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Davis, California USENET FAQ Part 6 of 6

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Archive-name: davis/faq/part6
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Last-modified: Jun. 24, 1996
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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
                The Davis, California USENET FAQ Part 6 of 6
         Frequently Asked Questions at and about Davis, California
                         (c) Copyright 1995 & 1996


                           David F. Prenatt, Jr.
                           Internet Esquire(sm)
                              P.O. Box 74632
                           Davis, CA 95617-5632

           World Wide Web: < >

                 E-mail: < >

The Davis, California USENET FAQ (Davis USENET FAQ) may be comprised of
more than one part.  If it is, please see the TABLE OF CONTENTS in Part One
for a complete list of the questions that I have attempted to answer and
for other important legal information.  Caveat emptor:  I assume no
obligation to anyone through the publication of the Davis USENET FAQ.
Furthermore, all versions of the Davis USENET FAQ are my personal property
and are protected by applicable copyright laws.  All rights are reserved
except as follows:  I hereby give my permission to anyone who has access to
this version of the Davis USENET FAQ to reproduce the information contained
herein for non-profit purposes, provided that proper credit is given to me
as the author of this FAQ and that I am notified of any use other than
personal use.  I may revoke permission to reproduce any version of this FAQ
at any time.

- - - - -
                The Davis, California USENET FAQ Part 6 of 6
         Frequently Asked Questions at and about Davis, California
             (c) Copyright 1995 & 1996 by David F. Prenatt, Jr.



     I have attempted to answer some basic questions about computers in
     this section.  However, the best place to get answers for your
     computer questions is from the Davis Community Network (DCN)-- User
     Support team:

          World Wide Web: < >
          Phone support: Mon-Thu, 6pm-9pm, 916-750-0101 ext 6
          Email support: < >
          Walk-in support: Mon-Fri 9am-12pm (Administrative Support)
                           & Mon-Thu 5pm-6pm  (Technical Support)
                           at DCTV - 1623 5th Street, Davis

     Alternatively, contact your own Internet service provider (ISP), or
     post an inquiry on the davis.dcn USENET newsgroup (<news:davis.dcn >).

8.1.1)  Why should I use a computer?

     It is easier and faster to accomplish certain tasks by using a
     computer.  Do I really need to use a computer?

     No.  You don't need to use a computer, but many tasks are impossible
     to accomplish without a computer.  Isn't it difficult to learn how to use a computer?

     No.  Learning to use a computer is very easy, but this is a very well
     kept secret because many people who know how to use computers are very
     intimidating to people who do not know how to use them.  How can I get the computer training that I need?

     Admit your ignorance, both to yourself and to the people who offer you
     help.  Teaching people how to use computers is extremely difficult,
     but it doesn't have to be that way.  Many people erroneously assume
     that they understand how computers work, and this makes teaching these
     people extremely difficult.  Of course, people who are technically
     proficient may not be able to communicate with you or they may not be
     interested in helping you.  Avoid these people.
          The Davis PC Users Group is a chapter of the Sacramento PC Users
     Group, dedicated to the support of people using IBM PC-compatible
     computers.  If you are learning how to use a PC, you might want to
     attend one of the meetings of the Davis PC User's Beginner's Group.
     These meetings take place the first Wednesday of every month, and they
     are free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Jerry
     Harrison at (916)758-1011.  What practical uses would I have for a computer?

     Within the last ten years, the number of practical applications for
     personal computers has mushroomed to the point where anyone who is not
     computer literate is at a serious disadvantage in the competitive
     worlds of education and commerce.  Computer games were the original
     hook for most consumers, and word processing has since emerged as the
     most popular practical application for end users.  As useful as these
     applications are, however, they are little more than flotsam when
     compared with the phenomenal software vessels that sail the vast ocean
     of computer technology.  But don't take my word for it:  Stop by any
     store that sells computer software and do some window shopping.

8.1.2)  Do I need my own computer?

     No.  Computers are as ubiquitous as telephones.  The only reason you
     would want to own a computer is for convenience, much like owning a
     cellular phone.  What kind of a computer should I buy?

     You should buy a computer with the features that you want at a price
     that you can afford.  If you are reading this FAQ, then you probably
     want a Macintosh(r) or an IBM/IBM Clone (PC).  What is the difference between a Macintosh(r) and an IBM/IBM
            Clone (PC)?

     Macintosh(r) computers are much higher quality technology than IBM
     technology.  However, IBM is the standard for computer technology and
     is much more affordable than Macintosh(r).  Thus, if you are on a
     limited budget, you probably want an IBM/IBM clone (PC), especially
     because whatever you do buy will be obsolete when you buy it.  What is an IBM/IBM clone (PC)?

     IBM buys its technology on the open market and sets the standard for
     other computer companies (at least it used to do so).  Many companies
     build IBM clones (properly referred to as PCs) that meet or exceed
     IBM's standards (i.e., 100% IBM Compatible).  What kind of features should I have on a computer?

     There is no easy answer to this question, but as a general rule buy
     only proven technology and avoid all the bells and whistles.  New
     technology is inherently unreliable because many bugs are found only
     after a product has been released.  Members of the Davis community
     have access to a variety of computers, so find out for yourself what
     features are the most useful and reliable.  What kind of accessories should I get on my computer?

     It depends upon what type of applications you are using.  If you are
     reading this FAQ, you probably only need a modem and/or a printer.

8.2)  What computer facilities are available to members of the Davis

     For a small monthly fee, the DCN will give you 50 hours of access to
     the dial-in computer services that U.C. Davis provides to its
     students, faculty, and staff.  Anyone can telnet to the DCN server to
     open an account (< >).  For more
     information on the DCN, see the davis.dcn USENET newsgroup
     (<news:davis.dcn >) or visit the DCN Home Page on the World Wide Web
     (< >).
          Note that ucd.* and davis.* newsgroups are not available to the
     general public.  The DCN shares facilities with U.C. Davis as part of
     a special research agreement, and some other private ISPs/BBSs such as and America OnLine also have access to these newsgroups.
     When I directed friends and colleagues of mine to the DCN at its
     inception, they were told that the DCN did not offer accounts to
     commercial users of the Internet (i.e., those who wanted to maintain
     Home Pages on the World Wide Web) and it referred inquiries from
     various commercial users to as a Davis based ISP.  Now DCN
     has emerged as's major local competition in Davis.
          I have no relationship whatsoever to, but Steve
     Wormley of was courteous enough to promptly provide public
     access to the yolo.* newsgroups in response to my inquiries on behalf
     of a sac.general poster who could not access the yolo.* newsgroups.
     Moreover, some people have strongly endorsed as a Davis-
     based ISP in USENET posts on sac.general and private e-mail messages
     to me.  However, I remain hesitant to recommend as a Davis
     based ISP until I know more about their services.  For more
     information about's services, visit the Home
     Page on the World Wide Web (< >).
          Due in no small part to the spectacular growth of the Internet
     that occurred late in 1995, a number of Davis-based ISPs are now
     forming, and a number of low cost ISPs that are not based in Davis are
     beginning to maintain a Davis presence.  We are living in interesting
     times, and it's too soon to tell what the long term effects of this
     current market shakeup will be.  Taking harbor with an established ISP
     will give you no long-term guarantees. as some of the most viable ISPs
     were formed very recently.  In any event, whatever ISP you choose, you
     will have to provide your own computer and your own modem.

8.3)  What is the Internet?

     The Internet is the product of a worldwide computer network developed
     by the military in the late 1960s (ARPANET), nurtured by academicians
     over the last 20 years or so, and currently used primarily as a medium
     for the communication and free exchange of information and ideas for
     anyone who knows how to obtain Internet access.  There are more
     breathtaking Internet applications, but they are not for "newbies" and
     they are well beyond the scope of this FAQ.

8.3.1)  How can I obtain access to the Internet?

     You can use any computer system that has "telnet" capabilities or you
     can use your home computer to telnet via modem to your ISP.  How do I telnet from a computer system that has telnet

     At the Unix prompt, simply type in "telnet" (without the quotes) and
     the name (or IP address) of the computer system which you wish to
     access.  For example:

          telnet computer.system

     where computer.system is the name of a hypothetical computer system
     that you wish to access by telnet.  You will then be asked for your
     account name and password, which is assigned to you by your ISP.  How do I obtain access to the Internet from my home computer?

     You will need a modem and some sort of communications software.  Check
     with the DCN or your own ISP for further information.

8.3.2)  How do I communicate with other people on the Internet?

     Communication between individuals on the Internet usually takes place
     through the institutions of e-mail and the USENET newsgroups.  These
     are the most straightforward and easy to use Internet applications.
     Live time conversations also take place with the Internet Relay Chat
     (IRC); the World Wide Web provides access to multimedia communication.
     I hesitate to mention the highly intrusive Internet communication
     software "talk/ytalk," but for those of you who want more information
     on how to interrupt people with a talk request, contact David T.
     Witkowski (< >; readers with a web
     browser may visit David T. Witkowski's Ytalk Primer on the World Wide
     Web (< >).  Are there any rules for using e-mail and the USENET newsgroups.

     In most instances, yes.  Most ISPs impose regulations for e-mail and
     the USENET.  There are also informal rules of conduct that are
     enforced by the Internet community (fondly referred to as
     "netiquette").  For further information on official regulations on e-
     mail and the USENET, contact your ISP.  As for netiquette, use your
     own good judgment.  What is the difference between e-mail and the USENET newsgroups?

     The primary difference between e-mail and the USENET is privacy.
     However, neither e-mail or the USENET are confidential.  An e-mail
     message is directed to a particular individual or group of
     individuals; a USENET article is directed to anyone who has access to
     the newsgroup where the article is posted.  If you want to conduct
     confidential communications over the Internet, check out an encryption
     program such as PGP ("Pretty Good Privacy").
           PGP has a public domain version that is available free of charge
     to anyone who is using it for non-commercial purposes.  It has
     thwarted virtually every attempt that computer hackers have made to
     crack it.  What makes PGP unique is that the key that encrypts your
     mail (i.e., your "public key") is distinct and separate from the key
     that unscrambles it (i.e., your "private key").  Unless you tell
     someone your private PGP key or someone guesses it (which could take
     thousands of years of computer time) or discovers it by eavesdropping,
     no one can read your PGP encrypted mail.  How do I use e-mail?

     The most straightforward and easy way to use e-mail on the DCN is by
     using a program called "pine" (pine is an acronym for "pine is nearly
     elm"-- elm was an e-mail program that preceded pine).  To use pine,
     type in "pine" (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt.  The pine
     application is menu-driven, so just follow the instructions that you
     see on the screen.  How do I use the USENET newsgroups?

     The most straightforward and easy way to use the USENET newsgroups on
     the DCN is by using a program called "tin."  To use tin, type in "tin"
     (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt.  The tin program is menu-
     driven, so just follow the instructions.  How many USENET newsgroups are there?

     There are several thousand USENET newsgroups (more than anyone could
     ever hope to read), and there are more being created every day.  Thus,
     you should decide which newsgroups you want to read.  How do I figure out which newsgroups I want to read?

     The USENET newsgroups are organized into a heirarchy that includes
     regional and other domains.  You can use this hierarchy to select-out
     thousands of newsgroups that do not interest you.  With tin, use the
     "yank" command (with the "y" key), the "search" command (with the "/"
     key), and the "subscribe" command (with the "s" key).  After you've
     subscribed to the named groups that you want, simply yank out the
     rest.  The "unsubscribe" command (the "u" key) will eliminate unwanted
     groups.  For more information, use the online help in tin (^g).  Which USENET newsgroups are of interest to members of the
                Davis community?

     It depends upon the individual, but at the very least members of the
     Davis community would probably be interested in a number of the
     regional domains that are available through the Davis USENET; people
     who are new to the Internet would also be interested in a number of
     newsgroups found in the news.* domain.  You should subscribe to
     news.announce.newusers (<news:news.announce.newusers >) until you feel
     that you know more than most of the other people that subscribe to
     that group.  You will also find FAQs on every conceivable topic in the
     news.answers newsgroup (<news:news.answers >).  What regional domains are available through the Davis

     The ucd.* domain, the ucb.*,  the davis.* domain, the yolo.* domain,
     the sac.* domain, the ba.* domain, and the ca.* domain are all
     regional domains that the Davis USENET can access through the U.C.
     Davis USENET; Netscape can access virtually any regional USENET domain
     through the World Wide Web.  What USENET newsgroups are available on the davis.* domain?

     The davis.* domain is comprised of the following USENET newsgroups:

          *    davis.arts (<news:davis.arts >).

          * (< >).

          *    davis.crime (<news:davis.crime >):  This newsgroup was
               originally moderated by Community Service Officer (CSO)
               Christian Sandvig (< >) of the
               Davis Police Department.  The davis.crime newsgroup is also
               home to the davis.crime FAQ, maintained by CSO Sandvig.

          *    davis.dcn (<news:davis.dcn >):  By far the busiest of the
               davis.* newsgroups, members of the DCN use this newsgroup to
               discuss technical issues relating to the DCN.

          * (< >).

          *    davis.environment (<news:davis.environment >).

          *    davis.general (<news:davis.general >).

          *    davis.general-plan (<news:davis.general-plan >).

          *    davis.government (<news:davis.government >).

          * (< >).

          * (< >).

          * (< >).

          *    davis.rec (<news:davis.rec >).

          *    davis.religion (<news:davis.religion >).

          *    davis.seniors (<news:davis.seniors >).

          *    davis.test (<news:davis.test >).

          *    davis.youth (<news:davis.youth >).

     Most of the davis.* USENET newgroups are deceptively quiet because of
     the proliferation of World Wide Web sites on the DCN.  Ironically, the
     DCN FAQ Project might never reach the vast majority of people on the
     USENET newsgroups in need of the DCN FAQs because new users might
     never know where to look for the FAQs.  The present publication of
     this FAQ on davis.general, however, should quickly change all this ;->  How do I use the IRC?

     To use the IRC, type in "irc" (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt.
     There is online help available for the IRC and many of the people who
     you meet on the IRC will be willing to answer many of your questions.
     You will also find a FAQ on the IRC in the news.answers USENET
     newsgroup (<news:news.answers >).  How do I access the World Wide Web?

     You can access the World Wide Web by using a text-based program, such
     as "lynx," or by using a "web browser," such as "Netscape."  Access to
     the multi-media features of various web sites (i.e., pictures and
     sound) is the biggest advantage of using Netscape.  How do I use lynx?

     Simply type in "lynx" (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt and
     follow the instructions that you find on the screen.  How do I use Netscape?

     Netscape is easy to use and has many exciting and revolutionary multi-
     media/multi-protocol features, but you will probably need help from
     someone who knows what he or she is doing to learn how to use
     Netscape.  For more information on Netscape, visit the Netscape Home
     Page on the World Wide Web (< >).

8.3.3)  What resources are available over the Internet?

     In addition to the communication and exchange of information that
     people can accomplish over the Internet using e-mail, USENET, and IRC,
     people can download archived information from computers on the
     Internet using "file transfer protocol" (ftp).  What is ftp and how does it work?

     The ftp function resembles the telnet function (the basic method of
     gaining access to the Internet for e-mail and the USENET), but ftp is
     only used for downloading or uploading information.  There are
     generally two ways to access a computer via ftp, anonymous and
     privileged.  How do I use anonymous ftp?

     When you know which anonymous ftp site has the information that you
     want, log onto it using the ftp program:

          *    Type in "ftp" (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt,
               followed by the name of the ftp site that you wish to
               access.  For example:


               where is the name of a hypothetical ftp site that
               you want to access.

          *    You will be asked to provide your username, type in:


          *    You will then be asked to provide your password.

               TO BE *ANONYMOUS*.  If you wish, you may type in your
               Internet address as a return address, but you do not need to
               do so.  Virtually any response to the password request will
               give you access to an anonymous ftp site.

          *    Type in the GET command, followed by the exact name of the
               file that you want.  For example:

                    get ftp-document

               where ftp-document is the name of a hypothetical ftp
               document that you want to obtain via ftp.  This procedure
               will retrieve any ASCII document.

          *    If for some reason, there is something wrong with the
               document you obtain, it is probably not an ASCII document,
               so start over at the beginning and set the code to binary by
               typing in "binary" (without the quotes) after you have
               opened the anonymous ftp site.  For example:


               This should fix the problem so that you can GET the document
               that you want.  If it doesn't, then the file you have is
               probably compressed or encrypted, so you will need to find
               out what program you should use to decompress or decrypt the

     Note:  Check with the DCN or your own ISP for more information on the
     quirks of their ftp programs.  How do I use privileged ftp?

     A privileged ftp site requires an actual username and an actual
     password (as opposed to an anonymous ftp site).  Privileged ftp sites
     have all of the features of an anonyomus ftp site; you can also use
     the PUT command with privileged ftp.  For example:

          put ftp-document

     where ftp-document is the name of a hypothetical document that you
     want to load to your privileged ftp site.  How do I obtain ftp files by e-mail request?

     For information on ftp by e-mail service, send an e-mail message to with the text "help" somewhere in the body of
     the message.  Many ftp sites have mail-server software that will send
     ftp files by e-mail request.  For example, to obtain this faq by e-
     mail, send the following message to

          send usenet/news.answers/davis/faq/part*
          . . .

     Where * is replaced by the numbers 1 through 6 in successive lines of
     text.  Other FAQs that I have written are archived at
     under the appropriate archive name in the pub/usenet/news.answers
     directory.  See Section 1.5 for more information about these other
     FAQs.  To obtain one of these other FAQs, change the text of your
     message on the line that begins with "send" so that the archive names
     davis/faq/part* are replaced with the archive names of the other FAQ.  How can I find out what information is available via ftp?

     You can use various "search engines" on the Internet.  For example, my
     favorite search engine on the World Wide Web is Yahoo
     (< >).  What is a gopher?

     The term gopher primarily refers to two very closely related things:
     A computer protocol and a type of menu-driven computer application.
     People use gophers to burrow through the Internet, figuratively
     speaking, and help them find the information that they want.  Gophers
     are named after the mascot of the University of Minnesota where the
     gopher protocol was developed.  All the gophers in the world are
     interconnected, so if you want to use a gopher, simply type in
     "gopher" (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt and follow the
     directions.  Who (or what) is/are Veronica and Jughead?

     Veronica (*Very *Easy *Rodent *Oriented *Netwide *Index to *Computer
     *Archives) and Jughead (*Jonzi's *Universal *Gopher *Hierarchy
     *Excavation *And *Display) are somewhat dated gopher-based search
     engines.  You will probably not have call to use them.  Who (or what) is Archie?

     Archie (*Archive *Retrieval *C--- *H---  *I--- *E--) is a search
     engine that helps you locate computer programs that are archived on
     ftp sites on the Internet.  To use Archie, simply type in "archie"
     (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt and follow the directions.  [Miscellaneous sections currently under construction.]


     Nominations for this category are welcome.  I will make the final
     decision as to who qualifies.  As it stands right now, the davis.*
     USENET newsgroups (other than davis.dcn and davis.crime) are
     conspicuously void of any activity.

          - Jf Cacas

     Jf Cacas used the davis.crime USENET newsgroup (<news:davis.crime >)
     to protest the harsh restrictions on Concealed Weapon Permits in the
     town of Davis.  In his cause, he found both support and flames from
     members of the Davis virtual community.

          - Community Service Officer Christian Sandvig

     CSO Sandvig was once the moderator of the davis.crime USENET
     newsgroup, where he continues to do an admirable job of tolerating the
     heckling of anal-retentive nit-pickers such as myself.  CSO Sandvig is
     an undergraduate at U.C. Davis (one of the dying breed of Rhetoric &
     Communication Majors) where he works on the editorial staff of "Think"
     magazine (< >).


     [Note:  Expect periodic revisions in this section and/or its
     subsections.]  While I intend to add more information to this FAQ in
     the future, it has pretty much passed through its puberty.  I have
     made every effort to make sure that the structure and organization of
     this FAQ will not require much change.  If information is
     substantially changed or deleted, I will include specific notations
     bracketed in the section headings as follows:

          *    [CORRECTIONS]--If information is revised because of
               substantial inaccuracy, I will mark the heading with this
               notation; I will *not* note minor corrections.

          *    [Del]--Old section deleted.

          *    [New]--New section.

          *    [Rev]--Revised section.

          *    [Moved from . . .]/[Moved to . . .]--Section moved;
               information unchanged.

          As the above notations are meant to accomodate regular readers of
     this FAQ, these notations will only appear for one month.


     Due to ongoing changes in various navigational links for city service
     on the Davis Web, I deleted two sections and replaced them with a more
     generic one.  Moreover, I have changed a number of navigational links
     that used to access the hypertext version of this FAQ at the USENET
     FAQ Project.  I did so in response to a major snafu at the USENET FAQ
     project that I was powerless to fix.


     No changes are currently planned for the structure and/or organization
     of future versions of this FAQ.  I will simply add more information to
     the few areas that I still consider deficient and/or add sections for
     which I did not have enough information to include at this time.  Your
     comments are very much appreciated, even though I cannot reply to
     every inquiry that I receive.  Specifically, please let me know where
     you found out about this FAQ and where you think that I should post a
     notice of its availability.

- - - - -

End Document:

                The Davis, California USENET FAQ Part 6 of 6
         Frequently Asked Questions at and about Davis, California
                         (c) Copyright 1995 & 1996


                           David F. Prenatt, Jr.
                           Internet Esquire(sm)
                              P.O. Box 74632
                           Davis, CA 95617-5632

           World Wide Web: < >

                 E-mail: < >

Last document.

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