USING THE FILE FROM BBSLOG.ARC
If you are a computer enthusiast and frequent user of BBS's, as I am, then I believe you will find the files in BBSLOG.ARC and information in this text helpful to you. I have found it difficult to always remember the various things I have done or want to do when logged on to my favorite BBS's. When I place a message on a system, I want to remember to go back there later and look for the reply. When I see some interesting files on a system that I want to download, I want to be able to get back to them at a later time. When I finally do get there, I don't want to waste a lot of precious time looking for them, especially if the BBS is long distance.
Therefore, I have devised a simple system to help me be a better user of my favorite systems, save some money on the phone bill, remember when and where I have posted messages so I can retrieve the replies and know when and where I have downloaded and uploaded files.
As I said my system is simple, but effective, common sense approach. I am certain others are probably doing this also and likely are doing it better. If you can see some ways to improve upon the suggestions made here, please let me know. I am always looking for new ways to make the most of the things I enjoy.
In the following, I will attempt to outline for you how you can implement this system.
* EXPLAINING THE FILES IN BBSLOG.ARC The files contained in BBSLOG.ARC are all text files. They are forms I use in my "log". Here is an explanation of the files. BBSLOG1 This is a "BBS CALL LOG" form that can be printed on any dot-matrix or letter quality printer. It was written on a simple word processor and is intended for the user who has a basic computer setup with a straight-ahead printer. BBSLOG2 This is the same "BBS CALL LOG" form as outlined above, but was written on "WordPerfect" and thus it is a "prettier" form. (Single and double line boxes are used) To get this "prettier" form, you must print it on a printer that will allow for graphics. WARNING: If you load this file in a word processor or editor that does not support any graphics and then save the file after looking at it, you will lose the WordPerfect boxes and lines. Believe me, they are identical forms. BBSDOWN1 This form is called the "DOWNLOAD LOG". It was written on a simple word processor and can be printed on any dot-matrix or letter quality printer. BBSDOWN2 This form is the same "DOWNLOAD LOG" form as mentioned above. Likewise, it was written on WordPerfect and is a "prettier", but identical form to BBSDOWN1. Again, it should be printed on a printer that supports graphics. The same WARNING applies to this file as expressed about BBSLOG2. If loaded into and then save from a word processor or editor that does not support any graphics, you will lose it. If you do lose it, I guess you could always unARC the original file again. * USING THE FILES AND LOG SYSTEM * A. THINGS NEEDED: 1. Purchase a 8 1/2" by 11" three-ring binder, a pack of loose leaf index dividers and two pens, one of which should be a good felt-tip pen. 2. After printing the two forms (BBS CALL LOG & DOWNLOAD LOG), make at least 25 copies of the "Call Log" and 10 of the "Download Log". 3. Label an index divider "tab", enclosed with the index dividers, according to the name of each log sheet and place it in the divider. 4. Label the remaining index divider tabs, according to the names of the BBS systems you use the most. 5. Place the "BBS CALL LOG" first in the binder, followed by the "DOWNLOAD LOG" and then the remaining dividers separated with 10 sheets of blank paper. B. THINGS TO DO: 1. If you do not already have a copy of the files available to you from the different systems you call, download one or "open-log" one as soon as you can. 2. Print out the list of files (I know it is a lot of pages). Then number the pages and place it in the binder under the name of the system it represents. If you have a full compliment of memory, you can load it in your word processor and edit the list to include the system name and page numbers. If you don't, then set the paper in your printer to the "top of form" (so that it won't print on the "seams") and print the file through DOS. For MS-DOS users, entering the following DOS commands should work. Floppy disk user: TYPE A:FILENAME > PRN then press ENTER/RETURN Hard disk user: TYPE C:\PATHNAME\FILENAME > PRN then press ENTER/RETURN 3. If the list of files you printed is broken down into categories or directories and includes a tables of contents as a first page, be sure the beginning page number of each section is marked appropriately. If this isn't included in the file, put one together. This will be needed for quickly locating filenames. 4. Create an information sheet for each of the systems you call that includes the following items: - SYSTEM NAME - SYSTEM PHONE NUMBER (even if you have an auto-dialer) - SYSTEM MAILING ADDRESS - SYSTEM VOICE PHONE NUMBER - SYSOP'S NAME - YOUR LOGON NAME - YOUR USER ID (if any) - YOUR PASSWORD (you should be careful to guard this) - SUBSCRIPTION RENEWAL DATE AND AMOUNT OF THE "USER-FEE" - ANY INFORMATION UNIQUE TO THE SYSTEM Place this sheet as the first page in each appropriate section representing the BBS. * WORKING THE SYSTEM * A. DEVELOP A ROUTINE 1. Using this system or any system will require the establishing of a pattern of how you will use your computer and the systems you call. 2. It obviously is important to make a diligent effort in getting started, but the real problem will be in "sticking to it!" 3. Each time you want to abandon this log system, stop and remember all those messy notes and the things forgotten because you didn't write it down in an orderly manner so you could follow up! 4. If something isn't working, find another way to get the job done that will work for you. But don't give up and quit. B. SIMPLE STEPS TO FOLLOW BEFORE YOU DIAL Keeping in mind that you are probably "computing" just for the fun of it, the following should help you to get the most out of on-line time. 1. Before you call your favorite BBS, know what it is that you want to do. Are you going to read or leave a message(s)? Then know what you are looking for or want to say. Make note of the person and subject in the BBS CALL LOG. 2. Are you going to upload a file(s)? Then be prepared and know what you are looking for ahead of time. Make note of the filenames and directory locations in the BBS CALL LOG. Think about what you are going to do. 3. Before dialing a system to download a file(s), scan the printed list of files from that system and write in the information about the file or files you want in the "DOWNLOAD LOG". 4. After you have retrieved the file, mark in the date you retrieved the file as an indicator that you have downloaded it. 5. If you know how many bytes your system can handle when downloading, you can also make note of the approximate time needed to download a particular file. This will help you squeeze the most out of your time on-line. At 1200 baud, using YModem protocol, you can transfer data at about 6743 bytes per minute "I think?" –a 94K file would take about 14 minutes (rounded to the next highest minute). The formula is 94000 divided by 6743 = 13.94 minutes or 14 rounded. 6. From time to time, review the DOWNLOAD LOG to see if you have retrieved all the files you had intended. It is unlikely that you will download files in the sequence in which you recorded them in the log. Sometimes your time remaining on- line will force you to download a smaller file further down the list. Over a period of time the list gets full and messy. It needs to be reviewed and files not yet downloaded transferred to a clean log or deleted if determined as unwanted now. Save the old log sheets, if possible, in case you have a question about an old file you download. B. SIMPLE STEPS TO FOLLOW WHEN YOU HAVE DIALED 1. If you know that you are going to keep calling a system till you can get on-line, write in the name of BBS in the "BBS CALL LOG." If you are going to be calling several systems till you get on-line with one, then when you do connect with the system you desire to call, quickly write down the name of the BBS. In either case, also enter in the time you LOGGED ON. 2. If you are "inspired" to leave someone a message, write down the information in the CALL LOG. If you expect a reply, mark the log when you will call back for the reply. 3. If you reply to any message you happen to see on the board, mark a note of it in the space provided in the LOG. If you run out of space, move down to the "NOTES:" section and continue. 4. If you are going to capture data displayed on the screen to a file, then write down the name of the file you sent it to in the "DOWNLOAD FILES" section of the CALL LOG. Be sure to at least circle the "Y" indicating that you did download something. 5. To record additional information, use the "NOTES:" section of the CALL LOG or one of the blank sheets of paper in the section named after the BBS that you are currently using. Do not remove the blank sheet from the binder. Learn to leave it in place so you can refer to it later, if need be. C. SIMPLE STEPS TO FOLLOW AFTER YOU HAVE DISCONNECTED 1. When you have completed your call on the BBS, mark down the time you logged off. Review the form to make sure you have accurately recorded all your activity while on-line and any information you want to remember or use to follow up on any messages. 2. If you are a floppy disk user, be sure to use the felt-tip pen to correctly mark the floppy disk that you stored all the downloaded files on. 3. If a page of the CALL LOG contains information about a message to be followed up on, bend the corner of the page over as a reminder that there is something important on that page. 4. If possible, take time to process any files you downloaded. I believe it is a good practice to print out any E-mail and place in your binder for quick referral. D. SIMPLE STEPS TO FOLLOW BEFORE YOU DIAL AGAIN 1. If it's the same day, next call, know what you want to do before you do it. 2. If it's another day, review the CALL LOG and the DOWNLOAD LOG, so you will know what you want to do. E. SIMPLE STEPS TO HELP YOU KEEP A CLEAN LOG 1. It will eventually be necessary to buy another three-ring binder. I am a "pack rat" and like to keep things–"just in case I need them" (I never do!) 2. When the "log" gets too full, simply move some of the DOWNLOAD LOG sheets and CALL LOG sheets to the new binder. 3. If you are keeping E-mail, this also could be kept in a storage binder. 4. If in doubt what to do with something, "trash it". You probably wouldn't be able to find it later anyway!
As stated before, this is a simple, common sense system. If you are doing something like this or have any suggestions, please let me know. I am always looking for a better way to help me make the most of the things I enjoy doing—and I love to play with my computer.
I can be contacted by leaving a message on this system or by mail to the following address:
Bob Luzier P.O. Box 36725 Strongsville, Ohio 44136