Geting started

Chapter III

Email and your Browser.

Setting up your browser to handle email.

Usenet News Groups A lesson in Net Behavior.

Usenet News Groups, configuring Navigator.

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Email and your Browser.

As discussed in Chapter 1 Email is a means of sending messages from one person to another much like using the postal service as your carrier.What many people don't know is that Netscape Navigator contains an excellent email program built right into itself, the trick is to configure this email sub program properly.

How many times have you been surfing a web site and wanted to contact someone and the only way to do so was via an email address? If you are like most people, your answer would be Very often So what do you do? You grab a piece of paper and write down the email address, then switch to your email program, enter the address and write your email, send it, then return to Navigator. Tedious to say the least. How would you like to end all that? How would you like to be able to click on that email link and have Navigator automatically pop up a email program, with your name, the mail to address, and maybe even a signature file, all pre-loaded? Well, thats what we are going to tell you how to do in the next sections.

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Setting up your browser for email

Before you begin setting up Navigator to handle email, there are certain questions which only you and your Internet Service Provider (ISP) must answer. You must have this information on hand before you begin, so talk to your ISP. The information you need is;

Your Email Directory.See Note 1 Your News Directory.See Note 1 Your Email Address.See Note 2 Your POP User name.See Note 2 Your Outgoing Mail (SMTP) Server Name.See Note 2 Your Incoming Mail (POP) Server Name.See Note 2 Your News (NNTP) Server Name.See Note 3

Note 1 - You supply this information. Note 2 - Your ISP gives you this information. Note 3 - You need this for later reference. ISP supplies this.

Once you have this information on hand, you are ready to configure your Navigator for running email. Start up your Navigator and select the Options menu. One of the options under this menu will be Mail and News Preferences select that one.


Click on the tab to select the ;Identity; Dialog and enter your real name, or a handle if you wish, and your email address in the appropriate position. This section is where the email program will look to find all the information it needs to build the email header, which always includes a name and email address.

Now click on the Servers; tab to bring up the dialog box for setting up the servers. This box is where you enter the information provided by your ISP. It informs the email program about facilities on the server which it needs in order to send or recieve email.

Step 2

One important feature to note is in the Server's Dialog box. The sentence Messages are copied from the Server to the local disk, then. These options are critically important. If Navigator is going to copy your email from the local disk, then delete them from the server, you run the risk of losing email if your connection gets severed during that transfer. For safety's sake you would like to have the messages remain on the server, but depending upon the server, this might not always be possible. When in doubt, consult with your ISP. Close the dialog box by clicking on the OK button, then select options again, only this time select ;Save Options

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Creating a Signature file for email.

We have all seen them, in fact I have one, and when we get done here, you will too! What I am talking about is the signatures which appear at the end of so many email messages. People don't type these in every time, instead they create these messages once and the email program appends it to the end of every email they send.

Called Signature Files, or sigs for short, there are a few simple rules to remember when creating signature files. Consider these more as guidelines than rules;

Signatures should be four lines or less, six lines is the highest tolerable limit. It's ok to include your name and email address, but unless you are a business, don't include a phone number in a signature file. Unless you are looking for trouble, be polite in your signature. Most people don't display more than 80 columns of text, keep your signature to 75 columns or less to insure that most people will see it the way you want them to see it.

Let's take a look at a few example signatures;

Example 1

John Done email: Web :

Example 2

John Done I would put a favorite saying email: but I don't know what to say! Web : (The COOLEST HOME PAGE!)

Example 2

John Done, President of Gidgets Inc, 1 800 555 1234 | | email: We make gidgets that last for life! Web :

John Done in example 1 has the simplest signature, it gives his name, email address and his web page url. Short and sweet. The John Done in the second example is a little more flamboyant than example one, he has boxed his signature, and provides the same information as the first example, but notice also he is making a statement in the signature. Very often, but it's not required, you will find someone quoting a famous saying that they like, or hope epitomizes their personal philosphies. This is a personal choice, but whatever you decide, remember that the signature file is saying something about you, so consider it carefully.

Example 3 now shows John Done after his promotion to president of Gidgets Inc. Now he is all business. If you are lucky enough to have an internet account at work and again at home, you shouldn't mix the two. Your home signature and your work signature are different animals. Don't get them confused!

Now that we have covered the basic idea of what a signature can be, lets talk about how to create them. Signature files are nothing more than an ordinary text file. To create a text file, you can use Notepad or even the MSDos Editor, Macintosh users have equivalent programs to these at their disposal. What ever program you use, the only real requirement is that it must be capable of producing a plain ASCII file, no formatting or font controls can be in the signature file.

Using the editor of your choice, create a signature for yourself. Remember the common sense rules above. Once you have the signature laid out the way you want (Remembering the column size limitation), save the file to a location where it will be relatively safe. ie, In a place where you don't periodically go in and wipe out everything. Remember the directory name and the filename you gave your signature file!

Now for the final step in setting up your own personalized signature, you need to tell Navigator where to locate the signature file on your local hard drive. Follow the steps below.

Select the Options Menu. Choose Mail and New Preferences. Click on the Identity Tag to call up the identity dialog box. (Same box as figure 1 above) Locate the space provided for the signature file. (It's the last text box in the dialog) Enter the complete path and name of the signature file, ie c:\mystuff\keep\sign.txt Close the dialog box by clicking on the OK button, then select options again, only this time select n;Save Optionsn

As a final test, you can wait for the next time you want to send email, or go back to the link above and send email to me again, only this time make sure your own email address in the CC (carbon copy) field so that you recieve a copy of it.

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Usenet News Groups a lesson in Net Behavior.

The World Wide Web is a fantastic resource, but it's only a part of a greater information resource called internet. Gopher, WAIS, Usenet Newsgroups are just a few other means into tapping into even more information than whats on the web.

In this section of chapter III, we will talk about how to give your browser the capability to access the usenet new groups. But first, lets talk about what the newsgroups are and what they are meant to do.

Usenet Newgroups. It's the ultimate Bulletin Board System with over 5000 different topical sections to choose from. Are you an avid Enya fan? Or perhaps you like to restore old Automobiles? Odds are you will find a newsgroup that fits your tastes, there are newgroups covering everything from Abortion (alt.abortion) to Computers Programming (comp.languages.basic) to online magazines (alt.zines)

In essence a news group is a place in cyberspace where people with similar or disimilar interests can come together to express their views, ask questions, tell people about a particular project of theirs, etc.. Newgroups are a tremendous resource to someone just starting out on a particular subject. For example, if you wanted to learn how to use that fancy computer of yours to generate an income, you could post questions to an appropriate newgroup and get answers from people in a similar situation. Got a political point of view that you want to express? Well you can do that too in the newsgroups.

Most newsgroups are unmoderated (meaning anything can be posted, by anyone), so the language in some of these groups can be quite adult oriented. Furthermore occasionally you will find a fight occuring online between two or more people. These "Flame wars" occur when two or more people of differing opinions decide to clutter up the newsgroup with their messages instead of doing it privately via email. Needless to say, in cases like this, both parties are wrong and acting quite childish because they are inflicting their temper tantrums on everyone that uses that newgroup.Before you rush off to express your opinion to the world, let's review a few basic rules in order to prevent you from starting a flame war.

Safe Newsgroup Behavior

If you disagree with someone's point of view, tell them privately via email. Never cross post a single message to multiple newgroups. The only exception to this rule is when the message applies to multiple newsgroups. While there is no restriction on what you post, generally it is considered to be rude to post commercial messages to a non commercial newsgroup. ie Posting a Make 10 million dollars in 10 days message to Don't post your message using ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. People generally consider this the same as shouting. Respect the rights of others. Just because there is a newsgroup for people who want to talk explicitly about sex, or drugs, or whatever, doesn't give you the right to go in there and post that they are all wrong/stupid/perverts etc. Censorship is strictly forbidden on the newsgroups. If someone posts something you don't like, asking them to remove it, or repost a cleaner version is not allowed.

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Usenet News Groups, configuring Navigator.

Whew! Now that we have covered Newgroups and how to behave when using them we are ready for setting up our Navigator to access newsgroups.

If you recall back in the section on setting up email, you were asked to obtain ;Your News (NNTP) Server Name. from your ISP. If you still have it handy, (otherwise ask for it again from your ISP) you can perform the following steps to configure your Navigator to handle Usenet Newsgroups.

As a final step before you actually configure Navigator, you need to create a news directory for Navigator to work from. This directory can be anywhere on your hard drive and named anything. For simplicities sake, I suggest you call the directory News. Don't forget to write down the complete directory path!! ie c:\program files\navigator\program\news SelectOptions from the Main Menu. Select Mail and News Preferences from the submenu. Click on the Servers tab at the top of the dialog box, that will bring up theServers window within the dialog box.(See figure 2 for another view of the dialog box) Enter the name of the News Server your ISP provided for you in the text area called News (NNTP) Server. Enter the full path of the news directory you created in the box below it. Close the dialog box by clicking on the OK button, then select Options again, only this time select Save Options.

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