DREI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This is our self-help list. If you have questions and answers to contribute, post to the drei.help-desk newsgroup (if you are unable to post to the newsgroup, you can submit questions by mail to drei-help-desk@forum.swarthmore.edu).

I. E-Mail
1. Forwarding Mail
2. Reading DIMACS Mail
3. Using Attachments [NEW!]
4. Be Alert - Internet Scams

II. Discussion Boards (Newsgroups)
1. Subscribing to DREI Bulletin Boards [NEW!]
2. Checking for Messages [NEW!]
3. Alternative: News via Email [NEW!]
4. Alternative: News via the Web [NEW!]

III. File Transfer
1. Uploading and Downloading from DIMACS Account
2. Sharing Files Within Your Project Group [NEW!]

IV. Internet Access
1. Text-only Accounts
2. AOL Accounts [NEW!]
3. Dialup Modems
4. How to Set Your Password
5. Help with Netscape

I. E-Mail

1. Forwarding Mail

If you have multiple Internet accounts and want to receive all your email in one place, it's possible to have mail forwarded. Here are the directions for forwarding mail from a text-based account (like your DIMACS account) to some other account. Here are two ways to do it:

2. Reading DIMACS Mail

Recommended way: use Netscape mail, with host dimacs.rutgers.edu acting as both the "POP" and "SMTP" server (these configured under the menu Options / Mail and News / Servers). This will slurp all the mail from DIMACS to your hard drive.

Choose one mail program and stick with it -- multiple mail programs usually conflict.

3. Using Attachments

Attaching multimedia files to email can be a great way to collaborate -- if used with care. In other cases, it may be better to share files by putting them on your web site and just emailing the link to everyone. Here are some tips:

Use a "MIME-Capable" Mail Program
MIME is the Internet standard for adding attachments to mail messages. Netscape, Eudora, and Elm are examples of MIME-capable mail programs; but older versions of MS Mail are not.
Attach Only Formats Everyone Can Read
Don't send everyone special formats that can be read only on certain types of computers or only in conjunction with specific commercial software.
Good formats include: HTML, JPEG, GIF
Bad formats include: MS Word, Word Perfect, MS PowerPoint
Whatever you send, make sure the file has the right extension (such as .html or .htm for HTML files) so that the mail program will correctly guess what kind of file you're trying to send; otherwise it will include incorrect instructions for decoding the attachment.
Attach Only Relatively Small Files
When you want to share a large file, don't email it -- this will clog up people's mail systems (causing long email download times, and clogging the DIMACS disks with a copy of the file in every mailbox). The total size of attachments should probably never exceed 50K bytes. Instead, to share large files, put them on your web page (by uploading them to your public_html directory and adding links from your home page).
Check the File Type Before Opening an Attachment
You should be careful about opening executable files, or other dangerous types of files, that come as attachments. In Netscape, choose View / Attachments as Links to see the type of an attachment.

4. Be Alert - Internet Scams

Because information spreads so quickly on the Internet, it is a fertile breeding ground for scams and hoaxes. The most successful ones, such as the "Good Times Virus" hoax and the Dave Rhodes "Make.Money.Fast" pyramid scheme, have been circulating for years and years despite all attempts to snuff them out. To be prepared, be informed:

II. Discussion Boards (Newsgroups)

1. Subscribing to DREI Bulletin Boards

In Netscape, click on the link in the List of DREI Bulletin Boards which points to the board you want to join. In the window that pops up, there should be a panel containing a list of News servers and discussion areas, including the server av.rutgers.edu and the DREI board you just selected. To the right of the bulletin board name, there should be a box or dot that you can click to create a checkmark, indicating that you have subscribed to this board (if you don't see this, you may need to stretch the panel wider by grabbing and dragging its edge).

2. Checking for Messages
Once you have subscribed to a bulletin board, News works just like "pre-sorted email". The only difference is that in Netscape, you check for News messages by selecting the Window / News menu instead of Window / Mail. Once the News window is open, click on the server av.rutgers.edu to check for new messages in any of the DREI boards to which you've subscribed. Note:

3. Alternative: News via Email

If you are unable to use Netscape on your Internet connection, you can still read and post to the bulletin boards via email, thanks to a mail-news gateway set up for us by the Math Forum.

To subscribe to a bulletin board via email, send a mail message to majordomo@forum.swarthmore.edu containing lines like those below (each command must be on a separate line). The Subject: of the mail message does not matter -- you can leave it blank.

subscribe topic
unsubscribe topic
where topic is one of: drei-general, drei-help-desk, drei-art-gallery, drei-voronoi, or drei-web-team (note punctuation differs slightly from the bulletin board names)
to get a complete list of commands for this gateway

To post a message to one of the bulletin boards, if you are subscribed via email, simply send a mail message to topic@forum.swarthmore.edu (where topic is one of of the modified bulletin board names shown above).

4. Alternative: News via the Web

Although this doesn't allow you to post your own messages, you can browse existing messages via the Math Forum's archiver. Follow the "archive" links on the List of DREI Bulletin Boards.

III. File Transfer

1. Uploading and Downloading from Your DIMACS Account

You can use Netscape to easily transfer files back and forth between your DIMACS account and your own computer by pointing Netscape to the URL

where both user's should be replaced by your actual DIMACS account name (some accounts are in a different location; try replacing lunar/u2 with henson/u3 in case the above doesn't work). You can even bookmark this address for easy access! Then:

2. Sharing Files Within Your Project Group

The classroom activities area on the web server is divided by project area, and further split into an "public" area for approved, publicly-viewable files, and an exactly parallel "private", password-protected area meant for sharing files within your project group:

"Public" Classroom Area
"Private" Classroom Area (requires special drei password)

To upload materials to the "private" area, use Netscape's file upload feature at the following address:

(this requires your normal dimacs password, and user should be your normal dimacs login name). Be sure to bookmark this address.

IV. Internet Access

1. Text-only Accounts

Here are the most common commands to run Internet tools on text-only accounts (if your service provider doesn't provide a menu):

The command names must be typed in lower case (e.g., not FTP).

2. AOL Accounts

AOL's browsing software does not offer true Internet access -- the E-mail feature can only be used to receive mail sent to your AOL account (no POP support); the News feature can only read news from AOL's server (can't access DREI News); and there is no Telnet support (can't log into your dimacs account).

We therefore recommend that AOL subscribers either switch to a true Internet service, or upgrade to version 3 of AOL's software, which allows you to use any true Internet applications in place of AOL's browsing software. Directions can be found on AOL under Internet Connection / FAQ / Can I use other browsers with AOL?. Windows users can also find the directions on the web at Integrated Web Technologies or Kinetic Solutions.

3. Dialup Modems

In general, we anticipate that most people will find their own Internet service providers, and dial in to the modems provided by that service.

DIMACS does have some dialup modems in the NJ area that have been used in the past to provide low-cost Internet access to program participants. Given the commodification of Internet access, the future of these lines is unclear. [If you have more info, please mail us at drei96@dimacs.rutgers.edu.]

4. How to Set Your Password

To set the password for an account, use Telnet to connect to the host where the account is (e.g., dimacs.rutgers.edu). Once you are logged in, issue the command

The program should ask you to enter the old password, and then the new password (twice). However, it may not give you any confirmation of the change.

5. Help with Netscape

For step-by-step assistance with Netscape problems, try Netscape's "Ask Mozilla" troubleshooting service.


$Date: 1996/11/07 00:00:00 $