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Staff Senate receives quick tour of Internet

By Netta S. Eisler

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 31 - May 4, 1995

At its April meeting, the Staff Senate was led on "A Quick Cruise on the Internet" by Kim Homer of the Computing Center. She used a Macintosh computer displayed on a large screen rather than a monitor, so that senators could view the operations she performed.

Homer said that millions of computers are linked together through gateways to the Internet. "If you have a Mac or PC with a modem at home and have a PID, you can get on the Internet," she said. The Computing Center will provide the necessary software for connection.

Information and software are available on line from the Computing Center through the Virginia Tech gopher. Help for specific problems is available by calling 231-help or on-line by contacting 4Help@vt.edu or 4Help@vtvm1.

The letters at the end of userids, called the token, indicate the type of user account, Homer said. The token .edu, used at Virginia Tech and other universities, indicates an educational institution. The token .gov is government, .com is commercial, and .mil is military. The Blacksburg Electronic Village received the token .va.us because the group did not fit into any other category. Other countries use tokens to indicate nationality, such as .uk (United Kingdom) and .ca (Canada). Most users in the United States do not use the token .us, Homer said, because the Internet originated here, and so U.S. is assumed.

Homer said that anyone receiving electronic mail can create an alias under which to receive mail. "If there is more than one person with the same name or if most people know you by a name that is different from your PID, it's good to have an alias," she said. She suggested contacting 4-Help at the Computing Center for more complete information on how to set up an alias.

To avoid a long list of names at the beginning of a message going out to a number of people, Homer suggested using the blind carbon copy (BCC) command. To do this, she demonstrated, click on BCC when you go in to select the list of people the message will go to. Then, on the To: line of the message, type in whatever you want, such as "Staff members" or "Friends."

Homer showed the senate several home pages, such as the Virginia Tech Home Page, which link users to a variety of information. Anyone with a PID can apply for a file-box account to create a home page, she said.

Following Homer's presentation, staff senator Bhaba Misra displayed the new Staff Senate Home Page he has created. The page contains information about staff associations and other Staff Senate news and is linked to a variety of other documents, such as the senate's constitution and bylaws and approved minutes of meetings. Plans are in development to link Spectrum with the page so that electronic browsers can access articles of interest to staff directly from this page.

To access the Staff Senate Home Page, type: http://www.vt.edu:10021/vetmed/brm/staff/senate.html.

Following the program, the senate discussed the need for each senator either to attend meetings or to send an alternate so that business can be conducted. Due to lack of a quorum, no business was conducted.