Note: This story was dynamically reformatted for online reading convenience. Updated Wednesday, October 6, 1999 This page contains everything you may or may not have ever wanted to know about the Alt.Sex.Stories Text Repository. In the event that your inquiry is not answered here, feel free to e-mail the administration and they'll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible. Getting The Stories Q: Can you email me the story...? A: At this time there is no system installed to automatically email users stories. Aditionally, the administration does not have the time to do this. If a story is too large for you to download, we apologize. Try downloading it overnight some time, or have a friend get it. If, however, you have a problem obtaining a particular story (due to a problem with our servers), feel free to email the administration about it. Q: How do I get the stories? A: While most web browsers will work fine for browsing ASSTR, and in fact are necessary to view some authors' directories (which are web sites themselves), the administration highly recommends using an FTP client for users who frequent the site. If you use Windows, CuteFTP is our favorite client, available at http://www.cuteftp.com. For Macintosh users, Fetch is available from Dartmouth College. For UNIX/Linux users, you shouldn't need to ask. Once you have your FTP client, point it at ftp.asstr.org . Once you're logged in, go into the pub directory. From there, you can browse the subdirectories which contain over 44,000 works. You may wish to visit the Site_Info directory, which contains some pointers as to where some of the more popular works are as well as site related news and a full listing of the site's files. Q: Is there a CD of ASSTR available? A: In one word: no. And there never will be, nor can we allow anyone to make one for us. The reason? Many of the works on ASSTR were written by authors who do not get paid at all for their works. In fact, they must pay for their computer to write their works and their Internet service to distribute them. Because of this, many authors forbid anyone to charge for their works, even if no profit is being made. The philosophy is that if they needed to pay to create and distribute the story, then the CD maker should pay for the CD, not the individual obtaining the CD. While not everyone agrees with this logic, the wishes of the authors must be respected, for without the authors, ASSTR would not exist. Always remember that a story is the sole property of the author to do with what he wishes, and it is a privilege, not a right, to have an author's story for enjoyment. Q: Why do I get the message "Access Denied" when I try to access the story...? A: Many web browsers have problems accessing stories with special characters, especially spaces, in the filename or directory name. At this time, many files in Old Joe's Collection are like this. Software is being developed to automate the correction of this problem by renaming the stories, but until this is finished, the only way to get such "problem" stories is to use an FTP client as mentioned under the "How do I get the stories?" question. Hardware Related Q: What kind of equipment is used to run ASSTR? A: ASSTR's equipment is as follows: the motherboard is a Tyan Thunder 100 S1836 (BX chipset model). The board has dual Pentium II/III processor support and an on-board dual SCSI 2 Ultra Wide controller from Adaptec. The processor is a Pentium II 350MHz chip, and we hope to get a second processor when funds become available. ASSTR currently is running with a registered PC100 SPD 256MB chip, although another is desperately needed. Unfortunately stability concerns when using anything but the highest quality memory available require the purchase of top of the line DIMMs. This all adds up to paying premium memory prices for memory that will be stable and reliable. The hard drive is a Western Digital SCSI Ultra 2 Wide LVD AV Optimized drive (model AV0038). A second machine, a Pentium 200MHz with 48MB RAM (we're in need of more) acts as the mail server. In the future, this machine may also handle parts of the search engine. Both ASSTR systems are protected by an APC BackUPS Pro 1000. The tape drive uses Exabyte brand 8mm 160 meter "XL" length tapes. Most of this equipment was obtained from user support. If you would like to help us purchase more tapes for the tape backup, more memory, or a second processor, please e-mail the administration. Miscellaneous Q: How can I keep up to date on the latest ASSTR news? Do you have a mailing list? A: We sure do have a mailing list, and would love to have you on it! Just send some email to our mailing list server with the words "subscribe asstr-news" in the BODY of the message. Q: What does the future have in store for ASSTR? A: The administration hopes ASSTR's future will be bright. Already steps are being taken to ensure ASSTR will remain online for years to come. In the meantime, we welcome any new authors and collectors who wish to store their collections on ASSTR. See the respective Authors and Collectors pages for more information. Software Related Q: What operating system(s) does ASSTR run under (and why)? A: After exploring Windows '95, NT, and various flavors of Unix, it has been our decision to use Debian Linux for all servers. The explanation, in case you care: Windows '95 was never meant to run a server. Instead, Microsoft designed Windows NT to be the stable "server" Windows operating system. However, after trying many different shareware FTP servers, none was found that would run at the stability level desired. The best that could be found meeting the configuration needs of ASSTR was Serv-U. However, under the constant heavy load, the machine (an Intel Pentium 100 mhz processor) rebooted about every two weeks for no apparent reason (this was determined to be caused by running the FTP site). Thus a consensus was reached to try Unix upon the site's reopening in September of 1997, and was quite frankly hell to get working correctly in comparison with the ease of setting up the site under Windows. Since then, many different versions of Unix have been tried to optimize the speed and efficiency of the site. First, RedHat Linux was tried, which worked quite well. However, error messages occurred at a random amount of time due to a glitch in the Ethernet card being used (a 3COM-590 PCI 10-base T card). At that time, it was assumed to be a software problem and, after not finding another driver for the card, ASSTR was switched over to the popular FreeBSD operating system (due to ftp.cdrom.com's success with it). However, this kernel seemed to use enormous amounts of memory per FTP user, and so the decision was made to switch back to the Linux kernel. Also at that time, it was discovered that the problems with the Ethernet card were due to a hardware - not a software - problem. Thus a new 16-bit Ethernet card was obtained and was used in conjunction with Debian Linux. The choice to use Debian was made due to a recommendation by two fellow administrators who had success with it prior to this time. Additionally, problems were experienced under RedHat with compiling certain programs, limiting the administration's ability to configure the server as desired. Debian has since proven to be the ideal choice for ASSTR to this date. Q: What FTP server does ASSTR use (and why)? A: Much like the operating systems, several different FTP servers were experimented with over the course of ASSTR's life. After experimenting with servers under Windows 95 and NT, the Unix server WU-FTPD was tried. While this server proved to be extremely stable and supported on the Internet (it is by far the most popular FTP server in existence), it is not very configurable. Thus nc-ftpd was tried with much success. Eventually, the server was switched back to WU-FTP for the following reasons: WU-FTP uses less memory (RAM), while taking up more system time per user, which was fine because memory was limited while extra processor was available. Additionally, nc-ftpd is commercial software with source code unavailable. In late October, 1998, the Linux FTP server ProFTPD was discovered. This server (available from http://www.proftpd.org) seems to be as stable as WU, but much more configurable. Q: What search engine does ASSTR use (and why)? A: ASSTR uses the Glimpse search engine, available at http://glimpse.cs.arizona.edu. This search engine was not only chosen due to its price (free) but also because of its efficiency. The engine makes a hash-table index of all the stories and thus does not even require access to the actual files in order to perform a search. This eliminates the need for a slow shared network drive connection and enables a search of only a few megabytes of data representing thousands of megabytes of stories. Web Site Q: Who creates the graphics on the web site? A: Miss Behavin' created all of ASSTR's web site graphics as well as the overall design of the site. Q: Why are some stories only available via FTP, but not http (the web)? A: In actuality, some files are hosted via the http server - those being the author's and collector's web pages. Still, a lot of files are hosted via FTP, as it is better suited than the web for large archive of files such as ASSTR.