Tying Loose Ends

Like most tools, the programs (aka clients) you use to navigate the Internet contain several options you can set. Here's a bevy of Internet tips and tricks worth knowing and using in your daily navigation. Be forewarned! They may not work on all systems.


If you use a dial-up shell account for your Internet connection, you likely see the Unix prompt a fair amount. It's worth getting to know a bit of Unix. A manual is available via the man pages. Just type man and the command you are interested in at the prompt. For example, if you want to explore the flags (aka switches or options) for ftp (file transfer program), type man ftp at the prompt. If it's telnet, gopher, lynx, archie, et al., then man works as long as the client is installed on your host system.

Another command worth knowing is compress, useful in your home directory. If you have a number of large files, just compress them with the command, compress and you will see them as filename.Z; to uncompress, type uncompress ; you don't need to add the Z.

Yet a third command is grep. (Look it up in the man pages.) To search for a character string in your home directory, for example, type grep -l -i * (no quotes) at the prompt. You will get back the names of the files where the string occurs. The -l prints the names of the files where the character string appears, while the -i ignores case. The * includes all files in the home directory for the search.

Other commands worth exploring are: vacation, cal, whois, users, who and finger.


With the character-based Web browser known as Lynx, you should explore the options. At the prompt, type lynx. You will see the last two lines on the screen listing several choices. Type O to add your E-mail address (userid@host.domain), for example, or to change the name of your bookmark file (john.html).

By adding your address, you can send yourself documents by pressing the p key and choosing Mail the file to yourself. Certainly, you should type h for "help" and carefully read the documents there.

John S. Makulowich writes, speaks and trains on the Internet. You can reach him via E-mail at makulow@clark.net or makulow@cais.com

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