Calgary Community Network Association CCNA News!
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Vol. 1, No. 6,
October 1, 1999
In This Issue:
Communicating Over the Net
Communication Freebies
Did You Know?
Members Discounts
Volunteer Profile
Word From the Board

Ahoy!!!! Maties!

Picture this. You're enjoying a river trip. The water is calm, the current is gentle. It's a beautiful day and you're thrilled to be spending time with your fellow Calgary Community-Net volunteers.

The picture changes when you begin to realize the current is getting stronger; your craft is moving at a faster pace. You look ahead and AAGH! WHITE WATER!! Your guide shouts instructions but it's up to you as a group to pull together and combine your skills and experience. You begin to worry -- is everyone committed to paddling together? Do you have what it takes?*

You're tossed to and fro. You can't control the river, and you worry about what you can control. Your life jacket is securely fastened and you're surrounded by the best of the bunch - Calgary Community-Net volunteers. You paddle furiously - you don't give up, not for a second!

Before you know it, the wild ride is over. You've experienced a most exhilarating few moments. It could have been helping a non-profit organization design their first web page, or setting up a brand new internet user with a PPP account. You and your team were challenged but you met it head on and succeeded! You're feeling absolutely ecstatic. You and the rest of the volunteers do the "Group Hug" and pat yourselves on the back for a job well done!

Like the white water, the CCNA is experiencing many changes. Although the changes may seem quite turbulent at times, as Volunteer Coordinator, Shirley Barwise intends to act as your guide. It's up to you to explore the river and reap a lifetime of opportunities. *

Shirley will ensure that you enjoy your important RIGHTS as Calgary Community-Net volunteers:

And to reel in these benefits:

  • Leadership
  • Ongoing training
  • Networking
  • Gratification and satisfaction from helping others

The CCNA is always looking for energetic people, willing to work toward a positive community within our nine active rafts (committees) enjoying a complement of 35 paddlers (volunteers).

Come and join our excellent Team. For further details you can drop in at our office, W.R. Castell Library, 616 Macleod Trail S.E. phone 263-8080 or e-mail -



Communicating Over the Net

Message in a Bottle
Mailing Lists (ListServs), Newsgroups

Email is MUCH quicker than snail-mail but it is still not instantaneous. Often communication through the Internet can be considered messages in bottles, tossed out to find any audience, either known or unknown.

MAILING LISTS -- Mailing lists (or ListServs) are automated way of sending email to a specific list of people wanting to research or discuss specific topics with fellow enthusiasts. To be part of a discussion, you subscribe by sending email to a central machine called a "listserv". Once you've subscribed, messages are sent to your mailbox. Be careful! Some lists send out more than 100 messages per day - quickly clogging e-mail space. Many mailing list topics are echoed by newsgroups.

NEWSGROUPS -- There are thousands of unique discussion groups on the Usenet called newsgroups which serve much the same function as specialized mailing lists, except the messages (posts) are not sent to your email box. Also, posts expire within 7 to 21 days and can no longer be viewed from the local system. Newsgroups are organized according to subject with the group's prefix indicating the category. For example .news = news network and issues about newsgroups; .comp = computers; .rec = hobbies and recreation; .sci = sciences; .soc = social and cultural issues; .alt = alternative for groups that don't fit anywhere else.

Netiquette requires that new newsgroup users (newbies) lurk at first. Read the posts to see what sort of messages are considered on-topic and check for a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) lists. The more you know about the group's habits, the more likely your posts will be on-topic, interesting to read, and answered.

Moderated newgroups guard against Spam (irrelevant and inappropriate posts, NOT the edible food or the Monty Python sketch) and usually DO NOT allow anything that resembles commercial advertising; the exception being a business ("biz") newsgroup. Unmoderated newsgroups are more likely to have get rich quick schemes, sexual subjects, or ravings that have nothing to do with the discussion group.

A good group for newbies is news.announce.newusers, which is full of information meant for newbies. Deja, a newsgroup search engine, also contains a good set of archived posts.

These are just some methods of casting bottles out on the Internet sea. But remember, your postings will be viewed by everyone in that sea.

Let's Get Real
IRC, ICQ, Netmeeting, MediaRing

Real time communications over the Internet is evolving. Let's see how.

IRC (INTERNET RELAY CHAT) -- Real time conversations, on the internet since 1988, first took form as text using software called IRC. IRC is a network of servers organized in different "chat rooms" called channels that usually have a topic of conversation. IRC is a multi-user chat system, so conversations can be chaotic. Although IRC conversations can be private, itís difficult to stop those who want to join in the conversation. One disadvantage of IRC is that you will have to search for those you want to talk to. Another is that it is not as secure as present programs.

ICQ (I SEEK YOU) and NETMEETING -- Words, sounds and pictures can be transferred in real time using free software from ICQ or Microsoft's Netmeeting.

ICQ is a program that runs in the background, taking up minimal memory and Net resources. While you work with other applications, ICQ alerts you when friends and associates are online. You can create a Contact List containing only people you want to have there. You can send messages, chat, send files, conduct conferences or just 'hang out' on-line.

When you install ICQ, the program asks you to register at a server. At the time of registration, you receive a unique ICQ number, also known as a UIN (Universal Internet Number). In addition, ICQ gives you the option of entering personal information along with your ICQ#. This allows other ICQ users to recognize you when you log on. Once you've registered, you can use your ICQ# on any other computer that has ICQ on it. This is ideal for the traveler.

Similarly, Microsoft Netmeeting also allows you to hold face-to-face conversations with friends and family around the world, and it won't cost a fortune to do so.

MEDIARING -- MediaRing Talk is a PC to PC Internet telephone which can make and receive calls 24 hours a day. As long as the MediaRing Talk software is running in the background, the receiver PC will automatically log on to the internet when called. Minimum requirements to use MediaRing are: caller and receiver must both have MediaRing software, a Pentium 75Mhz, Windows 95, 16MB memory, 14.4K modem, a PPP Internet account, a sound card (full duplex preferable), speakers, and a microphone.


Keep the Calgary Community Network Association viable
-- please donate generously.


There are tons of "freebie" pages out there. What we will attempt to do in this five part series is bring you the good stuff. Part 1 focused on freebies related to computer performance software. In Part 2 we cover Internet communication freebies. For Part 3 we view sites offering educational freebies. Then two weeks later in Part 4 we get artistic with free web graphics and free music sites. For our grand finale, Part 5, we bring you the Internet Flea Market (a freebie free for all); pages that collect freebies from around the web.

Freebies Part 2:
Communication Freebies

Much of the software mentioned in our Communicating Over the Internet feature are free either directly from the source or through software sites like Tucows or And, yes Virginia, there is life beyond HotMail.

The following is a quick list of communication-type links:

Communication Software: News: Mailing Lists and Newsgroups: E-Mail:

What's Going On?
* Word From the Board

On Saturday, September 11 morning, downtown Calgary was set up for Molsonís DV8 party. That same morning the CCNA Board was sequestered in one of the Central Libraryís meeting rooms discussing strategic planning.

With the assistance of Kwok Fung (a 1997 CCNA Board member), the Board spent three hours identifying key issues, assessing CCNA resources (both financial and human), identifying goal barriers, listing opportunities, and brain-storming strategies for the CCNAís success.

Many thanks to Kwok for facilitating a highly productive meeting. By noon-time new Board members felt they had gained a greater sense of perspective and focus. Possibly more than the thousands of DV8 party-goers were feeling at that same time.

Calgary Community-Net Membership Discounts!!

Check out the nifty discounts that Calgary Community Network Association members get!

* From DJ services to video and car rentals, to computer services and supplies -- with more being investigated.

Visit the

Members Discount

page for details!


HelpDesk Needs Help

The current number of requests for assistance with PPP set-up has the four person HelpDesk team and the office staff overwhelmed. The HelpDesk requires persons adept at PPP set-up. If you'd like to help out, contact the HelpDesk.

? ? ? ? ?

Did You Know?

When you are away from home you can still keep in touch by accessing your CCNA account (including e-mail) from a computer other than your own.

Most graphic browsers will allow you to telnet to other internet accounts.

  1. In the Go To or Location field at the top of the browser type telnet://
  2. Then press Enter.
  3. Then log in at the log-in window that appears. If you have a PPP account with CCNA log-in as a text account user.
IRC gained international fame during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, where updates from around the world came across the wire, and most IRC users who were online gathered on a single channel to hear these reports.

CCNA members access newsgroups through the University of Calgary.

Deja's archives currently contains an estimated 300 million messages (with posts dating back to March 1995), and accesses approximately 45,000 newsgroups.

* * *


So how are we doing? What would you like to see in your newsletter? What would you like to know? What would you like to share? This is your spot. Drop us a line at:

All e-mail received by the CCNA News will be considered newsletter fodder unless requested otherwise by sender.

Tune in to the next scary issue:
  • Tales From the IT Crypt
  • The IP Committee vs Godzilla

Coming October 15

The CCNA Newsletter Committee is:
Heather Richards, Peter Williams and Wanda Martin
Join us!
Email us at:

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