Hopkins In Cyberspace By Mike Field For the past year, we've explored the wonders of JHuniverse, the gopher-based information system that allows computer users connected to the Internet to "visit" the Hopkins campuses and retrieve all sorts of useful information. Do you need to know when Peabody undergraduates will register for next year's classes? Look under #6-Calendars, then #4-Academic Calendars, then #4-Peabody. In only a few easy keystrokes you've got your answer: April 13 & 14. Faster than a phone call! Want to know the names of all the physicians providing physical exams, OB/GYN exams and eye exams through the university's new Blue Cross/Blue Shield health maintenance plan? Go to #11-HR Info, then #1-Benefits, then #2-Providers and the whole list is at your fingertips. Or maybe it's grant money you're in need of. By entering #9-Research Info, then #3-NIH, then #4-Grants and Research Info, you can keep abreast of the latest offerings at the National Institutes of Health. All this and much, much more is available through the JHuniverse gopher, a clear and easy-to-use system of menus and files open to anyone with access to the Internet. But what about all the really neat stuff, the pictures and soundbites and interactive text (called hypertext) that are splashed across the pages of Time and Newsweek? How do you get to go shopping or tour the White House? How do you visit Newt? In order to take full advantage of the Internet you will need a web browser, such as Mosaic or Netscape, which is a piece of software that resides in your computer and enables it to receive pictures, sound, movies and hypertext from the Net. For DOS machines, these programs require Windows. Remember, your computer at home, connected to other computers via a modem, will not achieve this level of Internet connectivity without additional special software. However, most university computers are already full linked to the Internet and ready to go. For these machines it is only necessary to load the correct software before taking a hypertext tour of the Internet universe. Some of you may already have Mosaic, one of the first web browsers, on your computer. For a time Mosaic set the pace, but in the past six months it has become evident that Netscape, designed by 23-year-old Marc Andreessen (who also developed Mosaic), has become the industry standard. Netscape (known officially as the Netscape Navigator) now holds three-quarters of the market for browsers. Last week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that 19 companies led by Microsoft, IBM and Apple have agreed to use Netscape's Secure Socket Layers technology for Internet security, effectively establishing the industry standard. Security is a big issue on the Internet, especially when it comes to through-the-Net shopping, which requires the electronic transmission of credit card numbers. Netscape's security code is already built into the Navigator (wasn't that clever?) which means anyone online with Netscape can begin electronic shopping right now. Today. So for those of you with plain old Mosaic, now is the time to upgrade to Netscape; those without either should take this opportunity to get on line and start surfing the Web. In Gazette issues of Feb. 6, 13 and March 13 we reviewed the basic procedures of file transfer protocol known as ftp. You can review those columns online through JHuniverse by looking under #12-Publications, then #1-Publications, then #4-The Gazette. Previously, we discussed ftp in the context of moving text files, such as the U.S. Constitution. However, ftp can be used to move software programs as well as text. Just be sure to click on binary as opposed to ASCII when making the transfer. Since Netscape wants to set the industry standard, they have opted to give their software program--the Navigator--away for free. In fact, they've made it remarkably easy to load the program on your computer by creating a self-extracting file that essentially loads itself; all you have to do is create a directory and import the file. Once that is accomplished it's like a prepackaged inflatable life raft--simply pull the string and wumpf! you're on board. These self-extracting Netscape files (different versions are available for Mac and Windows-based machines) are available from the Netscape home office, as it were, by starting from your system prompt (if you have a DOS machine) and typing the following: ftp ftp.netscape.com with a space between the first and second ftp. Note the double use of ftp: you will be ftp'ing to a location titled ftp dot netscape dot com. Mac users with the program Fetch or PC users with WinFTP can get to ftp.netscape.com using their mouse to point and click. However, no matter what system you use, don't even bother trying to get to Netscape if you're hoping to download during extended business hours (say from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.). Almost inevitably, you'll get a message telling you that about 20 quadrillion other users are currently signed on to Netscape and there are no additional openings for your request. Try again, you'll be told. But not to worry. Lucky for us, those efficient folks in Homewood Academic Computing have obtained a copy of the Navigator, customized it especially for Hopkins use, and have posted it on the JHUnix computer, available for all to visit and retrieve. That file can be imported into your computer using anonymous ftp from jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu. Those of you eager to get started right away will find the Mac version of Netscape by following apple-mac_software to Internet to World_Wide_Web to Netscape to the file you want, Netscape1.ON.hqx. IBM compatible PC users will need to follow a different path: pc-msdos_software to Windows to the file you want, ns16-100.exe. For those still new to ftp and a little unsure yet, stay tuned: in the next column we will visit, retrieve and install Netscape step-by-step so you can follow along.
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