Internet Tips From Robelle

Spam Reaches New High

According to this story on ZDNet, spam email is now 36% of all email traffic, up from 8% a year ago, and destinated to make up the majority of email by yearend. On the firms quoted in the article is Brightmail, which provides services to filter out spam.

Alertbox: Making the Physical Environment Interactive

Another fascinating column by user interface specialist Jakob Nielsen.

Top Ten Guidelines for Homepage Usability

Excellent article by Jakob Nielsen, usability expert.

New: Journal of Object Technology

This is an article by Dave Thomas, "The Deplorable State of Class Libraries", in the inaugural issue of the new Journal of Object Technology. Dave Thomas (Bedarra Corporation, Carleton University and University of Queensland) is one of the directors of Robelle.

Experiences with Web-based Training

Robelle programmer Francois Desrochers originally published this article in the July issue of the 3000 News Wire: I was looking for training on Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC). This is taught at many sites across North-America, but only a couple are found in the Montreal area. The courses at these sites are scheduled at most twice a year. Last year I signed up for one, just to have it cancelled at the last minute. Since I did not want to travel, I decided to look at web-based training (a.k.a. e-learning). ...

HtDig/iX: web search engine on MPE

Thanks to Lars Appel, the HP e3000 has a standard web search engine. Lars ported the open-source Htdig to MPE using the Posix features and the GCC compiler and makes it available to anyone for download. Of course, this is unsupported freeware and used at your own risk. Click the link above for the MPE/iX version.

According to the official home page, this search engine supports searching HTML and TXT files, robot exclusion (i.e., you can tell it not to search certain files or directories), boolean and fuzzy logic, configurable results format, indexing of password-protected directories, and external converters to index DOC and PDF files. HtDig is widely used in the UNIX world.

FTP: the Universal File Transport

FTP is without doubt the most universal method of file transfer available on the HP e3000. It works with Windows, UNIX, and almost all other platforms.

Click the link above to read Robelle tips on how to activate FTP on MPE/iX and make it work seemlessly with the MPE file system.

wget: access web pages on your e3000

From the 3000-L mailing list, an interchange about the very useful wget utility on the 3000:

Mark Bixby ( writes:

GNU wget is a command-line utility for downloading HTTP or FTP files and saving them as local e3000 bytestream files. It is capable of mirroring, recursive retrievals, and other way cool things. By running wget first and saving a web page locally, any program on your e3000 can access web pages.

Doug Werth ( adds:

Works great. I recently used it to copy an entire web site from one e3000 to another.


You could even use wget to invoke remote CGIs, as long as those CGIs support the HTTP protocol GET command.


As an example of this my wireless phone vendor offers text messaging. Unlike many other providers they do not provide an e-mail interface such as but they do provide a web interface. Using wget to invoke the CGI program on the web server I can make an e3000 send a text message using a simple command file that invokes wget...

One thought regarding HTTP forms that invoke the GET method. Some CGI scripts will work whether invoked by the GET or the POST method because they call generic scripts to decode the CGI data. For flexibility the generic script is set up to handle both GET and POST. So even if you encounter a web page that explicitly is using POST, it may be worth your time to experiment with it to see if supplying the value pairs in the URL will work.


My thanks to Lars for doing the first port and bringing wget to my attention. I do however regret not playing with wget sooner than my first experience last week. Wget is rather cool and opens up some interesting possibilities for online software distribution...


Absolutely. Many thanks to Lars (and to you too Mark.)

For those unfamiliar with it, as Mark stated wget is a standalone command line utility. It does not require that your HPe3000 be set up as a web server. it only requires an Internet connection, either direct or via a proxy server.

Chris Bartram ( adds:

Here too. I helped test the port for Lars long ago, and just last year wrote a series of command files that used wget to pull package tracking information from UPS, USPS, and FedEx's web sites from the 3000 (designed for Ecometry users, but nothing really specific to it).

For an example using wget, see this Robelle article about checking thousands of web addresses.

QSDK: Build Internet Apps on the 3000

QSDK, a toolkit by QSS, is a subroutine library for HP e3000 programmers who wish to develop network applications for their HP3000 without the hassle of learning network programming. Contains lots of useful code: subroutines which encapsulate NetIPC and common MPE/iX intrinsics for building listeners, servers, clients, and creating complete networked applications, full encryption support for establishing secure communications over the network, advanced features for implementing deferred connections, client IP address identification and nowait socket I/O operations, file transfer subroutine for easy transfer of data from the HP 3000, VB functions for converting HP data types into common VB types, and QWEBS - a full featured WEB Server the HP e3000. Price: $895.

Internet: Try the Google Toolbar

I've been using Google as my internet search engine for about a year now, so last month I downloaded their Toolbar and I really like it.

It not only makes it easier to do an internet search, but it also has a highlight icon that makes it easy to find the keywords you are looking for. This feature works on any webpage, not just the ones you are searching. It's much easier to use than the standard Ctrl-F method.

Their web site is and the toolbar is at - once you install the toolbar, you can see it at any time in Internet Explorer 5 by doing View | Toolbars and enabling Google!

"Hit" Statistics for e3000 Web Server

The most widely used web statistics package is Steven Turner's Analog, and now you can use it with your HP e3000 Apache web server. Free. Analog was ported to the e3000 by Andreas Schmidt and is available on his web site. Analog tells you how many "hits" you are getting on your web site, which pages are the most popular, how the hits are distributed over the day, and much more. This tip on Analog came via the 3000 Newswire.

Is Your Security Policy Making Things Worse?

Sometimes strategies that make sense in theory fail when applied to real people. Jakob Nielsen is an expert on Usabilty. Every two weeks he publishes a usability column, normally about web topics such as Flash, drop-down menus, etc., but always intriguing and often applicable to general IT issues. Recommended reading. His column "Security & Human Factors" explores how complex password strategies actually make systems less secure in practice.

Robelle Expert Saved By Hotelier

While Robelle President Bob Green was in Italy. he kept in touch via his laptop and a bag of phone and power converters, plus an international ATT account However, in several hotels his modem refused to recognize the switchboard dial tone, forcing him into an Internet Cafe. Finally, after complaining at the Il Moresco hotel on the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Napoli, the Hotel Director, Allessando Leonessa, showed Bob the error of his ways:
Do you have Windows? Just click the modem option to bring up a terminal window before dialing, then type atx3 and Enter. This tells the modem to dial anyway, even if there is no dial tone. I had the same problem when I connected the hotel's computer to the Internet.
And of course that solved the problem!

Read Your Email on the Road.

If you use a standard POP server for your email, you only need a browser to read and reply to your email. When you are travelling, you can read your mail on someone else's computer or at an Internet Cafe. Currently, the best service to do this is and it is free.