Netscape Navigator Tips and Tricks

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The last few tips showed you how to use Netscape Navigator to access an old Internet tool called Gopher (well, it's older than the World Wide Web). There's another even older Internet technology called Telnet that you can also access through Navigator. And just because it's old, it doesn't mean it's not valuable, as we'll see in a minute. Telnet allows you to log on to other Internet computers interactively. Telnet sites include vast database-type things like library card catalogs and weather information databases. You can also access text-based online services like the WELL or Echo through Telnet. Also, if you have a Unix account on another Net computer, you can log in through Telnet and run Unix programs through the host computer. Now we won't bore you with the inner workings of all this, but we will show you how to get to it through Netscape Navigator. First, you can't actually get there directly through Navigator, you must use an external helper application. Windows 95 has a Telnet application built in, but if you use another platform you can find another helper pretty easily (your Internet service provider may include it). The reason for this in general is that WWW browsers and Telnet work the Internet in fundamentally different ways. But that's getting just a little too geeky to get into here. You just want to set up Navigator for Telnet, right? OK, open Navigator and select Options|General Preferences, then click the Apps tab. Enter the name of the Telnet application in the field Telnet Application. If you have Windows 95, just type in "telnet." If the application is saved on a drive somewhere, click Browse and select it from the list that appears. That's all there is to it, click OK and you're ready for a Telnet session, which we'll tell you about in the next tip


Most Telnet applications provide ways to disconnect from the remote host at any point in the session. Usually you don't even have to tell the host that you're leaving (logging off, to be precise). In the Win 95 Telnet application, just choose Connect|Disconnect from the main menu bar. However, this is a practice that you should really try to avoid. Why? Well, the Telnet remote host software might not realize that you're gone and may keep the connection open. This can last several minutes sometimes, causing Internet traffic jams. So unless you're having some sort of technical problems with the remote connection, be a good guest and log off the proper way--by choosing the menu items or otherwise following the instructions provided by the remote site.

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