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Subject: Davis, California USENET FAQ Part 6 of 6

This article was archived around: 07 May 2006 04:18:17 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: davis/faq
All FAQs posted in: davis.general
Source: Usenet Version


Archive-name: davis/faq/part6 Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: Jun. 24, 1996 Version: 21Jun96 [ASCII/Multipart] URL: > Ebb: <http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/~netesq/USENET-FAQs/davis/part5.html >
The Davis, California USENET FAQ Part 6 of 6 Frequently Asked Questions at and about Davis, California (c) Copyright 1995 & 1996 by David F. Prenatt, Jr. Internet Esquire(sm) P.O. Box 74632 Davis, CA 95617-5632 World Wide Web: <http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/~netesq > E-mail: <mailto:NetEsq@dcn.davis.ca.us > The Davis, California USENET FAQ (Davis USENET FAQ) may be comprised of more than one part. If it is, please see the TABLE OF CONTENTS in Part One for a complete list of the questions that I have attempted to answer and for other important legal information. Caveat emptor: I assume no obligation to anyone through the publication of the Davis USENET FAQ. Furthermore, all versions of the Davis USENET FAQ are my personal property and are protected by applicable copyright laws. All rights are reserved except as follows: I hereby give my permission to anyone who has access to this version of the Davis USENET FAQ to reproduce the information contained herein for non-profit purposes, provided that proper credit is given to me as the author of this FAQ and that I am notified of any use other than personal use. I may revoke permission to reproduce any version of this FAQ at any time. - - - - - The Davis, California USENET FAQ Part 6 of 6 Frequently Asked Questions at and about Davis, California (c) Copyright 1995 & 1996 by David F. Prenatt, Jr. 8) FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COMPUTERS AND LIFE ON THE INTERNET FROM MEMBERS OF THE DAVIS COMMUNITY. 8.1) BASIC QUESTIONS ABOUT COMPUTERS. I have attempted to answer some basic questions about computers in this section. However, the best place to get answers for your computer questions is from the Davis Community Network (DCN)-- User Support team: World Wide Web: <http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/ > Phone support: Mon-Thu, 6pm-9pm, 916-750-0101 ext 6 Email support: <mailto:dcn-tech-help@list.dcn.davis.ca.us > Walk-in support: Mon-Fri 9am-12pm (Administrative Support) & Mon-Thu 5pm-6pm (Technical Support) at DCTV - 1623 5th Street, Davis Alternatively, contact your own Internet service provider (ISP), or post an inquiry on the davis.dcn USENET newsgroup (<news:davis.dcn >). 8.1.1) Why should I use a computer? It is easier and faster to accomplish certain tasks by using a computer. 8.1.1.1) Do I really need to use a computer? No. You don't need to use a computer, but many tasks are impossible to accomplish without a computer. 8.1.1.2) Isn't it difficult to learn how to use a computer? No. Learning to use a computer is very easy, but this is a very well kept secret because many people who know how to use computers are very intimidating to people who do not know how to use them. 8.1.1.3) How can I get the computer training that I need? Admit your ignorance, both to yourself and to the people who offer you help. Teaching people how to use computers is extremely difficult, but it doesn't have to be that way. Many people erroneously assume that they understand how computers work, and this makes teaching these people extremely difficult. Of course, people who are technically proficient may not be able to communicate with you or they may not be interested in helping you. Avoid these people. The Davis PC Users Group is a chapter of the Sacramento PC Users Group, dedicated to the support of people using IBM PC-compatible computers. If you are learning how to use a PC, you might want to attend one of the meetings of the Davis PC User's Beginner's Group. These meetings take place the first Wednesday of every month, and they are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jerry Harrison at (916)758-1011. 8.1.1.4) What practical uses would I have for a computer? Within the last ten years, the number of practical applications for personal computers has mushroomed to the point where anyone who is not computer literate is at a serious disadvantage in the competitive worlds of education and commerce. Computer games were the original hook for most consumers, and word processing has since emerged as the most popular practical application for end users. As useful as these applications are, however, they are little more than flotsam when compared with the phenomenal software vessels that sail the vast ocean of computer technology. But don't take my word for it: Stop by any store that sells computer software and do some window shopping. 8.1.2) Do I need my own computer? No. Computers are as ubiquitous as telephones. The only reason you would want to own a computer is for convenience, much like owning a cellular phone. 8.1.2.1) What kind of a computer should I buy? You should buy a computer with the features that you want at a price that you can afford. If you are reading this FAQ, then you probably want a Macintosh(r) or an IBM/IBM Clone (PC). 8.1.2.1.1) What is the difference between a Macintosh(r) and an IBM/IBM Clone (PC)? Macintosh(r) computers are much higher quality technology than IBM technology. However, IBM is the standard for computer technology and is much more affordable than Macintosh(r). Thus, if you are on a limited budget, you probably want an IBM/IBM clone (PC), especially because whatever you do buy will be obsolete when you buy it. 8.1.2.1.2) What is an IBM/IBM clone (PC)? IBM buys its technology on the open market and sets the standard for other computer companies (at least it used to do so). Many companies build IBM clones (properly referred to as PCs) that meet or exceed IBM's standards (i.e., 100% IBM Compatible). 8.1.2.2) What kind of features should I have on a computer? There is no easy answer to this question, but as a general rule buy only proven technology and avoid all the bells and whistles. New technology is inherently unreliable because many bugs are found only after a product has been released. Members of the Davis community have access to a variety of computers, so find out for yourself what features are the most useful and reliable. 8.1.2.3) What kind of accessories should I get on my computer? It depends upon what type of applications you are using. If you are reading this FAQ, you probably only need a modem and/or a printer. 8.2) What computer facilities are available to members of the Davis community? For a small monthly fee, the DCN will give you 50 hours of access to the dial-in computer services that U.C. Davis provides to its students, faculty, and staff. Anyone can telnet to the DCN server to open an account (<telnet:wheel.dcn.davis.ca.us >). For more information on the DCN, see the davis.dcn USENET newsgroup (<news:davis.dcn >) or visit the DCN Home Page on the World Wide Web (<http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/ >). Note that ucd.* and davis.* newsgroups are not available to the general public. The DCN shares facilities with U.C. Davis as part of a special research agreement, and some other private ISPs/BBSs such as mother.com and America OnLine also have access to these newsgroups. When I directed friends and colleagues of mine to the DCN at its inception, they were told that the DCN did not offer accounts to commercial users of the Internet (i.e., those who wanted to maintain Home Pages on the World Wide Web) and it referred inquiries from various commercial users to mother.com as a Davis based ISP. Now DCN has emerged as mother.com's major local competition in Davis. I have no relationship whatsoever to mother.com, but Steve Wormley of mother.com was courteous enough to promptly provide public access to the yolo.* newsgroups in response to my inquiries on behalf of a sac.general poster who could not access the yolo.* newsgroups. Moreover, some people have strongly endorsed mother.com as a Davis- based ISP in USENET posts on sac.general and private e-mail messages to me. However, I remain hesitant to recommend mother.com as a Davis based ISP until I know more about their services. For more information about mother.com's services, visit the mother.com Home Page on the World Wide Web (<http://www.mother.com/ >). Due in no small part to the spectacular growth of the Internet that occurred late in 1995, a number of Davis-based ISPs are now forming, and a number of low cost ISPs that are not based in Davis are beginning to maintain a Davis presence. We are living in interesting times, and it's too soon to tell what the long term effects of this current market shakeup will be. Taking harbor with an established ISP will give you no long-term guarantees. as some of the most viable ISPs were formed very recently. In any event, whatever ISP you choose, you will have to provide your own computer and your own modem. 8.3) What is the Internet? The Internet is the product of a worldwide computer network developed by the military in the late 1960s (ARPANET), nurtured by academicians over the last 20 years or so, and currently used primarily as a medium for the communication and free exchange of information and ideas for anyone who knows how to obtain Internet access. There are more breathtaking Internet applications, but they are not for "newbies" and they are well beyond the scope of this FAQ. 8.3.1) How can I obtain access to the Internet? You can use any computer system that has "telnet" capabilities or you can use your home computer to telnet via modem to your ISP. 8.3.1.1) How do I telnet from a computer system that has telnet capabilities? At the Unix prompt, simply type in "telnet" (without the quotes) and the name (or IP address) of the computer system which you wish to access. For example: telnet computer.system where computer.system is the name of a hypothetical computer system that you wish to access by telnet. You will then be asked for your account name and password, which is assigned to you by your ISP. 8.3.1.2) How do I obtain access to the Internet from my home computer? You will need a modem and some sort of communications software. Check with the DCN or your own ISP for further information. 8.3.2) How do I communicate with other people on the Internet? Communication between individuals on the Internet usually takes place through the institutions of e-mail and the USENET newsgroups. These are the most straightforward and easy to use Internet applications. Live time conversations also take place with the Internet Relay Chat (IRC); the World Wide Web provides access to multimedia communication. I hesitate to mention the highly intrusive Internet communication software "talk/ytalk," but for those of you who want more information on how to interrupt people with a talk request, contact David T. Witkowski (<mailto:dtwitkowski@ucdavis.edu >; readers with a web browser may visit David T. Witkowski's Ytalk Primer on the World Wide Web (<http://www.ece.ucdavis.edu/~witkowsk/ytalk.html >). 8.3.2.1) Are there any rules for using e-mail and the USENET newsgroups. In most instances, yes. Most ISPs impose regulations for e-mail and the USENET. There are also informal rules of conduct that are enforced by the Internet community (fondly referred to as "netiquette"). For further information on official regulations on e- mail and the USENET, contact your ISP. As for netiquette, use your own good judgment. 8.3.2.2) What is the difference between e-mail and the USENET newsgroups? The primary difference between e-mail and the USENET is privacy. However, neither e-mail or the USENET are confidential. An e-mail message is directed to a particular individual or group of individuals; a USENET article is directed to anyone who has access to the newsgroup where the article is posted. If you want to conduct confidential communications over the Internet, check out an encryption program such as PGP ("Pretty Good Privacy"). PGP has a public domain version that is available free of charge to anyone who is using it for non-commercial purposes. It has thwarted virtually every attempt that computer hackers have made to crack it. What makes PGP unique is that the key that encrypts your mail (i.e., your "public key") is distinct and separate from the key that unscrambles it (i.e., your "private key"). Unless you tell someone your private PGP key or someone guesses it (which could take thousands of years of computer time) or discovers it by eavesdropping, no one can read your PGP encrypted mail. 8.3.2.2.1) How do I use e-mail? The most straightforward and easy way to use e-mail on the DCN is by using a program called "pine" (pine is an acronym for "pine is nearly elm"-- elm was an e-mail program that preceded pine). To use pine, type in "pine" (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt. The pine application is menu-driven, so just follow the instructions that you see on the screen. 8.3.2.2.2) How do I use the USENET newsgroups? The most straightforward and easy way to use the USENET newsgroups on the DCN is by using a program called "tin." To use tin, type in "tin" (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt. The tin program is menu- driven, so just follow the instructions. 8.3.2.2.2.1) How many USENET newsgroups are there? There are several thousand USENET newsgroups (more than anyone could ever hope to read), and there are more being created every day. Thus, you should decide which newsgroups you want to read. 8.3.2.2.2.2) How do I figure out which newsgroups I want to read? The USENET newsgroups are organized into a heirarchy that includes regional and other domains. You can use this hierarchy to select-out thousands of newsgroups that do not interest you. With tin, use the "yank" command (with the "y" key), the "search" command (with the "/" key), and the "subscribe" command (with the "s" key). After you've subscribed to the named groups that you want, simply yank out the rest. The "unsubscribe" command (the "u" key) will eliminate unwanted groups. For more information, use the online help in tin (^g). 8.3.2.2.2.2.1) Which USENET newsgroups are of interest to members of the Davis community? It depends upon the individual, but at the very least members of the Davis community would probably be interested in a number of the regional domains that are available through the Davis USENET; people who are new to the Internet would also be interested in a number of newsgroups found in the news.* domain. You should subscribe to news.announce.newusers (<news:news.announce.newusers >) until you feel that you know more than most of the other people that subscribe to that group. You will also find FAQs on every conceivable topic in the news.answers newsgroup (<news:news.answers >). 8.3.2.2.2.2.2) What regional domains are available through the Davis USENET? The ucd.* domain, the ucb.*, the davis.* domain, the yolo.* domain, the sac.* domain, the ba.* domain, and the ca.* domain are all regional domains that the Davis USENET can access through the U.C. Davis USENET; Netscape can access virtually any regional USENET domain through the World Wide Web. 8.3.2.2.2.2.3) What USENET newsgroups are available on the davis.* domain? The davis.* domain is comprised of the following USENET newsgroups: * davis.arts (<news:davis.arts >). * davis.business (<news:davis.business >). * davis.crime (<news:davis.crime >): This newsgroup was originally moderated by Community Service Officer (CSO) Christian Sandvig (<mailto:dpd@dcn.davis.ca.us >) of the Davis Police Department. The davis.crime newsgroup is also home to the davis.crime FAQ, maintained by CSO Sandvig. * davis.dcn (<news:davis.dcn >): By far the busiest of the davis.* newsgroups, members of the DCN use this newsgroup to discuss technical issues relating to the DCN. * davis.education (<news:davis.education >). * davis.environment (<news:davis.environment >). * davis.general (<news:davis.general >). * davis.general-plan (<news:davis.general-plan >). * davis.government (<news:davis.government >). * davis.health (<news:davis.health >). * davis.media (<news:davis.media >). * davis.news.admin (<news:davis.news.admin >). * davis.rec (<news:davis.rec >). * davis.religion (<news:davis.religion >). * davis.seniors (<news:davis.seniors >). * davis.test (<news:davis.test >). * davis.youth (<news:davis.youth >). Most of the davis.* USENET newgroups are deceptively quiet because of the proliferation of World Wide Web sites on the DCN. Ironically, the DCN FAQ Project might never reach the vast majority of people on the USENET newsgroups in need of the DCN FAQs because new users might never know where to look for the FAQs. The present publication of this FAQ on davis.general, however, should quickly change all this ;-> 8.3.2.3) How do I use the IRC? To use the IRC, type in "irc" (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt. There is online help available for the IRC and many of the people who you meet on the IRC will be willing to answer many of your questions. You will also find a FAQ on the IRC in the news.answers USENET newsgroup (<news:news.answers >). 8.3.2.4) How do I access the World Wide Web? You can access the World Wide Web by using a text-based program, such as "lynx," or by using a "web browser," such as "Netscape." Access to the multi-media features of various web sites (i.e., pictures and sound) is the biggest advantage of using Netscape. 8.3.2.4.1) How do I use lynx? Simply type in "lynx" (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt and follow the instructions that you find on the screen. 8.3.2.4.2) How do I use Netscape? Netscape is easy to use and has many exciting and revolutionary multi- media/multi-protocol features, but you will probably need help from someone who knows what he or she is doing to learn how to use Netscape. For more information on Netscape, visit the Netscape Home Page on the World Wide Web (<http://home.netscape.com/ >). 8.3.3) What resources are available over the Internet? In addition to the communication and exchange of information that people can accomplish over the Internet using e-mail, USENET, and IRC, people can download archived information from computers on the Internet using "file transfer protocol" (ftp). 8.3.3.1) What is ftp and how does it work? The ftp function resembles the telnet function (the basic method of gaining access to the Internet for e-mail and the USENET), but ftp is only used for downloading or uploading information. There are generally two ways to access a computer via ftp, anonymous and privileged. 8.3.3.1.1) How do I use anonymous ftp? When you know which anonymous ftp site has the information that you want, log onto it using the ftp program: * Type in "ftp" (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt, followed by the name of the ftp site that you wish to access. For example: ftp ftp.site where ftp.site is the name of a hypothetical ftp site that you want to access. * You will be asked to provide your username, type in: anonymous * You will then be asked to provide your password. DO NOT TYPE IN YOUR PASSWORD! *ANONYMOUS* FTP IS SUPPOSED TO BE *ANONYMOUS*. If you wish, you may type in your Internet address as a return address, but you do not need to do so. Virtually any response to the password request will give you access to an anonymous ftp site. * Type in the GET command, followed by the exact name of the file that you want. For example: get ftp-document where ftp-document is the name of a hypothetical ftp document that you want to obtain via ftp. This procedure will retrieve any ASCII document. * If for some reason, there is something wrong with the document you obtain, it is probably not an ASCII document, so start over at the beginning and set the code to binary by typing in "binary" (without the quotes) after you have opened the anonymous ftp site. For example: binary This should fix the problem so that you can GET the document that you want. If it doesn't, then the file you have is probably compressed or encrypted, so you will need to find out what program you should use to decompress or decrypt the file. Note: Check with the DCN or your own ISP for more information on the quirks of their ftp programs. 8.3.3.1.2) How do I use privileged ftp? A privileged ftp site requires an actual username and an actual password (as opposed to an anonymous ftp site). Privileged ftp sites have all of the features of an anonyomus ftp site; you can also use the PUT command with privileged ftp. For example: put ftp-document where ftp-document is the name of a hypothetical document that you want to load to your privileged ftp site. 8.3.3.1.3) How do I obtain ftp files by e-mail request? For information on ftp by e-mail service, send an e-mail message to ftpmail@decwrl.dec.com with the text "help" somewhere in the body of the message. Many ftp sites have mail-server software that will send ftp files by e-mail request. For example, to obtain this faq by e- mail, send the following message to mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu: send usenet/news.answers/davis/faq/part* . . . quit Where * is replaced by the numbers 1 through 6 in successive lines of text. Other FAQs that I have written are archived at rtfm.mit.edu under the appropriate archive name in the pub/usenet/news.answers directory. See Section 1.5 for more information about these other FAQs. To obtain one of these other FAQs, change the text of your message on the line that begins with "send" so that the archive names davis/faq/part* are replaced with the archive names of the other FAQ. 8.3.3.1.4) How can I find out what information is available via ftp? You can use various "search engines" on the Internet. For example, my favorite search engine on the World Wide Web is Yahoo (<http://www.yahoo.com/ >). 8.3.3.1.4.1) What is a gopher? The term gopher primarily refers to two very closely related things: A computer protocol and a type of menu-driven computer application. People use gophers to burrow through the Internet, figuratively speaking, and help them find the information that they want. Gophers are named after the mascot of the University of Minnesota where the gopher protocol was developed. All the gophers in the world are interconnected, so if you want to use a gopher, simply type in "gopher" (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt and follow the directions. 8.3.3.1.4.2) Who (or what) is/are Veronica and Jughead? Veronica (*Very *Easy *Rodent *Oriented *Netwide *Index to *Computer *Archives) and Jughead (*Jonzi's *Universal *Gopher *Hierarchy *Excavation *And *Display) are somewhat dated gopher-based search engines. You will probably not have call to use them. 8.3.3.1.4.3) Who (or what) is Archie? Archie (*Archive *Retrieval *C--- *H--- *I--- *E--) is a search engine that helps you locate computer programs that are archived on ftp sites on the Internet. To use Archie, simply type in "archie" (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt and follow the directions. 8.3.3.2) [Miscellaneous sections currently under construction.] 8.3.4) LOCAL LEGENDS ON THE DAVIS USENET. Nominations for this category are welcome. I will make the final decision as to who qualifies. As it stands right now, the davis.* USENET newsgroups (other than davis.dcn and davis.crime) are conspicuously void of any activity. - Jf Cacas Jf Cacas used the davis.crime USENET newsgroup (<news:davis.crime >) to protest the harsh restrictions on Concealed Weapon Permits in the town of Davis. In his cause, he found both support and flames from members of the Davis virtual community. - Community Service Officer Christian Sandvig CSO Sandvig was once the moderator of the davis.crime USENET newsgroup, where he continues to do an admirable job of tolerating the heckling of anal-retentive nit-pickers such as myself. CSO Sandvig is an undergraduate at U.C. Davis (one of the dying breed of Rhetoric & Communication Majors) where he works on the editorial staff of "Think" magazine (<http://think.ucdavis.edu/ >). 9) REVISIONS FOR FUTURE VERSIONS OF THE DAVIS USENET FAQ. [Note: Expect periodic revisions in this section and/or its subsections.] While I intend to add more information to this FAQ in the future, it has pretty much passed through its puberty. I have made every effort to make sure that the structure and organization of this FAQ will not require much change. If information is substantially changed or deleted, I will include specific notations bracketed in the section headings as follows: * [CORRECTIONS]--If information is revised because of substantial inaccuracy, I will mark the heading with this notation; I will *not* note minor corrections. * [Del]--Old section deleted. * [New]--New section. * [Rev]--Revised section. * [Moved from . . .]/[Moved to . . .]--Section moved; information unchanged. As the above notations are meant to accomodate regular readers of this FAQ, these notations will only appear for one month. 9.1) CHANGES IN THIS VERSION OF THE DAVIS USENET FAQ FROM PREVIOUS VERSIONS. Due to ongoing changes in various navigational links for city service on the Davis Web, I deleted two sections and replaced them with a more generic one. Moreover, I have changed a number of navigational links that used to access the hypertext version of this FAQ at the USENET FAQ Project. I did so in response to a major snafu at the USENET FAQ project that I was powerless to fix. 9.2) CHANGES THAT WILL TAKE PLACE IN FUTURE VERSIONS OF THIS FAQ. No changes are currently planned for the structure and/or organization of future versions of this FAQ. I will simply add more information to the few areas that I still consider deficient and/or add sections for which I did not have enough information to include at this time. Your comments are very much appreciated, even though I cannot reply to every inquiry that I receive. Specifically, please let me know where you found out about this FAQ and where you think that I should post a notice of its availability. - - - - - End Document: The Davis, California USENET FAQ Part 6 of 6 Frequently Asked Questions at and about Davis, California (c) Copyright 1995 & 1996 by David F. Prenatt, Jr. Internet Esquire(sm) P.O. Box 74632 Davis, CA 95617-5632 World Wide Web: <http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/~netesq > E-mail: <mailto:NetEsq@dcn.davis.ca.us > Last document. - - - - -