Frequently asked questions about Blue Wave

Latest update 2000-03-10.


Moderators of BLUEWAVE are Steve Stacher <2:443/888> and Gary Gilmore <1:2410/400>

0. TABLE OF CONTENTS

. NOTES

All information about the Blue Wave reader applies version 2.20 or later, unless otherwise stated.

I don't get paid for this, so don't sue me if it doesn't work :)

1. WHAT IS AVAILABLE?

1.1 Is there a Windows version of Blue Wave?

No, there isn't. The DOS and 386 versions run nicely in DOS sessions from Windows, but they are not true Windows applications. There are, however some Blue Wave compatible mail readers for Windows. Look for WaveRider, PacketBoy, SemPoint or BWExplorer. There are also SkyReader and MultiMail, which come in Windows 9x/NT versions, but are text based (no graphical interface).

1.2 Which version should I use on my machine? The DOS, 386 or OS/2 version?

The DOS version will run on any PC with DOS (like MS-DOS, PC-DOS, DR-DOS or Windows 9x) installed (or an environment that can emulate DOS, like OS/2, DOSEMU, Windows NT). The 386 version runs in DOS protected-mode and requires a 386 processor, or better. The main difference between the two is that the 386 version can access more memory, and thus can handle larger messages. Try them out, and see which one works best with your system.

The OS/2 version requires OS/2 version 2.0 or later. If you use OS/2, this is the best choice.

1.3 Are there Blue Wave products for other computers?

Not from Cutting Edge Computing, but there are Blue Wave compatible programs, at least for Amiga (Thor, Q-Blue, AmyBW) and MacIntosh (Alice). MultiMail will run on a wide variety of systems (mostly Unix). There are also other products for PC computers. See my product listing postings in this echo.

The product list is also available on the World Wide Web at http://www.softwolves.pp.se/faq/bwprod.htm

2. COMMON PROBLEMS & KNOWN BUGS

2.1 When I try to open/close a packet, I get an error message stating "no command line found, please check setup". How can I fix this?

You have forgotten to set up your archivers. If they are in the system path, they will be installed automatically into Blue Wave when you installed it, otherwise, you have to edit them manually.

Enter the setup mode from the main menu, and choose the Archivers menu. Here you can add the command lines for the compressing programs you use. For more informaion, see the online help (accesible via the F1 key).

2.2 I can't re-edit my messages once they are written, the editor won't find the messages. I use Blue Wave 2.20.

This is a known bug in Blue Wave 2.20, it won't pass the complete command line to the editor while editing replies. The easiest fix is to upgrade to Blue Wave 2.30.

2.3 My packet/area overrides are not recognized in Blue Wave 2.21! Only the last edited area's changes are active.

This is a known bug in Blue Wave 2.21. It is fixed in version 2.30.

2.4 My keyword files don't work! It won't search the places I want to. I do have the correct letters in the brackets before the words. I use Blue Wave 2.20.

Blue Wave 2.20 only supports flags written in uppercase, i.e [t] won't work while [T] will. This bug is fixed in Blue Wave 2.21 and later.

2.5 I won't get any signature or taglines in my messages with Blue Wave 2.20 no matter how much I try. Is this a registered-only feature, or what?

No, it's a bug. Version 2.20 wouldn't add anything after having encountered an End-Of-File marker used by certain editors. Upgrade to 2.21, or later, where this bug is fixed.

2.6 How do I get Blue Wave to run from Windows?

2.6.1 Windows 3.x

Open your favourite program group, select File New from the Program Manager's menu, and set it up like this:

 Description:       Blue Wave Offline Mail Reader      [or whatever]
 Command Line:      BWAVE.EXE
 Working Directory: [enter your path to BW here, like C:\BLUEWAVE]
 Shortcut key:      None                               [or whatever]

If you want an icon, select "Change Icon", then "Browse" and load one of the .ICO files.

See question 2.13 on how to set up a multiple user system.

2.6.2 Windows 95/98/NT

Just create a shortcut to the BWAVE.EXE file.

If you want an icon, right-click, select "Properties", "Change Icon", then "Browse" and load one of the .ICO files.

 See question 2.13 on how to set up a multiple user system.

2.7 When I use the tagging option, sometimes the highlight bar moves up and sometimes down after I have tagged something. Is this a bug or what?

No, it's supposed to work like that. It's documented in the online help.

2.8 Why don't I get all messages in my download packets? I have the door set to download Personal+All messages.

The Personal+All setting is NOT "personal message + all others", but "personal message and those ADDRESSED to 'All'". Change it to "All", which will give you all new messages in that area.

2.9 When I go back to view my own messages that I saved before uploading, the email address I used is missing from the To: field in the message header. This has happened since starting to use ver 2.20 and now 2.30 and the new INET area on the Bluewave door of the BBS I use. The messages are delivered ok. Is this a bug?

So it seems. Blue Wave 2.30 seems to be using the "mto" (receivers name) field in the UPL file when writing a reply message to a text file. However, when it comes to Internet messages, this field is blank, and the field "net_dest" is used instead.

2.10 How do I combine several packets to one big?

The Blue Wave reader can't do this, but there are programs written for this. For Blue Wave style packets, David Gersic's BWSAVE or Ian Binnie's BWCOMB can do the job. For QWK style packets, look for CATQWK.

Please note that you can not combine packets from different BBSes to one.

2.11 The messages in the Blue Wave reply packets I upload always get incorrect time stamps!

Check if you have any TZ (timezone) environment variable set. If you do, try removing it before running Blue Wave. If you don't, try using "SET TZ=GMT0". If none of these two gets the correct time, ask the SysOp of the BBS where you are having the problems what timezone he/she has set up, up, and use the same setup.

2.12 Several packets get the same statistics, even though they ought to be different!

The packets have the same time stamp. Since file names can change, the reader uses the file date and time to determine which packet is which. Change the time stamp and re-open each packet, and it will be correct.

2.13 How can I setup multiple users in Blue Wave, so that one's settings won't affect the other's?

Set up one configuration for each person that uses Blue Wave, with the data and work directories set to different ones. You can select the configuration file at startup by specifying a file name after the program name, like:

 BWAVE JOHNDOE.CFG

If you'll be downloading from the same BBSes, you also need to have separate download and upload directories, in which case you also will need to configure the communications software to accomodate this.

2.14 I'm uploading messages to a CamMail Blue door, and all my Internet e-mail messages comes up with a blank receiver address!

This probably is related to 2.9. It would seem as the CamMail door thinks that the e-mail address is to be stored in the mto field, when it really is in the net_dest field. A bug in CamMail.

3. REGISTRATION ISSUES

3.1 I'm a registered user of Blue Wave 2.12 and my registration key won't work with 2.20 or later. How can I fix this?

Versions 2.20 and later have a completely new registration scheme, and you have to get an updated key. This upgrade was free the first few months after version 2.20's release, but now it will cost you money. Check the registration forms included with your copy of Blue Wave for more details.

Please note that this echo is not a forum for registration questions. Take it directly via snailmail or phone with the registration site.

3.2 I registered, but the reader will not accept my registration key!

Firstly, make sure that you are installing the key into the correct version. There are three different versions of the Blue Wave reader, and all of them use different registration codes. You cannot put a BWDOS code into BW386, and vice versa.

Secondly, make sure you have typed the key exactly as given on the paper you received. See if you have substituted any I (letter i) for 1 (one), or O (letter o) for 0 (zero), or similar. The name entered must also be spelled in the exact same way as it was on the registration form.

Thirdly, make sure it is not a temporary key you are installing, they stop working after a while. Temporary keys are issued to quickly get the reader registered, not having to wait for credit card orders to clear, and such.

3.3 I registered, but my messges still shows [NR] in the tear-line!

You need to remove your .NEW packet for this to disappear. The registration status is encoded in a file in this packet, and it is only written when a new packet is created. You can set the Blue Wave reader to ask you whether to keep the old packet by setting "Add to existing upload packets" to "Ask" in "Message Entry Preferences" from the "Preferences" menu.

3.4 Where, exactly, do I register, nowadays?

Cutting Edge Computing is no longer accepting registrations of Blue Wave. The registration business has been taken over by Steve Stacher in the United Kingdom. He can be contacted via Fidonet netmail at 2:443/888 or via Internet e-mail at snowman@snowcave.com

Registration can also be done via the web at http://www.snowcave.com/

A FAQ about registration is posted regurarly by Steve Stacher himself. Please read it for more details.

4. WHAT ABOUT THE INTERNET?

4.1 Where can I find information about Blue Wave on the Internet?

The homepage of the registration site is http://www.snowcave.com/

4.2 My Internet e-mail to Cutting Edge Computing bounced! Have they changed their address?

Cutting Edge Computing/George Hatchew is not reachable via e-mail. Please make inquiries to the registration site as described in question 3.4.

4.3 Where on the Internet can I get the Blue Wave programs?

Cutting Edge Computing's product line can be found on the WWW as described above.

4.4 How do I send netmail to the Internet via Blue Wave?

First of all, find your closest Internet gateway (ask your sysop). For zone 1, there's no default gateway, for zone 2, there is. I don't know about the other zones. If there isn't a local gateway, or your sysop doesn't subscribe to the main gate, you're out of luck. You might consider subscribing to an Internet provider.

Send your mail addressed to "UUCP" with the gateway's address as the netmail destination address. On the first text line put

 To: the@internet.address

with the "T" in To at the very left margin. Some gateways require you to leave the next line blank, and some gateways allow you to enter the internet address on the To line if it's shorter than 35 characters.

The return address will be your.name@[p<point>].n<node>.f<net>.z<zone>. fidonet.org , where the p<point> stuff is left off if you don't have a point address. My address is Peter.Karlsson@f54.n210.z2.fidonet.org. Please also note that not all nets have default gateways, so it might not be able to return the mail. Try it first.

If your SysOp uses a Blue Wave mail door version 3.10 or later, ask him/her to install an Internet gateway area.

4.5 Can I read my Internet mail and newsgroups in Blue Wave?

If your Internet provider has a program called "uqwk" (or if you have direct SMTP and NNTP (?) connection, you can run it on your local system), you can create QWK packets that can be read with Blue Wave.

UQWK can also create SOUP packages which are better suited for the Internet. Blue Wave can't read those, but at least some other Blue Wave compatible readers can do that (wsOMR, SkyReader, MultiMail). There are more programs available to create SOUP packages, but these are beyond the scope of this FAQ.

If you have OS/2, a combination of either NewsWave or Soup2Sq and Martin Pollard's OMX could do the trick. NewsWave can create Squish message bases either from a direct SLIP connection, or via SOUP packets. Soup2Sq only handles SOUP. OMX can then create Blue Wave packets from these message bases.

Of course, if your BBS provides e-mail and newsgroups via a gateway, and has QWK or Blue Wave capabilities, you can read them via Blue Wave.

5. BLUE WAVE PACKETS VS. QWK PACKETS

5.1 My BBS doesn't have a Blue Wave mail door, but it has a QWK door. Can I use this with my Blue Wave reader?

Yes. You can. The Blue Wave reader can handle Blue Wave and QWK type packets. However, QWK does not support all the features that Blue Wave does, for example, the name and subject fields are shorter, and there is no standardized way to send netmail. See Blue Wave's online help (press <F1>) for more information on this issue.

5.2 How do I send netmail via my QWK door?

Look in the online documentation, many of the most common mail doors are listed.

5.3 Is Blue Wave compatible with the QWK format?

The Blue Wave Offline Mail READER can process either Blue Wave or QWK packets. The Blue Wave Offline Mail DOOR can only create Blue Wave packets (except for version 4, only available for PCBoard).

6. BLUE WAVE OFFLINE MAIL READER FEATURES

6.1 My taglines are all messed up, in a long file that takes ages to load. Can anybody help?

Break your big tagline file up into several smaller files. How you do that is not important, you can have different subjects in different files, or just have all that starts with the letter 'A' in one file. Just do it the way you like.

Then create a "main" tagline file, that contains a number of [ALTLIST] statements. Such a statement points to a new file that will be loaded if you press Enter with the cursor on that line (or click the mouse).

Example:

 [ALTLIST]C:\TAGLINES\STARTREK.TAG
 [ALTLIST]C:\TAGLINES\STARWARS.TAG
 [ALTLIST]C:\TAGLINES\RELIGION.TAG

Those three tagline files would then be accesible from the main tagline selection screen.

Please note that Blue Wave's dupe checking will only work on the file you add the new tagline to, it will not check the other files!

6.2 I like being able to have my reply packets open all the time while switching between message packets, however, before I shell out to my comms program, I would like to pack them up. Can I do that without exiting the reader?

Certainly. Just press Alt-X and choose the "Pack replies, do not exit" option from the pop up menu.

6.3 Can I attach files to my messages?

Well, the Blue Wave structures allow you to set a file attach flag and include files in the packet, but this is not yet possible in any of the Blue Wave doors [that I know of] or in any reader except Q-Blue, so you're out of luck there. Some QWK doors allow file-attaches to be done, but the methods for that differs from QWK door to QWK, since it's not standardized there.

File attaching may still be done on-line. As long as the SysOp allows it, of course.

As to downloading files that are attached to messages addressed to you, you're in much of the same thing there. The current Blue Wave doors won't include attached files, you will have to get them manually. Some QWK doors will include them, if so, they will be placed in the .QWK packet, and you will find them uncompressed in your work directory while reading. Either switch to another session and move them to a better place, or drop to DOS if you're using a singletasking operating system.

The Blue Wave Compatible mail doors TGWave, PCBWave and ReneWave by Lars Hellsten are supposed to support file attaches, and so does OLMS by Multiboard Communications. The Amiga Blue Wave compatible door XenoBlue (version 0.58 and later) and reader AmyBW (version 2.15) by Jos van Oijen and Richard de Vos also supports it.

6.4 Can I use Blue Wave with my point system?

Not directly, you need a program to create Blue Wave mail packets from your message bases. Either get Martin Pollard's Offline Mail Executive, or set up a BBS system and a Blue Wave door (they can be used in local mode).

A program that can directly convert incoming PKT files to Blue Wave packets, called Indigo, has been written by the author of this FAQ. See the product list for details.

6.5 Can I convert my Blue Wave packages to message bases?

There is, to the best of my knowledge, only one that can do that, SemPoint for Windows. It can toss Blue Wave packets to Squish-style message bases, and can create .NEW (reply) packets back from messages written in those bases, even if you write them with another program.

The author of this FAQ has written a program that converts Blue Wave packets to PKT file for tossing with any tosser, and converting the outgoing PKT files to a Blue Wave reply file. It's called Surf/Blue.

6.6 The Blue Wave documentation states that it is 'speech compatible', yet I can't make it speak my messages with my SoundBlaster card.

Blue Wave's speech capabilities are created in respect to special speech hardware cards and screen readers that are used by blind computer users. It is not compatible with SoundBlaster or similar cards.

6.7 Can I turn off the line that says "Blue Wave" in the bottom of my messages?

For the QWK format, you can, but only if you are registered. Set "Suppress QWK tear lines" in "Message Entry Preferences" to Yes.

When it comes to the Blue Wave format, the adding of the name is a function of the door, not the reader. Cutting Edge Computing's doors all add the reader name to the message, and there's nothing that can be done about it. However, some mail tossers might be replacing that line when exporting it, so it is possible that that line only exist on local messages.

6.8 I have a message in my reply packet that is not quite finished. I would like to upload the rest of the messages, though. Is there a simple approach to this?

Go into the View replies display, and mark the message as deleted. Then exit the display, but answer "No" to the question whether you want to purge the deleted messages. The message will stay, but is marked deleted. The Blue Wave doors honour this flag and will not process the message. When you have edited it, remove the Delete mark and it will upload.

This will only work in Blue Wave mode, and has only been tested on Cutting Edge Computing Blue Wave doors, if someone has gotten it to work/not gotten it to work on compatible doors, please tell me.

7. SETTING UP EXTERNAL PROGRAMS WITH BLUE WAVE

7.1 I hate the TED3 editor that came with Blue Wave, can I change it? If so, what should I change to?

Yes you can, Blue Wave can use any text editor that can read and write normal text files. Change to the editor you like the best. This is a matter of personal taste.

(Of course, Fidonet prefers unbound messages, using hard carriage returns only at paragraph endings, why editors that do not put in hard carriage returns after each line are preferable (This document doesn't conform to this, because the my program to convert this to HTML format for web publishing won't handle lines longer than 255 characters))

7.2 Can I plug my spell checker into Blue Wave?

Yes, Blue Wave has the capability to call a spell checker after a message has been entered. It's well documented in the documentation and online help. ShareSpell seems to be quite common, so if you want help on setting it up, I'm sure someone will know how to.

7.3 How do I use WordPerfect as an editor with Blue Wave?

First off, see to that you add a commercial at character ("@") in front of the command line in the setup. It should look something like "@C:\WP51\WP.EXE /m-text.wpf /d-c:\temp" (change the paths accordingly). /d- tells WP where to put the temporary files, and /m- tells it to invoke a macro called text.wpf automatically at startup.

This macro is used to set the margins to fit DOS text files, and looks like this: {Display off}{Format}170{Enter}1.45{Enter}{Enter}

You might also want to use a macro for saving the messages, to save them as DOS text. Some suggestions follows:

 {Spell}3 TTYL{Enter}{Enter}Your name{Enter}{Text In/Out}11{Enter}y{Exit}ny
          ^---insert your signature here---^

This macro will not work in releases of WP5.1 of 89-11-14. Some other suggestions that might work are listed below. You might also want to have a macro when you go back and re-edit your messages, one suggestion is: {Text In/Out}11{Enter}y{Exit}ny

Here are some other suggestions for the save macro:

 {ASSIGN}fname~{SYSTEM}name~~{ASSIGN}fpath~{SYSTEM}path~~{Text
 In/Out}11{VARIABLE}fpath~{VARIABLE}fname~{Enter}y{Exit}ny
 {Text In/Out}11{Retrieve}{Enter}y{Exit}ny
 {Spell}3{Enter}{Text In/Out}11{Retrieve}{Enter}y{Exit}ny

I do not know if this will work with any versions of WordPerfect than the American release.

7.4 Can I use a Windows text edit for Blue Wave messages?

If you have Windows 9x, you can start a Windows editor using the START command. Please note, though, that DOS and Windows uses different character set, which might get you into trouble if writing in non-English echo areas.

8. DOOR ISSUES

8.1 My high-bit characters are stripped when uploading via Blue Wave doors versions 3.10 and higher. This did not happen in version 3.0x.

This is not a bug, it's a feature :-) The 3.1x doors honour the BBS settings on whether high-bit characters are allowed or not. If the echo should allow high-bit characters, ask the sysop to change the message area configuration.

8.2 The To: field in my messages that are processed by the OLMS Blue Wave compatible door version 2.52 and earlier start with "Reply:". It looks okay before it gets uploaded.

Ask your SysOp to upgrade to OLMS 2.53 or newer, where this problem is corrected. As a temporary fix, turn off extended information (kludges).

8.3 The To: field is changed to "All" in all uploaded messages using the Blue Wave 3.10 door for QuickBBS and SuperBBS

This is a bug in these doors. Ask your Sysop to upgrade to 3.11 or newer.

8.4 My local BBS has installed a new version of the door, and now I can no longer use AmyBW (Amiga Blue Wave compatible reader) to read my packets! Can anybody help?

This patch by Stephen Marsden will make AmyBW 2.11 ignore the packet revision level:

Use a file editor such as NewZap or Zap. Goto location 26982 and you should see the digits $55006726. Change the $55 to $42 so you should now have $42006726. Save the file and away you go.

The 2.14 version can also be patched, but the location is 27360.

The 2.15 version will accept level 3 packets.

8.5 Users of Blue Wave 2.12 are experiencing problems when trying to reply to messages created by the Blue Wave door v3.20 for Maximus. The reader can't create the reply files.

This occurs due to the Maximus area division system using periods (".") in the area numbers. Version 2.12 of the reader used the format <areano>.<msgno> for the reply files, and DOS can not handle file names with more than one period. Either don't use area divisions, or convince your users to upgrade to a later version of the reader.

8.6 My Blue Wave door for Maximus 3 can't find the area files, what shall I do?

Make sure you specify the full paths in the Maximus area setup. The Blue Wave door will not work with relative paths.

8.7 In the Blue Wave Offline Mail Door 4.00 for PCBoard, the To: field of netmail messages look weird. Is this a bug?

Yes. It is corrected in 4.01.

9. BLUE WAVE AND YEAR 2000

9.1 Is Blue Wave "year 2000 compliant"?

Blue Wave is known to have problems with QWK reply packets when the system date is in the year 2000, it overflows the two-digit field with a three-digit number, causing the rest of the reply packet to be offsetted, and thus becoming incorrect. A fix for this problem is available, see 9.3.

It appears to be handling incoming QWK packets with the year 2000 correctly.

In Blue Wave mode, it seems to be working correctly, but the Blue Wave doors are experiencing problems, see 9.4

9.2 What about the Blue Wave file format?

The date is used in two places in the Blue Wave file format, in the download packets and in the upload packets. The format of the stamp is different, so they will be discussed separately.

9.2.1 What about the date field in the download packets?

This is how the date field in the download packets are described in the official developer specificiations:

"The date and time the message was written. There is no exact format required for this field; it is mainly used for display purposes in the reader. We recommend the use of the Fido date format ("DD MMM YY HH:MM:SS"), if possible."

From this we can draw the conclusion that since this field cannot be relied upon anyway, the readers shouldn't try to parse it, and if they don't, they can't get year 2000 wrong anyway...

9.2.2 What about the date field in the upload packets?

Since the reader doesn't need to care about how the dates are stored on the system where the messages are uploaded, the date is stored in this way in the upload packets:

"The date and time the message was written, stored Unix style as the number of seconds since January 1, 1970. Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) should be taken into account when storing and using this value (the date and time functions in many C compilers handle this automatically)."

This field has no problems with year 2000. However, since it is stored as a signed 32-bit integer, it will break in year 2038, when the number of seconds overflow.

The Blue Wave reader does display the year 2000 as 100 when looking at outbound mail in Blue Wave format. This, however, is only a cosmetic problem.

9.3 Are there any fixes available?

Dale Shipp has written a program to fix the damage that BlueWave does when creating reply packets for QWK packets.

The program is available for FTP download from ftp://ftp.min.net/users/dale/bwrf060.zip and for FREQ from (at least) 1:396/45 as bwrf060.zip, and via ftp-by-mail from fileserv@net396.fidonet.org, "Get bwrf060.zip" in body of message.

9.4 What about the Blue Wave doors?

The Blue Wave door for Maximus has been reported to not only not work correctly, but also to corrupt message bases. Doors for other BBSes seems also to have failed.

A workaround has been presented by Gary Crain <1:382/92>; It involves disabling upload in the Blue Wave door, and instead having the users uploading their *.NEW reply packets to the file area, and then tossing the uploaded packages via OMX. Downloads still work flawlessly.

One Blue Wave compatible door that does work is the one included in EzyCom.

9.5 What about other readers?

Year 2000 compliance of other offline readers is beyond the scope of this FAQ. The web page http://www.kannoncom.com/~jhanoian/readers/read-y2k.htm contains the results from tests of common QWK and Blue Wave based readers.

10. NETIQUETTE

10.1 I have asked a question here in BLUEWAVE and have received many interesting and stimulating answers. Should I thank everyone who has helped me?

It's up to you. It is considered in good form to thank for help, but remember of this: please use netmail, or if you feel that you want to say thank you in the echo - write only one message. Nobody will be happy over fifteen "thank you" in a row.

10.2 When I quote other people's texts, should I include lines such as "--- Blue Wave/OS2 2.30" and that below?

No. Don't quote more than what is absolutely necessary to remind the readers about what the text you're replying to is about.

10.3 I'm a newbie on Bluewave, and I have questions that probably are too stupid to be asked in the echo. What should I do?

There is no such thing as a stupid question! We have all been newbies once!

11. FAQ CONTRIBUTORS

Thanks to:

Gary Cooper <1:255/13>, Chris Langmore <2:440/1>, Lars Hellsten <1:259/412>, Carl Cason <1:343/70>, Dennis McCunney <1:124/2113>, Kees Gortmaker <2:281/404>, Jos Van Oijen <2:284/613>, Don Alt <1:114/428>, William McBrine <1:106/2000>, Bat Lang <1:382/92.222>

All information in this FAQ is given without any warranties whatsoever of its correctness. The FAQ collector can not be held responsible for any damages caused by using the information contained herein.


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Peter Karlsson