8.7 Clients
Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet

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     If you are used to plain-vanilla Unix or MS-DOS, then the way these
gophers and WAISs work seems quite straightforward.  But if you're used
to a computer with a graphical interface, such as a Macintosh, an IBM
compatible with Windows or a Next, you'll probably regard their
interfaces as somewhat primitive. And even to a veteran MS-DOS user, the
World-Wide Web interface is rather clunky (and some of the documents and
files on the Web now use special formatting that would confuse your poor
     There are, however, ways to integrate these services into your
graphical user interface.  In fact, there are now ways to tie into the
Internet directly, rather than relying on whatever interface your
public-access system uses, through what are known as "client" programs. 
These programs provide graphical interfaces for everything from ftp to
the World-Wide Web. 
     There is now a growing number of these "client" programs for
everything from ftp to gopher.  PSI of Reston, Va., which offers
nationwide Internet access, in fact, requires its customers to use these
programs. Using protocols known as SLIP and PPP, these programs
communicate with the Net using the same basic data packets as much larger
computers online.
     Beyond integration with your own computer's "desktop,'' client
programs let you do more than one thing at once on the net -- while you're
downloading a large file in one window, you can be chatting with a
friend through an Internet chat program in another.
     Unfortunately, using a client program can cost a lot of money.  Some
require you to be connected directly to the Internet through an Ethernet
network for example.  Others work through modem protocols, such as SLIP,
but public-access sites that allow such access may charge anywhere from
$25 to $200 a month extra for the service.
     Your system administrator can give you more information on setting
up one of these connections.