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"MyNet - Anywhere!"  -   FAQ (frequently asked questions)
 


This item is actually a little bit more than a FAQ - it is trying to give answers and to deal with subjects often not mentioned anywhere else. Naturally this item is submitted to changes whenever the need arises. We will therefore put the latest version on our website for downloading  (  http://bluesoftware.tripod.com/faq_english.html  )

[ We will also distribute it on regular basis to all institutions who are evaluating our products at the moment. ]
 

To get a feeling for the basic functions PLEASE start with an installation of:  "MyInfo  ..."

 http://bluesoftware.tripod.com/myinfo.zip

You can re-use your data with "MyNet - Anywhere!" by copying the ".tps" files to c:\tbsc or the location you have choosen.
 



 

Topics of this FAQ so far:

 Why can't the application be installed the "usual" way ( ... something like: setup.exe etc. )
 Why is there no help file for the application ?
 How do I find my way around ?
 What are the pre-requisites to use the application ?
 Practical usage of our application
 Can I do serious work with the evaluation copy ? - YES you can !
 What is a project ?
 How many projects can I have (develop) on my machine ?
 How do I perform searches in my database files ?
 Where do I find the underlying structure of my database files (file name, field names, file sizes etc. to do reporting etc. ?

[ This list will be continued on a regular basis - we are also grateful for any feedback. ]



 

Installation: Why can't the application be installed the "usual" way (something like: setup.exe etc.) ?

The reason for this is that our application provides a "framework" for the individual user to gather, store and process "data" to retrieve "information". Because each user has his own favourite applications as far as tasks like image processing, word processing and many others are concerned it is impossible to create a universal system which can serve everyones needs.


Some of us still have the vision in mind we have heard so often about: "information at our fingertips".

Yes, sometimes we have up-to-date information at our fingertips (access to stock exchange data for example) - mostly however we are dealing with a variety of data (and in different file formats) which needs to be seen in context. This can only be achieved if we store data on our PCs in a structured manner (using the available file management tools) and have some kind of system available to show us the "information" we really need in plain language: we want to get the (full) picture. The "information retrieval" can be supported by the built-in report writer, ODBC, querying your data, SQL etc.

[ For specialized purposes there are (often very expensive) document management systems available. They are however out of reach for most users from a financial point of view and the features offered are not necessary for most people. Then we have seen recently the appearance of KM systems (knowledge management systems) but they too are not designed for the ordinary user - you probably need to have some kind of IT degree to understand what's going on (not too mention the hardware requirements, the financial input, the expenses for consultants etc.). ]

On our web site you will find our thoughts about this "knowledge" thing ( ... knowledge society, knowledge economy etc.) in the file (  http://bluesoftware.tripod.com/knowledge.html  ) - still more buzzwords than anything else  ...

We read in an item in "info21" ( issue 03/2002 ) - a German IT magazine (  http://www.info21.de  ) - from page 16 on:  "KM-Systeme brauchen schlaue Suchmaschinen" - "Knowledge Management systems need intelligent search engines":

"Technique will only be successful, if workflow, organisational structure and culture in the enterprise are right. Staff must be willing to use the systems and and also willing to enter their own, new and up-to-date information."

They are right ! It means the "knowledge" system depends on motivated staff - without them you can forget the whole story.

But didn't we experience this before in many other areas (it is really nothing new): if people are not degraded to robots but still have - even with many automated tasks - some pride in the work they are doing, have the feeling to achieve something and to contribute then we are on the right track.

The difference between the automated and pre-defined tasks at a "conveyor belt" and the so-called "knowledge management systems" is: we are dealing with the individuals potential, willingness, motivation but also personal emotions to share the personal knowledge and experience with others. At a conveyor belt the tasks are strictly (pre)defined - everyone has to contribute with often manual work (otherwise there would be no "output")  ...  the difference is also that under factory conditions the outcome can be calculated.
 
Back to our individual PC user:

He is (naturally) willing to set up the framework as good as he can  ...

For most users the simple download of web pages somewhere onto our PCs (incl. all the design ballast) is all what they get at this stage; plus a more or less cared for bookmark file (also called "favourites").

We try to give them more  ...

The installation of our application requires a little bit of thinking about where to store the files on your harddisk and a systematical approach BEFORE you begin. A good knowledge of your file management tool is necessary - but really not much more computer "stuff" (apart from "copy" and "paste"). There is a .pdf file:  mousetrap.zip  on the following web site for
download:

http://smbtools.tripod.com/tbsctools.html

telling you more about the file management tools. Other tutorials you will find on the Internet.

Give it a go with our evaluation copy, then think about your own projects and change the included batch file: folder.bat according to your requirements. This is one of the reasons while there is not the usual installation routine present. But from the documents included with the evaluation copy you will find your way around - some preparation work is however involved.

Also - because you can have on one machine several projects with totally different file storage requirements and folder structures the use of a general install routine was NOT a suitable approach for us. It is not as easy as just put the program files into C:\Program Files\ and forget about the rest - there is more required to make the best use of our application(s).
 
Important for the individual user is also: there are NO modifications of registry and system files involved, if there is an improved version of "MyNet - Anywhere!" available in the future then it can be installed just by replacing the file: mynet.exe - that's all. This is because the necessary .dll (dynamic link libraries) are all placed into the folder where the executable - in this case: mynet.exe - resides.

[ Based on customer feedback we are constantly improving our applications and provide at this stage the latest updates free of charge on our web site. If you are a registered customer you will receive the updated executable file automatically via e-mail. ]
 



 

Why is there no Help File in the application ?

This question is easy to answer - there is from our point of view no need for it.

You drive a car and watch TV without a help file (there is no F1 key in your car or on your TV set) - why shouldn't you be able to manage our application without a help file?

If there is a help file necessary to perform a certain task with an application then this shows often that the purpose of the application or the workflow involved to perform a certain task is not quite understood. If you can't read nor write than a word processor is useless - so is an old-fashioned typewriter, pencil or a ball pen. If you know what the application is good for: to gather data and to store it in a structured manner to retrieve useful information then you will find your way around with all the material provided.

If you have a basic understanding of your computer, the graphical user interface and your file management tool then the rest depends only on taking a structured and logical approach to get you going.

We will write further down under  pre-requisites  more in detail what is necessary to work with the application.

It is also our personal experience that we (and most other users) rarely press F1 (the usual help access function key). If there is a well-illustrated manual, a booklet or a printout to look things up - then this is preferred.
 



 

How do I find my way around ?

The most up-to-date information you will find on our web site. However we have included in the evaluation copy all necessary information.

Start with the file: readme.txt then look up the .html files in the evaluation copy (they are also on our web site).

Think about your project(s), what you want to achieve - it probably starts with some URLs  ...

The file: chemistry_project.html  is a good starting point to develop a sample project. It is a list with around 35 links from where you as a lecturer can build up a project to gather all the information your students need to support their studies in this field with free software and resources. This file reflects a typical practice situation: an educational institution has budget constraints, esp. in this field the commercial software is very expensive so it cannot be purchased (not to mention used by the students on their own machines). There is only one way out: good and high quality FREEWARE. This file contains a list of freeware resources from around the world in ~ 35 URLs. In practice we could have the situation that a lecturer / teacher in this professional field takes the list and builds a project with all useful data from the 35 URLs and distributes the result of his research in the form of "MyNet - on a Floppy!" to all his students (or puts the results in a single .zip file on a web site so everyone can download it).

Advantages:

The time savings are enormous - not only for the students; but also because the material can be re-used over and over again. No losses of information because a web site disappears all of a sudden. What you see today in the page lists of a search engine could be totally different tomorrow - no more lost URLs.

Links and web sites come and go - we can't change this either; but if you have extracted the necessary files, documents, software applications etc., downloaded and put them into context in a structured manner then you have saved it for future use esp. in a teacher ---> student situation.
 



 

What are the (personal) pre-requisites to use the application?

The purpose of our application is to gather data - in whatever format - from the Internet (but also from other sources depending on the subject), store it in an appropriate structure (but easy and for the user transparent) and further process the data if necessary to retrieve useful information.

The application is aimed at the "individual" PC User who wants to set up his own "framework" and to work with this data.

What is in general required to do this?

A good understanding of the File Management Tool used (ie Windows Explorer). There are other File Management Tools available - often they are 'freeware'; go to   http://www.download.com or some other freeware / shareware sources.

A basic understanding how the batch files provided work (folder.bat etc.); there are only some so-called DOS commands
to remember.

The following so-called "batch files" are used with "MyNet - Anywhere!":

folder.bat

This file creates the basic folder structure on your hard disk when using the "evaluation copy" - you then install the program and data files within this structure mainly in c:\tbsc

The term 'directory' is identical to the nowadays used expression 'folder'.

On the left side there are the actual DOS commands - on the right there are some explanations to make it more transparent for you.

[ begin of folder.bat ]

c:\                                           drive C: is your harddisk
cd\                                          change directory ( cd\ ) to the root directory of c:\
md bu_tbsc                             make a directory for your data files ( md = make directory )
cd\bu_tbsc                              change into the directory backup tbsc
md data                                   make a sub-directory "data" in backup tbsc
cd\bu_tbsc\data                       change into this sub-directory
md addr                                  make a directory for the backup of 'address' data
md mail                                   make a directory for the backup of 'mailing list' data
md mynet                                make a directory for the backup of 'MyNet - Anywhere!' data
md finan                                  make a directory for the backup of 'financial' data
md project                              make a directory for the backup of 'project' data
md grmc
cd\                                         change into the root directory c:\
c:\
md tbsc                                 make a directory tbsc
cd\tbsc                                  change directory to tbsc
md backup                            make a sub-directory 'backup' below tbsc
cd\tbsc\backup                     change into sub-directory backup
md backupjobs                     create a further subdirectory 'backupjobs'
cd\tbsc                                  change back to directory tbsc
md calc                                 make directory calc (to accomodate a calculator application)
md catalog                            make a directory for a calculator application
md disksplit                          make a directory for disk splitting utility
md explorer                          make a directory for a file management tool
md extern1                           make a directory for any other external application (1)
cd\tbsc\extern1                     change into the sub-directory for the external application (1)
md data                                make a sub-directory for data in this directory
cd\tbsc                                 change back to the tbsc directory
md extern2                           make a directory for any other external application (2)
cd\tbsc\extern2                     ... etc.
md data
cd\tbsc
md extern3
cd\tbsc\extern3
md data
cd\tbsc
md extern4
cd\tbsc\extern4
md data
cd\tbsc
md extern5
cd\tbsc\extern5
md data
cd\tbsc
md extern6
cd\tbsc\extern6
md data
cd\tbsc
md extern7
cd\tbsc\extern7
md data
cd\tbsc
md extern8
cd\tbsc\extern8
md data
cd\tbsc
md extern9
cd\tbsc\extern9
md data
cd\tbsc
md mnfloppy                           make a directory for "MyNet - on a Floppy!"
md myaddr                             make a directory for "MyAddress and Contact Data!"
cd\tbsc\myaddr                       change into the sub-directory for "MyAddress ... "
md addrback                          make a sub-directory to back up addressdata
md backup                             make a sub-directory for backup (general)
cd\tbsc                                   change back into the tbsc directory
md mynet                                make a sub-directory for "MyNet - Anywhere!" data
cd\tbsc\mynet                         change into this sub-directory
md backup                             make a sub-directory for backups (mynet files)
md download                         make a sub-directory for downloaded files
cd\tbsc\mynet\download         change into this sub-directory
md exe                                   make a sub-directory for executable files
md html                                  make a sub-directory for HTML files
cd\tbsc\mynet\download\html           change into this sub-directory
md webpage1                                  make a sub-directory for a web page downloaded (1)
md webpage2                        ... etc.
md webpage3
md webpage4
md webpage5
md webpage6
md webpage7
md webpage8
md webpage9
cd\tbsc\mynet\download          change back into the download sub-directory
md images                               make a sub-directory for graphics, images etc.
md pdf                                    make a sub-directory for .PDF files
md richtext                              make a sub-directory for .RTF files
md sound                                make a sub-directroy for sound files
md techdraw                           make a sub-directory for technical drawings
md text                                   make a sub-directory for .TXT files
md video                                make a sub-directory for video files
cd\tbsc\mynet                         change back into the mynet sub-directory
md install                                make a sub-directory to accomodate installation files
md moredocs                          make a sub-directory to accomodate other documents
md samples                            make a sub-directory to accomodate sample files
md temp                                make a sub-directory to accomodate temporary files
md viewer                             make a sub-directory to accomodate viewer files
cd\tbsc                                  change back into the tbsc directory
md odbc                                make a sub-directroy odbc (open data base connectivity)
cd\tbsc\odbc                          change into the sub-directory for ODBC
md query1                              make a sub-directory to accommodate a query application (1)
md query2                              ... etc.
md query3
md odbcfiles                           make a sub-directory to accomodate ODBC files
cd\tbsc                                   change back into the tbsc directory
md organize                            make a sub-directory to accommodate an organiser
md printtxt                              make a sub-directory to accommodate a clip board printer
md Reports                            make a sub-directory to accommodate a report writer
md search                              make a sub-directory to accommodate a search utility
md spreadsh                          make a sub-directory to accommodate a spreadsheet application
md viewer                             make a sub-directory to accommodate a viewer application
md word                               make a sub-directory to accommodate a word processor

[ end of folder.bat ]

This file can be modified according to your own requirements to define a suitable folder structure for your individual needs.

mynetbu.bat

You can change this file to fit your personal storage requirements.

See also the structure of: folder.bat before to accomodate there the necessary changes if you want to make changes to this batch file (referring to the directory: bu_tbsc in: folder.bat)

cd c:\tbsc
copy browsers.tps c:\bu_tbsc\data\mynet
copy email.tps c:\bu_tbsc\data\mynet
copy emcateg.tps c:\bu_tbsc\data\mynet
copy keyterms.tps c:\bu_tbsc\data\mynet
copy mailapp.tps c:\bu_tbsc\data\mynet
copy netaddr.tps c:\bu_tbsc\data\mynet
copy netfiles.tps c:\bu_tbsc\data\mynet
copy notes.tps c:\bu_tbsc\data\mynet
copy webpages.tps c:\bu_tbsc\data\mynet
copy webtypes.tps c:\bu_tbsc\data\mynet
copy browsers.tps c:\tbsc\mynet\backup
copy email.tps c:\tbsc\mynet\backup
copy emcateg.tps c:\tbsc\mynet\backup
copy keyterms.tps c:\tbsc\mynet\backup
copy mailapp.tps c:\tbsc\mynet\backup
copy netaddr.tps c:\tbsc\mynet\backup
copy netfiles.tps c:\tbsc\mynet\backup
copy notes.tps c:\tbsc\mynet\backup
copy webpages.tps c:\tbsc\mynet\backup
copy webtypes.tps c:\tbsc\mynet\backup

As you can see there are actually two backups performed !

path.txt  (part of folder_path.zip):

On our test machine we have partly put the external applications into subfolders below c:\tbsc. This means that we had to change our AUTOEXEC.BAT file - below is our PATH statement:

PATH=c:\;c:\windows;c:\windows\system;c:\tbsc;c:\tbsc\word\;c:\tbsc\search\;c:\tbsc\printtxt\;c:\tbsc\disksplit\;
c:\tbsc\backup\;c:\tbsc\backup\;c:\Progra~1\Taskzip\;c:\tbsc\calc\;c:\tbsc\organize\;c:\tbsc\explorer\;
c:\tbsc\viewer\;c:\tbsc\catalog\;c:\tbsc\odbc\;c:\tbsc\odbc\odbcfiles\;c:\tbsc\mnfloppy;c:\tbsc\myaddr;
c:\tbsc\mynet\;c:\tbsc\Reports\;

Otherwise (if you don't install the external applications below c:\tbsc) then add to your path statement the different locations. This is necessary to find the renamed executables (which are called from within our application).

For example: you can use any viewer application etc. you like and call it from within our application - as long as the executable is renamed according to our specifications and the path is listed.

In a similar way you can add up to nine other external applications and run them from the EXTERNAL menu item (extern1.exe --->> extern9.exe).

We know there are also other ways (more elegant) to achieve something like this - however we believe it would be good to have some transparency on your computer (and knowing what is happening, where the data is stored etc.). We have done this with our target group in mind.
 

What is required to do some serious work with the application?

Apart from the knowledge and experience you have in your professional field you should ...

- be familiar with the browser software used (MS Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera etc.)
- have some experience with search engines (like GOOGLE, ALTAVISTA etc.)
- have some experience using the directories implemented in search engines

Search utilities like 'Search Rocket' can be of some help - they are often freely available on the Internet -   http://www.download.com  is a good source to get some of these utilities.


In any environment (business, charity, school, medical practioner etc.) there is always one fundamental task to be performed  within the workflow:  FILING ! Certainly the practical steps involved to perform this task have changed over the last decades - more and more it becomes a task where the computer is involved.

[ The author of the application is involved for more than 30 years in computing and electronic data processing, so during his apprenticeship one of the fundamental skills he had to learn was the proper filing of paper documents (so that the boss could find something when needed). ]

Not much has actually changed if we see the workflow in the small business environment. Take the medical practioner (a GP for example): he mostly relies on his well-organized (paper) files to have an overview about patient history. The files are sorted in chronological order - the most recent documents are on the top when you open the folder.

The computer is used to record visits, prescriptions, referrals to specialist, accounting purposes etc. but the import medium during the consultation (and when the patient is present) is still the paper file. Visiting the local hospital (and they spend a fortune on IT and document management systems - the specialist still has a properly organized paper file when dealing with me. I wonder what's all the fuzz about IT, document and patient management systems when there is absolutely no computer in sight during the consultation.

[ Of course there are multi-media applications nowadays available to replace the paper files complete. However these are other dimensions as far as the financial side is concerned. ]
 



 

Practical Usage

Our application is at this stage mostly used in the educational sector at universities and other tertiary institutions.

This topic will be continued with (project) examples !
 



 

Can I do serious work with the evaluation copy ?

YES - you can !

The evaluation copy allows for the storage of 50 URLs and in addition for 50 web pages - the number of asscociated files is unlimited. A smaller project like the one described in the file:  chemistry_project.html  can be managed with the evaluation copy. It is the real "McCoy" - and you can distribute your projects to as many people as you like in the form of "MyNet - on a Floppy!" or put the project on a web site.

Seen realistically: most research project require to gather facts, data and documents from far more than 50 URLs and/or web pages - often several hundreds, but with the evaluation copy you can split such large projects into smaller junks.

The evaluation copy is good for single projects: this way you have the opportunity to test the application thoroughly - there is also NO time limit set. It means you can work with the evaluation copy for a while until you are used to it and want to go over to bigger projects or administer all the work you do on the Internet with the full version. 

[ Seeing the time savings alone the cost of the application will pay off after some hours using it (the introduction price per license is at the time of writing this FAQ only ~ US $ 40.-- anyway). ]

Having the full version as a lecturer / teacher and giving the project to your students for further exploration in the form of "MyNet - on a Floppy!" is great - they can do everything with it and explore the suggested path, add their own notes, files etc. during further exploration and give some feedback with their results. They can however NOT enter any new URLs or web pages.

In the case of universities, tertiary institutions and other educational facilities (colleges, high schools) it should be seriously considered to equip ALL students with the full version of "MyNet - Anywhere!". The actual costs per license are then only a fraction of the list price depending on the number of copies ordered. Having only one FULL version available by the lecturer / teacher is a little bit a "one way" situation - even if it offers opportunities which have never been available before.

Please contact us for with your wishes and we will come to a suitable arrangement with your institution.
 



 

What is a project ?

A project is the collection of relevant data from the Internet and other sources (in any format) and putting the data in context in a structured, but easy to understand and transparent manner for further processing.

You may start out with some URLs you know or some pages you have found on the Internet. Then by exploring these links you collect the suitable pieces of data on the way and store them using our application as a framework.
 



 

How many projects can I have on my machine ?

This only depends on your PCs storage capacity.

There are in principle two ways how people use our application:

(1)

The application is installed once and through suitable categories all the work done on the Internet is accomodated in a structured manner.

(2)

For specific project work the application can be installed multiple times, also with specific file structures (individual versions of the file: folder.bat, mynetbu.bat etc.
 
To make it as simple as possible  ...

If you want to create a new project (esp. when using the evaluation copy) rename the folder:  c:\tbsc  of the current project for example to:

c:\chemistry_project_01
c:\chemistry_project_02
c:\economics_project_01   or whatever  ...

and then re-install the application complete - starting with the batch file:  folder.bat  (which can be different from project to project). If you have done it once it only takes some minutes of your time.

Don't forget to copy the contents of your backup folder:  c:\bu_tbsc\data\mynet  onto a floppy and keep it safe - just in case, BEFORE you re-install.

So if you want to work with this project again then rename the folder:  c:\tbsc  into something meaningful - preferably the name of the project - and rename the folder name of the project you want to work with back to:  c:\tbsc.

If you handle your projects as described you can have - depending on your storage capacity - an unlimited number of projects.

* If you do it this way - then we also recommend to install all external applications outside the folder: c:\tbsc into the locations where they usually reside according to their installation routine. Don't forget to rename the executable files according to our specifications in the documents dealing with the installation (these documents are part of the evaluation copy download) and make the necessary changes to the file:  autoexec.bat  in the PATH statement.
 



 

How do I perform searches in my database files ?

The main files you want to perform searches on are the files:

netaddress.tps       (containing the web sites, URLs, descriptions etc.)
webpages.tps        (containing pages allocated to web sites)

To perform searches use the TOPSCAN utility - available from the FILE Menu / Database Scanner.

Under EDIT there is the FIND / REPLACE option. Just mark the column you want to search something in (click the column with the mouse and go to the first record), then and use this feature to find matching records.
 
IMPORTANT !

Perform a backup FIRST with the facilities in the FILE Menu.

DON'T operate on your ORIGINAL database file - copy the files you want to search on to c:\tbsc\odbc\odbcfiles\  to be on the safe side !


 
Where do I find the underlying structure of my database files (file names, field names, file sizes etc.) to do reporting, querying etc.

We have attached a file in our evaluation copy called:

mynet_file_structures.txt

In this simple text file you will find all files listed with their respective fields and the information about the fields (like field length, field type etc.). We recommend to print out this text file. It comes handy when you want to perform the tasks mentioned
above with the built-in report writer (or an external one), to do some querying of your data after exporting or using ODBC (the use of MS-EXEL, WinSQL etc.).

Esp. when using a report writer it is important to keep the hierarchy in mind:

Categories (file: webtypes.tps)

           |--->   Homepages, URLs  (file: netaddress.tps)

                      can have:   |--->  Files allocated to them [graphics, docs etc.]   (file: netfiles.tps)

                      |--->  individual Web pages   (file:webpages.tps)

                               can have:   |--->  Files allocated to them [graphics, docs etc.]   (file: netfiles.tps)
 

This relationship reflects the structures presented when using the internal report writer.
 

It is similar with E-Mail categories and E-Mail addresses allocated to them.
 



 

 [ to be continued ]