The PC Users Group

The Internet Project: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Authored by David Andrew Clayton ( Feb 1995
Hastily webbed by Karl Auer ( Feb 1995
Revision: DAC, 10 September 1995

Please see the HISTORY section to see what was added in the latest version. New subjects are underlined. The HISTORY section is at the very end of this document.

NOTE WELL: This FAQ is not yet complete. This is a preliminary release. Later releases will be announced in tip.announce, and via the PCUG BBS in the PCUG_INTERNET_HELP message area.

This FAQ is available from and via the Internet area of the PCUG BBS. Feel free to download it now.

What this FAQ is NOT

This FAQ is NOT comprehensive. It refers to other documents that you may or may not have on your system. It is intended as a first point of contact for those people who have problems. The FAQ will hopefully be updated as new problems come to light.

It is NOT a tutorial for any Internet application. If you need help with applications, you should refer firstly to the specific documentation for your application, or find a FAQ dealing with your application. A list of other available FAQ files dealing with utilities such as FTP, ARCHIE, GOPHER, and World Wide Web (WWW) is mentioned later in this document [see the contents page ].

It is NOT meant to replace any existing documentation. As above: there are generic FAQ files for most Internet tools, but the specific documentation that should have come with the application you are using, should assist you enough to configure and use the product.

It is NOT a bullet-proof guaranteed problem fixer -- if you want guaranteed problem solving, you have to be prepared to pay for such a service.

What this FAQ attempts to do

FAQ Contents


I haven't yet done these bits. I'll update this FAQ as soon as possible, I just wanted to release what I have, to at least get people going in the right direction.

What is a FAQ?

You're reading one. A FAQ is a Frequently Asked Questions file. It contains questions and the associated answers, or where to find the information to answer the question. FAQs are usually constantly evolving, especially general purpose FAQs. If you have something you would like to add to THIS FAQ then please email the FAQ maintainer [currently] with your suggestion, and whereabouts in the FAQ you think your suggestion should go.

The FAQ is available online via the Information area [Basic Access] or for download via FTP. Feel free to download it now.

The FAQ is updated whenever the FAQ maintainer gets around to it.

What is this Internet thing anyway?

The Internet is a bunch of computers that all talk to each other via various communications networks. Currently 'a bunch' is defined as multiple-millions of computers. Some computers are small personal machines, others are supercomputers with gigabytes of storage.

The Internet is used by tens of millions of people, who write general messages in Newsgroups, or exchange personal messages in Email. People also access data, innumerable sites offer access to an immense wealth of data, ranging from personal computer software, through to text, graphics and sound archives. There are more things happening on the net than you can poke a stick at. The Internet is the generic term for all of the computers, communications hardware, and software that makes the interconnection and intercommunication of computers possible.

The Internet is a worldwide phenomenon. Nobody owns the Internet, there are common guidelines that people, organisations, and countries should, and mostly do, follow. Since it is such an open environment, there are many weird and wonderful things out there available free of charge. But there is also a very real sense of anarchy -- nobody can tell anyone else what to do, how to behave, what files they should or shouldn't make available to any or all people. The Internet is an exercise in cooperation and willing participation. Do not think that you will change someone's opinion or actions merely because you think that they should be changed. If you don't like something, or someone, avoid that thing or person. Complaining rarely helps.

Minimum requirements for accessing the Internet Project

You will need a computer. A modem suitable for your computer. Software which will run on your computer. Access to a normal telephone line which your modem can connect to. Hopefully you will already know how to use your computer before attempting to use the Internet. Those people who get a computer just to get onto the Internet may have some unpleasant surprises and very steep learning curves to navigate. Walk before you run, learn one thing at a time, and don't give in to frustration.

What computer, modem, and software you need, is covered in later parts of this FAQ.

You also need a user account and password on the Internet Project's account database. In order to use the service, you must be a currently financial member of either the Australian Unix Users Group, or the PC Users Group (ACT) Inc. Access to the Internet Project is available in two forms:

Currently Basic Access is provided free of charge to members. Members should limit themselves to an hour per day on the service. Members are limited to 400 hours of Basic Access in any 12 month period. If you run out of your 400 hours, you may purchase Advanced Access and acquire a further 400 hours of time. Time Accounting

Advanced Access costs $120 for 400 'monopoly' hours of connect time. See 'Time Accounting' later in this FAQ to find out what monopoly hours are.

Advanced Access, with the appropriate application software, places your machine onto the Internet, allowing you to use tools such as FTP, Gopher, Archie, World Wide Web, IRC and other information services. There are no other costs for data transfer. Additional time can be purchased at the rate of $120 per 400 'monopoly' hours. People may purchase time in 50 hours blocks, at a slightly higher rate of $20 per 50 hours. The extra cost covers administration expenses. Effectively the Internet Project provides access at a cost of $0.30 per hour. This is significantly cheaper than the cost of using most commercial Internet service providers.

Telstra will be charging TIP commercial rates for internet access as of 1/1/96, as a result, the charging structure that TIP currently uses will have to change, to accomodate the increase in costs (estimated to be at least double what the group originally paid). There has been some discussion on the subject of pricing policies in the tip.general newsgroup. Further discussion is welcomed.

How do I connect to The Internet Project?

You need to be a current financial member of either AUUG or the PCUG. Basic Access is free to members, but offers only a limited subset of the available network tools. Advanced Access enables your computer to be temporarily a part of the Internet, and thus you are able to use a wide range of Internet tools to navigate and interrogate the Internet.

NOTE WELL As from the 1st of June 1995, the PCUG Committee implemented a decision which affects how soon a member can expect to be able to access The Internet Project. The new rule is as follows

You need a user account and password. In order to get an account and password, you have to follow these steps. Fill in an internet application form (available in each copy of Sixteen Bits), send it off, wait for TWO WEEKS, and then call the PCUG centre on 239 6511 between 9am and 5pm on a Saturday or Sunday, the centre staffer will inform you if your internet details are available or not. If they are, you can then go out to the centre, sign the 'acceptable use' policy, after which you will be given your userid and password.

Please note that you will NOT be informed when your account details are ready. You MUST call the centre and ask them if your password and account is available, and you MUST go out to the centre to sign the acceptable use policy before your account id and password is handed over to you.

You need to sign an 'acceptable usage' policy, which states that you will take full responsibility for what you do with your account. There are strict provisos that the Internet Project levies upon users of the service; breaking the rules will mean instant suspension of service. Please contact the Internet Project coordinator of the PCUG or AUUG (whichever organisation you belong to) for more information.

You need to know the phone number of the service: (06) 239 7877.

You need a computer, a modem, access to a telephone line, and suitable software that your computer can run, in order to communicate with the Internet Project. Please see the sections on 'Minimum computer hardware' Hardware and 'Minimum computer software' to find out more information on what software and hardware you require, depending upon whether you use the Basic service or the Advanced service.

To obtain access, use the forms provided in Sixteen Bits (AUUG members: Contact your Committee for the forms) and mail them with the appropriate fee to:

Allow at least TWO WEEKS for your application to be processed, then drop in to the PCUG Centre (17 Dalby Street, Fyshwick) on any weekend between 9am and 5pm to up your userid and password [and sign the Acceptable Usage policy]. See Minumum Computer Hardware and Minimum computer software for Basic Access or Advanced Access to find out what hardware/software you need to access the Internet Project.

Hardware in use by the Internet Project

The AUUG and PCUG have shared the infrastructure costs of providing this service. The two groups are both non-profit organisations, seeking to provide services to their respective members, on a volunteer basis.

The hardware for the group is located at the PCUG Centre, in Dalby Street, Fyshwick.

The hardware consists of

The total cost of the project in its first few months of operation, is estimated to be around $52,000. This includes the $25,000 affiliate Telstra charge, all of the hardware, the Telstra ISDN line, Telstra phone lines, software, and sundry other costs.

Ongoing costs are projected to be in the order of $65,000 - $75,000 a year, depending upon expected improvements in both ISDN bandwidth and modem+Telstra lines. Note that the initial AARNet/Telstra deal cost the group $30,000 for 12 months connectivity. Telstra have changed their pricing scheme, effectively doubling the cost to the group. However, there are some benefits envisaged from this extra cost, such as a faster ISDN link to the ANU. Nothing is set in concrete for 1996, so keep a lookout in the tip.announce newsgroup for any announcements on service charges, changes, or updates.

Any excess, or 'profit' from subscriptions to the service, will go towards expanding the service. All money raised from the Internet Project will go towards ongoing funding of the Project.

It was considered a brave move by both organisations to commit to such an investment in equipment in order to provide the service, considering that nobody knew if the service was going to be popular or in demand.

What is the difference between Basic Access and Advanced Access

Basic Access is free to members. Members are able to dial up the Internet Project using a communications program, see Basic Access Software. From the logon screen, members can connect to our file server 'Supreme', and be presented with a limited Unix Shell. This is a menu driven system that enables you to do a number of things

Basic Access does not provide you with the prerequisite tools to "surf the Net"; it is a very limited basic service which enables communication with the world via the Internet Project, and is subsidised by those people who have paid for Advanced Access. If you want to use tools such as FTP, WWW, Gopher, Archie, IRC etc, you will need to upgrade to Advanced Access, and install the necessary software to enable you to establish a session.

It has been put forward that Basic Access be moved to a SLIP/PPP connection regime, thus enabling WWW clients (accessing locally held WWW pages), better Newsreaders, and Email programs. Persons using Basic access in this form, will denied access to external network resources. Those who wish to access the wider net, need to acquire Advanced Access from the group.

Advanced Access costs $120 for 400 'monopoly hours'. (Monopoly hours are explained under 'Time Accounting'). In order to access the Internet Project as an Advanced user, you must have the prerequisite hardware and software to enable you to establish a session. Then you use your local computer, and programs on your computer, to communicate directly with machines on the Internet. You can 'TELNET' to Supreme, and use the features of Basic Access, if you wish; indeed to see your current time usage and time left, you will need to do this on occasion. See 'TELNET' later in this FAQ.

Advanced Access puts your machine on the Internet, and allows you to use tools such as WWW, FTP and Archie, in order to delve into the Internet seeking information or entertainment.

Time Accounting on the Internet Project

What are these 400 'monopoly hours'?

Well, they're like a bank account which deals with units of time. When you get your Advanced Access (or Basic Access!) account, 400 hours are deposited in your monopoly hours account. Time is deducted from your account for each minute you are connected to one of the Internet Project's modems.

The project only has a limited number of modems, and a great many users. In order to be be fair and reasonable, daily usage of the Internet Project modem resources should be limited to one hour per day.

Whilst it would be nice to be able to stay on the network for hours on end, it isn't economically feasible to provide a modem for each user that wishes to use the service. Indeed, with 1200 members [and still growing], even the promised one hour of access per day is not feasible! There simply isn't enough modem time to go around.

Actually implementing a 'one hour a day' policy is somewhat unfair to those people who wish to spend some extra time exploring the 'Net, and getting to know how to navigate through the vast maze of servers and information providers.

So the administrators of the Internet Project have devised a scheme were it costs greater and greater amounts of 'monopoly minutes' to stay online past your allocated hour.

The first hour is debited from your account at one minute per minute you are logged on. During the second hour, you are debited two minutes for each minute you are logged on. During the third hour, you are debited three minutes for each minute you are logged on. This means that it will cost you a single 'monopoly' hour to be on for your allocated hour, but it will cost you six monopoly hours to be online for three hours!

Your 400 hours lasts until you run out - this may take you three months, or two years. As long as you remain a financial member of AUUG or the PCUG, your time credits are available. When you run out of your 400 hours, you may purchase an additional 400 hours for another $120. [Note: There will be changes to these arrangements as of 1 January 1996.]

If you require more online time than the Internet Project allows you, then you might seek access through a commercial service provider that can cater to your special needs. Some commercial providers are Spirit Networks, OzEmail, Dialix and NetInfo. More are coming along as the Internet grows in Australia.

What do I do if I have a problem?

Don't panic. Try not to get frustrated. Work through your problem trying to identify the point of failure, and try to determine what it is which is causing you problems. Referring to the documentation that should have been provided with your software, and hardware, you should be able to make some headway into the problem. There are innumerable things that 'can go wrong', some of them are mentioned later on in this FAQ under 'Common Problems'. Read the and tip.general newsgroups. (See tip.announce, If you're stuck with a particular program, send a help message to You can also send a mail message to, and your query will be read by a small group of helpers, who will try to assist you with your problem.

If you cannot connect to the service at all, then your first avenue of attack should be to post a message on the PCUG's Bulletin Board System, in the PCUG_INTERNET_HELP echo. State your problem clearly, saying what avenues you've looked at to try and fix your problem. Refer to this and other FAQs to ascertain some clues that may help you in your search for the piece of information that is causing you the most concern.

If you can connect to the Internet Project, and your problem is specific to some application or other, then you have a number of avenues for support:

  • You can email

    This is a mailing list of 'dedicated problem solvers', one of whom will take on board your problem and try to ascertain the cause of it.

  • Send a message to the newsgroup

    This newsgroup is local to the Internet Project, and is visited by many people, who will offer advice on your stated problems. DO NOT be afraid to ask questions. Even if you think they're dumb or stupid, you can get clarification. Everyone has to learn, nobody just -knows- everything, so if you're confused or unsure, ASK. People have been told not bite the heads off people who are genuinely seeking help. :-)

  • Send a message on the BBS to PCUG_INTERNET_HELP.

    A number of people scan that area for people who are having trouble, and offer helpful advice, and tips on how to solve common problems. If you're really desperate for help, leave a phone number in your message, and someone will probably call you about your problem.

  • DO NOT call people up on the phone seeking immediate help. With 1200+ users [growing daily] and a limited number of 'experts' on tap, it's quite easy for the volunteers to suddenly make themselves unavailable for answering questions, no matter how important. If you post messages stating your problem, we have a record of problems, and can provide more information in FAQs like this, or hint sheets, or technical tips, which will help others to avoid the hurdles that you inadvertently banged into. When you call someone on the phone, there is no obvious record that a problem even existed, never mind how it was solved. It's very nice to get immediate on-tap help, but when volunteers get 40-70 calls a night, the novelty of being a 'guru' soon wears thin.

    If your problem isn't solved by discussion in those various areas, then post your problem again, stating that is hasn't been answered, and someone will contact you on the phone, or offer what assistance they can.

    Please note the restrictions upon what hardware and software combinations are currently supported. Helping someone get non-standard computers (i.e. not Macintosh/Amiga/IBM PC) onto the Internet is not going to be high priority for anyone! :-)

    PLEASE make sure your problem reports are not simple messages saying "mail does not work, please fix it for me." If you have a problem, you should write down the error messages you recieve. Your problem report should include your machine type, what sort of modem you have (speed & type), your operating system, which version of the SLIP kit you are using, and anything pertinent to the problem. If you don't supply information, then the helpers cannot 'read your mind' to find out what is wrong. Please be aware that TIP is run by volunteers, and their time is given freely -- if you demand too much, then the volunteers will leave. If too many volunteers leave, then the service will suffer even more.

    What you can do with Basic Access

    Basic Access lets you send and receive personal email. It also lets you send and read Internet newsgroups. Basic Access is accessed by using a communications program such as Telix, calling up the Project, entering your userid and password, then connecting to Supreme, which is the PCUG's file server. Once there you are put into a restricted shell, where you can access News, Email, change your password, upload and download files to/from Supreme, and do some sundry account keeping, such as viewing how much time you have used this session, how much time you have used in total, and how much time you have left in your monopoly account.

    Basic Access is offered as a free service, subsidised entirely by those people who have paid for Advanced Access. Offline mail and news via UUCP is available upon request (please email for further information)

    Why you can't do lots of keen Internet things with just Basic Access

    Basic Access merely allows you to access News and Email. You don't get access to FTP, Gopher, Archie, IRC, WWW or any of the other keen things that the Advanced people take for granted. The restricted shell environment is very minimal; see this . If you want a better service, you should upgrade to Advanced Access.

    What you can do with Advanced Access

    With Advanced Access you effectively place your machine on the Internet. Using applications such as Telnet, Netscape, Eudora, WS_FTP, you can browse and access information from around the globe. Any product that exists for the PC that claims to be able to do something with the Internet, can be run from your machine once you establish a session with the Internet Project. A non-exhaustive list of applications would include

    ...all of which are expanded upon in a later section of this FAQ.

    Why you can't do some keen things even when you have Advanced Access

    Some, a very few, applications, require certification in the form of an entry in a Domain Name Service. That is to say, in order to access some FTP sites (for example) they will not allow you to access them if your host address isn't on their Domain Name Service. Whilst I'm informed that the router's ports are all in the DNS in the format, it appears that some sites don't recognise this. I don't see any way around this restriction, which is placed upon services for their own reasons.

    Some people would like to be able to login to our main server ( and execute programs such as FTP, or TELNET, or whatever. The PCUG simply does not provide this level of access. Our file server is meant largely for data access; it isn't a powerful machine, and cannot support multiple users doing CPU intensive tasks, such as compiling, running editors etc.

    Please be aware that Unix shell availability on our site is not an option. If you wish to have such a service, then other service providers will happily provide you with such access.

    Software needed for Basic Access

    To access the Internet Project's basic service, you need a computer, a modem, and a phone line. You also need some software which enables you to use your modem effectively. Owners of IBM machines are usually provided with a communications program when they purchase a modem. Personally, I steer clear of specialised Communications programs (since there are such a lot of them), and I prefer the shareware product 'Telix', which is a mature, full-featured communications program, which has some nice features, and is relatively cheap to register.

    TELIX is available on the PCUG BBS in the communications section of the Files area. I mention this because you may have Terminal for Windows, which will work, but isn't anywhere near as functional as Telix. Using Terminal for Windows, you can connect to the PCUG, and download Telix to your computer.

    Configuring a modem and communications program to work on your computer, is beyond the scope of this document. PCUG members can attend a training course 'How to use the BBS effectively', which covers such things as configuring and connecting modems to your computer.

    You should be able to use a comms program to access the PCUG's BBS. This will confirm that your setup is communicating with the world. You should then be able to call the Internet Project's number, login, connect to the file server, and login again, and then go into the restricted shell which enables you to access news, email, and other functions. This is covered later in the 'How to connect' section.

    Software needed for Advanced Access

    The PCUG BBS has an Internet file area, which contains the necessary basic software to get you onto the network. The Internet Project also has these files available via anonymous FTP, from in the pub/pc/kits directory.

    You are not forced to use this software, but you should realise that if you use different software, that there will be limited expertise should you run into problems with configurations, or connecting with the service.

    There are currently two kits. The smaller (190Kbyte) SLKIT2xx.EXE is a self extracting archive consisting of the Trumpet Winsock software. This is a shareware product, written by a Peter Tattam, from the University of Tasmania. If you continue to use it, you should consider registering the software.

    The larger archive (1.39Mbytes) WSKIT2xx.EXE is a self extracting archive of various applications that utilise Windows Sockets to talk to the Internet. Current applications include WSFTP, Netscape, Eudora, Trumpet News, Free Agent, and Ping. You need BOTH of these kits in order to use the service -- SLKIT by itself does not provide any applications software which actually use the Sockets it provides, and the applications in the WSKIT require a socket application to be running before they can be invoked. Attempting to invoke a TCP/IP application without a Socket application running, will result in various wild and wonderful errors.

    Both of these kits are touted as 'self extracting'. DO NOT execute these files randomly. You must extract the files using PKUNZIP with the -d option, to create subdirectories, otherwise valuable information is lost! See the next section on 'installing your software'.

    Some people claim that Winzip does the right thing when extracting these zip files, creating the subdirectories as required. Winzip is a fine product which many people swear by.

    Windows 95 has it's own network software, which should work fine with the Internet Project. The WARP version of OS/2 also has native software which will enable you to connect to the Internet. Windows NT 3.51 has native networking built in too. This FAQ only deals with common configurations and problems, that users get when using the kits provided.

    For those people having difficulties trying to get Windows 95 networking going should reference the following WWW pages:

    Software kits for machines OTHER than IBM compatibles, are not currently available through TIP, although people could be found who are using such kits, if you ask politely in the tip.general or newsgroups. tip.announce,

    Installing the software required for Advanced Access on your machine

    When you get the kits from the BBS (or however), you have to unpack them on your machine. They are ostensibly self-extracting archives. DO NOT JUST EXECUTE AND EXTRACT THESE KITS!

    Placement of the software is critical. Correct extraction of the software is also critical. Incorrect installation of the software *will* result in frustration and unecessary angst trying to get things running smoothly.

    You will need PKUNZIP.EXE, which is part of Phil Katz immensely popular PKZIP package. PKZIP is available on the BBS as PKZ204G.EXE, if you don't already have a copy. PKUNZIP should be in a directory that is in your PATH (do SET to see what your PATH is set to).

    You will also need a fair amount of hard disk space -- approximately five megabytes.

    The default configuration of these kits assumes that they are located on the 'root' directory of drive C:. This can change, but be aware that the configuration files for various pieces of software have to change as well, which will considerably complicate the entire process. If you have the space on drive C then please consider using the default installation.

    The steps involved are

    Minimum hardware configurations for Windows connections

    Windows is a resource hog. Its favourite resource is memory. Its secondary favourite is hard disk space. Trying to run Windows with anything less than 4MBytes of memory and 80MBytes of HD space, is going to cause you many many problems.

    Accessing the Internet via Windows introduces its own set of stresses. Trying to use a 286 machine with the SLKIT and WSKIT is bound to cause you many headaches. Indeed, some of the WSKIT applications just Will Not Work on anything less than a 386 processor. Even with a 386, you're going to be straining your resources with anything less than a DX33.

    You need a modem. The faster the better. The Internet Project uses 28.8K V.FAST modems, and supports speeds of 1200, 2400, 9600, 12000, 14400, 24000, and 28800 bits per second. A staggering range of modems exist, and most of them should have no problems connecting with the service. The exceptions being 1200 and 2400 when using PPP -- these modems CANNOT be expected to provide sufficient bandwidth to support PPP or SLIP connections. It is highly recommended that Advanced Access users have a modem that is capable of 9600bps or better.

    People using 14400 or 28000 connections on PC Clones, should make sure that they have a buffered ("16550") UART chip on their serial card. Windows tends to be less snappy than Dos in servicing the interrupts generated by the serial port; having the buffered chip will stop a whole load of problems relating to lost data during serial transfers.

    A hard disk is required to store the software.

    You will find it difficult to run multiple Windows applications with anything less than 4Mbytes of memory.

    Minimum hardware configurations for DOS connections

    A DOS kit is available. It is called Minuet. This will run on a 286 or above, with 2MB of memory. The provided applications only support text mode, so you won't see pictures when accessing the World Wide Web. Functionally, it should be equivalent to the Windows versions.

    You require a modem, see the section above for more information.

    How to connect to the Internet Project with different computers (Amiga, Mac, Linux

    You will need a modem. You will need special software which enables TCP/IP sessions to run over SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol) or PPP (Point to Point Protocol) connections. PPP is more robust, but SLIP is supported by the Internet Project if it is required. There will shortly be a MAC Slip kit, and an Amiga Slip Kit available in the PCUG BBS's Internet area, as well as from in pub/mac/kits and pub/amiga/kits directories.

    Linux and Unix users have a wealth of network software to chose from, and it is assumed that users of these products will know enough to fend for themselves.

    This FAQ does not pretend to cover problems encountered when using other hardware platforms.

    How to connect to the Internet Project with Basic Access

    Start your communications program. I assume that people know how to make sure that their comms program is communicating with the modem at a sensible speed.

    Set up a phonebook entry for the Internet Project, containing the phone number (239 7877), this will save you a lot of typing. If you prefer, you can initiate the call using modem commands -- entering ATDT 2397877 (or use an ATDP prefix if you don't have tone dialling) will cause the modem to dial the number, and with luck, connect you to the board. DO NOT type anything on your keyboard before you see 'CONNECT' on your screen, unless you want to immediately abort the call.

    Once connected, you will be prompted for a username:


    Here you enter the username you received when you signed the Acceptable Use policy. Your username is in lower case ONLY; be aware that uppercase or mixed case usernames will cause you problems, since the software will not recognised you if you don't use the lower case name you have been assigned. Press after entering your name. You will be then prompted for a password:


    Type in your password -exactly- as shown on your userid / password document. Again, this is a case sensitive operation; be aware of the difference between the numeral '0' (zero) and the letter 'o', as well as the difference between the letters 'l' and 'i' the numeral '1'.

    If you get either the password or the username wrong, then you will be advised of this, and prompted to enter your username and password again. Three bad attempts will cause the software to drop you out, thus wasting your phone call.

    Once the service accepts you, a menu should appear. It has a number of choices;

    slip default
    ppp default
    connect supreme

    Since you're using Basic Access, the only sensible choice is 'connect supreme', so type that in, and a session should be established to the server. ('supreme' is the name of the Sun Sparcstation machine. When you dial in, you connect to 'kryten', 'robbie', or 'daneel', which are Cisco router/terminal servers, each with 16 modems/Telstra lines attached to them).

    Note that if you attempt to use SLIP or PPP (two mechanisms for establishing a connection to the Internet) without having paid for Advanced access, that you will be barred from access for the duration of that call. Attempts to 'hack' the system, that is, gain access to services without authorisation, will be treated very harshly, as detailed in the Acceptable Use policy document.

    There is an exception to the above; all users get 5 hours of Advance Access, which they can use to see if they would like to avail themselves of that level of service. Once this 5 hours is used up, further Advanced Access attempts will be disallowed (unless you elect pay for the service)

    Once at the server, you will have to again log on to supreme, using the same username and password as you did to connect to the router. Again, case sensitivity and correctness is an issue. Get the username/password combination wrong three times, and you will be unceremoniously booted out of that session.

    After successfully navigating the login screen, you will be presented with a restricted shell, featuring a menu. This FAQ does not attempt to describe the menu -- most of the things in the menu are self-explanatory. To read email or news, you use PINE. To send or receive files, you use SZ or RZ. There are a number of online FAQ's (like this one) dealing with various concepts and programs.

    The restricted shell environment is severely limiting and user unfriendly. This is unfortunate, but necessary in order to prevent people from accessing parts of the server that contain project-sensitive data.

    In order to read email and news from your home machine, using Eudora or Free Agent, or any other TCP/IP product, you must have Advanced access, as well as the necessary software kits. Basic Access only provides for online access to news and mail through PINE.

    How to connect to the Internet Project with Advanced Access

    You need to install both software kits first. Please read the section of this FAQ detailing software installation for Advanced Access before attempting to connect to the service

    Make sure your modem is on. Make sure your software is configured. Invoke Windows, open up the Winsock Applications folder, invoke TCPMAN.

    TCPMAN, if correctly configured, should ask you for your username and password the -first- time it is invoked. You have to enter the relevant details you acquired when you signed the Acceptable Usage policy. TCPMAN's login script will execute automatically.

    TCPMAN will then dial the Internet Project, and as long as a modem is available, should connect. The script should enter your username and password, invoke PPP (Point to Point Protocol), and then TCPMAN should eventually show you your temporary IP address, assigned by the Cisco router, determined by which modem port you managed to get in to.

    Once TCPMAN has connected, it just sits there. All TCPMAN is doing is providing a mechanism for communicating with the outside world, and provides "sockets" which applications can plug in to. DO NOT CLOSE DOWN TCPMAN! If you CLOSE the application, then your link to the world is gone. Whilst you are using the Internet, you must leave TCPMAN running. You should MINIMISE the TCPMAN application, so that it is just an icon on your Windows screen.

    Start up the NetScape WWW application. If it is configured correctly, it should go out to the NetScape home page, displaying text and graphics on the screen.

    Or you might like to put in the URL
    HTTP:// If you get something on the screen, you're on the Internet. If it doesn't, the it is either not configured correctly, or TCPMAN isn't really talking to the Internet. You can also use PING, described in the next section of this FAQ, to determine if you're on the net,

    If TCPMAN's automatic script fails to connect you for some reason, you can always fall back to doing a MANUAL login. Here are the steps required:

    TCPMAN should be invoked (double click on the icon). Any automatic script should be cancelled [click the 'cancel' button on the password requestor]

    From the Dialler menu, select MANUAL LOGIN, this will take TCPMAN into command mode, allowing you to communicate directly with the modem.

    Enter the command


    Press , and you should get OK or something on the screen. This verifies that TCPMAN is actually 'talking' to your modem. If you do not get some response from your modem, then you have either misconfigured TCPMAN, or your modem isn't on, or there is some conflict between Windows and your COM port. Windows is notorious for not recognising COM3 and COM4, so if your modem is on one of those ports, you should check out the 'all about modems' section later in this FAQ.

    Once you are satisfied that you are communicating with the modem [i.e you got an OK or some response from your ATI command], enter the modem command to dial the Internet Project:


    This will dial the number. If a modem is available, it will answer, and you should see CONNECT on the screen, and then a login prompt. DO NOT press any keys whilst the modem is dialling, or before the CONNECT string appears on the screen, otherwise the modem will abort it's dialling attempt.

    At the login prompt, enter your username and password EXACTLY as it appears on your username / password document, which you recieved when you signed the Acceptable use policy. CASE is important. All TIP userids are *lower case only*. Similarly passwords are case sensitive. Be aware of the differences between the letter o, and the numeral 0, and the letter 'l' and the numeral '1'. You get three chances to get your username / password combination correct. After three failed attempts you will be disconnected.

    Once your username and password is accepted, you will be presented with a menu. The only piece of information you want to see are the magic words 'ppp default.'

    Enter the string

    ppp default

    This will tell the Cisco router/terminal-server you are talking to, to initiate a Point to Point connection. You might see a string of 'garbage' start to appear on your screen. This is normal, and is the handshaking process initiated by the router to start a PPP session.

    You should then press the ESC key. TCPMAN will then establish a PPP session, you should see some text appear on the screen to the effect that a PPP session is being established, and then TCPMAN should say 'Your IP is 203.10.74.xx', which means that you have established a connection.

    Use Netscape to verify that you are indeed on the net, or use PING, described in the next section of this FAQ.

    Convincing yourself that you're connected to the Internet Project

    The easiest and most obvious way to prove that you're on the net, it to use an application that shows you something. Netscape is probably the best one, since it's almost immediate, as long as it is configured correctly. From Netscape's OPEN dialog, enter the URL


    And you should be greeted with the Internet Project's home page.

    Alternatively, if you suspect Netscape isn't configured correctly, you can use the WS_PING application that comes with the WSKIT2xx.EXE, to verify that you're on the net.

    Invoke PING from it's icon. It should come up with a grey screen. Select BlockingPing from the menu, which will bring up a dialog box. In the HOST part, type in the name '' then press OK. You should get a series of 'ping' responses back from the server.

    If this doesn't happen after a few seconds, press the ESC key, and try again, except this time put the following number in the HOST field

    This is the IP address for supreme.

    If THIS doesn't work, then TCPMAN isn't communicating with the world, and you have something wrong with your configuration.

    If '' failed, yet '' worked, then it indicates that TCPMAN isn't set up correctly. Read the README file associated with TCPMAN, and make sure that within the FILE menu, under SETUP, the 'name server' field is filled in as '' (without the quotes). A Name server is a directory service which matches machine names to IP addresses, this enables you to use 'supreme' instead of ''.

    If you're still not communicating with the net, then you need to do some trouble shooting, or get help by sending a message to PCUG_INTERNET_HELP on the PCUG BBS.

    All about Modems (General discussion, not specific brands of modem)

    There are many brands of modems on the market. Each brand of modem should do the same basic things:

    The general rule with modems is, the faster their rated speed, the better. The rated speed is in Bits Per Second. A 2400BPS modem can deliver about 235 characters per second. A 9600BPS modem can deliver 1,100 characters per second, using data compression techniques. 14.4KBPS modems deliver 1,600cps, and 28.8K modems can deliver up to 3,600cps.

    Newer modems are generally more tolerant of line conditions, these devices have programs that analyse the quality of telephon lines, and automatically retrain to lower (or higher) transmission speeds. These days 2400 is considered slow, 9600 barely adequate, 14.4K is ok, and 28.8K is the best.

    28.8K modems come in two flavours -- the pre CCITT certification version, using V.FAST protocols, and the V.34 certified models. The modem industry has attempted to make the two kinds of protocol interoperable (i.e. a V.FAST modem should be able to connect to a V.34 modem, at 28.8K) but they haven't promised anything. The PCUG initially purchased V.FAST 28.8K modems. The 32 new modems are V.34 modems. They are all Maestro modems, and are all interoperable with Maestra V.FAST and V.34 modems.

    How do you know if your modem is set up correctly?

    If your modem is connected correctly, you should be able to start up any communications program, (Windows terminal will do), and send the modem commands and get information back.

    The best command is ATI, enter the three characters, and press the Enter key. All modems will return something to this command, usually an identification string, or a simple 'Ok' response. If you don't get a response, then you could have a speed, parity, or other incompatibility that can be fixed by setting up your communications program properly.

    Comms parameters for modems depend upon their brand and rated speed. There are innumerable variants of modem command sets, with (thankfully) a small set of common commands that are mostly the same between all 'Hayes compatible' modems. These days the most common parameters for communicating with modems are the byte size, the number of stop bits, parity and speed.