ELECTRONIC T-NOTES


CHESSBASE USA'S WEEKLY ON-LINE NEWSLETTER


FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 17, 2002


ODDS AND ENDS

by Steve Lopez

Thirteen odds and ends are on a table. Twelve of them roll off. What do you have left -- an odd or an end?

THE FRITZ7 SERVICE PACK

Another Fritz7 service pack has been released, and you can download it from the Web here. Download the exe file into a folder other than the folder into which Fritz7 has been installed (the best bet here is to create a work folder on your hard drive and download the exe file right into it. Then run the exe file from that folder to upgrade your Fritz7 program).

What's new in the service pack? You can find an extensive list of the changes/additions here.

A NEW SERVICE PACK FOR FRITZ6

The long-awaited service pack for Fritz6 is now available on the Web here. This service pack finally corrects the well-publicized Sparring and Friend mode problems.

However, nothing in life is ever as simple as it seems. The link above takes you to a web page that states the service pack is dated "May 12, 2001"; this is incorrect. After installing the new service pack, your Fritz6 will display a Feb 2002 date. Also, the service pack is in .zip format. You'll need to download the .zip file to a work folder on your hard drive, unzip the contents of this file (using a program such as WinZip or Aladdin Expander) into a work folder, and then run the exe file from that work folder.

Once you've successfully updated the program, you'll need to manually update your shortcuts for running Fritz6; this is because the old Fritz6 executable file has been superceeded by a new exe file called ChessProgram.exe.

To manually change the Fritz6 shortcut on your Desktop, right-click on Fritz6's icon and select "Properties" from the popup menu. In the dialogue that appears, click the "Shortcut" file tab. In the box to the right of "Target", change Fritz6.exe to ChessProgram.exe -- be sure that you don't delete the quotation marks at the end of this line. Then click "Apply" and "OK". Your Desktop shortcut is now updated.

To change your Start Menu shortcut, click the Start button on the Windows Taskbar, then go to "Programs", then to "ChessBase". Right-click on the "Fritz6" entry in the program list and select "Properties" from the popup menu. Then just follow the remaining directions provided in the previous paragraph.

NEW POCKET FRITZ INSTALLATION PROCEDURE

In ETN for September 16, 2001, a possible problem involving Pocket Fritz' installation was discussed. If your installation fails, you'll need to manually copy a file from your \Program Files\ChessBase\Deep Fritz folder to the folder \Windows\Temp on your Pocket PC. Then use File Explorer on your Pocket unit to go to that folder, tap on the file name, and the program will install.

However, as always, there's a bump in the road. Hewlett-Packard has made some changes to their Pocket PCs, making the table given in that September ETN article somewhat inaccurate. Here's an updated table for the file that needs to be copied to your Pocket PC, depending on the manufacturer of your Pocket machine:

FILES TO COPY FOR A MANUAL INSTALLATION
POCKET PC BRAND FILE NAME
Compaq iPAQs and newer Hewlett-Packard Pocket PCsPocketFritz.arm.cab
Casio pocket PCsPocketFritz.mips.cab
Older (pre-2002) Hewlett-Packard pocket PCsPocketFritz.sh3.cab

If you have an HP Pocket PC and aren't sure which file you need to use, try them both. You'll get an error message if you're trying to install using the wrong cab file. Delete it from your Pocket unit, then copy the other cab file over and install from it instead.

And to clear up two other points of confusion: Pocket Fritz is not a standalone hardware unit -- it's a software program that runs on Pocket PCs. And the term "Pocket PC" means just that -- the Palm PC is a different animal entirely, and Pocket Fritz doesn't work on Palm units.

RUNNING FRITZ ON ICC AND OTHER TELNET SERVERS

I've recently received a few questions on how to run Fritz (and our other chessplaying programs) on the Internet Chess Club and other telnet-based chess servers. I'm unable to answer those questions from personal experience -- I don't play chess on telnet-based servers (in fact, nearly all of my Interrant chessplaying is done at correspondence time controls -- I'm too old to play at 1 0 time controls, sorry). However, I've found a few information resources on the Web that you might find useful:

Configuring the Autoplayer

The Winboard Interface (You'll need this program to be able to configure the Autoplayer -- see previous link).

List of telnet-based chess servers (with links)

Note that these sites are not connected with ChessBase in any way. Also, I've not personally tried the Autoplayer setup; if you have problems with the procedure, please contact the author of that webpage.

VARIOUS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here's a sort of mini-FAQ of questions I've received lately.

Q) Why aren't old ETN issues updated when a program interface changes?
A) There are a number of reasons. First of all, that particular workload would be impossible for one person to handle. New features are added all the time to our programs and it would be impossible to review, let alone change, over 250 issues of ETN to include new information every time a service pack adds a tweak or a new interface is designed. This is why each issue of ETN carries a date -- I view it as a weekly newsletter, a regular thing. New information gets added as I write it, so ETN isn't an "online manual" -- it's an ongoing effort to keep ChessBase/Fritz users updated on changes in the programs, as well as a means of describing long-existing features in-depth, in a way that can't possibly be done in printed manuals or program Help files.

Also, we do still have a lot of chess friends who are using the older programs and interfaces, so replacing a Fritz5.32 article with a Fritz7 article would be like yanking the rug out from under these folks. And, as a third reason, I sometimes forget how to do something in an older interface that I've not used in a while, so I often refer to the older issues when a user e-mails me with a question concerning these programs. I also like to go back and review old ETN issues to see how the programs have changed over time.

While the step-by-step procedures for a certain feature may change when new interfaces are released, the principles behind them remain the same. The vast majority of the customers I talk to/correspond with find it relatively easy to apply the principles to the new interfaces.

However, old articles occasionally get updated as new ETN issues. In the coming weeks, we'll be looking at some of the long-standing program features and providing some new step-by-step procedural info for them in ETN.

Q) Have you ever considered putting old ETNs on a CD?
A) I thought about putting them on a Ritz cracker, but decided that they wouldn't be very tasty. ETNs are freely available on the Web, so aside from searchability benefits in a CD version, I don't see much advantage to it (or marketability for it). However, I have written a CD about Fritz and other non-ChessBase chessplaying programs, which is due to be released this spring from ChessBase USA. It's not a rehash/re-release of old ETN issues; all of the writing is entirely new. It covers more than just how to do things in chessplaying programs -- it also covers why you'd want to do them and ways to use chessplaying programs to improve your own chess skills. It also contains a short, non-technical history of computer chess. And there are a lot of Fritz features (as well as a few from competitors' programs) discussed on the CD that have never been discussed in ETN. There's no word yet on availability (Spring 2002 is a good bet, but as close as I can narrow it down) and no word yet on pricing. I'll provide that information in a future ETN issue.

Q) Why don't you play more real-time online chess?
A) No time -- three jobs (not counting the occasional freelance writing gig) and two kids. At 20/10 time controls, a game will run an hour and I seldom have sixty uninterrupted minutes in my life (except when I'm writing -- then I just unhook the phone, lock the office door, and yell "Go away!" a lot). Besides, I actually prefer correspondence time controls. When you make a mistake in an over-the-board or real-time online game, you have maybe three minutes to stew over it. But when you blunder in a correspondence game, you get to feel like a real pony's patoot for hours or even days. So maybe I'm a masochist.

So now we answer the big question: Thirteen odds and ends are on a table. Twelve of them roll off. What do you have left -- an odd or an end?

The answer's obvious, from how close we are to the bottom of the page:

END

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