Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet

This is Texinfo edition 1.01 of `bdgtti.texi' as of 20 September 1993. Created by Jörg Heitkötter on August 27, 1993.

The Texinfo edition originated from plain ASCII text file `/pub/EFF/papers/big-dummys-guide.txt' on The Electronic Frontier Foundation's server ftp.eff.org.

Copyright (C) 1993 EFF, The Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Published by The Electronic Frontier Foundation 1001 G Street, N.W., Suite 950 East Washington, DC 20001, USA

Phone: (202) 347-5400. FAX: (202) 393-5509. Internet Address: (eff@eff.org)

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this booklet provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this booklet under the conditions for verbatim copying, provided that the entire resulting derived work is distributed under the terms of a permission notice identical to this one.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute translations of this booklet into another language, under the above conditions for modified versions, except that this permission notice may be stated in a translation approved by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE

Version 2, June 1991

Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

Preamble

The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software--to make sure the software is free for all its users. This General Public License applies to most of the Free Software Foundation's software and to any other program whose authors commit to using it. (Some other Free Software Foundation software is covered by the GNU Library General Public License instead.) You can apply it to your programs, too.

When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.

To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights. These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it.

For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights.

We protect your rights with two steps: (1) copyright the software, and (2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the software.

Also, for each author's protection and ours, we want to make certain that everyone understands that there is no warranty for this free software. If the software is modified by someone else and passed on, we want its recipients to know that what they have is not the original, so that any problems introduced by others will not reflect on the original authors' reputations.

Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software patents. We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the program proprietary. To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all.

The precise terms and conditions for copying, distribution and modification follow.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR COPYING, DISTRIBUTION AND MODIFICATION

  1. This License applies to any program or other work which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed under the terms of this General Public License. The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "work based on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated into another language. (Hereinafter, translation is included without limitation in the term "modification".) Each licensee is addressed as "you".

    Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the Program (independent of having been made by running the Program). Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.

  2. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License along with the Program.

    You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee.

  3. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

    1. You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

    2. You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.

    3. If the modified program normally reads commands interactively when run, you must cause it, when started running for such interactive use in the most ordinary way, to print or display an announcement including an appropriate copyright notice and a notice that there is no warranty (or else, saying that you provide a warranty) and that users may redistribute the program under these conditions, and telling the user how to view a copy of this License. (Exception: if the Program itself is interactive but does not normally print such an announcement, your work based on the Program is not required to print an announcement.)

    These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.

    Thus, it is not the intent of this section to claim rights or contest your rights to work written entirely by you; rather, the intent is to exercise the right to control the distribution of derivative or collective works based on the Program.

    In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under the scope of this License.

  4. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

    1. Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

    2. Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

    3. Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you received the program in object code or executable form with such an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)

    The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable. However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable.

    If distribution of executable or object code is made by offering access to copy from a designated place, then offering equivalent access to copy the source code from the same place counts as distribution of the source code, even though third parties are not compelled to copy the source along with the object code.

  5. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License. However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.

  6. You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute the Program or its derivative works. These actions are prohibited by law if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the Program), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it.

  7. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to this License.

  8. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

    If any portion of this section is held invalid or unenforceable under any particular circumstance, the balance of the section is intended to apply and the section as a whole is intended to apply in other circumstances.

    It is not the purpose of this section to induce you to infringe any patents or other property right claims or to contest validity of any such claims; this section has the sole purpose of protecting the integrity of the free software distribution system, which is implemented by public license practices. Many people have made generous contributions to the wide range of software distributed through that system in reliance on consistent application of that system; it is up to the author/donor to decide if he or she is willing to distribute software through any other system and a licensee cannot impose that choice.

    This section is intended to make thoroughly clear what is believed to be a consequence of the rest of this License.

  9. If the distribution and/or use of the Program is restricted in certain countries either by patents or by copyrighted interfaces, the original copyright holder who places the Program under this License may add an explicit geographical distribution limitation excluding those countries, so that distribution is permitted only in or among countries not thus excluded. In such case, this License incorporates the limitation as if written in the body of this License.

  10. The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions of the General Public License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns.

    Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If the Program specifies a version number of this License which applies to it and "any later version", you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that version or of any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. If the Program does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software Foundation.

  11. If you wish to incorporate parts of the Program into other free programs whose distribution conditions are different, write to the author to ask for permission. For software which is copyrighted by the Free Software Foundation, write to the Free Software Foundation; we sometimes make exceptions for this. Our decision will be guided by the two goals of preserving the free status of all derivatives of our free software and of promoting the sharing and reuse of software generally.

    NO WARRANTY

  12. BECAUSE THE PROGRAM IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE, THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE PROGRAM, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND/OR OTHER PARTIES PROVIDE THE PROGRAM "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE PROGRAM IS WITH YOU. SHOULD THE PROGRAM PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR OR CORRECTION.

  13. IN NO EVENT UNLESS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW OR AGREED TO IN WRITING WILL ANY COPYRIGHT HOLDER, OR ANY OTHER PARTY WHO MAY MODIFY AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE THE PROGRAM AS PERMITTED ABOVE, BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR DAMAGES, INCLUDING ANY GENERAL, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE PROGRAM (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO LOSS OF DATA OR DATA BEING RENDERED INACCURATE OR LOSSES SUSTAINED BY YOU OR THIRD PARTIES OR A FAILURE OF THE PROGRAM TO OPERATE WITH ANY OTHER PROGRAMS), EVEN IF SUCH HOLDER OR OTHER PARTY HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

END OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS

How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs

If you develop a new program, and you want it to be of the greatest possible use to the public, the best way to achieve this is to make it free software which everyone can redistribute and change under these terms.

To do so, attach the following notices to the program. It is safest to attach them to the start of each source file to most effectively convey the exclusion of warranty; and each file should have at least the "copyright" line and a pointer to where the full notice is found.

one line to give the program's name and an idea of what it does.
Copyright (C) 19yy  name of author

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License
as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2
of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the
GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software
Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and paper mail.

If the program is interactive, make it output a short notice like this when it starts in an interactive mode:

Gnomovision version 69, Copyright (C) 19yy name of author
Gnomovision comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details
type `show w'.  This is free software, and you are welcome
to redistribute it under certain conditions; type `show c' 
for details.

The hypothetical commands `show w' and `show c' should show the appropriate parts of the General Public License. Of course, the commands you use may be called something other than `show w' and `show c'; they could even be mouse-clicks or menu items--whatever suits your program.

You should also get your employer (if you work as a programmer) or your school, if any, to sign a "copyright disclaimer" for the program, if necessary. Here is a sample; alter the names:

Yoyodyne, Inc., hereby disclaims all copyright
interest in the program `Gnomovision'
(which makes passes at compilers) written 
by James Hacker.

signature of Ty Coon, 1 April 1989
Ty Coon, President of Vice

This General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Library General Public License instead of this License.

Welcome

Welcome to the Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet.

The genesis of the Big Dummy's Guide was a few informal conversations, which included Mitch Kapor of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Steve Cisler of Apple Computer, Inc. in June of 1991. With the support of Apple Computer, EFF hired a writer (Adam Gaffin) and actually took on the project in September of 1991.

The idea was to write a guide to the Internet for folks who had little or no experience with network communications. We intended to post this Guide to "the Net" in ASCII and HyperCard formats and to give it away on disk, as well as have a print edition available for a nominal charge. With the consolidation of our offices to Washington, DC, we were able to put the Guide on a fast track. You're looking at the realization of our dreams -- version one of the Guide. At the time I'm writing this, we're still fishing around for a book publisher, so the hard-copy version has not yet been printed. We're hoping to update this Guide on a regular basis, so please feel free to send us your comments and corrections.

EFF would like to thank the folks at Apple, especially Steve Cisler of the Apple Library, for their support of our efforts to bring this Guide to you. We hope it helps you open up a whole new world, where new friends and experiences are sure to be yours.

Enjoy!

Shari Steele (ssteele@eff.org) Director of Legal Services and Community Outreach Electronic Frontier Foundation July 15, 1993

G'day, folks!

I came across this guide while reading "EFFector Online Volume 5 No. 15, 8/20/1993" (A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ISSN 1062-9424), that is available via comp.org.eff.news and immediately decided to get my hands on it. After browsing through the raw ASCII text file, I thought that such a useful thing, should have a more beautiful "face" (and fewer "bugs").

As Shari points out, the EFF is still "fishing for a publisher." In other words, it's far from being clear when this guide will be available as hard copy, unless you want to print out the "buggy" ASCII file. Thus, I started over to make the bulk a Texinfo document, loosely modelled after Brendan Kehoe's Zen and the Art of the Internet, originally written for Widener University's, Computer Science Department, and later published as:

Kehoe, B.P. (1992) Zen and the Art of the Internet: A Beginner's Guide to the Internet. 2nd Edition (July). Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 112 pages. The 1st Edition, (February, 2nd) is still available via anonymous ftp from ftp.cs.widener.edu and many other Internet archives.

It was the first comprehensive book on the Internet available. (Despite the "traditional" postings in news.announce.newusers originated by ex-Net.god Gene Spafford (spaf@cs.purdue.edu) of Purdue University and the news.answers archive maintained by Net.demi-god Janathan I. Kames (jik@gza.com) of MIT).

Situation has changed dramatically, since. More and more books get into the stores, and hopefully facilitate the life of "newbies" on the Net. Just to mention two IMHO excellent examples:

Krol, E. (1992) The Whole Internet: Catalog & User's Guide. O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., Sebastopol, CA. 376 pages.

LaQuey, T. and Ryer, J.C. (1992) The Internet Companion: A Beginner's Guide to Global Networking. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, MA. 208 pages.

But, "the Net" in its present form would have never been evolved without the hundreds of un-paid voluntary efforts (de facto Internet still is run on a voluntary basis), so here are my two cents: The output of several night-shift editing sessions. "The Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet is now available at your local laser printer..."

See ya on the Net!

Jörg Heitkötter (joke@ls11.informatik.uni-dortmund.de) Systems Analysis Research Group, LSXI Department of Computer Science University of Dortmund, Germany August 27, 1993

p.s.: Although this guide is almost complete, and I really, really, honestly, don't have the time to go over it once again, feel free to report "bugs", or any inconsistencies you find. Drop me "more quotes," further additions, requests for moral support, or "whatever-you-want"... Just an e-mail away.

p.p.s.: I'd like to say a BIG "thank you" to Shari Steele, for her immediate excitement on this project. Adam Gaffin, who generously accepted my changes to his initial ASCII version. Howard Rheingold, who let me include his article, now serving as superb afterword of long-year first hand experience in cyberspace (and yes, I mentioned your new book, Howard ;-)). And, Last not least, thanks to Bruce Sterling, who also "gave away" an article for free.

Again, Bernd Raichle (raichle@informatik.uni-stuttgart.de) courtesy of the University of Stuttgart, provided TeXpertize, when TeXpertize was badly needed (see file `specials.texi' for your enlightment). BTW: Over the past 2 years, we've been doing some such projects, although we haven't met F2F, yet. This is one of the effects of the Net. (It thus should be termed "Net.effect".)

Additional thanks to Brendan Kehoe (brendan@zen.org) for the Texinfo release of Zen, from which I borrowed this and that. FYI: Brendan works on the 3rd editition of his book, and might be able to release the 2nd to the Net, depending on Prentice-Hall's legal attorneys.

G'day, folks! II

Some more moons have passed, and GNU "info" format is fully supported, now. You can use either Emacs in INFO mode, or just GNU's info browser (also available as xinfo for the X window system): type `info -f bdgtti-1.01.info' and read "Dummy's" online in hypertextual fashion.

But edition 1.01 not only features an "info" version. It also comes with HTML support, i.e. the Hyper-Text Markup Language format, that is used by the World-Wide Web project. The bdgtti-1.01*.html files can thus be browsed using the WWW tools: from within xmosaic, e.g. load `bdgtti-1.01_toc.html', and there you go!

Finally, some more folks have helped on the way: Lionel Cons (cons@dxcern.cern.ch) courtesy of CERN immediately updated his `texi2html' to make it work for this project. (Note that you need perl to run this program.) Ingo Dressler (id@germany.eu.net) courtesy of EUnet Deutschland, reserved a place on ftp.germany.eu.net to distribute the European A4 paper edition of this guide. See under `/pub/books/big-dummys-guide' using traditional FTP, or use the WWW at: `ftp://ftp.germany.eu.net/pub/books/big-dummys -guide'.

"The Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet is now available in a variety of easily convertible formats, and at your local laser printer..."

Enjoy the trip!

Jörg Heitkötter (joke@ls11.informatik.uni-dortmund.de) Systems Analysis Research Group, LSXI Department of Computer Science University of Dortmund, Germany 20 September 1993

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." --- Walt Disney

"If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants." --- Sir Isaac Newton

"A work of art is never finished, only abandoned." --- Anonymous

Forward

By Mitchell Kapor (mkapor@eff.org) Co-founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation.

New communities are being built today. You cannot see them, except on a computer screen. You cannot visit them, except through your keyboard. Their highways are wires and optical fibers; their language a series of ones and zeroes.

Yet these communities of cyberspace are as real and vibrant as any you could find on a globe or in an atlas. Those are real people on the other sides of those monitors. And freed from physical limitations, these people are developing new types of cohesive and effective communities - ones which are defined more by common interest and purpose than by an accident of geography, ones on which what really counts is what you say and think and feel, not how you look or talk or how old you are.

The oldest of these communities is that of the scientists, which actually predates computers. Scientists have long seen themselves as an international community, where ideas were more important than national origin. It is not surprising that the scientists were the first to adopt the new electronic media as their principal means of day-to-day communication.

I look forward to a day in which everybody, not just scientists, can enjoy similar benefits of a global community.

But how exactly does community grow out of a computer network? It does so because the network enables new forms of communication.

The most obvious example of these new digital communications media is electronic mail, but there are many others. We should begin to think of mailing lists, newsgroups, file and document archives, etc. as just the first generation of new forms of information and communications media. The digital media of computer networks, by virtue of their design and the enabling technology upon which they ride, are fundamentally different from the now dominant mass media of television, radio, newspapers and magazines. Digital communications media are inherently capable of being more interactive, more participatory, more egalitarian, more decentralized, and less hierarchical.

As such, the types of social relations and communities which can be built on these media share these characteristics. Computer networks encourage the active participation of individuals rather than the passive non-participation induced by television narcosis.

In mass media, the vast majority of participants are passive recipients of information. In digital communications media, the vast majority of participants are active creators of information as well as recipients. This type of symmetry has previously only been found in media like the telephone. But while the telephone is almost entirely a medium for private one-to-one communication, computer network applications such as electronic mailing lists, conferences, and bulletin boards, serve as a medium of group or "many-to-many" communication.

The new forums atop computer networks are the great levelers and reducers of organizational hierarchy. Each user has, at least in theory, access to every other user, and an equal chance to be heard. Some U.S. high-tech companies, such as Microsoft and Borland, already use this to good advantage: their CEO's -- Bill Gates and Philippe Kahn -- are directly accessible to all employees via electronic mail. This creates a sense that the voice of the individual employee really matters. More generally, when corporate communication is facilitated by electronic mail, decision-making processes can be far more inclusive and participatory.

Computer networks do not require tightly centralized administrative control. In fact, decentralization is necessary to enable rapid growth of the network itself. Tight controls strangle growth. This decentralization promotes inclusiveness, for it lowers barriers to entry for new parties wishing to join the network.

Given these characteristics, networks hold tremendous potential to enrich our collective cultural, political, and social lives and enhance democratic values everywhere.

And the Internet, and the UUCP and related networks connected to it, represents an outstanding example of a computer network with these qualities. It is an open network of networks, not a single unitary network, but an ensemble of interconnected systems which operate on the basis of multiple implementations of accepted, non-proprietary protocols, standards and interfaces.

One of its important characteristics is that new networks, host systems, and users may readily join the network -- the network is open to all.

The openness (in all senses) of the Internet reflects, I believe, the sensibilities and values of its architects. Had the Internet somehow been developed outside the world of research and education, it's less likely to have had such an open architecture. Future generations will be indebted to this community for the wisdom of building these types of open systems.

Still, the fundamental qualities of the Net, such as its decentralization, also pose problems. How can full connectivity be maintained in the face of an ever-expanding number of connected networks, for example? What of software bugs that bring down computers, or human crackers who try to do the same? But these problems can and will be solved.

Digital media can be the basis of new forms of political discourse, in which citizens form and express their views on the important public issues of the day. There is more than one possible vision of such electronic democracy, however. Let's look at some examples of the potential power, and problems, of the new digital media.

The idea of something called an "electronic town meeting" received considerable attention in 1992 with Ross Perot's presidential campaign (or, at least, its first incarnation).

Perot's original vision, from 20 or so years ago, was that viewers would watch a debate on television and fill out punch cards which would be mailed in and collated. Now we could do it with 800 telephone numbers.

In the current atmosphere of disaffection, alienation and cynicism, anything that promotes greater citizen involvement seems a good idea. People are turned off by politicians in general -- witness the original surge of support for Perot as outsider who would go in and clean up the mess -- and the idea of going right to the people is appealing,

What's wrong with this picture? The individual viewer is a passive recipient of the views of experts. The only action taken by the citizen is in expressing a preference for one of three pre-constructed alternatives. While this might be occasionally useful, it's unsophisticated and falls far short of the real potential of electronic democracy. We've been reduced to forming our judgments on the basis of mass media's portrayal of the personality and character of the candidates.

All this is in contrast to robust political debates already found on various on-line computer systems, from CompuServe to Usenet. Through these new media, the issues of the day, ranging from national security in the post-Cold War era to comparative national health care systems, are fiercely discussed in a wide variety of bulletin boards, conferences, and newsgroups.

What I see in online debate are multiple active participants, not just experts, representing every point of view, in discussions that unfold over extended periods of time. What this shows is that, far from being alienated and disaffected from the political process, people like to talk and discuss -- and take action -- if they have the opportunity to do so. Mass media don't permit that. But these new media are more akin to a gathering around the cracker barrel at the general store -- only extended over hundreds, thousands of miles, in cyberspace, rather than in one physical location.

Recent years have shown the potential power of these new media. We have also seen several examples of where talk translated into action.

In 1987, the Federal Communications Commission proposed changing the way certain online providers paid for access to local phone service. Online, this quickly became known as the "modem tax" and generated a storm of protest. The FCC withdrew the idea, but not quickly enough: the "modem tax" has penetrated so deeply into the crevices of the Net that it has taken up a permanent and ghostly residence as a kind of virtual or cognitive virus, which periodically causes a re-infection of the systems and its users. FCC commissioners continue to receive substantial mail on this even though the original issue is long dead; in fact, it has generated more mail than any other issue in the history of the FCC.

More recently, Jim Manzi, chairman of Lotus Development Corp., received more than 30,000 e-mail messages when the company was getting ready to sell a database containing records on tens of millions of Americans. The flood of electronic complaints about the threat to privacy helped force the company to abandon the project. Issues of narrow but vital interest to the online community give a hint of the organizing power of the Net.

In August, 1991, the managers of a Soviet computer network known as Relcom stayed online during an abortive coup, relaying eyewitness accounts and news of actions against the coup to the West and to the rest of Russia.

And many public interest non-profit organizations and special interest groups already use bulletin boards heavily as a means of communicating among their members and organizing political activity.

But all is not perfect online. The quality of discourse is often very low. Discussion is often trivial and boring and bereft of persuasive reason. Discourse often sinks to the level of "flaming," of personal attacks, instead of substantive discussion. Flaming. Those with the most time to spend often wind up dominating the debate - a triumph of quantity of time available over quality of content.

It seems like no place for serious discussion. Information overload is also a problem. There is simply far too much to read to keep up with. It is all without organization. How can this be addressed?

Recent innovations in the design of software used to connect people to the Net and the process of online discussion itself reveal some hope.

Flaming is universal, but different systems handle it in different ways. Both the technology and cultural norms matter.

On Usenet, for instance, most news reader applications support a feature known as a "killfile," which allows an individual to screen out postings by a particular user or on a particular subject. It is also sometimes referred to as "the bozo filter." This spares the user who is sufficiently sophisticated from further flamage, but it does nothing to stop the problem at its source.

Censorship would be one solution. But what else can be done without resorting to unacceptably heavy-handed tactics of censorship? There is a great tradition of respect for free speech on these systems, and to censor public postings or even ban a poster for annoying or offensive content is properly seen as unacceptable, in my opinion.

Some systems use cultural norms, rather than software, to deal with flame wars. These online communities have developed practices which rely more on a shared, internalized sense of appropriate behavior than on censorship, for instance. The WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link) is a relatively small online conferencing system based in the San Francisco Bay area. On the WELL, individuals who get into a fight are encouraged to move the discussion out of the public conference and into e-mail. The encouragement is provided not only by the host of the conference, but also by the users. It is part of the culture, not part of the technology.

WELL hosts are volunteers who facilitate the discussion of a particular subject. While they have the power to censor individual postings, the power is very rarely used and only as a last resort, as it has been found that dispute resolution by talking it out among the parties is a superior method of problem solving in the long run.

It is not an accident that the WELL has a uniquely high quality of conversation. Nor is it coincidental that it developed as a small and originally isolated community (now on the Net) which gave it a chance to develop its own norms or that key management of the system came from "The Farm," a large, successful commune of the 1960's and 1970's led by Stephen Gaskin.

We still know very little about the facilitation of online conversations. It is a subject well worth further formal study and experimentation.

Some problems have to do with the unrefined and immature format and structure of the discussion medium itself. The undifferentiated stream of new messages marching along in 80 columns of ASCII text creates a kind of hypnotic trance. Compare this with the typical multiplicity of type fonts, varied layouts, images, and pictures of the printed page.

New media take time to develop and to be shaped. Reading text on a terminal reminds me of looking at the Gutenberg Bible. The modern book took a century to develop after the invention of printing with movable type and the first Western printed books. Aldus Manutius and the inventions of modern typefaces, pagination, the table of contents, the index, all of which gave the book its modern form, came later, were done by different people, and were of a different order than the invention of printing with movable type itself. The new electronic media are undergoing a similar evolution.

Key inventions are occurring slowly, for example, development of software tools that will allow the dissemination of audio and video across the Net. This type of software has usually been sone so far by volunteers who have given away the results. It's a great thing, but it's not sufficient, given how hard it is to develop robust software. Innovation in the application space will also be driven by entrepreneurs and independent software vendors at such point as they perceive a business opportunity to create such products (it would be nice if creators did it for art's sake but this seems unlikely).

There are some requirements to provide incentives to attract additional software development. This requires a competitive free market in network services at all levels to serve the expanding user demand for network services. It requires a technologically mature network able to support these services.

And there must be a user population, current or prospective, interested in paying for better applications -- and not just the current base of technically sophisticated users and students, though they will absolutely benefit.

There are multiple classes of new application opportunities. E-mail is overloaded because there aren't readily available alternatives yet. New and different kinds of tools are needed for collaborative work. Computer conferencing, as it evolves, may be sufficient for discussion and debate. But by itself, it cannot really support collaborative work, in the sense of readily enabling a group to make decisions efficiently, represent and track the status of its work process. Trying to run an organization via e-mail mailing list is very different than trying to have a discussion.

Computer networks can only fully realize their potential as innovative communications media in an environment which encourages free and open expression.

In some countries, legal principles of free speech protect freedom of expression in traditional media such as the printed word. But once communication moves to new digital media and across crosses international borders, such legal protections fall away. As John Perry Barlow, the co-founder of EFF puts it: "In Cyberspace, the First Amendment is a local ordinance." There is no international legal authority which protects free expression on trans-national networks. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights calls for the protection of free expression in all media, but the declaration falls far short of being binding.

And if we're to take seriously the idea of the electronic online forum, we have to deal with the access issue. if the only people with access to the medium are well-educated, affluent, techno-literate elite, it won't be sufficiently inclusive to represent all points of view.

We also need, fundamentally, a better infrastructure (the highway system for information). As we move from the high-speed Internet to the even more powerful National Research and Education Network, we need to look at how to bring the power of these new media into the homes of everybody who might want it. Addressing this "last mile" problem (phone networks are now largely digitized, fiber-optic systems, except for the mile between your home and the nearest switching station) should be a priority.

Computer networks will eventually become ubiquitous around the world. We should therefore be concerned with the impact on society that they have, the opportunities to improve society, and the dangers that they pose. Fundamentally, we are optimists who believe in the potential of networks to enhance democratic values of openness, diversity, and innovation.

Because the medium is so new, it is important now to develop policies at the national and international level that help achieve the potential of computer networks for society as a whole. By the time television was recognized as a vast wasteland it was already too late to change. There is a rare opportunity to develop policies in advance of a technologically and economically mature system which would be hard to change.

"As a net is made up of a series of ties, so everything in this world is connected by a series of ties. If anyone thinks that the mesh of a net is an independent, isolated thing, he is mistaken. It is called a net because it is made up of a series of interconnected meshes, and each mesh has its place and responsibility in relation to other meshes."

-- Buddha

Preface

By Adam Gaffin (adamg@world.std.com) Senior Reporter, Middlesex News, Framingham, Mass.

This book will help you join the global village known as Cyberspace or the Net. Millions of people around the world already spend parts of their lives in this land without frontiers. With this book, you will be able to use the Net to:

And you will have become the newest member of this ever growing community. If you stay and contribute, the Net will be richer for it -- and so will you.

But it will take a sense of adventure, a willingness to learn and an ability to take a deep breath every once in awhile.

Visiting the Net today is a lot like journeying to a foreign country. You know there are many things to see and do, but everything at first will seem so, well, foreign.

When you first arrive, you won't be able to read the street signs. You'll get lost. If you're unlucky, you may even run into some natives who'd just as soon you went back to where you came from. If this weren't enough, the entire country is constantly under construction; every day, it seems like there's something new for you to figure out.

Here's where you take a deep breath. Fortunately, most of the natives are actually friendly. In fact, the Net actually has a rich tradition of helping out visitors and newcomers. With few written guides for ordinary people, the Net has grown in large part one person at a time -- if somebody helps you learn your way around, it's almost expected you'll repay the favor some day by helping somebody else.

So when you connect, don't be afraid to ask for help. You'll be surprised at how many people will try to direct you around. And that leads to another fundamental thing to remember:

You can't break the Net!

As you travel the Net, your computer may freeze, your screen may erupt into a mass of gibberish. You may think you've just disabled a million-dollar computer somewhere -- or even your own personal computer. Sooner or later, this feeling happens to everyone -- and likely more than once. But the Net and your computer are hardier than you think, so relax. You can no more break the Net than you can the phone system. You are always in the driver's seat. If something goes wrong, try again. If nothing at all happens, you can always disconnect. If worse comes to worse, you can turn off your computer. Then take a deep breath. And dial right back in. Leave a note for the person who runs the computer to which you've connected to ask for advice. Try it again. Persistence pays.

First links

In the 1960s, researchers began experimenting with linking computers to each other and to people through telephone hook-ups, using funds from the U.S Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).

ARPA wanted to see if computers in different locations could be linked using a new technology known as packet switching, which had the promise of letting several users share just one communications line. Previous computer networking efforts had required a line between each computer on the network, sort of like a train track on which only one train can travel at a time. The packet system allowed for creation of a data highway, in which large numbers of vehicles could essentially share the same lane. Each packet was given the computer equivalent of a map and a time stamp, so that it could be sent to the right destination, where it would then be reassembled into a message the computer or a human could use.

This system allowed computers to share data and the researchers to exchange electronic mail, or e-mail. In itself, e-mail was something of a revolution, offering the ability to send detailed letters at the speed of a phone call.

As this system, known as ARPANet, grew, some enterprising college students (and one in high school) developed a way to use it to conduct online conferences. These started as science-oriented discussions, but they soon branched out into virtually every other field, as people realized the power of being able to "talk" to hundreds, or even thousands, of people around the country.

In the 1970s, ARPA helped support the development of rules, or protocols, for transferring data between different types of computer networks. These "internet" (from "internetworking") protocols made it possible to develop the worldwide Net we have today.

By the close of the 1970s, links developed between ARPANet and counterparts in other countries. The world was now tied together in a computer web.

In the 1980s, this network of networks, which became known collectively as the Internet, expanded at a phenomenal rate. Hundreds, then thousands, of colleges, research companies and government agencies began to connect their computers to this worldwide Net. Some enterprising hobbyists and companies unwilling to pay the high costs of Internet access (or unable to meet stringent government regulations for access) learned how to link their own systems to the Internet, even if "only" for e-mail and conferences. Some of these systems began offering access to the public. Now anybody with a computer and modem -- and persistence -- could tap into the world.

In the 1990s, the Net grows at exponential rates. Some estimates are that the volume of messages transferred through the Net grows 20 percent a month. In response, government and other users have tried in recent years to expand the Net itself. Once, the main Net "backbone" in the U.S. moved data at 1.5 million bits per second. That proved too slow for the ever increasing amounts of data being sent over it, and in recent years the maximum speed was increased to 45 million bits per second. Even before the Net was able to reach that speed, however, Net experts were already figuring out ways to pump data at speeds of up to 2 billion bits per second -- fast enough to send the entire Encyclopedia Britannica across the country in just one or two seconds.

How it works

The worldwide Net is actually a complex web of smaller regional networks.

To understand it, picture a modern road network of trans-continental superhighways connecting large cities. From these large cities come smaller freeways and parkways to link together small towns, whose residents travel on slower, narrow residential ways.

The Net superhighway is the high-speed Internet. Connected to this are computers that user a particular system of transferring data at high speeds. In the U.S., the major Internet "backbone" theoretically can move data at rates of 45 million bits per second (compare this to the average home modem, which has a top speed of roughly 2400 bits per second). This internetworking "protocol" lets network users connect to computers around the world.

Connected to the backbone computers are smaller networks serving particular geographic regions, which generally move data at speeds around 1.5 million bits per second.

Feeding off these in turn are even smaller networks or individual computers.

Nobody really knows how many computers and networks actually make up this Net. Some estimates say there are now as many as 5,000 networks connecting nearly 2 million computers and more than 15 million people around the world. Whatever the actual numbers, however, it is clear they are only increasing.

There is no one central computer or even group of computers running the Internet -- its resources are to be found among thousands of individual computers. This is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. The approach means it is virtually impossible for the entire Net to crash at once -- even if one computer shuts down, the rest of the network stays up. But thousands of connected computers can also make it difficult to navigate the Net and find what you want. It is only recently that Net users have begun to develop the sorts of navigational tools and "maps" that will let neophytes get around without getting lost.

The vast number of computers and links between them ensure that the network as a whole will likely never crash and means that network users have ready access to vast amounts of information. But because resources are split among so many different sites, finding that information can prove to be a difficult task -- especially because each computer might have its own unique set of commands for bringing up that information.

While the Internet was growing, parallel networks developed. Large commercial services such as CompuServe and GEnie began to offer network services to individuals. Phone companies developed their own electronic-mail services. Some universities started their own international network. Hobbyists began networks such as Fidonet for MS-DOS computers and UUCP for Unix machines.

Today, almost all of these parallel networks are becoming connected. It is now possible to send electronic mail from CompuServe to MCIMail, from Internet to Fidonet, from Bitnet to CompuServe. In some cases, users of one network can now even participate in some of the public conferences of another.

But the Net is more than just a technological marvel. It is human communication at its most fundamental level. The pace may be a little quicker when the messages race around the world in a few seconds, but it's not much different from a large and interesting party. You'll see things in cyberspace that will make you laugh; you'll see things that will anger you. You'll read silly little snippets and new ideas that make you think. You'll make new friends and meet people you wish would just go away.

Major network providers continue to work on ways to make it easier for users of one network to communicate with those of another. Work is underway on a system for providing a universal "white pages" in which you could look up somebody's electronic-mail address, for example. This connectivity trend will likely speed up in coming years as users begin to demand seamless network access, much as telephone users can now dial almost anywhere in the world without worrying about how many phone companies actually have to connect their calls.

And as it becomes easier to use, more and more people will join this worldwide community we call the Net. Being connected to the Net takes more than just reading conferences and logging messages to your computer; it takes asking and answering questions, exchanging opinions -- getting involved.

If you chose to go forward, to use and contribute, you will become a "citizen of Cyberspace." If you're reading these words for the first time, this may seem like an amusing but unlikely notion -- that one could "inhaibit" a place without physical space. But put a mark beside these words. Join the Net and actively participate for a year. Then re-read this passage. It will no longer seem so strange to be a "citizen of Cyberspace." It will seem like the most natural thing in the world.

Acknowledgments

The following people, whether they know it or not, helped put this together. My thanks, especially to Nancy!

Rhonda Chapman, Jim Cocks, Tom Czarnik, Christopher Davis, David DeSimone, Jeanne deVoto, Phil Eschallier, Nico Garcia, Joe Granrose, Joe Ilacqua, Jonathan Kamens, Peter Kaminski, Thomas A. Kreeger, Leanne Phillips, Nancy Reynolds, Helen Trillian Rose, Barry Shein, Jennifer "Moira" Smith, Gerard van der Leun, Scott Yanoff.

FYI:

Steven Levy, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, (Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1984). describes the early culture and ethos that ultimately resulted in the Internet and Usenet.

John Quarterman, The Matrix: Computer Networks and Conferencing Systems Worldwide (Digital Press, 1990) is an exhaustive look at computer networks and how they connect with each other.

FYI on Where to Start - A Bibliography of Internetworking Information, by Tracy LaQuey, Joyce K. Reynolds, Karen Roubicek, Mary Stahl and Aileen Yuan (August, 1990), is an excellent list of articles, books, newsletters and other sources of information about the Internet. It's available via ftp from nic.ddn.mil in the `rfc' directory as `rfc1175.txt' (see section FTP (Mining the Net, part II) for information on getting documents through FTP).

Another Glitch in the Call ------- ------ -- -- ----

We don't need no indirection We don't need no flow control No data typing or declarations Did you leave the lists alone?

Hey! Hacker! Leave those lists alone!

Chorus: All in all, it's just a pure-LISP function call. All in all, it's just a pure-LISP function call.

--- Anonymous Lisp Guru Sung to the tune of `Another Brick in the Wall' by Pink Floyd

Setting up, Getting connected, Jacking in...

Setting up

Connecting to the Net depends on where you are. If you're a college student or work at a company with its own Net connections, chances are you can gain access simply by asking your organization's computing center or data-processing department -- they will then give you instructions on how to connect your already networked computer to the Internet.

Otherwise, you'll need four things: a computer, telecommunications software, a modem and a phone line to connect to the modem.

The phone line can be your existing voice line -- just remember that if you have any extensions, you (and everybody else in the house or office) won't be able to use them for voice calls while connected to the Net.

A modem is a sort of translator between computers and the phone system. It's needed because computers and the phone system process and transmit data, or information, in two different, and incompatible ways. Computers "talk" digitally; that is, they store and process information as a series of discrete numbers. The phone network relies on analog signals, which on an oscilloscope would look like a series of waves. When your computer is ready to transmit data to another computer over a phone line, your modem converts the computer numbers into these waves (which sound like a lot of screeching) -- it "modulates" them. In turn, when information waves come into your modem, it converts them into numbers your computer can process, by "demodulating" them.

Increasingly, computers come with modems already installed. If yours didn't, you'll have to decide what speed modem to get. Modem speeds are judged in "baud rate" or bits per second. One baud means the modem can transfer roughly one bit per second; the greater the baud rate, the more quickly a modem can send and receive information. A letter or character is made up of eight bits.

You can now buy a 2400-baud modem for well under $70 -- and most now come with the ability to handle fax messages as well. For $200 and up, you can buy a modem that can transfer data at 9600 baud (and often even faster, when using special compression techniques). If you think you might be using the Net to transfer large numbers of files, a faster modem is always worth the price. It will dramatically reduce the amount of time your modem or computer is tied up transferring files and, if you are paying for Net access by the hour, save you quite a bit in online charges.

Like the computer to which it attaches, a modem is useless without software to tell it how to work. Most modems today come with easy-to-install software. Try the program out. If you find it difficult to use or understand, consider a trip to the local software store to find a better program. You can spend several hundred dollars on a communications program, but unless you have very specialized needs, this will be a waste of money, as there are a host of excellent programs available for around $100 or sometimes even less. Among the basic features you want to look for are a choice of different "protocols" (more on them in a bit) for transferring files to and from the Net and the ability to write "script" or "command" files that let you automate such steps as logging into a host system.

When you buy a modem and the software, ask the dealer how to install and use them. Try out the software if you can. If the dealer can't help you, find another dealer. You'll not only save yourself a lot of frustration, you'll also have practiced the second Net Commandment: "Ask. People Know."

To fully take advantage of the Net, you must spend a few minutes going over the manuals or documentation that comes with your software. There are a few things you should pay special attention to: uploading and downloading; screen capturing (sometimes called "screen dumping"); logging; how to change protocols; and terminal emulation. It is also essential to know how to convert a file created with your word processing program into "ASCII" or "text" format, which will let you share your thoughts with others across the Net.

Uploading is the process of sending a file from your computer to a system on the Net. Downloading is retrieving a file from somewhere on the Net to your computer. In general, things in cyberspace go "up" to the Net and "down" to you.

Chances are your software will come with a choice of several "protocols" to use for these transfers. These protocols are systems designed to ensure that line noise or static does not cause errors that could ruin whatever information you are trying to transfer. Essentially, when using a protocol, you are transferring a file in a series of pieces. After each piece is sent or received, your computer and the Net system compare it. If the two pieces don't match exactly, they transfer it again, until they agree that the information they both have is identical. If, after several tries, the information just doesn't make it across, you'll either get an error message or your screen will freeze. In that case, try it again. If, after five tries, you are still stymied, something is wrong with a) the file; b) the telephone line; c) the system you're connected to; or d) you own computer.

From time to time, you will likely see messages on the Net that you want to save for later viewing -- a recipe, a particularly witty remark, something you want to write your Congressman about, whatever. This is where screen capturing and logging come in.

When you tell your communications software to capture a screen, it opens a file in your computer (usually in the same directory or folder used by the software) and "dumps" an image of whatever happens to be on your screen at the time.

Logging works a bit differently. When you issue a logging command, you tell the software to open a file (again, usually in the same directory or folder as used by the software) and then give it a name. Then, until you turn off the logging command, everything that scrolls on your screen is copied into that file, sort of like recording on video tape. This is useful for capturing long documents that scroll for several pages -- using screen capture, you would have to repeat the same command for each new screen.

Terminal emulation is a way for your computer to mimic, or emulate, the way other computers put information on the screen and accept commands from a keyboard. In general, most systems on the Net use a system called VT100. Fortunately, almost all communications programs now on the market support this system as well -- make sure yours does.

You'll also have to know about protocols. There are several different ways for computers to transmit characters. Fortunately, there are only two protocols that you're likely to run across: 8-1-N (which stands for "8 bits, 1 stop bit, no parity" -- yikes!) and 7-1-E (7 bits, 1 stop bit, even parity).

In general, Unix-based systems use 7-1-E, while MS-DOS-based systems use 8-1-N. What if you don't know what kind of system you're connecting to? Try one of the settings. If you get what looks like gobbledygook when you connect, you may need the other setting. If so, you can either change the setting while connected, and then hit enter, or hang up and try again with the other setting. It's also possible your modem and the modem at the other end can't agree on the right baud rate. If changing the protocols doesn't work, try using another baud rate (but no faster than the one listed for your modem). Again, remember, you can't break anything.! If something looks wrong, it probably is wrong. Change your settings and try again. Nothing is learned without trial, error and effort. Those are the basics. Now onto the Net!

Jacking in

Once, only people who studied or worked at an institution directly tied to the Net could connect to the world. Today, though, an ever-growing number of "public-access" systems provide access for everybody. These systems can now be found in several states, and there are a couple of sites that can provide access across the country.

There are two basic kinds of these host systems. The more common one is known as a UUCP site (UUCP being a common way to transfer information among computers using the Unix operating system) and offers access to international electronic mail and conferences.

However, recent years have seen the growth of more powerful sites that let you tap into the full power of the Net. These Internet sites not only give you access to electronic mail and conferences but to such services as databases, libraries and huge file and program collections around the world. They are also fast -- as soon as you finish writing a message, it gets zapped out to its destination.

Some sites are run by for-profit companies; others by non-profit organizations. Some of these public-access, or host, systems, are free of charge. Others charge a monthly or yearly fee for unlimited access. And a few charge by the hour.

But cost should be only one consideration in choosing a host system. Most systems let you look around before you sign up. What is the range of their services? How easy is it to use? What kind of support or help can you get from the system administrators?

The last two questions are particularly important because some systems provide no user interface at all; when you connect, you are dumped right into the Unix operating system. If you're already familiar with Unix, or you want to learn how to use it, these systems offer phenomenal power -- in addition to Net access, most also let you tap into the power of Unix to do everything from compiling your own programs to playing online games.

But if you don't want to have to learn Unix, there are other public-access systems that work through menus (just like the ones in restaurants; you are shown a list of choices and then you make your selection of what you want), or which provide a "user interface" that is easier to figure out than the ever cryptic Unix.

If you don't want or need access to the full range of Internet services, a UUCP site makes good financial sense. They tend to charge less than commercial Internet providers, although their messages may not go out as quickly.

Some systems also have their own unique local services, which can range from extensive conferences to large file libraries.

Fortunately, almost all public-access systems let you look around for awhile before you have to decide whether to sign up. Systems that charge for access will usually let you sign up online with a credit card. Some also let you set up a billing system. See section Telnet (Mining the Net, part I) for a list of public-access Internet sites.

Dialing in

When you have your communications program dial one of these host systems, one of two things will happen when you connect. You'll either see a lot of gibberish on your screen, or you'll be asked to log in. If you see gibberish, chances are you have to change your software's parameters (to 7-1-E or 8-1-N as the case may be). Hang up, make the change and then dial in again.

When you've connected, chances are you'll see something like this:

Welcome to THE WORLD
Public Access UNIX for the '90s
Login as 'new' if you do not have an account

login:

That last line is a prompt asking you to do something. Since this is your first call, type

new

and hit enter. Often, when you're asked to type something by a host system, you'll be told what to type in quotation marks (for example, the `new' above). Don't include the quotation marks. Repeat: Don't include the quotation marks.

What you see next depends on the system, but will generally consist of information about its costs and services (you might want to turn on your communication software's logging function, to save this information). You'll likely be asked if you want to establish an account now or just look around the system.

You'll also likely be asked for your "user name." This is not your full name, but a one-word name you want to use while online. It can be any combination of letters or numbers, all in lower case. Many people use their first initial and last name (for example, "jdoe"); their first name and the first letter of their last name (for example, "johnd"); or their initials ("jxd"). Others use a nickname. You might want to think about this for a second, because this user name will become part of your electronic-mail address (see chapter 3 for more on that). The one exception are the various Free-Net systems, all of which assign you a user name consisting of an arbitrary sequence of letters and numbers.

You are now on the Net. Look around the system. See if there are any help files for you to read. If it's a menu-based host system, chose different options just to see what happens. Remember: you can't break anything. The more you play, the more comfortable you'll be.

Public-Access Internet Sites

What follows is a list of public-access Internet sites, which are computer systems that offer access to the Net. All offer international e-mail and Usenet (international conferences). In addition, they offer:

FTP
File-transfer protocol -- access to scores of file libraries (everything from computer software to historical documents to song lyrics). You'll be able to transfer these files from the Net to your own computer.

Telnet
Access to databases, computerized library card catalogs, weather reports and other information services, as well as live, online games that let you compete with players from around the world.

Additional services that may be offered include:

WAIS
Wide-area Information Server; a program that can search dozens of databases in one search.

Gopher
A program that gives you easy access to dozens of other online databases and services by making selections on a menu. You'll also be able to use these to copy text files and some programs to your mailbox.

IRC
Internet Relay Chat, a CB simulator that lets you have live keyboard chats with people around the world.

Clarinet
News, sports, feature stories and columns from Universal Press International; Newsbytes computer news.

However, even on systems that do not provide these services directly, you will be able to use a number of them through telnet (see section Telnet (Mining the Net, part I) for more information on telnet). Systems marked "Unix" dump you right into Unix (a.k.a. "DOS with a college degree"). In most cases, this means you can also use the host system's various Unix functions. The other systems use menus, which are generally much easier for beginners to navigate -- they are just like menus in restaurants, in which you decide what you want from a list of options. Any unique features of a given system are noted. Some of these systems require you to use parameters of 7-1-E, so if you get gibberish when you connect, try that. Most let you look around for awhile before you have to sign up.

Several of these sites are available nationwide through national data networks such as the CompuServe Packet Network and PC-Pursuit.

Please note that all listed charges are subject to change.

Alberta

Edmonton. PUCNet Computer Connections, (403) 484-5640. Unix. Log on as: guest. Charges: $20 a month for 20 hours of connect time, plus $5 an hour for access to ftp and telnet; $10 sign-up fee. Voice help: (403) 448-1901.

California

Berkeley. Holonet. For free trial, modem number is (510) 704-1058. Boardwatch online news, USA Today. For information or local numbers, call number below. Charges: $60 a year for local access, $2 an hour during offpeak hours. Voice help: (510) 704-0160.

Cupertino. Portal. Both Unix and menus. (408) 725-0561, 725-1724 or (408) 973-8091. Charges: $19.95 set-up fee, $19.95 a month. Voice help: (408) 973-9111.

Encinitas. Cyber Station, (619) 634-1376. Unix. Log on as: guest. Charges: $20 a month for one hour a day; $10 setup fee.

Irvine. Dial N' CERF. See under San Diego.

Los Angeles. Dial N' CERF. See under San Diego.

Oakland. Dial N' CERF. See under San Diego.

San Diego. Dial N' CERF USA, run by the California Education and Research Federation. Provides local dial-up numbers in San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland and Irvine. For more information, call voice (800) 876-CERF or (619) 534-5087. Charges: $20 a month plus $10 an hour, with a one-time installation fee of $50.

San Jose. Netcom, (510) 865-9004 or 426-6860; (408) 241-9760; (415) 424-0131, up to 9600 baud. Unix. Maintains archives of Usenet postings. Log on as: guest. New users get a written guide to using Netcom and the Net in general. However, access to Net services beyond Usenet requires signature on a written "Network Agreement Form." Charges: $15 start-up fee and then $17.50 a month for unlimited use if you agree to automatic billing of your credit-card account (otherwise $19.50 a month for a monthly invoice). Voice help: (408) 554-UNIX.

San Jose. A2i, (408) 293-9010. Unix. Log on as: guest. Charges: $20 a month; $45 for three months; $72 for six months.

Sausalito. The Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link (WELL), (415) 332-6106, up to 2400 baud. Uses moderately difficult Picospan software, which is sort of a cross between Unix and a menu system. New users get a written manual. More than 200 WELL-only conferences. Log on as: newuser. Charges: $15 a month plus $2 an hour. Access through the nationwide CompuServe Packet Network available for another $4.50 an hour. Voice help: (415) 332-4335. Recorded message about the system's current status: (800) 326-8354 (continental U.S. only).

Colorado

Colorado Springs. CNS, (719) 570-1700. Local calendar listings and ski and stock reports. USA Today. Users can chose between menus or Unix. Log on as: new. Charges: $1 an hour (minimum fee of $10 a month); one-time $35 set-up fee. Voice help: (719) 579-9120.

Golden. Colorado SuperNet. Unix. E-mail to fax service. Available only to Colorado residents. Local dial-in numbers currently available in Ft. Collins, Denver/Boulder and Colorado Springs. For dial-in numbers, call the number below. Charges: $2 an hour ($1 an hour between midnight and 6 a.m.); one-time $20 sign-up fee. Voice help: 303-273-3471.

Illinois

Chicago. MCSNet, (312) 248-0900. Unix. Charges: $25/month or $65 for three months of unlimited access; $30 for three months of access at 15 hours a month. Voice help: (312) 248-UNIX.

Peoria. Peoria Free-Net, (309) 674-1100. Similar to Cleveland Free-Net (see Ohio, below). Users can "link" to the larger Cleveland system for access to Usenet and other services. There are also Peoria Free-Net public-access terminals in numerous area libraries, other government buildings and senior-citizen centers. Contact the number below for specific locations. Full access (including access to e-mail) requires completion of a written application. Charges: None. Voice help: (309) 677-2544.

Maryland

Baltimore. Express Access, (410) 220-0462 or (301) 220-0462. Unix. Log on as: new. Charges: $15 a month or $150 a year for e-mail and Usenet; $25 a month or $250 a year for complete Internet services (FTP, telnet, IRC, etc.). This allows unlimited use between 3 a.m. and 3 p.m. and one hour between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. Access to Usenet, e-mail and Unix shell only is $15 a month/$150 a year. Voice help: (301) 220-2020.

Massachusetts

Brookline. The World, (617) 739-9753. Unix, but with a large number of understandable online help files. Huge collection of MS-DOS files, "Online Book Initiative" collection of electronic books, poetry and other text files. Charges: $5 a month plus $2 an hour or $20 for 20 hours a month. Available nationwide through the CompuServe Packet Network for another $5.60 an hour. Voice help: (617) 739-0202.

Lynn. North Shore Access, (617) 593-5774. Unix. Log on as: guest. Charges: $10 for a month for 10 hours; $1 an hour after that. Voice help: (617) 593-3110.

Worcester. NovaLink, (508) 754-4009. Unix. Log on as: info. Charges: $12.95 sign-up (includes first two hours); $9.95 a month (includes five daytime hours), $1.80 an hour after that. Voice help: (800) 274-2814.

Michigan

Ann Arbor. MSEN. Contact number below for dial-in number. Unix. Charges: $5 a month and $2 an hour, or $20 a month for 20 hours. Voice help: (313) 741-1120.

Ann Arbor. Michnet. Unix. Has local dial-in numbers in several Michigan numbers. For local numbers, call voice number below. Charges: $35 a month plus one-time $40 sign-up fee. Additional network fees for access through non-Michnet numbers. Voice help: (313) 764-9430.

New Hampshire

MV Communications, Inc. For local dial-up numbers call voice line below. Unix. Charges: $5 a month mininum plus variable hourly rates depending on services used. Voice help: (603) 429-2223.

New York

New York. Echo, (212) 989-8411. Unix and conferencing. Log on as: newuser. Local conferences. Charges: $19.95 ($13.75 students and seniors). Voice help: (212) 255-3839.

New York. MindVox, (212) 988-5030. Log on as: guest. Local conferences. Charges: $15 a month; $10 set-up fee for non-credit card accounts. Voice help: (212) 988-5987.

New York. Panix, (212) 787-3100. Unix or menus. Log on as: newuser. Charges: $10 a month or $100 a year; one-time $40 fee. Voice help: (212) 877-4854.

North Carolina

Charlotte. Vnet Internet Access, (704) 347-8839. Unix. Log on as: new. Charges: $25 a month or $259 a year. Voice help: (704) 374-0779.

Triangle Research Park. Rock Concert Net. Call number below for modem number. Unix. Charges: $30 a month; one-time $50 sign-up fee. Voice help: (919) 248-1999.

Ohio

Cleveland. Cleveland Free-Net, (216) 368-3888. IRC. USA Today, Ohio and US Supreme Court decisions, historical documents, many local conferences. Full access (including access to e-mail) requires completion of a written application. Charges: None. Voice help: (216) 368-8737.

Cincinnati. Tri-State Free-Net, (513) 579-1990. Similar to Cleveland Free-Net. Full access (including access to e-mail) requires completion of a written application. Charges: None.

Cleveland. Wariat, (216) 481-9436 (2400 baud); (216) 481-9425 (higher speeds). Unix, menus. Charges: $35 a month or $200 for six months; $20 sign-up fee. Voice help: (216) 481-9428.

Lorain. Lorain County Free-Net, (216) 277-2359 or 366-9753. Similar to Cleveland Free-Net. Users can "link" to the larger Cleveland system for additional services. Full access (including access to e-mail) requires completion of a written application. Charges: None. Voice help: (216) 366-4200.

Medina. Medina Free-Net, (216) 723-6732, 225-6732 or 335-6732. Users can "link" to the larger Cleveland Free-Net for additional services. Full access (including access to e-mail) requires completion of a written application. Charges: None.

Youngstown. Youngstown Free-Net, (216) 742-3072. Users can "link" to the Cleveland system for services not found locally. Full access (including access to e-mail) requires completion of a written application. Charges: None.

Ontario

Toronto. UUNorth. Call voice number below for local dial-in numbers. Unix. Charges: $25 for 20 hours a month of offpeak use. Voice help: (416) 225-8649.

Oregon

Beaverton. Techbook, (503) 220-0636 (2400 baud); (503) 220-1016 (higher speeds). Unix. Charges: $10 a month for 30 hours of "basic" Internet access or $90 a year; $15 a month for 30 hours of "deluxe" access or $150 a year. $10 sign-up fee for monthly accounts.

Portland. Agora, (503) 293-1772 (2400 baud), (503) 293-2059 (9600 baud). Unix. Log on as: apply Charges: $6 a month for one hour per day.

Beaverton. Techbook, (503) 220-0636. Charges: $90 a year.

Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh. Telerama, (412) 481-5302. Unix. Charges: $6 for 10 hours a month, 60 cents for each additional hour.

Quebec

Montreal. Communications Accessibles Montreal, (514) 281-5601. Unix. Charges: $25 a month. Voice help: (514) 923-2102.

Rhode Island

East Greenwich. IDS World Network, (401) 884-9002. In addition to Usenet, has conferences from the Fidonet and RIME networks. Supports QMAIL offline reader, which lets you read and respond to messages while not online. Charges: $10 a month; $50 for six months; $100 for a year.

Virginia

Norfolk. Wyvern Technologies, (804) 627-1828 (Norfolk); (804-0662 (Peninsula). Unix. Charges: $15 a month or $144 a year; $10 sign-up fee. Voice help: (804) 622-4289.

Washington, DC

The Meta Network. Call voice number below for local dial-in numbers. Caucus conferencing, menus. Charges: $20 a month plus $15 sign-up fee. Voice help: (703) 243-6622.

See also: listing under Baltimore, MD for Express Access.

Washington State

Seattle. Eskimo North, (206) 367-3837 (2400 baud), (206) 362-6731 (9600/14.4K baud). Charges: $10 a month or $96 a year. Voice help: (206) 367-7457.

Seattle. Halcyon, (206) 382-6245. Users can choose between menus and Unix. Log on as: bbs. Charges: $10 a month for Usenet and e-mail; $15 a month or $150 a year for these and other Internet services (FTP, IRC, telnet, etc.). Voice help: (206) 426-9298

Any Alternatives?

If you don't live in a city with a public-access site, you'll still be able to connect to the Net. Several of these services offer access through national data networks such as the CompuServe Packet Network and PC-Pursuit, which have dozens, even hundreds of local dial-in numbers across the country. These include Holonet in Berkeley, Calf., Portal in Cupertino, Calf., the WELL in Sausalito, Calf., Dial 'N CERF in San Diego, Calf., the World in Brookline, Mass., and Michnet in Ann Arbor, Mich. Dial 'N CERF offers access through an 800 number. Expect to pay from $2 to $12 an hour to use these networks, above each provider's basic charges. The exact amount depends on the network, time of day and type of modem you use. For more information, contact the above services.

Two other providers deliver Net access to users across the country:

Delphi, based in Cambridge, Mass., is a consumer-oriented network much like CompuServe or America On-Line -- only it now offers subscribers access to Internet services.

Charges: $3 a month for Internet access, in addition to standard charges. These are $10 a month for four hours of off-peak (non-working hours) access a month and $4 an hour for each additional hour or $20 for 20 hours of access a month and $1.80 an hour for each additional hour. For more information, call (800) 695-4005.

PSI, based in Reston, Va., provides nationwide access to Internet services through scores of local dial-in numbers to owners of IBM and compatible computers. PSILink. which includes access to e-mail, Usenet and ftp, costs $29 a month, plus a one-time $19 registration fee. Special software is required, but is available free from PSI. PSI's Global Dialup Service provides access to telnet for $39 a month plus a one-time $39 set-up fee. For more information, call (800) 82PSI82 or (703) 620-6651.

Things that can go wrong:

FYI:

Peter Kaminski maintains a list of systems that provide public access to Internet services. It's availble on the network itself, which obviously does you little good if you currently have no access, but which can prove invaluable should you move or want to find a new system. Look for his "PDIAL" file in the alt.bbs.lists or news.answers newsgroups in Usenet (for information on accessing Usenet, see section Usenet: the Global Watering Hole).

"Ah! Dear Watson, now we enter the mystic room of wizardry, where even the most brilliant of all logic minds might fail." --- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"Welcome to the Pleasure Dome!" --- Frankie goes to Hollywood

Electronic Mail

Electronic mail, or e-mail, is your personal connection to the world of the Net.

Every one of the millions of people around the world who use the Net have their own e-mail address. A growing number of "gateways" tie more and more people to the Net every day. When you logged onto the host system you are now using, it automatically generated an address for you, as well.

The basic concepts behind e-mail parallel those of regular mail. You send mail to people at their particular addresses. In turn, they write to you at your e-mailbox address. You can subscribe to the electronic equivalent of magazines and newspapers. There is even electronic junk mail.

E-mail has two distinct advantages over regular mail. The most obvious is speed. Instead of several days, your message can reach the other side of the world in hours or even minutes (depending on where you drop off your mail and the state of the connections between there and your recipient). The other advantage is that once you master the basics, you'll be able to use e-mail to access databases and file libraries. You'll see how to do this later, along with learning how to transfer program and data files through e-mail.

E-mail also has advantages over the telephone. You send your message when it's convenient for you. Your recipient responds at his convenience. No more telephone tag. And while a phone call across the country or around the world can quickly result in huge phone bills, e-mail lets you exchange vast amounts of mail for only a few pennies -- even if the other person is in New Zealand.

E-mail is your connection to help -- your Net lifeline. The Net can sometimes seem a frustrating place! No matter how hard you try, no matter where you look, you just might not be able to find the answer to whatever is causing you problems. But when you know how to use e-mail, help is often just a few keystrokes away: ask your system administrator or a friend for help in an e-mail message.

The quickest way to start learning e-mail is to send yourself a message. Most public-access sites actually have several different types of mail systems, all of which let you both send and receive mail. We'll start with the simplest one, known, appropriately enough, as "mail," and then look at a couple of other interfaces. At your host system's command prompt, type this:

mail username

where username is the name you gave yourself when you first logged on. Hit enter. The computer might respond with

subject:
Type
test
or, actually, anything at all (but you'll have to hit enter before you get to the end of the screen). Hit enter.

The cursor will drop down a line. You can now begin writing the actual message. Type a sentence, again, anything at all. And here's where you hit your first Unix frustration, one that will bug you repeatedly: you have to hit enter before you get to the very end of the line. Just like typewriters, many Unix programs have no word-wrapping.

When done with your message, hit return. Now hit control-D (the control and the D keys at the same time). This is a Unix command that tells the computer you're done writing and that it should close your "envelope" and mail it off (you could also hit enter once and then, on a blank line, type a period at the beginning of the line and hit enter again).

You've just sent your first e-mail message. And because you're sending mail to yourself, rather than to someone somewhere else on the Net, your message has already arrived, as we'll see in a moment.

If you had wanted, you could have even written your message on your own computer and then uploaded it into this electronic "envelope." There are a couple of good reasons to do this with long or involved messages. One is that once you hit enter at the end of a line in "mail" you can't readily fix any mistakes on that line (unless you use some special commands to call up a Unix text processor. Also, if you are paying for access by the hour, uploading a prepared message can save you money. Remember to save the document in ASCII or text format. Uploading a document you've created in a word processor that uses special formatting commands (which these days means many programs) will cause strange effects.

When you get that blank line after the subject line, upload the message using the ASCII protocol. Or you can copy and paste the text, if your software allows that. When done, hit control-D as above.

Now you have mail waiting for you. Normally, when you log on, your public-access site will tell you whether you have new mail waiting. To open your mailbox and see your waiting mail, type

mail
and hit enter.

When the host system sees "mail" without a name after it, it knows you want to look in your mailbox rather than send a message. Your screen, on a plain-vanilla Unix system will display:

Mail version SMI 4.0 Mon Apr 24 18:34:15 PDT 1989  Type ? for help.
"/usr/spool/mail/adamg": 1 message 1 new 1 unread

>N 1 adamg              Sun Mar 22 20:04   12/290   test

Ignore the first line; it's just computerese of value only to the people who run your system. You can type a question mark and hit return, but unless you're familiar with Unix, most of what you'll see won't make much sense at this point.

The second line tells you the directory on the host system where your mail messages are put. This is your "home directory." It's a good name to remember. Later, when you start transferring files across the Net, this is where they will usually wind up, or from where you'll send them. The second line also tells you how many messages are in your mailbox, how many have come in since the last time you looked and how many messages you haven't read yet.

It's the third line that is of real interest -- it tells you who the message is from, when it arrived, how many lines and characters it takes up, and what the subject is. The "N" means it is a new message -- it arrived after the last time you looked in your mailbox. Hit enter. And there's your message -- only now it's a lot longer than what you wrote!

Message 1:
From adamg Mar 22 20:04:55 1992
Received: by eff.org id AA28949
(5.65c/IDA-1.4.4/pen-ident for adamg); Sun, 22 Mar 1992 20:04:55 -0400
(ident-sender: adamg@eff.org)
Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1992 21:34:55 -0400
From: Adam Gaffin <adamg>
Message-Id: <199204270134.AA28949@eff.org>
To: adamg
Subject: test
Status: R

This is only a test!

Whoa! What is all that stuff? It's your message with a postmark gone mad. Just as the postal service puts its marks on every piece of mail it handles, so do Net postal systems. Only it's called a "header" instead of a postmark. Each system that handles or routes your mail puts its stamp on it. Since many messages go through a number of systems on their way to you, you will often get messages with headers that seem to go on forever. Among other things, a header will tell you exactly when a message was sent and received (even the difference between your local time and GMT -- as at the end of line 4 above).

If this had been a long message, it would just keep scrolling across and down your screen -- unless the people who run your public-access site have set it up to pause every 24 lines. One way to deal with a message that doesn't stop is to use your telecommunication software's logging or text-buffer function. Start it before you hit the number of the message you want to see. Your computer will ask you what you want to call the file you're about to create. After you name the file and hit enter, type the number of the message you want to see and hit enter. When the message finishes scrolling, turn off the text-buffer function, and the message is now saved in your computer. This way, you can read the message while not connected to the Net (which can save you money if you're paying by the hour) and write a reply offline.

But in the meantime, now what? You can respond to the message, delete it or save it. To respond, type a lower-case "r" and hit enter. You'll get something like this:

To: adamg
Subject: Re:  test

Note that this time, you don't have to enter a username. The computer takes it from the message you're replying to and automatically addresses your message to its sender. The computer also automatically inserts a subject line, by adding "Re:" to the original subject. From here, it's just like writing a new message. But say you change your mind and decide not to reply after all. How do you get out of the message? Hit control-C once. You'll get this:

(Interrupt -- one more to kill letter)

If you hit control-C once more, the message will disappear and you'll get back to your mail's command line.

Now, if you type a lower-case "d" and then hit enter, you'll delete the original message. Type a lower-case "q" to exit your mailbox.

If you type a "q" without first hitting "d", your message is transferred to a file called mbox. This file is where all read, but un-deleted messages go. If you want to leave it in your mailbox for now, type a lower-case "x" and hit enter. This gets you out of mail without making any changes.

The mbox file works a lot like your mailbox. To access it, type

mail -f mbox

at your host system's command line and hit enter.

You'll get a menu identical to the one in your mailbox from which you can read these old messages, delete them or respond to them. It's probably a good idea to clear out your mailbox and mbox file from time to time, if only to keep them uncluttered.

Are there any drawbacks to e-mail? There are a few. One is that people seem more willing to fly off the handle electronically than in person, or over the phone. Maybe it's because it's so easy to hit R and reply to a message without pausing and reflecting a moment. That's why we have smileys! There's no online equivalent yet of a return receipt: chances are your message got to where it's going, but there's no absolute way for you to know for sure unless you get a reply from the other person. Also, because computers are quite literal, you have to be very careful when addressing a message. Misplace a period or a single letter in the address, and your message could come back to you, undelivered.

So now you're ready to send e-mail to other people on the Net. Of course, you need somebody's address to send them mail. How do you get it?

Alas, the simplest answer is not what you'd call the most elegant: you call them up on the phone or write them a letter on paper and ask them. Residents of the electronic frontier are only beginning to develop the equivalent of phone books, and the ones that exist today are far from complete (still, later on, we'll show you how to use some of these directories).

Eventually, you'll start corresponding with people, which means you'll want to know how to address mail to them. It's vital to know how to do this, because the smallest mistake -- using a comma when you should have used a period, for instance, can bounce the message back to you, undelivered. In this sense, Net addresses are like phone numbers: one wrong digit and you get the wrong person. Fortunately, most net addresses now adhere to a relatively easy-to-understand system.

Earlier, you sent yourself a mail message using just your user-name. This was sort of like making a local phone call -- you didn't have to dial a 1 or an area code. This also works for mail to anybody else who has an account on the same system as you.

Sending mail outside of your system, though, will require the use of the Net equivalent of area codes, called "domains." A basic Net address will look something like this:

tomg@world.std.com

Tomg is somebody's user ID, and he is at (hence the @ sign) a site or "domain" known as std.com. Large organizations often have more than one computer linked to the Internet; in this case, the name of the particular machine is world (you will quickly notice that, like boat owners, Internet computer owners always name their machines).

Domains tell you the name of the organization that runs a given e-mail site and what kind of site it is or, if it's not in the U.S., what country it's located in. Large organizations may have more than one computer or gateway tied to the Internet, so you'll often see a two-part domain name; and sometimes even three- or four-part domain names.

In general, American addresses end in an organizational suffix, such as ".edu," which means the site is at a college or university. Other American suffixes include:

.com
for businesses

.org
for non-profit organizations

.gov
.mil
for government and military agencies

.net
for companies or organizations that run large networks.

Sites in the rest of the world tend to use a two-letter code that represents their country. Most make sense, such as `.ca' for Canadian sites, but there are a couple of seemingly odd ones, at least if you don't know the ISO 3166 standard international abbreviations. (see section Internet Country Codes for a list of the rest of the world.) E.g., swiss sites end in `.ch' (Confederatio Helvetica), German sites end in `.de' (DEutschland), while South African ones end in `.za' (Zuit Africaans). Some smaller U.S. sites are beginning to follow this international convention (such as unixland.natick.ma.us).

You'll notice that the above addresses are all in lower-case. Unlike almost everything else having anything at all to do with Unix, Most Net mailing systems don't care about case, so you can capitalize names if you want, but you generally don't have to. Alas, there are a few exceptions -- some public-access sites do allow for capital letters in user names. When in doubt, ask the person you want to write to, or let her send you a message first (recall how a person's e-mail address is usually found on the top of her message).

The domain name, the part of the address after the @ sign, never has to be capitalized.

It's all a fairly simple system that works very well, except, again, it's vital to get the address exactly right -- just as you have to dial a phone number exactly right. Send a message to tomg@unm.edu (which is the University of New Mexico) when you meant to send it to tomg@umn.edu (the University of Minnesota), and your letter will either bounce back to you undelivered, or go to the wrong person.

If your message is bounced back to you as undeliverable, you'll get an ominous looking-message from MAILER-DAEMON (actually a rather benign Unix program that exists to handle mail), with an evil-looking header followed by the text of your message. Sometimes, you can tell what went wrong by looking at the first few lines of the bounced message. Besides an incorrect address, it's possible your host system does not have the other site in the "map" it maintains of other host systems. Or you could be trying to send mail to another network, such as Bitnet or CompuServe, that has special addressing requirements.

Sometimes, figuring all this out can prove highly frustrating. But remember the prime Net commandment: Ask. Send a message to your system administrator. He or she might be able to help decipher the problem.

There is one kind of address that may give your host system particular problems. There are two main ways that Unix systems exchange mail. One is known as UUCP and started out with a different addressing system than the rest of the Net. Most UUCP systems have since switched over to the standard Net addressing system, but a few traditional sites still cling to their original type, which tends to have lots of exclamation points in it, like this:

uunet!somesite!othersite!mybuddy

The problem for many host sites is that exclamation points (also known as "bangs") now mean something special in the more common systems or "shells" used to operate many Unix computers. This means that addressing mail to such a site (or even responding to a message you received from one) could confuse the poor computer to no end and your message never gets sent out. If that happens, try putting "forward" backslashes in front of each exclamation point, so that you get an address that looks like this:

uunet\!somesite\!othersite\!mybuddy

Note that this means you may not be able to respond to such a message by typing a lower-case `r' -- you may get an error message and you'll have to create a brand-new message.

If you want to get a taste of what's possible through e-mail, start an e-mail message to

almanac@oes.orst.edu

Leave the "subject:" line blank. As a message, write this:

send quote

Or, if you're feeling a little down, write this instead:

send moral-support

In either case, you will get back a message within a few seconds to a few hours (depending on the state of your host system's Internet connection). If you simply asked for a quote, you'll get back a fortune-cookie-like saying. If you asked for moral support, you'll also get back a fortune-cookie-like saying, only supposedly more uplifting.

This particular "mail server" is run by Oregon State University. Its main purpose is actually to provide a way to distribute agricultural information via e-mail. If you'd like to find out how to use the server's full range of services, send a message to the above address with this line in it:

send help

You'll quickly get back a lengthy document detailing just what's available and how to get it.

The "mail" program is actually a very powerful one and a Netwide standard, at least on Unix computers. But it can be hard to figure out -- you can type a question mark to get a list of commands, but these may be of limited use unless you're already familiar with Unix. Fortunately, there are a couple of other mail programs that are easier to use.

ELM

Elm is a combination mailbox and letter-writing system that uses menus to help you navigate through mail. Most Unix-based host systems now have it online. To use it, type

elm

and hit enter. You'll get a menu of your waiting mail, along with a list of commands you can execute, that will look something like this:

Mailbox is '/usr/spool/mail/adamg' with 38 messages [ELM 2.3 PL11]

1   Sep 1  Christopher Davis  (13)   here's another message.
2   Sep 1  Christopher Davis  (91)   This is a message from Eudora
3   Aug 31 Rita Marie Rouvali (161)  First Internet Hunt !!! (fwd)
4   Aug 31 Peter Scott/Manage (69)   New File <UK077> University of Londo
5   Aug 30 Peter Scott/Manage (64)   New File <DIR020> X.500 service at A
6   Aug 30 Peter Scott/Manage (39)   New File <NET016> DATAPAC Informatio
7   Aug 28 Peter Scott/Manage (67)   Proposed Usenet group for HYTELNET n
8   Aug 28 Peter Scott/Manage (56)   New File <DIR019> JANET Public Acces
9   Aug 26 Helen Trillian Ros (15)   Tuesday
10  Aug 26 Peter Scott/Manage (151)  Update <CWK004> Oxford University OU

You can use any of the following commands by pressing the first character;
d)elete or u)ndelete mail, m)ail a message, r)eply or f)orward mail, q)uit
To read a message, press <return>. j = move down, k = move up, ? = help

Each line shows the date you received the message, who sent it, how many lines long the message is, and the message's subject.

If you are using VT100 emulation, you can move up and down the menu with your up and down arrow keys. Otherwise, type the line number of the message you want to read or delete and hit enter.

When you read a message, it pauses every 24 lines, instead of scrolling until it's done. Hit the space bar to read the next page. You can type a lower-case "r" to reply or a lower-case "q" or "i" to get back to the menu (the I stands for "index").

At the main menu, hitting a lower-case "m" followed by enter will let you start a message. To delete a message, type a lower-case "d". You can do this while reading the message. Or, if you are in the menu, move the cursor to the message's line and then hit D.

When you're done with Elm, type a lower-case "q". The program will ask if you really want to delete the messages you marked. Then, it will ask you if you want to move any messages you've read but haven't marked for deletion to a "received" file. For now, hit your n key.

Elm has a major disadvantage for the beginner. The default text editor it generally calls up when you hit your "r" or "m" key is often a program called emacs. Unixoids swear by emacs, but everybody else almost always finds it impossible. Unfortunately, you can't always get away from it (or vi, another text editor often found on Unix systems), so later on we'll talk about some basic commands that will keep you from going totally nuts.

PINE

Pine is based on elm but includes a number of improvements that make it an ideal mail system for beginners. Like elm, pine starts you with a menu. It also has an "address book" feature that is handy for people with long or complex e-mail addresses. Hitting A at the main menu puts you in the address book, where you can type in the person's first name (or nickname) followed by her address. Then, when you want to send that person a message, you only have to type in her first name or nickname, and pine automatically inserts her actual address. The address book also lets you set up a mailing list. This feature allows you to send the same message to a number of people at once.

What really sets pine apart is its built-in text editor, which looks and feels a lot more like word-processing programs available for MS-DOS and Macintosh users. Not only does it have word wrap (a revolutionary concept if ever there was one, it also has a rwspell-checker and a search command. Best of all, all of the commands you need are listed in a two-line mini-menu at the bottom of each screen. The commands look like this:

^W Where is

The little caret is a synonym for the key marked "control" on your keyboard. To find where a particular word is in your document, you'd hit your control key and your W key at the same time, which would bring up a prompt asking you for the word to look for.

Some of pine's commands are a tad peculiar (control-V for "page down" for example), which comes from being based on a variant of emacs (which is utterly peculiar). But again, all of the commands you need are listed on that two-line mini-menu, so it shouldn't take you more than a couple of seconds to find the right one.

To use pine, type

pine

at the command line and hit enter. It's a relatively new program, so many systems do not yet have it online. But it's so easy to use, you should probably send e-mail to your system administrator urging him to get it!

Smileys

When you're involved in an online discussion, you can't see the smiles or shrugs that the other person might make in a live conversation to show he's only kidding. But online, there's no body language. So what you might think is funny, somebody else might take as an insult. To try to keep such misunderstandings from erupting into bitter disputes, we have smileys. Tilt your head to the left and look at the following sideways. :-). Or simply :). This is your basic "smiley." Use it to indicate people should not take that comment you just made as seriously as they might otherwise. You make a smiley by typing a colon, a hyphen and a right parenthetical bracket. Some people prefer using the word "grin," usually in this form:

<grin>

Sometimes, though, you'll see it as *grin* or even just <g> for short. Some other smileys include:

;-)
Wink;

:-(
Frown;

:-O
Surprise;

8-)
Wearing glasses;

=|:-)=
Abe Lincoln.

OK, so maybe the last two are a little bogus :-).

Seven UNIX Commands you can't live without:

If you connect to the Net through a Unix system, eventually you'll have to come to terms with Unix. For better or worse, most Unix systems do NOT shield you from their inner workings -- if you want to copy a Usenet posting to a file, for example, you'll have to use some Unix commands if you ever want to do anything with that file.

Like MS-DOS, Unix is an operating system - it tells the computer how to do things. Now while Unix may have a reputation as being even more complex than MS-DOS, in most cases, a few basic, and simple, commands should be all you'll ever need.

If your own computer uses MS-DOS or PC-DOS, the basic concepts will seem very familiar -- but watch out for the cd command, which works differently enough from the similarly named DOS command that it will drive you crazy. Also, unlike MS-DOS, Unix is case sensitive -- if you type commands or directory names in the wrong case, you'll get an error message.

If you're used to working on a Mac, you'll have to remember that Unix stores files in "directories" rather than "folders." Unix directories are organized like branches on a tree. At the bottom is the "root" directory, with sub-directories branching off that (and sub-directories in turn can have sub-directories). The Mac equivalent of a Unix sub-directory is a folder within another folder.

cat
Equivalent to the MS-DOS "type" command. To pause a file every screen, type `cat file |more', better: `more file', where "file" is the name of the file you want to see. Hitting control-C will stop the display. You can also use `cat' for writing or uploading text files to your name or home directory (similar to the MS-DOS `copy con:' command). If you type `cat >test' you start a file called "test." You can either write something simple (no editing once you've finished a line and you have to hit return at the end of each line) or upload something into that file using your communications software's ASCII protocol). To close the file, hit control-D.

cd
The "change directory" command. To change from your present directory to another, type `cd directory' and hit enter. Unlike MS-DOS, which uses a \ to denote sub-directories (for example: procomm\text), Unix uses a / (for example: procomm/text). So to change from your present directory to the procomm/text sub-directory, you would type `cd procomm/text' and then hit enter. As in MS-DOS, you do not need the first backslash if the subdirectory comes off the directory you're already in. To move back up a directory tree, you would type `cd ..' followed by enter. Note the space between the cd and the two periods -- this is where MS-DOS users will really go nuts.

cp
Copies a file. The syntax is `cp file1 file2' which would copy file1 to file2 (or overwrite file2 with file1).

ls
This command, when followed by enter, tells you what's in the directory, similar to the DOS dir command, except in alphabetical order.

ls |more
will stop the listing every 24 lines -- handy if there are a lot of things in the directory. The basic ls command does not list "hidden" files, such as the `.login' file that controls how your system interacts with Unix. To see these files, type `ls -a' or `ls -a |more'

`ls -l' will tell you the size of each file in bytes and tell you when each was created or modified.

mv
Similar to the MS-DOS rename command. In fact, `mv file1 file2' will rename file1 as file2, The command can also be used to move files between directories.

`mv file1 News' would move file1 to your News directory.

rm
Deletes a file. Type `rm filename' and hit enter (but beware: when you hit enter, it's gone for good).

Wildcards

When searching for, copying or deleting files, you can use "wildcards" if you are not sure of the file's exact name.

ls man*

would find the following files:

manual, manual.txt, man-o-man.

Use a question mark when you're sure about all but one or two characters. For example,

ls man?

would find a file called mane, but not one called manual.

E-Mail to other Networks

There are a number of computer networks that are not directly tied to the Net, but to which you can still send e-mail messages. Here's a list of some of the larger networks, how to send mail to them and how their users can send mail to you:

America Online

Remove any spaces from a user's name and append `@aol.com', to get
user@aol.com 
America Online users who want to send mail to you need only put your Net address in the "to:" field before composing a message.

ATTMail

Address your message to (user@attmail.com). From ATTMail, a user would send mail to you in this form:
internet!domain!user 
So if your address were (adamg@world.std.com), your correspondent would send a message to you at
internet!world.std.com!adamg

Bitnet

Users of Bitnet (and NetNorth in Canada and EARN in Europe) often have addresses in this form: (IZZY@INDVMS). If you're lucky, all you'll have to do to mail to that address is add "bitnet" at the end, to get (izzy@indvms.bitnet). Sometimes, however, mail to such an address will bounce back to you, because Bitnet addresses do not always translate well into an Internet form. If this happens, you can send mail through one of two Internet/Bitnet gateways. First, change the `@' in the address to a `%', so that you get (user%site.bitnet). Then add either `@vm.marist.edu' or `@cunyvm.cuny.edu', so that, with the above example, you would get (izzy%indyvms.bitnet@vm.marist.edu) or (izzy%indvyvms.bitnet@cunyvm.cuny.edu)

Bitnet users have it a little easier: They can usually send mail directly to your e-mail address without fooling around with it at all. So send them your address and they should be OK.

CompuServe

CompuServe users have numerical addresses in this form: 73727,545. To send mail to a CompuServe user, change the comma to a period and add `@compuserve.com'; for example: (73727.545@compuserve.com).

If you know CompuServe users who want to send you mail, tell them to GO MAIL and create a mail message. In the address area, instead of typing in a CompuServe number, have them type your address in this form:

>INTERNET:YourID@YourAddress. 
For example, `>INTERNET:adamg@world.std.com'. Note that both the `>' and the `:' are required.

Delphi

To send mail to a Delphi user, the form is (user@delphi.com).

Fidonet

To send mail to somebody who uses a Fidonet BBS, you need the name they use to log onto that system and its "node number." Fidonet node numbers or addresses consist of three numbers, in this form: `1:322/190'. The first number tells which of three broad geographic zones the BBS is in (1 represents the U.S. and Canada, 2 Europe and Israel, 3 Pacific Asia, 4 South America). The second number represents the BBS's network, while the final number is the BBS's "FidoNode" number in that network. If your correspondent only gives you two numbers (for example, `322/190'), it means the system is in zone 1.

Now comes the tricky part. You have to reverse the numbers and add to them the letters `f', `n' and `z' (which stand for "FidoNode," "network," and "zone'). For example, the address above would become

f190.n322.

Now add `fidonet.org' at the end, to get `f190.n322. z1.fidonet.org'. Then add `First Name.LastName@', to get

FirstName.LastName@f190.n322.z1.fidonet.org. 
Note the period between the first and last names. Whew!

The reverse process is totally different. First, the person has to have access to his or her BBS's "net mail" area and know the Fidonet address of his or her local Fidonet/UUCP gateway (often their system operator will know it). Your Fidonet correspondent should address a net-mail message to UUCP (not your name) in the "to:" field. In the node-number field, they should type in the node number of the Fidonet/UUCP gateway (if the gateway system is in the same regional network as their system, they need only type the last number, for example, `390' instead of `322/390'). Then, the first line of the message has to be your Internet address, followed by a blank line. After that, the person can write the message and send it.

Because of the way Fidonet moves mail, it could take a day or two for a message to be delivered in either direction. Also, because many Fidonet systems are run as hobbies, it is considered good form to ask the gateway sysop's permission if you intend to pass large amounts of mail back and forth. Messages of a commercial nature are strictly forbidden (even if it's something the other person asked for). Also, consider it very likely that somebody other than the recipient will read your messages.

GEnie

To send mail to a GEnie user, add `@genie.geis.com' to the end of their GEnie user name, for example: (walt@genie.geis.com). Unlike users of other networks, however, GEnie users can receive mail from Internet only if they pay an extra monthly charge.

MCIMail

To send mail to somebody with an MCIMail account, add `@mcimail.com' to the end of their name or numerical address. For example:
555-1212@mcimail.com 
or
jsmith@mcimail.com 

Note that if there is more than one MCIMail subscriber with that name, you will get a mail message back from MCI giving you their names and numerical addresses. You'll then have to figure out which one you want and re-send the message.

From MCI, a user would type: Your Name `(EMS)' at the "To:" prompt. At the EMS prompt, he or she would type `internet' followed by your Net address at the "Mbx:" prompt.

Peacenet

To send mail to a Peacenet user, use this form:
username@igc.org 
Peacenet subscribers can use your regular address to send you mail.

Prodigy

(userID@prodigy.com). Note that Prodigy users must pay extra for Internet e-mail.

When things go wrong:

FYI:

Scott Yanoff posts a very long list of existing cross-connections of almost any sub-nets to "newsgroups" (see section Usenet: the Global Watering Hole for an explanation of this term) comp.mail, comp.answers, and news.answers. Just to mention a few: AppleLink, BIX, GreeNet, MausNet, SprintMail, etc. Get your hands on the `inter-network-guide', that's kept on rtfm.mit.edu in directory `pub/usenet/comp.mail'. See section Advanced E-mail or section FTP (Mining the Net, part II) to find out how to access this Internet treasure chest.

"...and the first lesson is: Never lose the alternative way out of sight." --- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"If all else fails, read the manual." --- PC Wizard

"If all else fails, read the manual page." --- Unix Wizard

Usenet: the Global Watering Hole

Imagine a conversation carried out over a period of hours and days, as if people were leaving messages and responses on a bulletin board. Or imagine the electronic equivalent of a radio talk show where everybody can put their two cents in and no one is ever on hold.

Unlike e-mail, which is "one-to-one," Usenet is "many-to-many."

Usenet is the international meeting place, where people gather to meet their friends, discuss the day's events, keep up with computer trends or talk about whatever's on their mind. Jumping into a Usenet discussion can be a liberating experience. Nobody knows what you look or sound like, how old you are, what your background is. You're judged solely on your words, your ability to make a point.

To many people, Usenet IS the Net. In fact, it is often confused with Internet. But it is a totally separate system. All Internet sites CAN carry Usenet, but so do many non-Internet sites, from sophisticated Unix machines to old XTs and Apple IIs.

Technically, Usenet messages are shipped around the world, from host system to host system, using one of several specific Net protocols. Your host system stores all of its Usenet messages in one place, which everybody with an account on the system can access. That way, no matter how many people actually read a given message, each host system has to store only one copy of it. Many host systems "talk" with several others regularly in case one or another of their links goes down for some reason. When two host systems connect, they basically compare notes on which Usenet messages they already have. Any that one is missing the other then transmits, and vice-versa. Because they are computers, they don't mind running through thousands, even millions, of these comparisons every day.

Yes, millions. For Usenet is huge. Every day, Usenet users pump upwards of 25 million characters a day into the system -- roughly the equivalent of volumes A-E of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Obviously, nobody could possibly keep up with this immense flow of messages. Let's look at how to find messages of interest to you.

Newsgroup Hierarchies

The basic building block of Usenet is the newsgroup, which is a collection of messages with a related theme (on other networks, these would be called conferences, forums, bboards or special-interest groups).

There are now more than 4,500 of these newsgroups. With so many newsgroups, it can be hard finding ones of interest to you. We'll start off by showing you how to get into some of the more interesting or useful newsgroups so you can get a feel for how it all works.

Some public-access systems try to make it easier by dividing Usenet into several broad categories. Choose one of those and you're given a list of newsgroups in that category. Then select the newsgroup you're interested in and start reading.

Other systems let you compile your own "reading list" so that you only see messages in conferences you want. In both cases, conferences are arranged in a particular hierarchy devised in the early 1980s. Newsgroup names start with one of a series of broad topic names. For example, newsgroups beginning with "comp." are about particular computer-related topics. These broad topics are followed by a series of more focused topics (so that comp.unix groups are limited to discussion about Unix). The main hierarchies are:

bionet
Research biology

bit.listserv
Conferences originating as Bitnet mailing lists

biz
Business

comp
Computers and related subjects

misc
Discussions that don't fit anywhere else

news
News about Usenet itself

rec
Hobbies, games and recreation

sci
Science other than research biology

soc
"Social" groups, often ethnically related

talk
Politics and related topics

alt
Controversial or unusual topics; not carried by all sites

In addition, many host systems carry newsgroups for a particular city, state or region. For example, ne.housing is a newsgroup where New Englanders look for apartments. A growing number also carry K12 newsgroups, which are aimed at elementary and secondary teachers and students. And a number of sites carry clari newsgroups, which is actually a commercial service consisting of wire-service stories and a unique online computer news service (see section News of the World).

How do you dive right in? On the Free-Net and some other systems, it's all done through menus -- you just keep choosing from a list of choices until you get to the newsgroup you want and then hit the "read" command. On Unix systems, however, you will have to use a "newsreader" program. Two of the more common ones are known as rn (for "read news") and nn (for "no news" -- because it's supposed to be simpler to use).

For beginners, nn may be the better choice because it works with rudimentary menus -- you get a list of articles in a given newsgroup and then you choose which ones you want to see. To try it out, connect to your host system and, at the command line, type

nn news.announce.newusers

and hit enter. After a few seconds, you should see something like this:

Newsgroup: news.announce.newusers                  Articles: 22 of 22/1 NEW

a Gene Spafford   776  Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
b Gene Spafford   362  A Primer on How to Work With the Usenet Community
c Gene Spafford   387  Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette
d Gene Spafford   101  Hints on writing style for Usenet
e Gene Spafford    74  Introduction to news.announce
f Gene Spafford   367  USENET Software: History and Sources
g Gene Spafford   353  What is Usenet?
h taylor          241  A Guide to Social Newsgroups and Mailing Lists
i Gene Spafford   585  Alternative Newsgroup Hierarchies, Part I
j Gene Spafford   455  Alternative Newsgroup Hierarchies, Part II
k David C Lawrenc 151  How to Create a New Newsgroup
l Gene Spafford   106  How to Get Information about Networks
m Gene Spafford   888  List of Active Newsgroups
n Gene Spafford   504  List of Moderators
o Gene Spafford  1051  Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists, Part I
p Gene Spafford  1123  Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists, Part II
q Gene Spafford  1193  Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists, Part III
r Jonathan Kamens 644  How to become a USENET site
s Jonathan Kamen 1344  List of Periodic Informational Postings, Part I

-- 15:52 -- SELECT -- help:? -----Top 85%-----
Explanatory postings for new users. (Moderated)

Obviously, this is a good newsgroup to begin your exploration of Usenet! Here's what all this means: The first letter on each line is the letter you type to read that particular "article" (it makes sense that a "newsgroup" would have "articles"). Next comes the name of the person who wrote that article, followed by its length, in lines, and what the article is about. At the bottom, you see the local time at your access site, what you're doing right now (i.e., SELECTing articles), which key to hit for some help (the ? key) and how many of the articles in the newsgroup you can see on this screen. The "(moderated)" means the newsgroup has a "moderator" who is the only one who can directly post messages to it. This is generally limited to groups such as this, which contain articles of basic information or for digests, which are basically online magazines (more on them in a bit).

Say you're particularly interested in what "Emily Postnews" (see section Dear Emily Postnews) has to say about proper etiquette on Usenet. Hit your c key (lower case!), and the line will light up. If you want to read something else, hit the key that corresponds to it. And if you want to see what's on the next page of articles, hit return or your space bar.

But you're impatient to get going, and you want to read that article now. The command for that in nn is a capital Z. Hit it and you'll see something like this:

Gene Spafford: Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette
Original-author: brad@looking.on.ca (Brad Templeton)
Archive-name: emily-postnews/part1
Last-change: 30 Nov 91 by brad@looking.on.ca (Brad Templeton)


**NOTE: this is intended to be satirical.  If you do not recognize
it as such, consult a doctor or professional comedian.  The
recommendations in this article should recognized for what
they are -- admonitions about what NOT to do.


"Dear Emily Postnews"

Emily Postnews, foremost authority on proper net behaviour,
gives her advice on how to act on the net.

=========================================================================

Dear Miss Postnews: How long should my signature be? -- verbose@noisy

A: Dear Verbose: Please try and make your signature as long as you
-- 09:57 --.announce.newusers-- LAST --help:?--Top 4%--

The first few lines are the message's header, similar to the header you get in e-mail messages. Then comes the beginning of the message. The last line tells you the time again, the newsgroup name (or part of it, anyway), the position in your message stack that this message occupies, how to get help, and how much of the message is on screen. If you want to keep reading this message, just hit your space bar (not your enter key!) for the next screen and so on until done. When done, you'll be returned to the newsgroup menu. For now hit Q (upper case this time), which quits you out of nn and returns you to your host system's command line.

To get a look at another interesting newsgroup, type

nn comp.risks

and hit enter. This newsgroup is another moderated group, this time a digest of all the funny and frightening ways computers and the people who run and use them can go wrong. Again, you read articles by selecting their letters. If you're in the middle of an article and decide you want to go onto the next one, hit your n key.

Now it's time to look for some newsgroups that might be of particular interest to you. Unix host systems that have nn use a program called nngrep (ever get the feeling Unix was not entirely written in English?) that lets you scan newsgroups. Exit nn and at your host system's command line, type

nngrep word

where word is the subject you're interested in. If you use a Macintosh computer, you might try

nngrep mac

You'll get something that looks like this:

alt.music.machines.of.loving.grace
alt.religion.emacs
comp.binaries.mac
comp.emacs
comp.lang.forth.mac
comp.os.mach
comp.sources.mac
comp.sys.mac.announce
comp.sys.mac.apps
comp.sys.mac.comm
comp.sys.mac.databases
comp.sys.mac.digest
comp.sys.mac.games
comp.sys.mac.hardware
comp.sys.mac.hypercard
comp.sys.mac.misc
comp.sys.mac.programmer
comp.sys.mac.system
comp.sys.mac.wanted
gnu.emacs.announce
gnu.emacs.bug
gnu.emacs.gnews
gnu.emacs.gnus
gnu.emacs.help
gnu.emacs.lisp.manual
gnu.emacs.sources
gnu.emacs.vm.bug
gnu.emacs.vm.info
gnu.emacs.vms

Note that some of these obviously have something to do with Macintoshes while some obviously do not; nngrep is not a perfect system. If you want to get a list of ALL the newsgroups available on your host system, type

nngrep -a |more
or
nngrep -a |pg

and hit enter (which one to use depends on the Unix used on your host system; if one doesn't do anything, try the other). You don't absolutely need the |more or |pg, but if you don't include it, the list will keep scrolling, rather than pausing every 24 lines. If you are in nn, hitting a capital Y will bring up a similar list.

Typing `nn newsgroup' for every newsgroup can get awfully tiring after awhile. When you use nn, your host system looks in a file called `.newsrc'. This is basically a list of every newsgroup on the host system along with notations on which groups and articles you have read (all maintained by the computer). You can also use this file to create a "reading list" that brings up each newsgroup to which you want to "subscribe." To try it out, type

nn

without any newsgroup name, and hit enter.

Unfortunately, you will start out with a `.newsrc' file that has you "subscribed" to every single newsgroup on your host system! To delete a newsgroup from your reading list, type a capital U while its menu is on the screen. The computer will ask you if you're sure you want to "unsubscribe." If you then hit a Y, you'll be unsubscribed and put in the next group.

With many host systems carrying 4,000 or more newsgroups, this will take you forever.

Fortunately, there are a couple of easier ways to do this. Both involve calling up your `.newsrc' file in a word or text processor. In a `.newsrc' file, each newsgroup takes up one line, consisting of the group's name, an exclamation point or a colon and a range of numbers.

Newsgroups with a colon are ones to which you are subscribed; those followed by an exclamation point are "un-subscribed." To start with a clean slate, then, you have to change all those colons to exclamation points. If you know some UNIX, it's a one-liner, just type:

tr ':' '!' < .newsrc > temprc

and you're done. Without the tr command you must use a text editor.

If you know how to use emacs or vi, call up the `.newsrc' file (you might want to make a copy of `.newsrc' first, just in case), and use the search-and-replace function to make the change.

If you're not comfortable with these text processors, you can download the `.newsrc' file, make the changes on your own computer and then upload the revised file. Before you download the file, however, you should do a couple of things. One is to type

cp .newsrc temprc

and hit enter. You will actually download this temprc file (note the name does not start with a period -- some computers, such as those using MS-DOS, do not allow file names starting with periods). After you download the file, open it in your favorite word processor and use its search-and-replace function to change the exclamation points to colons. Be careful not to change anything else! Save the document in ASCII or text format. Dial back into your host system. At the command line, type

cp temprc temprc1

and hit enter. This new file will serve as your backup `.newsrc' file just in case something goes wrong. Upload the temprc file from your computer. This will overwrite the Unix system's old temprc file. Now type

cp temprc .newsrc

and hit enter. You now have a clean slate to start creating a reading list.

It's a little easier to do this in rn, so let's try that out, and as long as where there, see how it works.

If you type

rn news.announce.newusers

at your host system's command line, you'll see something like this:

********  21 unread articles in news.announce.newusers--read now? [ynq]

If you hit your Y key, the first article will appear on your screen. If you want to see what articles are available first, though, hit your computer's `=' key and you'll get something like this:

152 Introduction to news.announce
153 A Primer on How to Work With the Usenet Community
154 What is Usenet?
155 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
156 Hints on writing style for Usenet
158 Alternative Newsgroup Hierarchies, Part I
159 Alternative Newsgroup Hierarchies, Part II
160 Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette
161 USENET Software: History and Sources
162 A Guide to Social Newsgroups and Mailing Lists
163 How to Get Information about Networks
164 How to Create a New Newsgroup
169 List of Active Newsgroups
170 List of Moderators
171 Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists, Part I
172 Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists, Part II
173 Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists, Part III
174 How to become a USENET site
175 List of Periodic Informational Postings, Part I
176 List of Periodic Informational Postings, Part II
177 List of Periodic Informational Postings, Part III
End of article 158 (of 178)--what next? [npq]

Notice how the messages are in numerical order this time, and don't tell you who sent them. Article 154 looks interesting. To read it, type in 154 and hit enter. You'll see something like this:

Article 154 (20 more) in news.announce.newusers (moderated):
From: spaf@cs.purdue.EDU (Gene Spafford)
Newsgroups: news.announce.newusers,news.admin,news.answers
Subject: What is Usenet?
Date: 20 Sep 92 04:17:26 GMT
Followup-To: news.newusers.questions
Organization: Dept. of Computer Sciences, Purdue Univ.
Lines: 353
Supersedes: <spaf-whatis_715578719@cs.purdue.edu>

Archive-name: what-is-usenet/part1
Original from: chip@tct.com (Chip Salzenberg)
Last-change: 19 July 1992 by spaf@cs.purdue.edu (Gene Spafford)


The first thing to understand about Usenet is that it is widely
misunderstood.  Every day on Usenet, the "blind men and the elephant"
phenomenon is evident, in spades.  In my opinion, more flame wars
arise because of a lack of understanding of the nature of Usenet than
from any other source.  And consider that such flame wars arise, of
necessity, among people who are on Usenet.  Imagine, then, how poorly
understood Usenet must be by those outside!

--MORE--(7%)

This time, the header looks much more like the gobbledygook you get in e-mail messages. To keep reading, hit your space bar. If you hit your N key (in lower case), you'll go to the next message in the numerical order.

To escape rn, just keep hitting your q key (in lower case), until you get back to the command line. Now let's set up your reading list. Because rn uses the same `.newsrc' file as nn, you can use one of the search-and-replace methods described above. Or you can do this: Type

rn

and hit enter. When the first newsgroup comes up on your screen, hit your u key (in lower case). Hit it again, and again, and again. Or just keep it pressed down (if your computer starts beeping, let up for a couple of seconds). Unsubscribing from every single group this way could take five or ten minutes. Eventually, you'll be told you're at the end of the newsgroups, and asked what you want to do next.

Here's where you begin entering newsgroups. Type

g newsgroup

(for example, `g comp.sys.mac.announce') and hit enter. You'll be asked if you want to "subscribe." Hit your y key. Then type

g next newsgroup

(for example, `g comp.announce.newusers') and hit enter. Repeat until done. This process will also set up your reading list for nn, if you prefer that newsreader. But how do you know which newsgroups to subscribe? Typing a lower-case l and then hitting enter will show you a list of all available newsgroups. Again, since there could be more than 2,000 newsgroups on your system, this might not be something you want to do. Fortunately, you can search for groups with particular words in their names, using the l command. Typing

l mac

followed by enter, will bring up a list of newsgroups with those letters in them (and as in nn, you will also see groups dealing with emacs and the like, in addition to groups related to Macintosh computers).

Because of the vast amount of messages transmitted over Usenet, most systems carry messages for only a few days or weeks. So if there's a message you want to keep, you should either turn on your computer's screen capture or save it to a file which you can later download). To save a message as a file in rn, type

s filename

where filename is what you want to call the file. Hit enter. You'll be asked if you want to save it in "mailbox format." In most cases, you can answer with an n (which will strip off the header). The message will now be saved to a file in your News directory (which you can access by typing `cd News' and then hitting enter).

Also, some newsgroups fill up particularly quickly -- go away for a couple of days and you'll come back to find hundreds of articles! One way to deal with that is to mark them as "read" so that they no longer appear on your screen. In nn, hit a capital J; in rn, a small c.

Where to get Answers?

There are some newsgroups you might want to include in your reading list. The news. newusers.questions newsgroup is where newcomers can ask questions about how Usenet works. The newsgroup news.announce.newsgroups carries information about new or proposed newsgroups.

The news.answers newsgroup is a fascinating one and can help you find interesting newsgroups. Many newsgroups have regularly compiled lists of "frequently asked questions" or FAQs related to the newsgroup's particular discussions. The people who write these lists post them in news.answers. You'll learn how to fight jet lag in an FAQ from the rec.travel.air newsgroup; read more than you probably wanted to know about bloodhounds in an FAQ from rec.pet.dogs; find answers to common questions about Windows in comp.os.ms-windows. There's even a newsgroup set up just for these FAQs: news.answers. This can be an interesting newsgroup to browse through, because you'll find everything from tips on saving money on airline tickets to facts about U.S. space missions.

Now to put your two cents in.

"Threads" are an integral part of Usenet. When somebody posts a message, often somebody else will respond. Soon, a thread of conversation begins. Following these threads is relatively easy. In nn, related messages are grouped together. In rn, when you're done with a message, you can hit control-N to read the next related message, or followup. As you explore Usenet, it's probably a good idea to read discussions for a while before you jump in. This way, you can get a feel for the particular newsgroup -- each of which has its own rhythms.

Eventually, though, you'll want to speak up. There are two main ways to do this. You join an existing conversation, or you can start a whole new thread.

If you want to join a discussion, you have to decide if you want to include portions of the message you are responding to in your message. The reason to do this is so people can see what you're responding to, just in case the original message has disappeared from their system (remember that most Usenet messages have a short life span on the average host system) or they can't find it.

If you're using a Unix host system, joining an existing conversation is similar in both nn and rn: hit your F key when done with a given article in the thread. In rn, type a small f if you don't want to include portions of the message you're responding to; an upper-case F if you do. In nn, type a capital F. You'll then be asked if you want to include portions of the original message.

And here's where you hit another Unix wall. When you hit your F key, your host system calls up its basic Unix text editor. If you're lucky, that'll be Pico, a very easy system. More likely, however, you'll get dumped into emacs (or possibly vi), which you've already met in the chapter on e-mail.

The single most important emacs command is

control-x control-c

This means, depress your control key and hit x. Then depress the control key and hit c. Memorize this. In fact, it's so important, it bears repeating:

control-x control-c

These keystrokes are how you get out of emacs. If it works well, you'll be asked if you want to send, edit, abort or list the message you were working on. If it doesn't work well (say you accidentally hit some other weird key combination that means something special to emacs) and nothing seems to happen, or you just get more weird-looking emacs prompts on the bottom of your screen, try hitting control-g. This should stop whatever emacs was trying to do (you should see the word "quit" on the bottom of your screen), after which you can hit control-x control-c. But if this still doesn't work, remember that you can always disconnect and dial back in!

If you have told your newsreader you do want to include portions of the original message in yours, it will automatically put the entire thing at the top of your message. Use the arrow keys to move down to the lines you want to delete and hit control-K, which will delete one line at a time.

You can then write your message. Remember that you have to hit enter before your cursor gets to the end of the line, because emacs does not have word wrapping.

When done, hit control-x control-c. You'll be asked the question about sending, editing, aborting, etc. Chose one. If you hit Y, your host system will start the process to sending your message across the Net.

The nn and rn programs work differently when it comes to posting entirely new messages. In nn, type

:post

and hit enter in any newsgroup. You'll be asked which newsgroup to post a message to. Type in its name and hit enter. Then you'll be asked for "keywords." These are words you'd use to attract somebody scanning a newsgroup. Say you're selling your car. You might type the type of car here. Next comes a "summary" line, which is somewhat similar. Finally, you'll be asked for the message's "distribution." This is where you put how widely you want your message disseminated. Think about this one for a second. If you are selling your car, it makes little sense to send a message about it all over the world. But if you want to talk about the environment, it might make a lot of sense. Each host system has its own set of distribution classifications, but there's generally a local one (just for users of that system), one for the city, state or region it's in, another for the country (for example, usa), one for the continent (for Americans and Canadians, na) and finally, one for the entire world (usually: world).

Which one to use? Generally, a couple of seconds' thought will help you decide. If you're selling your car, use your city or regional distribution -- people in Australia won't much care and may even get annoyed. If you want to discuss presidential politics, using a USA distribution makes more sense. If you want to talk about events in the Middle East, sending your message to the entire world is perfectly acceptable.

Then you can type your message. If you've composed your message offline (generally a good idea if you and emacs don't get along), you can upload it now. You may see a lot of weird looking characters as it uploads into emacs, but those will disappear when you hit control-X and then control-C. Alternately: "save" the message (for example, by hitting m in rn), log out, compose your message offline, log back on and upload your message into a file on your host system. Then call up Usenet, find the article you "saved." Start a reply, and you'll be asked if you want to include a prepared message. Type in the name of the file you just created and hit enter.

In rn, you have to wait until you get to the end of a newsgroup to hit F, which will bring up a message-composing system. Alternately, at your host system's command line, you can type

Pnews

and hit enter. You'll be prompted somewhat similarly to the nn system, except that you'll be given a list of possible distributions. If you chose "world," you'll get this message:

This program posts news to thousands of machines throughout the entire civilized world. Your message will cost the net hundreds if not thousands of dollars to send everywhere. Please be sure you know what you are doing.

Are you absolutely sure that you want to do this? [ny]

Don't worry -- your message won't really cost the Net untold amounts, although, again, it's a good idea to think for a second whether your message really should go everywhere.

If you want to respond to a given post through e-mail, instead of publicly, hit R in nn or r or R in rn. In rn, as with follow-up articles, the upper-case key includes the original message in yours.

Most newsgroups are unmoderated, which means that every message you post will eventually wind up on every host system within the geographic region you specified that carries that newsgroup.

Some newsgroups, however, are moderated, as you saw earlier with comp.risks. In these groups, messages are shipped to a single location where a moderator, acting much like a magazine editor, decides what actually gets posted. In some cases, groups are moderated like scholarly journals. In other cases, it's to try to cut down on the massive number of messages that might otherwise be posted.

You'll notice that many articles in Usenet end with a fancy "signature" that often contains some witty saying, a clever drawing and, almost incidentally, the poster's name and e-mail address. You too can have your own "signature" automatically appended to everything you post. On your own computer, create a signature file. Try to keep it to four lines or less, lest you annoy others on the Net. Then, while connected to your host system, type

cat >.signature

and hit enter (note the period before the s). Upload your signature file into this using your communications software's ASCII upload protocol. When done, hit control-D, the Unix command for closing a file. Now, every time you post a message, this will be appended to it.

There are a few caveats to posting. Usenet is no different from a Town Meeting or publication: you're not supposed to break the law, whether that's posting copyrighted material or engaging in illegal activities. It is also not a place to try to sell products (except in certain biz.* and explicit for-sale newsgroups).

--
  ___________________  *       _-_
  \==============_=_/ ____.---'---`---.____   *
              \_ \    \----._________.----/
         *      \ \   /  /    `-_-'              *
  *         __,--`.`-'..'-_
           /____          ||             *
                `--.____,-'   ...to boldly go where no man has gone before!


--
Disclaimer - These opiini^H^H damn! ^H^H ^Q ^[ .... :w  :q  :wq  :wq! ^d  X ^?
exit X Q  ^C ^? :quitbye  CtrlAltDel   ~~q  :~q  logout  save/quit :!QUIT     
^[zz ^[ZZZZZZ ^H  man vi ^@  ^L  ^[c  ^# ^E ^X ^I ^T ? help  helpquit ^D  ^d  
man help ^C ^c help exit ?Quit ?q CtrlShftDel"Hey, what does this button d..."
--- .signature(s)

Usenet: from Flame Wars to Killfiles

Flame, Blather and Spew, and the First Amendment

Something about online communications seems to make some people particularly irritable. Perhaps it's the immediacy and semi-anonymity of it all. Whatever it is, there are whole classes of people you will soon think seem to exist to make you miserable.

Rather than pausing and reflecting on a message as one might do with a letter received on paper, it's just so easy to hit your R key and tell somebody you don't really know what you really think of them. Even otherwise calm people sometimes find themselves turning into raving madmen. When this happens, flames erupt.

A flame is a particularly nasty, personal attack on somebody for something he or she has written.

Periodically, an exchange of flames erupts into a flame war that begin to take up all the space in a given newsgroup (and sometimes several; flamers like cross-posting to let the world know how they feel). These can go on for weeks (sometimes they go on for years, in which case they become "holy wars," usually on such topics as the relative merits of Macintoshes and IBMs). Often, just when they're dying down, somebody new to the flame war reads all the messages, gets upset and issues an urgent plea that the flame war be taken to e-mail so everybody else can get back to whatever the newsgroup's business is.

All this usually does, though, is start a brand new flame war, in which this poor person comes under attack for daring to question the First Amendment, prompting others to jump on the attackers for impugning this poor soul... You get the idea.

Every so often, a discussion gets so out of hand that somebody predicts that either the government will catch on and shut the whole thing down or somebody will sue to close down the network, or maybe even the wrath of God will smote everybody involved. This brings what has become an inevitable rejoinder from others who realize that the network is, in fact, a resilient creature that will not die easily: "Imminent death of Usenet predicted. Film at 11."

Flame wars can be tremendously fun to watch at first. They quickly grow boring, though. And wait until the first time you're attacked!

Flamers are not the only Net.characters to watch out for.

Spewers assume that whatever they are particularly concerned about either really is of universal interest or should be rammed down the throats of people who don't seem to care -- as frequently as possible.

You can usually tell a spewer's work by the number of articles he posts in a day on the same subject and the number of newsgroups to which he then sends these articles -- both can reach well into double digits. Often, these messages relate to various ethnic conflicts around the world. Frequently, there is no conceivable connection between the issue at hand and most of the newsgroups to which he posts. No matter. If you try to point this out in a response to one of these messages, you will be inundated with angry messages that either accuse you of being an insensitive racist/American/whatever or ignore your point entirely to bring up several hundred more lines of commentary on the perfidy of whoever it is the spewer thinks is out to destroy his people.

Closely related to these folks are the Holocaust revisionists, who periodically inundate certain groups (such as soc.history) with long rants about how the Holocaust never really happened. Some people attempt to refute these people with facts, but others realize this only encourages them.

Blatherers tend to be more benign. Their problem is that they just can't get to the point -- they can wring three or four screenfuls out of a thought that others might sum up in a sentence or two. A related condition is excessive quoting. People afflicted with this will include an entire message in their reply rather than excising the portions not relevant to whatever point they're trying to make. The worst quote a long message and then add a single line:

"I agree!" or some such, often followed by a monster .signature.

There are a number of other Usenet denizens you'll soon come to recognize. Among them:

Net.weenies
These are the kind of people who enjoy Insulting others, the kind of people who post nasty messages in a sewing newsgroup just for the hell of it.

Net.geeks
People to whom the Net is Life, who worry about what happens when they graduate and they lose their free, 24-hour access.

Net.gods
The old-timers; the true titans of the Net and the keepers of its collective history. They were around when the Net consisted of a couple of computers tied together with baling wire.

Lurkers
Actually, you can't tell these people are there, but they are. They're the folks who read a newsgroup but never post or respond.

Wizards
People who know a particular Net-related topic inside and out. Unix wizards can perform amazing tricks with that operating system, for example.

Net.saints
Always willing to help a newcomer, eager to share their knowledge with those not born with an innate ability to navigate the Net, they are not as rare as you might think. Post a question about something and you'll often be surprised how many responses you get.

The last group brings us back to the Net's oral tradition. With few written guides, people have traditionally learned their way around the Net by asking somebody, whether at the terminal next to them or on the Net itself. That tradition continues: if you have a question, ask.

Today, one of the places you can look for help is in the news.newusers.questions newsgroup, which, as its name suggests, is a place to learn more about Usenet. But be careful what you post. Some of the Usenet wizards there get cranky sometimes when they have to answer the same question over and over again. Oh, they'll eventually answer your question, but not before they tell you should have asked your host system administrator first or looked at the postings in news.announce.newusers.

The First Amendment as Local Ordinance

Usenet's international reach raises interesting legal questions that have yet to be fully resolved. Can a discussion or posting that is legal in one country be transmitted to a country where it is against the law? Does the posting even become illegal when it reaches the border? And what if that country is the only path to a third country where the message is legal as well? Several foreign colleges and other institutions have cut off feeds of certain newsgroups where Americans post what is, in the U.S., perfectly legal discussions of drugs or alternative sexual practices. Even in the U.S., some universities have discontinued certain newsgroups their administrators find offensive, again, usually in the alt.* hierarchy.

rn Commands

Different commands are available to you in rn depending on whether you are already in a newsgroup or reading a specific article. At any point, typing a lower-case `h' will bring up a list of available commands and some terse instructions for using them. Here are some of them:

After you've just called up rn, or within a newsgroup:

c
Marks every article in a newsgroup as read (or "caught up") so that you don't have to see them again. The system will ask you if you are sure. Can be done either when asked if you want to read a particular newsgroup or once in the newsgroup.

g
Goes to a newsgroup, in this form:

g news.group

Use this both for going to groups to which you're already subscribed and subscribing to new groups.

h
Provides a list of available commands with terse instructions.

l
Gives a list of all available newsgroups.

p
Goes to the first previous subscribed newsgroup with un-read articles.

q
Quits, or exits, rn if you have not yet gone into a newsgroup. If you are in a newsgroup, it quits that one and brings you to the next subscribed newsgroup.

Only within a newsgroup:

=
Gives a list of all available articles in the newsgroup.

m
Marks a specific article or series of articles as "un-read" again so that you can come back to them later. Typing `1700m' and hitting enter would mark just that article as un-read. Typing `1700-1800m' and hitting enter would mark all of those articles as un-read.

s file
Copies the current article to a file in your News directory, where "file" is the name of the file you want to save it to. You'll be asked if you want to use "mailbox" format when saving. If you answer by hitting your `N' key, most of the header will not be saved.

space
Brings up the next page of article listings. If already on the last page, displays the first article in the newsgroup.

u
Un-subscribe from the newsgroup.

/text/
Searches through the newsgroup for articles with a specific word or phrase in the "subject:" line, from the current article to the end of the newsgroup. For example,

/EFF/
would bring you to the first article with "EFF" in the "subject:" line.

?text?
The same as above except it searches in reverse order from the current article.

Only within a specific article:

C
If you post an article and then decide it was a mistake, call it up on your host system and hit this. The message will soon begin disappearing on systems around the world.

F
Post a public response in the newsgroup to the current article. Includes a copy of her posting, which you can then edit down using your host system's text editor.

f
The same as above except it does not include a copy of the original message in yours.

m
Marks the current article as "un-read" so that you can come back to it later. You do not have to type the article number.

Control-N
Brings up the first response to the article. If there is no follow-up article, this returns you to the first unread article in the newsgroup).

Control-P
Goes to the message to which the current article is a reply.

n
Goes to the next unread article in the newsgroup.

N
Takes you to the next article in the newsgroup even if you've already read it.

q
Quits, or exits, the current article. Leaves you in the current newsgroup.

R
Reply, via e-mail only, to the author of the current article. Includes a copy of his message in yours.

r
The same as above, except it does not include a copy of his article.

s |mail
user Mails a copy of the article to somebody. For "user" substitute her e-mail address. Does not let you add comments to the message first, however.

space
Hitting the space bar shows the next page of the article, or, if at the end, goes to the next un-read article.

nn Commands

To mark a specific article for reading, type the letter next to it (in lower case). To mark a specific article and all of its responses, type the letter and an asterisk, for example:

a*

To un-select an article, type the letter next to it (again, in lower case).

C
Cancels an article (around the world) that you wrote. Every article posted on Usenet has a unique ID number. Hitting a capital `C' sends out a new message that tells host systems that receive it to find earlier message and delete it.

F
To post a public response, or follow-up. If selected while still on a newsgroup "page", asks you which article to follow up. If selected while in a specific article, will follow up that article. In either case, you'll be asked if you want to include the original article in yours. Caution: puts you in whatever text editor is your default.

N
Goes to the next subscribed newsgroup with unread articles.

P
Goes to the previous subscribed newsgroup with unread articles.

G news.group
Goes to a specific newsgroup. Can be used to subscribe to new newsgroups. Hitting `G' brings up a sub-menu:

u
Goes to the group and shows only un-read articles.

a
Goes to the group and shows all articles, even ones you've already read.

s
Will show you only articles with a specific subject.

n
Will show you only articles from a specific person.

  • M Mails a copy of the current article to somebody. You'll be asked for the recipient's e-mail address and whether you want to add any comments to the article before sending it off. As with `F', puts you in the default editor.

  • :post Post an article. You'll be asked for the name of the group.

  • Q Quit, or exit, nn.

  • U Un-subscribe from the current newsgroup.

  • R Responds to an article via e-mail.

  • space Hitting the space bar brings up the next page of articles.

  • X If you have selected articles, this will show them to you and then take you to the next subscribed newsgroup with unread articles. If you don't have any selected articles, it marks all articles as read and takes you to the next unread subscribed newsgroup.

  • =word Finds and marks all articles in the newsgroup with a specific word in the "subject:" line, for example: `=modem'

  • Z Shows you selected articles immediately and then returns you to the current newsgroup.

  • ? Brings up a help screen.

  • < Goes to the previous page in the newsgroup.

  • > Goes to the next page in the newsgroup.

  • $ Goes to the last page in an article.

  • ^ Goes to the first page in an article.
  • Some Usenet hints

    Case counts in Unix -- most of the time. Many Unix commands, including many of those used for reading Usenet articles, are case sensitive. Hit a `d' when you meant a `D' and either nothing will happen, or something completely different from what you expected will happen. So watch that case!

    In nn, you can get help most of the time by typing a question mark (the exception is when you are writing your own message, because then you are inside the text-processing program). In rn, type a lower-case `h' at any prompt to get some online help.

    When you're searching for a particular newsgroup, whether through the l command in rn or with nngrep for nn, you sometimes may have to try several keywords. For example, there is a newsgroup dedicated to the Grateful Dead, but you'd never find it if you tried, say, `l grateful dead', because the name is rec.music.gdead. In general, try the smallest possible part of the word or discussion you're looking for, for example, use "trek" to find newsgroups about "Star Trek." If one word doesn't produce anything, try another.

    Cross-posting

    Sometimes, you'll have an issue you think should be discussed in more than one newsgroup. Rather than posting individual messages in each group, you can post the same message in several groups at once, through a process known as cross-posting.

    Say you want to start a discussion about the political ramifications of importing rare tropical fish from Brazil. People who read rec.aquaria might have something to say. So might people who read alt.politics.animals and talk.politics.misc.

    Cross-posting is easy. When you get ready to post a message (whether through Pnews for rn or the `:post' command in nn), you'll be asked in which newsgroups. Type the names of the various groups, separated by a comma, but no space, for example:

    rec.aquaria,alt.politics.animals,talk.politics.misc
    

    and hit enter. After answering the other questions (geographic distribution, etc.), the message will be posted in the various groups (unless one of the groups is moderated, in which case the message goes to the moderator, who decides whether to make it public).

    It's considered bad form to post to an excessive number of newsgroups, or inappropriate newsgroups. Chances are, you don't really have to post something in 20 different places. And while you may think your particular political issue is vitally important to the fate of the world, chances are the readers of rec.arts.comics will not, or at least not important enough to impose on them. You'll get a lot of nasty e-mail messages demanding you restrict your messages to the "appropriate" newsgroups.

    The Brain-tumor Boy and the Modem Tax

    Net users sometimes like to think they are smarter or somehow better than everybody else. They're not. If they were, nobody on the Net would ever have heard of Craig Shergold, the Brain-Tumor Boy, or the evil FCC's plan to tax your modem. Alas, both of these online urban legends are here to stay. Just when they seem to have died off, somebody posts a message about one or the other, starting a whole new round of flame wars on the subject.

    For the record, here are the stories on both of them:

    Craig Shergold

    There once was a seven-year-old boy in England named Craig Shergold who was diagnosed with a seemingly incurable brain tumor. As he lay dying, he wished only to have friends send him postcards. The local newspapers got a hold of the tear-jerking story. Soon, the boy's wish had changed: he now wanted to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest postcard collection. Word spread around the world. People by the millions sent him postcards.

    Miraculously, the boy lived. An American billionaire even flew him to the U.S. for surgery to remove what remained of the tumor. And his wish succeeded beyond his wildest dreams -- he made the Guinness Book of World Records.

    But with Craig now well into his teens, his dream has turned into a nightmare for the post office in the small town outside London where he lives. Like Craig himself, his request for cards just refuses to die, inundating the post office with millions of cards every year. Just when it seems like the flow is slowing, along comes somebody else who starts up a whole new slew of requests for people to send Craig post cards (or greeting cards or business cards -- Craig letters have truly taken on a life of their own and begun to mutate). Even Dear Abby has asked people to stop!

    What does any of this have to do with the Net? The Craig letter seems to pop up on Usenet as often as it does on cork boards at major pcorporations. No matter how many times somebody like Gene Spafford posts periodic messages to ignore them or spend your money on something more sensible (a donation to the local Red Cross, say), somebody manages to post a letter asking readers to send cards to poor little Craig.

    The Modem Tax

    In 1987, the Federal Communications Commission considered removing a tax break it had granted CompuServe and other large commercial computer networks for use of the national phone system. The FCC quickly reconsidered after alarmed users of bulletin-board systems bombarded it with complaints about this "modem tax."

    Now, every couple of months, somebody posts an "urgent" message warning Net users that the FCC is about to impose a modem tax. This is NOT true. The way you can tell if you're dealing with the hoax story is simple: it ALWAYS mentions an incident in which a talk-show host on KGO radio in San Francisco becomes outraged on the air when he reads a story about the tax in the New York Times.

    Another way to tell it's not true is that it never mentions a specific FCC docket number or closing date for comments. Save that letter to your congressman for something else.

    Big Sig

    There are .sigs and there are .sigs. Many people put only bare-bones information in their .sig files -- their names and e-mail addresses, perhaps their phone numbers. Others add a quotation they think is funny or profound and a disclaimer that their views are not those of their employer. Still others add some ASCII-art graphics. And then there are those who go totally berserk, posting huge creations with multiple quotes, hideous ASCII "barfics" and more e-mail addresses than anybody could humanly need. College freshmen unleashed on the Net seem to excel at these. You can see the best of the worst in the alt.fan.warlord newsgroup, which exists solely to critique .sigs that go too far, such as:

    ___________________________________________________________________________
    |#########################################################################|
    |#|                                                                     |#|
    |#|   *****  *    *  *****    *   *  *****  *****  *****                |#|
    |#|     *    *    *  *        ** **  *      *      *   *                |#|
    |#|     *    ******  ***      * * *  ***    *  **  *****   *****        |#|
    |#|     *    *    *  *        *   *  *      *   *  *   *                |#|
    |#|     *    *    *  *****    *   *  *****  *****  *   *                |#|
    |#|                                                                     |#|
    |#|   ****   *****  *****         *****  *****  *****    *****  *****   |#|
    |#|   *  **    *    *             *        *    *        *      *   *   |#|
    |#|   ****     *    *  **         *****    *    *  **    *      *   *   |#|
    |#|   *  **    *    *   *     **      *    *    *   *    *      *   *   |#|
    |#|   ****   *****  *****     **  *****  *****  *****    *****  *****   |#|
    |#|                                                                     |#|
    |#|            T-H-E  M-E-G-A  B-I-G  .S-I-G  C-O-M-P-A-N-Y             |#|
    |#|                  ~-----------------------------~                    |#|
    |#|  "Annoying people with huge net.signatures for over 20 years..."    |#|
    |#|                                                                     |#|
    |#|---------------------------------------------------------------------|#|
    |#| "The difference between a net.idiot and a bucket of shit is that at |#|
    |#|  least a bucket can be emptied.  Let me further illustrate my point |#|
    |#|  by comparing these charts here. (pulls out charts)  Here we have a |#|
    |#|  user who not only flames people who don't agree with his narrow-   |#|
    |#|  minded drivel, but he has this huge signature that takes up many   |#|
    |#|  pages with useless quotes.  This also makes reading his frequented |#|
    |#|  newsgroups a torture akin to having at 300 baud modem on a VAX. I  |#|
    |#|  might also add that his contribution to society rivals only toxic  |#|
    |#|  dump sites."                                                       |#|
    |#|                     -- Robert A. Dumpstik, Jr                       |#|
    |#|                        President of The Mega Big Sig Company        |#|
    |#|                        September 13th, 1990 at 4:15pm               |#|
    |#|                        During his speech at the "Net.abusers        |#|
    |#|                        Society Luncheon" during the                 |#|
    |#|                        "1990 Net.idiots Annual Convention"          |#|
    |#|_____________________________________________________________________|#|
    |#|                                                                     |#|
    |#| Thomas Babbit, III: 5th Assistant to the Vice President of Sales    |#|
    |#|      __                                                             |#|
    |#|  ==========    ______             Digital Widget Manufacturing Co.  |#|
    |#|         \\     /                  1147 Complex Incorporated Drive   |#|
    |#|        )-=======                  Suite 215                         |#|
    |#|                                   Nostromo, VA 22550-1147           |#|
    |#| #NC-17 Enterpoop Ship :)          Phone # 804-844-2525              |#|
    |#|    ----------------               Fax # 804-411-1115                |#|
    |#| "Shut up, Wesley!"                Online Service # 804-411-1100     |#|
    |#|                  -- Me            at 300-2400, and now 9600 baud!   |#|
    |#|                                   PUNet: tbabb!digwig!nostromo      |#|
    |#| Home address:                     InterNet: dvader@imperial.emp.com |#|
    |#| Thomas Babbit, III                Prodigy: Still awaiting author-   |#|
    |#| 104 Luzyer Way                             ization                  |#|
    |#| Sulaco, VA 22545                  "Manufacturing educational widget |#|
    |#| Phone # 804-555-1524               design for over 3 years..."      |#|
    |#|=====================================================================|#|
    |#|                                                                     |#|
    |#|  Introducing:                                                       |#|
    |#|                                 ______                              |#|
    |#|  The  |\  /|                         /                              |#|
    |#|       | \/ |                        /                               |#|
    |#|       |    |                       /                                |#|
    |#|       |    |                      /                                 |#|
    |#|       |    | ETELHED             /_____ ONE                         |#|
    |#|'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'|#|
    |#| 50Megs Online!  The k00l BBS for rad teens!  Lots of games and many |#|
    |#| bases for kul topix!  Call now and be validated to the Metelhed Zone|#|
    |#|                      -- 804-555-8500 --                             |#|
    |#|\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\V/////////////////////////////////////|#|
    |#| "This is the end, my friend..."      -- The Doors                   |#|
    |#########################################################################|
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hit "b" to continue
    
    Hahahha... fooled u!
    

    Killfiles

    As you keep reading Usenet, you are going to run across things or people that really drive you nuts -- or that you just get tired of seeing.

    Killfiles are just the thing for you. When you start your newsreader, it checks to see if you have any lists of words, phrases or names you don't want to see. If you do, then it blanks out any messages containing those words.

    Such as cascades.

    As you saw earlier, when you post a reply to a message and include parts of that message, the original lines show up with a > in front of them. Well, what if you reply to a reply? Then you get a >> in front of the line. And if you reply to that reply? You get >>>. Keep this up, and soon you get a triangle of >'s building up in your message.

    There are people who like building up these triangles, or cascades. They'll "respond" to your message by deleting everything you've said, leaving only the "In message 123435, you said:" part and the last line of your message, to which they add a nonsensical retort. On and on they go until the triangle has reached the right end of the page. Then they try to expand the triangle by deleting one with each new line. Whoever gets to finish this mega-triangle wins.

    There is even a newsgroup just for such folks: alt.cascade. Unfortunately, cascaders would generally rather cascade in other newsgroups. Because it takes a lot of messages to build up a completed cascade, the targeted newsgroup soon fills up with these messages. Of course, if you complain, you'll be bombarded with messages about the First Amendment and artistic expression -- or worse, with another cascade. The only thing you can do is ignore them, by setting up a killfile.

    There are also certain newsgroups where killfiles will come in handy because of the way they are organized. For example, readers of rec.arts.tv.soaps always use an acronym in their subject: line for the show they're writing about (AMC, for example, for "All My Children"). This way, people who only want to read about "One Life to Live" can blank out all the messages about "The Young and the Restless" and all the others (to keep people from accidentally screening out messages that might contain the letters "gh" in them, "General Hospital" viewers always use "gh:" in their subject lines).

    Both nn and rn let you create killfiles, but in different ways.

    To create a killfile in nn, go into the newsgroup with the offending messages and type a capital `K'. You'll see this at the bottom of your screen:

    AUTO (k)ill or (s)elect (CR => Kill subject 30 days)
    

    If you hit return, nn will ask you which article's subject you're tired of. Chose one and the article and any follow-ups will disappear, and you won't see them again for 30 days. If you type a lower-case `k' instead, you'll get this:

    AUTO KILL on (s)ubject or (n)ame  (s)
    

    If you hit your `S' key or just enter, you'll see this:

    KILL Subject: (=/)
    

    Type in the name of the offending word or phrase and hit enter. You'll then be prompted:

    KILL in (g)roup 'eff.test' or in (a)ll groups  (g)
    

    except that the name of the group you see will be the one you're actually in at the moment. Because cascaders and other annoying people often cross-post their messages to a wide range of newsgroups, you might consider hitting `a' instead of `g'. Next comes:

    Lifetime of entry in days (p)ermanent  (30)
    

    The P key will screen out the offending articles forever, while hitting enter will do it for 30 days. You can also type in a number of days for the blocking.

    Creating killfiles in rn works differently -- its default killfile generator only works for messages in specific groups, rather than globally for your entire newsgroup list. To create a global killfile, you'll have to write one yourself.

    To create a killfile in rn, go into the newsgroup where the offending messages are and type in its number so you get it on your screen. Type a capital `K'. From now on, any message with that subject line will disappear before you read the group. You should probably choose a reply, rather than the original message, so that you will get all of the followups (the original message won't have a "Re: " in its subject line). The next time you call up that newsgroup, rn will tell you it's killing messages. When it's done, hit the space bar to go back into reading mode.

    To create a "global" kill file that will automatically wipe out articles in all groups you read, start rn and type control-K. This will start your whatever text editor you have as your default on your host system and create a file (called `KILL', in your `News' subdirectory).

    On the first line, you'll type in the word, phrase or name you don't want to see, followed by commands that tell rn whether to search an entire message for the word or name and then what to do when it finds it.

    Each line must be in this form

    /pattern/modifier:j
    

    "Pattern" is the word or phrase you want rn to look for. It's case-insensitive: both "test" and "Test" will be knocked out. The modifier tells rn whether to limit its search to message headers (which can be useful when the object is to never see messages from a particular person):

    a:
    Looks through an entire message

    h:
    Looks just at the header

    You can leave out the modifier command, in which case rn will only look at the subject line of messages. The `j' at the end tells rn to screen out all articles with the offending word.

    So if you never want to see the word "foo" in any header, ever again, type this:

    /foo/h:j
    

    This is particularly useful for getting rid of articles from people who post in more than one newsgroup, such as cascaders, since an article's newsgroup name is always in the header.

    If you just want to block messages with a subject line about cascades, you could try:

    /foo/:j
    

    To kill anything that is a followup to any article, use this pattern:

    /Subject: *Re:/:j
    

    When done writing lines for each phrase to screen, exit the text editor as you normally would, and you'll be put back in rn.

    One word of caution: go easy on the global killfile. An extensive global killfile, or one that makes frequent use of the `a:' modifier can dramatically slow down rn, since the system will now have to look at every single word in every single message in all the newsgroups you want to read.

    If there's a particular person whose posts you never want to see again, first find his or address (which will be in the "from:" line of his postings) and then write a line in your killfile like this:

    /From: *name@address\.all/h:j
    

    Usenet History

    In the late 1970s, Unix developers came up with a new feature: a system to allow Unix computers to exchange data over phone lines.

    In 1979, two graduate students at Duke University in North Carolina, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, came up with the idea of using this system, known as UUCP (for Unix-to-Unix CoPy), to distribute information of interest to people in the Unix community. Along with Steve Bellovin, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina and Steve Daniel, they wrote conferencing software and linked together computers at Duke and UNC.

    Word quickly spread and by 1981, a graduate student at Berkeley, Mark Horton and a nearby high school student, Matt Glickman, had released a new version that added more features and was able to handle larger volumes of postings -- the original North Carolina program was meant for only a few articles in a newsgroup each day.

    Today, Usenet connects tens of thousands of sites around the world, from mainframes to Amigas. With more than 3,000 newsgroups and untold thousands of readers, it is perhaps the world's largest computer network.

    When things go wrong:

    FYI:

    Leanne Phillips periodically posts a list of frequently asked questions (and answers) about use of the rn killfile function in the news.newusers.questions and news.answers newsgroups on Usenet. Bill Wohler posts a guide to using the nn newsreader in the news.answers and news.software newsgroups. Look in the news.announce.newusers and news.groups newsgroups on Usenet for A Guide to Social Newsgroups and Mailing Lists, which gives brief summaries of the various soc.* newsgroups.

    Managing UUCP and Usenet by Tim O'Reilly and Grace Todino (O'Reilly & Associates, 1992) is a good guide for setting up your own Usenet system.

    "Welcome, to the watering hole, to the death of objectivity, and the killing fields of the wide boys, where are we now..." --- Marillion, The Thieving Magpie (La Gazza Ladra) Used in concerts as spoken intro by Fish to the 2nd part of Misplaced Childhood

    Mailing Lists and Bitnet

    Usenet is not the only forum on the Net. Scores of "mailing lists" represent another way to interact with other Net users. Unlike Usenet messages, which are stored in one central location on your host system's computer, mailing-list messages are delivered right to your e-mail box, unlike Usenet messages.

    You have to ask for permission to join a mailing list. Unlike Usenet, where your message is distributed to the world, on a mailing list, you send your messages to a central moderator, who either re-mails it to the other people on the list or uses it to compile a periodic "digest" mailed to subscribers.

    Given the number of newsgroups, why would anybody bother with a mailing list?

    Even on Usenet, there are some topics that just might not generate enough interest for a newsgroup; for example, the Queen list, which is all about the late Freddie Mercury's band; or the Marillion & Fish list called "Freaks."

    And because a moderator decides who can participate, a mailing list can offer a degree of freedom to speak one's mind (or not worry about net.weenies) that is not necessarily possible on Usenet. Several groups offer anonymous postings -- only the moderator knows the real names of people who contribute. Examples include 12Step, where people enrolled in such programs as Alcoholics Anonymous can discuss their experiences, and sappho, a list limited to gay and bisexual women.

    You can find mailing addresses and descriptions of these lists in the news.announce.newusers newsgroup with the subject of "Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists." Mailing lists now number in the hundreds, so this posting is divided into three parts.

    If you find a list to which you want to subscribe, send an e-mail message to

    list-request@address
    

    where "list" is the name of the mailing list and "address" is the moderator's e-mail address, asking to be added to the list. Include your full e-mail address just in case something happens to your message's header along the way, and ask, if you're accepted, for the address to mail messages to the list.

    Bitnet

    As if Usenet and mailing lists were not enough, there are Bitnet "discussion groups" or "lists."

    Bitnet is an international network linking colleges and universities, but it uses a different set of technical protocols for distributing information than the Internet or Usenet.

    It offers hundreds of discussion groups, comparable in scope to Usenet newsgroups.

    One of the major differences is the way messages are distributed. Bitnet messages are sent to your mailbox, just as with a mailing list. However, where mailing lists are often maintained by a person, all Bitnet discussion groups are automated -- you subscribe to them through messages to a "listserver" computer. This is a kind of robot moderator that controls distribution of messages on the list. In many cases, it also maintains indexes and archives of past postings in a given discussion group, which can be handy if you want to get up to speed with a discussion or just search for some information related to it.

    Many Bitnet discussion groups are now "translated" into Usenet form and carried through Usenet in the bit.listserv.* hierarchy. In general, it's probably better to read messages through Usenet if you can. It saves some storage space on your host system's hard drives.

    If 50 people subscribe to the same Bitnet list, that means 50 copies of each message get stored on the system; whereas if 50 people read a Usenet message, that's still only one message that needs storage on the system. It can also save your sanity if the discussion group generates large numbers of messages. Think of opening your e-mailbox one day to find 200 messages in it -- 199 of them from a discussion group and one of them a "real" e-mail message that's important to you.

    Subscribing and canceling subscriptions is done through an e-mail message to the listserver computer. For addressing, all listservers are known as "listserv" (yep) at some Bitnet address. This means you will have to add `.bitnet' to the end of the address, if it's in a form like this: `listserv@miamiu'. For example, if you have an interest in environmental issues, you might want to subscribe to the Econet discussion group. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to

    listserv@miamiu.bitnet
    

    Some Bitnet listservers are also connected to the Internet, so if you see a listserver address ending in `.edu', you can e-mail the listserver without adding `.bitnet' to the end.

    Always leave the "subject:" line blank in a message to a listserver. Inside the message, you tell the listserver what you want, with a series of simple commands:

    subscribe group Your Name
    To subscribe to a list, where group is the list name and Your Name is your full name, for example: `subscribe econet Henry Fielding'

    unsubscribe group Your Name
    To discontinue a group, for example: `unsubscribe econet Henry Fielding'

    list global
    This sends you a list of all available Bitnet discussion groups. But be careful -- the list is VERY long!

    get refcard
    Sends you a list of other commands you can use with a listserver, such as commands for retrieving past postings from a discussion group.

    Each of these commands goes on a separate line in your message (and you can use one or all of them). If you want to get a list of all Bitnet discussion groups, send e-mail to

    listserv@bitnic.educom.edu
    

    Leave the "subject:" line blank and use the list global command.

    When you subscribe to a Bitnet group, there are two important differences from Usenet.

    First, when you want to post a message for others to read in the discussion group, you send a message to the group name at its Bitnet address. Using Econet as an example, you would mail the message to:

    econet@miamiu.bitnet
    

    Note that this is different from the listserv address you used to subscribe to the group to begin with. Use the listserv address ONLY to subscribe to or unsubscribe from a discussion group. If you use the discussion-group address, your message will go out to every other subscriber, many of whom will think unkind thoughts, which they may share with you in an e-mail message).

    The second difference relates to sending an e-mail message to the author of a particular posting. Usenet newsreaders such as rn and nn let you do this with one key. But if you hit your `R' key to respond to a discussion-group message, your message will go to the listserver, and from there to everybody else on the list! This can prove embarrassing to you and annoying to others. To make sure your message goes just to the person who wrote the posting, take down his e-mail address from the posting and then compose a brand-new message to him. Remember, also, that if you see an e-mail address like (IZZY@INDYVMS), it's a Bitnet address.

    Two Bitnet lists will prove helpful for delving further into the network. NEW-LIST tells you the names of new discussion groups. To subscribe, send a message to (listserv@ndsuvm1.bitnet):

    sub NEW-LIST Your Name
    

    INFONETS is the place to go when you have questions about Bitnet. It is also first rate for help on questions about all major computer networks and how to reach them. To subscribe, send e-mail to (info-nets-request@think.com):

    sub INFONETS Your Name
    

    Both of these lists are also available on Usenet, the former as bit.listserv.new-list; the latter as bit.listserv.infonets (sometimes bit.listserv.info-nets).

    "It wasn't long before the invention of the mailing-list, an ARPANET broadcasting technique in which an identical message could be sent automatically to large number of network subscribers. Interestingly, one of the first really big mailing-list was "SF-LOVERS", for Science Fiction fans. Disscussing science fiction on the network was not work-related and was frowned upon by many ARPANET computer administrators, but this didn't stop it from happening." --- Bruce Sterling, F&SF Science Column #5 Internet

    Telnet (Mining the Net, part I)

    Like any large community, cyberspace has its libraries, places you can go to look up information or take out a good book. Telnet is one of your keys to these libraries.

    Telnet is a program that lets you use the power of the Internet to connect you to databases, library catalogs, and other information resources around the world. Want to see what the weather's like in Vermont? Check on crop conditions in Azerbaijan? Get more information about somebody whose name you've seen online? Telnet lets you do this, and more.

    Alas, there's a big "but!" Unlike the phone system, Internet is not yet universal; not everybody can use all of its services. Almost all colleges and universities on the Internet provide telnet access. So do the WELL, Netcom and the World. But the Free-Net systems do not give you access to every telnet system. And if you are using a public-access UUCP or Usenet site, you will not have access to telnet.

    The main reason for this is cost. Connecting to the Internet can easily cost $1,000 or more for a leased, high-speed phone line.

    Some databases and file libraries can be queried by e-mail, however; we'll show you how to do that later on. In the meantime, the rest of this chapter assumes you are connected to a site with at least partial Internet access.

    Most telnet sites are fairly easy to use and have online help systems. Most also work best (and in some cases, only) with VT100 emulation. Let's dive right in and try one.

    At your host system's command line, type

    telnet access.usask.ca
    

    and hit enter. That's all you have to do to connect to a telnet site! In this case, you'll be connecting to a service known as Hytelnet, which is a database of computerized library catalogs and other databases available through telnet. You should see something like this:

    Trying 128.233.3.1 ...
    Connected to access.usask.ca.
    Escape character is '^]'.
    
    
    Ultrix UNIX (access.usask.ca)
    
    login:
    

    Every telnet site has two addresses -- one composed of words that are easier for people to remember; the other a numerical address better suited for computers. The "escape character" is good to remember. When all else fails, hitting your control key and the `]' key at the same time will disconnect you and return you to your host system. At the login prompt, type

    hytelnet
    

    and hit enter. You'll see something like this:

    Welcome to HYTELNET
    version 6.2
    ...................
    
    What is HYTELNET?         <WHATIS>     .     Up/Down arrows MOVE
    Library catalogs          <SITES1>     .     Left/Right arrows SELECT
    Other resources           <SITES2>     .     ? for HELP anytime
    Help files for catalogs   <OP000>      .
    Catalog interfaces        <SYS000>     .     m returns here
    Internet Glossary         <GLOSSARY>   .     q quits
    Telnet tips               <TELNET>     .
    Telnet/TN3270 escape keys <ESCAPE.KEY> .
    Key-stroke commands       <HELP.TXT>   .
    
    
    ........................
    HYTELNET 6.2 was written by Peter Scott,
    U of Saskatchewan Libraries, Saskatoon, Sask, Canada.  1992
    Unix and VMS software by Earl Fogel, Computing Services, U of S 1992
    

    The first choice, "<WHATIS>" will be highlighted. Use your down and up arrows to move the cursor among the choices. Hit enter when you decide on one. You'll get another menu, which in turn will bring up text files telling you how to connect to sites and giving any special commands or instructions you might need. Hytelnet does have one quirk. To move back to where you started (for example, from a sub-menu to a main menu), hit the left-arrow key on your computer.

    Play with the system. You might want to turn on your computer's screen-capture, or at the very least, get out a pen and paper. You're bound to run across some interesting telnet services that you'll want to try -- and you'll need their telnet "addresses."

    As you move around Hytelnet, it may seem as if you haven't left your host system -- telnet can work that quickly. Occasionally, when network loads are heavy, however, you will notice a delay between the time you type a command or enter a request and the time the remote service responds.

    To disconnect from Hytelnet and return to your system, hit your q key and enter.

    Some telnet computers are set up so that you can only access them through a specific "port." In those cases, you'll always see a number after their name, for example: india.colorado.edu 13. It's important to include that number, because otherwise, you may not get in.

    In fact, try the above address. Type

    telnet india.colorado.edu 13
    

    and hit enter. You should see something like this:

    Trying 128.138.140.44 ...
    

    Followed very quickly by this:

    telnet india.colorado.edu 13
    
    Escape character is '^]'.
    Sun Apr  5 14:11:41 1992
    Connection closed by foreign host.
    

    What we want is the middle line, which tells you the exact Mountain Standard Time, as determined by a government-run atomic clock in Boulder, Colo.

    Library Catalogs

    More than 200 libraries, from the Snohomish Public Library in Washington State to the Library of Congress and the libraries of Harvard University, are now available to you through telnet. You can use Hytelnet to find their names, telnet addresses and use instructions.

    Why would you want to browse a library you can't physically get to? Many libraries share books, so if yours doesn't have what you're looking for, you can tell the librarian where he or she can get it. Or if you live in an area where the libraries are not yet online, you can use telnet to do some basic bibliographic research before you head down to the local branch.

    There are several different database programs in use by online libraries. Harvard's is one of the easier ones to use, so let's try it.

    Telnet to hollis.harvard.edu. When you connect, you'll see:

    *****************        H A R V A R D   U N I V E R S I T Y
    *****************         OFFICE FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
    ***    ***    ***
    *** VE *** RI ***
    ***    ***    ***         HOLLIS    (Harvard OnLine LIbrary System)
     *****     *****
      **** TAS ****           HUBS      (Harvard University Basic Services)
        ***   ***
          *****               IU        (Information Utility)
           ***
                              CMS       (VM/CMS Timesharing Service)
    
    
    ** HOLLIS IS AVAILABLE WITHOUT ACCESS RESTRICTIONS **
    Access to other applications is limited to individuals who have been
    granted specific permission by an authorized person.
    
    To select one of the applications above, type its name on the command
    line followed by your user ID, and press RETURN.
    ** HOLLIS DOES NOT REQUIRE A USERID **
    
    EXAMPLES:   HOLLIS (press RETURN)  or  HUBS userid (press RETURN)
    ===>
    

    Type

    hollis
    

    and hit enter. You'll see several screens flash by quickly until finally the system stops and you'll get this:

    WELCOME TO HOLLIS
    (Harvard OnLine Library Information System)
    
    To begin, type one of the 2-character database codes listed below:
    
    HU      Union Catalog of the Harvard libraries
    OW      Catalog of Older Widener materials
    LG      Guide to Harvard Libraries and Computing Resources
    
    AI      Expanded Academic Index (selective 1987-1988, full 1989-  )
    LR      Legal Resource Index (1980-  )
    PA      PAIS International (1985-  )
    
    To change databases from any place in HOLLIS, type CHOOSE followed by a
    2-character database code, as in:    CHOOSE HU
    
    For general help in using HOLLIS, type HELP.   For HOLLIS news, type
    HELP NEWS.   For HOLLIS hours of operation, type HELP HOURS.
    
    ALWAYS PRESS THE ENTER OR RETURN KEY AFTER TYPING YOUR COMMAND
    

    The first thing to notice is the name of the system: Hollis. Librarians around the world seem to be inordinately found of cutesy, anthropomorphized acronyms for their machines (not far from Harvard, the librarians at Brandeis University came up with Library On-Line User Information Service, or Louis; MIT has Barton).

    If you want to do some general browsing, probably the best bet on the Harvard system is to chose HU, which gets you access to their main holdings, including those of its medical libraries. Chose that, and you'll see this:

    THE HARVARD UNIVERSITY LIBRARY UNION CATALOG
    
    To begin a search, select a search option from the list below and type its
    code on the command line.  Use either upper or lower case.
    
    AU           Author search
    TI           Title search
    SU           Subject search
    ME           Medical subject search
    KEYWORD      Keyword search options
    CALL         Call number search options
    OTHER        Other search options
    
    For information on the contents of the Union Catalog, type HELP.
    To exit the Union Catalog, type QUIT.
    
    A search can be entered on the COMMAND line of any screen.
    
    ALWAYS PRESS THE ENTER OR RETURN KEY AFTER TYPING YOUR COMMAND.
    

    Say you want to see if Harvard has shed the starchy legacy of the Puritans, who founded the school. Why not see if they have "The Joy of Sex" somewhere in their stacks? Type

    TI Joy of Sex
    

    and hit enter. This comes up:

    HU: YOUR SEARCH RETRIEVED NO ITEMS.  Enter new command or HELP.  You typed:
    TI JOY OF SEX
    ***************************************************************************
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    ALWAYS PRESS THE ENTER OR RETURN KEY AFTER TYPING YOUR COMMAND.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    OPTIONS: FIND                          START - search options          HELP
    QUIT - exit database
    COMMAND?
    

    Oh, well! Do they have anything that mentions "sex" in the title? Try another TI search, but this time just: `TI sex'. You get:

    HU GUIDE: SUMMARY OF SEARCH RESULTS    2086 items retrieved by your search:
    FIND TI SEX
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
       1    SEX
       2    SEX A
     823    SEXA
     827    SEXBO
     831    SEXCE
     833    SEXDR
     834    SEXE
     879    SEXIE
     928    SEXJA
     929    SEXLE
     930    SEXO
     965    SEXPI
     968    SEXT
    1280    SEXUA
    2084    SEXWA
    2085    SEXY
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    OPTIONS: INDEX (or I 5 etc) to see list of items         HELP
    START - search options
    REDO - edit search                              QUIT - exit database
    COMMAND?
    

    If you want to get more information on the first line, type 1 and hit enter:

    HU INDEX: LIST OF ITEMS RETRIEVED      2086 items retrieved by your search:
    FIND TI SEX
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SEX
    1 geddes patrick sir 1854 1932/ 1914  bks
    
    SEX A Z
    2 goldenson robert m/ 1987  bks
    
    SEX ABUSE HYSTERIA SALEM WITCH TRIALS REVISITED
    3 gardner richard a/ 1991  bks
    
    SEX AETATES MUNDI ENGLISH AND IRISH
    4 irish sex aetates mundi/ 1983  bks
    
    SEX AFTER SIXTY A GUIDE FOR MEN AND WOMEN FOR THEIR LATER YEARS
    5 butler robert n 1927/ 1976  bks
    
    
    ------------------------------------------------------ (CONTINUES) --------
    OPTIONS: DISPLAY 1 (or D 5 etc) to see a record          HELP
    GUIDE                   MORE - next page        START - search options
    REDO - edit search                              QUIT - exit database
    COMMAND?
    

    Most library systems give you a way to log off and return to your host system. On Hollis, hit escape followed by

    xx
    

    One particularly interesting system is the one run by the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, which maintains databases for libraries throughout Colorado, the West and even in Boston.

    Telnet pac.carl.org
    

    Follow the simple log-in instructions. When you get a menu, type `72' (even though that is not listed), which takes you to the Pikes Peak Library District, which serves the city of Colorado Springs.

    Several years ago, its librarians realized they could use their database program not just for books but for cataloging city records and community information, as well. Today, if you want to look up municipal ordinances or city records, you only have to type in the word you're looking for and you'll get back cites of the relevant laws or decisions.

    Carl will also connect you to the University of Hawaii library, which, like the one in Colorado Springs, has more than just bibliographic material online. One of its features is an online Hawaiian almanac that can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Hawaiians, including the number injured in boogie-board accidents each year (seven).

    Telnet Sites

    Agriculture

    PENPages, run by Pennsylvania State University's College of Agricultural Sciences, provides weekly world weather and crop reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These reports detail everything from the effect of the weather on palm trees in Malaysia to the state of the Ukrainian wheat crop. Reports from Pennsylvania country extension officers offer tips for improving farm life. One database lists Pennsylvania hay distributors by county -- and rates the quality of their hay!

    The service lets you search for information two different ways. A menu system gives you quick access to reports that change frequently, such as the weekly crop/weather reports. An index system lets you search through several thousand online documents by keyword. At the main menu, you can either browse through an online manual or chose "PENPages," which puts you into the agriculture system.

    Telnet: psupen.psu.edu
    User name: PNOTPA
    

    California State University's Advanced Technology Information Network provides similar information as PENPages, only focusing on California crops. It also maintains lists of upcoming California trade shows and carries updates on biotechnology.

    Telnet: caticsuf.cati.csufresno.edu
    Log in: public
    

    You will then be asked to register and will be given a user name and password. Hit `a' at the main menu for agricultural information. Hit `d' to call up a menu that includes a biweekly biotechnology report.

    AIDS

    The University of Miami maintains a database of AIDS health providers in southern Florida.

    Telnet: callcat.med.miami.edu
    Log in: library
    

    At the main menu, select `P' (for "AIDS providers" and you'll be able to search for doctors, hospitals and other providers that care for patients with AIDS. You can also search by speciality.

    See also under Health section Health and Conversation section Conversation.

    Amateur Radio

    The National Ham Radio Call-Sign Callbook lets you search for American amateur operators by callsign, city, last name or Zip code. A successful search will give you the ham's name, address, callsign, age, type of license and when they got it. Telnet: callsign.buffalo.edu 2000 or ham.njit.edu 2000. When you connect, you tell the system how you want to search and what you're looking for. For example, if you want to search for hams by city, you would type

    city city-name
    

    and hit enter (for example: `city Kankakee').

    Other search choices are "call" (after which you would type a ham's name), "name," and "zip" (which you would follow with a Zip code). Be careful when searching for hams in a large city; there doesn't seem to be anyway to shut off the list once it starts except by using control-]. Otherwise, when done, type

    quit
    

    and hit enter to disconnect.

    Animals

    See under Health section Health.

    Art

    The National Gallery of Art in Washington maintains a database of its holdings, which you can search by artist (Van Gogh, for example) or medium (watercolor, say). You can see when specific paintings were completed, what medium they are in, how large they are and who donated it to the gallery.

    Telnet: ursus.maine.edu
    Login: ursus
    

    At the main menu, hit your `b' key and then `4' to connect to the gallery database.

    Calculators

    Hewlett-Packard maintains a free service on which you can seek advice about their line of calculators.

    Telnet: hpcvbbs.cv.hp.com
    

    No log-in is needed.

    Congress

    The Library of Congress Information Service lets you search current and past legislation (dating to 1982).

    Telnet: locis.loc.gov
    Password: none needed.
    

    When you connect, you'll get a main menu that lets you select from several databases, including the Library of Congress card catalog (with book entries dating to 1978) and a database of information on copyright laws.

    For the congressional database, select the number next to its entry and hit enter. You'll then be asked to choose which legislative year to search. After that, a menu similar to this will come up:

    ***C103- THE LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION FILE FOR THE 103RD CONGRESS,
    which was updated on 05/10/93 and contains 4,044 records,
    is now available for your search.
    
    CURRENCY: All information is NOT current through the above date, which is
    machine generated when ANY information is added to the file.
    Bill numbers, official titles, sponsors, and status (STEP) added
    within 48 hours.  Indexing terms and digests added later, in
    some cases several weeks after the bill is added to the file.
    
    TO START   RETRIEVE to find:              EXAMPLES:
    SEARCH:    member name  -------------->   retrieve rep gingrich
                                              retrieve sen kennedy
               bill number  -------------->   retrieve h.r. 1
               subject keywords  --------->   retrieve day care
    
    FOR HELP:  Type the word HELP and press the ENTER key.
    
    READY FOR NEW COMMAND:
    

    Conversation

    Communications Canada, a Canadian government agency is developing Conversational Hypertext Access Technology (CHAT) is a system being developed by Communications Canada to provide easy database access to people with little or no computer experience, using what are known as hypertext links. Instead of cryptic computer commands, users type questions in English.

    Telnet: debra.doc.ca
    Log in: chat
    

    You chose one of the three databases now online, one on AIDS, and then ask questions in English.

    Ask the AIDS database, "When was AIDS first discovered?" and it answers:

    "The first case of AIDS in North America was diagnosed in 1979. Before that, it existed in Africa, probably beginning in the 1950's. AIDS was discovered in North America when a number of young men with a history of homosexuality developed a rare type of cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma."

    Sometimes, you do have to rephrase your question. For example, when asked "What is the link between AIDS and drug use?" the computer responds:

    "I know two things about drugs: the drugs that are used to treat people with AIDS, and the risks that drug users have in getting AIDS. Please ask about treatments or drug users."

    Copyright Law

    See under Congress section Congress.

    Current Events

    Every year, the CIA publishes a Fact Book that is essentially an almanac of all the world's countries and international organizations, including such information as major products, type of government and names of its leaders. It's available for searching through the University of Maryland Info Database.

    Telnet: info.umd.edu
    User name: info
    

    Chose a terminal type and hit enter (or just hit enter if you are using VT100). At the main menu, choose the number next to "Government" and hit enter. One of your options will then be for "Factbook." Chose that one, and you can then search by country or agency.

    Dictionary

    Rutgers University's Campus-Wide Information Service has an online dictionary, thesaurus and database of familiar quotations, as well as online copies of the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon and the U.S. Constitution.

    Telnet: info.rutgers.edu
    No log-in name is needed.
    

    At the main menu, type

    reference
    

    and hit enter. You'll see a menu like this:

    Online reference material
    Menu Commands...
    
    Command         Purpose
    -------         -------
    Dictionary      Concise Oxford Dictionary, 8th Ed.
    Thesaurus       Oxford Thesaurus
    Familiar        Oxford Dictionary of Familiar Quotations (and Modern Q.)
    World           CIA World Factbook
    US              US government: Constitution, etc.
    Religion        Bible, Book of Mormon, Koran
    
    For more information you may look under Libraries in the main menu
    
    Previous        Return to previous menu
    Find            Search for information
    Source          Age and provider of information.  Where to go for more.
    Quit            Go back to main menu
    
    Online reference material
    Menu>
    

    To access any of them, type its name (dictionary, for example) and hit enter. You'll then be asked for the word to look for. If, instead, you type

    religion
    

    and hit enter, you'll be able to search for a word or passage from the Bible, the Koran or the Book of Mormon.

    Environment

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maintains online databases of materials related to hazardous waste, the Clean Lakes program and cleanup efforts in New England. The agency plans to eventually include cleanup work in other regions, as well. The database is actually a computerized card catalog of EPA documents -- you can look the documents up, but you'll still have to visit your regional EPA office to see them.

    Telnet: epaibm.rtpnc.epa.gov
    No password or user name is needed.
    

    At the main menu, type

    public
    

    and hit enter (there are other listed choices, but they are only for use by EPA employees). You'll then see a one-line menu. Type

    ols
    

    and hit enter, and you'll see something like this:

    NET-106 Logon to TSO04    in progress.
    
    DATABASES:
    N     NATIONAL CATALOG         CH    CHEMICAL COLL. SYSTEM
    H     HAZARDOUS WASTE          1     REGION I
    L     CLEAN LAKES
    
    OTHER OPTIONS:
    ?     HELP
    Q     QUIT
    
    ENTER SELECTION -->
    

    Choose one and you'll get a menu that lets you search by document title, keyword, year of publication or corporation. After you enter the search word and hit enter, you'll be told how many matches were found. Hit 1 and then enter to see a list of the entries. To view the bibliographic record for a specific entry, hit V and enter and then type the number of the record.

    The University of Michigan maintains a database of newspaper and magazine articles related to the environment, with the emphasis on Michigan, dating back to 1980.

    Telnet: hermes.merit.edu
    Host: mirlyn
    Log in: meem
    

    Geography

    The University of Michigan Geographic Name Server can provide basic information, such as population, latitude and longitude of U.S. cities and many mountains, rivers and other geographic features. Telnet: martini.eecs.umich.edu 3000

    No password or user name is needed. Type in the name of a city, a Zip code or a geographic feature (Mt. McKinley, for example) and hit enter.

    By typing in a town's name or zip code, you can find out a community's county, Zip code and longitude and latitude. Not all geographic features are yet included in the database.

    Government

    See under Dictionary section Dictionary and Current Events section Current Events.

    Health

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration runs a database of health-information.

    Telnet: fdabbs.fda.gov
    Log in: bbs
    

    You'll then be asked for your name and a password you want to use in the future. After that, type

    topics
    

    and hit enter. You'll see this:

       TOPICS       DESCRIPTION
    
    *  NEWS         News releases
    *  ENFORCE      Enforcement Report
    *  APPROVALS    Drug and Device Product Approvals list
    *  CDRH         Centers for Devices and Radiological Health Bulletins
    *  BULLETIN     Text from Drug Bulletin
    *  AIDS         Current Information on AIDS
    *  CONSUMER     FDA Consumer magazine index and selected articles
    *  SUBJ-REG     FDA Federal Register Summaries by Subject
    *  ANSWERS      Summaries of FDA information
    *  INDEX        Index of News Releases and Answers
    *  DATE-REG     FDA Federal Register Summaries by Publication Date
    *  CONGRESS     Text of Testimony at FDA Congressional Hearings
    *  SPEECH       Speeches Given by FDA Commissioner and Deputy
    *  VETNEWS      Veterinary Medicine News
    *  MEETINGS     Upcoming FDA Meetings
    *  IMPORT       Import Alerts
    *  MANUAL       On-Line User's Manual
    

    You'll be able to search these topics by key word or chronologically. It's probably a good idea, however, to capture a copy of the manual, first, because the way searching works on the system is a little odd. To capture a copy, type

    manual
    

    and hit enter. Then type

    scan
    

    and hit enter. You'll see this:

    FOR LIST OF AVAILABLE TOPICS TYPE TOPICS
    OR ENTER THE TOPIC YOU DESIRE ==>
    
       MANUAL
       BBSUSER
       08-OCT-91
    1  BBS User Manual
    

    At this point, turn on your own computer's screen-capture or logging function and hit your 1 key and then enter. The manual will begin to scroll on your screen, pausing every 24 lines.

    Hiring and College Program Information

    The Federal Information Exchange in Gaithersburg, MD, runs two systems at the same address: FEDIX and MOLIS. FEDIX offers research, scholarship and service information for several federal agencies, including NASA, the Department of Energy and the Federal Aviation Administration. Several more federal agencies provide minority hiring and scholarship information. MOLIS provides information about minority colleges, their programs and professors.

    Telnet: fedix.fie.com
    User name: fedix
    

    (for the federal hiring database) or "molis" (for the minority-college system). Both use easy menus to get you to information.

    History

    Stanford University maintains a database of documents related to Martin Luthor King.

    Telnet:  forsythetn.stanford.edu
    Account: socrates
    

    At the main menu, type `select mlk' and hit enter.

    Quotations

    See under Dictionary.

    Religion

    See under Dictionary section Dictionary.

    Ski Reports

    See under Weather section Weather.

    Space

    NASA Spacelink in Huntsville, Ala., provides all sorts of reports and data about NASA, its history and its various missions, past and present. You'll find detailed reports on every single probe, satellite and mission NASA has ever launched along with daily updates and lesson plans for teachers.

    The system maintains a large file library of GIF-format space graphics, but you can't download these through telnet. If you want them, you have to dial the system directly, at (205) 895-0028.

    Telnet: spacelink.msfc.nasa.gov
    

    When you connect, you'll be given an overview of the system and asked to register and chose a password.

    The NED-NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database lists data on more than 100,000 galaxies, quasars and other objects outside the Milky Way.

    Telnet: ipac.caltech.edu
    Log in: ned
    

    You can learn more than you ever wanted to about quasars, novae and related objects on a system run by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass.

    Telnet: cfa204.harvard.edu
    Log in: einline
    

    The physics department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst runs a bulletin-board system that provides extensive conferences and document libraries related to space.

    Telnet: spacemet.phast.umass.edu
    Log on with your name and a password.
    

    Supreme Court Decisions

    The University of Maryland Info Database maintains U.S. Supreme Court decisions from 1991 on in its Government area.

    Telnet: info.umd.edu
    User name: info
    

    Chose a terminal type and hit enter (or just hit enter if you are using VT100). At the main menu, choose the number next to "Government" and hit enter. One of your options will then be for "US." Select that number and then, at the next menu, choose the one next to "Supreme Court."

    Telnet Addresses

    Hytelnet, at the University of Saskatchewan, is an online guide to hundreds of telnet sites around the world.

    Telnet: access.usask.ca
    Log in: hytelnet
    

    Thesaurus

    See under Dictionary section Dictionary.

    Time

    To find out the exact time:

    Telnet: india.colorado.edu 13
    

    You'll see something like this:

    Escape character is '^]'.
    Sun Apr  5 14:11:41 1992
    Connection closed by foreign host.
    

    The middle line tells you the date and exact Mountain Standard Time, as determined by a federal atomic clock.

    If you want a more philosophical approach to your time, the U.S. Naval Observatory's Automated Data Service has copies of detailed papers on such things as "the nature of time." It also carries information on how to buy a clock, along with arcana on such things as "leap seconds."

    Telnet: tycho.usno.navy.mil
    Log on: ads
    

    After you log in and register, you'll get the following menu:

    MAIN OPTIONS: info, note, ptti, exp, internet, nav, aust, tco, gps,
    loran, omega, series, transit, astro, tv, soft, vlf, goes, gpsftp,
    PAGE(/), HELP(?), COMMENT, EXIT(Bye)
    

    Type

    info
    

    and hit enter for many of the text files.

    Weather

    The University of Michigan's Department of Atmospheric, Oceanographic and Space Sciences supplies weather forecasts for U.S. and foreign cities, along with skiing and hurricane reports.

    Telnet: madlab.sprl.umich.edu 3000 (note the 3000)
    No log-in name is needed.
    

    See section Weather in the FTP list for information on downloading satellite and radar weather images.

    Telnet BBSs

    You might think that Usenet, with its hundreds of newsgroups, would be enough to satisfy the most dedicated of online communicators.

    But there are a number of "bulletin-board" and other systems that provide even more conferences or other services, many not found directly on the Net. Some are free; others charge for access. They include:

    Cimarron

    Run by the Instituto Technical in Monterey, Mexico, this system has Spanish conferences, but English commands, as you can see from this menu of available conferences:

    List of Boards
    Name                 Title
    General              Board general
    Dudas                Dudas de Cimarron
    Comentarios          Comentarios al SYSOP
    Musica               Para los afinados........
    Libros               El sano arte de leer.....
    Sistemas             Sistemas Operativos en General.
    Virus                Su peor enemigo......
    Cultural             Espacio Cultural de Cimarron
    NeXT                 El Mundo de NeXT
    Ciencias             Solo apto para Nerds.
    Inspiracion          Para los Romanticos e Inspirados.
    Deportes             Discusiones Deportivas
    

    To be able to write messages and gain access to files, you have to leave a note to SYSOP with your name, address, occupation and phone number. To do this, at any prompt, hit your M key and then enter, which will bring up the mail system. Hitting H brings up a list of commands and how to use them.

    Telnet: bugs.mty.itesm.mx (8 p.m. to 10 a.m., Eastern time, only).
    
    At the "login:" prompt, type `bbs' and hit enter.

    Cleveland Free-Net

    The first of a series of Freenets, this represents an ambitious attempt to bring the Net to the public. Originally an in-hospital help network, it is now sponsored by Case Western Reserve University, the city of Cleveland, the state of Ohio and IBM. It uses simple menus, similar to those found on CompuServe, but organized like a city:

    <<< CLEVELAND FREE-NET DIRECTORY >>>
    
     1 The Administration Building
     2 The Post Office
     3 Public Square
     4 The Courthouse & Government Center
     5 The Arts Building
     6 Science and Technology Center
     7 The Medical Arts Building
     8 The Schoolhouse (Academy One)
     9 The Community Center & Recreation Area
    10 The Business and Industrial Park
    11 The Library
    12 University Circle
    13 The Teleport
    14 The Communications Center
    15 NPTN/USA TODAY HEADLINE NEWS
    ------------------------------------------------
    h=Help, x=Exit Free-Net, "go help"=extended help
    
    Your Choice ==>
    

    The system has a vast and growing collection of public documents, from copies of U.S. and Ohio Supreme Court decisions to the Magna Carta and the U.S. Constitution. It links residents to various government agencies and has daily stories from USA Today. Beyond Usenet (found in the Teleport area), it has a large collection of local conferences on everything from pets to politics. And yes, it's free!

    Telnet: freenet-in-a.cwru.edu or freenet-in-b.cwru.edu
    

    When you connect to Free-Net, you can look around the system. However, if you want to be able to post messages in its conferences or use e-mail, you will have to apply in writing for an account. Information on this is available when you connect.

    Dialog

    This commercial service offers access to a large variety of databases -- for a fairly sizable fee. You need a Dialog account to use the system through the Net.

    Telnet: dialog.com
    

    DUBBS

    This is a bulletin-board system in Delft in the Netherlands. The conferences and files are mostly in Dutch, but the help files and the system commands themselves are in English.
    Telnet: tudrwa.tudelft.nl
    

    ISCA BBS

    Run by the Iowa Student Computer Association, it has more than 100 conferences, including several in foreign languages. After you register, hit `K' for a list of available conferences and then `J' to join a particular conference (you have to type in the name of the conference, not the number next to it). Hitting H brings up information about commands.
    Telnet bbs.isca.uiowa.edu
    
    At the "login:" prompt, type `bbs' and hit enter.

    Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link (WELL)

    Itself a major Net access point in the San Francisco area, the WELL is also a unique online community that maintains dozens of conferences on every imaginable topic (seven devoted just to the Grateful Dead). WELL users are intelligent and opinionated; discussions are often fast and furious. The Electronic Frontier Foundation was basically started in a series of online conversations on the WELL. Although it has a serious San Francisco flavor, it has users from across the country (enough to support both East Coast and Midwest conferences).

    For its conferences, the WELL uses PicoSpan software, which presents messages differently than rn or nn. When you enter a conference, you can call up a list of "topics." Enter a topic number, and all of the messages start scrolling down the screen, sort of like the music on an old-fashioned player-piano. There is some online help, but new users are sent a written manual. See section Electronic Mail for information on access charges (one advantage to connecting to the WELL through telnet is that unless you live in the Bay Area, it is likely to be much cheaper than other access methods).

    Telnet: well.sf.ca.us
    

    See section "A Slice of Life in my Virtual Community" by Howard Rheingold if you're interested in an intimate look on The WELL.

    Youngstown Free-Net

    The people who created Cleveland Free-Net sell their software for $1 to anybody willing to set up a similar system. A number of cities now have their own Free-Nets, including Youngstown, Ohio.
    Telnet: yfn.ysu.edu
    
    At the "login:" prompt, type `visitor' and hit enter.

    Finger

    This is a handy little program which lets you tell others more about you -- and which you can sometimes use to find out more about people whose names you see on the Net. It uses the same concept as telnet or ftp. But it works with only one file, called `.plan' (yes, with a period in front). This is a text file you create with a text editor in your home directory. You can put your phone number in there, or your address, or anything at all. To finger somebody else's `.plan' file, type this at the command line:

    finger email-address
    

    where email-address is the person's e-mail address. You'll get back a display that shows the last time the person was online, whether they've gotten any new mail since that time and what, if anything, is in their `.plan' file. Some people and institutions have come up with creative uses for these `.plan' files, letting you do everything from checking the weather in Massachusetts to getting the latest baseball standings. Try fingering these e-mail addresses:

    (weather@cirrus.mit.edu)
    Latest National Weather Service weather forecasts for regions in Massachusetts.

    (quake@geophys.washington.edu)
    Locations and magnitudes of recent earthquakes around the world.

    (jtchern@ocf.berkeley.edu)
    Current major-league baseball standings and results of the previous day's games.

    (nasanews@space.mit.edu)
    The day's events at NASA.

    Finding Someone on the Net

    So you have a friend and you want to find out if he has an Internet account to which you can write? The quickest way may be to just pick up the phone, call him and ask him. Although there are a variety of "white pages" services available on the Internet, they are far from complete -- college students, users of commercial services such as CompuServe and many Internet public-access sites, and many others simply won't be listed. Major e-mail providers are working on a universal directory system, but that could be some time away.

    In the meantime, a couple of "white pages" services might give you some leads, or even just entertain you as you look up famous people or long-lost acquaintances.

    The whois directory provides names, e-mail and postal mail address and often phone numbers for people listed in it. To use it, telnet to internic.net. No log-on is needed. The quickest way to use it is to type

    whois name
    
    at the prompt, where "name" is the last name or organization name you're looking for.

    Another service worth trying is the "knowbot" system reachable by telnet to nri.reston.va.us 185. Again, no log-on is needed. This service actually searches through a variety of other "white pages" systems, including the user directory for MCIMail. To look for somebody, type

    query name
    

    `name' is the last name of the person you're looking for. You can get details of other commands by hitting a question mark at the prompt.

    Apart from the previously mentioned methods, there exist a periodical posting on Usenet entitled How to find people's E-mail addresses that is edited and maintained by Jonathan I. Kamens. It lists several alternatives in order of success probability, to enable everybody to find everyone.

    Just get `/pub/usenet/news.answers/finding-addresses' from rtfm.mit.edu. See section FTP (Mining the Net, part II) to find out how to access this server. It's cross-posted each month to comp.mail.misc, soc.net-people, news.newusers.questions, and the respective *.answers newsgroups.

    When things go wrong:

    FYI:

    The Usenet newsgroups alt.internet.services and alt.bbs.internet can provide pointers to new telnet systems. Scott Yanoff periodically posts his Updated Internet Services List in the former; Thomas Kreeger periodically posts Zamfield's Wonderfully Incomplete, Complete Internet BBS List in the latter newsgroup. The alt.bbs.internet newsgroup is also where you'll find Aydin Edguer's compendium of Internet-BBS-related FAQs. Peter Scott, who maintains the Hytelnet database, runs a mailing list about new telnet services and changes in existing ones. To get on the list, send him a note at (scott@sklib.usask.ca).

    "Good literature is about Love and War. Trash fiction is about Sex and Violence." --- Author Unknown

    "The world's as ugly as sin, and almost as delightful." --- Frederick Locker-Lampson

    FTP (Mining the Net, part II)

    Hundreds of systems connected to Internet have file libraries, or archives, accessible to the public. Much of this consists of free or low-cost shareware programs for virtually every make of computer. If you want a different communications program for your IBM, or feel like playing a new game on your Amiga, you'll be able to get it from the Net.

    But there are also libraries of documents as well. If you want a copy of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, you can find it on the Net. Copies of historical documents, from the Magna Carta to the Declaration of Independence are also yours for the asking, along with a translation of a telegram from Lenin ordering the execution of rebellious peasants. You can also find song lyrics, poems, even summaries of every "Lost in Space" episode ever made. You can also find extensive files detailing everything you could ever possibly want to know about the Net itself. First you'll see how to get these files; then we'll show you where they're kept.

    The commonest way to get these files is through the file transfer protocol, or ftp. As with telnet, not all systems that connect to the Net have access to ftp. However, if your system is one of these, you'll be able to get many of these files through e-mail (see section Advanced E-mail).

    Starting ftp is as easy as using telnet. At your host system's command line, type

    ftp site.name
    

    and hit enter, where "site.name" is the address of the ftp site you want to reach. One major difference between telnet and ftp is that it is considered bad form to connect to most ftp sites during their business hours (generally 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time). This is because transferring files across the network takes up considerable computing power, which during the day is likely to be needed for whatever the computer's main function is. There are some ftp sites that are accessible to the public 24 hours a day, though. You'll find these noted in the list of ftp sites.

    How do you find a file you want, though?

    Until a few years ago, this could be quite the pain -- there was no master directory to tell you where a given file might be stored on the Net. Who'd want to slog through hundreds of file libraries looking for something?

    Alan Emtage, Bill Heelan and Peter Deutsch, students at McGill University in Montreal, asked the same question. Unlike the weather, though, they did something about it.

    They created a database system, called archie, that would periodically call up file libraries and basically find out what they had available.

    In turn, anybody could dial into archie, type in a file name, and see where on the Net it was available. Archie currently catalogs close to 1,000 file libraries around the world.

    Today, there are three ways to ask archie to find a file for you: through telnet, "client" Archie program on your own host system or e-mail. All three methods let you type in a full or partial file name and will tell you where on the Net it's stored. If you have access to telnet, you can telnet to one of the following addresses: archie.mcgill.ca; archie.sura.net; archie.unl.edu; archie.ans.net; or archie.rutgers.edu. If asked for a log-in name, type

    archie
    

    and hit enter.

    When you connect, the key command is prog, which you use in this form:

    prog filename
    

    followed by enter, where "filename" is the program or file you're looking for. If you're unsure of a file's complete name, try typing in part of the name. For example, `PKZIP' will work as well as `PKZIP201.EXE'. The system does not support DOS or Unix wildcards. If you ask archie to look for `PKZIP*', it will tell you it couldn't find anything by that name. One thing to keep in mind is that a file is not necessarily the same as a program -- it could also be a document. This means you can use archie to search for, say, everything online related to the Beetles, as well as computer programs and graphics files.

    A number of Net sites now have their own archie programs that take your request for information and pass it onto the nearest archie database -- ask your system administrator if s/he has it online. These "client" programs seem to provide information a lot more quickly than the actual archie itself! If it is available, at your host system's command line, type

    archie -s filename
    

    where filename is the program or document you're looking for, and hit enter. The `-s' tells the program to ignore case in a file name and lets you search for partial matches. You might actually want to type it this way:

    archie -s filename |more
    

    which will stop the output every screen (handy if there are many sites that carry the file you want). Or you could open a file on your computer with your text-logging function.

    The third way, for people without access to either of the above, is e-mail.

    Send a message to (archie@quiche.cs.mcgill.ca). You can leave the subject line blank. Inside the message, type

    prog filename
    

    where filename is the file you're looking for. You can ask archie to look up several programs by putting their names on the same "prog" line, like this:

    prog file1 file2 file3
    

    Within a few hours, archie will write back with a list of the appropriate sites.

    In all three cases, if there is a system that has your file, you'll get a response that looks something like this:

    Host sumex-aim.stanford.edu
    
    Location: /info-mac/comm
    FILE -rw-r--r--     258256  Feb 15 17:07  zterm-09.hqx
    Location: /info-mac/misc
    FILE -rw-r--r--       7490  Sep 12 1991   zterm-sys7-color-icons.hqx
    

    Chances are, you will get a number of similar looking responses for each program. The "host" is the system that has the file. The "Location" tells you which directory to look in when you connect to that system. Ignore the funny-looking collections of r's and hyphens for now. After them, come the size of the file or directory listing in bytes, the date it was uploaded, and the name of the file.

    Now you want to get that file.

    Assuming your host site does have ftp, you connect in a similar fashion to telnet, by typing:

    ftp sumex-aim.stanford.edu
    

    (or the name of whichever site you want to reach). Hit enter. If the connection works, you'll see this:

    Connected to sumex-aim.stanford.edu.
    220 SUMEX-AIM FTP server (Version 4.196 Mon Jan 13 13:52:23 PST 1992) ready.
    Name (sumex-aim.stanford.edu:adamg):
    

    If nothing happens after a minute or so, hit control-C to return to your host system's command line. But if it has worked, type

    anonymous
    

    and hit enter. You'll see a lot of references on the Net to "anonymous ftp." This is how it gets its name -- you don't really have to tell the library site what your name is. The reason is that these sites are set up so that anybody can gain access to certain public files, while letting people with accounts on the sites to log on and access their own personal files. Next, you'll be asked for your tpassword. As a password, use your e-mail address. This will then come up:

    230 Guest connection accepted. Restrictions apply.
    Remote system type is UNIX.
    Using binary mode to transfer files.
    ftp>
    

    Now type

    ls
    

    and hit enter. You'll see something awful like this:

    200 PORT command successful.
    150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for /bin/ls.
    total 2636
    -rw-rw-r--  1 0        31           4444 Mar  3 11:34 README.POSTING
    dr-xr-xr-x  2 0        1             512 Nov  8 11:06 bin
    -rw-r--r--  1 0        0        11030960 Apr  2 14:06 core
    dr--r--r--  2 0        1             512 Nov  8 11:06 etc
    drwxrwsr-x  5 13       22            512 Mar 19 12:27 imap
    drwxr-xr-x 25 1016     31            512 Apr  4 02:15 info-mac
    drwxr-x--  2 0        31           1024 Apr  5 15:38 pid
    drwxrwsr-x 13 0        20           1024 Mar 27 14:03 pub
    drwxr-xr-x  2 1077     20            512 Feb  6  1989 tmycin
    226 Transfer complete.
    ftp>
    

    Ack! Let's decipher this Rosetta Stone.

    First, ls is the ftp command for displaying a directory (you can actually use dir as well, but if you're used to MS-DOS, this could lead to confusion when you try to use dir on your host system, where it won't work, so it's probably better to just remember to always use ls for a directory while online).

    The very first letter on each line tells you whether the listing is for a directory or a file. If the first letter is a `d', or an `l', it's a directory. Otherwise, it's a file.

    The rest of that weird set of letters and dashes consist of "flags" that tell the ftp site who can look at, change or delete the file. You can safely ignore it. You can also ignore the rest of the line until you get to the second number, the one just before the date. This tells you how large the file is, in bytes. If the line is for a directory, the number gives you a rough indication of how many items are in that directory -- a directory listing of 512 bytes is relatively small. Next comes the date the file or directory was uploaded, followed (finally!) by its name.

    Notice the `README.POSTING' file up at the top of the directory. Most archive sites have a "read me" document, which usually contains some basic information about the site, its resources and how to use them. Let's get this file, both for the information in it and to see how to transfer files from there to here. At the ftp> prompt, type

    get README
    

    and hit enter. Note that ftp sites are no different from Unix sites in general: they are case-sensitive. You'll see something like this:

    200 PORT command successful.
    150 Opening BINARY mode data connection for README (4444 bytes).
    226 Transfer complete. 4444 bytes received in 1.177seconds (3.8 Kbytes/s)
    

    And that's it! The file is now located in your home directory on your host system, from which you can now download it to your own computer. The simple `get' command is the key to transferring a file from an archive site to your host system.

    If the first letter on the line starts with a `d', then that is a directory you can enter to look for more files. If it starts with an `r', then it's a file you can get. The next item of interest is the fifth column, which tells you how large the item is in bytes. That's followed by the date and time it was loaded to the archive, followed, finally, by its name. Many sites provide a `README' file that lists simple instructions and available files. Some sites use files named `Index' or `INDEX' or something similar.

    If you want to download more than one file at a time (say a series of documents, use mget instead of get; for example:

    mget *.txt
    

    This will transfer copies of every file ending with .txt in the given directory. Before each file is copied, you'll be asked if you're sure you want it. Despite this, mget could still save you considerable time -- you won't have to type in every single file name.

    There is one other command to keep in mind. If you want to get a copy of a computer program, type

    bin
    

    and hit enter. This tells the ftp site and your host site that you are sending a binary file, i.e., a program. Most ftp sites now use binary format as a default, but it's a good idea to do this in case you've connected to one of the few that doesn't.

    To switch to a directory, type

    cd directory-name
    

    (substituting the name of the directory you want to access) and hit enter. Type

    ls
    

    and hit enter to get the file listing for that particular directory. To move back up the directory tree, type

    cd ..
    

    (note the space between the d and the first period) and hit enter. Or you could type

    cdup
    

    and hit enter. Keep doing this until you get to the directory of interest. Alternately, if you already know the directory path of the file you want (from our friend archie), after you connect, you could simply type

    get directory/subdirectory/filename
    

    On many sites, files meant for public consumption are in the pub or public directory; sometimes you'll see an info directory.

    Almost every site has a bin directory, which at first glance sounds like a bin in which interesting stuff might be dumped. But it actually stands for "binary" and is simply a place for the system administrator to store the programs that run the ftp system. Lost+found is another directory that looks interesting but actually never has anything of public interest in them.

    Before, you saw how to use archie. From our example, you can see that some system administrators go a little berserk when naming files. Fortunately, there's a way for you to rename the file as it's being transferred. Using our archie example, you'd type

    get zterm-sys7-color-icons.hqx zterm.hqx
    

    and hit enter. Instead of having to deal constantly with a file called `zterm-sys7-color-icons. hqx', you'll now have one called, simply, `zterm.hqx'.

    Those last three letters bring up something else: Many program files are compressed to save on space and transmission time. In order to actually use them, you'll have to use an un-compress program on them first.

    There are a wide variety of compression methods in use. You can tell which method was used by the last one to three letters at the end of a file. Here are some of the more common ones and what you'll need to un-compress the files they create (and these decompression programs can all be located through archie).

    .txt
    .TXT
    By itself, this means the file is a document, rather than a program.

    .ps
    .PS
    A PostScript document (in Adobe's page description language). You can print this file on any PostScript capable printer, or use a previewer, like GNU project's GhostScript.

    .doc
    .DOC
    Is another common suffix for documents. No de-compression is needed, unless it is followed by

    .Z
    This is a Unix compression method. To uncompress the file, type `uncompress filename.Z' and hit enter at your host system's command prompt. If it's a text file, you can read it online by typing `zcat file.txt.Z |more' at your host system's command line. There is a Macintosh program called "MacCompress" that you can use on your machine if you want to download the file (use archie to find where you can get it!). There's an MS-DOS equivalent, often found as `u16.ZIP', which means it is itself compressed in the ZIP format.

    .zip
    .ZIP
    An MS-DOS format. Use the PKZIP package (usually found as `PKZ201.exe' or something similar).

    .gz
    The GNU project's compression format. A variant of the PKZIP format. Use `gunzip filename.gz' to uncompress.

    .zoo
    .ZOO
    A Unix and MS-DOS format. Requires the use of a program called zoo.

    .Hqx
    .hqx
    A Macintosh format that needs BinHex for de-compression.

    .shar
    .Shar
    A Unix format. Use unshar.

    .tar
    Another Unix format, often used to compress several related files into one big file. Use tar. Often, a "tarred" file will also be compressed with the `.Z' method, so you first have to use uncompress and then tar.

    .TAZ
    Sometimes used for compressed tar archives `.tar.Z', that are stored on "3 letter suffix only systems" (aka MS-DOS).

    .sit
    .Sit
    A Macintosh format, requires StuffIt.

    .ARC
    A DOS format that requires the use of ARC or ARCE.

    .LHZ
    Another DOS compression format; requires the use of LHARC.

    A few last words of caution: Check the size of a file before you get it. The Net moves data at phenomenal rates of speed. But that 500,000-byte file that gets transferred to your host system in a few seconds could take more than an hour or two to download to your computer if you're using a 2400-baud modem. Your host system may also have limits on the amount of bytes you can store online at any one time. Also, although it is really extremely unlikely you will ever get a file infected with a virus, if you plan to do much downloading over the Net, you'd be wise to invest in a good anti-viral program, just in case.

    The Keyboard Cabal

    System administrators are like everybody else -- they try to make things easier for themselves. And when you sit in front of a keyboard all day, that can mean trying everything possible to reduce the number of keys you actually have to hit each day.

    Unfortunately, that can make it difficult for the rest of us.

    Connect to many ftp sites, and one of the entries you'll often see is a directory named `bin'.

    You might think this is a bin where interesting things get thrown. It's not. "Bin" is short for "binary," i.e., the programs that make the ftp site work, to which you won't have access anyway.

    Etc is another seemingly interesting directory that turns out to be another place to store files used by the ftp site itself. `lost+found' directories are used by Unix systems for some routine housekeeping -- again, nothing of any real interest.

    Then, once you get into the actual file libraries, you'll find that in many cases, files will have such non-descriptive names as `V1.1-AK.TXT'. The best known example is probably a set of several hundred files known as RFCs, which provide the basic technical and organizational information on which much of the Internet is built. These files can be found on many ftp sites, but always in a form such as `RFC101.TXT', `RFC102.TXT' and so on, with no clue whatsoever as to what information they contain.

    Fortunately, almost all ftp sites have a "Rosetta Stone" to help you decipher these names. Most will have a file named `README' (or some variant) that gives basic information about the system. Then, most directories will either have a similar `README' file or will have an index that does give brief descriptions of each file. These are usually the first file in a directory and often are in the form `00INDEX.TXT'. Use the ftp command to get this file. You can then scan it online or download it to see which files you might be interested in.

    Another file you will frequently see is called `ls-lgR.Z'. This contains a listing of every file on the system, but without any descriptions (the name comes from the Unix command `ls -lgR', which gives you a listing of all the files in all your directories). The `.Z' at the end means the file has been compressed, which means you will have to use a Unix un-compress command before you can read the file.

    And finally, we have those system administrators who almost seem to delight in making things difficult -- the ones who take full advantage of Unix's ability to create absurdly long file names. On some FTP sites, you will see file names as long as 80 characters or so, full of capital letters, underscores and every other orthographic device that will make it almost impossible for you to type the file name correctly when you try to get it. Your secret weapon here is the mget command. Just type mget, a space, and the first five or six letters of the file name, followed by an asterisk, for example:

    mget This_F*
    

    The FTP site will ask you if you want to get the file that begins with that name. If there are several files that start that way, you might have to answer `n' a few times, but it's still easier than trying to recreate a ludicrously long file name.

    FTP Sites

    What follows is a list of some interesting ftp sites, arranged by category. With hundreds of ftp sites now on the Net, however, this list barely scratches the surface of what is available. Liberal use of archie will help you find specific files.

    The times listed for each site are in Eastern time and represent the periods during which it is considered acceptable to connect.

    Amiga

    ftp.uu.net Has Amiga programs in the `systems/amiga' directory. Available 24 hours.

    Atari

    atari.archive.umich.edu Find almost all the Atari files you'll ever need, in the `atari' directory. 7 p.m. - 7 a.m.

    Books

    pit-manager.mit.edu (aka rtfm.mit.edu) The `pub/usenet/rec.arts.books' directory has reading lists for various authors as well as lists of recommended bookstores in different cities. Unfortunately, this site uses incredibly long file names -- so long they may scroll off the end of your screen if you are using an MS-DOS or certain other computers. Even if you want just one of the files, it probably makes more sense to use mget than get. This way, you will be asked on each file whether you want to get it; otherwise you may wind up frustrated because the system will keep telling you the file you want doesn't exist (since you may miss the end of its name due to the scrolling problem). 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    Computer Ethics

    ftp.eff.org The home of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Use cd to get to the pub directory and then look in the EFF, SJG and CPSR directories for documents on the EFF itself and various issues related to the Net, ethics and the law. Available 24 hours.

    Consumer

    pit-manager.mit.edu The `pub/usenet/misc.consumers' directory has documents related to credit. The `pub/usenet/rec.travel.air' directory will tell you how to deal with airline reservation clerks, find the best prices on seats, etc. See under Books for a caveat in using this ftp site. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    Cooking

    uarchive.wustl.edu Look for recipes and recipe directories in the `usenet/rec.food.cooking/ recipes' directory.

    gatekeeper.dec.com Recipes are in the `pub/recipes' directory.

    Esperanto

    rand.org You'll find text files about the Esperanto artificial language in the `pub/esperanto' directory. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    Evolutionary Computation

    lumpi.informatik.uni-dortmund.de If you're interested in one possible future of computation, and also are interested in global optimization problems, evolutionary biology and genetics, you might want to take a look at this server. For an overview on the field, you should get the file `pub/EA/docs/hhgtec.ps.Z', aka The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to Evolutionary Computation. Available 24 hours.

    FTP Addresses

    iraun1.ira.uka.de Run by the computer-science department of the University of Karlsruhe in Germany, this site offers lists of anonymous-FTP sites both internationally (in the `anon.ftp.sites' directory) and in Germany (in `anon.ftp.sites.de'). 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.

    ftp.netcom.com The `pub/profiles' directory has lists of ftp sites.

    Government

    ncsuvm.cc.ncsu.edu The `SENATE' directory contains bibliographic records of U.S. Senate hearings and documents for the past several Congresses. Get the file `README.DOS9111', which will explain the cryptic file names. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    nptn.org The General Accounting Office (GAO) is the investigative wing of Congress. The `pub/e.texts/gao.reports' directory represents an experiment by the agency to use ftp to distribute its reports. Available 24 hours.

    History

    nptn.org This site has a large, growing collecting of text files. In the `pub/e.texts/freedom. shrine' directory, you'll find copies of important historical documents, from the Magna Carta to the Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation. Available 24 hours.

    ra.msstate.edu Mississippi State maintains an eclectic database of historical documents, detailing everything from Attilla's battle strategy to songs of soldiers in Vietnam, in the `docs/history' directory. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    seq1.loc.gov The Library of Congress has acquired numerous documents from the former Soviet government and has translated many of them into English. In the `pub/soviet.archive/text. english' directory, you'll find everything from telegrams from Lenin ordering the death of peasants to Khrushhchev's response to Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis. The `README' file in the `pub/soviet.archive' directory provides an index to the documents. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    Hong Kong

    nok.lcs.mit.edu GIF pictures of Hong Kong pop stars, buildings and vistas are available in the `pub/hongkong/HKPA' directory. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    Internet

    ftp.eff.org The `pub/internet-info' directory has a number of documents explaining the Internet and Usenet. Available 24 hours.

    nic.ddn.mil The `internet-drafts' directory contains information about Internet, while the `scc' directory holds network security bulletins. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    Law

    info.umd.edu U.S. Supreme Court decisions from 1989 to the present are stored in the `info/Government/US/SupremeCt' directory. Each term has a separate directory (for example, `term1992'). Get the `README' and `Index' files to help decipher the case numbers. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    ftp.uu.net Supreme Court decisions are in the court-opinions directory. You'll want to get the index file, which tells you which file numbers go with which file names. The decisions come in Word Perfect and Atex format only. Available 24 hours a day.

    Libraries

    ftp.unt.edu The library directory contains numerous lists of libraries with computerized card catalogs accessible through the Net.

    Literature

    nptn.org In the `pub/e.texts/gutenberg/etext91' and `etext92' directories, you can get copies of Aesop's Fables, works by Lewis Carroll and other works of literature, as well as the Book of Mormon. Available 24 hours.

    world.std.com The `obi' directory has everything from online fables to accounts of Hiroshima survivors. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    Macintosh

    sumex-aim.stanford.edu This is the premier site for Macintosh software. After you log in, switch to the info-mac directory, which will bring up a long series of sub-directories of virtually every free and shareware Mac program you could ever want. 9 p.m. - 9 a.m.

    ftp.uu.net Carries copies, or "mirrors" of Macintosh programs from the Simtel20 collection in the `systems/mac/simtel20' directory. Available 24 hours a day.

    Movie Reviews

    lcs.mit.edu Look in the movie-reviews directory. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    MS-DOS

    wuarchive.wustl.edu This carries one of the world's largest collections of MS-DOS software. The files are actually copied, or "mirrored" from a computer at the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range (which uses ftp software that is totally incomprehensible). It also carries large collections of Macintosh, Windows, Atari, Amiga, Unix, OS9, CP/M and Apple II software. Look in the mirrors and systems directories. The `gif' directory contains a large number of GIF graphics images. Accessible 24 hours.

    ftp.uu.net Carries copies, or "mirrors" of MS-DOS programs from the Simtel20 collection in the `systems/msdos/simtel20' directory. Available 24 hours a day.

    Music

    cs.uwp.edu The `pub/music' directory has everything from lyrics of contemporary songs to recommended CDs of baroque music. It's a little different - and easier to navigate - than other ftp sites. File and directory names are on the left, while on the right, you'll find a brief description of the file or directory, like this:

    SITES        1528  Other music-related FTP archive sites
    classical/      -  (dir) Classical Buying Guide
    database/       -  (dir) Music Database program
    discog/         =  (dir) Discographies
    faqs/           =  (dir) Music Frequently Asked questions files
    folk/           -  (dir) Folk Music Files and pointers
    guitar/         =  (dir) Guitar TAB files from ftp.nevada.edu
    info/           =  (dir) rec.music.info archives
    interviews/     -  (dir) Interviews with musicians/groups
    lists/          =  (dir) Mailing lists archives
    lyrics/         =  (dir) Lyrics Archives
    misc/           -  (dir) Misc files that don't fit anywhere else
    pictures/       =  (dir) GIFS, JPEGs, PBMs and more.
    press/          -  (dir) Press Releases and misc articles
    programs/       -  (dir) Misc music-related programs for various machines
    releases/       =  (dir) Upcoming USA release listings
    sounds/         =  (dir) Short sound samples
    226 Transfer complete.
    ftp>
    

    When you switch to a directory, don't include the `/'. 7 p.m. - 7 a.m.

    potemkin.cs.pdx.edu The Bob Dylan archive. Interviews, notes, year-by-year accounts of his life and more, in the `pub/dylan' directory. 9 p.m. - 9 a.m.

    ftp.nevada.edu Guitar chords for contemporary songs are in the `pub/guitar' directory, in subdirectories organized by group or artist.

    Pets

    pit-manager.mit.edu The `pub/usenet/rec.pets.dogs' and `pub/usenet.rec.pets.cats' directories have documents on the respective animals. See under Books section Books for a caveat in using this ftp site. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    Pictures

    wuarchiv.wustl.edu The `graphics/gif' directory contains hundreds of GIF photographic and drawing images, from cartoons to cars, space images to pop stars. These are arranged in a long series of subdirectories.

    Photography

    ftp.nevada.edu Photolog is an online digest of photography news, in the `pub/photo' directory.

    Religion

    nptn.org In the `pub/e.texts/religion' directory, you'll find subdirectories for chapters and books of both the Bible and the Koran. Available 24 hours.

    Sex

    pit-manager.mit.edu Look in the `pub/usenet/alt.sex' and `pub/usenet/alt.sex.wizards' directories for documents related to all facets of sex. See under Books section Books for a caveat in using this ftp site. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    Science Fiction

    elbereth.rutgers.edu In the pub/sfl directory, you'll find plot summaries for various science-fiction TV shows, including Star Trek (not only the original and Next Generation shows, but the cartoon version as well), Lost in Space, Battlestar Galactica, the Twilight Zone, the Prisoner and Doctor Who. There are also lists of various things related to science fiction and an online science-fiction fanzine. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    Shakespeare

    atari.archive.umich.edu The shakespeare directory contains most of the Bard's works. A number of other sites have his works as well, but generally as one huge mega-file. This site breaks them down into various categories (comedies, poetry, histories, etc.) so that you can download individual plays or sonnets.

    Space

    ames.arc.nasa.gov Stores text files about space and the history of the NASA space program in the `pub/SPACE' subdirectory. In the `pub/GIF' and `pub/SPACE/GIF' directories, you'll find astronomy- and NASA-related GIF files, including pictures of planets, satellites and other celestial objects. 9 p.m. - 9 a.m.

    Spain

    goya.dit.upm.es This Spanish site carries an updated list of bulletin-board systems in Spain, as well as information about European computer networks, in the `info/doc/net' subdirectory, mostly in Spanish. The BBS list is `bbs.Z', which means you will have to uncompress it to read it. Available 24 hours.

    TeX

    ftp.tex.ac.uk in `pub/archive', ftp.uni-stuttgart.de in `tex-archive', and ftp.shsu.edu in `soft/tex' form the CTAN (comprehensive TeX archive network), that always has the latest TeX version (and everything that comes with it) available. They are continuously updated, i.e. they are "mirrors" of the primary TeX archive at Stanford University.

    TV

    coe.montana.edu The `pub/TV/Guides' directory has histories and other information about dozens of TV shows. Only two anonymous-ftp log-ins are allowed at a time, so you might have to try more than once to get in. 8 p.m. - 8 a.m.

    ftp.cs.widener.edu The `pub/simpsons' directory has more files than anybody could possibly need about Bart and family. The `pub/strek' directory has files about the original and Next Generation shows as well as the movies. See also under Science Fiction section Science Fiction.

    Travel

    nic.stolaf.edu Before you take that next overseas trip, you might want to see whether the State Department has issued any kind of advisory for the countries on your itinerary. The advisories, which cover everything from hurricane damage to civil war, are in the `pub/travel-advisories/ advisories' directory, arranged by country. 7 p.m. - 7 a.m.

    Usenet

    ftp.uu.net In the usenet directory, you'll find "frequently asked questions" files, copied from pit-manager.mit.edu. The communications directory holds programs that let MS-DOS users connect directly with UUCP sites. In the info directory, you'll find information about ftp and ftp sites. The inet directory contains information about Internet. Available 24 hours.

    pit-manager.mit.edu This site contains all available FAQs "frequently asked questions" files for Usenet newsgroups in the `pub/usenet' directory. For easy access, get the `index' file. See under Books section Books for a caveat in using this ftp site. 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    Viruses

    ftp.unt.edu The antivirus directory has anti-virus programs for MS-DOS and Macintosh computers. 7 p.m. - 7 a.m.

    X Windows

    ftp.x.org The default server for MIT's X Window System. See under `/pub'.

    ftp.germany.eu.net Germany's backbone site located at the University of Dortmund, in the European part of the Internet; the so-called EUnet. It's also Germany's default server for X window system releases, and also "mirrors" several important sites; e.g. in `pub/packages/gnu' the GNU project's default server. Furthermore you'll find "mirrors" of `386BSD', `NetBSD', and `Linux'. Available 24 hours.

    Weather

    vmd.cso.uiuc.edu No password needed. The wx directory contains GIF weather images of North America. Files are updated hourly and take this general form: `CV100222'. The first two letters tell the type of file: CV means it is a visible-light photo taken by a weather satellite. CI images are similar, but use infrared light. Both these are in black and white. Files that begin with SA are color radar maps of the U.S. that show severe weather patterns but also fronts and temperatures in major cities. The numbers indicate the date and time (in GMT - five hours ahead of EST) of the image: the first two numbers represent the month, the next two the date, the last two the hour. The file `WXKEY.GIF' explains the various symbols in SA files.

    When things go wrong:

    FYI:

    Liberal use of archie will help you find specific files or documents. For information on new or interesting ftp sites, try the comp.archives newsgroup on Usenet. You can also look in the comp.misc, comp.sources.wanted or news.answers newsgroups on Usenet for lists of ftp sites posted every month by Tom Czarnik and Jon Granrose.

    The comp.archives newsgroup carries news of new ftp sites and interesting new files on existing sites.

    In the comp.virus newsgroup on Usenet, look for postings that list ftp sites carrying anti-viral software for Amiga, MS-DOS, Macintosh, Atari and other computers.

    The comp.sys.ibm.pc.digest and comp.sys.mac.digest newsgroups provide information about new MS-DOS and Macintosh programs as well as answers to questions from users of those computers.

    "Welch ein Ort zum Pl@"undern!" (What a place to plunder!) --- General Gebhard Leberecht von Bl@"ucher

    Gophers, WAISs and the World-Wide Web

    Even with tools like Hytelnet and archie, telnet and ftp can still be frustrating. There are all those telnet and ftp addresses to remember. Telnet services often have their own unique commands. And, oh, those weird directory and file names!

    But now that the Net has become a rich repository of information, people are looking at ways to make it far easier to find all that data. Gophers and Wide-Area Information Servers (WAISs) are two programs that could ultimately make the Internet as easy to navigate as commercial networks like CompuServe or Prodigy.

    Both programs essentially take a request for information and then scan the Net for it, so you don't have to. Both also work through menus -- instead of typing in some long sequence of characters, you just move a cursor to your choice and hit enter. Newer gophers even let you select files and programs from ftp sites this way.

    Let's look at gophers first.

    Many public-access sites now have gophers online. To use one, type

    gopher
    

    at the command line and hit enter. If you know your site does not have a gopher, or if nothing happens when you type that, telnet to

    consultant.micro.umn.edu
    

    At the log-in prompt, type

    gopher
    

    and hit enter. You'll be asked what type of terminal emulation you're using, after which you'll see something like this:

    Internet Gopher Information Client v1.03
    
    Root gopher server: gopher.micro.umn.edu
    
    -->  1.  Information About Gopher/
         2.  Computer Information/
         3.  Discussion Groups/
         4.  Fun & Games/
         5.  Internet file server (ftp) sites/
         6.  Libraries/
         7.  News/
         8.  Other Gopher and Information Servers/
         9.  Phone Books/
         10. Search lots of places at the U of M  <?>
         11. University of Minnesota Campus Information/
    
    Press ? for Help, q to Quit, u to go up a menu      Page: 1/1
    

    Gophers are great for exploring. Just keep making choices to see what pops up. Play with it; see where it takes you. Some choices will be documents. When you read one of these and either come to the end or hit a lower-case `q' to quit reading it, you'll be given the choice of saving a copy to your home directory or e-mailing it to yourself. Other choices are simple databases that let you enter a word to look for in a particular database.

    Notice that one of your choices is "Internet file server (ftp) sites." Choose this, and you'll be connected to a modified archie program -- an archie with a difference. When you search for a file through a gopher archie, you'll get a menu of sites that have the file you're looking for, just as with the old archie. Only now, instead of having to write down or remember an ftp address and directory, all you have to do is position the cursor next to one of the numbers in the menu and hit enter. You'll be connected to the ftp site, from which you can then choose the file you want, again just by making a choice in a menu.

    You'll be asked for a name in your home directory to use for the file, after which the file will be copied to your home system. Unfortunately, this file-transfer process does not yet work with all public-access sites for computer programs and compressed files. If it doesn't work with yours, you'll have to get the file the old-fashioned way, via ftp.

    The letter u is an important one to remember while navigating a gopher -- it moves you back up a gopher directory tree, much like cd .. on an ftp site.

    In addition to ftp sites, there are now scores of databases and libraries around the world accessible through gophers. There is not yet a common gopher interface for library catalogs, so be prepared to follow the online directions more closely when you use gopher to connect to one.

    Some gopher menu choices will end with a <?>. This means that if you select it, you'll be starting up a simple database that can search through the given service by keyword.

    So many services are now available through gophers, that finding what you want has become difficult. Fortunately, you can use veronica, a laboriously constructed acronym that does for "gopherspace" what archie (there is no betty, yet) did for files. You'll usually find veronicas (there are now several) under "Other gopher and information services." When you call up a veronica, tell her (it?) the keyword or words you're interested in, and she/it will search all available databases for it. For example, say you want to impress company tonight and make cherries flambe. If you were to type in "flambe" after calling up veronica, you would soon get a menu listing several flambe recipes, including one called "dessert flambe." Put your cursor on that line of the menu and hit enter, and you'll find it's a menu for cherries flambe. Then hit your q key to quit, and gopher will ask you if you want to save the file in your home directory on your public-access site or whether you want to e-mail it somewhere.

    Wide-Area Information Servers

    Now you know there are hundreds of databases and library catalogs you can search through. But as you look, you begin to realize that each seems to have its own unique method for searching. If you connect to several, this can become a pain. Gophers reduce this problem somewhat.

    Wide-area information servers promise another way to zero in on information hidden on the Net. In a WAIS, the user sees only one interface -- the program worries about how to access information on dozens, even hundreds, of different databases. You tell give a WAIS a word and it scours the net looking for places where it's mentioned. You get a menu of documents, each ranked according to how relevant to your search the WAIS thinks it is.

    Like gophers, WAIS "client" programs can already be found on many public-access Internet sites. If it does, type

    swais
    

    at the command line and hit enter (the "s" stands for "simple"). If it doesn't, telnet to bbs.oit.unc.edu, which is run by the University of North Carolina At the "login:" prompt, type

    bbs
    

    and hit enter. You'll be asked to register and will then get a list of "bulletins," which are various files explaining how the system works. When done with those, hit your Q key and you'll get another menu. Hit 4 for the "simple WAIS client," and you'll see something like this:

    SWAIS                          Source Selection          Sources: 23#
    Server                         Source                             Cost
    001:   [           archie.au]  aarnet-resource-guide              Free
    002:   [    archive.orst.edu]  aeronautics                        Free
    003:   [nostromo.oes.orst.ed]  agricultural-market-news           Free
    004:   [sun-wais.oit.unc.edu]  alt-sys-sun                        Free
    005:   [    archive.orst.edu]  alt.drugs                          Free
    006:   [    wais.oit.unc.edu]  alt.gopher                         Free
    007:   [sun-wais.oit.unc.edu]  alt.sys.sun                        Free
    008:   [    wais.oit.unc.edu]  alt.wais                           Free
    009:   [    archive.orst.edu]  archie-orst.edu                    Free
    010:   [           archie.au]  archie.au-amiga-readmes            Free
    011:   [           archie.au]  archie.au-ls-lRt                   Free
    012:   [           archie.au]  archie.au-mac-readmes              Free
    013:   [           archie.au]  archie.au-pc-readmes               Free
    014:   [ pc2.pc.maricopa.edu]  ascd-education                     Free
    015:   [           archie.au]  au-directory-of-servers            Free
    016:   [   cirm2.univ-mrs.fr]  bib-cirm                           Free
    017:   [  cmns-sun.think.com]  bible                              Free
    018:   [      zenon.inria.fr]  bibs-zenon-inria-fr                Free
    
    Keywords:
    
    <space> selects, w for keywords, arrows move, <return> searches, q quits, ?
    

    Each line represents a different database (the .au at the end of some of them means they are in Australia; the .fr on the last line represents a database in France). And this is just the first page! If you type a capital K, you'll go to the next page (there are several pages). Hitting a capital J will move you back a page.

    The first thing you want to do is tell the WAIS program which databases you want searched. To select a database, move the cursor bar over the line you want (using your down and up arrow keys) and hit your space bar. An asterisk will appear next to the line number. Repeat this until you've selected all of the databases you want searched. Then hit your W key, after which you'll be prompted for the key words you're looking for. You can type in an entire line of these words -- separate each with a space, not a comma.

    Hit return, and the search begins.

    Let's say you're utterly fascinated with wheat. So you might select agricultural-market-news to find its current world price. But you also want to see if it has any religious implications, so you choose the Bible and the Book of Mormon. What do you do with the stuff? Select recipes and usenet-cookbook. Are there any recent Supreme Court decisions involving the plant? Chose supreme-court. How about synonyms? Try roget-thesaurus and just plain thesaurus.

    Now hit w and type in wheat. Hit enter, and the WAIS program begins its search. As it looks, it tells you whether any of the databases are offline, and if so, when they might be ready for a search. In about a minute, the program tells you how many hits it's found. Then you get a new menu, that looks something like this:

    Keywords:
    
    #    Score  SourceTitleLines
    001: [1000] (roget-thesaurus) #465. [results of comparison. 1] Di 19
    002: [1000] (roget-thesaurus) #609. Choice. -- N. choice, option; 36
    003: [1000] (roget-thesaurus) #465. [results of comparison. 1] Di 19
    004: [1000] (roget-thesaurus) #609. Choice. -- N. choice, option; 36
    005: [1000] (recipes)  aem@mthvax Re: MONTHLY: Rec.Food.Recipes 425
    006: [1000] ( Book_of_Mormon) Mosiah 9:96
    007: [1000] ( Book_of_Mormon) 3 Nephi 18:185
    008: [1000] (agricultural-ma) Re: JO GR115, WEEKLY GRAIN82
    009: [ 822] (agricultural-ma) Re: WA CB351 PROSPECTIVE PLANTINGS 552
    010: [ 800] (        recipes) kms@apss.a Re: REQUEST: Wheat-free, Suga 35
    011: [ 750] (agricultural-ma) Re: WA CB101 CROP PRODUCTION258
    012: [ 643] (agricultural-ma) Re: SJ GR850 DAILY NAT GRN SUM72
    013: [ 400] (        recipes) pat@jaamer Re: VEGAN: Honey Granola63
    014: [ 400] (        recipes) jrtrint@pa Re: OVO-LACTO: Sourdough/Trit 142
    

    Each of these represents an article or citing that contains the word wheat, or some related word. Move the cursor bar (with the down and up arrow keys) to the one you want to see, hit enter, and it will begin to appear on your screen. The "score" is a WAIS attempt to gauge how closely the citing matches your request. Doesn't look like the Supreme Court has had anything to say about the plant of late!

    Now think of how much time you would have spent logging onto various databases just to find these relatively trivial examples. But as more databases are added to WAIS programs, a problem arises that is similar to the one WAISs were supposed to solve: how do you find the specific databases you want? Scrolling through page after page of database listings becomes rather tedious rather quickly and you could wind up missing the one database you really need. That's the next step in WAIS research.

    World-Wide Web

    Developed by researchers at the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, the Worldwide Web is somewhat similar to a WAIS. But it's designed on a system known as hypertext. Words in one document are "linked" to other documents. It's sort of like sitting with an encyclopedia -- you're reading one article, see a reference that intrigues you and so you flip the pages to look up that reference.

    To try the Worldwide Web, telnet to

    info.cern.ch
    

    No log in is needed. When you connect, you'll see:

                                                             Overview of the Web
                           GENERAL OVERVIEW
                                           
    There is no "top" to the World-Wide Web. You can look at it from many points
    of view. If you have no other bias, here are some places to start:
       
    by Subject[1]          A classification by subject of interest. Incomplete
                           but easiest to use.
                             
    by Type[2]             Looking by type of service (access protocol, etc) may
                           allow to find things if you know what you are looking
                           for.
                             
    About WWW[3]           About the World-Wide Web global information sharing
                           project
                             
    Starting somewhere else
    
    To use a different default page, perhaps one representing your field of
    interest, see  "customizing your home page"[4].
       
    What happened to CERN?
    
    1-6, Up, <RETURN> for more, Quit, or Help: 3
    

    Ok. Now type `3', and get the following screen:

                                                      The World Wide Web project
                           WORLD WIDE WEB
    
    The WorldWideWeb (W3) is a wide-area hypermedia[1] information retrieval
    initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents.
    
    Everything there is online about W3 is linked directly or indirectly to this
    document, including an executive summary[2] of the project, an illustrated
    talk[3] , Mailing lists[4] , Policy[5] and Conditions[6] , May's W3 news[7]
    , Frequently Asked Questions[8] .
    
    What's out there?[9]   Pointers to the world's online information,
                           subjects[10] , W3 servers[11] , etc.
    
    WWW Software Products[12]
                           What there is and how to get it: clients, servers and
                           tools.
    
    Technical[13]          Details of protocols, formats, program internals etc
    
    Bibliography[14]       Paper documentation on W3 and references. Also:
                           manuals[15] .
    
    1-20, Back, Up, <RETURN> for more, Quit, or Help: Quit
    Connection closed by foreign host.
    

    You navigate the web by typing the number next to a given reference. So if you want to know more about the web, hit 2. This is another system that bears playing with.

    Clients

    If you are used to plain-vanilla Unix or MS-DOS, then the way these gophers and WAISs work seems quite straightforward. But if you're used to a computer with a graphical interface, such as a Macintosh, an IBM compatible with Windows or a Next, you'll probably regard their interfaces as somewhat primitive.

    There are, however, ways to integrate these services into your graphical user interface. In fact, there are now ways to tie into the Internet directly, rather than relying on whatever interface your public-access system uses.

    There is now a growing number of these "client" programs for everything from ftp to gopher. PSI of Reston, Va., which offers nationwide Internet access, in fact, requires its customers to use these programs.

    Using protocols known as SLIP and PPP, these programs communicate with the Net using the same basic data packets as much larger computers online.

    Beyond integration with your own computer's "desktop," client programs let you do more than one thing at once on the net -- while your downloading a large file in one window, you can be chatting with a friend through an Internet chat program in another.

    These client programs have a couple of disadvantages. One is that you'll need a 9600-baud modem -- while it is possible to connect to the Net with them at lower speeds, you will likely find them painfully slow. Not all public-access sites are set up to allow such connections. And those that are usually charge far more for them.

    Your system administrator can give you more information on setting up one of these connections.

    FYI:

    See the Usenet newsgroups comp.infosystems.*:

    comp.infosystems.gopher, comp.infosystems.wais, and comp.infosystems.www are places to go for technical discussions about Gopher, WAISs, and the World-Wide Web projects respectively. Moreover there are comp.infosystems for more general discussion of related issues. The group comp.infosystems.gis relates to Geographic Information Systems, and thus is more specialized on this subject.

    There even exists a Gopher service to read Usenet news: `gopher gopher.msu.edu 4320'. But, the lines behind this service are few, and thus it's likely that you get the following message, when trying to enter:

    We are sorry, but our Usenet News gateway limits the number of
    simultaneous connections.  If you were attempting to read news and were
    instead directed to this file, all of those connections are in use.  We
    offer this gateway as a "last resort" for people who have no other
    access for reading Usenet.  We do not have the capacity to serve as the
    Usenet gateway for large numbers of users around the Internet.
    Individuals who like this style of access should ask their Internet
    service providers to offer the same sort of gateway on their local
    Gopher server.  Individuals and campuses should consider installing
    local news feeds and local news readers (such as RN, NN, TIN, or
    Trumpet) so that users can read and post to Usenet newsgroups
    conveniently.
    
    For system administrators: the software we use to implement this gateway
    is the go4gw Gopher gateway software from Roland Schemers of Stanford
    University.  This software should be available by anonymous ftp from
    boombox.micro.umn.edu, somewhere under /pub/gopher.
    
    -- The Michigan State University Gopher Team
    

    "Reliable information is the basis of successful planning." --- Christoph Columbus

    Advanced E-mail

    E-mail by itself is a powerful tool, and by now you may be sending e-mail messages all over the place. You might even be on a mailing list or two. But there is a lot more to e-mail than just sending messages. If your host system does not have access to ftp, or it doesn't have access to every ftp site on the Net, you can have programs and files sent right to your mailbox. And using some simple techniques, you can use e-mail to send data files such as spreadsheets, or even whole programs, to friends and colleagues around the world.

    A key to both is a set of programs known as encoders and decoders. For all its basic power, Net e-mail has a big problem: it can't handle graphics characters or the control codes found in even the simplest of computer programs. Encoders however, can translate these into forms usable in e-mail, while decoders turn them back into a form that you can actually use. If you are using a Unix-based host system, chances are it already has an encoder and decoder online that you can use. These programs will also let you use programs posted in several Usenet newsgroups, such as comp.binaries.ibm.pc.

    To help people without ftp access, a number of ftp sites have set up mail servers (also known as archive servers) that allow you to get files via e-mail. You send a request to one of these machines and they send back the file you want. As with ftp, you'll be able to find everything from historical documents to software (but please note that if you do have access to ftp, that method is always quicker and ties up fewer resources than using e-mail).

    Some interesting or useful mail servers include:

    (mail-server@pit-manager.mit.edu)
    Files of "frequently asked questions" related to Usenet; state-by-state lists of U.S. representatives and Senators and their addresses and office phone numbers.

    (archive-server@eff.org)
    Information about the Electronic Frontier Foundation; documents about legal issues on the Net.

    (archive-server@cs.widener.edu)
    Back copies of the Computer Underground Digest and every possible fact you could want to know about "The Simpsons."

    (netlib@uunet.uu.net)
    Programs for many types of personal computers; archives of past postings from many Usenet newsgroups.

    (archive-server@ames.arc.nasa.gov)
    Space-related text and graphics (GIF-format) files.

    (service@nic.ddn.mil)
    Detailed information about Internet.

    Most mail servers work pretty much the same -- you send an e-mail message that tells them what file you want and how you want it sent to you. The most important command is "send," which tells the computer you want it to send you a particular file.

    First, though, you'll need to know where the mail server stores that file, because you have to tell it which directory or sub-directory it's in. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can send an e-mail message to the archive-server that consists of one line:

    index
    

    The server will then send you a directory listing of its main, or root directory. You'll then have to send a second message to the archive server with one line:

    index directory/subdirectory
    

    where that is the directory or directory path for which you want a listing. An alternative is to send an e-mail message to our old friend archie, which should send you back the file's exact location on the archive-server (along with similar listings for all the other sites that may have the file, however)

    Once you have the file name and its directory path, compose a message to the archive server like this:

    send directory/subdirectory/file
    

    Send off the message and, anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of days later, you'll find a new message in your mailbox: a copy of the file you requested. The exact time it will take a file to get to you depends on a variety of factors, including how many requests are in line before yours (mail servers can only process so many requests at a time) and the state of the connections between the server and you.

    Seems simple enough. It gets a little more complicated when you request a program rather than a document. Programs or other files that contain unusual characters or lines longer than 130 characters (graphics files, for example) require special processing by both the mail server to ensure they are transmitted via e-mail. Then you'll have to run them through at least one converter program to put them in a form you can actually use. To ensure that a program or other "non-mailable" file actually gets to you, include another line in your e-mail message to the server:

    encoder
    

    This converts the file into an encoded form. To decode it, you'll first have to transfer the file message into a file in your home directory. If you are using the simple mail program, go into mail and type

    w # file.name
    

    where # is the number of the message you want to transfer and file.name is what you want to call the resulting file. In pine, call up the message and hit your `O' key and then `E'. You'll then be asked for a file name. In elm, call up the message and hit your `S' key. You'll get something that looks like this:

    =file.request
    

    Type a new file name and hit enter (if you hit enter without typing a file name, the message will be saved to another mail folder, not your home directory). Exit mail to return to your host system's command line. Because the file has been encoded for mail delivery, you now have to run a decoder. At the command line, type

    uudecode file.name
    

    where `file.name' is the file you created while in mail. Uudecode will create a new, uncompressed file. In some cases, you may have to run it through some other programs (for example, if it is in "tar" form), but generally it should now be ready for you to download to your own computer.

    One further complication comes when you request a particularly long file. Many Net sites can only handle so much mail at a time. To make sure you get the entire file, tell the mail server to break it up into smaller pieces, with another line in your e-mail request like this:

    size 100000
    

    This gives the mail server the maximum size, in bytes, of each file segment. This particular size is good for UUCP sites. Internet and Bitnet sites can generally go up to 300000. When you get all of these files in mail, transfer them to your home directory. Exit mail and call up each file in your host system's text processor and delete each one's entire header and footer (or "signature" at the end). When done with this, at your host system's command line, type

    cat file1 file2 >bigfile
    

    where file1 is the first file, file2 the second file, and so on. The > tells your host system to combine them into a new megafile called bigfile (or whatever you want to call it). You can then run uudecode, tar, etc. One word of caution, though: if the file you want is long enough that it has to be broken into pieces, think of how much time it's going to take you to download the whole thing -- especially if you're using a 2400-baud modem!

    There are a number of other mail servers. To get a list, send an e-mail message to: (mail-server@pit-manager.mit.edu)

    send usenet/comp.sources.wanted/How_to_find_sources_(READ_THIS_BEFORE_POSTING)
    

    You'll have to spell it exactly as listed above. Some mail servers use different software, which will require slightly different commands than the ones listed here. In general, if you send a message to a mail server that says only

    help
    

    you should get back a file detailing all of its commands.

    But what if the file you want is not on one of these mail servers? That's where ftpmail comes in. Run by Digital Equipment Corp. in California, this service can connect to almost any ftp site in the world, get the file you want and then mail it to you. Using it is fairly simple -- you send an e-mail message to ftpmail that includes a series of commands telling the system where to find the file you want and how to format it to mail to you.

    Compose an e-mail message to

    ftpmail@decwrl.dec.com
    

    Leave the "subject:" line blank. Inside the message, there are several commands you can give. The first line should be

    reply address
    

    where "address" is your e-mail address. The next line should be

    connect host
    

    where "host" is the system that has the file you want (for example: wuarchive.wustl.edu). Other commands you should consider using are "binary" (required for program files); "compress" (reduces the file size for quicker transmission) and "uuencode" (which encodes the file so you can do something with it when it arrives). The last line of your message should be the word "quit".

    Let's say you want a copy of the U.S. constitution. Using archie, you've found a file called, surprise!, `constitution', at the ftp site archive.cis.ohio-state.edu, in the `/pub/firearms/politics/ rkba' directory. You'd send a message to (ftpmail@decwrl.dec.com) that looks like this:

    reply adamg@world.std.com
    connect archive.cis.ohio-state.edu
    binary
    compress
    uuencode
    get pub/firearms/politics/rkba/constitution
    quit
    

    When you get the file in your mailbox, use the above procedure for copying it to a file. Run it through uudecode. Then type

    uncompress file.name
    

    to make it usable.

    Since this was a text file, you could have changed the "binary" to "ascii" and then eliminated the "uuencode" file. For programs, though, you'll want to keep these lines.

    Sending your own files through the mail

    The uuencode and uudecode programs will also come in handy if you ever want to send your own files to somebody else.

    If both you and your intended recipient communicate via Unix-based host systems, then it's pretty easy, because almost all Unix host systems will have encoder/decoder programs online.

    First, upload the file you want to send to your friend to your host site. Ask your system administrator how to upload a file to your name or "home" directory. Then type

    uuencode file file >file.uu
    

    and hit enter. "File" is the name of the file you want to prepare for mailing, and yes, you have to type the name twice! The > is a Unix command that tells the system to call the "encoded" file "file.uu" (you could actually call it anything you want).

    Now to get it into a mail message. The quick and dirty way is to type

    mail friend
    

    where "friend" is your friend's address. At the subject line, tell her the name of the enclosed file. When you get the blank line, type

    ~r file.uu
    

    or whatever you called the file, and hit enter. (on some systems, the `~' may not work; if so, ask your system administrator what to use). This inserts the file into your mail message. Hit control-D, and your file is on its way!

    On the other end, when your friend goes into his mailbox, she should transfer it to her home directory. Then your friend should type

    uudecode file.name
    

    and hit enter. This creates a new file in her name directory with whatever name you originally gave it. She can then download it to her own computer. Before she can actually use it, though, she'll have to open it up with a text processor and delete the mail header that has been "stamped" on it. If you use a mailer program that automatically appends a "signature," tell her about that so she can delete that as well.

    But what if your friend only connects with a non-Unix system, such as CompuServe or MCIMail? There are programs available for MS-DOS, Apple and Amiga computers that will encode and decode files. Of course, since you can't send one of these programs to them via e-mail (how would they un-encode it?), you'll have to mail or give them a diskette with the program on it first. Then, they can get their message, run it through a text editor to delete the header, and finally decode the file. If they want to send you files in return, they'll also want an encoder

    For MS-DOS machines, you'll want to get uunecode.com and uudecode.com. Both can be found through anonymous ftp at wuarchive.wustl.edu in the `/mirrors/msdos/starter' directory. The MS-DOS version is as easy to use as the Unix one: Just type

    uudecode filename.ext
    

    and hit enter.

    Mac users should get a program called uutool, which can be found in the `info-mac/util' directory on sumex-aim.stanford.edu.

    Once again, be careful with large files. Although large sites connected directly to the Internet can probably handle mega-files, many smaller systems cannot. Some commercial systems, such as CompuServe and MCIMail limit the size of mail messages their users can receive. Fidonet doesn't even allow encoded messages. In general, a file size of 30,000 or so bytes is a safe upper limit for non-Internet systems.

    One other thing you can do through e-mail is consult with the Usenet Oracle. You can ask the Oracle anything at all and get back an answer (whether you like the answer is another question).

    First, you'll want to get instructions on how to address the Oracle (he, or she, or it, is very particular about such things and likes being addressed in august, solemn and particularly sycophantic tones). Start an e-mail message to

    oracle@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu
    

    In the "subject:" line, type

    help
    

    and hit enter. You don't actually have to say anything in the message itself -- at least not yet. Hit control-D to send off your request for help. Within a few hours, the Oracle will mail you back detailed instructions. It's a fairly long file, so before you start reading it, turn on your communications software's logging function, to save it to your computer (or save the message to a file on your host system's home directory and then download the file). After you've digested it, you can compose your question to the Oracle. Mail it to the above address, only this time with a subject line that describes your question. Expect an answer within a couple of days. And don't be surprised if you also find a question in your mailbox -- the Oracle extracts payment by making seekers of knowledge answer questions as well!

    "If just one piece of mail gets lost, well, they'll just think they forgot to send it. But if *two* pieces of mail get lost, hell, they'll just think the other guy hasn't gotten around to answering his mail. And if *fifty* pieces of mail get lost, can you imagine it, if *fifty* pieces of mail get lost, why they'll think someone *else* is broken! And if 1GB of mail gets lost, they'll just *know* that Arpa is down and think it's a conspiracy to keep them from their God given right to receive Net Mail ..." --- Leith `Casey' Leedom

    News of the World

    Usenet "newsgroups" can be something of a misnomer. They may be interesting, informative and educational, but they are often not news, at least, not what you'd think of as news. But there are several sources of news, sports and weather on the Net.

    One of the largest is Clarinet, a company in Cupertino, Calf., that distributes wire-service news and columns, along with a news service devoted to computers, in Usenet form.

    USA Today also has a presence on the Net, through the Cleveland Free-Net system, and we'll show you how to get news of eastern Europe and Brazil as well.

    Distributed in Usenet form, Clarinet stories and columns are organized into more than 100 newsgroups (in this case, a truly appropriate name), some of them with an extremely narrow focus, for example, clari.news.gov.taxes. The general news and sports come from United Press International; the computer news from the NewsBytes service; the features from several syndicates.

    Because Clarinet charges for its service, not all host systems carry its dispatches. Those that do carry them as Usenet groups starting with clari.* As with other Usenet hierarchies, these are named starting with broad area and ending with more specific categories. Some of these include business news (clari.biz); general national and foreign news, politics and the like (clari.news), sports (clari.sports); columns by Mike Royko, Miss Manners, Dave Barry and others (clari.feature); and NewsBytes computer and telecommunications reports (clari.nb). Because Clarinet started in Canada, there is a separate set of clari.canada newsgroups.

    The clari.nb newsgroups are divided into specific computer types (clari.nb.apple, for example).

    Clari news groups feature stories updated around the clock. There are even a couple of "bulletin" newsgroups for breaking stories: clari.news.bulletin and clari.news.urgent. Clarinet also sets up new newsgroups for breaking stories that become ongoing ones (such as major natural disasters, coups in large countries and the like).

    Occasionally, you will see stories in clari newsgroups that just don't seem to belong there. Stories about former Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry, for example, often wind interspersed among columns by Dave Barry.

    This happens because of the way wire services work. UPI uses three-letter codes to route its stories to the newspapers and radio stations that make up most of its clientele, and harried editors on deadline sometimes punch in the wrong code.

    USA Today

    If your host system doesn't carry the clari newsgroups, you might be able to keep up with the news a different way over the Net. USA Today has been something of an online newspaper pioneer, selling its stories to bulletin-board and online systems across the country. Cleveland Free-Net provides the online version of USA Today (along with all its other services) for free. Currently, the paper only publishes five days a week, so you'll have to get your weekend news fix elsewhere.

    Telnet: freenet-in-a.cwru.edu or freenet-in-b.cwru.edu

    After you connect and log in, look for this menu entry: NPTN/USA TODAY HEADLINE NEWS. Type the number next to it and hit enter. You'll then get a menu listing a series of broad categories, such as sports and telecommunications. Choose one, and you'll get a yet another menu, listing the ten most recent dates of publication. Each of these contains one-paragraph summaries of the day's news in that particular subject.

    The World Today

    Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty are American radio stations that broadcast to the former Communist countries of eastern Europe. Every day, their news departments prepare a summary of news in those countries, which is then disseminated via the Net. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to

    listserv@ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu
    

    Leave the subject line blank, and as a message, write:

    subscribe rferl-l Your Name
    

    Daily Brazilian news updates are available (in Portuguese) from the University of Sao Paulo. Use anonymous ftp to connect to

    uspif.if.usp.br
    

    Use cd to switch to the whois directory. The news summaries are stored in files with this form: `NEWS.23OCT92;1'. But to get them, leave off the semicolon and the one, and don't capitalize anything, for example:

    get news.23oct92
    

    FYI:

    The clari.net.newusers newsgroup on Usenet provides a number of articles about Clarinet and ways of finding news stories of interest to you.

    "Be it true or false, so it be news." --- Ben Johnson, News from the World

    "In a medium in which a News piece takes a minute and an `In-Depth' piece takes two minutes, the Simple will drive out the Complex." --- Frank Mankiewicz

    IRC, MUDs and other things that are more fun than they sound

    Many Net systems provide access to a series of interactive services that let you hold live "chats" or play online games with people around the world. To find out if your host system offers these, you can ask your system administrator or just try them -- if nothing happens, then your system does not provide them. In general, if you can use telnet and ftp, chances are good you can use these services as well.

    Talk

    This is the Net equivalent of a telephone conversation and requires that both you and the person you want to talk to have access to this function and are online at the same time. To use it, type

    talk user@site.name
    

    where that is the e-mail address of the other person. She will see something like this on her screen:

    talk: connection requested by yourname@site.name
    talk: respond with:  talk yourname@site.name
    

    To start the conversation, she should then type (at her host system's command line):

    talk yourname@site.name
    

    where that is your e-mail address. Both of you will then get a top and bottom window on your screen. She will see everything you type in one window; you'll see everything she types in the other. To disconnect, hit control-C.

    One note: Public-access sites that use Sun computers sometimes have trouble with the talk program. If talk does not work, try typing `otalk' ot `ntalk' instead. However, the party at the other end will have to have the same program online for the connection to work.

    Internet Relay Chat

    IRC is a program that lets you hold live keyboard conversations with people around the world. It's a lot like an international CB radio - it even uses "channels." Type something on your computer and it's instantly echoed around the world to whoever happens to be on the same channel with you. You can join in existing public group chats or set up your own. You can even create a private channel for yourself and as few as one or two other people. And just like on a CB radio, you can give yourself a unique "handle" or nickname.

    IRC currently links host systems in 20 different countries, from Australia to Hong Kong to Israel.

    Unfortunately, it's like telnet -- either your site has it or it doesn't. If your host system does have it, Just type

    irc
    

    and hit enter. You'll get something like this:

    *** Connecting to port 6667 of server world.std.com
    *** Welcome to the Internet Relay Network, adamg
    *** Your host is world.std.com, running version 2.7.1e+4
    *** You have new mail.
    *** If you have not already done so, please read the new user
    information with +/HELP NEWUSER
    *** This server was created Sat Apr 18 1992 at 16:27:02 EDT
    *** There are 364 users on 140 servers
    *** 45 users have connection to the twilight zone
    *** There are 124 channels.
    *** I have 1 clients and 3 servers
    MOTD - world.std.com Message of the Day -
    MOTD - Be careful out there...
    MOTD -
    MOTD - ->Spike
    * End of /MOTD command.
    
    23:13 [1] adamg [Mail: 32] * type /help for help
    

    You are now in channel 0, the "null" channel, in which you can look up various help files, but not much else. As you can see, IRC takes over your entire screen. The top of the screen is where messages will appear. The last line is where you type IRC commands and messages. All IRC commands begin with a `/'. The slash tells the computer you are about to enter a command, rather than a message. To see what channels are available, type

    /list
    

    and hit enter. You'll get something like this:

    *** Channel    Users  Topic
    *** #Money     1      School CA$H (/msg SOS_AID help)
    *** #Gone      1      ----->> Gone with the wind!!!  ------>>>>>
    *** #mee       1
    *** #eclipse   1
    *** #hiya      2
    *** #saigon    4
    *** #screwed   3
    *** #z         2
    *** #comix     1      LET'S TALK 'BOUT COMIX!!!!!
    *** #Drama     1
    *** #RayTrace  1      Rendering to Reality and Back
    *** #NeXT      1
    *** #wicca     4      Mr. Potato Head, R. I. P.
    *** #dde^mhe`  1      no'ng chay? mo*? ...ba` con o*iiii
    *** #jgm       1
    *** #ucd       1
    *** #Maine     2
    *** #Snuffland 1
    *** #p/g!      4
    *** #DragonSrv 1
    

    Because IRC allows for a large number of channels, the list might scroll off your screen, so you might want to turn on your computer's screen capture to capture the entire list. Note that the channels always have names, instead of numbers. Each line in the listing tells you the channel name, the number of people currently in it, and whether there's a specific topic for it. To switch to a particular channel, type

    /join #channel
    

    where `#channel' is the channel name and hit enter. Some "public" channels actually require an invitation from somebody already on it. To request an invitation, type

    /who #channel-name
    

    where `channel-name' is the name of the channel, and hit enter. Then ask someone with an @ next to their name if you can join in. Note that whenever you enter a channel, you have to include the `#'. Choose one with a number of users, so you can see IRC in action.

    If it's a busy channel, as soon as you join it, the top of your screen will quickly be filled with messages. Each will start with a person's IRC nickname, followed by his message.

    It may seem awfully confusing at first. There could be two or three conversations going on at the same time and sometimes the messages will come in so fast you'll wonder how you can read them all.

    Eventually, though, you'll get into the rhythm of the channel and things will begin to make more sense. You might even want to add your two cents (in fact, don't be surprised if a message to you shows up on your screen right away; on some channels, newcomers are welcomed immediately). To enter a public message, simply type it on that bottom line (the computer knows it's a message because you haven't started the line with a slash) and hit enter.

    Public messages have a user's nickname in brackets, like this:

    <tomg>
    

    If you receive a private message from somebody, his name will be between asterisks, like this:

    *tomg*
    

    For more information on using IRC, see the IRC command box. You can find discussions about IRC in the alt.irc newsgroup.

    IRC Commands

    Note: Hit enter after each command.

    /away
    When you're called away to put out a grease fire in the kitchen, issue this command to let others know you're still connected but just away from your terminal or computer for awhile.

    /help
    Brings up a list of commands for which there is a help file. You will get a "topic:" prompt. Type in the subject for which you want information and hit enter. Hit enter by itself to exit help.

    /invite
    Asks another IRC to join you in a conversation.

    /invite fleepo #hottub
    would send a message to fleepo asking him to join you on the #hottub channel. The channel name is optional.

    /join
    Use this to switch to or create a particular channel, like this: `/join #hottub'

    If one of these channels exists and is not a private one, you will enter it. Otherwise, you have just created it. Note you have to use a `#' as the first character.

    /list
    This will give you a list of all available public channels, their topics (if any) and the number of users currently on them. Hidden and private channels are not shown.

    /m name
    Send a private message to that user.

    /mode
    This lets you determine who can join a channel you've created.

    /mode #channel +s
    creates a secret channel.

    /mode #channel +p
    makes the channel private

    /nick
    This lets you change the name by which others see you.

    `/nick fleepo' would change your name for the present session to fleepo. People can still use /whois to find your e-mail address. If you try to enter a channel where somebody else is already using that nickname, IRC will ask you to select another name.

    /query
    This sets up a private conversation between you and another IRC user. To do this, type `/query nickname'

    Every message you type after that will go only to that person. If she then types `/query nickname' where nickname is yours, then you have established a private conversation. To exit this mode, type `/query' by itself. While in query mode, you and the other person can continue to "listen" to the discussion on whatever public channels you were on, although neither of you will be able to respond to any of the messages there.

    /quit
    Exit IRC.

    /signoff
    Exit IRC.

    /summon
    Asks somebody connected to a host system with IRC to join you on IRC. You must use the person's entire e-mail address.

    `/summon fleepo@foo.bar.com' would send a message to fleepo asking him to start IRC. Usually not a good idea to just summon people unless you know they're already amenable to the idea; otherwise you may wind up annoying them no end. This command does not work on all sites.

    /topic
    When you've started a new channel, use this command to let others know what it's about.

    `/topic #Amiga' would tell people who use /list that your channel is meant for discussing Amiga computers.

    /who <chan>
    Shows you the e-mail address of people on a particular channel.

    `/who #foo' would show you the addresses of everybody on channel foo.

    `/who' by itself shows you every e-mail address for every person on IRC at the time, although be careful: on a busy night you might get a list of 500 names!

    /whois
    Use this to get some information about a specific IRC user or to see who is online.

    `/whois nickname' will give you the e-mail address for the person using that nickname.

    `/whois *' will list everybody on every channel.

    /whowas
    Similar to `/whois'; gives information for people who recently signed off IRC.

    MUDs

    Multiple-User Dimensions or Dungeons (MUDs) take IRC into the DUM realm of fantasy. MUDs are live, role-playing games in which you enter assume a new identity and enter an alternate reality through your keyboard. As you explore this other world, through a series of simple commands (such as "look," "go" and "take"), you'll run across other users, who may engage you in a friendly discussion, enlist your aid in some quest or try to kill you for no apparent reason.

    Each MUD has its own personality and creator (or God) who was willing to put in the long hours required to establish the particular MUD's rules, laws of nature and information databases. Some MUDs stress the social aspects of online communications -- users frequently gather online to chat and join together to build new structures or even entire realms. Others are closer to "Dungeons and Dragons" and are filled with sorcerers, dragons and evil people out to keep you from completing your quest -- through murder if necessary.

    Many MUDs (there are also related games known as MUCKs and MUSEs) require you to apply in advance, through e-mail, for a character name and password. One that lets you look around first, though, is HoloMuck at McGill University in Montreal. The premise of this game is that you arrive in the middle of Tanstaafl, a city on the planet Holo. You have to find a place to live (else you get thrown into the homeless shelter) and then you can begin exploring. Magic is allowed on this world, but only outside the city limits. Get bored with the city and you can roam the rest of the world or even take a trip into orbit (of course, all this takes money; you can either wait for your weekly salary or take a trip to the city casino). Once you become familiar with the city and get your own character, you can even begin erecting your own building (or subway line, or almost anything else).

    To connect, telnet to hobbes.cs.mcgill.ca 5757

    When you connect, type

    connect guest guest
    

    and hit enter. This connects you to the "guest" account, which has a password of "guest." You'll see this:

    Your pager beeps twice, indicating no messages.
    The Homeless Shelter(#22Rna)
    You wake up in the town's Homeless Shelter, where vagrants are put for
    protective holding.
    Please don't sleep in public places-- there are plenty of
    open apartments in Tanstaafl Towers, to the southwest of center.
    There is a small sign on the wall here, with helpful information.
    Type 'look sign' to read it.
    The door is standing open for your return to respectable society.
    Simply walk 'out' to the center.
    

    Of course, you want to join respectable society, but first you want to see what that sign says. So you type

    look sign
    

    and hit enter, which brings up a list of some basic commands. Then you type

    out
    

    followed by enter, which brings up this:

    You slip out the door, and head southeast...
    Tanstaafl Center
    This is the center of the beautiful town of Tanstaafl.
    High Street runs north and south into residential areas, while
    Main Street runs east and west into business districts.
    SW: is Tanstaafl Towers.
    Please claim an apartment... no sleeping in public!
    SE: the Public Library offers both information and entertainment.
    NW: is the Homeless Shelter, formerly the Town Jail.
    NE: is Town Hall, site of several important services, including: Public
    Message Board, Bureau of Land Management (with maps and regulations), and
    other governmental/ bureaucratic help.
    Down: Below a sign marked with both red and blue large letter 'U's, a
    staircase leads into an underground subway passage.
    (Feel free to 'look' in any direction for more information.)
    [Obvious exits: launch, d, nw, se, w, e, n, s, ne, sw]
    Contents:
    Instructions for newcomers
    Directional signpost
    Founders' statue
    

    To see "Instructions for newcomers", type

    look Instructions for newcomers
    

    and hit enter. You could do the same for "Directional signpost" and "Founders' statue." Then type

    SW
    

    and enter to get to Tanstaafl Towers, the city housing complex, where you have to claim an apartment (you may have to look around; many will already) be occupied. And now it's off to explore Holo! One command you'll want to keep in mind is "take." Periodically, you'll come across items that, when you take them will confer certain abilities or powers on you. If you type

    help
    

    and enter, you'll get a list of files you can read to learn more about the MUD's commands.

    The "say" command lets you talk to other players publicly. For example,

    say Hey, I'm here!
    

    would be broadcast to everybody else in the room with you. If you want to talk to just one particular person, use "whisper" instead of "say."

    whisper agora Hey, I'm here!
    

    would be heard only by agora. Another way to communicate with somebody regardless of where on the world they are is through your pager. If you suddenly see yours go off while visiting, chances are it's a wizard checking to see if you need any help. To read his message, type

    pager
    

    To send him a message, type

    page name message
    

    where name is the wizard's name (it'll be in the original message).

    Other MUDs and MUCKs may have different commands, but generally use the same basic idea of letting you navigate through relatively simple English commands. Every Friday, Scott Goehring posts a new list of MUDs and related games and their telnet addresses in the newsgroup rec.games.mud.announce. There are several other mud newsgroups related to specific types of MUDs, including rec.games.mud.social, rec.games.mud.adventure, rec.games.mud.tiny, rec.games.mud.diku and rec.games.mud.lp.

    When you connect to a MUD, choose your password as carefully as you would one for your host system; alas, there are MUD crackers who enjoy trying to break into other people's MUD accounts. And never, never use the same password as the one you use on your host system!

    MUDs can prove highly addicting. "The jury is still out on whether MUDding is 'just a game' or 'an extension of real life with gamelike qualities'," says Jennifer Smith, an active MUD player who wrote an FAQ on the subject.

    She adds one caution: "You shouldn't do anything that you wouldn't do in real life, even if the world is a fantasy world. The important thing to remember is that it's the fantasy world of possibly hundreds of people, and not just yours in particular. There's a human being on the other side of each and every wire! Always remember that you may meet these other people some day, and they may break your nose. People who treat others badly gradually build up bad reputations and eventually receive the NO FUN Stamp of Disapproval."

    The other Side of the Coin

    All is not fun and games on the Net. Like any community, the Net has its share of obnoxious characters who seem to exist only to make your life miserable (you've already met some of them in the chapter on Usenet). There are people who seem to spend a bit more time on the Net than many would find healthy. It also has its criminals. Clifford Stoll writes in "The Cuckoo's Egg" how he tracked a team of German hackers who were breaking into U.S. computers and selling the information they found to the Soviets. Robert Morris, a Cornell University student, was convicted of unleashing a "worm" program that effectively disabled several thousand computers connected to the Internet.

    Of more immediate concern to the average Net user are crackers who seek to find other's passwords to break into Net systems and people who infect programs on ftp sites with viruses.

    There is a widely available program known as "Crack" that can decipher user passwords composed of words that might be found in a dictionary (this is why you shouldn't use such passwords). Short of that, there are the annoying types who, as mentioned above, take a special thrill in trying to make you miserable. The best advice in dealing with them is to count to 10 and then ignore them -- like juveniles everywhere, most of their fun comes in seeing how upset you can get.

    Meanwhile, two Cornell University students pled guilty in 1992 to uploading virus-infected Macintosh programs to ftp sites. If you plan to try out large amounts of software from ftp sites, it might be wise to download or buy a good anti-viral program.

    But can law enforcement go too far in seeking out the criminals? The Electronic Frontier Foundation was founded in large part in response to a series of government raids against an alleged gang of hackers. The raids resulted in the near bankruptcy of one game company never alleged to have had anything to do with the hackers, when the government seized its computers and refused to give them back. The case against another alleged participant collapsed in court when his attorney showed the "proprietary" and supposedly hacked information he printed in an electronic newsletter was actually available via an 800 number for about $13 -- from the phone company from which that data was taken.

    FYI:

    You can find discussions about IRC in the alt.irc newsgroup. A Discussion on Computer Network Conferencing, by Darren Reed (May, 1992), provides a theoretical background on why conferencing systems such as IRC are a Good Thing. It's available through ftp at nic.ddn.mil as file `rfc/rfc1324.txt'.

    For a good overview of the impact on the Internet of the Morris Worm, read Virus Highlights Need for Improved Internet Management, by the U.S. General Accounting Office (June, 1989). You can get a copy via ftp from cert.sei.cmu.edu in the `pub/virus-l/docs' directory. It's listed as `gao_rpt'.

    Clifford Stoll describes how the Internet works and how he tracked a group of KGB-paid German hackers through it, in The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy through the Maze of Computer Espionage, Doubleday (1989).

    See also Bruce Sterling's essay (section "A Statement of Principle" by Bruce Sterling).

    "F: When into a room I plunge, I Sometimes find some VIOLET FUNGI. Then I linger, darkly brooding On the poison they're exuding.

    H: If a 'GOBLIN (HOB) waylays you, Slice him up before he slays you. Nothing makes you look a slob Like running from a HOB'LIN (GOB).

    K: Cobalt's metal, hard and shining; Cobol's wordy and confining; KOBOLDS topple when you strike them; Don't feel bad, it's hard to like them.

    T: One big monster, he called TROLL. He don't rock, and he don't roll; Drink no wine, and smoke no stogies. He just Love To Eat Them Roguies.

    U: There's a U -- a Unicorn! Run right up and rub its horn. Look at all those points you're losing! UMBER HULKS are so confusing."

    --- The Roguelet's ABC

    Education and the Net

    If you're a teacher, you've probably already begun to see the potential the Net has for use in the class. Usenet, ftp and telnet have tremendous educational potential, from keeping up with world events to arranging international science experiments.

    Because the Net now reaches so many countries and often stays online even when the phones go down, you and your students can "tune in" to first-hand accounts during international conflicts. Look at your system's list of Usenet soc.culture.* groups to see if there is one about the country or region you're interested in. Even in peacetime, these newsgroups can be great places to find people from countries you might be studying.

    The biggest problem may be getting accounts for your students, if you're not lucky enough to live within the local calling area of a Free-Net system. Many colleges and universities, however, are willing to discuss providing accounts for secondary students at little or no cost. Several states, including California and Texas, have Internet-linked networks for teachers and students.

    In addition, there are a number of resources on the Internet aimed specifically at elementary and secondary students and teachers. You can use these to set up science experiments with classes in another country, learn how to use computers in the classroom or keep up with the latest advances in teaching everything from physics to physical education.

    Some of these resources are listed in the follwoing.

    K12Net

    Begun on the Fidonet hobbyist network, K12Net is now also carried on many Usenet systems and provides a host of interesting and valuable services. These include international chat for students, foreign-language discussions (for example, there are French and German-only conference where American students can practice those languages with students from Quebec and German). There are also conferences aimed at teachers of specific subjects, from physical education to physics. The K12 network still has limited distribution, so ask your system administrator if your system carries it.

    SpaceMet

    If your system doesn't carry K12, but has access to telnet, you can reach it through SpaceMet Forum, a bulletin-board system aimed at teachers and students that is run by the physics and astronomy department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The address is spacemet.phast.umass.edu. When you connect, hit escape once. Like K12, SpaceMet Forum began as a Fidonet system, but has since grown much larger. Mort and Helen Sternheim, professors at the university, started SpaceMet as a one-line bulletin-board system several years ago to help bolster middle-school science education in nearby towns.

    Today, there is a whole series of satellite SpaceMet BBSs in western Massachusetts and SpaceMet itself is now linked to Fidonet and Internet.

    In addition to the K12 conferences, SpaceMet carries numerous educationally oriented conferences. It also has a large file library of interest to educators and students, but be aware that getting files to your site could be difficult and maybe even impossible. Unlike most other Internet sites, Spacemet does not use an ftp interface. The Sternheims say ZMODEM sometimes works over the network, but don't count on it.

    Kidsphere

    Kidsphere is a mailing list for elementary and secondary teachers, who use it to arrange joint projects and discuss educational telecommunications. You will find news of new software, lists of sites from which you can get computer-graphics pictures from various NASA satellites and probes and other news of interest to modem-using teachers.

    To subscribe, send a request by e-mail to (kidsphere-request@vms.cis.pitt.edu) or try (joinkids@vms.cis.pitt.edu) and you will start receiving messages within a couple of days. To contribute to the discussion, send messages to (kidsphere@vms.cis.pitt.edu).

    KIDS is a spin-off of KIDSPHERE just for students who want to contact students. To subscribe, send a request to (joinkids@vms.cis.pitt.edu), as above. To contribute, send messages to (kids@vms.cist.pitt.edu).

    Health-Ed:

    A mailing list for health educators. Send a request to (health-ed-request@stjhmc.fidonet. org).

    Hemingway

    PAPA is a mailing list about Hemingway and his work. To get on the list, send a request to (dgross@polyslo.calpoly.edu).

    NASA Spacelink

    This system, run by NASA in Huntsville, Ala., provides all sorts of reports and data about NASA, its history and its various missions, past and present. Telnet spacelink.msfc.nasa.gov or 128.158.13.250.

    When you connect, you'll be given an overview of the system and asked to register. The system maintains a large file library of GIF-format space graphics, but note that you can't download these through telnet. If you want to, you have to dial the system directly, at (205) 895-0028. Many can be obtained through ftp from ames.arc.nasa.gov, however.

    Newton

    This is another BBS-like system, run by the Argonne National Laboratory. It offers conferences for teachers and students, including one called "Ask a Scientist." Telnet: newton.dep.anl.gov. Log in as: cocotext

    You'll be asked to provide your name and address. When you get the main menu, hit `4' for the various conferences. The "Ask a Scientist" category lets you ask questions of scientists in fields from biology to earth science. Other categories let you discuss teaching, sports and computer networks.

    Educational FTP sites

    To get a list of ftp sites that carry astronomical images in the GIF graphics format, use ftp to connect to nic.funet.fi. Switch to the `/pub/astro/general' directory and get the file `astroftp.txt'. Among the sites listed is ames.arc.nasa.gov, which carries images taken by the Voyager and Galileo probes, among other pictures.

    More Educational Resources on the Net

    There are numerous Usenet newsgroups of potential interest to teachers and students.

    As you might expect, many are of a scientific bent. You can find these by typing `l sci.' in rn or using `nngrep sci.' for nn. There are now close to 40, with subjects ranging from archaeology to economics (the "dismal science," remember?) to astronomy to nanotechnology (the construction of microscopically small machines).

    One thing students will quickly learn from many of these groups: science is not just dull, boring facts. Science is argument and standing your ground and making your case. The Usenet sci.* groups encourage critical thinking.

    Beyond science, social-studies and history classes can keep busy learning about other countries, through the soc.culture.* newsgroups.

    Most of these newsgroups originated as ways for expatriates of a given country to keep in touch with their homeland and its culture. In times of crisis, however, these groups often become places to disseminate information from or into the country and to discuss what is happening. From Afghanistan to Yugoslavia, close to 50 countries are now represented on Usenet.

    To see which groups are available, use `l soc.culture.' in rn or `nngrep soc.culture.' for nn.

    Several "talk" newsgroups provide additional topical discussions, but teachers should screen them first before recommending them to students. They range from talk.abortion, via talk.politics. guns to talk.politics.space, and talk.environment.

    There are also a number of Bitnet discussion groups of potential interest to students and teachers. See section Mailing Lists and Bitnet for information on finding and subscribing to Bitnet discussion groups. Some with an educational orientation include:

    biopi-l     ksuvm.bitnet        Secondary biology education
    chemed-l    uwf.bitnet          Chemistry education
    dts-l       iubvm.bitnet        The Dead Teacher's Society list
    phys-l      uwf.bitnet          Discussions for physics teachers
    physhare    psuvm.bitnet        Where physics teachers share resources
    scimathl    psuvm.bitnet        Science and math education
    

    FYI:

    Carl Erickson (erickson@oak.mcs.gvsu.edu) has written an interesting paper, entitled USENET as a Teaching Tool, published in the Proceedings of 24th, ACM Conference on Science and Education (CSE-2/93-IN).

    "A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education." --- George Bernhard Shaw

    "Education is the process of casting false pearls before real swine." --- Irsin Edman

    "It is against the grain of modern education to teach children to program. What fun is there in making plans, acquiring discipline in organizing thoughts, devoting attention to detail, and learning to be self-critical?" --- Alan Perlis

    "Conclusion: the End?" by Adam Gaffin

    The revolution is just beginning.

    New communications systems and digital technologies have already meant dramatic changes in the way we live. Think of what is already routine that would have been considered impossible just ten years ago. You can browse through the holdings of your local library -- or of libraries halfway around the world -- do your banking and see if your neighbor has gone bankrupt, all through a computer and modem.

    Imploding costs coupled with exploding power are bringing ever more powerful computer and digital systems to ever growing numbers of people. The Net, with its rapidly expanding collection of databases and other information sources, is no longer limited to the industrialized nations of the West; today the web extends into once remote areas from Siberia to Zimbabwe. The cost of computers and modems used to plug into the Net, meanwhile, continue to plummet, making them ever more affordable.

    Cyberspace has become a vital part of millions of people's daily lives. People form relationships online, they fall in love, they get married, all because of initial contacts in cyberspace, that ephemeral "place" that transcends national and state boundaries. Business deals are transacted entirely in ASCII. Political and social movements begin online, coordinated by people who could be thousands of miles apart.

    Yet this is only the beginning.

    We live in an age of communication, yet, the various media we use to talk to one another remain largely separate systems. One day, however, your telephone, TV, fax machine and personal computer will be replaced by a single "information processor" linked to the worldwide Net by strands of optical fiber.

    Beyond databases and file libraries, power will be at your fingertips. Linked to thousands, even millions of like-minded people, you'll be able to participate in social and political movements across the country and around the world.

    How does this happen? In part, it will come about through new technologies. High-definition television will require the development of inexpensive computers that can process as much information as today's work stations. Telephone and cable companies will compete to see who can bring those fiber-optic cables into your home first. High- speed data networks, such as the Internet, will be replaced by even more powerful systems.

    Vice President Albert Gore, who successfully fought for a landmark funding bill for a new high-speed national computer network in 1990, talks of creating "information superhighways."

    Right now, we are in the network equivalent of the early 1950s, just before the creation of the Interstate highway system. Sure, there are plenty of interesting things out there, but you have to meander along two-lane roads, and have a good map, to get to them.

    Creation of this new Net will also require a new communications paradigm: the Net as information utility. The Net remains a somewhat complicated and mysterious place. To get something out of the Net today, you have to spend a fair amount of time with a Net veteran or a manual like this. You have to learn such arcana as the vagaries of the Unix cd command.

    Contrast this with the telephone, which now also provides access to large amounts of information through push buttons, or a computer network such as Prodigy, which one navigates through simple commands and mouse clicks.

    Internet system administrators have begun to realize that not all people want to learn the intricacies of Unix, and that that fact does not make them bad people. Coming years will see the development of simpler interfaces that will put the Net's power to use by millions of people, just as the number of host systems offering public access to the Net will skyrocket.

    Gophers and Wide-Area Information Servers have become two of the fastest growing applications on the Net. They are relatively simple to use and yet offer access to vast amounts of information. Mail programs and text editors such as Pico and Pine promise much of the power of older programs such as emacs at a fraction of the complexity.

    Some software engineers are looking at taking this even further, by creating graphical interfaces that will let somebody navigate the Internet just by clicking on the screen with a mouse or by calling up an easy text editor, sort of the way one can now navigate a Macintosh computer -- or a commercial online service such as Prodigy.

    Then there are the Internet services themselves.

    For every database now available through the Internet, there are probably three or four that are not. Government agencies are only slowing beginning to connect their storehouses of information to the Net. Several commercial vendors, from database services to booksellers, have made their services available through the Net.

    Few people now use one of the Net's more interesting applications. A standard known as MIME lets one send audio and graphics files in a message. Imagine opening your e-mail one day to hear your granddaughter's first words, or a "photo" of your friend's new house. Eventually, this standard could allow for distribution of even small video displays over the Net.

    All of this will require vast new amounts of Net power, to handle both the millions of new people who will jump onto the Net and the new applications they want. Replicating a moving image on a computer screen alone takes a phenomenal amount of computer bits, and computing power to arrange them.

    The legislation pushed by Gore in 1991 will eventually replace the existing Internet in the U.S. with the National Research and Education Network.

    At the center of NREN will be a "backbone" that, in one second, will be able to move as much as 3 billion bits of information from coast to coast -- the equivalent of shipping the contents of a large encyclopedia from New York to Los Angeles electronically. That seems like a silly thing to do. But that kind of speed allows for widespread distribution of complex files, such as video loops, without bogging down the entire Net. Its capacity will let millions more people onto the Net.

    As these "superhighways" grow, so will the "on ramps," for a high- speed road does you little good if you can't get to it. The costs of modems seem to fall as fast as those of computers. High-speed modems (9600 baud and up) are becoming increasingly affordable. At 9600 baud, you can download a satellite weather image of North America in less than two minutes, a file that, with a slower modem could take up to 20 minutes to download. Eventually, homes could be connected directly to a national digital network. Most long-distance phone traffic is already carried in digital form, through high-volume optical fibers. Phone companies are ever so slowly working to extend these fibers the "final mile" to the home. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is working to ensure these links are affordable.

    Beyond the technical questions are increasingly thorny social, political and economic issues. Who is to have access to these services, and at what cost? If we live in an information age, are we laying the seeds for a new information under class, unable to compete with those fortunate enough to have the money and skills needed to manipulate new communications channels? Who, in fact, decides who has access to what? As more companies realize the potential profits to be made in the new information infrastructure, what happens to such systems as Usenet, possibly the world's first successful anarchistic system, where everybody can say whatever they want?

    What are the laws of the electronic frontier? When national and state boundaries lose their meaning in cyberspace, the question might even be: WHO is the law? What if a practice that is legal in one country is "committed" in another country where it is illegal, over a computer network that crosses through a third country? Who goes after computer crackers?

    What role will you play in the revolution?

    "The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it." --- Abbie Hoffman

    "The only act of revolution left in a collective world, is thinking for yourself." --- Bob Geldof, Is that it?

    "And all else is silence." --- Shakespeare, Hamlet

    "A Slice of Life in my Virtual Community" by Howard Rheingold

    By Howard Rheingold (1) (hlr@well.sf.ca.us) Editor, The Whole Earth Review, 27 Gate Five Road, Sausalito, CA 94965.

    NOTE: In 1988, Whole Earth Review published my article, "Virtual Communities." Four years later, I reread it and realized that I had learned a few things, and that the world I was observing had changed. So I rewrote it. The original version is available on the WELL as `/uh/72/hlr/virtual_communities88'.

    Portions of this will appear in Globalizing Networks: Computers and International Communication, edited by Linda Harasim and Jan Walls for MIT press. Portions of this will appear in "Virtual Communities," by Howard Rheingold, Addison-Wesley. Portions of this may find their way into Whole Earth Review.

    This is a world-readable file, and I think these are important issues; encourage distribution, but I do ask for fair use: Don't remove my name from my words when you quote or reproduce them, don't change them, and don't impair my ability to make a living with them.

    I'm a writer, so I spend a lot of time alone in a room with my words and my thoughts. On occasion, I venture outside to interview people or to find information. After work, I reenter the human community, via my family, my neighborhood, my circle of acquaintances. But that regime left me feeling isolated and lonely during the working day, with few opportunities to expand my circle of friends. For the past seven years, however, I have participated in a wide-ranging, intellectually stimulating, professionally rewarding, sometimes painful, and often intensely emotional ongoing interchange with dozens of new friends, hundreds of colleagues, thousands of acquaintances. And I still spend many of my days in a room, physically isolated. My mind, however, is linked with a worldwide collection of like-minded (and not so like-minded) souls: My virtual community.

    Virtual communities emerged from a surprising intersection of humanity and technology. When the ubiquity of the world telecommunications network is combined with the information-structuring and storing capabilities of computers, a new communication medium becomes possible. As we've learned from the history of the telephone, radio, television, people can adopt new communication media and redesign their way of life with surprising rapidity. Computers, modems, and communication networks furnish the technological infrastructure of computer-mediated communication (CMC); cyberspace is the conceptual space where words and human relationships, data and wealth and power are manifested by people using CMC technology; virtual communities are cultural aggregations that emerge when enough people bump into each other often enough in cyberspace.

    A virtual community as they exist today is a group of people who may or may not meet one another face to face, and who exchange words and ideas through the mediation of computer bulletin boards and networks. In cyberspace, we chat and argue, engage in intellectual intercourse, perform acts of commerce, exchange knowledge, share emotional support, make plans, brainstorm, gossip, feud, fall in love, find friends and lose them, play games and metagames, flirt, create a little high art and a lot of idle talk. We do everything people do when people get together, but we do it with words on computer screens, leaving our bodies behind. Millions of us have already built communities where our identities commingle and interact electronically, independent of local time or location. The way a few of us live now might be the way a larger population will live, decades hence.

    The pioneers are still out there exploring the frontier, the borders of the domain have yet to be determined, or even the shape of it, or the best way to find one's way in it. But people are using the technology of computer-mediated communications CMC technology to do things with each other that weren't possible before. Human behavior in cyberspace, as we can observe it and participate in it today, is going to be a crucially important factor. The ways in which people use CMC always will be rooted in human needs, not hardware or software.

    If the use of virtual communities turns out to answer a deep and compelling need in people, and not just snag onto a human foible like pinball or pac-man, today's small online enclaves may grow into much larger networks over the next twenty years. The potential for social change is a side-effect of the trajectory of telecommunications and computer industries, as it can be forecast for the next ten years. This odd social revolution -- communities of people who may never or rarely meet face to face -- might piggyback on the technologies that the biggest telecommunication companies already are planning to install over the next ten years.

    It is possible that the hardware and software of a new global telecommunications infrastructure, orders of magnitude more powerful than today's state of the art, now moving from the laboratories to the market, will expand the reach of this spaceless place throughout the 1990s to a much wider population than today's hackers, technologists, scholars, students, and enthusiasts. The age of the online pioneers will end soon, and the cyberspace settlers will come en-masse. Telecommuters who might have thought they were just working from home and avoiding one day of gridlock on the freeway will find themselves drawn into a whole new society. Students and scientists are already there, artists have made significant inroads, librarians and educators have their own pioneers as well, and political activists of all stripes have just begun to discover the power of plugging a computer into a telephone. When today's millions become tens and hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, what kind of place, and what kind of model for human behavior will they find?

    Today's bedroom electronic bulletin boards, regional computer conferencing systems, global computer networks offer clues to what might happen when more powerful enabling technology comes along. The hardware for amplifying the computing and communication capacity of every home on the world-grid is in the pipeline, although the ultimate applications are not yet clear. We'll be able to transfer the Library of Congress from any point on the globe to any another point in seconds, upload and download full-motion digital video at will. But is that really what people are likely to do with all that bandwidth and computing power? Some of the answers have to come from the behavioral rather than the technological part of the system. How will people actually use the desktop supercomputers and multimedia telephones that the engineers tell us we'll have in the near future.

    One possibility is that people are going to do what people always do with a new communication technology: use it in ways never intended or foreseen by its inventors, to turn old social codes inside out and make new kinds of communities possible. CMC will change us, and change our culture, the way telephones and televisions and cheap video cameras changed us -- by altering the way we perceive and communicate. Virtual communities transformed my life profoundly, years ago, and continue to do so.

    A Cybernaut's Eye View

    The most important clues to the shape of the future at this point might not be found in looking more closely at the properties of silicon, but in paying attention to the ways people need to, fail to, and try to communicate with one another. Right now, some people are convinced that spending hours a day in front of a screen, typing on a keyboard, fulfills in some way our need for a community of peers. Whether we have discovered something wonderful or stumbled into something insidiously unwonderful, or both, the fact that people want to use CMC to meet other people and experiment with identity are valuable signposts to possible futures. Human behavior in cyberspace, as we can observe it today on the nets and in the BBSs, gives rise to important questions about the effects of communication technology on human values. What kinds of humans are we becoming in an increasingly computer-mediated world, and do we have any control over that transformation? How have our definitions of "human" and "community" been under pressure to change to fit the specifications of a technology-guided civilization?

    Fortunately, questions about the nature of virtual communities are not purely theoretical, for there is a readily accessible example of the phenomenon at hand to study. Millions of people now inhabit the social spaces that have grown up on the world's computer networks, and this previously invisible global subculture has been growing at a monstrous rate recently (e.g., the Internet growing by 25% per month).

    I've lived here myself for seven years; the WELL and the net have been a regular part of my routine, like gardening on Sunday, for one sixth of my life thus far. My wife and daughter long ago grew accustomed to the fact that I sit in front of my computer early in the morning and late at night, chuckling and cursing, sometimes crying, about something I am reading on the computer screen. The questions I raise here are not those of a scientist, or of a polemicist who has found an answer to something, but as a user -- a nearly obsessive user -- of CMC and a deep mucker-about in virtual communities. What kind of people are my friends and I becoming? What does that portend for others?

    If CMC has a potential, it is in the way people in so many parts of the net fiercely defend the use of the term "community" to describe the relationships we have built online. But fierceness of belief is not sufficient evidence that the belief is sound. Is the aura of community an illusion? The question has not been answered, and is worth asking. I've seen people hurt by interactions in virtual communities. Is telecommunication culture capable of becoming something more than what Scott Peck calls a "pseudo-community," where people lack the genuine personal commitments to one another that form the bedrock of genuine community? Or is our notion of "genuine" changing in an age where more people every day live their lives in increasingly artificial environments? New technologies tend to change old ways of doing things. Is the human need for community going to be the next technology commodity?

    I can attest that I and thousands of other cybernauts know that what we are looking for, and finding in some surprising ways, is not just information, but instant access to ongoing relationships with a large number of other people. Individuals find friends and groups find shared identities online, through the aggregated networks of relationships and commitments that make any community possible. But are relationships and commitments as we know them even possible in a place where identities are fluid? The physical world, known variously as "IRL" ("In Real Life"), or "offline," is a place where the identity and position of the people you communicate with are well known, fixed, and highly visual. In cyberspace, everybody is in the dark. We can only exchange words with each other -- no glances or shrugs or ironic smiles. Even the nuances of voice and intonation are stripped away. On top of the technology-imposed constraints, we who populate cyberspace deliberately experiment with fracturing traditional notions of identity by living as multiple simultaneous personae in different virtual neighborhoods.

    We reduce and encode our identities as words on a screen, decode and unpack the identities of others. The way we use these words, the stories (true and false) we tell about ourselves (or about the identity we want people to believe us to be) is what determines our identities in cyberspace. The aggregation of personae, interacting with each other, determines the nature of the collective culture. Our personae, constructed from our stories of who we are, use the overt topics of discussion in a BBS or network for a more fundamental purpose, as means of interacting with each other. And all this takes place on both public and private levels, in many-to-many open discussions and one-to-one private electronic mail, front stage role-playing and backstage behavior.

    When I'm online, I cruise through my conferences, reading and replying in topics that I've been following, starting my own topics when the inspiration or need strikes me. Every few minutes, I get a notice on my screen that I have incoming mail. I might decide to wait to read the mail until I'm finished doing something else, or drop from the conference into the mailer, to see who it is from. At the same time that I am participating in open discussion in conferences and private discourse in electronic mail, people I know well use "sends" -- a means of sending one or two quick sentences to my screen without the intervention of an electronic mail message. This can be irritating before you get used to it, since you are either reading or writing something else when it happens, but eventually it becomes a kind of rhythm: different degrees of thoughtfulness and formality happen simultaneously, along with the simultaneous multiple personae. Then there are public and private conferences that have partially overlapping memberships. CMC offers tools for facilitating all the various ways people have discovered to divide and communicate, group and subgroup and regroup, include and exclude, select and elect.

    When a group of people remain in communication with one another for extended periods of time, the question of whether it is a community arises. Virtual communities might be real communities, they might be pseudocommunities, or they might be something entirely new in the realm of social contracts, but I believe they are in part a response to the hunger for community that has followed the disintegration of traditional communities around the world.

    Social norms and shared mental models have not emerged yet, so everyone's sense of what kind of place cyberspace is can vary widely, which makes it hard to tell whether the person you are communicating with shares the same model of the system within which you are communicating. Indeed, the online acronym YMMV ("Your Mileage May Vary") has become shorthand for this kind of indeterminacy of shared context. For example, I know people who use vicious online verbal combat as a way of blowing off steam from the pressures of their real life -- "sport hassling" -- and others who use it voyeuristically, as a text-based form of real-life soap-opera. To some people, it's a game. And I know people who feel as passionately committed to our virtual community and the people in it (or at least some of the people in it) as our nation, occupation, or neighborhood. Whether we like it or not, the communitarians and the venters, the builders and the vandals, the egalitarians and the passive-aggressives, are all in this place together. The diversity of the communicating population is one of the defining characteristics of the new medium, one of its chief attractions, the source of many of its most vexing problems.

    Is the prospect of moving en-masse into cyberspace in the near future, when the world's communication network undergoes explosive expansion of bandwidth, a beneficial thing for entire populations to do? In which ways might the growth of virtual communities promote alienation? How might virtual communities facilitate conviviality? Which social structures will dissolve, which political forces will arise, and which will lose power? These are questions worth asking now, while there is still time to shape the future of the medium. In the sense that we are traveling blind into a technology-shaped future that might be very different from today's culture, direct reports from life in different corners of the world's online cultures today might furnish valuable signposts to the territory ahead.

    Since the summer of 1985, I've spent an average of two hours a day, seven days a week, often when I travel, plugged into the WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link) via a computer and a telephone line, exchanging information and playing with attention, becoming entangled In Real Life, with a growing network of similarly wired-in strangers I met in cyberspace. I remember the first time I walked into a room full of people (IRL) whose faces were completely unknown to me, but who knew many intimate details of my history, and whose own stories I knew very well. I had contended with these people, shot the breeze around the electronic water cooler, shared alliances and formed bonds, fallen off my chair laughing with them, become livid with anger at these people, but I had not before seen their faces.

    I found this digital watering hole for information-age hunters and gatherers the same way most people find such places -- I was lonely, hungry for intellectual and emotional companionship, although I didn't know it. While many commuters dream of working at home, telecommuting, I happen to know what it's like to work that way. I never could stand to commute or even get out of my pajamas if I didn't want to, so I've always worked at home. It has its advantages and its disadvantages. Others like myself also have been drawn into the online world because they shared with me the occupational hazard of the self-employed, home-based symbolic analyst of the 1990s -- isolation. The kind of people that Robert Reich, call "symbolic analysts" are natural matches for online communities: programmers, writers, freelance artists and designers, independent radio and television producers, editors, researchers, librarians. People who know what to do with symbols, abstractions, and representations, but who sometimes find themselves spending more time with keyboards and screens than human companions.

    I've learned that virtual communities are very much like other communities in some ways, deceptively so to those who assume that people who communicate via words on a screen are in some way aberrant in their communication skills and human needs. And I've learned that virtual communities are very much not like communities in some other ways, deceptively so to those who assume that people who communicate via words on a screen necessarily share the same level of commitment to each other in real life as more traditional communities. Communities can emerge from and exist within computer-linked groups, but that technical linkage of electronic personae is not sufficient to create a community.

    Social Contracts, Reciprocity, and Gift Economies in Cyberspace

    The network of communications that constitutes a virtual community can include the exchange of information as a kind of commodity, and the economic implications of this phenomenon are significant; the ultimate social potential of the network, however, lies not solely in its utility as an information market, but in the individual and group relationships that can happen over time. When such a group accumulates a sufficient number of friendships and rivalries, and witnesses the births, marriages, and deaths that bond any other kind of community, it takes on a definite and profound sense of place in people's minds. Virtual communities usually have a geographically local focus, and often have a connection to a much wider domain. The local focus of my virtual community, the WELL, is the San Francisco Bay Area; the wider locus consists of hundreds of thousands of other sites around the world, and millions of other communitarians, linked via exchanges of messages into a meta-community known as "the net."

    The existence of computer-linked communities was predicted twenty years ago by J.C.R. Licklider and Robert Taylor, who as research directors for the Department of Defense, set in motion the research that resulted in the creation of the first such community, the ARPAnet: "What will on-line interactive communities be like?" Licklider and Taylor wrote, in 1968: "In most fields they will consist of geographically separated members, sometimes grouped in small clusters and sometimes working individually. They will be communities not of common location, but of common interest..."

    My friends and I sometimes believe we are part of the future that Licklider dreamed about, and we often can attest to the truth of his prediction that "life will be happier for the on-line individual because the people with whom one interacts most strongly will be selected more by commonality of interests and goals than by accidents of proximity." I still believe that, but I also know that life also has turned out to be unhappy at times, intensely so in some circumstances, because of words on a screen. Events in cyberspace can have concrete effects in real life, of both the pleasant and less pleasant varieties. Participating in a virtual community has not solved all of life's problems for me, but it has served as an aid, a comfort and an inspiration at times; at other times, it has been like an endless, ugly, long-simmering family brawl.

    I've changed my mind about a lot of aspects of the WELL over the years, but the "sense of place" is still as strong as ever. As Ray Oldenburg revealed in "The Great Good Place," there are three essential places in every person's life: the place they live, the place they work, and the place they gather for conviviality. Although the casual conversation that takes place in cafes, beauty shops, pubs, town squares is universally considered to be trivial, "idle talk," Oldenburg makes the case that such places are where communities can arise and hold together. When the automobile-centric, suburban, high-rise, fast food, shopping mall way of life eliminated many of these "third places," the social fabric of existing communities shredded. It might not be the same kind of place that Oldenburg had in mind, but so many of his descriptions of "third places" could also describe the WELL.

    The feeling of logging into the WELL for just a minute or two, dozens of times a day is very similar to the feeling of peeking into the cafe, the pub, the common room, to see who's there, and whether you want to stay around for a chat. Indeed, in all the hundreds of thousands of computer systems around the world that use the UNIX operating system, as does the WELL, the most widely used command is the one that shows you who is online. Another widely used command is the one that shows you a particular user's biography.

    I visit the WELL both for the sheer pleasure of communicating with my newfound friends, and for its value as a practical instrument forgathering information on subjects that are of momentary or enduring importance, from child care to neuroscience, technical questions on telecommunications to arguments on philosophical, political, or spiritual subjects. It's a bit like a neighborhood pub or coffee shop. It's a little like a salon, where I can participate in a hundred ongoing conversations with people who don't care what I look like or sound like, but who do care how I think and communicate. There are seminars and word fights in different corners. And it's all a little like a groupmind, where questions are answered, support is given, inspiration is provided, by people I may have never heard from before, and whom I may never meet face to face.

    Because we cannot see one another, we are unable to form prejudices about others before we read what they have to say: Race, gender, age, national origin and physical appearance are not apparent unless a person wants to make such characteristics public. People who are thoughtful but who are not quick to formulate a reply often do better in CMC than face to face or over the telephone. People whose physical handicaps make it difficult to form new friendships find that virtual communities treat them as they always wanted to be treated -- as thinkers and transmitters of ideas and feeling beings, not carnal vessels with a certain appearance and way of walking and talking (or not walking and not talking). Don't mistake this filtration of appearances for dehumanization: Words on a screen are quite capable of moving one to laughter or tears, of evoking anger or compassion, of creating a community from a collection of strangers.

    From my informal research into virtual communities around the world, I have found that enthusiastic members of virtual communities in Japan, England, and the US agree that "increasing the diversity of their circle of friends" was one of the most important advantages of computer conferencing. CMC is a way to meet people, whether or not you feel the need to affiliate with them on a community level, but the way you meet them has an interesting twist: In traditional kinds of communities, we are accustomed to meeting people, then getting to know them; in virtual communities, you can get to know people and then choose to meet them. In some cases, you can get to know people who you might never meet on the physical plane.

    How does anybody find friends? In the traditional community, we search through our pool of neighbors and professional colleagues, of acquaintances and acquaintances of acquaintances, in order to find people who share our values and interests. We then exchange information about one another, disclose and discuss our mutual interests, and sometimes we become friends. In a virtual community we can go directly to the place where our favorite subjects are being discussed, then get acquainted with those who share our passions, or who use words in a way we find attractive. In this sense, the topic is the address: You can't simply pick up a phone and ask to be connected with someone who wants to talk about Islamic art or California wine, or someone with a three year old daughter or a 30 year old Hudson; you can, however, join a computer conference on any of those topics, then open a public or private correspondence with the previously-unknown people you find in that conference. You will find that your chances of making friends are magnified by orders of magnitude over the old methods of finding a peer group.

    You can be fooled about people in cyberspace, behind the cloak of words. But that can be said about telephones or face to face communications, as well; computer-mediated communications provide new ways to fool people, and the most obvious identity-swindles will die out only when enough people learn to use the medium critically. Sara Kiesler noted that the word "phony" is an artifact of the early years of the telephone, when media-naive people were conned by slick talkers in ways that wouldn't deceive an eight-year old with a cellular phone today.

    There is both an intellectual and an emotional component to CMC. Since so many members of virtual communities are the kind of knowledge-based professionals whose professional standing can be enhanced by what they know, virtual communities can be practical, cold-blooded instruments. Virtual communities can help their members cope with information overload. The problem with the information age, especially for students and knowledge workers who spend their time immersed in the info-flow, is that there is too much information available and no effective filters for sifting the key data that are useful and interesting to us as individuals. Programmers are trying to design better and better "software agents" that can seek and sift, filter and find, and save us from the awful feeling one gets when it turns out that the specific knowledge one needs is buried in 15,000 pages of related information.

    The first software agents are now becoming available (e.g., WAIS, Rosebud), but we already have far more sophisticated, if informal, social contracts among groups of people that allow us to act as software agents for one another. If, in my wanderings through information space, I come across items that don't interest me but which I know one of my worldwide loose-knit affinity group of online friends would appreciate, I send the appropriate friend a pointer, or simply forward the entire text (one of the new powers of CMC is the ability to publish and converse with the same medium). In some cases, I can put the information in exactly the right place for 10,000 people I don't know, but who are intensely interested in that specific topic, to find it when they need it. And sometimes, 10,000 people I don't know do the same thing for me.

    This unwritten, unspoken social contract, a blend of strong-tie and weak-tie relationships among people who have a mixture of motives, requires one to give something, and enables one to receive something. I have to keep my friends in mind and send them pointers instead of throwing my informational discards into the virtual scrap-heap. It doesn't take a great deal of energy to do that, since I have to sift that information anyway in order to find the knowledge I seek for my own purposes; it takes two keystrokes to delete the information, three keystrokes to forward it to someone else. And with scores of other people who have an eye out for my interests while they explore sectors of the information space that I normally wouldn't frequent, I find that the help I receive far outweighs the energy I expend helping others: A marriage of altruism and self-interest.

    The first time I learned about that particular cyberspace power was early in the history of the WELL, when I was invited to join a panel of experts who advise the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). The subject of the assessment was "Communication Systems for an Information Age." I'm not an expert in telecommunication technology or policy, but I do know where to find a group of such experts, and how to get them to tell me what they know. Before I went to Washington for my first panel meeting, I opened a conference in the WELL and invited assorted information-freaks, technophiles, and communication experts to help me come up with something to say. An amazing collection of minds flocked to that topic, and some of them created whole new communities when they collided.

    By the time I sat down with the captains of industry, government advisers, and academic experts at the panel table, I had over 200 pages of expert advice from my own panel. I wouldn't have been able to integrate that much knowledge of my subject in an entire academic or industrial career, and it only took me (and my virtual community) a few minutes a day for six weeks. I have found the WELL to be an outright magical resource, professionally. An editor or producer or client can call and ask me if I know much about the Constitution, or fiber optics, or intellectual property. "Let me get back to you in twenty minutes," I say, reaching for the modem. In terms of the way I learned to use the WELL to get the right piece of information at the right time, I'd say that the hours I've spent putting information into the WELL turned out to be the most lucrative professional investments I've ever made.

    The same strategy of nurturing and making use of loose information-sharing affiliations across the net can be applied to an infinite domain of problem areas, from literary criticism to software evaluation. It's a neat way for a sufficiently large, sufficiently diverse group of people to multiply their individual degree of expertise, and I think it could be done even if the people aren't involved in a community other than their company or their research specialty. I think it works better when the community's conceptual model of itself is more like barn-raising than horse-trading, though. Reciprocity is a key element of any market-based culture, but the arrangement I'm describing feels to me more like a kind of gift economy where people do things for one another out of a spirit of building something between them, rather than a spreadsheet-calculated quid pro quo. When that spirit exists, everybody gets a little extra something, a little sparkle, from their more practical transactions; different kinds of things become possible when this mindset pervades. Conversely, people who have valuable things to add to the mix tend to keep their heads down and their ideas to themselves when a mercenary or hostile zeitgeist dominates an online community.

    I think one key difference between straightforward workaday reciprocity is that in the virtual community I know best, one valuable currency is knowledge, elegantly presented. Wit and use of language are rewarded in this medium, which is biased toward those who learn how to manipulate attention and emotion with the written word. Sometimes, you give one person more information than you would give another person in response to the same query, simply because you recognize one of them to be more generous or funny or to-the-point or agreeable to your political convictions than the other one.

    If you give useful information freely, without demanding tightly-coupled reciprocity, your requests for information are met more swiftly, in greater detail, than they would have been otherwise. The person you help might never be in a position to help you, but someone else might be. That's why it is hard to distinguish idle talk from serious context-setting. In a virtual community, idle talk is context-setting. Idle talk is where people learn what kind of person you are, why you should be trusted or mistrusted, what interests you. An agora is more than the site of transactions; it is also a place where people meet and size up one another.

    A market depends on the quality of knowledge held by the participants, the buyers and sellers, about price and availability and a thousand other things that influence business; a market that has a forum for informal and back-channel communications is a better-informed market. The London Stock Exchange grew out of the informal transactions in a coffee-house; when it became the London International Stock Exchange a few years ago, and abolished the trading-room floor, the enterprise lost something vital in the transition from an old room where all the old boys met and cut their deals to the screens of thousands of workstations scattered around the world.

    The context of the informal community of knowledge sharers grew to include years of both professional and personal relationships. It is not news that the right network of people can serve as an inquiry research system: You throw out the question, and somebody on the net knows the answer. You can make a game out of it, where you gain symbolic prestige among your virtual peers by knowing the answer. And you can make a game out of it among a group of people who have dropped out of their orthodox professional lives, where some of them sell these information services for exorbitant rates, in order to participate voluntarily in the virtual community game.

    When the WELL was young and growing more slowly than it is now, such knowledge-potlatching had a kind of naively enthusiastic energy. When you extend the conversation -- several dozen different characters, well-known to one another from four or five years of virtual hanging-out, several hours a day -- it gets richer, but not necessarily "happier."

    Virtual communities have several drawbacks in comparison to face-to-face communication, disadvantages that must be kept in mind if you are to make use of the power of these computer-mediated discussion groups. The filtration factor that prevents one from knowing the race or age of another participant also prevents people from communicating the facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice that constitute the inaudible but vital component of most face to face communications. Irony, sarcasm, compassion, and other subtle but all-important nuances that aren't conveyed in words alone are lost when all you can see of a person are words on a screen.

    It's amazing how the ambiguity of words in the absence of body language inevitably leads to online misunderstandings. And since the physical absence of other people also seems to loosen some of the social bonds that prevent people from insulting one another in person, misunderstandings can grow into truly nasty stuff before anybody has a chance to untangle the original miscommunication. Heated diatribes and interpersonal incivility that wouldn't crop up often in face to face or even telephone discourse seem to appear with relative frequency in computer conferences. The only presently available antidote to this flaw of CMC as a human communication medium is widespread knowledge of this flaw -- aka "netiquette."

    Online civility and how to deal with breaches of it is a topic unto itself, and has been much-argued on the WELL. Degrees of outright incivility constitute entire universes such as alt.flame, the Usenet newsgroup where people go specifically to spend their days hurling vile imprecations at one another. I am beginning to suspect that the most powerful and effective defense an online community has in the face of those who are bent on disruption might be norms and agreements about withdrawing attention from those who can't abide by even loose rules of verbal behavior. "If you continue doing that," I remember someone saying to a particularly persistent would-be disrupter, "we will stop paying attention to you." This is technically easy to do on Usenet, where putting the name of a person or topic header in a "kill file" (aka "bozo filter") means you will never see future contributions from that person or about that topic. You can simply choose to not see any postings from Rich Rosen, or that feature the word "abortion" in the title. A society in which people can remove one another, or even entire topics of discussion, from visibility. The WELL does not have a bozo filter, although the need for one is a topic of frequent discussion.

    Who Is The WELL?

    One way to know what the WELL is like is to know something about the kind of people who use it. It has roots in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in two separate cultural revolutions that took place there in past decades. The Whole Earth Catalog originally emerged from the counterculture as Stewart Brand's way of providing access to tools and ideas to all the communes who were exploring alternate ways of life in the forests of Mendocino or the high deserts outside Santa Fe. The Whole Earth Catalogs and the magazines they spawned, Co-Evolution Quarterly and Whole Earth Review, have outlived the counterculture itself, since they are still alive and raising hell after nearly 25 years. For many years, the people who have been exploring alternatives and are open to ideas that you don't find in the mass media have found themselves in cities instead of rural communes, where their need for new tools and ideas didn't go away.

    The Whole Earth Catalog crew received a large advance in the mid-1980s to produce an updated version, a project involving many geographically-separated authors and editors, many of whom were using computers. They bought a minicomputer and the license to Picospan, a computer conferencing program, leased an office next to the magazine's office, leased incoming telephone lines, set up modems, and the WELL was born in 1985. The idea from the beginning was that the founders weren't sure what the WELL would become, but they would provide tools for people to build it into something useful. It was consciously a cultural experiment, and the business was designed to succeed or fail on the basis of the results of the experiment. The person Stewart Brand chose to be the WELL's first director -- technician, manager, innkeeper, and bouncer -- was Matthew McClure, not-coincidentally a computer-savvy veteran of The Farm, one of the most successful of the communes that started in the sixties. Brand and McClure started a low-rules, high-tone discussion, where savvy networkers, futurists, misfits who had learned how to make our outsiderness work for us, could take the technology of CMC to its cultural limits.

    The Whole Earth network -- the granola-eating utopians, the solar-power enthusiasts, serious ecologists and the space-station crowd, immortalists, Biospherians, environmentalists, social activists -- was part of the core population from the beginning. But there were a couple of other key elements. One was the subculture that happened ten years after the counterculture era -- the personal computer revolution. Personal computers and the PC industry were created by young iconoclasts who wanted to have whizzy tools and change the world. Whole Earth had honored them, including the outlaws among them, with the early Hacker's Conferences. The young computer wizards, and the grizzled old hands who were still messing with mainframes, showed up early at the WELL because the guts of the system itself -- the UNIX operating system and "C" language programming code -- were available for tinkering by responsible craftsmen.

    A third cultural element that made up the initial mix of the WELL, which has drifted from its counterculture origins in many ways, were the deadheads. Books and theses have been written about the subculture that have grown up around the band, the Grateful Dead. The deadheads have a strong feeling of community, but they can only manifest it en masse when the band has concerts. They were a community looking for a place to happen when several technology-savvy deadheads started a "Grateful Dead Conference" on the WELL. GD was so phenomenally successful that for the first several years, deadheads were by far the single largest source of income for the enterprise.

    Along with the other elements came the first marathon swimmers in the new currents of the information streams, the futurists and writers and journalists. The New York Times, Business Week, the San Francisco Chronicle, Time, Rolling Stone, Byte, the Wall Street Journal all have journalists that I know personally who drop into the WELL as a listening post. People in Silicon Valley lurk to hear loose talk among the pros. Journalists tend to attract other journalists, and the purpose of journalists is to attract everybody else: most people have to use an old medium to hear news about the arrival of a new medium.

    Things changed, both rapidly and slowly, in the WELL. There were about 600 members of the WELL when I joined, in the summer of 1985. It seemed that then, as now, the usual ten percent of the members did 80% of the talking. Now there are about 6000 people, with a net gain of about a hundred a month. There do seem to be more women than other parts of cyberspace. Most of the people I meet seem to be white or Asian; African-Americans aren't missing, but they aren't conspicuous or even visible. If you can fake it, gender and age are invisible, too. I'd guess the WELL consists of about 80% men, 20% women. I don't know whether formal demographics would be the kind of thing that most WELL users would want to contribute to. It's certainly something we'd discuss, argue, debate, joke about.

    One important social rule was built into Picospan, the software that the WELL lives inside: Nobody is anonymous. Everybody is required to attach their real "userid" to their postings. It is possible to use pseudonyms to create alternate identities, or to carry metamessages, but the pseudonyms are always linked in every posting to the real userid. So individual personae -- whether or not they correspond closely to the real person who owns the account -- are responsible for the words they post. In fact, the first several years, the screen that you saw when you reached the WELL said "You own your own words." Stewart Brand, the WELL's co-founder likes epigrams: "Whole Earth," "Information wants to be free." "You own your own words." Like the best epigrams, "You own your own words" is open to multiple interpretations. The matter of responsibility and ownership of words is one of the topics WELLbeings argue about endlessly, so much that the phrase has been abbreviated to "YOYOW," As in, "Oh no, another YOYOW debate."

    Who are the WELL members, and what do they talk about? I can tell you about the individuals I have come to know over six years, but the WELL has long since been something larger than the sum of everybody's friends. The characteristics of the pool of people who tune into this electronic listening post, whether or not they every post a word in public, is a strong determinant of the flavor of the "place." There's a cross-sectional feeling of "who are we?" that transcends the intersecting and non-intersecting rings of friends and acquaintances each individual develops.

    My Neighborhood On The WELL

    Every CMC system gives users tools for creating their own sense of place, by customizing the way they navigate through the database of conferences, topics, and responses. A conference or newsgroup is like a place you go. If you go to several different places in a fixed order, it seems to reinforce the feeling of place by creating a customized neighborhood that is also shared by others. You see some of the same users in different parts of the same neighborhood. Some faces, you see only in one context -- the parents conference, the Grateful Dead tours conference, the politics or sex conference.

    My home neighborhood on the WELL is reflected in my ".cflist," the file that records my preferences about the order of conferences I visit. It is always possible to go to any conference with a command, but with a `.cflist' you structure your online time by going from conference to specified conference at regular intervals, reading and perhaps responding in several ongoing threads in several different places. That's the part of the art of discourse where I have found that the computer adds value to the intellectual activity of discussing formally distinct subjects asynchronously, from different parts of the world, over extending periods, by enabling groups to structure conversations by topic, over time.

    My `.cflist' starts, for sentimental reasons, with the Mind conference, the first one I hosted on the WELL, since 1985. I've changed my `.cflist' hundreds of times over the years, to add or delete conferences from my regular neighborhood, but I've always kept Mind in the lede. The entry banner screen for the Mind conference used to display to each user the exact phase of the moon in numbers and ASCII graphics every time they logged in to the conference. But the volunteer programmer who had created the "phoon" program had decided to withdraw it, years later, in a dispute with WELL management. There is often a technological fix to a social problem within this particular universe. Because the WELL seems to be an intersection of many different cultures, there have been many experiments with software tools to ameliorate problems that seemed to crop up between people, whether because of the nature of the medium or the nature of the people. A frighteningly expensive pool of talent was donated by volunteer programmers to create tools and even weapons for WELL users to deal with each other. People keep giving things to the WELL, and taking them away. Offline readers and online tools by volunteer programmers gave others increased power to communicate.

    The News conference is what's next. This is the commons, the place where the most people visit the most often, where the most outrageous off-topic proliferation is least pernicious, where the important announcements about the system or social events or major disputes or new conferences are announced. When an earthquake or fire happens, News is where you want to go. Immediately after the 1989 earthquake and during the Oakland fire of 1991, the WELL was a place to check the damage to the local geographic community, lend help to those who need it, and get first-hand reports. During Tienamen square, the Gulf War, the Soviet Coup, the WELL was a media-funnel, with snippets of email from Tel-Aviv and entire newsgroups fed by fax machines in China, erupting in News conference topics that grew into fast-moving conferences of their own. During any major crisis in the real world, the routine at our house is to turn on CNN and log into the WELL.

    After News is Hosts, where the hottest stuff usually happens. The hosts community is a story in itself. The success of the WELL in its first five years, all would agree, rested heavily on the efforts of the conference hosts -- online characters who had created the character of the first neighborhoods and kept the juice flowing between one another all over the WELL, but most pointedly in the Hosts conference. Some spicy reading in the Archives conference originated from old hosts' disputes - and substantial arguments about the implications of CMC for civil rights, intellectual property, censorship, by a lot of people who know what they are talking about, mixed liberally with a lot of other people who don't know what they are talking about, but love to talk anyway, via keyboard and screen, for years on end.

    In this virtual place, the pillars of the community and the worst offenders of public sensibilities are in the same group -- the hosts. At their best and their worst, this ten percent of the online population put out the words that the other ninety percent keep paying to read. Like good hosts at any social gathering, they make newcomers welcome, keep the conversation flowing, mediate disputes, clean up messes, and throw out miscreants, if need be. A WELL host is part salon keeper, part saloon keeper, part talk-show host, part publisher. The only power to censor or to ban a user is the hosts' power. Policy varies from host to host, and that's the only policy. The only justice for those who misuse that power is the forced participation in weeks of debilitating and vituperative post-mortem.

    The hosts community is part long-running soap opera, part town meeting, bar-room brawl, anarchic debating society, creative groupmind, bloody arena, union hall, playpen, encounter group. The Hosts conference is extremely general, from technical questions to personal attacks. The Policy conference is supposed to be restricted to matters of what WELL policy is, or ought to be. The part-delusion, part-accurate perception that the hosts and other users have strong influence over WELL policy is part of what feeds debate here, and a strong element in the libertarian reputation of the stereotypical WELLite. After fighting my way through a day's or hour's worth of the Hot New Dispute in News, Hosts, and Policy, I check on the conferences I host -- Info, Virtual Communities, Virtual Reality. After that my `.cflist' directs me, at the press of the return key, to the first new topic or response in the Parenting, Writers', Grateful Dead tours, Telecommunication, Macintosh, Weird, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Whole Earth, Books, Media, Men on the WELL, Miscellaneous, and Unclear conferences.

    The social dynamics of the WELL spawn new conferences in response to different kinds of pressures. Whenever a hot interpersonal or doctrinal issue breaks out, for example, people want to stage the brawl or make a dramatic farewell speech or shocking disclosure or serious accusation in the most heavily-visited area of the WELL, which is usually the place that others want to be a Commons -- a place where people from different sub-communities can come to find out what is going on around the WELL, outside the WELL, where they can pose questions to the committee of the whole. When too many discussions of what the WELL's official policy ought to be, about censorship or intellectual property or the way people treat each other, break out, they tended to clutter the place people went to get a quick sense of what is happening outside their neighborhoods. So the Policy conference was born.

    But then the WELL grew larger and it wasn't just policy but governance and social issues like political correctness or the right of users to determine the social rules of the system. Several years and six thousand more users after the fission of the News and Policy conferences, another conference split off News -- "MetaWELL," a conference was created strictly to discussions about the WELL itself, its nature, its situation (often dire), its future.

    Grabbing attention in the Commons is a powerful act. Some people seem drawn to performing there; others burst out there in acts of desperation, after one history of frustration or another. Dealing with people who are so consistently off-topic or apparently deeply grooved into incoherence, long-windedness, scatology, is one of the events that challenges a community to decide what its values really are, or ought to be.

    Something is happening here. I'm not sure anybody understands it yet. I know that the WELL and the net is an important part of my life and I have to decide for myself whether this is a new way to make genuine commitments to other human beings, or a silicon-induced illusion of community. I urge others to help pursue that question in a variety of ways, while we have the time. The political dimensions of CMC might lead to situations that would pre-empt questions of other social effects; responses to the need for understanding the power-relationships inherent in CMC are well represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others. We need to learn a lot more, very quickly, about what kind of place our minds are homesteading.

    The future of virtual communities is connected to the future of everything else, starting with the most precious thing people have to gain or lose -- political freedom. The part played by communication technologies in the disintegration of communism, the way broadcast television pre-empted the American electoral process, the power of fax and CMC networks during times of political repression like Tienamen Square and the Soviet Coup attempt, the power of citizen electronic journalism, the power-maneuvering of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to restrict rights of citizen access and expression in cyberspace, all point to the future of CMC as a close correlate of future political scenarios. More important than civilizing cyberspace is ensuring its freedom as a citizen-to-citizen communication and publication medium; laws that infringe equity of access to and freedom of expression in cyberspace could transform today's populist empowerment into yet another instrument of manipulation. Will "electronic democracy" be an accurate description of political empowerment that grows out of the screen of a computer? Or will it become a brilliant piece of disinfotainment, another means of manipulating emotions and manufacturing public opinion in the service of power.

    Who controls what kinds of information is communicated in the international networks where virtual communities live? Who censors, and what is censored? Who safeguards the privacy of individuals in the face of technologies that make it possible to amass and retrieve detailed personal information about every member of a large population? The answers to these political questions might make moot any more abstract questions about cultures in cyberspace. Democracy itself depends on the relatively free flow of communications. The following words by James Madison are carved in marble at the United States Library of Congress: "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." It is time for people to arm themselves with power about the future of CMC technology.

    Who controls the market for relationships? Will the world's increasingly interlinked, increasingly powerful, decreasingly costly communications infrastructure be controlled by a small number of very large companies? Will cyberspace be privatized and parceled out to those who can afford to buy into the auction? If political forces do not seize the high ground and end today's freewheeling exchange of ideas, it is still possible for a more benevolent form of economic control to stunt the evolution of virtual communities, if a small number of companies gain the power to put up toll-roads in the information networks, and smaller companies are not able to compete with them.

    Or will there be an open market, in which newcomers like Apple or Microsoft can become industry leaders? The playing field in the global telecommunications industry will never be level, but the degree of individual freedom available through telecommunication technologies in the future may depend upon whether the market for goods and services in cyberspace remains open for new companies to create new uses for CMC.

    I present these observations as a set of questions, not as answers. I believe that we need to try to understand the nature of CMC, cyberspace, and virtual communities in every important context -- politically, economically, socially, culturally, cognitively. Each different perspective reveals something that the other perspectives do not reveal. Each different discipline fails to see something that another discipline sees very well. We need to think as teams here, across boundaries of academic discipline, industrial affiliation, nation, to understand, and thus perhaps regain control of, the way human communities are being transformed by communication technologies. We can't do this solely as dispassionate observers, although there is certainly a huge need for the detached assessment of social science. But community is a matter of the heart and the gut as well as the head. Some of the most important learning will always have to be done by jumping into one corner or another of cyberspace, living there, and getting up to your elbows in the problems that virtual communities face.

    FYI:

    Howard Rheingold (1985) Tools for Thought New York, NY.

    Howard Reingold (1991) Virtual Reality New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

    Howard Rheingold (1993) The Virtual Community: Homesteading On The Electronic Frontier Addison--Wesley, Reading, MA.

    "Everybody's got somewhere they call home." --- Roger Waters

    "All's WELL that ends WELL." --- Shakespeare

    "A Statement of Principle" by Bruce Sterling

    By Bruce Sterling (2) (bruces@well.sf.ca.us) (Reprinted from SCIENCE FICTION EYE #10 with permission of the author.)

    I just wrote my first nonfiction book. It's called THE HACKER CRACKDOWN: LAW AND DISORDER ON THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER. Writing this book has required me to spend much of the past year and a half in the company of hackers, cops, and civil libertarians.

    I've spent much time listening to arguments over what's legal, what's illegal, what's right and wrong, what's decent and what's despicable, what's moral and immoral, in the world of computers and civil liberties. My various informants were knowledgeable people who cared passionately about these issues, and most of them seemed well- intentioned. Considered as a whole, however, their opinions were a baffling mess of contradictions.

    When I started this project, my ignorance of the issues involved was genuine and profound. I'd never knowingly met anyone from the computer underground. I'd never logged-on to an underground bulletin-board or read a semi-legal hacker magazine. Although I did care a great deal about the issue of freedom of expression, I knew sadly little about the history of civil rights in America or the legal doctrines that surround freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of association. My relations with the police were firmly based on the stratagem of avoiding personal contact with police to the greatest extent possible.

    I didn't go looking for this project. This project came looking for me. I became inextricably involved when agents of the United States Secret Service, acting under the guidance of federal attorneys from Chicago, came to my home town of Austin on March 1, 1990, and confiscated the computers of a local science fiction gaming publisher. Steve Jackson Games, Inc., of Austin, was about to publish a gaming- book called GURPS Cyberpunk.

    When the federal law-enforcement agents discovered the electronic manuscript of CYBERPUNK on the computers they had seized from Mr. Jackson's offices, they expressed grave shock and alarm. They declared that CYBERPUNK was "a manual for computer crime."

    It's not my intention to reprise the story of the Jackson case in this column. I've done that to the best of my ability in THE HACKER CRACKDOWN; and in any case the ramifications of March 1 are far from over. Mr. Jackson was never charged with any crime. His civil suit against the raiders is still in federal court as I write this.

    I don't want to repeat here what some cops believe, what some hackers believe, or what some civil libertarians believe. Instead, I want to discuss my own moral beliefs as a science fiction writer -- such as they are. As an SF writer, I want to attempt a personal statement of principle.

    It has not escaped my attention that there are many people who believe that anyone called a "cyberpunk" must be, almost by definition, entirely devoid of principle. I offer as evidence an excerpt from Buck BloomBecker's 1990 book, SPECTACULAR COMPUTER CRIMES. On page 53, in a chapter titled "Who Are The Computer Criminals?", Mr. BloomBecker introduces the formal classification of "cyberpunk" criminality.

    "In the last few years, a new genre of science fiction has arisen under the evocative name of 'cyberpunk.' Introduced in the work of William Gibson, particularly in his prize-winning novel NEUROMANCER, cyberpunk takes an apocalyptic view of the technological future. In NEUROMANCER, the protagonist is a futuristic hacker who must use the most sophisticated computer strategies to commit crimes for people who offer him enough money to buy the biological creations he needs to survive. His life is one of cynical despair, fueled by the desire to avoid death. Though none of the virus cases actually seen so far have been so devastating, this book certainly represents an attitude that should be watched for when we find new cases of computer virus and try to understand the motivations behind them.

    "The New York Times's John Markoff, one of the more perceptive and accomplished writers in the field, has written than a number of computer criminals demonstrate new levels of meanness. He characterizes them, as do I, as cyberpunks."

    Those of us who have read Gibson's NEUROMANCER closely will be aware of certain factual inaccuracies in Mr. BloomBecker's brief review. NEUROMANCER is not "apocalyptic." The chief conspirator in NEUROMANCER forces Case's loyalty, not by buying his services, but by planting poison-sacs in his brain. Case is "fueled" not by his greed for money or "biological creations," or even by the cynical "desire to avoid death," but rather by his burning desire to hack cyberspace. And so forth.

    However, I don't think this misreading of NEUROMANCER is based on carelessness or malice. The rest of Mr. BloomBecker's book generally is informative, well-organized, and thoughtful. Instead, I feel that Mr. BloomBecker manfully absorbed as much of NEUROMANCER as he could without suffering a mental toxic reaction. This report of his is what he actually *saw* when reading the novel.

    NEUROMANCER has won quite a following in the world of computer crime investigation. A prominent law enforcement official once told me that police unfailingly conclude the worst when they find a teenager with a computer and a copy of NEUROMANCER. When I declared that I too was a "cyberpunk" writer, she asked me if I would print the recipe for a pipe-bomb in my works. I was astonished by this question, which struck me as bizarre rhetorical excess at the time. That was before I had actually examined bulletin-boards in the computer underground, which I found to be chock-a-block with recipes for pipe-bombs, and worse. (I didn't have the heart to tell her that my friend and colleague Walter Jon Williams had once written and published an SF story closely describing explosives derived from simple household chemicals.)

    Cyberpunk SF (along with SF in general) has, in fact, permeated the computer underground. I have met young underground hackers who use the aliases "Neuromancer," "Wintermute" and "Count Zero." The Legion of Doom, the absolute bete noire of computer law-enforcement, used to congregate on a bulletin-board called "Black Ice."

    In the past, I didn't know much about anyone in the underground, but they certainly knew about me. Since that time, I've had people express sincere admiration for my novels, and then, in almost the same breath, brag to me about breaking into hospital computers to chortle over confidential medical reports about herpes victims.

    The single most stinging example of this syndrome is "Pengo," a member of the German hacker-group that broke into Internet computers while in the pay of the KGB. He told German police, and the judge at the trial of his co-conspirators, that he was inspired by NEUROMANCER and John Brunner's SHOCKWAVE RIDER.

    I didn't write NEUROMANCER. I did, however, read it in manuscript and offered many purportedly helpful comments. I praised the book publicly and repeatedly and at length. I've done everything I can to get people to read this book.

    I don't recall cautioning Gibson that his novel might lead to anarchist hackers selling their expertise to the ferocious and repulsive apparat that gave the world the Lubyanka and the Gulag Archipelago. I don't think I could have issued any such caution, even if I'd felt the danger of such a possibility, which I didn't. I still don't know in what fashion Gibson might have changed his book to avoid inciting evildoers, while still retaining the integrity of his vision -- the very quality about the book that makes it compelling and worthwhile.

    This leads me to my first statements of moral principle.

    As a "cyberpunk" SF writer, I am not responsible for every act committed by a Bohemian with a computer. I don't own the word "cyberpunk" and cannot help where it is bestowed, or who uses it, or to what ends.

    As a science fiction writer, it is not my business to make people behave. It is my business to make people imagine. I cannot control other people's imaginations -- any more than I would allow them to control mine.

    I am, however, morally obliged to speak out when acts of evil are committed that use my ideas or my rhetoric, however distantly, as a justification.

    Pengo and his friends committed a grave crime that was worthy of condemnation and punishment. They were clever, but treacherously clever. They were imaginative, but it was imagination in a bad cause. They were technically accomplished, but they abused their expertise for illicit profit and to feed their egos. They may be "cyberpunks" -- according to many, they may deserve that title far more than I do -- but they're no friends of mine.

    What is "crime"? What is a moral offense? What actions are evil and dishonorable? I find these extraordinarily difficult questions. I have no special status that should allow me to speak with authority on such subjects. Quite the contrary. As a writer in a scorned popular literature and a self-professed eccentric Bohemian, I have next to no authority of any kind. I'm not a moralist, philosopher, or prophet. I've always considered my "moral role," such as it is, to be that of a court jester -- a person sometimes allowed to speak the unspeakable, to explore ideas and issues in a format where they can be treated as games, thought-experiments, or metaphors, not as prescriptions, laws, or sermons.

    I have no religion, no sacred scripture to guide my actions and provide an infallible moral bedrock. I'm not seeking political responsibilities or the power of public office. I habitually question any pronouncement of authority, and entertain the liveliest skepticism about the processes of law and justice. I feel no urge to conform to the behavior of the majority of my fellow citizens. I'm a pain in the neck.

    My behavior is far from flawless. I lived and thrived in Austin, Texas in the 1970s and 1980s, in a festering milieu of arty crypto-intellectual hippies. I've committed countless "crimes," like millions of other people in my generation. These crimes were of the glamorous "victimless" variety, but they would surely have served to put me in prison had I done them, say, in front of the State Legislature.

    Had I lived a hundred years ago as I live today, I would probably have been lynched by outraged fellow Texans as a moral abomination. If I lived in Iran today and wrote and thought as I do, I would probably be tried and executed.

    As far as I can tell, moral relativism is a fact of life. I think it might be possible to outwardly conform to every jot and tittle of the taboos of one's society, while feeling no emotional or intellectual commitment to them. I understand that certain philosophers have argued that this is morally proper behavior for a good citizen. But I can't live that life. I feel, sincerely, that my society is engaged in many actions which are foolish and shortsighted and likely to lead to our destruction. I feel that our society must change, and change radically, in a process that will cause great damage to our present system of values. This doesn't excuse my own failings, which I regret, but it does explain, I hope, why my lifestyle and my actions are not likely to make authority feel entirely comfortable.

    Knowledge is power. The rise of computer networking, of the Information Society, is doing strange and disruptive things to the processes by which power and knowledge are currently distributed. Knowledge and information, supplied through these new conduits, are highly corrosive to the status quo. People living in the midst of technological revolution are living outside the law: not necessarily because they mean to break laws, but because the laws are vague, obsolete, overbroad, draconian, or unenforceable. Hackers break laws as a matter of course, and some have been punished unduly for relatively minor infractions not motivated by malice. Even computer police, seeking earnestly to apprehend and punish wrongdoers, have been accused of abuse of their offices, and of violation of the Constitution and the civil statutes. These police may indeed have committed these "crimes." Some officials have already suffered grave damage to their reputations and careers -- all the time convinced that they were morally in the right; and, like the hackers they pursued, never feeling any genuine sense of shame, remorse, or guilt.

    I have lived, and still live, in a counterculture, with its own system of values. Counterculture -- Bohemia -- is never far from criminality. "To live outside the law you must be honest" was Bob Dylan's classic hippie motto. A Bohemian finds romance in the notion that "his clothes are dirty but his hands are clean." But there's danger in setting aside the strictures of the law to linchpin one's honor on one's personal integrity. If you throw away the rulebook to rely on your individual conscience you will be put in the way of temptation.

    And temptation is a burden. It hurts. It is grotesquely easy to justify, to rationalize, an action of which one should properly be ashamed. In investigating the milieu of computer-crime I have come into contact with a world of temptation formerly closed to me. Nowadays, it would take no great effort on my part to break into computers, to steal long-distance telephone service, to ingratiate myself with people who would merrily supply me with huge amounts of illicitly copied software. I could even build pipe-bombs. I haven't done these things, and disapprove of them; in fact, having come to know these practices better than I cared to, I feel sincere revulsion for them now. But this knowledge is a kind of power, and power is tempting. Journalistic objectivity, or the urge to play with ideas, cannot entirely protect you. Temptation clings to the mind like a series of small but nagging weights. Carrying these weights may make you stronger. Or they may drag you down.

    "His clothes are dirty but his hands are clean." It's a fine ideal, when you can live up to it. Like a lot of Bohemians, I've gazed with a fine disdain on certain people in power whose clothes were clean but their hands conspicuously dirty. But I've also met a few people eager to pat me on the back, whose clothes were dirty and their hands as well. They're not pleasant company.

    Somehow one must draw a line. I'm not very good at drawing lines. When other people have drawn me a line, I've generally been quite anxious to have a good long contemplative look at the other side. I don't feel much confidence in my ability to draw these lines. But I feel that I should. The world won't wait. It only took a few guys with pool cues and switchblades to turn Woodstock Nation into Altamont. Haight-Ashbury was once full of people who could trust anyone they'd smoked grass with and love anyone they'd dropped acid with -- for about six months. Soon the place was aswarm with speed-freaks and junkies, and heaven help us if they didn't look just like the love-bead dudes from the League of Spiritual Discovery. Corruption exists, temptation exists. Some people fall. And the temptation is there for all of us, all the time.

    I've come to draw a line at money. It's not a good line, but it's something. There are certain activities that are unorthodox, dubious, illegal or quasi-legal, but they might perhaps be justified by an honest person with unconventional standards. But in my opinion, when you're making a commercial living from breaking the law, you're beyond the pale. I find it hard to accept your countercultural sincerity when you're grinning and pocketing the cash, compadre.

    I can understand a kid swiping phone service when he's broke, powerless, and dying to explore the new world of the networks. I don't approve of this, but I can understand it. I scorn to do this myself, and I never have; but I don't find it so heinous that it deserves pitiless repression. But if you're stealing phone service and selling it -- if you've made yourself a miniature phone company and you're pimping off the energy of others just to line your own pockets -- you're a thief. When the heat comes to put you away, don't come crying "brother" to me.

    If you're creating software and giving it away, you're a fine human being. If you're writing software and letting other people copy it and try it out as shareware, I appreciate your sense of trust, and if I like your work, I'll pay you. If you're copying other people's software and giving it away, you're damaging other people's interests, and should be ashamed, even if you're posing as a glamorous info-liberating subversive. But if you're copying other people's software and selling it, you're a crook and I despise you.

    Writing and spreading viruses is a vile, hurtful, and shameful activity that I unreservedly condemn.

    There's something wrong with the Information Society. There's something wrong with the idea that "information" is a commodity like a desk or a chair. There's something wrong with patenting software algorithms. There's something direly mean spirited and ungenerous about inventing a language and then renting it out to other people to speak. There's something unprecedented and sinister in this process of creeping commodification of data and knowledge. A computer is something too close to the human brain for me to rest entirely content with someone patenting or copyrighting the process of its thought. There's something sick and unworkable about an economic system which has already spewed forth such a vast black market. I don't think democracy will thrive in a milieu where vast empires of data are encrypted, restricted, proprietary, confidential, top secret, and sensitive. I fear for the stability of a society that builds sand castles out of databits and tries to stop a real-world tide with royal commands.

    Whole societies can fall. In Eastern Europe we have seen whole nations collapse in a slough of corruption. In pursuit of their unworkable economic doctrine, the Marxists doubled and redoubled their efforts at social control, while losing all sight of the values that make life worth living. At last the entire power structure was so discredited that the last remaining shred of moral integrity could only be found in Bohemia: in dissidents and dramatists and their illegal samizdat underground fanzines. Their clothes were dirty but their hands were clean. The only agitprop poster Vaclav Havel needed was a sign saying *Vaclav Havel Guarantees Free Elections.* He'd never held power, but people believed him, and they believed his Velvet Revolution friends.

    I wish there were people in the Computer Revolution who could inspire, and deserved to inspire, that level of trust. I wish there were people in the Electronic Frontier whose moral integrity unquestionably matched the unleashed power of those digital machines. A society is in dire straits when it puts its Bohemia in power. I tremble for my country when I contemplate this prospect. And yet it's possible. If dire straits come, it can even be the last best hope.

    The issues that enmeshed me in 1990 are not going to go away. I became involved as a writer and journalist, because I felt it was right. Having made that decision, I intend to stand by my commitment. I expect to stay involved in these issues, in this debate, for the rest of my life. These are timeless issues: civil rights, knowledge, power, freedom and privacy, the necessary steps that a civilized society must take to protect itself from criminals. There is no finality in politics; it creates itself anew, it must be dealt with every day.

    The future is a dark road and our speed is headlong. I didn't ask for power or responsibility. I'm a science fiction writer, I only wanted to play with Big Ideas in my cheerfully lunatic sandbox. What little benefit I myself can contribute to society would likely be best employed in writing better SF novels. I intend to write those better novels, if I can. But in the meantime I seem to have accumulated a few odd shreds of influence. It's a very minor kind of power, and doubtless more than I deserve; but power without responsibility is a monstrous thing.

    In writing HACKER CRACKDOWN, I tried to describe the truth as other people saw it. I see it too, with my own eyes, but I can't yet pretend to understand what I'm seeing. The best I can do, it seems to me, is to try to approach the situation as an open-minded person of goodwill. I therefore offer the following final set of principles, which I hope will guide me in the days to come.

    And while I don't plan to give up making money from my ethically dubious cyberpunk activities, I hope to temper my impropriety by giving more work away for no money at all.

    FYI:

    Bruce Sterling (1992) Free as Air, Free as Water, Free as Knowledge Speech to the Library Information Technology Association, June 1992. San Francisco, CA.

    Bruce Sterling (1992) The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder at the Electronic Frontier, Viking, London, England.

    Bruce Sterling & William Gibson (1993) Literary Freeware -- Not for Commercial Use Speeches to National Academy of Sciences Convocation on Technology and Education, May 10, 1993, Washington, D.C.: Computer Underground Digest #5.54.

    Bruce Sterling (1992--1993) Agitprop disk: Literary Freeware -- Not for Commercial Use Contains various SF magazine columns, texts of speeches, etc. Available via anonymous FTP from ftp.eff.org in directory `/pub/agitprop'. Or use Gopher at gopher.well.sf.ca.us, and see under `Bruce Sterling/'.

    "...and the silicon chip inside her head, has turned to overload." --- Bob Geldof, I don't like Mondays

    "Subject: A Perspective on NREN" by Greg Chartrand

    By Greg Chartrand (3) (Greg_Chartrand@qmail.ssc.gov)

    National Science Foundation Develops a National Super Highway Greg Chartrand 3/11/93

    "I just returned from a network meeting in San Diego today and though you would be interested in my interpretation of what NSF proposes for the National Education and Research Network (NREN). Rather than comment specifically, I decided it would be interesting to write a parody which relates the NREN to the construction of a national super highway. Doing so removes the highly technical aspects of the overall planned functions the NREN. Please excuse this style, but I think its the only way to explain my understanding of their plan in a way that does not immediately get very technical. It may be flawed, but the information is based upon Hans-Werner Braun's presentation.... as I understood it."

    The National Science foundation is in the process of developing plans to build a national super highway that will advance transportation technology in our country. The super highway proposed will replace the existing interstate highway system and allow speeds of at least 240 MPH. the following interview with NSF developers explores their current plans.

    *

    ME: I understand you are building a new Super national highway(4) to serve the purposes of advancing ground transportation throughout our county.

    NSF: Yes we are, as a part of an earlier initiative sponsored by the then Senator Gore. We are very excited about the technology that will allow transportation speeds of 240 MPH(5) across the country.

    ME: That sounds exciting, how will it be built?

    NSF: Well, we will have this super highway designed to allow the high speed travel(6) and it will have six entrance/exit ramps.(7) ME: Ahh.... that doesn't sound like very many ramps, where will they be located?

    NSF: Well, several years ago we funded the establishment of six gourmet restaurants(8) scattered across the country, we are going to fund the building of the super highway and access ramps at the restaurant locations. We are however allowing the ramp contractor(9) to build as many ramps as he wishes, at his own expense.

    ME: I assume then the contractor for the highway(10) builds ramps where ever it makes sense to optimize access.

    NSF: Well, not exactly. We are separating the contracts for the ramps and the highway so the bidders can be very competitive.

    ME: I see. How to you plan to connect the rest of the interstate highway system(11) to your super national highway?

    NSF: Well actually, its not part of our plan. We are having the highway and access ramps built for us, its up to the states or other government agencies to provide the highways to the access ramps. We will however fund a few temporary roads(12) to connect parts of the existing interstate highway system, but don't intend to make them permanent. Did I forget to mention that we will be shutting down the existing interstate highway system?(13)

    ME: You mean I will no longer be able to drive across the existing interstate highway system?

    NSF: Yes, it will be destroyed.

    ME: OK, lets see If I understand. I have a state highway system for example, and I put in a connecting highway to your super highway, and I can now travel on it, right?

    NSF: Well, no you can't. The super highway will only be used for vehicles that can run 240 MPH(14) and we must approve every vehicle, destination, and trip the vehicle takes.(15) We don't want our super highway clogged with vehicles which can only travel 70 MPH!(16)

    ME: I'm confused. You mean you want my state for example, to build an access road to a super highway it can't generally use?

    NSF: Well, yes and no. You see we also want to encourage development of toll roads in our country.(17) Our six high speed access ramps are wide enough to allow parallel toll roads to be accessed as well as our super highway. Private road builders will be able to put in toll roads between our access ramps, for a fee.

    ME: So there will no longer be a "free" interstate highway system?

    NSF: Right!

    ME: Lets see if I got this straight. You build a national super highway that has six access ramps located where you once established gourmet restaurants and you destroy the interstate highway system. There are no plans to replicate the functionality of the interstate highway systems, but you will allow private toll road builders to use your wide access ramps and develop parallel toll roads to your super highway. My state or the government has to build the roads that lead to the super highway, but once there, cannot travel on it unless the specific vehicle can run at 240 MPH and has specific permission from you to travel on it.

    NSF: You've got it!

    ME: Well then you must have a very interesting reason to put this highway and the access ramps at these restaurant locations.

    NSF: Well, you see, the gourmet food business isn't what it used to be. Fast food has really taken over in our country, we really need to preserve the gourmet food business.(18) High quality restaurants should be located right off of classy high speed highways. We really would like to encourage restaurant patrons to use the super highway so they can have breakfast in San Diego and dinner in Champaign Illinois. We will be looking for patrons who can afford to eat at multiple restaurants and we will let them ride the highway for free! Of course they must have a vehicle that can go 240 MPH.(19)

    ME: I'm even more confused. How will I get across the country?

    NSF: Well, if your state puts in an access road to one of our access ramps you take it, and then exit-off on to one of the toll roads that will be built parallel to our super highway.

    ME: How fast will I be able to go?(20)

    NSF: What ever the speed limit is on the toll road.

    ME: What will it cost me to ride on it?

    NSF: What ever the toll is. You see, we expect that several toll roads will be developed. Competition! It should keep the price down.

    ME: When the super highway is empty, how will it be used?

    NSF: Well, we are telling the gourmet restaurants that they should work together even though they will be competing with each other for customers.(21) You know, they could develop plans to send trash to each other so they can demonstrate how fast the transportation is on the super highway, it would be in their best interest.(22)

    ME: Aren't there plans for development of high speed toll roads already in progress by several toll road builders? What makes you think they will put their roads in-between your access ramps?(23)

    NSF: F.O.D.

    ME: What?

    NSF: Field Of Dreams. If we build it they will come.

    ME: So again, tell me who pays for what?

    NSF: The government funds the super highway and six access ramps. The toll road providers build their own roads and pays an access fee for the ramps. The states and other government agencies pay for any roads necessary to get to the access ramps. When you get on a toll road and pay what ever the price is.

    ME: And the only one's allowed to ride on the super highway are those persons who have special vehicles that can go 240 MPH with your specific permission, or those who can afford to frequent the gourmet restaurants and travel at 240 MPH. Everyone else takes the toll roads.

    NSF: Right, but don't forget the trash runs between restaurants!

    ME: Oh, how silly of me! Hmmmm. I wonder if this is really what Senator Gore had in mind?

    "If we do not succeed, then we face the risk of failure." --- Vice President Dan Quayle

    "What a terrible thing to have lost one's mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is." --- Vice President Dan Quayle (winning friends while peaking to the United Negro College Fund)

    Lingo

    This glossary is only a tiny subset of all of the various terms and other things that people regularly use on The Net. For a more complete (and more entertaining) reference, get a copy of The New Hacker's Dictionary, which is based on a VERY large text file called the Jargon File, edited by Eric Raymond (eric@snark.thyrsus.com). It is available from the MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02142; its ISBN number is 0-262-68069-6. The up-to-date version of the Jargon File The on-line hacker Jargon File, version 3.0, 29 July 1993, is kept on various FTP servers (e.g. from ftp.gnu.ai.mit.edu as file `/pub/gnu/jarg300.txt.gz').

    :-) This odd symbol is one of the ways a person can portray "mood" in the very flat medium of computers--by using "smilies." This is `metacommunication', and there are literally hundreds of them, from the obvious to the obscure. This particular example expresses "happiness." Don't see it? Tilt your head to the left 90 degrees. Smilies are also used to denote sarcasm.

    ASCII Has two meanings. ASCII is a universal computer code for English letters and characters. Computers store all information as binary numbers. In ASCII, the letter "A" is stored as 1000001, whether the computer is made by IBM, Apple or Commodore. ASCII also refers to a method, or protocol, for copying files from one computer to another over a network, in which neither computer checks for any errors that might have been caused by static or other problems.

    ANSI Computers use several different methods for deciding how to put information on your screen and how your keyboard interacts with the screen. ANSI is one of these "terminal emulation" methods. Although most popular on PC-based bulletin-board systems, it can also be found on some Net sites. To use it properly, you will first have to turn it on, or enable it, in your communications software.

    ARPANet A predecessor of the Internet. Started in 1969 with funds from the Defense Department's Advanced Projects Research Agency.

    Backbone A high-speed network that connects several powerful computers. In the U.S., the backbone of the Internet is often considered the NSFNet, a government funded link between a handful of supercomputer sites across the country.

    Baud The speed at which modems transfer data. One baud is roughly equal to one bit per second. It takes eight bits to make up one letter or character. Modems rarely transfer data at exactly the same speed as their listed baud rate because of static or computer problems. More expensive modems use systems, such as Microcom Network Protocol (MNP), which can correct for these errors or which "compress" data to speed up transmission.

    BITNet Another, academically oriented, international computer network, which uses a different set of computer instructions to move data. It is easily accessible to Internet users through e-mail, and provides a large number of conferences and databases. Its name comes from "Because It's Time."

    Bounce What your e-mail does when it cannot get to its recipient -- it bounces back to you.

    Command line On Unix host systems, this is where you tell the machine what you want it to do, by entering commands.

    Communications software A program that tells a modem how to work.

    Daemon An otherwise harmless Unix program that normally works out of sight of the user. On the Internet, you'll most likely encounter it only when your e-mail is not delivered to your recipient -- you'll get back your original message plus an ugly message from a "mailer daemon."

    Distribution A way to limit where your Usenet postings go. Handy for such things as "for sale" messages or discussions of regional politics.

    Domain The last part of an Internet address, such as "news.com."

    Dot When you want to impress the net veterans you meet at parties, say "dot" instead of "period," for example: "My address is john at site dot domain dot com."

    Dot file A file on a Unix public-access system that alters the way you or your messages interact with that system. For example, your .login file contains various parameters for such things as the text editor you get when you send a message. When you do an ls command, these files do not appear in the directory listing; do `ls -a' to list them.

    Down When a public-access site runs into technical trouble, and you can no longer gain access to it, it's down.

    Download Copy a file from a host system to your computer. There are several different methods, or protocols, for downloading files, most of which periodically check the file as it is being copied to ensure no information is inadvertently destroyed or damaged during the process. Some, such as XMODEM, only let you download one file at a time. Others, such as batch-YMODEM and ZMODEM, let you type in the names of several files at once, which are then automatically downloaded.

    EMACS From Editing MACroS. A standard Unix text editor that beginners hate, and hackers adore.

    E-mail Electronic mail -- a way to send a private message to somebody else on the Net. Used as both noun and verb.

    Emoticon A smiley. See :-).

    F2F Face to Face. When you actually meet those people you been corresponding with/flaming.

    FAQ Frequently Asked Questions. A compilation of answers to these. Many Usenet newsgroups have these files, which are posted once a month or so for beginners.

    FYI For Your Interest.

    Film at 11 One reaction to an overwrought argument: "Imminent death of the Net predicted. Film at 11."

    Finger An Internet program that lets you get some bit of information about another user, provided they have first created a `.plan' file.

    Flame Online yelling and/or ranting directed at somebody else. Often results in flame wars, which occasionally turn into holy wars (See section Usenet: from Flame Wars to Killfiles).

    Followup A Usenet posting that is a response to an earlier message.

    Foo/foobar A sort of online algebraic place holder, for example: "If you want to know when another site is run by a for-profit company, look for an address in the form of (foo@foobar.com)."

    Fortune cookie An inane/witty/profund comment that can be found around the net.

    Freeware Software that doesn't cost anything.

    FTP File-transfer Protocol. A system for transferring files across the Net.

    Get a life What to say to somebody who has, perhaps, been spending a wee bit too much time in front of a computer.

    GIF Graphics Interchange Format. A format developed in the mid-1980s by CompuServe for use in photo-quality graphics images. Now commonly used everywhere online.

    GNU Gnu's Not Unix. A project of the Free Software Foundation to write a free version of the Unix operating system.

    Handshake Two modems trying to connect first do this to agree on how to transfer data.

    Hang When a modem fails to hang up.

    Holy war Arguments that involve certain basic tenets of faith, about which one cannot disagree without setting one of these off. For example: IBM PCs are inherently superior to Macintoshes.

    Host system A public-access site; provides Net access to people outside the research and government community.

    IMHO In My Humble Opinion.

    Internet A worldwide system for linking smaller computer networks together. Networks connected through the Internet use a particular set of communications standards to communicate, known as TCP/IP.

    Killfile A file that lets you filter Usenet postings to some extent, by excluding messages on certain topics or from certain people.

    Log on/log in Connect to a host system or public-access site.

    Log off Disconnect from a host system.

    Lurk Read messages in a Usenet newsgroup without ever saying anything.

    Mailing list Essentially a conference in which messages are delivered right to your mailbox, instead of to a Usenet newsgroup. You get on these by sending a message to a specific e-mail address, which is often that of a computer that automates the process.

    MIME Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions. A currently (1993) heavily developing extension of the Internet mail protocol, that enables sending of 8 bit e-mail messages, e.g. to support extended character sets, voice mail, FAX images, etc. Read comp.mail.mime if you want to keep up with new developments.

    MOTSS Members of the Same Sex. Gays and Lesbians online. Originally an acronym used in the 1980 federal census.

    Net.god One who has been online since the beginning, who knows all and who has done it all.

    Net.personality Somebody sufficiently opinionated/flaky/with plenty of time on his hands to regularly post in dozens of different Usenet newsgroups, whose presence is known to thousands of people.

    Net.police Derogatory term for those who would impose their standards on other users of the Net. Often used in vigorous flame wars (in which it occasionally mutates to Net.nazis).

    Netiquette A set of common-sense guidelines for not annoying others.

    Network A communications system that links two or more computers. It can be as simple as a cable strung between two computers a few feet apart or as complex as hundreds of thousands of computers around the world linked through fiber optic cables, phone lines and satellites.

    Newbie Somebody new to the Net. Often used derogatorily by net.veterans who have forgotten that, they, too, were once newbies who did not innately know the answer to everything.

    Newsgroup A Usenet conference.

    NIC Network Information Center. As close as an Internet- style network gets to a hub; it's usually where you'll find information about that particular network.

    NREN National Research and Education Network. The future of the U.S. part of the Internet. Said to be 50 times faster than currently (1993).

    NSA line eater The more aware/paranoid Net users believe that the National Security Agency has a super-powerful computer assigned to reading everything posted on the Net. They will jokingly (?) refer to this line eater in their postings.

    NSF National Science Foundation. Funds the NSFNet, the backbone of the Internet in the U.S.

    Offline When your computer is not connected to a host system or the Net, you are offline.

    Online When your computer is connected to an online service, bulletin-board system or public-access site.

    Ping A program that can trace the route a message takes from your site to another site.

    .plan file A file that lists anything you want others on the Net to know about you. You place it in your home directory on your public-access site. Then, anybody who fingers (See section Telnet (Mining the Net, part I),) you, will get to see this file.

    Post To compose a message for a Usenet newsgroup and then send it out for others to see.

    Postmaster The person to contact at a particular site to ask for information about the site or complain about one of his/her user's behavior.

    Protocol The method used to transfer a file between a host system and your computer. There are several types, such as Kermit, YMODEM and ZMODEM.

    Prompt When the host system asks you to do something and waits for you to respond. For example, if you see "login:" it means type your user name.

    README Files found on FTP sites that explain what is in a given FTP directory or which provide other useful information (such as how to use FTP).

    Real Soon Now A vague term used to describe when something will actually happen.

    RFC Request for Comments. A series of documents that describe various technical aspects of the Internet.

    ROTFL Rolling on the Floor Laughing. How to respond to a particularly funny comment.

    ROT13 A simple way to encode bad jokes, movie reviews that give away the ending, pornography, etc. Essentially, each letter in a message is replace by the letter 13 spaces away from it in the alphabet. There are online decoders to read these; nn has one built in.

    RTFM Read the, uh, you know, Manual. Often used in flames against people who ask computer-related questions that could be easily answered with a few minutes with a manual. More politely: RTM.

    Screen capture A part of your communications software that opens a file on your computer and saves to it whatever scrolls past on the screen while connected to a host system.

    Server A computer that can distribute information or files automatically in response to specifically worded e-mail requests.

    Shareware Software that is freely available on the Net, but which, if you like and use it, you should send in the fee requested by the author, whose name and address will be found in a file distributed with the software.

    .sig file Sometimes, `.signature' file. A file that, when placed in your home directory on your public-access site, will automatically be appended to every Usenet posting you write.

    .sig quote A profound/witty/quizzical/whatever quote that you include in your `.sig' file.

    Signal-to-noise ratio The amount of useful information to be found in a given Usenet newsgroup. Often used derogatorily, for example: "the signal-to-noise ratio in this newsgroup is pretty low."

    Snail mail Mail that comes through a slot in your front door.

    Sysadmin/Sysop The system administrator/system operator; the person who runs a host system.

    TANSTAAFL There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

    TLA Three Letter Acronym, such as IBM, DEC, etc.

    TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The particular system for transferring information over a computer network that is at the heart of the Internet.

    Telnet A program that lets you connect to other computers on the Internet.

    Terminal emulation There are several methods for determining how your keystrokes and screen interact with a public-access site's operating system. Most communications programs offer a choice of "emulations" that let you mimic the keyboard that would normally be attached directly to the host-system computer.

    UUCP Unix-to-Unix CoPy. A method for transferring Usenet postings and e-mail that requires far fewer net resources than TCP/IP, but which can result in considerably slower transfer times.

    Upload Copy a file from your computer to a host system.

    User name On most host systems, the first time you connect you are asked to supply a one-word user name. This can be any combination of letters and numbers.

    VT100 Another terminal-emulation system. Supported by many communications program, it is the most common one in use on the Net. VT102 is a newer version.

    "It's is not, it isn't ain't, and it's it's, not its, if you mean it is. If you don't, it's its. Then too, it's hers. It isn't her's. It isn't our's either. It's ours, and likewise yours and theirs."

    --- Oxford University Press, Edpress News

    Dear Emily Postnews

    By Brad Templeton (24) (brad@looking.on.ca)

    The following is available as file `/pub/usenet/ news.answers/emily-postnews/ part1' on rtfm.mit.edu. The last changes were made on 30 Nov 91 by Brad Templeton.

    NOTE: this is intended to be satirical. If you do not recognize it as such, consult a doctor or professional comedian. The recommendations in this article should recognized for what they are -- admonitions about what NOT to do.

    "Dear Emily Postnews"

    Ms Emily Postnews, foremost authority on proper net behaviour, gives her advice on how to act on the net.

    *

    Dear Miss Postnews: How long should my signature be? -- (verbose@noisy)

    A: Dear Verbose: Please try and make your signature as long as you can. It's much more important than your article, of course, so try to have more lines of signature than actual text.

    Try to include a large graphic made of ASCII characters, plus lots of cute quotes and slogans. People will never tire of reading these pearls of wisdom again and again, and you will soon become personally associated with the joy each reader feels at seeing yet another delightful repeat of your signature.

    Be sure as well to include a complete map of USENET with each signature, to show how anybody can get mail to you from any site in the world. Be sure to include Internet gateways as well. Also tell people on your own site how to mail to you. Give independent addresses for Internet, UUCP, and BITNET, even if they're all the same.

    Aside from your reply address, include your full name, company and organization. It's just common courtesy -- after all, in some newsreaders people have to type an *entire* keystroke to go back to the top of your article to see this information in the header.

    By all means include your phone number and street address in every single article. People are always responding to usenet articles with phone calls and letters. It would be silly to go to the extra trouble of including this information only in articles that need a response by conventional channels!

    *

    Dear Emily: Today I posted an article and forgot to include my signature. What should I do? -- (forgetful@myvax)

    A: Dear Forgetful: Rush to your terminal right away and post an article that says, "Oops, I forgot to post my signature with that last article. Here it is."

    Since most people will have forgotten your earlier article, (particularly since it dared to be so boring as to not have a nice, juicy signature) this will remind them of it. Besides, people care much more about the signature anyway. See the previous letter for more important details.

    Also, be sure to include your signature TWICE in each article. That way you're sure people will read it.

    *

    Dear Ms. Postnews: I couldn't get mail through to somebody on another site. What should I do? -- (eager@beaver.dam)

    A: Dear Eager: No problem, just post your message to a group that a lot of people read. Say, "This is for John Smith. I couldn't get mail through so I'm posting it. All others please ignore."

    This way tens of thousands of people will spend a few seconds scanning over and ignoring your article, using up over 16 man-hours their collective time, but you will be saved the terrible trouble of checking through Usenet maps or looking for alternate routes. Just think, if you couldn't distribute your message to 30,000 other computers, you might actually have to (gasp) call directory assistance for 60 cents, or even phone the person. This can cost as much as a few DOLLARS (!) for a 5 minute call!

    And certainly it's better to spend 10 to 20 dollars of other people's money distributing the message then for you to have to waste $9 on an overnight letter, or even 29 cents on a stamp!

    Don't forget. The world will end if your message doesn't get through, so post it as many places as you can.

    *

    Q: What about a test message?

    A: It is important, when testing, to test the entire net. Never test merely a subnet distribution when the whole net can be done. Also put "please ignore" on your test messages, since we all know that everybody always skips a message with a line like that. Don't use a subject like "My sex is female but I demand to be addressed as male." because such articles are read in depth by all USEnauts.

    *

    Q: Somebody just posted that Roman Polanski directed Star Wars. What should I do?

    A: Post the correct answer at once! We can't have people go on believing that! Very good of you to spot this. You'll probably be the only one to make the correction, so post as soon as you can. No time to lose, so certainly don't wait a day, or check to see if somebody else has made the correction.

    And it's not good enough to send the message by mail. Since you're the only one who really knows that it was Francis Coppola, you have to inform the whole net right away!

    *

    Q: I read an article that said, "reply by mail, I'll summarize." What should I do?

    A: Post your response to the whole net. That request applies only to dumb people who don't have something interesting to say. Your postings are much more worthwhile than other people's, so it would be a waste to reply by mail.

    *

    Q: I collected replies to an article I wrote, and now it's time to summarize. What should I do?

    A: Simply concatenate all the articles together into a big file and post that. On USENET, this is known as a summary. It lets people read all the replies without annoying newsreaders getting in the way. Do the same when summarizing a vote.

    *

    Q: I saw a long article that I wish to rebut carefully, what should I do?

    A: Include the entire text with your article, particularly the signature, and include your comments closely packed between the lines. Be sure to post, and not mail, even though your article looks like a reply to the original. Everybody *loves* to read those long point-by-point debates, especially when they evolve into name-calling and lots of "Is too!" -- "Is not!" -- "Is too, twizot!" exchanges.

    Be sure to follow-up everything, and never let another person get in the last word on a net debate. Why, if people let other people have the last word, then discussions would actually stop! Remember, other net readers aren't nearly as clever as you, and if somebody posts something wrong, the readers can't possibly realize that on their own without your elucidations. If somebody gets insulting in their net postings, the best response is to get right down to their level and fire a return salvo. When I read one net person make an insulting attack on another, I always immediately take it as gospel unless a rebuttal is posted. It never makes me think less of the insulter, so it's your duty to respond.

    *

    Q: How can I choose what groups to post in?

    A: Pick as many as you can, so that you get the widest audience. After all, the net exists to give you an audience. Ignore those who suggest you should only use groups where you think the article is highly appropriate. Pick all groups where anybody might even be slightly interested.

    Always make sure followups go to all the groups. In the rare event that you post a followup which contains something original, make sure you expand the list of groups. Never include a "Followup-to:" line in the header, since some people might miss part of the valuable discussion in the fringe groups.

    *

    Q: How about an example?

    A: Ok. Let's say you want to report that Gretzky has been traded from the Oilers to the Kings. Now right away you might think rec.sport.hockey would be enough. WRONG. Many more people might be interested. This is a big trade! Since it's a NEWS article, it belongs in the news.* hierarchy as well. If you are a news admin, or there is one on your machine, try news.admin. If not, use news.misc.

    The Oilers are probably interested in geology, so try sci.geo.fluids. He is a big star, so post to sci.astro, and sci.space because they are also interested in stars. And of course comp.dcom.telecom because he was born in the birthplace of the telephone. And because he's Canadian, post to soc.culture.Ontario.southwestern. But that group doesn't exist, so cross-post to news.groups suggesting it should be created. With this many groups of interest, your article will be quite bizarre, so post to talk.bizarre as well. (And post to comp.std.mumps, since they hardly get any articles there, and a "comp" group will propagate your article further.)

    You may also find it is more fun to post the article once in each group. If you list all the newsgroups in the same article, some newsreaders will only show the the article to the reader once! Don't tolerate this.

    *

    Q: How do I create a newsgroup?

    A: The easiest way goes something like `inews -C newgroup ...', and while that will stir up lots of conversation about your new newsgroup, it might not be enough.

    First post a message in news.groups describing the group. This is a "call for discussion." (If you see a call for discussion, immediately post a one line message saying that you like or dislike the group.) When proposing the group, pick a name with a TLA (three-letter acronym) that will be understood only by "in" readers of the group.

    After the call for discussion, post the call for flames, followed by a call for arguments about the name and a call for run-on puns. Eventually make a call for "votes." USENET is a democracy, so voters can now all post their votes to ensure they get to all 30,000 machines instead of just the person counting. Every few days post a long summary of all the votes so that people can complain about bad mailers and double votes. It means you'll be more popular and get lots of mail. At the end of 21 days you can post the vote results so that people can argue about all the technical violations of the guidelines you made. Blame them on the moderator-of-the-week for news.announce.newgroups. Then your group might be created.

    To liven up discussion, choose a good cross-match for your hierarchy and group. For example, comp.race.formula1 or soc.vlsi.design would be good group names. If you want your group created quickly, include an interesting word like "sex" or "activism." To avoid limiting discussion, make the name as broad as possible, and don't forget that TLA.

    If possible, count votes from a leaf site with a once-a-week polled connection to botswanavax. Schedule the vote during your relay site's head crash if possible.

    Under no circumstances use the trial group method, because it eliminates the discussion, flame, pun, voting and guideline-violation accusation phases, thus taking all the fun out of it. To create an ALT group, simply issue the creation command. Then issue an rmgroup and some more newgroup messages to save other netters the trouble of doing that part.

    *

    Q: I cant spell worth a dam. I hope your going too tell me what to do?

    A: Don't worry about how your articles look. Remember it's the message that counts, not the way it's presented. Ignore the fact that sloppy spelling in a purely written forum sends out the same silent messages that soiled clothing would when addressing an audience.

    Q: How should I pick a subject for my articles?

    A: Keep it short and meaningless. That way people will be forced to actually read your article to find out what's in it. This means a bigger audience for you, and we all know that's what the net is for. If you do a followup, be sure and keep the same subject, even if it's totally meaningless and not part of the same discussion. If you don't, you won't catch all the people who are looking for stuff on the original topic, and that means less audience for you.

    *

    Q: What sort of tone should I take in my article?

    A: Be as outrageous as possible. If you don't say outlandish things, and fill your article with libelous insults of net people, you may not stick out enough in the flood of articles to get a response. The more insane your posting looks, the more likely it is that you'll get lots of followups. The net is here, after all, so that you can get lots of attention.

    If your article is polite, reasoned and to the point, you may only get mailed replies. Yuck!

    *

    Q: The posting software suggested I had too long a signature and too many lines of included text in my article. What's the best course?

    A: Such restrictions were put in the software for no reason at all, so don't even try to figure out why they might apply to your article. Turns out most people search the net to find nice articles that consist of the complete text of an earlier article plus a few lines.

    In order to help these people, fill your article with dummy original lines to get past the restrictions. Everybody will thank you for it.

    For your signature, I know it's tough, but you will have to read it in with the editor. Do this twice to make sure it's firmly in there. By the way, to show your support for the free distribution of information, be sure to include a copyright message forbidding transmission of your article to sites whose USENET politics you don't like.

    Also, if you do have a lot of free time and want to trim down the text in your article, be sure to delete some of the attribution lines so that it looks like the original author of -- say -- a plea for world peace actually wrote the followup calling for the nuking of Bermuda.

    *

    Q: They just announced on the radio that the United States has invaded Iraq. Should I post?

    A: Of course. The net can reach people in as few as 3 to 5 days. It's the perfect way to inform people about such news events long after the broadcast networks have covered them. As you are probably the only person to have heard the news on the radio, be sure to post as soon as you can.

    *

    Q: I have this great joke. You see, these three strings walk into a bar...

    A: Oh dear. Don't spoil it for me. Submit it to rec.humor, and post it to the moderator of rec.humor.funny at the same time. I'm sure he's never seen that joke.

    *

    Q: What computer should I buy? An Atari ST or an Amiga?

    A: Cross post that question to the Atari and Amiga groups. It's an interesting and novel question that I am sure they would love to investigate in those groups. There is no need to read the groups in advance or examine the "frequently asked question" lists to see if the topic has already been dealt with. In fact, you don't need to read the group at all, and you can tell people that in your query.

    *

    Q: What about other important questions? How should I know when to post?

    A: Always post them. It would be a big waste of your time to find a knowledgeable user in one of the groups and ask through private mail if the topic has already come up. Much easier to bother thousands of people with the same question.

    *

    Q: Somebody just posted a query to the net, and I want to get the answer too. What should I do?

    A: Immediately post a following, including the complete text of the query. At the bottom add, "Me too!" If somebody else has done this, follow up their article and add "Me three," or whatever number is appropriate. Don't forget your full signature. After all, if you just mail the original poster and ask for a copy of the answers, you will simply clutter the poster's mailbox, and save people who do answer the question the joyful duty of noting all the "me (n)s" and sending off all the multiple copies.

    *

    Q: What is the measure of a worthwhile group?

    A: Why, it's Volume, Volume, Volume. Any group that has lots of noise in it must be good. Remember, the higher the volume of material in a group, the higher percentage of useful, factual and insightful articles you will find. In fact, if a group can't demonstrate a high enough volume, it should be deleted from the net.

    *

    Q: Emily, I'm having a serious disagreement with somebody on the net. I tried complaints to his sysadmin, organizing mail campaigns, called for his removal from the net and phoning his employer to get him fired. Everybody laughed at me. What can I do?

    A: Go to the daily papers. Most modern reporters are top-notch computer experts who will understand the net, and your problems, perfectly. They will print careful, reasoned stories without any errors at all, and surely represent the situation properly to the public. The public will also all act wisely, as they are also fully cognizant of the subtle nature of net society.

    Papers never sensationalize or distort, so be sure to point out things like racism and sexism wherever they might exist. Be sure as well that they understand that all things on the net, particularly insults, are meant literally. Link what transpires on the net to the causes of the Holocaust, if possible. If regular papers won't take the story, go to a tabloid paper -- they are always interested in good stories.

    By arranging all this free publicity for the net, you'll become very well known. People on the net will wait in eager anticipation for your every posting, and refer to you constantly. You'll get more mail than you ever dreamed possible -- the ultimate in net success.

    *

    Q: What does foobar stand for?

    A: It stands for you, dear.

    "News articles are separated into divisions called newsgroups. Each division is supposed to limit itself to a single topic, and the name of the group is supposed to give you some idea as to the content of the group. These groups are then organized into hierarchies of related topics. Usenet Network News started out with just two hierarchies, mod and net. The mod hierarchy had those groups that had a person as the moderator to edit and control the information. The net hierarchy handled all other groups. With the release of B News and its ability to have any single group be moderated or open, the great renaming was undertaken." --- Weinstein (1992)

    EFF Information

    General Information About the Electronic Frontier Foundation

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was founded in July of 1990 to ensure that the principles embodied in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are protected as new communications technologies emerge.

    From the beginning, EFF has worked to shape our nation's communications infrastructure and the policies that govern it in order to maintain and enhance First Amendment, privacy and other democratic values. We believe that our overriding public goal must be the creation of Electronic Democracy, so our work focuses on the establishment of:

    Information Infrastructure

    EFF's Open Platform Proposal advocates that the nation's telecommunications infrastructure providers offer affordable, widely available transmission of voice, data and video information. The telecommunications infrastructure must promote broad access and enable citizens to receive and publish a diversity of information. In addition, a competitive environment must be ensured to preserve the core principles of common carriage, universal service and open standards.

    In the near term, EFF supports the implementation of services such as ISDN and ADSL, currently available digital technologies, for sending voice, data and video at reasonable cost to consumers.

    EFF supports federal funding to promote the development of network tools and applications that will make the Internet and the NREN easier to use. Although the NREN will be made up of services from commercial providers, government also has a vital role to play in making grants to institutions that cannot afford to pay for Internet connectivity.

    Civil Liberties

    EFF has been working to ensure that common carrier principles are upheld in the information age. Common carrier principles require that network providers carry all speech, regardless of its controversial content. Common carriers must also provide all speakers and information providers with equal, nondiscriminatory access to the network.

    EFF chairs the Digital Security and Privacy Working Group, a coalition of over 50 organizations--from computer software and hardware firms, telecommunications and energy companies to civil liberties advocates--that work on sound privacy policies in telecommunications. For example, the group has worked to oppose the FBI's Digital Telephony proposal and government-mandated encryption policies.

    EFF is working to convince Congress that all measures supporting broader public access to information should be enacted into law. EFF supports an Electronic Freedom of Information Act and other legislation to make information more accessible to citizens in electronic formats.

    EFF supports both legal and technical means to enhance privacy in communications. We, therefore, advocate all measures that ensure the public's right to use the most effective encryption technologies available.

    Legal Services

    EFF sponsors legal cases where users' online civil liberties have been violated. The Steve Jackson Games case, decided in March of 1993, established privacy protections for electronic publishers and users of electronic mail. We continue to monitor the online community for legal actions that merit EFF support.

    EFF provides a free telephone hotline for members of the online community who have questions regarding their legal rights.

    Members of EFF's staff and board speak to law enforcement organizations, state attorney bar associations and university classes on the work that we do and how these groups can get involved.

    Community Building

    EFF, in conjunction with the Consumer Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union, coordinates and sponsors the Communications Policy Forum (CPF). CPF enables nonprofit organizations, computer and communications firms, and government policymakers to come together in a nonpartisan setting to discuss communications policy goals and strategies.

    EFF works with local organizations that support online communications issues. In September of 1993, EFF will cosponsor a cryptography conference with a group in Austin, Texas. Earlier this year, EFF sponsored a summit of groups from around the country to discuss common goals. We also participate in an online mailing list for organizations that share our interests.

    EFF is a funder and organizer of the annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference, where academics, civil libertarians, law enforcement officials and computer users all meet to discuss the privacy implications of communicating online. Each year at the conference, EFF presents its Pioneer awards to individuals who have made significant contributions to computer communications.

    EFF maintains several communications forums online. We have our own Internet node, eff.org, which houses our FTP and Gopher sites and our discussion areas, comp.org.eff.talk and comp.org.eff.news. EFF also maintains conferences on the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link (WELL), CompuServe and America Online.

    How to connect to EFF?

    Internet and USENET

    General information requests, including requests to be added to the EFFector Online mailing list, can be sent to (eff@eff.org).

    If you receive any USENET newsgroups, your site may carry the newsgroups comp.org.eff.news and comp.org.eff.talk. The former is a moderated newsgroup for announcements, newsletters, and other information; the latter is an unmoderated discussion group for discussing EFF and issues relating to the electronic frontier.

    For those unable to read the newsgroups, there are redistributions via electronic mail. Send requests to be added to or dropped from the comp.org.eff.news mailing list to (eff-request @eff.org). For the comp.org.eff.talk mailing list, send a note to (eff-talk-request@eff.org). Please note that eff-talk can be extremely high-volume at times.

    A document library containing all EFF news releases and other publications of interest, including John Perry Barlow's history of EFF, Crime and Puzzlement, is available via anonymous FTP from ftp.eff.org. Send a note to (ftphelp@eff.org) if you have questions or are unable to use FTP. This archive is also accessible via Gopher. Try `gopher gopher.eff.org'.

    The WELL

    The WELL is host to an active EFF conference, as well as many other related conferences of interest to EFF supporters. Access to the WELL is $15/month plus $2/hour. Telecom access is available through the CompuServe Packet Network for an additional $4.50/hour. If you have an Internet connection, you can reach the WELL via telnet at well.sf.ca.us; otherwise, dial +1 415 332 6106 (data). The WELL's voice number is +1 415 332 4335.

    CompuServe

    Our forum on CompuServe is also open. `GO EFFSIG' to join. Many of the files on ftp.eff.org, as well as other items of interest, are mirrored in the EFFSIG Libraries.

    America Online

    EFF hosts a Special Interest Group on America Online as part of the Macintosh Communications Forum (MCM). `GOTO Keyword EFF' to join. Many of the files on ftp.eff.org, as well as other items of interest, are mirrored in this forum. In addition, EFF sponsors an interactive discussion on this forum the second Saturday night of each month at 9:00 p.m. ET.

    Membership in the Electronic Frontier Foundation

    I wish to become a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  I enclose:
    
    $__________  Regular membership -- $40
    $__________  Student membership -- $20
    
    
    Special Contribution
    
    I wish to make a tax-deductible donation in the amount of $__________ to
    further support the activities of EFF and to broaden participation in the
    organization.
    
    
    Documents Available in Hard Copy Form
    
    The following documents are available free of charge from the Electronic
    Frontier Foundation.  Please indicate any of the documents you wish to
    receive.
    
     ___  Open Platform Proposal - EFF's proposal for a national
    telecommunications infrastructure.  12 pages.  July, 1992
    
     ___  An Analysis of the FBI Digital Telephony Proposal - Response of
    EFF-organized coalition to the FBI's digital telephony proposal of Fall,
    1992.  8 pages.  September, 1992.
    
     ___  Building the Open Road:  The NREN and the National Public Network -
    A discussion of the National Research and Education Network as a prototype
    for a National Public Network.  20 pages.  May, 1992.
    
     ___  Innovative Services Delivered Now:  ISDN Applications at Home, School,
    the Workplace and Beyond - A compilation of ISDN applications currently in
    use.  29 pages.  January, 1993.
    
     ___  Decrypting the Puzzle Palace - John Perry Barlow's argument for strong
    encryption and the need for an end to U.S. policies preventing its
    development and use. 13 pages.  May, 1992.
    
     ___  Crime and Puzzlement - John Perry Barlow's piece on the founding of
    the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the world of hackers, crackers and
    those accused of computer crimes. 24 pages.  June, 1990.
    
     ___  Networks & Policy - A quarterly newsletter detailing EFF's activities
    and achievements.
    
    
    Your Contact Information:
    
    Name:  ___________________________________________________________________
    
    Organization:  ___________________________________________________________
    
    Address:  ________________________________________________________________
    
     ___________________________________________________________
    
    Phone:  (____)  _______________  FAX:  (____)  _______________  (optional)
    
    E-mail address:  _________________________________________________________
    
    
    Payment Method
    
     ___ Enclosed is a check payable to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
    
     ___ Please charge my:
     ___ MasterCard  ___ Visa  ___ American Express
    
    Card Number:  ____________________________________________
    
    Expiration Date:  ________________________________________
    
    Signature:  ______________________________________________
    
    
    Privacy Policy
    
    EFF occasionally shares our mailing list with other organizations promoting
    similar goals.  However, we respect an individual's right to privacy and
    will not distribute your name without explicit permission.
    
     ___ I grant permission for the EFF to distribute my name and contact
    information to organizations sharing similar goals.
    

    Print out and mail to:

    Membership Coordinator Electronic Frontier Foundation 1001 G Street, N.W. Suite 950 East Washington, DC 20001 (202) 347-5400 voice (202) 393-5509 fax

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization supported by contributions from individual members, corporations and private foundations. Donations are tax-deductible.

    Get GUMMed

    "The Gurus of Unix Meeting of Minds (GUMM) takes place Wednesday, April 1, 2076 (check THAT in your perpetual calendar program), 14 feet above the ground directly in front of the Milpitas Gumps. Members will grep each other by the hand (after intro), yacc a lot, smoke filtered chroots in pipes, chown with forks, use the wc (unless uuclean), fseek nice zombie processes, strip, and sleep, but not, we hope, od. Three days will be devoted to discussion of the ramifications of whodo. Two seconds have been allotted for a complete rundown of all the user- friendly features of Unix. Seminars include "Everything You Know is Wrong," led by Tom Kempson, "Batman or Cat:man?" led by Richie Dennis "cc C? Si! Si!" led by Kerwin Bernighan, and "Document Unix, Are You Kidding?" led by Jan Yeats. No Reader Service No. is necessary because all GUGUs (Gurus of Unix Group of Users) already know everything we could tell them."

    --- Dr. Dobb's Journal, June '84

    Internet Country Codes

    This appendix gives a list of country codes with e-mail accessibility. It is helpful in finding-out if a country has easy access to e-mail and Internet facilities and is aimed at general e-mail and Internet users. This file is continuously updated and available by FTP from rtfm.mit.edu as `pub/usenet/news.answers/mail/country-codes'. See section Archiving below.

    This document is based on International Standard ISO 3166 Names. Compiled by Olivier M.J. Crepin-Leblond (25) (ocl@ic.ac.uk) Release: 93.8.1

    Description of codes

    FI
    stands for FULL INTERNET access. This includes 'telnet', 'ftp', and internet e-mail.

    B
    stands for BITNET access although the address may be in internet DNS (Domain Name System) format.

    * (Asterisk)
    means that the country is reachable by e-mail. If this is not preceded by FI or B, it means that the connection may be a UUCP connection. An asterisk is included after FI or B for consistency.

    PFI
    stands for a provisional full internet connection.(+)

    P
    stands for provisional connection.

    This is used when one or more of the following is true:

    Networks which are not included

    Networks such as MILNET (U.S. Army) have computers all around the world. It is generally possible to assume that wherever there is a U.S. military base, there will be a node reachable through gateways.

    Private company networks such as for DEC (Digital Equipment Corp.), or Sun Microsystems, for example, have nodes in many exotic locations. However the connection may take place via UUCP and cost a lot of money. Those networks have therefore not been included. In addition, those are PRIVATE networks.

    Many companies (like U.S. Sprint, for example) offer commercial services to many countries which are not readily available on the Internet. The service is VERY COSTLY, usually takes place via UUCP or X.400 connections. X.400 e-mail is usually charged to someone and if the telecommunication carrier cannot find someone to pay for the message transfer, it will reject it. As a result, those types of network have not been included in the list. Although a user may RECEIVE e-mail from a user on those networks, one may not be able to reply to it.

    FIDONET nodes are NOT included. While all nodes agree to forward e-mail as a condition to be included in the tables, the high cost of phone calls in more exotic locations prompts some sysadmins not to want their site publicised. Many FIDO nodes exist throughout the Middle-East and Africa.

    Updates

    The situation changes from day to day. The growth in international networking is such that the information contained in this document may be out of date by the time it reaches you. If you have any update (i.e. knowledge that a new country is connected), please send a message to (country-codes@ic.ac.uk), including an example address from the country reached so that it can be verified.

    .us sites

    While there are several hundreds of BITNET nodes in USA, none have a name in the format `.us'. That's why the `.us' domain is only `FI' and `*'.

    .edu, .com, etc.

    The domains in this section are special in that some of them are used in more than one country. The domains which have full internet access are marked accordingly. However, this doesn't mean that *all* of those domains have full internet access. For example, only a small proportion of .mil sites have full internet access. The same is true for .com sites, for example.

    UK and GB domains

    There are two codes for United Kingdom, namely UK and GB. While UK is used for addressing of most domains in DNS format, the field GB is used mainly in the X.400 addressing of United Kingdom sites. However, there is an increasing trend in some United Kingdom sites being directly connected to Internet under the GB domain. The GB domain is hence a perfectly suitable Internet top level domain.

    Main nameservers

    This is the main nameserver as listed in the rs.internic.net database. Those often change as the network grows, and it is hard to keep track of all nameservers, but they should usually work. Nameservers can be queried by users using `nslookup'.

    Archiving

    Once released, this document is archived in a number of archive sites around the world. Amongst them:

    rtfm.mit.edu (18.70.0.224)
    directory: `/pub/usenet/news.answers/mail'

    lth.se (130.235.20.3)
    directory: `/pub/archive2/netnews/news.answers/mail'

    # ftp.uu.net (192.48.96.9)
    directory: `/usenet/news.answers/mail'

    # unix.hensa.ac.uk (129.12.21.7)
    directory: `/pub/uunet/usenet/news.answers/mail'

    # grasp1.univ-lyon1.fr (134.214.100.25)
    directory: `/pub/faq/mail'

    The tagged hosts (#) may not be accessible via Bear access or direct PC access in some cases.

    Via listserver request: (listserver@grasp1.univ-lyon1.fr) with the command: `get faq mail/country-codes'.

    All FAQs are also available via (listserv@cc1.kuleuven.ac.be) or (listserv@blekul11. bitnet). For an index of all FAQs available, put the command `GET NETFAQS FILELIST' in the body of your message.

    The document is also retrievable by sending e-mail to (mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu), blank subject line and the command: `send usenet/news. answers/mail/country-codes'

    The up-to-date, pre-release document is also available using an experimental simple mail-server that I have setup from my account. Send e-mail to: (ocl@ic.ac.uk) with a subject: `archive-server-request' and the command: `get mail/country-codes' in the body of your message.

    ISO 3166 Codes & Top level domains

    Code    Country              Conn     Notes           main nameserver
    
    AD   Andorra
    AE   United Arab Emirates        *                    ns.uu.net
    AF   Afghanistan
    AG   Antigua and Barbuda         *                    upr1.upr.clu.edu
    AI   Anguilla
    AL   Albania                     P                    gwd2i.cnuce.cnr.it
    AM   Armenia                          Ex-USSR
    AN   Netherland Antilles
    AO   Angola
    AQ   Antarctica             FI   *                    luxor.cc.waikato.ac.nz
    AR   Argentina              FI B *                    ns.uu.net
    AS   American Samoa
    AT   Austria                FI B *                    pythia.edvz.univie.ac.at
    AU   Australia              FI   *                    munnari.oz.au
    AW   Aruba
    AZ   Azerbaidjan                      Ex-USSR
    BA   Bosnia-Herzegovina               Ex-Yugoslavia
    BB   Barbados                    *                    upr1.upr.clu.edu
    BD   Bangladesh
    BE   Belgium                FI B *                    ub4b.buug.be
    BF   Burkina Faso                *                    orstom.orstom.fr
    BG   Bulgaria               FI B *                    pythia.ics.forth.gr
    BH   Bahrain                   B *    Gulfnet
    BI   Burundi
    BJ   Benin
    BM   Bermuda                     *                    ns.uu.net
    BN   Brunei Darussalam
    BO   Bolivia                     *                    ns.uu.net
    BR   Brazil                 FI B *                    fpsp.fapesp.br
    BS   Bahamas                     *                    upr1.upr.clu.edu
    BT   Buthan
    BV   Bouvet Island
    BW   Botswana                    *                    hippo.ru.ac.za
    BY   Belarus                     *    Ex-USSR
    BZ   Belize                      P                    upr1.upr.clu.edu
    CA   Canada                 FI B *                    relay.cdnnet.ca
    CC   Cocos (Keeling) Isl.
    CF   Central African Rep.
    CG   Congo
    CH   Switzerland            FI B *                    scsnms.switch.ch
    CI   Ivory Coast
    CK   Cook Islands
    CL   Chile                  FI B *                    dcc.uchile.cl
    CM   Cameroon               FI   *    in .fr domain   inria.inria.fr
    CN   China                 PFI   *                    iraun1.ira.uka.de
    CO   Colombia                  B *                    cunixd.cc.columbia.edu
    CR   Costa Rica             FI B *                    ns.cr
    CS   Czechoslovakia         FI B *    still works...  ns.cesnet.cz
    CU   Cuba                        *                    igc.org
    CV   Cape Verde
    CX   Christmas Island
    CY   Cyprus                    B *                    pythia.ics.forth.gr
    CZ   Czech Republic         FI   *                    ns.cesnet.cz
    DE   Germany                FI B *            deins.informatik.uni-dortmund.de
    DJ   Djibouti
    DK   Denmark                FI B *                    ns.dknet.dk
    DM   Dominica                    P                    upr1.upr.clu.edu
    DO   Dominican Republic          P                    upr1.upr.clu.edu
    DZ   Algeria                     *
    EC   Ecuador                FI B *                    ecua.net.ec
    EE   Estonia                FI   *    Ex-USSR         uvax2.kbfi.ee
    EG   Egypt                 PFI B *                    frcu.eun.eg
    EH   Western Sahara
    ES   Spain                  FI B *                    sun.rediris.es
    ET   Ethiopia
    FI   Finland                FI B *                    funet.fi
    FJ   Fiji                        *                    truth.waikato.ac.nz
    FK   Falkland Isl.(Malvinas)
    FM   Micronesia
    FO   Faroe Islands               P                    danpost.uni-c.dk
    FR   France                 FI B *                    inria.inria.fr
    FX   France (European Ter.)           ???
    GA   Gabon
    GB   Great Britain (UK)     FI   *    X.400 & IP      ns1.cs.ucl.ac.uk
    GD   Grenada                     P                    upr1.upr.clu.edu
    GE   Georgia                     *    Ex-USSR         ns.eu.net
    GH   Ghana
    GI   Gibraltar
    GL   Greenland
    GP   Guadeloupe (Fr.)
    GQ   Equatorial Guinea
    GF   Guyana (Fr.)
    GM   Gambia
    GN   Guinea
    GR   Greece                 FI B *                    pythia.ics.forth.gr
    GT   Guatemala                   *                    ns.uu.net
    GU   Guam (US)
    GW   Guinea Bissau
    GY   Guyana
    HK   Hong Kong              FI B *                    hp9000.csc.cuhk.hk
    HM   Heard & McDonald Isl.
    HN   Honduras                    *                    ns.uu.net
    HR   Croatia                FI   *    Ex-Yugo         dns.srce.hr
    HT   Haiti
    HU   Hungary                FI B *                    sztaki.hu
    ID   Indonesia                   *                    ns.uu.net
    IE   Ireland                FI B *                    nova.ucd.ie
    IL   Israel                 FI B *                    relay.huji.ac.il
    IN   India                  FI B *                    sangam.ncst.ernet.in
    IO   British Indian O. Terr.
    IQ   Iraq
    IR   Iran                      B *
    IS   Iceland                FI B *                    isgate.is
    IT   Italy                  FI B *                    dns.nis.garr.it
    JM   Jamaica                     *                    upr1.upr.clu.edu
    JO   Jordan
    JP   Japan                  FI B *                    jp-gate.wide.ad.jp
    KE   Kenya                       *                    rain.psg.com
    KG   Kirgistan                        Ex-USSR
    KH   Cambodia
    KI   Kiribati
    KM   Comoros
    KN   St.Kitts Nevis Anguilla     P                    upr1.upr.clu.edu
    KP   Korea (North)               P
    KR   Korea (South)          FI B *                    ns.kaist.ac.kr
    KW   Kuwait                 FI   *    No BITNET       dns.kuniv.edu.kw
    KY   Cayman Islands
    KZ   Kazachstan                  *    Ex-USSR in .su domain
    LA   Laos
    LB   Lebanon                     P
    LC   Saint Lucia                 P                    upr1.upr.clu.edu
    LI   Liechtenstein         PFI   *                    scsnms.switch.ch
    LK   Sri Lanka                   *                    ns.eu.net
    LR   Liberia
    LS   Lesotho                     *                    hippo.ru.ac.za
    LT   Lithuania             PFI   *    Ex-USSR         aun.uninett.no
    LU   Luxembourg             FI B *                    menvax.restena.lu
    LV   Latvia                 FI   *    Ex-USSR         lapsene.mii.lu.lv
    LY   Libya
    MA   Morocco                     P
    MC   Monaco
    MD   Moldavia                         Ex-USSR
    MG   Madagascar
    MH   Marshall Islands
    ML   Mali
    MM   Myanmar
    MN   Mongolia
    MO   Macau                       *                    hkuxb.hku.hk
    MP   Northern Mariana Isl.
    MQ   Martinique (Fr.)
    MR   Mauritania
    MS   Montserrat
    MT   Malta                       P                    ns.iunet.it
    MU   Mauritius
    MV   Maldives
    MW   Malawi
    MX   Mexico                 FI B *                    mtecv1.mty.itesm.mx
    MY   Malaysia               FI B *                    mimos.my
    MZ   Mozambique                  *                    hippo.ru.ac.za
    NA   Namibia                     *                    rain.psg.com
    NC   New Caledonia (Fr.)
    NE   Niger                       *    in .fr domain   inria.inria.fr
    NF   Norfolk Island
    NG   Nigeria
    NI   Nicaragua                   *                    ns.uu.net
    NL   Netherlands            FI B *                    sering.cwi.nl
    NO   Norway                 FI B *                    nac.no
    NP   Nepal
    NR   Nauru
    NT   Neutral Zone
    NU   Niue
    NZ   New Zealand            FI   *                    truth.waikato.ac.nz
    OM   Oman
    PA   Panama                    B *
    PE   Peru                      B *                    rain.psg.com
    PF   Polynesia (Fr.)
    PG   Papua New Guinea            *                    munnari.oz.au
    PH   Philippines                 *                    ns.uu.net
    PK   Pakistan                    *                    ns.uu.net
    PL   Poland                 FI B *                    danpost.uni-c.dk
    PM   St. Pierre & Miquelon
    PN   Pitcairn
    PT   Portugal               FI B *                    ns.dns.pt
    PR   Puerto Rico (US)       FI B *                    sun386-gauss.pr
    PW   Palau
    PY   Paraguay                    *                    ns.uu.net
    QA   Qatar
    RE   Reunion (Fr.)          FI   *    In .fr domain   inria.inria.fr
    RO   Romania                FI B *                    roearn.ici.ac.ro
    RU   Russian Federation          P    Ex-USSR
    RW   Rwanda
    SA   Saudi Arabia              B *    GulfNet
    SB   Solomon Islands
    SC   Seychelles
    SD   Sudan
    SE   Sweden                 FI B *                    sunic.sunet.se
    SG   Singapore              FI B *                    solomon.technet.sg
    SH   St. Helena
    SI   Slovenia               FI   *    Ex-Yugos via .yu klepec.yunac.yu
    SJ   Svalbard & Jan Mayen Is
    SK   Slovak Republic        FI   *                    ns.eunet.sk
    SL   Sierra Leone
    SM   San Marino
    SN   Senegal                     *                    rain.psg.com
    SO   Somalia
    SR   Suriname                    P                    upr1.upr.clu.edu
    ST   St. Tome and Principe
    SU   Soviet Union           FI B *    Still used.     ns.eu.net
    SV   El Salvador
    SY   Syria
    SZ   Swaziland
    TC   Turks & Caicos Islands
    TD   Chad
    TF   French Southern Terr.
    TG   Togo
    TH   Thailand               FI   *                    chulkn.chula.ac.th
    TJ   Tadjikistan                      Ex-USSR
    TK   Tokelau
    TM   Turkmenistan                *    Ex-USSR in .su domain
    TN   Tunisia                FI B *                    alyssa.rsinet.tn
    TO   Tonga
    TP   East Timor
    TR   Turkey                 FI B *                    knidos.cc.metu.edu.tr
    TT   Trinidad & Tobago           P                    upr1.upr.clu.edu
    TV   Tuvalu
    TW   Taiwan                 FI B *                    moevax.edu.tw
    TZ   Tanzania
    UA   Ukraine                FI   *    Ex-USSR via .su ns.eu.net
    UG   Uganda
    UK   United Kingdom         FI B *    ISO 3166 is GB  ns1.cs.ucl.ac.uk
    UM   US Minor outlying Isl.
    US   United States          FI   *    see note (4)    venera.isi.edu
    UY   Uruguay                   B *                    ns.uu.net
    UZ   Uzbekistan                       Ex-USSR
    VA   Vatican City State
    VC   St.Vincent & Grenadines     P                    upr1.upr.clu.edu
    VE   Venezuela              FI   *                    nisc.jvnc.net
    VG   Virgin Islands (British)
    VI   Virgin Islands (US)         *
    VN   Vietnam                     *
    VU   Vanuatu
    WF   Wallis & Futuna Islands
    WS   Samoa
    YE   Yemen
    YU   Yugoslavia             FI B *    Bitnet is cut   klepec.yunac.yu
    ZA   South Africa           FI   *                    rain.psg.com
    ZM   Zambia
    ZR   Zaire
    ZW   Zimbabwe                    *                    rain.psg.com
    

    See section Main nameservers for the next top level domains (rs.internic.net):

    ARPA Old style Arpanet           *    alias still works ns.nic.ddn.mil
    COM  Commercial             FI   *                    ns.internic.net
    EDU  Educational            FI B *                    ns.internic.net
    GOV  Government             FI   *                    ns.internic.net
    INT  International field    FI   *    used by Nato    ns1.cs.ucl.ac.uk
    MIL  US Military            FI   *                    ns.nic.ddn.mil
    NATO Nato field                  *    soon to be deleted
    NET  Network                FI   *                    ns.internic.net
    ORG  Non-Profit OrganizationFI   *                    ns.internic.net
    

    Disclaimer

    While every effort is made to provide accurate information, this list is not guaranteed to be accurate. This document is in NO WAY an official document. The information given should not be used as a basis for routing tables but only as general end-user information. This is a voluntary effort. I would appreciate greatly if errors/omissions could be pointed out to me and they would be corrected in the next release. The information included in this document implies no view whatsoever regarding questions of sovereignty or the status of any place listed. Affiliation to Imperial College is given for identification purposes only.

    Olivier M. J. Crepin-Leblond (foobar@uk.ac.ic) Digital Comms. Section Elec. Eng. Department Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine London SW7 2BT, UK

    "I hate definitions." ---Benjamin Disraeli, Vivian Grey Bk I, Chap II

    Paperware on the Net

    The following is a compendium of sources that have information that will be of use to anyone reading this guide. Some of them were used in the writing of this guide, while others are simply noted because they are a must for any good net.citizen's bookshelf.

    It might also be useful for those, who are interested in the history of the Internet. Thanks for the better part of this compilation to Henry Edward Hardy. It has been stripped from his Master's Thesis The History of the Net at the School of Communications, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI 49401. The version 7.2 was posted to comp.org.eff.talk on August 28, 1993.

    Note that some publishers might also be contacted by e-mail, e.g. O'Reilly & Associates at (nuts@ora.com).

    Hardcover & Softcover Publications

    Bamford, James (1982) The Puzzle Palace: a report on NSA, America's most secret agency Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

    Barnouw, Erik (1968a) A Tower in Babel Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Barnouw, Erik (1968b) The Golden Web Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Brand, Stewart (1974) Two Cybernetic Frontiers Random House, New York, NY.

    Brand, Stewart (1988) The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT New York, NY: Penguin.

    Brunner, John (1975) The Shockwave Rider

    Cathcart, Robert & Gumpert, Gary (1986) Intermedia: Interpersonal Communication in a Media World (2nd ed) New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

    Cerf, Vincent G. (1990) Requiem for the ARPANET Poem, reprinted in LaQuey (1990), p. 202-204.

    Comer, Douglas E. (1991) Internetworking With TCP/IP, 2nd ed., 2v Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

    Davidson, John (1988) An Introduction to TCP/IP Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

    Frey, Donnalyn, and Adams, Rick (1989) !@%:: A Directory of Electronic Mail Addressing and Networks O'Reilly & Associates, Newton, MA.

    Garfinkel, Simson and Spafford, Gene (1992) Practical UNIX Security O'Reilly & Associates, Sebastopol, CA.

    Gibson, William (1984) Neuromancer Ace, New York, NY.

    Gibson, William (1987) Count Zero Ace, New York, NY.

    Hahn, Harley (1993) A Student's Guide to UNIX McGraw Hill.

    Hunt, Craig (1992) TCP/IP Network Administration O'Reilly & Associates, Sebastopol, CA.

    Innis, Harold Adams (1949) Minerva's Owl; presidential address reprinted from the Procedings of the Royal Society of Canada Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

    Jones, Paul (1992) What is the Internet? Chapel Hill, NC: Office for Information Technology. University of North Carolina.

    Kehoe, Brendan P. (1992) Zen and the Art of the Internet: A Beginner's Guide to the Internet. 2nd ed. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

    Kidder, Tracy (1981) The Soul of a new Machine Little, Brown & Company, Boston, MA.

    Kochmer, Jonathan (1993) The Internet Passport: NorthWestNet's Guide to Our World Online NorthWestNet, Bellevue, WA. (Contact: (passport@nwnet.net))

    Krol, Ed (1992) The Whole Internet: Catalog & User's Guide O'Reilly & Associates, Sebastopol, CA.

    LaQuey, Tracy (1990) Users' Directory of Computer Networks Digital Press, Bedford, MA.

    LaQuey, T. and Ryer, J.C. (1992) The Internet Companion: A Beginner's Guide to Global Networking Addison--Wesley, Reading, MA.

    Laver, Murray (1975) Computers, Communications, and Society Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Levy, Stephen (1984) Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, NY.

    McLuhan, Marshall (1967) Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man London: Sphere Books.

    McLuhan, Marshall (1989) The Global Village: transformations in world life and media in the 21st Century New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

    Mosco, Vincent (1982) Pushbutton Fantasies: critical perspectives on videotext and information technology Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

    Mulgan, Geoff J. (1991) Communication and Control: networks and the new economics of communication New York: Guilford Press.

    Office of Technology Assessment (1981) Computer-Based National Information Systems Technology and Public Policy Issues. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

    O'Reilly Tim and Todino, Grace (1992) ManagingUUCP and USENET: A Nutshell Handbook, 10th ed. O'Reilly & Associates, Sebastopol, CA.

    Partridge, Craig (1988) Innovations in Internetworking ARTECH House, Norwood, MA.

    Quarterman, John S. (1989) The Matrix: Computer Networks and Conferencing Systems Worldwide Digital Press, Bedford, MA.

    Raymond, Eric (ed) (1991) The New Hacker's Dictionary MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

    Rheingold, Howard (1985) Tools for Thought New York, NY.

    Reingold, Howard (1991) Virtual Reality New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

    Rheingold, Howard (1993) The Virtual Community: Homesteading On The Electronic Frontier Addison--Wesley, Reading, MA.

    Reinhart, Robert B. (1993) An Architectural Overview of Unix Security Annapolis, MD: ARINC Research Corporation.

    Rubin, R. B., Rubin, A. M., & Piele, L. J. (1990) Communications research: Strategies and sources (2nd ed.) Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

    Russel, Deborah and Gangemi Sr., G.T. (1992) Computer Security Basics O'Reilly & Associates, Sebastopol, CA.

    Sterling, Bruce (1992) The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder at the Electronic Frontier Viking, London, England.

    Stanford Research Institute (SRI) (1973) Computer Abuse Prepared for National Science Foundation (Publication Number PB-231 320). Springfield, VA: Reproduced by National Technical Information Service, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    Stoll, Clifford (1989) The Cuckoo's Egg Doubleday, New York, NY.

    Tanenbaum, Andrew S. (1988) Computer Networks, 2nd ed. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

    Todinao, Grace (1986) Using UUCP and USENET: A Nutshell Handbook O'Reilly & Associates, Newton, MA.

    The Waite Group (1991) Unix Communications, 2nd ed. Howard W. Sams & Company, Indianapolis.

    U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties, and the Administration of Justice (1985) 1984 Civil Liberties and the National Security State. Committee Serial No. 103. Hearings to assess the threat to civil liberties posed by Government national security secrecy and surveillance activities, including restrictions on disclosure of certain types of information and use of electronic surveillance and other information-gathering practices. Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office.

    Journals & Papers

    Alexander, Michael (1991) Hacker probe bogged down; Operation Sundevil case going nowhere Computerworld, February 11, p. 1.

    Anderson, Christopher (1993) The Rocky Road to a Data Highway Science, 260(21), 1064-1065.

    Anonymous (1992) Merit Network Signs Agreement to Pass Commercial Data Traffic Information Technology Digest, 1(10) 3.

    Anonymous (1991) National research network driven by differing goals and visions Common Carrier Week, 8(23) 4+.

    Anonymous (1992) Portal Communications UNIX Review, 8(11) 141 et passim.

    Anonymous (1990) SOVIET UNIX USERS GROUP TO JOIN Usenet NETWORK Computergram International.

    Anonymous (1992) Usenet AND LISTSERVS: ELECTRONIC NEWS AND CONFERENCING Online Libraries & Microcomputers, 10(5) 1.

    Anonymous (1988) Usenet/Eunet machen Btx zum Info-Center Computerwoche, p. 14.

    Anonymous (1992) Using uucp and Usenet UNIX Review, 10(8) 54.

    Anonymous (1989) Farewell to the free Minitel? Data Communications, March, p. 73.

    Barlow, J. (1990) Beeing in Nothingness NONDO 2000, Number 2, Summer 1990.

    Barlow, J. (1991) Coming Into The Country Communications of the ACM 34:3, March 1991, p.2. (Addresses "Cyberspace" --John Barlow was a co-founder of the EFF.)

    Barlow, John Perry (1993) Bill 'O Rights Communications of the ACM 36(3) 21-23.

    Basch, Reva (1991) Books online: visions, plans and perspectives for electronic text Online v. 15, July, p. 13+.

    Beishon, M (1984) Usenet's Pranks and Pragmatism Hardcopy, 13(8) 20-28.

    Bjerklie, David Email, the boss is watching Technology Review, v. 96, p. 29+.

    Bricken, W. Cyberspace 1999 NONDO 2000, Number 2, Summer 1990.

    Buerger, David J. (1988) AT&T's shutdown of Usenet backbone nodes need not spell doom to users InfoWorld. 10(28) 14.

    Buerger, David J. (1988) Long-term stability and prosperity of Usenet rests on fee-based trunk feeds InfoWorld. 10(30) 16.

    Campbell, A. E-mail Beyond Unix UnixWorld, November 1991, pp.77--80.

    Carl-Mitchell, S. and Quarterman, J.S. Building Internet Firewalls UnixWorld, February 1992, pp.93--103.

    Cathcart, Robert & Gumpert, Gary (1983) Mediated Interpersonal Communication: Toward a New Typology Quarterly Journal of Speech, v. 69, 267-277.

    Cerf, Vincent G. (1991) Networks Scientific American, v. 265, p. 72+.

    Clark, Paul C. and Hoffman, Lance J. Imminent policy considerations in the design and management of national and international computer networks IEEE Communications Magazine, 68-74.

    Collyer, G., and Spencer, H. News Need Not Be Slow Proceedings of the 1987 Winter USENIX Conference, USENIX Association, Berkeley, CA, January 1988, pp. 181--90.

    Comer, Douglas (1983) The Computer Science Research Network CSNET: A history and status report Communicaitons of the ACM (26)10 747-753.

    DeLoughry, Thomas J. (1993) Regional Networks Prepare for Change in the Internet: New company seeks to provide continuity for college customers Chronicle of Higher Education, June 9, 1993, A16.

    Denning, Dorothy E. (1993) To tap or not to tap Communications of the ACM, 36(3) 25-33.

    Denning, P. (1989) The ARPANET after twenty years American Scientist 77:530+.

    Denning, P. The Internet Worm American Scientist, March--April 1989, pp.126--128.

    Denning, P. The Science of Computing: Computer Networks American Scientist, March--April 1985, pp.127--129.

    Dern, D.P. Plugging Into the Internet BYTE, October 1992, pp.140--156.

    Duncanson, J. and Chew, J. The Ultimate Link? ISDN -- a new communications technology that could change the way we use our computers and telephones BYTE, July 1988, pp.278--286.

    Emerson, Sandra L. (1983) Usenet: A Bulletin Board for Unix Users BYTE, 8(10) 219-220.

    Erickson, C. USENET as a Teaching Tool Proceedings of the 24th ACM Conference on Science and Education, ACM-24thCSE-2/93-IN, USA, February 1993, pp.43--47.

    Farrow, Rik (1991a) Commercial Links to the Internet UNIX World, p. 82.

    Farrow, Rik (1991b) How the Internet Grew UNIX World, p. 80.

    Farrow, Rik (1991c) Who Pays for All This Great Stuff? UNIX World, p. 84.

    Farrow, Rik (1991d) Will Success Spoil the Internet? UNIX World, pp. 79-86.

    Fair, E. Usenet: Spanning the Globe UNIX World, 1(7) 46-49.

    Fiedler, David PROWLING THE NETWORKS: Getting on the Usenet network, and what to do when you've gotten there BYTE, 15(5) 83.

    Frey, D., and Adams, R. USENET: Death by Success? UNIX Review, August 1987, pp.55--60.

    Gifford, W.S. ISDN User-Network Interfaces IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, May 1986, pp. 343--348.

    Ginsberg, K. Getting from Here to There UNIX Review, January 1986, p.45.

    Godwin, Mike (1991) The Electronic Frontier Foundation and virtual communities Whole Earth Review, Summer, 1991, p. 40+.

    Godwin, Mike (1993) New Frontiers: a visitor's guide -- Computers are creating new-style communities that could be commonplace by 2001 Index on Censorship 22(2) 11-13.

    Hardy, Henry E. (1992b) The Usenet System International Teleconferencing Association (ITCA) Yearbook 1993, p. 140-151.

    Heim, Judy (1991) The information edge PC World, 9(4) 213 et passim.

    Hiltz, S.R The Human Element in Computerized Conferencing Systems Computer Networks, December 1978, pp.421--428

    Hold, David F., Sloan, Michael B., et. al. (1991) First Amendment rights for electronic media Viewtext, 12(6) 3+.

    Horton, M. What is a Domain? Proceedings of the Summer 1984 USENIX Conference, USENIX Association, Berkeley, CA, June 1984, pp. 368--372.

    Horvitz, Robert (1989) The Usenet underground Whole Earth Review, n. 4, p. 112.

    Jacobsen, Ole J. Information on TCP/IP ConneXions--The Interoperability Report, July 1988, pp.14--15.

    Jennings, D., et al. Computer Networking for Scientists Science, 28 February 1986, pp.943--950.

    Karracker, Roger (1991) Highways of the Mind Whole Earth Review, Spring, 1991, p. 8+.

    Laulicht, Murray J. & Lindsay, Eileen L. (1991) First Amendment Protections don't extend to genocide New Jersey Law Journal, 129(5) 15+.

    Law Reform Commission of Australia (1991) Censorship Procedure Sydney: Law Reform Commission of Australia

    Leslie, Jaques (1993) Technology: MUDroom Atlantic 272(3) 28-34.

    Levy, Steven Crypto Rebels: the battle is engaged. Its the FBI's, NSA's and Equifaxes of the world versus a swelling movement of cypherpunks, civil libertarians and millionaire hackers. At stake: whether privacy will exist in the 21st century Wired 1.2, 54-61.

    Licklider, J. C. R. & Vezza, Albert (1978) Applications of Information Technology Proceedings of the IEEE 66(11) 1330-1346.

    Livingston, James W. (1988a) Y'know I heard it through the Usenet Digital Review, 5(14), 79.

    Livingston, James W. (1988b) No shortage of topics on the Usenet Digital Review, 5(16) 73.

    Livingston, James W. (1988c) Take Your Pick with Netnews Readers Digital Review. 5(15) 97.

    Lunin, Louis F. (1991) Wanted, civil liberties for the network: forum at ASIS explores roles and responsibilities of nets in public interest Information Today, 8(1) 12+.

    Madsen, Wayne (1992) THE CHANGING THREAT -- Information security and intelligence Computer Fraud & Security Bulletin, February.

    Markoff, J. Author of computer `virus' is son of U.S. electronic security expert. New York Times, Nov. 5, 1988, A1.

    Markoff, J. Computer snarl: A `back door' ajar. New York Times, Nov. 7, 1988, B10.

    Markoff, John and Shapiro, Ezra (1984) Fidonet, Sidekick, Apple, Get Organized!, and Handle: Homebrew electronic mail, some integrated software, and other tidbits BYTE, 9(11) 357+.

    McQuillan, J.M., and Walden, D.C. (1977) The ARPA Network Design Decisions Computer Networks, pp.243--289.

    Metcalfe, Bob (1993) On the wild side of computer networking InfoWorld 15(13) 54.

    Miller, Philip H. (1993) New technology, old problem: determining the First Amendment status of electronic information services Fordham Law Review 61(5) 1147-1201.

    Monge, Peter R. (1977) The Systems Perspective as a Theoretical Basis for the Study of Human Communication Communication Quarterly, Winter, 19-29.

    Mueller, Milton (1993) Universal service in telephone history: A reconstruction Telecommunications Policy, July, 352-369.

    Nance, Barry (1992) On-the-fly disk compression: managing your Apple menu: navigating through Usenet News BYTE, 17(6) 357.

    Nickerson, Gord (1992a) Effective use of Usenet Computers in Libraries, 12(5) 38 et passim.

    Nickerson, Gord (1992b) Free Software on Usenet Computers in Libraries, 12(6) 51 et passim.

    Nickerson, Gord (1992c) Networked Resources: Usenet Computers in Libraries. 12(4) 31-34.

    Ornstein, S.M. (1989) A letter concerning the Internet worm Communications of the ACM 32:6, June.

    Pacanowsky, Michael E. & O'Donnell-Trujillo, Nick (1982) Communication and Organizational Cultures The Western Journal of Speech Communication, v. 46, 115-130.

    Padovano, Michael (1990) Need help with your Unix system? Here's a whole network of it Systems Integration. 23(12) 17.

    Partridge, C. (1986) Mail Routing Using Domain Names: An Informal Tour Proceedings of the 1986 Summer USENIX Conference USENIX Association, Berkeley, CA, June. pp.366--76.

    Perlman, G. (1985) Usenet: Doing Research on the Network UNIX World, 2(11) 75-78.

    Quarterman, J. Etiquette and Ethics ConneXions--The Interoperability Report, March 1989, pp.12--16.

    Quarterman, J. Notable Computer Networks Communications of the ACM 29:10, October 1986. (This was the predecessor to The Matrix.)

    Raeder, A.W., and Andrews, K.L. Searching Library Catalogs on the Internet: A Survey Database Searcher 6, September 1990, pp.16--31.

    Reid, B. K. (1989) The Usenet cookbook--an experiment in electronic [publishing] Electronic Publishing Review, 1(1) 55-76.

    Reisler, Kurt (1990) Usenet: a loosely organized, but binding network Digital Review, 7(6) 28.

    Richard, Jack (1993) Home-grown BBS Wired 1.4, 120+.

    Schatz, Willie (1993) DARPA's Industrial Policy Overkill Upside 5(5), 35-48.

    Schultz, B. The Evolution of ARPANET DATAMATION, August 1, 1988, pp.71--74.

    Seeley, D. A tour of the worm Proceedings of the 1989 Winter USENIX Conference, USENIX Association, Berkeley, CA, February 1989, pp.287--304.

    Shelly, Dale (1986) Globally speaking Digital Review. 3(9) 150 et passim.

    Shulman, G. Legal Research on USENET Liability Issues ;login: The USENIX Association Newsletter, December 1984, pp.11--17.

    Smith, Norris Parker (1993) Jockeying for Position on the Data Highway Upside 5(5), 50-60.

    Smith, K. E-Mail to Anywhere PC World, March 1988, pp.220--223.

    Sproull, Lee & Kiesler, Sara (1991) Computers, networks and work Scientific American, 265(3) 116+.

    Smith, Ben (1992) UNIX: Navigating Through Usenet News BYTE, 17(6) 357.

    Smith, Ben (1989) The Unix Connection: Usenet, UUCP, and NetNews give Unix worldwide communications power BYTE 14(5) 245.

    Stoll, C. Stalking the Wily Hacker Communications of the ACM 31:5, May 1988, p.14. (This article grew into the book The Cuckoo's Egg.)

    Taylor, D. The Postman Always Rings Twice: Electronic Mail in a Highly Distributed Environment Proceedings of the 1988 Winter USENIX Conference, USENIX Association, Berkeley, CA, December 1988, pp.145--153. Tillman, Hope N. & Ladner, Sharyn J. (1992) Special librarians and the INTERNET Special Libraries, 83(2) 127 et passim.

    Tribe, Lawrence H. (1991) The Constitution in Cyberspace Keynote address at the first conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy. Woodside, CA: Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.

    Ubois, Jeff (1992) TECH ANALYSIS: What is acceptable Internet use? MacWeek, p. 30.

    U.S. Gen'l Accounting Ofc. Computer Security: Virus Highlights Need for Improved Internet Management GAO/IMTEC-89-57, 1989. (Addresses the Internet worm.)

    Wagner, Mitch (1991) PSI's Policy Change Irks Usenet Readers UNIX Today, p. 5.

    Wagner, Mitch (1991) Update For Usenet UNIX Today, p. 22.

    Wagner, Mitch (1991) Usenet: Information At Users' Fingertips UNIX Today, p. 12.

    Weinstein, Sydney S. (1991) comp.sources.reviewed C Users Journal (9)6 127 et passim.

    Weinstein, Sydney S. (1992) Where to get the sources C Users Journal. 10(2) 115 et passim.

    Cyberspace-related News bits

    Anonymous (1992) Computers and Privacy: the eye of the beholder; through new laws on privacy, piracy and censorship; governments are writing a rulebook for the computer age Economist 319, p. 21-23. London.

    Anonymous (1993) Excerpts from Senate Hearings on Ginzburg Supreme Court Nomination New York Times, July 23, A 16.

    Anonymous (1992) The fruitful, tangled trees of knowledge The Economist, 323, p. 85+.

    Anonymous (1993) Interactive: What it means to you Newsweek, 121(22) 38-51.

    Anonymous (1991) National research network driven by differing goals and visions; OTA concerns outlined; private control questioned; ANS advocates open policy Communications Daily, 11(108) 2+.

    Anonymous (1992) Secret Service undercover hacker investigation goes awry Communications Daily 12(218) 2+.

    Anonymous (1993) NTIA warned of regulating 'hate' speech Communications Daily, 13(84) 3+.

    Blankenhorn, Dana (1990) Dalai Lama starts his own online network Newsbytes, January 11.

    Buckler, Grant (1990) Canada Remote expanding mail networks Newsbytes.

    Buckler, Grant (1992) Canada Remote announces UNIX-based services Newsbytes, January 14.

    Bulkeley, William M. (1993) Censorship fights heat up on academic networks Wall Street Journal, p. B1+.

    Gold, Steve (1990) CIX increases online charges; intros Usenet mail Newsbytes, January 4.

    Gold, Steve (1991) UK: Direct Connection offers Usenet news service Newsbytes, March 25.

    Huston, John (1993) Virtual Journalism Detroit Metro Times, 13(38) 24,28.

    McCormick, John (1990) Stoned virus source code published Newsbytes, Sept. 7.

    McMullen, Barbara E. & McMullen, John F. (1990a) Electronic frontiersmen launch online newsletter Newsbytes, Dec. 12.

    McMullen, Barbara E. & McMullen, John F. (1990b) Review: the User's Directory of Computer Networks, a book edited by Tracy L. LaQuey Newsbytes, August 8, 20.

    McMullen, Barbara E. & McMullen, John F. (1992) EFF examining arrest of 5 hackers Newsbytes, July 15.

    McMullen, Barbara E. & McMullen, John F. (1993) EFF's Godwin -- Don't self-censor Newsbytes, April 26, 1993.

    McMullen, Barbara E. & McMullen, John F. (1991) Well suspends international connect charge Newsbytes, January 9.

    Powers, Rebecca (1993) Gizmo gadgets: New generation of technology Detroit News, July 19, p. 1E, 2E.

    Rohrbaugh, Linda (1992) New T4 Mac viruses spread on Internet via Gomoku game Newsbytes, July 8.

    Siverstein, Stewart (1990) Getting the message by computer. Home users attracted to electronic mail and other networks Los Angeles Times, v. 109, Oct. 12, p. A1.

    Templeton, Brad (1992) CFP-2: computer crime session focuses on FBI wiretap bill Newsbytes, March 25.

    Woods, Wendy (1990) Update -- new electronic newspaper available for Unix community Newsbytes, May 8.

    Electronically published Texts

    Botz, Jurgen (1992) Re: Commercialization of the Nets? Usenet Newsgroups: news.misc, alt.activism.

    December, John (1992) Information Sources: the Internet and Computer-Mediated Communication WAIS database query: wais@quake.think.com.

    Desbiens, Jean Yves (1992) Famous flame wars, examples please? Usenet Newsgroup: alt.folklore.computers, Nov. 28.

    Detweiler, L. (1993) Identity, Privacy, and Anonymity on the Internet Usenet newsgroup alt.answers, May 7 1993.

    Farley, Laine (ed) (1992) Library Resources on the Internet: Strategies for Selection and Use Database query to wais@quake.think.com.

    Foulston, Catherine Anne (1992) Re: Commercialization of the Nets? Usenet Newsgroups news.misc, alt.activism, Oct. 6.

    Frost, Jim (1992) Re: Famous flame wars, examples please? Usenet Newsgroup: alt. folklore.computers, December 1.

    Hardy, Henry E. (1993) National Information Systems and the US Bill of Rights Anonymous FTP -- umcc.umich.edu, `/pub/seraphim/doc/nisbor17.txt'.

    Hardy, Henry E. (1992a) The Future of Text-Oriented Virtual Reality Anonymous FTP -- umcc.umich.edu, `/pub/seraphim/doc/FutTVR2.txt'.

    Hauben, Jay Robert (1992) Commercialization of the Nets? Usenet Newsgroups: news.misc, alt.activism, October 6.

    Hauben, Michael (1992a) The Social Forces Behind the Development of `the Largest Machine that man has ever constructed -- the global telecommunications network' (or Usenet News) Usenet Newsgroup: alt.amateur-comp.

    Hauben, Michael (1992b) The Social Forces Behind the Development of Usenet News Usenet Newsgroups: comp.misc, news.misc, etc, December 9.

    Hauben, Ronda (1993) The Town Meeting of the World: Usenet News, uucp, and the Internet Dearborn, MI: wuarchive.wustl.edu, `/doc/misc/acn'.

    Kadie, Carl M. (1992) File 4--Hacker Crackdown Review Usenet Newsgroups: alt.comp.acad-freedom.talk, comp.org.eff.talk, December 1.

    Kadie, Carl M., et al. (ed) (ND) Computers and Academic Freedom News abstracts Database query response via wais@quake.think.com.

    Krol, Ed (1988) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Internet RFC-1118.

    Lewis, Chris (1992) Re: Famous flame wars, examples please? Usenet Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers, news.admin.misc, December 4.

    Mehl, Nathan J. (1992) Re: Famous flame wars, examples please? Usenet Newsgroup: alt.folklore.computers, Dec. 4.

    MERIT Inc (1993b) History.hosts Anonymous FTP -- nic.merit.edu `/nsfnet/statistics/ history.hosts', June 1993.

    MERIT Inc (1993b) Internet Monthly Report January 1993 Anonymous FTP -- nic.merit.edu `/internet/newsletters/internet.monthly.report/imr93-01.txt'.

    MERIT Inc (1993c) Internet Monthly Report February 1993 Anonymous FTP -- nic.merit.edu `/internet/newsletters/internet.monthly.report/imr93-02.txt'.

    MERIT Inc (1993d) Internet Monthly Report March 1993 Anonymous FTP -- nic.merit.edu `/internet/newsletters/internet.monthly.report/imr93-03.txt'.

    MERIT Inc (1993e) Internet Monthly Report April 1993 Anonymous FTP -- nic.merit.edu `/internet/newsletters/internet.monthly.report/imr93-04.txt'.

    MERIT Inc (1993f) Internet Monthly Report May 1993 Anonymous FTP -- nic.merit.edu `/internet/newsletters/internet.monthly.report/imr93-05.txt'.

    MERIT Inc (1993g) Internet Monthly Report June 1993 Anonymous FTP -- nic.merit.edu `/internet/newsletters/internet.monthly.report/imr93-06.txt'.

    Presno, Odd de (1993) The Online World Saltrod, Norway: On-line book -- anonymous FTP from ftp.eunet.no `/pub/text/online.txt'.

    Sterling, Bruce (1992) Free as Air, Free as Water, Free as Knowledge Speech to the Library Information Technology Association, June 1992. San Francisco, CA.

    Sterling, Bruce (1992, 1993) Agitprop disk: Literary Freeware -- Not for Commercial Use Contains various SF magazine columns, texts of speeches, etc. Available via anonymous FTP from ftp.eff.org in directory `/pub/agitprop'. Or use Gopher at gopher.well.sf.ca.us, and see under `Bruce Sterling/'.

    Sterling, Bruce & Gibson, William (1993) Literary Freeware -- Not for Commercial Use Speeches to National Academy of Sciences Convocation on Technology and Education, May 10, 1993, Washington, D.C.: Computer Underground Digest #5.54.

    Tomblin, Paul (1992) Re: Famous flame wars, examples please? Usenet Newsgroup: alt.folklore.computers, Dec. 4.

    Woodbury, G. Wolfe (1992) Re: Famous flame wars, examples please? Usenet Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers, alt.culture.usenet, news.admin.misc, Nov. 30.

    FYI:

    The following lists a selection of addresses you might find helpful, when you want to hook into cyberspace.

    Snail Mail Addresses

    Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link (WELL), 27 Gate Five Rd, Sausalito CA 94966, $15/mo; $2/hr, (415) 332-4335.

    WHOLE EARTH REVIEW, P.O. Box 38, Sausalito, CA 94966-9932, $20/yr; four issues.

    MONDO 2000 (Cyberpunk Magazine), P.O. Box 10171, Berkeley, CA 94709-5171, $24 five issues more or less quarterly.

    bOING bOING (World's Greatest Neurozine), 11288 Ventura Blvd #818, Studio City CA 91604, $14/ 4 issues kind of quarterly.

    SCIENCE FICTION EYE, P.O. Box 18539, Asheville, NC 28814, $10 three issues; two a year, more or less.

    THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, P.O. Box 56, Cornwall, CT 06753, $26 twelve issues a year.

    E-Mail and List server Addresses

    Computers and Academic Freedom: To subscribe send `add comp-academic-freedom-news' to (listserv@eff.org).

    Computer Underground Digest: (tk0jut2@niu.bitnet)

    Phrack: (phracksub@stormking.com)

    RISKS Digest: (risks-request@csl.sri.com)

    FTP'able & Gopher'able Addresses

    ftp.eff.org In directory `/pub/agitprop' you'll find the contents of a disk containing "Literacy Freeware" by Bruce Sterling.

    gopher.well.sf.ca.us Gopher this site and browse through the index. It's full of e-text publications.

    "And all else is literature." --- Paul Verlaine, The Sun, New York While he was city editor in 1873--1890.

    E-mail Addresses

    Internet Sites

    The following sites can be reached using Telnet. See section Telnet (Mining the Net, part I) for an introduction to this service. The general syntax is: `telnet <site> [port#]'.

    Commands, Suffixes & Tools

    .

  • .ARC
  • .doc
  • .DOC
  • .gz
  • .Hqx
  • .hqx
  • .LHZ
  • .PS
  • .ps
  • .Shar
  • .shar
  • .sit
  • .Sit
  • .tar
  • .TAZ
  • .txt
  • .TXT
  • .Z
  • .ZIP
  • .zip
  • .ZOO
  • .zoo

    /

  • /away
  • /foo/:j
  • /foo/h:j
  • /From: *name@address\.all/h:j
  • /help
  • /invite
  • /invite fleepo #hottub
  • /join
  • /list
  • /m name
  • /mode
  • /mode #channel +p
  • /mode #channel +s
  • /nick
  • /query
  • /quit
  • /signoff
  • /Subject: *Re:/:j
  • /summon
  • /topic
  • /who &#60;chan&#62;
  • /whois
  • /whowas

    :

  • :post

    a

  • ARC
  • ARCE
  • archie
  • archie -s filename

    b

  • BinHex

    c

  • cat
  • cd
  • compress
  • cp

    e

  • elm
  • emacs

    f

  • ftp
  • ftp site.name

    g

  • gopher
  • gunzip
  • gzip

    i

  • IRC
  • irc

    l

  • LHARC
  • ls
  • ls |more

    m

  • mv

    n

  • nn
  • nngrep
  • nngrep -a

    p

  • pico
  • pine
  • PKZIP
  • Pnews

    r

  • rm
  • rn

    s

  • shar
  • StuffIt

    t

  • talk
  • talk user@site.name
  • tar
  • tar cvf
  • tar xvf
  • telnet
  • tr

    u

  • uncompress
  • unshar

    v

  • vi

    z

  • zcat
  • ZOO
  • General Index

    .

  • .cflist file
  • .newsrc file
  • .plan file
  • .sig file
  • .signature file

    a

  • Adobe, Inc.
  • ADSL
  • Aesop
  • AIDS
  • America Online
  • Amiga software
  • Annual EFF Pioneer award
  • Apple Computer, Inc.
  • Apple II
  • Apple II software
  • Archie
  • ARPA
  • ARPANet
  • Atari software
  • Atex
  • Attila
  • ATTMail

    b

  • Backbone, Germany
  • Barlow, John P.
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Baud rate
  • Baud rate, 2400
  • Baud rate, 9600
  • BBS
  • Bellovin, Steve
  • Bible
  • Bill of Rights
  • Bitnet
  • Blatherer
  • BloomBecker, Buck
  • Book of Mormon
  • Borland International, Inc.
  • Brunner, John
  • Bulletin Board System

    c

  • Cascade
  • Cascaders
  • CEO
  • CIA
  • Cisler, Steve
  • clari.*
  • Clarinet
  • Cleveland Free-Net
  • CMC, Computer Mediated Communication
  • Communication, day-to-day
  • Communication, many-to-many
  • Communication, one-to-one
  • comp.*
  • CompuServe
  • Computational Biology
  • Computational Genetics
  • Computer virus
  • Computer, criminals
  • Computer, freezing
  • Computer, protocol
  • Computer, XT
  • Connectivity
  • CP/M software
  • CPF, Communications Policy Forum
  • CPSR
  • Crackers
  • Crepin-Leblond, O.M.J.
  • Cyberpunk
  • Cyberspace

    d

  • Daniel, Steve
  • Data encrytion policy
  • DEC
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Delphi
  • Demodulator
  • Deutsch, Peter
  • Dial 'N CERF
  • Dialog
  • Dick, Derek W.
  • Digest
  • Digital Equipment Corp.
  • Digital Security and Privacy Working Group
  • Doctor Who
  • DUBBS
  • Dungeons and Dragons
  • Dylan, Bob

    e

  • E-mail
  • Edguer, Aydin
  • EFF
  • EFF, Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • EFF, foundation date
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Electronic mail
  • Ellis, Jim
  • ELM
  • Emancipation Proclamation
  • Emoticon
  • Emtage, Alan
  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Enter key
  • Erickson, Carl
  • Escape key
  • EUnet
  • Evolutionary Computation

    f

  • F2F
  • FAQ server
  • FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • FCC
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • FEDIX
  • Fidonet
  • Fish
  • Flame
  • Flame war
  • Flamer
  • Free-Net
  • FTP

    g

  • Gaffin, Adam
  • Gaskin, Stephen
  • Gates, Bill
  • Gateway
  • GEnie
  • GhostScript
  • Gibson, William
  • GIF
  • Glickman, Matt
  • Global community
  • Global village
  • GNU
  • Goehring, Scott
  • Good Thing
  • Gopher
  • Gore, Albert
  • Greatful Dead
  • Gutenberg's Bible

    h

  • Hacker
  • Hacker Crackdown
  • Heelan, Bill
  • Heitkötter, Jörg
  • Hewlett-Packard, Corp.
  • Hiroshima
  • Holocaust
  • Holonet
  • Holy war
  • Hong Kong
  • Horton, Mark
  • Host
  • Host system
  • HyperCard
  • Hytelnet

    i

  • IBM
  • IMHO
  • Information highway
  • International Business Machines, Corp.
  • Internet Relay Chat
  • IRC
  • ISDN, Integrated Services Digital Network

    j

  • Jackson, Steve
  • Junk mail

    k

  • K12Net
  • Kahn, Philippe
  • Kamens, Jonathan I.
  • Kaminski, Peter
  • Kapor, Mitchell
  • Kehoe, Brendan P.
  • Kennedy
  • Khrushhchev
  • Killfile
  • Knowbot
  • Koran
  • Kreeger, Thomas

    l

  • Lenin
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Listserver
  • Lost in Space
  • Lotus Development Corp.
  • Lurker

    m

  • Macintosh
  • Macintosh software
  • Magna Carta
  • Mailbox
  • Mailer Daemon
  • Mailing list
  • Mailing list, Moderator
  • Mailing list, subscribe
  • Mailing list, unsubscribe
  • Manutius, Aldus
  • Manzi, Jim
  • Marillion
  • Markoff, John
  • mbox file
  • MCIMail
  • MCM, Macintosh Communications Forum
  • Mercury, Freddie
  • Michnet
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft, Corp.
  • MIME, Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions
  • Mirror site
  • MIT X Windows
  • Modem
  • Modem tax
  • Modem, 2400 baud
  • Modem, Hayes compatible
  • Modem, tax
  • Modulator
  • MOLIS
  • Morris, Robert
  • MS-DOS
  • MUD
  • Multipe User Dimensions
  • Multipe User Dungeons

    n

  • NAP, Network Access Point
  • NASA
  • National Science Foundation
  • Net.character
  • Net.citizen
  • Net.effect
  • Net.geek
  • Net.god
  • Net.nazi
  • Net.saint
  • Net.weenie
  • Netcom
  • Neuromancer
  • News resource file
  • NewsBytes
  • NeXT
  • NeXT Step
  • NREN
  • NREN, National Research and Education Network
  • NSF
  • NSFnet

    o

  • Oracle
  • OS9 software

    p

  • Parity bit
  • PC-Pursuit
  • Peacenet
  • Pengo
  • PENPages
  • Perot, Ross
  • Phillips, Leanne
  • Phone
  • PINE
  • Portal
  • Postnews, Emily
  • PostScript
  • PPP
  • Prodigy
  • PSI
  • Public-access

    q

  • Queen

    r

  • Radio Free Europe
  • Radio Liberty
  • Raichle, Bernd
  • Raymond, Eric
  • README
  • rec.*
  • Relcom
  • Return key
  • Revolution
  • RFC
  • Rosetta Stone

    s

  • Science Fiction
  • Scott, Peter
  • Sex
  • Shakespeare
  • Shergold, Craig
  • Shockwave Rider
  • SJG
  • SLIP
  • Smiley
  • Smith, Jennifer
  • Soviet Computer Network
  • Space
  • SpaceMet
  • Spafford, Gene
  • Spewer
  • Star Trek
  • Star Trek, Next Generation
  • Star Trek, original
  • Steele, Shari
  • Sterling, Bruce
  • Stoll, Clifford
  • Supreme Court, U.S.

    t

  • talk.*
  • Telnet
  • telnet
  • Templeton, Brad
  • Terminal mode
  • TeX
  • The Farm
  • The Net
  • The Prisoner
  • The WELL
  • The World
  • Thread
  • Truscott, Tom
  • TV
  • Twilight Zone

    u

  • United Press International
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • University of Dortmund
  • Unix
  • UPI
  • USA Today
  • Usenet
  • User name
  • UUCP
  • UUdecode
  • UUencode

    v

  • Van Gogh
  • VBNS, Very High Speed Backbone Service
  • Vietnam

    w

  • WAIS
  • Weather
  • WELL
  • White pages
  • Whole Earth Catalog
  • Whole earth network
  • Wildcard
  • Williams, Walter J.
  • Wizard
  • Wohler, Bill
  • Word Perfect

    y

  • Yanoff, Scott

    z

  • Zap
  • Zen
  • "In short, N is Richardian if, and only if, N is not Richardian." --- Anonymous

    ""I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter." --- Blaise Pascal, Provincial Letters XVI

    "The world is coming to an end. Please log off." --- Anonymous

    " `It's dark,' he said. `Yes,' said Ford Prefect, `it's dark.' " --- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy