UnderCurrents
Volume XX: March - April 2000

A Feature-Packed Issue

Text Only Version
Editorial: An Invitation For All
Article: Help Channel Etiquette
Help Feature: Channel Management
Hardware Review: IntelliMouse Explorer
IRC Help: New Users FAQ
IRC Software: Bouncers
User Focus: pan---
Technical: Introduction to Programming

Software Review:

Antivirus Software

More User Help:

Trojans
Tack Board: Fun Stuff!



Your Input Is Needed

by marks

Over the past month or so, interest in continuing to revive this publication has increased at a more than expected rate. I am pleased to present an issue that showcases the talents of some of those who indeed take seriously their roles on UnderNet and enjoy sharing for the good of all.

Hopefully those of you who have enjoyed our newsletter will find even more to interest you in this feature-packed release. Some had expressed an interest earlier of having a section devoted to technical issues, while others expressed an interest in having "more fun stuff" included. We have addressed both of those requests as well as a few others with this release.

I would like to mention that due to several articles submitted for publication here being incomplete, we were not able to include them. Hopefully, efforts to contact the authors will be productive, and these will be able to be included in the next issue. The newsletter has been released on an "issue-every-other-month" basis for the past several months. However, I am pleased to announce that if the enthusiasm continues, this schedule could be changed and upgraded to a monthly release. Other format changes may be on the way as well.

The staff of UnderCurrents is relatively new, as regular meetings are just now beginning to get underway. The Newsletter Project web site lists our staff personnel, and the names of those actively assisting with this publication will be kept on a current basis. Hopefully, this will encourage a higher degree of participation and provide recognition for those who are actually contributing the most to its success.

I would like to encourage you to contact us if you would like to assist in the efforts of the publication of the newsletter in some way. Most of those whom we presently have assisting have done just that. We are looking for well-written "help" articles, human interest stories, hardware and software reviews, interesting web site listings, and other items that would have a broad range of appeal to those individuals who use the resources of the UnderNet. Also, we are in the process of formulating a FAQ that will outline the requirements to assist those who might be interested.

As a final note, I would like to express my thanks to all of those who were kind enough to share their thoughts and knowledge through learning experiences with all of our readers. Continued interest of this kind will be the determining factor in how well this publication flourishes in the coming months. Also, I would like to mention that Idoru has spent a considerable amount of time in proofing and layout of this current edition, and appreciation is extended to him for those efforts. May this issue be one that provides helpful information, entertainment, and enjoyment for all those who choose to continue reading.


Netiquette

A Few Guidelines on Help Channel Etiquette

by #Userguide Staff Composite

1. Nobody is getting paid to help you; therefore, do not "demand" help.

2. There can be almost 50,000 users on the network, so ask your question ONCE, and wait patiently for an answer. What may be a crisis to you is no more urgent than anyone else's problem, so don't expect to jump to the head of the line.

3. In most channels, do not message the ops or helpers unless asked to do so. Ask all questions in the channel so that others who have the same problems can learn without the helpers having to answer the same question over and over.

4. K-lines, G-lines, and kills are not done on request. The network would need about 200 opers online if everybody who nuked, cloned, or swore at you got banned.

5. Give as much information as possible for the helper to get a good picture of what is going on. Be prepared to supply logs, but do not paste into the channel unless asked to do so.

6. Avoid using help channels as chat rooms, it confuses people seeking help, and encourages others to do the same.

7. Try not to idle too long in help channels, as it becomes difficult to keep track of who needs help, and who is just watching.

8. No help channels will get involved in the politics of other channels, so try and sort those out yourself.

9. Channels involved in illegal activities such as kiddieporn or warez (pirated software) will not normally be helped.

10. Try saying thank you when you are helped, and be understanding when you cannot be helped.

This is just a brief overview for a better understanding, feel free to visit any of the above channels, or drop by #userguide and ask one of us.


Channel Management

Yes You Can Regain control of your Channel with X

by IrishM

As the Undernet grows everyday in the number of users and channels, some new managers don't seem to comprehend that X and W are powerful tools to help stabilise and aid in making channel management simple. And CService is here to assist in using those commands that X orW make available to them. A lot of users today just think that registering a channel and getting X orW only means the channel is theirs. Little do some realise that X and W have a wealth of tools to maintain their channel and make it a fun place to chat.

Far too often recently new managers and high level ops come in to #CService asking for help that they lost control of their channel and didn't know they have the tools at hand in most cases to get their channel back.

Here is an actual case of this happening with some slight variations, the users names(except mine)have been changed and The channel names were changed to fictitious ones so not to reflect on the real ones.

This is one of many ways one can also use to regain their channel via X or W. It isn't necessarily the fastest , since there are so many circumstances that can exist in a take over.
*** DrCkTaiL (lamer@best.bloodymarys.net) has joined #CService

<DrCkTaiL> i have been victim of a take over on my channel anyone can help me? help me!!!! it is set to invite!! help me please!!
<IrishM> DrCkTaiL how can we help you? and please enlighten us with the name of the channel?
<DrCkTaiL> #BestBloodyMarybar
<IrishM> DrCkTaiL one moment please, i will look
/msg w,x access #BestBloodyMarybar DrCkTaiL

-X- USER: DrCkTaiL (*!*lamer@best.bloodymarys.net) ACCESS: 500 P
-X- CHANNEL: #BestBloodyMarybar -- AUTOOP: ON
-X- End of access list
-W- That channel doesn't appear to be registered

<IrishM> DrCkTaiL first you need to log into X, then invite yourself /MSG x invite #channel DrCkTaiL
<DrCkTaiL> don't you have do it for me?
<IrishM> DrCkTaiL no, you are the channel manager there and you need to learn how to do these things, we are here to help with questions on how to use X and W , not to run your channel for you
<IrishM> And please cut and paste here X's response to your login
<DrCkTaiL> oh, ok
<DrCkTaiL> -X- AUTHENTICATION SUCCESSFUL ON #BestBloodyMarybar!
<DrCkTaiL> it wont let me in!!! it says something about a key, what's a key?
<IrishM> DrCkTaiL first please relax, and do this /MSG x status #channel then Find the line that says "Modes:" - the Key will be the last word on that line. NOTE: The Key IS case sensitive. Then use the invite command again and then /join #channel key
<DrCkTaiL> cant you do that for me?
<IrishM> no, you must do it yourself
<DrCkTaiL> OK
<DrCkTaiL> it still wont let me in!!! it says I am banned
<IrishM> DrCkTaiL , before we go any further, can you tell me who got ops to ban you?
<DrCkTaiL> well this guy from #screwdrivers said if i made him op and give access to X he would give me new recipes for my bloody marys
<IrishM> DrCkTaiL OK, one moment
/MSG x access #BestBloodyMarybar -min 400
-X- USER: DrCkTaiL (*!*lamer@best.bloodymarys.net) ACCESS: 500 LMPU
-X- CHANNEL: #BestBloodyMarybar -- AUTOOP: ON
-X- USER: MaryMix (*!*MaryMix@*.bar.net) ACCESS: 400 P
-X- CHANNEL: #BestBloodyMarybar-- AUTOOP: ON
-X- USER: TakeOver (*!*takeover@*.youlostyourchannel.com) ACCESS: 499 LMPU
-X- CHANNEL: #BestBloodyMarybar-- AUTOOP: ON
<IrishM> DrCkTaiL hmm don't tell me, this person's name is takeover?
<DrCkTaiL> yes i just wanted to make friends
<IrishM> DrCkTaiL OK first you need to /MSG x remuser #channel Takeover then /MSG x deop #channel Takeover and it has to be in that order OK? then tell me when you did that and show me X's response from when you use the remuser
<DrCkTaiL> IrishM i did it -X- I REMOVE USER Takeover (*!*Takeover@*.youlostyourchannel.com) from #BestBloodyMarybar
<IrishM> DrCkTaiL OK now /MSG x unban #channel DrCkTaiL
<DrCkTaiL> OK i did that
<IrishM> OK now you have to do the invite and join with the key again , you remember how?
<DrCkTaiL> yes
<IrishM> DrCkTaiL and once you are in you must type /mode #channel -ik key to remove the Invite and Key
<DrCkTaiL> I AM IN!!!!! thanks IrishM
<IrishM> DrCkTaiL i do recommend you more carefully manage your channel and also you should Visit #opschool to learn the other wealth of tools X,W provide you to help manage your channel

X and W are powerful tools to make chatting a pleasant experience, take the time to learn them. And #CService is there to help you with questions relating on how to use those commands, the rest is up to you. Learning to use them before you need them will make your chatting experience on the Undernet so much nicer.

Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer

Latest rodent technology reviewed

by idoru

Sick of having to clean out your gunkey old mouse? Aiming astray in your shoot-em ups? Or just want a mouse that actually looks cool...? Well look no further than the IntelliMouse Explorer! This mouse has all the functionality of your existing mouse, and more.

Features

For a start, it has the now commonplace wheel for scrolling up and down documents. It has the two usual buttons, and two extra user-definable buttons. However, that which sets it apart from most other rodents is the fact that there is no ball to be found underneath. Instead, there is a red glow from the underside. This is an optical sensor that scans the surface it is placed on 1500 times per second. What this means to you or me is that it probably does its job a lot better than your dusty old mouse. Furthermore, because there is no ball, you don't need to clean it, and so it is more likely to be precise than ordinary mice. Another advantage is that you can use it on any surface, even on your leg, and it should still work.
Ergonomics: It feels good and fits the shape of your hand. It is comfortable to use.
It comes with a USB connector as standard, although a PS/2 converter is included. It is compatible with both PC and Mac. The cable is an ample 2.5m, which should be enough for most people.

Gripes

The drivers which were included in the box were not compatible with this version of the IntelliMouse, so make sure and go to http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/ and download the latest versions for full functionality. Mac users will also need to visit that link for system software.
This mouse will probably be awkward to use if you are left-handed, as it is shaped for the right hand, and has two buttons which are fairly inaccessible to the left-handed. This is not stated on the box.
Because of it's optical nature, it does not work very well on surfaces without detail. It will probably work just fine on your existing mousepad, although this somewhat defeats the purpose of the IntelliEye's use-anywhere feature.
This mouse is likely to be more expensive than comparable non-optical mice. This is to be expected as it is a new technology, however.

Summary

If you need a new mouse, and can afford this, certainly check it out. Some novel features, and a cool look, in my opinion it is a nice mouse to use. If you are left handed, look for a different model.


Frequently Asked Questions for New IRC Users

by linda_uk

Q: How do I join a channel and chat once I am logged on to an IRC server?
Type /join #channel (#channel = channel you want to chat in).

Q: How do I leave a channel that I don't want to chat in anymore?
Type /part #channel (#channel = channel you no longer want to chat in).

Q: What does that "@" symbol by someone's nickname mean?
The "@" symbol by a user's nick, or nickname, means that the user is a channel operator, and with this has the ability to perform special commands to help run the channel, such as kicking or banning abusive users or setting the channel topic. The "@" symbol is called "ops" for short.

Q: How do I chat with someone in private?
There are three ways you can do this. You can type /MSG <nickname> <message> and wait for a reply. You can also type /dcc chat <nickname> and wait for the other user to acknowledge your chat request. While talking in "MSG" or "DCC," nobody else in the active channel can see what you say except for you and the other user you are chatting with.
The third way to talk to someone privately is to type /notice <nickname> <message>. This will send your message in the active channel, but nobody in the channel will see it except you and the other user you are chatting with.

Q: How do I get a list of channels to chat in?
Type /raw list >4 in mIRC and /verbose list >4 in PIRCH. This will give you a list of all the channels on the Undernet with more than four people in them.

Q: How do I make an "Action" remark?
Type /me <message> or /action <message> and it will show your message to the channel in purple-colored text as an action.

Q: How can I get information about another user if he or she is currently online?
Type /whois <nickname>.

Q: How do I quit IRC with a message after I leave?
Type /quit <quit message here>.

Q: How do I set myself away when I'm away from my computer?
To set yourself "away," type /away <message explaining why you are away>. To set yourself "BACK" from being away, type /away. This will eliminate your /away message.

Q: If I want to invite someone to a channel I'm in, how do I do that?
To "invite" another user to your channel, type /invite <nickname> #channel.

Abbreviations

LOL - laughing out loud
BRB - be right back
BBL - be back later
WB - welcome back
BTW - by the way
OTP - on the phone
IMO - in my opinion
AFK - away from keyboard
NP - no problem
ROFL - rolling on floor laughing
LTNS - long time no see
GMTA - great minds think alike

Bots: Bots are allowed on the following servers: sandiego, newyork, baltimore, newbrunswick, landers, and graz.at.Eu. Vancouver (only registered and from .ca) Oslo-r only if registered.

Colour: In mIRC To colour a single word in a sentence
1. Type Control-K
2. Type a number between 0 and 15
3.Type the word,You can use the following key combinations to insert control codes in text: Control-B for bold text, Control-U for underlined text, Control-R for reverse text, Control-K for coloured text Control-O to cancel all previous control codes.

DCC Problem: to fix Dcc Chat & Send, disconnect from your IRC server (File->Disconnect) and in File->Setup, delete whatever is present in the Local Host and IP fields...Check "Always get IP on connect" box... exit mIRC... now restart mIRC

Linux help: http://jgo.local.net/~jgo/linuxhelp.html and http://www.linux.org

Registration: To register your channel, you need to find 10 people (and their email addresses) who will support you, then go to http://www.cservice.undernet.org/regist/ and fill out the form

Note to helpers

First, foremost AND always, please remember that there is NO such thing as a 'stupid' question. Questions are asked because folk do not know the answer; you may well and how well you give the information to the question that may dictate if that person continues to use IRC!

So, with that in mind, always be courteous and allow the user the time to ask their question, also English may well Not be their First language!

 

lwilliams@dial.pipex.com

simply complicated :-)

and a realistic optimist !


Bouncers

by lior

In this article, I will cover What is, Different kinds of, How to setup, How it works, of Bouncers.

Bouncers are programs made to hide a user's real IP and Host. They give the owner of the person who is using that bouncer, the IP and Host the machine where this bouncer is running has. For those who don't know what IP or Host is, it's what you see in a /whois <nick> after the @ like:

| lior (lior@lior.lpsg.org) (Internic Non-Profit Organization <- lior.lpsg.org is my Host and if you /dns lior.lpsg.org you will get my IP. Your IP and Host are assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). In order to change those and hide them in IRC, you use a bouncer.

Let's say your Internet Provider is Bla.com for example, and you always get on IRC as god@ppp23.bla.com being ppp23 the dynamic part (it changes every time you reconnect to your ISP) and you don't want this information to show up and have a static host (never changes even if you reconnect to your ISP), you need to get a shell on a computer connected to the Internet 24 hours a day all 7 days of the week. To do this, you need to get a shell. Let's say you got a shell on a machine with a host "getalife.com" and your username is "god" and you use a bouncer on that machine, you will get on IRC like this:

<yournick> is god@getalife.com <real name>.

That's what a bouncer is for, it makes your Host static and doesn't show up your real host.

Different Kinds of Bouncer:

The most common Bouncers around are BNC, Ezbounce, and mUH.

BNC:

This is one of the most used bouncer along with mUH. With this bouncer, you won't stay connected to an IRC server all day, it will quit IRC every time you quit IRC, it has some features like changing your host (if the machine has more than 1 host (called "vhosts" for virtual hosts)). You can change your ident (username, what goes before the @host) if the server is using the proper ident daemon (server). It supports encrypted passwords, for security purposes. Those are the best features. All you need to do is get it, upload it to your shell and on your shell type: "gunzip bnc2.6.2.tar.gz ; tar -xvf bnc2.6.2.tar" that will uncompress the file you downloaded. Go to the directory where it uncompressed it by typing "cd bnc2.6.2", type "./configure ; make ; make install" to compile the program, if everything goes well, edit the file example.conf, you can do this with "pico example.conf" then when you are finished, change the filename to bnc.conf with "mv example.conf bnc.conf" and run the program like this: "./bnc bnc.conf". If you have any doubts about UNIX/Linux commands contact your shell admin and ALWAYS read the README file.

Just an advice, if you ever see bnc2.4.4.tar.gz available for download, don't use that version, because it's "hackable", instead, use this one.

Rating: Good

You can get it at: http://shell.elite.be/~liorm/bnc2.6.2.tar.gz

mUH:

Many users started to use this bouncer because of it's nice features. With mUH you will stay connected almost all day to the IRC server (unless something out of your hands happens), it will log messages sent to you when you were away, it's easy to set up, it can only use the host you define in it's config file (in the bind part, you need to know the exact IP of the host). All you need is get it, upload it to your shell, and on the shell type: "CD ~" to go to your home directory, "gunzip muh2.04.tar.gz ; tar -xvf muh2.04.tar", to uncompress it, then type "CD muh2.04" "./configure ;make ;make install" to compile it. When all that is done, do: "CD ~/.muh" like that and type: "pico muhrc" (that's the config file), then type: "CD ~/muh" and type: "./muh". If you have any problems, again, contact your shell admin or read the README file.

Rating: Very good

Get it at: http://mind.riot.org

Ezbounce:

It has all the features mUH has, it allows a bit more of protection like what hosts can connect to the bouncer, and what hosts the bouncer will refuse connections, kind of like a firewall. The only problem it seems to have is that it will use almost 80% of CPU and RAM, my guess is poor coding. Get it and follow what the README says, since I haven't used it in a long time due to this problem (which it seems hasn't been fixed yet).

Rating: poorly coded

Get it at: http://druglord.freelsd.org/ezbounce/

Here's a little advice for all the bouncers: ALWAYS use complicated passwords so people can't guess them or decrypt them with a program (if you are using bnc encrypted passwords). Second, in every bouncer, you will have to use a port to connect to, you will have to use a port higher than 1024 and lower than 65535 and it will have to be available (once you use that port, no one else can use it.).

How to connect to your bouncer:

If you're using mIRC type: /server <shell's host> <port you used on the config file>

If you're using BitchX type: BitchX <nick> <shell's host>:<port you used on the config file>

If you're using any other one, for Windows, it's probably the same as in mIRC.

If you use mUH, and you are using the function bind in the config file, you MUST connect to the IP you stated in muhrc if it's different than your shell's host (if you are using a virtual host).


User Focus

by pan---

Hello UnderNet Folks ;)

I am pan--- and I would like to introduce myself ( I hope you find my story interesting). My name is Panayiotis, and I was born in Larnaca ( Cyprus ) sixteen years ago. I am a Greek Cypriot, still living here with my family. My mother is from Greece and my father from Cyprus. My hobbies are rollerblades, ski, ice skating, basketball and everything which is fast and dangerous.

Of course my third love is IRC, where i spend 1-2 hours everyday. I remember well when I got my first computer. I was 8 years old, and I loved it from the first moment. I began to use it playing cards (solitaire) and painting. Two or three years later they opened an Internet cafe here in Larnaca. I remember myself connecting to the "fantastic world" of Internet. It was amazing.

The cafe was connecting to Dalnet IRC, so the first IRC network I joined was Dalnet. After some weeks, users started joining the UnderNet IRC NetWork. Then I got Internet service, and I found myself joining both Dalnet and UnderNet. I remember also the old" UnderNet, which I found to be the most friendly IRC Network I had even seen. It was full of people trying to learn, communicate and have fun. I loved UnderNet, and I still love it. I have had great times, especially the day when I got the e-mail from Cservice that my channel was accepted (the first one).

UnderNet is growing extremely fast, and that is mostly because of the people, especially the User-Com people (old Pr-Com), as they are the most friendly team I have found on UnderNet.

I would like to say a few words to the new users of UnderNet IRC. UnderNet is a great network which supports friendly people, family chats, and people who like communicating with others or spending their time with a nice cup of coffee and chatting with others while doing so. Stay on UnderNet, and you won't lose.


An Introduction to Programming Part 1 : Introduction

by Pingu

Programming is a vastly broad subject, and so an introduction broad enough to give the uninitiated will not be easy, but in this series of documents I will attempt to do so. You should be aware, however, that as well as being multifaceted, the world of computer programming is constantly in change. As new technologies become available, the programmer must try to master the new programming techniques that accompany them. One of the largest changes to programming in the last couple of years has been the explosion of web based programming. The Internet has opened up a whole new way of using programmes as browsers have become more complex and incorporated ActiveX and Java technology. However, in this series I will not be focusing on web based applications, or any form of application for that matter, as it is up to you to choose your direction. You will find that you quickly want to specialise in one part of programming. There is far too much to learn it all!

 "How do I choose my subject area?", I hear you ask. You have to decide first what your target end user will be. Will your user be performing scientific analysis of millions of data sets on a mainframe? Will you be aiming at the home Windows user with your latest game? Are you writing a web application that will be used by many people, regardless of operating system? It is on these basis that you should choose what area you move into. The choice of target user will dictate what language you learn to programme in.

A programming language, like any other language, is a method of communicating information. In this case, the information is a series of instructions to be executed by the processor - the heart of the computer. The instructions you write, however, will not be sent directly to the CPU. They first have to be converted to machine code, the binary format that processors can understand. The exact format of these instructions depends on the class of processor. This translation will either be done by a compiler or an interpreter, depending on your choice of language. The difference between a compiler and an interpreter is simple - a compiler will process your entire programme and convert it to machine code - on a PC, in the form of a .EXE (executable) file. This can then be loaded and executed by the operating system. An interpreter, however, only translates the current line of execution, that is to say, the line of code that is currently being run. An interpreter has the advantage that you can stop the programme at any time and alter it, and continue running from where you left off. Also, if you are using a language such as Java, your applications can be made platform independent, meaning they will run on any operating system that supports the Java virtual machine. (The success to which Java actually accomplishes this is debatable, but will not be discussed here). The disadvantages of an interpreter, however, are that interpreted code is *much* slower than compiled code. Other people can view and modify your source code, and people will need a copy of the interpreter to run your programme. Microsoft Visual Basic gives you the best of both worlds - while you are creating your programme it runs in interpreted mode allowing you to easily edit the programme, and when you have finished you can compile it! This, however, is the exception not the rule.

There are many programming languages available, so how do you choose one? Obviously I can only give you a very rough guide as I only know of a tiny fraction of them, and have experience of even less. The only systems I have programmed on are PCs running MS DOS or Windows. This, however, is more than likely the system you will wish to programme on. (If its not then please don't stop reading as I will try to keep this series as platform and language independent as possible.) If you do not intend on creating large or complex programmes then I would recommend BASIC. The good news is, it comes free with Windows & DOS. (Windows does not install it by default - you will have to look in the tools\oldmsdos directory on your CD) BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) is an ideal language in which to learn about programming. For Windows, you can use Visual Basic. This is still very easy to use, but provides you with a much more powerful environment and allows you to create much more complex programmes. However, Visual Basic is a commercial application and must be paid for! The language I would personally recommend is C++. It has had a long history (C was first created for automation of telephone exchanges), and has proven itself to be very worthy. Although not as easy to learn as BASIC, you will find it a much more powerful tool. You can use it in DOS and Windows, as well as many other operating systems such as UNIX, LINUX, Sun and Silicon Graphics stations. There are free C++ compilers available, for example DJGPP [LINK HERE] is highly recommended by some, although I personally found it somewhat awkward to set up. If you intend to programme in Windows, I would recommend Microsoft Visual C++ [LINK HERE]. The price tag may seem a little high, but it is an extremely well made piece of software, and currently at version 6. C++ is a very useful language, whatever your application. Assembly is not something I would recommend, especially for a beginner. Its only real use now is for short routines that are extremely size or time critical, such as device drivers and graphics routines. As you are beginning, neither of these things will concern you. It should be noted that code produced by a good compiler can be just as good as hand-coded assembly, and that most routine libraries are coded in assembly anyway.

Now that you have chosen your target user and your programming language, its finally time to learn about programming! So where do you start? Well, the first thing is Planning. *groan* I hear you say! Yes, well, I doubt you will be taking this advice, but even so it must be given! Remember PPPPP - Perfect Planning Prevents Pathetic Performance. For small projects its OK to just dive in, but for moderate to large programmes you will quickly find yourself rewriting bits due to lack of forethought. This not only wastes time, but can leave your code in quite a mess.

 You will want to keep a notebook with you at all times. (eek, you may even have to buy a pen and some paper! Remember those?) In it, jot down any thoughts you have regarding your project, because if you are anything like me they will be forgotten by the time you reach your computer if you don't. Don't worry if your notes get messy, but do try to keep notes for different projects separate. This would also be a good time to get a book about your chosen programming language. If you don't want to buy one, then just go to your local library. It *is* possible to learn without the aid of books (I taught myself BASIC, Delphi and C++), because every language comes with an invaluable help file, but you will find your progress much faster if you have a good book to guide you through.

 Finally on to the good bit - how to write your programme.

 A programme is generally made of 3 parts - Input, Control and Output. That is, a programme takes input data, possibly from the user but equally possibly from data files, sensors or anywhere information is involved, processes the data in some way and acts accordingly. For example, a programme could take input from the joystick, work out where a player is and draw a spaceship on the screen. Equally, a programme could read data from a temperature sensor linked to the computer and adjust the temperature of your room accordingly. You will also find that in a way your programmes become fractal - as each subroutine takes an input, processes it and produces an output. And you will find that each line in that subroutine does the same! The input-control-output model is a very useful way of thinking about programmes.

 That's it for this edition, next time I will be introducing you to the layout of a programme. Good luck, and have fun!

   ---Pingu


Viruses

by PrinZ

Viruses are everywhere around us, sooner or later you might get infected by one. They can do the most harmless things to your PC, and they can wreck it completely. But you're not doomed yet, if you get an Anti-Virus software you can save yourself for much work later on.

The Causes

A virus can get into your computer on many ways. Floppy disks, Compact Discs, and the greatest; Internet. There is made hundreds of new viruses every week. And you have no guarantee for that your computer is 100% clean.

What can you do?

In order to protect yourselves against viruses you have to come up with some simple rules of what you put into your PC.

  1. Never download software from warez sites. They are often infected with viruses. This is people, which have no other purposes than to damage your system. Only download files\software from trusted places on the web.
  2. Be very careful with copying disks which isn't not yours into your system.
  3. Don't accept files people you don't know send you over IRC, ICQ and so on. Never accept .exe files(!).
  4. Strange E-mails, there are now viruses that spreads through e-mail. It can look as a friend is sending you a mail, but in fact: It could be a virus. Be careful with opening your mail.
  5. Have backups available, if you get attacked by a virus you might restore lost data.
  6. Get a Anti-Virus software to protect your system.

I'm not asking you to get hysterical, but sometimes there's better to be watching than not caring about it.

How it get inside you computer

A computer virus is made to irritate, or bother people. In some cases also to get inside information (passwords exc.)

3,5" disks was the greatest way to spread viruses earlier. If you insert a disk from a machine that is infected, there's a chance the files on that disk will harm your system. This case is rather small. Cd-Roms become more a threat than the small 3,5 disks. The CD's has a greater capacity, and more attractive today. Since CD-writers was put out for sale virus attacks has increased by almost 40%. But the biggest virus spreader is the net. Every day new viruses is made and uploaded. No one can be absolute safe. In extreme cases it's enough just to surf into a page, and you're fected. I must also add, that this cases are very few. The newest type of viruses spread through mail. E-mails with often odd subjects are cases of "mail viruses"

What they do to your system

It's ather hard to tell how a virus acts on your computer. If it takes control over your boot-sector that's bad. CIH is one of those among others. They might mess up your windows configuration, and make all kinds of irritable and malicious things happen.

I have tested the following software on my system. Which is: Intel PentiumII 400mhz, 128mb SD-RAM, Seagate 9,1GB Hard drive.

Programs:

  • Panda Anti-virus 6.0 Platinum
  • McAfee Anti-virus 4.03
  • Norton Anti-virus 5.0

How the test was done

When the software was installed, I decided what I should lay weight on, and what a good anti-virus should be like.

  • Easy to use
  • Fast Scanning
  • Number of viruses the program recognizes
  • Support, and updates
  • Types of scanning

Results

Panda Anti-virus 6.0 Platinum

This program comes from Spain. It can detect up to 40,000 different viruses, and is the tests 2nd most user-friendly program. You can have Panda scanning in the background while doing something else. Since this is the 2nd fastest program in this test, doesn't it take long to scan your hard drive(s). Panda can also scan your e-mails, downloaded Internet files and web pages you are surfing on. The creators of this program is offering you a hotline support. If you somehow should discover a new virus the makers of Panda guarantee you that they will send you a new Anti-virus within 24 hours. Panda also scores for its good update functions.

Summary: A good, user-friendly program, which scan your drive fast and good. I'd recommend this program for new, and advanced users.

McAfee Anti-virus 4.03

This is the program which finds most viruses, 42,975 stored in the Dbase. McAfee is the fastest program within this test, nor it is way more difficult to use. This program is made for advanced users, but I don't think it would be that hard to get into it. McAfee scans your e-mails, and when you're surfing the net, McAfee alerts you of destructive web pages, great function! For experienced surfers I recommend this software nr.1

It has an virus update function, which should be a standard in anti virus applications. I discovered one negative thing with this program. Sometimes the update part crashes windows. I'm not to surprised if the makers of this program come with an fix soon.

Summary: Very good and stabile program, it warns you if you're n destructive pages on the web. And protects against most viruses of the tested software. I suggest advanced users to get this program, as a newbie you don't get as much out of the program.

Norton Anti-virus 5.0

The easiest program to use, it has a good user interface, and even my mom can use it ;) Norton uses much system resources when scanning your hard drive. It can also scan network drives. Too bad this program is SLOW, it used 40mins. To scan my 9,1GB hard drive. And Norton only supports nearly 20,000 viruses, the weakest in this test. Again it is the cheapest one. 320.-NOK.

That will be about 40 dollars. Norton scans your e-mail, and downloaded Internet files. But don't discover malicious websites. Norton is a very aggressive program, it detects files when you use explorer, or just are viewing your hard drive. If it detects a virus it enables a "bluescreen" which warns you. It also put files in quarantine, and Norton promise you updates within a week, if you should find a new virus.

Summary: Very user-friendly! It is the simplest program to work with. Not the best, but good enough for basic users. This is also the cheapest program.

What to choose?

Still confused?

ADVANCED

Well, if you are an advanced user you should choose McAfee, it is a very good program, and protects your computer best of all the software tested here.

BASIC USERS

I think you should consider getting Panda Anti-virus, it is a very user-friendly program, which protects you against almost everything.

NEW TO COMPUTING

The most user-friendly program tested, it has limits of what it protects you from, but if are a wise, and awake user this software is best for you. This is also the cheapest alternative.


The Trojan Scourge

by Daniel Vigil

What is a Trojan Horse?

In Greek mythology the Greeks besieged Troy for nine years. They finally won when, pretending to depart, they left a wooden horse, which the Trojans took into the city. Warriors hidden in the horse opened the city gates to the Greek army, which sacked Troy.

In modern times a Trojan horse is any kind of program or script that pretends to be one thing but when executed either performs some destructive function such as deleting files or allows remote control of your computer.

A typical Trojan might be named coolgame.exe but when you run the program it will vanish or exit with an error. At this point the damage has already been done in most cases. Some changes to the registry or file replacements may not happen until you reboot.

How do I get one?

The most common way to get a Trojan is to accept a DCC (Direct Client Connection) send from another user on IRC. It is a good practice to NEVER accept files from another user. Always download files from their source home page or ftp. Downloading files from an untrusted source such as warez sites is always dangerous. Some programs will have trojans attached or simply be standalone Trojans.

Unfortunately, if you accept or download a program with a Trojan you probably won?t know it. Several volunteers have been cleaning SubSeven infected users and the number has topped 300 clients in just two days. That is only one of hundreds of different Trojans.

Trojans are often difficult to remove because once one is installed it is used as a gateway to install more. Some of the Trojans will reinstall each other if one is removed.

I calculate the number of infected clients on Undernet alone could easily top 5000.

How do I protect myself?

The best defense is common sense! Don't accept files from strangers and don't download warez. Run at least one good anti-virus program and one good anti-Trojan program. That?s right, anti-virus alone is not enough!

Software Recommendations

I like these programs and I suggest to anyone that they evaluate them!

The Cleaner
Trojan Defense Suite

Norton Antivirus
AntiVirus Toolkit Pro


Fun Stuff

by Robinb

Emoticons

:-)Your basic smilie. This smilie is used to inflect a sarcastic or joking statement since we can't hear voice inflection over IRC.
;-) Winky smilie. User just made a flirtatious and/or sarcastic remark. More of a "don't hit me for what I just said" smilie.
:-( Frowning smilie. User did not like that last statement or is upset or depressed about something.
:-I Indifferent smilie. Better than a Frowning smilie but not quite as good as a happy smilie
:-> User just made a really biting sarcastic remark. Worse than a :-).
>:-> User just made a really devilish remark.
>;-> Winky and devil combined. A very lewd remark was just made.

 

Everything I really need to know I learned from Noah's Ark:

1. Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah build the ark.
2. Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something really big.
3. Don't listen to critics. Do what has to be done.
4. Build on the high ground.
5. For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
6. Two heads are better than one.
7. Speed isn't always an advantage. The cheetahs were on board, but so was the snails.
8. If you can't fight or flee--float.
9. Take care of your animals as if they were the last ones on earth.
10. Don't forget that we're all in the same boat.
11. When the doo-doo gets really deep, don't sit there and complain--shovel!
12. Stay below deck during the storm.
13. Remember that the ark was built by amateurs & the Titanic was built by professionals.
14. If you have to start over, have a friend by your side.
15. Remember that the woodpeckers INSIDE are often a bigger threat than the storm outside.
16. No matter how bleak it looks, there's always a rainbow on the other side.
17. DON'T MISS THE BOAT !!!!

The Engineer's Dictionary

  • Major Technological Breakthrough - Back to the drawing board.
  • Developed after years of intensive research - It was discovered by accident.
  • Project slightly behind original schedule due to unforeseen difficulties - We are working on something else.
  • The designs are well within allowable limits - We just made it, stretching a point or two.
  • Customer satisfaction is believed assured - We are so far behind schedule that the customer was happy to get anything at all from us.
  • Close project co-ordination - We should have asked someone else; or, let's spread the responsibility for this.
  • The design will be finalised in the next reporting period - We haven't started this job yet, but we've got to say something.
  • A number of different approaches are being tried - We don't know where we're going, but we're moving.
  • Test results were extremely gratifying - It works, and are we surprised!
  • Extensive effort is being applied on a fresh approach to the problem - We just hired three new guys; we'll let them kick it around for a while.
  • Preliminary operational tests are inconclusive - The darn thing blew up when we threw the switch.

Not!

A duel was fought between Alexander Shott and John Nott. Nott was shot and Shott was not. In this case it is better to be Shott than Nott. Some said that Nott was not shot. But Shott says that he shot Nott. It may be that the shot Shott shot, shot Nott, or it may be possible that the shot Shott shot, shot Shott himself. We think, however, that the shot Shott shot, shot not Shott, but Nott. Anyway it is hard to tell which was shot and which was not.

Trivia

  • There is an elevator company named Schindler's, meaning that there are Schindler's lifts!
  • If you find that your eyes are puffy in the mornings, it could be that your head isn't high enough when you sleep. If your head is below or at the same level as your heart, the blood is going to pool and cause puffiness. Raise your pillow.
  • The longest skating 'rink' in the world is Ottawa, Canada's Rideau Canal at 7.6 km or just over 5 miles, which freezes over each winter.
  • The Gatorade Drink was created at the University of Florida.
  • The Chinese were the first to invent ketchup, which was, called ke-tsiap and which had pickled fish and spices (no tomatoes). In the 1870s New England colonists mixed tomatoes into the sauce creating present day ketchup.
  • Santa Fe was founded in 1607 making it the oldest continuously occupied state capital.
  • Alaska could hold the 21 smallest States.
  • The sport with highest ratio of officials to participants is tennis. A singles match should have 13; ten linesmen, one net, one foot-fault, plus an umpire.
  • Camels have three eyelids to protect themselves from blowing sand.
  • It takes forty minutes to hard-boil an ostrich egg.
  • Kermit the Frog is left handed.
  • It takes eighteen minutes to cool hot chocolate into a Hershey's Kiss.
  • At 3,212 Feet, Angel Falls in Venezuela is the world's highest waterfall.
  • If you put a raisin in a glass of champagne, it will keep floating to the top and sinking to the bottom

A few interesting web sites for your amusement and entertainment


Useful links

by linda_uk

Undernet and IRC related websites

Undernet main site: http://www.undernet.org/

Class-docs: http://www.user-com.undernet.org/class/

Clients: http://www.wildstar.net/irc/clients/ for a list of different IRC clients

CService: http://www.cservice.undernet.org/

Coder-com: http://coder-com.undernet.org/

Documents: http://www.undernet.org/documents/

mIRC: http://www.mirc.co.uk/

mIRC-links: http://www.mirc.co.uk/links.html

Promotions: http://www.user-com.undernet.org/promotions/

Routing com: http://www.routing-com.undernet.org/

User-com: http://www.user-com.undernet.org/

Userguide: http://www.user-com.undernet.org/userguide/

Raw numeric IRC commands: http://www.teleport.com/~jeepster/numeric.html

Time zones: http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/zones.html

System Protection

Cleaner: http://www.dynamsol.com/moosoft/

Dms-cleanup: ftp://ftp.dynamsol.com/pub/freeware/dmcleanup.exe

Netscanner: http://www.nwpsw.com/nstdl.html

Nukenabber: http://www.dynamsol.com/puppet/

Mailing lists

user-com: user-com@undernet.org

userguide: userguide@undernet.org

help: help@undernet.org

cservice: cservice@undernet.org

live events: liveevents@undernet.org

docs: documents@undernet.org

abuse: abuse@undernet.org


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Released by marks 01 Mar 00 - 0030