Stretch your mind online. (COMPUTE/NET) (Column)
by Richard C. Leinecker
I relish every conversation that stretches my imagination and feeds my creativity. But these conversations are sometimes few and far between. That's why I love the COMPUTE/NET bulletin board on GEnie. At any time of day or night, I can participate in the most stimulating discussions around. We cover logic riddles, quantum physics, metaphysical topics, and language-related issues. And if that's not enough, you can start your own topic.
There's an extra bonus to this type of communication media. Ongoing conversations can be read for months. That way, anyone reading the messages for the first time can go back to the beginning, read what's happened, and get right into the swing of things.
To find what I'm talking about, log on to GEnie, type COMPUTE and arrive at the COMPUTE/NET main menu, pick the first menu choice, and set to category 2. You'll be in the COMPUTE/NET bulletin board category 2, Cerebrations of the Mind.
Here's one interesting question found withint the Logic Puzzle topic. (Someone actually got it right, and if you read the messages in this topic, you'll find out what the answer is.) A man is in a room with two doors. Beside each door is a computer. The man knows that the first door leads to freedom and the second to a horrible fate. Tha man also knows that one of the computers always lies and the other alwats tells the truth. The last thing he knows is that there's only enough power for one answer from one computer. What single question can the man ask in order to achieve his freedom?
Here's a question in the Paradox Box topic that sparked hot debate. The barber shaves only those men who don't shave themselves. Who shaves the barber? Among some of the comments were the following: "The barber isn't in the set of those men who don't shave themselves and therefore does shave himself." What do you think?
My favorite of the topics is Minds and Computers. The discussion is primarily concerned with the question of whether computers can or will ever be able to think. There are lots of comments about the need for more powerful computers and why the human spirit can't exist within silicon.
There are more practicale categories than these brain benders. One is devoted to introductory DOS topics, and another covers DOS hints and tips. You'd be surprised at how many valuable and useful things you can pick up in thse categories. I learned about loading TSRs and device drivers into high memory with DOS 5.0. There are some informative conversations about installing equipment, too. And you'll encounter some controversy over hard drive types.
For the programmers or programmer wannabes, there's the Programming Power category. The well-known languages are all covered. If you read through the messages, you'll see questions and answers on a wide range of subjects. There are even examples of how to load PCX pictures. If you've read Tom Campbell's "Programming Power," this area will be of special interest to you. Tom frequents this category and will answer any of your programming questions.
This month's COMPUTE/NET choice downloads is TurboPaint, a full-featured paint program you won't believe. Hercules, CGA, EGA, Tandy 16-color, VGA, and Super VGA video modes are supported. And it loads PCX, IFF (LBM), and GIF file formas. One of the really cool things about it is that you don't have to have a mouse to use it. Keyboard and joystick support included.
All of the draw tools are there. Line, box, airbrush, cut-and-paste, text, and fill tools, along with plenty more, give you all your need to draw professional-looking pictures. You can even use the draw tools in the magnify mode. Some special effects will help you with your drawing/ You can automatically mirror draw operations or add automatic shadows in different colours, too. One nice feature TurboPaint has that's missing from most other paint programs is the ability to define custom line and fill patterns.
Here's one thing you'll really like. You can change video modes without quitting the program. An for programmers, there's a special animation feature that lets you design images for use by other programs.
And early version of TurboPaint was featured in COMPUTE magazine. It was a good program then and has gone through several revisions since. Now it could give DeluxePaint and PC Paintbruch a real run for their money. To find TurboPaint, get on COMPUTE/NET on America Online or GEnie and go to the software library. Then download the file TPAINT 21.ZIP. Use PKUNZIP to decompress it into the individual files.
If you have any questions or comments about COMPUTE/NET, you can write to me here at COMPUTE in Greensboro or send E-mail to me on GEnie, address RLEINECKER; America Online, screen name Rick CL; or CompuServe, user ID 75300,2104. I'll look forward to hearing from you.