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Answers to Mail Bag Questions:

Spell Checking a Single Word

Date: Sun, 04 Apr 1999 23:35:59 -0700
From: Phill Kenoyer, rawg@c0de.net

Hmm, for about a half a year I've been using spellword and fixwords to spell check a word at the command line. spellword with output correct or incorrect, and fixwords will give you spelling matches that you could choose.

I use Debian Linux, I don't know if it comes with any other distribution.


DANGER: Spell Checking a Single Word

Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 18:57:47 -0400
From: "Michael B. Allen" mballen@erols.com

I ran the "Spell checking a single word" 2c tip from the March issue as a bash alias and it deleted all the files in my home directory. The below shell script will work a little better for bash users. Also, even for tcsh or any other shell, I don't recommend the "rm -f ${j}*" construct. If j is not defined it results in "rm -f *" which is what happend to me.

j=`mktemp /tmp/mspell.XXXXXX`
echo $1 > ${j}
ispell ${j}
cat ${j}
rm -f /tmp/mspell.*
exit 0

Star Office Solves the Problem

Date: Thu, 08 Apr 99 17:45:56 +0800
From: lh_1@hotmail.com

Having problem reading MS Excel or MS Word from a spoil floppy?

Well, you could try using the StarOffice to open that file, maybe it will work. I have try a few times, and it works star office can read the "corrupted" MS Excel or MS Word files thought some format like borders might be gone. But most data are still there.

Maybe you guys or gals out there would like to try out. If it works for me, it might work for you too.... Wish you goood luck....

Directory Cloner

Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 18:27:42 -0700
From: lilo, pa@bc.sympatico.ca

I use this script to backup or clone directories. I happen to call it mirror.

echo "Which directory do you wish to copy, oh great master?"
echo "Which directory do you wish to copy the contents of $SOURCE to?"
tar cfp - . | (cd $TARGET; tar xvfp -)
Now my shell scripting abilities are rudimentary at best. I invite all flames, comments and suggestions to the above email address. I'd like to know how to get some sanity checking, (do the directories in question exist, and if the target directory doesn't, maybe offer to create it).


Tips in the following section are answers to questions printed in the Mail Bag column of previous issues.

ANSWER: Video Card

Date: Thu, 08 Apr 1999 19:57:31 -0500
From: John Stetter, stetter@iswi.net

You may want to give 'xvidtune' a try. It's an X-based program (usually included with standard distributions) which allows you to 'tune' your display to fit your monitor, then display the clock settings which work.

You've got to be root to run the program.

When in the program, use the left/right/wider/narrower and up/down/taller/shorter buttons in conjunction with the 'Auto' button. Clicking 'Auto' first will allow you to view the changes real-time. When you have a good image, click on the 'Show' button. This will display the current clock settings in the x-term from which you launched xvidtune. You'll also see the hsync/vsync ranges in stdout as well.

Put this line in /etc/X11/XF86Config in the "Monitor Section". You should see other examples beginning with 'Modeline'. Myself, I actually have this as the only line in the Monitor Section, as it's the only one I need. This is probably wrong, but like I said, it works for me.

This all assumes you're running XFree86, as that's all I have ever worked with. Hope this helps,


ANSWER: Linux Email

Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 09:42:10 +0200
From: Ian Carr-de Avelon, ian@emit.pl

I'm looking for an email program that equals Windows' Eudora. Who can do a suggestion? Thanks. -- Huub
One of the areas where open source software still has a long way to go is in matching the free 3rd party email programs ie Eudora and Pegasus. I have not yet seen any "Linux Software" which can really be compared to them.

If you get WINE you can run them under X, http://www.winehq.com/ but they are slower. Under WINE a pentium looks like a 486 and a 468 looks like a 386.


ANSWER: Re: Trap float divide-by-zero and NaN (issue38)

Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 16:25:00 +0200 (MEST)
From: Massimo Carboni, Massimo.Carboni@lnf.infn.it

Here is the source with a few difference and also I append a small C-library that manage traps.

	% cc -g tst.c fpe.c -lm -o tst 

ANSWER: Re: What is a *.ajr file?

Date: Fri, 9 Apr 1999 08:52:29 +0200
From: hans jansen, hans.jansen@ehv.ce.philips.com

I think what you see here is the result of Win98 stumbling over a filename with multiple periods in it. I get a similar result on Win95, as well as on Win-NT4.0, only the name in my case is mangled into xxx_tar.tar. So when you have the dialog for the download on screen, you can simply change the name into something like xx.tgz, which is unpacked by e.g. WinZip with the same ease as if it were a real ZIP file. Note for LG: maybe this would be an alternative for the names you use on the website? Regards, --

ANSWER: Re: bogus'd DOS partitions from Linux...

Date: Wed, 07 Apr 1999 22:44:54 -0700
From: Corey Lawson, clawson@home.com

Well, I was trying to install/upgrade from quazimodo RH4.2/5.0/5.1 system w/ 2.0.36 kernel, and brilliant me decided to try and add some partitions. Throw in some DOS as well as Linux FDISK mayhem, downloading Norton Utilities 4.0 (for $50...), about the only right thing I did when having NU try and "repair" one of my partition tables (the one with the one ext2fs partition I really wanted to keep), I did make a backup before NU mangled it, leaving only the DOS partitions.

I also have Partition Magic 3.0, and the errors for my drives I was getting were #120 and something else that changed into #120, where the description was something like:

DOS requires partition table to be in logical order. Other FDisk tools (like Linux's), create partitions in the order they're created.

So I couldn't use PM to back myself out of this hole.

I downloaded a free program (I think!) called Partition Master, put it on a DOS boot floppy. I found it searching around on http://www.hotbot.com/

Rebooted from floppy, ran the program. Hmm... it shows you the raw guts of the partition table. So I deleted the partitions it had flagged as bad for one reason or another, after restoring my failed partition fix on the 2nd drive, and fixed that drive's partition table with this program as well.

Reboot, windows. Partition Magic could see my partitions! Yay! OK, delete ALL the partitions I didn't really want so I could redo the LInux partitions correctly (i.e., start with /, then /usr, then /usr/*'s, etc.).

OF course, that little program was really what I needed in the first place (why didn't Partition Magic 3.0 have such a tool? Oh well)...


ANSWER: Re: WinModems under Linux...

Date: Wed, 07 Apr 1999 22:33:32 -0700 From: Corey Lawson, clawson@home.com

Well, my IBM Aptiva came with a Lucent Technologies (LT) WinModem.

From one of the IBM support pages, apparantly somewhere in Windows exists a DOS tsr to make the WinModem work from DOS.

...but I haven't used it.

In theory, it would represent (at least) two WinModem options for those other people with LT WinModems, and possibly other WinModems as well:

1. Run this TSR under DOSEMU.

2. Someone with the expertise to suck out the relavent x86 code from it and incorporate it into a device driver. That person, however, isn't me unless I win the Lottery, thus freeing up lots of time.

The Lucent Technologies site has basically 0 info on their WinModems, since they only OEM'd them, and thus refer you to your PC's manufacturer for any info.

Wish I knew of sites to get info on WinModem technology. If HP is slowly releasing info on their printer control protocol (I don't mean PCL...) for their WinPrinters, maybe... but probably not.

For a real scare, check out Nick Petreley's hoax article at http://www.infoworld.com/forums about Microsoft-Intel WinPC, where *EVERYTHING* on the board runs this way. It was a hoax article, but it is totally concievable.

Send me e-mail if you want me to accidentally attach the TSR to a mail message.

Corey Lawson

ANSWER: RE: Retrieving Win9x / NT user names with Linux

Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 17:16:36 -0500
From: "John E. Malmberg", malmberg@columbia.total-web.net

No, as far as I know, LINUX currently does not like WINS.

It should not be too hard to change though, it would involve modifying the DNS daemon code to query the SAMBA nmbd process in addition to any other DNS servers.

Microsoft does this by adding a new record type of WINS to the DNS that contains a pointer to the WINS database. Someone modifying the DNS daemon code could probably adopt the same record format.

There is a faster way for you to get things working if you have a NT SERVER Version 4.0. [IIRC NT Server 3.51 does not have DNS] The built in DNS that you can set up on Windows NT Server 4.0 will can be configured to query the WINS server in that fashion.

You can configure that DNS as a caching only server, and it will make all the Windows systems visable on the DNS with manual tweaking.

The NMBDQUERY tool from the SAMBA product could do what you need to do. It queries a WINS database. Assuming the person is only logged in at one windows system, their name should be mapped in the WINS database with the IP address of that system.

That is also assuming that your windows boxes are registering with a WINS server or the SAMBA nmbd equivalent.

While it accesses the common conf file, it should not require the SAMBA daemons to be running.

see www.samba.org if the information is not on your LINUX distribution.

John Malmberg

ANSWER: Word to PostScript

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 08:48:41 +0200
From: "Asle Aursand", asle@sentinel.no

It is possible to print to file. The resulting *.prn file is really a Postscript file, at least if you are using a postscript printer. Anyway, this *.prn file you can import into Ghostview. Hope this may be of help

Asle Aursand

ANSWER: DSL and Linux

Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 15:30:03 -0400
From: "John E. Vincent", john@lusis.org

You shouldnt have any issues with any of the hardware listed. The DSL modem and the POTS splitter wont be installed into your PC. Those are external devices to allow you to use DSL. The only other devices then left is the NIC. That Kingston Card should work fine under Linux . Ive used other Kingston cards in the past but not that particular model. Of course if you already have a NIC in your Linux box then all you will have to do is plug a network cable from the DSL Modem into your existing card. A bit of advise about when the installer comes out...boot into 95 and let him verify that everything works. The guys who do the installs arent usually the brightest people (from my experience) and the have only been trained to deal with Wintel and Macs.

John E. Vincent

Published in Linux Gazette Issue 40, Mid-April 1999


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