Administrative Bulletin


For some reason the system crashed at 7:40pm tonight.. I'm not sure why yet. Unfortunately, was not around to restart it immediately. My apologies for the inconvenience!



Hackers, again! Some lame pimple-faced geek at has been bombarding the server with PING packets all day.. as such, our traffic can't get through.. like running a thousand Semis down Montana Avenue during rush hour.. I have been trying to get in touch with several people related to this hacker, but have been unable to reach them. I am attempting to block their traffic at my upstream provider.. hopefully this will solve the problem.

8pm - it's been fixed. We can no longer PING anywhere, but who needed that anyways?

Sorry for the inconvenience

Your disgruntled and very peeved Admin


Well, USWest continues to win my un-praise by screwing up my phone lines.. shortly after the 5th 28.8k went online, two of the phone lines were zapped and unusable. They fixed those eventually. Tonight, the second 28.8k line is acting up.. "clicking" noises on the line.. so I'm keeping it "BUSY" for the evening.. My sincere apologies for the poor connections and sporadic service.. it's not in my hands! :-(

Please! Please! Email me when you have problems with a modem(s).. give me the time you tried dialing in, and I'll do what I can to get after USWest to fix the problems as they come up..

Tom Mandera,


Happy New Year!
I just wanted to let everyone know that a fifth 28.8k modem was added last week. Please keep me informed if you still get busy signals more often than you'd like (be reasonable! ;-) ). We're currently running around 5 users per modem.. most big city providers run about 8:1 or 10:1.. the other Helena providers are around 11 or 12:1.. so there shouldn't be any huge problems with congestion. However, I have an extra line just waiting to need a modem on it when the time comes.



Just a quick note to let everyone know that the Internet will be down on SATURDAY, 12/7/96, from about 8am to 9am, while my upstream provider makes some hardware configuration changes. Sorry for the short outage, hopefully you'll all be sleeping in.. (I hope I will be)



Yes, it has been a good while.. but a very busy while, too. US Sprint has been having problems with their network.. so my system has been effectively down for a few days in the past week. We can only hope they get everything worked out soon. Long term, I'm looking into picking up another Internet feed from a bit more reliable national network.. Some people have been having problems with 449-9966. I have replaced the modem on that line about 4 times, and can't seem to trace the problem to my modems. So, if you have a problem, email me and let me know what time and which number. A workaround until I or USWest fix the line, is to use the second 28.8k line, 449-9968. Some big system enhancements are under way. Some hackers broke into the system about a month and a half ago. The infiltration was brief.. less than an hour before I noticed something fishy going on. The system has escaped unscathed, but security has been tightened up a bit, and a new server is currently being built with even more security enhancements. I'll make a posting when the new box is ready to go and I make the switch, but just to tantalize you: it's an AMD K5-100 with 64MB of RAM and 2GB of disk space.. to replace the current AMD 486-120 w/ 16MB of RAM and 1.2gig. Also of note, my system made a very nice move from the basement to the upstairs, into a cleaner, more accessible, more readily monitored location. It's also been on a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) for over a month. System down time due to power outages should be a thing of the past.

As usual, if you notice anything goofy or wierd or just not working, drop me a line! Thanks again.


I just set an Idle-Disconnect option on PPP.. just in case you forget to log off, the system will log you off and kill your PPP session after 15 minutes of inactivity. If anyone has any comments, send 'em my way


Since last time, USWest has kicked my circuit into loopback about three times.. what a pain... The Linux server now has 16MB of RAM to help things go along more smoothly. The hunt group was reconfigured. At this moment, 9932 is a 14.4k, which rings over to three USRobotics Sportster V.34+ modems, and finally to a Practical Peripheral V.FastClass 28.8k. I have one more phone line I need to hook up and one more V.34+ Sportster to attach. We'll have one 14.4k and 5 28.8ks at that point. Not bad for our new user count of 22. That's less than 4 users per line. I'm also about to enter the black on the monthly costs.. I hope to be moving to a new location before too much longer, which will free up my current voice line for a 7th modem. If subscribership goes up a good bit in the near future, look for some big things. I've already been in touch with USWest about getting some wire to wherever I decide to move... Current bid is about $2700 for 100 pair (lines) of wire run to my house. If that's the case, I'll have lots of room for expansion.. more modems, more pipe, more everything. Just need the subscribers to pay the monthly cost.. I doubt I'll ever make it rich, but I don't plan on putting myself into the poor house, either.. :) -Admin


I went camping this weekend, and while I was gone.. Sunday afternoon, USWest decided to kick my CSU/DSU into "loopback test mode." Awfully nice of them to do that.. except NO packets were being sent!!! I didn't find out about the problem until Monday afternoon when I returned from camping... finally USWest has put things together, and the email has been pouring in for everyone. I've very sorry for the interruption, but (like everyone else) I'm at the mercy of USWest.



Well, a lot of new things since last time.. yesterday, Monday May 27th, around noon, my 64K Frame Relay digital circuit finally came "up." The physical line had been installed almost a week before, but some configuration problems plagued me.. but, finally, I have it in place, and all in and outgoing data is running through the 64K pipe. This means that the two USR Sportster 33.6K modems I had been using for the "backbone" can be converted over into dial-up duty. Look for two more dial-up lines in the very near future. Also important, the mysterious modem lockups which would leave the system disabled until I flipped the modem power switch should be gone now, too.. I'm not using the modem for any backbone traffic..

We're up to nearly 25 users now. I know you have been experiencing some busy signals lately, but with the frame relay installed, I'll be adding two more dialup lines which should all but elminate the busy problem. Most large providers strive for a 10 users : 1 line ration.. with the five lines I'll have installed, we'll be sitting at 5 users per line.. sadly, I have consumed every single pair of USWest wire in my neighborhood, plus they stole a wire from down the street.. looks like I will be stuck at 7 incoming dial-up lines (I have a dedicated drop and a personal analog phone at the moment). So, consequently, I'm looking to buy a new house... well, maybe not a house. If you know of anyone parting with a nice mobile home in an area that should have a good deal of "cable facilities" please let me know...

Oh, and I installed a new BocaBoard, 16 port serial board. This board provides more serial ports than my old AST FourPort and is a bit more efficient in it's handling of those ports. I also robbed 4MB of RAM from my personal workstation to upgrade the server to 12MB of RAM.



I'm doing a great job keeping this up to date... :-). Well, new system information since last time: We now have 1x 14.4k online, and two 28.8k modems. Currently those 28.8s are (line "2") a USR Courier V.Everything, and (line "3") a Practical Peripherals V.Fast Class. These modems are also ttyS4 and ttyS5 respectively. Soon, the Courier is being moved off to a dedicated drop, and a brand new USR Sportster 33.6 will be put in its place.

I've been doing the research on putting in a Frame Relay drop... looks like I'll have some "extra" $$$ around June.. so I'm going to order the Frame Relay drop to be installed around the first week or so of June.. expect some system downtime around then while I'm busy dinking with USWest and playing with the new T1 Interface card I'll need to buy.

Some of you were experienceing some downloading problems... these seem to have been fixed. It seems that I had the MTU (maximum transmission unit.. or packet size) set too high.. the higher the value, the better the throughput (less packet overhead), but if it works at the new smaller setting, that's better than not working at a more "efficient" setting. Anyhow, you shouldn't even need to change any settings on your end. If you still have problems downloading, please let me know!

Server upgrades are currently on hold... I just bought a new workstation for myself, and it's in need of a few things (I put a 40MB IDE hard disk in it.. not a whole lot), but I expect to put more RAM and probably another disk in the server before going to the Frame Relay drop. I'm also looking around for a new, intelligent, multi-port serial card to drive all of these modems a bit more efficiently...



I've created this page to act as a bulletin for relevant information for TMComputers Internet Subscribers. I don't have a local NewsServer to put my own newsgroups in, I don't want to email everyone, and not everyone actually logs into the Linux box, so I can't put any relevant information into the Message of the Day. So.. I decided you are all using WebBrowsers and this would be the best way to go about getting your attention. Anyhow..

I have some information on what my Network consists of.. including this server machine.

The system is currently up and running.. and looking pretty stable. The box was running for 15 days straight, and only went down becasue somebody (Could it have been me?) hosed up the password file and some email stuff.. and thought reboot might help.. it didn't, but it sure didn't hurt. :-)

Sometime in the near future I plan on downing the server to install a 40MB IDE hard drive I have lying about.. hey, 40MB is 40MB at this point.. I'm hoping to make arrangements to add an Adaptec VL-AH2842 SCSI Controller to the system along with a 1Gig and a 1.8Gig SCSI drive. That will bring total system storage up from the current 1.2Gig to 4Gigs of data. (Who could ever use that much, right?? Hah!)

We're up to 12 subscribers at the moment! I think I'm about to stop losing money on this deal!

Sadly, I still have just TWO dial-up lines working.. sorry for the inconvience, but I'm a bit peeved as well.. I bought three USR Robotics Sportster modems on December 20th.. it is now Feb 24th, and only two of them work. I sent the third back to USR for repairs, and got it back 4 days ago.. only to find the "new and fixed" modem only works at 300bps.. Yes folks, 300bps! NOT the 28,800bps (and actually, I had hoped for the new ROM upgrade to the 33,600kbps mode) that it's supposed to be running at.. I'm still talking to USR (or waiting on hold for an hour is more like it.. toll call!) and trying to get another modem put in.. so we'll have 1x 14.4k modem and 2x 28.8k modem for three dial-up lines. BTW, I think I'm going to order Practical Peripheral modems from now on.. I've never had a problem with the two I've been using..

If you get busy signals, please drop me a line about it.. I want to try to keep on top of the useage so I can stay ahead on the phone line problem.. I hope it all clears up when I get the third line working.. 12 users on 3 lines is NOT a bad ratio.. :-)

-Admin, Tom Mandera,