From Sun Jun 22 19:01:05 1997
Date: Sun, 22 Jun 1997 18:49:13 -0700
From: Dave Overton <>
Subject: NEWS@SYIX v3n5-6-7
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*		NEWS @ SYIX		*
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June 22, 1997      Vol 3 No 5, 6, 7
VERY COOL!  Dave finally does another Newsletter!!!  WOW!!!  Now that you
are all done picking on me about it....
Hey!  Welcome new people, to the continuing, irratic publication of
NEWS@SYIX (get it?  News at 6)  And of course, welcome all you 'ol timers
that have just been setting around waiting patiently for me to get this
Pronounce it SIX...  Ignore the "y".  Really.  Just wanted you to know that.
Things are going on around here, quickly and furously.  So much so that I
have found almost no time lately to "play" with the Internet.  If you
REALLY love the net, and enjoy it all the time, DON'T work at an ISP!
Seriously, we have a ball around here, just seems that it gets overwhelming
at times...  
On that subject, our phone system here is just not doing the job.  Any
experts out there with "voice mail" type system experience?  Those that are
intelligent enough not to offend the caller?  I want to FIX the "lack of
answer" or worse, busy signals that occur here about once a day....  IF you
get a busy, or the dumb answering machines, CALL BACK.  The system we have
now is not dependable, as many of you have noticed.
Added another new server online, this one replaced our old WWW server...
Here are the specs for anyone who is interested...
Intel Pentium Pro II - 266 Mhz
Intel Motherboard
Adaptec Ultra SCSI Card
4.2G Seagate "Cheetah" 10,000 RPM Wide SCSI 3 Drive
Windows NT Server 4.0
This is an AWESOME machine.
It was fairly transparent when I made the move, only a few people noticed
that there was a small change (like I forgot the counter scripts at first)
But overall its seems VERY FAST and is running VERY WELL!  This all
happened on June 20 about 7 pm.....
We are building a SQL Server now, and will have it online in a while, then
more and better toys for web hosting coming online!  
I have been running ICQ on my computer lately, as some of you have found...
 You can reach me for tech support, or just general questions most any time
that way, I seldom chat (usually in the middle of something) but do answer
those messages fairly quickly.  My ICQ number is 251093, you can page me at   The latest release of ICQ seems to be
fairly stable, not a BIG resource hog like the last one.  Only problem I
have with it now is their server goes offline about once a day.  You can
get it from
They have versions for Win31 and Win95, with Mac and Java to be released
(according to one report) within a week or so.  If you get it running, give
me a shout!  I did try the AOL Instant Messaging stuff, not impressed.
Lately (the week of June 16) things have been REAL WEIRD online.  First on
Monday, UU.NET went offline to most of the US, took them until Wednesday to
get it fixed, on Wednesday MCI broke, stayed that way until Thursday, then
we get reports that Microsoft is hacked on Wed and stays broken until
Friday!  BAD net week...  Just shows that the internet is still VERY NEW
and not quite as stable as we would all like to believe.  Best news?
SYIX.COM has had ZERO downtime in the last 45 days...  ZERO. Not one second
has our system been offline, our connection to the backbone been offline,
nothing has gone wrong at all!!!  (The sound you hear is me furiously
pounding on wood).
Its coming.  Thats the official word from Livingston, and they got their
information from Lucent.  Its coming.  When?  NOBODY will make a
committment, but they will say its because of an incompatibilty between
Lucent and Rockwell chipsets.  Livingston is using Lucent, we are using
Livingston...  You get the picture.  All I can say is this, if we get the
things, they will work.  Unlike the people using x2 from USRobotics who are
on the "upgrade a week" plan due to a LOT of problems with the phone system.
USRobotics STINKS...
"SYIX.COM recommends that you do NOT buy, under any circumstances, any
product designed or sold by US Robotics or any of its subsidiaries".  If
you have one now, so be it, but when you are shopping for new products for
your computer, and it says USR on it, RUN!
No sportster products, no pen based computers, nothing.  I expect that USR
will be soon disappearing, based on just this recommendation.
I have been recieving a number of requests to advise you all about flood
related things.  One of them wanted a link from our homepage, another
wanted me to send a mass mailer out, etc.  I wanted to let you know my
position on this, so you will all know whats going on.  As a company we
can't get involved in political actions, either for or against a particular
area.  Personally I am in support of whatever actions we need to take to
get the flood protection increased around here, but as a company, we just
can't take a stand.  End result of this?  I can't allow SYIX to become a
"broadcaster" of news either for or against a particular subject.  Yeah, I
know, the flood protection is important, and yes I know its very important
to get the word out, but its still a political issue (at this point anyway)
and we can't get involved.  When it becomes a "there's water coming in"
issue, as last January, we will of course get involved, thats "NEWS" (very
important news!) not politics.
The counter on the SYIX.COM homepage just rolled 200,000 hits!  COOL!!! I
am planning on resetting it on Jul 1, and a small note as to how many we
actually had on that day will be added to the page...  One small note, this
is an actual counter, but it still misses a few, so you can assume that we
probably had 10% to 20% more hits than it shows.  And yes, we did start it
at 0 on July 1 1996.
WEBTALK is a success!....
The WebTalk area of SYIX.COM is BUSY, it has over 150 regular readers, over
200 active messages (the thing doesn't show more than 75 at a time) and it
gets LOTS of hits.  Check it out, its moderated now, so no garbage messages
get through, but you don't get your message immediately either.  Just post,
say whats on your mind, and enjoy!
Really, its easy to use, and local in nature.  Thats where the flood
political stuff goes!!!
Last week I ordered another PRI line (T-1 with 23 ISDN ports) to be
installed.  We are going to be moving our existing lines slowly into the
ISDN ports and the new digital modem system we have from Livingston.  VERY
slowly we are going to weed out ALL the stand alone modems we have now.
And on that point, we will be selling off a bunch of "well tested" 28.8
modems in a few weeks.  If you are interested in an external modem,
complete with cables and all, "well tested" fire me off some mail and I
will put you on the waiting list.  Prices probably around $100.  Even have
the boxes for them!
Or Non-Profit group websites.  We have them here!  We can do this ONLY with
your support!  They each cost us a bit of money and time to administer, so
your can be proud that your support of SYIX.COM allows us to host these
sites for many deserving groups.  Without the overwhelming support of the
community, SYIX.COM would not be able to afford this service!
If you are part of a non-profit group, please feel free to contact me about
hosting your site on SYIX.COM!  Remember, our WEB HOSTING service is second
to NONE!  (45 days straight uptime, remember?)  We only ask for your
permission to host your site, and stick your name on our "presents" page so
people can find it.
You have heard of it, I am sure.  The places are going to just "send" the
sites to you instead of you having to find them yourself.  Easy enough said
huh?  Well, I spent some time today playing with the newest "PointCaster"
that was supposed to be the latest greatest thing in "push".  Its SLICK, it
works, and its nice.  BUT!!!  It requires (and uses) 18 MEGABYTES of RAM on
my WinNT Workstation just to run.  I don't think I will be using it
anymore.  Any application, that by itself can use that much RAM is not
worth running in my humble opinion.  Slows down the entire computer to the
point that I couldn't even browse files without noticing the performance
hit.  My suggestion, wait for the next "this is an even better release" to
get released.  Besides that, you all have "push", its called EMail!
Ziff-Davis and a few others use this very well, and it doesn't require yet
another application to learn and install just to use it.
We have been distributing software now with our Internet Connections since
day one.  It occurred to me that you probably need to upgrade your software
if you haven't.  Since this is a very long and time consuming process, I
wandered the internet and found a practically automatic way to do it.  Go
Follow the links to "download" the software, then when its all downloaded
an installed, hit the link on the new icon you just installed that says
"running catch-up" and follow the screens!  This thing is GREAT!  Tells you
what new versions of what software are out there, and a link to each one.
Remember, each version update fixes bugs and adds features!  You NEED to
stay current, the Internet is a very fast moving target!
Check for Internet Explorer updates, and if you
still use Netscape, make sure you get the 4.01 release of Communicator, the
security bug they recently found is a VERY bad one.
Yep, I make you wade through all that before getting to the good stuff!
Found another very nice Virus Scanner.  This is a slick one, and even scans
your files while you download them!  Check this out out, not a pretty
website, but a nice functional piece of software
If you like software, this is a GREAT site, all the programs listed here
are either free or shareware that contains NO NAG SCREENS or other
annoyances to get in the way.
I know, nobody out there ever plays games.  After all, these are EXPENSIVE
computers right?  Well, if you want to know what is going on in the game
world, whats new, whats happening, and what you SHOULD be really doing
right now instead of reading EMail (whoops, thats wrong, its the other way
around isn't it) Anyway, check this site, you will be impressed.
And while you are at it, take a look at the sequel to MYST at
I know you want to see it, after all, I wanted to!
Tom's Hardware Guide will fill you in!  If you REALLY want to know why your
computer is not as fast as mine is, you will read these pages!  There IS a
difference when you are informed.  Every bit of info about all the parts of
your computer are here!
MORE Technical Stuff...
And if you need MORE information, and are tired of using Altavista to
search way too many thing, check out this very targeted search engine!
Its GREAT for people that need to find answers about anything to do with
this technology.  Try it, you will be impressed.
Live VIDEO...
There are some interesting things out there in the world, and since most of
them are WAY too far away from my computer, I live vicariously through my
computer!  Travel to places far and wide, and see whats happening NOW
Yep another software link, this one just too good to pass up on.  FREE
SOFTWARE, never any charge, no nothing.  Just use it!
And last but not least, Ziff Davis released "SpeedRate" a quick and easy
program to test YOUR computer against some known benchmarks.  Easy to
download and install, runs very quickly, and shows you exactly where you
stand next to their benchmarks.
Once again, thank you for reading my little newsletter.  I hope you have
enjoyed it as much as I enjoy creating it.  You will notice that there were
no banners or other rediculous advertising (except for mine of course)
included, and I happen to like it that way!
Enjoy your time on SYIX (remember thats "6") and have a great day!
Dave Overton
Answerer of Questions.
(News@SYIX is published on occasion for the members of SYIX.COM, all rights
reserved.  If you should decide that you do not wish to recieve any further
issues of News@SYIX, tough.  Copyright 1997, David E. Overton)

Why my job (SysAdmin) is sometimes frustrating
 I work as a systems administrator, and part of my job involves answering
questions about computers. I generally like my job, but sometimes it gets
on my nerves. When people ask me what I find so irritating, this is what I
tell them:  
Imagine that you are a salesperson for Ikea (substitute "furniture store"
if you don't know what "Ikea" is). You get a phone call that goes like this.
Customer: I'd like to buy a kitchen table.
You: That's fine; we have many styles of kitchen tables, I'm sure you can
find one you like.
C: I need one that's 3 feet by 5 feet and has a butcher block top.
Y: Yes, we have a table like that. You can pick it up today.
C: OK, how can I get it back to my house?
Y: Well, it comes disassembled, so you can just put it on a roof rack. We
can loan you a roof rack if you don't have one.
C: But how do I get there?
Y: We're just off exit 25 of the Turnpike. Where are you coming from?
C: Wait, wait, you're going way too fast for me. I have a Toyota Celica in
my driveway, and the keys are in my hand. What do I do next?
- And, whatever you say at this point, the response is always the same:
C: But all I want is a kitchen table! Why does it have to be so Complicated!

Dave Overton
Voice 916-751-8873						Fax 916-751-8871
Premier Internet to Yuba/Sutter/Butte/Colusa Counties, California