Home Away Networking

A recent discussion on comp.os.vms about networking an OpenVMS system in a home network environment brought out a number of proponents for Linksys routers. I've never had any experience with one; my router experiences have all been with Cisco routers and their IOS. So, when it came time to get my son who just went off to college a wireless router, I popped into the local Best Buy and picked up a Linksys wireless router for his use. Since he's not very computer and or network savvy, I was left with the task of not only providing the purchasing decision for this device, but also its technical and configuration support. Herein is my assessment of the process and the product.

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VAXman Thursday 20 August 2009 at 4:08 pm | | | No comments

SHIFTing out of CONTROL

We're creatures of habit. We are easily conditioned and do things without a second thought given to many of the things we do each day. It's almost a reflex. After working on OpenVMS for over a quarter of a century, and nearly all of those 25+ years on a DEC keyboard, I find that I have been conditioned and I've developed certain user habits that will not be quickly unlearned. In the last entry here, I spoke to the various options for DEC terminal and keyboard emulation. There is, of course, nothing that can directly replace a VT terminal and its associated keyboard; the best one can hope for is a reasonable facsimile thereof. Even so, one thing I've not been able to get used to on non-DEC keyboards is the location of the CONTROL key.

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VAXman Tuesday 18 August 2009 at 8:42 pm | | | No comments

Terminal-(L)ies.

The venerable DEC VT100 is long gone; consigned to a pedestal in some computer history museum (or in a corner of my basement), or so the proponents of GUI interfaces would have you believe. Yet, there is still a need for terminal-like interaction with today's systems. Gone may be the VT-series terminals but their functionality is not. It's found in GUI applications on the desktop. If your desktop is X11-based, you can use the DECterm which accompanies OpenVMS. Simply issue $ CREATE/TERMINAL and you have most of what you would have asked for in a real VT-series terminal. In lieu of that, there are other terminal applications which emulate, to varying degrees, a VT-series terminal that can be used to access OpenVMS. The key, at least as far as I am concerned, is the application's ability to handle everyday escape sequences and properly mirror the alternate keypad of the VT-series terminals.

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VAXman Sunday 16 August 2009 at 5:12 pm | | | No comments

What's its name?

One nice feature of OpenVMS is its logical name capabilities. Using logical names, system entities such as devices, directories, files, queues, etc., can be easily accessed and referred to using meaningful names. For example, I used to have a LAT terminal which was connected to a modem. It was created and defined at system startup with a system-wide logical name of $MODEM. Then, when I needed to use the modem, I would simply type: $ SET HOST/DTE $MODEM. I didn't need to recall its terminal designation. When I setup my Ubuntu laptop to use my EVDO card (a modem) and other removable devices, I sought a similar mechanism and found it in udev.

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VAXman Thursday 13 August 2009 at 5:52 pm | | | No comments

Tunnel Vision

I love the internet! So much so that I travel everywhere with either my Ubuntu laptop or my MacBookPro or both. Wi-Fi is becoming more and more ubiquitous and accessible everywhere. Here in the Peoples' Republic of New Jermany (proNJ), the two major cable companies (Optimum and now Comcast) have been installing wireless access points which allow their customers to have internet access even outside of their homes. When I don't have access to a wireless hot-spot or one of the cable company Wi-Fis, I use my Sprint EVDO for internet access. I also use it while I am driving. It allows me to have internet access even in a moving vehicle. This blog is about the amazing ability to have internet on-the-road, literally, on the road; a testament to the fantastic technology of 3G internet service.

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VAXman Tuesday 11 August 2009 at 10:45 am | | | No comments

Another year older; another day closer to death.

Today marks another yearly anniversary of my birth. Considering my chronic health issues, I am personally astounded that I am still here today to make this blog entry! I suppose that living well beyond the years that my doctors prognosticated is a testament to the way I have lived out the many years I have had to date. I have spent those years with the love of my beautiful wife always by my side, the peal of fabulous music always in my ears, the want of a good beer always in my hand, and the company of fine friends always there to share. I'm still searching for the meaning of life, if there even is such a thing, but until then, I'm content with those simple pleasures in life that I believe have carried me this far.

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VAXman Thursday 06 August 2009 at 07:50 am | | | No comments

ssh-ecurity — Part 8: Along for the free ride...

"Order now and we'll throw in a second deluxe late night TV infomercial item that you don't really need ABSOLUTELY FREE! Just pay shipping and handling!" Doesn't that just sound too good to be true? I too like free stuff, especially if it's useful to me. Two for the price of one deals like those on the late night infomercials are not free. Those offers usually say to me that the item is such crap that you'll be needing a second one as a backup for when the first one fails. What I like are the freebies that come along for the ride; things I get by virtue of some other item. It's an added bonus if that something that comes along for free is truly useful, doesn't duplicate something I already have, makes something I already have better, or it makes my life simpler. With ssh, a couple of things come along for the ride. Free, better and simpler!

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VAXman Tuesday 04 August 2009 at 7:57 pm | | | No comments

Una'bash'edly 'more'

If you're like me, your system's drive is rife with thousands of directories replete with thousands of files. When you want to see a directory listing, you type in the command and then, faster than even the best student graduate from the Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics courses can read, the filenames fly by you. If you're a system manager or you're off traipsing through your system's files, you'll find directories chock full of files that probably dwarf the numbers you have within your own personal directories. If you're using OpenVMS's DECW$TERMINAL, Mac OS X's Terminal or iTerm (a free and far superior terminal emulator) application or xTerm on linux, you have the scrollbar to view back through that which has passed you by.

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VAXman Monday 03 August 2009 at 09:17 am | | | No comments

ssh-ecurity — Part 7: Remote possibilities...

Music has always figured prominently in my life. About eight years ago, I discovered an internet radio station called Aural Moon. Aural Moon has a vast and ever-expanding library of progressive rock music; the music that defined my youth and which has always been a factor in my life. Most of my friendships, even the one that culminated in marriage, were defined by this music. I listened to Aural Moon for a year or two and then, one day, I finally signed myself up and logged into the associated web site. I discovered a great community there and I made even more music-defined friendships. A couple of years later, I found myself hosting the Aural Moon web site, and handling its daily chores and duties to keep this great music on-the-net. It's an altruistic labor of love for both the music and its community.

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VAXman Sunday 02 August 2009 at 08:00 am | | | No comments

Pivot-al Moments.

I originally installed Pivot as a favor to another OpenVMS user (Aaron Sakovich) to test its operations with the latest release of SWS (Apache) and PHP for OpenVMS. I'd never thought about blogging but, since I'd already gone through all the effort to install and test Pivot, I figured, why not? I searched trough some of the Pivot templates and themes and I didn't find any a really liked. However, I did come across one that I thought I wouldn't mind using until I was able to devise my own theme.

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VAXman Saturday 01 August 2009 at 11:32 am | | | No comments

ssh-ecurity — Part 6: Walled in? Tunnel out!

To reiterate what I said in the last installment, I'm a luddite and an erudite command line user. In fact, I still read the lion's share of my email using OpenVMS mail — a strict text based email agent; unfortunately, many of the people I correspond with do not. Sometimes, I am sent graphical attachments, or files which must be opened and processed with a tool that does not exist on OpenVMS. When these emails arrive, I simply move the email message, along with its attachment(s), in OpenVMS mail to a special folder which I have configured to be served via POP. I can then view the message's attachments using Evolution Mail on my Ubuntu Linux laptop or the MacOS X Mail application both which are configured to use my OpenVMS server as the POP server. I can reply back to these messages as well because the OpenVMS SMTP server is configured to relay inside network emails.

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VAXman Saturday 01 August 2009 at 06:04 am | | | No comments