II Something Issue # 2

II Something Magazine

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Issue # 2
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a weekly journal devoted to the Apple II family of computers
Sunday, November 5, 1995 – issue 2 – II.Smthg.951105

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Contents
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  • About…
  • Editor’s Greeting
  • Does The Editor Have A Life?
  • Does The Editor Eat Too Much?
  • The Wire Service – Why Don’t You Look In Your Web?
  • The Wire Service – Do It In Hardware
  • Contest! Big Giveaway! Sweepstakes!
  • Multimedia – Does The Editor Still Watch Too Much TV?
  • Multimedia – CDROM is more than a job…
  • Multimedia – Books and Disks
  • Seduced By The Dark Side?
  • Jargon, Slang, & Faces
  • Ouch!
  • Wish List – default archive name in GSHK
  • Next Week! – 11/12/95

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About…
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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 reprint:

“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.”

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Editor’s Greeting
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Welcome to II Something. It’s November 4, 1995 and I’m still using an Apple IIgs.

A couple of weeks ago I got an invitation for “Ms. Clark Stiles” to join the National Association for Female Executives. At first I thought I needed to butch it up a little, but then it dawned on me that, like any other organization, its recruitment is based on demographics (e.g., sexism). Even though there is no basis for assuming that I’ve got an F in the gender field and two X in the chromosomes, my job is in a personnel office, I mean human resources department. At least I can see some humor in this.

Sorry, but there is no section in this issue of II Something for your letters. The last time I was on either online service (except for testing a number while out of town, during primetime) was when I uploaded the 10/29/95 issue. It is sheer vanity to believe anyone has responded to it, since only a handful had downloaded it last time I checked.

My objective is to publish this on a regular basis to gain a following of some sort. In my view, the main trouble with past online publications has been that they’ve been issued monthly or less often, and much of their editors’ time was spent preparing the presentation. II Something is published as a single text file, which remains the most easily accessible format. Since this is Apple II oriented, it makes the most sense to distribute it in SHK format. If this bugs you, send me email with your clearly explained observations.

In case you’ve wondered why you don’t see me in forum or message areas of GEnie or Delphi, it’s mostly due to lack of time and in part due to lack of ability to figure out how to access them. Delphi’s forum areas work similarly to the message areas of BBSes, and in general have a half dozen or more topics containing any number of threads. When I sign into a new forum, it’s easy for me to select the topics that interest me, and read only those messages which fall in that topic. When there are four or five thousand messages available, selecting one or a few topics to begin with can save lots of time.

GEnie’s message areas don’t seem to work for me, so I resort to downloading the archives of old messages. This approach minimizes online time, and of late some edited versions have appeared as archives containing only those messages with real content. I’d love to be able to cruise through the messages myself, but I can’t get it to work right, and although I’ve only asked a few A2 staff, I’m not planning to ask anyone else. With the archives available, I just don’t see the point. I’m just grateful that some of the GEnie members are very active there.

Delphi’s Internet link works very well, and allows my text based term program (Talk Is Cheap) to access URLs (Universal Resource Locators, I believe) of all types, including websites. Delphi’s navigator program interprets the web menus into something I can use and provides the two way communication that would be handled by a graphics-based term program if I were to purchase and use a Mac or Windows box. I’m not going to do that.

Although most of the best things uploaded to GEnie wind up on Delphi (and vice versa), GEnie has more downloads, even excluding the old message archives, and for the most part they are fresher. The downloading menus on GEnie are much, much easier to use than those on Delphi, and there are a handful of programs to process the text dump of the file lists. Delphi has many Custom Forums, and anyone willing to pay about $30 startup fee and $5 a month extra can start their own. This is not like having an Internet or Web site, but apparently there are ways to get that as well (for more cash).

Many of Delphi’s Custom Forums have some sort of left wing political slant, or some sort of paranormal interest, or both. GEnie has much more structure, and less duplication for that reason.

I like both GEnie and Delphi. On the credit card bill I just looked over today I noticed that I spent about $35 on each during the most recent billing period. Yi! That is not going to continue. The plan is to stay within the “free” hours on each one each month.

These few paragraphs are not meant as a capsule review of each service, only to explain why I will not be easy to find in the message bases and to give you reasons to try out one or both (in case you read this article in a newsletter). If Delphi’s Custom Forums were automatically Internet and/or Web sites, I’d still be on GEnie because of the downloads and the higher level of Apple II activity. If I preferred one, I’d dump the other. I don’t, so I won’t.

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.

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Does The Editor Have A Life?
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We now know that I have a job. I hate my job, but I do have one. Some of you may think I watch too much TV, but if you read the previous issue and the article here about TV shows, you’ll realize that I don’t watch as much as YOU do. You may be wondering whether II Something really is about the Apple II, but don’t worry – there is a load of computer information in this issue.

Realizing I’d be going away, I uploaded the first issue with a much later date so I’d have a full week to work on this when I got back. Today while doing some database transactions at work I started to remember ideas I’d had to include in this issue, and made sure to work on it as soon as I got home. Luckily I work better against a deadline.

This is a good place to tell you about my vacation. On October 26 I flew from Kent County International Airport (it has a bas relief of JFK and everything, so quit snickering) to Pittsburgh. The airport there has at least three concourses which are filled with bookstores, gift shops, magazine stands, confectioners, and restaurants, including two TGIFs. That was not the vacation, and I was lucky I had a short layover, then flew on to Rochester where I had a great time for the better part of six days.

There’s a rib joint about 90 minutes from Rochester in Syracuse, New York called the Dinosaur BBQ. It’s a corner neighborhood restaurant and biker joint combination that seems to work somehow. In July, during an earlier vacation (I ONLY had three this year – I only work for the STATE government) I finally got to eat there (twice in two days) and picked up two of their varieties of hot sauce, the habanero-based ones. They had a deal on one of each (there’s also a spicy, not hot, BBQ sauce that tastes similar to very old fashioned catsup), so Dave took the BBQ sauce and I took the habanero ones home for my other great friends (Mike and Jodi) who were keeping an eye on my house while I was away. Before I left for the October trip, Mike mentioned that they’d used up all the habanero sauces (!) and wanted to get some more.

Luckily Dave and Becky’s local grocery store now carries the Dinosaur BBQ line, and by my recollection it’s cheaper there than it is at the restaurant. I also noticed that there were something like forty or fifty varieties of hot sauce on nearby shelves. Here in Grand Rapids, Michigan we are not unfamiliar with hot sauces, and enjoy them quite a lot, but Mike and Jodi need to take a vacation in New York sometime.
Eventually your editor realized what a rube he was and used his passive-aggressive skills to scam a ride to the airport on Halloween. Of course, I ended up in a long layover in Pittsburgh, and had the hot sauce and other unusual items in a duffel bag I’d borrowed to supplement my checked-in baggage. It got heavy. Having been exposed to hundreds of flight crew members pulling those neat carry-on wheeled bags during both parts of the journey, I succumbed to a “sale” in one of the shops on concourse A and transferred my baggage (groceries, shoes, some books) to $160 (with tax) worth of new luggage.

Since I hadn’t flown anywhere in seven years, and had driven to Dave and Becky’s numerous times (eight hours one way, through Canada, or eleven hours when they lived in Camden, NY), and since there were supposed to be air fare wars, I flew. Having done it ($137, versus about $150 round trip by car), I plan to do this more often, and not just to Rochester. The luggage makes much more sense in the larger context. It wasn’t just about a sore shoulder and arm and impulse shopping. Really.

The only bad thing about the trip was that I never got to go to the Compact Disk Exchange, one of my favorite used CD places. I found a ton of stuff off the Internet, and I’ll go into more detail later in this issue and even more so in the 11/12/95 issue.

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Does The Editor Eat Too Much?
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In the premier (10/29/95) I told you about some of my favorite foods. I can’t believe I forgot to mention pizza (not just any pizza, but I’ll eat most things that purport to be pizza). I prefer freshly made (or some frozen) baked pizza, rather than microwaved, and cold pizza for breakfast is often better than warmed up pizza from last night (only if refrigerated in either case).
I like peperoni (my choice if I go somewhere offering one item by-the-slice pizza), mushrooms, black olives (no green!), tomatoes, onions, garlic, Italian sausage, ham, and a few other things. I’ve had pineapple on a pizza (in answer to the one question sure to pop up when people are talking about pizza) once, in the late 1970s, and I liked it, but haven’t had it since. I hate thick crusts. I avoid double cheese.

Most of the success of any pizza can be traced to the sauce. If the sauce can’t be discerned, the pizza is the culinary equivalent of imitation wood paneling (you know, the recycled cardboard with a shiny coating with a picture of woodgrain). There is not a drop of Italian blood in my heritage (unless something happened during those centuries of the Roman occupation of Britain), but I like most Italian food. If you sweet talk I may publish my recipe for very lazy no-boil lasagne and manicotti.

Due to breathing troubles, I like to have soup for breakfast. I also eat mixed vegetables. This is not to say that I eat cold pizza, soup, and mixed vegetables for breakfast every morning (although I’ve been there). Usually I like to eat one of the Progresso soups, expensive though it is, regardless of whether it’s for breakfast or not. I prefer any Progresso soup that is chicken (regular or white meat) and noodle (flat or rotini) based, or lentil or green pea. Others are okay, but they don’t make me dream about them.

When I’m rushed I put some water in a Sunbeam Hot Shot and make up Lipton Cup O Soup Cream Of Chicken flavor. This is just about the only Cup O Soup I like, although I’ve had the Virginia Split Pea which seems to be unavailable. The Hot Shot is also good for making Cocoa Amore Chocolate Hazelnut instant cocoa, but usually in winter. Near East makes various meal-in-a-box kits, and recently introduced 5 minute recipe couscous mixes of various flavors. Couscous is a tiny pasta, and these new kits are easy to make with a Hot Shot.

Mixed vegetables are available frozen in five pound bags at Sam’s Club. I go through a bag of those about once a month. I eat about 12 ounces of mixed vegetables microwaved with some McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper and no butter or margarine. I also use microwaved mixed vegetables in pasta dishes, including spaghetti, rotini, linguine, fettuccini, bowties (any size), and dishes like lasagne. This is a good way to get the recommended daily servings of vegetables.

Kellogg makes Rice Krispies Treats in boxes of 24 and I pick up those about once a month or so. I eat too much candy around this time of the year. My worst vice is probably ice cream, so I’ve been trying to substitute Dole Strawberry Fruit and Juice Bars (not cheap!). Basically, I spend a lot of money on food. I probably spend almost half as much as someone who eats at fast food joints once or more per day. In the next issue, just for laughs, I’ll tell you what I like to get in various cheap fast restaurants, some of them chains, some of them found only in places I’ve been.

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The Wire Service – Why Don’t You Look In Your Web?
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Even non-members of Delphi can access the X-Files web site at http://www.delphi.com, and will be glad they did, whether using a graphical web browser or not. Dave showed me a site I think was called Everything Mac which had an excellent series of links to Apple II sites, including the Woz page. Auri Rahimzadeh, former editor and publisher of Power GS, has a home page linked from Woz’s website , and there’s a ton of other interesting stuff. I’ll have the addresses for some of these things for the 11/12/95 issue.

APS is a hard drive company in the Mac market (http://www.apstech.com). They are closing out the 44MB and 270MB Syquest based models. All sales are final. $99.95 gets the 44MB and $229.95 gets the 270MB. The 44MB model is not of interest to me, but the price on the 270MB model is competitive with the new Syquest 135MB EZ Drive. The prices for the 270MB hard drive cartridge vary in the $60 – $70 range at APS. The 135MB price is much less than half (more like one third, or about $21). It would still be nice to have the extra storage online, but this could also indicate that Syquest is discontinuing the 270MB system. That could make the cartridges harder to find.

Magnavox (http://www.magnavox.com) maintains a website that has its product information, but also has a lot of web links to interesting virtual places. I found a home page containing descriptions of things to do around Rochester, New York, but I found that one just this morning.

Strange Magazine (http://www.cais.com/strangemag) is my favorite magazine. It has articles about anomalous things and events, hoaxes, and most things lumped under the label “paranormal”. GIFs of the covers of past issues as well as book shopping and online articles are available there. I really enjoy drifting in there.

Janet Mobley is editor of the Gravenstein Apple Users Group in Petaluma, California, and one of her articles was reprinted in the P.I.E. newsletter known as Incider (P.O. Box 2185, Santa Clara, California 95055-2185). Janet would appreciate Apple articles for the GSAUG newsletter. Send submissions via email to Janet Mobley@AOL.com or J.Mobley@eWorld.com (must own a Mac as well).

Dave (one of the Rochester friends) determined from my description of II Something that I should have a home page in addition to or instead of just doing this weekly text file. Dave had a number of Apple IIs (including this one) over a period of more than a decade, so he was understandably curious as to how much Apple II content this publication has.

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The Wire Service – Do It In Hardware
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Some years ago Don Lancaster produced a printer driver that used the game port on the GS and twisted pair wiring to a laser printer that yielded a speed of something like 57K baud. I’m curious to know whether the game port could be used to provide a higher speed modem link using a “direct to metal” modem driver, preferably under GS/OS. Does you know if this could be done? I’m sure I could come up with the articles by Don Lancaster and the printer driver itself in case you want to try.

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Contest! Big Giveaway! Sweepstakes!
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Still nothing to report. You’ll notice, however, that nowhere does it say “Big Prizes”. There’s a reason for that.

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Multimedia – Does The Editor Still Watch Too Much TV?
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No! In the past week I haven’t watched much. I went for the sixth or seventh time to stay with my great friends in Rochester, New York (thanks, David and Rebecca!) and amazingly enough we watched a couple of very poor rented videos (major releases, both sucked, won’t mention any names just now), maybe some news, the show Too Something, some other Fox shows, and Friends and parts of other NBC shows.

Am I just kissing up?

X-Files was a re-run from one of the past seasons (can’t remember offhand which episode it was) and we didn’t watch it. Since my return I’ve watched the farewell to Lowell episode of Wings on tape, and reset the clock on the VCR. Missed most of Seinfeld last night, and that’s the extent of my TV watching this week. Tonight I’ll tape X-Files (new episode) now that I’ve set the clock to conform to the damnable daylight savings [sic] time.

Rochester has a show on public access cable called “Life Without Shame”. The host is the personification of the ideals best expressed by Beavis & Butthead, without the advocacy of violence. The show was fun to me for about five minutes, but it seems to be pretty popular. I’ll admit that I have pretty sleazy standards at times, but this show is just not cut out for anything but cable TV. Mostly the host seems to take his camera everywhere he goes and just shoots with a totally improvised script (no script at all, in other words). Most of the places he goes are tanning salons, strip clubs, massage parlors, and impromptu neighborhood keg parties in some of the rough parts of town. It has the same look as “Roger And Me”, but makes that film look like it was shot by some wuss. But don’t avoid it. Embrace it. Make up your own mind. That’s doing the right thing.

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Multimedia – CDROM is more than a job…
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Dr Dobbs Journal publishes CDROMs. One of them which may be of interest is a collection of seven books on graphics programming, including source code and algorithms. Another is Alternative Programming Languages, which I purchased late in October. It has a couple of dozen unusual languages, with source code for each one. My main reason for buying it was to get their version of BASIC, with a view to trying out a port. I’ve had the whole C package from Byteworks for over a year and haven’t worked with it a bit. If I’ve got something complete in source code, I may learn more than I would writing a program to draw a box and print “Hello, World”.

Furthermore, if it works, I’ll have a desktop based BASIC that I would use a lot.

Other languages on the disk include Perl, Glish, Smalltalk, Sather, TCL, MO, Modula-3, Rexx, Lout, Ghostscript, Dylan, Duel, Bob, Neudl, Python, Oberon, Parasol, S-Lang, Quincy, USystems, Distributed C, and GNU. I don’t know what language the source code itself uses on the rest of these. I also don’t know whether I’d ever use them for anything, but it could be quite an education.

In July I got Rochester (NY) Apple C.I.D.E.R.’s Library On A Disk, a CDROM containing that user groups entire Mac and Apple II software library. The person composing the disk had no way to assure that the disk would be usable on an Apple II, and I’ve tried to get any of the data at all using my CDSC-150 on both the Apple High Speed SCSI and RamFAST SCSI. There are two bogus partitions containing garbage on the disk which are nonetheless needed by the Mac (I ran into the same problem with the Mac formatted Zip 100 meg floppy), and since it is not possible to write to a CDROM once it has been burned, the only option that works is to eject. I tried to get the RamFAST to ignore those volumes, but that didn’t work either. I’m a bit ticked and $40 poorer.

Other CDROMs that are around here include a Prodigy signup, an AOL signup, the Titles Sampler from Apple, the Generous Efforts of Many (from 1990 NAUGC), and one or more of the early Develop CDs. I got a book with CDROM that was based on the MacHack conferences. I was interested in the source code for sort algorithms and a few other things.

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Multimedia – Books and Disks
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It has always bugged me that books on the Apple II seldom have a diskette in the back. Generally a diskette is available for an extra charge from the publisher or author, but not in a pocket in the back cover. Distribution of Apple II software has been spotty at best for a number of years. Apple II books have been hard to find (except at remainder stores). I’ve wanted to find a copy of “Programming the 65816” by Lichty & Eyes for a long while and have never seen so much as a remainder copy. Other books have similarly gone out of print and out of distribution. It is now cheaper and more convenient to publish and distribute books on CDROM or in some sort of archive on floppy, but this is just not done for Apple II books out of print.
What I think Apple II users need is a renewed presence in bookstores. We need not worry about hardware updates that make the titles obsolete.

Hardware obsolescence means that there is plenty of information that needs to be available. Development tools need to be available on media accompanying books. Bookstores are places where software is now found, but nearly all bookstores have a section for computer books. These don’t have to be huge books, they just need to be packed full of information and dedicated to specific subjects, such as the Internet and the Web, specific programming languages, graphics, or word processing, but only from the standpoint of the Apple II user.

Software packages with manuals could be published as softbound books (even paperback sized) and offered to a wider audience. Obviously this is not going to be as easy as I’ve seemed to make it appear, and it would have been better five years ago, but this is now.

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Seduced By The Dark Side?
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No! It is true that I used Dave’s “Power” Mac, and later on I used a second “Power” Mac that a local user group won at the user group convention in Toronto a couple of months ago, but I was not impressed by the out of memory problems associated with RISC with a mere 16 megs RAM (8 megs on the user group’s Mac). I like the speed, I like the color, I really like the Internet navigators and the graphics based BBS host on Mac’s Last Stand. I don’t like the cost, the cost of needed RAM upgrades, and the cost of new software and general lack thereof. I figure that in a couple of months Dave will want to upgrade (heh heh) and I’ll be able to get his “old” one pretty cheap (heh heh).

I’ll get the number for Mac’s Last Stand if there is any interest at all – it’s a neat board. I really hope that it becomes an Internet URL if it isn’t already. Its owner just bought a substantial part interest in one of Rochester’s Internet providers, so it could happen.

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Jargon, Slang, & Faces
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I found a dictionary of these things on a BBS in Rochester NY, and downloaded it. Unfortunately I had no way to move all my downloads (and all my successful Sim Cities) onto diskettes and bring them home, so my buddy Dave is waiting for me to send a package of formatted diskettes, some Lawry’s Mexican Rice Mix (see the 10/29/95 issue), and his duffel bag I borrowed. I hope to have the dictionary soon.

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Ouch!
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Still nothing. The closest thing to an error is an update to the name of the Keebler Munch ’ems that I like – Southwestern Style Chili Cheese. I don’t eat them alone – I use Clark dip. See the 10/29/95 issue.

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Wish List – default archive name in GSHK
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I wish GS ShrinkIt would default to the first filename to be archived when assigning a new name to an archive. Right now it always uses “ARCHIVE.SHK” which is useless.

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Next Week! – 11/12/95
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I hope to have more Internet addresses, more food tips, some book reviews, practically no references to my vacation, and pretty much anything I feel like (the usual). I’ve found an Apple II site in Nova Scotia that has some unusual downloads, including an HTML (the interpreted language used to make the Web possible) editor in a Hypercard GS stack which I’ve uploaded to GEnie and Delphi.

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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.