Go to the previous, next chapter.

Electronic Mail

Electronic mail, or e-mail, is your personal connection to the world of the Net.

Every one of the millions of people around the world who use the Net have their own e-mail address. A growing number of gateways'' tie more and more people to the Net every day. When you logged onto the host system you are now using, it automatically generated an address for you, as well.

The basic concepts behind e-mail parallel those of regular mail. You send mail to people at their particular addresses. In turn, they write to you at your e-mailbox address. You can subscribe to the electronic equivalent of magazines and newspapers. There is even electronic junk mail.

E-mail has two distinct advantages over regular mail. The most obvious is speed. Instead of several days, your message can reach the other side of the world in hours or even minutes (depending on where you drop off your mail and the state of the connections between there and your recipient). The other advantage is that once you master the basics, you'll be able to use e-mail to access databases and file libraries. You'll see how to do this later, along with learning how to transfer program and data files through e-mail.

E-mail also has advantages over the telephone. You send your message when it's convenient for you. Your recipient responds at his convenience. No more telephone tag. And while a phone call across the country or around the world can quickly result in huge phone bills, e-mail lets you exchange vast amounts of mail for only a few pennies -- even if the other person is in New Zealand.

E-mail is your connection to help -- your Net lifeline. The Net can sometimes seem a frustrating place! No matter how hard you try, no matter where you look, you just might not be able to find the answer to whatever is causing you problems. But when you know how to use e-mail, help is often just a few keystrokes away: ask your system administrator or a friend for help in an e-mail message.

The quickest way to start learning e-mail is to send yourself a message. Most public-access sites actually have several different types of mail systems, all of which let you both send and receive mail. We'll start with the simplest one, known, appropriately enough, as mail,'' and then look at a couple of other interfaces. At your host system's command prompt, type this:

mail username


where username is the name you gave yourself when you first logged on. Hit enter. The computer might respond with

subject:

Type
test

or, actually, anything at all (but you'll have to hit enter before you get to the end of the screen). Hit enter.

The cursor will drop down a line. You can now begin writing the actual message. Type a sentence, again, anything at all. And here's where you hit your first Unix frustration, one that will bug you repeatedly: you have to hit enter before you get to the very end of the line. Just like typewriters, many Unix programs have no word-wrapping.

When done with your message, hit return. Now hit control-D (the control and the D keys at the same time). This is a Unix command that tells the computer you're done writing and that it should close your envelope'' and mail it off (you could also hit enter once and then, on a blank line, type a period at the beginning of the line and hit enter again).

You've just sent your first e-mail message. And because you're sending mail to yourself, rather than to someone somewhere else on the Net, your message has already arrived, as we'll see in a moment.

If you had wanted, you could have even written your message on your own computer and then uploaded it into this electronic envelope.'' There are a couple of good reasons to do this with long or involved messages. One is that once you hit enter at the end of a line in mail'' you can't readily fix any mistakes on that line (unless you use some special commands to call up a Unix text processor. Also, if you are paying for access by the hour, uploading a prepared message can save you money. Remember to save the document in ASCII or text format. Uploading a document you've created in a word processor that uses special formatting commands (which these days means many programs) will cause strange effects.

When you get that blank line after the subject line, upload the message using the ASCII protocol. Or you can copy and paste the text, if your software allows that. When done, hit control-D as above.

Now you have mail waiting for you. Normally, when you log on, your public-access site will tell you whether you have new mail waiting. To open your mailbox and see your waiting mail, type

mail

and hit enter.

When the host system sees mail'' without a name after it, it knows you want to look in your mailbox rather than send a message. Your screen, on a plain-vanilla Unix system will display:

Mail version SMI 4.0 Mon Apr 24 18:34:15 PDT 1989  Type ? for help.
/usr/spool/mail/adamg'': 1 message 1 new 1 unread

>N 1 adamg              Sun Mar 22 20:04   12/290   test


Ignore the first line; it's just computerese of value only to the people who run your system. You can type a question mark and hit return, but unless you're familiar with Unix, most of what you'll see won't make much sense at this point.

The second line tells you the directory on the host system where your mail messages are put. This is your home directory.'' It's a good name to remember. Later, when you start transferring files across the Net, this is where they will usually wind up, or from where you'll send them. The second line also tells you how many messages are in your mailbox, how many have come in since the last time you looked and how many messages you haven't read yet.

It's the third line that is of real interest -- it tells you who the message is from, when it arrived, how many lines and characters it takes up, and what the subject is. The N'' means it is a new message -- it arrived after the last time you looked in your mailbox. Hit enter. And there's your message -- only now it's a lot longer than what you wrote!

Message 1:
From adamg Mar 22 20:04:55 1992
(5.65c/IDA-1.4.4/pen-ident for adamg); Sun, 22 Mar 1992 20:04:55 -0400
Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1992 21:34:55 -0400
Message-Id: <199204270134.AA28949@eff.org>
Subject: test
Status: R

This is only a test!


Whoa! What is all that stuff? It's your message with a postmark gone mad. Just as the postal service puts its marks on every piece of mail it handles, so do Net postal systems. Only it's called a header'' instead of a postmark. Each system that handles or routes your mail puts its stamp on it. Since many messages go through a number of systems on their way to you, you will often get messages with headers that seem to go on forever. Among other things, a header will tell you exactly when a message was sent and received (even the difference between your local time and GMT -- as at the end of line 4 above).

If this had been a long message, it would just keep scrolling across and down your screen -- unless the people who run your public-access site have set it up to pause every 24 lines. One way to deal with a message that doesn't stop is to use your telecommunication software's logging or text-buffer function. Start it before you hit the number of the message you want to see. Your computer will ask you what you want to call the file you're about to create. After you name the file and hit enter, type the number of the message you want to see and hit enter. When the message finishes scrolling, turn off the text-buffer function, and the message is now saved in your computer. This way, you can read the message while not connected to the Net (which can save you money if you're paying by the hour) and write a reply offline.

But in the meantime, now what? You can respond to the message, delete it or save it. To respond, type a lower-case r'' and hit enter. You'll get something like this:

To: adamg
Subject: Re:  test


Note that this time, you don't have to enter a username. The computer takes it from the message you're replying to and automatically addresses your message to its sender. The computer also automatically inserts a subject line, by adding Re:'' to the original subject. From here, it's just like writing a new message. But say you change your mind and decide not to reply after all. How do you get out of the message? Hit control-C once. You'll get this:

(Interrupt -- one more to kill letter)


If you hit control-C once more, the message will disappear and you'll get back to your mail's command line.

Now, if you type a lower-case d'' and then hit enter, you'll delete the original message. Type a lower-case q'' to exit your mailbox.

If you type a q'' without first hitting d'', your message is transferred to a file called mbox. This file is where all read, but un-deleted messages go. If you want to leave it in your mailbox for now, type a lower-case x'' and hit enter. This gets you out of mail without making any changes.

The mbox file works a lot like your mailbox. To access it, type

mail -f mbox


at your host system's command line and hit enter.

You'll get a menu identical to the one in your mailbox from which you can read these old messages, delete them or respond to them. It's probably a good idea to clear out your mailbox and mbox file from time to time, if only to keep them uncluttered.

Are there any drawbacks to e-mail? There are a few. One is that people seem more willing to fly off the handle electronically than in person, or over the phone. Maybe it's because it's so easy to hit R and reply to a message without pausing and reflecting a moment. That's why we have smileys! There's no online equivalent yet of a return receipt: chances are your message got to where it's going, but there's no absolute way for you to know for sure unless you get a reply from the other person. Also, because computers are quite literal, you have to be very careful when addressing a message. Misplace a period or a single letter in the address, and your message could come back to you, undelivered.

So now you're ready to send e-mail to other people on the Net. Of course, you need somebody's address to send them mail. How do you get it?

Alas, the simplest answer is not what you'd call the most elegant: you call them up on the phone or write them a letter on paper and ask them. Residents of the electronic frontier are only beginning to develop the equivalent of phone books, and the ones that exist today are far from complete (still, later on, we'll show you how to use some of these directories).

Eventually, you'll start corresponding with people, which means you'll want to know how to address mail to them. It's vital to know how to do this, because the smallest mistake -- using a comma when you should have used a period, for instance, can bounce the message back to you, undelivered. In this sense, Net addresses are like phone numbers: one wrong digit and you get the wrong person. Fortunately, most net addresses now adhere to a relatively easy-to-understand system.

Earlier, you sent yourself a mail message using just your user-name. This was sort of like making a local phone call -- you didn't have to dial a 1 or an area code. This also works for mail to anybody else who has an account on the same system as you.

Sending mail outside of your system, though, will require the use of the Net equivalent of area codes, called domains.'' A basic Net address will look something like this:

tomg@world.std.com


Tomg is somebody's user ID, and he is at (hence the @ sign) a site or domain'' known as std.com. Large organizations often have more than one computer linked to the Internet; in this case, the name of the particular machine is world (you will quickly notice that, like boat owners, Internet computer owners always name their machines).

Domains tell you the name of the organization that runs a given e-mail site and what kind of site it is or, if it's not in the U.S., what country it's located in. Large organizations may have more than one computer or gateway tied to the Internet, so you'll often see a two-part domain name; and sometimes even three- or four-part domain names.

In general, American addresses end in an organizational suffix, such as .edu,'' which means the site is at a college or university. Other American suffixes include:

.com

.org
for non-profit organizations

.gov
.mil
for government and military agencies

.net
for companies or organizations that run large networks.

Sites in the rest of the world tend to use a two-letter code that represents their country. Most make sense, such as .ca for Canadian sites, but there are a couple of seemingly odd ones. Swiss sites end in .ch, German sites end in .de, while South African ones end in .za. Some smaller U.S. sites are beginning to follow this international convention (such as @host{unixland.natick.ma.us}).

You'll notice that the above addresses are all in lower-case. Unlike almost everything else having anything at all to do with Unix, Most Net mailing systems don't care about case, so you can capitalize names if you want, but you generally don't have to. Alas, there are a few exceptions -- some public-access sites do allow for capital letters in user names. When in doubt, ask the person you want to write to, or let her send you a message first (recall how a person's e-mail address is usually found on the top of her message).

The domain name, the part of the address after the @ sign, never has to be capitalized.

It's all a fairly simple system that works very well, except, again, it's vital to get the address exactly right -- just as you have to dial a phone number exactly right. Send a message to tomg@unm.edu (which is the University of New Mexico) when you meant to send it to tomg@umn.edu (the University of Minnesota), and your letter will either bounce back to you undelivered, or go to the wrong person.

If your message is bounced back to you as undeliverable, you'll get an ominous looking-message from MAILER-DAEMON (actually a rather benign Unix program that exists to handle mail), with an evil-looking header followed by the text of your message. Sometimes, you can tell what went wrong by looking at the first few lines of the bounced message. Besides an incorrect address, it's possible your host system does not have the other site in the map'' it maintains of other host systems. Or you could be trying to send mail to another network, such as Bitnet or CompuServe, that has special addressing requirements.

Sometimes, figuring all this out can prove highly frustrating. But remember the prime Net commandment: Ask. Send a message to your system administrator. He or she might be able to help decipher the problem.

There is one kind of address that may give your host system particular problems. There are two main ways that Unix systems exchange mail. One is known as UUCP and started out with a different addressing system than the rest of the Net. Most UUCP systems have since switched over to the standard Net addressing system, but a few traditional sites still cling to their original type, which tends to have lots of exclamation points in it, like this:

uunet!somesite!othersite!mybuddy


The problem for many host sites is that exclamation points (also known as bangs'') now mean something special in the more common systems or shells'' used to operate many Unix computers. This means that addressing mail to such a site (or even responding to a message you received from one) could confuse the poor computer to no end and your message never gets sent out. If that happens, try putting forward'' backslashes in front of each exclamation point, so that you get an address that looks like this:

uunet\!somesite\!othersite\!mybuddy


Note that this means you may not be able to respond to such a message by typing a lower-case r -- you may get an error message and you'll have to create a brand-new message.

If you want to get a taste of what's possible through e-mail, start an e-mail message to

almanac@oes.orst.edu


Leave the subject:'' line blank. As a message, write this:

send quote


Or, if you're feeling a little down, write this instead:

send moral-support


In either case, you will get back a message within a few seconds to a few hours (depending on the state of your host system's Internet connection). If you simply asked for a quote, you'll get back a fortune-cookie-like saying. If you asked for moral support, you'll also get back a fortune-cookie-like saying, only supposedly more uplifting.

This particular mail server'' is run by Oregon State University. Its main purpose is actually to provide a way to distribute agricultural information via e-mail. If you'd like to find out how to use the server's full range of services, send a message to the above address with this line in it:

send help


You'll quickly get back a lengthy document detailing just what's available and how to get it.

The mail'' program is actually a very powerful one and a Netwide standard, at least on Unix computers. But it can be hard to figure out -- you can type a question mark to get a list of commands, but these may be of limited use unless you're already familiar with Unix. Fortunately, there are a couple of other mail programs that are easier to use.

ELM

Elm is a combination mailbox and letter-writing system that uses menus to help you navigate through mail. Most Unix-based host systems now have it online. To use it, type

elm


and hit enter. You'll get a menu of your waiting mail, along with a list of commands you can execute, that will look something like this:

Mailbox is '/usr/spool/mail/adamg' with 38 messages [ELM 2.3 PL11]

1   Sep 1  Christopher Davis  (13)   here's another message.
2   Sep 1  Christopher Davis  (91)   This is a message from Eudora
3   Aug 31 Rita Marie Rouvali (161)  First Internet Hunt !!! (fwd)
4   Aug 31 Peter Scott/Manage (69)   New File  University of Londo
5   Aug 30 Peter Scott/Manage (64)   New File  X.500 service at A
6   Aug 30 Peter Scott/Manage (39)   New File  DATAPAC Informatio
7   Aug 28 Peter Scott/Manage (67)   Proposed Usenet group for HYTELNET n
8   Aug 28 Peter Scott/Manage (56)   New File  JANET Public Acces
9   Aug 26 Helen Trillian Ros (15)   Tuesday
10  Aug 26 Peter Scott/Manage (151)  Update  Oxford University OU

You can use any of the following commands by pressing the first character;
d)elete or u)ndelete mail, m)ail a message, r)eply or f)orward mail, q)uit
To read a message, press . j = move down, k = move up, ? = help


Each line shows the date you received the message, who sent it, how many lines long the message is, and the message's subject.

If you are using VT100 emulation, you can move up and down the menu with your up and down arrow keys. Otherwise, type the line number of the message you want to read or delete and hit enter.

When you read a message, it pauses every 24 lines, instead of scrolling until it's done. Hit the space bar to read the next page. You can type a lower-case r'' to reply or a lower-case q'' or i'' to get back to the menu (the I stands for index'').

At the main menu, hitting a lower-case m'' followed by enter will let you start a message. To delete a message, type a lower-case d''. You can do this while reading the message. Or, if you are in the menu, move the cursor to the message's line and then hit D.

When you're done with Elm, type a lower-case q''. The program will ask if you really want to delete the messages you marked. Then, it will ask you if you want to move any messages you've read but haven't marked for deletion to a received'' file. For now, hit your n key.

Elm has a major disadvantage for the beginner. The default text editor it generally calls up when you hit your r'' or m'' key is often a program called emacs. Unixoids swear by emacs, but everybody else almost always finds it impossible. Unfortunately, you can't always get away from it (or vi, another text editor often found on Unix systems), so later on we'll talk about some basic commands that will keep you from going totally nuts.

PINE

Pine is based on elm but includes a number of improvements that make it an ideal mail system for beginners. Like elm, pine starts you with a menu. It also has an address book'' feature that is handy for people with long or complex e-mail addresses. Hitting A at the main menu puts you in the address book, where you can type in the person's first name (or nickname) followed by her address. Then, when you want to send that person a message, you only have to type in her first name or nickname, and pine automatically inserts her actual address. The address book also lets you set up a mailing list. This feature allows you to send the same message to a number of people at once.

What really sets pine apart is its built-in text editor, which looks and feels a lot more like word-processing programs available for MS-DOS and Macintosh users. Not only does it have word wrap (a revolutionary concept if ever there was one, it also has a rwspell-checker and a search command. Best of all, all of the commands you need are listed in a two-line mini-menu at the bottom of each screen. The commands look like this:

^W Where is


The little caret is a synonym for the key marked control'' on your keyboard. To find where a particular word is in your document, you'd hit your control key and your W key at the same time, which would bring up a prompt asking you for the word to look for.

Some of pine's commands are a tad peculiar (control-V for page down'' for example), which comes from being based on a variant of emacs (which is utterly peculiar). But again, all of the commands you need are listed on that two-line mini-menu, so it shouldn't take you more than a couple of seconds to find the right one.

To use pine, type

pine


at the command line and hit enter. It's a relatively new program, so many systems do not yet have it online. But it's so easy to use, you should probably send e-mail to your system administrator urging him to get it!

Smileys

When you're involved in an online discussion, you can't see the smiles or shrugs that the other person might make in a live conversation to show he's only kidding. But online, there's no body language. So what you might think is funny, somebody else might take as an insult. To try to keep such misunderstandings from erupting into bitter disputes, we have smileys. Tilt your head to the left and look at the following sideways. :-). Or simply :). This is your basic smiley.'' Use it to indicate people should not take that comment you just made as seriously as they might otherwise. You make a smiley by typing a colon, a hyphen and a right parenthetical bracket. Some people prefer using the word grin,'' usually in this form:




Sometimes, though, you'll see it as *grin* or even just for short. Some other smileys include:

;-)
Wink;

:-(
Frown;

:-O
Surprise;

8-)
Wearing glasses;

=|:-)=
Abe Lincoln.

OK, so maybe the last two are a little bogus :-).

Seven UNIX Commands you can't live without:

If you connect to the Net through a Unix system, eventually you'll have to come to terms with Unix. For better or worse, most Unix systems do NOT shield you from their inner workings -- if you want to copy a Usenet posting to a file, for example, you'll have to use some Unix commands if you ever want to do anything with that file.

Like MS-DOS, Unix is an operating system - it tells the computer how to do things. Now while Unix may have a reputation as being even more complex than MS-DOS, in most cases, a few basic, and simple, commands should be all you'll ever need.

If your own computer uses MS-DOS or PC-DOS, the basic concepts will seem very familiar -- but watch out for the cd command, which works differently enough from the similarly named DOS command that it will drive you crazy. Also, unlike MS-DOS, Unix is case sensitive -- if you type commands or directory names in the wrong case, you'll get an error message.

If you're used to working on a Mac, you'll have to remember that Unix stores files in directories'' rather than folders.'' Unix directories are organized like branches on a tree. At the bottom is the root'' directory, with sub-directories branching off that (and sub-directories in turn can have sub-directories). The Mac equivalent of a Unix sub-directory is a folder within another folder.

@ftable @code

• cat Equivalent to the MS-DOS type'' command. To pause a file every screen, type cat file |more where file'' is the name of the file you want to see. Hitting control-C will stop the display. You can also use cat for writing or uploading text files to your name or home directory (similar to the MS-DOS copy con'' command). If you type cat >test you start a file called test.'' You can either write something simple (no editing once you've finished a line and you have to hit return at the end of each line) or upload something into that file using your communications software's ASCII protocol). To close the file, hit control-D.

• cd The change directory'' command. To change from your present directory to another, type cd directory and hit enter. Unlike MS-DOS, which uses a \ to denote sub-directories (for example: \procomm\text), Unix uses a / (for example: /procomm/text). So to change from your present directory to the procomm/text sub-directory, you would type cd /procomm/text and then hit enter. As in MS-DOS, you do not need the first backslash if the subdirectory comes off the directory you're already in. To move back up a directory tree, you would type cd .. followed by enter. Note the space between the cd and the two periods -- this is where MS-DOS users will really go nuts.

• cp Copies a file. The syntax is cp file1 file2 which would copy file1 to file2 (or overwrite file2 with file1).

• ls This command, when followed by enter, tells you what's in the directory, similar to the DOS dir command, except in alphabetical order.

• ls |more will stop the listing every 24 lines -- handy if there are a lot of things in the directory. The basic ls command does not list hidden'' files, such as the .login file that controls how your system interacts with Unix. To see these files, type ls -a or ls -a |more

ls -l will tell you the size of each file in bytes and tell you when each was created or modified.

• mv Similar to the MS-DOS rename command. In fact, mv file1 file2 will rename file1 as file2, The command can also be used to move files between directories.

mv file1 News would move file1 to your News directory.

• rm Deletes a file. Type rm filename and hit enter (but beware: when you hit enter, it's gone for good). @end ftable

Wildcards

When searching for, copying or deleting files, you can use wildcards'' if you are not sure of the file's exact name.

ls man*


would find the following files:

manual, manual.txt, man-o-man.


Use a question mark when you're sure about all but one or two characters. For example,

ls man?


would find a file called mane, but not one called manual.

E-Mail to other Networks

There are a number of computer networks that are not directly tied to the Net, but to which you can still send e-mail messages. Here's a list of some of the larger networks, how to send mail to them and how their users can send mail to you:

America Online

Remove any spaces from a user's name and append @email{@aol.com}, to get
user@aol.com

America Online users who want to send mail to you need only put your Net address in the to:'' field before composing a message.

ATTMail

Address your message to @email{user@attmail.com}. From ATTMail, a user would send mail to you in this form:
internet!domain!user

internet!world.std.com!nancy


Bitnet

Users of Bitnet (and NetNorth in Canada and EARN in Europe) often have addresses in this form: @email{IZZY@INDVMS}. If you're lucky, all you'll have to do to mail to that address is add "bitnet" at the end, to get @email{izzy@indvms.bitnet}. Sometimes, however, mail to such an address will bounce back to you, because Bitnet addresses do not always translate well into an Internet form. If this happens, you can send mail through one of two Internet/Bitnet gateways. First, change the @ in the address to a %, so that you get @email{username%site.bitnet}. Then add either @email{@vm.marist.edu} or @email{@cunyvm.cuny.edu}, so that, with the above example, you would get @email{izzy%indyvms.bitnet@vm.marist.edu} or @email{izzy%indvyvms.bitnet@cunyvm.cuny.edu}

Bitnet users have it a little easier: They can usually send mail directly to your e-mail address without fooling around with it at all. So send them your address and they should be OK.

CompuServe

CompuServe users have numerical addresses in this form: 73727,545. To send mail to a CompuServe user, change the comma to a period and add @email{@compuserve.com}; for example: @email{73727.545@compuserve.com}.

If you know CompuServe users who want to send you mail, tell them to GO MAIL and create a mail message. In the address area, instead of typing in a CompuServe number, have them type your address in this form:

>INTERNET:YourID@YourAddress.

For example, >INTERNET:adamg@world.std.com. Note that both the > and the : are required.

Delphi

To send mail to a Delphi user, the form is @email{username@delphi.com}.

Fidonet

To send mail to somebody who uses a Fidonet BBS, you need the name they use to log onto that system and its node number.'' Fidonet node numbers or addresses consist of three numbers, in this form: 1:322/190. The first number tells which of three broad geographic zones the BBS is in (1 represents the U.S. and Canada, 2 Europe and Israel, 3 Pacific Asia, 4 South America). The second number represents the BBS's network, while the final number is the BBS's FidoNode'' number in that network. If your correspondent only gives you two numbers (for example, 322/190), it means the system is in zone 1.

Now comes the tricky part. You have to reverse the numbers and add to them the letters f, n and z (which stand for FidoNode,'' network,'' and zone'). For example, the address above would become

f190.n322.


Now add fidonet.org'' at the end, to get f190.n322.z1.fidonet.org. Then add FirstName.LastName@'', to get

FirstName.LastName@f190.n322.z1.fidonet.org.

Note the period between the first and last names. Whew!

The reverse process is totally different. First, the person has to have access to his or her BBS's net mail'' area and know the Fidonet address of his or her local Fidonet/UUCP gateway (often their system operator will know it). Your Fidonet correspondent should address a net-mail message to UUCP (not your name) in the to:'' field. In the node-number field, they should type in the node number of the Fidonet/UUCP gateway (if the gateway system is in the same regional network as their system, they need only type the last number, for example, 390 instead of 322/390). Then, the first line of the message has to be your Internet address, followed by a blank line. After that, the person can write the message and send it.

Because of the way Fidonet moves mail, it could take a day or two for a message to be delivered in either direction. Also, because many Fidonet systems are run as hobbies, it is considered good form to ask the gateway sysop's permission if you intend to pass large amounts of mail back and forth. Messages of a commercial nature are strictly forbidden (even if it's something the other person asked for). Also, consider it very likely that somebody other than the recipient will read your messages.

GEnie

To send mail to a GEnie user, add @email{@genie.geis.com} to the end of their GEnie user name, for example: @email{walt@genie.geis.com}. Unlike users of other networks, however, GEnie users can receive mail from Internet only if they pay an extra monthly charge.

MCIMail

To send mail to somebody with an MCIMail account, add @email{@mcimail.com} to the end of their name or numerical address. For example:
555-1212@mcimail.com

or
jsmith@mcimail.com


Note that if there is more than one MCIMail subscriber with that name, you will get a mail message back from MCI giving you their names and numerical addresses. You'll then have to figure out which one you want and re-send the message.

From MCI, a user would type

Your Name (EMS)

at the "To:" prompt. At the EMS prompt, he or she would type
internet

followed by your Net address at the Mbx:'' prompt.

Peacenet

To send mail to a Peacenet user, use this form:
username@igc.org


Prodigy

@email{userID@prodigy.com}. Note that Prodigy users must pay extra for Internet e-mail.

When things go wrong:

• You send a message but get back an ominous looking message from MAILER-DAEMON containing up to several dozen lines of computerese followed by your message. Somewhere in those lines you can often find a clue to what went wrong. You might have made a mistake in spelling the e-mail address. The site to which you're sending mail might have been down for maintenance or a problem. You may have used the wrong translation'' for mail to a non-Internet network.

• You call up your host system's text editor to write a message or reply to one and can't seem to get out. If it's emacs, try control-X, control-C (in other words, hit your control key and your X key at the same time, followed by control and C). If worse comes to worse, you can hang up.

• In Elm, you accidentally hit the D key for a message you want to save. Type the number of the message, hit enter and then U, which will un-delete'' the message. This works only before you exit Elm; once you quit, the message is gone.

• You try to upload an ASCII message you've written on your own computer into a message you're preparing in Elm or Pine and you get a lot of left brackets, capital Ms, Ks and Ls and some funny-looking characters. Believe it or not, your message will actually wind up looking fine; all that garbage is temporary and reflects the problems some Unix text processors have with ASCII uploads. But it will take much longer for your upload to finish. One way to deal with this is to call up the simple mail program, which will not produce any weird characters when you upload a text file into a message. Another way (which is better if your prepared message is a response to somebody's mail), is to create a text file on your host system with cat, for example,

cat >file


and then upload your text into that. Then, in Elm or Pine, you can insert the message with a simple command (control-r in Pine, for example); only this time you won't see all that extraneous stuff.

@vskip 0pt plus 1filll @flushright If all else fails, read the manual.''

--- Anonymous PC Wizard

If all else fails, read the manual page.''

--- Anonymous Unix Wizard @end flushright