a bit much. Worse yet were the users who were fat. They reported difficulty in operating the computer since they had the constant and overwhelming desire to eat their computers and software. Now, Apple computers weren't named "Apple" out of the blue - and certainly not out of the big blue. The original designer of the Apple circuitry was named Johnny. He would walk around the garage by the hour, reaching into his pockets and tossing tiny seeds at everyone in sight. The common story is that Apple moved out of that garage and into a larger building because the company was growing so quickly. Actually it was because a veritable orchard was busting through the concrete of the garage floor. Johnny's influence continues to this day. If your Apple II or II+ is acting up, try rubbing some sliced apple over the keyboard and across the motherboard. If this doesn't take care of the problem, it's possible that you computer have worms. Well, not YOU necessarily. But your computer might have them. The easiest way to get rid of apple worms is to pare out the CPU, blend in a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar, and then bake at 375 for an hour. The IIe was Apple's attempt to break free of Johnny's influence. The idea was to make it possible to carry out normal maintenance and repair without having to slice fresh apples. They attempted to get all the apples out, but only managed to reduce it to using apple puree, or even apple sauce. For a memory problem, for example, with the II or II+ you have to rub in whole, fresh apples. With the IIe you need only open the cabinet, pour in 16 ounces of apple sauce and stir it around. Another advantage with the IIe is that no baking is required. With the Lisa they made one more attempt to get away from fruits. One day while playing Fifi, the engineer stumbled into a room just above the fireplace and met a cute little thing by the name of - you guessed it - Lisa! The original Lisa was apparently from the Black Forest, and quite a frau she was! All 512 pounds of her, and willing to let anything at all be plugged in. Hence the idea of building a "powerful" computer. Their only problem was that Lisa had a fondness for apfel struddle. Repair and maintenance of the Lisa by the end user is confined to the struddle, a pint of dark beer, and perhaps a shot of schnaps poured carefully over the serial port. Beyond that, Lisa is far too powerful and experienced for handling by the average person. Apple finally realized that they couldn't get the seeds out of the Apple, which is why they came back with the Macintosh. The attempt was to at least get a better, more edible, variety going. To help keep out the worms, they made the cabinet so that a special tool is required just to open it. (Sounds kinda like Lisa, doesn't it?) The best method is to load a squirt gun with some official "Apple Juice" (part # BN-CXZ4-143L97W12-M - $23.95 per ounce) and place a few well-aimed spurts through the drive doors. Many people are under the false impression that TRS stands for "The Radio Shack." Actually it is an acronym for "Truly Reliable Sh@%." End result - you won't have to worry too much about fixing the thing. When you do, keep in mind that the TRS series is built for the common man. Nothing fancy is required. A simple Jumbo Jack will do it nicely. Quite often if the disk drive fails, all you have to do is to place the beef patty from a regular burger (with cheese or secret sauce, if you also need lubrication) in the disk drive and boot up. (Some people report that the beef patties are more reliable for storage of important programs than are diskettes from Radio Shack.) Keeping your computer clean is important. This is especially true of the drives. There is a mistaken belief that all you need to keep everything working right is to use one of the very expensive drive cleaning kits. These kits are fine for cleaning the head (and there won't be a funny man in a rowboat shouting at you), but they completely ignore the fact that dust is one of the major enemies of anything mechanical. Instead of trying to clean the head only, take the entire computer into the shower with you. This is an excellent time for you to REALLY get to know your computer. If the read/write functions have been sluggish, you might consider a long hot soak in a bubble bath, followed by a lengthy alcohol rub. (Be very careful that you don't become emotionally involved during this. There is also the danger of the Maricopa Sheriff's Office busting you for running an illicit computer massage parlor. Rumor had it that a BBS was busted for having things on that BBS that shouldn't be there. Actually, the real reason was . . . well, YOU figure it out.") Cleaning of the read/write head itself can be accomplished in any of several ways. For a light cleaning you can use alcohol. (Keep in mind that the IBM thinks that it's high society. Use only imported champage or 12-year-old scotch. In any case, use the alcohol sparingly, or your computer might give you some bizarre errors until it sobers up. Plenty of black coffee might help speed the cure up if this happens.) For heavier cleaning jobs, the military has been using industrial strength cleansers for cleaning heads for years. Quite often this is used in conjuction with a scrub brush or a thing called a "johnny mob." (Note: It was NOT invented by Apple.) If this doesn't work, a rotary sander or automotive body grinder will surely remove any build-up. A chisel and hammer might also come in handy. This is fine for cleaning the computer and drives. Obviously anyone with the tiniest bit of intelligence will realize that it's certainly no way to clean a printer. I mean, who in their right mind would take a printer into the shower with them? Yet, printers tend to get dirtier than any other part of the computer system. Paper dust can build up and jam (and jelly) the mechanism. DO NOT blow into the printer. If you do this, it will follow you anywhere from then on. Even vacuum cleaning the inside of the printer is risky. You just never know how the printer will interpret that. To save yourself emotional grief, when the printer needs a cleaning, take it outside, preferably by dragging it by its power cord. Be rough - be firm - and your printer will respect you. Once it's outside, get out the garden hose and spray it down. Better yet, set the printer down and open a fire hydrant on it. The water pressure will bounce the printer along the ground. This guarantees that all parts will be cleaned, and that stubborn dirt particles will be shaken loose. Monitors rarely needs any attention unless they start showing reruns. There's nothing that can be done for this sit uation, unfortunately. All you can do is to sit back and get bored until it's all over. Worse is the monitor that begins to monitor YOU. This is a sure sign that you've been too gentle. As with printers, the monitor has to be treated roughly to keep its respect. But, where the printer becomes excessively affectionate (such as pulling your face close to it by wrapping your hair in the platten), the monitor merely spies on you. And you never know who it will tell. As a precaution, never do anything you don't want others to know about if the monitor is near. And keep a stick handy at all times in case it gets out of line. Obviously don't take the monitor into the shower with you. It's bound to let everyone know just how big a liar you've been all these years. Once each week be sure to give the monitor a good, solid kick. This not only helps to show the monitor who is boss, but keeps the phosphors on the screen shaken up so they can provide a clear image. (The monitor works by a stream of electrons getting the particles of phosphor excited. No wonder the monitor is always so grouchy!) UNTIL NEXT TIME Gosh, I'm really sorry about this week's issue. I'll do my best to behave in the future. Meanwhile, let's get some of YOUR ideas. Things like "The AT&T computer has the tendency to get wrong numbers, and charges a toll if an RAM address is out of the CPU zone." Or, "Radio Shack made the RAM chips in the CoCo out of dark chocolate." This could be a good week to get silly about computing and computers. We can all use that change of pace once in a while, right? Next week: At the moment I have planned to do a piece of short fiction. If anyone has any better ideas, be sure to let me know. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome.
Zephyr Magazine is © Gene Williams. All rights reserved.