ETHIOPIAN SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Vol. 2, No. 7 ------------------ < for cleo community> --------- November 1993
###Ethio Science & Technology### is a column presented to the Cleo community frequently. It covers various issues in the science; in particular, those of more related to Ethiopia. Your contribution is welcomed.
What Does It takes to Get in Touch with Cleo
Note from the Editor
A Glossary .............................................Section 1/4
The Network Access .....................................Section 2/4
What is Out there? .....................................Section 3/4
Conclusion .............................................Section 4/4
Notes from the Editor
* I remember reading an initiative taken by Samuel Kinde a couple of months ago to under take a project which would produce a helpful document to those people who would like to join Cleo and alike network groups. I don't have any knowledge of to what extent the project has progressed, but I trust there is still a firm commitment.
* From time to time, a number of friends have approached me enquiring as to how they can join Cleo. Most of them don't know what communication device they should have and where they can get an access to a network which would enable them to receive and send e-mail.
* I think that the initiative by Samuel Kinde was critical to Cleo strength and the Ethiopian community at large. Today, this column discusses what measure a member or non-Cleo member should take to have an access to "online services." Once, a person secures an "on line access," joining Cleo is not a complicated procedure.
* WARNING: this column only attempt to bring the issue to everyone's attention; therefore, should not be considered other than an informative piece. I would like to urge all to share their experiences so that people who are out there isolated from computer electronic media can have a taste of it.
Section 1 of 4
* Communication Software:
Computers, modems, and telephone lines constitute the hardware that is required for connecting your computer to another one, but nothing will come to live until a communication software is installed and run.
* Online Services:
Online services include news, weather, sports, travel arrangements, forums, and etc. There are a few companies who offer a full internet access ranging from e-mail to FTP services. These online services are available either commercially or through college for faculty members, staff, and students--with authorized account number.
A world wide network which was designed two decades ago for research purpose and has grown through the years to connects thousands of computers. Among a primary users of Internet are universities and research institutions.
An acronym for Electronic Mail. The name speaks for itself.
A private group such as Cleo run by a postmaster based on electronic mail exchanges. The postmaster is in charge of the operation and maintenance of the database where the incoming e- mails are stored and distributed.
* USENET news groups:
These are more than 1500 newsgroups based on different subject areas that range from computer languages to African sociopolitical. An Internet access is not a must to participate in USENET.
Section 2 of 4
The Network Access
Imagine, you are about to graduate from your college this semester and so far you have been enjoying the online services that was offered by your college. Now, one foot is out of the college, you may ask yourself how am I going to have an access to online services so that I can exchange mails, upload and download software from FTP sites, read newsgroup in different area, and enjoy the world of _Internet_. Is there any avenue for me? Suppose you already have an access to online services. You can send and receive mails, you can participate in group discussion that is being carried out only by the online services provider, you can obtain traveling information, and so on. But, your online services is in short of Internet access. Is there any solution to that?
Imagine, _So and So_ has a personal computer that is equipped with a modem and communication software, but doesn't know what in the hell computer network, electronic mails, Internet, and Bulletin Board System are. In the mean time, _So and So_ is interested in joining Cleo. What do you advise that person?
A few solution are discussed below.
Section 3 of 4
What is Out there?
Selection of online services depends on the level of familiarity to operating systems, demand, and budget. Because of that it is extremely difficult to subscribe a single unified solution to everyone. If one has a desire to use Internet, he/she may find the environment unfriendly that is knowing a certain operating system is required. On the other hand, the person may not afford the cost of having an access to Internet. Therefore, each person should decide what is good for him/her. Below is a different option for various situations where one can find suitable to his/her interest.
* Hardware Requirement: A computer, modem, communication software, and telephone line. (MUST)
* To learn more, reading books on network is essential. Visit your neighborhood book store and find out what is good for you.
* [Option 1]
You are a novice user and would like to exchange mails, read forums and news, search bargains. There are few major online services providers nation wide. Generally, they provide a membership kits that includes an interface software and user's guide. Their software is said to be user friendly simple to operate and doesn't require much technical knowledge. Their charge is based on monthly rate and usage time. Here are some of them.
Service : Over 300 forums, publicly available software, E-mail.
Internet: Internet access through e-mail only
User-Interface: A graphics interface for DOS, Windows, Macintosh. Call: (800)848-8199 for more information and cost.
Service : forums, E-mail
Internet: Internet access through e-mail only, but they may have USENET, Gopher, and WAIS available by now
User-Interface: A graphics style interface for DOS, Macintosh
Call: (800)827-6364 for more information and cost.
Service : forums, games, software library, roundtable special interest, E-mail
Internet: Internet access through e-mail only. There is extra charge for this service.
User-Interface: A text based screen style interface.
Service : Advertisement, traveling and shopping info, games, E-mail
Internet: Internet access through e-mail only. There is 25 cents charge per email message.
User-Interface: A graphics based interface, easy to use
Call: (800)776-3449 for more information and cost.
* [Option 2]
You are familiar with operating systems such as UNIX, VAX VMS, and alike. You would like to have an internet access including E-mail, Telnet, FTP, USENET Newsgroup.
I believe there are local online services providers including a full internet access. Nation wide, not many of them. If you find one locally and you think you might be satisfied with their service, that should be your first choice because their charge is relatively cheap. I have forwarded in my next mail a list of service providers that might be helpful to your search.
Service : the usual online services and full internet access
Internet: E-mail, FTP, Telnet, Usenet newsgroup, Gopher, and WAIS
User--interface: Text based interface, may not be that friendly
Call: (800)695-4005 for more information and cost.
* [Option 3]
You are familiar with the type of services such as offered by CompuServe, but you are interested in securing a full internet access.
If you are really interested to have a full internet access, you may be forced either to abandon your current online services and resort to Option 2 or if you can afford the cost, add to your online service provider's list another one that offers a full internet access.
Section 4 of 4
With out any doubt, this is a very general and vague information about what is out there in the computer network world. It is just to scratch the match surface in order to bring the issue to Cleo's members attention. I am afraid that our contribution doesn't add up to our enthusiasm to Cleo. We can take a number of steps:
1. Encourage and help the initiative taken by Samuel Kinde.
2. Compile and document our experience in this regard and make it available to the Ethiopian community at large. Update it as necessary.
3. Members who are comfortable with computer network, share their knowledge through column and something else.
Finally, your comment, correction, or criticism is welcomed!
Abass B. Alamnehe /