Working smarter is a matter of having the right
tools, and being able and willing to use their features. The programs below
are my current favorite tools for tapping the Internet resource. They all
work under Microsoft Windows.
If you're using Windows 3x versions or DOS, then
Trumpet Winsock is what you need. I have used it successfully on dial- up
SLIP, PPP, SLiRP, and TIA (Internet Adapter) lines. If you need help setting
it up, consult the alt.winsock newsgroup.
See Chapter 15, and Appendix 2.
The program can be retrieved from libraries all over the Internet.
Users of Windows 95 and later
do not need this!
What web browser
My current favorites are
Microsoft Internet Explorer,
and Opera. They have different
strengths relative to my needs. Examples:
A considerable amount of my private information
has been stored as local web pages on my PC's harddisk for fast access. MS
Internet Explorer beautifully understands all kinds of absolute and relative
links on my harddisk, while Opera will often say "File not found."
When writing articles, I often want to retrieve
many web pages as fast as possible, and then study their contents offline.
Opera is the fastest, hands down, because of it's ability to handle
multiple pages. Click Window, Clone Window to make a quick copy of the current
window, for example a menu of articles. Press Ctrl-TAB to quickly go from
window to window.
Hint: Consider leaving the graphics behind
to travel the Web at much higher speeds. In Internet Explorer, click at "Tools,"
"Internet Options," select "MultiMedia," and unmark "Show pictures" (and
maybe some other stuff while you're at it.
Have a Macintosh? Why not
check out the iCab browser out of Germany? For a long list of alternatives
for many platforms (including Windows and Macintosh),
When I was using DOS, most of my Web accesses
were done using Lynx. It lets you enjoy the Web using DOS and your old
communications program. I called my Internet provider, got the Unix prompt,
and just entered "lynx URL" to get it at lightening speed. See
Appendix 6 for details.
Eudora Pro is my favorite
email program. It has stronger filtering features (much needed), handles
html mail well, and around 100 incoming mails per day. There is a free
(advertising supported) version available, which works nicely.
Other great email programs
with html handling and strong filtering features include Netscape Messenger,
Microsoft Outlook, Netscape (after 3.0). You should also check the free
Check out the
mIRC shareware program for Windows
3.x and Windows 95. Many IRC links are built into mIRC for you. Just click
A growing number of people use web services like
Google Groups to browse
Usenet netnews, read and search resent postings, and look up things posted
years ago. A specialized news program will give you other things:
Free Agent allows dialup modem
users to set it for online or offline operation in order to balance convenience
and economy. I have used my Microsoft Windows version successfully both over
a PPP, SLIP, SLiRP, and TIA/SLIP dialup connection. Having a color screen
The program t lets you quickly
sample threads and newsgroups. You can browse articles in one newsgroup while
retrieving headers for another at the same time, or download long articles
while continuing to browse. It does multi-level article threading, using
both the subject and the article ID. You always know exactly what posting
an article is responding to. It offers Watch and Ignore commands for threads,
and rapid navigation within and among threads.
You can post and receive articles
with binary attachments, with automatic splitting and combining to span multiple
messages. If the attachment is viewable (images or sound), then you can view
it from within the news reader.
To hear what others think,
news.software.readers, and the
CompuServe WINCON forum.
Speed and safety
Read about MNP, ITU-TSS V.42, and V.42bis in
Appendix 2. These are popular methods for automatic
error correction and compression of data. Compression gives faster transfers
To use them, your modem must
have these features built-in. They must also be enabled in the modem of the
service that you are calling.
Compression is particularly
helpful when sending or receiving text, for example news stories and conference
messages. It gives faster transfers.
They are not of much help
when transferring precompressed texts and programs. They may even make file
transfers with protocols like ZMODEM, Kermit, and XMODEM impossible. If this
happens, temporarily turn off the MNP and V.24/V42bis settings in your modem
(more about this in Appendix 2).
The more advanced your software
is, the more time it may take to learn how to use it efficiently. The rewards
are lower telephone costs, faster transfers, and less time spent doing technical
Pegasus Mail and Eudora for
Internet mail let you retrieve your full mailbox in one batch, and reply
to your mail offline. When finished, you can shoot them back to your mailbox
for distribution in one shot.
Some BBSes and online services
let you retrieve conference messages using a get or grab function. This function
often comes in two versions:
Grab to display: New messages and conference
items are received in an uninterrupted stream without stops between items.
Retrieval of text can happen at maximum speed.
Grab to compressed file: New messages and conference
items are selected, automatically compressed and stored in a file. The file
is then transferred automatically using ZMODEM or some other protocol.
Read about 'offline readers' in
chapter 16 for more about this.
Frank Burns of the American online service
MetaNet is spokesperson for the strategy
Scan - Focus - Act.
On your first visits to a
new online service, you SCAN to get an overview of what is being offered
and find out how to use it most efficiently. Notes are made of interesting
bulletins, databases, conferences, messages, news services, public domain
and shareware programs, games, and more.
Capture everything to disk.
Don't study it until disconnected from the service. Rate the material to
prepare for your next moves: FOCUS and ACT.
New Netscape users may have problems doing
this. However, it is not as complex as it sounds, and in particular if you
take the trouble to retrieve shareware utilities like Cache Master or Web
Saver from the net. They let you read and search the Web texts saved in
Netscape's cache on your hard disk. Use
http://www.shareware.com to locate
Another option is to have
Netscape mail you the pages.
As you learn about offerings, users and applications,
your use of the services changes. Things that caught your attention on your
first visits, lose to discoveries. Some applications may be promoted to
"something I want to do again," like when you decide to read a given news
report on Monday mornings.
Here are some other hints:
Find out what you do NOT need to know and have
enough self-confidence immediately to discard irrelevant material. Walk quickly
through the information. Select what you need now, store other interesting
items on your hard disk, clip references, and drop the remainder of your
Learn when and how to use people, computers,
libraries and other resources. Prepare well before going online. Note that
the online resource may not necessarily be the quickest way to the goal.
If you want the name of Michael Jackson's latest album, you may get a faster
answer by calling a local music shop. . . .
Make an outline of how to search the service
before going online. If required, start by going online to collect help menus
and lists of search commands (unless you already have the printed user
information manual). Study the instructions carefully, plan your visit, and
then call back.
Often, it may be useful to do trial searches
in online data captured to hard disk during previous trips. Do this to check
if your use of search words is sensible.
Who knows, you may even find
what you are searching for right there. Besides, you must use the correct
search terms to find what you are looking for.
Write your search strategy
on a piece of paper. If you know how to write macros for your communications
program, consider writing some for your planned search commands. - Few people
can type 240 characters or more per second. Using macros may save you time,
frustration and money.
It may be wise to do your
search in two steps. On your first visit: Get a LIST of selected headlines
or references, and then log off the service.
Study your finds, and plan
the next step. Then call back to get full-text of the most promising stories.
This strategy is often better
than just 'hanging online' while thinking. When you feel the pressure of
the taximeter, it is easy to make costly mistakes.
Novices should always go the
easiest way. Don't be shy. Ask SOS Assistance services for help, if available.
When using commercial services, invest in special communication programs
with built in automatic online searching features. They are designed to make
your work easier.
Limit your search and avoid
general and broad search terms. It is often wise to start with a search word
that is so 'narrow' that it is unlikely to find articles outside your area
of interest. Your goal is not to find many stories. You want the right ones.
You should periodically go back to the SCAN
phase, and not concentrate on FOCUS and ACT alone.
Using email gateways
to Internet resources
Things are so simple with Netscape. If you want
a file, just click on the link, and it gets transferred to your hard disk.
Still, some people opt to do it by email. One reason may be that it is the
only way they can get them. Another good reason is to save time.
For most users, time is an
important consideration. There is connect time (may cost you money), the
number of minutes it will take to get a task done (calendar time), and the
number of minutes and hours you must "work" to complete a desired task.
If you must complete a task
by 11:55, then a direct connection to the remote source may be the only answer.
Interactive methods like the World Wide Web, Gopher, anonymous ftp, and telnet
are the probable choices.
However, as the number of
people using the Internet grows, response time periodically is slow. If you
are out of luck, that important file from somewhere may snail toward you
at a speed less than 300 bits per second. To sign on to a remote telnet site
can take minutes. You may have to wait what feels like a small eternity for
the next WWW page or gopher menu to show up.
If getting more out of your
hours online, then read on. Batch processing of online work can save you
much waiting time.
On the Internet, there are
servers set up to give you Web pages by email. There is FTPmail, the batch
alternative to ftp transfers of files. Archie can be used by email. GopherMail
lets you browse Gopher menus by email (see Appendix 6).
Sure, it may take more time to get the desired information, but you will
not waste time waiting in front of your display.
You can even search many data
bases on the Web by email!
Batch searches of what others
say on specialized matters is another exciting opportunity. (See the discussion
on how to search LISTSERV log files, and archives of other mailing list systems,
in Chapter 7 and 10).
Coping with other
The typical method is to start with
some language training. The next step is usually
to reach for some language dictionaries or
On the web, you can also use
an automated online language translator, like the free
Babel Fish service.
It allows you to paste in your English language and have it automatically
translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, or go the
other way. Other options include Russian to English, French to German and
German to French. The result is far from perfect, but may be enough to understand
or make understood. Babel Fish has a World Keyboard, which let's you write
with the native characters of six languages, including Cyrillic letters.
(Spanish, French, and German to English, and more), and
The World Wide
Web by email
Several services let you retrieve Web pages by
here for a list of servers. This page also lists FTP mail servers,
gophermail servers, and Archie servers.
The method described below
works with my current favorite, a Web by email service called
Agora in Japan.
For help instructions, send a mail containing the world Help to
Web2mail is an attractive alternative,
as is WWW4MAIL.
Request WWW pages by sending
email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put the retrieval commands in the BODY of your mail, like this
The term "URL" may be thought of as a Web address.
See Appendix 6 for more and explanation. Here's an
example: If you send the following command:
to the Agora Web page server, then a copy of
my personal WWW page will be returned to you by email.
An interactive user of the
World Wide web can "click" on marked hypertext words, or mark them in other
ways, to retrieve associated pages with information. The WWWmail user does
this by resubmitting URL codes found appended to the received pages to the
Agora server address.
Words of warning:
If the requested document is too large, this
WWWmail service will only send you the first 5,000 lines.
If the service is unable to connect to the requested
WWW server, you will receive an error message without much explanation. The
reason may be a spelling error on your part, but also that the network connection
between the LISTSERV and the requested server was "bad" at the moment. Therefore,
check your spelling, and try again.
Only the first 5 lines of requests will be processed.
for more hints. Then try
the Email Faq. You may also find the
Email "tutorial on creating and maintaining an Internet presence
using email-only methods." interesting.
You can search Google by email by sending a mail
to email@example.com with the
text of your query in the "Subject" line. You'll receive your search results
via email. Example: Do the query "site:www.capeclear.com ceo" to find out
Cape Clear's CEO.
It is also possible to search
many databases by WWWmail. The trick is to find the correct URL to use when
submitting your search terms. Some are given in our examples below.
The search URLs of some popular
search engines are also given in WWWmail service's help texts. For example,
send the word HELP to Agora to receive hints on searching Lycos, Yahoo, the
WAIS server at Oxford University, WebCrawler, Hyper RFC,
MetaCrawler, and Alta Vista.
If a desired service is not
on the list, you can often find out yourself: First, log on to make a manual,
interactive search using almost any browser. Save the reported Web address
(URL) of the resulting report for analysis. Finally, test variations of this
URL with different search words to find one that works.
Using the Lynx browser, first
make a search using a typical combination of search terms. When the hit report
is on your screen, press "=" to show file and link information. Mail this
data to yourself, or make a copy before logging off.
Then, investigate the URL
under "File that you are currently viewing." Locate your original search
terms among the codes of the URL, replace them by new search terms, and send
the revised URL back to the search service to see if it works.
Note: Search URLs are usually
long and cumbersome. Therefore, experienced users often save them as templates
on disk for easy retrieval and editing on-the-fly. Many email clients, like
Pegasus Mail and Eudora, let you pick from a list of permanently saved messages,
edit, and resend the revised search command with a click.
Other users tie frequently
used search commands to specific keystrokes. Example: Enter keyword "news"
followed by Ctrl-E to have the string "SEND
http://www.newsindex.com/cgi-bin/process.cgi?query=" put into the text of
your mail. Add search words, and you're ready to send.
In Chapter 9, we mentioned
the News Index news only search engine. To find today's articles about the
term "netpc" using Agora, send this command:
To search for two terms, like "sun" and "java",
use this command:
Searching Alta Vista
If you want information about a person named
Bill Gates, try this command (write it on one line):
This command was made after an interactive
AltaVista search. I simply copied the web address of my browser's result
page, and pasted it into an email message to the Agora server (after the
In my search, I had used
"+Bill+Gates" as search terms. The "+" signs forces AltaVista to only display
pages containing both terms. As the + sign also works as a separator between
terms, I did not bother to use a space.
In this way, you can construct
complex search strings to satisfy your applications. Just store your successful
search term on your disk, and edit them according to needs.
The parameters of the search URL are separated
by "\&". Thus, the search term (+Bill+Gates) can be found in this
part of the string (separators are boldfaced for clarity):
The "+" signs (and also some other signs) are
converted to their hexidecimal equivalents, and displayed as %2b. Thus,
"\&q=%2BBBill%2BGates" is equivalent to manually entering
+Gates" at the AltaVista
If you really want to include a space between
%20, as in
Now, to search for "apples," but not "oranges,"
edit the string above to become
"%2D" is the hexadesimal code for the
minus sign ("-"). The mail you send to the Agora server will be:
From time to time, AltaVista changes their search
commands. Whenever this happens, you must change your email messages accordingly.
The trick is the same as for AltaVista. Search
for "Bill Gates" by using this command (on one single line):
Easy. To make a more complex search, first go
online and do it interactively. Copy the url off your web browser when you
get the hit list, and edit this url for your search-by-email applications.
For Google Groups searches you must separate words with a "+"sign.
Send the word "help" to
more information about using this Agora server. For more about searching
the Web by email, make sure to check
Gerald Boyd's "Email Only" information
Usenet by email
You can retrieve a list of recent postings to
a given newsgroup by sending email to a WWW by email service. Use use the
following type of commands:
||(returns a list of recent postings)
||(returns the list AND the postings)
The first command (send) will give you a list
Newsgroup alt.winsock, Articles 26012-26031
(Earlier articles...) Articles in alt.winsock
"Program wanted" - Leslie Mark Styles
"[HELP] twinsock (makefile vs Makefile)" - Scott Ehrlich
*** References from this document ***
Now, if you want article , just send a mail
back to the WWW by email service with the following command in the body of
Note: Some Agora servers may return the list
of recent postings to you in html format, presented
something like this:
HERE WE CAN PUT INFORMATION AND EXTRA LINKS
Re:Determining Winsock Version</A> David Beaver
NEEDED - Someone who really knows KA9Q,DOS and
PPP dialup</A> Steve
Re:Eudora Mail Program for Win95</A>
J. Wayne Waller
These lists are harder to read unless you use
an offline Web browser. To retrieve individual items, the trick is to isolate
the address codes between the two html code pairs'<A HREF="' and
'">' in the list.
Example: The first article
above is written by David Beaver, and the title is "Re:Determining Winsock
Version". The associated address code is given as "32365905.2574992@newsvr".
You can send this code to a WWW by email service as given above using the
More Usenet by email
Many newsgroups are connected to mailing lists
that you can subscribe to by email. Articles submitted to the newsgroup through
these mailing lists will often pass through a moderator, who reviews the
submissions before posting them.
In some cases, articles are
stored in log files that may be searched. In other cases, you can have selected
newsgroup articles sent to you by email.
Some mailing lists will not let you
search unless you are a subscriber to the given list. However, you may not
have the time, nor be interested in, reading all the postings. You just want
those items containing your specific keywords.
For example, I want to
track references to this book. The search term "Online World" is likely to
give too many false hits. Regular searches for the word "Presno" is a better
The trick is to adjust
your subscription, so you will receive no mail. You can achieve this by sending
an email to the LISTSERV in question containing this command:
SET <list name> NOMAIL
Now, search whenever you like.
For a list of newsgroups with associated mailing
lists, send mail to
containing the command "//NNHELP" for instructions. Add "//NEWSGROUPS" for
a current list of available newsgroups.
Many documents that appear
periodically in newsgroups are available for retrieval over the net. Read
under FAQ in Appendix 6 about how to retrieve.
Reference.COM (see Chapter
11) lets you search for recent Usenet articles that are already in the
local database on this host. For example, to search for articles related
to "information filtering," send an email message to
containing the following command in the TEXT of your mail:
Several News Mail Servers let users post to Usenet
news by email. Note that none of these support all existing newsgroups. Example:
Send your mail to [news-group-name]@cs.utexas.edu . Replace [news-group-name]
with the name of the desired newsgroup, as in mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Other News Mail Servers:
Send a messages to
for a list or remailers with detailed instructions. For information on anonymous
Note: All gateways will reject
posts without Subject lines. Also, make you read about the Unwritten Laws
about Personal Conduct below before using this feature!
Finally, for more on what
you can do by email, check G.E.Boyd's
How To Do
Just About Anything by E-mail.
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the quantity
of messages in mailing lists and discussion groups. Luckily, there are things
you can do.
Learn more about the software
you use for reading mail. Some programs have filtering features that permits
automatic storage of incoming mail in folders or files depending on sender,
subject, or other characteristics. This potentially makes it easier to follow
discussions on mailing lists.
Many programs let you create
a list of all incoming mail organized by subject header. You may find this
to be a big help as headers usually reflect what is being discussed.
Do not feel that you must
read every message. If the header does not show anything interesting, just
skip it. If curious, you can always look at one of the messages to see what
the general area of discussion is about before deciding.
Learn about the capabilities
of the LISTSERV, Majordomo, or LISTPROC that distribute the conference messages.
Using features like DIGEST or INDEX can reduce your load (see
A LISTSERV will also allow
a subscriber to TURN OFF the mail during an absence. Some LISTSERVs will
even permit a command to save the mail and send it later. There are many
commands to explore.
If the mailing list is on a newer version of
LISTSERV, then you may be able to join, leave, and set your defaults from
Example: To join
distribution list, KIDNEWS, go to the web page
join any other list at listserv.nodak.edu, replace "kidnews" at
?SUBED1=kidnews above with the
desired list name to get to its settings page.
Getting off that mailing
A while ago, you subscribed to that mailing list.
Now you cannot get off it. You have tried SIGNOFF, UNSUBSCRIBE, and other
likely commands, only to receive "Bad command" messages in return.
If it is a LISTSERV mailing
list, and the list you want to get off is called TOW (at
use the command SIGNOFF <list name> as in "SIGNOFF TOW". Put the command
in the body of your mail, and send it to the LISTSERV.
Never send signoff commands to the mailing
list itself, unless you want all members to learn about your ignorance.
The SIGNOFF command is not a global command that
works with all types of mailing list. If it doesn't work, try UNSUBSCRIBE
<list name>. If that also fails, try the HELP or INFO. You may try
putting the words both on the subject line and in the body of the mail.
Sometimes signing off from
a list fails because your email address has changed since you subscribed.
Example: A while ago, I was trying
to get off a list. When I subscribed, it was made either from a mailbox with
the address email@example.com, or from firstname.lastname@example.org. These addresses
are now email@example.com. When I tried to signoff, I was
told that neither address could be removed from the mailing list.
One solution is to write
to the administrator of the list, or to the postmaster of the host where
the mailing list program is running.
Hint for Netscape users: To get off
a list that you subscribed to from another email address, set Netscape up
with your old e-mail "from" address under menu Options/Preferences/Images,
Network, and Mail. It's easy. Just put your old e-mail address into the box
labeled "Your Email" and send a "SIGNOFF <list name>" to the
Some LISTSERV mailing lists let you send the
command "REVIEW <list name>" for a list of subscribers (example: REVIEW
TOW sent to the LISTSERV address above). This list usually contains the address
of the administrator.
In some cases, usage of the
REVIEW command is blocked. Then inspect the mailer header of messages from
the mailing list. For example, if it says
then there you have the address of the host computer.
Try "postmaster" instead of "listserv" to reach a live person for help.
Copyright notices and
Most commercial online services protect their
offerings with copyright notices. This is especially so for database information
Some vendors make you accept
in writing not to store captured data on a local media (like diskettes or
hard disks). Others force clients to use communication software that makes
it impossible to store incoming data to disk.
The reason is simple. Information
providers want to protect their income.
In most countries, you can
quote from what others have written. You can cut out parts of a whole and
use in your own writing. What you can not do, however, is to copy news raw
to resell to others. If an online service discovers that you're doing that,
expect a law suit.
Read copyright notices to
learn about the limitations on your usage of data that you receive.
Unwritten laws about
Some services let their users be anonymous. This
is the case on many chat services. If you want to pose as Donald Duck or
Jack the Ripper, just do that.
Many free BBS systems let
you register for full access to the service during your first visit. It is
possible to use any name. Don't do that. Use your true name, unless asked
to do otherwise. It's impolite and unrespectful of the other members to
participate in online discussions using a false identity.
Being helpful is an important
aspect of the online world. The people you meet use their time to help you
and others. Often for free. The atmosphere is therefore often one of gratitude,
and a positive attitude toward all members of the various groups.
If you use rude words in public,
expect your mailbox to fill with angry messages from others. Those who respond
carefully to personal attacks, will never regret it. Don't say things online
that you would not have said in person.
REMEMBER: Words written in
a moment of anger or frustration may be stored on at least one hard disk.
Your 'sins' may stay there for a long time - to resurface when you least
want it to.
Here are some guidelines (often
called 'online netiquette'):
If mail to a person doesn't make it through,
avoid posting the message to a conference. Keep private messages private.
It is considered extremely bad taste to post
private mail from someone else on public conferences, unless they give you
explicit permission to redistribute it.
Many users end their messages with some lines
about how to reach them (their email address, phone number, address, etc.).
Limit your personal "signature" to four lines.
Hint: Do not include a signature when sending
commands to email based services. It can confuse the servers.
Do not send test messages to a public conference,
unless they are set up to serve this purpose.
If someone requests that readers reply by private
email, do that. Do not send to the conference, where the request appeared.
When replying to a message in a public conference,
many users 'quote' the original message prefixed by '>' or another special
character, as in
>I strongly believe it was wrong to attack
>Fidel Castro in this
When you quote another person, edit out whatever
isn't directly applicable to your reply. By including the entire message,
you'll only annoy those reading it.
Note that if you USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, people
will think you are shouting.
For more on "netiquette," join the mailing list
of the same name. In the owner's own word, it is
devoted to network etiquette, the informal set
of rules, civilities, and social graces that have evolved in cyberspace,
the do's and don'ts of online behavior. What are the rules? How have they
evolved? How can responsible net.citizens avoid breaches of Netiquette? How
should we respond to the breaches of others? Is flaming an art and if so,
how can it be mastered? What's being said about Netiquette on the net and
in the media?
To subscribe, send email to
with the following command in the subject field:
For a copy of the "Core Rules of Netiquette"
document, send an email to the same address with the following text in the
archive send core
Finally, smile with me about the following story:
According to Time Magazine (7/19/93, p. 58), three women who corresponded
with Mr. X over the network discovered his duplicity and went public on the
network. The incident sparked a lively debate over electronic etiquette (and
ruined Mr. Casanova's chances for further romance).
File transfers through
The Internet is a network interconnecting hundreds
of thousands of computer centers around the world. These centers use different
types of hardware and software, and different methods of file transfer.
What method to use for file
transfers depends on the source host and the type of connection and software
that you are using. For those using a web browser, it is usually very simple.
Just click on the file's hyperlink to start the transfer.
For those using the original
method transferring files by FTP, the transfer usually takes place in two
1. Transferring files from a remote data center
to your local mailbox host.
2. Transfer from your local mailbox host to your
Transfers by email
Transferring plain text files is easy. Files
with imbedded word processor control codes will often have to be treated
as binary files. More about this later.
Getting text files from a
mailing list library on a remote computer is a special case. Sometimes, these
files are available from a web page or an ftp archive. If this is the case,
clicking on a hyperlink is usually all it takes.
However, sometimes you must
send a retrieval command (like GET) by email to a remote center. After a
while, the file will be sent to your mailbox by email. You can read it like
you read other mail.
Example: Retrieve the
It explains how to retrieve binary art files from the
project's file libraries. You can also get it by sending an email to
Use the following general command syntax in your text:
GET <directory name>.<file
To get the MSDOS1 file, write the following command
in the TEXT of your message:
Note that these commands must always be put in
the body of the mail and not in the subject field. The file will arrive in
your mailbox after a while.
Also, lists of available files
are usually available by using an "INDEX <directory name>" command.
To get a list of files in the KIDART directory, add the command "INDEX KIDART"
in your message above.
On some LISTSERV servers,
the period between list name and file name is not being used.
Libraries of other types of
mailing lists may use other retrieval commands. Often, you can get information
of what commands to use by sending the word HELP to a mailing service (in
the Subject area or in the body of the text).
The easiest way of retrieving binary files across
the Internet is by using a World Wide Web browser like Netscape, or Internet
Explorer. You just give the program a file location address (URL), as in
This address will give you the most current version
of this handbook in Unix Z compress format. (Remove the trailing ".Z" to
retrieve the ascii text version.)
Users with a direct connection
to the Internet usually also have access to the FTP command (File Transfer
Protocol). Some of them prefer FTP for transfers of binary files like computer
programs, pictures, sound, and compressed text files.
The bad news is that the FTP
command is not available to all users of Internet mail. These must use "FTP
by mail," or other tricks to transfer files. More about this in a moment.
The FTP command gives access
to a special file transfer service. It works in the following way:
Logon to your local email
host and enter 'FTP remote-center-code', as in this example: 'ftp 18.104.22.168'.
This command will connect
you to the center in North Dakota mentioned above. Here, you will be prompted
for user name and password. Enter 'anonymous' as user name, and use your
real name or email address as password.
This way of logging on to
retrieve files is called "transfers by anonymous ftp." You can use this method
on many hosts on the Internet.
When connected to the remote
center, you can request transfer of the desired file to your mailbox. Before
doing that, you may have to navigate to a given file catalog (cd directory),
and tell the host that the transfer is to be binary (bin). Finally, start
the transfer by entering a "GET file name" command.
The file will be transferred
to your local mailbox computer at high speed. When the transfer is done,
you logoff from the remote center to "get back" to your mailbox computer's
Now, you can transfer the
file to your personal computer using communications protocols like Kermit,
XMODEM, ZMODEM or whatever else is available.
Note: I usually prefer Lynx
for retrieval jobs using URLs like you would use with Netscape, as in "Lynx
transferred as text codes
If you do not have access to FTP or Lynx, you
must use ordinary email for your binary transfers.
Usually, email through the
Internet can only contain legal character codes (ASCII characters between
number 32 - 126). Most systems cannot transfer graphics or program files
directly, since these files normally contain binary codes (which are outside
this ASCII character range).
The solution is to convert
binary files to text codes using a utility program called UUENCODE. The encoded
file can be sent by ordinary email, as in this example:
From TRICKLE@VM1.NoDak.EDU Fri Aug 16 16:32:37
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 1991 09:31:34 CDT
Subject: Part 1/1 SIMTEL20.INF PD:<MSDOS.STARTER>
The file PD:<MSDOS.STARTER>SIMTEL20.INF
has been uuencoded before
being sent. After combining the 1 parts with the mail headers
removed, you must run the file through a decode program.
------------ Part 1 of 1 ------------
begin 600 SIMTEL20.INF
-------- End of part 1 of 1 ---------
When you receive a message with uuencoded text,
download it to your personal computer's hard disk. Use an editor to cut out
the codes and paste them to an empty work file. Using the example above,
the first line in your work file should contain:
begin 600 SIMTEL20.INF
The last line of your work file should contain
Now, use a utility program called UUDECODE to
convert the file back to its binary form (or whatever).
More information about uuencoding
and uudecoding is given in the MSDOS1 file mentioned above (for MS-DOS
computers). It has a detailed explanation, BASIC source code for making the
program UUDECODE.COM, and a DEBUG script for those preferring that.
Versions of UUDECODE are also
available for other types of computers.
Transfer of pictures
In 1992, Denis Pchelkin (Protvino, Russia) was
11 years old, had two cats and one dog, and was a famous contributor of beautiful
computer graphics art to the
The file ART019 in the KIDART
catalog of the North Dakota center contains one of his creations. It is a
UUENCODEd picture in GIF graphics format.
Retrieve Denis' art by sending
a command to
Put the following in the TEXT of your message:
The LISTSERVer will return a message filled with
strange uu-codes. We assume that you have already retrieved the MSDOS1 file,
and that you have a version of the conversion program. Your next step is
Read the message into an editor
or a viewing program. Cut and paste the codes to a work file. Keep the original
as backup. Use the UUDECODE.COM program to convert ART019 into a GIF formatted
file. Now, view the picture with your favorite graphics program.
Sending binary files in uuencoded
form has weaknesses. One is the lack of automatic error correction when
sending/receiving email. Noise on the line can easily distort the picture.
File size is another problem.
UUENCODEing typically increases file sizes by almost one third. Some mailbox
systems restrict the length of individual messages that you can receive,
and the file may just be too big.
If the uuencoded file gets
too big, some services can (or will by default) split it up in parts and
then sent separately.
Tons of uuencoded public domain
and shareware programs are available for retrieval by ordinary email.
MIME encoding can also be
used (see Appendix 6), but is less common.
FTP by email
While some services accept commands like GET
KIDART.ART019 by email, this is not so with the many so-called FTP libraries.
Many of them can only be accessed by FTP.
Services exist that will do
FTP transfers by email for those not having access to the FTP command. For
more information, write a message to one of these addresses:
In the TEXT of your message, put the word "HELP"
for information. Check
for a longer list of ftpmail servers, and check availability at Steve
Agora, etc. statistics page.
These services will fetch
the desired file from the FTP library, uuencode it for email transfer and
possibly split large files into several messages, thus helping you around
local restrictions on the size of incoming mail messages.
Using FTP by email can be
nice even for those with full Internet access, as some FTP servers are heavily
loaded and interactive response can be very sluggish. It makes sense not
to waste time and connect charges in these cases.
Note that FTP mail servers
tend to be quite busy. Your reply may not arrive for several hours, or days,
depending on when and where you send your request. Also, some large files
may be split into smaller pieces and returned to you as multiple messages,
and binary files may be uuencoded by the sender.
Fax services weigh
less than a printer
Many online services let you send electronic
mail as fax messages. This is an interesting feature when in that far away
place without a printer. Send the draft contract or other texts to your hotel's
fax machine or to your client's office to get a printout on paper.
For more about how to send
(and receive) faxes, check "How can
I send a fax from the Internet?".
Free telephone calls
Anyone can make free telephone calls through
the Internet. All it takes is a computer having the right phone software,
a sound card, loudspeaker, and microphone installed. If your Internet connection
is good, then the sound quality will be comparable to a regular phone call.
For more about how to get
started with Internet telephony, start with
the Internet Telephony
Software page, and follow the links.
Then, there is online file storage.
MyDocsOnline lets you upload
files to their server, with a maximum of 20MB total file sizes. You can then
access your files from any web-enabled device, move files between computers,
or send/share with others. It's great for people who have multiple computers,
students, business people that travel frequently, or anyone that is tired
of using floppies or email attachments.