6.5 Putting the Finger on Someone
Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet

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     Finger is a handy little program which lets you find out more about
people on the Net -- and lets you tell others on the Net more about
yourself.
     Finger uses the same concept as telnet or ftp. But it works with
only one file, called .plan (yes, with a period in front).  This is a
text file an Internet user creates with a text editor in his home
directory.  You can put your phone number in there, tell a little bit
about yourself, or write almost anything at all.
     To finger somebody else's .plan file, type this at the command
line:
 
     finger email-address
 
where email-address is the person's e-mail address.  You'll get back a
display that shows the last time the person was online, whether
they've gotten any new mail since that time and what, if anything, is
in their .plan file.
     Some people and institutions have come up with creative uses for
these .plan files, letting you do everything from checking the weather
in Massachusetts to getting the latest baseball standings.  Try
fingering these e-mail addresses:
 
weather@cirrus.mit.edu            Latest National Weather Service weather
                                  forecasts for regions in Massachusetts.
 
quake@geophys.washington.edu      Locations and magnitudes of recent
                                  earthquakes around the world.
 
jtchern@ocf.berkeley.edu          Current major-league baseball standings and
                                  results of the previous day's games.
 
nasanews@space.mit.edu            The day's events at NASA.
 
coke@cs.cmu.edu                   See how many cans of each type of soda
                                  are left in a particular soda machine
                                  in the computer-science department of
                                  Carnegie-Mellon University.