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By Jim Gerland and Mark Winer

Check out our bi-weekly Net perspective. Our goal is to make these columns useful for our readers whether they be novice or pro, while still offering a fun to read column. Feel free to let us know what Internet resources you find useful in your personal, educational, or business life - it might just end up in one of our columns!


Surfing the Web from a WNY perspective
September 19, 1995

We were very pleased when first approached to write a regular column for the Buffalo News about the Internet. The News had just finished running a five part series on the Internet by Patrick Crispin called "The Internet Roadmap Series" which we helped edit. Patrick's articles covered the basics of the Internet including its history, available resources, and tools for accessing information, such as telnet, ftp, email, gopher, and world wide web browsers, such as lynx, mosaic and netscape.

Rather than repeat much of what Patrick already covered we thought we'd use this column as a opportunity to tell you about some of the useful and cool things available via the Internet. For those of you that missed the previous articles you can access them at http://bfn.org. Once there, click on the hyperlink to Online Plaza and Teleport. Next you see a link entitled "Patrick Crispen's Roadmap Workshop" clicking on this takes you to all 27 sessions on which the News articles were based.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves we should back track a bit and make sure that everyone reading this understands what's going on. This thing we call the Buffalo Free-Net is an electronic community information service. Basically that means a pretty powerful computer with lots of information that is connected directly to the Internet. This computer system is maintained by a group of individuals who volunteer their time and expertise to offer such a service. On this computer (we'll call it the Buffalo Free-Net from now on) you can find information related to almost anything in our community.

Once accessed, the Buffalo Free-Net will be your on-ramp to the information super highway. Getting connected to the Free-Net is relatively straight forward. First, you'll need to get a few things together. The lists includes a computer, modem, and communication software. If you've bought a computer system in the last three years chances are that it will do fine. Your computer needs run a communications software package like Kermit, Crosstalk or Procomm. These packages will allow you to dial into the Buffalo Free-Net machine. The last piece to the puzzle is a modem. We recommend that you use a modem that is capable of at least 14.4 kbs. When surfing the net speed makes a difference, the faster the modem the less time spent waiting around.

Next you'll have to get an account on the Buffalo Free-Net. This is very easy, all you have to do is set-up your communication software with the following parameters:

Data Bits - 8
Parity - none
VT100 terminal type

To get a Free-Net account follow the next steps.

  1. Dial 645-3085 with your modem
  2. You will see a screen prompting you for to login. Type freeport and press return.
  3. A Welcome screen will appear. Directions to navigate you will be on the bottom of your screen.
  4. Follow the directions until you get to the Buffalo Free-Net Main Menu.
  5. Choose the Administration Building then choose "Apply for an Account".

After you send in your signed application form and your account is activated can login to the Free-Net using your new account and visit the Online Plaza where you'll find the "Internet Roadmap" sessions.

If you've never been on the Free-Net machine before you'll find educational, medical, government, and legal information.

We'd like to make this column useful to you and fun for you to read. We'll be pointing out Internet addresses for interesting Internet resources and in that process we'll detail each of the Internet tools mentioned above.

We'd like to make this a "Western New York View of the Internet" column so feel free to let us know what Internet resources you find useful in your personal, educational, or business life. Finally, tell us what's going on in the computing world around WNY such as user group meetings, presentations, seminars, or special interest group Free-Net areas and web pages you're involved with.

You can send us email, edge@edgeglobal.com   , phone us, 1-888-903-EDGE, fax us, 716-853-1350.