_____________________  SWAPPING - FAQ vO.9  ____________________

                _ answers to frequently asked questions about _
                         _ mail-swappers and swapping _

                                august 31, 1998

                            typed in by dentoe /sdi

                           for contributors see _ 24

         _ OO  introduction
         _ O1  what is a faq?
         _ O2  what is swapping and what is a swapper?
         _ O3  what do i need to swap?                                 !
         _ O4  what do all these crazy abbreviations and words mean?
         _ O5  what is a contact?
         _ O6  where can i get addresses / contacts from?              !
         _ O7  is swapping expensive?
         _ O8  which is the best way to send media xxx?               +!
         _ O9  what is cheating and how is it done?
         _ 1O  how can i prevent disk errors?
         _ 11  how can i repair disk errors?
         _ 12  should i answer / write letters along with the files?
         _ 13  what's the best way to answer letters efficiently?
         _ 14  which language should i use for my letters?
         _ 15  what's the best for storing the letters?
         _ 16  what's a standard letter?                               !
         _ 17  what  about those converters  that make letters look
         _ 18  what makes up a really good swapper?                    !
         _ 19  what about nicknames and handles?
         _ 2O  what's a file_id.diz?
         _ 21  why should i use a header?
         _ 22  what is a diskstealer?
         _ 23  what can i do if i don't get back my disks?             !
         _ 24  contributors-list
         _ 25  legal disclaimer

        _ + this section mainly deals  with the way of sending disks and
            other medias in germany
        _ ! this section is new or has been  modified since the previous
            release of the faq (also in the text)


        i,  robert lischke aka dentoe, created  this faq mainly just for
        fun  and  to  introduce the interesting  art  of swapping to the
        public.  but this is also a faq i wish to have had, when i first
        started swapping.

        for  any suggestions, further questions, in the case you want to
        add  something  to  this faq,  scene-swapping  or for the latest
        version  of this faq please contact  me (snailmail only -- i'm a
        mailswapper ;):

         _ robert lischke
           schwarzwurzelstr. 18
           12689 berlin

        any typos and grammatical errors in this document were just made
        for your amusement -- have a good laugh at them :)

        _O1__________what is a faq?__

        faq  means "frequently asked questions".  since this file you're
        reading  at  the  moment  actually is  a  faq,  it answers these
        frequently asked questions (here about swappers and swapping).

        _O2__________what is swapping and what is a swapper?__

        first   of  all  i  have  to  mention,  that  i'm  referring  to
        mail-swapping  in  this small faq.  a  mail-swapper (from now on
        just  swapper) is a person who likes the taste of stamps and who
        likes to exchange some files (scene or non-scene files) with his
        so-called  contacts (see "what is  a contact"). swapping is just
        what  he does: sending disks to  some persons, waiting for their
        reply, sending them some files, etc.

        swapping  is  the best way  for "sceners" to exchange themselves
        with other guys! not as fast as internet and maybe without a soo
        good  "price  /  service-condition"  like  some  other  ways  to
        exchange yours, but it is much more personal and creative.

        perhaps  it  sounds very strange, but  within a disk you can put
        much  more emotional feelings than in anything else. it's a real
        "personal  meeting" in a far distance. you also can make it more
        anonymous  than  internet,  if  you  want.  disks  are  live  in
        progression!  but  you can put much  more  in an envelope than a
        simple disk -- creativity is set no border!

        _O3__________what do i need to swap?__

        basically you just need any computer, a disk drive (or something
        similar),  some  files you want  to  exchange, addresses of some
        swappers  and  (of  course)  some  disks  (or  nearly  any other
        (ex-)changable data storage medium).

        as  mentioned this is just a  basic compilation of things you'll
        need.  i  also recommend, that you  use a file manager (for easy
        file handling, like copying, deleting, etc.) and an archiver (to
        get most out of the disk space).

        on  the  ibm-pc  i  strongly recommend  you  to  use the "norton
        commander  5.O"  (by symantec --  for dos), "dos command center"
        (shareware  by  daniel pantke),  "ufo"  (universal file operator
      ! v96.2  --  by deus ex  machina communications) or "dos navigator
      ! 1.5O"  (by rit s.r.l.). all of them  are quite easy to use, fast
        and  you  can compress and decompress  the  files using only one
      ! interface.  i  (dentoe)  prefer the  "dos  navigator" because it
      ! supports  really  a lot of archivers,  it's  fast and still very
      ! flexible.

        to  compress and decompress files, you also need archivers. most
        of  the  files are compressed using  pkzip ("*.zip"). so get the
        latest  version  of  this program --  i  think it's 2.O4g. other
        archivers  you  should have on your  disk: rar, arj, lha and jar
        (the compressed files always have the same extension as the name
        of the archiver).

        since  "nc 5.O" can't handle especially newer archivers like rar
      ! or  jar (all others can do so), i suggest you to get also either
      ! "aview" (by chris buijs) or "ainviewer" (by palm /pci). you can
        use  them  to  view and  extract  other archives than internally
        supported by nc (both are free- respectifly cardware).

        a  very  useful utility you'll sometimes  need for swapping is a
        "file_id.diz-extractor".  this tool will  automatically copy the
        file  descriptions  (see "what's a  file_id.diz?") into one huge
        file, and you'll get a nice list of the files you have. then you
        can  put your address into the header and send this file to your
        contacts, so that they can say exactly which files they want and
        which  not. but they also know which files you're already owning
        and  you  don't  need  anymore (useful  if  you  swap  with e.g.

        probably  the best "file_id.diz-extractor"  you'll find is "fid"
        by palm /pci. this tool handles all known and unknown archives,
        is   quite   fast  and  nearly   fully  configurably.  "fid"  is
        distributed as cardware.

        you'll  also  need  a good  and  new virus-scanner, like f-prot.
        that's  important,  because  you  should  check  really  *every*
        diskette you get from a contact. even if you're absolutely sure,
        that  there is no virus on the disk, scan it! either take this 2
        minutes  of  your time, or you'll  sometimes have some fun for a
        whole  week or more (checking every  disk, cleaning the whole hd
        and informing all your contacts, that you had an infection...)

        the   (english)   shareware-version  of   f-prot   is  free  for
        non-commercial usage.

        as  most  anti-virus  programs  don't  know  how  to  decompress
      ! archives  (from  version  3.OO  on,  "f-prot"  can  handle files
      ! compressed with "zip" and "arj". there's also "avp" (anti-virus-
        toolkit  pro),  which  can  scan archives,  but  up  to  today i
        (dentoe)  only  found older versions  of it.), it's important to
        copy  the  whole  contents of the  disk  you  received from your
        contact  to  your  hd,  decompress  all  archives  and  have the
        anti-virus  program  scan the  decompressed  files. otherwise it
        might  happen that a virus is hidden  in one of the archives and
        you  won't notice it because your anti-virus program didn't scan
        the content of the archives.

        if you want to answer and write letters, it wouldn't be wrong to
        have  a good and fast text-editor.  i prefer "aurora" (by nutext
        systems)  which  can handle very large  files  and has some nice
        features  (like  reformatting the text  in  these blocks), but i
        think  any  other will also do  fine (even "qbasic /edit" or the
        old "edlin"). a file manager always provides a text-editor, too,
        but  as  far  as  i know they  are  not  as flexible and fast as
        seperate text-editors.

        here (again) is the list of software you'll probably need:

         _ file manager (norton commander / dos command center / ufo)
         _ archivers (pkzip / rar / arj / lha / jar)
         _ archive viewer (aview / ainviewer)
         _ file_id-extractor (fid)
         _ virus-scanner (f-prot / mc afee scan etc.)
         _ any text-editor (aurora or any other)

        _O4__________what do all these abbreviations and words mean?__

        here  is  a  (definitly  not  so  complete)  list  of  words and
        abbreviations, you may find:

         _ ;) / :) / ...  smiley -- take a  look  into a  smiley-file to
                          learn more about them!
         _             "grin"
         _ aka            "also known as"
         _ bbs            "bulletin board system"
         _ btw            "by the way"
         _ contact        see "what is a contact?"
         _ contax         contacts
         _ cu (l8er)      "see you (later)"
         _ disx           disks
         _ elite / eleete guys who say they  are "elite", are often very
                          unfriendly to people  who are new in the scene
                          scene. but often they're just real "lamers"
         _ e-mail         electronic-mail (often via internet)
         _ hp             "homepage"
         _ im(h)o         "in my (humble / honest) opinion"
         _ lamer          is  an invective for people who have not  been
                          in the  scene for a long   time. but only real
                          "lamers"  call   other  people  "lame"  (quite
                          confusing, i know ;)
         _ noe            "not on envelope" -- means you shouldn't write
                          your  contact's  handle on the envelope  (also
                          see "what about nicknames and handles?").
         _ ppl            "people"
         _ snailmail      mail sent via the post-office
         _ tnx / thanx    thanks

        _O5__________what is a contact?__

        a  contact  is  the person you  have  contact  with, and you are
        exchanging  the  software or other  things  with. sometimes this
        person is also a "professional" swapper, and sometimes it's not.

        _O6__________where can i get addresses / contacts from?__

        that's a quite difficult question. at first you should look into
        a  local  computer  magazine for  addresses.  here  in germany i
        strongly  recommend  the "computer  flohmarkt". there are always
        people   who  search  for  new  contacts  on  nearly  all  known
        computer-systems! i don't know if there is a similar magazine in
        other countries (if so, please tell me!).

        you  can  also  take  a  look  into  diskmags.  there  are often
        sections,  where  the  addresses of  more  or  less professional
        swappers are given (there are even some kind of advertisements).

        sometimes   you  can  also  find  addresses  in  the  info-files
        ("*.nfo")  of some releases. but since  more and more people are
        buying  a  modem and the scene's  moving  to the internet, don't
        expect to much from this method.

        i  once  got  a huge file,  where  swappers from all over europe
        offered  their  business. this file was  quite  old, so i didn't
        know,  if  these addresses were okay,  but i think it's really a
        good  idea  -- so keep your eyes  open for similar files (e.g. i
        know,   that  such  a  file,  named  "billboard!",  is  released
        unregularly in poland by exodus).

        i  think the last (and definitly  not so good) possibility is to
        ask  your contacts for some addresses.  but do not only write to
        people  who  also  write to one  of  your  contacts. you'll soon
        notice,  that more and more files are doubled and that you loose

        _O7__________is swapping expensive?__

        definitly  *yes*!  it's really expensive. if  you  have a lot of
        contacts  (esp. foreign swappers) you write regularly to, you'll
        soon get into heavy money problems (especially here in germany).

        some guys are cheating to lower the costs for some sendings (see
        "what is cheating and how is it done?").

        _O8__________which is the best way to send media xxx?__

         _ 3,5"-disks

        that's  the easiest and commonest way  of swapping. you just put
        up  to 2 disks into a normal envelope, put stamps for 2,2O dm on
        it  and there you go.

        if you just want to send 1 disk (e.g. for getting a new contact,
        and  you  don't want to risk too  many disks) 1,1O dm postage is
        *not*  enough  -- you'll have to  pay  the regular price of 2,2O
        because even one disk weigths more than 2Og.

        in  germany you'll also have the  possibility to send your disks
        as a so-called "warensendung" which is often much cheaper. to do
        so,  just write "warensendung" on the  envelope and ask the nice
        woman in the post-office, how much it costs (usually 1,3O dm).

        if  you want to send more than 2 disks it's always better to use
        a  bigger  envelope. into big  standard  envelopes (these longer
        ones)  there  fit up to 6 disks.  but  the best way of sending a
        huge amount of 3,5"-disks is the following:

        put  6 disks into an area of 2x3 disks. then tape them together,
        so  that they don't get screwed up. you can use up to 3 of these
        2x3-disk-layers  (that's 18 disks!) and put them into a standard
        a4-envelope.  write  "warensendung" on  the  envelope and you'll
        just pay 3 dm of postage (i'm referring to germany, of course).

         _ 5,25"-disks

        nobody  i (beryl) know swaps with  these disks today, cause they
        are  very shitty. on the one hand,  they don't fit into a normal
        envelope  and  on the other hand  they  probably break down very
        often.  furthermore  a lot of people  (on  the ibm-pc) don't own
        such a disk-drive anymore.

        but  this  method is still used on  the  good old c64 (and other
        systems using this disksize).

         _ zip-disks

        this  is my (dentoe) preferred  way. zip-drives are quite common
        (compared with e.g. mo-drives), the disks are quite cheap (about
        25,-dm  or less each) and you'll get  1OOmb of stuff in just one

        for  zip-swapping i recommend a padded envelope to be sure, that
        the  disk  doesn't  get screwed  up.  since padded envelopes are
        quite expensive, you can also build yourself a padding, that you
        can reuse in standard envelopes.

        sending zip-disks should cost 3 dm -- didn't try to send them as
        "warensendung" yet.

         _ cd-roms

        sending  cd-roms  is comparable to  sending  zip-disks. you just
        need  a  padded  envelope  or  a  padding.  germans should write
        "vorsicht --  nicht knicken!" on the  envelope, to be sure, that
        the cd-rom is not broken.

      ! another  method to send a whole  bunch of cd-roms (without those
      ! jewel-cases)  is,  to take an old  issue  of a magazine, put the
      ! disks  into  it, put all that  into  a transparent envelope (the
      ! post-office  wont  check  the  true  contents  of  the envelope,
      ! because  they  think  there's  only  a  magazine  inside), write
      ! "bchersendung"  on  it (that's really  important)  and just pay
      ! 1,5O dm of postage.

         _ harddisks

        this  one's  quite strange and i  have  never seen or tried this
        method  --  but  with  a package  or  via  "ups"  this should be
        possible (though it's probably really expensive!).

        _O9__________what is cheating and how is it done?__

        cheating  means, that you try to save money on postage. swapping
        and  stamp-cheating  often go hand  in hand. sometimes a swapper
        can  only afford to have a lot  of contacts, if he cheats. but i
        also  should  mention,  that  cheating  is,  of  course,  highly
        illegal!  i  don't know what happens  if  you get caught, but be

        if  you  want  to cheat, i think  it's  better not to write your
        address  as sender on the envelope (maybe even not your handle).
      ! and  you  also shouldn't visit  your post-office, just throw the
      ! envelopes into the post box.

        to  cheat, just put some glue ("pritt-stick" or "uhu-stick" will
        do fine) on the stamps and let it dry. then your contact can put
        the  stamps into warm water --  the postmark will be removed due
        to the glue -- and he can reuse the stamps for a second or third
        time.  you  can also let your  contact  send the stamps back, so
        that you can reuse them on your own letters.

        but remember -- if *you* cheat, others will have to pay for it!

        _1O__________how can i prevent disk errors?__

        after  some  time of swapping you'll  soon  notice, that you get
        disk errors, on reading files from the disk. i don't know really
        how  they can happen (magnetic fields, metal things or something
        similar), but as a swapper you have to live with them. you can't
        protect  the  disks  for 1OO%! but  you  can try it by following
        these small rules:

        when sending two (or more) 3,5"-disks in a standard envelope, be
        sure  to put the holes on the back-side of the disk together! so
        that  the side, where normally the disk-sticker is, shows to the

        also try to keep the shutter (the metal thing on the disks) away
        from the place where usually the stamps are.

        don't use disks you know from, that they have errors or even bad
        clusters! nowadays 3,5" disks are not very expensive. throw away
        every disk with errors and don't use it again in a sending -- as
        you might have guessed, it's very annoying to get such disks.

        try  to format every disk you want to send properly. although it
        may  take  a  lot of time:  don't  use quick-format, because bad
        clusters will not be marked when formatting with this method.

        here  in germany you can write "vorsicht -- datentrger!" on the
        envelope, and they *may* take the letter out of the electronical
        processing.  it's  also  possible to  write  either "bitte nicht
        knicken!"  or  "bitte nicht magnetisieren!"  on  the envelope to
        prevent it from being screwed up.

        if  you  have lots of money,  you can also buy padded envelopes.
        but i think, that this is really too expensive!

        for  normal disks you can also build your own padding by folding
        some  sheets  of  paper (todays' newspaper  will  do fine ;) and
        putting  them together with some staples so that there is enough
        space for the disks.

        also take a look at "what's the best way to send media xxx?"!

        _11__________how can i repair disk errors?__

        very  difficult  and  always  hard to  do!  in  fact it's nearly
        impossible.  so  try to send your  disks without errors and that
        the post is not able to kill the disks!

        tools  like "norton utilities" or  "pc-tools" might help, but it
        takes  a  lot of time and it's  not  worth the work, because the
        result  is  often  quite  unsatisfying!  some  archivers  have a
        repair-option  --  sometimes it  works  (e.g. "pkzipfix.exe" for

        if  you  can't recover the whole  archive, then don't give it to
        your contacts, because some important files might be missing.

        _12__________should  i  answer  / write  letters  along with the

        defintely  yes!  writing and answering  letters belongs close to
        the  hobby of swapping -- without them, one couldn't get friends
        or  "real"  contacts. in letters  you  can inform your contacts,
        talk about "god and the world" etc. you even needn't write about
        computer-related topics only!

        in letters you can get a lot of information, and you can learn a
        lot  about the guys you're swapping with. as already said in the
        introduction,  you needn't just put a letter onto the disk. what
        about  some flyers (e.g. for  the next computer-party, where you
        want  to meet your contact), a postcard (btw: this even protects
        the disks!) or something different? -- just be creative!

        _13__________what's    the   best   way    to   answer   letters

        first of all i should mention, that you should find your own way
        of  answering letters. try to develop your own personal style. i
        do  keep all the letters of one  week, and try to answer them at
        the  weekend.  i  also  try, that  none  of  the letters remains
        unreplied  --  but  remember:  swappers  are  just  normal human
        beings,  and you can't expect them to  answer in one or two days
        (although  some guys seem to do that -- respect!). i think up to
        1  month  of  time  is enough (also  take  a  look at "what is a
        diskstealer?"  and  "what  can  i  do  if  i  don't  get back my

        first  of all i read through the whole letter. then i open it in
        my  favourite text-editor (do you remember? -- it's "aurora" ;),
        remove  e.g.  the header or other  unnecessary  stuff and put my
        header into the file (yes - into the letter i just received).

        then i put a ">" before every line (in "aurora" this can be done
        by  marking  the block and  pressing shift+f9, for other editors
        you can also write a macro -- otherwise you have a lot of work).
        after that, the file should look like that:

         > bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.
         > bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla,
         > bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla!
         > bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.

        then i answer every important line like that:

         > bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.

          oh yes?  that sounds interesting ;) why don't you write more
          about this topic?

         > bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla,
         > bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla!

          oh no! not again... how did you do that? why didn't you take

         > bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.

          btw: have you been at the neithernor-party organized by sdi?

        then  i  save  the file, and put  it  under any name on the disk
        (e.g.  "letter.txt"), i want to send (btw: this method is called
        "quotation-style" ;).

        sometimes  i also write a kind of introduction, where i tell how
        i'm beeing and where i tell some news about me and / or my group

        as you can see, i prefer lower case in the whole letter, because
        it's  easier  and faster to write.  some  others use mixed case.
        choose  whatever you like best -- but never use upper-case only!
        it's really hard to read (and means loud crying or shouting).

        if  you want to stress something in your sentence, then write it
        between asterisks: *this part is stressed*.

        _14__________which language should i use for my letters?__

        that depends on the country where you live in. if you live in an
        english-speaking  country,  the decision  is not hard: everybody
        with a computer should be able to speak (at least a bit) english
        (or he doesn't really use his computer seriously).

        if you live in germany or any other non-english-speaking country
        and you want to swap with sceners inside your country you can of
        course  use your native tongue. if you want to swap with someone
        from  a non-english-speaking country write  your first letter in
        english  and  ask  him which language  he  prefers. if this is a
        language you speak, then there's no problem, if not, you'll have
        to write in english again.

        _15__________what's the best way to store the letters?__

        there's no solution, that's used by everyone, which means: every
        swapper  has  got his own way  of storing the letters. i (beryl)
        will present you my way of storing the letters:

        first  of all, i create a  directory called "swapping". this dir
        is  divided into several countries, such as "poland", "germany",
        etc.  by  creating a subdirectory with  the name of the country.
        inside  this  dir, each contact  has a seperate directory again.
        now  i  create a file  called "briefe.txt" (or "letters.txt") in
        which  i store the letters in the following way: the first thing
        inside such a file is the address and the handle of the contact.
        then  comes the first letter followed  by the first answer. then
        comes  the second letter with its answer  and so on. so the file
        looks like this:

        file: c:\scene\swapping\germany\stephan swapper\briefe.txt
        (windows 95 makes it possible ;)
        stephan swapper
        scenestreet 95b
        62295 village
        letter 1:
        hello stephan,
        see ya soon...
        reply 1:
        hello beryl,

        if  a contact sends me a list of his files or some beta versions
        of a selfmade program, i copy them into "his" directory.

        i (dentoe) prefer a similar way to store my letters, but i store
        every  letter in a single file, because processing one huge file
        takes quite a long time: the extension ".atx" is for answers and
        ".txt"  is for my replies. the  addresses of all my contacts are
        stored in just one file that i print out quite regularly (anyone
        out   there   who's   able   to   write   a   small  "addresses-
        of-my-contacts-tsr"? ;).

      ! _16__________what's a standard letter?__

        a  standard letter actually looks like  a usual letter, but it's
        not  personal, which means it's not written just for you and the
        contents  also  fits for other  swappers.  swappers, that are in
        need  of a lot of new contacts  write just one big letter, where
        they  write who they are, what they're doing etc. and send it to
        a lot of different guys hoping for answers.

        often  one  can  identify a  standard  letter very fast, because
        there's  really  nothing personal to you  in it. there even guys
        out there that don't write your name or handle into the letter.

        i  (dentoe) think that standard  letters are really annoying and
        just  boring to read. it's just not the same -- i always get the
        impression,  that i'm just a  'software-provider' and not a real
        contact  or  that the other swapper  isn't interested in me as a
        kind  of  friend. in my opinion it's  better to write just a few
        lines of personal text than a huge standard letter.

        _17__________what  about those converters that make letters look

        there are some little programs around (like encool 1.O, kewlizer
        by  tib  or decay's textconverter)  which  give your textfiles a
        different  style  by  using  some  characters  of  the  extended
        ascii-codepage.  for example, using encool on the following text
        would cause this:

         _ before   hello dentoe, how are you? thanks for your stuff.
         _ after    䜜 , w  ? k$   $▟.

        i  (beryl)  must  admit, that  the  second  text looks "cooler",
        however  i  do not like it,  though, because it makes reading of
        the  text  difficult.  i always have  to  think  about, what the
        current sentence actually means and i think the letter should be
        as  easy to read, as possible.  but this is my personal opinion,
        it  doesn't represent the general way of thinking, make a survey
        if you want to know more ;).

        _18__________what makes up a really good swapper?__

        that's  really  a hard question! to  be honest, i (dentoe) don't
        really  know.  but  i will try to  explain,  what comes up to my
        mind, when i think of a good swapper:

        actually  he  hasn't to be very fast,  but he should send a good
        mixture  between  old and new files  (or just new stuff). i also
        like  when someone sends a nice,  long and interesting letter, a
        postcard from his hometown, a flyer or something similar.

        but that's what i like. other people may set great store on e.g.
        fast answers or always the latest stuff.

        if  someone  knows a better or  another answer to this question,
        please say so by contacting me!

       ! _ fog

        there are two things for me (fog) which indicate a cool swapper:
        the  first  thing is new scenestuff.  due  to the many scene-cds
        that  i have, someone who sends me old stuff wouldn't bring me a
        lot  of  new things. and if you want  to  be up to date with the
        scene you need the latest stuff.

        the  second  and main aspect of  a cool swapper is friendlyness.
        someone, who disses every newbie who writes him, harms the scene
        and its future. what makes the scene so wounderful for me is the
        contact  to  other  freaks -- and  friendlyness  is the base for
        every  relationship. so be friendly to everyone and you will get
        a  lot  of contacts and especially  a nice feeling that you have
        done something good for the sake of the scene.

        _19__________what about nicknames and handles?__

        a  lot of swappers act under  a special nickname or handle (e.g.
        mine  is  dentoe). actually it's not  really necessary to have a
        handle,  but  i  think it helps a  bit  and  it's much easier to
        remember for your contacts than your real name.

        often  the handle has this kind of form: "handle / group", where
        group  is  the scene-group the swapper  is  in (e.g. i'm part of
        "sdi" and "ec").

        however,  sometimes  swappers  don't  want  their  handle  to be
        written on the envelope (e.g. when they write "noe" behind their
        handle or in their advertisement ) -- respect this! i don't know
        really why, but you should be able to manage that.

        _2O__________what's a file_id.diz?__

        a  "file_id.diz" (short just "diz") is  a short description of a
        file  (usually  4Ox??  characters).  you  will  find  nearly all
        important  information  about the contents  of an archive in the
        file_id.diz.  sometimes in creative and weird ways -- but that's
        part of the scene.

        sometimes there's no file_id.diz in an archive. if you write one
        on  your  own, you can save your  friends and some bbs' a lot of
        time  (but  don't  try  to change  the  original  file_id  of an

        _21__________why should i use a header?__

        (coming in the next version of this faq)

        _22__________what is a diskstealer?__

        a diskstealer is someone who doesn't send your disks back. there
        can be several reasons for this: either he has no money for this
        expensive  hobby or he doesn't like you  / your style / stuff or
        whatever  or he sees that you are a beginner and he doesn't want
        to  swap with beginners (aka lamers). most often it happens that
        you  will lose your disks if you  send old stuff or worse: empty
        disks and no return postage, so that you have to pay for them.

        so remember: if you just started swapping and you don't have any
        or  just  few  new and good stuff  yet,  ask your contact, if he
        could  send  you some stuff although  you can't send him any and
        offer  him  that you could pay  the return postage. it's not his
        duty  to  do this, but: what do  you lose when asking him? never
        expect  this service in advance, because then your contact might
        feel used.

        _23__________what can i do if i don't get my disks back?__

        first  of  all: don't panic! think of  how long you did wait for
        the letter! 1, 2 or 3 weeks? that's quite normal and doesn't say
        your  contact  is a so-called diskstealer.  there can be lots of
        "normal" reasons for the delay (his machine / hd crashed, he has
        a  lot  of work to do, he's  still  waiting for some good stuff,
        he's doing exams, holidays, vacancies, etc.)

      ! if he still didn't reply your letter, what about phoning him? or
      ! write a small postcard, to remind him of your letter!

        but  if you're absoltuly sure you  can attend the next party and
        beat  him up! ;). no -- seriously you have to respect this and i
        (beryl) don't think that it's too bad to lose two 3,5" disks. if
        you lose a zip-disk (or another more expensive medium) then it's

        if  he doesn't react on further warnings from you, try informing
        other  swappers about this case, so that they are warned. a good
        idea  would be (in germany) to warn him officially by putting an
        advert  into the "computer-flohmarkt" or in diskmags in which he
        puts his swapping-advertises (aka "blacklisting").


        this  is the list of contributors. i want to thank everybody who
        helped me with this faq! if you think, i forgot you here, please
        get in contact with me!


        lars beier         e6O5 /sdi/sr?/tojs!  answered some questions
        johannes kleske    fog /obnoxious       added  some small  hints
                                                and his opinion  about a
                                                good swapper
        arne lolischkies   --                   corrected some mistakes
        michael schantin   beryl /deranged      added  questions/answers
                                                and corrected *a lot* of
                                                spelling errors -- tnx!
        claus-dieter volko adok /hugi-crew      corrected    grammatical
                                                mistakes    and     com-
                                                plemented answers

        _25__________legal disclaimer__

        this  text is copyrighted (c)1998  by robert lischke. all rights

        no  part  of  this  document  may  be  reproduced,  transmitted,
        transcribed,  stored  in a retrieval  system, or translated into
        any  human  or computer language, in  any  form or by any means;
        electronic,  mechanical, magnetic, optical,  chemical, manual or
        otherwise,  without  the  expressed  written  permission  of the

        the  information  contained  in  this  text  is  believed  to be
        correct.  the text is subject to  change without notice and does
        not represent a commitment on the part of the author(s).

        the  author(s) do not make a warranty of any kind with regard to
        this  material,  including,  but  not  limited  to,  the implied
        warranties  of  merchantability  and  fitness  for  a particular
        purpose.  the author(s) shall not be liable for errors contained
        herein  or for incidental or consequential damages in connection
        with the furnishing, performance or use of this material.

        (this part was cutted, pasted and slightly modified from t.c.p.s
        vga-kurs [tcp_vgak.zip] -- hope he doesn't mind!)