Table of Contents

Calendar of Events:
Quote of the Month
Crew Finances
Up-an-Coming Crew Expenses
Up-an-Coming Member Expenses
A/I in Computer Games
The Trip to UNIX
Designing a personal backup system
My First Sun box
Scout Sunday Court-of-Honor
Unit UP-Date
The Adventure Logo!
Scout Sunday Court-of-Honor

PostScript Version

(C) Sun Feb 21 11:36:30 EST 1999 Venturing Crew 369

Calendar of Events:

2/27/99 Maple Sugar Festival 3/06/99 Airforce Museum, Dayton 3/10/99 Exploring Committee Meeting 3/28/99 The Adventure Articles are due 3/30/99 Rappelling Money and Registration due 3/31/99 Exploring Recognition Applications are due
  • Post President of the Year
  • Post of the Year
  • Post Project of the Year
  • Post Service Project of the Year
  • Exploring Hall of Fame Award
  • District Award of Merit
  • Spurgen Award
    4/13/99  Flower Sale Begins
    4/16/99  Recognition Dinner Registration forms due
    4/17/99  Rappelling Outing
    4/20/99  Venturing Training St. Peters Worthington [No Meeting]
    4/23-25/99  Campout
    4/25/99  The Adventure Articles are due
    5/8/99  Exploring Recognition Dinner
    5/15/99  Venturing Training Chief Logan
    5/22/99  Garage Sale
    5/23/99  The Adventure Articles are due
    5/30/99  Exploring Canoe Trip Registration Due
    6/18-20  Exploring Canoe Trip
    6/28-7/3  Summer Camp $175.00
    9/13/99  First Nighter Week
    11/2/99  Election Reporting
    12/18/99  Silver Beaver Applications are due
    12/24/99  National Young American Applications due
  • Quote of the Month

    The secret of Leadership is to consider the team more important than the product. Remember, a good team can develop many products.

    The art of developing and maintaining a strong team is worth more than all the gold in the world. If you know of someone that can build strong teams grab ahold of them as tight as you can!


    James D. Corder

    I would like to congratulate S. Potter on achieving his Blue Cord. In the past 5 years unit has presented only 4 Blue Cords. There is only one Green Cord and only one Gold Cord recipient in Ohio.

    We also presented Mr. Drake, Mr. Harvey, Nathaniel P. Graham, Ho-Sheng Hsiao, Thomas R. Lowers, and Bill Schwanitz with their Red Cord. Jon Schlegel achieved his Red Cord last year.

    Normally we can give the Engineering Exams twice a year, February and August. We have petitioned the Guild to allow us to give the exam a third time in 1999, April or May. They have agreed due to our expected growth in 1999 that we can on the following conditions: That we double in size and build the new classrooms. The blue prints for the new room are at the lumber yard as we speak. They are developing us a materials list and a quote of the cost of goods.

    Artificial Intelligence in Computer Games

    Jesse Kass

    Modern graphics and sounds approach a level of realism that was unthinkable in the days of Pong. Computer gaming now consists of a broad range of genres, with selections for people in all walks of life. The artificial intelligence in video games, however, has only recently begun to see dramatic changes.

    In video games, the field of artificial intelligence is sometimes thought to control the computer-controlled opponents. This is true, but artificial intelligence covers more than just that. In a sense, every object in a game is controlled by artificial intelligence of some sort. If a door is to automatically open when someone approaches or if a trap is to activate when someone touches it, then there must be some code to govern that object's behavior. Given the current popularity of real-time strategy games, artificial intelligence may become even more important. To achieve any level of tactical sophistication, games like Warcraft must have some significant AI controlling each individual unit.

    Traditionally, game AI is rule-based. The computer evaluates the game situation, compares that situation to a set of possible conditions, and then generates the appropriate action. This form of AI is often used for a few reasons. This kind of AI is easy to test and is based on traditional programming paradigms. The main problem with this form of AI is that it is predictable, given the same situation, it will always perform the same actions. This makes the game easier to beat and reduces the replay value.

    One easy alternative is to use fuzzy logic. Actions are determined by both the conditions and a random element. Given the same situation, it is only probable that the same actions will be performed. Because game play is more unpredictable, there is more of a reason to replay the game. Games like Close Combat 2 and Rainbow 6 showcase this form of AI. A fuzzy rules-set is used to dictate the behavior of each individual character. The effect is remarkable, one can never be certain how one's troops will behave under fire. There is much more reason to play these game's scenarios over and over again than there is with their more traditional predecessors.

    Another approach is to use an evolutionary AI. This form of AI utilizes either neural-networks or a genetic algorithms. They are adaptive. They, in a sense, learn over time. They alter their rules set based on what was successful or unsuccessful in the last game. This kind of AI is difficult to program, so it hasn't be used too much so far. Oidian System's Cloak, Dagger, and DNA uses a genetic algorithm to guide the computer opponent's decisions. Over time, the opponents become stronger and are tailored to a player's style.

    The future of AI seems bright for the consumer. Across the board, more resources are being used to develop game AI. According to one survey, from 1997 to 1998 the percent of development teams with full-time AI programmers almost doubled. The amount of CPU time devoted to AI calculations increased by a similar amount. The trend seems to away from hard-coded rules-based AI and towards more flexible AI engines. Gamers should expect a richer gaming experience in the future.

    Readers interested in learning more about this subject are advised to check out the web site. It contains a wealth of game AI related material.

    Crew Finances

    Topic Need On-Hand
    The Adventure -$150.00
    Floor Fund $2,500 $2,500.00
    Electrical Fund $2,500 $2,500.00
    Room Fund $3,800 $0.00
    Flag Fund $1,000 $0.00
    General Fund $236.82
  • Pizza +$9.61
  • Registration +$14.00
  • Awards -$64.75
  • Blue Print Copies -$12.63
    Total $183.05
    Grand Total $5,183.05

    Up-an-Coming Crew Expenses

    12/01/99 Crew Charter $30.00
    12/01/99 Crew Insurance $175.00
    12/31/99 Registration $335.00
    Monthly The Adventure $75.00

    Up-an-Coming Member Expenses

    06/01/99 Summer Camp $175.00
    09/01/99 Registration $25.00
  • Designing a simple personal backup system

    Jon Schlegel

    Almost everyone has lost data on one occasion or another. Due to a hardware malfunction or simply carelessness. Backing up is something you know you should be doing but when you are using a personal computer you rarely have the time; plus where do you put the backup? You can't leave it on the same disk as the original, you probably shouldn't leave it on a device within the computer at all. Especially if you have any really important or non- replaceable material. One of the best solutions is to export the data over a network to a remote location. For complex, or huge backup sets there a number of free and commercial utilities available. Sometimes you just need something to backup a few choice directories; or a small portion of your file system. Also you want the archive in a simple to work with format. This walk through will help in designing an easy to use and modify backup system for yourself. It has the following features:

  • Easy to implement. Uses a single shell script.
  • Uses common Unix utilities.
  • Exports the archive to a remote location using FTP.
  • Encrypts the archive (optional)


    To implement this you need an organized file system so that choosing directories to backup is easy. You also need a basic understanding of shell programming. Finally you need an FTP account with a disk quota large enough to hold your compressed and encrypted backup archive.

    Doing the job

    Start by creating a directory to hold your backup script and its support files. Within that directory you'll want to start a text editor and write the first part of the script. This example script will backup /home and its sub-directories. It also encrypts the archive with pgp v2.6.2. If you don't want to encrypt the archive, or you have a different version of pgp, change the script as needed. Finally it uploads the archive to (Note: Any line - except the first - preceded with a # is a comment and does not need to go in the script.)

    #Starts the bourn shell.


    #Specifies the filename for your backup archive.

    #Specifies the encrypted archive's filename. (Optional)

    #Specifies the file that holds filename and directory names
    #you don't want included in the tarball.

    echo "Backup started at: " `date`
    cd /home
    tar -czvX $EXCLUDE -f $TARBALLNAME *

    #This archives and compresses everything within /home except
    #those files and directories listed in $EXCLUDE.

    /usr/local/bin/pgpe -r "Your Name" $TARBALLNAME

    #This encrypts the archive with your public key so to decrypt
    #you must have your private key and password. (Optional)


    #We don't need this file since it's encrypted version exists.

    #Connect to the ftp site for uploading the archive. This is
    #all we need to do. We will use a ftp macro to actually log
    #in and upload the file.

    rm $PGPNAME

    #Remove the encrypted file now that it is at the remote location.
    echo "Backup finished at: " `date`
    Setting up the FTP macro


    machine # Define who to connect to
    login MyUserName # Set your username
    password MyPassword # Set your password
    macdef init # Define the macro called `init'.
    cd /BackupDir # Change to the directory
    binary # Make sure you are in binary mode.
    put backup.tar.gz.pgp # Upload the file.

    exit # Exit the ftp client.

    Most unix ftp programs support macroing. We are depending on it for this script for without it we don't have such an easy way to transfer the backup archive. The trick lies in setting up your .netrc file. This is where you'll define what you want the ftp client to do when it connects to specified machines. When you create this file make sure it is chmod 600. If it is readable by anyone by you the ftp client won't allow it to work, for security reasons. When you define the macro in the file, make sure you call it `init'. The init macro is run upon connection to the site. Don't leave any blank lines between the machine definition to the exit command. See .netrc

    Finishing up

    At this point we have a working, and simple backup system. The last thing we need to do is automate it. Place it in your daily or weekly, or monthly scripts. Make sure you redirect output to a log file, and errors to e-mail. If you set it up as a cron job, the cron daemon will automatically send standard error to e-mail. All you have to do is redirect stdout to a log file.

    This isn't a perfect system of backing up. It simply overwrites old backup archives instead of staggaring it so you can go back more than a day, and it doesn't care if files havn't changed since the last backup. What this is, is a fairly simple system that can be created quickly with everyday utilities on almost any unix system. It can be expanded on to become a more complete backup system with only slightly more in depth knowledge of shell scripting.

  • The Trip to UNIX

    Dennis Fox

    What should you expect in an operating system? Should you have to reboot more than 2 times per week? Before I ran into an operating system called UNIX I just didn't know. I was a Microsoft clone that thought that point and drool was the only way that it was to be. It seems that Bill Gates has everyone conned into believing that crashing is normal and it isn't a defect in the kernel that makes you have to reboot; but we know better. And it is for this reason that I have changed teams. I have come to expect more. I expect to be able to turn my computer on and leave it on for as long as I like without worry. I should be able to do more than one process at a time without significantly losing performance. I think that I have found what I am looking for with UNIX. It also seems that corporate America as well as most of the providers on the Internet have found that as well. With billions of dollars as well as irreplaceable data at stake maybe they know something that we should know as well. Stability is the way to go.

    Scout Sunday Court-of-Honor

    James D. Corder

    With over one hundred in attendance and more food than all can eat the Scout Sunday Court-of-Honor was a huge success.

    To honor the youth that have advanced in rank, the founder of Scouting Lord Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powel, and our heavenly father we gather together the first weekend of February for a 24 hour celebration. We begin with a pot luck dinner on Saturday Evening, Scout Sabbath. A overview of the year gone by, and the presentation to those of new ranks.

    I am please to say that we presented 5 Red Cords and 1 Blue Cord. The cords represent the Venturer's placement from their Engineering Examination. There are 300 possible points. 80+=Red, 160+=Blue, 260+=Green, and a perfect score of 300=Gold. There is only one Gold Cord in Ohio.

    Once the parents leave the building tremendous fun begins!

    The evening is started off with the Dart Ball Competition Finalist. The game is played like baseball. However, one throws darts at a baseball diamond instead of balls. Congratulations go to Mr. Potter's team: Jason B. Cunnyngham, James, Scherer, & Bill Schwanitz!

    Around midnight we send out for massive quantities of pizza where by the Venturers and Toadies can gorge themselves.

    Of course the computers are dragged out. Many of the Venturer's brought their own personal computers. Senior Venturers aid the new comers in converting their system from Micosoft to Solaris. The computer games continue until 6:00 in the morning.

    Smart Venturers got some sleep.

    6:00a.m. the church is cleaned up. Breakfast is cooked and cleaned. 8:00a.m. Scout Sunday begins with Sunday School. 10:00 we attend Church Services. The wise Venturers stay awake. Those that does off get several sharp elbows in there side and a personal visit from the Pastor during services. Noon, the parents return so we can pour their youth into their vehicles.

    My First Sun box

    Bill Schwanitz

    For quite some time now I have been looking for my own personal workstation. The biggest problem I encountered was with the prices. The machines I wanted would cost me nearly $4,000.00 used (Sun Ultra 1 170E) So I had to settle on something a bit more affordable.

    My first sun box is a Sun SparcStation IPC. It was made in 1995 and has 24MB of ram, about 1.3GB of disk space, two frame buffers, a cdrom drive and an 8 mm tape drive. All for $250.00

    This machine is defiantly not a screamer, in fact it is quite slow. Do I care? No! The purpose of this machine is to experiment with Solaris and the Sun architecture.

    Due to a dead NVRAM, I cannot install Solaris on the box. The person I purchased the machine from was very nice and is getting me a new chip. The NVRAM, as I understand it, contains the Host ID#, MAC address, and boot strap directions.

    For those interested, the first operating system I installed on the box was OpenBSD 2.4. It was the only thing which did not seem to care about the NVRAM. I guess this is since OpenBSD was made for to work on PCs too, it could use the more advanced information that the SunOS and Solairs operating system does.

    Unit UP-Date

    James D. Corder

    It looks like we will finish the first course in late April or early May. The second book "Intermediate UNIX for Programs" is coming along well. The committee hasn't decided if the course will be on UNIX Shell Programing or Perl Programming.

    Because enough youth have passed the course, and since we will be building several new classrooms 369 will be able to double or even triple its size. We are currently inter viewing high school programs to see if they live up to our standards. Worthington and Westerville South look as if they have potential students. If the committee agrees the schools will be offered seats in the 1999/2000 program. Of course, Upper Arlington stills qualifies.


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