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Each brand of BBS suits a different kind of sysop. SAPPHIRE is specifically designed for stores, computer consultants, customer support lines, people who have never run a BBS before, and people who have run a BBS before and found it too much work. SAPPHIRE is very easy to set up and maintain. A moderately experienced computer user will set it up in less than an hour and spend approximately one hour per week performing the various duties required of a sysop. SAPPHIRE's design is quite flexible, so you can modify it to look the way you want. Multi-line systems are not supported by Sapphire. This is in keeping with the "install-and-forget" design of the system, but it does mean that Sapphire won't suit everyone.
Disk No: 1833 Disk Title: Sapphire PC-SIG Version: S1 Program Title: Sapphire Author Version: 1.1 Special Requirements: 512K RAM, two floppy drives or a hard drive, and a Each brand of BBS suits a different kind of sysop. SAPPHIRE is specifically designed for stores, computer consultants, customer support lines, people who have never run a BBS before, and people who have run a BBS before and found it too much work. SAPPHIRE is very easy to set up and maintain. A moderately experienced computer user will set it up in less than an hour and spend approximately one hour per week performing the various duties required of a sysop. SAPPHIRE's design is quite flexible, so you can modify it to look the way you want. Multi-line systems are not supported by Sapphire. This is in keeping with the "install-and-forget" design of the system, but it does mean that Sapphire won't suit everybody. PC-SIG 1030D East Duane Avenue Sunnyvale Ca. 94086 (408) 730-9291 (c) Copyright 1989 PC-SIG, Inc.
╔═════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════╗ ║ <<<< Disk #1833 SAPPHIRE >>>> ║ ╠═════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════╣ ║ To install program onto your hard drive, type: INSTALL (press enter) ║ ║ ║ ║ To print documentation, type: COPY MANUAL.TXT PRN ║ ╚═════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════╝
S A P P H I R E A COMPUTER BULLETIN BOARD SYSTEM Release: 1.10 Operator's Manual P I N N A C L E S O F T W A R E P.O. Box 386, Town of Mount Royal Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3P 3C6 (514) 345-9578 NOTICES This publication could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically made to the information herein; these changes will be incorporated in new editions of this publication. Version 1.x of Sapphire is distributed as shareware. Shareware terms do not extend to the source code of Sapphire, nor to later versions, nor accessories, unless they are declared as shareware by Pinnacle Software. You may try out Sapphire for 30 days. If you continue to use it after that time, you must register it. ($45) Sapphire is Copyright (C) 1988 by Pinnacle Software. Turbo Pascal is a Trademark of Borland International. DSZ is a Trademark of Omen Technology. ARC is a Trademark of System Enhancement Associates. Support for Registered Sysops The Sapphire release number follows this pattern: Version Number Upgrade Level | | 1 . 1 0 A / \ Correction Level Internal ID A registered Sapphire owner is entitled to operate any release of Sapphire with the same Version and Upgrade Level, and the same or different Internal ID or Correction Level. Thus, corrections to the program ("bug fixes") can be obtained at no cost. Additional benefits of registration are described by the REGISTER program. Support for Unregistered Sysops If you are an unregistered Sapphire operator, you may call Pinnacle Software for assistance if you can not complete the basic installation successfully. But you may be able to save yourself long-distance charges: experience has shown us that 95% of all installation problems can be solved by the advice given in the trouble-shooting section of this manual. ii Credits The following people have contributed to the Sapphire project: Programming and Design ................... Tim Campbell Marketing and Design ..................... James Ludwick Beta-testing ............................. Yves Lacombe, Steve Mitchell Thanks also to staff members for dedication above and beyond the call of duty: Secretarial Services ..................... Lily Wilson Mail Room ................................ T. Toc Software Librarian ....................... P. Katt iii TABLE OF CONTENTS NOTICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii Support for Registered Sysops Support for Unregistered Sysops INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 What is Sapphire? What Isn't Sapphire? INSTALLING SAPPHIRE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 What You Need Hard and Floppy Disk Considerations Basic Steps STEP 1. Make a Copy of the Packaged Diskettes STEP 2. Prepare a Place for the Files to Go STEP 3. Put the Files Where They Belong STEP 4. Updating the CONFIG.SYS File STEP 5. Customize Sapphire According to Your Needs Saving Time on the Customization Step STEP 6. Run a Local Test Extra Step for Floppy Diskette Users STEP 7. Run a Remote Test TROUBLE-SHOOTING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Problem 1. Installer Error Problem 2. Modem Configuration Problem 3. File Problem Problem 4. Sapphire Bug Problem 5. Incompatible Hardware and Software SYSTEM OPERATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Duties of the System Operator Signing On Locally Signing on as SYSOP Function Keys Backups User File Maintenance Message File Maintenance Library Maintenance Files Maintenance MISCELLANEOUS OPERATIONAL NOTES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Gear Shift Customization SLOGO.TXT; Other .TXT Files; Command Levels Password Changes The Status Line Online Validation and Banishment Yoo-Hoo and Rename ii MEMBER PRIVILEGES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Level 1: Non-member Level 2: Basic Member Level 3: Special Member Level 4: Top Notch Member Level 5: Inner Circle Member Level 6: Aide-de-Sysop Level 7: Co-Sysop Level 8: Sysop DOORS AND EVENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Definitions Applications for Event Processing Applications for Doors Processing Coding Your Batch Files How EXTERNAL.BAT Works; Batch Templates Writing Door and Event Programs FILE TRANSFER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 What is File Transfer? Installing File Transfer Adding Software Locally Adding Software Remotely How Online Documentation Works Transfer Protocols APPENDIX A -- ORDERING INFORMATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Additional Products from Pinnacle Software APPENDIX B -- SAPPHIRE DESIGNER NOTES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Some Background Why Sapphire was Written Notes About the Design Philosophy Commands; Maintenance; 40 Column Text; The Cool Reception; Conclusion APPENDIX C -- Versions 1.1 and 2.x . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Thank-You INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 iii INTRODUCTION What is Sapphire? Sapphire is a computer bulletin-board system. You can use it to transform your computer into a kind of "answering machine", so that people equipped with modems can dial up your computer, read and send messages, browse through text files, and exchange software. There are countless BBS's (bulletin board systems) throughout the world. Many are run by businesses; most are run by computer hobbyists who like to share with others the enjoyment they derive from their hobby. All you need to become a "sysop" (system operator) is an IBM-PC computer or compatible, a modem, and a phone line dedicated to the BBS. There are many different brands of BBS software available; Sapphire is just one example. Each brand of BBS suits a different kind of sysop. Sapphire is specifically designed for: -- Stores -- Computer consultants -- Customer support lines -- People who have never run a BBS before -- People who have run a BBS before and found it too much work Sapphire is very easy to set up and maintain. A moderately experienced computer user will set it up in less than an hour and spend approximately one hour per week performing the various duties required of a sysop. There are many ways to design a BBS. This system has been designed in the form of a "conversation club". Thus, instead of having "users", a Sapphire system has "members". Nevertheless, Sapphire's design is quite flexible, so you can modify it to look the way you want. If you don't like the "club" image, you can change it to something else. 1 What Isn't Sapphire? That might sound like a strange question, but we've already discussed what Sapphire can do, so let's take a moment to discuss what it won't do. Maybe this will save a few hours of your time! But before we go further, let me ask you to think about this question: Why do you want to run a BBS? Sapphire is (according to a survey I've conducted) by far the easiest BBS to install and operate. This makes it ideal for the people mentioned earlier (store managers, consultants, new or over-worked sysops, etc.), but there are a few things that could make this system inappropriate to your needs. First of all, Sapphire is very different from other BBS's. If you are a new sysop, you may feel that you should run a BBS that looks like all the other ones. If that's the case, I ask you to try Sapphire for a month. Find out how easy it is for both you and your users. Then ask somebody who runs another BBS how much time he or she spends every week "maintaining" his or her system, or how many users have mastered every function of the BBS. I believe you'll find this experiment informative. For a discussion of Sapphire's revolutionary design, refer to Appendix B (Designer Notes). There is one kind of sysop who will not want to run Sapphire. That is the power-sysop. The power-sysop is somebody who runs either a multi-line system (which is not supported by Sapphire) or a BBS supporting hundreds of users and dozens of message-base areas. Sapphire simply does not address the needs of such systems. This is in keeping with the "install-and-forget" design of the system, but it does mean that Sapphire doesn't suit everybody. 2 INSTALLING SAPPHIRE What You Need To run Sapphire, you need a PC-compatible computer with at least 512K of RAM, 2 floppy disk drives (or a hard disk -- which is recommended) and a "smart" modem. If you don't have a smart modem, you can still run Sapphire in "local" mode. Sapphire will run on MS- or PC-DOS Version 2.00 and higher. Hard and Floppy Disk Considerations If you install on floppies, the maximum size of a message will be 27 lines, and the upload/download function (whereby your computer can receive and send files) will not be available. If you install on a hard disk (i.e. no Sapphire files are on the A: or B: drives), messages may have up to 50 lines. Basic Steps What follows is a brief description. More details are given later. To get Sapphire running on your system, you must follow these steps: 1. Make a backup copy of the original diskette. 2. Prepare a destination for the Sapphire files. A. If using a hard disk, this means creating a directory, usually named Sapphire. B. If using floppies, this means formatting two diskettes -- one with DOS and one without. 3. Copy the necessary files from the original diskettes to their proper place (on a hard disk or a floppy). 4. Prepare your system for Sapphire by placing a FILES=20 statement in your CONFIG.SYS file. 5. Configure Sapphire to work according to your wants and needs. The SCONFIG program helps you do this. 3 6. Run a local test. The SAPPHIRE LOCAL command will do this. 7. Run a remote (modem) test. The SAPPHIRE command does this. STEP 1. Make a Copy of the Packaged Diskettes 1. Insert the SAPPH111 diskette into your A: drive. Insert a blank, for- matted diskette into your B: drive. 2. Enter the following DOS command: COPY A:*.* B:*.* 3. Prepare a label, reading BACKUP OF SAPPH111 and affix this to the diskette from the B: drive. 4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 for the SAPPH112 diskette. STEP 2. Prepare a Place for the Files to Go FLOPPY DISK USER 1. Format a diskette with DOS and label this Sapphire A. 2. Format a diskette without DOS and label this Sapphire B. HARD DISK USER 1. Change to the root directory of your hard disk. 2. Enter the command MD Sapphire to create a directory. 4 STEP 3. Put the Files Where They Belong FLOPPY DISK USER 1. Copy all files from the SAPPH111 diskette to the Sapphire A diskette. 2. Put the Sapphire A disk in drive A: and the Sapphire B disk in the B: drive. HARD DISK USER 1. With the SAPPH111 diskette in the A: drive, change to the Sapphire directory of your hard disk. 2. Enter the following DOS command: COPY A:*.* 3. Insert the SAPPH112 diskette into the A: drive. 4. Enter the following DOS command: COPY A:*.* STEP 4. Updating the CONFIG.SYS File Sapphire keeps quite a few files open at once, so you will have to use a text editor (such as the Turbo Pascal editor, or Wordstar in non-document mode) to modify or create a file called CONFIG.SYS. FLOPPY DISK USER: The file will go on your Sapphire A diskette. HARD DISK USER: The file will go in your root directory (C:\ usually). The file should contain the following lines: FILES=20 BUFFERS=20 In order for the CONFIG.SYS information to take effect, you must boot from a disk containing that file. Remember: the file is read only when you power up your system. Sapphire won't work if you boot ("power up") from a floppy that doesn't have the proper CONFIG.SYS file. For more information about CONFIG.SYS, see your DOS manual. 5 STEP 5. Customize Sapphire According to Your Needs At the DOS prompt, enter this command: SCONFIG This command will take you through all the steps needed to configure your system. Select the "First-timers" checklist on the menu. After you've read through that, select the "Total Configuration" option. This must be run in its entirety before you try to run Sapphire. Saving Time on the Customization Step Initially, the system is set up as a "conversation service" named "The Pinnacle Club". If this is appropriate to your requirements, feel free to use the name and the text files. However, if you have other plans for your Sapphire system, you can modify the various TXT files to conform to your needs. STEP 6. Run a Local Test Make sure your time and date are set correctly, then enter this command: SAPPHIRE LOCAL This runs Sapphire without any reference to the modem. The first time you run Sapphire, it will create some data files. This can take a while -- especially on floppy-based systems. Once that is done (hopefully without severe errors) you will see the words "Awaiting Visitor". This means everything is functioning properly. If you'd like to sign on now, refer to the "System Operation" section of this manual. If you want to move to the remote test, press the ALT-F9 key (explained later) to shut down Sapphire. If you had any problems, refer to the "Trouble-Shooting" section of this manual. 6 Extra Step for Floppy Diskette Users Once you're satisfied that the program basically works (although you might see some messages about missing files), you can delete the SCONFIG.EXE file to make room on the Sapphire A diskette. Don't delete it if it's your only copy! You should have made a spare copy in Step 1. Once you've done this, you can copy all the files from SAPPH112 onto the Sapphire A diskette. STEP 7. Run a Remote Test You can start up Sapphire with full modem support by typing the command: SAPPHIRE If this gives you any problems, refer to the "Trouble-Shooting" section of this manual. 7 TROUBLE-SHOOTING In order of likelihood, the most common problems are: 1. You omitted a step or misunderstood the instructions. 2. The modem isn't configured right. 3. There is a file problem of some kind. 4. Sapphire has a bug. 5. The hardware is incompatible. Problem 1. Installer Error I apologize for listing you as the most probable cause of the problem. However, the fact is: most installation problems arise because the person doing the installation has either skipped a step or didn't understand the instructions. Please review what you have done, or ask somebody else to re-read the instruc- tions. Statistically, this really does give you the best chance of solving your problem. Problem 2. Modem Configuration If you had a problem running Sapphire in LOCAL mode, then your problem wasn't the modem; skip this section. If you have a Hayes-compatible modem, with Hayes-compatible switches, make sure your switches are set this way: Switch 1 UP: Computer should use the Data Terminal Ready (DTR) line Switch 2 UP: Result codes sent as words Switch 3 DOWN: Result codes are sent to the computer Switch 4 UP: Echo incoming characters Switch 5 DOWN: Don't answer incoming calls Switch 6 UP: Computer should use the Carrier Detect (CD) line The positions of switches 7 and 8 are variable, depending on your phone type and your modem brand. Consult your modem's manual to determine what should be done with these switches. 8 Some modems don't have DIP switches; you have to configure the modem using commands. In this case, you will have to accomplish with commands what we were trying to do with the switches. You will find that your modem has commands to perform the important functions of switches. For Hayes-compatible modems, these commands are preceded by the "&" character (&C1&D2 being the usual values). If you have an external modem, are you sure that pins 8 and 20 are connected from one end of the cable to the other? These are, respectively, the Carrier Detect and Data Terminal Ready signals. Sapphire can operate without the DTR signal (see the SCONFIG program) but it's best to have it available, if possible. When Sapphire talks to the modem, you should see something like this: Modem: ATS0=1 Response: OK If you see something like this: Modem: /////// Response: <TIME-OUT> ...it means Sapphire can't see your modem. Check in SCONFIG to make sure that you specified the write COM port. Or if you have an internal modem, check that it's really on the COM port you think it's on. If you see something like this: Modem: /////// Response: OK It means that your modem is seeing the command and accepting it, but not echoing back the characters. Check your modem set-up string to make sure that you've told the modem to echo. (Since the first command sets the echo, sometimes it will be displayed as slashes; this is normal.) If you see nothing whatsover -- not even "Modem:" -- it means that your modem has the CD (Carrier Detect) line locked on. Sapphire won't try to send commands to a modem that supposedly has a carrier there, since a carrier means there's a caller at the other end. If your modem has dip-switches, set them correctly (described above). If your modem uses & commands, you will have to get into a terminal program (such as ProComm, Boyan, QModem, Telix, etc.) and type the command to unlock the CD line. This command is typically AT&C1. Some other kinds of modem problems can be fixed by experimenting with the modem settings configured by the SCONFIG program. By the way, some computers and modems just can't survive running 24 hours per day. If your system occasionally crashes, try turning it off for an hour a day. It may be necessary to install a cooling fan in the computer unit and remove the back panel of the modem. Never overlook the obvious. If you have strange modem problems, check your cables and so on. Is everything plugged in solidly? 9 Problem 3. File Problem If you suspect you have some kind of file problem, ask yourself these ques- tions: 1. Did you put FILES=20 in your CONFIG.SYS file? If you did this, you must re-boot your system for this new value to take effect. 2. Are all the required files are available to Sapphire? Did you specify the correct drive and/or directory when providing the file path data with the SCONFIG program? 3. If you're using floppies, do you have the right floppies in the drives? Neither should have a write-protect tab. 4. Is it possible you inadvertently deleted a file? If you did, get a new copy from the installation disk. If you get I/O errors, you can look them up in a copy of the manual for Turbo Pascal Version 4.0. This might help you solve difficult problems. Problem 4. Sapphire Bug If you think you've spotted a bug in Sapphire, send us a letter describing the problem. The most important thing you can do is make it happen on demand. That is to say, before you report a problem, try to understand it well enough to make it happen on purpose. To assess a problem, I appreciate getting as much information as possible. Send us information such as: 1. What do you think causes the problem? 2. How often does it happen? 3. Does it happen to everybody or just certain people? 4. Did it start just recently or has it always happened? 5. If it just started, what changed just before it started? 6. What have you done to try to solve the problem? Print-outs and screen-dumps can be helpful in assessing a problem. IMPORTANT: It may be over-stating the case, but if you are reporting a problem, you really do have a better chance of getting a useful answer if you provide us with answers to the numbered questions, 10 above. Take a moment to note down the answers before calling us or writing to us. It'll save time in the end. Problem 5. Incompatible Hardware and Software Sapphire has run problem-free on a wide variety of computers, with many different brands of modem. I've heard very few complaints about incompati- bility. However, it is possible that certain types of modems (especially internal modems) might not behave properly. If you suspect your modem, try borrowing another brand for a while. There can also be problems with multi-tasking software. The Sapphire serial routines are poll-driven rather than interrupt-driven. What this means is that if you're running multi-tasking software, your users may lose characters when they type. I plan to address this drawback in a later version of Sapphire. For the vast majority of systems, however, this is not a problem. If you let me know what is going wrong, I'll try to fix Sapphire to work with your hardware. 11 SYSTEM OPERATION Duties of the System Operator The user-name for the System Operator is: SYSOP. You can also sign up with your real name and give yourself permanent sysop authority. As the sysop, your main task is to "validate" (grant membership to) new members. You do this with the VALIDATE command. You should also backup your files from time to time, using the DOS BACKUP command, or a similar product. If you have run other BBS's before, you may be expecting that there are other duties to perform, such as maintaining upload/download lists, compressing files and so on. But you don't have to do any of that. Sapphire handles everything automatic- ally. Your only tasks are Validation and Backups. And as you'll see later, even the Validation task is far easier than for other BBS's. Signing On Locally When Sapphire is waiting for a caller, press any key. This will "wake up" Sapphire and freeze out the modem by putting it "off-hook". You can then sign on as if you'd dialed up. If you don't want your phone off the hook, you can start up Sapphire in a non-modem mode. At the DOS prompt, type: SAPPHIRE LOCAL This completely ignores anything to do with the modem. 12 Signing on as SYSOP The information presented below is based on the default set-up. For security reasons, the password shown here should be modified (using the BYE PASSWORD command) as soon as possible. 1. Wait until Sapphire is waiting for a visitor. 2. Press a key to wake it up. 3. When asked for your name, press Space-bar, then Return. 4. When you're asked for the password, type SYSOP then Return. Function Keys The function keys are active whenever somebody is connected. Here's what they do: REGULAR FUNCTION KEYS F 1 Function-key help. F 2 Enable Yoo-Hoo. Makes a noise when a specified person shows up. F 3 Removes 10 minutes online-time from whoever is connected. F 4 Adds on 10 minutes online-time to whoever is connected. F 5 Enable/Disable the type-to-sysop (CHAT) command. F 6 Break in to chat with the person who is currently online. F 7 Not used. F 8 Not used. F 9 Modify number-of-hours-between-calls F10 Sound effects on/off. 13 ALT FUNCTION KEYS F 1 Turn printer on and off (uses LPT1). F 2 Freeze out the person on the modem. You do this if you want to enter a few quick commands on his behalf but don't want him to see what you are typing. Press ALT-F2 to restore communication. F 3 Subtract 1 from the membership level of the person who is signed on. F 4 Add 1 to the membership level of the person who is signed on. F 5 Announce mode on/off. In announce mode, nobody can log on. All people get to see is your sign-on logo. Handy for announcements. F 6 Send file. This is used to transmit a text file -- usually while chatting with a remote user. This function duplicates exactly the normal file transmission, so you can't use it while the user is already reading a file or a message. F 7 Changes the name of the visitor to one that you specify. The new name is checked to prevent duplication. F 8 Instant banishment. Removes visitor from valid caller list. F 9 Shut-down. If nobody is signed on, Sapphire ends immediately. If somebody is logged on, Sapphire will end when he or she logs off. F10 Turn Ultra-Mode on or off. Ultra-Mode is a kind of "Super-Sysop" mode. While in this mode, a user may... Execute commands of any level Send any number of messages (usual limit is Level + 3 SENDs per visit) Use the CHANGE command on somebody else's message Read private messages Call back in less than the usual time (Level 6+ can always do this) Skip around a devalidation message at signon and proceed normally The user named SYSOP is automatically in Ultra-mode. Other users -- even other Level 8 users -- must have it turned on explicitly by the ALT-F10 key. When ALT-F10 is pressed, a long, raucous sound is emitted from your computer's speaker. This tends to discourage people from hitting the key "by accident". Do not get the impression that the existence of Ultra-Mode allows you to give out Sysop (Level 8) authority lightly. You should reserve that level for yourself only. However, if you would prefer to respect people's privacy, you could sign up with your real name, then use the ALT-F4 key to bring yourself up to Level 8. Ultra-Mode can then be used only when absolutely necessary. 14 Backups Perhaps the most important thing a sysop can do is make backups! The most important file, which should be backed up on a regular basis, is the user file, which is named: SUSER.DAT When making backups, it's a good idea to have a "father" and "grandfather" copy. You can do this easily with a batch (.BAT) file. Here's a sample batch file for backing up the user list: ECHO OFF ECHO Backing up Sapphire User List file to A: drive DEL A:USERBAKC.DAT RENAME A:USERBAKB.DAT A:USERBAKC.DAT RENAME A:USERBAKA.DAT A:USERBAKB.DAT COPY C:\SAPPHIRE\USERLIST.DAT A:USERBAKA.DAT DIR A:USERBAK*.DAT You may also wish to backup the messages, but this is not as critical. (If you have the time, it is still a wise move.) If you decide to do this, the files to be backed up are: -- The message-pointer file SNEXT.DAT -- The message-index file STIME.DAT -- The B* files in the message directory (e.g. B001) User File Maintenance The user file does not require maintenance. It will hold up to 350 user names, which has proven to be more than enough for a lively BBS. NOTE: If you require a larger user base, please contact Pinnacle Software for a special edition of Sapphire (priced separately). When a new user signs up, Sapphire looks for an inactive user to replace. The higher the level of the member, the longer it takes for him to be considered inactive. Here are the required call-back times: 15 Level Time-Out (Days) Member Level Description 1 10 Non-Member 2 50 Basic Member 3 60 Special Member 4 70 Top Notch Member 5 80 Inner Circle Member 6 90 Aide-de-Sysop 7 100 Co-Sysop 8 110 Sysop Note that this is only the time after which a user is eligible for replacement. If there are no new sign-ups to replace his name on the list, his user-record can remain valid forever. The user named SYSOP is never eligible for replacement. Message File Maintenance The message files do not require maintenance. Sapphire maintains 225 message files. When the last one is used up, the first one is replaced, thereby "deleting" the oldest one. All messages share the same space. There is no way to preserve a message permanently. If you have something you want to keep available for a long time, insert it into the library directory as a .TXT file and tell the members to use the LIBRARY command to review it. If you really must get rid of a message, use Sapphire's ERASE command. There is no need to use DOS DEL or ERASE. Library Maintenance The Sapphire Library does not require maintenance. Any .TXT file that appears in the Library directory will appear on the Library list. The 39-character description of each article is taken from the first line of each file. Thus, you can add to the Library simply by copying text files into the Library directory, and remove articles using the DOS DEL command. For your members' convenience, you might sort the directory in reverse-date order, using a utility such as Norton's DS command. 16 Files Maintenance The files (upload/download) collection does not require maintenance. Sapphire maintains a list of 500 uploads. When the list is full, programs are dropped from the list and deleted from the file directory according to a formula based on: (A) Number of times the file has been downloaded (B) How many days have elapsed since the last request (C) How many days the file has been on the list In other words, Sapphire will identify and replace the least popular file. NOTE: For more information, see the "File Transfer" section of this manual. 17 MISCELLANEOUS OPERATIONAL NOTES Gear Shift Sapphire supports adjustable output speed. During output, a user can press one of the number keys to "shift gears" for a comfortable reading speed. The keys run from 1 (slow) to 9 (fast). The 0 key is the "top gear" key. It sets output speed to maximum. When the main command prompt comes up, output is reset to full speed. This has proven to be a convenient arrangement. However, the user can reset his "default gear", via the SPECS command. Certain types of line-noise problems have been solved by selecting a lower output speed. Customization There are several files that you can modify to your taste. If you're just beginning, you can skip this -- but come back to this section after you've finished your initial experimenting. To modify these files, you will need a text editor. The standard EDLIN editor is an example of a text editor. You can also use the Turbo Pascal editor, or Wordstar in non-document mode. Most word processors have a "Text" or "DOS Text File" mode. In technical terms, a text editor is any editor that marks separate lines with a "Carriage Return" character and marks the end of a file with a "Control Z". SLOGO.TXT You can modify the SLOGO.TXT file to specify a 20-line banner that your users will see at connect time. You can mention the name of your BBS in this banner. The names "Pinnacle Club" and "Sapphire" do not appear anywhere in the program itself (except for the version and copyright notice). However, I strongly encourage you to call your system "The Pinnacle Club". That way, people already familiar with the software will know what to expect, and may even seek out your system because they like the way it works. The SLOGO.TXT file contains a helpful collection of sign-on logos, which you can modify to your needs, using a text-editor program. 18 Other .TXT Files The other text files, such as SINFO.TXT, SNEWH.TXT etc., contain straight text for the members to read. You should read them yourself; you'll learn what they'll learn and you'll spot any changes that must be made, such as address and system-name information. Command Levels You may modify the command levels by altering the files SCMDL.DAT with a text editor, or you can delete the file to use the default settings. Make sure you have a backup copy before you delete it. Password Changes There is an undocumented feature in Sapphire which allows users to change their passwords. If you sign off by typing BYE PASSWORD (no abbreviations) you will be asked for a new password. This feature was not explicitly documented because there has long been an argument among computer security experts about the wisdom of letting users change (or even select) their passwords. It might be best to keep the BYE PASSWORD feature secret if you give users a new password when you validate them. Or perhaps you'll decide to avoid letting them change their password simply because they tend to forget what their new password is. Whether or not you let your users know about this feature is up to you. The Status Line The top two lines of the Sapphire screen provide you with some information about what is going on. The top line lists membership level, time left, state icons (explained later), and the last item that went in the system log. The second line lists the member's sign-on name and full name, phone number. The state icons are single-character indicators. You can think of them as on/off lights, if you wish. Here's what they mean: 19 Downwards-pointing triangle: The ALT-F9 key was pressed to put the system in "shutdown mode" and will be closed when it next disconnects (i.e. when the current visitor logs off). Memory aid: points downwards to mean "going down". Infinity symbol (sideways 8): Ultra-mode is on. This is turned on and off by the ALT-F10 key. Memory aid: "The infinite power of Ultra-mode is available." Diamond: The system is waiting for somebody in particular to show up. You can specify a list of names by pressing the F2 key. Memory aid: the people in the list are highly prized. Happy face: People who use the CHAT command will be placed directly in conversation, instead of seeing an "unattended" message. Memory aid: you're in a good mood, so you'll talk to people. Question mark: the current user entered the CHAT command to try to get in touch with you. The CHAT spell makes a noise if you have sound turned on. Memory aid: "Hello? Sysop?" Exclamation mark: You pressed the ALT-F6 key to put the system into "announce only" mode. People will only see the SLOGO.TXT data before getting discon- nected. Memory aid: "Hear ye, hear ye!!!" Double-note: Sound is on. Turn it on or off with the F10 key. Memory aid: music is sound. Triple-line: Printer is active. The printer (which should be connected to the parallel port LPT1) is turned on or off by the ALT-F1 key. These icons may take a while to get used to, but before long, you'll be able to tell at a glance what's happening on your system. Online Validation and Banishment ALT-F7 and ALT-F8 will validate or banish the current visitor. However, the ALT-F7 key does not update the file until the member disconnects, so if you have a system crash, the file will still reflect the old value. In general, all data affecting a member's current session is lost if your system crashes, since the members information is written only "on the way out". For this reason, it is not possible for somebody to banish himself! Yoo-Hoo and Rename 20 If you intend to run a BBS that does not tolerate aliases, but insists that people use real names, the combination of F2 (Yoo-Hoo) and ALT-F7 (Rename) will prove useful. When you press the Yoo-Hoo key, you will be prompted to enter a list of names, separated by slashes. For example, you might enter: Dagger Lord/The Wombat of Love/Power Petunia/Superstar When somebody signs on under any of the indicated names, Sapphire will make a distinctive noise to alert you. You can then break in (using F6 -- Chat) and tell the person that you are changing his sign-on name to his real name. This can be done with the Rename key. The Rename function will not allow you to change the name to an existing name. Thus, if you already have a John on your system, you can't change somebody else's name to John. 21 MEMBER PRIVILEGES There are 8 "security levels" on Sapphire, ranging from level 1 (Non-member) to level 8 (System Operator). This section describes the original set-up for member privileges. You can change these settings by altering the SCMDL.TXT file. These settings are also used if SCMDL.TXT is missing. Level 1: Non-member May post in: Non-member message base. Commands: COMMAND DESCRIPTION OF COMMAND BYE Disconnect from system (i.e. logoff) HELP Display a list of commands you can use INFO Membership requirements for this system SEND Leave a message for other users to read SPECS Change the way things look around here VERSION Display software version and copyright Comments: Note the absence of the READ command. Level 2: Basic Member May post and read: Non-member and Basic member message bases. May post in: Feedback to Sysop message base. May read: Report from Sysop message base. 22 Additional commands: COMMAND DESCRIPTION OF COMMAND EXPERT Switch between casual and expert mode GIMMICKS Describes various tricks for messages GRAPHICS Switch graphic characters on and off HINTS Tricks and tips for using this system LIBRARY Browse and read in our online library MESSAGES Quick summary of messages (time & user) NAMES Specify names for selecting READ etc. PROTOCOL Select method used for file transfer READ Read new messages left by other users REVIEW Inspect a single message by DATE:MINUTE RUN Run special external programs ("Doors") SET Modify the DATE:MINUTE for READ command TEXT Specify text to reduce READ output etc. TIME Display how much time is left for visit USERS Display information about our users Level 3: Special Member Additional base: Special Member. Additional commands: COMMAND DESCRIPTION OF COMMAND ACTIVITY Display system activity for past 7 days CHANGE Modify a message you've sent previously FILES List software available for downloading GET Get some software from our collection GIVE Contribute software to our collection MOVE Move a message from one base to another Level 4: Top Notch Member Additional base: Top Notch. Additional commands: COMMAND DESCRIPTION OF COMMAND CHAT Page system operator for a conversation OBSERVE Overview of logon/logoff activity, etc. Comments: Note that lower-level members, when doing the USERS command, see Top Notch members listed as "Special". Top Notch messaging is hidden from lower levels. 23 Level 5: Inner Circle Member Additional base: Inner Circle. Additional commands: None. Comments: Lower-level members, when doing a USERS command, see an Inner Circle member listed only as "Special" (or "Top Notch", in the case of Level 4 members). Inner Circle messaging is hidden from lower levels. Level 6: Aide-de-Sysop May post in: Report from Sysop. Additional commands: COMMAND DESCRIPTION OF COMMAND ERASE Remove message (resets it to time 0:0) Comments: This level of authority allows people to keep the system tidy without having access to personal member information, such as phone numbers. Level 7: Co-Sysop May read: Feedback to Sysop. Additional commands: COMMAND DESCRIPTION OF COMMAND BANISH Devalidate user (remove from user list) DOORS Update your list of "Door" programs DOS Shell out to DOS; type "EXIT" to return DUMBTERM Start dumb terminal for outgoing calls EVENTS Schedule your BBS's close-down events PROBE Display user info (see also USERS cmd) VALIDATE Grant a user a higher membership level Comments: At this level, the USERS command gives more detailed information, such as password and phone number. A co-sysop can run the entire system remotely. He can not, however, find out the sysop's password. 24 Level 8: Sysop May post in: Logon Announcements. Additional commands: COMMAND DESCRIPTION OF COMMAND CLOSE Shut down system; prevent further calls 25 DOORS AND EVENTS The highly technical information presented in this chapter is addressed to experienced sysops only. If you are new to the joys of sysoping, it would probably be best, for the time being, to avoid the DOORS and EVENTS commands. Sapphire will function perfectly well without DOORS and EVENTS installed, so you can safely skip this chapter and come back to it later. Definitions Doors and events are both instances where the Sapphire program ends and control is returned back to DOS. In the case of a door, the shut-down is initiated by a user; for events, the shut-down happens automatically, according to a schedule you set up. Applications for Event Processing Consider the following batch file. (Note that the <-- arrow and following text are comments, not part of the batch file.) REM Batch File Autoback :START <-- A batch file "label" SRUN <-- The main Sapphire program COPY SUSER.DAT A:SUSER.DAT <-- Copy the user list GOTO START <-- Start over again If you could arrange to have the BBS come down every night at 3:00, it could make a spare copy of the user list on the A: drive. This would be very useful, although of course you'd have to make sure that the A: drive always had a floppy inserted and ready to go! Set up in this way, you could leave town for a long weekend, confident that your user list was being backed up every day. This is only a very simple example of the benefits of event processing. Another possible application is automatic dial-out via your favourite com- munications program (to pick up mail, perhaps). Of course, you'd have to write a "script" (i.e. a program that your comm program understands) in order to have it dial out, sign on, pick up the mail, then return to DOS. One very common use for event processing is to support network systems such as Fido -- a very complicated topic beyond the scope of this manual. 26 Applications for Doors Processing A door is an external program that a user can run from Sapphire. (It is, in effect, a "door" into programs written by other people.) There are dozens of door programs available. One example is the Pyroto Mountain gaming system, which was written by Pinnacle Software. You can call it as a door, giving your members a chance to play this intriguing game of magic and politics. Before making a door available to your members, you should review it carefully. The quality of door software varies greatly; some may crash, thereby failing to return to DOS and consequently taking your BBS "off the air". Coding Your Batch Files In an environment using doors and events or both, everything is tied together with batch (.BAT) files. (For detailed information about batch files, consult your DOS reference manual.) The simplest kind of batch file was illustrated in the "automatic userlist back-up" example shown earlier. This was a just a loop, executing one func- tion. One problem, though ... you'll note that there was no way to get out of the loop! So it wasn't a particularly useful program. If you want to call Sapphire from any directory, put a batch file like the following one (which you could call S.BAT) in one of the directories in your PATH: ECHO OFF <-- Stop display of batch lines C: <-- Change to the right drive CD \SAPPHIRE <-- Change to your Sapphire directory SAPPHIRE %1 %2 <-- Jump to batch file SAPPHIRE.BAT 27 SAPPHIRE.BAT is a batch file that comes with Sapphire. It looks like this: ECHO OFF <-- Stop display of batch lines SRUN %1 %2 <-- Start up Sapphire EXTERNAL <-- Jump to batch file EXTERNAL.BAT This batch file must be in the directory where SRUN.EXE resides. The %1 and %2 after the SRUN allow you to pass parameters to Sapphire, so you can start up the batch file with SAPPHIRE LOCAL to run without a modem. How EXTERNAL.BAT Works Don't look for a file named EXTERNAL.BAT in the Sapphire package -- there isn't one. EXTERNAL.BAT is created whenever Sapphire ends. If Sapphire is shutting down because you're closing it (using the CLOSE command, for example), EXTERNAL.BAT will be empty. As a result, you'll drop straight through to the DOS prompt. For doors and events, however, Sapphire copies other batch files into EXTERNAL.BAT. So whatever was in those other batch files will get executed. But how does this get us back to Sapphire? Sapphire copies the other batch file into EXTERNAL.BAT, then appends some additional instructions, as in this example: C: <-- Switch to Sapphire's "home" drive CD \SAPPHIRE <-- Switch to Sapphire's "home" directory SAPPHIRE <-- Jump to the SAPPHIRE.BAT batch file And thus, the circle is completed. Of course, the extra instructions may vary, depending on where your copy of SRUN.EXE resides and the way you started up Sapphire. Batch Templates You will use the DOORS and EVENTS commands to specify which batch files will be copied to EXTERNAL.BAT. We will call these files "Batch Templates", because although they end in .BAT, they are never actually run directly. You can write the templates without regard to what happens after the program ends, because that's taken care of when Sapphire copies them to EXTERNAL.BAT. NOTE: A template must not call another batch file, unless that batch file contains the code to get back to SAPPHIRE.BAT. 28 Here's an example. To call up the PYROTO door, you could write a template file named PYROTO.BAT, which looks like this: C: <-- Make sure you're on the right drive CD \PYROTO <-- Change to the Pyroto directory PYROTO /DOOR <-- Start up the program Writing Door and Event Programs When Sapphire calls a door or event, it always creates a file in the root directory of the drive containing Sapphire, named: SAPPHIRE.DAT This file contains important information for doors and events. If you plan to write door or event programs, you'll need access to this data. Turbo Pascal source-code, describing the layout of the file, can be found on the SAPPH112 diskette, under the name SDOOR.INC. 29 FILE TRANSFER The highly technical information presented in this chapter is addressed to experienced sysops only. If you are a new sysop, it would be best to avoid the PROTOCOL, GET, GIVE, FILES and DUMBTERM commands, for now. Sapphire will function perfectly well without file-transfer installed, so you can safely skip this chapter and come back to it later. What is File Transfer? With Sapphire's file-transfer feature installed, you will be able to exchange software with people who dial into your system, using the popular XMODEM, YMODEM and ZMODEM protocols. Sapphire maintains a list of the 500 most popular programs (providing there is enough space on your hard disk), along with statistics and documentation. The file-transfer feature requires a system equipped with a hard-disk with a minimum of 1 Megabyte free space. Installing File Transfer In order to enable file-transfer (XMODEM, YMODEM and ZMODEM), you must install several files, as follows: --- The file-transfer program (DSZ.COM) must be copied to the main Sapphire directory (usually named C:\SAPPHIRE). This will enable the DUMBTERM command, even if the rest of the file-transfer installation is not completed. To extract DSZ.COM from the DSZ archive file, enter the command: ARCE DSZ --- The SAPPH archive files (SAPPH112 and SAPPH112) and the file SAPPHIRE.S-D (from SAPPH112) must be copied to the files directory (usually named C:\SAPPHIRE\FILES). Once these files are in place, Sapphire will create the files listing as soon as you use GET, GIVE, PROTOCOL or FILES. 30 Adding Software Locally To add a file to the software collection while you are at the console, you must first place it in the files directory (usually named C:\SAPPHIRE\FILES). Sapphire's DOS command comes in handy, here. Afterwards, use the GIVE command. For example, if you'd added a file named PYROTO.ARC, you would then enter this command: ==> GIVE PYROTO.ARC You'd then be asked who this file is for (everybody, sysop, etc.), then asked to write some documentation about the file. (This step is described later, in more detail.) Adding Software Remotely A remote user follows essentially the same steps as a local user, though he must first upload the software using one of the available protocols. (XModem- Checksum, XModem-CRC, YModem, ZModem). As a reward for contributing software, he is granted "double-your-minutes-back for this visit and the next". For example, if it took him 10 minutes, he gets an extra 20 minutes for the current visit, plus 20 extra minutes for the next session. How Online Documentation Works After contributing a file, the contributor may write up to 48 lines of documen- tation, which other people will be able to read before deciding whether or not to download this file. Online documentation that has already been written can be re-used. For example, if you're making available a multi-file software package, you can tell Sapphire to use one documentation file for all of the files. Incidentally, if one of those software files is deleted, the documentation file is retained -- as long as some other file is using it. The documentation step uses the usual text editor that you use for writing messages. No new skills need be learned. In fact, you can even include private and exclusive messages in your documentation. 31 The documentation is saved in the files directory, in a file with the same root-name as the original file. For example, a file named VARITALE.ARC would have a documentation file named VARITALE.S-D associated with it. (S-D stands for Software Documentation.) If you don't like the documentation that a user has written, you can copy some better documentation over the S-D file. All S-D files are standard text files, prepared with a text editor. Of course, if several files point at the same documentation file, they won't all share its root-name. The SAPPH111 & SAPPH112 files both the file SAPPHIRE.S-D. As Sysop, you can use the FILES comand to change which documen- tation file a software file uses -- although this will rarely be necessary. Proper online documentation makes any file-transfer system much more efficient, because people won't end up spending hours downloading things they really don't need. Encourage your members to write enlightening documentation! Transfer Protocols The YModem supported by Sapphire is proper YModem, per the original specific- ation. Some very respectable communications programs confuse the protocol XModem-1K with YModem. If your users complain that YModem doesn't work for them, suggest they switch their communications program from YModem to YModem- Batch. This version of Sapphire does not support "batch protocols" such that users can upload or download several files with one command. This feature will be supported in another version, if there is a demand. 32 APPENDIX A -- ORDERING INFORMATION There are two ways to order from Pinnacle Software: BY PHONE: Pinnacle Software accepts Visa and MasterCard for orders of $35 and more. Call us at (514) 345-9578. The best times are between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time. BY MAIL: If making payment by mail, it is best to use a certified cheque or money-order. Personal cheques are held until cleared by your bank, which can introduce a delay of several weeks. Just a reminder: Sapphire is not a free program. That is to say, you are welcome to evaluate the product free of charge for a month. If you continue to use it after that, you must register your copy. If, after a month, you decide not to register your copy, kindly do the follow- ing: (A) Stop using the product. (B) Phone us or send us a letter, to tell us in what ways our product needs to be improved before you'll register it. An appropriate questionnaire and envelope can be printed out by the HELP program. You are encouraged to pass around copies of Sapphire, so that others may evaluate it. Additional Products from Pinnacle Software The following diskettes may be obtained from Pinnacle Software. They can greatly enhance your system. All three diskettes may be obtained from Pinnacle Software for $35. SAPPHSDA: This package contains this manual in WordPerfect format (Version 5.0). This enables WordPerfect users to print out a more attractive manual than is possible with the generic text format that is usually shipped with Sapphire. 33 SAPPHSDB: This package contains a collection of articles for your Sapphire library. This includes the RULES file (rules for Sapphire members), the STYLE file (tips for courteous and effective BBSing), plus a sprinkling of commentaries that will spark discussion amongst your users. SAPPHSDC: Software grab-bag for your software collection. (All titles written by Pinnacle Software.) Some of the programs: HLRB Make Handy Little Reference Books LOVEFIRE Adventure story for women only LW Label Wizard label printing program MEGADIII Mega-Doom -- the epitome of BASIC games PHONEMEM Technique for remembering phone numbers PINNARTX Amazing PC-ASCII art-work for any display SPACEINV Arcade game for any display -- even monochrome SV Set Video attributes for CGA, EGA, VGA, etc. VARITALE BBS door program -- multi-author story-writing WEED Utility to clean up text files Also available from Pinnacle ($45 each -- includes registration) are the Pyroto Mountain BBS/Door Adventure Gaming system and the new Vortex Warpgate BBS/Door Science-Fiction Battle simulation. 34 APPENDIX B -- SAPPHIRE DESIGNER NOTES This section contains no especially important information. It is presented here for those people who might want to know why Sapphire was designed the way it was. You may find that this section helps you decide if Sapphire is the right BBS for you. NOTE: If you intend to run Sapphire from a store, or as a customer support line, the information in this section is probably irrelevant. Some Background I've been involved with computers since 1971, and since those early days spent sweating over a 10 character-per-second Teletype, my enduring passion has been computer telecommunications. I'm fascinated by the way it enables us to reach out and grasp the crystallized thoughts of a stranger. We can enter an amaz- ing, exciting universe. Where time can stand still or flow sideways. Where people can flash across a continent in the blink of an eye. Over the years, I've worked out countless designs for computer telecommuni- cations systems. Several of these designs went beyond the planning stage and became reality. It excites me that we basement programmers have this chance to pioneer new methods of communication. Some of the projects I've been involved with include: ACCESS: Canada's first national consumer telecomputing service. PYROTO: The BBS/Game system (about 50,000 people play it each week). The latest version is available from Pinnacle Software for $35. (Runs also as a door.) SASSy: A bizarre experiment that helped us learn what's wrong and what's right about BBS's. The spec and a 2-year report are available from Pinnacle Software ($10). I also had the chance to provide some suggestions for Ron Sharp's extraordinary INFINITy system, which is a BBS with a seemingly infinite number of message bases. 35 Why Sapphire was Written After years of seeing other kinds of BBS's, I had to admit that I didn't like the way any of them worked. I'm not talking about minor annoyances -- my own program has dozens of quirks that I intend to iron out. Rather, I'm talking about fundamental design decisions. To my knowledge (and based on my interpretation), every single one of the existing BBS packages evolved from RBBS. Perhaps not in actual program code, but certainly in concept. They all share the same general features, though admittedly most are vastly superior to the original RBBS! I was never tempted to copy RBBS, because I'd already written my first BBS program long before anybody around here knew what a BBS was. It wasn't a very sophisticated program, but it did put me on my own path. It is important to understand that there was something of a computer revolution in Montreal during the mid-to-late 70's. A large number of hackers set up house on a local school board's HP2000 mini-computer. We evolved our own set of idioms, so when the first "mainstream" BBS (an Apple Networks) came to town, we said, "BBS? What's that? Bulletin Broadcast System?" We really didn't know! Our user-interface idioms found their way into various programs that were developed locally. And thus they were found in ACCESS, then PYROTO, and finally (after considerable mutation) in Sapphire. Notes About the Design Philosophy Commands Sapphire uses word commands, rather than single-letter commands. I figure: it's easier to remember words than mnemonics -- especially when the mnemonics are tortuously contrived (as in the infamous [Y]ell for chat). Since you don't run out of words the way you run out of letters, Sapphire doesn't need multiple program layers where the same commands can mean different things (e.g. [U]tilities or [U]pload), depending where you are. Because I use word commands, I tend to make Sapphire somewhat more conversa- tional than a letter-command system. I should mention that some people find my programs fairly terse. What I mean to say is that, while Sapphire is not chatty, it is more like a dialogue than you're likely to find on most BBS's. 36 Maintenance Sapphire is a zero-maintenance BBS. I design programs this way partially because I'm lazy and partially because in the 70's most Montreal hackers were in a position to get cut off from their programs at any time. (Most of us weren't really supposed to be on that central system.) As a result, my associates and I got into the habit of designing programs that could survive on their own. 40 Column Text Many people have expressed surprise at my extensive use of 40-column text. The obvious answer is that there are still plenty of 40-column screens out there; the IBM-PC isn't the only personal computer in the world. However, the real reason is that when people are reading boring text (such as is necessary while learning to use a BBS), they want to scan it as quickly as possible. The fact is, 80-column text requires too much eye-movement for easy scanning; if newspapers can use narrow columns, so can I. Why should I be held hostage to the actual width of my screen? No law forces us to fill each line. The Cool Reception The way by which potential members are introduced to Sapphire may not strike you as particularly inviting. They are requested to send a message telling you why they'd like to join. A few people are so offended, they hang up immediate- ly. The actual requirements for the application can easily be changed, though. Maybe you'll merely ask them to tell you their shoe-size. But if you're running your BBS as a public service, I'd advise against it. The vast majority of BBS's go down within a few months because the sysops are appalled at the uncaring nature of the users. But what can we expect? Total strangers call our boards; should we expect them to be nice to us? You can greet them all with open arms, but chances are, you'll be very disap- pointed. These anonymous people simply have no particularly good reason to think you're special. Far too few novice sysops are aware of the simple fact that when you figura- tively "throw open your doors", you can get crumbs, bums, free-loaders, and jerks. You also get some beautiful people, but it's hard to remember that when you've got some fellow who signs on, makes a beeline for the files section, and ties up your line for hours as he pilfers your software collection -- leaving nothing in return. 37 It is utterly futile to be bitter. The best solution is to be careful. A sysop's worst enemy is his own good nature. He wants to spread his arms and hug everybody who signs up to his system. At first, he's excited that so many people are visiting his BBS. But later, when he realizes how many people treat him like a bus service for software and information, he becomes disillusioned. Perhaps I'm wasting my time telling this to new sysops, but the experienced sysops will be nodding their heads, by now. The fact is: either you resign yourself to being used as a commodity, or you learn the very difficult art of rejecting new applicants. Of course, what percentage you reject depends on the size of your BBSing community. In Montreal, we have plenty of people calling BBS's. As a result, I'm easily able to reject 95% of all applicants. Mind you, that means that for the first 2 months, my BBS was excruciatingly dull. After all, how lively can a BBS be, when it has only a handful of members? Happily, though, I stuck to my guns. Nowadays, The Pinnacle Club has a nice mix of people, all of whom are what most sysops consider "ideal BBSers". It almost took more patience than I possess (since, like most sysops, I have an urge to let everybody on), but it was worth it. What makes Sapphire truly a "Zero-Maintenance BBS" is that you can judge people by their reaction to the request that they justify their petition for member- ship. You don't even have to phone them up! What people write in their application usually tells the whole story. For example, many people write things like, "Hi, I'd like to be a member. Please make me a member. Thanks." If such a person can't even be bothered to justify himself, it is extremely unlikely he will make an effort to be a good, contributing member. I've had some extraordinary experiences with this method of validation. One fellow was incensed at the impersonal approach, but he took the time to express his objections in detail. Bingo! I made him a member. He later posted a message to the effect that he thought he'd "gone to BBS heaven", so impressed was he by the quality of the messages left by members! Sapphire can be easily modified to be less daunting to the new user. I don't want to give you the impression that Sapphire must give all new applicants the cold shoulder. But if you're a new sysop, I hope you'll think about the kind of people you want on your system and design accordingly. Ask a few experienced sysops for advice. Conclusion 38 Sapphire is not complete. There are numerous upgrades to be made. Some of these are summarized in Appendix C. However, I would like to make it clear that it is not my intention for Sapphire to be all things to all people. I hope to retain the apparent simplicity of the design. In other words, there are many other BBS packages out there that are more grandiose in intent. They can make your microcomputer look like a whopping big mainframe. But if you want a BBS that is easy for your users and easy for you, I think you'll want to run Sapphire. 39 APPENDIX C -- Versions 1.1 and 2.x Version 1.1 of Sapphire is not much different from 1.0 except for a few minor phrasing changes to improve user understanding of Sapphire concepts. We are currently drawing up the plans for Sapphire Version 2.0. The design work is now complete, so it's time to get down to the coding. That will start about a week after we send this manual out. Thank-You During July of 1989, almost all Sapphire sysops around the world were contacted by phone by Pinnacle Software, in order to help us plan what will go into Version 2.x. Let us assure you that your opinions have been discussed at length and will have a positive effect on upcoming versions of Sapphire. We thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. 40 INDEX Can't find it here? Try the Table of Contents. .BAT 27 Crash 9, 20 .S-D 32 Credit Cards 33 .TXT 16, 19 Customization 18 %1 28 Data Terminal Ready 8 & Commands 9 Default gear 18 ACTIVITY 23 Devalidation Aliases 20 Skipping 14 ALT-F10 20 Diamond 20 ALT-F6 20 DIP Switches ALT-F7 20 Modem 8 ALT-F8 20 Diskettes Announce 14, 20 Problems 10 ARTICLE 16 Documentation Assistance ii Uploaded software 31 Awaiting Visitor 6 DOORS 24, 26, 28 B* files 15 DOS 24, 26 B001 15 Download Backup 12 Definition 3 Backups 15 DSZ.COM 30 BANISH 24 DTR 8 F-Key 14 DUMBTERM 24, 30 Banishment 20 EDLIN 18 Skipping 14 ERASE 16, 24 Basic Member 22 EVENTS 24, 26, 28 Batch protocols 32 EXPERT 23 BBS EXTERNAL.BAT 28 Brands 1 F10 20 Definition 1 F2 20 BUFFERS= 5 F9 20 Bugs 10 Feedback 24 Bulletin-board 1 Fido 26 BYE 22 File-transfer 30 PASSWORD 19 FILES 23, 30 Call-back time 14 Problems 10 Carrier Detect 8 Files collection 17 CD 8 FILES= 5, 10 CHANGE 14, 23 Floppies CHAT 20, 23 Disadvantages 3 Enable/Disable 13 Freeze out 14 CLOSE 25 Function keys 13 Club 1 Gear Shift 18 Co-Sysop 24 GET 23, 30 Command levels 19 GIMMICKS 23 Compressing GIVE 23, 30, 31 Not needed 12 GRAPHICS 23 CONFIG.SYS 5, 10 Happy face 20 Copyright ii, 18 Hayes modem 8 41 Heat 9 Number keys 18 HELP 22 OBSERVE 23 Help! 8 Output speed 18 HINTS 23 Password Hours-between-calls 13 Changes 19 I/O error 10 SYSOP 13, 24 I/O Errors Passwords 19 Unexplained 10 PCCONFIG 6 IBM-PC 1 Phone Icons 19 Off-hook 12 Inactive user 15 Pinnacle Club 18 INFINITy 35 Pinnacle Software INFO 22 Business hours 33 Inner Circle 24 PINNCL02 Installation ii Description 33 Interrupt-driven 11 PINNCL03 Level Description 34 Description 16 PinnClub 1 LIBRARY 16, 23 Design 2 Description 16 Poll-driven 11 Line-noise 18 Power-sysop 2 LOCAL 12 Printer 20 Parameter 6 Privacy Logo Users' 14 Sign-on 14 Private LOGO.TXT 20 Reading 14 LPT1 20 PROBE 24 Maintenance Problems 8 Files collection 17 PROTOCOL 23, 30 Library 16 PYROTO 29, 35 Message files 16 RAM Time needed 1 Requirements 3 Userfile 15 READ 23 Member privileges 22 REGISTER 33 Members 1 Registration ii Membership level Rename 21 Description 16 F-Key 14 Message REVIEW 23 Maximum size 3 Root-name 32 Message files 16 RUN 23 MESSAGES 23 S-D Deleting 16 Definition 32 Limited number 14 SAPPHIRE.BAT 28 Saving 16 SAPPHIRE.DAT 29 Modem SAPPHIRE.S-D 32 Disabling 12 SASSy 35 Problems 9, 11 SCMDL.DAT 19 MOVE 23 SCMDL.TXT 22 NAMES 23 SDOOR.INC 29 New user 15 Security levels 22 Noise 13 SEND 22 Non-member 22 File 14 42 Serial routines 11 Definition 12 SET 23 Validation 20 Shareware ii VERSION Shut-down 14, 20 VERSION 22 Sign-on Versions ii Logo 14 Wombat 21 Signing On 12 Wordstar 18 SINFO.TXT 19 XMODEM 30 SLOGO.TXT 18, 20 XMODEM-1K 32 SNEWH.TXT 19 YMODEM 30, 32 SNEXT.DAT 15 Yoo-Hoo 13, 21 Software collection 17 Zero-maintenance Sound 13, 20 Goals 1 Special Member 23 ZMODEM 30 SPECS 18, 22 SRUN 26 Status Line 19 STIME.DAT 15 SUSER.DAT 15 Switch 8 SYSOP 12 Definition 1 Password 13, 24 Sign-on 13 Time-out 16 System Operator 12 TEXT 23 Text editor Examples 18 Tim 31 TIME 23 Add 13 Remove 13 Upload bonus 31 Time-Out Inactive user 16 Top lines Status 19 Top Notch 23 Total Configuration 6 Triangle 20 Ultra-Mode 14, 20 Upload Definition 3 Uploads Number of 17 User Inactive 15 User file 15 Userfile 15 USERS 23 VALIDATE 24 43
-- TIPS AND TRICKS FOR YOUR MESSAGES -- SENDING PRIVATE MESSAGES ------------------------ If you need privacy, you can set aside the remainder of a message, so that it can only be read by the people that you list. To declare the remainder of a message as private, start your line like this: .- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -. : <<JOE>> The rest of this message is : : for Joe, and only Joe can read it. : '- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -' You can list more than one person, as shown in this example: .- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -. : <<JOE><HAROLD>> Type your message : : here and only Joe & Harold see it. : '- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -' For example, let's say you've typed a few lines for general consumption, and wish to set aside the rest of the mes- sage for FREDDY, MARIO and BERNIE. You would do it this way: .- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -. : <<FREDDY><MARIO><BERNIE>> Hello! : : How are you, today? I am fine. : '- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -' If you want to make sure you understand this technique, send a private message that doesn't include your own name in the list. (Why should it, after all?) Then, use the SET command to go back a few minutes. Re-read your message. If you can't read the private section, you got it right! You can use this technique to reserve several "Privates" in one message. HOW TO TALK BEHIND SOMEBODY'S BACK ---------------------------------- This one's just for fun: you can set aside part of your message such that it can read only by people who AREN'T in the list of names. An example: let's say you're planning a surprise party for JOE and HAROLD. You'd put this in front of the relevant text: .- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -. : ><JOE><HAROLD>< Say, everybody, : : let's give Joe & Harold a party! : '- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -' ...and so forth. JOE and HAROLD would not be able to read the following text. WHEN YOU CAN'T FIT IT ALL ON ONE LINE ------------------------------------- If you simply can't fit all the names for a Private or an Exclusive on one 80 character line, simply stack them: .- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -. : <<JOE><HAROLD><MARY><KENNETH>> : : <<PHILBERT><ROGER><JOAN>> Okay, we : : launch our attack tonight at 8:00! : '- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -' USING SEVERAL GIMMICKS IN ONE MESSAGE ------------------------------------- You can freely mix Privates and Exclu- sives. Here's the way you'd type up a short message that uses all these tech- niques: .- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -. : Hello, everybody! Nice day, eh? : : Now, some Privates and Exclusives: : : : : <<BILL><JILL><PHIL><MORRIS><BORIS>> : : <<HARRY><MARY>> Hey, we are going : : to have a party for Fred and Joe! : : : : <<FRED><JOE>> Hi. Are you two : : available next Saturday? : : : : ><FRED><JOE>< Everybody, please : : don't mention to Fred and Joe that : : we're going to give them a party! : '- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -' CONCLUSION ---------- If all this sounds complicated to you, start by experimenting with simple pri- vate messages to one person. Then try some of the other tricks later on!
--- TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THIS SYSTEM --- NOTE: This article gives some detailed information about this system. It will enable you to do things faster and with less effort. However, this article does not cover techniques for composing messages. If you want to learn more about that subject, please refer to the GIMMICKS article. In any case ... here are a few pointers to help you use this system... COMMAND COMPLETION ------------------ You don't have to type the whole command. Just type enough to be recognizable. As an example: to use the READ command, you only have to type "R". MESSAGES -------- Messages and time on this system are identified by a DAY TIME combination. For example, if you wrote a message at noon on day 1000, the mes- sage would be known as 1000 12:00. By the way, the DAY value is the number of days since Jan. 1st, 1988. We keep track of our messages this way because it's a little more meaningful than an arbitrary "bulletin ID number". READING TEXT ------------ You can halt the output of messages and other text (such as this article) by pressing either CTL-S or the P key. To re-start, press any key. Whenever you're reading, you can also "gear-shift" the speed of the output by typing a number. 0 is "Top Speed", while 1 to 9 give you speeds between "Slow and Fast". You can also cancel output altogether by pressing some other key. When reading messages, however, the spacebar has a special function: it will skip what you're reading, and jump to the next message. For informatory text (like this), it will cancel the print-out. In fact, ANY text on this system that runs on for a while can be skipped over with the spacebar. This includes the message you see when you first connect. TEXT, NAMES & SET ----------------- These powerful com- mands enable you to restrict how much text you'll get when you do a READ. The NAMES command can be used to limit the messages to only those that were written by certain people. TEXT can be used to limit the messages to only those that contain certain text. Using all the message selection commands, you can greatly reduce the amount of read- ing you must do. For example: ==> NAMES MARY/HARRY/JOHN ==> TEXT PIANO/PIZZA/HOT DOG/CABBAGE ==> SET 150 0 ==> READ B The above commands, if used together, result in the command, "Show me all the messages in the Basic Membership base, in which Mary or Harry or John happened to mention, since midnight of day 150, a piano, or several types of food." In fact, NAMES, TEXT and SET, used in combination, affect many of the com- mands that are available. LEARN TO USE THEM. They will give you an enormous amount of control over the information you get from this system!
NEW USER INFORMATION This system is used as a private online club. It is our aim to bring people together for relaxed, entertaining con- versation. At the same time, we can serve as a way to obtain information: when there's something a member wants to know, he or she frequently finds that another member of the club can help out. ======================================= QUALIFYING FOR MEMBERSHIP Non-members do not have access to the all-important READ command. Their list of commands is short and simple: BYE ........ Disconnect from the system HELP .......... List available commands INFO ............. Display this article SEND .......... Let you write a message SPECS ........... Set your screen width You can use the SEND command to leave a message about yourself. You can tell us what interests you, or state your opinion on something. You can leave several messages, on several occasions, if you wish. We regularly read these messages from potential members. If we feel that you are the sort of person who would enjoy our company, we'll make you a member. In most cases, getting accepted for membership involves SENDing only two or three messages over the course of a few days. After you've introduced yourself in this way, call in every couple of days to check your membership level. (The membership level is reported at the start of your visit, right after the announcements, if any.) We're hoping you're just the right kind of person for our conversation club. Good luck! ======================================= DISCLAIMER This service is being presented on an "as is" basis, with no guarantees or warranties express or implied; the user is hereby informed that the operator does not accept responsibility for any circumstances such as may arise due to usage of this system. ======================================= For more information about this soft- ware and other fine products, write to: P I N N A C L E S O F T W A R E P.O. Box 386, Town of Mount Royal Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3P 3C6 =======================================
----------------------------------------------------------------------- -=( W E L C O M E T O T H E P I N N A C L E C L U B )=- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- |:: :| |. If you're looking for good conversation, great software and | |. the best online games in town, you've come to the right place! .| |:.. .::| ----------------------------------------------------------------------- -=( We're online day and night, 7 days a week, at 300 to 1200 baud! )=- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Please enter your full name. If you're a new user, press ? then return. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ----+----1----+----2----+----3----+----4----+----5----+----6----+----7----+---- ******************************************************************* ** ** ** W E L C O M E T O T H E P I N N A C L E C L U B ** ** ** ** We're open day and night, 7 days a week! 300 & 1200 baud! ** ** ** ******************************************************************* Please enter your full name. New users: press ? then press return. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ----+----1----+----2----+----3----+----4----+----5----+----6----+----7----+---- .-------. --- --- -----. .---------------------------------------. // // // // / / // //---// //-- / Online 24 hrs/day @ 300 - 2400 baud / // // // // / / --- --- --- ------' '---------------------------------------' ------. --- ---. --- ---. --- ---. .---. --- -----. // // // // : // // : // // : // ' // // //---' // // : // // : // //--: // // //-- // // // :// // :// // : // // // --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- '---' ------' ------' .---. --- --- -- ----. Please sign on with your full name. // // // // // / Aliases are not accepted at this // // // // //--: BBS. If you are a new user, please // // // // // : press ? then press the return key. '---' ------' '---' ------' ? ----+----1----+----2----+----3----+----4----+----5----+----6----+----7----+---- = = = = = = = = = = = P I N N A C L E = = = = = T H E = = = = = = = = C L U B = * = = = = = = = * = All day & night = 300 and 1200 baud --------------------------------------- Pinnacle Software also specializes in programming, computer sales, training, word processing and Lotus 1-2-3. For information, call us at (514) 331-6791. Ask for Tim Campbell. The first phone consultation is offered free of charge. Let us get you computing! Call today! --------------------------------------- Please enter your name. If you need any help, press ? then press RETURN. ----+----1----+----2----+----3----+----4 ===================================== == WELCOME TO THE PINNACLE CLUB == ===================================== Online at 300 and 1200 baud, evenings and nights, sometimes during the day. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ----+----1----+----2----+----3----+----4 LOGO FILE NOTES --------------- You can keep several logos in this file. A logo is a maximum of 20 lines long. If you don't need all 20 lines, you can mark the unneeded lines with a single question mark; this is demonstrated in some of the sample logos. You are heartily encouraged to name your BBS "The Pinnacle Club" -- provided there isn't another BBS with that name in your area. Think of it like "Club Med"! Wouldn't it be nice if, no matter what town you visited, you could quickly get to know folks by looking for their local chapter of The Pinnacle Club! So, by all means, use the name!
WELCOME TO THE PINNACLE CLUB ---------------------------- The Pinnacle Club is a conversation service. You can use this system to post messages that other people can read. If you have an opinion, or if you have a question that you've been wondering about ... The Pinnacle Club gives you a way to broadcast your words. --<=(*)=>-- We'll be returning to the sign-up procedure in a moment. When you're asked to type in your name, please type in a name that you feel comfor- table with. It's best to type in your real name, but if you would feel better maintaining some measure of anonymity, then it's all right to use a nick-name or a made-up name. The best name of all to use is simply your first name. We're all on first- name terms, here. If you are asked for a password when you enter your name, that means some- body else has reserved that name. So you'll have to choose a different name. For example, if your name is Richard Smith, and somebody is already using that name, you could sign up as Dick, or Richie, or Richard S. --<=(*)=>-- This service is brought to you by: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - P I N N A C L E S O F T W A R E - - P.O. Box 386, Town of Mount Royal - - Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3P 3C6 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
NOTICE: The system operator claims absolutely no responsibility whatsoever for the presence of any software obtainable on this system, nor any respon- sibility for damages arising from the obtaining or use of such software.
NOTICE: It is entirely your responsibility to ensure that you have permission to upload this software. The system operator claims no responsibility for the illegal transfer of software, under any circumstances. By uploading this software, you declare the system operator free from any liability for damages attributable thereto.
Volume in drive A has no label Directory of A:\ ARCE COM 7128 2-06-88 3:13a FILE1833 TXT 2073 12-22-89 2:23p GO BAT 38 1-01-80 1:37a GO TXT 540 1-01-80 4:00a INSTALL BAT 1495 7-31-89 3:22p QUERY COM 128 1-27-86 5:35a SAPPH111 ARC 230598 8-29-89 10:29a SAPPH112 ARC 93700 7-31-89 3:39p 8 file(s) 335700 bytes 21504 bytes free