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PICList Thread
2000\01\10@103257 by PICLIST-request


The PICList is a collection of people interested in the Microchip PIC
processor who have requested that email sent to the PICList email address be
forwarded to them.

There are about 1800 people subscribed to the PICList (as of 19990110) so
sending a post to the PICList results in a lot of people spending the time
required to read your message or question. They would all appreciate it if
you would check the PIC FAQ and search the Archives before posting a

Many of them enjoy reading posts on topics other than the PIC but that may
be interesting to PICers (engineering, ideas, technical jokes, etc...) but
many others do not wish to spend the time required to read these off-topic
posts. They would appreciate it if you would put the text [TO] at the end of
the subject line of your post so that they know its not about PICs. If you
are replying to a post that is not about PICs and notice that it is not
marked [TO], please edit the subject line to add that flag.

Q : How do I send messages to the list
A : Step by step:

First, you check the PIC FAQ.  and search the Archives. to get an instant
answer without wasting anyone's time. with older posts at

Second, you must be subscribed to the list to post to the list and you must
send from the email address you subscribed from. some email clients will
allow you to click on the following link:

Third you must compose a message to .....PICLISTKILLspamspam@spam@MITVMA.MIT.EDU
that will elicit help.
If its not about PICs directly, that's ok, post it anyway but put [TO] at
the end of the subject line.
The subject should be as complete a description of the problem as is
possible in 60 characters or so. Compress and distill.

The body should:
- be in plain text, not HTML.
- be a detailed description of the problem in as few words as possible.
If you have a web page, post a verbose description of the problem to it and
put the full URL of that page in your post (include the ) along with
a summary of the problem.
- include what you are trying to do (overall), what you expected to have
happen at this point, what you are seeing, and how you are seeing it (what
test equipment, etc...)
- Include specific part numbers, code snippets (not the full source,
please), and signal descriptions.

Finally, read your message over again, check the subject line and press
You will not see your message echoed on the PIClist, and it may take more
than a day before anyone responds since most people only read their PICList
mail once a day and they are all over the world. If no one responds after a
week, read the rest of this page,  especially the list admin Mini-FAQ,
general list guidelines,  rethink your post and add a "Nobody responded to
my last post, what am I doing wrong?" to the end and send it again.

Q : How do I send commands (like to subscribe/unsubscribe)?
A : To send a command, send it in the body of an email to the list server
address :
For instance, to get off the list, you send the command :
LISTSERVspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU?body=SIGNOFF+PICLIST> Sending SIGNOFF PICLIST in the body of a post to the PICLIST@... address
will result in about 1800 people being notified that you want to leave the
PICList and the emails will keep right on coming.

Q : Where must the command be in my email?
A : In the message body. The subject line is ignored.

Q : What commands are available ?
A : List of ListServer commands

Q: Is the list moderated, how do I contact the moderators,  and what are the
A: The list is administered, not moderated by Mark Willis, James Newton and
Jory Bell (who setup and controls the list). Posting messages to the
"PICList Administration Port", at
@spam@PICList-RequestKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU, causes
that message to be distributed to all admins who then read your post & try
to help. They have now published guidelines (Including Marks new Mini-FAQ)
at this site.
Admin's guide the list by asking that people mark off topic messages with
[TO] in the subject line (not to, <to>, {TO] or off topic) and PICLIST
related but not PIC related messages with [Admin] so that people who do not
wish to read these postings can filter them out via their email programs.
Non-PIC related threads are common and the volume of messages can be several
hundred per week. Several respected, valuable, and otherwise caring people
have, in the past, unsubscribed due to a temporary peak in the volume of
fluff and bad attitudes. When bickering and non-technical posts reach a
fever pitch, James, Mark and even Jory have been known to step in and put a
stop to it by warning people and throwing them off the list. If you want to
be accepted and get the most help, please read some general list guidelines.
Text only posts (no HTML email) are preferred, subject not directly related
to the PIC should be marked with [TO] at the end of the subject line, and
messages of hatred or intolerance will get you kicked off the list, period.
Please forward suggestion or complaints about the list to the list admins at
rather than to all the list members. Product information about your PIC
related product is fine, but blatant spam is not. Advertise your company,
product or site in a one or two line addition to your signature at the
bottom of your posts.

Q. Is the PICList a good place to ask for / post cracks for PIC related
A. Remember that the PICList is a public forum. Asking for a crack will
typically get you nothing but advice to pay for what you get. In the past,
cracks posted to the list have evoked mixed responses ranging from offlist
threats, to onlist thanks and have started some flame threads about hacking
and cracking and software licenses and prices in general which always end up
being a waste of bandwidth. List members have been known to forward cracking
related threads to the maker of the product being cracked with full header
information (including your email address, and who your ISP is).

We can't stop people from posting things that are not legal. We do not
approve of software piracy and will remove from the list individuals who
show a flagrant disregard for the rights (and efforts) of others. We will
forcibly kill flame threads that have no bearing on PICs and are not
appropriate to the list.

Jory says: "...[we can't prevent] PICList people [from pirating] software,
since that is everyone's own choice, ... i don't want to police such things,
but please keep in mind the nature of your communication, and the nature of
a public list and decide what is appropriate."

Lets keep cracking off the PICList, there are plenty of other lists for
that, and as always, please mark anything not directly related to PIC
engineering with an [TO] at the end of the subject line.

Q: Can I advertise my product on the PICList?
A: Yes and no. Read on:

:> Great! Responding to a question or a request for help with an
advertisement for your product which is a solution to the original post is
no problem. That type of advertising is "a good thing" as it A) solves the
posters problem B) encourages PIC related businesses C) Keeps people who do
PICs for a living involved in the list. D) sometimes it triggers a "hey, I
can do that for a lot less" response that leads to a healthy competition for
the advertisers.
Don, Tony, Myke and others have been called on the carpet for advertising
before and list members have resoundingly stood up for them.

Before you buy anything, don't be afraid to ask others on the list for
confirmation that a product recommended by the mfg. as a solution to your
problem is a good choice. List members will not hesitate to speak up <GRIN>
and the manufacturers are expected to be thick skinned.

:) Good: Adding a line or two to your signature (and the "PIC/PICList FAQ: " line doesn't count! <GRIN>) about what you do, buy,
sell or believe in is also no problem. The only possible exceptions are
political and/or religious flame starters and spiteful messages.

:| Maybe: Posting News or information about your product (unsolicited) to
the list. Well... ok... *IF* its a product that people on the PICList will
really use. The only trick is that in the eyes of the poster, the fact that
his new hydroponic plant management system has a PIC somewhere in it
qualifies it for the PICList even though he hasn't published a schematic,
code or even any description of the design process and its never been
mentioned on the list before. On the other hand, if the product actually A)
does something to a PIC or for a PIC (like a programmer or a simulator
etc...) B) Uses a PIC and has engineering details published or C) was
designed with help from the list (e.g. we all heard about the problems and
solutions involved in the making of it), we don't see any problem.

:{ Listen: The final judgment of what is appropriate is left in the hands of
the PICList administrators, if *they* feel a post is inappropriate, they
WILL take action with at least a warning, followed by removal and or barring
the offender from the list, at their option, on this as in any
Q: Is the list archived?
A: in realtime at with
older posts at The server also archives
the list - as of 4 January 2000 the server contains archives back to April
1998. To get a list of the archives send the command "index piclist" to

Q: Are these archives searchable?
A: Yes, they are. The two webpages have search engines on the page. The
direct server interface also provides search capability by email. To use the
email interface, compose a new message addressed to
In the body of the message, create your search parameters like this:

search keyword in listname
where keyword is the word or words (separated by spaces) that you wish to
search for and listname would be PICList.

You can further limit the search to a specific time frame by adding the

from date1
to begin the search at date1. You can also specify an ending date by adding

to date2
The full command would then be:

search keyword in listname from date1 to date2
Two other limiters that can be used are

where subject contains text

where sender contains text
These limiters contain the search to messages that have certain subject
lines or were sent by specific individuals, respectively.

[Thanks to Mike Werner]

Q: Why don't I see my own posts to the PICLIST?
A: This is the default setting on the list server. To changes this so that a
copy of your post is sent back to you from the list, send the command:

Q: Can I get the list in "digest" format?
A: Yes. To change to digest mode, just send the command SET PICList DIGest
to LISTSERVEraseMEspam.....MITVMA.MIT.EDU. To get back to individual emails, send the

Q: Can I get only the posts that interest me in digest form?
Q: On my slow internet connection, it takes forever to download all the
email and I'm only interested in a few anyway. How can I keep using the
A: Using the Index mode of the PIC List. [thanks to Mike Werner]

First of all, you must tell the server that you want the index mode for your
subscription. To do this, send a message to RemoveMELISTSERVEraseMEspamEraseMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU with the
command "set piclist index" (without the quotes, of course) as the sole
content in the body of the message. From then on you will receive a daily
index of postings to the list, looking something like this:

Index  Date  Size Poster and subject
-----  ----  ---- ------------------
043066 10/22   18 From:    Mike Werner <RemoveMEreznaeousspam_OUTspamKILLspamEARTHLINK.NET>
                 Subject: Re: [TO] Bullet Proof Circuit... was: Survey...
                          is an
Except that there would be a whole lot more entries than that. The headers
are fairly self-explanatory, but as a quick once over they are: Index is a
server assigned sequential number for reference purposes, Date is the date
the message was received by the server, Size is the number of lines in the
message not counting headers, and then Poster and Subject is just that.

To retrieve the full message, all you need do is hit reply, quote the
original message (most mailers will do that either automatically or provide
a button to do so), and then edit out the messages that you are not
interested in. Once you have done that, send the message. In a few minutes
you will receive one digest-style message containing just the messages you

Q: I'm going on vacation / don't want to be involved in the PICList for a
while. Should I unsubscribe and then re-subscribe when I get back?
A: You can, but this will reset any configuration related to your account.
To preserve your settings, send the NOMAIL command: SET PICList NOMAIL to
RemoveMELISTSERVTakeThisOuTspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU as you leave and then send the MAIL command: SET
PICList MAIL to EraseMELISTSERVspamspamspamBeGoneMITVMA.MIT.EDU when you return. Also, consider
setting digest mode (above) to continue getting PICList posts in a more
compact form.

Q: I've been on the PICList for a while and suddenly I'm not getting any of
the 50 odd messages per day that normally come in:
A: Sometimes, on the Internet (being the way it is), mail doesn't get
through for a while - it does get through eventually. Situations happen like
your mail being handed off to a machine which then gets disconnected due to
some problem, be it "backhoe fade" or a hardware crash, things usually get
fixed up in a couple days. Usually the traffic all shows up in one HUGE
clump, some hours or days later on, whenever that server gets fixed or
re-booted. It's annoying to us admins, as we have to tell the difference
between not being on the list, being on the list but set to NoMail, or the
above, or other problems that can happen. Sometimes, someone's ISP falls
onto the RBL (Realtime Black hole List - an anti-SPAM list, this happened to
MY ISP recently), or the PICList gets mistakenly ID'ed as a "SPAM" source by
someone's ISP due to all the traffic, and all PICList traffic is filtered
into the "circular binary file." Rarely, you get a fast response back, but
the mail isn't getting through, despite the options the list server's set to
looking like it should - When THAT happens, I suggest people unsub &
re-subscribe, usually that fixes things. Sometimes just setting to digest &
then regular mail a few seconds later can fix it.

The usual test I suggest is to send a "Query PICList" message to the
"PICList List Server Command Input Port" at RemoveMELISTSERVKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU, if you
don't get a response back from that address in 5 minutes or less, mail's
dropping through an event horizon someplace between your ISP and the list
server, or filtering is happening, or someone's on the RBL & is being
filtered out. This is a good time to e-mail the list admins at
PICList-RequestSTOPspamspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU and let us look into it.

Q: My email address is changing. How can I forward my PICList emails?
A: If you're moving to a new ISP, you can send in the command "CHange
PICList newemailaddress@newISP", to spamBeGoneLISTSERVSTOPspamspamEraseMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU to move your

Q: I want to post to the PICList from my home email account and from work.
When I try to post from an account from which I am not subscribed to the
PICList I get a "rejected posting" message and if I subscribe from both
email accounts, I end up with two copies of every post. What can I do?
A: Subscribe from both accounts then send the NOMAIL command from the email
address where you do not wish to receive (but do wish to send) posts.

Q: I'm having (some other) problem with the PICList
A: [There are] Multiple ways to handle any type of List problems [says Mark]

Send a "Query PICList" message, to the PICList List Server 'Command Input
port' at <KILLspamLISTSERVspamBeGonespamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>, and forward the resulting e-mail you
receive in return, to an Admin. with what's wrong; This gives me more info.
Should get that response quickly, so if no response in a half hour, let me
know that you tried. If this happens, it's a router problem. If you send
such a message & get a delivery error, though, I want to know as I need to
contact MIT or something (unlikely though.)

Unsubscribe from the PICList and subscribe again. Yeah, I know, it's a pain!
But sometimes the only way, seemingly, to fix some things (Methinks L-Soft
has a bug to stomp somewhere in the Options setting/clearing code - for
their credit, they seem to have most of them pretty well squished!) You'll
have to then set your options again, which is a pain. I think (haven't
tested yet) that you can put the options all into one e-mail, too, i.e.
Subscribe on the first line, Set PICList Mail on the second, and even Set
PICList Repro on the third {Now the default}, Set PICList NoACK on the
fourth {Again the default} if you wanted. (I don't mind people asking for
help, either, especially when they cannot unsub an old address due to an ISP
change or ISP name change, it takes me 3 seconds to unsub people, so just
make sure you ask me to unsub the CORRECT ADDRESS, lest I unsub the wrong

To get at old posts, either jump to and
read there, or, you can send the command "Index PICList" to the PICList List
Server 'Command Input port' at <EraseMELISTSERVspamEraseMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU>, which will get an
index of old PICList messages for you. I don't think the list server keeps
all messages ever posted, but it does keep some. You can then order
individual messages by using "GETPOST PicList Ref#1 Ref#2 ..." etc., where
Ref#1 is a reference number in the Index you just received.
Q: How can I sort email from the PICList to separate it from my other email?
A: Most email clients will allow you to setup a rule for moving PICList
email into another folder. It always comes from @spam@PICLIST@spam@spamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU. If
your email program doesn't support that or if you want to keep it all
together but still easily see what emails are from the PICList, you can turn
on a subject sort tag by sending the command SET PICLIST SUBJECTHDR to
spamBeGoneLISTSERVspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU. This will insert the tag [PICLIST] in the subject
line of every post and remove it from your replies to the list for other
members who have turned this feature off (the default setting). You can

Q: How is the PICList like a PIC?
A: The PICList list server has 3 "I/O Ports".

Posting messages to the "PICList Mail Distribution port", at
TakeThisOuTPICList.....spamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU, causes that message to be distributed to all 1800+
members of the PICList (Those who don't have NoMail set), who then read your
post and make snide comments if you posted to the wrong address.
Posting messages to the "PICList Administration Port", at
TakeThisOuTPICList-RequestKILLspamspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU, causes that message to be distributed to all
admins of the PICList {Jory, Mark, & James, right now}, who then read your
post & try to help.
Posting messages to the "PICList Command Input Port", at
.....LISTSERVspamRemoveMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU, causes that message to be treated as a command by
the listserve software, THIS and ONLY THIS is the address to send
Unsubscribe requests, Set NoMail requests, and so forth. The listserve
software ONLY listens here for commands, you can send them to those other
"ports" all you want, and all you'll get is a copy back from the machine,
telling you you've made a mistake.
Same as on a PIC chip, using the wrong port for the wrong purpose may result
in unintended consequences, like annoyed list neighbors or frustrated

And finally:

Q: How many internet mail list subscribers does it take to change a light

A: Exactly Five Hundred:

1 to change the light bulb and to post to the mail list that the light bulb
has been changed
7 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light
bulb could have been changed differently.
4 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs. (one post in HTML)
1 admin to post a message about not posting in HTML
17 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing
1 to post an unsubscribble message to the list (rather than to the list
1 to respond to that with a witty comment about t-shirts
1 to notice that some message in the signature line of one of the messages
offends him and post a flaming rebuttal
1 One Admin to flame the other about SPAMming the list with pointers to his
PICList FAQ resulting in a flurry of off list inter-admin posts that
distract the admins just long enough to allow:
463 to pile into the flames

This FAQ maintained by Jory Bell, Mark Willis and James Newton. Last update

The PICList Admins

2000\01\10@112642 by PICLIST-request

Please change all occurrences of [TO] into [OT] in the previous post on this

When I was about to send the monthly PICList FAQ post for Jory, Mark and I,
I thought "I'll just do one last spell check before posting this..." and
must have told the #^@^%@ spell checker to change all the ot's to to's. I
guess I have to be %7 smarter than the spell checker I'm running... <WANE
GRIN> Pardon me while I go wipe the egg off my face...

The following is correct (I think)

James Newton (PICList Admin #3) 1-619-652-0593

{Original Message removed}

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