This paper discusses the implementation by dialup means of user friendly client server software such as email handlers, newsreaders and file transfer tools that are more usually found in the high speed Ethernet environment. These include solutions for the Macintosh, DOS and Windows environments. Dialup means includes plain asynchronous serial connection, UUCP as well as the highly desirable SLIP connection.
It is not the place of this short paper to discuss the nature of the beautiful anarchy that is the Internet. The underlying assumption is that the Internet, whatever its powers and joys, will not be truly global until the tools available to access it are within the reach of all; in addition, they need to be most "user friendly" for their common acceptance and popular adoption. The image of the sixties, seventies or even eighties computer "nerd" is at last fading away, along with the white-coated high priests who controlled computer systems and hence access to them, as we see young school children engage in email, desktop video conferencing and the creation of multimedia.
The purpose of this paper is to indicate that such desirable software tools are available now, which, when combined with the increasing ease of Internet access and availability, is bringing the Information Highway to the homes and workplaces of many. My focus will be on dialup tools and access. We need not be concerned with the well endowed educational institutions or government agencies. However, this is not to say that there is no need to raise the awareness of such bodies to the contemporary network information retrieval scene. Many will still clutch on to what they know and otherwise intelligent persons can be found confined to a command-line interface, despite the fact that tools with beautiful graphical user interfaces are readily available to them!
So, what is "Internet access" ? Not long ago, the yard stick (is this politically incorrect language?) was the ownership by one of an email address of the form firstname.lastname@example.org For example, one of my email addresses is: email@example.com, where rehn is the user name, cleo is the host and murdoch.edu.au is the domain. But I have another address: firstname.lastname@example.org Now, this second address looks impressive. I have Internet access! However, all I can do with this type of Internet access is read and post email and news. It is a UUCP (Unix to Unix CoPy) account only. I cannot do file transfer (FTP), gopher, browse the World Wide Web or engage in the most recent delight of the Internet: desktop video conferencing using Cornell University's magical CU-SeeMe. To have full Internet access, I need an account on a machine that is fully connected to the network, so that I can do all the above and more. Even using the TCP/IP protocol suite is not synonymous with having full Internet access: many government and commercial networks use TCP/IP but are barricaded behind a "firewall" that prevents them from performing the most commonplace of networking tasks. However, the ultimate in Internet access is, of course, to be a "peer" on the network. That is, the machine on my desktop uses TCP/IP and has its own Internet number (IP number).
As I write this paper at home on my Macintosh PowerBook 170, I am presently connected to the Internet by a 9600 bps modem and I am using SL/IP or SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol). I can use all my usual university workplace high speed Ethernet connected network information retrieval (NIR) tools, albeit at a slower rate. I am a peer on the network, as I have my own unique IP number. SLIP has only just been implemented at Murdoch University and, indeed, I am most fortunate in being the first and presently the only user of SLIP, as I trial and develop the software. However, prior to this, I have adapted several NIR tools such as the email handlers and newsreaders Eudora for the Mac and NUPop for DOS/Windows, as well as other useful tools to work very effectively over plain asynchronous dialup access.
Thus, in this paper, I shall outline my activities in adapting NIR tools for the Macintosh, DOS and Windows for the following types of Internet access:
Thus, the solutions I outline will be seen to have a wide applicability, especially to the institution that has the usual Xylogics terminal server access, via an access. I am constantly surprised by the statements of network services people from a variety of locations, such that Eudora cannot be implemented by plain serial dialup. I hope this work will indicate that solutions are possible, using public-domain, freeware and some shareware software and will encourage others to implement similar solutions, appropriate to their environment.
Note the login process and the series of expected responses from both the annex and the host cleo. Such a sequence of responses forms the basis of "chat scripts" which are developed in many of the further applications that shall be discussed; these chat scripts enable automated login processes that are essentially "transparent" to the user. Thus, Dialup Eudora and Dialup NUPop need to perform such "navigation" automatically. Similar scripts are required for SLIP and PPP navigation. The nature of the navigation will vary from installation to installation: some annexes or terminal servers require a username and a password before login to the "remote host" can occur, whereby another username/password pair will be required. Although more complex, the principles remain the same. Thus, an understanding of the complete login process is essential for the development of the necessary chat scripts.
In passing, it is worthwhile drawing attention to the very handy Macintosh utility called CommCloser. There may be times as you develop scripts or bed down a new application that the communications port (ie. serial port) on the Mac might lock up, or a nasty piece of poorly written software might not "close the comms port" upon exit. (a 'gremlin" is present!). This little utility will free the comms port (modem or printer) and enable your comms package to once again communicate with the port and hence the modem.
Another Macintosh terminal emulation package worth a look is the freeware Termy. Termy is different from ZTerm in that it uses the Apple Communications ToolBox (CBT) and does not directly interact with the comms ports, but via "communications tools" that are extensions to be put in the Extensions Folder (under System 7). The CBT comes as a part of System 7 but needs to be installed on System 6 machines. Termy however has the draw back that now free zmodem communication tools are presently available. However, there are xmodem, ymodem and kermit tools as well as others such as telnet. More on the CBT when we look at Dialup Eudora.
While talking of useful tools, DownLine is worth tracking down on the Internet. DownLine enables the automatic de-binhexing and un-stuffing of compressed files as they are "downloaded" via ZTerm or whatever comms package is in use. And speaking of compression and de-compression, get hold of the freeware Stuffit Expander which will unstuff compressed files.
There are similar shareware terminal emulation tools available for DOS such as Telix and Telemate, that provide the zmodem protocol, as well as xmodem and ymodem. Another protocol in common use is kermit and indeed there are several terminal emulation or comms packages that are called Kermit, both on the Mac and PC. However, I am not aware of any similar shareware zmodem comms tool for Windows. Such likely candidates as MicroLink and UniCom do not offer the zmodem capability in the version in the public domain, or they have very annoying reminder screens every few minutes or so! While this is in a sense fair, as the developers have put much time and effort into the software tools, it is difficult to make a full appraisal when a major feature is not available. many Windows users find the Windows Terminal program adequate. However, this has limited capability and the user who seeks power in terminal emulation will very soon look for another comms package.
To compress your data or not? Many modems have data compression capability (MNP-5 or V42bis). Does data compression help? Yes and no. If most of your modem work will be with the transfer of text (as in email or news reading), yes, data compression will speed up substantially the transfer times. However, if you will be moving files (which invariably you will as you become an anon FTP user and begin to mine the riches of the Internet), using data compression can actually slow down the download or upload time of a compressed file. So some cautious decisions need to be made. I myself usually work with data compression off. If possible, always use error correction. Such email handlers as Eudora and NUPop will not reliably handle enclosures (attachments to the email message) without error correction.
cleo>gopher Press ? for Help, q to Quit Retrieving Directory..\ Internet Gopher Information Client 2.0 pl10 Root gopher server: infolib.murdoch.edu.au --> 1. About Gopher/ 2. Electronic Library/ 3. Library Catalogues/ 4. FTP Archive Servers/ 5. Miscellaneous/ 6. Murdoch University Computing & Networking Information/ 7. Murdoch University Library CD-ROM Network. 8. Other Gopher Servers/ 9. Other Networked Information Retrieval Tools/ 10. Phone and E-mail Information/ 11. Search all Murdoch gopher menus using Veronica <?> 12. tmp/ Press ? for Help, q to Quit Page: 1/1You will note that by typing cleo>gopher, the Internet Gopher Information Client 2.0 gopher is invoked. This is software that resides on the host cleo. The point here is that despite that fact that a "client-server" relationship is in operation, much (indeed all) of the processing is done by the host machine ie. cleo. This is to be contrasted with the full TCP/IP clients that will execute on one's one TCP/IP connected desktop machine (such as TurboGopher on the Mac and the excellent HGopher in Windows) . In this case, much of the work and processing is performed by the "client" machine on one's desktop. This takes the processing burden away from the server.
Unfortunately, at Murdoch University, MacIP is not enabled on the terminal server (that is, incoming AppleTalk packets will not get encapsulated in EtherTalk packets for transfer on the Ethernet). If it were, I could use Async AppleTalk and MacTCP and have full TCP/IP access, over the terminal server. As it is, I need to be content with just having access to AppleTalk and hence the University's AppleTalk network, including my desktop machine. I think Async AppleTalk is free for use in educational institutions. (See also IP Remote Access and ARNS PPP below).
While discussing IRC, it is worth mentioning Peter Lewis's Chat program. This is IRC made easy! A Mac user can run Chat in the background and any user (PC, Mac or Unix) can telnet into that host, which must be IP connected, and engage in interactive real time chat, without the complexities of IRC. This is recommended. It has been used at Murdoch University in conjunction with CU-SeeMe in links with Singapore and Beijing (these links being the first such links from Australia into SE Asia using CU-SeeMe).
Eudora is one of the gems of the Internet and, in view of its great acceptance by the Macintosh Internet community, it has been ported over to the PC and we have now PC-Eudora, both freeware (version 1.4) or commercial (version 2.0.2).
My story of getting Eudora running by dialup on the Mac has been a long and varied one, as I learnt about POP and SMTP protocols, dialup scripts, ResEdit and a few other bits on the side, including some basic Unix commands. Dialup Eudora at Murdoch has gone through several incarnations that are worth recounting. To get Eudora (Mac or PC) to work by dialup, two things must be achieved: echo must be defeated and care needs to be taken on how carriage returns are handled.
I use the "auto-collect" script when I have prepared my mail to send beforehand, I wish to dial up and send that mail, collect any new mail and then hangup. This process is fully automated and is completely transparent to the user, who simply launches Eudora (making sure the correct script is chosen of course). This "auto-collect" script is proving very beneficial to remote and local students and staff of Murdoch, and broader community users of cleo. The beauty of these scripts is that they are not host specific and can be used for any email host at Murdoch. They do not require the installation of srialpop on the Unix host, another advantage.
The above final result did not come about in a day. It was only relatively recently that I realised that I did not actually have to login to the host itself (cf. figure 5) and that I could telnet from the annex; the actual host details are inherent in one's email address stored in the Eudora configurations. Thus, the same scripts can be used by all at Murdoch. These scripts have in turn been modified to work in the Curtin University environment, where a username/password pair is required at their annex.
It is of interest to note that these same scripts can be used by Ray Davison's SFU version of NewsWatcher, the current version of which is NewsWatcher 2.0d17SFU and this is also available by anon ftp to ftp.sfu.ca
Also, an anon ftp to cleo.murdoch.edu.au to the directory /pub/email_tools/dialup_tools_mac will get you the files in use at Murdoch.
There is a freeware tool out there on the Net called InterSlip, current version 1.0.1. InterSlip is available by anon ftp to ftp.intercon.com If you have had some experience developing scripts for Dialup Eudora, this experience will help for the InterSlip scripts, which are of two kinds: dialling scripts and gateway scripts. Fortunately, the dialling scripts or extensions used by AppleTalk Remote Access (ARA) are often useable for InterSlip. However, I have this dog of a modem, a Telecom TEL 596, which no one had heard of, let alone developed an ARA script for. My process was to a great extent trail and error, whereby I tried many ARA scripts and got one that almost worked and fiddled that until it did. I must mention very handy utility for working with ARA scripts and that is Modem WorkShop. Modem WorkShop will enable you to develop scripts and test them on the fly. It will also be handy for developing and saving the above gateway scripts which handle the navigation through the SLIP server and request a SLIP connection.
A SLIP connection enables Internet Protocol over serial asynchronous dialup lines. Thus, this is the ultimate in user friendly Internet access. With a SLIP connection, you are a "peer" on the network, with your own IP number (which may be temporary or one you always have, depending on the SLIP provider). Once connected via SLIP, you can launch the usual Ethernet connected tools with their graphical user interface. This includes Eudora and NewsWatcher and a myriad of other network tools, some of which are referred to in Roger Atkinson's paper in these proceedings (Atkinson, 1994) and also in an earlier paper by me (Rehn, 1994a).
A utility worth mentioning in the context of MacTCP is again Peter Lewis's MacTCP Watcher, a handy tool for checking one's connection and finding out the IP numbers and names of other machines on the network.
In the screen snap (figure 7) is seen the InterSlip setup control panel and the configurations for one of the services I use - a connection to Murdoch's SLIP server, using a Murdoch gateway script and a simple dialling script that I found at ftp.tidbits.com, the site run by Adam Engst, the author of The Internet Starter Kit for the Macintosh (Engst, 1993), as well as the Internet Starter Kit for Windows (to be released soon, I understand). The former is highly recommended reading for both the novice and experienced Macintosh net surfer, and I am sure the Windows edition will be just as useful a guide.
I have not the space to discuss PPP connectivity other than to say the freeware tool MacPPP is perhaps easier to configure than InterSLIP, with a lovely "chat" script interaction dialogue to fill out. This is scripting made easy! PPP is "point-to-point protocol" and is often described as SLIP how it was meant to be. Reference should also be made to the recently released University of Melbourne's ARNS PPP which will, apparently, allow a Unix host to support PPP, providing the network terminal server has MacIP enabled. Thus, I have not had the opportunity to explore ARNS PPP; I am grateful to the University of Western Australia for allowing me both SLIP and PPP access, prior to Murdoch establishing SLIP.
Telecentres could maintain UUCP sites that require little maintenance, that local users can dialup via UUCP and collect mail and news. Setting up a UUCP site is not difficult compared to the complexities of a Unix host. Sure, it's not full Internet access by any means. But what have people out in the bush got at present? Long distance calls to urban coastal centres or one or two regional centres, the number of which it is granted will grow. My concern is with the provision of "Internet access" in the present and UUCP offers an easy and affordable solution.
Eudora can be configured to use UUCP. On my home Mac, I use uupc 3.1 to connect to my UUCP host, send any prepared mail and receive any incoming mail. Surprise! Surprise! I can even configure the amazing Eudora to compose and read my UUCP mail. Thus, I have a very user friendly setup, using a mail handler which, in other environments, receives no end of praise. Again, some chat scripts need to be written to logon to the UUCP host. Similarly, there are UUCP news readers such as TheNews which is a newsreader in common use on Ethernet connected machines. The news can be read after unpacking with an agent such as rnmac. uupc can also be configured to run on a PC, a task I look forward to doing. See figure 8. Note the strange UUCP addressing conventions in the Eudora configuration setup. However, once configured, a UUCP setup consisting of uupc and Eudora is reliable and speedy. A poor person's means of "Internet access" but not to be denigrated by those who have Ethernet and direct connection as their standard.
NUPop is available via anon ftp to ftp.acns.nwu.edu. The real mode versions will run on an old XT or AT, while the protected modes require a 386 or better, with 2MB or more of RAM. The current release is 2.0.2. A 2.1 version is in alpha test release and this version supports Internet news reading via dialup. NUPop has the ability to do a "Finger" by dialup, something that MacEudora, commercial or public domain, cannot do. there is also a useful terminal program inbuilt. Unfortunately, it does not do file transfer and, as the NUPop project is ending, there will not be any.
NUPop can be used in the same "auto-collect" mode as dialup Eudora for the Mac or, by changing scripts, it can be used in a "manual-login" mode, after connection to the host has been made, possibly by the inbuilt terminal program. Configuring the many confusing options in NUPop to fine tune it can be challenging. NUPop offers several attachment methods, including text, binhex and UUencoding. Version 2.1 alpha also offers MIME. The writer has also adapted the Murdoch scripts for use at Curtin University. Also, an anon ftp to cleo.murdoch.edu.au in the directory /pub/email_tools/dialup_tools_pc will get you the files in use at Murdoch.
The commercial version of PC Eudora (or Eudora for Windows) was released early in 1994. The 2.0.1 release of about April contained the ability to collect and send mail via dialup. Again, the scripting language is manageable and the on-line trace facility is most helpful in diagnosing script errors. PC-Eudora is a mailer with the ability to "finger" a user or host, as well as do a Ph call to a Ph server, for information about individuals. This commercial version has several added features over the public domain 1.4 final release version (which is TCP based only). UUencoding of attachments is one, as well as the ability to automatically filter messages into mailboxes. the ability to just click on an attachment header at the bottom of an email message and thereby launch that attachment is a handy implementation of MIME compliance. The commercial version of Mac Eudora works similarly. The current update is 2.0.2 Information on obtaining PC-Eudora can be found by emailing to email@example.com or doing an anon ftp to ftp.qualcomm.com in directory /pceudora/windows. (However, Qualcomm seem to constantly change their directory structure so be prepared to look around!)
The University of Minnesota's PHONE program, in conjunction with its UMSLIP packet driver, enable the automation of SLIP dialup. However, I had a lot of trouble getting PHONE to do its job of acquiring the IP number and passing it to the network application for several reasons; firstly, the documentation on this aspect of passing on the IP number itself is sparse (although the PHONE documentation is excellent); secondly, the UMSLIP packet driver is a little inadequate, I suspect. However, I developed a work around that gets PHONE to use another packet driver - the very highly regarded SLIPPER from Peter Tattam.
The University of Minnesota's SLIP package, including PHONE, UMSLIP and a SLIP.BAT program is available by anon ftp to boombox.micro.umn.edu. SLIPPER is available at ftp.utas.edu.au /pc/trumpet
Here is my DIALSLIP.BAT file which is called from my AUTOEXEC.BAT:
AUTOEXEC.BAT cd\slip call dialslip.bat DIALSLIP.BAT @echo off cls REM load Uni. of Minn. UMSLIP driver essential for PHONE program lh UMSLIP -w 0x60 4096 REM execute Uni. of Minn. PHONE program; this "grabs" IP number to MYIP phone dial cls if errorlevel 1 goto end REM unload UMSLIP driver termin 96 REM load Peter Tattam's C\SLIP driver, CSLIPPER, with "keepalive" lh CSLIPPER COM2 VEC=0x60 baud=19200 keepalive REM get IP number stored in MYIP in phoneenv.bat call phoneenv.bat REM load winpkt driver for possible Windows use winpkt 0x60 cls cd\ :endOnce I had developed this work around, I have found PHONE immensely useful as an automated SLIP dialup facility. PHONE in conjunction with slipper or CSLIPPER will enable the use of such DOS network applications as MINUET, GOPHER and TELNET. In conjunction then with the WINPKT driver, these DOS applications, as well as NUPop, will run in a DOS window under Windows.
Here is my LOGIN.CMD for Trumpet Winsock that might be found helpful:
# login.cmd for Trumpet Winsock 1.0 RevA (TCPMAN.EXE) # # Auto-login script used with Peter Tattam's Trumpet Winsock 1.0 # and use its Internal SLIP driver to logon to Murdoch University's annex # and enable SLIP # To use, install in _same_ directory as Trumpet Winsock; either overwrite # the existing login.cmd script or rename the original login.cmd # eg. login.old # First launch Winsock then configure Winsock under File/Setup. # Leave the default MTU settings; adjust baud rate, comms port as required. # In the script below, adjust the modem initialisation settings as necessary. # When ready to connect, choose Login under the Dialer menu. # Trumpet Winsock will do the rest. # When connected, choose Minimise under File # (do NOT close or Exit from Winsock) # You may choose to launch say your email application automatically # upon connection. See the last line of the script. Adjust acccordingly. # Script developed by: # Geoff Rehn # Academic Services Unit Murdoch University # March 1994 # email: firstname.lastname@example.org (PC mail) # email@example.com (Mac mail) # ########################## SCRIPT ######################### # # Wake up the modem # output AT &F \13 input 10 OK\n # Enter your own modem initialisation parameters below # to suit - your - modem and setup. (Refer to your modem manual) # Turn on hardware handshaking if you have a hardware handshake # cable. Strongly recommended. # You will also need to configure Trumpet Winsock (under File / Setup) # to reflect this same configuration. # configuration: baud rate, comms port, hardware handshaking or not. # # settings for Telecom TEL 596 modem # AutoReliable mode: MNP4 error correction; no MNP5 compression # Modem responds to DTR (&D2 ie. hangup if DTR drops) # # modem initialisation string: change as necessary output AT E1 L2 S0=0 B0 &E2 &K5 &C1 &D2 $SC1\13 input 10 OK\n # # The current Murdoch annex SLIP number is ### #### # Note that the method of dialling used herein is TONE (ie. DT) # Use DP instead of DT for pulse dialling # output ATDT### ####\13 input 30 CONNECT wait 30 dsr output \13 input 30 annex: output slip\13 input 30 Username: username Enter your Username: output \u\13 input 30 Password: password Enter your Password: output \p\13 # input 30 Your address is address 30 input 30 \n display \n display Connected. Your IP address is \i.\n online # You may wish to test the connection by "pinging" to say your # usual unix email host. # This requires that pingw be installed on your PC #exec C:\trumpet\winapps\pingw cleo.murdoch.edu.au # Or you may wish to launch your usual email application # (which is Winsock compliant of course) exec C:\eudora\weudora.exe /EUREHNPCWhile developing the dialup scripts for Windows, a very useful little utility is called DIALER. DIALER is available from ftp.demon.co.uk in /pub/ibmpc/windows/utilities. DIALER can even be used to dial and establish your SLIP connection in place of PHONE or your usual comms package. It does not however "grab" the IP number automatically and you would need to copy that number into your Winsock or DOS network application, if running in a window.
Atkinson, R. (1994). Relating computer communications technologies to educational and community purposes. In J. Steele and J. G. Hedberg (eds), Learning Environment Technology: Selected papers from LETA 94, 1-8. Canberra: AJET Publications. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/edtech94/ak/atkinson.html
Button, J. (1993). Around the world in eighty seconds. Time (Australia), 52-59, December 1993.
Engst, A. (1993). Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh. Hayden Books.
Engst, A. (1994). Internet Starter Kit for Windows. Hayden Books.
Masters, B. (1994). Internet links you to the world. In Education Insight, The West Australian, 8. May 17, 1994.
Rehn, G. (1994a). From Kodak PhotoCD to lecturer's desktop: The networking of multimedia resources. In McBeath, C. & Atkinson, R. (eds), Proceedings of the Second International Interactive Multimedia Symposium, 461-467. Perth: Promaco Conventions. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/iims/1994/rehn1.html
Rehn, G. & Atkinson, R. (1994). Final Report for Module B: Computer tools in teaching and learning. Report to DEET on a NPRF Project. Perth: Murdoch University. (Anon ftp: cleo.murdoch.edu.au, filenames /pub/Res-and-Dev/Rehn-Atkinson-ModBRept.MacWd.bin, ModBRept.docWinWd).
|Please cite as: Rehn, G. (1994). Software tools for dialup Internet access. In J. Steele and J. G. Hedberg (eds), Learning Environment Technology: Selected papers from LETA 94, 259-269. Canberra: AJET Publications. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/edtech94/rw/rehn.html|