Step-by-Step Internet


By now, you've probably noticed that I tend to avoid giving detailed, blow-by-blow directions for using Internet programs. You may be wondering why, since such specifics are so common in technical books. Don't worry, there is a method to my madness.

On the Internet, things change rapidly. Something that is available one day may disappear the next. Or, in some cases, something may be available at random times during the day, but not at others. Herein lies my concern with rigid instructions that people will attempt to follow closely. What if I give instructions for performing some task, and it simply doesn't work? The fault may lie not with my instructions, but with the Internet resource I explain -- but that makes no difference to the person following the directions.

So, my strategy in the previous chapters was to provide the basic information necessary to use the WinSock programs in a variety of situations, thus giving you the background you need to work around any difficulties you may encounter. However, several of the responses I received to the first edition of the book indicated that some step-by-step instructions would be welcome, and far be it from me to ignore such suggestions from readers. After all, I'm writing the book for you, not for me.

NOTE: You must have a PPP or SLIP account set up to be able to work through the following instructions, although you're welcome to read this even before you have the account.

Unlike other books, I cover most all the Internet software for Windows that I know about, so providing step-by-step instructions for every program in this book would fill thousands of pages and be as boring as all get out. Instead, then, I provide the steps necessary to perform several basic tasks in the applications I consider to be the most important. All of these applications require a WinSock TCP/IP protocol stack and either a network or a SLIP or PPP connection. I start by covering NetManage's Chameleon WebSurfer Sampler, and then follow with the essential applications. All of the specific settings I use here are for Northwest Nexus -- your settings will vary if you use a different provider.

NOTE: In each case, I assume that you have the program available on your hard disk. You may need to copy it from a floppy disk or download it from the Internet, unzip, or expand the file. In the case of many of these programs, you may be able to install them from the disks that come with this book. So, some of these instructions may be redundant. Nonetheless, I want to be complete, and without instructions that start from a clean copy, you would never be able to duplicate these configurations on your own.


Asking Your Internet Provider for Specific Information


The heart of the Internet Starter Kit for Windows is the NetManage Chameleon WebSurfer Sampler. Actually, the WebSurfer Sampler is really two pieces: the WinSock TCP/IP protocol stack and an Internet Web browser. The more important part is WinSock, since it enables your PC to speak IP -- the language of the Internet. However, before you even think about installing this software, you'll need to get some crucial information from your Internet provider. Otherwise, your software will not only fail to work, it may crash your machine (not permanently, however).

Don't be intimidated by the number of items that you must ask for. Your Internet provider is very familiar with all the items and should have no trouble giving you everything you need to get your software set up (and probably more).


CFG File for the Chameleon WebSurfer Sampler


If you are lucky, your Internet provider will have a .cfg file specifically meant for dialup customers using NetManage. Then you merely need to ask for your userid and password. Enter your port and modem values and you're off and running.

Of course, to ensure that you are lucky, all you have to do is use one of the Internet providers listed in appendix B. We've provided a .cfg file for each on the Chameleon Web Sampler disk.


Userid and Password


To distinguish you from the average Joe, you need to get from your Internet provider a userid and a password. The userid should be something that is easily identifiable as yours (e.g., ace for Adam C. Engst; cory for Corwin S. Low; or simon for Michael A. Simon). Your provider may even assign you a userid rather than let you pick one. It may be your first initial followed by your last name (e.g., aengst) or something similar. The more unsavory providers will assign you an arcane userid like 34kdfu32.

Your password should be from six to twelve characters in length and ideally should contain at least one number or punctuation character. It should never be your name or names of your friends. This minimizes the chances that others will be able to break into your account. Again, your provider may assign you a temporary password that you will probably have to change to a permanent one at a later date.


Domain


Domain is the name of your Internet provider's network. It also defines how others send you electronic mail. It looks like domain.com (halcyon.com, for example). Therefore your Internet mail address will become something like userid@domain.com.


Internet Protocol (IP) Address


There are more than four billion possible Internet IP addresses that are represented in dotted notation -- four numbers separated by periods, such as 204.57.157.14. And every machine on the Internet must have a unique number. You need to make sure that yours is not the same as someone else's. Ask your Internet provider how to assign an Internet address to your computer. He'll probably tell you one of two ways: dynamic or static.


Dynamic Addressing

Dynamic addressing is by far the most common mechanism for dialup users. If an Internet provider were to assign permanent (or static) IP addresses to everyone, he'd probably run out of them very quickly. So each time you dial up, the host computer will assign you an IP address. You'll probably never get the same IP address twice in a row.

Mention that you are using NetManage Chameleon for either PPP, SLIP, or CSLIP and ask if they have prebuilt scripts for automatically reading the assigned IP address. NetManage is the leading distributor of TCP/IP protocol stacks under Windows, so chances are very good that your provider has one.


Static Addressing

In less common circumstances, your Internet Provider will assign you a static IP address. You'll always have the same IP address each time you connect.


Domain Name Server


Unless you enjoy memorizing IP addresses, ask your Internet provider for the IP addresses of some Domain Name Servers (DNS). DNS servers can translate names into numbers and sometimes numbers into names. Then you can enter things like gatekeeper.dec.com instead of 16.1.0.2. Ask for backup servers as well -- in case the primary DNS server is down. I recommend having two backup DNS servers.


Access Phone Number


You can't connect to your Internet provider unless the people there provide you with a phone number for your modem. Most will have hunt groups, which means that there will be a single phone number for many modems. Your call to the top of the hunt group will simply roll over to an unused line.

Keep in mind that your provider may have several different hunt groups for different speed modems. Ask for the phone number of the phone line that matches the speed of your own personal modem. There isn't anything worse than tying up a 14.4 Kbps host modem using a 2,400 bps client modem (but then again, you wouldn't use a 2,400 bps modem, would you?). Be sure to ask your provider if there is a number for faster speeds should you upgrade modems down the line.


Mail and News Servers


You should ask your provider for the name of your POP and SMTP servers (you use POP to receive mail and SMTP to send it). Also, if your Internet provider offers Usenet news (which almost all do), then you'll need the name or address of the news server, also called the NNTP server.


Identifying Your Hardware


You need to know some specific information about your modem so that you can connect to your Internet provider. If you don't know these settings, ask your PC or modem vendor. They may be able to help.


Port Settings


These settings are associated with the serial port on your computer. The serial port is responsible for sending data from your computer to another device. In this case, it is a modem (whether it is an internal or an external modem). Your computer documentation may refer to the serial ports individually as COM1, COM2, COM3, or COM4.


Baud Rate

It is probably safe to set the baud rate to 19,200. This is the speed that your computer talks to your modem, not the speed of your modem. The two speeds need not match, and you generally set the computer-modem speed higher than the modem speed to take advantage of any compression the modem can do.


Data Bits

You usually use eight data bits. Ask your Internet provider if it should be different.


Stop Bits

Again, the standard setting is one stop bit. Ask your Internet provider if it should be different.


Parity

This Parity setting should usually be set to None. Ask your Internet provider if it should be different.


Flow Control

Finally, set Flow Control to Hardware. Ask your Internet provider if it should be different.


Connector or Port

Which COM port you use may vary from machine to machine. Typically, it is COM1 or COM2. Check the label on your computer where you plugged in your modem. If your modem is internal, check the dip switches and your modem manual.


Modem Settings


These settings are associated with the modem that you have attached to your computer. Because there are so many different modems from different manufacturers, you may need to tweak these settings (or have someone else do so for you). However, 95 percent of all modems act and behave similarly to a Hayes or Telebit modem, so you probably won't have to change these settings.

If you are having difficulty connecting, your Internet provider may have information specific to your modem that can help, and of course, you can always call the modem vendor (last resort).


Dial Prefix

The Hayes command set uses ATDT for a touch-tone telephone dialing phone line and ATDP for a pulse-code telephone dialing line.


Initialization String

All modems support some sub- or super-set of the Hayes command set and should be initialized for specific features. In many cases, you can get by with ATQ0V1E1S0=0 or by using factory defaults with something like AT&F. but if that doesn't work, read your modem manual, ask your Internet provider, or call your modem vendor.


Installing and Configuring the NetManage Chameleon WebSurfer Sampler


Now that you're armed with all that information, let's put it to use. Start by installing the TCP/IP protocol stack -- Chameleon WebSurfer Sampler.

Place the Chameleon WebSurfer Sampler disk from the back of the Internet Starter Kit book into your disk drive. In Windows 3.1, Choose Run from the File menu of the Program Manager. Type a:\setup to launch NetManage's setup program (substitute your floppy drive letter for a if it is different). You can accept all the suggested settings during this installation. When you've successfully installed Chameleon, you'll have a new Program Manager Group called Chameleon WebSurfer Sampler.

Before you launch any applications, run Custom by double-clicking on the Custom-Connect Here icon in the WebSurfer Sampler group.

If you are using an Internet provider with a .cfg file (such as Northwest Nexus or any others listed in appendix B), then you can simply open that file and enter the Port, Modem, Dial, and Login settings and then move on. However, if you don't have a .cfg file, you must enter a lot of information -- which you must get from your provider as discussed above -- into Custom's various dialog boxes.


Interface Menu


First, you must add a physical interface for accessing the Internet. All physical interfaces use the modem, but differ in the protocols used for communicating with your Internet provider. Select SLIP, CSLIP, or PPP and then give the interface a name. I typically use the Internet provider's name, such as "NW Nexus."

At this point, you must obtain a script file so that your machine can be authenticated on your Internet provider's machine. This script varies from host to host. We've provided over 50 different scripts as part of the configurations for providers as listed in appendix B (including those that NetManage already supports), so hopefully one will match yours. If your particular provider isn't on the list, then it will have to come up with the script for you. Scripting is way beyond the scope of this book.

Check out the slip.ini file on the disk for a list of names and scripts. You may even be able to figure out the scripting on your own (kind of a computer Rosetta Stone).


Setup Menu


The Setup menu is meant for configuring your machine to communicate with the Internet. All the values embedded in the various dialog boxes must be accurately entered. Otherwise, your connection won't work properly or at all.


IP Address

If your Internet provider has assigned you an IP address (and chances are that they haven't), then enter the value here. Otherwise, you should enter a value of 1.1.1.1. Early versions of the NetManage WinSock wouldn't let you proceed with a default value of 0.0.0.0.


Host Name

Unless you've obtained a static IP address from your Internet provider, you can put almost anything here. Try putting your first or last name. Otherwise, use whatever host name your Internet provider has given you.


Domain Name

Enter the value given to you by your Internet provider (e.g., halcyon.com).


Port and Modem

Enter the values that match your hardware (use the modem's baud rate here).


Dial

Enter the phone number of the modem bank at your Internet provider. Prefix the phone number with any codes or digits required for an outside line -- 9, for example. Also enter any codes you use to disable call waiting. In many areas of the country it is *70 for touch-tone and 1170 for rotary. Call waiting, if left on, can disrupt your Internet connection if a call comes in while you're using your modem.

NOTE: You may want to set the "Timeout If Not Connected In" setting to 60 or even 120 seconds. Some modems take longer to connect, and the default of 30 seconds may not be sufficient.


Login

Enter the userid and password that you obtained from your provider.


Services Menu


The dialog boxes under the Services menu are less crucial, but you should fill them in anyway.


Default Gateway

Enter the default gateway obtained from your provider.


Domain Servers

These are the DNS servers mentioned previously. Enter a maximum of three IP addresses. The first one is the primary server. The other two are secondary servers, if your provider has them available. Again, you get these from your provider.


Saving the Settings


Now you can simply save your configuration (in the File menu), exit the Custom program, and then restart it. The next time Custom launches, you see an additional menu called Connect. Click on this to establish a connection between your PC and your Internet provider's computers. To see how your computer interacts with the Internet provider's computer during the signon process, bring up the Log window from the Setup menu prior to clicking on the Connect menu.

Keep in mind that you must launch Custom and connect to your Internet provider before you launch any other WinSock or TCP/IP application. However with certain applications, such as email, you can do a lot of your work offline, which can save you money depending on how your account is set up -- it is also a good idea to work offline when you can to avoid tying up connections for no reason. Connecting with Custom ensures that you have a valid IP address and that you are truly on the Internet.


Eudora 1.4


Quick Reminder: Eudora is an email client program. It requires access to a POP3 mail account on an Internet host.

Tasks:

  1. Launch and configure Eudora
  2. Compose and send an email message to President Clinton
  3. Subscribe to the Win3-L mailing list, a discussion of Microsoft Windows
  4. Read, reply to, and delete an email message


Launch and Configure Eudora


  1. Double-click on the Eudora icon.

    Eudora launches.

  2. From the Special menu, choose Configuration.

    Eudora presents you with the Configuration dialog box.

  3. In the first field, labeled POP account, enter your POP account, which you should have received from your provider. In most cases, this will be the same as or similar to your email address. If you use Northwest Nexus, enter your userid and mail.halcyon.com with no spaces. For example, I would enter tidbits@mail.halcyon.com. Make sure to enter this in lowercase only!
  4. Press Tab, or click in the next field down, labeled Real Name. Enter your real name here as you would like it to appear in your email messages.
  5. Figure 14.1: Eudora Configuration dialog.

  6. If your provider has explicitly given you an SMTP server that is different from the machine name in your POP account, enter its name in the SMTP Server field. If you use Northwest Nexus, leave this field blank, since your SMTP server is on the mail.halcyon.com machine, and by default Eudora checks the machine name from your POP account for an SMTP server.
  7. Click on the OK button to close the Configuration dialog and save your changes.
  8. From the Special menu, choose Switches.
  9. Eudora brings up the Switches dialog (see figure 14.2). Turn off the Immediate Send checkbox in the Sending category of options. This ensures that you can compose mail and queue it for sending without being connected to the Internet the entire time.

    Figure 14.2: Eudora Switches dialog.

  10. Click on the OK button to exit the Switches dialog and save your changes.

You have now performed the minimum configuration to use Eudora. There are many other options in the Configuration and Switches dialogs that you may wish to explore further.


Compose and Send an Email Message to President Clinton


  1. Make sure Eudora is running. From the Message menu, choose New Message.

    Eudora presents you with a new message window, with the From field already filled in with your email address and name.

  2. Make sure your insertion point is in the To field (it should be unless you've clicked elsewhere in the window) and type your recipient's email address. In this case, enter president@whitehouse.gov.
  3. Press Tab or click to the right of the Subject field label to move your insertion point to the Subject field. Enter your subject, something like Communicating with the President.
  4. Click in the large area of the window for typing the body of your message, or press Tab three times to move the insertion point. Type your message. Press enter twice to make new paragraphs.

    Since this example sends email to an address that replies automatically, the body of the message isn't that important for the time being, although you can use this method to express your opinions to President Clinton. At minimum, type something like I strongly support the concept of a National Information Infrastructure. It's considered polite to sign your name at the bottom (see figure 14.3).

  5. Figure 14.3: Sending email to the President.

  6. When you are finished, click on the Queue button in the upper right-hand corner of the window. If that button is labeled Send instead, go back to the previous task, make sure that the Immediate Send checkbox is empty in the Switches dialog, and try again with another message.
  7. Now connect to the Internet. Connect with the Custom application or the WinSock stack of your choice. Do not quit Eudora at this point; simply switch out to the Program Manager to launch Custom.
  8. Switch back to Eudora, if necessary.
  9. From the File menu choose Check Mail.

    Eudora immediately presents you with a dialog box asking for your password. Enter it, making sure to capitalize it as you did when you originally created it (or as it was when it was given to you). The characters will not be displayed.

  10. Click OK to enter the password you just typed.

    Eudora then contacts your POP server and looks for new mail, transferring any that you've received back to your PC. After retrieving new mail, Eudora contacts the SMTP server and sends the mail that you just queued for delivery. After it finishes sending, Eudora displays a dialog telling you whether or not you have new mail.

  11. If you're paying for your Internet connection by the hour, or if you're paying for a long distance call, switch to NetManage Custom and disconnect to save money. Otherwise, go ahead and stay connected as we work through the next few tasks.

Assuming everything was set up correctly on your PC and on your host machine, you've just sent an email message to the President of the United States via Eudora (of course, he probably won't personally answer).


Subscribe to the Win3-L Mailing List


  1. Make sure Eudora is open, and from the Message menu choose New Message.
  2. Eudora presents you with a new message window, with the From field already filled in with your email address and name and with the cursor in the To field.
  3. In the To field, type listserv@uicvm.uic.edu.
  4. Press Tab four times, or click in the message section of the window. Type SUBSCRIBE WIN3-L your full name (replace your full name with your real name, not your email address) and nothing else (see figure 14.4).
  5. Figure 14.4: Subscribing to WIN3-L.

  6. Click on the Queue button in the upper right-hand corner of the window to queue the message to be sent.
  7. Connect to the Internet if you aren't already.
  8. From the File menu, choose Check Mail.
  9. As before, Eudora first connects to your POP server and checks for new mail. Depending on how long it has taken you to create this message, you may have received mail back from the White House. Either way, after checking for new mail, Eudora contacts your SMTP server and sends your subscription message to the LISTSERV program.
  10. If you are paying for your connection, feel free close the connection now to save money.
You've just subscribed to a mailing list! Although other mailing lists may be slightly different, mostly in terms of the mailing list manager's address and the listname, the basics are the same.


Read, Reply to, and Delete an Email Message


  1. Make sure Eudora is running.

    If you received a reply from the White House when you sent the subscription message to the WIN3-L list, Eudora automatically opened your In Box for you.

    If you have not yet received the reply from the White House or the confirmation of your subscription to the WIN3-L list, wait for a while (there's no way to know how long it could take, although when I wrote these instructions the responses came back within minutes).

  2. Make sure you're connected to the Internet, and from the File menu choose Check Mail.
  3. Eudora opens your In box after receiving new mail; if you have closed it while waiting, go to the Mailbox menu and choose In. Eudora then displays the In box again and marks unread messages with a bullet character (see figure 14.5).
  4. Figure 14.5: Eudora In box.

  5. Double-click on the reply from the White House, which probably looks as though it came from autoresponder@WhiteHouse.Gov, which is the program that automatically replies to email sent to President Clinton.

    Eudora opens the message and displays it, along with the first few lines of the header (see figure 14.6).

    Figure 14.6: Email from the White House.

  6. Read through the message, scrolling with the scroll bar or the Page Up/Page Down keys.
  7. After reading the message, go to the Message menu and choose Reply.

    Eudora creates a new message window for you, entering the original sender's address in the To field and the subject of your original message prefixed with "Re:" in the Subject field. The entire body of the original message is quoted in the body of the message. You can edit this text or delete it entirely (see figure 14.7).

  8. Figure 14.7: Replying to a message.

  9. When your reply is ready, you could click the Queue button to queue it for delivery again, but please don't, since it's a waste of Internet resources to send meaningless test messages back and forth.

    When replying to personal email, you would queue the message, perhaps along with others that you have queued and are ready to send out, and then choose either Check Mail or Send Queued Messages from the File menu after connecting to the net.

  10. Once you're finished sending any messages, go ahead and disconnect from the Internet, especially if you're being charged.
  11. To delete the message from the White House, make sure its window is open or make sure it is selected in the In Box; then, from the Message menu choose Delete or click on the Trashcan button in the toolbar. Eudora then moves that message to the Trash mailbox.

That's about all you need to know to get started reading and writing email with Eudora, although as I've said, there are many other options and shortcuts to make the process of using Eudora even easier.