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P. A. Stonemann, CSS Dixieland
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CSS Dixieland

Probing the depths of knowledge

These essays by P. A. Stonemann, CSS Dixieland, cover a wide range of historical, philosophical, scientifical and technical subjects. Each page deals with a particular topic, divided into sections and explained by itself. Every page shows at its top hyper links to every other page. The Start page also has short descriptions of the other pages. CSS Dixieland expresses gratitude to the readers that make this work meaningful.

This Web document has been tested with KDE Konqueror, graphic HTML interpreter for Linux. It may not be rendered correctly by other graphic HTML interpreters. It will probably be correct when rendered by text-only HTML interpreters (visual, aural, or Braille tactile interpreters), but if feasible, please use KDE Konqueror. Uniform Resource Locator:
https://konqueror.org/

Computing Links page

Plenty of classified hyper links
about many subjects related to computers
An enormous diversity of available resources

Walkyrie who takes our dead heroes to Walhalla in Asgard
Walkyrie who takes our dead heroes to Walhalla in Asgard.
Wagner Frost Illustration

Sections in this page

  Hyper links on Computing
  Access providers
  Accessibility
  Activity in the Internet
  Artificial intelligence
  Characters in ASCII
  Books in textual form
  Books in aural form
  Books in Braille form
  Boolean Logical Enunciators
  Cameras in the World Wide Web
  Cinematography
  Content safety
  Counters of visitors
  Courses through the Internet
  Duplicated documents in the Internet
  Games in the Internet
  Groups of interest in the Internet
  Hackers and crackers
  Hosts (servers) of Internet documents
  Hyper links pointing to Internet documents
  Identification of domains
  Number of views
  Operating systems: Introduction
  Operating systems: Comparison
  Operating systems: For old or limited computers
  Operating systems: Programmes for CP/M
  Operating systems: Programmes for DOS
  Operating systems: Long names in DOS
  Redirection of Uniform Resource Locator
  Reference and dictionaries
  Resources for Masters
  Rings of documents
  Roboti (crawlers, spiders)
  Search: Engine, directory, portal. Meta tags
  Search: Directories edited by human reviewers
  Search: Engines by subject, language or location
  Technical recommendations
  Time keepers
  Tools for analysis of documents
  Translators or interpreters for computer languages
  Tutorials
  Type suffixes
  Gopher logs and Web logs

Technical note: In languages other than English or Latin, but which use mainly Latin characters, some characters are taken from other alphabets, or some Latin characters are modified with diacritic marks for representing different phonemic sounds or other orthographic conventions of those languages. Those characters, when used in this document, have been encoded as entities of Hyper Text Mark-up Language or sometimes in Unicode UTF-8. Therefore computers using other character encodings may render some characters inaccurately, but hopefully, it will still be possible to read non-English words without too much difficulty.

 

Hyper links on Computing

A non-exhaustive list of resources for many purposes

The reason for this page is to provide hyper links to some of the huge amount of resources that exist in the Internet, with a brief introduction to the purpose of each of those resources. The list is not exhaustive, neither in the number of resources presented, nor in all the possible hyper links to the persons, institutions or organisations who offer those or similar resources.

Yet, the information is valuable as an introduction, because it is evident that most people stick to using only a few services whose existence they have known by hearsay. They remain grossly ignorant of plenty of other services. In fact, they are not even aware of the existence of other services. The Internet is not reduced to Gopher or Web sites, logs, games, chat, mail, or social networks. There are many other possibilities as well, but the usual gang of stupid ordinary people, typical users of Windows, Yahoo, Google, Orkut, Facebook, or Twitter, do not know that.

Most of the hyper links below can be connected through the World Wide Web of computers, one of the protocols in which the Internet is divided. A few hyper links can be connected through File Transfer Protocol, Gopher Protocol, or other protocols that are also a part of the Internet. The page of Computing History has definitions for the kinds of data sets and protocols that can be used in Internet transmissions.

Access providers to the Internet

An access provider (also known as service provider) is a person, institution, organisation or company that provides access to the Internet. The transmission of signals from the access provider to a computer client is often done by telephone lines, although it is also done by cable television or radio, by teleprinter or telegraph lines, by wireless signals (coming from a ground antenna or from a satellite), or also by other media. It could even be done by electric power lines. Since the Internet is worldwide in scope, any access provider in the world could be chosen, but usually a geographically near provider will be the best choice, because it will be necessary to pay for the transmission of signals, and if doing that by means of, for example, international telephone calls, then the expense would be excessive. The lists that are shown below may help in making a wise choice, although they are by no means complete. A local research may also be advisable.

Herbison
Access providers to the Internet
http://www.herbison.com/herbison/iap_meta_list.html

 

Accessibility for impaired readers

Not everybody has excellent eye-sight for reading very small text against a wrongly chosen background colour, that may present scarce contrast with the text in the foreground. Not everybody has superb ear-hearing for listening feeble sounds in an audio record. Not everybody has computer mouse or another screen pointer, or quick fingers of magician for performing impressive acrobacies at the keyboard. Certain Web Masters forget, or do not even consider, what is generally known as "accessibility", when they design their documents. As a consequence, they condemn impaired readers to strain their eyes, ears or fingers in order to read, listen or operate on an information. Or to quit from the non-solidary document. A hyper link is provided here for helping Web Masters to gauge some aspects of accessibility in the design of their documents.

Cynthia
Validator of accessibility for impaired readers
http://www.cynthiasays.com/

 

Activity in the Internet

To know the condition of Internet communications may be wise, particularly in overcrowded lines, when it comes for example to choose a mirror for the down-loading of an enormous data set that may take minutes, or even hours, to finish its transmission. The geographically nearest mirror might not be the best choice. Conditions vary according to many factors, and one of the hyper links provided here tries to estimate those factors. The other hyper link has a totally different purpose: to detect technically sophisticated intruders who try to bypass computer barriers and enter into a system without being invited.

Internet Traffic Report
Monitors the flow of data and indicates reliable connections
http://www.internettrafficreport.com/

 

Distributed Intrusion Detection System
Detects crackers who try to bypass computer barriers
http://www.dshield.org/

 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is defined as those computer programmes that, while holding a spoken or written conversation, or playing a difficult game (such as chess), or performing any other activity considered as intelligent, may deceive an otherwise unaware human interlocutor into thinking that he be really in communication with another human interlocutor. According to the test devised by Mister Alan Turing in the 1940's, a computer programme who could thus deceive a human, can perfectly be considered as an Artificial Intelligence. The name of "Artificial Intelligence" began widespread use in 1956, after an historical meeting at Darmouth College of ten specialists in Computing Science.

The first important programming language for Artificial Intelligence was Lisp, also one of the earliest languages of high level, invented in 1956 by John Mc Carthy (Stanford University), and used with ups and downs for many years. It is still extensively used as of 2021. Another language, called Artificial Intelligence Mark-up Language, allows an imaginative programmer to build his own conversational programme. There are a number of programmes publicly available, made in different programming languages and also in different human languages. Many of them are listed at:

Simon Laven
Programmes of Artificial Intelligence
http://www.simonlaven.com/

 

It is also possible to combine Artificial Intelligence with a talking animation, showing an expressive face and body and speaking with synthesised voice in a variety of human languages and dialects. It makes a very realistic interaction, like if it really were a human interlocutor. This marvel is available at Haptek:

Haptek
Realistic talking animations
http://www.haptek.com/

 

Haptek provides those outstanding animations to Sonork Messenger, the only messenger in real time where text can be converted into synthesised speech, and illustrated by means of very realistic facial expressions. Other companies also provide interesting animations, although not even by far so realistic as those made by Haptek with its "People Putty" patent.

Pandora is another organisation that offers Artificial Intelligence, in the form of 'conversational' programmes.

Characters in ASCII
American Standard Code for Information Interchange

In the early 1950's, huge computers that worked with bytes of 4 bits (16 characters per byte) were often coded by hardware connections, or in the form of low level instructions written in numbering base of two and often known as 'machine code', or in some kind of medium level assembly language. Near the end of that decennium it became more common the use of high level programming languages, with computers working with bytes of 6 bits (64 characters per byte), and working with either one of two sets of characters that were known as BCD (Binary Coded Decimal) and BCI (Binary Coded Interchange). In 1964 IBM released big computers with bytes of 8 bits (256 characters per byte), and with a combined set of characters that soon replaced BCD and BCI. This combined set was called EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code), and in big computers it is still used until today, as of 2021.

For small computers, however, a new and uniform set of characters had to be devised. This new character set was known as ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange), which is today used all over the world by the vast majority of computers, excepting only, as it has been said, a few of the big computers that still work with EBCDIC. There were also a few microcomputers in the 1980's that used their own character code, like it was the case of the Sinclair TK-82x and Sinclair TK-83. They shared the same code between them, but that code was not a standard, it was exclusive of those microcomputers. It was a situation that forced to adapt programmes in ASCII to the peculiar set of characters used by those models, which for that reason fell out of favour with serious programmers. Sinclair took good note of the lesson, because newer models like TK-85, TK-S 800 or TK-2000 were all made to work with ASCII character code.

The original ASCII code is known as '7-bit ASCII' or as 'Standard ASCII'. It includes characters from 0 to 127 (of which the first 32 characters are 'control characters'), and it is completely uniform worldwide. Some years later appeared an extended set known as '8-bit ASCII' or as 'Extended ASCII'. It includes characters from 128 to 255, but for making things difficult, two diverging variants were created: the first is IBM Extended ASCII (used for example in DOS systems), and the second is ANSI Extended ASCII (used for instance in Microsoft Windows). For solving the problem, there are programmes or programming languages that can convert a text from one ASCII variant to the other, or that can indicate the number assigned to a given character, or inversely, which character corresponds to a given number. That information can also be consulted in a table of ASCII codes. The programme below converts a given character to the corresponding ASCII decimal code number. It requires a user agent capable of executing Java Script and with it enabled.

Type a character:

ASCII code converter engineered by Mister John Sutherland.

Provided by The Java Script Source:

The Java Script Source
Java scripts for insertion into hyper text documents
http://javascriptsource.com/

 

Some operating systems or programmes also allow to insert characters by pressing the left hand "Alt" key while introducing the code number for that character. For instance, Alt + 11 will insert the symbol for the God and Planet Mars, God of War, and animals of the male sex:

If the symbol above be shown as an interrogation mark or a small square, or another generic symbol, then the operating system or the user agent currently showing this document does not recognise that character, or it needs to be configured with the appropriate character set.

Fortunately, the Universal Character Set appeared in 2000 for addressing the problem of a truly international standard of characters. Unicode has a huge set of 65536 characters (not all of them assigned), which can be defined by numbers in base ten (decimal) or in base sixteen (sextodecimal, hexadecimal), or they can be converted from another numbering base. Unicode includes nearly every alphabet in existence past or present, even some fictional alphabets such as the Angerthas and Tengwar of J. R. R. Tolkien, plus ideographic writing systems such as Chinese. The Hyper Text Mark-up Language used in the World Wide Web includes Unicode, although a given HTML interpreter may not contain the whole Unicode set, as it may be seen in the example above.

The best solution for Web documents is the use of HTML encoding for characters that are not normally included within other character sets. For other documents the best solution at present is the use of Unicode UTF-8, which is the standard in Linux and in other serious operating systems. Another possibility, now or at some point in the future, is to switch to Unicode UFT-16 or Unicode UTF-32, in which the Byte Order Mark may be defined as Little Endian or as Big Endian. Complete information is available at the Unicode Consortium:

Unicode
Universal Character Set
http://www.unicode.org/

 

Books in textual form

Full books can be read through the Internet using different protocols: File Transfer Protocol, Gopher Protocol, Wide Area Information System Protocol, Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (for the World Wide Web) or some other protocols. Many thousands of titles are available in many languages, about any imaginable subject. They can be read from the computer screen on-line during an Internet session, or they can be downloaded and read at a later time, either from the computer screen off-line, or by printing them. Those books are available in electronic format in at least two on-line collections: Project Gutenberg and Many Books, hyper linked below.

 

Project Gutenberg
Since 1971, the oldest collection of Internet books (over sixty thousand in 2021)
http://www.gutenberg.org/

 

Many Books
All of the books from the Gutenberg collection, converted to mobile formats
http://manybooks.net/

 

Project Gutenberg takes from personal donations books printed on paper that are legally in public domain, converts them to electronic format by Optical Character Recognition devices, distributes them by a method called 'Project Gutenberg Distributed Proof-readers', and requests volunteers with knowledge of that human language, for correcting the errors that often appear in the electronic conversion. Each volunteer corrects parts of the book, or the entire book. When two or more volunteers have finished proof-reading the book, then it is published in Internet as ASCII or UTF-8 plain text, or also in other formats, optionally with the names of the volunteers who have worked on it.

Digital Book Index
Vast sample of Internet books
http://www.digitalbookindex.org/index.cgi

 

University of Pennsylvania
Huge collection of Internet books
http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/

 

Books in aural form

These books are read loud by humans or also by computers, and can be listened through ear phone, head phones or loud speaker. Often it is also possible to read their written text from the screen on-line, or to download and optionally print them, therefore being of an enormous help to students of languages.

The hyper link to Project Gutenberg, in the section 'Books in textual form' above, also offers a number of books in aural form, but not all of them. For those books that are unavailable in aural form, but available in textual form, there are programmes known as 'text to sound' that make the conversion. In Linux systems a good text-to-sound converter for many languages is 'espeak'. The synthetic voice of a computer does not sound very natural at the current level of the technique, but it is for the most part understandable.

Good speakers of a language may volunteer for recording their voices into aural books. Those persons without a good voice or pronunciation, but with a good knowledge of the language, may volunteer for proof reading the textual books that are produced by Optical Character Recognition devices. Project Gutenberg above explains in detail how this collaboration can be done.

Wired for Books
Books in Real Audio format
http://wiredforbooks.org/

 

Books in Braille form

Books in Braille code consist of a system of physically raised dots that can be detected by touching them with the fingertips, and can be interpreted by knowing the Braille system. Different groups of dots represent different characters, and can therefore be used to write information in any human language. This system is commonly used by blind persons. The inventor of the system was Louis Braille (1809-1852), a blind person himself.

In Linux systems there is a 'liblouis' library (named so in honour to Louis Braille), which can perform conversion of Unicode or ASCII text to Braille glyphs or vice-versa. There are also executables for Braille communications.

In the Internet there are no Braille books as such. There are tactile user agents instead, which accept an input of text and convert it into an output of Braille code, by physically raising dots that can be touched by the blind reader. Therefore, any of the books provided by the hyper links listed in the section "Books in textual form", above, can be converted into Braille code by a tactile, Braille user agent.

Another solution for a blind reader is of course to listen to the spoken sound of a book, provided by the hyper links in the section 'Books in aural form' above, and in part by the hyper link to Project Gutenberg in the section 'Books in textual form' above. A blind reader, if being good speaker of a language, may also volunteer for recording his voice into aural books.

Boolean Logical Enunciators

In 1847 English mathematician George Boole published "The Mathematical Analysis of Logic". The essay was inspired on Aristotelian Logic, but it developed an analysis of the mathematical aspects of formal Logic that was beyond the teachings of the Greek Master.

In 1854 Mister Boole published "An Investigation of the Laws of Thought", an algebraic system for enunciators of formal Logic. His two books of 1847 and of 1854 are the origin of the Boolean Logic used today by search engines and for many other purposes.

In 1867 Charles Sanders Peirce suggested that the Boolean system of Logic could be applied to electric circuits.

In 1936 Claude Shannon (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) published an essay explaining the application of Boolean Logic to electric circuits. The essay was inspired on the suggestion proposed in 1867 by Charles Sanders Peirce, and on the Differential Analyser, an analogue machine built by Vannevar Bush in 1930 that Mister Shannon had studied in detail. The ideas exposed by Mister Shannon in that study have been since 1937 applied to telephone switches.

In 1948 Mister Shannon published "A Mathematical Theory of Communication", essay explaining how to apply the numbering base of two to computers. It is the first use of the term "bit" (binal digit or binary digit), although the concept of a minimal unit of information based on one of two possible states had already been proposed by Konrad Zuse, who called it a "JA - NEIN" ("YES - NO", in German). Claude Shannon greatly influenced further development of computers using numbering base of two, and definitely provoked the demise of the numbering base of ten for nearly all advanced computers. He also speculated on how computers might play chess.

One of the applications of Boolean Logic, as it has been said, is by the algorithms of search engines and data bases. The best search engines use Boolean function commands to aid in the retrieval of relevant documents. Those function commands are more or less standard, although not completely standard. It is necessary to read the help page of each search engine for knowing exactly how to use Boolean function commands in that search engine, which ones can be used in it and which ones cannot. Major search engines tend to have a page for basic search and another page for advanced search. Boolean Logical Enunciators can typically be used in the advanced search page, although it may also be possible to use them or some of them in the basic search page. The search engine's help page will inform about this.

Knowing how to use Boolean Logical Enunciators correctly is the most important asset that a serious researcher can possess. Most human computer operators prefer to remain so ignorant that they do not normally use them, or they use only a few of them, and as a consequence they retrieve thousands or even millions of documents in response to a search query. It would take a time to read them all, and even worse, the vast majority of documents thus retrieved will not be very relevant to the search, because the keywords of reference typed in the search box may casually appear only one time or a few times in the document, and the document may not be related at all with the subject of the search. Beside the enunciators listed here, certain search engines allow to use other symbols or enunciators, such as:

Speech marks "----" for closing into an exact sentence those words that should appear togeher.

Parentheses (----) for building complex query strings and get in response a more precise search.

The keyword NEAR for finding words appearing in close proximity inside the document, about ten words distance.

There may be other enunciators, refer to the search engine's help page for knowing how to use them. After this list of enunciators there are some hyper links pointing to tutorials where the use of the most common enunciators can be learnt. Boolean Logical Enunciators are also known as Boolean Logical Operators.

Boolean Logical Enunciators and their functions

Boolean Logical Enunciators with the corresponding standard symbols, function commands, and logical operations. This table has been constructed to be efficiently rendered by visual user agents (graphical or text-only), by aural user agents (text-to-sound), or by tactile user agents (text-to-Braille).

Boolean Logical Enunciators
Enunciator Name Standard Symbol Function Command
(in capital letters)
Logical Operation
Aductor & (ampersand) AND A X B = L
Inclusor | (pipe, vertical bar) OR, OR ALSO A + B = L
Exclusor <> (lesser followed by greater) XOR, OR ELSE noA B + A noB = A X B
Inversor / (forward slash) NOT A = noL, noL = A
Inversor Aductor /& (slash followed by ampersand) NAND, AND NOT A X B = noL, noA X noB = L
Inversor Inclusor /| (slash followed by vertical bar) NOR, OR ALSO NOT A + B = noL, noA + noB = L
Inversor Exclusor (undefined) NXOR, OR ELSE NOT (undefined)

Boolean Logical Enunciators for complex searches

It is a good idea to read the tutorials below before attempting any complex combinations of Boolean Enunciators, otherwise frustration might likely be the result of wrong queries at the search engines. If doing the combination correctly, the search engine will give highly relevant documents in response.

Claymont
Boolean tutorial
http://www.claymont.com/search/ixqlang.asp

 

Cameras in the World Wide Web

A view of the world in real time. A road in Cincinnati or Chicago, a street in New York or Nashville, showing what those who are there at this very instant are also seeing. Only a suggestion for newcomers about this feature: Please do not be a voyeur.

Earth Cam
Cameras in many geographic locations
http://search.earthcam.com/

 

Cinematography

Originally recorded on chemical film or on magnetic analogue video, and later converted to digital video, or recorded directly as digital, there are available thousands of motion pictures of short as well as of long reel, silent or sounded, in black and white or coloured. A treasure for lovers of the good old films, or for those who prefer images or sounds of more recent release.

British Pathe
Cinematographic documentaries as far back as 1896
http://www.britishpathe.com/

 

Tubidy Mobile
Part of the You Tube collection, in formats for mobile devices
http://tubidy.mobi/

 

Content safety

The Internet, and in particular the World Wide Web, is not always the clean place that it ought to be, where reliable information could be found for free like in a huge, worldwide public library. Regrettably, there are certain individuals who publish materials of dubious reputation and unsavoury bad taste. Like me, for instance.

For protecting the innocent against so unqualifiable elements as I am, there are some institutions whose task it is that of labelling as "safe", "maybe safe, maybe not", or "definitely unsafe" the content of documents that have been published, and that have been remitted to those intitutions by their own authors (the persons or organisations who created the documents), or their current maintainers. The labelling is mainly based on concepts of morality and on language used, although different labelling institutions also have different criteria for this. The idea is primarily targeted to children, or to other persons who do not tolerate immorality or harsh language.

The document thus labelled is expected to insert a PICS label (Internet Content Safety) in the head of the document, where search engines or user agents are expected to recognise the label and act in consequence. The PICS label cannot be inserted in the body of the document, although a warning text may also be shown in the body. Depending on the label, and on the features and configuration of the operating system or the user agent, the document will be shown with a warning, or it will be refused altogether. Some administrators go too far, refusing essentially innocent documents through their systems just because the PICS label merely suggests a possibly 'controversial' topic.

Counters of visitors

A counter of visitors counts how many times an Internet document has been opened for reading (this is, how many times a copy of the document has been requested from its host server). A counter may also show some statistical information, for example the origin of the request (redirected by a hyper link or not), the date and time when the document or each of its pages have been opened (therefore showing which pages have been read and the time for each), which out-bound hyper links the visitor has followed, if any, and many other details, such as the computers used by those visitors, their operating systems, their user agents, the colour and size resolution of their video boards, the country of origin of the request, the human language preferently used by the target computer, and plenty of other technical data.

All those facts can be used to redirect the visitor to an appropriate copy of the document (in a different human language, for instance), or they can make the Web Master aware of general preferences of visitors, and thus to manage the content of the document accordingly. Automatic redirection should not be used alone, internal links activated by manual operation should always appear on each page of the document. The reason is that a human operator may prefer to read in a certain language, in German, for example, but he is at the moment using a computer located in Italy or with Italian configured as the preferential language. He should have the easy means for going to the German page without need of re-configuring the computer (or of moving the computer and himself to Germany !!!), which may prove difficult or impossibe to do.

The company below, Extreme Tracker, really goes overboard in providing a richness of technical detail such as makes sophisticated Web Masters happy.

Extreme Tracking
Counter of visitors with full statistics
http://extremetracking.com/

 

For redirection of a document request to another Uniform Resource Locator, please see the appropriate section further below in this page:

Redirection of Uniform Resource Locator

Courses through the Internet

Courses made through computer connected to the Internet differ from courses made in classroom only in the absence of physical presence of teacher and students, because in everything else it is pretty much the same: there are subjects programmed for study, a method for teaching them, a chronogramme, tests and examinations, et cetera.

The advantage is precisely the freedom of not needing to go physically to school. Teacher and students "meet" through computer at scheduled times, while being free to study at their own pace at other times. However, they MUST keep a discipline of study. The institution will not tolerate students coming and going at their whim, it will promptly eliminate rascals from the on-line course. Therefore, persons lacking the necessary time or resources (reliable Internet connection), should abstain from starting the course.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Courses through the Internet
http://ocw.mit.edu/

 

Duplicated documents in the Internet

Documents published in the Internet or in any of its parts (like the World Wide Web) belong to their authors, who are free to keep them, modify them, or remove them, just like in any other distribution medium. Of course, it is justified to quote them by other authors, and it may even be justified to reproduce parts of them, but in these cases it is correct to inform of the source and give credit to those who took the trouble of writing the texts. The aim of the Internet is to create a source of information that is free for everyone to use, not to plagiarise the efforts of creative writers and give false credit to shameless individuals who are too lazy or too stupid for making any creations of their own.

Copy Scape
Duplicated or plagiarised documents in the Internet
http://www.copyscape.com/

 

Games in the Internet

There are thousands of games available in the different protocols of Internet, mostly in the World Wide Web. Games for all tastes: action, adventure, board (such as chess or draughts), cards, puzzles, tests of knowledge in different fields, and many others. Some can be played on-line against the host computer or against human opponents, others require a user agent capable of executing Java, Java Script or other languages for dynamic content, still others can be downloaded and played off-line against the local computer, or using the local computer screen as a reference for two or more human players. All computer platforms and operating systems have games available for them in greater or lesser amount. Even the oldest or most limited device can execute some games. Of the vast repertoire in existence, only two games have been chosen here. The first is the oldest and most international game of intelligence, the King of Games: chess. The hyper-link below is useful for playing on-line.

Chess

Delorie
For playing chess in real time against Delorie Chess computer
http://www.delorie.com/

 

Readers are invited to visit the Chess Page of CSS Dixieland, which includes other hyper-links related to chess, chess history, advice, and sample games:
cssdixieland_chess.html

Dungeons

There is a kind of adventure games often known as 'dungeons', after the name of the earliest of its kind, 'Dungeons and Dragons', a game played on a table, or for main frame computers, that Wizards of the Coast released in the late 1960's and in the 1970's. Another game of a similar concept called 'Rogue' was created by Glenn Wichman and Michael Toy in 1985, developed by Kenneth Arnold and Michael Toy in 1986 for BSD, and subsequently ported to other Unics systems by Timothy Stoehr. Rogue is a game that outputs text and simple graphics, as opposed to the text-only output that was predominant at that time in adventure games. The original BSD Curses screen-handling library was put together by Kenneth Arnold, mainly to support graphic games, and the development of Rogue popularised the use of the Curses library for various other purposes, not only for games. Since then, Curses has become one of the most important application libraries in Unics.

Other 'dungeon' games such as Omega, Larn, Angband, Moria, Hack or Nethack, all took off from the inspiration provided by Rogue. The game Diablo for Microsoft Windows, though much more intensive in graphics, has a very similar play logic. There are also several 'dungeon' games for mobile devices, as well as collective games for several players, connected through a computer network. The game known as 'Hack' was created by Jay Fenlason, helped by some other programmers. Hack was further developed by Andries Brouwer, and ported to IBM Personal Computer or compatibles by Don Kneller, with the name of 'PC-Hack'. From the latter games Net-Hack was created by Mike Stephenson, and from this several other games have evolved. Net-Hack is one of the oldest games today available in Internet, having been ported to many platforms until version 3.4.3 of 2005, but currently most platforms have been abandoned. Thus, from DOS to Unics, almost any computer HAD a Net-Hack port for it, but this is not so with the most recent versions of Net-Hack (see notes after hyper-links).

Net-Hack is a graphic game of adventure that can be played either on-line or off-line. This outstanding and complex game puts the player in a labyrinth of many levels of depth, full of monsters, magic objects, weapons, armour, and countless other items. The goal is to find a magic amulet and escape from the labyrinth. The player starts by choosing one of several characters, and must care for his hero while advancing towards his goal. He will find all sorts of strange things that may be either beneficial or harmful. He must know what decisions to take. The game is turn-based, like chess, without time limit. The Net-Hack Development Team commanded by Mister Mike Stephenson is very supportive and will answer all kinds of doubts related to their game. Players of Nethack can read the instructions and dive directly into the game, or they can also consult Web documents or Usenet groups with a dedicated community of players who offer plenty of good advice. Sometimes the advice may disclose 'secrets' that the player may prefer to discover by himself. This kind of advice is often known as 'spoiler'. Net-Hack Web document, maintained by Mister Kenneth Lorber:

Net Hack
The most complex graphic adventure 'dungeon' game for a single player, on-line or off-line
http://www.nethack.org/

 

There are two ways to contact the Development Team of Net Hack. One way is the Contact page at the above Web document:

Net Hack Contact page
For comments, suggestions, or report of problems with Net Hack in any of the computer platfoms for which the game has been ported
http://www.nethack.org/common/contact.html

 

The other way is by electronic post. Preferable for programmers who wish to send a patch to the Net Hack source code, or for other major collaborations:

devteam AT nethack DOT org

The string "AT" must be substituted by the character "@" and the string "DOT" by the character "." without surrounding spaces and in single horizontal line. This is to thwart automatic harvesting of links (often for spamming purposes).

Notes on the most recent versions of Net-Hack:

Until version 3.4.3 of 2005 Net-Hack was a very portable game. It could be played in a wide array of computer architectures, with different processors and operating systems, such as Amiga, Atari, DOS, Be OS, VMS, Unics, Windows or Macintosh. Unfortunately, there was a fake release called 'Net-Hack 3.5', unauthorised by the official Dev Team of Mister Mike Stephenson. The release of the spurious '3.5' forced the Dev Team to prepare an official release as 'Net-Hack 3.6', and make it available in 2015 from the official Net-Hack Web document of Mister Kenneth Lorber, hyper linked above. However, version 3.6 was put together in a rather hasty way, after ten years without any official release, and only ports to Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows are for now available. DOS, Unics, and all the other platforms, have been forsaken. The source code of Net-Hack is freely available, and there is one page in the Web document where persons interested in porting the game to other platforms can announce their releases, but so far, only Macintosh and Windows ports exist in the official Web document hyper linked above.

Mister Lorber lamely 'justifies' the decision of the Dev Team by declaring that the other ports 'are not used' at present. Quite wrong, and an offence for the enthusiasts of those other platforms. There are computer lovers who treasure their old machines, still in working condition, or who use their old operating systems. Relics such as CP/M in Intel 8086 (or even in Intel 8080) are known to have some devoted users even today. They have Internet presence. Luckily, the vast world of Computing is not limited to the ubiquitous Windows, or to the Macintosh made 'for the rest of them', for the mass of ignorants who know nigh to nothing about computers. There are experienced computer operators who prefer to work with DOS, Unics, or other platforms, for advanced tasks such as programming or for other serious purposes, and who WILL NOT surrender to the market pressure of popular hardware and software vendors. It is a pity that the Dev Team had not understood this when labelling those platforms as 'not used'. Only old versions of Net-Hack are now left for 'the rest of us'.

Fortunately, there are some operating systems or some of their distributions that have gone through the pains of installing Net-Hack from the sources, making it available as an executable. In some cases this executable presents small images known as 'graphic tiles', which represent the hero, the monsters, or the other objects that appear in the game. In other cases the executable presents only textual characters. The game is the same with graphic tiles or with textual characters. More important are the options defined at the time of translating from source to executable, or the options defined by the system administrator, or the options defined by the player himself. There are MANY such options for Net-Hack. The player is advised to read the manual and make his own decisions, or to experiment with the many possibilities.

Groups of interest in the Internet

Finding a group of people interested on a particular subject may yield better results than querying a search engine about that subject, because the group of enthusiasts will often be eager to welcome other persons interested in the subject that they know and they love, and therefore the members of the group will usually be ready to help the newcomer, answering questions and doubts with plenty of relevant information. It may require some time to find the right persons, though, as well as it will be necessary some diplomacy for not offending sensitive individuals. But the results almost always pay high.

Google Groups
Groups with interest on specific subjects
http://groups.google.com/

 

Besides Google Groups, there are many other Internet resources with similar purpose, to put in communication individuals who share a common interest. This can be done in a forum or bulletin board, where people can write ideas or comments, and read what others have written. It can also be done by subscription to an electronic mailing list, where participants receive or also send informations. The Usenet Newsgroups Protocol is entirely devoted to this kind of interaction. In fact, part of Google Groups is taken from Usenet and transferred to World Wide Web, since the two protocols are not compatible.

Warning: in many of those resources, particularly in Usenet, there are almost always individuals who post irrelevant content, some of them even offensive content. Most groups (but not all of them) have one or more moderators, whose task is to edit or remove inappropriate content. Before writing to any group it is recommended to read the rules for that group. They may appear as "Terms of Service", "Conditions of Use", "Frequently Asked Questions", or similar names. It is also good to read for some time before writing anything, so as to perceive the relevance and tone that predominate in that group. In case of doubt, it is advisable to request help from a moderator or from other members.

Hackers and crackers

The term "hacker" began to be used inside the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the early 1960's. Originally it was applied to computing enthusiasts who were extremely knowledgeable on the inner workings of a computer, and who applied this expertise for naughty but inoffensive actions. With the demise of the "time sharing system" and the spread of microcomputers during the late 1970's and the 1980's, the label of "hacker" was increasingly applied by the public media to individuals who stealthily performed mischiefs of different kinds with computers, ranging from the merely humorous to the downright criminal. From the modifying of Web documents of some company or of some government agency without their permission, to the collecting of secret personal or corporate information for doubtful purposes. Therefore, the word "hacker" became almost synonymous of "computer intruder", although it was not properly its original meaning. "Cracker" is a more correct term, when applied to a computer intruder.

In the section of Reference and Dictionaries further below there is a hyper link to Wikipedia, encyclopaedia that can be edited by its readers. Wikipedia has a wealth of information on almost any imaginable topic, like few resources in the Internet have. One of those topics regards hackers. Some interconnected pages of Wikipedia explain this concept in detail, and offer many hyper links to expand knowledge on this exciting subject. The hyper link below also possesses excellent lines of research into the whole topic, including its historical and technical aspects. A word of warning for would-be "hackers": many governments have increasingly enacted laws against certain forms of computer crime. What may be taken as a joke without any consequences, may also be taken as an illegal activity liable to prosecution. Besides, the technical sophistication that is needed for "hacking sport" is very high (depending on the kind of hacking activity and against whom). At any rate, doing it seriously is not a week-end past time, it is a full-time business.

Hack in the Box
A "Jack in the Box" with detailed information on hackers
http://www.hackinthebox.org/

 

Hosts (servers) of Internet documents

A Gopher or Web document, or any other kind of data set, has to be stored into some computer in the World. If that document or data set must be made available through the Internet, through a Bulletin Board Service, or through any other kind of network, then the storing computer must be connected to the Internet or to that other network, ideally 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, except for maintenance. The computer that stores the document or data set is called a 'host' or a 'server'. A number of host servers accept Web documents for free, and at least one host server (Super Dimension Fortress) accepts Gopher documents for free or for a symbolic contribution. This hosting may be done in exchange for advertisements that are inserted in the hosted document, or in exchange for posting information in a forum or bulletin board, or for some other forms of collaboration or contribution, but such participations may be only suggested or encouraged, not always required. Other host servers are paid, and obviously they do not insert any advertising and do not require any extra efforts from the Gopher or Web Master.

Some hosts are reliable, some are not (they may be off-line too often). Some hosts will only show documents coded in static HTML, others will correctly show dynamic documents that use copy-righted, scripting proprietary languages, such as ASP of Microsoft Corporation or Java of Sun Systems. Some hosts will only allow small documents below 50 Kilobytes or even less, others allow mastodontic documents ranging in the level of several Gigabytes (the maximum limit for each data set is usually below 500 Megabytes). Some hosts will be very restrict when it comes to allow band-width, other hosts are extremely generous in giving lots of band-width. Some have plenty of resources or may install those resources upon request of a relevant number of their users, others offer only the most basic resources. Because all those characteristics are never together in the same host, it is for the Gopher or Web Master who owns the document to decide on the right host to be chosen. What works well for a certain Master or a certain document, may not work for another.

Free host servers for World Wide Web documents

The next two hyper links list many host servers that accept storing Web documents without payment. There is plenty of relevant information about those hosts, including favourable or unfavourable comments written by some of their users. Readers of CSS Dixieland are invited to send to those lists their own comments about the hosts that they use.

Free Web Hosting List
Servers where Web documents can be hosted
http://www.free-web-hosting-list.com/

 

Free Web Hosts
Servers where Web documents can be hosted
http://www.free-webhosts.com/

 

The next hyper link has a different purpose from the others. The forte of Web Page Test is to test the availability of a Web document from the server where that document is hosted, measuring retrieval time of the document from the host. This helps a Web Master in checking efficiency of server and routing. Unfortunately, Web Page Test does not directly work for Gopher servers.

Web Page Test
Tests the availability of a document from its host
http://www.webpagetest.org/

 

Free host servers for Gopher documents

As said above, Super Dimension Fortress is one of the VERY FEW, or perhaps the only free Gopher host that still remains as of 2021. All the others are gone with the wind. Information is given in the CSS Dixieland page devoted to the Gopher Protocol. The page can be visited by activating the following internal link:

cssdixieland_gopher.html

Hyper links pointing to Internet documents

Hyper links shown in a Gopher or Web document that point to other documents are called "outbound hyper links". It is easy to see them, just by looking at the document that lists them (or looking at its source code, in case that any hyper links might be hidden under very small text or under text of the same colour as the background). Not so easy is the opposite way, "inbound hyper links", this is, hyper links that point to a given document from a number of unknown documents. The thing is important, because a hyper link pointing to another document is a positive judgment about the value, originality or exclusivity of the target document. There is a hyper link below that will help to locate some of the source documents pointing to a given target document.

Widex
Documents hyper linked from other documents
http://www.widexl.com/remote/link-popularity/index.html

 

Identification of domains

We may wish to identify the person or institution possessing a given domain of the Internet, if we find an interesting document in that domain, or for another reason. Some countries keep strict records of the owner of every domain under their jurisdiction, other countries are looser about domain identification, therefore there is no guarantee that the owner of a domain be always identified, but the lists offered by the two hyper links below are probably the best way to start that kind of search.

Better Who Is
Names and Internet Protocol numbers
http://www.betterwhois.com/

 

DNS Stuff
Domain Name Servers
http://www.dnsstuff.com/

 

Number of views of Internet documents

Good to know how our document is ranking in the Internet, it greatly boosts the ego of a Web Master. It may also be interesting, although maybe not so personally boosting, to know the ranking of documents belonging to other Masters. Warning: the hyper link listed below will only show the ranking of documents that are received by client computers using the Alexa toolbar, which is available for free download from Alexa Corporation.

Alexa Ranking
Number of views of Web documents
http://www.alexa.com/

 

Operating systems: Introduction

There was here a long explanation on the concept of operating system, giving historical and technical details that were really beyond the scope of the introductory purpose of this section. Readers seriously interested in the subject have plenty of information in Internet, or in paper books. Of the many operating systems that exist or have existed, two genealogies have been chosen by CSS Dixieland as deserving a complete view: the DOS genealogy (in particular Free-DOS) and the Unics genealogy (such as BSD, Minix, Linux, Solaris, and others). For those operating systems, please see the pages on Free-DOS and on Unics, accessible through the internal links below. For general information on operating systems, including DOS and Unics, continue reading this page.

cssdixieland_freedos.html

cssdixieland_unics.html

Operating systems: Comparison

There is below a good list of operating systems to choose, all of them for free. Some of them are open source for all or part of the system, at least for the kernel or kernels, and with licence to modify the system by rewriting and recompiling the sources in order to suit the needs or preferences of technically sophisticated persons. Note that permission to modify the system does not automatically imply permission to redistribute the modified system.

Keep in mind, however, that some systems may be incomplete or unreliable, or they may only work with obsolete or uncommon hardware, or they may have a too limited or too specialised availability of software. Read the comments written by other people about a certain system. If necessary post Yourself specific questions in a relevant board. At any rate, give a try to the unknown system in an empty and formatted hard disk or another storage volume, or else boot-strap the system from a floppy disk, compact disk, or another removable volume, before thinking on doing partitions to the hard disk or on any other actions that might compromise the future operability of Your computer.

Free Operating Systems
Detailed comparison and information on many free systems
http://www.freeos.com/compare/

 

Absolutely THE OLDEST Unics open source system in common use today is Minix (meaning 'Minimal Unix'), created in 1987 by Mister Andrew Tanenbaum of Vrije Universiteit at Amsterdam. Minix has a microkernel, not a monolithic kernel as it is the case in most other Unics systems. Minix versions 1.x of 1987 and 2.x of 1997 were partly intended as teaching tools, showing how an operating system could be built, but Minix version 3.x of 2006 is a fully functional system, with important enhancements made in 2009. The Minix version 3.3 of 2014 is distributed as a 'live' (a boot-strappable) compact disk, this is, the system can be used with no more than a compact disk in the computer. Even without a hard disk, a Universal Serial Bus storage device, or another boot-strappable volume, a fully functional command line is available directly from the compact disk. Minix includes software made by BSD, by the Free Software Foundation, and by other third parties, with the corresponding licences. Minix is not part of BSD, but many executables made for BSD work well in Minix and vice-versa. The Minix Web document includes an editable wiki.

Minix
The oldest open source Unics operating system, distributed as a 'live' compact disk
http://www.minix3.org/

 

From the technical point of view (albeit not from the legal point of view) BSD is one of the many variants of Unics. Most current BSD systems derive from 4.3 BSD Lite operating system, a version of Unics developed by the Computer Systems Research Group at the University of California at Berkeley between 1975 and 1993, and from the 386 BSD operating system, which was the first port of BSD to Intel 80386 processor. The acronym "BSD" means "Berkeley Software Distribution". In the following years, modifications from the 4.4 BSD Lite system (the last release from the CSRG at Berkeley) were integrated into other BSD systems.

 

Operating systems: For old or limited computers

Not every computer can load mastodontic operating systems like Windows Vista of 64 bits, which takes several Gigabytes of space. Luckily enough, those mastodonts are not necessary in the minimal. In the hands of a knowledgeable operator, many things can be done with a much more modest system, like for instance the systems included here. Some of them take less than a hundred Kilobytes of memory, including the kernel and a few of the most necessary application programmes. This is the case of MS-DOS 1.25, marketed in 1981 by the same company that later produced Windows (Microsoft Corporation), twenty years before they fancied the dubious idea of building mastodontic systems.

All Boot Disks
Operating systems ready for boot-strapping. Several versions of MS-DOS collected here
http://www.allbootdisks.com/

 

Free Personal Computer Technician
Operating systems in floppy disc image, with kernel and most necessary programmes
http://freepctech.com/

 

The system of choice for using the maximum resources of an old or limited computer, even with a small Random Access Memory, a small video memory, and without hard disc (using the system as floppy disc-only or compact disc-only system), is without any doubt Free-DOS, the system for the computer enthusiast who really knows. Free-DOS is the most complete DOS system that has existed.

Free-DOS was created in 1994 as an open source alternative to the MS-DOS system of Microsoft Corporation. The first stable version of Free-DOS was released in 2006, after many beta test versions. Free-DOS works only with the architecture of the IBM Personal Computer or compatible, using Intel x86 processor or compatible. Besides the hyper link to Free-DOS given below, this document of CSS Dixieland has a page entirely dedicated to Free-DOS, with detailed technical information on many aspects of this wonderful system:
cssdixieland_freedos.html

External hyper link to the Free-DOS Project. The official distribution is in boot-strapabble compact disk. Persons wishing or needing to have Free-DOS in boot-strappable floppy disk, should look for the Odin distribution from the Free-DOS project, or for the Fuzoma distribution of educational software (hyper link to Fuzoma is given in the Free-DOS page of CSS Dixieland, above).

Free-DOS
Command line operating system of 16 bits
http://www.freedos.org/

 

Operating systems: Programmes for CP/M

In 1973 there were arithmetic calculators and some other electronic devices that used microprocessors, but the smallest general-purpose computers were the so-called 'minicomputers' of the PDP series, built by Digital Equipment Corporation. The 'minicomputers' were the size of a wardrobe (but 'mini' when compared to the huge mainframe computers), they costed thousands of Dollars, and they required operation and maintenance by experts. At the end of that year Mister David Ahl of Digital Corporation built only one unit of the first prototype of microcomputer, the Scelbi-8 H, which in the following months incorporated the 8-bit microprocessor Intel 8008. This first microcomputer also incorporated the first magnetic floppy disk. The Scelbi-8 H microcomputer was never sold commercially, but it gave ideas to other pioneers, among whom were prominent the members of the 'Homebrew Computer Club', an innovative group of sophisticated computer enthusiasts led by Mister Lee Felsenstein.

Also in 1973, Mister Gary Kildall (who at the time worked at Intel) developed an operating system of 8 bits that he initially called 'Control Programme for Microprocessors', abbreviated as CP/M. He initially offered CP/M to Intel, but the corporation showed only a limited interest. Intel was interested in selling its microprocessors to factories that needed to control industrial processess and assembly lines, and it had only a very secondary interest in selling microprocessors for small electronic devices. The company did not see the tremendous potential of the future personal computers, at a time when the only computers in existence were big, costly, and complicated machines. After three years trying to convince Intel, Mister Kildall formed his own company, the 'Intergalactic Digital Research', which marketed CP/M in 1976 with the name of 'Control Programme for Microcomputers' or 'Control Programme Monitor'.

In 1974 another landmark was planted by Mister Johnathan Titus, the 'Personal Minicomputer Mark-8', a microcomputer of 8 bits also based on Intel 8008. It had 2 Kilobytes of Random Access Memory, extensible to 16 Kilobytes. It only accepted machine code (in numbering base of two), and it was sold just as paper plans, without physical parts. Only enthusiasts of Electronics had the skills for building a computer themselves, and working with it in machine code, but it represented a step ahead. The real breaktrough came in the following year, with the Altair microcomputer.

In June 1975 Mister Edward Ted Roberts of Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems released the Altair 8800, microcomputer of 8 bits based on Intel 8080. It had only 256 bytes of Random Access Memory and 64 Kilobytes of storage, input by manual switches and output by panel of ligths. Units began to be sold in 1975 at a price of 300 Dollars as a kit with all its physical parts and assembling instructions, or else sold as a finished microcomputer at the price of 400 Dollars. Initially it accepted only code in numbering base of two for all of its input or output operations. Later it added elements to reach 7 Kilobytes of Random Access Memory and accepted Basic programming language, adapted to Altair 8800 by Messieurs Paul Allen and William Bill Gates of Micro-Soft Corporation. Another team incorporated as peripherals a reader of perforated paper tape and a keyboard. This modified microcomputer was sold at 500 Dollars.

Also in 1975 the University of California in San Diego released the P-System, an operating system of 8 bits, which was marketed by Softech Microsystems. It had several versions.

Finally, as mentioned above, Mister Gary Kildall formed Intergalactic Digital Research and in 1976 released the CP/M operating system. In a short time and until the early 1980's most microcomputers had the CP/M system or were programmable in Basic, resident in Read Only Memory. Some microcomputers had the P-System, and a few top of the line had one of the variants of Unics.

DR-DOS was an improvement on CP/M made by Digital Research. Being initially a strong competitor against PC-DOS and MS-DOS, it was made open source after the demise of Digital Research.

Then the sad story comes. Shortly before 1980 Mister Tim Patterson of Seattle Computer had built an operating system that he called QDOS, or 'Quick and Dirty Operating System'. It was of 16 bits, and strongly based on CP/M-86, another operating system of 16 bits produced by Digital Research. It happened then that the 'Big Blue' (affectionate name given to IBM, the International Business Machines Corporation) had decided to enter into the microcomputer business. The old multi-national corporation was building the 'Personal Computer', based on Intel microprocessor, and it needed a suitable operating system for it. The original 'Personal Computer' of IBM had very limited hardware, it could not execute Unics at all.

Thus, the Big Blue began looking for a solution. The company tried to deal for the P-System, but the University was not interested. Senior IBM executives also contacted Digital Research, but Mister Kildall did not even attend them, he would not negotiate under the condition of absolute secrecy imposed by the IBM representatives. Then they desperately turned to Microsoft. Messieurs Paul Allen and William Bill Gates had already written Basic interpreters for Altair, for Apple II and other computers, and for CP/M operating system. They had a deal with Mister Kildall, under which Digital Research concentrated on the operating system and Microsoft on application programmes.

However, when Mister Gates knew that Mister Kildall had not even attended the dignified old gentlemen of the Big Blue, then Mister Gates declared that the agreement between Digital Research and Microsoft had come to an end. Thus, in 1980 Microsoft bought the QDOS Quick and Dirty Operating System from Seattle Computer, changed its name to 86-DOS (86 Disk Operating System, for use with Intel 8086 microprocessor), introduced a few modifications, and licenced it to IBM as PC-DOS for the Personal Computer. Microsoft kept the right to sell the system separately as MS-DOS. Foul play from the part of Microsoft. This company later produced some outstanding professional software (such as the Quick Basic translator and QBasic interpreter), but it is fair to recognise that its trajectory has not always been of exemplary honesty.

When Digital Research knew what Seattle Computer and Microsoft had done, and the gullibility of the Big Blue, it threatened to sue all of them for break of patent and plagiarism. IBM was alarmed at the prospect, and this time it negotiated with Digital Research without forcing non-disclosure agreement. Mister Kildall finally came to terms, and agreed to have CP/M as alternative operating system for the Personal Computer. This famous microcomputer was publicly announced in August 1981, and the first units sold at the end of that year. The series became immediately successful, initially based on Intel 8086, originally incorporating PC-DOS operating system, with the option of a 16-bit version of CP/M, and programmable in Basic.

Regrettably, CP/M was priced much higher than PC-DOS, and most customers saw no reason to choose CP/M. An IBM Personal Computer with PC-DOS was sold at an extra of sixty Dollars, but an identical microcomputer with CP/M costed an extra of two hundred and forty Dollars ! Thus, CP/M gradually lost market share, while PC-DOS and MS-DOS became predominant. Digital Research made strong exertions to compete against Microsoft. The most significant effort was the release of DR-DOS (Digital Research DOS), which the corporation developed after its own CP/M, although very modified. For ending the sad story, with the demise of Mister Kildall who died in 1994, and of Digital Research, CP/M was completely abandoned except by a group of enthusiasts, active as of 2021 and hyper-linked below. DR-DOS was taken by Novell and then by Caldera, and made open source. Unforgettable relict of Computing History.

Working with CP/M is feeling the fragance of the good old times, back in the second half of the 1970's, those heroic times when computers were still a rarity, and the chosen few who worked with computers REALLY KNEW how to work with them. There was no other option, since the operating systems were all based on text written at a command line prompt, and no graphic icons existed. The thing would have been too cryptic for many people of today, who lack the minimal idea of how a computer works. They just 'click' the button of a table mouse or another pointing device on one or another of several funny icons in a 'desk top'. There are usually no parameters given by command line. Instead, there are 'pull down menus' or other visual aids for choosing various options. The user can be a perfect idiot. In fact, the more idiot that those stupid ignorant users become, the better for commercial fool catchers, advertisers and vendors, to extort advantageous business from the ubiquitous donkeys.

By comparison, CP/M is a treasure of a software. Still a few enthusiasts cling to it and even improve it beyond the point in which it was inherited as a bequest of the legendary Digital Research. Below there are some hyper links to the most complete lists of programmes available for the CP/M operating system. The system itself can be downloaded and executed, often from a floppy disk, mainly in one of three ways:

-In one of the computer models for which CP/M was originally intended, using Intel 8080 of 1974 or compatible processors. Those computers are very rare pieces of collection nowadays, therefore not easily available. The CP/M versions for those computers are from the second half of the 1970's. When CP/M 86 was released in the early 1980's, for Intel 8086 of 1978 or compatible processors, then the earlier versions of CP/M were retroactively called "CP/M 80" (meaning "Intel 8080" or compatible processors).

-In a compatible computer of more recent production. For example in an IBM Personal Computer or compatible, with Intel 8086 or compatible processors. As it has been said above, versions of CP/M called "CP/M 86" were made for those platforms in the early 1980's, and computers of that kind are the most common until today, therefore this is probably the most obvious solution for working with a real CP/M system at the present time. CP/M can be boot-strapped from a partition (slice) in hard disk, or from an entire hard disk, but CP/M is so small that it can be just boot-strapped from floppy disk.

-In a computer while running another operating system. In this case CP/M is not a real operating system as in either of the two cases above, it is simply an executable programme that emulates approximately the behaviour of a CP/M system. Different emulators of CP/M exist, at least for Unics systems (BSD, GNU Hurd, Linux, Minix...), for DOS systems (Free-DOS, DR-DOS, PC-DOS, MS-DOS, PTS-DOS, ROM-DOS...), for DOS boxes under Windows, or for Apple Macintosh. Possibly for other operating systems as well. Besides the emulator itself, programmes are often included for converting from the CP/M data set system to another data set system, both ways. That conversion is necessary for working with floppy disks formatted for CP/M or containing CP/M data sets in them, without having a real CP/M system available. The CP/M sector size is of 128 bytes, while that of DOS is usually of 512 bytes, and this is one of the reasons for incompatibility between the CP/M system and the FAT 12 (File Allocation Table) system that is always used in DOS-formatted floppy disks (although DOS can format floppy disks for 128 or 256 bytes of sector size if necessary, but that formatting is now uncommon).

Zimmers
Programmes for CP/M operating system
http://www.zimmers.net/anonftp/pub/cpm/

 

Retrotechnology, Mister Herbert Johnson
Resources for CP/M and other software made by Digital Research
http://retrotechnology.com/dri/

 

CP/M and Zilog Z-80, Mister Gaby Chaudry
Resources for CP/M system and for Zilog Z-80 processor
http://www.cpm.z80.de/

 

Operating systems: Programmes for DOS

If not so deliciously old flavoured as CP/M, we may at least recognise that DOS systems offer more resources, if only because they were developed some years later and also because they lasted longer in the market (CP/M system predominated only five years, from 1976 to about 1981, while DOS systems predominated fifteen years, from 1981 to about 1996). The difference is notorious, in the number of programmes made for CP/M and those made for the various sub-systems and versions of DOS. Working with CP/M is mainly done today for the sake of treasuring a classic jewel. Not to detract the system at all, because it allows to do good things to those who know how to do them, but the truth is that CP/M stopped development too early, and as a consequence it does not offer many resources today. DOS systems, on the other hand, are a REAL PROPOSAL for doing serious work with a computer even today. A look at the hyper links listed below will convince many sceptics that DOS systems can perfectly be considered efficient and reliable for many purposes, although for some purposes, such as accessing the World Wide Web or Universal Serial Bus, they somewhat lack updated software or the software is scarce.

General collections of programmes or resources

The first hyper-link concentrates solely upon DOS systems. The next offers software for DOS as well, but it really has non-DOS systems as the main focus. Note, however, that Windows 1.0, 2.0, 286, 3.0, 386, 3.1, 3.11, 3.1 For Workgroups, 3.11 For Workgroups, and 3.2 (for the Chinese market), produced from 1985 to 1993, are simply graphic interfaces executed on top of MS-DOS, or of another DOS system. Windows as the true system began only with Windows 95, in 1995. It means that a computer with versions of Windows produced in 1993 or earlier, can work with a stand-alone DOS system or with those Windows versions, coexisting without problems. Therefore any software that had been developed for DOS will be perfectly executable by the MS-DOS originally included with early Windows versions, which is not always the case with Windows 95 or later, whose MS-DOS dialogue boxes contain MS-DOS version 7 or MS-DOS version 8, both of them of fewer resources than the last stand-alone version, MS-DOS 6.22 of April 1994.

Opus, Dave
Programmes exclusively for DOS operating systems
http://www.opus.co.tt/dave/

 

Vetusware
Programmes for DOS and for other systems
http://vetusware.com/

 

Dendarii
Resources for DOS operating systems
http://www.dendarii.co.uk/DOS/

 

Angel Fire
Resources for DOS operating systems
http://www.angelfire.com/mo/dossource/

 

UX 1, B. D. Bensley
Huge collection of old programmes for DOS
http://www.ux1.eiu.edu/~bdbensley/pdsoftware.htm

 

The Bensley Collection

The Bensley Collection of old programmes for DOS, hyper linked above, is offered for free as a single data set of huge size, almost 45 Megabytes, compacted by the Zip algorithm. It must be expanded by that same algorithm, which in the case of Free-DOS it is done by the UNZIP.EXE programme. With that executable in the current working directory or in the environment path, and with the compacted data set also in the current working directory, then the expansion can be done with a command similar to the following:

UNZIP -S PDS.ZIP

The -S switch tells UNZIP.EXE to convert spaces to dashes, which is necessary for DOS (when not using a Long Name driver). The switch is preceded by hyphen (-), not by slash (/), because UNZIP.EXE has been ported from Unics and the hyphen is the standard switch character in Unics (in DOS it is normally the slash, though Free-DOS can also be configured for using the hyphen as switch character). With the command given above, PDS.ZIP will create in the current working directory a new directory containing over 1 500 sub-directories, with almost 11 000 data sets, occupying about 150 Megabytes. If not wishing or not being able to expand that monster inside the current working directory, then UNZIP.EXE can be instructed for expanding into another volume or partition, optionally with creation of a new directory (unnecessary, because PDS.ZIP will create it anyway). The help of the expanding algorithm summarises those options, explained in more detail in its documentation: FREEDOS\DOCS\UNZIP

The Bensley Collection is perhaps the biggest availability of executables for DOS that exists in a single place of the Internet. Most of the collection is from the 'Personal Computer Software Interest Group' in Sunnyvale, California, a society of microcomputer enthusiasts who were very active in the 1980's. The collection has well-explained tutorials for DOS systems and for Basic, Pascal and some other languages, software for programming in Assembly, Basic, Pascal, Forth, Fortran or others, utilities for many different purposes, varied games, and plenty of other programmes for all tasks imaginable, from the elementary to the advanced. Even the most experienced will find much of his interest.

However, a note of warning must be given: a part of those programmes come in the form of .COM or .EXE executables, but others expect to be started from a .BAT batch script or from a .BAS source for an interpreter of Basic language. They also expect to be executed from a floppy disk. Such actions were common in the 1980's, when most of those DOS programmes were created, but it may not be the case for most computers thirty years later. For the .BAT batch scripts the solution is not to execute them, but to read them carefully with a text editor or viewer, or by the TYPE | MORE command, and to perform manually the necessary operations at the command line, or appropriately modify the scripts.

Difficult as that work is, for the .BAS sources the situation is even worse. The computers of those years often included a Basic interpreter in their Read Only Memory. That is not the case today, thus the interpreter must be called from the command line and given the .BAS source to be interpreted. Example:

BWBASIC FROBU.BAS

The above example assumes BWBASIC.EXE (Bywater Basic, the only Basic interpreter included in Free-DOS) in the current working directory or in the environment path, and an imaginary Basic source called FROBU.BAS also in the current directory. The problem, however, is twofold: first because that Basic source may expect a floppy disk or another such medium, common in the 1980's much more than it is now. Therefore the Basic source must be modified with a text editor. Second problem and really serious: the Basic dialect for which the .BAS source was written might have been IBM BASICA, Microsoft GWBASIC, Microsoft QBasic, or other dialects of Basic frequently used in those years, but with different keywords (or the same keywords but with different behaviour) from the instruction set of the Bywater Basic interpreter. In that sad case, there is no other solution but trying to find in Internet the appropriate Basic interpreter, which may prove difficult when the correct one expected by the .BAS source is not even informed in the documentation.

Even the .COM or .EXE executables cannot always be used directly by a modern computer. The reason is that the speed of 1980's microprocessors was much slower than the speed of today, because most current microprocessors possess cache memory besides higher clock oscillation frequency of the piezoelectric component. A solution might be found using a programme such as CPUCACHE.COM, SLOWINT1.COM, SLOWDOWN.COM or FDAPM.COM, all of them available in Free-DOS, which will make the microprocessor operate at a lower speed. WARNING: the documentation of those programmes must be read carefully before using them.

One final note regarding the old programmes of the Bensley Collection: their authors often expected some voluntary one-time contribution from users who liked the programme and who used it regularly. The author requested to send a small monetary contribution to a postal address, or by contacting the author via a Bulletin Board Service. Again another problem thirty years later: most of those Bulletin Boards do not exist anymore. The postal address may still exist, but the author of that old software may or may not be found in there after thirty years. He may even not be alive at present. Probably the best honour that could be given to his memory is making his programming effort useful, by making his old programme a currently workable software until today, if really finding it of quality. Perhaps no higher token of respect could be paid to the efforts of those pioneer programmers of bygone years.

The concept mentioned above is called 'Shareware', initially developed by Mister Bob Wallace of Quicksoft, who programmed a full-featured text editor called PC-Write. Programmes under Shareware can be freely distributed under certain conditions imposed by the author, and a small payment is expected from those persons who like the programmes and use them regularly. Other programmes exist that are under the 'Freeware' concept, initially developed by Mister Andrew Fluegelman. The term 'Freeware' is trademark of The Headlands Press, but after the mysterious death of Mister Fluegelman, the property of the term has not been legally enforced, and it is used now by other persons. Freeware means that the programmes can be used for free, and distributed or modified by anyone, only acknowledging the name of the original programmer.

In Shareware or Freeware the programmes may have a legal owner, but there is a final legal group of progammes called 'Public Domain', where no one legally owns them (although they may have an historically recognised author). It may be so due to one of two causes: or because their author or legal holder at some point chose to release the programmes to the Public Domain, or because a number of years has passed and they have naturally fallen into the Public Domain. The number of years depends on the legal jurisdiction, on the kind of intellectual property, such as software, patented invention, literature, sound or image (music, graphic art, photography, cinematography, et cetera), and on either the life of the author or else the year when the work was released or was published for the first time, or when it was legally registered.

Image

Image formats have gradually become more standard than they were in the 1980's or the early 1990's, first because many of the old formats have for the most part fallen out of common use, and second because there has been a work on unified specifications of existing formats (such as JPG), or on creation by international organisations of standard and non-proprietary formats (such as PNG, by the World Wide Web Consortium). The first programme below is a small image viewer, originally intended for tiny portable computers (palm tops), but which can perfectly be used by any computer executing a DOS system. The second programme is an image viewer in more than forty formats. It can modify some characteristics of the image, and convert between some of those formats.

Lx Pic, Mister Stefan Peichl
Image viewer for DOS, version 7.3 of 2002
http://hplx.pgdn.de/

 

Pict View, Mister Jan Patera
Image viewer and format converter for DOS, version 1.94 of 2000
http://www.pictview.com/

 

Drawing, painting

As it has been noted when speaking of image formats, most drawing or painting programmes made for DOS systems in the 1980's or early 1990's absolutely lacked any concept of unified standards. Some of them could produce relatively complex illustrations, or even animations (the DANCAD 3D programme stored in the huge Bensley Collection), but those images had to be viewed exclusively by a copy of the programme with which they had been created. Such a fastidious situation meant that if sending the image to be viewed from another computer, a copy of the creating programme had also to be sent along. That solution was perhaps possible for communication amongst a few computers, but definitely it is not a proposal for a vast network, such as the Internet.

The hyper link to the Bensley Collection given further above is a really huge bazaar of old programmes for DOS. It contains nothing less than some dozens of drawing, painting or other graphic illustration programmes, from simple to complex, nearly all of them released in the 1980's, and NONE OF THEM capable of producing a single standard format. Only one programme can work with an old version of GIF, the Graphics Interchange Format of Compuserve, but the operation of that programme is so cumbersome as to make it almost useless. The Pict View image viewer also given above can open images in over forty formats, but in spite of that versatility, IT CANNOT OPEN ANY IMAGES produced by any of those programmes (save the already mentioned GIF). A fastidious situation that makes those old programmes useful only for a group of related computers or a local area network, where all the machines possess a copy of the drawing or painting programme. Those exclusive formats make their images practically unexportable to distant computers.

They cannot efficiently be published in the hyper text protocols of Internet, such as Gopher or World Wide Web, since it would require to provide a link to a server whence the drawing or painting programme could be downloaded, and instructions on how to execute that programme. In practice that is unfeasible, because the person wishing to view the image would have to quit the Gopher or HTML user agent, or to open a second shell of the command interpreter, just for viewing the image, then to return to the Gopher or HTML session. Sure, the programmers of the 1980's or early 1990's had not in mind a World Wide Web that still did not exist, when not even the Gopher protocol existed yet (the Web began in 1990 inside the CERN of Genevre and was made public in 1993, Gopher in 1991). If those programmers had the Internet in mind at all, they could only think of the File Transfer Protocol for transferring images AND their viewing programmes. In most cases they did not even consider that possibility. Most software distributions were done hand to hand, by physical post through the Mail, by electronic post, or by bulletin board services.

Sound

Sound has not had the problem of multitude of incompatible formats that image has had, probably because until relatively recent times most computers lacked sound, except for the primitive internal computer speaker. The internal computer speaker is in fact intended just as a beeper for warning the human operator of actions performed by him or by the machine, but since its sound can be adjusted by software for frequency, duration and interval (intensity is adjusted by hardware), then it follows that the internal computer speaker can be used to produce music. The Basic programming language can be used for that purpose, and there are also specific programmes for DOS systems that can be used to compose music playable through the internal computer speaker. A technically primitive music by modern taste, but exportable to almost every computer. The Bensley Collection hyper linked above has some of those music-making programmes.

HTML, Hyper Text Mark-up Language

Out of the many Web user agents collected at Evolt below, at least six were specifically created or modified for DOS. Two of them are graphic user agents: Arachne and Web Spyder. The other four are text-only user agents (images or sounds can be displayed by means of a separate programme): Bobcat, DOS Lynx, Minuet and Net Tamer.

Bobcat or Net Tamer can be executed even with old computers having the 16-bit Intel 8086 processor of 1978, or compatible, although with that old processor they will be slow for normal operation. DOS Lynx is a conversion for DOS of the Lynx text-only user agent that had originally been made at the University of Kansas for the Unics and the VMS operating systems, but DOS Lynx needs the 32-bit Intel 80386 processor of 1984, or compatible, it will not work at all with an older processor. DOS Lynx needs a packet driver, even for browsing local documents, and oddly enough no network packet driver has been included in the distribution of DOS Lynx. Only a fake packet driver called Nullpkt has been included for local browsing. Besides this limitation, DOS Lynx needs almost 600 Kilobytes of Low Conventional Memory, which may imply the need of boot-strapping the DOS system with less than 40 Kilobytes, out of the 640 Kilobytes of maximum executable programme size in the Megabyte of Low Conventional Memory that can be directly accessed by DOS in Real Mode.

Begun in 1996, Bobcat can be considered a simplification of DOS Lynx. Bobcat works better with HTML (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol), but it also acts as a client for FTP (File Transfer Protocol), Gopher (University of Minnesota), Telnet (Tele Network), and WAIS (Wide Area Information System). E-07 is the latest version of Bobcat. Because Net Tamer, Bobcat or DOS Lynx browse only text and textual hyper links and do not waste any time displaying images or sounds, they are perfect browsers for old or limited computers, or for networks with slow connections, when textual content be more important than graphics, audio or video. If necessary, images or sounds can still be shown separately, opening their hyper links and using, for instance, Lx Pic, Pict View, or similar programme, linked above. Minuet is an adaptation for DOS of a user agent that has its own operating system, also called Minuet.

Evolt
Collection of HTML user agents
http://browsers.evolt.org/

 

Archivers, compressors

Compression is used for diminishing storage space or also for handling a shorter sequence of bytes when transmitting data from a computer to another, especially through a network. A compressed programme or document CANNOT be used directly, it first needs to be expanded to its original full size. Some programmes for compression, such as Double Space or Drive Space (included in some versions of MS-DOS), silently perform this expansion when a compressed data set be called from the command line prompt, and silently compress it again when execution of the data set have been finished. Other programmes for compression need to be specifically called for executing their compressing or expanding. The rate of compression depends on both, the programme used for compression and the data set that is to be compressed. Entire volumes can in theory be compressed, real (physical) volume, such as floppy discs or hard discs, as well as logical (virtual) Random Access Memory volumes.

Not all data sets can be compressed, however, and even those that can be, may under some circumstances be rendered useless or may even crash the computer system, after being expanded and being then called for execution. In these cases, the expanded data set is not identical to its own original before the compression. Therefore it is not recommended to rely solely on a storage of compressed data set, it is a good idea to keep an original full size copy of every important data set stored under compression. A data set compressed with a certain programme can only be expanded with that programme, otherwise it is lost. There is a diversity of programmes for compression that can be used with CP/M, DOS, or other operating systems.

Squeeze is one of the oldest compression algorithms, UPX one of the newest, and plenty of others lie in between. Info Zip, listed below, is a monster with a down-load size of over 60 Megabytes !!! It sounds ridiculous, to have a programme for diminishing the size of others, when the programme used for that purpose is in itself many times bigger than even the operating system (if working with DOS, for instance). Having been already warned against the risks of compression, a computer operator must exercise sound judgment on what to compress, by which programme, and how to use it. And ALWAYS keep an original full size copy of every important compressed data set, or accept the risk of losing it.

Info Zip
Compressor for DOS
http://www.tmk.com/infozip/

 

Logical volume in Random Access Memory

The original programmes for MS-DOS (and their equivalents for DR-DOS or for other DOS systems) called HIMEM.SYS (extended memory manager), EMM386.EXE (expanded memory manager) and RAMDRIVE.SYS (logical volume in Random Access Memory) are all limited to a maximum of 32 or of 64 Megabytes, although in fact most computers of the XXI century feature much more Random Access Memory. Such programmes were written in the 1980's or early 1990's, a time when most microcomputers had no more storage space than 64 Megabytes per volume (in a hard disc, for instance), therefore it was thought unnecessary to complicate the software by giving access to bigger volumes. Many of those computers in fact lacked hard disc, they operated with floppy discs only.

The set of programmes written by Mister Marko Kohtala (latest version released in 2005) modify or substitute the three mentioned DOS original programmes. An obvious purpose of such a modification is the creation of a logical volume. A logical (also called virtual) volume is of excellent utility for holding any temporary data sets, but the data sets would completely be lost if turning off, restarting or resetting the computer, therefore a logical-virtual volume should not be used for permanent storage. This set is compatible with MS-DOS versions 3 to 7, DR-DOS versions 5 to 6, or Free-DOS version 1, and includes mainly these programmes:

XMSSIZE.EXE modifies HIMEM.SYS Extended Memory Manager for over 64 Megabytes. Operable with a processor at least Intel 80286 or compatible.

Three device drivers modify HIMEM.SYS or EMM386.EXE for over 32 Megabytes:
SRDXMS.SYS, XMS 2.0 Extended Memory, modifies HIMEM.SYS.
SRDEMS3.SYS, LIM/EMS 3.2 Expanded Memory, modifies EMM386.EXE.
SRDEMS.SYS, LIM/EMS 4.0 Expanded Memory, modifies EMM386.EXE.

LIM/EMS is the Lotus - Intel - Microsoft specification for Expanded Memory. Extended or Expanded Memory allows programmes to access available Random Access Memory beyond the limit of 640 Kilobytes of maximum executable programme size in the Megabyte of Low Conventional Memory that can be directly accessed by DOS in Real Mode.

SRDISK.EXE works with one or more of the above device drivers to create a logical volume of up to 4 Gigabytes, if having enough memory for it. It may substitute RAMDRIVE.SYS or it may coexist with it.

Resizable RAM Disc, Mister Marko Kohtala
Set of programmes to create logical volume in Random Access Memory
http://sourceforge.net/projects/srdisk

 

Free-DOS includes the executable programme SHSURDRV.EXE that can create several logical volumes of fixed size in Random Access Memory, each volume being up to 4 Gigabytes of size, if having memory for it. Other alternatives are VDISK.SYS (Virtual Disk, which like RAMDRIVE.SYS must be installed via FDCONFIG.SYS or CONFIG.SYS and cannot be re-sized or removed), XMSDSK (which can be installed or removed from the command line, not from FDCONFIG.SYS or CONFIG.SYS), TDSK (Turbo Disk, which can create volumes of up to 64 Megabytes of size, if having memory for it), and a few others.

The comparison below was extracted by Clarence Verge for Arachne, from the documentation of TDSK Turbo Disk:

                             RAMDRIVE.SYS  VDISK.SYS     TURBODSK
                    (MS-DOS, WINDOWS 3.x)  (DR-DOS 6.0)  Vers 2.1
Maximum size                    32 Mb      32 Mb         64 Mb
Low memory support              Yes        Yes           Yes
XMS memory support              Yes        No            Yes
EMS memory support              Yes        Yes           Yes
Extended memory by INT 15h      No         Yes           No
Entries at top level directory  4-1024     4-512         1-65534
Bytes of sector size            128-1024   128-512       32-2048
Dynamic memory allocation       No         No            Yes
Programmable cluster size       No         No            Yes
32-bit bus used by 386 or 486   No         No            Yes
Low memory used by MS-DOS 5.0   1184-1232  2096-2608     432-608

MS-DOS 5.0 transfer in Kb/second, sector 512 bytes, RAM vol in XMS
386-25 MHz (no cache)           17105      6838          17095
486-25 MHz (8 Kb cache)         10278      7370          10278

Operating systems: Long names in DOS

DOS operating systems have a serious drawback for naming data sets. All names must follow a set of conventions known as "DOS naming conventions":

-Spaces or other special characters are not allowed. Control characters of 7 bit ASCII (characters 0 to 31) are all excluded, and even some of the other characters of 7 bit ASCII (characters 32 to 127) are excluded too. Characters of 8 bit ASCII (characters 128 to 255) are all of them excluded as well.

-The data set name cannot exceed eight characters, and in old DOS versions the first character must be a letter, not a cipher. New DOS versions (such as Free-DOS) permit a cipher as the first character. For instance, the name 4DOS.COM is acceptable in Free-DOS, but it would not have been acceptable in old DOS systems.

-The data set type (also called suffix or extension), if being present, is limited to three characters. It must follow the data set name and it must be separated from it by one dot, without surrounding spaces.

-For the whole naming of maximum eleven characters separated by dot (data set name, dot, data set type), there is no difference between upper case (capital letters) or lower case (small letters). Old DOS systems only used capital letters. New DOS systems (for instance Free-DOS) are case retentive but not case sensitive. This behaviour can be modified, within limits, by using the appropriate Long Name software.

A name breaking any of the above conventions is not a valid DOS name. In some cases DOS will try to support the name by adding a tilde and a number at the end of the name part, and by truncating the type part. For example, the name:
References.html

Would be changed in a new DOS system (but not using Long Name software) to:
REFERE~1.HTM

It may appear as 'refere~1.htm' in a listing done by the DIR command, but in reality it has been converted to upper case. In some other cases DOS will not even work with an awkward name. It may be valid in Unics or other systems, but not at all in DOS. An example of a completely unacceptable name would be:
C++.html

That name is valid in Unics, but the two plus signs would make it impossible to rename, to move, or even to erase that data set from DOS. Attention must be paid when copying such names to DOS, since they are invalid inside DOS.

Fortunately, there are a few programmes that allow to work with long names in DOS systems. One of them is a driver called DOSLFN.COM, which will make some DOS programmes able to work with long names, with upper or lower case, with spaces, and with some other special characters. Not all DOS programmes will be able to work with long names, even with the driver loaded, but some of the most important programmes will be capable of using or also of producing data sets with long names.

For example EDIT.COM, which is a text editor included with the last versions of MS-DOS, will be made ready to create or open data sets with long names, spaces, and upper-lower case sensitivity, and to save the data sets keeping those modified names. There was an older EDIT.COM that simply opened the QBASIC.EXE Basic interpreter in text edition mode. The two EDIT.COM text editors cannot exist with that name in the same directory. The older text editor can also be called by invoking QBASIC.EXE with the EDIT switch:
QBASIC /EDIT

Free-DOS includes by default the Free-COM command line interpreter (stored with the name of COMMAND.COM, though it can be changed). Free-COM has a DIR command with /LFN switch that will list any long names and their equivalent short names in any volume or directory, but only after having loaded the DOSLFN.COM driver into Random Access Memory. Once loaded, DOSLFN.COM gives long name in the newer EDIT.COM or in the commands COPY CON:, COPY, DIR /LFN, RENAME, TYPE or TYPE redirected. Load DOSLFN.COM only if necessary, because it silently converts names to lower case, which is against DOS conventions.

The text editor EDIT.COM of MS-DOS can also work with long names, after having loaded DOSLFN.COM into Random Access Memory. Unfortunately, the standard text editor EDIT.EXE of Free-DOS cannot work with long names even with the driver loaded. That limitation also holds true for several other executables included in Free-DOS, such as 4DOS.COM command interpreter. They may work with long names in a true VFAT system, but not in a FAT 12, FAT 16 or FAT 32 system with a long name driver, as it must be the case inside Free-DOS.

Example using Free-DOS with its default Free-COM command interpreter. First load DOSLFN.COM into RAM with the following command (the optional c+ switch gives access to compact disc, if having compact disc installed):
DOSLFN -c+ [ENTER]

Assuming the compact disc to be at the D: volume drive, this command lists all its directories with long and short names, pausing at every screenful:
DIR /LFN /P /S D: [ENTER]

Finally, unload DOSLFN.COM by the command:
DOSLFN -u [ENTER]

DOSLFN.COM has many switches, these are some of them:

-c+ compact disc
-d disable
-s status
-t+ tunnel effect
-u unload
-? help

It can be observed that the switch separator is the hyphen (-) common in Unics systems, and not the slash (/) common in DOS systems. Two last examples for handling long names, with volume drive C: as the current one and A: as floppy.

The first example is risky because between the second line and the end of the fourth line the data set may be lost, if the C: volume happen to fail. The example assumes the existence in the floppy of a short name data set called COMPUT~1.HTM, which we want to rename as Computing_History.html

COPY A:\COMPUT~1.HTM [ENTER]
ERASE A:\COMPUT~1.HTM [ENTER]
DOSLFN [ENTER]
COPY C:\COMPUT~1.HTM A:\Computing_History.html [ENTER]
DOSLFN /U [ENTER]
ERASE C:\COMPUT~1.HTM [ENTER]

The second example is not risky, but it requires free space in floppy disk. It also assumes the existence in the floppy of a short name data set called COMPUT~1.HTM, which we want to rename as Computing_History.html

DOSLFN [ENTER]
COPY A:\COMPUT~1.HTM A:\Computing_History.html [ENTER]
DOSLFN /U [ENTER]
ERASE A:\COMPUT~1.HTM [ENTER]

Warning regarding executable programmes used to access compact disc:
MSCDEX.EXE of MS-DOS is incompatible with DOSLFN.COM, but SHSUCDX.COM included in Free-DOS, or available separately, is perfectly compatible. However, if using SHSUCDX.COM and DOSLFN.COM, then SHSUCDX.COM must be loaded before DOSLFN.COM, otherwise it would not be possible to work with long names in the compact disk (although it will still be possible for floppy or hard disk).

DOSLFN.COM is in compressed form using the ZIP algorithm, therefore an expanding programme of that algorithm is necessary for making the driver workable, for example UNZIP.EXE for DOS (included in the main distribution of Free-DOS, or available separately). The compressed driver is listed by the name of DOSLFN.ZIP

There are also in the Internet two other sets of programmes for converting DOS short names to long names. One is a set of eight executables made by Mister Ortwin Glueck, the other is a set of five executables made by Mister Fubi Dan. They are not drivers, thus they cannot modify the behaviour of other programmes. The software of Mister Glueck is of small storage size, but unfortunately it is slow and unreliable. The software of Mister Dan is more efficient and reliable, though also of bigger storage size. Those programmes may be acceptable for a computer with only floppy disks, without hard disk, but for a computer having a hard disk, the DOSLFN.COM driver of Herr Henrik Haftmann is definitely a better proposal.

Redirection of Uniform Resource Locator

Redirection of a document or another data set means to retrieve a copy of that document or data set from the server computer where it is hosted, and to show it from the Uniform Resource Locator of another computer. Redirection is done for various reasons in the case of an HTML document publicly available in the Internet. Some of those reasons may be:

-The original Uniform Resource Locator is too long or too short, or it is not well descriptive of the HTML document, or it contains special characters that are not allowed by protocol conventions.

-The document often changes host, therefore it also changes the original Uniform Resource Locator, which means that hyper links pointing to that original Locator may quickly become "dead links" (error 404, document not found), or may become "switched links" (they find a document that has replaced the old one).

-The document belongs to someone who has other documents hosted in different computers, perhaps in different countries and with a diversity of Uniform Resource Locators, and the owner of those related documents wants to have some standard in the Uniform Resource Locators for the entire collection.

Other reasons are possible, but the most common is the first mentioned: the original Uniform Resource Locator is too long and points to a sub-directory. The redirection service usually offers a top level domain to replace that long path, with a short path that contains no intermediate slashes between the HTTP:// heading and the final slash. In most cases the document is not hosted by the redirection service, it must be retrieved from an active host.

Redirection Services

Redirection services may be paid or may be for free. Paid services tend to include other services in their package, while free services tend to insert advertising in the redirected documents, but not always. In the late 1990's and early 2000's some Internet authorities of national governments began delegating concession of Internet address names to companies that distribute those names as they see fit. They want to get worldwide projection for their Internet connections, and that is why they offer top level domains for little or no money, even without inserting advertisements in the documents retrieved through that domain.

They impose conditions, of course. They always keep the legal property of the domain, and can terminate the redirection service in case of a document being inactive for too long (without receiving visitors), or of a document that fail to abide to their Terms of Service, for example "link farm" documents that consist only of links, without any substantial content, or documents that repeatedly overload their servers, or documents that promote certain "objectionable" activities, such as computer cracking, or other situations.

Austria, Iceland, Nauru, Tokelau and Tonga are some of the nations that offer redirection to their top level domains. Their Internet country codes are respectively .at .is .nr .tk .to

The hyper link below points to Nauru. It has been given preference because Nauru is ONE OF THE TINIEST SOVEREIGN NATIONS IN THE WORLD. It is a single small island with only ten thousand people, lost in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean. Tokelau and Tonga are archipelagos, also in the Pacific Ocean. Iceland is a large volcanic island in the North Atlantic. Austria is an Alpine country in Central Europe.

Free Domain, Nauru
Redirection of Internet documents to top level domain
http://www.freedomain.co.nr/

 

Automatic redirection by Java Script or PHP

Automatic redirection can be done by a variety of techniques. The hyper link below, Tech Patterns, provides programmes in Java Script or in PHP language that a Web Master may use for redirecting a document request to another Uniform Resource Locator. Redirection can be done to another copy of the document, for example:

-A copy optimised for the hardware or software characteristics of the computer making the request, such as certain screen resolution and colour depth, certain operating system, or certain user agent: a visual and graphical user agent, a visual but non-graphical user agent (text only), an aural user agent (text to sound), or a tactile user agent (text to Braille).

-A copy optimised for user agents that can display frames and have the feature enabled (the "noframes" tag can be used for other user agents), or that can execute Java Script or another scripting language and have it enabled, or that can execute Cascading Style Sheets or another style sheet language and have it enabled. Not all style sheet languages support cascading.

-A copy optimised for high speed Internet connection (copy rich in images or also in sounds, including animations in high resolution or long videos), or for low speed connections (copy composed mainly of text, perhaps with a few still images in low resolution).

-A copy optimised for the medium in which the document will be displayed, such as a handheld device (small monochrome screen, bitmap, limited bandwidth), a paged printing device (a printer, or a computer screen in print preview mode), a projector (on wall), a non-paged computer screen, a fixed-pitch character grid (a teletype, a terminal, a limited display), or a television-type device (low resolution, limited scrollability). It is not always possible to detect the medium automatically. Besides, the document may be requested by a medium but displayed by another.

-A copy in a certain human language, based on the language configuration of the operating system (or based on the geographic location of the Internet Protocol number, although that is not a safe approach, because the prefered language may not be the language that predominates in the geographic area), or a copy in a certain character set, character font or character size, or a copy in black and white, or in limited colour, or in rich colour.

It is important to keep in mind that the human operator of the requesting computer may be using a shared or public computer, over which he has no easy way to control configuration, or it is unadvisable or forbidden to him to change configuration. It is also important to consider that automatic redirection may fail due to a diversity of causes. Therefore, to offer hyper links for manual redirection is ALWAYS necessary, for accessibility.

Manual hyper links can also point to copies optimised for older versions of Hyper Text Mar-up Language or of Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, or to a copy in an entirely different protocol, for instance to a Gopher document. Some of the mentioned redirections can be done automatically, but not all of them. The list of all possible combinations is enormous, it is for the Web of Gopher Master to decide on the right ones for a particular document.

Java Script must be enabled at the client side for the Java Script programme to work. Likewise, PHP must be enabled at the host-server side for the PHP programme to work. The two may be enabled, without conflict between them. The documents provided by Tech Patterns as well as the notes included with the programmes must be perused in detail, possibly adapting the programmes to the specific needs of the Web Master.

Tech Patterns
Automatic redirection by Java Script or PHP
http://techpatterns.com/

 

Detailed explanation on automatic redirection

Wikipedia, encyclopaedia that can be edited by its readers, has a detailed explanation on automatic redirection that goes well beyond what has been said here, and includes references to other information resources. A Gopher or Web Master is stronly advised to read on the advantages and disadvantages of the different possibilities, before taking his decision. The detection of the characteristics of the requesting computer must be made efficiently, in order to redirect the request to the appropriate page or the appropriate copy of the document.

Wikipedia, encyclopaedia that can be edited by its readers
Detailed explanation on automatic redirection
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/URL_redirection

 

For counters with full statistics, please see the section on Counters of visitors:
Counters of visitors

Reference and dictionaries

What would be the life of intellectuals like ourself without the existence of dictionaries and books of reference ? We should have to take pains in the creation of our own personal lists of reference, as we do anyway. It is most evident, however, that having a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopaedia or other such books available, greatly helps our creative efforts. A collection of some of the best books of reference that exist in the Internet is hyper linked in the next lines.

Dictionary
One of the most complete for the English language
http://www.dictionary.com/

 

Bilingual Dictionaries
Vast collection for many languages
http://www.dict.cc/

 

How Stuff Works
Explaining basic notions for many things
http://www.howstuffworks.com/

 

Martin Dale Center
The biggest reference desk on Science
http://www.martindalecenter.com/

 

Instant Web
Computer Dictionary
http://www.instantweb.com/foldoc/

 

Net Lingo
Dictionary of lexicon related to the Internet
http://www.netlingo.com/

 

Personal Computer Webopedia
The Web encyclopaedia
http://www.pcwebopedia.com/

 

Search Engine Dictionary
Technical vocabulary
http://www.searchenginedictionary.com/

 

Web Reference
Exhaustive source of information
http://www.webreference.com/

 

Wikipedia
Encyclopaedia that can be edited by its readers
http://www.wikipedia.org/

 

Metapedia
Encyclopaedia that can be edited by its readers
http://www.metapedia.org/

 

Resources for Masters

There are here all kinds of programmes, written in diverse programming languages, for all imaginable ways in which a resourceful Gopher or Web Master could improve his document according to his needs or preferences: counters, statistics, visitors books, forms, games, calculators... literally thousands of programmes are available. Creative programmers wishing to make their creations available to the public are also invited to send them to one or more of the collections listed here.

A1 Java Scripts
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://a1javascripts.com/

 

Big Web Master
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.bigwebmaster.com/

 

CGI City
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.icthus.net/CGI-City/

 

CGI Expo
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.cgiexpo.com/

 

CGI Resources
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://cgi.resourceindex.com/

 

Dynamic Drive
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.dynamicdrive.com/

 

Free Ware Java
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.freewarejava.com/

 

Hot Scripts
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.hotscripts.com/

 

Java Script Kit
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://javascriptkit.com/cutpastejava.shtml

 

Net-Ads
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.net-ads.com/

 

Perl Archive
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.perlarchive.com/

 

PHP Resource Index
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://php.resourceindex.com/

 

Prospector
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.prospector.cz/

 

Site Pro News
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.sitepronews.com/

 

Script Search
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.scriptsearch.com/

 

The CGI Site
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.thecgisite.com/

 

The Free Site
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.thefreesite.com/

 

Web Developer
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://webdeveloper.earthweb.com/webjs/

 

123 Web Master
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.123webmaster.com/

 

321 Web Master
Programmes and resources for Masters
http://www.321webmaster.com/

 

Rings of documents

A ring of Web documents is a "navigation bar" that is prominently shown in all the documents that belong to that ring, in order to facilitate the connection of a user agent from any of those documents to any other. Such documents usually deal on a common subject of interest. There are rings for all possible subjects that could be imagined, from the ordinary to the bizarre. Some rings possess thousands of Web documents, other rings possess very few documents. A document may belong to more than one ring, but it should be relevant to the subjects of those rings.

Roboti (crawlers, spiders)

There is in the next hyper link a list of all known search engine roboti, also known as search engine crawlers or search engine spiders. The word 'roboti' is Czech language, translated as "workers". It was widespread by the Scientific Fiction novel 'R.U.R. Universal Robot', written by Carel Czapek and published in 1926. The hyper link below also has an explanation of the ways in which search engine roboti work and of the rules that they follow. This will be of help to Gopher or Web Masters wishing to understand search engine rankings, to researchers who use search engines for their work, or to programmers planning to create their own search robot.

The Web Robot Pages
Information on search engine roboti
http://www.robotstxt.org/

 

Search: Engine, directory, portal. Meta tags

The different protocols of the Internet form the biggest library that has ever existed in History, calculated to contain well over thirty thousand million pages in 2016. An Internet document may be composed of only one page or of many pages, and a page may contain only a few lines or thousands of lines. It is clear that some method of classification or search has to be devised for that vast amount of information, otherwise the time for finding a particular subject would be enormous. Even for those of us who love to read, 30 000 000 000 pages is a little excessive. It would break the patience of even a saint to read all of them.

Some of the methods to look for information are:

-Search engine, meta search, directory, or portal (any of them may be general, specialised, or regional).

-Software, institutions, or professionals specialised on customised searching.

-NNTP News Transfer Protocol (Usenet news groups), IRC Internet Relay Chat, or other protocols often used for questions and answers on specific topics of interest.

-Groups in the Internet, or social networks: Google Groups, Orkut, et cetera.

-Rings of documents or pages focused on a certain topic or related topics.

-Documents on a topic or topics, containing hyper links to other documents.

-Documents of reference, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, thesauri, or similar.

The choice of a method will depend on a variety of factors, because each of them has its characteristic advantages and disadvantages. An institution or professional specialised on searching may yield the best results (particularly an academic institution or a knowledgeable person), but to hire such services is too expensive for most people. An alternative may be a specialised search engine, a directory, or a portal. Scientific search engines are listed below in this page. There is also specialised software. Some meta search engines are excellent.

If having patience enough, then groups, rings or also documents on specific topics will not only provide previously written information, in fact many of their members will even answer direct questions or doubts presented by a serious person contacting them. Most people love to talk about what they know or what they like. A warning must be given, however: the Internet is open to anyone, intellectuals and ignorants alike. This means that it is necessary to exercise discrimination between what is valuable information, and what is just garbage. On sensitive subjects, it is always advisable to consult more than one source and carefully compare the answers. It is also important to keep an ethical code and an elegant etiquette when contacting people or when publishing information, avoiding for example to disclose confidential affairs or to offend those who sincerely try to help, although they may not really know much about the subject on which they talk.

Concepts of search engine, directory and portal

Search engine

A crawler robot, also called spider robot, is a computer programme that follows hyper links from a page to another, inside the same document or in different documents. Its searching algorithm reads a part or the whole source code of a page located at a given Uniform Resource Locator. Important parts are the protocol and mark-up language (Gopher, HTTP-HTML, or another), the script language, if any (CSS or another script language), the Document Type Definition (SGML, XML, et cetera), the HTML version, the title, the meta tags, other informations that may appear in the head, and part or all of the main text that appears in the body.

If approving the document, or page of a document, then the searching algorithm sends the information to its electronic data base. The storing algorithm of the data base classifies the document or page in one or more subject categories and assigns a rank value, considering meta tags, correct code, frequency of words, outbound and inbound hyper links, frames, and other characteristics. Different search engines have different rules for searching, classification and ranking, and the rules are often secret, for preventing potential abuse and for offering relevant results to queries made to the search engine. After thus storing a copy of all or part of the page, with hyper link pointing to its Uniform Resource Locator, then the page is regularly visited by the robot and the information is updated in the data base. Between robot visits, the data base stores a cached copy of the page.

Directory

In concept it is similar to a search engine, but documents are reviewed by humans for approval, for classification by subject, and for value ranking. This means that documents linked by a directory tend to be of higher quality, or they often are more relevant to the subject researched, than documents linked by a search engine. On the other hand, the number of documents linked by a search engine is often much bigger than the number of documents linked by a directory, and the newest documents may also be found by a search engine robot before being submitted to a directory and reviewed.

Portal

Similar to a search engine, or more often similar to a directory, but all hyper links are visibly shown in subject categories rather than located by means of a search box. Portals also tend to link to highly relevant documents to the subject of research, because portals are often operated by humans and not by search robots, or at least a human will review the document found by the robot, but for this very reason the number of documents linked by a portal is almost always smaller than the number of documents linked by a directory, and ALWAYS much smaller than the number of documents linked by a search engine. The advantage of the portal is clearly the ease of search.

The three concepts of search engine, directory and portal can be variously combined, and the hyper links that they list can also be manually found by their human operators as well as suggested by Gopher or Web Masters, or by other persons.

Meta tags (instructions for search engines)

The Web Master has usually a good deal of control over the process of search engine crawling and classification, depending on the particular search engine. For instance, there are meta tags intended for suggesting the frequency with which the up-dating by the robot should be performed:

meta name="revisit" content="30 days"
meta name="revisit-after" content="30 days"

Those examples suggest the robot to come back after 30 days more or less. It is better to suggest a rather longer time than what may be necessary for the regular updating made by the Web Master, because suggesting a time too short may have as a consequence that the robot will repeatedly find an unmodified page, and such a page will be penalised in the ranking. If no suggestion be made by meta tags, most robots will by default visit the page again every thirty days or so.

Between an update and the next, a search query will look for key words as they appeared in the page the last time that the robot visited it, not as the page may be currently written. However, pressing the hyper link pointing to that page will direct the user agent to the current version of the page. Sometimes it may be found that the page does not exist any more in that Uniform Resource Locator, due to its having been moved to another location, having been renamed, or else having been deleted. After two or three tries by the robot, the data base of the search engine will eliminate the entry for that page.

The Web Master can also suggest which robots are allowed to visit the page and which ones are not, if the page should be indexed in the data base or not, and if the outbound hyper links should be followed by the robot to other pages in the document or to other documents. This can be done by a meta tag like:

meta name="robots" content="all, index, follow"

In the example above all robots are welcome. They are told to index the page where this meta tag is placed, and to follow whichever hyper links they might find. Meta tags must always be placed inside the head of each page in the document, and for pages that include script languages or other data inside their heads, the meta tags should appear inside the first two thousand lines, always starting with the symbol "lesser than" and finishing with the symbol "greater than". To see a full example of meta tags, the source code of this page can be extracted by asking the user agent to "show source code", thus the meta tags placed inside the head of the page can be carefully studied.

Meta tags are OF FUNDAMENTAL IMPORTANCE. They tell search engine robots and data bases what the characteristics are for a particular document. This information can also be read by humans, since it is placed at the head of the document's source code. The hyper link below lists all meta tags that exist and explains them in detail, for a Web Master to choose which ones to insert in his document, or for a reader to know what they mean when they appear in the source code. Meta tags are very useful, but not mandatory.

Vancouver Web pages
Complete list of meta tags
http://vancouver-webpages.com/META/

 

There is also the possibility of suggesting robots to visit only certain pages of the document, but not other pages. This is done by a page written in 7-bit ASCII plain text, called robots.txt and put AT THE TOP LEVEL of the domain name. In most cases, the robot will not see a robots.txt page located inside directories. This is a problem for Web Masters who use a subdomain for their document, typically in a free hosting service, and the Master has no access to the top level of that domain. In such a case, the only feasible solution is to use meta tags.

The name robots.txt must be in lower case. This is another problem, because the DOS convention always gives names in upper case, thus the page will be stored as ROBOTS.TXT inside a DOS system, or as ROBOTS~1.TXT by the automatic DOS conversion from the page name in lower case, to its truncated name in upper case. A solution may be to rename the page as robots.txt in lower case, using a few programmes available for that purpose, for example the DOSLFN.COM long name driver for DOS that is listed in the section "Operating systems: Long names in DOS" that appears further above in this page.

Operating systems: Long names in DOS

The fact is that the Internet itself, as well as most of its protocols and languages such as Gopher or HTTP-HTML, were for the most part developed by persons who used Unics work stations, or who used big main frame computers. Although those pioneers tried to make the Internet "evolvable" (in the words of Mister Berners-Lee), and accessible to every possible computer or device in existence regardless of its hardware or software, it is very human to mirror oneself, to project one's own working methods, means or preferences onto other people, and to have oneself in mind as a standard when developing something, for example a computer programme.

So big was the importance of Unics in the Internet of those years (the 1980's and early 1990's), and so small the importance of all other operating systems put together, that some people wrongly assumed the Internet as being "a part of Unics". Big blunder. The Internet is not a part of Unics, or of any other operating system. The Internet is a re-routable network, or rather a "network of networks". Any hardware or software can in theory be used, if accomplishing the minimum requirements that the Internet imposes for its own operation.

There is some provision for DOS systems in HTTP-HTML, because a page can in theory be named with a type (extension) of .HTM (three characters in upper case), or with a type of .html (four characters in lower case). In practice, though, certain host servers expect the initial page of the document to be named as index.html or default.html or home.html (four characters in lower case). It was so with Yahoo Geocities and Web Ring Web Space, two servers where this document of CSS Dixieland was hosted time ago. It was not so with Heliohost, where CSS Dixieland was also formerly hosted, because Heliohost accepted the name INDEX.HTM for the initial page. It may also be possible to point to the initial page by means of an .htaccess text document, located at the top level directory. The other pages of the Web document can always be named with a type of .HTM, and the whole name can be in upper case, as it is usual in DOS when not using long name software.

Search: Directories edited by human reviewers

Thousands of volunteers review the documents submitted to these directories, of which we here provide hyper link to Directory Mozilla (Open Directory Project), but there are others. The documents linked by a directory tend to be of higher relevance to any subject, and also of higher quality, than the documents linked by a search engine, although on the other hand, the number of documents linked by a search engine tends to be much bigger than the documents linked by a directory.

Directory Mozilla (Open Directory Project)
Human reviewed directory. It includes meta search to some robot crawled engines
http://dmoz.org/

 

Search: Engines by subject, language or location

We may be looking for a very specific subject, or we may wish to see which documents exist written in a certain language, or to see only documents of local scope in a certain part of the world. For any of those purposes, there are specialised search engines. Some major search engines of general purpose also provide resources that will help to filter that information, but the results may be better in a specialised search engine than in a general one. Or they may not, depending on the subject researched and on the manner of performing the search (knowing how to use Boolean Enunciators correctly is a distinct advantage for any search). For scientific subjects there are highly specialised search engines, listed in another section further below in this page.

Search Engine Colossus
Search engines ordered by geographic location
http://www.searchenginecolossus.com/

 

Search Engine Links
Collection of search engines ordered by various attributes
http://www.searchenginelinks.co.uk/

 

Technical recommendations

What would the Internet be without technical standards ? The answer is very simple: IT WOULD NOT BE. Computer makers would adhere only to their own proprietary rules, and computers of different brands could not communicate. To avert such a chaotic exclusivism, international organisations were founded for providing a common standard that, although not at all mandatory, is usually honoured by makers of hardware and of software.

The three hyper links further below are all pointing to the World Wide Web Consortium, international organisation that regulates the part of the Internet whose transmissions are made by HTTP Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, whose predominant mark-up language is HTML Hyper Text Mark-up Language, whose recommended style sheet language is CSS Cascading Style Sheets, and whose official image format is PNG Portable Network Graphics.

HTML has been since 1990 a dialect of SGML, the Standard Generalised Mark-up Language. However, the World Wide Web Consortium approved in October 2014 the official specification of HTML version 5, which is not based on SGML anymore. Instead, HTML 5 tries to combine features of SGML with others of XML Extended Mark-up Language. HTML 5 does not further develop frames, and it consolidates separation of presentational mark-up by means of CSS, Cascading Style Sheets, or of another style sheet language. Not all style sheet languages support cascading.

Other parts of the Internet possess their own regulatory organisations, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force, which provided specifications for Hyper Text Mark-up Language before the World Wide Web Consortium had been created. Gopher was initially developed by the University of Minnesota in 1991, but years later that university abandoned its own protocol. Gopher is today maintained by enthusiasts of the protocol.

World Wide Web Consortium
List of technical reports and recommendations
http://www.w3.org/TR/

 

World Wide Web Consortium
Validator for Hyper Text Mark-up Language
http://validator.w3.org/

 

World Wide Web Consortium
Validator for Cascading Style Sheets
http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/

 

Time keepers

Gregorian Calendar

The Gregorian Calendar was developed by a team of astronomers and approved by the Roman Pontifex Gregorious. It became official in the year 1582 in all Catholic nations. Most North European nations gradually accepted it in the XVIII century, Russia and the Balkans in the XX century (as an historical detail, the Russian Revolution of 1917 happened in October of the Julian Calendar, but in November of the Gregorian Calendar). The Gregorian Calendar is based on the Julian Calendar, developed by the astronomer Sosigenes and approved by the Roman Emperor Julius Cesar in the I century Before Christ. The Julian Calendar is still used, more or less oficially, in some Balkan nations and by Orthodox Christian churches. It is fully official only in Mount Athos, an Orthodox monastic masculine republic, today an autonomous nomo of Greece. The Julian Calendar is based on the Numidic Calendar, approved by the Roman King Numa, before the Roman Republic.

It can be observed that all those three calendars, the Numidic, the Julian and the Gregorian, were approved by powerful Roman monarchs. Being the Eternal City of Rome the centre of European affairs, as it was for almost two thousand years, this official Roman sanction was necessary, otherwise those calendars would have enjoyed only a restricted geographic or chronologic acceptance, as in fact it happened to the well thought but short lived French Republican Calendar, with its romantic names of months (Brumaire, Vendimiaire, Thermidor, Ventose, Pluviose...), its days of ten hours, hours of a hundred minutes, and minutes of a hundred seconds. That beautiful French Calendar was officially used only in France during the First Republic. Some time after the coup d'etat of xviii Brumaire, year VIII of the French Republic (9 th November 1799 in the Gregorian Calendar) Napoleon Bonaparte, who already had in his hands the command of France (he had eliminated the Directory and had established the Consulate), decided to wipe out the French Calendar and return to the Gregorian.

The Gregorian Calendar is today commonly used all over the World, even in nations where other calendars are also used (Julian, Islamic, Hebrew, Asiatic calendars and others). The Gregorian Calendar is complicated, with months of unequal duration, and inexact (almost one day of delay every three thousand years). Such an error is too big for scientific purposes, hence that the time counting used in Astronomy be not the Gregorian Calendar, but the Astronomic Date, also called Astronomic Period or Julian Period. The name 'Julian Period' refers to its creator Julius Scaligerus. It is not related to the Julian Calendar at all, the name 'Julian Calendar' refers to Julius Cesar. The two names including the word 'Julian' is just a coincidence.

Astronomic Date

The Astronomic Date, also called Astronomic Period or Julian Period, was developed by the astronomer Julius Scaligerus. It must not be confused with the Julian Calendar, developed by the astronomer Sosigenes and approved by Julius Cesar. The Astronomic Date is universally used by astronomers today, because it considerably simplifies calculations in astronomic research. An astronomic date is composed of seven ciphers as integers representing days, and it may have decimal fractions representing decimal parts of days. Because the Astronomic Date arbitrarily begins at a time when even the Sumerians had not developed the Science of Astronomy yet, the number thus formed will always be positive for historic times, with the possibility of being a negative number only for dates prior to all known History.

The programme below converts a given Gregorian Date and Greenwich Mean Time to the corresponding Astronomic Date (Astronomic Period, Julian Period). It requires a user agent capable of executing Java Script and with it enabled.

Enter Gregorian Date and Greenwich Mean Time for conversion to Astronomic Date (Julian Period).

The four fields are necessary (year, month, day, hour, minute). The year must be given complete,
the month as a number from 1 to 12, the day from 1 to 31 according to the length of that month.

Any field can be written with or without leading zeroes. Example with leading zeroes:
Year: 1953 - Month: 04 - Day: 13 - Hour: 04 - Minute: 00

Example without leading zeroes:
Year: 1953 - Month: 4 - Day: 13 - Hour: 4 - Minute: 0

Either example will give the Astronomic Date, in this case 2434480.666...
In most HTML interpreters the Tab or also Shift+Tab keys move among fields.

   Year:     
   Month:   
   Day:       
   Hour:     
   Minute: 


Astronomic Date is:

Astronomic Date provided by Mister Dan Bruton:
astro AT tamu DOT edu

The string "AT" must be substituted by the character "@" and the string "DOT" by the character "." without surrounding spaces and in single horizontal line. This is to thwart automatic harvesting of links (often for spamming purposes).

For example, the 9th of October 1995, at Midday Universal Time Coordinated:
Year 1995, Month 10, Day 09, Hour 12, Minute 00, will give the Astronomic Date (Julian Period) of 2450000.0

Formula for converting from Gregorian Date to Astronomic Date, valid ONLY from the years 1801 to 2099 both included:

D - 32075 + 1461*( Y + 4800 + ( M - 14 ) / 12 ) / 4 + 367*( M - 2 - ( M - 14 ) / 12 * 12 ) / 12 - 3*( ( Y + 4900 + ( M - 14 ) / 12 ) / 100 ) / 4 = Astronomic Date

Where Y is the year (1801-2099), M is the month (1-12), and D is the day (1-31). Years before 1801 or after 2099 require a more complicated formula, due to leap years in which one day is introduced at the end of February in the year that is divisible among 4, except if the year be divisible among 100 (but still there is a leap year if the year be divisible among 400). In the Gregorian Calendar the year, the month and the day begin in one, not in zero. So, the year 1 Before Christ is the year 0 in Astronomy, the year 2 Before Christ is the year -1 in Astronomy, and so on (from the year Before Christ substract one year for getting the zero Astronomic Year or the negative Astronomic Year).

The hour, the minute and the second begin in zero, not in one (opposite to the year, month and day). Therefore 00 hours, 00 minutes and 00 seconds (midnight, usually written as 00:00:00) is 12 Ant-Meridian (12 AM), and 12:00:00 (midday, noon) is 12 Post-Meridian (12 PM). The Roman numbering system begins in one (the concept of zero was invented in India and introduced in Europe by Arabs who invaded the Iberian Peninsula in the VIII century), thus in the old system midnight was given as 12 PM and midday (noon) as 12 AM, opposite to the current norm, but still causing confusion in some people.

In Science the 24-hour clock is used, not the 12-hour clock, although the 12-hour clock is sometimes indicated as a concession to the non-scientist. In the 24-hour clock 23:59:59 is the last second of a day, and 00:00:00 is the first second of the following day. The International Commission for Universal Time Coordinated (a pompous name, as UTC is only based on the Earth and the Sun, not on the rest of the Universe) sometimes compensates chronological lapses by introducing an extra second at the end of a certain day, in which case the 23:59:60 second is the last second of that day. This, if uncorrected, provokes a small difference between Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) and Universal Time Coordinated (UTC).

By telephone, by wireless radio (Amplitude Modulation in the Long, Medium, Short or other wave lengths, or Frequency Modulation also in various wave lengths), by Internet, by satellite, or by other means, exact time can be obtained from time servers, which are operated by scientific or military institutions in the World. For computers or other time-keeping devices, the most exact time servers go from 23:59:59 of a day (or 23:59:60 of a lengthened day) to 00:00:00 of the following day. Time servers are based on atom clocks, which by means of radioactive isotopes can keep time to a precision well beyond the nanosecond (a thousand millionth part of a second in Classic British English, or 0.000 000 001 seconds, or 1 x 10^-9 seconds). That precision is necessary for the most exact calculations in Science.

The Gregorian Calendar is complicated, with months of unequal duration, and inexact (almost one day of delay every three thousand years). The Julian Calendar (on which the Gregorian is based) and the Numidic Calendar (on which the Julian is based) are simpler, but also less exact than the Gregorian. The Islamic Calendar is even worse, as it introduces not only the Sun and Earth, but also the Moon in the calculations. For more exact calculations, the Astronomic Date is the best solution available.

There are executables for astronomical calculations available for various computer architectures and operating systems, such as DOS, Windows, Macintosh, BSD, Linux, and others. For Linux one of the best is KStars, of Mister Jason Harris. KStars is part of the KDE collection, thus it requires the X Window System Version 11 graphic interface server of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Therefore KStars cannot be called directly from the true command line (KStars needs X-11 executing), but it can be called from any terminal emulator inside X-11. For seeing some start options it can be commanded from a terminal emulator:
kstars --help

In X-11 graphic interfaces a simple line for execution of commands is openened by:
Alt+F2

Once in that simple line, a handbook of KStars is available in the KDE Help Centre, if installed in the computer. The command for the KStars Handbook is:
khelpcenter help:/kstars

In the command above, attention to the non-British spelling 'khelpcenter', it is not 'khelpcentre'. The Handbook has a vast and well written information. Very interesting not only for KStars, but for Astronomy in general, is 'The Astro-Info Project' where knowledgeable astronomers give accurate explanations about Astronomy-related subjects. Persons wishing to collaborate with KStars or with The Astro-Info Project are invited to contact the KStars Team, at any of the addresses provided in the Handbook.

World time

The two hyper links below provide the exact Greenwich Meridian Time (or the exact Universal Time Coordinated, Time Zulu, which may differ from GMT in a maximum of a few seconds). It can be used to find the time anywhere in the World, but some notes of caution must be explained regarding Official Time.

Official Time is the time that an official organism (usually a government, aided by an astronomic or geodesic institution) declares as valid time for most purposes in a certain territory. The boundaries of that territory are often political boundaries, which means that the correlation with the nearest theoretical Time Zone, as seen in a World map, is only an approximation.

To complicate things, many governments also use a Daylight Saving Time, or Summer Time, with the purpose of saving energy in the territories under their jurisdiction during some months of the year, more or less the Summer months. Obviously, the Summer of the North Hemisphere of the Earth corresponds to the Winter of the South Hemisphere.

However, a political territory crossing the Equator Line, often disregards in respect to Official Time the part of that territory that is located in the other hemisphere. Thus, the Official Time in equatorial territories tends to follow the Official Time of the capital city, or of the most extense or most significant part of that territory. As an example, Brazil has huge areas located North as well as South of the Equator, but most of the nation, the capital city, and the most important activities are located at the South, therefore it follows the seasons of the South Hemisphere.

Not only that, also the exact dates for starting and for finishing Daylight Saving Time are different dates in different territories, even inside the same hemisphere. Those dates are determined by governmental law for each territory, and often coincide with the night from Saturday to Sunday or with another day of the week. Countries where Christianism is or has been the predominant religion take Sunday as a holiday, Israel takes Saturday, Islamic countries take Friday.

Summer Time often adds one hour to Winter Time, although this is not always the case. Not all governments rule Official Time in whole hours, either for Summer or for Winter Time. They may use fractions of thirty minutes, or of fifteen minutes, compared to the theoretical time of the nearest Time Zone.

Therefore, the World times indicated below must be taken with reserve. For time sensitive activities, such as on-line transfers of money, of business shares, purchase of travel tickets, or for other on-line operations, it may be better to contact by whatever instant means somebody located in that territory, and simply ask him what time is there now.

If having Internet connection, enter a country or city in English, without accents or diacritic marks, for getting the time there:

World Time Server
Informs of exact time anywhere in the world
http://www.worldtimeserver.com/

 

Time Ticker
Map of time in the world
http://www.timeticker.com/

 

Tools for analysis of documents

These tools will help a Web Master to find information about a specified Uniform Resource Locator, or also to optimise a document for being accepted, classified and ranked in search engines. A responsible Master must be warned against certain "techniques" of doubtful value used by certain "search engine optimisers" of even more doubtful reputation. Those techniques are unfair, and they are strictly forbidden by search engines.

Although the said "techniques" may initially boost the ranking of a document, the trick will soon be discovered by the search engine, and then the guilty document will be penalised by going down in the ranking, or even by being banned altogether. For a Master in need of serious advice on optimisation of a document for search engines, Lady Jill Whalen publishes regularly in the Internet a report that is considered one of the very best in this field. She will gladly answer any questions asked to her about the subject.

Fagan Finder
Information on a specified Uniform Resource Locator
http://www.faganfinder.com/urlinfo/

 

Translators or interpreters for computer languages

Assembling or compiling translators, and line by line interpreters

Instructions written as low level code in numbering base of two (zeroes and ones) are understood and executed directly by the vast majority of computers since the late 1940's, but it is a very difficult task for most human programmers. For avoiding this difficulty, many programmers prefer to write instructions to the computer in indirect form: either in a medium level assembly language, or in some of the high level programming languages. In medium level assembly language the resources of the computer are optimised at its maximum, but the instructions depend on the processor used in that computer, because such instructions are understood differently by each model of processor (of for example Intel, Hewlett-Packard, MOS Technology, Motorola, National, Zilog, et cetera), and therefore the resulting assembly language is not portable to other processors without introducing many important modifications into it.

For this reason a number of programmers choose one or more of the various high level programming languages, ensuring to some extent the portability of their work, although on the other hand not maximising the resources of a given model of processor. Instructions written in medium level assembly language or in one of the high level programming languages can be interpreted line by line into low level code in numbering base of two, or they can be translated as a whole. In this latter case the translating programme is of a kind known as "assembler", when translating from medium to low level, or as "compiler", when translating from high to low level. The first compilers used to work in two stages, they first compiled from high to medium level, and the resulting compilation was then assembled from medium to low level. Most compilers nowadays, however, directly produce low level machine code.

The Free Country offers a good collection of line by line interpreters, plus assembling or compiling translators for an ample variety of languages that are used in programming computers. It also offers other resources and tools.

The Free Country
Interpreters, translators and other tools
http://www.thefreecountry.com/

 

The next hyper link points to one of the best assemblers available, the famous A86 created by Mister Eric Isaacson, one of the brains who helped to produce the x86 series of microprocessors at Intel corporation. The A86 assembler works with all Intel microprocessors starting from the 8086 of 1978 (1 Megabyte of 16 bits) onwards, or with compatible microprocessors made by AMD, Cyrix, Nexgen and other brands, installed in I. B. M. Personal Computer or compatible, or in a few computers that are not fully compatible with I. B. M. Personal Computer. The syntax of the A86 assembler is slightly different from that of the commercial assemblers Microsoft MASM or Borland TASM. Most assemblers follow either Intel syntax or AT & T syntax.

The A86 assembler can be executed with any MS-DOS from version 2.00 onwards, with most other DOS systems, with a DOS box in Windows, or with some versions of Linux. It operates in good old 16 bits, but for programmers who may prefer 32 bits, Mister Eric Isaacson has created another assembler called A386, that can make full use of the set of operating codes starting from the Intel 80386 DX of 1984 (of 32 bits), up to the Intel Pentium III of 1999, and of microprocessors of similar characteristics made by other companies. Both assemblers, the A86 and the A386, come with excellent documentation, some sample programmes, and a debugger. This debugger is a gem, it can execute assembly instructions line by line and show how each instruction affects the values in the computer.

Any of the two assemblers can produce .COM programmes that do not need a linker, being directly executable in DOS systems, .OBJ programmes for producing .EXE executables through a linker, or also .BIN programmes used to get access to Read Only Memory. The distribution of A86 is done as shareware, free for evaluation, then it should be either accepted or refused. Wonder if any serious assembly programmer could sincerely refuse this jewel of a software ! If accepted, the A86 costs little over 50 $, the complete package including A386 and other tools costs less than 90 $, and a huge library of assembly programmes for many purposes costs an additional 60 $. The author makes his living solely from these brilliances of his superior genius, and he deserves recognition for his effort. If You use any of his software on a regular basis, play honestly and send the contribution that he has asked to receive for the A86 or A386, and their debuggers or other software.

A86 assembler and D86 debugger
For x86 processors from Intel 8086 onwards
http://eji.com/a86/

 

Tutorials

Languages for mark-up, scripts, style sheets, or other applications

Courses are made for those many people who need to be guided through the learning process, while tutorials are made for a few geniuses who prefer to learn by themselves, on their own, and become self-made men by reading and by personal experimenting. This way of learning is much more rewarding, but of course it needs at least an initial access to information of high quality.

Here is offered that information, in the form of tutorials for a diversity of languages that are used in the Internet for a variety of purposes, such as mark-up, scripts, style sheets, or executables for many applications.

Mark-up languages

SGML, Standard Generalised Mark-up Language: the basic standard from which most mark-up languages are derived.

AIML, Artificial Intelligence Mark-up Language: a sub-set of Standard Generalised Mark-up Language. It is used for programmes called "talking robots", that simulate a conversation.

DML, Dynamic Mark-up Language: a sub-set of Standard Generalised Mark-up Language. DML is a specification, similar to HTML, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium for Web documents. HTML will generate static pages if used alone, while DML will generate dynamic pages. Many programmers prefer to use HTML not alone, but in combination with dynamic scripts embedded into the HTML code. These scripts will generate a dynamic page, server side. Languages used for CGI, as well as the ASP, Java or i-HTML languages, are examples of this approach.

HTML, Hyper Text Mark-up Language: publicly released in 1993, HTML is the language used to create Hyper Text documents for being exhibited as Web documents in the Internet. HTML documents are intended to be viewed using a user agent to interpret the HTML commands or part of them, to give format to text into a page (and optionally also to elements of image or sound, showing audio or video records), to present hyper links to other pages inside the document or to other documents, to execute Java scripts client side, or to perform other operations. User agents may be visual (fully graphic, partly graphic, or only textual), may be aural (text to sound), or may be tactile (text to Braille). In the case of non-graphic user agents, they show only text and hyper links, or they convert text and hyper links to sound or to Braille, but they do not show images. Aural agents play sounds. HTML has a few dialects, of which the latest SGML version is HTML 4.01 of December 1999. XML and HTML were combined into a single language, no more based mainly on SGML, which the World Wide Web Consortium approved as official specification with the name of HTML 5 in October 2014. More information at:

Wikipedia, the Web Encyclopaedia
Hyper Text Mark-up Language
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML

 

World Wide Web Consortium
Governing body for HTTP, HTML, CSS, PNG and other official specifications
http://www.w3.org/

 

World Wide Web Consortium
Official specification of HTML 4.01, December 1999
http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/

 

XML, Extensible Mark-up Language: a sub-set of SGML, Standard Generalised Mark-up Language. XML is a specification, similar to HTML, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium for Web documents. XML contains mark-up commands (also called tags or symbols) to describe the content and formatting of a page, but unlike HTML, the mark-up commands are unlimited and self-defining (therefore, designers can create their own customised commands and command definitions). XML and HTML were combined into a single language, no more based mainly on SGML, which the World Wide Web Consortium approved as official specification with the name of HTML 5 in October 2014.

It also exist the DHTML and XHTML languages.

Style sheet languages

CSS, Cascading Style Sheets: the official style sheet language of the World Wide Web Consortium. The Consortium recommends using CSS over the explicit presentational mark-up of HTML, but it allows for both possibilities, because user agents released before 1997 do not interpret the CSS language.

The HTML 4.01 specification of December 1999 admits of a document starting with the DOCTYPE declaration of "Transitional" (Loose) if using only HTML presentational mark-up, or else starting with the DOCTYPE declaration of "Strict" if using CSS or another style sheet language. Not all style sheet languages support cascading.

The reasons for not using CSS or another style sheet language are explained in "Adding a touch of style", by Mister Dave Raggett, written in 2002. Mister Raggett notes that HTML presentational mark-up may be useful when targetting user agents made before the release of HTML 3.2 in January 1997 (before Netscape Navigator 4.0 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, both made in 1997, therefore targetting user agents that were made during the Browsers War or earlier). The document is available at the World Wide Web Consortium:

World Wide Web Consortium: Adding a touch of style, by Mister Dave Raggett
Reasons for using HTML presentational mark-up instead of style sheet languages
http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Guide/Style.html

 

Short Chronology of CSS:

December 1996: CSS1, Cascading Style Sheets 1, approved by the W. W. W. Consortium, then continued by it. Development of CSS had begun by Haakon Lie at the HTML mailing list in 1994, before the creation of the Consortium.

Early 1998: CSS test suit, shortly followed by a validator via Web (validator and test suit for HTML came at a later time).

Early 1999: CSS2, Cascade Style Sheets 2, approved by the W. W. W. Consortium, then continued by it.

Scripting languages for dynamic content

ASP, Active Server Pages: a server side scripting language, invented and developed by Microsoft Corporation. ASP commands are embedded within HTML documents having their name extended with an .asp type suffix (extension), in order to provide dynamic content. ASP is often supported by Web host servers using a NT host server. This language supports Visual Basic by default, and it can be made ready to support other languages as well. Besides CGI, two languages that were from the start designed for the purpose of generating dynamic content, ASP of Microsoft Corporation and Java of Sun Systems, stand now as the main languages used for that purpose, in direct competition against each other.

C: structured modular language, similar to Pascal, created by Dennis Ritchie (Bell Laboratories, a part of AT & T) in 1972-1974. The name 'C' comes from two experimental languages that existed with the names of 'A' and 'B', based on the BCPL language. C is a medium-high level language, higher than any assembly but without being hardware dependent, therefore more portable than assembly. It is intended for the experienced programmer. Unics operating system was entirely re-written in assembly language in 1972 by Mister Kenneth Thompson, and in C language in 1974 by Mister Dennis Ritchie.

C++: server-side scripting language commonly used to write programmes for Common Gateway Interface, and for other purposes.

Cold Fusion: a scripting language for interfacing data bases and advanced Web development. Cold Fusion supports data bases such as Microsoft Access, Fox Pro, d BASE, and Paradox.

CGI, Common Gateway Interface: an interface standard that provides a method for executing a server side scripting programme from a Web site, in order to generate a Web document with dynamic content. Scripts conforming to this standard may be written in any programming language that could produce an executable, but they are most often written in C, C++, Perl, PHP, Python, or TCL. It must be said that CGI is not really a language, but an adaptation for providing a standard to true programming languages. Besides CGI, two languages that were from the start designed for the purpose of generating dynamic content, ASP of Microsoft Corporation and Java of Sun Systems, stand now as the main languages used for that purpose, in direct competition against each other.

i-HTML, In Line HTML: a server side programming language for developing dynamic Internet content. More information at:

In Line HTML
Server side programming language for dynamic Internet content
http://www.ihtml.com/

 

ISML, Inter Shop Mark-up Language: a set of scripting tags to generate dynamic Web pages. ISML tags are extensions of any tag based language that conform to SGML standard.

Java: a programming language often intended for being executed in a network, without fear of malicious code or of other damages to the client computer. By making use of small Java programmes, called Java Applets, Web documents can include calculators, animations, interactive games or other functions. Besides CGI, two languages that were from the start designed for the purpose of generating dynamic content, ASP of Microsoft Corporation and Java of Sun Systems, stand now as the main languages used for that purpose, in direct competition against each other.

Java Script: a programming language for use in Web documents, that allows dynamic content executed client side. It was invented by Netscape with the name of "Live Script". Sun Systems adopted it in 1995 and renamed it "Java Script", developing the language to its current state. In spite of the similarity in name, it is not closely related to Java.

Perl: a server side scripting language commonly used to write programmes for Common Gateway Interface. Perl programmes, called scripts, are text records which are parsed (run through and executed) by a programme called interpreter, located in the host server.

PHP: a server side scripting language commonly used to write programmes for Common Gateway Interface. PHP commands are embedded into the source code of HTML documents. PHP commands are executed in the Web host server to generate dynamic HTML pages. More information at:

PHP
Server side scripting language for CGI, embedded into HTML
http://www.php.net/

 

Python: a server side scripting language commonly used to write programmes for Common Gateway Interface. It is an interpreted, object oriented programming language. Python is legally protected under copy right, but the source code is freely available and open for modification and reuse.

SSI, Server-Side Includes: a server side scripting language. SSI scripting commands are embedded within the code of a Web document and are parsed and executed in the Web host server to generate dynamic HTML pages. Common uses of SSI are to include parts (like a header or a footer) that are used in many pages of the document, or also to show the current date and time.

TCL: a server side scripting language commonly used to write programmes for Common Gateway Interface.

Visual Basic: an object oriented programming language developed by Microsoft Corporation about 1991, for the last versions of MS-DOS and for Windows. It is translated by compiler. ASP supports Visual Basic by default.

Languages for other applications

My-SQL, My Structured Query Language: an open source relational data base management system that uses a sub-set of ANSI SQL. More information at:

My Structured Query Language
Open source relational data base management system based on SQL
http://www.mysql.com/

 

It also exists the WAP language.

Tutorials

The first hyper link below is a full book explaining in detail fundamental concepts related to the Logic of Computer Programming. It is highly advisable for a programmer to study those concepts, in addition to the specific rules of a chosen programming language.

The other hyper links are more specific. Two of them explain Hyper Text Mark-up Language, another gives intelligent advice for those who are starting as Web Masters, and the last two are manuals: one on Cascading Style Sheets and the other on Perl language.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Full book explaining Programming and Logics in detail
http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/full-text/book/book.html

 

School of the World Wide Web Consortium
Explaining Hyper Text Mark-up Language by means of interactive windows
http://www.w3schools.com/

 

Roxy's HTML Help in Autumn Web
Intelligent advice for those who are starting as Web Masters
http://www.autumnweb.com/Roxys/2WebPageHelp/4HintsTips.html

 

Blooberry
Manual on Cascading Style Sheets
http://www.blooberry.com/indexdot/css/

 

Perl at WWW CGI
Manual on Perl language
http://www-cgi.cs.cmu.edu/cgi-bin/perl-man

 

Type suffixes

Type suffixes (extensions) of domains are a group of letters appended at the end of a Uniform Resource Locator, separated from the rest of the Locator by a dot. Type suffixes are used as an indication of activity or of geographic location of the domain where they appear. For example, in the Uniform Resource Locator:

http://www.stonemann.ie/

the final suffix .ie indicates a domain hosted in computers in Ireland, since .ie is the international code of that country. Another example:

http://www.stonemann.info.ie/

indicates by the suffix .info that it is a personal domain, and by the suffix .ie that it is hosted in Ireland. Suffixes of activity are not mandatory, and those of geographic location tend to be used outside North America more than inside. In reality, by means of a Domain Name Server, the whole Uniform Resource Locator is converted into an Internet Protocol number, which is the true address understood by the router. Therefore, rather than using the Uniform Resource Locator, the corresponding Internet Protocol Number can be used instead, in which case there is no need of a Domain Name Server.

However, Uniform Resource Locators and their suffixes greatly help to make things clearer to humans, and that is why they are used. Each suffix is composed of any of 26 letters of the English version of the Latin alphabet, ranging in quantity from two to four letters. It is never one letter, seldom five, very rarely six, and never more than six letters.

Norid
List of suffixes used in Internet documents
http://www.norid.no/domenenavnbaser/domreg.html

 

Gopher logs and Web logs

Gopher logs, also known as 'glogs' or 'phlogs', and Web logs, also called 'blogs', are simplified documents of easy creation by non-technical authors. Gopher logs are transmitted by the Gopher Protocol, and Web logs by the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, these ones then rendered by the Hyper Text Mark-up Language or another standard language of the World Wide Web. The idea of logs began in December 1997, with the name 'log' reminding of an entry written into a navigation diary. They are a resource often used by those who wish to publish information in Gopher or in the World Wide Web, but who for whatever reason do not want to bother about learning the technical details necessary for programming their own documents. Gopher or Web logging organisations offer to them a certain variety of ready made templates and of authoring tools, and from those templates and tools they choose one of their liking, they define some parameters such as colour or text size if permitted by the tools and by the protocol to be used, and begin entering their own text.

A few loggers publish really interesting information that is a pleasure to read, but by far the vast majority of 'gloggers-phloggers' or of 'bloggers' write only garbage without any interest at all, except maybe for themselves. They just show family pictures, personal hobbies, holidays, daily life, and other idioticies that are typical of stupid average people. They are just the usual gang of idiots, in the words of Mister Cameron Kaiser. Nothing special, nothing lasting much beyond their empty lives. A few Gopher or Web loggers offer something better, but they are exceptions. In general we may say that a person who be serious about publishing in Gopher, in the World Wide Web, or in another Internet protocol, will also be serious about learning in detail the technicalities needed for it. The same with, for instance, someone being serious about Photography, who will enthusiastically study and experiment with photographic technique instead of limiting himself to ridiculous 'point and shoot' fool-proof amateur cameras.

Therefore, CSS Dixieland does not recommend publishing in logs. Instead of logs, those of our readers who have something important to say to the world, are encouraged to take the trouble of learning how to say it in a professional manner. The message will show much more respectability as a well composed and well constructed personal Gopher or HTML document than as a Gopher or Web log, and the satisfaction felt by its author-programmer will also be greater than if using a mass produced template. Notwithstanding that advice, those readers who may at present feel insecure about their technical preparation for the daunting task of creating their own documents, will do well in joining some community of enthusiasts who will help them in their quest.

One of those communities is Super Dimension Fortress, where members can create their own Gopher log, or their own full Gopher document if they feel prepared for it, under the tutoring and guidance of more experienced authors who can often be contacted via electronic post, Telnet, Gopher, or World Wide Web. It is even possible to include a book of visitors in the Gopher document, using a script of Common Gateway Interface, or to link to images, sounds, or other resources. Super Dimension Fortress is linked via Gopher or via Web in the CSS Dixieland page devoted to the Gopher Protocol. The page can be visited by activating the following internal link:

cssdixieland_gopher.html

For Web logs, please visit the section of Hosts (servers) of Internet documents above in this same page:

Hosts (servers) of Internet documents

And with that recommendation, CSS Dixieland finishes here this long list of Internet resources. Readers wishing to comment on those topics, to suggest corrections, or to offer any ideas, are invited to write to the electronic address provided at the bottom of the Start page. Our gratitude goes to their efforts, because this document grows with the help received from them.

 

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