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COMP.SYS.CBM: General FAQ, v3.1 Part 3/9

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Archive-name: cbm-main-faq.3.1.p3
Comp-answers-archive-name: commodore/main-faq/part3
News-answers-archive-name: commodore/main-faq/part3
Comp-sys-cbm-archive-name: main-faq/part3
Version: 3.1
Last-modified: 1996/01/25

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
  Table of Contents (for this file)

   5.  Connecting Up
   5.1.  How do I connect my computer to the outside world?
   5.2.  What services can I use to get online?
   5.3.  What hardware do I need?
   5.4.  What kinds of terminal programs exist?
   5.4.1.  What kinds of terminal programs exist for the 64?
   5.4.2.  What kinds of terminal programs exist for the 128?
   5.5.  Can I use my Commodore computer on Amateur Radio?
   5.6.  Is there TCP/IP software available for Commodore computers?
   5.  Connecting Up
   5.1.  How do I connect my computer to the outside world?
  First, we need to define what "outside world" means.  In this sense, we are
  referring to the process of connecting the Commodore computer up to another
  computer or computers and exchanging textual, binary, or graphical 
  information.  To connect to another computer, one must have a
  Commodore computer system, a modem, a phone line, and a telecommunications 
  program (called a terminal emulator or terminal emulation program).
  While you can use this to connect to other individuals, to access great
  stores of online information you need to subscribe to an "online
  service", which can take many forms.  This type of service allows you
  to correspond with many people with a single phone call, and may permit
  you to contact people out of your area without a long distance phone call.
   5.2.  What services can I use to get online?
  The following services can be accessed by a Commodore computer and
  allow the user to access online information.  
    Bulletin Board System (BBS).    - Small system usually with one phone
        line operated by an individual. Fees are optional.  For a list of
        BBS systems in your area, contact Myles Skinner for a listing at

    Compuserve Information Service. - CompuServe has two Forums designed
        specifically for Commodore 8-bit computer users.  CBM Applications
        Forum (GO CBMAPP) deals with programming, geoProgramming,
        applications software, telecommunications, CP/M, utilities and
|       hardware.  In addition, it also includes support for
        GEOS in general, music (including SidPlayer and MIDI), games,
|       graphics and graphics utilities.  The Forum has full message
|       boards and extensive data libraries, and it have weekly
|       real-time conferences on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST.			 

        The CompuServe network is available virtually world wide.  The
        Commodore Forums are attracting increasing membership from Europe
        and Australia, and have begun to tap into the vast variety of
        Commodore files available around the world (some of the best new
        Commodore programs are coming in from Europe these days).  CompuServe
        has an extensive network of local numbers throughout the United
        States and Canada and is also available through supplemental
        networks such as SprintNet and DataPac.  The number of direct
        CompuServe connect numbers in Europe is beginning to expand.

        While there is no standalone CompuServe navigator program available
        for Commodore users, CBMAPP has the CIS.EXE script set that
        automates Dialogue 128 on CompuServe, and also VIDAUT.BIN which will
        virtually automate Vidtex (which is available again through Software
        Support International).  In addition there is OFFLIN.HLP, a text
        file in CBMAPP, that provides a method for semi-automating access
        with any standard comm program and word processor.

        CompuServe's rates are as follows:


        Membership Support Fee:                   $ 9.95/month


        For $9.95, your CompuServe membership entitles you to five free
        hours on the service. This includes forums, mail, and Internet
        access. After your first five hours, additional hours are billed
        at the rate of $2.95/hour.

        For an additional $15 a month, our Super Value Plan adds 15 free
        hours (for a total of 20 hours each month) and each additional
        hour is just $1.95.

        Premium ($) services carry additional surcharges, however, during
        your free hours, you are not charged for connect-time.

        Any communications surcharges apply.

        Direct Internet Access (Dail PPP)
        File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
        Remote Login (Telnet)
        USENET Newsreader ASCII
        USENET Newsreader CIM

        For additional information on the listed services, GO INTERNET.


        CompuServe Mail is billed for connect time. This includes reading
        mail and viewing classified ads. Surcharged areas, such as fax,
        telex and CongressGrams carry additional charges. For a complete
        list of mail services and rates, including hardcopy deliveries
        through the postal service, GO MAILRATES.


        Connect-time is billed in one minute increments, with a minimum of
        one minute per session. Partial minutes are rounded each log-in
        session to the next full minute for our billing purposes.

        Compuserve Information Systems
        P.O. Box 20212
        Columbus, OH  43220
        (800) 848-8990 (Information)

|   GEnie                           - GEnie is a general interest
+       online service that was previously run by General Electric.  There
+       are four different subscription packages from which a member can 
+       choose:  

+       GenieLite

+       This is a subscription for the occasional user -- someone who 
+       primarily uses e-mail but likes to take occasional journeys into 
+       Genie's RoundTables. 
+       Monthly subscription*:  $7.95/month
+       Per hour rate for all Genie services:  $2.75/hour
+       Additional prime time surcharge:  $1.00/hour

+       *GenieLite monthly subscription includes 5 free hours of e-mail use. 

+       Genie

+       This is our standard membership plan and is a tremendous value
+       for any of our members who use more than 6 or 7 hours a month. 

+       Monthly subscription**:  $23.95/month
+       Per hour rate for all Genie services:  $2.75/hour
+       Additional prime time surcharge:  $1.00/hour

+       **Genie monthly subscription includes 9 free hours of Genie
+       services.  Monthly subscription is reduced to $18.95 for anyone who
+       had a Genie account prior to February 1, 1996.  

+       GenieNet

+       Internet.  There are two different plans under the GenieNet banner: 

+       Option 1
+          The GenieNet Option 1 plan gives unlimited access to the Internet
+          but without a graphical interface. This is total, unrestricted,
+          28.8Kbps access to the Internet, WWW, FTP, and Newsgroups. 
+          Monthly subscription***:  $15.00/month
+          Per hour rate for all Genie services:  $2.75/hour
+          Additional prime time surcharge:  $1.00/hour

+          *** GenieNet Options 1 & 2 provide UNLIMITED Internet usage. 

+       Option 2

+          The GenieNet Option 2 plan gives unlimited access to the Internet
+          but this time with a graphical interface. In addition to the
+          features offered under Option 1, you'll also get free Netscape
+          Navigator software and the ability to create a personal web page.
+          Monthly subscription***:  $29.00/month
+          Per hour rate for all Genie services:  $2.75/hour
+          Additional prime time surcharge:  $1.00/hour

+          *** GenieNet Options 1 & 2 provide UNLIMITED Internet usage. 

+       Note: Two separate e-mail addresses, one on Genie and one on
+       GenieNet, are issued when you select either GenieNet subscription
+       option. 

        The Commodore support area on GEnie is known as the Flagship
        Roundtable.  While there are a few premium services on GEnie that
        charge an extra price, all of the Flagship is available at the basic
        rate. The Flagship RT includes some "Real-Time Conferences" (RTCs)
        featuring classes or discussion of issues associated with Commodore
        computers. Additionally, there is a BB (Bulletin Board), which works
        much like Usenets comp.sys.cbm (only the discussion is broken down
        into categories and topics). Finally, the Flagship has an extensive
        library of Commodore files.

        The BB messages can be read economically by capturing all the new
        messages in a terminal programs capture buffer, and reading the
        messages off-line. Wizard, the C= GEnie fron end, supports this.
        Because GEnie is a general interest service,it supports many different
        computers, and you can use any ASCII terminal program to connect to
        GEnie. Wizard is available, but not required. GEnie operates normally
|       at 300 - 28,800 bps.  There are local access numbers across the
        401 North Washington Street
        Rockville, MD  20850
        (800) 638-9636 (Information)
    Delphi Internet Services.       - Delphi is a commercial system that,
        while small in comparison to other systems, is growing rapidly.  It
        has a large forum dedicated to Commodore computers, as well as access
        to the Usenet and the comp.sys.cbm newsgroup.  Delphi has two plans.
        One, called the Standard Plan, costs $10.00 a month and gives the
        user 4 hours of non-prime time (6PM-7AM) free each month.  Each
        additional hour is $4.00.  The other plan, called the Advantage Plan,
        costs $20.00 a month and gives the user 20 hours of non-prime-time
        free each month.  Each hour over 20 is $1.80.  Access to the Internet
        via Delphi costs an additional $3.00 for both plans each month.
        Delphi Internet Services
        1030 Massachusetts Avenue
        Cambridge, MA  02138
        (800) 695-4005 (Information) 
    Internet                        - The largest online service.  The 
        Internet is a collection of 4 million machines interconnected using 
        a common protocol called TCP/IP.  This service is the result of a 
        U.S. defense experiment started in the late 1960's.  Due to its 
        distributed nature, the Internet is unlike most other online services.
        In some cases, as in universities, there is no cost to access the 
        "net", as it is called, and some other online services offer access 
        to the Internet.  This is the home of all the FTP sites, the USENET 
        and the USENET newsgroup comp.sys.cbm, Internet email, and the World 
        Wide Web.  When you use these services you are utilizing the Internet.
    QuantumLink                     - Q-Link was a Commodore specific 
        telecommunications service.  This service, while booming in the late 
        1980's, has now been discontinued.
        There was an effort to retrieve as many of the QuantumLink files
        as could be retrieved.  Email Brenda G4 at
|       for more information.  Also, a list of ex-Qlink-ers is being 
|       maintained.  If you want to be on the list, send email to
| or
   5.3.  What hardware do I need?
  To access online services you will need a functional Commodore computer
  that is physically able to have a modem of some kind attached to the 
  computer.  The more common C64 and C128 are able to be used with a modem,
  but computers like the Commodore C16, C116, some PETs and some older CBM
  business machines may require significant investments in order to be
  With a functional computer, you will need a modulator/demodulator
  (modem) unit of some kind.  There are two basic kinds that can be used
  on the Commodore computers:
  A standard RS-232 (EIA-232) external modem.
  These modems are very common in today's market, as they are usable on all
  computer systems.  They usually are constructed in a small rectangular
  box, have lights across the front, and have either a standard 9 or 25
  pin D-style connector on the back of the unit.  Speeds range from 300bps
  to 28,800 bps and above.  This modem requires an interface cable of some
  kind to connect to the Commodore computer.
  A Commodore compatible external modem.
  These modems are much less common in today's market.  Originally 
  manufactured only by Commodore, some examples include the C1600 (300bps
  manual dial), C1650 (300bps, pulse dial), C1660 (300bps, DTMF dial), and
  C1670 (1200bps, AT commands, DTMF/Pulse dial).  Although other 
  companies manufacture compatible modems, it seems that the maximum speed
  is 2400bps for all models.  This modem style plugs directly into the
  Commodore user port.  
  Please note that all speeds marked are maximums.  Most modems will
  operate at any speed up to the maximum.  Most users agree that buying
  a Commodore compatible modem these days is an unwise move, except
  for special circumstances.  The suggestion is to purchase a standard
  modem and an interface to use the modem with the CBM machine.
  If you chhose to purchase a standard external modem, you must also
  purchase or build a suitable interface.  There are two major types
  of interfaces:
  Simple Cable Interface.
  This type of interface merely converts the nonstandard RS-232 pinout
  on the Commodore user port to the standard RS-232 pinout and performs
  voltage level translation as required by RS-232 specifications.  This
  interface can be purchased for $20 to $40 new or built by the user.
  There are a number of homemade interfaces available.  The TRANSACTOR
  published an interface in the Nov 87 issue (V8iss3) and Commodore Hacking
  Online Magazine published plans for one in issue 4 (See MailServer section
  for retrieval instructions.  These are both supposed to emulate the
  VIC1011A that C= put out many years ago, and you might find one at a
  computer "flea market".  Another version is designed by Stephen Coan.
| Send email to Fred Mueller ( for a copy of 
| the schematic in ASCII format.  The differences between the two is the 
| Transactor one has switchable options for some of the leads and the 
| Coan one is hard wired. (See Section 12.4 and 12.5 for interface designs)

  UART interface.
  To use a modem, a Universal Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter (UART)
  is needed.  When Commodore designed the CBM VIC-20, C64 and C128, they
  emulated a UART in software to keep costs down.  Although this works
  for slower speeds, there is a limit to how fast the software UART can
  function.  For faster access, a real UART is needed.  This type of
  interface provides a complete UART in a cartridge that plugs into the
  expansion port.  To utilize it, all software must be written to take
  advantage of the real UART.  UART interfaces can be purchased from
  CMD (Swiftlink), HART (HART Cartidge), or built from plans (DataPump).
  (See Section 13.6 for addresses and further information on UART cartridges.)
  The decision of which interface to buy depends on the speed of your modem
  and the software you are using.  

  The software UART on the Commodore 64 can handle speeds at up to 2400 bps.
  The software UART of the Commodore 128 can handle speeds at up to 4800 for
  all software and 9600 bps for some very well-written software.
  If you are under these maximum limits for your system, the simple interface 
  cable will suffice, and most terminal programs can be used.  
  For speeds between 2400 and 9600 bps (4800/9600 and 19200 bps on a C128), a 
  number of options are open.  Some programs can use the simple interface 
  cable to allow this faster access.  Newer terminal software may be written 
  to exploit Daniel Dallmann's 9600 bps access technique, which requires 
  some small modifications to the simple interface cable (see Section 12.5 
  for more information).  Finally, some programs allow the use of a UART 
  For speeds above 9600 bps (19200 on a C128), a UART interface and an 
  appropriate terminal program is your only option. 
   5.4.  What kinds of terminal programs exist?
  There are many types and versions of telecomunications programs (referred
  to as terminal emulation programs or terminal programs).  Some are better
  than others, but individual users will ultimately decide which they
  like best.  Most terminal programs available today are Shareware, but
  some are still sold commercially, and some new commercial terminal
  programs are being sold. 
  All of these programs include emulations of the popular terminals such as
  DEC VT100, VT102, VT52, and ANSI.  Also, each includes a number of 
  file transfer protocols (See Section 6.1 for more information on transfer
   5.4.1.  What kinds of terminal programs exist for the 64?
  Novaterm 9.6
  Nick Rossi 
  10002 Aurora Avenue North #1159
  Seattle, WA  98133
  This program, previously marketed as shareware, is now commercial,
| and can be ordered from Mr. Rossi for $29.95 US.
| (Contact)
| The 9.5 version is available as shareware at
  Kermit 2.2
  Kent Sullivan
  16611 NE 26th Street
  Bellevue, WA  98008
  $12.50 US for the program, now at version 2.2.
  Note that Columbia University holds the copyright for the Kermit Terminal
  Software.  You can get a copy of the Commodore version by ftp:   (for speeds up to 1200 bps)
       (for 1660 modem users)                      kermit-c1660.sda
       (for Swiftlink/DataPump modem users)        kermit-v2.2s.sda

   5.4.2.  What kinds of terminal programs exist for the 128?
  Desterm 2.0/2.1
  Matt Desmond
  For more information on DesTerm or to get a copy by mail, contact Matt.
  Bob's Term Pro
  Dialogue 128
  Click Here Software
  Maurice Randall
  A GEOS 128 high speed terminal program.  Demo available at above address.
   5.5.  Can I use my Commodore computer on Amateur Radio?
  Yes you can.  If you want to use your CBM system as a terminal for a
  standard RS-232 compatible packet radio Terminal Node Controller (TNC),  
  you can hook it up in the same way as a modem.  See Section 5 for more
  information on how to connect your Computer to a modem.
  In addition, the ICHPUG User Group (see Section 15 for address) has
  an extensive library of files for the C64/128 relating to Amateur Radio.
  If you would like to use the Commodore 64 as a Amateur Radio repeater
  controller, Engineering Cosulting manufacturers such an item:
  Engineering Consulting
  583 Candlewood Street
  Brea, CA  92621
  Robert Blumenkranz (Contact) (Contact)
   5.6.  Is there TCP/IP software available for Commodore computers?
+ There are some experimental SLIP software for the Commodore 64, written
+ by Daniel Dallmann.  The application is called SLIPDemo and is at
+ version 2.2.  The program can:
+ o log into another system using TELNET
+ o answer PING requests
+ o log into an IRC server using the included minimal IRC client
+ The system requires:
+ o A Commodore 64 or 128
+ o Special 9600 BPS userport modem interface
+ o suitable modem
+ o Internet access using SLIP
+ The software, some information, and other information is available from:

Jim Brain, Embedded System Designer, Brain Innovations, Inc. (BII) (online sig) "Above views DO reflect my employer, since I'm my employer"
Dabbling in WWW, Embedded Systems, Old CBM computers, and Good Times!      -Me-
BII Home:          CBM Info:

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