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Suggestions to DoT from

Dr. S. Parthasarathy




Our Ref.: suggest.002

Date: 8 Nov. 1997



SUGESTIONS SUGGESTIONS SUGGESTIONS

I THANK YOU FOR THE EFFORTS YOU ARE TAKING TO IMPROVE THE INTERNET SERVICE.

I USE INTERNET FOR VERY SERIOUS WORK, AND WILL BE GRATEFUL FOR ANY IMPROVEMENTS YOU MAKE.

THE FOLLOWING SUGGESTIONS APPLY TO SHELL ACCOUNTS ONLY. MY NAME AND ADDRESS ETC IS GIVEN IN THE SIGNATURE BOX BELOW.

MOST OF THE POINTS GIVEN BELOW HAVE ALREADY BEEN SUBMITTED TO YOU. I AM REPEATING THEM WITH SOME MODIFICATIONS, AND HAVE ADDED A FEW POINTS. I KNOW THAT YOU ARE WORKING ON MY EARLIER SET OF SUGGESTIONS, I AM SENDING THEM AGAIN FOR YOUR RECORDS AND CROSS CHECKING.

I MUST ADD THAT, DUE TO YOUR EFFORTS, THE SERVICE OF DOT HAS SUBSTANTIALLY IMPROVED AND IS INDEED VERY GOOD MOST OF THE TIME. BY AND LARGE WE ARE HAPPY, ALTHOUGH SOMETIMES THERE IS A FEELING OF ANXIETY WHEN PROBLEMS APPEAR OR PERSIST.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SEND ME AN E MAIL, IF YOU NEED FURTHER CLARIFICATIONS.

THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN.

S. PARTHASARATHY

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1. ACCOUNTING

1.1 The contract with DoT is for one year or 500 hours whichever is earlier. It is therefore important for us to know how much of this we have consumed at any time. You should therefore display, at every log-in, both: days consumed since start of account, as well as hours consumed since start of account (for that particular year).

Presently neither of this is shown. The hours shown is cumulative and includes hours consumed last year also ! The days completed in the present contract are not known.

Since this is a contractual necessity, it MUST be implemented as soon as possible.

2. PINE - SETUP - CONFIG

2.1 There are too many restrictions, fixed by SYSADMIN in the setup/config menu. Remove as many (harmless) restrictions as possible.

2.2 Please include the possibility of modifying the choice of character set. Presently it is fixed by sysadmin at ASCII only. We would like to use ISO - 8859 -1 (French, German etc.). This is very importnat, if we have to project India on an international scale. This is VERY IMPORTANT.

2.3 Include the possibility to introduce NNTP server of our choice using Pine setup/config.

3. UNIX COMMANDS

3.1 Give possibility to use I/O redirection with > and < (the pipe | command may be dangerous, but not the i/o redirection commands)

3.2 Give access to Unix "mv" (move) command. This is necessary since very often we have to "move" files with long file names into files with dos format file names (8+3 format).

3.3 Restore "who" command. It gives us the possibility to electronically call up someone when we are logged in and have a problem/question. It is totally harmless and the user can not modify anything or cause any harm.

4. LOCKFILE

4.1 Give us a script file for unlocking one's own files and folders particularly the INBOX which gets locked quite often.

5. SYADMIN

5.1 Please add a command in your daily cron or other maintenance/housekeeping scripts to remove core from all user directories. Core dumps occur due to many reasons, and most users are not even aware of what it means. These cores just occupy disk space and make the user quota overflow in addition to causing system to behave less optimally.

5.2 Removing INBOX locks should also be made automatic and frequently executed.

5.3 Please do use the "message of the day" facility to keep us informed of extraneous disturbances e.g to your trunk lines to Bomaby VSNL gateway.

5.4 We had given a suggestion earlier that we should be warned in advance whenever you take the system on maintenance. Please keep up the practice of warning us in advance for scheduled maintenance activities. We greatly appreciate your having started this practice.

6. MODEMS

6.1 Very often some of your modems misbehave: 1. they do not respond (pick up). Causing endless ringing tone. 2. sometimes when they pickup they give a FAX handshake tone (whistling sound). 3. Or, they pickup and send a blank screen/garbage. Please monitor your modems more frquently, and disable faulty modems.

6.3 Hyderabad DoT collects a modem licence fee in spite of its having been withdrwan by DoT everywhere. Please ensure that you stop collecting the modem licence fee (Rs. 300).

7. LINES

7.1 Since very often we end up with blank screens, garbage etc. And also since the line drops midway during a session, necessitating additional calls, I suggest that you use a toll-free number (like 197 / 198) for your server. So our calls to this number are not charged. The tariff for shell account can be increased prorata to include the cost of calls.

7.2 Please improve your trunk line backbone from Hyderabad to VSNL gateway at Bombay. Often, Web browsing, ftp, telnet are very slow and take unacceptably long times.

8. HELPDESK

8.1 The helpdesk can be made more responsive. You can install an automatic response generated by the machine itself, for each message sent by us. This will give us the confidence that our message is indeed recorded and that you will act on it.

This will reduce the number of phone calls you get from anxious subscribers.

8.2 Whenever you take the machine on maintenance, you should divert the phone line (3324422) to an answering machine which will give a recorded voice message saying that the "system is down, will be back by....".

9. FAQ/ WEB PAGE

9.1 DoT Hyderabad, can create a FAQ of its own, and also put up a webpage, for Hyderabad based specifics. This facility, along with the automatic answering by HELPDESK will reduce the burden on your officers considerably.

9.2 You can setup a link from this webpage to the shell club webpage (see URL in my next para). This will save you from a lot of nuisance calls made by subscribers who have local problems with their machines/modems.

10. SHELL CLUB

10.1 To reduce the burden on your officers further, you must inform the webpage address of the shell club to your new subscribers. Also, when people call you about problems specific to their machine/modem, you can quote this webpage address.

I repeat the URL of the shellclub:

members.tripod.com/~shellclub

The shell club is an absolutely free association of shell account holders. You are aware of the useful work done by us. You can see our charter and rules in the above homepage.

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