Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online
America Online (at the time of writing) offers e-mail and Usenet newsgroups, with plans to add Gopher access. The standouts that offer complete Internet access are Delphi and BIX (which are actually owned by the same company) and the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link.
Here are the costs, but keep in mind that they may have changed by the time you read this. (Indeed, they may change by the time I'm finished typing this paragraph.) Delphi has two membership plans: the "10/4" plan costs $10 per month and includes four hours of use; additional use is $4 per hour. The "20/20 Advantage" plan is $20 per month, includes 20 hours of use and costs $1.80 per hour for additional time. The Internet service option costs an extra $3 per month. There may be a one-time startup fee, depending on the service plan you choose.
Delphi access during business hours via Sprintnet or Tymnet carries an additional surcharge. Through a trial membership offer, anyone interested in trying Delphi and the Internet can receive five hours of access for free. To join, dial 800-365-4636 by modem. After connecting, press Return. At the "Username:" prompt, enter JOINDELPHI and at the password prompt, type INTERNET. If you have questions, call Delphi's voice information line at (800) 695-4005.
Current charges for BIX are $13 each month, plus connect charges of $3/hr for non-primetime use. BIX also offers a "20/20" plan--20 hours of evening and weekend service for $20 a month. For more information, call the voice information line at (800) 695-4775.
The WELL costs $15 a month plus $2 an hour. Long-distance usage through the CompuServe Packet Network, (a packet-switching service), costs an additional $4 per hour. To sign up online, dial (415) 332-6106 and log in as newuser. Callers from out of the area may wish to use the packet network: call (800) 848-8980 to find the nearest CPN number, call that number, and enter WELL at the prompt. The WELL's voice information line is (415) 332-4335.
Here is a sampling of the world of the WELL:
This is the WELL Type newuser to sign up. Type trouble if you are having trouble logging in. Type guest to learn about the WELL.
If you already have a WELL account, type your username. login: savetz Password: Last login: Sat Feb 5 18:32:34 from bolero.rahul.net Sun Microsystems Inc. SunOS 5.3 Generic September 1993 You own your own words. This means that you are responsible for the words that you post on the WELL and that reproduction of those words without your permission in any medium outside of the WELL's conferencing system may be challenged by you, the author. You have new mail. PicoSpan T3.3k; designed by Marcus Watts copyright 1984 NETI; licensed by Unicon Inc. OK (type a command or type opt for Options): mail Mail version 5.2d (word-wrap) 9/22/91. Type ? for help. "/home/s/a/savetz/.inbox": 5 messages 5 new >N 1 support Fri Feb 4 14:55 72/2648 "WELLcome to The WELL!" N 2 sdf Sat Feb 5 12:52 14/423 "Welcome" N 3 support Fri Feb 11 02:25 43/1781 "You're invited" N 4 firstname.lastname@example.org Wed Feb 16 03:59 86/2911 "Spring CyberSpace Community, " N 5 support Fri Feb 18 02:05 43/1786 "You're invited....." OK (type a command or type opt for Options): confs ______________________________________________________________________________ CONFERENCES 1 - Conferences on Social Responsibility and Politics (1K) 2 - Media and Communications (1K) 3 - Magazines, Publications and Zines (1K) 4 - Business and Livelihood (1K) 5 - Body, Mind, Health (1K) 6 - Cultures and Languages (1K) 7 - Of Place and Places (1K) 8 - Interactions (1K) 9 - Arts and Letters (1K) 10 - Recreation (1K) 11 - Entertainment (1K) 12 - Education, Science and Planning (1K) 13 - Grateful Dead (1K) 14 - Computers (1K) 15 - Conferences About The WELL, Itself (1K) 16 - Private Conferences (2K) 17 - Print Out All 200+ Conferences (11K)
Figure 2.2. America Online offers Internet e-mail and Usenet newsgroups through a benevolent graphical interface.
AOL costs $9.95 a month for 5 hours of use, any time of day. Additional time is billed at $3.50 per hour. There is no surcharge for connection through Tymnet and Sprintnet--happy happy, joy joy. For more information, call AOL's voice information line at (800) 827-6364.
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