How do I connect my OS/2 Warp PC to the Internet?
The following information is adapted from a chapter appearing in the forthcoming book Internet Secrets from IDG Books, a comprehensive guide to the Internet.
IBM's flagship software for PCs, OS/2 Warp, ships with a BonusPak of full fledged 32-bit applications, including a suite of Internet access applications. This section describes those capabilities, why you might choose OS/2 Warp to connect to the Internet, and how to configure and customize some of the special features found in the OS/2 Warp Internet Connection.
What is OS/2 Warp's Internet Connection?
The Internet Connection supplied with the basic OS/2 Warp package provides everything you need to access the Internet using a direct dial-up SLIP or PPP connection. There are two modem dialers supplied with the package. One registers you with the IBM Global Network (currently the only worldwide dial-up Internet service provider) and the other lets you sign onto any third party provider of your choice. Three free hours of Internet access on the IBM Global Network are provided with every copy of OS/2 Warp.
OS/2 Warp's BonusPak also includes Person to Person, Video IN, Multimedia Viewer, and other applications which enhance the capabilities of the Internet Connection software. Person to Person allows you to engage in "conference calls" on your PC, where you can exchange information using a shared chalkboard and even broadcast video signals if you have a high speed connection and the necessary hardware. Whatever you copy into your chalkboard (such as a Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet) is seen by others in your Person to Person conference. Participants can draw lines, add text, point to items, and annotate inside the shared chalkboard window. Person to Person works over many types of networks, including the Internet Connection. Video IN allows you to record video clips from a VCR, laserdisc player, or other video signal using any of several video capture adapters for your PC. However, even if you do not have a video capture card, you can use OS/2 Warp's Video IN to create animated weather sequences, for example, like those you see on television as part of the weather forecast. You can use the Internet Connection to download weather maps of your favorite part of the world, then assemble those weather maps into a movie using Video IN. Multimedia Viewer extends OS/2 Warp's multimedia capabilities so that you can view and collect several image types (such as Kodak Photo CD, TIFF, GIF, Targa, and others) as well as play back audio files from other systems (such as the Sun .AU format), file types which are common on the Internet.
OS/2 Warp has several key benefits, all by itself, which make it a powerful platform for accessing the Internet. One of OS/2's key strengths for years has been its ability to reliably handle communications (including modem traffic) in the background along with other tasks. OS/2 Warp provides true preemptive multitasking and multithreading (often called "real multitasking"). Other operating environments, including Microsoft Windows and Macintosh System 7, provide cooperative multitasking. The difference is that OS/2 Warp, and not individual applications, is in charge of your PC's processor. In a cooperative multitasking system, if one programmer writes one application which does not yield control of your PC's processor back to the operating system in timely fashion, everything else stops running. Unfortunately that failure happens all too often. With OS/2 Warp, you can reliably and confidently download a file from the Internet using ftp, browse the World Wide Web using the IBM Web Explorer, format a diskette, print a document using your favorite word processor, and still run other DOS, Windows, and OS/2 applications. File transfers will not abort, and connections won't be dropped, simply because you try to go do something else.
With OS/2 Warp, you are encouraged to go spend your time doing other things while receiving information from the Internet (or doing anything else, for that matter). That capability allows you to save a lot of online time (and charges), because you can have several tasks running at once. (Many OS/2 Warp users, for example, run two or more copies of the IBM Web Explorer simultaneously. While one is retrieving a page from the World Wide Web, the other can be read, without in any way disturbing any other task.) Preemptive multitasking also means that OS/2 Warp can be used just as easily as a server, delivering information over the Internet as requested. OS/2 Warp systems are used as ftp, gopher, and even World Wide Web servers, for example.
Finally, many "Internet in a Box" packages are sold in software dealerships, often for $100 or more. The entire OS/2 Warp package, including the BonusPak with the Internet Connection, is typically priced at $79 or less. The user community for OS/2 Warp is active, enthusiastic, and fast growing, and you can get help, advice, and assistance from members of that community through the Internet, even on a real time basis.
The Internet Connection (and other BonusPak applications) comes on a separate set of diskettes (or CD-ROM) in the OS/2 Warp package. Inside the BonusPak box you'll find a brief manual explaining each of the BonusPak applications and how to install them. A common installation program is provided (INSTALL.CMD) which you should ordinarily use. Select those applications you wish to install, one-by-one, from the common installation program.
If you have the CD-ROM version of the OS/2 Warp BonusPak, be sure to select the correct version for the country where you live. The BonusPak CD-ROM contains directories (such as US for United States and NO for Norway) for the various countries of the world. Run INSTALL.CMD from the correct directory.
Note that you do not have to shutdown and reboot your PC until after you have installed all the BonusPak applications you wish to use, after you have exited the common installation program. You do not need to reboot after installing each single application.
To shutdown your OS/2 Warp PC, either:
A proper shutdown will assure that all the changes you have made to your desktop will be saved.
Registering with the IBM Global Network
Even if you plan to use a third party Internet provider, you should register with the IBM Global Network to use your three hours of free time. The Internet Connection software is designed to be upgraded over a modem, and the IBM Global Network will automatically update your OS/2 Warp Internet Connection to the latest version when you first sign on. Plus, you can download the IBM Web Explorer (a free World Wide Web browser for OS/2 Warp) by double clicking on the Retrieve Software Updates icon, located in your IBM Internet Connection for OS/2 folder. If for some reason you do not wish to sign onto the IBM Global Network, you can retrieve the latest version of the Internet Connection software and the Web Explorer via anonymous ftp from ftp.ibm.net.
The latest rate information for your country is provided when you sign on to the IBM Global Network. When the rates are displayed, you are given the opportunity to then proceed with sign on or abort. Generally speaking, IBM Global Network's rates are attractive if you either travel from place to place (and need local access to the Internet from two or more cities, especially abroad) or if you must dial long distance (and incur extra charges) to dial another Internet service provider. If you live in a major metropolitan area, well served by other Internet service providers, and you rarely (if ever) need access to the Internet from other cities, you might want to investigate other providers (which may be less expensive).
After you have installed the Internet Connection and restarted your OS/2 Warp PC, you should see a folder called IBM Information Superhighway on your desktop. Double click on this folder to open it, then double click on the IBM Internet Connection for OS/2 folder. Inside you will see a folder called IBM Internet Customer Services. Double click on this folder, then double click on the Registration icon located inside. Follow the instructions provided to sign on. Make sure your modem is turned on and working. If you do not know which type of modem you have, just choose Default. Make sure you select the correct speed for your modem. A V.32bis modem, for example, usually will work best set to 19,200 bps.
If you ever need help accessing the IBM Global Network, double click on the Customer Assistance icon (located inside the IBM Internet Customer Services folder), and click on the Ask for help button. Telephone numbers and other ways of reaching IBM Global Network support worldwide are provided.
Be sure to write down your account information (especially your password). You will need your password every time you wish to sign on to the IBM Global Network to access the Internet. You can sign on to the IBM Global Network using the IBM Internet Dialer program (in your IBM Internet Connection for OS/2 folder) or by double clicking on any of the available applications (such as Gopher).
You can modify the settings for your modem, local access number, and other settings from the Dialer. Start the Internet Dialer, then click on the Cancel button to prevent your modem from dialing. A second window, which provides information on the commands send to your modem, will pop up. Just click on the settings button, and an OS/2 settings notebook for the Dialer will then appear. This settings notebook is a common fixture in OS/2 Warp, and it is used for altering the properties of virtually any object. Click on the tabs of the notebook to switch among categories of settings, and click on the arrows in the lower right of the notebook to flip pages back and forth.
Internet Connection Applications
The key Internet applications are included with OS/2 Warp's Internet Connection. They include Gopher, NewsReader/2, Ultimedia Mail/2 Lite, telnet, telnet 3270, and ftp. (The IBM Web Explorer is available for download using the Retrieve Software Updates program.) These applications are straightforward counterparts to versions for other platforms. However, there are some special features unique to OS/2 Warp.
The Internet Connection's NewsReader/2 is a graphical application to access NNTP (Network News Transport Protocol) Internet news servers. This application communicates with the news server over your connection with the Internet provider to receive messages contained in the 7,000 plus forums found on the Internet. Facilities are provided for reading messages, posting or mailing replies, using your favorite text editor, and even decoding so-called Rot13 messages, which is an encoding method often used by people who wish to provide mild protection against accidental reading of a message. For example, Rot13 can be used to encode messages which contain information about the plot in a new movie, including its conclusion, and you as a reader have to go through the task of directing NewsReader/2 to decode the Rot13 text if you want the information. :note.NewsReader/2 is not a "threaded" newsreader, meaning that it does not provide total flexibility over following "chains" of messages by subject. However, you can achieve nearly the same effect by changing NewsReader/2's settings to sort newsgroups by subject. :note.Many Internet messages are intended to be viewed on dumb terminals, where the characters on a given line can line up exactly with characters located on lines below. People often construct elaborate (or not so elaborate) text "drawings," using vertical bars, dashes, and other characters to create boxes and other shapes, lines, and pictures. These features will not display correctly unless you are using a monospaced (as opposed to proportionally spaced) typeface. In NewsReader/2, you can select either the System VIO or System Monospaced screen fonts (in your choice of sizes) to get better results when viewing messages that contain these features.
The first time you start NewsReader/2, you will be prompted to obtain the full list of available newsgroups. Allow NewsReader/2 to fetch this list, but go ahead and use some of the other Internet Connection applications while the list is downloading.
Ultimedia Mail/2 Lite
This mailer is POP compliant, so you can use it with any Internet service provider which provides a POP mail server. It also supports MIME mail, so you can easily send and receive binary attachments to e-mail (including multimedia files, Kodak Photo CD images, etc).
The Ultimedia Mail/2 Lite folder contains the various parts of this e-mail application. To check whether you have received any electronic mail, simply double click on the In-basket icon. After Ultimedia Mail has connected to the server, any e-mail in your in-box will be displayed with some basic information (subject, author, etc). The icon to the left of each piece of mail may contain a number inside. If so, it indicates that the message has not only a text part, but also attachments (such as binary files). The number indicates the total number of parts contained in that piece of e-mail (the main text counts as one part). Simply double click on a piece of e-mail to open and read it. A menu is available for each piece of e-mail. Simply point to the piece of e-mail and tap the right (second) mouse button. You can use this menu to delete e-mail that you do not wish to read, for example. :note.Use the sample e-mail that the IBM Global Network sends you to practice reading, editing, and deleting Internet electronic mail.
You can save e-mail in folders, collecting related pieces of mail in any chosen categories. Mail that you send is automatically saved in its own folder so that you have a record of correspondence with other people. To draft a new piece of e-mail (and send it to someone else), double click on the New Letter icon. The main window for composing e-mail will then appear. :note.Every time you connect to your Internet service provider, be sure to check your In-basket. You will not be automatically notified that you have e-mail waiting. However, most POP mail servers will hold your e-mail for long periods of time, so if you do not remember to check, your mail won't be lost just because you hang up. :note.Ultimedia Mail Lite supports drag-and-drop extensively. To attach a file or picture to a new letter, for example, simply drag the file or picture to the rectangular area to the left of the message entry area. To save a file attached to received e-mail, drag out of the rectangular area to the desktop or a folder.
When you use the IBM Global Network to access the Internet, your e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, where "username" is whatever name IBM assigned to you when you registered. You can give this Internet address out to other people, and they can send e-mail to you from anywhere in the world.
telnet and telnet 3270
The templates for these applications are located in the Application Templates folder (located in the IBM Internet Connection for OS/2 folder). To create a telnet session, for example, simply "tear off" one of the telnet templates and drag it to any other folder (or to the desktop). Remember that OS/2 Warp, by default, uses the second (right) mouse button to drag and drop. Then fill in the host information with the name of the system you wish to reach using telnet. The telnet 3270 (for accessing mainframe computers across the Internet) and ftp templates work similarly. If you don't want to create an icon for every system you log onto, use the telnet, telnet 3270, and ftp icons located in the Internet Utilities folder.
You can cut and paste using the Internet Connection's telnet and telnet 3270 applications. (The telnet 3270 icon is used for accessing IBM mainframe systems over the Internet. For example, you can reach the IBM OS/2 BBS subscription service and other IBMLink services by using telnet 3270 to connect to ibmlink.advantis.net.) Command line (character mode) versions of these applications are available as well (from any OS/2 command line, full screen or windowed). :note.The telnet and telnet 3270 applications do not include built-in file transfer capabilities. If the system you wish to connect to supports it, simply open another window and use ftp to transfer files. However, some systems will not allow ftp for sending and receiving files (CompuServe, for example, which is reachable by using telnet to connect to compuserve.com). If so, you may wish to use the freely available C-Kermit for OS/2 as a replacement for telnet. C-Kermit, and many other OS/2 Warp Internet packages, are available from the ftp sites listed below.
The OS/2 Warp Internet Connection comes with both command line (character mode) and graphical versions of ftp (file transfer program) for sending and receiving files from various servers on the Internet. (Popular ftp servers for OS/2 software are listed below.)
The graphical version (FTPPM) first presents a window which prompts you for login information (such as user name and password). Many servers are so-called "anonymous" servers (meaning that a user name of "anonymous" will allow you to log on and retrieve any files located in public directories). You should, however, still enter your e-mail address as a password. (Some anonymous ftp servers even require it.) Ordinarily you can leave the Account entry blank; some systems (primarily IBM mainframes) may require it, but most do not.
The main FTPPM window has two primary sections. At the top you will see a view of your own PC's hard disk, and you can navigate through directories and select files just as you would with most other applications. In the section below, you will see a directory listing from the remote ftp server, and you can navigate through its directories very similarly.
There are two common pitfalls encountered by first time users of FTPPM. The most common is forgetting to select the correct file type before transferring a file. There are two file types available: ASCII (plain text) and binary. The default is ASCII, but the default may not be appropriate depending on the type of file you are trying to send or receive. Also, you should remember that most remote ftp servers are case sensitive (so if you have to type a file name, be sure the case you type matches its directory listing, letter for letter). Finally, be sure that you have indicated where you want files to go when you download files from remote servers. Otherwise, FTPPM is likely to place them in the root directory on your PC's hard disk, and you may not want them there.
Gopher is supplied with OS/2 Warp and provides the ability to navigate through a set of servers on the Internet which are all interconnected. You can double click on menus and files listed in your Gopher window to navigate across various Internet servers. Weather maps, software, library catalogs, and much more are available.
OS/2's Gopher is quite straightfoward. You can readily distinguish between files and submenus by looking at the icons to the left of each menu item. Submenus are indicated by gopher icons. If you double click on a submenu, you will get a window with a new set of options displayed. :note.Gopher will, by default, create a new window when your menu selection takes you to another server. You can use this fact to speed up your searches, because you can go back to the original window and select another menu option to branch off in a different direction. In fact, as with other applications on OS/2 Warp, you can use other Gopher windows while one is still downloading information from a server. To get a list of all the open Gopher windows, simply bring up the OS/2 Warp Window List by pressing CTRL-ESC.
IBM Web Explorer
The IBM Web Explorer is a free, downloadable addition to your Internet Connection. You can install it on your system by double clicking on the Retrieve Software Updates icon.
The Web Explorer, like Mosaic and other browsers, is designed to access the Internet's World Wide Web. It is a fully multithreaded browser, meaning that it can receive multiple incoming streams of information simultaneously. This multithreaded design speeds up retrieval of WWW pages.
You can configure the Web Explorer to use practically any external program for viewing various file types (audio, video, pictures, etc). However, by default the Web Explorer will use both internal viewers and (if installed) the BonusPak's Multimedia Viewer, to handle the wide variety of file types stored in WWW pages. Many of these file types are not native to the PC, and the Multimedia Viewer can convert such files to PC readable formats. (For example, Sun .AU audio files are very common, and the Multimedia Viewer includes support for listening to these audio files.)
Because the World Wide Web is highly graphical, you will get best results by using the Web Explorer on a display with 256 colors or more. Also, WWW pages can be large (and take lots of time to download). However, there are many ways you can make your time on the World Wide Web much more efficient using the Web Explorer. These tips include:
Resources on the Internet for OS/2 Warp Users
You can receive help, information, tips and techniques, and other assistance using OS/2 Warp through the Internet. The OS/2 Warp community on the Internet is large and friendly. Here are just some of the places to visit:
comp.os.os2.misc comp.os.os2.advocacy comp.os.os2.apps comp.os.os2.networking.misc comp.os.os2.networking.tcp-ip comp.os.os2.programmer.oop comp.os.os2.programmer.tools comp.os.os2.programmer.porting comp.os.os2.programmer.misc comp.os.os2.games comp.os.os2.setup comp.os.os2.bugs comp.os.os2.beta comp.os.os2.announce comp.binaries.os2 comp.lang.rexx
ftp-os2.cdrom.com ftp-os2.nmsu.edu software.watson.ibm.com
World Wide Web
http://www.ibm.com http://www.ibm.net http://www.mit.edu:8001/activities/os2
Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
Popular Additions to the Internet Connection
You can retrieve free and low cost software to add to your OS/2 Warp system from the anonymous ftp sites listed above. Here are some of the most popular:
More applications are being written and released with each passing month, so consult the OS/2 newsgroups and ftp sites for the latest.
You can also use any Windows Internet software with OS/2 Warp's Internet Connection. The Internet Connection includes WinSock support (using the WINSOCK.DLL file). Please be sure, though, that the WINSOCK.DLL file supplied by the Internet Connection is the only file by that name on your PC's hard disk.
Using Third Party Dial-Up Internet Providers
You need not use the IBM Global Network to access the Internet with OS/2 Warp. (However, three hours of free access is free time, and you should use it at least to get the latest versions of Internet software.) The Internet Connection (after using the Retrieve Software Updates program) supports connections to almost any third party Internet service provider using the standard SLIP or PPP protocols. The dialer even supports scripting using OS/2's built-in REXX programming language, so it can respond to any given login procedure used by your preferred Internet provider. (A sample script, ANNEX.CMD, is provided with the Internet Connection to get you started. Consult the online help for complete information on how to create such a script. In most cases, though, either you will not need a special script or your Internet service provider of choice has the necessary information you need to get connected. Be sure to ask your provider for instructions using OS/2 Warp to connect.)
The Dial Other Internet Providers icon is located in the Internet Utilities folder and is the application used (instead of the IBM Internet Dialer) to access third party providers. You can place several different providers (and dial-up access numbers) in the Dial Other... directory. Be sure to select SLIP, CSLIP (SLIP with VJ compression), or PPP protocol, as appropriate. Once connected to your Internet provider, all the Internet Connection applications will operate exactly the same way, provided the numeric Internet addresses for the various servers required (nameserver, POP mail server, etc.) are correctly configured.
Using OS/2 Warp's Internet Connection with a Network Card
See (0.4) Special Report on OS/2 Warp.
At the time of this writing, IBM has started testing a release of OS/2 Warp with additional bundled applications (including full support for ethernet, Token Ring, and other network cards) formerly sold separately. This so-called "OS/2 Warp for Networks" is scheduled for release sometime in the first half of 1995. The larger BonusPak, with the extra networking software, will be available as an upgrade for base OS/2 Warp as well.
(0.4) Special Report on OS/2 Warp (3.8) Networking Products