WCO issue # 20, October 1994, page 13
One benefit of using a BBS for your Internet email is that the costs tend to be minimal. Another advantage is that using Internet message conferences are as easy to use as any other conference on the BBS. The Internet email BBS solution has some disadvantages:
Some ISPs provide a helpful menu interface to guide you through these commands. Once these commands are mastered, the shell environment can be very powerful. Your sessions online are operating as virtual terminals connected to your hosts Unix server. Within this environment you can compile and run programs, write shell scripts, setup personal information management systems, multi-task projects, and generally operate as though you were on a text-based Unix workstation.
For businesses lucky enough to be located in the same building as an ISP, a direct physical connection can be made to the ISP, saving on equipment costs, and saving substantial dedicated phone line installation and monthly service charges.
Both Frame Relay and ISDN require special equipment. ISDN can be cost-effective when the application does not require 24-hour connectivity. When 24-hour access to the Internet is required, Frame Relay is usually a better choice because it is not mileage or usage sensitive. The phone company bills FR circuits at a flat-rate.
Which type of Internet service is best for you? Talk to your ISP, and keep a copy of WCO handy.
Page 13 had an ad for Bill Lauer & Associates.
Page 14 had ads for Special Interest Video, Adsoft, the Party Line (www.partyline.com), Nitelog (www.redshift.com), and the Terminal One and Uncle D's Directory BBSs.
Last month, we began our look at email interfaces to popular Internet services. We looked at ftpmail, a tool that allows you to transfer files from anonymous ftp archives. We also peeked at archie, a search tool for identifying which Internet archives have the file(s) you're looking for. Archie and ftpmail make a particularly indispensable combination when you're trying to locate and transfer shareware and freeware.
But the real riches of today's Internet come via gopher and, increasingly, the World Wide Web. Both are brands of Internet traffic, like ftp. What sets them apart is their advanced - for the net - interface. To use the full potential of these services, including the ability to make choices in real time, you need a true Internet connection. However, you can get a satisfying taste of what's out there - even if your provider only allows email.
If you're limited to email, you can use gophermail to submit your menu choices. Each gophermail submission will cause the return of a file containing the menu you'd see as an interactive gopher user and the corresponding link entries. Interactive gopher users don't typically see link entries, which contain information about which Internet site you're interacting with and the explicit path to the material you're interested in.
Also returned will be the link entry for each. To access one or more of these resources, place an X before the items and resubmit the entire message as email. If you simply resubmit the message with no items X'ed, you'll get all of them. While this can be useful, remember that your provider may have limits on incoming email. (Learn about these before you get too deeply into gophermail.)
By choosing "Worldwide Resources" and making selections from the subsequent messages you'll get, you can navigate (at a painstakingly slow pace) to any publicly accessible gopher in the world and access its files and services.
If you know the Internet address of the gopher
you're interested in, you can bypass this initial
process by submitting the Path and Host entries
to the gophermail address. For example, if you want to
check out the Internet Wiretap's gopher - an excellent
source of electronic texts and government documents
from around the world - you could simply send the
Path=1to firstname.lastname@example.org and you'll receive the top level menu for that gopher. Similarly, if you'd like to see Gopher Jewels, a subject-oriented collection of some of the most interesting gopherspaces on the Internet, submit the message: Path=1/Other_Gophers_and_Information_Resources/Gophers_by_Subject
The Web is woven together with Uniform Resource Locators (URLs). Although an entire column could be devoted to URLs, suffice it to say that they look like this: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/DataSources/bySubject/Overview.html. URLs are designed to be read by computers and not by humans. Once you've requested an initial Web resource, you can select subsequent resources by number.
Sending the word help to email@example.com gets you basic instructions on accessing the Web through email (as well as information about other services related to mailing lists).
Sending source returns the document to you in hypertext markup language so that you can view it properly with a Web browser on your home computer.
Sending deep retrieves not only the requested URL, but everything it's linked to. Powerful but dangerous, it cuts documents off after 5,000 lines - still a lot if you're operating from a small system or paying by the size of incoming email. Be cautious.
Jacking In - A Series on Cyberspace Literacy: Fall 1994
Jacking In events are co-sponsored by Modern Times Bookstore and Liberty Hill Cyberwerks and are held at Modern Times, 888 Valencia Street (at 20th), San Francisco, CA 94110; Admission is $3-$5 on a sliding scale. All events run from 7:30 to 10 pm.
Wednesday, November 9 , 1994:
Using Usenet with TIN. Usenet (the user's network) allows people to participate in global discussions on thousands of subjects. Iain Lea's tin newsreader, available on most Internet service providers, is arguably the best tool for accessing this wealth of conversation. Eric Theise will cover the basics of how to participate, publicly or privately, in these discussions and how to initiate your own. He'll demonstrate tin's facilities for downloading images and programs, and talk about search strategies for identifying relevant discussion groups and specific discussions. And, of course, he'll talk about netiquette, signature files, flamage, cascades, and FAQs.
Thursday, December 15, 1994:
Tunneling through the Internet with Gopher, Veronica, and Jughead. The University of Minnesota's gopher program was the first, wildly successful attempt at making the Internet easy to navigate. By tucking the technical details behind menus and letting users browse by making simple choices, gopher opened the Internet to countless new users. Eric Theise will lead a tour through gopherspace, describing its layout, easy-to-use features such as bookmarks, file downloading and remailing, and the veronica and jughead search tools. He'll also talk about options for setting up your own gopher server.
Page 16 had ads for Tiger Team
and the Pacific Exchange and Catalina Avenue BBSs.
Bay Area Sysop Alliance
Next Meeting: Tuesday, October 11 - 7:00 PM. BASA no-fee meetings are open to the pubIic. This month's speaker is Mike Godwin, Online Counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (www.eff.org). Mike will speak on Law and Order in cyberspace.
CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data) testing continues in the San Francisco Bay Area, but third-party application developers are still reporting problems. I'm trying to get a line on this from a local source, but nothing yet. More next month.
NexTel, one of the SMR (Specialized Mobile Radio) carriers, is progressing. Local third-party developers see good test results, but have not committed to offering a SMR-based product.
Motorola is said to be hard at work investigating fractal compression as a means of sending digital images over their new wireless networks.
Caltran's pilon mazes are always fun at 4:28 p.m. To avoid those Disneyland simulations of bumper car ride, call FastLine and use option #9. Will you find a parking spot? FastLine gives parking information for major downtown areas (SF / SJ / OAK) and local international airports.
FastLine is linked to RIDES, the commuting alternative for Bay Area Commuters. RIDES offers help on such topics as Telecommuting, Bicycling, Park and Ride Lots, Diamonds Lanes, and Bridge tolls. It takes about four minutes on the phone to start the matching process for a list of appropriate car and van pools in your area."Very personalized for the individual commute.", says Angela Martin, head of customer services at RIDES.
Besides alerting you to delays in mass transit schedules, FastLine can directly connect you to any of the 11 mass transit agencies, including the county bus lines, the train lines, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and the bay ferry fleets. As icing on the cake, Shoreline, Great America, and the Oakland Coliseum are all directly hooked into the FastLine.
For CellularOne and PacTel customers, one call to *777 is all it takes. So, if you think your metropolitan traffic reports from the radio are not enough, and you want to get a bit closer to that guy in the helicopter - with the real traffic report - call FastLine. Lastly, for those still tethered to that plastic phone on the desk, FastLine can be accessed by dialing (415) 777-1000. See you on the Internet.
Page 17 had ads for Just Computers! (www.justcomp.com), and the Eyes on the Skies (http://sunmil1.uml.edu/tvs/), Searchlight of San Luis Obispo, Silicon Knights, and the Anathema Downs BBSs.
Pages 18 though 20 had detailed listings of Bay Area BBSs.
Page 21 had ads for GTEK (www.gtek.com), CD Optix, and Cardservice International (www.cardsvc.com).
Page 22 (back cover) had a full page ad for