The February, 2002 meeting of the TI-Chips was opened by yours truly, since Glenn was out of town visiting family in Columbus, Ohio. The reading of the minutes from the January, 2002 meeting was waived, but they are posted on the club's Web site (http://members.core.com/haryhofy/tichips/newsletter/ticm0102.htm). Lin Shaw gave the Treasurer's report and indicated that our monthly 50:50 raffle was still causing our balance to mushroom. John Parken stated in his Membership report that the club remains stable at 18 members. Disk Librarian, Les Kee, gave a stirring speech on the state of the library that could be summed up in two words: "No change."
However, the first item on the agenda, since there was no old business discussed, was new business regarding that very disk library. I provided a 100 meg Iomega Zip drive disk to Les, upon which are stored the entire contents of the TI-Chips' Web site. As I explanied to the group, this disk of files is a mirror image of the site, including the file directory structure. In the event of a catastrophic event involving the loss of files on the site, it could be restored by uploading the files needed from the backup disk. Even the total loss of all the files on the site could be readily recovered by simply uploading the entire disk contents, exactly as they're stored on the disk. This is possible because the 100 meg Zip disk has ample room for all the files on one disk, rather than splitting them up across mutiple 1.44 meg floppies.
During this discussion, Les revealed that he also has a Zip drive on his PC, so I can either send the HTML Web site file for the minutes of succeeding months, accompanied by any graphics specific to that file, as an attachment to Les for inclusion on the Zip disk, or I could bring in another disk to each meeting with these updated files on it & swap it with Les for the preceding month's disk. Either way, there'll be activity in the ol' disk library each month! What a country.
The club's Web site address was disseminated to the members again, on request. During this time, there was discussion as to the amount of space available to the club for the Web site. While there are several megs of space remaining, it was explained that, if needed, the graphics files could be stored on other server space. For example, several graphics files for member pictures could be stored on some free server space that John has available to him through his internet service provider (ISP), while the HTML file with it's text content would reside on the free server space provided by Harry through his ISP. Whenever the HTML file is accessed by a browser, the graphics are retrieved from John's server by the browser from the URL I've embedded in the HTML file and inserted where appropriate. The final product is a Web page presented on the screen to the user as if all the files had been stored on the same server. This is what happens when ads are displayed on Web pages. The browser goes to a separate server to retrieve the ads and they are inserted in the page as the HTML code dictates.
I also pointed out that this is why many Web sites with graphics instruct people to not direct browsers to retrieve their resident graphics from their servers, because this would result in a tremendous amount of traffic on their servers. And we all know that increased traffic on a particular server equals much slower traffic on that server. But, that wouldn't be a problem for our club, as traffic is relatively light.
Of course, this line of discussion led into another topic for Les and me. Specifically, the use of a second physical hard drive on a PC to share the load with the primary hard drive, thereby speeding up the overall system. For instance, Windows uses a swap file on the hard drive to assist the onboard RAM. If program files and the swap file are located on the same physical hard drive, then each access must take turns. However, if the swap file is located on another physical hard drive, then both drives can be accessed at once. The temporary cache used by Netscape is another example of this. With the cache on another physical hard drive, the browser accesses it faster. Although Harry was unable to attend this month's meeting, I pointed out that he uses his Iomega Zip drive in this manner.
A new visitor was introduced to the group, Lucille Mayer of the Seven Hills Republican Club. Lucille read about our club in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and decided to stop in for a visit. She got involved with the TI-99/4A through her children and grandchildren. One of her questions for the group involved her dot matrix printer. John, Lin, Les and Norb actively participated in discussing repair and replacement of her printer, with a special trip down memory lane regarding printer ribbons and their many versions.
Lucille was intrigued with our Web site and had several questions regarding host servers, ISPs, maintenance and costs. She was very impressed with the tremendous reduction in our newsletter costs due to the use of the Web. E-mail advantages were also discussed amongst the group. After receiving an extensive history lesson on evolution of the Northeast Ohio TI groups, Lucille expressed an interest in joining the Chips. She was last seen discussing this with our Membership Chairman, John Parken, after the meeting concluded.
As a final subject, all of the members participated in a lively discussion on TI programming with emphasis on BASIC. So lively, in fact, that we exited the Story Time Room about fifteen minutes after the scheduled end of the meeting. I must say, while most of the meetings are fun and informative, this one was exceptional: A new member and activity in the disk library!
There was no monthly drawing because Jack Koryta was unable to attend.
The next meeting of the TI-Chips will be March 16, 2002. The meeting will be held in the Story Time Room of the North Royalton branch library from 10:00 'til noon.
-Craig A. Getty