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Spokane Chronicle from Spokane, Washington • Page 14
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Spokane Chronicle from Spokane, Washington • Page 14

Spokane Chroniclei
Spokane, Washington
Issue Date:
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14 Spokane Chronicle, July 19, 1984 This war is called software security Spaghetti can help to reduce excess appetite for software Ann Personal computing By SHERWOOD ANDERSON Staff writer eibL take about five minutes for data entry alone. Using SAG is easier: Pick up the spaghetti in one hand and bring the bunch down sharply on a flat surface. The strand that sticks up highest is the longest. And the spaghetti is also sorted from longest to shortest. Just draw the strands one by one, always picking the highest.

The point here is that just because something may be done by computer does not mean it should be done by computer. A person who saves recipes from newspapers can probably get along fine with an accordion file from the stationers. Chances are good that person will have stored the data before another using a recipe-storing program will have finished recopying the article. For most people, the same principle may apply to sorting other household information. There just may not be enough volume to justify spending $20-30 for a program to do this this sort of task.

By LARRY BLASKO Associated Press Before buying a program to do something around the house, one should consider the instructive tale of the SAG (Spaghetti Analog Gadget) computer. Outlined with wit by A.K. Dewdney in the June issue of Scientific American, SAG is limited in scope but can perform some functions much faster than its now-fashionable digital cousins. Borrowing from Dewdney's idea, it works like this: Suppose the problem is to sort a couple of hundred pieces of spaghetti and find the longest piece. This is special spaghetti, and each piece is thoughtfully inscribed with its length in millimeters.

If you want to use a digital computer to do this, say the IBM PC, you write a program allowing you to input all the lengths of the spaghetti and then run a sorting algorithm that would sort them from highest to lowest. This is going to When I bought my Kaypro, I benefited from the company's generous bundling policy, which aims to bury the proud new owner under a small avalanche of useful software. Common to all the on-disk tutorials, manuals and booklets in that sprawling collection is a reminder: Copy the master disk before using; store the master disk in a safe and separate place. Would that this combination of generosity and benevolent authoritarianism were universal in the microcomputer world. In truth, outside the comfortable realm of bundleware, there is a harsher world where software producers and retailers get ripped off with depressing regularity.

There are warnings on my software about how the programs are solely for my use, not to be resold or given away, etc. Some producers term my possession of the stuff a lease arrangement, with the company retaining actual ownership. But really, unless I were so bold as to start black-, marketeering stolen programs on a commercial scale, I'm sure I could get away with murder. As things stand, there are just enough chiselers out there to cause many software producers to "copy protect" their products. What that can mean is that you buy a software package for $89, $299, or even $595 and learn that you can't copy it because it contains sabotage code.

If anything happens to your one-and-only you must contact the company for another copy, which will cost you time and money. And heaven help you if you forgot to register your purchase of the original. A kindlier scheme allows for the making of one or a very limited number of copies before something goes phhhht. That's better, but still more risky and less convenient than the honor system. Some software producers have opted for the "dongle" approach to copy protection.

A dongle is a coded plug or key device you insert successful invasion of the product's privacy. So, as in the Cold War, the ones who end up paying the tab for all this conflict are the average, honest individuals the majority who just want to go about their business, neither doing anyone in nor being done in. So far, no one has asked me to run off a copy of WordStar, or pass along a Word Plus. It might be nice to save someone the $245 to $300 WordStar would cost (or the MO for The Word Plus). To that person, I suppose I would be a hero of sorts.

The trouble is, to myself I'd be something less. Much less. Maybe somewhere in that belief lies the closest thing there is to real software security. -1111- Following along on the subject of software security: There is a store in town that just may have attained the ultimate. Bits Bytes Nibbles has relocated within Northtown, from a spot facing Division Street to attractive new digs on the south side of the mall complex.

At one end of the store, built into the wall and sealed with a massive steel door, is a regulation-size bank vault. new spot was once occupied by an Old National Bank branch, and it was evidently less expensive for all concerned just to leave the vault as it was. Another feature of the new store is a mezzanine-level classroom, converted from office space. is willing to talk to anyone interested in using that space to conduct microcomputer-related classes or seminars. in one of the computer's ports when running the protected program.

No dongle, no program RUN, you see so illicit copies won't do others much good. This is a good system, provided you don't lose or damage the dongle. Some outfits sell highly sophisticated copy-making programs to get around the various copy-protection schemes. These copy-makers "tickle" the software to find out what sort of protection it contains, then systematically work to defeat that protection. The upshot of all this is a parallel to the Cold War, with opposing sides going to increasingly elaborate and expensive measures to gain the elusive final advantage.

Thus, the consumer in search of an effective copy-making program may spend big bucks only to learn that the software maker is one step ahead in the race. The software maker has to pay for the time and effort required to come up with increasingly complex protection strategies for the company's programs. And there have been dark mutterings that some copy protection schemes are so arcane, and the defeat programs required to overcome them so involved, that excessive wear on the disk drive head can occur even during a Computer gadget does watering Chicago Tribune controls, he used a computer microprocessor to develop his own watering control device, the RainMatic. The microprocessor in the unit allows the user to program up to eight watering periods a day for each day of the week. The hose screws into the battery-operated RainMatic, which in turn screws onto the faucet.

The $59 product (item A1080) is available from Tools for Living, 400 S. Dean Englewood, N.J. 07631. Are you thinking of cancelling a planned vacation because there's no one to trust with watering those prize-winning roses? Are the high bills you get from your lawn service for tending your turf while you are away the dande; lions on the lawn of your life? Such were the thoughts of an Omaha man who searched in vain for a timer to turn his sprinkler on and off. Finding nothing on the market except expensive under: ground systems with automatic olta 1111 1 iiimmor 1'1 WIPi "Fig i i 3 1:4: $4 a.

1 t- rill (91Talt 11-11 illouiTi i Ir7 i ii le iiiii 11 CorWalgt mimplci xrelk Iti Yll' lakit 1 111101 frrAi 4 4IP' li 1 1 lire 11 i bUllb 1 Oi NIL 0 1 0 MO 1 'V fiA, Ilk. II I ir I Tape Ty Mart 1 a nittc, Philippines military charges Catholic priest MANILA, Philippines (AP) Marcos, a governr The military has filed subversion said today. charges against a Roman Catholic The alliance is a has belonging to a group which politicians, churcl as organized demonstrations and students seekin against President Ferdinand E. enc' rillp Marcos, a government said today. The alliance is politicians, churchmen, and students seeking rule.

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