The Text Based Internet
Part 2: Getting Started

The first think that you need to do is Log in. It will look something like this:

Use of this system constitutes acceptance of the
Communications usage policy.

Unauthorized Access is Prohibited



Here is were you type your user id, login id, user name, or whatever you want to call it. Dare I say, it is the part of your e-mail address before the @ sign.


Here is where you type your password. A lot of ISP's that allow both PPP and shell accounts have two passwords. If this is like yours, try the password for your e-mail.

A few cautions before you log in.

Don't backspace. If you make a mistake, try using the delete key. Although once you're in the account you may be able to backspace, if you do it at the loging prompt, it will just give you a bunch of ^H's.

You get 3 tries. Much like baseball and the US Department of Justice, if you don't do it right on 3 tries, they will give up on you and you will have to reconnect entirely. This may be as simple as reconnecting through the telnet program, and will only be as hard as dialing back in.

No password echo. Echoing is when you can see what you just typed on the screen. Usually this is good. After all, if your word processor or e-mail program didn't tell you what you typed, how do you know that you typed it right? This, of course, has the flaw that if you can see what you typed, so can anyone around you. So, almost anywhere that cares the least bit about security will either echo another character for each one that you type (password would show up as ********) or turn off echoing all the way (password shows up as empty space). Don't worry about it, just type in your password and get on with your life.

Timing out. You pull up a telnet window and start typing your user id. The phone rings. By the time you get back from telling the caller that you are not the pizza place and you do not know the right number, you have a message like this: Connection Lost to Remote Host. What happened? The server timed out. If you wait too long between typing, it decides that you lost interest and, basically, hangs up on you.

Logins are case sensitive, just like everything else. If you type Fruitbat, you'd better mean Fruitbat and not FrUiTbAt, FRUITBAT or fruitbat. To UNIX, capital F is as different a letter from lowercase f as it is from q or s or b. Beware, this will hold true in all of UNIX.

Welcome to RealCool Communications

Enjoy your session.

You have 7 new messages, 3 read messages.
[otto@shell otto]$  

Now what? Now, you have the world at your fingers. You have a lot of choices:

  • You can check your mail through Pine.
  • You can check out the newsgroups through tin.
  • You may want to download some files with ftp.
  • While you're at it, you should fiddle around with some miscellaneous commands and programs.

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