The Internet services that eWorld plans to offer later in 1995 should suffice for most beginning Internet users, although they won't satisfy people who want a full Internet connection. eWorld provides an Internet Resource Center that will provide access to all of eWorld's Internet services and will provide additional information and discussions about the Internet (see figure 12.25).
Figure 12.25: eWorld Internet Resource Center.
Unfortunately, I can't show you anything beyond the base of the Internet Resource Center, because the services weren't yet turned on, unlike the MacTCP-based access to eWorld, which did work fine.
eWorld provides a clean graphical interface for Internet email, much as does AOL. Similarly, eWorld does not charge for email that goes in or out through its Internet gateway (see figure 12.26).
Figure 12.26: eWorld Mail window, with the Internet dialog box showing.
The Internet email gateway on eWorld allows you to forward messages to Internet users (easier than copying and pasting into a new message). You also can send email to a number of people simultaneously, saving connect time and thus cost (in contrast, CompuServe charges you for each recipient).
Note: If you receive large messages on eWorld regularly, I recommend a utility called ChunkJoiner for merging the various pieces. Look for it on eWorld or in:
To send email from eWorld to the Internet, you don't have to do anything special. You type the Internet address in the To field and fill in the Subject field and the body of the message, as you do when sending email to another eWorld user.
To send email from the Internet to a user on eWorld, you must remember a few simple rules. First, you need to know the person's username. Second, type the username in lowercase letters, to avoid offending email packages that are picky about upper- and lowercase. Third, remove any spaces in the name. Fourth, append an @ and the machine name and domain to the end of the address; for eWorld, it's eworld.comAdam Engst, so to send me email from the Internet, you address your message to email@example.com.
eWorld costs $8.95 per month, which includes four free hours during evenings or weekends, with every hour after those two an additional $2.95. Daytime hours are an additional $2.95 per hour. Apple is making eWorld software available for free if you call 800-775-4556, and there are often some special deals with something like 10 free hours of use in the first month. In addition, the eWorld software is bundled with the definitive book on eWorld, called eWorld: The Official Guide for Macintosh Users, (Hayden Books, 1994), written by long-time author and Macworld editor Cary Lu along with John Milligan. Ask for it in your local bookstore. Finally, for more information about eWorld, check out their Web page at:
Although I recommend one of the above three commercial services for most people, there are others that may be more appropriate for certain situations. Therefore, although the following commercial online services aren't necessarily as common or useful for Internet access as those I've discussed above, I feel that they're worth mentioning.
Before eWorld, Apple's online support service was AppleLink, and it still exists, although for how much longer is in question, and I don't recommend that anyone consider establishing a new account. AppleLink, although graphical and capable of sending and receiving Internet email, requires a clumsy addressing scheme, cannot send or receive messages over about 30K in length, and is tremendously expensive. To send email from AppleLink to the Internet, take the Internet address, firstname.lastname@example.org, for instance, and then append @internet# to it, keeping in mind that AppleLink cannot send mail to addresses longer than 35 characters. However, you can reply to addresses that are that long with no trouble. To send email from the Internet to AppleLink, just take the userid, which sometimes resembles a name or word and other times is just a letter plus some numbers, and append @applelink.apple.com.
The connection rate for AppleLink is $37 per hour for 9,600 bps access, in addition to charges for the number of characters you transmit. Add to that $0.50 per Internet message, incoming or outgoing.
BIX is one of the oldest of the commercial online services. It has a direct connection to the Internet, which makes it easy to send and receive Internet email. BIX has no graphical interface for the Macintosh, and perhaps in large part because of that, it simply isn't one of the main online services for Macintosh users. You also can use FTP, telnet into BIX from the Internet for reduced charges (telnet to x25.bix.com and reply BIX to the Username prompt), read news with the Unix nn newsreader, and use the character-based Lynx to browse the World Wide Web. BIX also supports Finger and Telnet. FTP on BIX works rather oddly, so that instead of storing files on BIX and then downloading them, files are automatically dumped to your Mac via whatever transfer protocol you normally use with BIX. To send email to someone on the Internet, you type the person's Internet email address instead of their BIX username. To send email from the Internet to BIX, simply append @bix.com to the end of the BIX username and send it out.
BIX charges $13 per month plus a connect-time charge ranging from $1 per hour for Telnet access to $9 per hour for dial-up access via SprintNet or Tymnet during weekdays. The standard non-prime time rate is usually $3 per hour. If you plan to use BIX heavily, there's a 20/20 plan that provides 20 hours for $20, though in addition to your $13 per month membership fee. Time over the 20 hours is charged at $1.80 per hour, or $1.00 per hour if you telnet in. To get an account on BIX, have your modem dial 800-695-4882 or 617-491-5410 (use 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit). Press Return a few times until you see the Login: (enter "bix") prompt, and then type bix. At the Name? prompt, type bix.net. If you prefer, you also can telnet to BIX as described previously to sign up.
Delphi boasts of full Internet access, but still forces users to suffer through a custom character-based menu system on top of VMS, a mainframe operating system used by DEC Vax computers. There is a Macintosh graphical interface called D-Lite, but the last version I saw was in the running for worst Macintosh program ever (and that was when it worked). Delphi doesn't do anything strange with addressing -- to send email to an Internet user, use his Internet address instead of the Delphi address in Delphi's mail program. To send email from the Internet to someone at Delphi, simply append @delphi.com to the Delphi userid. My address on Delphi looks like email@example.com.
For information on connecting to Delphi, call 800-695-4005. Monthly rates are either $10.00 for four hours of use, with extra hours at $4.00 each, or $20.00 for 20 hours, with additional hours at $1.80 each. If your account has an Internet connection, you are charged an additional $3.00 per month. Delphi often offers five hours free so that you can try out the service, so ask about the current deal when you call. Delphi plans to offer a full graphical interface in the relatively near future, and in an interesting twist, plans to base it entirely on Internet access via an authenticated Web browser. At that point, Delphi will be selling PPP access to the Internet and using Delphi will be just like using any other Web page (except for the membership fee).
GEnie is neither a hotbed of Macintosh activity nor even a major online service any more, and its Internet connections leave most everything to be desired. Luckily, a graphical interface to GEnie arrived since the last edition of this book; before that there was only a clumsy character-based interface. GEnie supports only Internet email, but can access Archie and FTP via email. To send email from GEnie to the Internet, use the standard Internet address if you're sending from the Internet Mail Service page. If you're sending the message from the GE Mail page, append @inet# to the end of the Internet address. To send email from the Internet to GEnie, append @genie.geis.com to your friend's GEnie username. There is a difference between userid (or login name) and username on GEnie. Internet email must go to the username.
GEnie charges $8.95 for the first four hours each month, with additional hours billed at $3.00 per hour for non-prime time access. The cost is $9.50 per hour on weekdays from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. You can get more information about GEnie by telephoning 800-638-9636.
Outland is a nationwide commercial service dedicated to computer games. However, we're not talking just any computer games. It's specifically designed to support graphical multi-player games with those multiple players coming in from all around the world. Along with a variety of standard board games, Outland offers a special version of Delta Tao's fabulous space opera game, Spaceward Ho!. Why am I blathering about games here? Well, Outland is unusual in that it is accessible only via the Internet, either via a MacTCP-based connection or via Telnet from a Unix shell account. You must use Outland's special software, which is available for free, although playing the games costs money. Charges are $9.95 per month, flat-rate, with a five-hour free test period. You can contact Outland for more information at 800-PLAY-OUT, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can retrieve the Outland software on the Internet.
Internaut is the proprietary graphical client software for an Internet provider called Pipeline, now owned by PSI, a large Internet provider. Internaut provides access to email, news, Talk, Archie, FTP, and Gopher, with some additional features thrown in to handle weather reports, IRC, and VT100 terminal emulation. Should you download images in GIF or JPEG format, Internaut automatically displays them for you. There appears to be a fairly tight integration between the parts of the program; for instance, you can mail the contents of a Gopher window to someone with the Mail Contents command in the Readers menu.
Although you cannot use MacTCP-based software (such as a Web browser, which Internaut currently lacks) over a connection made with Internaut, you can now use Internaut over an existing MacTCP connection, much as you can with America Online. For more information, contact Pipeline at email@example.com or 800-453-PIPE.
Currently the least Mac-like of the services with graphical interfaces, Prodigy supports several Internet services. Most notable is a Web browser that is only available for Windows now (a Mac version is tentatively slated for the end of 1995), but Prodigy also supports Internet email and Usenet news for Mac users. Prodigy's online help claims it can't receive messages over 60K; in fact, it splits messages into chunks if the original is too large. To send email to a Prodigy user, append @prodigy.com to the user's Prodigy address -- sending email to the Internet is straightforward. File attachments (for both internal and Internet email) aren't currently supported, but should be soon. Prodigy offers full access to Usenet news, and in a nice change from policies of yesteryear, it does not censor or withhold any messages on Usenet from Prodigy users.
Prodigy has three pricing plans that interact with three types of areas on Prodigy -- PLUS, CORE, and FREE areas. FREE areas are free, of course, and Internet email and Usenet news both fall in the PLUS category. Anyway, the Basic Plan costs $9.95 per month for five hours of PLUS or CORE usage. The Value Plan costs $14.95 per month for unlimited CORE use plus five hours of PLUS use. Finally, the 30/30 Plan offers 30 hours of PLUS or CORE usage for $29.95 per month. Any usage beyond that included in the subscription plan costs $2.95 per hour, and rates are independent of time of day or speed of access. You do need Prodigy's software, and the easiest way to get it is to call 800-PRODIGY and ask for a free startup kit. It comes with 10 hours free, although you must give a credit card number to sign up, and if you don't cancel before the end of your 10 hours, you're automatically subscribed to the Basic Plan. You also can find some more information (and, in the future, perhaps the Mac software) on the Web at:
InterCon has released a less-expensive version of its powerful integrated program, TCP/Connect II, that requires neither MacTCP or a separate SLIP or PPP program. This is not to imply that TCP/Connect II Remote doesn't use Internet standards -- it does -- but because it includes both the TCP code and the SLIP or PPP code internally, when you connect using TCP/Connect II Remote, you cannot use any other MacTCP-based programs. That's not as large of a limitation as it is with something like Pipeline Internaut, since TCP/Connect II Remote includes a full set of Internet clients, including a Web browser. But programs like CU-SeeMe, Bolo, and MacWeather are simply out of the question if you rely on TCP/Connect II Remote. Contact InterCon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703/709-5500; 703/709-5555 (fax).
In addition, PSI, one of the large Internet providers, uses TCP/Connect II Remote as part of its Instant InterRamp package. The main difference between the standard TCP/Connect II Remote and Instant InterRamp is a custom application that helps you set up an account with PSI ($29 for 29 hours and $1.50 per hour after that), accessible from both normal and ISDN phone numbers around the U.S. Luckily, the Instant InterRamp service from PSI is a standard PPP account, and it can be used with MacTCP, MacPPP, and MacTCP-based applications as well as with TCP/Connect II Remote, which doesn't use MacTCP.