Preface to the 2nd Web Posting

 The first edition of this Users’ Guide was completed in October 1996. The printed version was available for distribution in January 1997. Since then, it has been an amazing experience for the author. I have received hundreds of email messages from users of the GIAS system, appreciating this guide, and its Web posting. There is no greater satisfaction to an author than to realize that his work is being used by the readers. It has invoked a feeling of contentment that no other effort has afforded thus far. It has also provided the necessary encouragement for continuing to improve on the first edition. Now you, the readers, have an improved edition.

In this edition, support for TCP/IP account users has been increased. In fact support for Mac users is also included. Some additional sections dealing with roaming facility and logging on to your account from any city that has a VSNL server have been included. A section on how to access the Newsgroups via pine has been given in Chapter 14. And of course, the errors that both the users and the readers of the manual have pointed out, have been attended to.

I would like to thank the people who contributed directly to this edition. Primarily they are the technical team at VSNL Mumbai, who have taken great pains to see that this work comes out just right. Specifically Mr. Neeraj Sonker, Mr. Deepak Mittal, Mr. Rajneesh Kumar and Ms. Swarnlata have provided very valuable feedback that has led to considerable improvement of the Guide.

Many users have provided valuable feedback and encouragement for this edition, especially one student account holder from Bangalore, K. Aruna
. It never ceases to amaze the author that the online friendships in cyberspace, with people one never sees face-to-face or ever hopes to meet in person, can make as much of a contribution to one's life and work as our traditional relationships in 4-space.

Dr.Raj Mehta
August 17,1997
Mumbai, India

A poem



I write

like the bird that sings,
like the flower that blooms,
like the tree that grows,

for no reason
for no one.

singing is Tao,
blooming is Tao,
growing is Tao,

writing is Tao,

Its life-- fulfillment.

Dr. Raj Mehta
Dec. 15, 1996

Preface to First Web Posting

My journey into Internet started on a rainy day, not unlike today, in July 1989. I was consultant to Comstruct Software Pvt. Ltd. (CSPL), who were technical affiliates of National Center for Software Technology (NCST). That day, Dhirendra Morarji, MD of CSPL, and I were visiting NCST and Dr. S. Ramani mentioned that CSPL was entitled to use ERNET. He then logged on to a computer in Canada. It was the time when the fastest data communication speed was 9600 bauds. As Dr. S. Ramani, typed commands on the terminal, it took about 1 to 2 seconds to echo the key strokes. As I watched the screen, and saw the commands being executed on a distant computer in Canada, lights flashed in my brain. I was fascinated and saw the immense potential of this technology in all walks of life. I used NCST's ERNET when in India and a friend's account at Stanford University, when I was in California, to access the Internet. At every opportunity, with an evangelistic zeal, I encouraged friends to use Internet.

Then on August 15, 1995 VSNL started to give access to Internet. I encouraged everyone in sight, who had a computer, to get on the NET. I did not realize then, that the task to teach the usage of the GIAS system, to all the friends I had encouraged, would come to me. To my surprise, I enjoyed tutoring, to convey to my friends over the phone the keystrokes that would accomplish a given task. Also, it was a surprise to me that I had the needed skill to teach about Internet and specifically to inculcate in them the spirit of experimentation - to discover different ways one can use Internet.

A thought emerged, why not write a book to empower Internet users at large, so that they do not feel intimidated. by this new technology. Thus this book was conceived. After a few initial chapters, the hard disk which had the material of this book crashed. Of course I did not have the back-up. I was feeling very disheartened. About this time I showed whatever I wrote to VSNL personnel. It was their encouragement that propelled me to rewrite the chapters which were lost and to finish the book. Now you the reader have the result in your hand.

At this time I would like to express my gratitude to people who have contributed to this book directly. First of all my thanks are due to Mr. B.K. Syngal of VSNL for being instrumental in bringing Internet to India and thus providing me opportunity to explore the Internet further. I am also, indebted to VSNL's technical team for contributing to the content of the appendices, for their editorial help and providing constant encouragement through all phases of writing this book . My special thanks to Dr. Juri Vilms and Mr. James LaBrie both of Palo Alto, California, for help in editing the chapters. Incidentally this was done, in the true Internet style-- chapters flying back an forth via email. My thanks are due to Ajoy Bhawnani for their contribution to the material of chapter on IRC. I am indebted to Mr. Neelkanth Shanbhag (of V-Care Computers) for providing me the hardware to gather the material for this book.

I am taking this opportunity to thank people who have helped and are continuing to help me learn more about Internet. Specifically
Al Whaley, Jim Weaver, Lumir and Jarmila Kovacik, Ravindra Agrawal, Susan Adkins, Vipul Shah, Dinyar Lala, Jhankar Shah, Sarita Agrawal, Suchit Nanda, Hiren Bose, Lynden Cerejo, Valentine de Souza, Dr. S. Ramani, Piyush Tantia, and Narendra Goel. My very heartfelt gratitude to my sister Shashi Mehta and my friend Minal Morarji for continuing emotional support during this venture.

Dr. Raj Mehta
July 20, 1996

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