II Something Issue # 1

Issue # 1

II Something a weekly journal devoted to the Apple II family of computers
Sunday, October 29, 1995 – issue 1 – II.Smthg.951029


  • About…
  • Editor’s Greeting
  • The Wire Service – what about online services?
  • Contest!  Big Giveaway!  Sweepstakes!
  • Does The Editor Watch Too Much TV?
  • Where Pretty Much Everyone Has Gone Before
  • Jargon, Slang, & Faces
  • Ouch! – an explanation



As you know, Apple Computer, Inc. owns all of the Apple II computer copyrights and trademarks, including their names.

II Something is offered as freeware – copyright by Clark Hugh Stiles. 

Intact distribution of the entire file is acceptable using online services, including BBSes, or via user group DOMs provided there are no commercial sales.  Individual articles may be reprinted in user group publications only, provided the following paragraph (except for the opening and closing quotes) is included at the beginning or end of the

“This article originally appeared in II Something, a weekly journal devoted to the Apple II family of computers, copyright by Clark Hugh Stiles.  It has been reprinted by permission.  All trademarked names and phrases mentioned belong to their respective owners.  Send email to CHStiles@Delphi.Com or C.Stiles3@Genie.Com via the Internet, or newsletters, disks, products for review, gifts, or bribes to Clark Hugh Stiles, Box 46, Comstock Park, MI 49321-0046.”

Editor’s Greeting

I’m eating Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds while working/playing. 

Prevention magazine had an article a few years ago regarding research done in Australia.  According to the article, the researchers found that a diet high in monounsaturated fats (such as those found in almonds and guacamole and the like) resulted in a huge reduction in that harmful LDL, most likely due the high HDL found in monounsaturated fats.  Since reading that, I’ve been getting enough sodium to fill the Dead Sea.

Another food I like (I’ll quit talking food in a minute) is hideously high in bad fats.  Around Grand Rapids, Michigan it is known as Clark Dip (I hope that’s not directed at me), and consists of one envelope of Lawry’s Mexican Rice Mix whipped into 16 oz of sour cream.  While tasty (especially if left overnight in the ‘fridge) on tortilla or potato chips, it is even good on crackers such as Keebler’s Munch’ems (I forget the variety I like) or Frito Lay’s Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips (the latter combo would make a good choice for a last meal before execution).

Beverages around here consist of pasteurized orange juice (usually get the store brand – although every brand I’ve tried has a slightly different and consistent flavor), Schweppes ginger ale (regular, raspberry, or grape when I can get it.  Also had cranberry when Schweppes tried that flavor a few years ago), milk (lately this as been the lactose reduced kind), filtered water (using one of those Brita pitchers, although the new ‘fridge has an icemaker which when hooked up will have one of those whole-house filters to keep the cubes nice and clean), Vernors ginger ale, and Carnation strawberry Instant Breakfast (mixed with milk).

I’m 6′ 1″ and 190 pounds.  Although I’m too fat for me, I try to exercise and have a couple of walking buddies.  Compared to most people I know, I’m a rail.  I’d love to hear from the four or five readers of this journal how I stack up.  In a future issue I’ll include some government figures for height/weight normalcy.  The good news about the figures is that they are new and based on current averages.  The bad news seems to be that the old figures were better for us.  Life expectancy may not decline, but the health of old people will be worse in forty years because people under forty (and even more so, under 30, and even more so, under 20) take very poor care of diet and exercise.  Let’s all take a walk when I get through with this.

Welcome to II Something.  It’s October 1995 and I’m still using an Apple IIgs.  What am I missing?  The newest machines use CRT screens (preferred, even with laptops except when actually used on the lap), keyboards, mice, and sound to implement an interface with the user.  Hard drives are used for primary storage and boot volumes, while CD-ROMs are used to hold larger data files, and floppy and tape drives are used for current data and backup for the hard drives.  Modems are used for communication with mainframes.  These features have not changed in years; most of them have not changed in decades.

I’m using the Apple II because I’ve already got it and no computer is worth replacing unless a machine comes along that is significantly different.  Home users that stick with the IIgs will not be able to connect to the World Wide Web on the Internet except using a text interface – at least for now.

Future issues will have more Apple II specific information, such as reviews, press releases, contact information for software and hardware vendors, and other publications.  The departments will be based on headings I developed as editor of our local user group.  Please send me anything you know or any kind of feedback about anything you read here.  I may or may not print it, but regardless, submissions become my property to use as I see fit, subject to my own editing.

The Wire Service – what about online services?

It’s my belief that the Internet will come into more homes than ever once the cable tv providers begin to offer access using some sort of adapter box with a standard serial port of some sort, plus a keyboard for use without a computer.  This will make it easier for II users to enjoy the benefits on a nice clean line.  Reports from friends indicate that users of clone boxes and Macs are getting full access for a little more than what I pay for Delphi, but without the extra charges I experience when I exceed the “free” hours.  This is a big change.

One friend was paying $35 a month for Internet access in Rochester, New York.  Now the provider has been bought out and the fee is $15 or so. 

More providers have moved into that city, the third largest in that state, and competition is strong.  Smaller operators everywhere have a temporary advantage because of lower costs.  Since it’s a service and not a product (the Internet isn’t much of any one thing, except for chatter), there is not really any R & D.  HTML (an interpreted page description language) is required for web services, and many books are available, some including HD floppies or CD-ROMs.

Here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, another friend of mine is trying out a local provider of Internet.  It costs about $15 a month, no maximum hours, no hourly charges, local call (not via dial-up networks used for centralized online services), and he said that if he likes what’s offered and the way it works, he’s going to dump Prodigy which he primarily uses for Internet access anyway.

Prodigy has a very easy to use interface, and with updates to the term software provided transparently (at user option) in the background, there is nothing to learn.  I’ve seen similar ease of use with America Online and EWorld, and Compuserve, Delphi, and GEnie have similarly conceived interface software for the clone world.  AOL, EWorld, and Prodigy are specific to clones and to Macs.  I haven’t seen the new Gate’s World or whatever it’s called that ships with W95, but I presume it has similar ease of use.

In other words, ease-of-use is not enough, especially now that webrider terminal software and websites are getting more robust.  It seems to me that, in order to survive, the traditional (!) online services may have to become jumbo Internet sites by offering more features, charging for local access by Internet providers.  This will help the local providers compete with each other, and also change the market for vendors like SprintNet and Tymnet.  Billing of endusers will be handled locally.

Access to the original .edu sites and other non-commercial Internet and web sites probably won’t change, but it seems to me that access to those will be centralized and made easier using marginally competitive and currently (not for long) non-commercial websites, which will begin to be available to local Internet providers by subscription.  The more services available from the local provider, the more local users will subscribe. 

Acquisition of independent services (like Yahoo, and The Webcrawler – ouch!  The Webcrawler has been acquired by AOL) including the traditional (!) online services (ouch!  Delphi has been acquired by Newscorp) will accelerate, even as higher speed and better networks come online (like the local cable tv networks).

Cable tv providers will get a big push into Internet services if many people sign up for those home satellite dish systems.  The picture is better than cable, the monthly fee is about the same, and premium movie

selections are included, as are a lot of sports.  More men than women watch sports channels, more men than women use the Internet.  The satellite services also provide a channel guide and most cable services do not.  The 18″ dish system is available at one of the local Sam’s Clubs around here, and a Sam’s employee told how easy it is to set up the dish (only one satellite is used, so there’s no more motorized dish systems like on the old systems).

Internet consists of interactive entertainment, centering around often pointless virtual conversation, with some prurient (wow!  never used that in a sentence before) file transfers making up a large part of the uploading and downloading traffic.  Dream big!  Perhaps the all-talk shows on tv will go away as the Internet expands.

Contest!  Big Giveaway!  Sweepstakes!

You may be aware of a tv show with a name very similar to this journal.  The show is called Too Something, and Fox just had a contest to rename it.

 I’m hopeful that this journal is around long enough to outlive the joke, at which time II Something could have a contest among its three remaining readers.  Chances are that the show will be dropped so fast that no one will think that this journal could possibly be up to date, and that would pretty much make it necessary to rename it, and would improve the reader’s odds of having the winning entry.

Too Something is on Fox, so even though it is a blast, it probably won’t be around long.  Fox has a habit of introducing good shows in an easy time slot, building an audience, then moving the show opposite the biggest show on another network (opposite Seinfeld in the case of Herman’s Head). 

Married… With Children, one of if not the longest running sitcom in the history of American tv, has done just fine in the same time slot all these years, but it’s such a politically incorrect show that it stays put.

Does The Editor Watch Too Much TV?

Just a minute, let me turn the volume down so I can think of a rebuttal.  Since replacing my tired old VCR (from late 1987) this summer, I’ve gone back to taping the shows I like so I can watch them all at once (like now, although I’m actually making a fair-use doctrine tape of some CDs) and speed through each and every one of the commercials.  The shows I like are pretty popular:

  • X-Files
  • Nightly Business Report (PBS)
  • John Larroquette (when I can find it)
  • Friends
  • Seinfeld
  • Frasier
  • The Naked Truth
  • Unsolved Mysteries
  • Bless This House
  • ST:TNG (via Columbia’s video club – not the reruns)
    ST:DS9 and ST:Voyager (hate ’em both, but still watch ’em)

I used to watch Babylon 5, but I just can’t stand it anymore.  I preferred it to DS9, but it seems to have too much of the serial episode feel to it, without enough continuity to really make any sense.  I like the paranoia of the Psy Korps (my own spelling, since I don’t know how it’s spelled, and this looks like something from the Third Reich), the conspiracy that apparently assassinated the president of Earth Alliance, the invisible critters that seem to be masterminding the reemergence of evil in the galaxy, and the sets and equipment (and virtual reality features of production).  In Grand Rapids we have it on 10 PM Sunday night.  The dialogue was atrocious in year one, but contrary to expectation, improving the writing has ruined the show for me.  Perhaps I just can’t take scifi tv seriously anymore, and need to have it played for laughs.  My favorite classic Trek episodes include “The Trouble With Tribbles” and “A Piece Of The Action”.

Paranoia is always fun in tv shows.  I say, scare me so badly I just fill my pants.  One of the most memorable paranoid exchanges was near the end of the first year of X-Files, when the Deep Throat character snapped at the Mulder character, saying “Roswell was just a cover” for the real UFO crash!  Imagine the level of paranoia it would take to believe that this well hidden apparent UFO crash was just a cover story, hidden by false secrecy fronted by two different balloon crash stories!

Yes, I watched the Alien Autopsy.  I miss the shows Encounters and Sightings, and I’ve been wondering when Strange TV will come about.  The odd thing is, I don’t like or watch any kind of serial killer movies or so-called thrillers.  I also don’t watch true crime shows like Cops or

America’s Most Wanted, although Unsolved Mysteries has true crime segments and I watch that show.  Some could argue that X-Files is a thriller, but try to imagine an X-Files episode (or ten of them) revolving around some twisted psycho Satanist with a chain saw, or some undead jerk with claws for hands and a hat some extra threw away after a job in a spaghetti western.  It would just suck.

Unsolved Mysteries is a very clever combination of tearful reunions of broken families or long-parted friends, at-large ne’er-do-wells, UFOs, cryptobiology, ghosts, and other paranormal activities, and occasionally historical mysteries like the Mary Celeste (they did a very good job with that one).  The season opener was broadcast last week and it reeked, which was a big surprise.  I hope they devote this season to more UFO segments (like one a week!), with interviews or a special correspondent, although having said that, Robert Stack is the perfect host.

Frasier was my favorite show last season.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something has changed (other than the dog).  Seinfeld was pretty slow last season, but seems to be back this season.  The John Larroquette Show was preferable to either one, but I haven’t seen many this season. 

The Naked Truth stars Tea Leoni, who I just loved on a Fox series Flying Blind a couple years ago.  Writing is pretty okay, she’s still big fun (a lot of bumbling physical comedy), but my guess would be that it won’t go anywhere, which is too bad.  I really miss Flying Blind.

Bless This House is a very blue collar comedy starring Andrew Clay, best

known (infamously) for his Diceman character in his standup comedy act. 

This one has a lot of character, and I like it pretty well, but I don’t

know how it is going to succeed unless CBS really nurses it, promotes it,

and keeps it in its slot so it can build an audience.

The Nightly Business Report is something I watch nearly every day.  You

can figure out what it’s about.  Paul Kangas has been on the show since it

began and has this droll, punning, fast moving sense of humor that I like.

 All online services that I’ve seen offer stock quotes, but the NBR has

stories and commentary that just never find their way onto any network

news program, or do so long after NBR covers them.

Friends is a lot of fun.  I hope that the writers don’t get too nutty

about the unrequited love plot, although it’s more likely that they’ll toy

with us for this season, with a cliffhanger in which the Ross and the

Rachel characters do the dirty, then string us along for nine more years,

more or less like Cheers.

This season the four major networks have attempted to take heed the

success of Friends by introducing something like fifty new sitcoms, which

is seven per night, or approximately two per network per night.  Sitcoms

tend to be a half hour long, so that wouldn’t be any big deal, but there

are also a number of sitcoms that are around from the previous season, not

to mention shows, both new and old, that fall in other categories.

Where Pretty Much Everyone Has Gone Before

ST:DS9 is getting more like Babylon 5, in that it has more combat, and there is more travel and episodes set away from the station.  I can’t tell you what my favorite episodes are, because none of them stand out in my mind, even though I’ve seen them all.  The increased combat makes the show a little bit more like the original series, and the most recent episode, “Hippocratic Oath”, has the doctor trying to violate the Prime Directive without all of the usual endless debate about it, despite the fact that the doctor and O’Brien were in disagreement about those activities.  What a relief!

The Klingons’ split with the Federation seemed pretty contrived.  It looks like some of the soldier race (jem hadar, don’t know how it’s spelled) that serve the Founders in Gamma quadrant are going to become like the deviant Borg (Hugh and his associates) from ST:TNG, one way or another. 

Rather than fool with us, I think the writers should have the Klingons and Romulans at war, but as a distant struggle that is ominous, and can be let go on for a couple of years, more or less like World War II, before the Federation gets dragged into it.  Then the DS9 station could have a steady stream of refugees from unheard-of worlds and have something to write about, without having to resort to Worf all the time.

On that note, I’d like to say that a Klingon-Romulan war could provide the basis for a whole new spinoff, with nothing but aliens!  It wouldn’t have to be 48 minutes of killing per week to get me to watch if that were the case.  It’s also something the Star Trek family has never done.

Where the original series Star Trek was proposed by Gene Roddenberry as “Wagon Train in outer space”, Voyager is “Gilligan’s Island in outer space”.  The difference between those two series is that on Gilligan’s Island, I can at least hope the characters make it home.  On Voyager I couldn’t care less.  In either case, I know the outcome.

The biggest recent defect in both series is the reliance on temporal anomalies.  On ST:TNG, the time travel episodes were high points, and the big defects were all those episodes with out-of-control holodecks.  If the holodecks were that big a problem, they’d be disconnected and never used again.  What would really be fun is to be able to go through every last episode and edit together all my favorite scenes, because most episodes of all the ST series have fun or exciting scenes or short interactions.

I hate ’em, but I still watch ’em.

Jargon, Slang, & Faces

Spend time reading messages on BBSes, online services, or the Internet/web, and you’ll find lots of abbreviations and odd text that makes your spell checker wonder what’s going on.  BRB means “be right back”, smiley face dictionaries are available, and typing in all caps (which looks stupid anyway, but some users have no choice due to their hardware or software) is analogous to shouting.  I’m not going to keep track of what all of them mean.  You may see a dictionary here, if I happen to find one online, but don’t expect me to try to keep track of all that stuff.

Ouch! – an explanation

From time to time it may be necessary to make corrections to information found in previous issues.  This is the spot to find it.  Since this is the first issue, there is nothing to correct.

II Infinitum

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About the Author

Clark Hugh Stiles

Welcome to II Something. It’s October 1995 and I’m still using an Apple IIgs. What am I missing? The newest machines use CRT screens (preferred, even with laptops except when actually used on the lap), keyboards, mice, and sound to implement an interface with the user. Hard drives are used for primary storage and boot volumes, while CD-ROMs are used to hold larger data files, and floppy and tape drives are used for current data and backup for the hard drives. Modems are used for communication with mainframes. These features have not changed in years; most of them have not changed in decade.