Program Notes and Reviews 2001

17 Dec 2001 

Year End Party, Elections.
Review by Hal Hosfeld:

This was a unique meeting for the Mountain View IBM PC Club. During December 2001, IBM will vacate the Mountain View site and will no longer have a presence at 1055 Joaquin Road in Mountain View. As a result, the December meeting focused on discussing future meeting locations and other options for this IBM PC Club.

The loss of this location as a meeting place clearly presents some significant challenges for the Mountain View IBM PC Club. The following topics were discussed during the meeting:

  • Other IBM locations for club meetings
  • Non-IBM locations (libraries, restaurants, etc.)
  • The possibility of joining with another club
  • The distance members will travel to attend meetings
  • IBM location (name recognition) in getting speakers
  • Extending membership and Club Officers three months

Several other clubs, and meeting locations were identified during the discussions. These included such organizations as an OS/2 Users Group, a MAC Club, the Stanford Palo Alto Users Group, and a Linux group. Meeting locations such as restaurants, libraries, or other locations were also considered. The ability to attract future speakers is greatly enhanced by having meetings at an IBM location as the IBM name recognition is a substantial advantage. Peter Hirsch agreed to find out if the IBM location in Cupertino would be appropriate for future club meetings. Peter also said he made arrangements for the club to meet at EPRI in Palo Alto for the January meeting. Bob Moore agreed to look into another IBM location for a possible meeting place. Jeff Forman indicated he could make a small conference room available to the club on an exception basis but that it was not large enough to support regular club meetings. It's clear that many of these same topics will be discussed in a future meeting to determine where we go from here.

The club members voted to extend the term for current club officers three months. Club members also voted to extend membership of current members for the same three month period.

The drawing for prizes at the December meeting is always an enjoyable time for active club members, and this year was no exception. Bernhard Krevet brought an ample supply of quality prizes which allowed each club member to receive at least one gift and many received a second gift from a second drawing. Our thanks to Bernhard!

19 Nov 2001

In Home Wireless Networking by Don Ferguson

Come for a fun evening to hear from our very knowledgeable member, Don Ferguson. Don will discuss the pros and cons of “in home networking” and “protection from the internet.” Today, there are many choices and technical challenges when installing a in home wireless networking approach. Do you know all the pros and cons of ADSL, Cable, Dialup, Terrestrial Wireless, and Satellite for in home networking? Don Does! How about explaining terms and the pros and cons of 802.11(a,b,g) DNS, DHCP, NAT, Firewalls, IP address sharing or how to apply the right solution to different home environments? Don can.

Review by Hal Hosfeld:

Don Ferguson, a member of the IBM PC Club, gave a presentation on "In Home Wireless Networking". Don acquired strong technical and presentation skills during his IBM career, and also from personal interests outside IBM. He had many different assignments in Field Engineering, 360/IMS programming, Management, Network Strategist, and Storage Systems. Don also enabled computing services for Senior Management including IBM CEO Lou Gerstner, the Executive Staff, and IBM Academy of Technology. He acquired a Commercial FCC License and also has interests in Amateur Radio, Networking, and Communications.

The presentation included such subjects as:

  • "The Dawn Of The Net" This was a professionally done 15 minute animation movie showing how data is routed via TCP/IP through networks. It identified various network components of data transmission such as LAN's, Routers, Network Interfaces, Firewall Security, and Web Servers.
  • Home Networks and Wireless Connectivity with a one page handout that summarized the following terminology:
    • DHCP = Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
    • NAT = Network Address Translation
    • PPPoE = Point to point protocol over Ethernet
    • Firewall = Protect home connected equipment from the Internet
    • 802.11 = A wireless LAN technology also called "WiFi"
    • SMC7004AWBR is The Barricade (tm) wireless broadband router that combines a 3-port 10/100 Mbps switch with an 11 Mbps wireless access point, print server, and firewall.

Don gave an informative and interesting presentation based on his personal experience with good audience participation. This was a very enjoyable session.

15 Oct 2001

A New Approach to Desktop Publishing, by George Heller.

Review by Hal Hosfeldt:

The topic for this meeting was a very personalized view of "Desktop Publishing", and it was presented by George Heller. George is no stranger to the Mountain View IBM PC Club. He is currently the "Program Vice Chair", and he has been in a leadership role in this club for many years.

George acquired a substantial amount of experience with Desktop Publishing during his IBM career, and also from his personal use and interest in this subject. He is currently teaching a volunteer course at the Redwood City Senior Center. His first hand knowledge of this subject enabled him to share many personal experiences during his demo and presentation.

George used Microsoft Publisher as the prime software during the demonstration. He gave examples of how to use desktop publishing to create Business Cards, Fliers, Greeting Cards, and Banners. He used an image of a Lion to illustrate how easily an object (Icon, Graphic, Text, or other Art) could be used. He demonstrated the steps needed to use and manipulate text, color, graphics, and photographs to personalize the item being created. He also described various processes for working with images, text, pictures, drawings, graphic art, etc., that he used to personalize T-shirts, Hats, and Buttons.

Near the end of the presentation George displayed several items he had created. These included banners, a button, a T-shirt, a hat, and some very large posters. These items make nice gifts and they can be tailored an individual or the specific occasion. Several years ago George gave me a button that I still keep on my desk at home. The button reads "I can make a difference", and it's a great reminder of the power of positive thinking.

George, thanks for sharing your "Desktop Publishing" experience! Once again you have shown that "You can make a difference".

17 Sep 2001

IBM Microdrive, by Ray Champlin, IBM
Do you remember when we thought a 20 MB drive would last our lifetimes? Come and hear Ray Champlin, IBM Microdrive Solutions Architect, show us today’s smallest and lightest disk drive. The one inch IBM Microdrive, originated in IBM Research, brings the high capacity and performance of disk storage to the world of handheld devices and laptops. With capacity and data rate significantly greater than is available in solid state flash memory, the IBM Microdrive stores more pictures in digital cameras, more music in MP3 players, and more data files in handheld PCs than previously possible. Ray Champlin will demonstrate lots of devices that utilize this technology.

Review by Hal Hosfeldt:

J.B. Burke and Pat McMahon introduced the speaker for this session, Ray Champlin, WW Solution Strategist for the IBM Microdrive / Beyond-PC product. Ray discussed the IBM Microdrive and gave an excellent overview of the type of products using this product in this expanding marketplace. The discussion included the following points:

  • The IBM Microdrive is a small, high performance, high capacity, cost effective storage device that consumes very little power. It uses an standard interface and form factor that is viewed as an industry standard. This light weight compact storage device is a key factor in its use in handheld devices.
  • This device has already been integrated into devices from such companies as Canon, Casio, Hitachi, Kodak, Minolta, and Sanyo,
    plus other well known manufactures.
  • The IBM Microdrive is available in various size capacities ranging from 340MB to 1GB of storage. This device only weighs 16 grams which facilitates incorporation into existing and new handheld devices in an exciting marketplace.
  • The IBM Microdrive uses the industry standard CF+ Type II form factor that simplifies integration into products.
    Compatibility with the PCMCIA Type II is achieved via an adapter.
  • The IBM Microdrive is already providing reliable storage for handheld PC's, laptops, digital cameras, digital audio players, and other portable handheld devices.
  • The IBM Microdrive uses advanced technology and is far ahead of competitive products at this time.

Ray was able to maintain a high level of interest and participation during his presentation. His communication skills, in-depth knowledge of this product, and it's application in the marketplace made this an very enjoyable and effective presentation.

There was a drawing following this presentation and Hal Hosfeldt won the drawing. The prize was a very generous gift of an IBM 1GB Microdrive. I feel very fortunate to have won and plan to buy a digital camera or other hand held device to use this Microdrive.

20 Aug 2001

Bob Murray will present the Family of Gyration Products which includes wireless mice, keyboards and presentation controllers

Review by Hal Hosfeldt:

George Heller opened the meeting and recognized Karen Takle Quinn to introduce the speaker. Karen introduced Bob Murray, Sales Manager for Gyration Inc. The company "Gyration" was formed in 1984 and
incorporated five years later in 1989.

Gyration Inc, has developed miniature gyroscopes that are about one square inch in size and these are essential components in their hand held products. The company has developed GyroPoint Technology(tm) which is a unique method by which a sensor "inertial sensor" in a hand held device detects hand motions to control movement of a cursor or graphic on a remote display. Their technology includes use of low frequency (49 MHz) transmitters and a receiving station that provide the ability to use multiple input devices anywhere in a room to access a computer. Bob Murray, a former IBM employee, gave an excellent presentation and demonstration with substantial audience participation and interaction. His demonstration included the following products:

  • The "Gyration RF(tm) Receiver" is a RF receiving station that can be attached to a computer to support multiple devices (keyboard, mouse, pointing device) to access a computer. The receiver is connected to a computer via a 5 foot USB connection and it is certified for use internationally. The USB port provides power and no additional AC power source is required. Two remote devices (keyboards, mouse, pointing) can be used concurrently. None of these devices require line-of-site communication which means that the devices will work regardless of where they are located or the direction they are facing within a room.
  • The "Cordless Mobile Keyboard" is a high quality product that can be located within 100 feet of the RF receiving station in the same room. This product supports up to eight channels and 65,000 unique addresses that provide transmission security. These capabilities are essential for controlling the environment and preventing unwanted interaction between devices within a room. This keyboard includes 15 Internet and Multimedia hot keys and sells for about $200.
  • The "Cordless GyroRemote" is a hand held device that provides cursor controls that make it easy to control presentations using subtle hand movements that do no distract from the presentation. It includes "GyroTools" presentation effects software for Microsoft Windows. These tools support such capabilities to control sound, draw and highlight a slide show, add special presentation effects, and many others. This productg costs about $229.
  • The "GyroMouse(tm) Presenter" product provides the functions of a mouse. It is a remote device that can work directly on a desktop within 100 feet of the RF receiver. No software drivers are required and it is recognized as a plug and play device. A backup battery and charger are included and the cost is approximately $100.
  • The "GyroMouse Pro" is another cordless mouse that can be used within 40 feet of the receiver. It has the added capability of being hand held (in the air) anywhere in a room. It is ideal for presentations and can be used to navigate DVD's, surfing the web, and viewing CD-ROMs. It costs about $100.

I talked with Bob Murray following the meeting and he gave me the name of a reseller named Rick Cumming. Bob indicated that Rick could make the products available at a lower price. Anyone interested in any of these products can contact Rick at (858) 503-1227 to obtain additional pricing information. George Heller and Peter Hirsch both won a GyroMouse in a drawing following the presentation..

16 Jul 2001 

Organize/Edit/Distribute Your Digital Image with FlipAlbum and CD Maker, by Jessie Chew, ebooks.

FlipAlbum 3.1  - Organize and Edit

 - Create digital photo album in seconds , complete with thumbnail overview, table of contents and enhance your picture with built-in image editor.   
FlipAlbum CD Maker 1.2 (Home Edition) - Create and Distribute
 - Allows you to create a digital photo album on CD -ROM. The person receiving the album simply pops in the CD and view the pictures instantly. No downloading or installing of software required.
- Supports MP3 music files. 
- Requires CDRW drive for CDR recording.
Review by Hal Hosfeld:

George Heller opened the meeting and introduced two representatives from E-Book Systems, Inc., Steve Goodwin and Jessie Ai Mein Chew. Steve is a Director of Sales, and Jessie is a Sales Account Manager. E-Book Systems is a two year old company based in Singapore with a presence in Silicon Valley.

Jessie took several digital pictures of the PC club members as they assembled for the meeting. These pictures were then included in the product demonstrations which was a very effective way of tailoring the presentation and involving the audience in the product demonstration. The following summarizes several key points that Steve covered during his presentation:

FlipBrowser Gold provides a user-friendly way to create, edit, and share "FlipBooks" via a computer, and the Internet via e-mail. "FlipBooks", a trademark of E-Book Systems, provides an electronic book-like view similar to turning pages in a book. Pages in this electronic book are automatically numbered, and FlipBrowser also automatically creates thumbnails of images, a table of contents and back of the book index. It provides a very natural (book-like) way of viewing data. This product can present a Look-like format for data such as photo albums, catalogs, manuals, and magazines. It automatically organizes previously referenced web-pages into this book-like format.

FlipAlbum 3.1 automatically organizes digital images into realistic looking photo albums. It also includes automated slide show capabilities and music can be added. Photos can be annotated and bookmarks can be added to simplify viewing. Capabilities are provided to size, crop, and rotate digital images. FlipAlbum and FlipBrowser share some common capabilities and these will be integrated into a suite of products within a few months.

FlipAlbum CD Maker is offered in two different software programs, Home Edition, and Professional Edition. The following capabilities are available depending on which edition of the product is used:

  • saving photo albums on a CD
  • annotate and bookmark photo albums
  • view thumbnail overview
  • view 3D animated (page flipping view)
  • encrypt images
  • control end-user printing

A flyer and CD provided additional product information to PC Club members attending the meeting. The CD provides a 30 day evaluation of
the product at no charge or obligation. Additional information can be found on the web at

Steve and Jessie plan to make provide access to the photographs taken during this meeting.

18 Jun 2001

Sprint Fixed Wireless Broadband,
Global Positioning Systems,
by Peter Hirsch

Review, by John Eldred

Peter Hirsch started his presentation by mentioning the various types of broadband:

Cable (ATT@home)
DSL (Pacbell...)
Radio (Sprint Broadband)
Satellite (Starband, DirectPC, ...)

He then focused on Sprint Broadband, which he has installed at his house. Radio broadband waves travel to and from a dish-like transceiver on his roof that goes to a broadband modem and then into his computer. The dish has to be in line of sight of a broadcast tower. In Peter's case that means that he has a seven foot mast on his roof.

Sprint Broadband is fast (one to two megabits/second) and is always on. It uses Earthlink Internet Service Provider and provides up to 6 MB of personal web space and six e-mail addresses.

Peter showed a video of Sprint Broadband in actual operation on his laptop, and showing the dish on his roof. He has experienced good reliability with the service. The monthly charge is $49.95. Installation charge is $200 and equipment charges vary with the length of the contract. The costs are less if you are already a Sprint customer. 24/7 customer support is included.

Several meeting attendees spoke of their difficulties getting DSL installed and poor technical support.

Garmin Streetpilot III, Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver.

Peter's title for this presentation was "where am I and how do I get to where I am going?" He reviewed the various applications of Global Positioning Systems (GPS):

Mobile Navigation
Handheld GPS for Hiking
Marine GPS for Boating/Fishing
Airplane Navigation/Accident Avoidance
Tracking Vehicles/Articles
Specialized Applications
Tracking birds, elephants
Precision farming: Plowing fields, Picking cotton

GPS systems depend on satellite networks. The U.S. network has 24 satellites orbiting at 9,000 miles per hour, 20,200 kilometers above the earth. Each satellite sends a message noting position and time sent. The GPS receiver compares time received with GPS time sent and uses from three to twelve satellites to determine position. Peter uses a Garmin StreetPilot III GPS Receiver. This is a portable (move from car to car easily) address-to-address automatic routing GPS car navigation system. This receiver has voice instructions that communicate the distance, name of the street, and the direction of the next turn automatically as you approach each turn. It also has a high-contrast 16 color LCD display. The unit weighs only 1.4 pounds.

The receiver includes a built-in routable base map of North and South America which contains state and country boundaries, lakes, rivers, streams, airports, cities, towns, coastlines, state and interstate highways, local thoroughfares, and federal interstate exit information for services. For street-level navigation a user downloads map detail from Garmin PC-based CD-ROMs. It operates on batteries (battery life about two hours) but can be plugged in to a 12 volt outlet in your car.

The Garmin StreetPilot III GPS Receiver costs $800, which includes the North and South America base map, and also detail software for one of the ten regions of the United States. Each additional region costs $99, or you can buy all of the other nine regions for $200.

The highlight of this presentation was a video which Peter had made. He and his wife traveled from their home in Cupertino to the IBM building in Mountain View. As his wife drove, Peter photographed their trip, showing the view from their car and the GPS screen as they traveled.

In my opinion this June PC Club program by our own Peter Hirsch was outstanding. The two topics were of extreme interest to meeting attendees. Peter was very well prepared and the demonstrations (videos) added very much to our understanding of the subjects.


If anyone is interested in discovering more about the development of the user interfaces and information design challenges of this technology we suggest you read "User Interface Design for a Vehicle Navigation System" written by Aaron Marcus of Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc. and published on pages 205-255 (Chapter 8) in Eric Bergman's book. Eric's book, published last year (in 2000), is entitled Information Applicances and Beyond: Interaction Design for Consumer Products. It's ISBN number is 1-55860-600-9 if you want to order it. Or try your local public library to borrow a copy. Lots of interesting chapters in this volume including one on the development of the Palm.

21 May 2001

Lotus - Productivity Tools Update, by Holli Konig, Lotus Development.

Review by Hal Hosfeldt:

Karen Takle Quinn opened the meeting and introduced Holli Konig, Knowledge Management Specialist, Lotus Development, an IBM Company.
Holli briefly discussed several Lotus products during her presentation including Lotus Notes, Lotus Suite, Domino, Lotus 1-2-3. The major focus of the meeting described the Lotus and IBM strategy related to "Knowledge Management." Several key points related to these topics are:

  • Domino - An integrated and messaging software platform with e-business and DB support. It has strong security and is used by the CIA and FBI.
  • Notes - An integrated Web-like environment that includes calendaring, and group scheduling to help users manage information.
  • Lotus 1,2,3 - A spread sheet application.
  • Sametime - Real-time collaboration software with chat, white boarding, and application sharing capabilities.
  • Knowledge Management - A discipline to systematically leverage information and expertise to improve organizational performance.
    Lotus and IBM have worked closely and dedicated substantial resources to observe and analyze collaborative efforts of their best
    customers. This effort has identified three key ingredients in effective Knowledge Management - People, Places, and Things and the strategic goals these ingredients serve; namely responsiveness, innovation, competence, and efficiency.

The following web sites provide additional detailed information about these products:

Holli Konig is planning to provide the IBM Mountain View PC club members with access to some software that will enable us to share ideas via the system.

16 Apr 2001 
The Linux Experience, by Dick Delp

April 16, 2001 Meeting, Review by Hal Hosfeld:

Karen Takle Quinn opened the meeting and introduced Dick Delp who spoke about his experiences using and installing various
distributions of Linux. Dick Delp leads a Linux study group that has gained substantial hands on experience working with various distributions and versions of Linux via weekly meetings. Our appreciation to George Heller for arranging to have Dick Delp share his experiences with the IBM PC club.

There are many different "distributions" of Linux. A distribution provides the Linux kernel along with specific additional components. It's generally far more convenient for an individual to purchase a packaged distribution than to download a free copy via the Internet. The following distributions were identified:

  • Red Hat - a popular Linux distribution known for its RPM (Red Hat Package Manager) program distribution file format. IBM has an equity position in Red Hat which is the biggest player in the U.S. Market.
  • SuSE - this is very popular in Europe and has more bundled applications than any other distribution. Technical support is via Germany. It contains 8 CD's and includes Packet Radio support for Ham radio.
  • Turbo Linux - is popular in Japan and Asia.
  • Corel - one of the easiest to install and configure because there are very few options.
  • Slackware - one of the oldest distributions. It can be difficult for new users to install as it lacks a package management system like RPM.
  • Debian - uses its own package format and has limited user friendly configuration tools.
  • Mandrake - is very similar to Red Hat with respect to its set of utilities and installer software. It has been optimized for Pentium-class processors.
  • Storm - is a Debian based Linux distribution.

Other Linux related subjects discussed during this meeting were:

  • Star Office - a suite of applications which offer similar functionality to Microsoft office.
  • GUI environments - KDE (K Desktop Environment) and GNOME or (GNU Network Object Model Environment) were also discussed briefly. Both of these environments offer a good user interface and can help make it easier for users.
  • Linux Kernel - which is core code containing support for memory, tasks, user permissions, input/output, etc.
  • 19 Mar 2001 

    As usual, the computer industry is moving at breakneck speed - in all directions. By J.B.

    • Sun is bringing (very slowly) their new Sparc chip to market
    • HP is abandoning their own RISC technology in favor of Intel's IA-64 (without much HP technology)
    • IBM is heading toward Power4 in all their RISC boxes (with much technology to back it up)
    • IBM is heading toward NUMA technology on many platforms
    • IBM is heading toward Intel's IA-64 technology with much IBM technology
    • Microsoft is heading into the glass house with Windows XP

    IBM now holds the majority of the top 150 supercomputers in the world. What does it all mean? Let's discuss it and see if we can figure it out.

    Review by Hal Hosfeldt:

    This was an informative update by J.B. Burke covering a broad brush view of technology related to servers, architecture, and software. The meeting was well attended with good audience participation. An in-depth understanding of the subject enabled J.B. to facilitate discussions to accommodate questions from the audience.

    This presentation clearly shows that IBM has a very competitive server technology and strategy that is continuing to challenge competition in
    a very fast paced industry.

    Several key points related to IBM include:

  • The most powerful, technologically advanced UNIX systems
  • Advanced Chip Technologies involving Copper Circuitry
  • Strong support for Linux (1 billion dollars over 3 years)
  • Over 100 times scalability UNIX Commercial Performance
  • S80 Data Switch Architecture (43.2GB/sec aggregate bandwidth)
  • pSeries 680 Innovative technology (Dynamic CPU Deallocation)
  • AIX openness and Linux affinity
  • IA-64 product relationship to AIX
  • ASCI Project
  • A handout followed the presentation.

    19 Feb 2001 Spring Recess.
    15 Jan 2001

    A presentation on CorelDRAW'10 Graphics Suite by Jill Perry, Corel Product Specialist.

    Review: J.B. Burke introduced the guest speaker - Jill Perry, a Corel Product Specialist.

    Jill presented the three main applications of "CorelDRAW'10 Graphics Suite" which are CorelDRAW, COREL R.A.V.E. (Real Animation Vector Effect), and Corel PHOTO-PAINT. Her subject knowledge combined with excellent
    presentation skills resulted in an extremely informative and interesting presentation that kept the audience actively involved.

    During the presentation Jill discussed or demonstrated capabilities such as:

    • Changing appearance of ICONS
    • Using the Property Bar
    • Assigning short-cut keys
    • Selectively changing image colors
    • Sizing and Cropping images
    • Using paint brush tools
    • Merging images
    • Manipulating and Wrapping text
    • Working with various file types TIF, JPEG PDF, etc.
    • Combining pictures and text
    • Drawing flowcharts and architectural drawings
    • Animation
    • Saving presentations in HTML

    Jill identified three web-sites as good resources that provide additional data. These sites include support for such subjects as Tips & Tricks, Training Solutions, Books, Business Graphics, Clipart, Animation, Articles, etc. These sites are:

    Jill left copies of the "Corel User Group Product Order Form" enabling club members to purchase a copy of the product via User Group pricing.

    George Heller presented Jill with two buttons he had created and personally thanked her for an outstanding presentation.