4.0411 Network Access -- FreeNet (2/71)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Thu, 23 Aug 90 20:44:35 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0411. Thursday, 23 Aug 1990.

(1) Date: Wed, 22 Aug 90 13:09:09 -0400 (47 lines)
From: gxs11@po.CWRU.Edu (Gary Stonum)
Subject: Re: Computer Access

(2) Date: Thu, 23 Aug 90 17:18 EST (24 lines)
From: "Peter D. Junger" <JUNGER@CWRU>
Subject: Network access

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 90 13:09:09 -0400
From: gxs11@po.CWRU.Edu (Gary Stonum)
Subject: Re: Computer Access

Bob Kraft asks an excellent question about access to library catalogs
and other sources for those without Internet or Bitnet access. One
limited possibility is the Cleveland FreeNet, a community telecomputing
facility that currently allows access to a few library catalogs (CARL,
MELVYL, and several Cleveland sources). My guess is that in the
relatively near future FreeNet will have wider porting facilities.

As the name implies, FreeNet is free, the only catch being that
you have to dial in and hence pay for any toll or long distance
charges. The dial-up number is 216-368-3888; the modems respond
at rates between 300 and 2400 and the preferred communications
settings are no parity, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit. As with
bulletin boards elsewhere, you can login initially as a guest,
browse around reading the boards, but must wait until after
registering before you can post messages. As far as I know, guests
can use the "teleport" service, which is where you find the
gateways to library catalogs and also to Compuserve.

Navigating FreeNet is pretty easy; the menus are clear and the on-line
help is pretty good. The basic idea is that all the services are
conceptually organized as "buildings" and "neighborhoods" in an
electronic city, the directory of which appears as the main menu.
Registering to get a FreeNet id is another story. The application can
be downloaded, but must then be mailed in. Unfortunately, getting back
one's id can take some time; FreeNet is not exactly overstaffed and
answering paper-and- stamp mail seems to rank low on their dignity scale.

FreeNet is the first and as far as I know the largest of a new
network of community computing services, the National Public
Telecomputing Network. Some of the others on the network may
offer similar services and be closer by via telephone.

Incidentally, for humanists the other claim to fame of Cleveland
FreeNet is that it is the home of the Electronic College of
Theory, the Society for Critical Exchange's bulletin board

Gary Lee Stonum
Society for Critical Exchange
English Dept., Guilford House
Case Western Reserve Univ.
Cleveland, OH 44106
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------29----
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 90 17:18 EST
From: "Peter D. Junger" <JUNGER@CWRU>
Subject: Network access

Freenet in Cleveland, which is supported by Case Western Reserve
University, allows members of the general public to subscribe and allows
its subscribers (called "reigstered users") to send email to any
internet address (and that includes bitnet addresses if one knows a
gateway). The editing and mail reading facilities are way below
standard--and are the same facilities that the faculty and staff at CWRU
are supposed to use--but for people who do not have other access to the
networks, it must be a very good deal. There is no FTP ability
available to non CWRU users of Freenet. I cannot give you the Freenet
address (I have an account, but the address for members of the CWRU
community is not the same as that for members of the general public).

I cannot stand Freenet, it has the ickyest interface and the nastiest
bunch of metaphors that I have ever seen on a bulletin board. Even so,
it is undoubtedly a great contribution to the general public in
Cleveland--just as it is an embarassment to members of the CWRU

Peter Junger
CWRU Law School