GEnie is yet another large commercial service -- it claims to have 350,000 users. I've only used GEnie briefly with a friend, so I'm by no means an expert. However, I'm not all that impressed with what I've seen. To be honest, I haven't used GEnie's new graphical software, mostly since it took over an hour to download at 2,400 bps and then failed. Maybe later. I have trouble believing that any graphical software can be all that usable at 2,400 bps, anyway -- AOL certainly lagged seriously at 2,400 bps.
GEnie has had Internet email access for some time now, but it seems to have added some additional Internet services, although in a tricky way. If you visit the Internet RoundTable (INTERNET-RT) on GEnie, you can discuss the Internet at length, browse through files that have been uploaded to GEnie, and even search the Internet for a file and request it. The Internet RoundTable's character-based menu looks like the following:
GEnie INTERNET-RT Page 1405 Internet RoundTable 1. Internet Bulletin Board 2. Internet Conference Room 3. Internet Library of Files 4. About the Internet RoundTable 5. RoundTable News (940216) 6. Send Mail to RoundTable Staff 7. Internet Mail 8. Download Sysop's Pick File 9. Unix RoundTable 10. Search the Internet for a file 11. Request a file from the Internet 12. What is my Internet Address 13. Virus/Computer Security RoundTable Enter #, [P]revious, or [H]elp?
GEnie supports nothing but Internet email, so what it's done is set up a system that accesses Archie via email and uses a system similar to FTPmail for retrieving directories or actual files. Clever, if low-tech.
In most locations, GEnie currently supports only 2,400 bps, which is a major pain in this age of 28,800 bps modems. There are a few 9,600 bps access numbers, and reportedly you can also access GEnie over SprintNet, which has a fair number of 9,600 bps access numbers. There may be an additional charge for using SprintNet.
Addressing messages to and from GEnie isn't terrible, but it could be easier. You can send messages to the Internet from either the GE Mail page or the Internet Mail Service page, but if you send the message from GE Mail, you must append @inet# to the end of the message. I don't know why there are two areas for sending email, especially since it seems you can also send email to another GEnie user in the Internet Mail Service page. If you use the standard GE Mail page, GEnie doesn't prompt you for the required information, nor does it give the extra help text during the composition of your message. I think I'd prefer less help after using the Internet Mail Service page more than a few times.
To send email from GEnie to someone on the Internet, you can simply 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, you must 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 address, making it look something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: There is a difference between userid (or login name) and username on GEnie. Internet email must go to the username.
GEnie has a fair rate structure of $8.95 for the first four hours each month, with additional hours billed at $3.00 per hour for nonprime-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.