º  Volume 4  ³³³³³³³³³³³³  ³³  ÀÅ¿ÚÅÙ³  ÀÙ³³ÀÄÄÄ¿³³³³³³³ÀÄÄÄ¿ April/May  º
  º   Issue 1  ³³³³³³³³³³³³  ³³   ³³³³ ³Ú¿  ³³ÚÄÄÄÙ³³³³³³ÀÄÄÄ¿³    1993    º
                          ³This Month's Features³
³ Random Factors...................................Wayne Bell (1@1)         ³
³                                                                           ³
³ WWIV in the Courtroom............................Polekat (1@5285)         ³
³                                                                           ³
³ TechnOTES........................................WWIVnews Staff           ³
³                                                                           ³
³ Playing Ping-Pong with 1@1.......................Star Gazer (1@3101)      ³
³                                                                           ³
³ Filo's Mod of the Month..........................Filo (1@2050)            ³
³                                                                           ³
³ WWIV on Internet and Usenet......................Jay Walker (1@7659)      ³
³                                                                           ³
³ Type 0 Forum.....................................Omega Man (1@5282)       ³
³                                                                           ³
³ @506 Usenet Gateway Policy Changes...............Zaphod Beeblebrox (1@506)³
³                                                                           ³
³ WWIV-Compatible Networks List....................Red Dwarf (1@6264)       ³
³                                                                           ³
³ Dateline: @#$*()#!...............................Omega Man (1@5282)       ³

               ³               Random Factors                ³
               ³   Creative Commentary by Wayne Bell (1@1)   ³


If your Quickscan is not working correctly, install that, compile & run, and 
do a //RESETQSCAN from the main menu. It will reset all quickscan and newscan
info for every user.


In BBS.C, function mainmenu():

    /* existing code */
    if (strcmp(s, "CHAT")==0) {
      pl(((*(char far *)0x00000417L ^= 0x10) & 0x10) ?
                       get_string(21) :
    /* new code starts here */
    if (strcmp(s, "RESETQSCAN")==0) {
      memset(qsc, 0, syscfg.qscn_len);
      sprintf(s1,"%sUSER.QSC", syscfg.datadir);
      for (i=0; i<=number_userrecs(); i++) {
        write_qscn(i, qsc, 1);


This recently-posted qscan fix is for people who have qscan pointers really 
screwed up (you'll know it if you do). The routine, most of which was stolen 
out of the newuser qscan initialization, goes through and resets the entire
user.qsc file to look as if every user had just logged on as new (from the
nscan/qscan perspective). 


NET33 will be released on June 5th, 1993. It will be available on most SDS's at
that time, as well as on my system, Amber. It will NOT support multiple nets 
per xfer. It will have the subs.lst description-length bug fixed, in addition 
to supporting network2 preprocessors, a new type of external net messages, and
re-written docs, with the sections covering WWIVNet software separated from 
those covering WWIVNet Network Policy. 


A CATEG.NET file was been sent out along with the last mail_to_all_sysops. If
you're using WWIV v4.22 and net32 (or later), you can now select a category for
your sub to be listed under, in the SUBS.LST file. To pick a category, do
the following:

1) Go into //BOARDEDIT, 

2) For each sub you host (on WWIVNet), select option J (Net info)

3) M)odify the line for the sub you host, and re-enter the information. 

4) When you get to the "Allow auto sub info?" question, select Y)es. You will 
   be presented with the list of categories. Select the correct category (or
   the closest to it). The next SUBS.LST update will then list your sub in the
   correct category.

Finally, if you're short on memory for DSZ or HSLINK, you'll have about 90k 
more free to run those using net33.


No, I haven't started on it yet, but I am hoping for multi-nets-per-call in
net34. Wanted to get out net33 with the subs.lst description length fix before
I started on the MNPC stuff.

WWIV 4.23: 

The multi-language extensions seem to be working smoothly, and I've added many
other minor enhancements - and yes, bug fixes - to the stock version. 
Currently, Tolkien (1@3456) is helping with the implementation of a few other 
new features for v4.23, so I think you'll see a wider selection of upgrades 
with this version. More on this in the future, as things develop.


Yes, we are looking to have FidoNet support in v4.23, most of which will not be
written by me. It is still in the design phase for the time being.


The schedule for sending net updates has changed. Updates will now go out on
Wednesday and Saturday evenings (instead of Thursday and Sunday, as done
previously). The current update schedule looks like this:

Jun 2 (time of this writing)
Jun 5
Jun 9
Jun 12


UUEncoded files should not be sent over WWIVNet, other than between directly 
connected systems. You may send small (<4k) UUE's sometimes (once a week or 
so) if it is necessary, but do not send large files, or send them too often. 
Sending files costs people LD charges, and ties up BBS's and net servers.

If you do send UUE files, you may find that they are blocked by a server. You
may also find yourself removed from the network.

In the somewhat near future, there will be a utility available to send files
between BBS's. This will go directly between BBS's, not through the net, and
will hence not cost anyone else any money. We are working on a program to be
called WW4-FREQ which will enable a sysop to request files from or send files
to another WWIV BBS. 

The program will work similar to WWIVNet in some ways; that is, you can specify
the time parameters that you wish for your board to use in calling the other
board and you can use macros if you wish. If the other sysop has setup the
program on his end, you will be able to request files from those directories
that he has specified as permitting file requests. Once the program is 
developed and working well, we will address methods of identifying boards that
utilize this feature.

Again, this program is only in the development stage right now. For the time
being, any specific questions regarding WW4-FREQ should be forwarded to Filo
(1@2050). In the meantime, please follow the above guidelines regarding the
transmission of .UUE'd files across WWIVNet.

               ³           WWIV in the Courtroom:            ³
               ³  How Wayne Bell & WWIV Helped Steve Jackson ³
               ³         Beat the US Secret Service          ³
               ³             by Polekat (1@5285)             ³

Editor's Note: While every sysop in the country is familiar with the case of
Steve Jackson vs The United States Secret Service, and is now well aware of the
outcome, not everyone is aware of a major role Wayne Bell played in the
decision. Wayne, as you'll see, was very instrumental in proving that Secret
Service agents did in fact read private E-Mail prior to deleting it, which in
turn helped to render a decision in favor of Steve Jackson and the EFF.

The following article by 1@5285, printed here for the first time in WWIVNews
with the author's permission, gives the most complete overview of the events
leading up to the Secret Service raid on the Illuminati BBS in March 1990, and
the consequences of these actions. It should be noted that the article is
copyrighted (C)1993 Ed Cavazos, and should not be reprinted without his express
permission. Otherwise his publisher will have a hissy-fit and Ed'll send me 
lots of nasty E-Mail :-)


In March of 1990, the United States Secret Service raided an Austin, Texas
company called Steve Jackson Games (SJG). The raid was the culmination of a
complex series of events involving a government investigation into a computer
hacking group known as The Legion of Doom, and an allegedly valuable text file
detailing some obscure facts about the Emergency 911 system, which members of
the group copied from a phone company computer. Like they had done countless
times before with other targets, the Secret Service busted into the offices of
the Austin roleplaying games publisher and seized several computers and 
hundreds of floppy disks. Without any explanation of the charges involved, 
or any indication as to whether the company itself was somehow suspected of 
wrongdoing, the government carried off the hardware, leaving Jackson's company

Unlike those before it, this raid would prove to cause quite a stir and have
long lasting ramifications for the computer and law enforcement communities.
What started out as just another chapter in the continuing saga of law
enforcement's bumbling effort to battle computer crime ended up helping to 
establish the rights of sysops and users everywhere, and it did so with the
help of the WWIV software and its author Wayne Bell.                               

The SS Comes To Austin

One of Jackson's employees, Loyd Blankenship (aka "The Mentor") had long been
involved in the computer underground as a member of the notorious Legion of
Doom (LoD). Blankenship was writing a game called GURPS Cyberpunk for SJG. 
Cyberpunk was set in the classic Gibsonian setting of a future world dominated
by computer networks and hackers swiping data for the large corporations who 
ruled the planet. In his spare time, Blankenship and another LoD member Chris 
Goggans (aka "Erik Bloodaxe") ran an "elite" board from home. The board ("The 
Phoenix Project") catered to hackers and others interested in computer 
security. It had an active user base of well known underground celebrities, 
and offered a decent collection of text files and 'zines dealing with hack/
phreak issues.

The Secret Service took an interest in the activities of the Legion of Doom
after it was alerted to the existence of a document which had been pilfered 
from a telephone company computer by some of its Atlanta members ("Prophet" 
"Urvile" and "Leftist"). The text file which dealt with the E911 system, was 
being edited for inclusion in a popular 'zine called PHRACK, published by 
Craig Neidorf (aka "Knight Lightning"). PHRACK had a fairly large subscription
list, and was archived on hundreds of BBS' all over the country. 

Unfortunately for him, Blankenship was on that list. He received an advance 
copy of PHRACK Issue #24's table of contents through an Austin Internet 
address. This led the law to Austin in late February and early March of 1990, 
hot on the trail of the evil document and anyone even remotely associated 
with it.

The Secret Service, under the leadership of Agent Tim Foley and Assistant 
US Attorney William Cook, acquired a search warrant to search the homes of 
Blankenship and Goggans. In what has since been revealed as a hasty last minute
decision, they also convinced a US Magistrate to allow them to search the 
premises of Steve Jackson Games. On the morning of the search, they 
simultaneously raided the three locations, and carted off vans full of computer

Jackson was shocked. He had no idea why his company was the target of any kind
of investigation, and the Secret Service weren't talking. The warrant was
"sealed," they told him, and he would just have to wait until they were done
with their investigation before he could find out any more, much less have his 
company's computers returned. The government had seized all of the existing
copies of the almost completed GURPS Cyberpunk as well as countless other 
files. Without computers, many of Jackson's employees couldn't work. 
Publication dates were immediately pushed back for some products and canceled
for others. In desperation, Jackson was forced to lay off a large percentage 
of his employees.

News of the Jackson raid began to spread through the BBS and network community.
It eventually got to Mitch Kapor and John Perry Barlowe. Kapor was the 
co-author of Lotus 1-2-3 and the founder of Lotus Development. Barlowe was a 
renegade net personality who wrote lyrics for the Grateful Dead. Jackson's 
story struck a chord with the duo, who had been following the law enforcement 
assault on computer users. Together, they formed a non-profit group called the 
Electronic Frontier Foundation and as one of the group's first official acts 
supported Jackson in a suit against the US government for damages resulting 
from the March 1 search and seizure.

Enter WWIV and Wayne Bell

As interesting as this story is, it soon took an even more interesting turn for
the WWIVNet community. It turns out that one of the computers seized by the
government from SJG was a BBS running a registered version of WWIV. The board,
called "The Illuminati" was used by fans of Jackson's games as well as writers 
and editors. It had several active subs devoted to various SJG products, a
transfer section which offered playtest version of yet to be released games and
a Gfiles section with articles about the company, how to submit freelance
materials and other related matters. Although it was not a part of WWIVNet,
Jackson was pleased with WWIV's performance and had happily sent in his 
registration to Wayne Bell.

Jackson and his attorneys realized that the seizure of the BBS was a crucial
part of their claim. Three of the boards users joined in the lawsuit claiming
that the interception of their personal e-mail by the government violated a
federal statute called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The ECPA was
designed to keep law enforcement types from getting carried away with wiretaps
and other types of electronic surveillance, but had yet to be applied to 
e-mail. Jackson also contended that running the BBS qualified his company as a
publisher under another law called the Privacy Protection Act. The PPA set 
strict rules for searching people in the business of disseminating information
to the public, but it too had never been applied to a BBS. Both claims were
bold attempts to establish protections for a hobby which had been largely 
ignored by the law up to then.

Early on, Jackson contacted Bell concerning the raid. The government had 
returned some partial back-ups of the BBS hard drive, and Bell agreed to 
examine them from an expert perspective. His examination turned up a startling
fact: not only had their been e-mail on the system at the time of the raid, but
the government had systematically read and deleted it in its search for any
incriminating evidence. Armed with this knowledge, Jackson's lawyers asked 
Wayne to testify as to how he deduced this and as a general expert on BBS's 
and WWIV in particular.

This is where I became involved in the story. In the summer of 1992, I was 
about to enter my last year of law school at the University of Texas in 
Austin. I had been running a WWIV BBS since the days when the source was 
written in Turbo Pascal and was (and am) a member of WWIVNet (1@5285 - "The 
Bamboo Gardens North"). My study of the law made me begin to wonder about the 
legal issues related to running and using a BBS. I even started a network sub 
on the subject ("The Modem/BBS Lawnet" subtype 25285, AutoReq). I had been
following the Jackson story with great interest, and the Mentor had been a 
user on my board several years before all of this. In 1991, I became involved 
in the Austin chapter of the EFF, which had been founded by Jackson and other 
net personalities. One of the more active members of the group, science fiction
author Bruce Sterling was even writing a book about the whole ordeal. The 
book, entitled "The Hacker Crackdown" presents the complicated story of the 
raid and the preceding events in detail, and is the best source for a complete 
and accurate description of what really happened leading up to the trial. 

I received an offer to work as a summer intern at a large Austin lawfirm which
handled, among other things, media law cases. I was excited to later learn that
the firm was chosen by the EFF to handle the litigation in the SJG v. US Secret
Service case. Because of my familiarity with WWIV and with modeming in general,
I was asked by Pete Kennedy, an associate at the firm to help him and other
attorneys working on the case to piece together what happened on the technical
side of things. One of my tasks was to deal directly with Wayne and help him
prepare for testimony. I was also in charge of setting up a working model of 
the Illuminati BBS for use in the courtroom during trial.

Although I had never directly corresponded with Wayne before (except by sending
in my registration check in 1987), I was, like most WWIV sysops are, a big fan
of his. I felt that WWIV was the best BBS software package available for a
single line board, and still do. I was pleased to learn that Wayne was a
friendly and helpful person who was more than willing to lend a hand when I had
a question about something. He was also patient with my lack of programming
knowledge (I have only dabbled with the source, and have always run a stock
version of WWIV).

In several telephone discussions Wayne explained to me how he had come to the
conclusions about the Secret Service reading the e-mail. It turns out that due
to a quirk in the mail routines, they left irrefutable evidence of what they 
had done.

WWIV e-mail information was stored in two files with identical names
(EMAIL.DAT). One of them, found in the \DATA directory, contains pointers and
header information. The other, found in the \MSGS directory, contains the
text of the letter and some other info. 

Granted, this is a simplification, but for our purposes, it was accurate and as
complicated as we could get with any hope of not losing the judge at trial. 
When a piece of e-mail is deleted by a user after he or she reads it, WWIV
places a "0" in the to: field in /data/email.dat (there is no user #0, so this
serves as a flag that the entry is no longer viable). As part of the log-off
procedure, all entries with a "0" in the to: field are deleted, and the process
is complete. If a sysop deletes user e-mail from the Waiting For Caller screen,
however, the "0" is placed in the to: field, but since there is no log-off
after this procedure, the system waits for a normal log-on and log-off before 
it deletes all of the zeroed out entries from email.dat. The files, as they 
were returned form the Secret Service showed that every entry in the email.dat
was mailed to user 0. Coupled with the file dates (verified from printouts 
turned over from the Secret Service investigation), it became evident that 
someone at the Secret Service sat at WFC, hit "M" to read all the mail, and 
then systematically deleted every piece after reading it.

Wayne flew into Austin the day before the trial and - after chicken fried steak
and a couple of beers - we worked on how his testimony would best be presented.
I had been over this with Pete Kennedy (Jackson's attorney) several times
without Wayne, and Pete spent time with Wayne on the phone, so Wayne turned out
to be a very able witness. His testimony would also established that WWIV was
not, as the government claimed, full of security holes. Hank Kluepfel, a
government witness who was the Director of Network Security at Belcore, had
claimed that WWIV e-mail shouldn't be considered private because WWIV had a
reputation of being lax on security.

At trial, Wayne's testimony was very effective. He really was not challenged by
the government attorneys, and his conclusions were well established as far as
the court was concerned. Steve Jackson was able to sit down at a working model
of the Illuminati BBS during the trial and show the judge exactly what WWIV
looked and felt like. It was also shown at the trial that there was nothing
illegal anywhere on the Illuminati BBS. Every piece of software (including
utilities) was accompanied by a valid ownership. That, and other damaging
testimony from the Secret Service Agents themselves, along with testimony from
the other plaintiffs, led US District Judge Sam Sparks to hand down an opinion
on March 12, 1993 (just over three years after the raid) which held that the
government violated the statutes in question and awarding Steve and the three
users of his board damages.The decision was reported in The Wall Street Journal
and in UPI stories all across the country,

The Aftermath

As positive as it initially appears, the legal significance of the decision is
still being debated by legal analysts. First, it should be noted that the
opinion, while clearly important, is of limited precedent because of the way 
our legal system works. It is only the law in the Southern District of Texas. 
In theory, other courts might be persuaded by it, but are not bound by its 
holding. An appeal from the government (there has been no indication thus far 
that they are planning one) would allow the more influential 5th Circuit Court 
of Appeals to examine the legal ramifications of the case, but at that point, 
things are up in the air again as far as the issues are concerned. There are 
some things, however, which are irrefutable from the opinion.

First, it is clear that, at least in a limited jurisdiction, the Electronic
Communications Privacy Act applies to electronic e-mail which is stored on a
BBS. Judge Sparks ruled that each of the three users who had e-mail read by the
government, yet were not under investigation, were entitled to $1000. While 
this does not seem like a huge amount, it should be remembered that on a large
board, paying $1000 to every user could be a big deterrent standing in the way 
of the government aimlessly reading e-mail where it has no business doing so.

Second, the court held that the government violated the Privacy Protection Act.
The PPA part of the opinion, does not goes as far as sysops might hope, 
however, as the judge seemed to base his decision that Jackson qualified as a
publisher on the nature of his company's games and books and not solely on the
fact that he ran a BBS. Although it will be helpful for a future plaintiff 
sysop to rely on the SJG decision when trying to establish that the PPA 
prevents government seizure of a BBS, it will not be dispositive. Under this 
claim, Jackson won over fifty thousand dollars.

I haven't had a chance to talk with Wayne since working with him at the trial.
I am sure he is as pleased as others about the decision, and he should be since
he was an important part of the victory. In their own way, he and his program
have a special place in BBS legal history now.

Sysops should be aware that we are all still on thin ice when trying to get the
legal system to understand our hobby. Although we have been lucky in the past
(the SJG decision, and other important cases like Cubby v. Compuserve), there
need to be more judges who are sensitive to the constitutional protections 
which BBS's deserve. Thanks to the determination of Steve Jackson, his 
attorneys and people like Wayne Bell who were willing to help, this particular
story had a happy ending. Not all of them do. Blankenship and Goggans have yet 
to have any of their equipment returned to them, even though no charges have 
ever been brought. They are not alone. Since I have become involved in these 
issues, I have been contacted by several sysops who were raided at one time, 
had their computers seized and were never charged with a crime. Hopefully, in 
the future, law enforcement agents will think twice about such shameless 
activities. Until then, the best that sysops can do is to become aware of the 
issues, and become active with groups like the EFF that fight to establish 
sysop and user rights.

Further Sources:

If you want more information about the facts leading up to the raid on SJG, the
best source is Sterling's book _The Hacker Crackdown_ ($23.00, Bantam - 1992).
Boardwatch magazine has provided very good coverage of the more recent

In April,a detailed account of the trial was reported. In May, noted cyber-
lawyer Lance Rose analyzes the court's opinion in detail and spells out what he
feels the ramifications are. Rose has also written a book called _SYSLAW_
($34.95, PC Info Group - 1992 [orders 800-321-8285]) which is a great guide to
the legal issues involved in running a BBS. 

Pete Kennedy of George, Donaldson & Ford, Jackson's law firm, is working on an
article for an upcoming issue of Boardwatch, as well. The latest issue of 
_2600: The Hacker's Quarterly_ has the hacker perspective of the trial reported
by Paco Xander Nathan, who was present throughout the proceedings. 

Finally, I am writing a book for MIT press called "The Law of Cyberspace: Your
Rights and Duties in the On-Line World" which should be on the shelves in
January 1994. I'll be happy to respond to e-mail (1@5285) but please refer 
legal questions/comments to my WWIVNet sub, The Modem/BBS Lawnet so that 
others can benefit from the discussion.

The EFF can be contacted by US Mail by writing 666 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite
303, Wash. DC 20003. Their phone number is (202) 544-9237, and their e-mail
address is eff@eff.org which can be reached from WWIVNet via one of the 
Internet gateways. 

The EFF sponsors a USENET newsgroup comp.org.eff.talk which has, in the past,
been gated to WWIVNet, although I am not sure if it being done presently.
EFF-Austin, an independent non-profit group, can be reached by mailing me at my
WWIVNet address, by mailing eff-austin-directors@tic.com, or by reading their
USENET newsgroup austin.eff. Both groups are prepared to help sysops and users
with legal problems in Cyberspace.
               ³                 TechNOTES                   ³
               ³       Compiled by the WWIVNews Staff        ³

...This word just in: In the wake of Dell Computer Corp's announcement of the
restructuring of its notebook division, and the shocking announcement of
significantly lower first-quarter earnings for 1993, as many as 11 lawsuits 
have been filed in Federal court against Michael Dell and his top assistants 
by angered stockholders.

...On May 27th, eleven major stockholders announced they had filed suit in US
District Court in Austin, Tx, claiming that Dell violated federal securities
rules by failing to disclose relevant information regarding the problems with
the notebook division, and that Dell withheld the information to help
artificially inflate the price of company stock. Dell stock fell over $7 a 
share to just under $25 a share following the announcement of the company's 
$20 million bath in discontinued laptop and notebook projects. Share price has
stabilized since the announcement, and was on the rise slightly despite the
lawsuit announcements.

...The suit also charges that Dell was aware of the problems with the notebook
division well in advance of the scheduled first quarter earnings announcement,
and withheld the information to prevent possible loss of over 276,000 shares in
March of this year. The stock sale netted over $10 million, which was just
slightly higher than Dell's reported earnings for the first quarter.

...Dell spokesman Roger Rydell, answering the charges in an official statement,
denied having received any notice of lawsuit as of Memorial Day, but was aware
of the allegations and considered them "groundless", and did not believe that
they would "have any material affect on the financial condition of the 
company." Rydell also noted that the problems with the notebook division were 
not discovered by upper management until just prior to the earnings 
announcement, and the situation could not have had any effect upon stock sale
decisions made prior to the revelation.

...Terrell Oxford, a Dallas attorney representing several of the stockholders
who have filed suit, pointed out that "there [are] a lot of irate stockholders
out there," and said that there would probably be additional lawsuits filed in
the coming week, and that all would probably be consolidated into one class
action suit within the next few weeks. No damages have been specified as of 
this writing.

...From the Fred Sanford department: On the other side of town from Dell,
CompuAdd has finally found something to do with all that old, unsold 
merchandise from its 110 now-closed retail outlets. Simply put, the infamous
"Back Dock Outlet" will be resurrected in July, and will offer anywhere from 
20-70% off of all CompuAdd merchandise that was still in stock when all but 
one of the company's retail stores were closed nationwide in March. The store 
will only be open on Saturdays, and will be used as an employee training 
center as part of their company summer jobs program.

...Those not from Austin may not know of the "Back Dock" sales CompuAdd used 
to hold at their manufacturing facility in years past, and how they gained 
a reputation as being "the one computer junk sale where you had an 80% chance 
of NOT buying a lemon if you got there early!" The response to these sales 
convinced CompuAdd to briefly open a "Back Dock" store for several months to 
clear out the majority of older, pre-386 non-slimline units for seriously low 
prices. Six months after it was opened, the store was closed when the majority 
of backstock was cleared.

...Windows for Workgroups users take nOTE: Word through the trade rags is that
an upgrade to the basic package is on the way which will go one step beyond 
your average bug-fix release. Wingroups v3.11 will work only in Extended mode, 
and heralds the abandonment of Standard mode by Microsoft for future releases 
of Windows.

...In addition to squashing networking bugs and the dumping of Standard mode,
the Wingroups upgrade will reportedly feature some minor enhancements to File
Manager and Program Manager, as well as a few other "unspecified bells and
whistles," and is expected to be officially announced by Microsoft later this

...It's official: Steve Jobs has stopped production of the NeXT workstation, 
and is concentrating efforts on producing a new version of the NeXTStep 
operating system geared towards the 486 market. As a result, over 150 
employees associated with the hardware side of NeXT were given their walking 
papers, and the remainder were reassigned to assist the software development 

...Dubbed NeXTStep-486, the new version will reportedly be priced to compete
directly with Windows NT, which is scheduled for release this summer. It is
designed to be a stand-alone OS, as opposed to NeXTStep 3.0's use of Windows 
3.1 as a base platform. The initial memory requirements, tho, are a bit 
staggering: in addition to a 486DX-33, at least 12 megs of RAM and 140Mb of 
hard drive space is required just to load the OS! And you thought NT and OS/2 
were resource hogs!

...So you bought Microsoft Video for Windows, eh? Have you managed to import
anything into it yet? If not, you probably don't have a proper video capture
board, or you're not a practicioner of RTFM.

...In any case, there are several really good boards out there that work really
well with VFW that should be looked at. The prices range from $349 to $1295
MSRP, which means that you can either spend a little or spend a lot, depending
on the quality and speed of playback you require.

...Low-end of the cost totem is Media Vision's ProMovie Spectrum at $349, which
skirts the bare minimum VFW requirements for a capture board: 15 frames per
second in a 160x120 window. Images are compressed on the fly using a 
proprietary algorithm, and the .AVI files can only be played back in VFW - none
of the third-party viewers have access to the proprietary decompression codec 
yet. There are others that meet the bare minimum, but this particular board is 
the best of the cheap ones.

...Midrange lies the Video Blaster and the VideoSpigot for Windows. $499 MSRP
for either of these cards, but the VB boasts three-channel input and easy
interfacing with the Sound Blaster line of sound cards. The VideoSpigot, on the
other hand, boasts single channel input, and uses a proprietary codec similar
to that of the ProMovie Spectrum. The difference comes from the VB's inability
to handle speeds greater than 15fps playback in a window above 160x120, whereas
the Spigot can run 15fps just fine in 320x240.

...On the high end, JEV International offers the ProMotion Multimedia Engine,
which promises a wide selection of frame sizes, up to and including 1024x768.
Playback speeds are still only 15fps, although an upgrade has been announced to
allow for 24fps in windows up to 320x240. New Media Graphics Super VideoWindows
comes in next at $899 MSRP, although street prices have been seen as low as the
MSRP for the Video Blaster when bought in conjunction with complete systems.
Both cards handle the minimum requirements, but the SVW contains stereo audio
features on the same card.

...Finally, there's Intel's RT Video Developer's kit coming in at $1295. This
is the board that Microsoft would prefer that you use with VFW, and at that
price Intel wishes you would too. Images can be played back at 30fps - standard
video full-motion speed - in a 320x240 frame, and on a 486DX-66 with a serious
caching disk controller 24fps is possible in a 640x480 window.

...Again, the prime difference between these boards is not just cost, its
quality of image capture. At 160x120 and 15fps, these boards are essentially
equal. The dividing line comes with .AVI files above 320x240 in size at 15fps
or faster. If you need serious multimedia, then consider splurging for Intel's
RT kit. Otherwise, the Video Spigot may be the better purchase unless you need 
the 3-channel input the Video Blaster provides.

...Going the other direction is the $895 VGA2TV Pro, which allows you to 
display your 640x480 graphics on a TV and/or send them to a VCR for recording.
In addition, the card allows for video input from any NTSC or PAL source, and
lets you overlay your own text and graphics over the signal before sending it
out to your TV or VCR. This little baby is a Genoa product, which as many of 
you may recall was one of the best EGA card manufacturers back during that
standard's brief heyday. Expect good quality output from this card as well.

...From the Buck Godot department: Just when you thought Atari was dead, the
pioneer in game machines tosses another bottle into the ocean in hopes of 
making the company float again. Dubbed the Falcon030, Atari's new 68030-based
system marks a major departure for a non-IBM-based machine - it can use a
standard VGA monitor without any extra cables! In addition, you can plug in 
any audio or video device that uses an RCA jack for I/O. This includes a TV, a
VCR, a Video Camera, a CD player (audio-only), a microphone, a MIDI keyboard 
or analog converter (standard MIDI ports are included as well), or even a

...The key to the Falcon's capabilities is the Motorola 56001 Digital Signal
Processor. Running at 32MHz in the background, this particular DSP supports
eight 16-bit parallel DMA channels, which allows for simultaneous playback and
record. Until recently, the only machines you could find DSP's integrated into
the motherboard were the NeXT boxes. However, the prices for DSP's have dropped
to the point that both IBM and Apple are promising them in their planned next
wave of Multimedia computers.

...In addition to the A/V plug-n-play capabilities of the Falcon, the unit also
boasts a Mac LocalTalk port for Atari-Mac networking, and a SCSI-][ port with
its own DMA channel. This port will work with any SCSI-][ capable drive or
device, which comes in handy considering the Falcon's optional 65Mb internal
hard drive doesn't go very far with today's Multimedia requirements.

...MSRP for the Falcon with 1Mb of RAM, a 1.44" drive, and all the frills 
listed above is $799. With 4Mb and the optional 65Mb HD, the price jumps to 
$1299, which is still a decent price for a MIDI workstation when you get right
to it.

...From the I *NEED* Space department: OCEAN Microsystems has released a new
version of their Vista Magneto-Optical drive subsystem. The V256 stores 254Mb
of data on a single 3.5" M-O cartridge, and boasts an access time of 35ms. 
While this doesn't make the Vista a viable replacement for a regular hard 
drive with a 19ms access time, the size and durabiltiy of the cartridge make 
it an acceptable media for storing large graphic images or for making entire 
drive backups with one or two disks.

...OCEAN still produces the Vista V128, which stores 128Mb per disk at a
slightly slower access time. Prices for the smaller cartridges are around $68,
with the higher capacity carts going for only about $20 more. The M-O drives
themselves MSRP at $1750 for the V256, and about $1400 for the V128.

...CD-ROM prices continue to drop as demand increases. Oddly enough, this
doesn't mean that the drives are 800ms drives either. Mitsumi internal CD-ROM
drives with access times of 350ms have been seen in the trade rags for as low
as $210, including interface card and cable! Texel's 265ms drives have been 
seen as low as $100 below their $499 MSRP, and their previous 380ms drives 
have been seen in the $250 range through mail order.

...Based on the history of the audio CD-ROM, expect to see prices start to 
drop on the carousel players once the 300ms-range drives stabilize in the $175 
range. Sysops will no doubt benefit from the fact that they will be able to 
have several dozen gigs online without having to worry about downloading all 
those files themselves!

...Speaking of downloading files, Philips has finally released the CDD512DW. 
For those not aware, this $7999 jewel is the first CD-ROM recorder to be 
priced under $10,000, and produces 600Mb recordings. To run this unit, you'll 
need at least a 386-25 and a BIG 19ms Hard Drive. It's not an amateur playtoy, 
but if you're serious about slapping all those .GIFs and .WAV files on 
something that won't get purged, and that you can possibly use for a 
commercial venture, then this machine may be what you need to take out a loan 

...Of course, if 600Mb of permanent storage isn't good enough for you, Sony's
apparently been listening to you. Sony's Japanese labs have been working on
reducing the cost of a blue-beam CD-ROM unit that promises over twice that
amount of storage for about the same cost as today's red-beam units.

...Since the wavelength of a blue laser beam is shorter than the red standard,
it can be used to read data bits recorded in smaller lengths. The end result is
a CD that can hold about 1.7Gb of data, or about 3 hours of audio data.

...Don't expect to see this sort of drive in your PC anytime soon. To produce
the beam, the drive uses a semiconductor that's cooled to -196 degrees Celsius
in liquid nitrogen. Then again, if Intel can't get the Pentium temperature down
far enough to prevent chip burnout, Sony might make a killing by combining 
their cooling system with Pentium boxes!

...Side note: Those of you who've bought those Shareware CD-ROM collections, or
have been thinking about producing your own, should know that the majority of
those companies use a Philips unit. The disks themselves run around $40 a pop
when bought in quantities below a thousand, but prices drop sharply above that
level to around $12 each.

...Who needs MS-DOS 6.0? To counter the pseudo-opposition, IBM released its
version of DOS 5.0 to direct market with a surprise bundle including Qualitas
386-Max and Stacker 2.0. The addition of these two utilities was seen by most
industry experts as a rather bold move for IBM, considering the less-than-cult
status of 386-Max and the difficulties between Stac and Microsoft over 
DBLSPACE. In fact, the inclusion of Stacker was seen as a deliberate stab at 
Microsoft from what used to be its staunchest ally.

...The package MSRP'd for $135, but street prices for upgrades were last seen
as low as that of the upgrade to MS-DOS 6.0. Also included with the package is
an offer for an upgrade to Stacker 3.0 for $49. Those running on older AT
systems or XT systems with serious XMS added should consider this package if
you're only just now upgrading from DOS 3.3 or below.

...Texas Instruments has released a new 4Mb VRAM chip that may become the new
industry standard for inclusion in most future video cards. Considering that
SVGA has a maximum standard of 1024x768 pixels, and requires 1Mb to achieve
that, 4Mb will allow for a wider acceptance of IBM's XGA standard - 1280x1024
- with at least 256 colors available on screen.

...Although development samples are only being produced at this time, expect 
the first functional cards to be on display at the Fall '93 Comdex, with mass
produced units avalable around 1st Quarter 1994.

...Own a big EISA file server? Hate backups with a passion? Hate them bad 
enough to consider a RAID array? UltraStor offers the Ultra 124F for lazy 
people like us..er..you. This EISA to SCSI disk array controller supports up 
to 8 logical arrays, each of which can be structured for its own RAID level. 
The card can control up to a whopping *35* different SCSI drives, including 
Fast SCSI-][ devices.

...the basic 124F goes for $1995, and supports three channels out of the box.
The additional 5 channels are gained by purchasing one of three different
daughterboards ranging from 2 channels for $375, or 5 channels for $425.

...From the Sharper Image Rejects department: Those of you who're a bit fumble
fingered should take nOTE of Audio File's Disclift. This $4.99 tool allows you
to pick up your CD-ROM disks by the edges or from the center, and move them
between player and storage case with a firm grip and without getting
fingerprints on the surface. Those of you who are seriously paranoid about disk
scratch should take a gander at this one, eh?

...Corporate Goons take nOTE: Cyrix wants to do some serious business with you
if you're stuck with a lot of 16 and 20-MHz 386DX's. Cyrix will sell their
Cx486DRu2 for $399 to anyone who can purchase at least 500 units. Individual
prices were not announced, as the target market for these chips consists of
those corporations who bought the majority of 16 and 20MHz DX's of this class
of processor when it first came out. When the 386 became available for non-
corporate buyers, the minimum acceptable speed was 25MHz, with 33MHz becoming
the standard. 

...Since most corporate MIS teams were stuck with slower machines which 
are considered impractical for Windows use, the Cyrix chip may become a 
major blessing for those large businesses and agencies whose environments are 
becoming more Windows-oriented as time passes.

...From the Caveat Emptor department: If you're buying a motherboard with one
of those light blue Intel ZIF upgrade sockets under the belief that you'll be
able to easily upgrade to a Pentium/P5/586 when they finally get cheap, be 
aware that there are not one, but *two* official versions of this socket.

...one socket has 238 pins, which will take the DX2 and OverDrive chips, as 
well as the P24T (the 32-bit version of the Pentium, jokingly referred to as 
the P-Two-and-a-half). The other is a 169-pin version that's intended for the
OverDrive chips used with 486SX and slower 486DX systems, and will not handle
the P24T even if you drilled the extra holes!

...Intel has been taken to task in the trade rags for not making the smaller-
pinout version a different color, but as of this writing Intel has all but
ignored any suggestions along these lines. Some companies, such as Gateway and
Zeos, intend to avoid the 169-pin version altogether in their future machines.
But until Intel decides to make things easier for those not in the know, make
sure your board will take the P24T by checking to see if the ZIF has 238 pins
or not!

...From the Holodeck department: Sematech's holographic drive array finally has
a name and a marketing company! The drive, dubbed the "ratpack", is expected to
ship in late 1994 from Tamarack Storage Devices, the marketing spin-off company
who'll be distributing the drives.

...Since the initial announcement of the drive, some specifications have been
made available. The drive uses a red-beam laser to perform I/O on holographic
film mounted in a 35mm slide format. Each slide will hold a gigabyte of data,
and will run about $100 a slide in bulk. Two versions of the drive are planned
initially - one with a removable holder for single-slide usage, the other a 10-
slide array. Drive arrays of up to 50 slides -or pages, as Tamarack refers to
them - have been achieved in tests, and arrays as high as 250 slides are
expected to appear by the end of 1995 for use in major file servers.

...Although no official price has been announced, speculation has been both
extremely high and unbelievably cheap. Pessimists in the industry claim the
drive with go the standard route of first to buy, first to reimburse the 
company for R&D, and charge as high as $15,000 for a single-slide drive, and 
3-5 times that for the 10-slide version. Optimists claim that Tamarack will 
realize the logic in getting the new format into the mass market cheaply, and 
will introduce the single-slide drive for as low as $700 with one slide 

...Of course, someone will figure out a way to Stacker the damn thing and 
double the space, just to be cheap and avoid having to buy an extra slide :-)

...From the Cut Off One Head department: Canon has jumped on the Hydra 
bandwagon with their CJ-10. The complete unit is a combination 400 DPI color
bubble-jet printer, flatbed scanner, and digital color copier all rolled into 
one. Printouts can be made on coated paper or transparencies, while lables are
allowable provided they're also of special paper.

...The price of this unit is a bit steep: $6995, provided you don't want to
print what you scan. If you want the print option, its an additional $2700!
Other options include an editor add-on that allows you to edit and crop your
copies prior to print, and an additional feeder tray for Legal-size paper.

...One caveat to mention: this unit, like most Canon bubble-jet printers, uses
non-permanent ink. Avoid excessive humidity at all costs when dealing with
printouts from this or any other Canon machine!

...From the Ricky Nelson Memorial department: All you Travelling Men - and
Women, for that matter - who need their nightly modem fix but can't hook their
laptops into the local motel phone jacks should consider the Unlimited Systems
Corp's Konexx Kit. The $169 kit contains practically everything you'd need to
establish a hookup between your modem and the phone lines at speeds up to
9600bd, including an accoustical coupler, gator clips, split adapter, and even
a screwdriver!

...From the Lazy Bum's department: sick of replacing that clock battery every
year or so? For $49, MicroApps offers people like you the Permanent Power Pack.
Just replace your clock battery with this little jewel, plug in a spare power
connector, and the IC-based regulator keeps the CMOS from vanishing for the 
life of your PC. Perfect for people who're scared to go under the hood of 
their PC, or simply can't find enough time once a year to replace the battery 
before the CMOS gets wiped!
               ³         Playing Ping-Pong with 1@1          ³
               ³       Inside the Sub Pinging System         ³
               ³          by Star Gazer (1@3101)             ³

This is a basic overview of the method to have your sub listed in SUBS.LST
on WWIVNet. I have posted such instructions several times, and will send
it to any who request them. Reasons for writing this include that I have
written a network coordination package, and that I am Group 8 SUBS.LST person
for WWIVNet Group 8 (ie., I create and distribute to members of the group a
list specifically of Group 8 subs, sorted (reasonably well) by topic.)

These instructions are 4.22 specific. Instructions for prior versions of WWIV
are available, please email me (1@3101) or someone else like Filo. I believe
that instructions similar to these will be included in the Net33 docs, but.. ;)

[Editor's Note: If you're not running 4.22, the improvements Wayne has made to
the network management sections make the effort involved in upgrading more than
worth it!]

  A. Name       : WWIV New Sysop's Forum
  B. Filename   : NEWSYS
  C. Key        : None
  D. Read SL    : 60
  E. Post SL    : 60
  F. Anony      : No.
  G. Min. Age   : 0
  H. Max Msgs   : 50
  I. AR         : C
  J. Net Info   :
         Network     Type   Host    Flags
      a) WWIVNet     5253   5252
  K. Storage typ: 2
  L. NetValidate:  No
  M. Require Ansi:  No
  N. Disable Tag:  No
  O. Description:  WWIV New Sysop's Forum for Help & Advice on WWIV

The Sub Ping sent out by someone on the net (usually, but not always the
SUBS.LST Coordinator.)  The ping gathers information from your boardedit
entries (like the one above) concerning the subs you host on that particular
network. In WWIV 4.22, this is made much easier because everything the sysop
has to do is in Boardedit, and not in the SUBS.PUB file used earlier.

Options of interest to the Network:

A) This is the local sub name. This is retrieved by the ping IF (and only
   if) the "O" option for description is empty. Otherwise, it gets the sub
   title from the description.

J) When you choose to host a sub, it asks you for the following information:
    SubType   (This is the reference index for your sub, determined by whatever
               a particular net uses...)

    Host      (Yourself, automatically filled in by the BOARDEDIT routines)

    Auto-Req  (You probably know what this does, so I'll just say that if the
               sub ping finds this set to true, it adds the "R" modifier in
               SUBS.LST for your sub)

    Auto-Info (This is a toggle - if false, the sub ping will NOT detect the
               sub and put it in SUBS.LST. If it is true, the sub WILL be
               listed. For Ethical reasons, it is best to list your sub even
               if it is private, and just have autoreq turned off)

N) This toggles the "T" modifier in SUBS.LST - telling the subscriber to turn
   on tagline restriction or not. 

O) This is the title of the sub as listed in SUBS.LST. *Warning* - Net32 and
   below truncate the field to 40 characters, this will be fixed in Net33.

Obviously this is not too complicated ;). I've probably forgotten something,
but I don't think so. ;). Some networks use additional modifiers not stored
in boardedit, such as Gating, WWIVServe, etc. Those are traditionally entered
manually, which is not suggested on a network of this size ;). Some other
networks compile the whole list manually - just because it works automatically
on WWIVNet doesn't mean it will work elsewhere.


Now time for a shameless plug for my own software. If a net, that you are
currently a member of, does not use auto subs.lst compilation, or auto-updates,
encourage that network to invest in network coordination software. It tends
towards a more stable network, an easier time on sysops, and the prices on
such software drop on a regular basis. I offer a package of my own, currently
in beta-test, that does not have a snappy interface, but performs functions
such as subs pinging, subs.lst distribution, updating net data files, sending
source verified email, etc. This software will probably have a registration
cost of $15 per network. (ie., the coordinator gets a copy of the EN part,
and all boards on the net get the DE part. All for $15 ;).

               ³          Filo's Mod of the Month            ³
               ³              by Filo (1@2050)               ³

The Mod-of-The-Month Selection represents my choice of what appears to be a 
useful, practical mod to WWIV. It does not mean it is the best mod posted or
even that it works as I may not have tested it. Given the limitations of this
media, uuencoded mods are NOT eligible for selection as mod-of-the-month.

This month's selection is another contribution from Frank Reid (1@870), 
in Spain.

³ Mod Name: FR025.MOD          Mod Author: Frank Reid 1@870                 ³
³ Difficulty: Novice Modder       Date: April 30, 1993                      ³
³ WWIV Version: 4.22                                                        ³
³ Files Affected: NEWUSER.C FCNS.H                                          ³
³ Description: New User enhancement to automagically append the "-" or "/"  ³
³ delimiter when a user inputs birthdate, voice phone or dataphone.         ³

1. Getting back into the swing of things!  Still rebuilding v4.22 (probably 
in time for v4.23's release!), but as I do, I will release any mods that might 
be useful to others.

2. Please back up your source. I take NO responsibility for ill effects of 
this or any of my mods. However, I'd be happy to help you get a mod working. 
I have tested this on virgin v4.22 source.

3. Description: This was requested today on Mod Talk.  What it does is put 
the appropriate, function-specific delimiter (separator) when a user reaches 
the logical place in an input field for fixed-field functions, such as birth 
date, phone number, etc. If you have installed my set New Files Scan date 
mod, you already have the "getfld(..)" function somewhere in your source.

4. Credits: The function is primarily Jester's, who really is an excellent 
programmer and I wish he'd release more mods!  

5. Mechanics: You'll find the function "void getfld(..)" generic enough to 
use in several areas of the BBS, but the most logical are the newuser input 
routines and the input new files scan date prompts, both of which I've 
addressed in FRxxx.MODs. However, I've left Jester's original comments/ 
header in the function in case you want to port it somewhere else.

Okay, it's not a tough mod, so here goes...

The following notations are used:

==  Existing 
=+  Modified 
++  Added 
--  Deleted

** Step One **

Back up your source code!  Although this is a short mod, it may not work on   
your system and you'll regret not having a backup!

** Step Two **


At the top, add the following function before "int check_name(char *nn)" :

/* ³ Function: void getfld(char *str, int *format, char *delims,      ³ */
/* ³                       int *abort)                                ³ */
/* ³ Description: Gets input as a formatted string. Enter is assumed  ³ */
/* ³              at the end of the string.                           ³ */
/* ³ Paramters:   char *str     - String to return input.             ³ */
/* ³              int  *format  - An array that tells how the input   ³ */
/* ³                              fields are to accepted.             ³ */
/* ³                              format[0] = Total number of input   ³ */
/* ³                                          fields.                 ³ */
/* ³                              format[1] = Length of first field.  ³ */
/* ³                                .                                 ³ */
/* ³                                .                                 ³ */
/* ³                                .                                 ³ */
/* ³                              format[n] = Total input length.     ³ */
/* ³              char *delims  - Delimeters to use between fields.   ³ */
/* ³              int  *abort   - Set true if user aborted the field. ³ */
/* ³ Notes:                                                           ³ */
/* ³ Returns: Void.                                                   ³ */

void getfld(char *str, int *format, char *delims, int *abort)
  int             count,        /* Current input field.       */
                  fields,       /* Total input fields to get. */
                  sub,          /* Current number of characters. */
                  counter;      /* Current offset in string.  */
  unsigned char   ch;           /* Character Inputed.         */
  fields = format[0];           /* How many fields there are. */

  sub = counter = 0;            /* Zero variables.            */
  count = 1;

  while (!hangup && !(*abort)) {
    if (counter == format[fields + 1])

    if (format[count] == sub && delims[count - 1]) {
      str[counter++] = delims[count - 1];
      outchr(delims[count++ - 1]);
      sub = 0;
    ch = getkey();

    if (ch == 8 && counter) {

      if (str[counter] == delims[count - 2]) {
      if (sub < 0)
     sub = format[count] - 1;

    } else if (ch == 13 && (counter != format[fields + 1]))
      *abort = 1;
    else if (ch > 31) {
      if (ch != delims[count - 2]) {
     str[counter] = ch;
  str[counter] = '\0';

  if (hangup)
    str[0] = '\0';

Search for "void input_phone(void)" and make yours look like this:

void input_phone(void)
  int             ok, i, abort;
  char            delims[3];
  static int      fields[5] =
    3, 3, 3, 4, 12

  abort = 0;

  strcpy(delims, "--");

  do {
    prt(2, ":");
    getfld(thisuser.phone, fields, delims, &abort);

    ok = valid_phone(thisuser.phone);
    if (!ok) {
  } while ((!ok) && (!hangup));

/* Hop down to "void input_dataphone(void)" and make it look like this: */

void input_dataphone(void)
  int             ok, i, abort;
  char            delims[3];
  static int      fields[5] =
    3, 3, 3, 4, 12

  strcpy(delims, "--");

  abort = 0;

  do {
    prt(2, ":");
    getfld(thisuser.dataphone, fields, delims, &abort);

    ok = valid_phone(thisuser.dataphone);
    if (!ok) {
  } while ((!ok) && (!hangup));

/* Hop down to "void input_age(userrec *u)" and make yours look like this: */

void input_age(userrec * u)
  int             a, ok, y, m, d, abort;
  char            ag[10];
  static int      fields[5] =
    3, 2, 2, 2, 8
  char            delims[3];

  strcpy(delims, "//");

  do {
    do {
      pl("Input your birthdate in the form:");
      pl(" MM/DD/YY");
      abort = 0;
      getfld(ag, fields, delims, &abort);

      sscanf(ag, "%02d/%02d/%02d", &m, &d, &y);
    } while ((!hangup) && ((m > 12) || (m < 1) || (d > 31) ||
                           (d < 1) || (y > 85) || (y < 30)));
    ok = 1;
    if (((m == 2) || (m == 9) || (m == 4) || (m == 6) ||
         (m == 11)) && (d == 31))
      ok = 0;
    if ((m == 2) && (((y % 4 != 0) && (d == 29)) || (d == 30)))
      ok = 0;
    if (!ok) {
  } while ((!ok) && (!hangup));
  u->month = (unsigned char) m;
  u->day = (unsigned char) d;
  u->year = (unsigned char) y;
  u->age = years_old(u->month, u->day, u->year);


*** Step Three ***

This is not necessary if you can/do use 'MAKE FCNS' from the command line.

Open <FCNS.H>

Search for "/* File: newuser.c */" and add the new function at the top:

== /* File: newuser.c */

++ void getfld(char *str, int *format, char *delims, int *abort);
== int check_name(char *nn);
== void input_name(void);

Save <FCNS.H>

Told ya it was an easy mod!  Recompile and you're done. 

Drop me a note to say "Hi!" if you use this mod. (And drop one to Jester 
@3362 to tell him to write more neat stuff!)

               ³         WWIV on Internet and Usenet         ³
               ³            by Jay Walker (1@7659)           ³

On Internet, there is currently a Call For Votes for the formation of
comp.bbs.wwiv, a newsgroup dedicated to talking about our favorite software. 

The official CFV has already been posted on Usenet, as well as several of the
WWIVNet Sysop Subs, but I will summarize here:

We are trying to make a newsgroup for WWIV in order to draw some attention to 
WWIV and to dispell some of the negative feelings that many Internetters seem 
to have for WWIV. It will also assist those interested in connecting their 
WWIV board to Internet or their Internet board to a WWIV net.

Internet is an incomprehensibly complex network. It began as an
electronic link between North Carolina University and Duke and has quickly
grown to tens of thousands of sites and tens of millions of users at colleges,
universities, businesses, government agencies, and BBSes in North America,
Northern and Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Eastern Asia. Usenet
is a part of Internet and carries newgroups - Usenet-speak for message bases.

Where does WWIV fit into this? It plays a very small part. It is one of
many BBS softwares that occasionally gets mentioned in BBS newsgroups. But,
it is possible to hook up your BBS into Internet using the Waffle BBS program.
Making WWIV Internet-compatible in future versions is a likely (if not
already planned) addition.

Anyone who is on a non-WWIV network such as FidoNet or Internet or who
reads BBS magazines knows that WWIV does not get a lot of respect. Because
the recognition that Wayne Bell and WWIV rightly deserve is lacking, it is up
to we WWIV SysOps to extol the virtues to people unfamiliar with WWIV.

Currently on Usenet, there is a movement to create a newsgroup dedicated
to WWIV. Right now, the voting period is going on and ends June 18. YOU can
vote, and your voice deserves to be heard. Even if you don't have an account
on Internet, you may likely have one soon. Freenets are appearing in many
cities and most of the commercial services offer some type of communication
link with Internet and Usenet.

The voting period is May 19th to June 18th.

To vote, please use the official ballot included below and send it to:

You must include your Last name, First name and E-Mail address.

On WWIVNet, @506 and @511 have agreed to allow votes to pass through their
gateway, so send mail to fsspr#camelot.acf-lab.alaska.edu@<506 or 511>

The following is taken from the official Call For Votes:

Official Ballot for new comp.bbs.* additions (May - June 1993)

Please vote yes or no (or you may abstain) on the following proposals:

Create comp.bbs.development?      Yes/No/Abstain
Create comp.bbs.searchlight?      Yes/No/Abstain
Create comp.bbs.wanted?           Yes/No/Abstain
Create comp.bbs.wwiv?             Yes/No/Abstain

Voting Rules

Votes posted to any newsgroup will not be counted.

Votes E-Mailed to any address other than the one designated for voting
will not be counted. You may contact me at either of the addresses
found in my .sig if you have problems in getting E-Mail delivered to
the voting address, and I will try to help you out. But I will not
accept votes at any address other than the one designated above for

Votes must be unambiguous expressions of your choice for each
individual newsgroup proposal. Statements such as "I will vote for
xxx if..." will not be accepted. The time for discussion on these has
passed; you are voting on the individual charters, as outlined at the
end of this article. Blanket votes, such as "I vote for all of them"
or "I vote against all of them" will likewise be rejected.

Only one vote per individual will be permitted. In the event that
more than one ballot is submitted from an individual, only the most
recent ballot will be counted. Votes must be sent by the individual
voting. Forwarded votes will not be counted. Votes mailed through
anonymous services will likewise not be counted.



Official Ballot for new comp.bbs.* additions (May - June 1993)

Please vote yes or no (or you may abstain) on the following proposals:

Create comp.bbs.development?      Yes/No/Abstain
Create comp.bbs.searchlight?      Yes/No/Abstain
Create comp.bbs.wanted?           Yes/No/Abstain
Create comp.bbs.wwiv?             Yes/No/Abstain

    Last Name, First Name (email address)



[Editor's note: due to space limitations, only the comp.bbs.wwiv section of
the list of proposed charters is reprinted here. For a complete charter list,
please contact the author via E-Mail.]


PROPOSAL #4 - Create comp.bbs.wwiv 

PURPOSE - The newsgroup comp.bbs.wwiv would be for general discussion related
to the WWIV (World War 4) BBS software, the current/future interfacing of WWIV
to the Internet and/or Usenet, and to a lesser extent, the networking
capabilities of WWIV and the WWIV-based networks that are currently available.

RATIONALE - Many of the things said about comp.bbs.searchlight applyhere. A 
WWIV newsgroup was proposed to alt.config back in November.It generated a
pretty substantial amount of discussion, but nothingever came of it. I feel 
that the issue does need to be resolved.Speaking of the software itself, I 
have noticed quite a bit of cross-interest between WWIV users and Usenet users.
WWIVNet has hosted several networked discussion areas about the Internet and
Usenet for many years. Gating began in earnest last year with the development
ofthe WWCP gateware package. Gating is still in its infancy (i.e. it is nowhere
near the size and scope which exists in Fidonet), but a newsgroup could help to
further interest in gating. For instance, there was talk about porting WWCP to
[Unix-based] platforms. Plus, the software itself has made great strides in 
recent months, and could very well become a major force on the BBS scene in the 
years to come. 

CONTENT - Appropriate topics for comp.bbs.wwiv would include:         

Questions and answers on where to obtain the software    

Setting up the software

Configuring doors and utilities;  this would include discussion on the 
compatibility of doors with WWIV   

Networking issues related to WWIV, with particular emphasis on connectivity 
issues related to Usenet/the Internet and WWIV-based networks.   

The future development of the software, either as envisioned by the readers of
the newsgroup or by Wayne Bell   

Lists of BBSes running the software; ads for individual BBSes should be highly
discouraged, though.

Discussion and debate on items which are WWIV "hot topics," such as the merits
of millions of different WWIV-based networks, or the use of color and ANSI, 
will be tolerated, provided that such discussions don't degenerate to meta-
discussions and/or flame wars.

Discussion about VBBS will be tolerated as well, provided such discussion is 
limited to the relationship of VBBS to WWIV and/or WWIV networks, and WWIV 
network connectivity issues under VBBS.


Your vote for the WWIV newsgroup will help even if you don't plan on being
a part of Internet. With increased exposure, more SysOps will become
interested in WWIV and WWIV nets and will join them and make the net you are
in a better one.

               ³                Type 0 Forum                 ³
               ³         Edited by Omega Man (1@5282)        ³

The Type 0 Forum is WWIVnews' "Letters To The Editor" section. Comments,
criticisms, questions, and suggestions can be sent to WWIVnews c/o 1@5282.
WWIVnews reserves the right to edit any submissions for either clarity,
punctuation, or spelling, but will endeavor to maintain the content integrity
as close to that originally submitted as possible.


Dear Editor:          

I have been running a WWIV based bbs since 10/10/92 in a small rural community
in North Carolina. My Board Now has 60 subs 20+games and over 500 good files.
My question is after all is said and done, what is the best way to get users to
use the network. I have tried everything sort of closing the transfer section,
to get people to use the subs, yet if they use them at all, all they do is read
them. I have rebuilt the user base in this town that has diminished over the
last few years due to the younger users, going of to college, etc. and have
managed to find older users who I know have opinions of what is going on in the
world, yet I cant seem to stress to them the benefits of using the network on
a regular bases.

I am writing to you, in the hopes that you have run into this sort of thing
before, and have written, or posted an article in WWIVnews, about increasing 
sub usage, and can mail me a copy of it, or at least, open a debate about it 
in your forum where all of us can reap the benefits of what tends to be the 
most costly aspect of being a sysop.

                                                        Lord Agar (1@29950)

Editor's Reply:

Lord Agar's query echoes the one common dilemma that has plagued the majority
of sysops since Ward Christiansen first implemented Xmodem: How to keep one's
BBS from deteriorating into a haven for file leeches.

As most of us have come to realize by now, there doesn't seem to be any 
real answer to this problem. This is due primarily to the fact that while most 
sysops agree the problem exists, there are differences of opinion as to just 
how serious this problem really is. 

Some sysops see file sections as being deadly to a BBS. When a file is 
downloaded, the board's availability for message traffic and other functions is
reduced. As a result, the message traffic slows to a crawl in both directions,
which is anathema for any message-oriented BBS. These sysops usually close 
their file sections to all users, but in turn find that their user base begins
to dwindle in size unless the message bases are of a nature that promotes 
continue dusage.

Some other sysops see file sections as a necessary evil, and find a common
ground by granting the message readers more time on the system per call, and
enforcing upload/download ratios to at least ensure that the system gets in as
much as it gets out. This compromise tends to work in most cases, and its 
degree of success appears to depend upon the nature and content of the file 

Still more sysops could care less about the message bases, and have their BBS's
set up for file transfers only. However, virtually all of them have at least 
one message base which they use to post system news and bulletins. Getting the
users to newscan this sub can be the same as pulling teeth without implementing
one of the several mods designed to force a newscan of a particular sub.

So, as you can see, there's really no clear cut solution to the problem. The
suggestion I make to most people is to take the compromise position. Making a
file leech use the subs is the same as leading a waterlogged horse to water and
trying to make him drink against his will. Strict enforcement of file ratios
tends to chase most leeches off for other leeching grounds, which in turn gives
your posters and not-so-leechers a bit more time to use the board to its

I invite everyone to send in their comments on this problem, as its effects 
help determine whether a BBS is successful or not.

Dear Editor:

Everyone, no matter what our age, likes to be recognized for our achievements.
But once we have gotten the recognition we so painlessly strived for, is it the
type we wished, or the bad kind, the recognition that under all our flash and
BS, lies code that is difficult to read, or code that is incomplete or just
doesn't work.

Everyone makes mistakes, and its easy to miss a piece of code that needs
to be added, but its how many mistakes on how many mods that separates the C
programmers from the C wannabees.

I received an email from a BBS'er who used one of my mods, and what little
he/she said, was music to my ears. The mail said, "I installed you JRFCLR2.MOD,
and it worked great and was easy to install!" And with that, he/she signed
their handle.

While there is really no set format or style for sending out mods, with the
exception of the header suggested by Filo, their are some standard conventions
for posting mods that should be used.

Step one: remind the modder to back up their source. While that would seem to
be a basic thing, we are constantly getting new users who might not even know
the basics and need the reminding. I have even seen people give the commands for
doing the backups. I feel this is a useless gesture though, as if they need that
much help, your going to have to go to their home anyway, just to show them
where their compiler is.

Step two: show the what and the where of how to implement your mod. The only
difference between a hard mod to install and an easy one is how well the coder
documented the procedure. The instructions you include with your mod should be
clear and concise, and nothing should be left to chance or second guessing. For
example, a search for <this line> is fine, but if <this line> occurs in more
than one place, be sure to specify which one. And if adding a string to a *.str
file is needed, or modification of an add on utility or whatever is required,
document that, as that is part of the mod, believe it or not!

Step three: Proper credits. In C and C++, code reuseablity is an important part
of the language assets. The ability to use existing procedures and routines, in
whole or part, makes us all more productive programmers. As a result we need to
make certain that we share the credit with those who have shared their code.

Many may disagree, but I feel all else is a waste of time and or "paper". The
need to inform everyone of one's lack of responsibility for their code that you
use, or the fact that the code was your first or fiftieth, is really irrelevant
in the end. Same goes for your family history, I might add.

So long as I can keep my code clean, my mods easy to install and bug free, I
won't have to worry, as the end product speaks for itself.

                                                           Rebel 1 (1@2620)

Editor's Reply:

Rebel 1's commentary here echoes - albeit in a more sedate tone - most of the
points I made in a previous editorial concerning the debugging and 
documentation of mods sent over the Modnet. All of us who've worked with 
Wayne's code and implementing Modnet submissions have experienced at least 
once in our efforts a mod whose author either didn't document a needed change 
to something in COM.C or CONIO.C, or failed to mention the need to include a 
variable or two in a procedure header, or even included undocumented calls to 
a procedure that wasn't part of stock WWIV source in the first place, and can't
be found in any of the Modnet collections.

On the other side of the fence, of course, is the issue of proper accredation
of source material. Nobody likes to see someone else get credit for hard work
they didn't perform, and the same goes triple for programmers. As a result, at
least twice a month there can be heard the cries of "PLAGIARISM!!" on the 
Modnet Discussion sub - usually over someone's total duplication of a sublist
(void) or dirlist(void) replacement - and brief flames erupt until Filo steps 
in to put them out.

What's really funny about this, in a morbid sort of way, is that quite a few of
these mods tend to be preceded with "This is my *first* mod"...

However, proper credit is a two-edged sword. Some modders, in a near-zealous
attempt to give due credits, have been known to make their acknowledgements and
kudos longer than the mod itself! In some cases it's even obvious that the
modder spent more time "thanking the academy" than he did cleaning up the mod
and documenting the installation procedures. A suggestion to all modders,
whether experienced or novice, is to follow Filo's guideline for submissions to
the Modnet, and use the standard mod header. An example of this header appears
every issue in Filo's Mod of the Month column, and can be expanded slightly to
allow for proper credits to be given to previous mods. For example, an expanded
header would look like this:

³ Mod Name: OMEGA_1.MOD                 Mod Author: Omega Man 1@5282        ³
³ Difficulty: Pet Rock IQ Req'd         Date: May 31,1993                   ³
³ WWIV Version: 4.22                                                        ³
³ Files Affected: All                                                       ³
³ Description: Upgrades all versions of TAG, Telegard and Renegade to the   ³
³ latest version of WWIV in the only ethical way possible.                  ³
³ Credits: Martin Pollard, Eric Oman, et al, for Telegard.                  ³
³          Whassisname, for Tag                                             ³
³          Whassisothername, for Renegade                                   ³
³          1@1, for WWIV                                                    ³

Again, Rebel 1 speaks quite a bit of proper philosophy here regarding the
posting of mods. Mods need to be documented properly, and appropriate credit
given where said credit is due.

               ³      @506 Usenet Gateway Policy Changes     ³
               ³            by Zaphod Beeblebrox             ³
               ³    (1@6250, 1@506, bryen@tfsquad.mn.org)    ³

Editor's Note: In light of a rise in abuses of gateway privledges on several
of the @5xx gateways, 1@506 has requested that the following bulletin be
included in WWIVNews. In the interests of helping insure some semblance of 
smooth internetworking between WWIVNet and Usenet, and to help prevent further
cases of gateway abuse, here is Zaph's bulletin, printed in its entirety


Over the past few weeks I have noticed an alarming increase in disallowed 
traffic through the WWIVNet <-> Usenet gateway located at @506, WWIVNet. For
technical and traffic reasons, certain items are NOT allowed to pass through
this system. Such items are listed in the information file for the gateway,
available by sending email to faq-request#tfsquad @506.

It has come to my attention that a number of people are using the gateway
without first obtaining this file. It is important that you are aware of the
policies regarding the use of the gateway at @506, because unintentional misuse
of the gateway by even ten people can wreak traffic havoc on this end.

So, for those of you who have not obtained this file and are using the gateway,
here is a quick overview of the policies related to gateway usage at tfsquad:


- NO mailing list subscriptions are allowed without prior approval. If you do
  not know what this is, then don't worry; if you do want to take a mailing 
  list through the gateway, ASK FIRST. Failure to do so will more than likely
  result in your being banned from gateway usage.

- NO ftpmail is allowed, period. Again, if you do not know what this is, then
  don't worry.

- Please keep in mind the 32k limit on messages imposed by WWIVNet. Usenet is
  not limited in such a manner, so anytime you ask for a file or something that
  may be greater than 32k in length, chances are it will come through my 
  gateway larger than 32k and be bounced back to the sender.

- Please obtain prior approval from 1 @506 before attempting to receive 
  anything larger than 30k.

- Please keep your usage of the gateway down to around 15k/day unless you have
  approval for more traffic.


These rules only apply specifically to @506. However, most of the other 5xx
gateways have similar, if not more strict, rules in place. Please be polite
and mail 1 @5xx before attempting to use their gateway.

There are actually reasons for these rules other than my "egotism," as I've
been accused of. Traffic which comes through @506 must be received by me from
my Usenet connection, processed, and then sent back out via the WWIVNet
transport mechanism. Please keep in mind that because of the way WWIVNet
operates, traffic must often pass through three, four, maybe more systems when
moving from my system to yours, costing the systems in between here and there
valuable long distance dollars.

I believe that my gateway serves a valid and useful purpose within the WWIVNet
community, and so long as it's used properly, it can and probably will continue
to operate for some time. However, there is no better way to shut down a
service than by intentionally misusing it.

Also, please make your users aware of these rules. A significant amount of the
traffic that comes through here is from non #1 accounts who will probably not
read this.

As usual, any questions/comments/concerns should be addressed to 1 @506.

               ³        WWIV-Compatible Networks List        ³
               ³            (April Final Edition)            ³
               ³            37 Networks Included             ³
               ³            by Red Dwarf (1@6264)            ³
        Contains updated entries for M.A.G.Net, TeenNet, and DarkNET.
        Contains new entries for TARDISNet, ZNET, NOVAnet, OgdenNet, 
                          SnotLink, and Chess_Net.
Sample Network Entry:

Name [Content] (Nodes) (Date)
Primary Netaddress, Other Address, ...
Hosting BBS - Phone Number
Description Line One
Description Line Two
Handles, Application, Updates

Name         : Network's Name
Nodes, Date  : Number of nodes on <date>
Hosting BBS, : You may wish to call here for network support
Phone Number    and/or setup files. 
Desription   : Sent to me by the network coordinator
Handles      : 'Handles' will appear if this net allows aliases, 'Real Names'
                will appear if aliases are not allowed.
Application  : Is this network's application in the master application file?
Updates      : Does this network use automated update software?

To submit an entry, use the application included at the end of this file.

WWIVNet @13600, WWIVLink @13600
Purgatory BBS - 306-665-0274
Handles, No, No
WWIVNet @3101
Star-Lit BBS - 301-229-2957
Handles, No, No
WWIVNet @9404
Handles, No, No
Chess_Net [Specific] (5) (4-4-93)
WWIVNet @5915
The Duke of Earl - 509-291-3760
Handles, No, No
Dedicated to the philosophy of chess.
WWIVNet @6956, IceNET @6956
Cold Fusion - 619-434-1482
Handles, Yes, Yes
IceNET @5805
Storm Blade - 508-368-7971
Handles, No, No
DeathNet [] () ()
WWIVNet @19982
WWIVNet @7405, IceNET @7405, WWIVLink @17405
Deep Space 8 - 704-553-0780
Handles, No, Yes
WWIVNet @2936, IceNET @2913
Toon Town - 209-323-9412
Handles, No, No
WWIVNet @7670
Cool World - 716-681-7341
Handles, No, No
DragonsNet [Specific] () ()
WWIVNet @6263
Unlimited Enterprises - 612-871-7625
Handles, No, Yes
EliteNET [General] (29) (2-17-93)
IceNET @2462
Alley Closed BBS - 214-238-8121
Handles, Yes, Yes
"The No-Nonsense Network"  Totally democratic network using all
members' opinions and votes. Close and friendly network.
WWIVNet @6754
Data Express - 617-247-3383
Handles, No, Yes
EagleNet [General] (12) (2-18-93)
IceNET @7676
Berek's Homeland - 716-826-4698
Handles, No, No
EagleNet was set up so that users and sysops could order things that
they use everyday and have it sent to their doorstep.
WWIVNet @9957
Baxter BBS - 919-878-0054
Handles, No, No
FILEnet [] () (1-28-93)
WWIVNet @8306
Pocket Universe - 803-552-8654
Handles, No, Yes
GayNet [Specific] (28) (2-1-93)
WWIVNet @15283, WWIVLink @25283
Handles, Yes, Yes
Alternate Lifestyles- don't have to be gay, lesbian, or bi to join. No gay
bashing allowed.
IceNET [General] (706) (4-29-93)
IceNET @1, WWIVNet @7663, WWIVLink @17652
The Great White North - 716-837-0044
Handles, Yes, Yes
Full featured network, fast updates, hundreds of message bases to choose 
from. A friendly place to be. Highly rated, one of the best.
InfiNet [Specific]
WWIVNet @3082, WWIVLink @13051
The Dead Beat Club - 310-599-0479
Handles, Yes, Yes
An exclusively Southern California network. We specialize in regional
topics and making the local BBS scene better.
WWIVNet @8355, IceNET @8385
Handles, No, Yes
M.A.G.Net [General] (10) (4-29-93)
WWIVNet @7107
Psycho BBS - 701-780-9168
Handles, No, No
M.A.G.Net was created to give newer BBSes a way to share information
with other BBSes and help them in getting their BBS going.
NorthStarNET [] () ()
WWIVNet @6259, IceNET @6259, WWIVLink @16259 
AeroTech BBS - 612-935-3505
Handles, Yes, Yes
NOVAnet [General] (3) (4-2-93)
IceNET @2351
? - 213-294-5387
Handles, No, No
NOVAnet is a Programmers Club as well as a general discussions
ranging from the Entertainment Industry to Electronics.
WWIVLink @14063
The White House - 410-760-0712
Handles, No, No
OgdenNet [General] (6) (3-2-93)
WWIVNet @8135, IceNET @8135
? - 801-774-5574
Handles, No, No
Local chit-chat, DHS (local computer group).
SnotLink [Specific] (8) (4-4-93)
WWIVLink @18262
Insomnia - 812-466-4222
Handles, No, Yes
For Terre Haute region BBS' ONLY. A true local network with
a slant towards the silly!
WWIVNet @3484, IceNET @3454, WWIVLink @13495 
Rap City [GSA] - 314-963-7960         
Handles, Yes, Yes
StarNet [Specific] (5) (4-1-93)
WWIVNet @3956, IceNET @3956  
Diamond's BBS - 319-277-0166
Handles, No, No
Local network of teenage boards to facilitate the transfer of files and
e-mail, to take the load off of the local WWIVNet/IceNET server.
IceNET @3402
The Empire - 304-465-5223
Handles, No, No
TeenNet [General] (21) (4-5-93)
WWIVNet @4075, IceNET @4053, WWIVLink @14064
Central Station - 410-315-9854
Handles, No, No
TeenNet is made so that all younger sysops in the world can get
a chance at networking. The network is open to all people.
WWIVNet @8861, IceNET @8857
Blue Thunder - 818-848-4101
Handles, Yes, Yes
WWIVNet @19960, IceNET @9994           
Test Site BBS - 919-760-4811
Handles, No, Yes
TLCnet [] () (1-28-93)
WWIVNet @8306
Pocket Universe - 803-552-8654
Handles, No, Yes
WEB [General] (10) (2-13-93)
IceNET @5802, WWIVNet @5813
Sanctuary - 508-892-8529
Handles, Yes, Yes
WWIVNet [General] (1400) (1-24-93)
WWIVNet @1
Amber - 310-798-9993
Handles, Yes, Yes
ZNET [General] (20) (4-1-93)
No other connections.
The Ethereal Plane - 609-435-5991
Handles, No, No
ZNET was designed in 1990 as an alternative for WWIVNet. We are
looking for BBSes in other area codes for area coordinator positions.
IceNET @2459, WWIVLink @16976
Reynard's Keep - 214-406-1264
Handles, No, No
Send application to Red Dwarf:

1@6264  WWIVNet
1@6256  IceNET
ICENET 1 AT 6256 @16259 (WWIVLink address coming soon)

The File Pile BBS [ASV]:
(612) 351-0144       300/1200/2400 Baud
Auto-Sysop Validation, Netlist Account

To use netlist account:

Download the NETWORKS.LST and net applications file with the "NETLIST"
account. Password is "NETLIST" and last four digits are "0000"  Sorry,
but uploads and updates from this account cannot be accepted. If you
wish to make an account on the File Pile, you can use the ASV.

Unless I get a flood of new corrections or new entries, the next release
of the list will be on:  May 8, 1993

Network coordinators are responsible for checking their network's
information and reporting any errors or incomplete entries to me.

If you do not see this after your network: [gen/spec] (nodes) (date)
(with information in all of them), please send an application so you can
have the new information in it. Please indicate that this is an update
after the network's name. Thank you.

When submitting your networks application, please use the form below.

º                        NETWORKS.LST                                   º
º                                                                       º
º  The following information is compiled as a service to BBS operators  º
º  and has not been verified for accuracy. Attempts are made to keep    º
º  the material current and usable. If you are aware of changes that    º
º  should be made, additions, or deletions, please send them to me      º
º  Information for this listing should only be submitted by the contact º 
º  person for each network.                                             º
º                                                                       º
º  Information should appear in the following format for inclusion      º
º  in the listing. You should also inform me of any changes to be       º
º  made.                                                                º
º                                                                       º
º  Network Name   :                                                     º
º  Contact Person Information :                                         º
º     a) BBS Data Phone Number :                                        º
º     b) Primary contact point: WWIVNet, WWIVlink, IceNET: _________    º
º        Select ONLY ONE above as primary contact point.                º
º                                                                       º
º        Answer all that apply:                                         º
º        WWIVNet Node  :_____________________                           º
º        WWIVlink Node :_____________________                           º
º        IceNET Node   :_____________________                           º
º     c) Do you allow handles in the network:                           º
º  Net Type (General or Specific, chose one):                           º
º  If specific, identify topic specialty (two lines maximum)            º
º                                                                       º
º                                                                       º
º  If general, give a brief network description (two lines maximum)     º
º                                                                       º
º                                                                       º
º  Do you have automatic update software?                               º
º  If you wish, you also may send me an application for the master file.º
º                                                                       º
º  Date and Number of Nodes :                                           º

               ³             Dateline: @#$*()#!              ³
               ³ Editorial Commentary by Omega Man (1@5282)  ³

As most of us are aware of by now, Steve Jackson won his suit against the 
United States Secret Service over the March 1990 raid on Jackson's business.
While the impact upon the BBS world hasn't been quite as dramatically positive
as we would have like to have seen, as detailed in this issue's article by
Polekat on the trial and its outcome, the fact that there is a precedent in a
court of law in favor of the BBS operator and his/her/its users in the event of
questionable tactics by law enforcement officials. While this does little to
grant a "get out of jail free" card to those using BBS' for illegal purposes,
it does give those of us running legitimate systems a bit of relief from any
fears that our systems will be shut down merely on the whim of some Luddite
behind an overpriced desk in Washington D.C.

However, as with any other struggle over rights and privledges, unless one is
willing to use and protect these freedoms odds are fairly good that someone 
will eventually take them away just to spite you. Government agencies don't 
like to be shown up by those they're appointed to oversee, and especially 
don't like it when it happens in front of the press. The BATF found out the 
latter part of this at Mount Carmel a month ago, and the USSS both parts a
month prior to that. While the highly-visible BATF will have quite a task 
ahead of them trying to live down their negative exposure, the somewhat-
camouflaged USSS can simply shrug it off and lie low as is the nature of their
organization. Once the furor has died down, they can simply return to "business
as usual".

But the Secret Service isn't the only government threat BBS operators and users
have to face. Other agencies, such as the FBI and the FCC, as well as the local
Public Utility Commissions, pose similar threats to those posed by the USSS. 
The FBI was involved in the recent - and well-publicized - anti-piracy raid on
Rusty & Edie's BBS in April of this year, while the FCC has, from time to time,
entertained the notion of slapping modem users with a license requirement or
sysops with a mandatory surcharge to their monthly phone rates. The PUC's, of
course, regulate utility rates, and have on occasion attempted to increase 
phone line rates for BBS lines in certain areas "to offset the costs to the
regional phone system caused by increased line usage."

These threats, in reality, have their roots in the private sector, where 
certain elements of the software and telecommunications contingents see
independent BBS operators a threat to their potential profits, regardless of 
how big or how small a BBS is. 

The software industry, for the most part, has shown that it sees unregulated
BBS' as a major threat to their profits. This has been best demonstrated in the
aforementioned case of the FBI raid on Rusty & Edie's BBS. While it was simply
an easy bust of a major multi-node BBS that wasn't being run as tightly a ship
as possible with regards to user uploads, the Software Publisher's Association
took the matter and blew it far out of proportion to further their cause. The
SPA has also reportedly gone on record as saying "this sort of piracy is only
the tip of the iceberg!", and some off-the-record comments to reporters have
promised future busts. 

The R&E bust demonstrates just how jumpy the SPA and the FBI have become over
the merest hint of an illegal BBS. Someone uploaded copyrighted - read: pirated
- software to R&E's, saw that neither their account nor the software had been
immediately deleted by the sysops, and then called the Software Publishers
Association's anti-piracy hotline and blew the whistle. The SPA called the FBI,
and the rest was history. Of course, the fact that R&E had made quite a few
enemies in the .GIF world by editing the BBS advertisements off of .GIFs from
other image processing BBS' and replaced them with their own ads didn't help
matters one iota. It's speculated that this may have led to what was obviously
a "sting" operation, albeit one not staged by a legal or professional
organization. A similar bust was recently carried out by the SPA and Nintendo
after a similar "hot tip" was received, although in this case the BBS in
question was reportedly considered by BBSers in the region to be "the biggest
pirate board in this state!"

The bad part about busts of this nature is that regardless of whether the
board(s) in question were guilty or not, it helps out another private sector
threat to BBS's: the phone company. Ever since the breakup of the Bell system,
the "Baby Bells" have been trying to come up with ways to break into the
information service market. While one would naturally expect commercial
information services such as Compu$erve, Genie, BIX, and America Online to be
the primary targets of any sort of competitive heavy-handedness, the actions
against BBS operators in Texas, Florida and Oklahoma, as well as other states,
only shows that the perceived threat is the small independent BBS operator and
not the big commercial systems. The fact that Southwestern Bell attempted to
shut down the majority of BBS' in Texas through higher rates just prior to
starting their own text information service - which bombed within 90 days, by
the way - is perhaps the best example of this sort of monopolistic tactic.

Where direct pressure on the sysops hasn't worked, indirect pressure has been
applied on the Federal Communications Commission through lobbying. The desired
result is to use the FCC's authority over the use of phone lines to help 
inhibit the expansion of the independent BBS operator population, and to
eventually reduce that population through taxation and regulation. Once the
competition is eliminated through inability to conform to law, the Bell Systems
will then push for control of information services on the grounds that they a)
can conform to regulation, and b) are already set up for it within

However, Uncle Charlie still recalls the days of CB Radio, and how difficult it
was to police 20,000,000 mostly-mobile jaw-jockeys on a budget that had been
neutered so badly by the Ford and Carter administrations that the 11-Meter band
was effectively deregulated to reduce the need for constant policing. As a
result, the FCC is very reluctant to jump in and start to regulate at least
twice as many people even though the majority of modem users aren't mobile. 

This reluctance was further compounded by the negative response to that one
serious proposal, which most of us have seen reposted on the networked subs at
least once every six months. The resulting outcries from the BBS populace upon
sight of this document usually reach a zealous pitch, and the original date of
the document  - 1986 - is ignored. In most cases, letters are actually sent to
the FCC denouncing the bill, the bill's authors, and their entire family trees,
and similar letters are sent to congressmen and senators in hopes of stopping
this already-dead proposal. This continues until either one of the sub hosts
explains the truth about the document, or someone gets one of the FCC's
specially prepared form letters telling them the proposal was circular filed in
1988, and the FCC has no plans to resurrect it or any other modem control plan
anytime in the foreseeable future.

While modem surcharges have been circumvented - if not made politically 
suicidal to implement - the side effect of all this is the FCC's reluctance to
give valued Common Carrier status to Computer Bulletin Boards. Pressure from
both the private sector and other government agencies have helped to convince
those involved in the FCC's decision-making process that while regulating 
modems would not be financially or politically feasible, CC status would grant
systems dealing with matters and material deemed illegal rights and protections
from improper search and seizure that they don't currently benefit from.

After looking at all the evidence, one thing becomes rather clear: the primary
tactic used by all parties involved in the effort to eradicate BBS' now appears
to be "if the government can't tax them out of existence, the private sector 
can at least scare them away as best as possible with higher phone rates and
sting operations".

The dangerous thing is, unless we keep an eye on things, this tactic just might

At the end of Polekat's article, the addresses of the Electronic Frontier
Foundation can be found. Take note of these addresses, and even if you're not
the activist type, take a moment to look into the EFF and its activities. 
Better still, become a member!  As demonstrated in the Steve Jackson trial, the
EFF has proven that it can be an effective representational force for computer
telecommunication users everywhere. 

The NRA for example, has for decades been an effective lobbying force in favor
of their own special interests. When one asks for a primary example of just how
influential lobby groups can be if properly administrated, the NRA is usually
the first one mentioned. The EFF has demonstrated it can be as effective as the
NRA, even with its smaller membership. If such progress can be made with 
limited resources, imagine what could happen if membership was equal to that of
the NRA?

(Then again, imagine where their membership would be if the basic membership
package also included an true, actually autographed group shot of the Grateful
Dead! If the NRA can send stickers and samples of WD-40, who says that John
Perry Barlowe can't twist Bob & Jerry's arms a bit for a good cause? :-))

Again, if you're truly concerned about your rights as a modem user, regardless
of which side of the wire you're plugged in, inquire and join. Vigilance is
necessary where our rights are concerned, and if we're not willing to defend
them then we shouldn't complain when they're taken away.

"You'll take away my computer and my modem when you pry my smoking keyboard 
away from my cold, dead hands!"

See you in a few weeks, eh?


Next Month in WWIVNews:

The debate over UUEncoded file transmissions over the nets has been raging for
several months now, with flames and logics being volleyed across both sides of
the dividing line. WWIVNews takes a look at the issues with editorials from 
both sides, and looks at what might be the possible solution to the matter.

Coming soon in WWIVNews:

MS-DOS 6.0 is upon us at last. However, unlike MS-DOS 5.0, the Gates Boys'
latest upgrade to the industry standard for PC operating systems is reportedly
not as stable as its predecessor. WWIVNews takes a look at the pros and cons of
DOS 6.0, and takes a look into alternatives to MS-DOS as well. WWIV under
Windows 3.1, OS/2 2.xx, and DesqView will be explored as well.

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