T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III    May    2009
    | .----------------------. |      dr.debug: dr.debug @ filegate.net     |
    | | A monthly E-Zine     | |      bbslists: bbslists @ filegate.net     |
    | | published by Fidonet | |      articles: fidogazette @ filegate.net
    | | to promote BBSing    | +------------------------------------------+
    | |          ____________. |                                          |
    | |         /  __          | "Anyone who has never made a mistake     |
    | |        /  /  \         |  has never tried anything new."          |
    | | WOOF! (  /|oo \        |                      Albert Einstein     |
    |  \_______\(_|  /_)       |                                          |
    |             \@/ \        |       Got Something To Say?              |
    |             .---.\    _  |              Say it in the               |
    | (jk)  _     |usb| \   \\ |           =The FidoGazette=              |
    |      / |    .___.  \   ))|                                          |
    |     /  |    /_ |  /  \// |         Editor: Janis Kracht             |
    |    |___|   // || _\   /  |         janis @ filegate . net           |
    |    .--`-. (_|(_|(____/   |         janis kracht 1:261/38            |
    |    |____| (jm)           |                                          |



    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III    May    2009

    News: New Members (Z1) .............A list of new members! (3)
    In the Works (Z1)..........................................(3)
    A Hardy Net 129 Welcome....................................(3)
    Region 13 Election.........................................(3)
    Support your favorite FDN and promote your BBS!............(4)
    FidoGazette BBS List.......................................(5)
    Dr.Debug Answers Your Questions............................(8)
    BBS Gamecorner.............................................(9)
    The Old School Toolbox: Bots Part 2........................(11)
    Region 13 Candidate........................................(17)
    Info (Where to Send Articles)..............................(18)

    Page 2
    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III   May    2009
    New & Returning Members
    By Janis Kracht
    New SysOps -- Welcome to Fidonet!

    Region 12:  Dimitri Papadopoulos
    Region 18:  Austin Phelps
    Region 13:  Jonathan Schreiter

    In the Works:

    Region 11: Eugene Joseph    
    Region 11: Gordon Meyer
    Region 12: Matthew Bellerose


    Returning SysOps - Welcome Back!

    Region 18:   Austin C Phelps

                 A Hardy Net 129 Welcome
     By Michael Luko, 1:129/0

     As temporary NC for net 129, I proudly and hardily welcome
     Jonathan Schreiter from Macungie, PA and the members of his
     BBS, Convolution, to Fidonet 129.


    Page 3

    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009

            Region 13 - Regional Coordinator Election
            By Michael Luko, 1:13/0

     As some of you may know Robert Wolfe the current  Election
     Moderator is in the process of packing and moving. To help him
     out he gave me permission to get the announcement of the
     upcoming Regional Coordinator election out on his behalf to keep
     things on schedule. He will still be handing the other parts of
     the election process and still monitor and moderate the election

    The election this year, 2009, is for Regional Coordinator. 

     Here is the schedule for the election:

     A. Schedule: all schedules start at 00:01 hours and end at
                24:00 hours

      1. Announcement of the election: April 22nd through April 28th
      2. Declarations of Candidacy: April 29th through May 12th
      3. Questions to the Candidates: May 13th through June 2nd
      4. Vote: June 3rd through June 9th
      5. Announcement of the results: within three days of the end of
         the vote, or by June 12th

     The full election policy can be found on the Region 13 website:

     Discussion and all election business except the sending in of
     ballots are to be conducted in the R13_Election echo. If you
     need access to the echo and are a R13 sysop please contact one
     of the following hubs for access:

     R13 Hubs 
     Frank Reid 1:109/500, Janis Kracht 1:261/100, Michael Luko 1:266/512,
     Robert Wolfe 1:261/20

    Outside R13 hubs
    Northwest star 1:140/1,  West Star 1:10/3, East star 1:123/500  

    Respectfully submitted by Michael Luko, RC13, 1:13/0
    on behalf of Robert Wolfe, Election Coordinator, 1:13/2

    Page 4

    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009

         Support your favorite FDN and Promote Your BBS!

                  by Richard Webb, 1:116/901

    In  watching  a  few systems announce available files just
    received in more than one file announcement echo over the last
    couple of years I've noticed something.  Numerous systems telling
    me they've got the Nasa picture of the day, or the latest
    nodediff or fidonews. NOt that there's anything wrong with the
    picture of the day, nodediffs or fidonews. But, I think that many
    of us miss a great opportunity to promote our bulletin boards,
    for those of us who operate publicly available boards anyway.

    I also think some of our file distribution networks don't get
    near the promotion they might otherwise get, and not the support
    either. WE're missing an opportunity here I think, and it's one
    we all see right there in front of us.

    People  involved  in  numerous  hobbies  other  than computing
    utilize computers as part of their hobby. Crafters exchange
    patterns and other files; ham radio folks are always looking for
    logging programs; satellite tracking software and data;
    newsletters; antenna design programs; schematic diagrams of
    circuits, etc.

    If  a  major  theme  of your system is ham radio, or if you've
    got the disk space to devote to the ham-fdn and some ham radio
    related conferences you've a ready made promotional opportunity.
    In most parts of the country there are a few local ham clubs.
    These clubs are always looking for interesting program items. so,
    get on the agenda then talk about your bbs and what fidonet
    offers the busy ham.

    Page 5

    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009
    Support your favorite FDN, Con't
    One stop shopping: It's nice to not need a whole bunch of
    bookmarks to get the files you want for your hobby or avocation.
    The active ham will appreciate the echomail areas as well as one
    stop for logging software, satellite tracking elements, antenna
    design software and the like. THe same can be said of crafters of
    all sorts.  USe thesehobby clubs and groups to promote related
    file distribution networks, and by extension your bbs.

    But, to make it work the file distribution  networks  you  carry
    need support from you as well. sYsops with an interest in ham
    radio should, for example, be sure to upload their favorite demo
    and shareware logging software, satellite trackers, etc. WHen
    updates to these come out be sure to submit them to the
    coordinator of your favorite fdn for hatching.

    How  do you contribute to your favorite fdn? See filegate.zxx or
    other info which will tell you who the coordinator of your
    favorite fdn is. Many file distribution networks offer a "back
    channel" area for submitting files for distribution. If your
    connection doesn't carry it ask him or her to link to it for you.
    or establish a link elsewhere for it.  
    A backchannel area simply is an area which flows "backwards"..
    from _your_ system back to the _coordinator_.  That way, the
    Coordinator of the FDN can take a look at your file, test it and
    see if it's of the proper type, not a duplicate file, etc.  and
    then release it into the general "file-stream" of the FDN for all
    to enjoy.
    Page 6
    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009

    Support your favorite FDN, Con't
    Be sure to read and understand  the  submission  guidelines  for
    your favorite file distribution network. Most will offer a
    document which will provide them. If you don't know how to find
    it netmail the fdn coordinator.  You'll find contact info for the
    coordinator in the filegate.zxx file, the filegate's list of file

    Read  and follow the submission guidelines. Chances are good that
    your favorite fdn hatches files in compressed archives using
    pkzip, etc. OFten these files have a comment which, when the file
    is decompressed will display to the user. Quite often these
    archive comments display information about the international
    filegate project and contact information for the fdn coordinator.
    Capture this archiver comment to a text file, and use it when
    creating archives or modifying them for submittal to your fdn

    Be sure that all the requirements of your target  fdn  are  met. 
    Many will require that the archive contain a file_id.diz or other
    such descriptor file. If one is not provided in your upload you
    can create one with any text editor. Good shareware and public
    domain authors often provide one so you won't have to. If not,
    it's not difficult to do. The standard format of a file_id.diz
    should be followed: 45 characters in width, no blank lines, no
    high ascii characters, 12 lines total.  Some file_id.diz
    generation programs or .tic hatching programs will generate what
    is called "long-description" tics in which the file_id.diz is
    much longer than 12 lines long.  If you use one of these type
    programs, be aware that many bbs software programs will truncate
    long descriptions anyway so your best bet is to stay within the
    12 line limit.

    If  there is no fdn for the main theme of your bbs, and there are
    many files and programs associated with it then start one of your
    own. Remember that file distribution networks aren't just for
    computer programmers and other hobbyists whose main hobby is the
    computer in and for itself. Crafters, woodworkers, quilters,
    outdoor types, many can benefit from a high quality file
    distribution network offering interested folks one stop shopping
    for items of interest. But, these distribution networks only work
    if sysops who carry them support them by submitting files for
    distribution as well.

    Sysops  of  specialty  boards  should  also endeavor to make it
    widely known that they carry these files.  There are a variety of
    file announcement echomail conferences in fidonet. Instead of
    announcing that you have the latest nodediff (doesn't everybody?)
    announce files received in these specialty file distribution
    networks. If there are echomail conferences associated with these
    file distribution networks be sure to post occasionally in those
    conferences that you carry and support the fdn.


    Page 7
    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009

              !!!        G A Z E T T E   B B S   L I S T        !!!
              System.......Prism BBS
              Software.....BBBS LiI Flag
              OS...........Linux (Gentoo)
              C/B Verify...None
              Access.......First Call access to Msg bases, 
                           and file areas.            
                           telnet access offers full features 
                           of the standard bbs such as doors,
                           qwkmail, BWmail,Files, etc.                     
                           [web interface is limited really 
                           to reading messages and replying 
                           online, or downloading messages  
                           in qwk packets, but not uploading
                           them], and file download access. 
              System.......Time Warp of the Future BBS
              Software.....sbbs 3.15a (very beta)
              OS...........win. (xp pro. sp3)
              C/B Verify...None
              Access.......First Call access to Msg bases, and file areas.
              Telnet.......time.synchro.net:24 or time.darktech.org:24
                           or timewarpfuture.dyndns.org:24
                           telnet access offers full features
                           of the standard bbs such as doors,
                           messages or file area etc.
                           Web interface is limited really
                           to reading messages and replying online, or 
                           downloading messages in qwk packets, but not 
                           uploading them, and file download access.  
              System.......Lionsden BBS
              OS...........Windows XP
              C/B Verify...None
              Access.......First Call access to Msg bases, and file areas.
               telnet access offers full features
               of the standard bbs such as doors,
               qwkmail, Files, etc.
               You will redirected to a menu where you can choose
               one of three sites.  The first one is private and
               requires PW to get into.
              FTP..........FTP://lionsden.darktech.org  Files only

    Page 8
    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009

    Dr. DeBug Answers Your Questions!
    I want to add my BBS sig to the archives on my bbs.
    How do I add add a comment file to an archive?             

    It depends on the type of Archive..

     Say we have a Comment file named Bleh.Hdr:

        |This File Came From BlehBBS!|
        |     Great Files EveryDay!  |
          [contents of Bleh.Hdr]

     Use  Zip -z to apply it to a zip archive like so:
        zip -z filename.zip &< Bleh.Hdr

     With a rar archive, you use Rar -c like so:

       rar c filename.rar -z Bleh.Hdr

     Lha: no method to comment
     Arc: no method to comment

    On a linux system, you can write a script to take care of it like
    for file in `cat filelist.txt`
    zip -z $file &< bleh.hdr
    The contents of "filelist.txt" would be list of files, one per
    line, for instance:

    Page 9
    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009


         By Janis Kracht, 1:261/38

                    [2][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][3]
                       [ ]            [ ]
           [4][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]         [ ]
                       [ ]            [5][ ][ ]
                       [ ]   [6]      [ ]
                       [ ]   [ ]      [ ]      [8]
                       [9][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
                             [ ]      [ ]      [ ]
                             [ ]               [ ]
                             [ ]               [ ]
                             [ ]               [ ]
                   [11][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][12]     [ ]
                             [ ]      [ ]      [ ]
                                      [ ]      [ ]
                               [13][ ][ ][ ]   [ ]
                 [14][ ][ ][15]       [ ]      [ ]
                           [16]       [ ]
                     [18]  [ ]
     [17][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
                     [ ]
                     [ ]

		ACROSS                           DOWN		       			   
		======                           ======		       			   
		2 Scott Dudley					       			   
		4 Peter Davies		     1 	Tim Stryker	       			   
		5 Victor Capton		     3 	Mike Woltz	       			   
		9 Rob Swindell		     6 	Cott Lang	       			   
		10 Brent Shellenberg	     7 	Russell Lane, Tom Mack			   
		11 Jim Harrer		        Ken Goosens, et.al.     			   l.
		13 Mark Kimes		     8 	Frank LaRosa	       			   
		14 Wayne Bell		     12 Mark Goodwin	       			   
		16 Kim Heino/Tapani Salmi    15 Roland De Graaf     			   
	  	17 Adam Hudson		     18 Michiel Broek	       			   

    Page 10

    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009

                      The Old School Toolbox

     By Richard Webb, 1:116/901

                              Bots, Pt II.

    This was originally intended to be a two parter, but  when
    looking closer at the topic I saw that three might be more
    effective.  so, apologies good reader, you'll have to put up with  
    this topic in this space for one more issue after this one, if
    the editor chooses to run it .  This installment will
    hopefully answerthe question you're probably asking which is
    "what can this do for me to promote my bbs?"
    In  this  column last month we looked at these little tools, and
    we'll have a closer look at them in these next two. Before we do
    that however I'd like you to take a little trip down memory lane
    with me. Yes, this little peek into the past is relevant.

    I recall writing an article for fidonews about a decade ago
    lamenting the loss of some old familiar search tools, wais,
    archie, gopher. Also the loss of ftpmail.

    I really liked waismail, used a couple of waismail servers to get
    all sorts of interesting things. The same with other search tools
    usable from email. Yes I used them through the fidonet gateway
    back in the day, and taught my users how to as well.

    Using bots such as I described in my last article can bring a
    world of such capability to the fidonet sysop.  When coupled with
    the tools we'll discuss in the next installment they can equal
    the power of these search tools of yesteryear that I remember so

    Why do I still miss them? To be honest with you, I  wouldn't
    mind so much if the hosts of those old search tools wanted to
    send me an advertisement along with my return email. But, I
    really don't find many search tools as currently implemented that
    user friendly to me, even when I am near a computer with a web
    browser that they support. But, with an email search tool I'll
    generate my search request, then go on about my business knowing
    that the results of my query will return to me sometime later
    that day or early the next depending on the hour.

    Page 11

    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009
    The Old School Toolbox, Con't.

    I utilize just such an email search server to look  up  amateur
    radio call signs for the U.s. and Canada as well as many other
    countries in the Americas. IT works the way I work, i hear the
    call sign, want to send the operator a card in the mail to verify
    the contact, or just want to see if the operator has privileges
    to be operating where he is.  A simple little batch file appends
    my look up request to a file. When there are five requests
    pending an email is generated, and back come the results in a few

    Many  like  that same organization's web site. Yes the web site
    offers you capabilities not available via the email server. You
    can get all the call signs in a zip or postal code, search on
    first and last names, etc.  But you've also got the advertising
    that pays for the site, an exhortation to join their forums, all
    sorts of good stuff. I think there may even be popup ads and
    other fun stuff you have to jump through to enter your search
    parameters. But, all you want is your four or five call signs
    that you worked in a session of chasing awards on ham radio.  You
    scribbled them down on a piece of paper, but your spouse is
    nagging that the grandkids will be over soon and you promised
    little Joe you'd take him fishing this evening.

    So,  you  sigh, forego the web search and walk away from your
    den. The next day you maybe find that scratch paper and go to the
    site to look up those calls, and maybe you don't until you look
    at your logs months later and see that you haven't followed up on
    those contacts with the desired qsl card (a post card with data
    confirming a contact redeemable for operating awards) and now
    you've got a bunch to do.

    Contrast that with the  email  server  approach  I  use.  I  work
    the station, and while we're still talking I add the station I'm
    in contact with to the queue of call signs to be looked up.  I
    can even force the email to go out before there are five waiting
    in the queue.  I've done further automation. When the email comes
    back to my fidonet system with the results of the call signs it
    is exported to a text file from my message base and a process
    triggered which parses this file and puts the information in the
    proper places.  I might, for example, be looking up the call sign
    of an operator off the coast of South America; two stations for
    awards pursuit contacts needing a qsl card; an operator on a
    public service net and just an operator I heard while tuning

    Page 12

    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009
    The Old School Toolbox, Con't

    When the message with my results returns the call sign of  the
    vessel operator will be search for, and that information placed
    in a special file that corresponds with ham radio operators
    operating while out to sea.  The two that need a postcard will go
    into another file, and the others elsewhere, depending on the
    need. Then, a backup of the whole file will be appended to my
    station log file.

    Another one of my favorites back in the day was a waismail server
    from a university. I can't even recall which university these
    days it's been so long. This waismail server had the latest CIA
    world fact book as one of its resources. You sent a message to
    waismail followed by the rest of the university's address, and
    put your desired source to be utilized in the subject line. For
    our example again, the CIA world fact book.

    In the body of the message you typed your query. For example, you
    want to retrieve information on Liberia. You send off your email,
    and soon an email returns telling you which documents
    encompassing the World Fact Book have information on Liberia. 
    You can then send another message and retrieve the full text of
    those documents.

    At  this  point  you're asking yourself "But what does this have
    to do with my bbs? I really want folks to come by and check it
    out, maybe use the message bases, play a door game ... "

    Don't  tune  out  just  yet.  Some  folks  still  like these old
    email response query engines, and by offering such services you
    have a ready made promotion tool for your bbs. Heck you do it
    anyway if you offer freqs via email, file requests with binkd
    etc. These little bots can bring more traffic to your board by
    promoting it to people who may not otherwise use telnet anymore.

    Some  bots  that  you  might  wish  to  create  will  require a
    bit of ingenuity to get the information requested compiled and
    sent to the user.  An example of this is the response function
    I've built which sends the requester information on missing or
    overdue vessels which I have available.

    Page 13

    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009
    My  missing/overdue/attempt  to locate list purges by day of the
    week.  IN other words, if it's TUesday only information received
    since last TUesday will be sent the requester.  All these alerts
    are held as individual files with the name watch and an extension
    corresponding with the three letter abbreviation of the day of
    the week. FOr example, if it's Tuesday and we received a missing
    overdue or attempt to locate for a vessel today it will be named

    All  the  "watch"  files  are  combined  into  one file in a
    different directory which is called watch.txt and is rebuilt
    whenever an additional alert is received, or at midnight
    universal time daily.  

    What if there are  no  alerts  on  file  this  week?  Well  then,
    our requester will get no response at all, and we can't have
    that. tHe requester *must* receive a response.

    NEtmgr is well suited for  building  response  bots  that  are
    fairly complex because of its capability to invoke an external
    program from a shell whenever an appropriate search mask is
    encountered.  OF course, one must have the registered version of
    artware's netmgr to do this, but that isn't really a big issue
    these days.

    So, back to my vessel alert response function. When netmgr
    encounters a netmail or email requesting "boat watch" it shells
    out and runs a batch file. The batch file time stamps the
    appropriate file which will be sent to the requester and thanks
    him/her for the request. THen the batch looks for watch.txt in
    the appropriate directory.  IF watch.txt is not found there it
    branches to a section which then appends text to the proper file
    telling the requester that we have no missing, overdue or
    attempts to locate a vessel active at this time.

    This  one's  fairly  simple, the batch file can accomplish its
    mission even within the limited memory confines of a shell from
    netmgr.  but, if the batch file must be quite complex and store
    numerous environment variables then this isn't going to work. FOr
    this sort of job we store such details as the sender's name,
    address and other details elsewhere, in this case creating a
    batch from within a batch file. When this batch is invoked later
    the appropriate response will be created, and sent to the
    requester using the automatic message posting utility of one's
    choice. SOme make it easier to do this than others, and we'll
    discuss them in the next installment.

    An example of a rather complex response would be my nodelist
    search mailbot.  The batch file which does the nodelist search
    itself is quite memory intensive and utilizes several different
    environment variables.  SO, we must receive the request, create a
    batch which invokes the nodelist search batch, then invoke the
    batch which sends the response.I can be done, it just took some
    tinkering.  WIthout those automatic message posting utilities it
    wouldn't be possible however.

    In the next installment we'll talk about some of these,  and
    look at the advantages and disadvantages of a few automatic
    message posting offerings.

    So,  gear  up  your  brain.  IF  you're like many of us your bbs
    has a theme, be it restoring classic cars; ham radio; gaming,
    etc. IT's easy enough to develop some email and netmail response
    bots which will be useful to folks who might have an interest in
    the topical focus of your bbs but haven't paid a visit to your
    system. Along with the response you can send him or her a
    blurbadvertising your bbs and possibly gain another regular user.
    Page 14

    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009

                   Who tried to kill fidonet?
      By Richard Webb, 1:116/901

     I began this piece on an April night in 2009.  FIdonet will soon
     be 30 years old.  IN this thirty year span it has grown from the
     humble beginnings of two tinkerers who wanted their bulletin
     boards to exchange mail during the small hours of the day when
     they were in their bed to keep costs down to the largest amateur
     compputer network that ever existed to a fraction of that size. 
     IT went from those humble beginnings to a position where it
     could have demanded its place in the forefront of the online
     world to a footnote in the histories of computer wide area
     networking and online communities.  

     How did this happen, and why did it happen?  IT's easy to
     explain the exponential growth of the years of its first decade. 
     Fidonet was in a unique position to reach those new computer
     users, a demographic that was growing as fast as fidonet itself,
     if not faster.  Computers in homes, in kitchens and family
     rooms, on childrens' desks were going mainstream.  NO longer was
     the computer that unfriendly box at the office you blamed when
     the irate customer couldn't be placated any other way. 
     Computers weren't tended by men and women in lab jackets
     mumbling arcane jargon and carrying stacks of punch cards,
     watching over large reels of tape.  Computers were everywhere. 
     Computer games; computer magazines; scan that picture of the
     mountain meadow that you took on your last vacation and display
     it on your screen.  Play music, share your writings with others. 
     Fidonet was there, in the small villages, and in the big cities. 
     Not enough money to pay while the meter runs as you'd have to if
     you used the pay to play online services?  fidonet offered the
     same level of satisfaction at little or no cost.  Dial a
     friendly local bbs.  Get that update to your favorite computer
     game or database manager.  Unlock the hidden power of that box
     on your desk, all with a local phone call.  

     But, then the internet came to town.  AT least, that's the
     excuse we hear.  That familiar mantra has been heard since 1994. 
     IT was being heard when my fidonet bulletin board was still
     quite busy.  IT was trotted out so often that it's one of those
     answers you hear before you even get the question fully
     formulated.  What happened to fidonet?  The internet killed it.  

     Not so fast!  The members of the fidonet community, i.e. those
     listed in its nodelist or phone book killed fidonet.  At least,
     they gave it a real good try.  They argued to the point of
     hateful words flying across the network aimed at each other,
     filed complaints; called those whom they disagreed with vile
     names you would never call somebody face to face unless you
     expected the war to become physical.  They hurled insults and
     epithets, but when the war of words or flame war was done they
     sat back and did nothing.  IT was too much trouble to move past
     the flame wars to actually working to promote an avocation they
     professed to love and said they wished to nurture.  They brought
     out the ascii weapons of mass destruction, sowing the death of
     fidonet by flame war in the echoes and in fidonews, the official
     journal of fidonet.  SO-and-so is an autocratic coordinator who
     won't listen to reason, and won't hold an election for his
     replacement, he's scum.  the moderator's a power tripping hitler
     wanna be.  she's a witch.  Mention backbone operating policy, or
     echopol, or Steve Winter in a fidonet echo and listen to the

     How does this happen to a hobby or avocation that is supposed to
     be about communication?  Quite easily.  Tune around the ham
     radio frequencies and you'll note some of the same behavior, but
     toned down a bit thanks to rules and regulations and forbidden
     language.  But, the rules and regs are only part of the
     equation.  These folks on the ham bands still are voices, or a
     "fist" or style of sending Morse Code.  IT's hard to call a man
     a Charlatan scumbag when you're face to face with him, or when
     you've heard his voice.  When you've heard him laugh at a joke,
     or heard the sadness in his voice when he tells a friend about a
     mutual buddy who's died after a long illness.  IT's hard to
     discount that voice or that face and call him a reprehensible
     Charlatan scumbag ...  

     These flames were launched into that early form of cyberspace
     because the target of the flame wasn't a man or a woman.  IT was
     just words on a screen, just pixellated dots.  Besides, sticks
     and stones may break my bones ...

     But, those words cut as deep as the sharpest knife.  Those words
     inflicted deep wounds, mental wounds that could not be easily
     healed when it came time to sit down and look for solutions. 
     When it came to working together to promote this endeavor they
     professed to love and wished to nurture the flames had already
     done their work.  The words had destroyed friendships, the words
     had caused good people to decide that if this was what they had
     to endure to endeavor to be a leader in fidonet then they'd just
     pull the plug on Fidonet, walk away from it.  some good
     potential leaders never got a chance to show what they could do
     as fidonet leaders, because they were driven away by the high
     octane flamethrower with his need to belittle, to pummel, even
     if only using words.  The bullies who couldn't have their way in
     the schoolyard because a teacher or hall monitor stepped in got
     their way.  

     Not that all the leaders who remained weren't good leaders. 
     They did their jobs.  The mail moved, the files moved.  Broken
     links were fixed, duplicate loops corrected, new sysops
     mentored.  Still, after doing the day to day work of keeping the
     network humming along and doing one's day job there wasn't a lot
     of time left to actually sit down and devise ways to promote
     fidonet.  That's what pr people do.  The coordinators, after all
     were just "nodelist clerks" and were reminded of that at every

     The pioneers of Fidonet understood that these coordinators were
     to be "nodelist clerks" who occasionally had to be a judge when
     there was a policy complaint.  But, for the most part, their
     duties were that of said "nodelist clerk" and there was an
     organization, yes an organization called IFna which was supposed
     to take care of those little details.  Ifna was supposed to
     devise ways to promote fidonet, to polish its public image; get
     the word ouWHEre the network itself needed net region and zone
     coordinators Ifna needed a board of directors, a secretary,
     treasurer, president, public relations people.  Ifna needed
     people who could write a press release; conduct a seminar; chair
     a meeting.  Had Ifna still been in existence when the growth had
     peaked and the decline began a possible different outcome could
     have resulted.  Had Ifna existed at that time the PR folks would
     have been writing those press releases, talking up fidonet in
     communities large and small, sending out mailings via old snail
     mail, and yes, collecting dues.  Those dues would have helped
     organize national and international conferences, subsidize
     travel expenses of speakers to visit meetings of networking
     professionals and other special interest organizations.  The
     Scuba diving instructor would have gone to a meeting of like
     minded folks to talk up the scuba diving conference, and been
     able to bring along professionally prepared literature provided
     by ifna.  Ifna would have been able to do what the Fidonet
     structure could not, spend money to run that full page ad in the
     ham radio magazine touting the friendly folks in the ham_tech
     conference that will help you understand how a log periodic
     antenna works, or the ham file distribution network where you
     can download that trainer program to help you get your Morse
     code speed up.  

     Recently the registered trademark for FIdonet expired.  Your
     author also noted a commercial product using the term echomail,
     which has been the term used to describe a major part of fidonet
     now for over two decades.  Ifna, or an organization like it
     could have been spearheading the effort to contact TOm JEnnings
     and see to the renewal of that copyright or trademark.  SUch an
     organization could have taken the lead on alerting the
     "echomail" folks with the commercial product that although we
     aren't lawsuit crazy we can prove prior use of the term for two
     decades plus.  LEt the clerks clerk, the programmers program,
     and the organization folks organize.  OUr fidonet pioneers
     showed some wisdom, and quite a bit of smarts when you really
     think about it.

     It was not to be however.  The fidonet sysops gave Ifna a
     resounding thumbs down, and in so doing lost what could have
     been the best promotional tool they ever had.  But, nobody
     needed promotion anyway.  After all, the nodelist was growing by
     leaps and bounds.  The program which made the nodelist they all
     used had to be patched and reworked because Fidonet's phone book
     had outgrown the capabilities of the software which was used to
     create it.  Who needs promotion?  All we've got to do is more of
     the same, it's like a perpetual motion machine.

     But, as any good physicist will tell you, there is no perpetual
     motion machine.  The laws of physics apply, especially the law
     of inertia.  AT first it is a thing at rest, and to get it into
     motion you had to apply quite a bit of energy to set it into
     motion.  Then to keep it in motion you'll have to supply a bit
     of energy occasionally.  After all, things in motion tend to
     remain in motion, but a machine by its very definition is
     supposed to do work.  Doing work takes energy, and energy taken
     to do the work of the machine is not available to keep the
     machine running.  Without an organization such as Ifna to do
     that work the machine chugged along, eventually slowing down,
     declining if you will.  The big mainspring wound down and there
     was nobody there to wind it up again.  After all, the
     coordinators were the gears that were driven by the mainspring,
     and the mail must move.  Nodelist segments need to be submitted
     to the level above, nodediffs and fidonews as well as other
     files and mail need to be distributed to downlinks.  systems
     need maintenance, and sometimes rebuilding from scratch.  After
     all this, said coordinator still has a job, a family, other
     interests.  WHO has time to become a promoter too?

     Would  Ifna, or a replacement organization have contributed to
     the growth of fidonet as I asserted earlier?  we can't know for
     sure, because there never was an actual organization formulated
     to replace it.  But, one can only think that separating the
     functions as described above would have made a positive

     Page 15

    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009
    F  O  O  D      Even sysops have to eat!

    By Janis Kracht, 1:261/38

    Family Grain Mill.  So you wonder what I spend my money on when
    I'm not buying computers?  This is one thing.  What a
    difference it makes.  Hand ground flour will make a difference
    beyond your wildest imaginations - healthwise!  This is the one I
    use.  I've got the electric motor base and the hand crank base,
    the grain mill and the flaker.  I also bought the same for my
    daughter, along with the vegetable processor for her - I figured
    I could wait for that for me, since I have other tools that
    already do the same job.  Recently I was told my trigycerides had
    jumped to (catch this ) 530.. my doc had connipitions to
    say the least.. called me on the phone and in a bit of a panic
    needless to say .. So along with some Niacin, fish oil, and a
    breakfast of flaked whole wheat cereal or flaked oatmeal, I was
    able to get that count down to 140.. and so he requested my
    permission to brag to all his other patients about my
    accomplishment .  As a sysop, I sure wasn't going to give
    up beer.  Let's be real here! 
    Information from http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/:

    Any component of the Family Grain Mill ("FGM") may be purchased
    either individually or in multi-component packages. You can
    purchase the hand base or the electric drive base (or both), and
    all accessories will interchange between the two, locking in
    place easily with a twist of the wrist.  The grind is infinitely
    adjustable, from fine for bread flour, to medium for "Cream Of
    Wheat" style cereals, or coarse for steel cut or cracked grain. 
    The milling head grinds corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, rye, barley,
    rice, spelt, flax, buckwheat, millet, coffee, kamut, quinoa, and
    sesame (doesn't grind popcorn.) It will also mill some chopped,
    dry, non-oily herbs and spices. The Family Grain Mill grinds cool
    to preserve nutrients. Large 5 cup hopper capacity.  
    Available options for the Family Grain Mill include The Vegetable
    Processor which slices and shreds vegetables, nuts, fruits and
    cheese with 3 included stainless steel drums. The Flaker Mill
    head flakes soft grains and is popular for fresh homemade
    oatmeal, making a hearty flake from oat groats (oats with the
    hulls removed) that's thicker and chewier than store-bought
    flaked oats.

    Manufactured in Germany by Messerschmidt,     the Family Grain
    Mill is built with high carbon steel and premium Lexan
    polycarbonate (football helmets and industrial safety shields are
    made of Lexan) with great attention to detail. It's a durable
    grain mill capable of a lifetime of dependable use.  

    The milling head's "conical steel burrs shear grain without
    friction, avoiding the heat created by most grain mills heat that
    can destroy many of the nutrients in your flour". And unlike stone
    burrs, steel burrs won't gum up or glaze, and don't add grit to
    your flour. The Family Grain Mill's high carbon steel burrs are
    long lasting and easily replaceable. See my note about how my
    daughter has already seen a need for this towards the end of this
    review .

    A cup of fine flour is produced in just 2-4 minutes in hand
    operation, or 1.5 minutes with the electric drive. Because the
    Family Grain Mill grinds with a cutting action rather than with
    friction, its hand operated base turns much easier than most hand
    operated mills. Overall time/effort is 4X less than required by
    most hand mills that produce a coarser flour. Hopper has generous
    5 cup capacity.  I don't use the hand mill, but it's nice to know
    that I have it if the power goes out.. especially around here in
    no man's land .

    What it Mills: Wheat flour, corn meal flour, oat flour, rye
    flour, barley flour, rice flour, spelt flour, flax flour,
    buckwheat flour, millet flour, coffee, kamut flour, sesame, and
    more. Also cracks grain to any size - you can set the adjustment
    dial to any size from flour or meal to cereal grind or cracked

    Electrical: 110-120V, 150W, 60HZ 
    Warranty: Manufacturer's lifetime warranty. (excluding
    replaceable burrs) 

       Motor base and grain mill    $259.95
       Motor base and flaker        $250.95
       Motor base Grain Mill and Flaker $328.95
       Motor base Grain Mill, Flaker, Veg. Processor and free hand
                                      crank base  $396.95
    Recipe:  Cream of Wheat [ Made with Flaker and Grain Mill Base]
     3-4 servings

      2 cups Flaked Wheat berries or Oat groats, flaked.
      3 cups water

      Place water in medium size pot, add flaked wheat, bring to a
      boil.  Simmer 3 minutes on low heat.  Let stand 2 minutes until
      thickened, serve with honey if desired.

    Recipe: Spiced Hot Cereal: [Made with Flaker and Grain Mill Base]
      2 servings

      1/3 cup Flaked wheat berries
      2 cups milk
      1/2 tsp. cinnamon
      1/4 tsp. nutmeg
      1/4 tsp cloves
      1/4 cup raisins
      1/4 tsp. salt
     Combine ingredients and bring to boil on high heat.  Simmer for
     2 minutes on low heat.

    One note from my daughter:  The burr on this machine will not
    survive your 3 year old throwing a fork down the grain mill's
    hopper but it's proof of how easily and cheaply it is replaced :)
    :) (it still worked, but was rather dull she says ).

     Page 16


    T h e F i d o G a z e t t e!  Volume III number III May 2009
    Crossword Solution: 

           J    P
           O    I
           R    TAG
           B R  F
         R B E  I  S
         B   E  E  A
         SHOTGUN   R
             A     C
          WILDCAT  H
             E  R  L
                I  I
                B  G
                B  H
             XBBS  T
         WWIV   S
          M S

   Page  17

    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009
    (The following information was submitted by RC candidate Michael
    Luko to FidoGazette for publication. The Gazette does not back
    any candidate.  All candidates for election are encouraged to
    forward information for publication and I'll be glad to publish
    additional copies of the gazette, weekly if necessary Ed. )
    Region 13 Coordinator Election  - Candidate Background and Plans.
    By Michael Luko, 1:266/512

    I Michael Luko am running as a candidate for the Regional 
    Coordinator position for Region 13. Here is some info about my
    background as well as plans and actions that I will perform if 
    re-elected to the RC13 position.

    Personal Info:

    Name: Michael Luko
    Sysop, Christian Fellowship 1:266/512
    Net Coordinator - Net266
    Regional Coordinator - Region 13
    Age: 40
    Email: Michael.Luko@verizon.net


    Been a member BBS in fidonet since April of 1997.
    Took over as NC for Net 266 June of 2005.
    Cleaned up Net 266's node list segment.
    Assisted with the regionalization process in 2006.
    Expanded Net 266 to include all of New Jersey and Delaware.
    Currently serve and perform duties as RC13.
    Function as a regional POTS netmail gate for systems that need it.
    Provide echomail feeds for those who need a feed.
    Help new sysops with getting their system setup and promote growth.

    Duties to continue to perform if re-elected as RC13:
     1. Provide NC's with any help the may need or request.
     2. Let NC's handle their network matters unless asked to become
     3. Promote growth to the region by directing potential BBSs to
        their Networks within our region.
     4. Provide Fido Nodelist's Nodediff's and Fidonews to any node
         that request it.
     5. Maintain the Independent node list segment and process
        Network segments, sending the regions segment to the Zone
     6. Ensure smooth operation of the region and the networks that
        make up the region as per policy 4.
     7. Act as Temporary NC for a network that is without one,
        and rise up a suitable NC from within that network.
     8. Provide Netmail routing for the region.
     9. Maintain contact with NC's within the region and the ZC1.
    10. Webmaster and host the Region 13 website.
    11. Appoint and support the election coordinator.
    12. Perform all other specific RC duties policy4 mandates.
    13. Will abide by the terms and conditions of approved regional
        policy, so that it can be maintained in perpetuity for the
        benefit of the members of the region as stated in section 6
        in the R13 election policy.

    Action Plan:
    1. Seek out NC's for net 129 and 261 even if from a new member bbs
       with proper teaching and coaching on my part. 
    2. Seek out BBSes that are with in our region and invite them to
       be part of fidonet and link them up with the NC that covers
       their location.
    3. Continue to maintain and update the Region 13 website with
       the current nodelist, nodediff, fidonews and gazette. 

    If any member of Region 13 needs a copy of the election policy
    or a feed to the region 13 election or sysop echoes let me know
    and I will get you connected personally or put you in touch with
    an alternate feed. Thanks for taking the time to read though. If
    you are a member sysop of Region 13 I look forward to seeing you
    in the Region 13 echos and taking part of this election.
    Page 18

    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009
    Where to Send Your Articles

    Unlike most editors, I surely do not  mind running my mouth when
    there is a sparcity of articles for the 'zine.  I'd MUCH rather
    you sent in material but I think until someone starts a
    discussion you feel like commenting about, you evil dullards
    (just kidding!!!) will no doubt complain about "no issues" 
    So I will fill these issues with my meanderings and thoughts and
    hopefully we will grow into something of consequence here :)
    Don't be offended.. write an article!

    If you WOULD like to submit an article and prove me wrong about
    the dullard aspect of you guys and gals , feel free to drop
    your article off at:

    By email attach to address: janis @ filegate.net
    Fidonet attach: Janis Kracht 1:261/38 Modem: 607-655-5652

                   1:261/100 filegate.net via telnet mailer
                   filegate.net via binkp mailer (don't send 
                   articles as routed attaches, send them
                   direct to filegate.net).

    Give it a title, sign your name and network address if you have
    one and send it along!

    Don't worry about the format, I can take anything you send me
    and mutilate it further as you can see above.  Linux is nice
    that way .  Spell checking your own work will help though
    (something I'm typically guilty of ).

     More specifics with this issue :)

     To send a question to Dr. Debug, email a question to
     dr.debug @ filegate.net or post in the fidogazette echo! :)

     To send a listing to the fidogazette internet bbs list, send your
     bbs listing to bbslist @ filegate.net or post it in the fidogazette
     echo!  :)

    Page 19

    T h e   F i d o G a z e t t e!    Volume III number III May 2009