Dallas/Fort Worth UNIX Users Group

          The mission of the DFW UUG is to promote interest in and
                         understanding of UNIX

                         June, 1997 Newsletter


              General Meeting will be held at the Double Tree
                        (Get directions below)
_______________________________Table of Contents_______________________
* July Meeting Announcements          *** BE SURE TO CHECK IT OUT ***
****Meeting changed to Thursday, July 10 account the 7/4 holiday  ****
* Feature Article: A book review of The FAQ Manual of Style.
* The President's Column
* Volunteering Selectively
* Membership Application
* Directory of Officers and Volunteers
* Past Newsletters
* Past Speakers
* Upcoming Events
* Useful Links
* Directions to the meeting

___________________________July  Meeting________________________________

Speaker: Mike Bratcher 
Title: Director of Dispatch Systems 
Company: Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad 
Title: Unix Powers the Iron Horse: The BNSF Network Operations Center 

Contrary to expections the nations railroads are high tech operations and 
our July speaker will tell us how the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad
has used Unix and advanced telecommunications technology to control operations 
across an enterprise which spans the continent from Seattle to Los Angeles to 
the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic Coast. Thirty years ago train dispatchers were 
scattered in offices across the country and in some cases still using the 
telegraph key to issue written train orders to engineers via station operators 
at the rate of 50 baud or so. This was technology first demonstrated in 1844! 

It has all changed. The Network Operations Center in Ft. Worth has centralized 
train dispatching in one location where a dispatcher, sitting in Ft. worth, 
can control the movement of a train in Washington State by issuing commands 
through a computer system to control signals and switches on the other side 
of the North American continent. Mike Bratcher will tell us how this is done, 
what part Unix plays in this operation, and how the railroad is now utilizing 
satellite links at T1 and better speeds. If you ever have the opportunity to 
see the NOC it will remind you of nothing but the Johnson Space Center with 
its multiplicity of consoles and displays. This is a state of the art operation 
which all of you should hear about.  
___________________________Future Programs_____________________________

Future Programs

June 5, 1997
* General Meeting, Thursday, June 5, 1997, at 6:45 PM
* Speaker:   Mr. James Tiller
* Company:   Autoimage
* Topic:     CTI, Computer-Telephony Integration

July 10, 1997 (Note: Meeting moved back one week due to holiday)
* General Meeting, Thursday, July 10, 1997, at 6:45 PM
* Speaker:   Mr. Mike Bratcher
* Company:   BNSF
* Topic:     The Railroad's Network Operations Center

Ideas and leads on interesting topics and  speakers are appreciated.
Please email the committee chairman at, gary_lelvis@administaff.com,
with those ideas.

________Feature Article: Book Review - The FAQ Manual of Style_________

Title: Book Review - The FAQ Manual of Style
by Danny Faught (mailto:faught@convex.hp.com)
I was in the Internet section of the bookstore recently.  Internet this, 
Internet that, blah, blah, blah.  Nothing there that you can't learn by 
reading source code.  Then I saw the title "The FAQ Manual of Style."  A 
book written for the tiny little niche market of FAQ maintainers?  Hey, 
I'm one of those maintainers!  So I bought it, and here's my review.
You might just learn how the book can help you too, and why people might 
hate you for it.
The FAQ Manual of Style: Creating Great Frequently Asked 
Questions Lists, by Russell Shaw, 287 pages, list $24.95.
Published 1996 by (http://www.mispress.com) MIS:Press, 
ISBN 1-55828-498-2.
Overall, I'm impressed with the book.  Shaw included many annotated 
examples of good and great Frequently Asked Questions files, and he 
interviewed a number of my fellow FAQ maintainers.  Shaw is a 
journalist whose beat includes the Internet.  He makes very few 
mistakes with the technical terminology, which is very impressive 
compared to most articles about the Internet that I've read.
He gets the definition of "browser" right, which even Dave Barry 
couldn't do right in "Dave Barry in Cyberspace" (many 
writers confuse web browsers with web search engines).
I was a little skeptical that anyone could make a profit on a book that 
focused on Usenet FAQs, but the book's focus is actually on institutional 
FAQs.  This includes commercial FAQs, and a few mentions of FAQs for 
educational institutions and organizations.  Shaw calls these "Web FAQs" 
since they are usually associated with an institutional web site.
This focus significantly broadens the book's potential audience.  
He does also cover issues related to maintaining a FAQ for a Usenet 
newsgroup.  I estimate that half of the book is relevant to Usenet 
The book has come under fire from the Usenet community because of its 
commercial slant.  Many Usenet FAQ writers are offended by the potential 
for commercial bias because some readers associate the name "FAQ" with an 
altruistic and nonbiased presentation of answers to common questions. 
Commercial FAQs will necessarily be biased toward the company that wrote 
them.  There are different ways a company can approach this.  A company 
can make an honest attempt to answer common questions that their 
technical support department receives, and point people to more 
information about their products.  This can be a very useful service to 
their customers and potential customers.  However, there is a temptation 
for a company to skew or omit some of the facts in order to make their 
products appear superior to their competitors' products.  While this 
possibility is sufficient to make us wary of the information in any 
commercial FAQ, I have not heard of any particular examples of
commercial FAQs that are heinously misleading.  Shaw does go to great 
lengths to show how a FAQ can be a marketing tool, but he never suggests 
using a FAQ to twist the truth.
The book covers many of the basic issues that concern a FAQ writer, from 
deciding when to create a FAQ to maintaining it and keeping it relevant. 
 He uses examples extensively to make specific points, though not every 
possible issue is covered.  The author has explained that he did not 
want to duplicate the large body of information about the mechanics of 
FAQs that is already freely available on the Internet (see below).
I was disappointed with the book's editing.  There are many errors 
throughout the book, mostly grammatical.  The depressing thing is that 
I'm used to this sort of quality in highly technical books.  It seems 
that a publisher's attention to quality is proportional to the number of 
copies they expect to sell, with not much of a minimum standard.  It was 
just a little surprising to see the phenomenon in a book that's a little 
more mainstream than most technical books I've read.  Also, the author's 
journalistic background shows through in the informal paragraph 
construction style.  It's a style I enjoy in shorter pieces, but it 
probably should be tightened up for a book-length work.
To sum up, I recommend the book for anyone who is involved with 
writing a FAQ of any kind.  There's very little competition
in this subject area, and any potential competition would have to 
really do their homework to make a better offering in this same 
subject area.
For more information about Usenet FAQs, start with the "FAQs about 
FAQs" file in news.answers and on the web at
Copyright 1997 by Danny Faught.

____________________From the President__________________________________
     The remodeling job on the DEC facilities has begun, so I am hopeful
     that the June meeting will be the last one for a while down in the 
     Doubletree. But, come to the DEC offices first for food and 
     That was really a fine meeting we had in May. It shows the turnout we 
     can generate when a nationally known speaker becomes available and we 
     work hard to promote the visit. I heard through the grapevine that 
     when maddog appeared before a Unix users group in another city last 
     year, barely 20 people showed up.
     Thanks to the volunteers who put in a great deal of time to make 
     things run smoothly. I am thinking of (in no particular order) Dale 
     Young, Chris Sexton, Leah Grove, Elliott Uchiyama, Jim Wyatt, Bill 
     Petersen, Blake Mitchell, Bill Champion, John Keohane, Steve Heller, 
     Stuart Yarus, and Tom Zabel; the people associated with the NTLUG 
     and NTPC Users group; and of course John Wisniewski, Dona Allen, 
     Dennis Bayshore, and Edmundo Moreno from DEC.  Remember too that 
     DEC paid maddog's expenses. The presentation cost us nothing but 
     the charges for two signs and a stack of flyers.
     Please see John Keohane's article on volunteerism in this newsletter. 
     There is a real need for people to serve on the program committee and 
     it is one of my short term goals to revitalize that committee which, I 
     am sorry to say, I have neglected for some time now. If you are 
     interested in this activity or perhaps have ideas on topics to present 
     or speakers we can approach, please email me and I will notify you of 
     the next committee meeting.
     That reminds me; welcome to John Bittner who is our new Webmaster.
     Another matter all of you can help the leadership with is to help 
     develop sponsor leads. Elliott Uchiyama is contacting a short list of 
     prospects I provided him and would appreciate more leads from you. 
     Perhaps your company will want to help out? For a modest $360/year a 
     sponsor can have their name and their recruiting information displayed 
     at our meetings, can have a link added from our WEB page to a page of 
     their choice, and can place an advertisement in our newsletter. Some 
     sponsors will be motivated to recruit Unix people and for other 
     companies it is a way of supporting the group and the Unix community 
     in general. Please email me names, titles, and telephone numbers of 
     people you think may want to contribute financially to the group and I 
     will pass them on to Elliott. We already have J. Paeans, GET 
     Directories, Bole & Babbage, and Comms People on board. More sponsors 
     will help fund better programs.

--Gary Lelvis
  President and program chairman

____________________Volunteering Selectively___________________________
One reason to volunteer is to fall on your face in a safe place.

Now, no one wants to fall on her/his face, but when you began to walk, or 
rather toddle, you took a chance.  You took a chance by standing, then 
moving.  If you're like me, you sometimes fell on your face, though 
probably on a good soft rug.

Later you may have figuratively fallen, perhaps through verbal misqueue.  
That happened to me when I misused the word, "teetotaler".  Emma Kollen 
Pieters, my mother's mother, was a life-long member of the Women's Christian 
Temperance Union.  A wonderful woman, I knew she probably never touched a 
drop of wine, beer, or other alcohol.  When I was a sophomore in college, 
grandma asked me if any of my friends drank, and, working to be both honest 
and reassuring, thinking of a "teetotaler" as someone quite totally 
drunk, I said assuredly "Some of my friends drink a little, but none of 
them's a teetotaler!"  I had completely flipped a word.  Grandma understood.

Now the UNIX group is something like a soft rug or a warm grandma.  It is a
pretty safe place in which to make mistakes.  It's a forum for practice.  You
can practice your technical writing.  You can practice your interaction 
skills with other people.  You can practice reaching out to companies, or
to people, who might be potential employers for you in the future.  You can 
develop skills and connections.  To do so requires that you stand and move. 

How?  Start by visiting a board meeting, 6pm on meeting nights.  

Our UNIX group is something like a soft rug or a warm grandma.

--John Keohane
Immediate Past-President and
membership volunteer

_________________________DFWUUG WEB Page_______________________________

The DFW UUG Home Page URL is: http://www.august.com/dfwuug It has
complete information about current and upcoming events plus general


Individual Membership

Date ____/____/____ 

Name(First, MI, Last) _______________________________________

Company ________________________ Phone ______________________

The newsletter goes out via E-mail, so please provide an address.


Your Signature ______________________________________________

RETURN with check for $12. to: DFWUUG, c/o Leaha Groves, Treasurer
PO Box 702626 Dallas, TX 75370

_______________________________Newsletter Archive______________________

For information about prior programs, see the Prior Newsletters link on
the DFW UUG Home Page. These also contain all the technical Feature
Articles, a veritable wealth of knowledge.

______________________________Speaker's Summary________________________

Past Meeting Summary: June
Speaker:  Mr. James Tiller
Company:  Autoimage
Topic:    CTI, Computer-Telephony Integration

Past Meeting Summary: May
Speaker:  John "Maddog" Hall
Company:  Linux International

Past Meeting Summary: April
Speaker:  Todd Girvin, Principal Technologist
Company:  ObjectSpace
Topic  :  "Active Agents and JAVA, Voyager"

Past Meeting Summary: March
Speaker: Randall Rhea, Systems Engineer
Company: Informix Software; Dallas, Texas
Topic  : "New DBMS Technology and the Power of Unix"

Past Meeting Summary: February
Speaker: Floyd Stanley, Vice President
Company: Wave Technologies International, Inc.
Topic  : "Client/Server is Dead: Long Live Client/Server"

Past Meeting Summary: January
Speaker: John Robert Wisniewski, Senior Consultant
Company: Digital Equipment Corporation
Topic  : "Building Secure Internet Access Tools for Business or 

__________Who's on First - A Directory of DFW UUG Personnel____________

Questions on our finances and your checks
  Leah Grove, Treasurer
  gove@mail.dec.com [w] 972-702-4503

Status of your membership, change of address,
  Chris Sexton
  hgnc95a@prodigy.com [w] 972-718-3628

  Dale Young, Vice-President, and publicity chairman

Ideas for our main programs, comments on these programs,
  and principle web master,
  Gary Lelvis, President and program chairman
  gary_lelvis@administaff.com [w] 972-409-4842

Newsletter comments, suggestions, and submissions
  Bill Petersen, newsletter editor
  brp@cyberramp.net [w] 972-519-4249

_____________________________Up-coming Events__________________________

June 14   - North Texas Linux Users Group (NTLUG)
           Bring your PC down to Infomart between 8:30am and 11:30am
             and the NTLUG will install Linux on your PC - **FREE**
           General Meeting begins at 12:00pm (NOON) 
           ** NOTE THE NEW TIME**.

             See: http://www.ntlug.org for more information

June 19  - Dallas Area TCL/TK Users Group (TCL Dallas)
             Derek South of ATS - The ATS / X-Tester GUI tester
             Norman MA of Raytheon E-Systems - Using Tcl/Tk in the 
             Virtual Channel Architecture
             Meeting at the Richardson Civic Center
             Refreshments begin at 6:30pm, meeting starts at 7:00pm

             See: http://www.tcltk.com/TclDallas/index.html

Courtesy of Cynthia Deno, Publicity Coordinator USENIX Association


June 16-20, 1997

Portland, Oregon, Marriott Hotel
Program Chair:  Steve Vinoski, Hewlett-Packard
Tutorial Program Chair:  Doug Schmidt
June 20, 1997:  Advanced Workshop on "Software Components: Integration
and Collaboration"

Attendance is based on acceptance of a position paper.  Potential 
attendees are invited to submit a position paper by May 20, 1997.

July 14-17, 1997
Boston, Massachusetts, Tremont House Hotel
Program Chairs:  Joe Konstan, University of Minnesota and
Brent Welch, Sun Microsystems

August 11-13, 1997
Seattle, Washington, Sheraton Hotel
Program Chairs:  Mike Jones, Microsoft Corporation and
Ed Lazowska, University of Washington

August 14-16, 1997
Seattle, Washington, Sheraton Hotel
Program Chairs:  Xev Gittler, Lehman Brothers and
Phil Scarr, Synopsys

October 15-17, 1997
Santa Barbara, California, Red Lion Resort
Program Chair:  Chris Ramming, AT&T Labs
Paper submissions due:  June 13, 1997

October 26-31, 1997
San Diego, California, Town & Country Hotel
Co-sponsored by SAGE, the System Administrators Guild
Program Chairs:  Hal Pomeranz, NetMarket/CUC Intl. and
Celeste Stokely, Stokely Consulting
Extended abstracts due:  June 3, 1997

December 9-12, 1997
Monterey, California, Monterey Marriott Hotel
Program Chair: Carl Staelin, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories
Sponsored by the USENIX Association
Extended abstracts due:  July 8, 1997

January 26-29, 1998
San Antonio, Texas, Marriott Hotel
Program Chair:  Aviel Rubin, Bellcore
Sponsored by the USENIX Association in cooperation with
The CERT Coordination Center
Extended abstracts due:  September 9, 1997

Since 1975 the USENIX Association has brought together the 
community of engineers, scientists, and technicians working on the 
cutting edge of the computing world.

For more information, including registration details, about these 
USENIX events, please:

Send email to: info@usenix.org. The body of your message should 
state "send conferences catalog." A catalog will be returned.

Access our web page:  http://www.usenix.org

Or, contact the USENIX Conference Office, 22672 Lambert Street, 
Suite 613, Lake Forest, CA 92630 USA 714 588 8649; 
Fax: 714 588 9706; Email: conference@usenix.org

_____________________________Useful Links______________________________

http://www.august.com/dfwuug              DFW UUG
http://www.dec.com                        DEC
http://www.ntlug.org                      NTLUG
http://www.tcltk.com/TclDallas/index.html TCL/TK Users Group
http://www.usenix.org                     USENIX
http://www.yahoo.com                      YAHOO - search engines and more
http://www.infomagic.com                  Contributor of Software and more
http://www.ora.com                        Contributor of Books
http://www.caldera.com                    Contributor of Software and more



DEC is located at 5430 LBJ, on the south service road, just east of the
Tollway, in Lincoln Centre III (Suite 900). The building is one of three
which are interconnected, about 15 stories high, clad in silver reflective
glass, and situated in the southwest corner of the Lincoln Centre complex
in behind the Doubletree Hotel. DEC's telephone number is 972-702-4000.

Coming From Ft. Worth on the LBJ:

Bypass the Josey, Webb Chapel, Marsh and Midway exits and start looking 
or exit 22D and the signs pointing toward Monfort/Inwood, the Dallas 
Parkway, and the Tollway South.  Take exit 22D and then very quickly 
the first right, which points toward the Dallas Parkway. Get into the 
right lane of the service road and at the top of the ramp, turn right 
at the first light. Move over into the left lane as soon as possible. 
You will see the sign for the ramp onto the Tollway South. DO NOT TAKE 
THAT RAMP!  Rather stay in the left lane and proceed down the hill to 
the stop light and make a left turn (staying in the left lane) and cross 
under the Tollway. You are now on Harvest Hill. Proceed across the north 
bound service road of the Tollway and turn left into the THIRD driveway 
you come to. You are now on the east side of the Lincoln Centre properties. 
Proceed to the east parking lot and park in the open air lot facing Lincoln 
Centre.   Enter the Centre through the entrance situated between the two 
office towers, go to the reception desk, turn left, and take the Tower III 
elevator to the DEC suite on the 9th floor.

Coming From Plano and Richardson on the LBJ:

Bypass the Preston Road and 22A exits and  look for exit 22B and the  
signs pointing toward Inwood/Welch and the Dallas Parkway. Take exit 
22B and get into the left or center lane of  the LBJ north service road. 
You will soon go by a Chevrolet dealer on your right as a landmark. Go 
straight through the stop light at the top of the ramp and turn left at 
the second light on the ramp. Get into the left lane heading south and 
go straight through the next light. You will then see a sign for the ramp 
to the Tollway South.  DO NOT TAKE THAT RAMP! Rather stay in the left 
lane and proceed down the hill to the stop light and make a left turn 
(staying in the left lane) and cross under the Tollway. Then proceed 
as described above.

Coming From Dallas on the Tollway:

Bypass the Forrest exit and look for the Harvest Hill sign as you 
approach the LBJ. Take the Harvest Hill exit and get into the right 
lane immediately.  At the stop light turn right (to the east) into 
the center lane of Harvest Hill and then proceed as described above.

Coming From Addison on the Dallas Parkway or Inwood Road:

Look for the signs pointing toward Galleria Road/Alpha Road as you 
approach the Galleria and the LBJ.  Take the Galleria/Alpha exit and 
get into the left lane. Proceed straight through both stop lights at 
the top of the ramp.  You will then see the sign for the ramp onto the 
Tollway South. DO NOT TAKE THAT RAMP! Rather stay in the left lane and 
proceed down the hill to the stop light and make a left turn (staying 
in the left lane) and cross under the Tollway.  You are now on Harvest 
Hill. Then proceed as described above.

The DFW UUG Newsletter is edited by Bill Petersen.
We welcome any articles or announcements that would be of interest
to the UNIX community.  Bill can be reached at brp@cyberramp.net
___________________________The End____________________________________