Lions and tigers and worms! Oh my!
Author: Bill Sise, SMUG President
Date: March, 1988
Keywords: worm virus modem download freeterm software review application
Text: I was talking with Jack Morton just before the February SMUG meeting and he showed me an article in a newsletter about worms and viruses. These are the things that downloaders should fear much, much more than bugs. Remember the segment of code in early versions of Servant (my first experience with a ''multi-finding environment'') that reminded you of the preacher's phrase, ''ashes to ashes, dust to dust''? The darn thing had a self-destruct mechanism built in. Of course, this has been left out of the latest versions like Servant .953010518739* well, ''them's not really worms.'' These worms and viruses are worse. They are segments of code that evil programmers hide in programs to eat system files. Yep, think of it, a segment of code that instructs the program to activate on ''doomsday,'' or after seventeen ''Saves,'' that will patch your system. The patch then slowly eats away at the data in your hard disk, or perhaps modifies your clip art (real fear has just entered Carl Yee's consciousness), or turns your chess game vicious and won't let you switch sides just before you are beaten. Yep, ''them's worms.'' Knowing that I am a downloading addict, Jack thought I should be aware that some people have evidently placed worms and viruses (I can't remember how viruses differ from worms) in some public domain software and then left the program on a bulletin board for Bill to add to his hard disk. I have not slept since. Yep, I am a downloader. I admit it. I am hooked on CompuCurve and GeeeKnee. I sit in front of the screen and watch bits and bytes go by and have been happy as a clam up till now. Why I can't just wait for the new programs to come up on the Local Redwood Empire Bulletin board for free, I'll never know. ("You should send in a donation, Bill." I know, I will, I will). Freeterm is quick What is your favorite terminal program, you ask? Well, today, it's Freeterm 2.0 by Dreams of the Phoenix, Inc.* With QuickB Downloader and BackDown DA's installed in my system file -- this is my current all-time favorite. Of course, last week MacTerminal was my all-time favorite and before that Red Ryder, and* But, this week, I like FreeTerm 2.0. For one thing, the price is right; however, more than that, it is fast. And QuickB Downloader DA from Raymond Lau, that genius who brought us Stuffit, makes downloading from CompuServe using their new version of CompuServe B protocol almost affordable. The BackDown DA from Ron Risley is another great addition after you figure out how to turn off the automatic hang-up feature that cuts you off when you quit in most terminal software. Actually, I just switched down the third dip switch on the back of my modem (thanks to Jack Turner who knew how) and BackDown works fine. Now I can do other things, like read instructions or unpack files or write a nasty note for the bulletin board instead of just waiting and waiting and waiting for a long download -- BackDown is great for long downloads. To recap, FreeTerm is very compact as terminal programs go. It is simple, it is fast, it is free (no guilt). You can scroll back through everything you did on the board as long as you don't quit. Oh, one more thing, for those of us that need this very important feature, you can backspace to edit as long as you don't hit return. This means you can edit your messages on the board much more easily. You can just backspace your errors away. I love it. Pick Freeterm 2.0 up from SMUG or download from the Bulletin Board. You will love it too. In the next few months, I will fill you in on my then current favorite programs, but for now - watch out for worms. See you at the meeting.
Copyright © march, 1988 by Bill Sise, SMUG President