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The CU Amiga lnternetFCI software bundle comes with AmiTCP 3.0. This is a freely redistributable version of the TCP IP stack where, as later versions are commercial. Retail price of the current AmiTCP 4.2 is around the £70 mark and quite frankly, not worth the money for the casual Amiga Internet user. The authors NSDi are reportedly working on a cheaper version titled AmiTCP ‘dial-up’, keep an eye on CU Amiga magazine for a review. Of perhaps more interest is the new TCP IP stack software under development due for release in a few months time. Miami, as it’s known, is much more like the Amiga’s standard look and feel with a GUI configuration interface based on MU I. We recommend you keep an eye out on AmiTCP http: www.america.com ~kruse amiga Miami. html for further developments. AmiTCP is a complex package of which this entire book could easily have been filled with details of the configuration. Here’s some quick pointers to the various configuration options that lie at the heard of AmiTCP and several of-which need to be modified to add some new I’net clients. AH AmiTCP’s config- _ uration is stored in text files present within the AmiTCP:db directory. Firstly, resolv.conf stores the name server definitions needed so AmiTCP will know who where to ask to turn an Internet name into an IP address. A group of files defines the services available on your machine. These are er for example. Read the documentation on a new client which requires modifications carefully as mistakes can break your Internet software and be a nightmare to track down.
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* K June 1996 Sponsored by InternetFCI SB m :js?2 t Written by '
Mat Bettinson Design Helen Danby Illustrations Joel Mishon CU
Amiga Magazine Amiga Comms Bible © EMAP Images 1996.
Not for sale separately from CU Amiga Magazine June 1996.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in an information retrieval system (electronic or mechanical) or otherwise distributed without the express permission of the publisher. All prices, contacts, names and addresses are correct at time of going to press.
InternetFCI’s CU Amiga readers special offer!
ONLY for CU Amiga readers - Buy two months get the third for three.
InternetFCI will also waive the standard £20 connection fee for this special offer. The cost per month is £10.00 so CU Amiga readers get 3 months on-line for only £20.00!
The account is full Internet access with no on-line charges* and comes with 100K of Web space.
Payment accepted by Visa, Mastercard, Switch or Cash.
ONLY for CU Amiga readers - Buy 1 year get 2 months free.
Again InternetFCI will waive the £25 connection fee.
The cost is also £10.00 per month but with 2 months free, the total cost is £120.00 for 14 months access!
The account is full Internet access with no on-line charges* and comes with 512K of Web space and a 1 month free trial of ClariNet (World News & Affairs).
If the customer upgrades from the 3 month deal to yearly within the first month they get the 1 year deal.
Payment accepted by cheque or 12 Post dated cheques. Visa, Mastercard, Switch or Standing Order.
Cail InternetFCI on FreeCall 0500-267767 Contents Introduction .....6 Comms is the fastest growing area of computing and you have the best computer to get on-line!
Chapter 1: Modems ... 9 Some background on understanding and using the most essential piece of hardware after your Amiga.
Chapter 2: Terminals & BBSs .....21 Getting on-line with a terminal package. What you can get from local providers. Netiquette.
Chapter 3: The Internet .....41 How to get your InternetFCI account set up and get down to the real business of net surfing.
Chapter 4: Email ... 51 Sending messages across frontiers. Using your new Email address.
Chapter 5: AmilRC ..... ..... .....67 Talking to people on the Internet Relay Chat lines.
Getting to know your fellow web users.
Chapter 6: World Wide Web ...... 73 This is where the surfing really begins. HTML InternetFCI ..... 94 Who are InternetFCI? Find out more about this book’s sponsors.
Years ago, computers were large and expensive.
By expensive we’re talking sums that no individual bar Richard Branson could afford.
Academic, military and commercial institutions quickly saw the value of the computer which at that time was a goliath filling a room. Many individuals needed access to the man-kinds newest and perhaps most revolutionary creation since the wheel. Largly this was achieved by connecting simple VDUs with keyboards via communication wires to the central computer. This method is still in practice today though each VDU is now a personal computer which has many times more computing power than the original goliath main-frames themselves. This is old news but it’s useful to put things in
It’s this decentralisation of computing power which leads us into the new information age which the media have only recently discovered. A computing enthusiast can afford to amass a system of significant specification and, what’s more, they can provide their own unique services to anyone else who might care to take them up. Why? Reasons are many fold. Originally computer telecommunications were a military infrastructure. Academics also explored the possibilities. Finally commercial companies saw the benefits and when, at last, the general public got on to the new miraculous entity dubbed
The Net’, all hell broke loose.
Now the Internet is a buzz word. The media oscilates between condemnation of the depravities corrupting our children to raw hyperbole of peace and a new world order which the Internet is going to bring us all. What’s it really like? I don’t know. Ask me what I think of the World; I’ve seen little enough of that so any opinion is formed without sufficient evidence, likewise the boundless Internet. The short answer is that anything and everything is available.
The Internet IS the world’s first truly international and unrestricted communications system. So therefore it follows there are those attracted to exploit the public exposure and there are those interested in a fraction of the benefits to be reaped because that’s all they desire. Other’s are running scared and cite new forms of censorship as being our saviour in the face of such impending evil. For every visionary there lurks a scaremongering evangelist.
The next thing to come along is the transition of the Internet between a global communications system with no borders into a world free market. This is already here and growing more popular by the minute. The upshot being that you can contribute to the Internet and also charge others for whatever service you provide; reaping the benefits of the entire information base of the planet whilst getting a slice of planet sized cash pie. Sound to good to be true?
Believe me, even those who have been doing it for years are still coming to gribs with the fact. At the very least this system will enable you to buy that rare collectors album over the Internet without so much as a pound note in sight. It might be an idea to go get a comfy chair now, you’ll be spending some time in it.
The Amiga (no doubt you were wondering when we’d get on to that), was and is a pioneer also. It’s the first machine you could take into your home which was a fully integrated system offering features which, while obscuresat the time, prove essential for the art of communications or ‘comms’ as it is now universally abreviated. There’s technicalities, jargon, moral issues, not to mention cash to consider when deciding to become a part of the comms revolution. Your Amiga is most definitely up to the job. You only need to make an effort to understand the key principals.
This book isn’t designed to rope you in to the Internet or swamp you with hype but to explain from start to finish what it’s about. An opportunity those dragged onto the Internet on other platforms never had.
We’ll discuss the best and baddest ways to go about it if you decide it’s your cup of tea. You’re nothing to lose and everything to gain by at least being the wiser for what’s involved. Make yourself comfortable and we’ll start with the basics. If you don’t understand the technical issues, simply skip them. It’s no longer neccessary to be a computing anorak to take part in the comms revolution. See you there.
Chapter 1 Modems The only personal communications system commonly in place in every household is the telephone. It was invented by Alex Graham Bell for voice communications. The short answer as to why we need a modem is because the telephone was designed for voice so we need a box to fix it for computers. The telephone works by generating a small moving electrical current from a microphone. The microphone acheives this by converting the presure of sound waves into this current. So the current essential is just a different form of the information moving through the air. At the other end,
all we need to do is make the electric current bigger and feed it into a device which turns it back into vibrating air which we can hear.
Many might be familiar with this system but may miss one vital item. Logic might indicate we need two wires, one carrying the outgoing electrical impulses in one direction and another to carry the other incoming impulses to us. Actually it’s even simpler. We only use one effective wire and each telephone or even any number of telephones may add their voice to the wire. This is why you hear yourself in the ear peice of a phone when you talk, the problem is that this system won’t work for computers.
Instead of moving constantly changing so-called ‘analogue’ signals through the wire, we need to send digital information. 1’s and 0’s. We need to have a stream coming in and a stream going out and both at the same time.
So why can’t we just attach the phone wire to the Amiga’s serial port and send a stream of bits directly down the phone line? Well, we almost could except for a few technical restrictions, not least that it would be impossible to tell the incoming from the outgoing bits and it would all be fairly slow in any event.
What’s needed is to ‘Modulate’ the digital information in to a kind of coded sound wave. This can be inoffensively passed down the phone lines which are designed for this sort of thing. Modems’s name come’s from MODulator dEModulator.
A description of the simplest kind of modem is in order to fully understand what’s happening. Just say we transmit a sound corresponding to the musical note ‘A’ to mean bit *1 ’ and we send ‘B’ to mean bit ‘O’. The other modem sends ‘C’ for it’s own ‘1’ and ‘D’ for it’s own ‘O’. Now we can happily change rapidly between the two notes, adding them to the wire.
Never, though, both notes at the same time since we need to move the notes in ‘serial’ or one after another.
The other modem can detect and is in fact specifically looking to find those two notes on the wire even if it is itself playing it’s own notes on the wire. It’s notes are being looked for by our own modem while it is sending out the terrible music. If you could hear it, it really would be an awful cacophony but it would allow us to both transmit and recieve on the same wire.
This is indeed how the first modems worked. The method is called Frequency Shift Keying.
The problem with -that was that it worked at an amazingly slow rate. Computers grew more memory and it was hopelessly outpacing the speed of modems. New amazingly technical methods were devised to carry information down the humble phone line. Generally modems use several techniques and split their data into these separate ‘parallel’ channels to get up to speed. In fact new methods are still being invented. When I got my first modem, it moved data at 300 bits per second or 37 characters bytes a second. At this rate it would take 6 and a half hours to send a single floppy disk. Something had to
be done, ft was and 2400 baud modems came out which went on to 9600,14400, 28800 and now the modem we use can transmit at 33600 bits per second or 4.2Kb every second. It now takes less than 4 minutes to send an entire Amiga floppy disk.
Each of those modem speed ratings correspond to a particular format or standard of sending the data. Whilst you can buy different brands and models of modems, they obviously support the same standards so they can speak the same language.
Originally the standards were called V and a number but this may now sometimes be called ITU. The slowest modem that is practical to buy now is a 14400 baud modem which is known as V32.bis. 28800 baud modems are known as V34. Higher speeds are possible but they are generally manufacturer specific standards.
Originally modems were purpose-built electronic devices and most modern modems still are of this type. They will never be expandable to faster specifications. It’s a matter of throwing away the outdated technology and buying a new improved unit when they are available. However, a couple of manufacturers realised this might not be the best way. Instead their modems conside of a CPU, some re-writable ROMS (known as flash ROMS) and a general purpose Digital Signal Processor or DSP The idea is that when a new standard comes along, you can actually reprogram the modem to the new standard and
it will support it. These modems are obviously more expensive though usually offer more features. They may not be cheaper than buying a general purpose ultra cheap modem and then simply buying a new one when a significant upgrade is made.
There are some important factors to look out for when buying a modem and though the standards are the same, many are clearly inferior at implementing the standards. The first issue is that some modems allow connection in ‘series’ with your normal telephone line. That means you plug the modem in to the wall socket and then plug the phone in another socket on the rear of the modem.
The upshot is that it’s not possible to pick the phone up on the modem. Doing so is not healthy for the current activity of the modem if it’s connected. It’s also very handy in that you need never muck about with wiring, you just need to pick the phone up to use for voice when the modem isn’t linked up.
The next option refers to another innovation which any decent modem has built in. The support for the fax standard so that given the right software, your modem can transmit directly to a fax machine.
A modem is cheaper than a fax and since a normal fax is essentially just a modem connected to a scanner and a printer, you can cut out the middle man, send direct digital pictures to a fax and recieve in the same way. A very handy feature but unfortunately there’s several standards of fax support and different modems have wildly varying degrees of success with communicating to real fax machines. There’s Class . 1, Class 2 and amazingly the different Class 2.0. If there’s any possibilty of wanting to use your modem as a fax, you’d be well adviced to buy a Class 2 capable modem. I’ve had
little success at getting a Class 1 modem to work even with good Fax software such as GP Soft’s GPFax (available from Wizard Developements, phone 01322 527800.)
Another major factor which varies wildly from modem to modem is the cosmetic aspects. Some modems are absolutely tiny whilst others are gigantic. Some have a full array of LED lights which spell out functions on a dot matrix display whilst others have just a bare minimum of lights which may be too dim to see. It is actually worth considering these things as your modem will have to sit somewhere and blend in for a long time. Lastly, the quality build, brand and support available are also key issues.
Modems are usually very reliable compared to other computer equipment but it would be nice to know you had a reputable brand in the event of a failure.
The Serial Port: connecting a modem to your Amiga ?
Now let’s look at the hardware the Amiga has built-in to connect to the modem. The Amiga has come equipped with an RS232 standard serial port since the very first model. It’s found on the rear of the machine in the form of a 25-pin D type connector. A driver for this port is located on the Workbench disk in the Devs: directory called serial.device. Since Workbench 2.0, the Commodore serial device has been able to drive the port at full speed and there’s little point in using often buggy third party drivers such as the baudbandit.device. The hardware provided was fine for the earlyxlays of
Comms but now with common modems acheiving 28800 bits per second, the stock serial port is a little under powered.
An important mistake is often made in thinking that the Workbench serial preferences set-up the serial port for such activities as using Terminal software and Internet packages. In fact almost nothing uses these preferences and instead chooses to set-up the serial port by itself. For this reason it helps to know exactly what you should set up when promped by any comms software.
Modems are almost always locked at a higher rate than their maximum speed. The reason is because modems can actually compress data under certain conditions and so need to move the data to the computer and vice versa quicker than the line speed. The maximum rate you would choose depends on the CPU and the speed of the modem.
In the table below there’s a rough guide to follow when selecting a so-called locked rate: Modem rates and CPU Speed Modem Speed 68000 68020 (A1200S) 68030 (accelerators) 9600 and less 19200 19200 19200 14400 19200 38400 38400 28800 19200 38400 57600 The actual cable between the modem and the computer must be a full 7-wire cable. This is usually what comes with the modem and what you will get if you ask for a PC XT style serial cable from an electronics store. Accordingly you need to select 7-Wire or ‘ RTS CTS handshaking whenever it is seen in comms software. Following these basic
guidelines, terminal and Internet software is generally compatible without adjusting the modems internal settings.
How do you use a modem?
Now you know how complex a modem really is, it’ll come as little surprise that modems are essentially little stand alone computers which you talk to via the serial port of your Amiga. The method by which you talk to a modem via your Amiga is by the so-called Hayes command set, Hayes being the name of a pioneer in the modem market. All we now need is a terminal package so that we can talk to the modem.
There are several available. Most are on the public domain or shareware, some are commercial.
Some of these are Ncomm, Term, Terminus and HiSoft’s commercial Termite. A demo of the later is present on this month’s CU Amiga coverdisk.
Ncomm and Termite are quite easy to set-up and use with Ncomm being the simpler of the two. It’s often given away free with modems from Amiga dealers. All of these packages handle what’s required plus much more such as the interpretation of the coloured text standard commonly known as ANSI. This is very common on BBS systems. It’s important to note that to have any hope of seeing the crude but effective ANSI graphics of BBS systems you’ll have to tell the terminal package that you want to see them. Refer to the chapters dealing specifically with Terminal packages and BBSs for information on
how to do this.
There’s two major forms of ‘flow control’ used to negotiate the short trip of data from the computer to the modem via the serial cable. This is either software or hardware flow control. The Amiga has sup- ' port for the latter and being far superior, it’s really quite essential that this is selected. It can be known as hardware flow control or RTS CTS after the technical name for the signal wires in the modem cable which is responsible. Another common alias is ‘7 Wire’ handshaking. Whatever the name, it will be present in the terminal package and it must be enabled.
The other concept that’s necessary to understand is that communication between the modem and the computer is at a fixed rate which is faster than the the maximum speed of the modem. For a 14400 baud modem, this should be set to 19200 for a slow 68000 based Amiga and 38400 baud for a 68020 and above machine. For a 28800 baud modem it should be 38400 on a 68000 machine and 57600 on a 68020 machine. The baud rates are easy to find.
Just select the speeds mentioned above. Once these settings are chosen you should be able to type ‘AT&V’ in the terminal package and having hit return should be presented with a dump of all the settings of the modem. This command will be ‘ATi5’ for USR Robotics modems which seemingly decided to do things differently from everyone else.
A terminal package is a very simple piece of software. All it does it take key presses that you type and send them directly to the modem via the serial port.
It will also take the modem’s responses and reflect them on the screen. Experiment: ‘Type AT’ in the terminal package and hit return. This command does nothing but get the modem’s attention. Obligingly it will send back a simple ‘OK’. Different modems have different configuration bits that may need tweaking though hopefully you’ll get away with leaving them alone. Fortunately most modems come with hardware handshaking enabled by default.
Using a modem to call a BBS For a proper modem test, we need a BBS Number (see Chapter 3 for a list of UK and overseas ones).
Once one is picked (hopefully local), we have a choice of either using the terminal package’s built in phone book and dialer or we can do it ourselves.
The latter is very easy. For instance, to call Darkside BBS in London, we would enter; ‘ATDT01817719100’ and hit return. The AT tells the modem this is a command. The D means Dial and the T means to tone dial rather than the old mechanical system as with rotary dial phones. The numerals are simply the number of the BBS. Once return is hit, the modem will pick up the phone line and you’ll hear a dial tone.
Very shortly after it will dial the numbers rapidly using the tone dial system. A few results can happen at this stage. The line may be engaged or it may be free. If it’s engaged the modem should recognise the tone and return ‘BUSY’.
Manually, you can reactivate the last line, which was the dial command in this case by typing ‘A ’. Of course engaged BBSes are nothing new which is why terminal packages come with dialers to automatically delay and retry. If it’s not engaged, the phone could continue to ring in which case the BBS is out of action for whatever reason (usually because the system operator or SysOp is playing a game on the machine). Generally though, the other modem will register the call and pick up the phone. A load of bizarre tones will result from the modem’s speaker and a connection is negotiated. The
speed is usually returned something like the form ‘CONNECT 14400’.
You’re now connected to the other computer via the two modems and the phone line. From now on you are in BBS country, the subject of the next chapter.
There’s a great deal of modems on the market and they vary in quality and features. Largely, however, they perform identically. If a modem works well, you’ll not notice it’s a quality unit but you’ll notice a bad one in the form of mis-connects, lower rates, data errors and other nasty things which can be avoided by picking the correct modem from the start.
Here we’ll look at a range of modems very briefly. It used to be that the so-called ‘no-name’ brand modems provided better value for money feature to price wise but this is no longer the case. The USR and Supras have dropped in price considerably and are excellent value.
When choosing between a 14400 or a 28800 modem (nothing less is worthwhile), bear the following in mind; Modem retailers will point out that it will take nearly 9 minutes to transfer an entire floppy disk full of data via 14400 bits per second where it will take 4 and a half under the faster standard. In reality, things are different. On a BBS this really is the case as your time on the phone may well depend on how long it takes to download a file. However on the Intermet, you’ll often be doing several things at once and probably stay on the phone until you think it’s about time to hang up.
Here the extra speed of a 28800 baud modem will make Web browsers more pleasant, News will come down much quicker and FTPs are quicker. They will enhance your Net experience if not directly affecting how long you spend on-line.
There is a bewildering array of modems available, especially through PC magazines, but to get one with the correct Amiga cables and software you should go through a specialist Amiga dealer. Here is a range of modems from two of the best. Details are accurate for April 1996, call for up to date information.
Modems from the First Computer Center Phone: 0113 2319444
• US Robotics Sportster Vi 288 Standards: V32.bis (14K4), V34
(28K8), V34+ (33K6), Class 1 Fax + Voicemail Price: £193.95
Note: Class 1 Fax only but cheap and 33K6 support. BABT.
• US Robotics Sportster Vi 288 Standards: V32.bis (14K4), Class 1
Fax + Voicemail Price: £119.95 Note: Class 1 Fax and 14K4 only.
Better 14K4 modems available. BABT Rating: GGG
• US Robotics Courier Standards: V.Everything (14K4-33K6), Class
2.0 Fax Price: £287,95 Note: The Rolls Royce; Huge, expensive
but supports everything. Flash ROM.
• SupraFaxModem 288 Standards: V32.bis, V34(28K8), Class 1 + 2
Price: £188.95 Note: Excellent cheap modem, good fax, nifty led matrix display + Flast ROM. Non BABT.
• Supra Express 288 Standards: V32.bis, V34(28K8), Class 1 Fax
Price: £153.95 Note: Ultra cheap 28K modem with 5 year warantee
but Class 1 Fax only. Non BABT.
Rating: OOOOO Modems from Wizard Developements Phone: 01322-527800
• Tornado 144 Standards: V32.bis(14K4), Class 1 + 2 Fax Price:
£99.99 Note: Neat and cheap modem. BABT Rating: OOOO
• Tornado 288 Standards: V34(28K8), V32.bis(14K4), Class 1 +2 Fax
Price: £199.99 Note: Average decent V34 modem, BABT Rating:
• X-L8nk 144 Standards: V32.bis(14K4), Class 1 + 2 Fax Price:
£119.99 Note: Slightly expensive on-end or lying down stand but
dim LEDs. BABT Rating: QOO
• X-Link 288 Standards: V32.bis(14K4), Class 1 + 2 Fax Price:
£219.99 Note: Decent V34 modem on-end or lying down stand but
dim LEDs. BABT Rating: OQOQ Modem from HiSoft Systems Phone:
• Enterprise 288 Standards: V32.bis (14K4), V34 (28K8), Class 1 +
Price: £193.95 Note: Rugged construction. LEDs obscured and dim. BABT approved but with a proper UK telephone passthrough.
Rating: OOOO (Nothing’s too fast for me Dave!!!)
Chapter 2 Terminals and BBSs Terminal Software The First Computer Center and many other Amiga retailers, will sell you a modem with Ncomm thoughtfully bundled with it. If you’ve decided to buy a modem from a PC dealer or suchforth then you can toss away the disks provided in the box and set about obtaining some Amiga terminal software.
Ncomm in particular is a darn fine PD example though it’s crippled in that it won’t save the preferences after you’ve set-up the package to work with your modem. Sadly Ncomm is not being developed further so you’re best off looking for another terminal package in the public domain or considering HiSoft’s Termite. There’s a demo of Termite on this month’s coverdisk and whilst it has a time limit, the Zmodem download will function well enough to download the Internet Installer which we’ll cover later in the book.
Rather than instructing specifics on each terminal package, we’ll just point out the settings to look for and what you should select to make everything work OK. Firstly, find the serial settings part of the terminal package. In Ncomm this is one whole menu whilst in Term it’s in the settings menu under ‘Serial’.
Somewhere there’ll be a box or a setting to set up the baud rate, earlier we showed a table of serial rates suitable for different modems and Amigas.
Refer back to this and select a baud rate. For example, we have a 28800 baud modem and a stock A1200 so we’ll select 38400. Somewhere there should be a setting for ‘FlandShaking’ and this must be set to 7-Wire or RTS CTS or even DSR which means the same thing. Software flow control or XON XOFF should NOT be set.
Now if our modem is connected, we should be able to type ATZ and hit return. After a second or less, you should see ‘OK’ come back onto the screen. That means you’ve reset the modem to its saved configuration and it’s ready for operation. If you have any serious problems with your modem and the terminal software, it’s possible you might actually need to set it up differently. An example might be as follows; Type AT&V and hit return. Every modem except US Robotics units should return a ream of text which shows the settings for the modem. USR owners should enter Ati5 instead.
Most modems respond to a particular method of controlling them known as the Hayes Command Set after the company that first invented it. Every command is started by the letters AT. Within this format modems differ but there’s quite a few generic commands useful to check when things go wrong.
Say we wanted to make the modem’s speaker 4 louder; First we can check what it’s set to by typing ATL? And hitting return. The ‘L’ means the speaker volumn and the '?’ asks the modem to tell us what it’s set to. If we wanted it loud, we’d type ATL3 and hit return. Having done that AT&W usually saves the modem’s settings. Now more complex functions such as the modem being set up for RTS CTS handshaking (which has to be done on both the terminal and modem) vary. Thankfully virtually every modem I’ve seen comes preconfigured like this but if you need to change this, you’ll need to refer to the
modems manual, make the changes and save them. There’s also things called 'S registers’. These are represented by a code such as SO which on most modems sets the amount of rings before it will pick up the phone and answer itself. Most people will want this at 0, as you never want the modem to answer by itself (it’s probably your mate calling to say he’s just got the latest CU Amiga). If we DID want the modem to pick up after three rings, say, then we’d enter ATS0=3 and hit return. See, it’s not that complex. Now type AT&v (or Ati5 for USR users) and see the change for yourself in the dump
of the S Registers the modem returns.
It’s not that complex, remember if you mess things up beyond all hope of repair, you can type AT&F on most modems which will recall the factory defaults so you can start again. This would be a good idea to try if your modem refuses to work.
Dialling Presuming that the Terminal software and modem are functioning together fine, the next step is to dial up a BBS. This can be done one of two ways; either we can dial manually by instructing the modem to dial a number by hand or the Terminal package’s own phone book can be used. Let’s do it by hand at first so enter ATDT number in the terminal and hit return. The ‘D’ stands for Dial and the T stands for Tone Dialling, if you’ve not got tone dialling on your exchange, replace this for a P to dial via the old pulse method. Example; ATDT01817719100 The modem will go off-hook and wait for
a dial tone. If there isn’t one, it will tell you as much, meaning there’s no phone-line connected. If a dial tone is detected it will then rapidly dial the entered number.
One of two things will happen here; either the modem will respond ‘BUSY’ on detection of an engaged tone or you’ll hear it ring. If you can’t hear what’s going on, be sure to up the volume of the modem. It’s essential that you can hear what’s happening. For example, if someone answers by voice on a number you don’t want your modem redialling. If the other end fails to respond just increase the volume by ATL2 or even ATL3. If the dial attempt was busy, you need not enter the entire number in again. Just type ‘A ’ which means execute the previous line again.
When the phone does ring, your modem may or may not report RING in the terminal depending on the model and configuration. You should soon hear the pilot tone which should be answered and then lots of odd noisy tones will negotiate the link. The connection rate should be displayed. CONNECT 14400 for example. There might be some added information after the number depending on the configuration of the modem. LAPM means error correction and compression for example. From here on, we’re in BBS country. If something goes wrong, find the hang-up button on your terminal. If the text comes out
garbled etc then the modem is probably configured incorrectly, go back to the modem section if that’s the case.
Bulletin Boards BBSes differ greatly for two main reasons. Firstly because there’s a lot of BBS packages available out there for the Amiga and they differ widely in their approach. Secondly, it’s considered bad form for a SysOp or System Operator not to heavily customise his BBS to achieve a unique feel. For this reason BBS surfing can be rewarding as well as fruitful. This also means it’s not possible to give a definitive guide on how to use a BBS but there’s a few common areas in general which we can elaborate on.
Firstly when you connect to a BBS, you’re usually not in the BBS yet. You’re reached the ‘Front End Mailer’. This program handles incoming calls for Fidonet etc, more on that later. Normally you’ll be told to press escape twice or something similar. Try this if you see nothing at first. The BBS should then be launched and usually a banner will appear followed by a Login: or Name: prompt. Right away we’ve hit a major difference. Many BBSes will require your real name and some will only require an alias. If you’re instructed either way, enter your real name or alias accordingly. If in doubt,
enter your real name.
Now, because you haven’t been there before, there’s a load of questions which will be asked starting with ‘Did you enter your name correctly?’. The BBS software is asking this because it can’t find you in its user database and it might have been because you entered your name incorrectly. There’ll also be an option for a new user. If it asks if we got our name right, answer yes. Another BBS difference is that prompts behave differently. You may have only had to enter Y, Y and return or ‘Yes’ and return. This is all subject to change at the next stage in which case you’ll be thrown into the
new user questionnaire.
These vary from asking a few simple questions to enquiring your physical dimensions and life history.
Also there will be some preferences for your terminal.
If you’re sure what the answers to these questions are, answer, and if not accept the default by hitting return, mostly this will be a sensible value that should work fine. Make sure that when prompted for a Transfer Protocol, you choose Z-Modem, this is the fastest and every BBS plus terminal package supports it.
There’s an important aspect to BBSes which will affect your terminal software settings. Most BBSes use a special font which has graphical characters so that crude pictures can be drawn in colour. The colour standard is ANSI and the font is usually called IBM font or something similar. You need to set your terminal package up for at least an 8 colour screen.
Set up the ANSI screen palette, pick an IBM font (which should come with the package) and select ANSI terminal emulation. It may involve to going and finding all of those options or it may just be a single option to activate these modes. Alternatively packages like Ncomm default to this set-up anyway.
BBSes will worki without these settings but they’ll look very strange, especially the graphics. Some, however, will ask you in the registration process if you want ANSI graphics or straight ASCII text. If you answer text, the BBS will look far better if you don’t have an IBM font configured.
Eventually you should get into the BBS ‘Main Menu’ as they are universally known. From here you can choose the major sections of the BBS. The File, Message, Games and News sections and whatever else is on offer. If you selected an option called ‘Hot keys’ from most BBSes, you should just have to hit the key and return won’t be necessary. Once entering any new section, be sure to read the text thoroughly, especially on your first BBS visit. Quickly you should come to grips with the method by which the BBS works and things will speed up. The file areas on BBSes vary widely again but
generally you’ll find the function which lets you choose a particular file area. You can fetch a list, enter a number corresponding to this area. Then the chosen area should be reflected somewhere on the file menu when it reappears. Then there’s browse options which let you view a list of files available. Generally when viewing these lists there’s some sort of method to flag any file you want to download. You need not download them right away, most BBSes will let you choose several and then download them in a batch later. There will also be some form of search function to allow you to
find a particular file or kind of file.
When.it comes to downloading the selected files, the BBS should send them via the Z-Modem protocol and your terminal software should automatically start receiving. However it may not if you haven’t configured a download path or switched on the auto-download function (which normally defaults to On). If it doesn’t start automatically and you see lines of aster- ixes appearing periodically, select the download function from your terminal package by hand. Later you can reconfigure it to start automatically. If your terminal package isn’t set up for Z-Modem or the BBS is sending in a different
protocol, nothing will happen.
You’ll need to press cancel and wait for it to return. If things go hideously wrong, you might like to return to the main menu and find the Page options. Selecting this will sound a bell on the machine the BBS is run- r ning on and the SysOp may be inclined to come and chat with you directly in a special real-time chat window. Alternatively, they may break in at any time during your BBS usage so don’t be surprised if it happens. Remember it’s the SysOp’s computer and you are a guest on their machine.
The message sections of BBSes are often sadly neglected by BBS users who often only come to download whatever files they are allowed. For this reason many, if not most, BBSes choose to have special 'ratios’ which means that you have to upload some material (usually original, ie your own work since they’ll have more PD material than you in order to be able to download files. A ratio of 10:1 means that you can download 10 files for every 1 file you upload though sometimes they operate as a filesize ratio and occasionally on more sophisticated BBS software, both. The access to the BBS you have in
terms of file ratios plus time and frequency of calls per day is related to your access level. Some systems control this manual by the SysOp while others have automatic systems to increase your access over time. Generally a user who simply logs-in, scans for newfiles and downloads is viewed upon dimly and labeled a ‘leecher’. You don’t want the SysOp to think you’re this kind of user. At any time you’re also free to contact the SysOp and appeal for more access either by a message left from the message menu or via personal chat by paging the SysOp.
I can’t stress enough how it’s worthwhile investigating the mail or message menu on a BBS. You’ll find several Amiga conferences for hints, tips and general discussion. Learning how to drive a BBSes message system is quite complex but easily worthwhile. Also the text editor systems by which you enter your messages vary quite a bit. You might learn how to work a particular editor on one BBS only to find a totally different one on another BBS. Xemacs on Xenolink BBSes, DLGedit on DLG BBSes and AED or either of the others on Zeus based BBSes are the best thing to choose when asked during the
registration phase. Also bare in mind that the options you chose when registering are not fixed. They’ll be a utility menu available somewhere in which you may change your own settings. Each and every time you log back on the BBS will configure itself automatically to your preferences.
If you write more than a little bit of Fidonet or any other kind of mail on a BBS, it will soon become more costly than it needs to be, especially if you’re not driving the BBS expertly. However, this still is worth looking at and if you find such a resource invaluable, as very many do, then it’s possible to
• gain access to this facility off-line. This is the subject of
the next chapter.
Fidonet Most good BBSes are also 24-hour mail machines.
With the correct software, it’s possible to call one and receive mail and transmit your own mail automatically in a call which lasts only short time. ‘Mail’ refers to messages in public conferences and private messages from person to person. You must call a local kBS with a specialised terminal package which automatically downloads all of your select groups and sends up your replies. This approach is also very efficient since your mail is compressed.
However, there’s some special software to set up and arrangements must be made with your local BBS SysOp. Fidonet echos are transferred from BBS to BBS. That means when you write a message, it will be moved to all the BBSes that didn’t have a copy of your mail. Every time a BBS fetches mail from another system it ‘tosses’ it into its own ‘mes- sagebase’ and any new messages bound for echos which you are subscribed to will be automatically be compressed and added to your waiting mail bundle ready for when you call with your ‘mailer’ package.
The term Fidonet is used here to describe the technology used and not just the Fidonet network.
Fidonet technology, know as ‘FTN’ is also used by many other networks including some such as AmigaNet for Amiga specific echos, Barnet specialising in free speech and MercuryNet with numerous but less busy echos. The beauty about the system is that anyone can create their own conference easily, unlike Usenet, and it’s even possible to create your own Network given enough inclination. Also, because everyone pays to move Fidonet mail around via BBSes, so-called ‘off-topic’ messages are frowned upon by the obligatory Fidonet ‘Moderators’ who ensure the echo stays largely free of noise and over
Like the Internet, one needs your own address in Fidonet to do things properly. There are methods such as QWK Mail systems which will use the BBSes address but here we’re concerned with setting up your own ‘point’ in Fidonet. A Fidonet address might be 2:254 524.10. The ‘2’ stands for Europe, the ‘254’ means London and the ‘524’ means Darkside BBS.
Lastly the ‘.10’ means we are point 10 off this BBS.
The so-called ‘Boss’ system or the BBS nearly always has ‘.0’ on the end which .means they are a Node and not a Point such as us.
First order of business is dialling the BBS with a standard Terminal package as previously dicussed and organising with the SysOp, in chat mode, to become a point. You need not specifically use an Amiga BBS but if you do the SysOp may be willing to offer some pointers on the software used though you shouldn’t expect that they will do everything for you.
BBS SysOps are a strange breed and supply the service as a hobby devoting their machine, copious amounts of expensive hardware and a dedicated phone line for your service so don’t take what they do for granted. You can find a small directory of Amiga BBSes after this chapter. If the SysOp agrees to supply you a point then you’ll need to decide a so- called session password. Write this and the address he gives you down and save it for later.
The hardest bit of setting up the software is the ‘mailer’ or the terminal that dials in to the BBS.
However, much of the settings will not need to be changed and are documented thoroughly in the manual that comes with them. There are 3 main contenders; Trapdoor, GMS and the new Gotcha. All are shareware and present annoying requesters until a keyfile is paid for. The best (or easiest to use at any rate) Fido point software available, called Spot, is also restricted in this way. If it seems Fidonet will be to your liking then you can consider paying the shareware fees to unlock the requesters and added features. You may also like to investigate other software once the basic concepts are
Firstly you’ll need to obtain the software. Those with Internet access may simply FTP the relevant
• packages from the Aminet (see Internet chapter).
The paths are as follows; comm f f do spot 13a.lha comm f ido Gotcha12b2.lha i They can also be downloaded from any decent Amiga BBS, Use the BBS’s search function on ‘spot’ and ‘gotcha’ to find them. You’ll need to extract the Spot archive somewhere (it’s large so HD is best) and then activate the installer. Make sure you pick the OS 2.1 drawer and the English icon. The Installer will ask where you’d like Mail: assigned. Choose well as your messagebase and all configuration files will be stored here along with anything else relating to Fidonet mail. Ensure there’s space on the relevant drive.
The Installer will ask where you’d like Spot itself located though you can change this later. It will also copy a number of Arexx Spot scripts to your Rexx: assign though they are only of use if you register the package.
Now we need to activate Spot so double-click the icon. Spot will detect ithat t hasn’t been configured and ask some key questions. By now we should have sorted out the details with our local BBS. For the purpose of this example we’ll assume we’ve arranged all with the Darkside BBS and our Fidonet point number is 2:254 524.84 which makes Darkside BBS 2:254 524.0. The SysOp has also agreed the password of WOZZLE. Upper case is always used.
When Spot asks your name, fill it in. When it asks for the address, enter your address which is 2:254 524.84 in this example. Next just press OK for Fidonet. That’s it, Spot should now start with one of those lovely shareware requesters which we must wait for.
There’s not much to see at the moment. Two areas, one called NET_ and your address plus one called BAD. As we plug in to echos, Spot will auto- matically import them and set the areas up. There’s a special method by which we would plug in to echos but first we need some mail so it’s time to set up a mailer. In the past configuring the mailer proved to be a major obstacle to the novice. Recently a new mailer has come along called Gotcha which is so simple a configuration file need not be created at all.
Gotcha only needs its libraries copied to Libs: and the executables copied to C: Now as an example we could entire the following line in the AmigaDOS Shell to launch the mailer: Gotcha CONFIG BBS “Mat’s point” BOSS- NUMBER “0181-7716700” ADDRESS “2:254 524.84” PASSWORD “WOZZLE” Normally you’d enter this into your text editor and save it out as a simple AmigaDOS script which you could execute either by setting the script flag or typing Execute cname of tex file which would be shorter that the long line shown here. The important bits are pretty obvious, the bossnumber keyword proceeds the
phone number of the BBS, the address is our Fidonet address and the password is our nominated password. Upon activating this line by hand or via a script, Gotcha should attempt to dial the BBS and swap mail all by itself! After the annoying requester that is. Ideally, however, these keywords would be saved in a configuration file called Gotcha.config and saved in your Mail: assign.
There’s an example configuration contained in the Gotcha archive which should-point in the right direction as well as comprehensive documentation.
Should there be any problems these would be your first port of call.
There’s no point calling our BBS right away unless the SysOp has written some private mail which is known as ’NetMail’. This differs from echomail because it’s just for you and is passed directly to you without anyone else seeing it (except for SysOps along the way if it’s from another BBS point). What we need to do is talk to the special robot that runs on every Fidonet mail system known as ‘AreaFix’. They’re often known by other names but you can bet that it’ll respond to AreaFix unless your SysOp tells you otherwise. To write a message to AreaFix will be our first lesson in operating Spot.
Click on the NET_ area. You’ll get a message read screen with nothing there. Click on the ‘Write’ button.
If everything is OK, the text editor ‘Ed’ should activate with your name at the bottom. If it doesn’t, select the Settings menu and General. There’s a box for your text editor. Replace ‘Ed’ with the path and name of your own text editor, leaving the %s.
Once in the text editor, write ‘%HELP’ on a single line as the very first line and hit return. Next type ‘+AMIGA_MAGS’ and hit return. Then type three dashes ‘ ’ on the next line and hit return. The first line tells the AreaFix to send us a help file. Useful under the circumstances. The next line asks it to attach us to the AMIGAMAGS echo where you can talk to the CU Amiga Magazine Team. The three dashes indicate the end of the exchange with Areafix. Now just save and quit your first Fidonet net- mail. Many editors have a hotkey to save and quit in one go and this would be useful to find now.
After exiting, you’ll be presented with a GUI box on the Spot screen. This needs filling in so Spot knows where to send the NetMail etc. The From box and the FromAddress box are at the top and already filled in.
The next two will need AreaFix and the address of our Boss BBS filled in. In this case that would be 2:254 524.0. The subject box must be filled with your password which you know from your conversation with the SysOp. In this case WOZZLE.
Everything else may be left unchanged and ‘OK’ can be clicked. Now you will see the NetMail in the reading mode of Spot. Click on MessageList in the bottom right. We see the NetMail listed there as the only mail. The ‘E’ flag on the left means we haven’t ‘exported’ the mail. To export means Spot will rummage through the messagebase and find any new mail you wrote, package it up and ship it off to the Mail:outbound directory where Gotcha can deliver it to the BBS. So now we can press the ‘Areas’ button on the top right of the current screen and go back to the list of the echos. Now on this
screen the 4th button down is labelled ‘Export’ and it can be clicked on now.
Spot should report that it exported the mail just fine.
Now we need to activate Gotcha to call our Boss BBS. It should happily run off and do this and send up the single NetMail so it’ll be a quick call. Then give it a couple of minutes and activate Gotcha again. This time the BBS robot Areafix should have had time to rummage up that help file and plug you into the AMIGA MAGS echo. Don’t expect any mail in the Amiga Mags echo right away as you’ll have to wait for some to arrive on the BBS first but the next day there’ll be some to read as well as any other echos you choose to plug in. Read the AreaFix help . Message, find the command for a complete
listing of the Echos available on that system and send that to Areafix, in no time you’ll be chatting away merrily to the users of that BBS (make sure you hook into the local chat echo) and beyond.
Popular Amiga BBSs
• UK BBSe BBS Name: Darkside BBS Phone Number: 0181 -7719100
SysOp: Robert Dale Host: Amiga 3000 Fidonet: 2:254 524.0 + many
others Others: user @darkside.demon.co.uk (Sysop = robdale)
Hours: 24 hours i Description: Loads of Cds on-line, I’net
access, points available for Fidonet and I’net newsgroups etc.
• HighLander BBS Phone Numbers: 01452 384702 384557 SysOp: Alan
Walker Host: PC’s Fidonet: 2:253 417 | 2:253 418 Other:
AmigaNet 39:137 4 MercNet 240:360 54 Hours: 24 Hours
Description: Aminet 1 9 cds, Local chat support area for
Amigans, + Internet e-mail address, Files: 20 Gigs PC, Amiga,
• Moonlight BBS Phone Number: 01234-212752 SysOp: John Marchant
(‘Gnome’) Host: Amiga A4000 40 Fidonet: 2:2500 167.15 Hours:
18.00-08.00 only (incl. Weekends) Description: Transamiga BBS.
A ‘serious’ BBS specializing in Comms, Programming (C and
Latest Aminet CD on. Unlimited DL.
• The Dark Moon Phone Number: 01785 255262 (Stafford, Staffs)
SysOp: Robert Barlow Host: Amiga 1200 Fidonet: 2:2500 504.0
Other: Amiganet 39:139 8.0 Mercury 240:101 11.0 BBSNET
405:100 410.0 Hours: 24 Hrs Description: General Amiga
software, points welcome, QWK mail door. Small but growing
• Crazee Amiga BBS Phone Number: 01334 479645 SysOp: Stuart Reid
(Wingnut) Host: Amiga 1200 Fidonet: 2:259 93.0 Other: Barnet
959:107 0.0 Outernet 89:109 0.0 Hours: 24 Hours Description:
Fully Amiga BBS. With a wide collection and ever growing
collection of Guitar Music Sheets.
• The Motel BBS Phone Number: 01203-372005 375677 or 383003
(last one mail only) SysOp: Nigel Bates Host: Amiga A4000 30 10
Megs Modem 33.6K 3 Lines Fidonet: 2:2500 702 Hours: 24 Hours
Description: Full support for both Amiga and PC users, over 5
Gigs of data online
• Beachy Head BBS & Mail Server Phone Number: 01323-520999 2
lines SysOp: Mr Nicholas Wynne Host: Amiga A3000 030 18 meg
ram, 1.5 gig HD, 7 CD stacker Fidonet: 2:441 93.0 + many others
Hours: 24 hrs line 1, 24 hrs except ZMH line 2 Description:
General Amiga programs. Points welcome. E-Mail addresses for
points. 7 Cds always online.
• Ye Old Crusty BBS Phone Number: 0181-435-2987 SysOp: Mr Crusty
(Brent Knobstockle) Host: Amiga A1000 256K Fidonet: 2:254 824.0
Other: Amiganet: 39:139 325.0 PoxyNet: 8537:3987 327.0 Hours:
23.00-23.15 Description: BBS dedicationed to the collection of
used scratch cards and the cataloging with the Crusty Scratch
- Elevate BBS Phone Number. 01329-319028 SysOp: Paul Compton
Host: Amiga A1500 30 Fidonet: 2:254 18.0 + others Hours: 24
hours Sponsored by InternetFCI ____ Description: Amiga files,
large graphic files areas, Manga areas, large Psion area,
Internet address available, points welcome.
• DF2! Amiga BBS Phone No: 0161-627 3360 Sysop: JonnyMac (Mike
Handley) Host: Amiga 1200 Fidonet: 2:250 194.0, AmigaNet
39:139 27.0 Hours: 24 hours Description: Free Internet e-mail
address for ALL Users, access to all Amiga Related Usenet
Newsgroups, New files daily.
• Skynet BBS Phone Number: 01604 409154 SysOp: Paul Brown Host:
Amiga A1200 Other: Email Address: PaulB@froghall.powernet.co.uk
Hours: Weekends: all day Saturday and Sunday Description:
Skynet is dedicated to the quality side of Amiga public
domain shareware there is no useless software.
Terminals and BBSs IRELAND 38
Phone Number: +353-902-36124 SysOp: DMAP (Damien Me Kenna) Host: Amiga A1200 Fidonet: 2:263 900.0 + many others Hours: Midnight (00:00) to 8am (08:00) Description: Runs a general BBS, running under MM, Zeus Pro (demo) and GMS. Currently has 100+ FTN echos.
• The Voyage Flight 4o2 Phone Number: +31-10-4614906 SysOp:
Manuel Groeneweg Host: Amiga 4000 Fidonet: 2:286 310 Other:
Amiganet: 39:153 205 Hours: 24 hrs Description: Aminet cdrom
online, Erotic Anime area, Programming areas. Located in
• Kevyt Linja (english: Diet Line) Phone Number: +358-0-3433193
SysOp: Mikko Virtanen Host: A4030 25Mhz Fidonet: 2:220 690.0
Other: Internet klinja.fipnet.fi, BluePlanet 87:100 250.0
Hours: 24H Description: A BBS for music freaks. Lots of tabs,
lyrics, interviews, music modules, etc. Also the latest Amiga
• NEW ORDER Phone Number: +7-812-2909561 SysOp: Nightprowler
(Eugene Stepanoff) Host: Amiga 1200 with Apollo-1230 50MHZ
Fidonet: 2:5030 221.0 Other: Amiganet: 39:240 1.0 Hours: 24
hours Description: The oldest AMIGA board in Russia.
Support’s AMIGA and C64 AUSTRALIA
• BOB’s BBS Phone Number: 61 -66-244-959 (066) 244 959 Within
SysOp: Bob Hudson Host: Amiga 2000 020 Fidonet: 3:674 682 Other: MAXsNET 86:302 0 Hours: 24hrs Description: Provides support for The Northern Rivers Amiga Users Group Inc, OnLine Games, Offline Mail etc. i Chapter 3 The Internet: Getting connected with InternetFCI j Connecting to BBSes is a wonderful thing but whilst you’re on-line to a BBS, this is all you have access to. The next step is the Internet which gives you access to the world and as many places & sites simultaneously as you have resources to manage. The concept of the Internet is actually a little difficult to visualise but think
of it like this; The Internet is a massive network of connected machines and the ones that do all the work to keep the thing together are connected permanently. Dial-up customers, however, can become a part of this global network for the duration of the time they are linked up. This means that it’s possible to communicate with each and every machine on the entire Internet. It doesn’t mean you pay international rates either, once you’ve sent your little pieces of information to your Internet Service Provider (or ISP for short), the Internet does all the worrying for you about how to get them
to other machines regardless of where they are in the world.
How does it accomplish this miraculous feat? It’s fairly technical but the bottom line is that any information you send out is broken up into tiny little packets which then have an address attached to them.
This address is called an Internet Protocol address or IP address. An IP address looks like this:
123. 200.212.222, otherwise known as the dotted quad. Once a
packet goes out onto the Internet with this kind of address
attached to it, special machines called ‘routers’ look at
the packets, examine which of their links are taking traffic
of that general direction and set the little piece of data
packing in the right direction. This continues along the
Internet with machines looking at the address and either
sending it on its way or not. When they can’t deliver or
this machine is otherwise unable to perform the task, the
previous machine will try somewhere else and so on.
The upshot of this system, originally designed by the US military, is that if any machine is pulled out of the network or otherwise goes out of action, the Internet will quietly route the data around the hole. The original idea was to make a networking capable of withstanding a nuclear attack which, as you can imagine, makes it pretty resilient against day to day failures.
Amazingly the Internet’s enemy is no longer the threat of a nuclear attack, it’s the sheer volume of traffic.
Now that automatic rerouting ability occurs when links become just too busy to get any data through.
OK so now we have the method to transfer these tiny packets of data around the Internet, the Amiga needs some software to speak the same language.
This software bears the rather technical name of being called a TCP IP Stack’. TCP IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol Internet Protocol. Well now you know. The Amiga’s current most popular by far TCP IP software is known as AmiTCP and we’ll be detailing how to get on-line to the Internet by using software on your Amiga. More on AmiTCP later.
Once we have AmiTCP working on our machine, all of the other wonderful things that can be done on the Internet treat this software as the springboard to the world. AmiTCP is the postoffice, if you like, where the Internet,’Clients’ as they are known, will be responsible for E-mail and surfing the World Wide Web. The first order of business, however, is to get AmiTCP up and running.
Getting Connected: Using InternetFCI Thankfully the hard work normally required to get AmiTCP set-up and running on your Amiga has been done already. InternetFCI and CU Amiga Magazine worked together to create an Internet-in-a-box package specifically to use on InternetFCI’s TheNet Internet account service. Why did we do this rather than allowing the software to use any Internet Service Provider? The reason is because ISPs vary considerably and. Much of the highly complex AmiTCP configuration software would need to be altered by hand, by you and even then probably wouldn’t work. So what
we’ve done is create an Internet package configured for TheNet who’s only requirement is a user- name and a password.
AmiTCP is one of the most highly complex pieces of software you’re ever likely to encounter and we don’t believe that you should have to know the complete ins and outs of this software. However, some configuration changes are needed to plug in some of the more technical I’net clients. These are covered in their respective sections.
For now we’ll assume you aren’t connected but have a modem. If you haven’t got a modem yet, check out the full modem round-up in the magazine.
Presuming that you have a modem and it’s connected and working successfully as documented in the previous chapters, we can set about getting on to the Internet. The first thing you’ll need to do is subscribe to InternetFCI’s TheNet service to gain access to the Internet. For more information see the details on subscription in the box below and on page 4 of this book.
To get three months worth of Internet access for just £20 you must first sign up with InternetFCI using a credit card, Switch or cash. Call the following number to order. See page 4 for further details.
0500-267767 Once your account subscription is sorted out, you can organise a user name and password with InternetFCI. If you’ve a credit card, this can all be done quickly over the phone. The next step is to extract the HiSoft Termite terminal software demo on the coverdisk of CU Amiga Magazine. This is pretty straightforward since all you need to is specify a path and the archive will be extracted to this location and the necessary libraries installed on your boot partition. Yes, if it wasn’t perfectly obvious, it’s impossible to get on the Internet without a hard drive. The InternetFCI CU
Amiga software I’net software bundle alone wouldn’t fit on 10 disks. This is why we’ve made provision for you to download it yourself with Termite. Once Termite is extracted, all you need to do is run it. As covered in the previous chapter, you should be able to converse with the modem without any problem. Assuming there’s enough space on your hard drive for an extra few MB in the same place as Termite was installed, we can now dial InternetFCI and obtain the Internet software.- Enter ‘ATDT0645666666’ and hit return. If all goes according to plan you should be presented with a logon prompt. If
not, go back to the previous chapters on modems and the Amiga and try find the problem. At the login prompt, enter the username you organised with InternetFCI earlier. Next you’ll be prompted for a password. Here enter your password.
Don’t be disturbed if you see nothing when you type, this is just a security provision so no-one watching can see your password. After that you’ll be presented with a protocol prompt. Here enter ‘download’ and hit return. The last prompt will appear called ‘login’, here enter ‘cuamiga’ and straight away the server should begin sending you the Internet installer.
Termite should kick into Zmodem receive mode and the files will be gradually downloaded into the Download directory within the Termite directory. Time for a coffee while you wait.
Installing the software Once the download is finished, if you examine inside the Termite Download directory, you’ll find two icons.
One called Extract-MUl and one called Extract- TheNet. Do NOT double-click on these right away unless extracting them into this directory is fine. Note that this just decompresses the software it does not install it so we need a new spare location on our hard drive to extract the temporary installers to. If this is other than the Download directory in Termite, drag the icons to another location. If this is the same drive, the archives will be moved. If not, they will be copied so you’ll need to delete the originals afterwards.
Once the archives are in their final resting place, just click on them to activate the extraction process. If everything went according to plan, the original extract icon should be deleted and a drawer will appear. This is Mill for the Extract-MUl installer and TheNet for Extract-TheNet.
Now you can open the MUI drawer and click on the Install icon here. This will activate Mill’s installer which will decide the final resting place of MUI and added the necessary lines to your user-startup sequence etc. Once this is finished, you may delete the original MUI drawer. Once this is finished, reboot your machine and then double click on the Installer icon found inside the TheNet drawer. Under no circumstances try to install TheNet installer before MUI unless you have MUI 3.3 completely installed previously in which case you can skip the MUI installation.
The installer in the TheNet directory will ask you for your user name and password at some point as arranged when you set up your account with InternetFCI. There’s no point in running this installer unless you have those details to hand as it will preconfigure all the software automatically and changing them later is virtually impossible.
Finally we have the CU Amiga lnternetFCI Internet software pack installed. The directory TheNet contains drawers for each of the major fields of Internet use. WWW, E-Mail, IRC, FTP and News. Each one of those drawers will contain the provided client for use in that area as documented later. There are also separate icons present which control linking up and down to the InternetFCI. This are called ‘Dial up’ and ‘Hang up’. If everything has been done right up until this point, our modem is connected and functioning, all that should be needed is a double click of the ‘Dial Up’ icon. The
software should attempt to dial up to InternetFCI, negotiate the link and suddenly we’re part of the Internet!
The CU Amiga lnternetFCI software bundle comes with AmiTCP 3.0. This is a freely redistributable version of the TCP IP stack where, as later versions are commercial. Retail price of the current AmiTCP 4.2 is around the £70 mark and quite frankly, not worth the money for the casual Amiga Internet user. The authors NSDi are reportedly working on a cheaper version titled AmiTCP ‘dial-up’, keep an eye on CU Amiga magazine for a review. Of perhaps more interest is the new TCP IP stack software under development due for release in a few months time.
Miami, as it’s known, is much more like the Amiga’s standard look and feel with a GUI configuration interface based on MU I. We recommend you keep an eye out on AmiTCP http: www.america.com ~kruse amiga Miami. html for further developments.
AmiTCP is a complex package of which this entire book could easily have been filled with details of the configuration. Here’s some quick pointers to the various configuration options that lie at the heard of AmiTCP and several of-which need to be modified to add some new I’net clients. AH AmiTCP’s config- _ uration is stored in text files present within the AmiTCP:db directory. Firstly, resolv.conf stores the name server definitions needed so AmiTCP will know who where to ask to turn an Internet name into an IP address. A group of files defines the services available on your machine. These
are er for example. Read the documentation on a new client which requires modifications carefully as mistakes can break your Internet software and be a nightmare to track down.
A quick example would be moving from a single POP3 type account with InternetFCI to a static domain account. You’d then have an address like so; email@example.com. You get to choose ‘node’ as well. Example: user @magic.thenet co.uk. For this type of thing, you’ll need to edit resolve.conf and add this line: DOMAIN node.thenet.co.uk Where the node is your chosen node. Now you’ll need to edit the startnet script as found in AmjTCP:bin . This will have a few occurrences of your old address and will need to be edited for the new address complete with your node part. Next we need to add an
SMTP demon so you can have as many users or mailboxes on your system as you like.
We’ll need to download AmiTCP SMTPd from the Aminet. The path is; comm tcp AmiTCPsmtpd.lha. Extract this, copy in.smtpd into your AmiTCP:Serv directory and then edit inetd.conf. Add a line like this; smtp stream tcp nowait root amitcp:serv in.smtpd -smtpd (All one line).
Now all that remains is to ensure the ENV variable HOSTNAME is set to your domain. So put SetENV hostname “node.thenet.co.uk” in your AmiTCP:bin startnet script or so where node is the name of your designated node. You only need to ask InternetFCI to change your system over to SMTP and the mail will come down automatically when you link up. Now anyone can mail you at anyuser @node.thenet.co.uk and a file will appear in the UUMail: assign. RETU is quite happy to read any of these mail boxes and in this way gives you an infinite amount of E-mail addresses for you and the whole family.
Security One of the configuration files within Amitcp:db is called inet.access and it controls which IP addresses have access to what services on your machine. Most people will not have many services, daemons or other automatic systems running on their AmiTCP set up but one very common service is an SMTP daemon or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. This is the program that waits for SMTP mail if your provider uses such a service. Those users with their own full domain such as TheNet users will have SMTP mail.
Unfortunately the Amiga SMTP daemon isn’t 100% foolproof and can be crashed by some nasty person writing illegal characters to your SMTP port (TCP port 25 for the technically minded).
Unfortunately if we lock everyone but the actual provider out of the SMTP port, other machines wont be able to deliver SMTP mail directly to you and will instead have to route it via your host. This isn't a large problem though and the extra security makes it an essential addition until a rock solid SMTPd comes along for the Amiga. An example of locking out everyone but TheNet Internet Services via your inet.access file is as thus: (on two lines) smtp 194.130.28.* allow log smtp *.*.*.* deny log The first entry indicates we are talking about the smtp service as defined in the
Amitcp:db inetd.con- fig file. The next is a simple wildcard system. The first line specified TheNet’s IP address with any number on the end. All of the IP addresses that match this pattern are TheNet themselves. The next keyword is obviously to allow or deny the access. Lastly, if logged you’ll see the result in the AmiTCP log CON: window. The reason that they’re two lines is because AmiTCP will try and match each in turn. If TheNet accesses your SMTP daemon, it’ll reach the first line and see that access is allowed. For anyone else the first line doesn’t apply but the second does since it
matches everyone and will hence deny them access.
This technique could be used to limited any services to any providers etc. A couple of lines like this;
194. 130.*.* allow log
* .*.*.* deny log ftp ftp
* * * * would allow anyone using TheNet as their service provider
to access our FTP daemon but no-one else.
Of course you could change this so that only your friends have access by entering in many lines containing all their IP addresses. Assuming that your friends are using a provider which gives them a static or non-changing IP address of their own. Many providers assign IP addresses only when the dial-in customer logs-in though so this technique will not work in that case though you could apply wildcards to the entire provider if need be. It’s quite common to lock out certain American providers famous for the quantity of irresponsible customers.
Chapter 4 Email Email is obviously now one of the biggest rea- sons that any person might want to get connected to the Internet. Everyone who’s anyone has an E-mail address. It’s not only fashionable but it’s handy. No, not just handy but darned near essen- tiat. I have friends all over the world from Davis Station Antactarctica (really) to Australia, Japan, the US, Europe and locally. All of which I can and do talk with via E-mail as if they were next door. You can be the same and it’s not a difficult aspect of the Internet to master.
An Internet address would have been hard to miss in modern times but it comes in the form; user @ domain . organisation type . The most significant part is the right in the organisation type. This depends on the country where the Internet Service Provider relating to the address resides. In the UK, it’s common to tack .uk on the end of whatever it is. Here’s some designations; co ......Company (NET provider) ac Academic Institution
mil. ....Military gov ....Government
net .....Internet Provider (Staff usually) com
American International company So in the UK and address
would commonly be user @ domain .co.uk or .ac.uk. The
domain is the name of the institution and commonly the name
of your Internet Service Provider though it may be further
split into a sub-domain of your own choosing and their name.
The most common example in the UK would be username
@sunshine.thenet.co.uk. We can tell this user is from the
UK and using the Demon Internet Service. Their own subdomain
is called ‘sunshine’. Other providers may give you an
address simply as a username on their address such as
firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll also be seeing many strange
addresses often containing numerals with .ac.uk on the end
which means a school or university within the UK. Other
countries are content to skip the ‘.co’ part such as Germany
which would use an address such as username ©sunshine.de.
The ‘.de’ indicates Germany. Here’s a listing of suffixes
for countries you’ll commonly see: uk United
Kingdom ie ..Ireland ca Canada
za .South Africa ru .Former Soviet
Union (Russia) da Germany
ill. .The Netherlands no Norway
se .Sweden fl ...Finland it....
....Italy fr ..France be Belgium
Jp ..Japan au .Australia Why isn’t
there one for the United States? Well being as they started
the Internet, you can generally expect the generic global ‘
com’ address on the end which, unfortunately, doesn’t tell
you where the address is as .com addresses could be anywhere
in the world and not just the US. E-mail addresses are
usually all in lower case by convention. The standards say
addresses aren’t Gase sensitive anyway. If an address has a
valid ‘@’ symbol after a username, a domain which can
contain ‘.’s of it’s- own and then a valid suffix, it’s a
legal E-mail address, email@example.com is valid where as
joe.blogs.uk.co. is not. There’s no ‘@’ symbol and the
‘uk’ and ‘co’ are around the wrong way.
Because E-mail addresses are easy to muck up, it’s really best that you store all your important addresses in the phonebook of your E-mail package rather than relying on memory or paper. If you get an address wrong, you can bet your provider will send you back a ‘Delivery Failure Report’ which will say something t like the Domain Doesn’t Exist. Best to be sure before posting.
The actual workings of how E-mail is transferred isn’t too complex. When you sent an E-mail for another destination to your provider, it tries to look up the delivery location in its own database of MX or Mail Transfer records. If it can’t find it, it will refer the request closer to what it CAN tell about the address, .de on the end means it might ask Germany where it should deliver a mail addressed to a named company in Germany. It will then try to send the E-mail direct to them via the same amazing method that the Internet works as detailed earlier. For this reason, E- mails generally
only take minutes to hours to get from the sender to the receiver. Any longer and something’s going wrong which is why those with E- mail access thereafter refer to the conventional physical postal service as ‘snail mail’.
Netiquette There’s some important matters to bear in mind when dealing with E-mail and even Newsgroups. There’s a certain etiquette to writing electronic mail and this is normally known as ‘Netiquette’. None of this is written down, it’s simple an unwritten code of behaviour. A tradition or culture, if you like, of the new electronic country that is the Internet.
E-mail and the written form is devoid of body language and tonal accents. Sarcasm, irony and friendly jibes can’t be communicated effectively which leads to a great deal of misunderstandings. Thank goodness world powers don’t negotiate treaties via E-Mail. Out of necessity, the ‘net community has evolved some elements which help to avoid some misunderstandings. The most obvious and useful of these is that experienced ‘net people take ‘postings’ at face value. You can’t read between the lines with- out further evidence of what the writer intended to get across. ‘Smileys’ are a common
element used to punctuate sentences in order to communicate some of the mood that the text was written in. An absolutely essential commodity to understand and thankfully quite simple. See the box-out for more.
You can get away with virtually anything in private E-mail. Misunderstandings can be clarified later and the recipient wont expect a masters work of prose just for a simple private communication. However, when posting a message into a Usenet ‘Newsgroup’, you are broadcasting a self contained message to hundreds and often thousands of other readers; If someone can misinterpret your message, many will.
If you’ve written something offensive, expect torrents of abuse the likes of which you’re likely to never forget. These are known as ‘flames’.
Understanding what the Newsgroup is about is paramount before posting at all. A very good piece of advice is to read the group for a week before you post to get a good feel for what it’s about. There are quite a few assumptions that people will make going on the style of your message. Copious mis-spellings, bad text formatting, multiple exclamation marks and otherwise badly formed messages will have people see you for a novice or an idiot. Messages typed in capitals is known as shouting and is also bad form.
Quoting is another crucial matter. If you respond to a post, your mail news package will load your text editor with a bulk of quoted text. The plan is to cut out everything that’s not relevant and then write your text directly under theirs. Cut as much as you can without losing the meaning. If you quote an entire message and stick ‘I agree’ on the bottom, expect it to get pretty warm soon. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get a decent text editor to read and write E- mail with. This doesn’t apply to the RETU E-mail program provided in the CU Amiga lnternetFCI pack because it has it’s own
built In editor. For other packages, you’ll need a decent text editor that can quickly mark and cut out blocks of text, ie the text you don’t need to quote.
I can’t emphasise strongly enough that cutting the.
MOST amount of material from a quoted reply is essential. It makes it far easier to read and in the case of mailing lists and Usenet news, makes everyone much happier about the mail.
If some-one does take offence to any of your messages, only reply to correct them factually. Do not reply with a flame in a public newsgroup. Be warned that although ‘flame exchanges’ are popular via E- mail, the other person might have been doing it a lot longer than you and really know what to say to make things hurt. The best bet is to avoid confrontation at . All. The other people in newsgroups don’t want to read flames and so rapidly you’ll find yourself roasted to a crisp. The key point being that it’s worth thinking about whether the thousands of people in the newsgroup would want
to read what you write. If you have something personal to carry on with another user of that ‘group, E-Mail them. Many newsgroups are ruined by pointless postings known as ‘noise’.
Never forget what a wonderful thing E-Mail and newsgroups are. Idiots, geniuses and citizens of the World can all share knowledge in the topics of their choice. You can be a part of this too and following these pointers turn the experience into a positive one.
Internet codes Abbreviations are common either in E-Mail, Usenet or the IRC. The reason being that oft used phrases don’t have to be typed in full. We’ll only worry about the common ones that are essential to understand what people are talking about; Abbreviation Meaning IMHO (IYHO) In my humble opinion (In your humble opinion) AFAIK (NAFIAK) As far as I know (Not as far as know) AFAICR As far as I can remember ATM At the moment FYI For your information BTW BytheWay FAQ Frequently asked question(s) RSN Real Soon Now Yaxxx Yet Another; Usually YAMUIA Yet Another MUI Argument ROTFL Rolling on
the floor Laughing (rolls on the floor...) RTFM Read the flipping 1 manual WTF Who What the flip? * WGAF Who Gives A Flip? * ICBW I could be wrong 18,MB Late, Mate. You might see CUL8R for See you later, re RC speak: Hello again :-| Straight faced. Fairly negative though often misconstrued.
R 3:-) My own favourite ‘devilish’ smiley. Mischievous connotations.
Some examples; "We’ll you’re just great, aren’t you?
RETU Another brand new item of Internet freeware is included in the CU Amiga lnternetFCI software pack.
Again programmed by Oliver Wagner of Am IRC and Voyager fame, RETU, as it’s known, stands for Really Easy To Use. He’s not kidding either so this will be a short section on driving this excellent package.
Firstly, when you RETU for the first time, a general configuration window will appear. This has a number of fields which need to be configured so RETU will be able to fetch your E-mail for you. RETU has the POP3 or Post Office Protocol, E-mail standard built-in so it will fetch your E-mail all by itself, it will also post so no support programs are necessary unlike virtually every other E-mail client. The first box is labelled ‘Your POP3 account. This needs you to fill in your username @ popserver. For TheNet this is firstname.lastname@example.org. If we have a username of ‘cuamiga’ then
we’d enter cuamiga@mail- host.thenet.co.uk. The POP3 password box needs to be filled out with the password you arranged with InternetFCI when setting up your account.
Your Real Name is obvious, fill out your name here. The reply to address is also important. If your username is cuamiga, then enter email@example.com here. The next box is called Your SMTP server. Fill out mailhost.thenet.co.uk, here. The Mail directory box can be left as UUMail: Leave the external SENDMAIL checkbox unticked for TheNet. The next and last checkbox is to automatically check for POP3 mail. It would be a good idea to leave this on and the 5 minute value is also fine. You can change this later as needs be. Now click ‘OK’, RETU will now fire up to it’s main window.
If you have new E-mail, RETU will automatically download this and it will be displayed in the main window. The top right pop-up cycle gadget should only have two options if you’re running a newly installed CU Amiga lnternetFCI package. A mailbox called you username and one called OutgoingMail. If you have any mail, selecting the box the same name as your user name will display the messages present in the main view. The status display to the left of the Folder: cycle pop-up gadget will report how many mails are present including new, unread and deleted mails.
In the main listview, you’ll see the From: field and underneath any E-mails will reflect who they are from in this gadget. The Date, Length and Subject are also shown in respective fields. To read an E-mail, simply double-click on it. Now this will send you directly to the more complex message read screen.
Now the From:, Subject: and Date: fields are shown in text string gadgets at the top left of the window.
Don’t be concerned with the lister on the right of these fields for now. The E-mail itself will be displayed in the main window below and this can be scrolled through with the scroll bar or the up down cursor keys.
Press the ‘Back’ button to move to the Message List window. Assuming we want to write an E-mail from scratch, click on the New Mail Action Button on the bottom left of the window. This will activate the New Mail window where it’s time to write our first E- V mail. There are 4 text boxes at the top of this window but only two of them need to be filled out to send an E-mail. You need to insert an address in the Mail to: box. Enter firstname.lastname@example.org in this box. Skip the CC: and Bcc: boxes which enable you to send the mail to two other users as well. Then fill in the Subject: box with ‘Comms
Bible’. After hitting return, control moves to the built-in text editor. You can now type a message. There’s two check boxes on this window, the Request Receipt will set a special flag on the E-mail which will make the receiving system send back a confirmation if they have this facility enabled. Note: email@example.com does. The Add signature, we’ll cover later as it will automatically add a special signature to the end of the E-mail.
Note that the in-built text-editor is only one page of the New Mail window. There’s another page called Attachments. If you click on the exposed ear called Attachments, you’ll see the attachments page. RETU supports the special standard for sending binary files via E-mail. This is extremely handy and you’ll be using this quite a lot to send files to your friends and contacts on the Internet. To add a binary file, simply click ‘Add attachments’ in this window. A file requester will appear which will allow you to select a binary or otherwise file. It will be automatically identified and
encoded after your text message. You can delete any attachments with the Delete Selected Attachment button.
Now you can press the Send Mail gadget at the bottom of the New Mail window. Note that the E-mail is not dispatched right away. You can actually see the E-mail you’ve written by using the Folder: gadget to select OurgoingMail. Here you’ll see your E-mail and can view it with a double click. To actually send the E-mail, there’s an option in RETU’s first menu called Send Queued Mail. Select this or use the Amiga-S hotkey shortcut. RETU will now attempt to deliver any unsent mail in the OutgoingMail folder.
‘ This will only work if your Amiga is linked up to TheNet at the time. If an error is reported, double check the configuration settings and ensure you have the right values as mentioned above.
Every time you write an E-mail, it’s customary to included a so-called Signature at the bottom. Select Edit Signature from the Settings menu. Here RETU’s in-built text editor will allow you to enter your signature. Have a look at what other people use for theirs to get some idea of what your’s might look like. Note that the Settings menu can again access RETU’s General Configuration page if you need to make changes, in the event of an error etc. You need not simply just write an E-mail from scratch. Often you’ll need to reply to an E-mail someone has sent to you. You can do this one of two
ways: you can highlight the message in RETU’s Message List window and click on the ‘Reply’ Action button at the bottom or you can read the message and then click on Reply. Here you’ll need to cut out the quoted text apparent from what you specifically need to answer the E-mail. See the previous chapter on Netiquette. Here the From: address and subject will be automatically filled out with the address of the person you are replying to and the original subject of their E-mail. Again you just need to hit the Send Mail button and afterwards activate the Send Queued Mail option when you’re linked
up. In this way you can write all your E-mail when not linked up, just sending your replies when you do.
RETU has excellent in-built support for MIME encodes, the Internet standard for sending binary files via E-mail. When you read a MIME encoded E- mail, you’ll see the various parts listed in the MIME part lister on the top right of the Message Read window. You can click on the binary parts, save out as needed or activate Multiview on them if the picture is of a type viewable with your installed Datatypes.
Note the type of file listed on the right-most field of the listview to decide what you want to do with it.
AmFTP Most everyone has heard of the Aminet even if it’s only the Cds. The Aminet is the largest collection of Amiga software in the world. It’s actually duplicated in many countries on FTP sites. What’s FTP? FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and is a standard by which files are transferred over the Internet. Used to be this was done in the shell with a program called NCFTP but the CU Amiga lnternetFCI pack comes with a brilliant GUI FTP client called AmFTP This makes accessing FTP sites as easy as using a directory utility in fact the similarity doesn’t stop there; When you run AmFTR
you’ll get a window appear that looks deceptively like a directory utility in fact for all intents and purposes it is only one side, the right side, is a drive not on our machine at all!
All we need to make the right hand lister active is to log on to another site while we are linked up. To do this, press the Connect button. A list of sites is already pre-configured into AmFTR among them is Aminet UK. You just need to.click on this and then press the Connect to FTP Server button. AmFTP should negotiate a link and, log in for you. You’ll see this in the text view at the bottom of the window.
When you are logged in, you’ll be dumped in the root directory of the Aminet. The right lister will become active after AmFTP has fetched a directory. Click on README in this window and press the Receive button. AmFTP will move to transfer mode and the file will be downloaded or ‘FTPed’ and placed in whichever directory on your own drives you had in the left hand lister. Neat huh?
Your own FTP site You can click on the Close Connection button to sever the link. Now pressing Connect again brings us back to the Connection GUI. Note that you can press ‘New’ to add a new FTP site. This needs a Profile name (which appears in the lister) and a Host name which is the actual address. For example you could put ftp.thenet.co.uk there. Most of the time you’ll have Anon login checked which is the default FTP usage for public sites. Occasionally you make need to enter a password protected site like if you get your own WWW site and have to upload material to it etc. Then you leave
this checkbox of and fill in the Login Name and Password. The remote and local directories can be set up here. Turning on the Save Dir checkmark would be a good idea as next time you log on to this site, AmFTP will automatically go to the same directory that you accessed last time. The same goes for the Local Dir and checkbox.
Some tips for AmFTR you can highlight all the .readme files for a directory on the Aminet, for instance, by adding ?.readme in the wildcard box and pressing ‘+ When you download multiple files, you’ll see those files in the transfer window, queued up ready for transfer one by one. Note that you can iconify AmFTP at any stage. Highly useful for when it’s downloading a lot of files so it doesn’t clutter up your Workbench. Finally, there’s a button called Archie. If you press this, a new window will appear which will allow you to search any of the pre-programmed Archie servers. These servers
keep track of FTP sites. Any matching files to your request will be shown as an FTP site and path which you can then log into and download. Now you’ve a near infinite supply of Amiga freely redistributable software so be happy!
Aminet The Aminet is a set of interconnected FTP sites. The other FTP sites ‘mirror’ the home of the Aminet located at wuarchive.wustl.edu. That means that every file present on this machine will appear on the other sites very soon after. What’s great about the Aminet is that the several Gigabytes of Amiga only software is organised in a common way which makes it very easy to find what you’re after. For example, the root directory has the file RECENT present. This is a list of the last 7 days of uploads and is a good point of reference for spying out new Amiga software. The rest of the
archive is organised as a directory structure 2 levels deep. For instance the ‘util’ directory has a load of other directories within such as ‘arc’ for archiving utilities and ‘wb’ for Workbench. Too many to describe here but the root directories are on the next page for your convenience.
New New files are uploaded here.
Biz Business software hard Hardware related comm Communications info " Site information demo Euro style demos misc Miscellaneous docs Text documents mods Music modules dev Developer software mus Music software disk Disk tools pix Pictures game Games software text Text related gfx Graphics software util Utilities Each of these main directories contacts a file called INDEX which has all the files on that mirror site listed for the directory in which you find the file. This also goes for the full paths like util wb will have all of the Aminet archive files present but also INDEX
which is a list of all the files in the directory. Accordingly, the INDEX file you’ll find in the root directory is the entire list of files from the Aminet, that’s why it’s so large.
Downloading files from here can be done extremely easily for AmFTFT once you get to know the Aminet file structure, you’ll find yourself typing in the full path in the text gadget to save a directory list reload every time you move around. AmFTP is in the CU Amiga lnternetFCI software pack is reconfigured for InternetFCI’s local Aminet mirror.
Users of their service will find this an amazingly handy resource as being able to download these files from your local provider at full speed and not via slow transatlantic routes is a real boon.
Downloading files is one thing but hopefully you’ll be creating your own material for other Amiga users the world over. Whether it’s artwork, modules or PD Shareware applications, if you want broad exposure to the entire Amiga community, uploading to the Aminet is essential. There’s a protocol to doing this.
Firstly, you must archive your material with the LHA archiver. Documentation and so forth should also be in this archive. Next, a ‘readme’ file must be made.
This will be the same name as the archive but .readme instead of .lha. For example, we want to upload our archive MyProg.lha to the Aminet. You’d make a textfile called MyProg.readme as well. This would be in the format as follows; Short: Our most excellent program Author: CU Amiga Magazine reader (firstname.lastname@example.org) Uploader: CU Amiga Magazine reader (email@example.com) Type: util misc A description of the program will be present here.
Note that the short description of the program appears in the INDEX and RECENT files and is limited to around 40 characters so keep it snappy and to the point. E-mail addresses MUST be present in brackets for at least the Uploader field in case there’s a problem the Aminet administrators will need to get in contact with you. Lastly the Type: field is the directory in which you think the file belongs. Now this file is saved out with the correct name (remember Unix is case sensitive), it’s time to upload it. You can either upload directly to wuarchive or one of the mirrors. Both will have a
directory called new. Move to this directory in AmFTP and upload both files, the main archive and the readme. If everything has gone according to plan, the file will be copied around the World in a day or two. If your upload is of interest, expect quite a lot of E-mail!
Mailing lists; If you want to get the list of new uploads mailed every week, send a mail with ‘SUBSCRIBE aminet-weekly Your Name’ in the body to firstname.lastname@example.org or if you want daily updates, just use ‘SUBSCRIBE aminet-daily’ instead. Replace ‘Your Name’ with your real name, of course. Keep the welcome mail in case you forget how to unsubscribe and for the password you get.
Chapter 5 AmilRC Conversing with people on the Internet via E-mail and news is fine but it lacks the spontaneity of a real conversation. Replies are considered, conversations are dragged out to days and, what’s more, you only talk to one person at once. There is another way, more human, to chat to Internet users. This method is called the Internet Relay Chat or IRC for short. In this method, many people can joining in a real time conference chat in a channel of a topic they are interested in.
Since it’s real-time, it only works while you’re linked up so it can impact your phone bill if you get hooked so be warned from the outset!
The best Amiga IRC client is called AmlRC and it’s yet another Oliver Wagner creation. AmlRC is included in the CU Amiga lnternetFCI software pack. You can find it in the root TheNet directory as it’s own drawer called AmlRC. All you need to run AmlRC is doubleclick on the icon, it’s that easy. The phone book has been pre-configured for some commonly reachable servers in different networks from TheNet. After a few moments you will see the server connect requester appear. First type in a nickname in the first text gadget at the top of the requester. If you intend to use a nick that may be
common, try typing in some variations in the next three boxes, this way, if your nick is in use by another person, the client will retry with the next nick.
Next, enter your real name and your E-mail address or WWW home page URL in the next text gadget. It is probably a good idea to be truthful here. Then, enter a username that will show as email@example.com username should be the same as the login ID for Frontier which you decided when setting up your account Now you are ready to connect. Just click on a server from the supplied list or click new server entry and type the address and port number of your favourite server and then click connect. Optionally, you can choose one or a few channels to autojoin, just separate them with a comma. If
you are already connected, and wish to connect to a second server, click connect thread to open a second instance of AmlRC. The Delete Server Entry gadget will remove a server entry that you no longer wish to use. - When you click on a server and it’s successful, you’ll be logged in and AmlRC will proceed no further unless you’ve specified an autojoin channel. First thing to do is to connect with an Effnet server and then type Join Amiga in the prompt. Wow, you’re now in a channel with dozens of other Amiga users chatting in real time.
A word of advice, watch things go by for some time before typing. There’s a strange brand of Netiquette here also but with a little observation you’ll pick it up in no time! Have fun!
The AmlRC user interface is laid out in a logical, intuitive manner, making it easy to use. Here’s the components described; The Text Ustview is the main feature of the interface is the text listview, where incoming text is displayed.
The Text Input Gadget is directly below this is the text input gadget, labelled with the nickname that you have chosen. Any text entered here will be sent out to the IRC server.
Ustview Scroll Gadget is to the right of the listview is a scroll gadget, which enables you to scroll backward through the text in the listview.
The Channel Text String at the top left of the listview is a text string that reflects the channel that you have joined.
The Topic Input Display Gadget to the right of the channel text string, is the Topic Input Display gadget, where the topic of a joined channel will be displayed. If you have Channel Operator (Ops) Status, you may change the topic of the channel by entering the topic in this gadget, and hitting the ‘enter’ key.
The Operator Buttons to the right of the topic input gadget are the channel mode buttons, which display the current modes for the joined channel. Users with Channel Operator (Ops) status may also use these buttons to change the current channel modes. They have the following functions; T Topic Protection: Toggles Topic Protection on off. If on, the topic can be changed by Channel Operators (Ops) only.
N No Messaging: Toggles Messaging on off. If active, a user can only write to the channel if they have joined it.
S Secret: Toggles Secret mode on off. If active, the channel is invisible until it is joined.
I Invite Only: Toggles Invite Only mode on off. If active, users can only join after they have been invited.
P Private: Toggles Private mode on off. If active, the channel will be invisible in the global channel list.
M Moderated: Toggles Moderated mode on off. If active, only channel operators (Ops) and users with ‘voice’ can type to the channel.
L Limit: Sets a limited number of users allowed on the channel K Keywordj Toggles Keyword mode on off. If active, Users can only join the channel if they give the correct keyword.
B Ban: Sets Displays the current Bans active on the channel User Ustview Below the channel mode buttons is the User Listview, which shows a current list of users on the joined channel. Double clicking on a users name will perform a whois on that user. Clicking once on a users name will set that user as the default to perform other operations on, such as an operation from the configurable user buttons.
User Buttons Directly below the User Listview are the user buttons. These buttons are configurable from the GUI window, accessible by selecting ‘setup,..’ from the AmlRC settings menu.
CTCP is a standard for sending commands to other clients on IRC. Basically, CTCP messages are simply private messages that include a code to alert the receiving client (not user) to respond to the command.
CTCP stands for Client To Client Protocol.
CTCP commands are typically used to get information from the receiving client, such as CTCP time, or CTCP version. Even DCC sends a request via CTCP to the receiving client, asking to initiate a direct connection.
me actlon Typing this results in the other IRC clients treating the text after me as an action. Most put ACTION instead of your ‘Nick’ on the left of the screen. Example; me yawns. DCC or Direct Client Connection is a protocol that IRC clients can use to communicate directly with each other, bypassing the IRC server The reason for this is to form a faster, more stable and direct connection through which users can transfer files, or send private messages. Note that AmlRC has its own set of Highly Optimized DCC protocols built-in, and does not require external DCC utilities: DCC or
Direct Client to Client is a protocol which IRC clients will negotiate directly between them. This is most useful for sending and receiving files directly from other IRC users. This is an extremely handy function and one that AmlRC has built in.
The initiating client will send a message through the IRC server, telling the receiver that a connection is requested. At this time, the receiver will either accept or reject the offer for the connection. If the receiver accepts the connection, the initiating client will proceed to send the information directly to the receiver. If the connection is refused, the initiating client will simply timeout the attempt to connect.
To DCC Send, type DCC send user filepath .
DCC send will attempt to open a connection with the specified user’s client, and if successful, will proceed to send the specified file. Note that if you don’t specify the filepath after user , AmlRC will open a file requester allowing you to pick one or more files to offer to DCC to the specified user. There’s no need for a DCC receive command since AmlRC will automatically bring up a GUI for any incoming DCC send requests. You just need to click accept to start the transfer or reject to cancel.
Another use of the DCC standard is DCC chat, which, like DCC Send, will send a CTCP request to the receiving client to set up a direct link. In this case, however, the purpose of the link is for users to send messages to each other. Because the messages are sent through the direct link, and do not pass through the IRC server, this method of sending messages is much more private than using the IRC’s privmsg ( msg).
With AmiRC, it must be noted that a DCC Chat request will not open a dialog window for you, instead, when DCC chat is initiated and accepted, all privmsg’s ( msg) to the receiving user will be sent through the DCC link. If you wish to have a dialog box for chatting, the best way to go about this is to highlight the users’s name in the listview by clicking on it, then click on the ‘Query’ gadget below the listview. This will open a window that has several options within it. From here, you can ‘ping’ or ‘whois’ the other user, or you may initiate a ‘DCC Send’ or ‘DCC chat’. Starting a ‘DCC
Chat’ from this window will allow you to carry on a dialogue with the remote user through the window.
AmlRC has several built-in commands. Some of this commands are processed locally, whereas others are send to the IRC server.
Commands generally start with a to differentiate them from normal text. If you want to use the character at the start of normal text, use instead.
Many commands require a channel name as a parameter. AmlRC will automatically fill in the channel name of the current window if you don’t specify a channel name on your own.
JOIN channel 1, channel 2 etc. Joins one or more channel on the IRC. If the channel doesn’t exists, it is automatically created. AmlRC will look for a channel window which isn’t currently bound to a channel. If it doesn’t find one, a new window will be created and bound to this channel.
LEAVE channel, channel 2 etc. Leaves one or more channels. If you don’t give a channel name as a parameter, the channel currently bound to the window in which in the command is entered will be left.
Most of the setup functions appear in the ‘Setup’ entry under the ‘Settings’ menu. Here you will get a multi-requester that will allow you to access several pages that deal witfr configuring AmlRC. There’s quite a lot of this to cover so we wont detail it here. The best bet is to refer to the AmigaGuide documentation that can be found in the AmlRC directory.
* Chapter 6 The World Wide Web What is the World Wide Web? The
closest analogy to something on the Amiga would be AmigaGuide.
AmigaGuide documents are simply a text file with certain
formatting codes which are read by the AmigaGuide utility when
displaying the file. In AmigaGuide, a link or button can be
made and then when the reader clicks on this, it will go away
to that part of the document and display it. The World Wide Web
is exactly like this only the idea is carried much further
forwards. The standard for the World Wide Web (WWW or Web from
now) is base on HTML or HyperText Markup Language. The special
formatting codes in HTML can not only direct the reader from
one part of the document to another but to entirely new
documents and some of those might not even be the same machine!
How does it do this? The links in HTML are displayed underlined in a different colour usually. What you can’t see is the actual technical text that makes it so but who cares anyway? A link might load in another HTML ‘page’ off the same machine or it might send your WWW ‘Browser’ off to look for the page on another site on the Internet. Here’s where it gets interesting and why it’s called the Web. Because every page on the Web has links to other pages, a typical session can be driven by simply reading the text and clicking on the links to other interesting sites. The browser doesn’t care
where the sites are in the world either. Another thing which makes the WWW interesting is the fact that you can include other forms of data as well as text, most usually pictures. The HTML language itself is fairly complex and has enough control so that someone writing a Web page can set about placing the pictures and text with font sizes and styles exactly how they like. All this adds up to make the Web pretty similar to driving an interactive book or computer GUI only the book GUI is so large you’ll never see it all in your lifetime.
The Web was designed to be easy to use for everyone whilst gaining the maximum benefit from the Internet, so knowing more than what we’ve just said here isn’t actually necessary. But the Amiga has always had two different approaches, the Workbench and The CLI for people to choose between so here’s a little more information on what the Web really is and how it works. For a start, just like E-mail, there’s an addressing convention with the WWW. Unlike E-mail, there’s no user name (the bit before the ‘@’) just a node. For instance, CU Amiga Magazine’s WWW address is www.cu-amiga.co.uk. However
just looking at this doesn’t mean much so there’s a prefix which is always ‘http: ’ this stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. So the real address of CU Amiga’s site is http: www.cu-amiga.co.uk. What’s more, WWW access is similar to FTP in that it obeys a directory structure as well. If you specified this line, it would look up ‘index.html’ by default.
We could ask for another page such as http: www.cu-amiga.co.uk subs.html. This specifically asks for the subscriptions page. You could also specify a directory or several. You’ll be seeing several of these as you Browse around. The net result is that while you might have arrived to a Web page by following links randomly, it will always have an address which you can write down or ‘bookmark’ in the Browser to return to directly next time. Handy huh?
When you first run a Web browser, things might seem a little strange, the text appears first and then pictures arrive seemingly randomly. There’s a reason for this. Decent Web Browsers will fetch the actual Web page from wherever and display. While it’s doing this, whenever it sees a reference to an Image or suchforth that also needs to be downloaded, it will spawn a new task whose sole purpose is to negotiate with the Web server that single picture and download it. Many Web browsers have status lights on the bottom right that show this kind of activity. Voyager, for instance, has lights
which show up red when each of the 'sockets’ is looking up the picture and then which turn green when they are downloading.
Obviously some pictures are different sizes and may even be on different servers altogether which means they won’t arrive at the same time. Generally it’s the browsers job to try and make the page look as good as possible until all the pictures have arrived.
There's a lot more technicalities and wonders you’ll see on some Web sites. One of which are the pictures which make up a kind of GUI. They might have loads of buttons on them to go to different places or to activate particular things. When you click on one of these images, the browser will actually send the position of the mouse click in the picture off to the Web server. This way some sites can appear to have amazingly complex GUIs when in fact they are not. Some do have complex GUIs in the shape of so-called ‘Forms’. When a page with forms is loaded into a forms capable browsers, you’ll
GUI gadgets, switches and text boxes appear inside the page! They’ll actually scroll around as you mov up and down and you can click inside them, type something or turn them to a particular setting. Each time you do this, the server doesn’t know about it, it’s only the browser which knows about the state of these GUI components. This is why you’ll always have a Send or Submit button. When this is clicked, the data will be sent to the server. In this way you can do amazing things such as fill in a questionnaire or even place and electronic order for some product you fancy. Now you’re starting
to see what an amazing thing the Web is.
Some of the other functions that you can see in Web pages are things like MailTo: which when included will activate your configured mail, or the browsers own, to send an E-mail to a particular location. There’s also FTP links which, when clicked on, will automatically start an FTP of a certain file on a certain server. Again browsers may actually do this internally or activate another program to do it. As you can imagine, browsers are complex programs and they all take slightly different to achieve the same result. For this reason it’s important to pay attention to the next section on the
various Web browsers that the Amiga has available.
Amiga World Wide Web Browsers Amosaic was many Amiga users first encounter with hypertext, the Web and the GUI system called Magic User Interface which is now much better known. See the chapter on MUI. Installation of Amosaic requires, as does 99% of Internet software on the Amiga, OS
2. 0 as a minimum. It also obviously requires MUI installed
(which is a separate issue) and some form of TCP IP stack by
which AmiTCP is the most obvious. It also made use of the
Amiga’s datatypes to decode the so-called ‘in-line images’
which are present in most Web pages. Since datatypes are
limited to users of OS 3.x, this meant that only those people
could view pictures. This is still the case now for most
browsers but OS 3.0 is far more common.
Datatypes are usually freely redistributable and since the No.1 format for in-line pictures on the WWW is the GIF graphics format, a GIF datatype is needed.
The best one outside of the 24-bit Datatypes (discussed later) is ZGIF by Mr Zucchi of Australia. It’s very fast indeed and supports transparency. ZGIF can be obtained from the Aminet in the path util dtype ZGIFDT39_16.lha. Here we’ll take time out to explain a few things about datatypes. There are actually several classes of datatypes from audio to pictures to text etc. Each of those main classes has a controlling datatype which knows how to display or even play the type of data. Under each of these there are sub datatypes which understand the file formats in each category.
Since some of the datatype archives on the Aminet don’t contain installers, it’s essential to know where these files go on your WB 3.x boot disk. For each datatype there’s two main files (one might have an icon). One will simply be called the name of the datatype such as ‘GIF’ and the other will be called ‘GIF.datatype’. Installation is straight forward. Copy the file without any extension (and any corresponding icon) into Devs:DataTypes . Then copy the file with the exten- sion ‘.datatype’ into sys:Classes DataTypes . You can perform these operations from WB, the CLI or in a directory
utility but make sure the paths are right. It should be obvious since there are numerous other files of this type in those directories. Now to activate those datatypes a reboot is necessary as ‘AddDatatypes REFRESH’ doesn’t always work.
Quite some ways into the port of Mosaic to the Amiga, the I Browse team realised they werexreally better off reprogramming a browsers on the Amiga from the ground up to work out all of the bugs and take advantage of the Amiga’s specific strengths.
They also changed some members of the team and Stefan Burstroem came to the fore as lead programmer. Let’s make it perfectly clear, I Browse has almost nothing to do with Amosaic. It’s the most comprehensive Browser on the Amiga at this time.
It supports some important aspects of the Web which appeared because of the extreme widespread use of the Netscape browser on the PC and Macintosh platform.
Basically the Netscape people invented new extensions to the HTML standard in lieu of there being an serious agreed protocol such as the HTML3 standard. Web site authors were keen to take advantage of these features since their sites looked so much better so they started advocating the use of Netscape more and more until so-called NHTML tags because almost'a universal standard. Therefore the more NHTML tags etc that an Amiga browser supports, the closer a Web site will look to the original idea the Web author created. For more information call HiSoft on 01525-7118181, or check out their
home page on http: www.hisoft.co.uk. AWEB There’s no package on the Amiga which has caused more controversy than MUI. Aweb’s entire claim to fame is based on the fact that it doesn’t use MUI to lay out its user interface. As such it’s extremely simple but considerably faster at rendering on slower Amigas.
Interestingly, the Dutch author Yvon Rozijn bases his argument on not using MUI on the different method that MUI gadgets operate from standard gadtools like gadgets. His main objection is that a MUI gadget should cycle when clicking on the title and not present a pop down menu. Speed, shareware considerations and memory usage objections are apparently minor which is interesting because these are normally the reasons people object to MUI.
Aweb being free is an essential download to at least see if it’s to your preference instead of the more complex MUI based browsers. You can find it in the Aminet path of comm net AWeb.lha. Aweb doesn’t support FTP and MailTo: internally but it does have configuration options to activate your own clients. For full functionality on those areas a little work will have to be undertaken to ensure that the command lines for t driving your mail package are set up correctly. The only real down-side of Aweb apart from it’s simplistic user interface is that it’s the least comprehensive HTML rendering
engine out of the Browsers looked at here.
Aweb doesn’t support backgrounds or justified images which means each image will be left justified completely distorting WWW pages from their original intended look. The CU Amiga WWW pages are a classic example of this. The results are far and away inferior to that which is achieved from Voyager, for instance.
Voyager j Voyager is a wonderful Amiga Web browser and it’s included in the I’net FCI CU Amiga software bundle.
Here we’ll go over the functions of the Browser to explain the features the package which will make WWWing that much better. Voyager comes preconfigured for TheNet in the I’net FCI CU Amiga software bundle so you should be able to get going right away.
The main interface of Voyager is simple. The row of large buttons across the top of the window has some essential functions assigned to it. Many of which are self explanatory but we’ll go through them anyway. Note that these buttons turn to a black and white version of their coloured form when it’s not possible to activate their particular function at that time.
The Voyager active indicator in the top right, displays the bouncing ball animation while Voyager is busy.
Clicking on this will also reveal Voyager’s About page.
Fetches the previously accessed page. It wont, however, return to pages which resulted from Form send requests since they were temporary. Instead
- Voyager will skip this page for the last ‘real’ page.
Forward This button will only work if the Back button has been used at least once. If the Back button has been used multiple times, so the Forward button will be usable an equal amount of times.
Home This button sends Voyager to the configured Home Page. The Home Page is set up from the Links section of the GUI settings. The GUI settings is accessed via the settings menu or the Amiga-G hotkey. See the section on Settings.
Reload This button will force V to reload the current page. Technically it will delete the current cached entries for that page and attempt a reload of the page with a special no-cache flag. This will force proxy caches to fetch the page afresh rather than use their cached page. See the section on Proxy.
ImagesThis button is only active if the ‘Load HTML Images Directly’ flag is turned off. This flag is present in the settings menu and can also be toggled with 1 the Amiga-1 hotkey. When this flag is off, Voyager will only load the images when the Images button is pressed. This allows very quick browsing with viewing of in-lined pictures and such forth viewed only when you want.
Find Not yet implemented in the freeware version of Voyager Print Prints the current page out the PRT: device.
Only the text which can be seen in the page will be printed, no HTML codes etc. Stop Voyager will allow you to cancel downloading of a page and it’s associated in-line images by pressing on this button. Loading of the page can be restarted with the Reload button if necessary.
Location This text gadget displays the current URL being accessed by Voyager. When not active it is denoted as ‘Location:’ but when activate you’ll see a bold ‘Goto:’ appear. A URL can be entered with any fetch method by hand. If no fetch method is chosen IE www.cu-amiga.co.uk is entered, Voyager will automatically assume and add http: in front of the entry.
To the right of the URL text .gadget are two buttons.
The first is a pop-up button which will display the current entries in the stack since Voyager was activated during this session (and not the entire cache). Next along is a button with ‘ADD’ written on it. This will Bookmark the current page being viewed. For more information on this, see the section on the Bookmark.
The World Wide Web _ _ t _., *.
Fastlink buttons Lastly, the group of elongated buttons just above the main Voyager viewing window are user configurable fast links. Their presence can be turned off my the 'Show FastLinks’ gadget in the Settings menu. The Fastlinks are edited from the Links page in the GUI Setting activated from the GUI function in the settings menu or again, the Amiga-G hotkey.
The Menus Voyager About - Shows the Voyager About page. Hotkey Amiga-?
Cache List - Directs Voyager to a special internal page which displays the contents of the on disk cache. This has a special format; Age, Size, Type and URL are the resulting fields. Age is the cache elements age in days. The size is the size of the cache element in bytes, type indicates what form the file is whether text or image etc and finally URL is a link to the actual page to which the cache element belongs. Hotkey Amiga-C Quit - Asks Voyager to Quit when it is next able.
Hotkey Amiga-Q Windows Open New Window - Instructions Voyager to open a completely new Voyager task window. This will have all the hallmarks of the original Voyager window and is subject to MUI’s settings by itself which means it can be directed to another screen as needs be. It will operate asynchronously to the spawning Voyager window. Hotkey Amiga-0 Open Local File - Results in a file requester which expects a local HTML file to be chosen which Voyager will then display as normal. Hotkey Amiga-H Show Current Document’s Source - This option opens a new window with the raw HTML source code
present inside. Again this' is asynchronous and Voyager can carry on as normal. Hotkey Amiga-X Save as HTML - Opens a file requestor to save our the current page in it’s original HTML format. This can be viewed later with the Open Local File option.
Hotkey Amiga-W f -a t. V t ..3 Save as ASCII Text - Opens a file requestor to save out the current page. The difference is that all HTML codes are removed from the document and only text which would be seen as normal by viewing the page in Voyager will be saved to a file. Hotkey Amiga-T Activate other Voyagers - Here there will be an entry for every active Voyager window. By selecting any of them, this window will be made active and popped to the front. The current URL of each window is displayed along with the number of the Voyager window.
Bookmarks Open Bookmarks - Opens the Bookmarks GUI.
See the page on Bookmarks. Hotkey Amiga-B Goto Bookmarks - Directs V to a special internal page which lists all of Voyager’s bookmarks in the main listview. The links can be clicked on to direct Voyager to those particular pages.
BookMark Custom - Here you can configure a selection of URLs to be present in this menu via the Bookmark function.
Settings GUI - Opens the GUI options window for configuring GUI aspects of Voyager. See the GUI settings page.
Hotkey Amiga-G Network - Opens the Network options window for configuring Networking aspects of Voyager. See the Networking settings page. Hotkey Amiga-H Show Fastllnks - Toggles the Fastlink buttons at the bottom of Voyagers control panel. The Fastlinks buttons are custom configured in the GUI settings page.
Load HTML Images Directly - With this option on, Voyager will automatically load all the current inline pictures in any pages loaded. With this option off, Voyager will not load the images and instead will wait for the Images button to be pressed. Hotkey Amiga-1 Autoview Images Anims Audio - Downloaded data can either be saved out, will occur if this option is turned off, or automatically piped to Multiview if this option is enabled. Hotkey Amiga-V Ask for Downloads - If the Autoview Images Anims Audio option is disabled, this function has an effect of prompted a path every time data is to
be saved out, otherwise it will be saved right away to the default download directory. Hotkey Amiga-D User Access Authorisation - If this option is enabled, Voyager will send the username and password for every HTML access. This is of use for secure sites where access to certain areas is restricted unless the user is known to the server. Hotkey Amiga-A Set Authorisation Parameters - This function brings up a simple GUI allowing the username and password to be entered for the Access Authorisation function of Voyager. Hotkey Amiga-S MUI Settings - Activates MUI’s preferences program to
work specifically on the Voyager window which activated the settings via this menu options.
The Bookmarks i The bookmark GUI is activated by selecting Open from the Bookmarks menu or pressing the Amjga-B hotkey combination. From here URLs can be added, deleted and edited as your own WWW phone book.
Entries made here can be doubled clicked upon to direct Voyager to that page but more commonly, they can be accessed via the Bookmarks page which is activated by selecting Goto BookMarks in the Bookmark menu or alternatively the Amiga-G hotkey.
In addition to this, there’s a button on Voyagers control panel marked ‘Add’. Pressing this will add the current page directly in as the last entry in the Bookmarks GUI.
The Bookmark editor has a small listview showing i the hierarchy of marked pages (which is neatly displayed in the same way via the Internal Bookmark Page). A new Group can be added and named with the New Group button, Hotkey G. It can not have a URL assigned to it though. This is the name of a group which is named to house particular types of Bookmarks. For example we might want to keep Amiga related pages in a Group called ‘Amiga WWW pages’. Click on NewGroup, call it ‘Amiga WWW pages’ and then add any pages underneath either by hand with the NewBookmark button (Hotkey B) or by navigating
to them via Voyager in the normal fashion and clicking the ‘Add’ gadget on Voyager’s control panel. It couldn’t be easier. Groups and Bookmarks can be duplicated with the Duplicate button (Hotkey
D) or Removed with the Remove button Hotkey R. One Group may also
be nominated as a Menu Group with the Menu button, Hotkey M.
All Bookmarks in this group will appear at the bottom of the
Bookmark menu and when selected from the menu will navigate
Voyager to those pages.
Internal Bookmark Page The Internal Bookmark Page, activated by the ‘Goto Bookmarks’ function in the bookmarks Menu, only requires a click on the name of a URL to navigate Voyager to those areas. The entry made in the Bookmarks GUI is named accordingly to the entry inserted in the BookMark GUI’s Title’ box where as the actual URL relating to this page can,only be seen at the bottom of Voyager’s screen with the mouse hovering over the link. The actual URL is entered into the Bookmark GUI’s ‘Name’ box.
GUI Settings There’s 4 sections to the GUI settings window. Each are present as pages, just click on the exposed tags of each page to move to them. Here’s how they work; Layout The only gadget present is Action Buttons.
This only has three settings. They control the look of the Action Buttons at the top of the Voyager control panel. By default this is set up for Text and Icons so that the Action Buttons will be comprised of picture icons with a descriptive line of text labelling each one. Obviously text only means the buttons will be only made out of text and Icon’s only does away with the text line. This function is useful if your screen is fairly small such as PAL screenmode users.
Colour This page allows you to customise the colours of various aspects of Voyager. The background colour is the colour of the standard background Voyager uses when no background image is present in a HTML page. Text colour is the default text colour normally being black. Link colour is the colour of a link which hasn’t been seen yet, normally red.
Followed Link colour is the colour of a link to a page which has already been seen, normally blue. Image Link colour is the colour of the text shown before an f Image is loaded, normally grey. Click on the colour ' bar will bring up a palette GUI which enables precise control of the colour used.
Fonts This page allows you to change the fonts used by Voyager to render the text in the HTML pages. Pay specific attention to the increasing fonts sizes of the Headline fonts. They are usually proportional which gives a more pleasing result than a non proportional font. The so-called Fixed Font must be a non-proportional font since this is used where this effect is relied upon to format text in a prespecified way.
Links Finally the links page allows editing of the Home Page and Fast Links. The Home Page URL entered here will be the first page Voyager attempts to load when first started. This URL will also be navigated to when you click on the Home Action Button.
The Fast Links represent the entries for the Fast Link buttons on the bottom of the control panel. Note that these can be turned off by the Show Fastlinks switch in the settings menu. The Label will be the text shown on the buttons while the URL text box refers to the URL Voyager will attempt to load when that Fast Link is clicked upon.
Network Settings The Network Settings GUI is brought up by selecting Network from the Settings menu. There are three pages to this window which affect Voyager’s behaviour as far as it’s network connection. To move to each section, click on the labelled exposed ear of the relevant page.
Proxies This setting depends very much on your provider and or your location. If your provider has a WWW proxy cache of it’s own then you would be well advised to configure it here to enhance the performance of Voyager even further. You’ll need to know the name or IP address of the proxy server and fill this in at least the HTTP box. The port number is also essential. Normally this is 80 but you must be sure of this value as proxy will not work if it is incorrect. Enter the name and port for the remaining FTR Gopher and WAIS text gadgets unless you specifically want to use separate proxy
servers for those functions of Voyager.
Cache This text gadget allows you to set the total size of the on-disk cache Voyager will uses. When Voyager is started, it will scan the Cache directory (called Cache within the Voyager directory) and delete the oldest records in order of age until the total size of the on-disk cache is less than the selected size. Note that the size is in kilobytes. A value of 512 is 512K or half a megabyte. To enter a 10MB on-disk cache, enter 10x1024 or 10240 in the text gadget.
The Verify Cached Documents flag will instruct Voyager to enquire as to the status of a cached document when a document is requested which is present in the on-disk cache. With this function enabled, Voyager will verify that the page has not changed since the cache entry and so you will never be left with an out-of-date page in the cache. This option is recommended.
Other Here the news server for the News: function of Voyager is defined. Without a valid NNTP server here that you have access to, you will not be able to access Usenet news via Voyager. Normally your provider will have it’s own NNTP news server. If you don’t know the name, ask your provider. The Dumb NNTP Server flag needs to be set if you have problems without this option. Normally Voyager will try and request a list of newsgroups to a pattern. IE News:comp.sys.amiga.* but several news servers do not understand this format. If this is the case and an error is reported, turn on this flag in
which case Voyager will request a full list and then show the pattern matched result by calculating it internally. It will result in a much longer download but it will work. The mail-to and Telnet: entries are configuration options for launching external programs to perform these tasks which Voyager does not handle internally. Any occurrence of ‘%h’ will be replaced with the Host name in both Mail-To: and Telnet:. In Telnet:, ‘%p’ will be replaced with the Telnet port.
Setting up Amiga World Wide Web sites Why not go the full hog and set up our very own WWW site on our Amiga? Yes it’s possible and in fact it’s not even very difficult. The most difficult bit will be creating the HTML pages themselves. Check out the section on HTML to learn how to create your own WWW pages.
First of all we need to FTP Mike Meyer’s excellent Amiga Web Server by FTPing to either max.physics.sunysb.edu pub amiga amosaic aws or ftp.phone.net pub amiga aws then retrieve the following files: comifton-097.lha html-097.lha aws-amitcp-20.lha The last one can be substituted to aws-amitcp-OO.Iha for the 68000 version if that’s the CPU you have. Now create an AWS directory in your AmiTCP: assign. Next set up an AWS: assign to this newly created directory.
Add an assign to your user-startup or even your AmiTCP: Bin Startnet script. I use MCP to handle my prefs so it’s a simple matter of adding AWS in the GUI prefs editor. I recommend such a utility for people using AmiTCP and such forth that requires a lot of assigns to be assessed frequently.
Now via the Shell, change directory (CD) to AWS: and extract all of the archives in place with LHA. AWS is basically installed now. If you’ve attempted to install some other WWW server on your machine, ensure that any port 80 or http entries are deleted from Amitcp.db services and Amitcp:db inet.config. If you’re running a stock AmiTCP set-up, you wont have to worry about that. There is a configuration file which resides in AWS:conf and is simply called ‘aws’. The one installed of no use but there’s a completely commented config file called ‘configfile’ inside the HTML directory which you
may use for reference.
Incidentally the html directory is the documentation for AWS in HTML format. To read it, load up your WWW Browser and select ‘load local’ or the like and pick AWS:HTML7index.html. An example configuration would be as thus: port 80 servemamecu-amiga.co.uk maintainor firstname.lastname@example.org indexfile index.html hoursoff 0 accesslog uuspool:http_access messagelog uuspool:http_error deftype text plain type text html html type application postscript ps type appilcation octect-stream lha type image gif gif type Image jpeg Jpg jpeg type image x-xbltmap xbm map null null - map directory MaimWWW
The vital bits to change are the server name on line 2 which would be your full E-Mail address minus the username. The second is an E-Mail address for errors and such forth. You can make this your own address.
Leave everything else as it is except the final entry which should be the location of your HTML pages for you site. In this case it’s MaimWWW. Save the file as AWS:conf aws. Now all that’s required to run AWS is to run the server itself. To do this, add this line to your Amitcp:bin Startnet script at the bottom or activate it by hand when needed: Run nil: AWS:AWS If all goes according to plan you now have a working WWW site on your Amiga! Test it out by accessing http: localhost via your WWW Browser. When you link up, others should be able to surf your own site and you’ll have a record of
their accesses and errors in the two logfiles in UUSpool: called http_access and http_error. Don’t forget to check out the HTML AWS documentation as there’s some very nifty features such as Arexx scripts which can be employed to great effect. Enjoy!
News What are newsgroups? Basically they are a cross between the IRC and E-mail. However, instead of dozens of people participating there’s hundreds and even thousands. It’s also not real time like the IRC but instead ‘posts’ are constructed with a text editor just like E-mail. You can view the contents of a newsgroup by topic just as E-mail in RETU. You can read the postings which also like E-mail will follow a ‘thread’ or multiple postings with the same topic which are usually follow-ups or continuations of a conversation on that topic. You can read any of these postings and reply to
them, the difference is that when you reply, unlike E-mail, everyone else reading the group will see your posting.
So if the newsgroups are ordered by general topics, just how many are there? This depends on your particular news server which your provider supplies for just such purposes. Normally they hold around The World Wide Web * 10,000 plus groups. Yes that’s right that’s how many newsgroups there are. However just like IRC channels, they vary greatly in traffic. Some might be virtually dead while others are so busy it takes several minutes to download a days traffic. We didn’t provide any particular news software for reading Usenet news for one very good reason. There isn’t any good news
reading software out there with the same sort of quality Amiga interface as the rest of the software.
There is a package called Joneses coming soon, however, that will be up to scratch. We recommend that you wait for this and use Voyager’s news capabilities in the mean time.
Voyager handles news quite well in addition to it’s HTML activities. Firstly you’ll want a list of newsgroups. This can’t, unfortunately, be achieved with news.thenet.co.uk at this stage due to a slight compatibility problem. The solution is to use Demons public news server to get a list of newsgroups. So open Voyager’s network settings, turn to the Other page and change the news server to ‘pubnews.demon.co.uk’. Now enter News: in the URL location box under Voyager’s control panel. If you get an error message, just keep clicking on Reload until you get a connect and Voyager starts download
a list of newsgroups. This will take some time. When it’s finally finished, save out the document as ASCII somewhere as this is your list of general newsgroups. It’s better to use TheNet’s news server for everything else though so go back to the Network GUI and change the news server back to news.thenet.co.uk. All you need to do to read a particular newsgroup is enter news: newsgroup in the URL Locator box, For example News:comp.sys.amiga.misc would take you to this most popular of Amiga newsgroups. You’ll be presented with a list of topics and you can click on any to read the actual
posting. Voyager’s Back gadget will take you back to the list of topics again.
Here’s a list of the comp.sys.amiga.* newsgroups which are easily the most popular; comp.sys.amlga.advocacy Why an Amiga is better than XYZ comp.sys.amlga.announce Announcements about the Amiga (Moderated) comp.sys.amlga.applications Miscellaneous applications comp.sys.amiga.audlo Music, MIDI, speech synthesis, other sounds comp.sys.amiga.cd32 Technical and computing talk for Commodore Amiga CD32 comp.sys.amiga.datacomm Methods of getting bytes in and out comp.sys.amiga.emulations Various hardware & software emulators comp.sys.amiga.games Discussion of games for the Commodore Amiga
comp.sys.amiga.graphics Charts, graphs, pictures, etc comp.sys.amlga.hardware Amiga computer hardware, Q&A, reviews, etc comp.sys.amiga.introduction Group for newcomers to Amigas comp.sys.amiga.marketplace Where to find it, prices, etc comp.sys.amiga.misc Discussions not falling in another Amiga group comp.sys.amlga.multimedia Animations, video, & multimedia comp.sys.amiga.networklng Amiga networking software hardware comp.sys.amlga.programmer Developers & hobbyists discuss code comp.sys.amlga.reviews Reviews of Amiga software, hardware (Moderated) CU Amiga’s top 20 Amiga WWW sites CU Amiga
Magazine Back to our home page: http: www.cu-amiga.co.uk VISCorp The Amiga’s new owners: http: www.vistv.com Amiga Technologies Amiga’s old owners: http: www.amiga.de Amiga Home Page The original Amiga'home page: http: www.omnipresence.com amiga Amiga Web Directory The Amiga’s best directory: http: www.cucug.org amiga.html AmiCrawler Amiga specific Webcrawler: http: www.melizo.com area52 ami- crawler search.cgi Shapeshifter Frodo Christian Bauer’s own site: http: www.uni-mainz.de ~bauec002 Miami Holger Kruse’s new TCP IP stack.http: www.america.com ~kruse amiga Miami.html Amilon Amiga
London User Group: http: www.immstudios.com amilon Amiga Info A cool Amiga info site: http: www.netpower.no ~ihaaland amil Amiga User Find any Amiga User by country: http: www.pb.net ~amiga Aweb A Newish MUI-less browser: http: huizen.dds.nl ~aweb I Browse A Newish commercial MUI browser: http: www.omnipresence.com ibrowse Voyager A New freeware (any day now!) MUI browser: http: www.vapor.com support voyager Aminet The famous FTP site by WWW: http: ftp.wustl.edu ~aminet Pure Amiga Excellent UK based Amiga resource: http: www.netlink.co.uk users PureAmiga Almathera - The company
behind Photogenics: http: www.compulink.co.uk ~almathera Draco * Macrosystem’s own site to support this awesome ‘clone’: http: www.draco.com draco Softwood - Final Writer, Final Calc and more: http: www.softwood.com TheNet- Cool UK I’net providers that value Amiga customers: http: www.thenet.co.uk Who are InternetFCI?
This book was sponsored by InternetFCI, the people we use for the CU Amiga Magazine Web Page. They are offering readers Internet access for just £20 for three months: an unbeatable deal. But you might want to know more about InternetFCI.
I InternetFCI is the Internet group within Frontier Communications Ltd. InternetFCI is Europe’s fastest Internet Provider: this not just an empty claim, it is backed by over 80Mbits of dedicated Internet backbone. This information will serve as an introduction to the company, the Internet and the excellent levels of service and performance that are synonymous with InternetFCI.
How it began InternetFCI started in 1994 when work began on the construction of the UK’s most impressive independent network. Fibre optic cables began being laid between cities and now two years later InternetFCI controls one of the largest POP (Point of Presence) networks in the world. Coverage has been expanded to allow access throughout 100% of three countries with a further 11 countries scheduled for coverage during 1996. With 100% coverage across the UK the USA and Sweden we are already one of the Internet’s most far spread providers.
The emphasis has always been on new technologies and expanding the customers’ frontiers. At InternetFCI we have a policy of investing both time and money into exciting new projects. Our Email - i SMS gateway is the only one in Europe-and allows our users to recieve their Email to a mobile phone or pager. Even if you are not an InternetFCI customer, those around you that are can now send you Email on the mobile phone or pager that you already use.
Services such as this help to integrate the Internet into the office and expand our potential markets to include those of office communications and mobile , ?
The InternetFCI short term goal is one of global coverage and integration of the Internet into every environment where there will be benefit. Our existing network has been built to be future-proof and to be of industry strength.
Where are your Frontiers?
In 1996 InternetFCI is scheduled to expand its bandwidth by a further 708 Megabits, which is currently Europe’s largest at over 80Megabits. We are dedicated to achieving 100% coverage across 14 countries.
We are upgrading what is already the world’s largest dedicated News feed at 512Kbits to four times its current size - 2Megabits. We are placing our service in the hands of the retailers and manufacturers to provide the customer with Internet Ready Technologies, wherever they are. In brief, we are going to be wherever you want to be.
InternetFCI and the Internet The Internet really does have a lot to offer people . From all walks of life. Valuable information and services are readily available and the Internet is also an increasingly valuable source of entertainment. The diversity of the resources available through Internet connectivity are the driving force in bringing the Internet into the home. Increasing numbers of companies are beginning to recognise the commercial possibilities of an Internet presence and the growing potential marketplace that this can serve.
As an increasing number of individuals obain Internet access an increasing number of companies will be present to serve them. As more businesses become present on the Internet, more individuals will be tempted to take advantage of the utility offered by an Internet connection. InternetFCI provides a high speed service to all involved in this spiralling growth.
By partnerships with hardware and software providers our aim is to provide a service that will give end users what exactly they want, straight from the box. Our service is unique in Europe in the speed that can be delivered to the end user. Our network * specification allows data to be delivered to our customers at the speeds at which their hardware and software were designed to be able to operate at.
The Internet represents a market that is destined to grow stronger. InternetFCI is prepared and able to play an important and increasing role in the development of the Internet. We aim to maintain and improve upon service levels that make us the finest solution for Internet connections. We aim to give all a reason to make InternetFCI their first choice.
By supporting and working with businesses as they take their place amongst the growing number of Online corporations we encourage the continued growth and utility of the Internet. By making your communications faster, easier and greater value for money we set the standards that others will have to follow.
See Page 4 to find out more about how to avail of InternetFCI’s superb special offer. For more details see the advertisement in CU Amiga Magazine.
1 In these cases, another four letter 'f word is often construed.
Because no expressions and emotion are possible via the electronic media, various moods can be attached to the text by use of 'smileys’. They may not actually be smileys at all but that’s the name for them just the same. To view most of them, turn your head sideways and you can see a face.
:-) Basic smiley.
Means text is being funny or happy.
Eg: “Get lost will you.
This generally means that the text isn’t being serious.
Author is joking.
:-( Means the author is sad about what has just been written.
Eg: “My hard drive Just crashed.:-(“ There are many mutant forms. In fact most people make their own up. It’s a waste of time mapping them out as there’s no definitive guide that everything looks to. There are some common variants that do mean different things.
;) Winking smiley. Open to interpretation.
Sometimes people use only this type.
:- Annoyed (usually). Fairly negative.
:«P Sticking tongue out.