How do you access multiple Internet accounts using our one computer and Windows 95? Is it possible to have multiple accounts and TCP/IP configurations on one Win95 computer?
Unfortunately, one of the more frustrating aspects of Windows 95 is that its dial-in TCP/IP facilities are extremely difficult to configure, violate some Internet standards, and are different depending on whether one has the diskette or CD-ROM version of the operating system. Also, in a typical case of shortsightedness on the part of the programmers, you can't configure some vital parameters on a per-ISP basis.
In general, the Dial-up Networking icon is the place to define multiple ISP's in Windows 95's TCP/IP stack. But some of your applications (for instance, e-mail) may have to be reconfigured for each ISP as well. The way to do this on the fly will depend on the program. You may have to write a small batch file that swaps .INI files to make certain programs adapt to a different ISP.
Stop disk thrashing
When using Windows 95, near the end of the day, after loading and unloading several programs, the disk starts to thrash. The disk light comes on each time you pull down a menu or move the mouse. Rebooting eliminates the problem temporarily. You enlarge the disk buffers but this doesn't help. Neither did the recently published Windows 95 bug fixes. What's the answer?
Often, this sort of thrashing results from one of several problems: a lack of available RAM, fragmentation of that RAM, or memory "leaks" in applications. Fragmentation occurs when Windows' memory allocation scheme leaves small chunks of memory scattered throughout the RAM, preventing a program from finding a contiguous area sufficient for its needs. A memory leak is a software bug that occurs when a program requests the use of memory but does not free it; the memory becomes unusable by the rest of the system.
Ironically, increasing the size of disk buffers or disk cache is precisely the wrong thing to do if your system is running short on RAM, because it deprives the system of memory it may need more for other purposes. Cutting the buffers down to size may help, as will buying more RAM. (I do not recommend that anyone run Windows 95 with less than 16Mb of RAM.) Getting the latest versions of your applications may help eliminate some memory leaks. Finally, Helix Software's new Hurricane - the first RAM compression program that has worked for me on Windows 95 - may help a bit.
One way of sending output from a remote Unix system to the printer on a local PC running a terminal emulator is by running TCP/IP software. But what about this . . . a real VT-100 terminal has a pass-through port for a printer. The escape sequence ESC[5i starts printing, and ESC[4i stops it. Anything sent to the terminal between these sequences is directed to the printer instead of the screen. Most VT-100 terminal emulation programs, including Procomm and Kermit, support these escape sequences. A system administrator can use this capability as the basis for a tool to let users direct text from the remote system to a local printer.
I don't recommend this feature for several reasons. First, some printers use the VT-100 escape sequences for other purposes. Attempting to print to these printers via the VT-100 pass-through feature can lead to erratic output and scramble the user's screen. Second, when printing using the pass-through feature, the user must stop all other work; in fact, his or her keyboard is often locked up until printing is completed. Third, Internet technology has so many advantages that it would be a shame to forgo them. Multiple concurrent terminal sessions, Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions e-mail (which allows the transfer of binary files, images, sound, and so on), background printing, Web pages, file transfer via FTP, Gopher, and other Internet facilities are all available "free" once a Point to Point Protocol or SLIP connection is established. In less time than it would take to write a workable program to exploit the VT-100's pass-through feature, you can install full TCP/IP capabilities for dozens of users. Thus, in the absence of very unusual circumstances, the technology developed for the Internet is by far the better choice. The software to do this often comes with the OS at no charge.
What equipment can you use to send and receive e-mail from a seat-back phone on an aeroplane in the US and other countries?
Just use the dongle for your modem and an ordinary modular telephone cord. (Advanced Portable Technologies distributes a nifty, slim phone cord that rolls up into a credit-card-size container - ideal for use on a plane.) There's a jack on the phone to match.