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Coming from AOL

This file was originally written by SFF Net member Jim Bailey. If you're coming from AOL and having trouble accessing some features of SFF Net, this page may have some helpful hints. Updated 15 Feb 2002 by Tech Support.

  1. AOL versions and requirements
  2. Connecting
  3. SFF Net Newsgroups
  4. SFF Net Mail
  5. SFF Net FTP
  6. SFF Net Chat

AOL Versions and Requirements
Minimum requirements are AOL 2.7 for Mac or AOL 3.0 for Windows. If you're still using Windows 3.1, you're used to most everything not working, so don't be surprised if AOL for Win31 is goofy here, too.

You can download upgrades for free at keyword Upgrade. Go to keyword Winsock for technical information on how AOL can screw up the perfectly good TCP/IP software that comes with your operating system. Ignore the bits where the technical information says you can't access outside mail and newsreader programs.

Start up AOL as usual and sign on. This connects you to AOL and the rest of the world (the Internet) at the same time. Use the AOL program to access stuff on AOL, and use other programs to access stuff elsewhere.

After logging on, minimize the AOL window if it's in your way, then launch the Internet application you want to use. If you find that AOL's inactivity timer causes you problems, download one of the timer-defeater programs or just remember to click on something every now and then.

SFF Net Newsgroups
NewsXpress works with AOL for Win31, and just about any program works for modern versions of AOL. See Recommended Software for recommendations and configuration help. Remember that early versions of the AOL software (before 6.0, mostly) often hang, garble things, disconnect without warning, and otherwise make your online life frustrating. Newer versions do the same things, but more gracefully.

SFF Net Email
The standard SFF Net email instructions apply. If you have an SFF Net email box and don't want to configure separate software or worry about checking multiple places, then the simplest thing is to forward your SFF Net email to your AOL mailbox. Use WebMail to configure your SFF Net mailbox. If the options aren't obvious, then you'll find detailed instructions online.

You can FTP files to your SFF Net webpage using just about any FTP program, including AOL itself. To FTP from within AOL:

  1. Go to the AOL ftp area in the Internet Connection (keyword Internet --> FTP Icon --> Go To FTP button --> Other Site button.

  2. Enter ftp://people.sff.net into the box, check the Ask for login name and password box, then hit the Connect button.

  3. Enter your SFF Net username and password, then click the Continue button. You'll get a message saying you're connected to SFF Net; click OK, and you are in your own webpage directory.

  4. If you get lost, remember that /www/people/yourusername is your webpage directory.

  5. To download a file, highlight the filename and click the Download Now button. Select a directory on your computer where you want the file to go, then click OK.

  6. To upload a file, reverse the process.

AOL has a free webpage creation program called AOLPress (keyword aolpress) that's pretty easy to figure out. It has basic HTML editing in a word-processor-like environment.

SFF Net Chat & IRC
There are 2 different Chat Servers available on SFF-Net: Telnet Chat (usually refered throughout SFF-Net as just "Chat"), and Internet Relay Chat (IRC). The standard instructions cover everything you need to know.

You can download the CommNet program (keyword telnet) from AOL if you're looking for a simple telnet client.

If you have a java-capable browser, you can just go to http://irc.sff.net and use IRC without installing any software. The IRC denizens will be more than eager to tell you, in great detail and in contradictory terms, what other software you should use and how to obtain and install it.


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