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E-Mail, Newsgroups, etc.


Chat Rooms

Chat rooms are abundant on the Internet. At these sites you can "chat" (type and receive messages "live") about virtually any subject. Usually you choose a screen name (other than your real name) to use in the chat room which provides some anonymity.

Many chat rooms are real-time, live chat rooms, which also have the ability to send private messages which open up in a separate screen! So you can watch the chat in the "main room", and have a separate screen to chat with your friends!

Chat rooms only know as much information as you give them, so it is a good idea to not give out personal information such as your full name, home address and telephone number while chatting.

Observe common courtesy and politeness while in the chat room. Please be polite to other users, and do not flood the screen or talk in excessive capital letters.

Some chat rooms are moderated, except for private messages, but sometimes things do slip by the moderators. Some chat rooms allow you to block messages from a specific user by using the ignore command,. You just type /ignore then followed by the persons nickname (i.e., "/ignore joeuser").

Here are some lists of chat rooms to check out:

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USENET & Newsgroups

USENET is a worldwide network of computers that is used to discuss information divided into topics or newsgroups. There are thousands of newsgroups on a full range of topics, such as cooking (, humor (rec.humor.funny), and many more. You may access USENET newsgroups from a variety of News readers, such as:

To view the full set of available newsgroups categories, choose Show All Newsgroups from the Options menu in your news reader. Click on a category folder to display its newsgroups. If you click on a newsgroup, its message headings appear in the right hand pane. When you select a message heading, its contents appear in the bottom pane.

After showing all newsgroups you can subscribe to particular newsgroups by clicking on their Subscribe icons. You can change the Options menu setting so that you view only subscribed newsgroups or only subscribed newsgroups with unread messages.

Newsgroups are organized into hierarchies. Here is a sampling of some of these:



Alternative. The creation of these groups is not moderated.



Commercially oriented (business)



Computers: many groups, all subjects



The GNU project of the Free Software Foundation



Informational groups (moderated)



Kindergarten through 12th grade education



Miscellaneous groups (small ads, etc.)



About the news system itself



Recreation groups



Science groups



Society groups



Talk - gossip and discussion about current affairs

Newsgroup names contain the hierarchy the are in. So the newsgroup for announcements for new users is called news.announce.newusers. This naming convention will become very apparent once you start poking around in your newsreader.

Moderated vs. Unmoderated

In unmoderated newsgroups, the local news server software normally makes messages posted to the newsgroup available for reading soon after they are posted, and the messages then spread to other news servers over the next few days.

In a moderated newsgroup, the local news server software will automatically e-mail the message to a moderation address, where a moderator acts as a gatekeeper, posting to the newsgroup only those messages which the moderator allows to be posted.

Before you post a message to a newsgroup, please refer to such guides as Harvard Computer Society's Quick Guide to Newsgroup Etiquette.

Here are some good newsgroup resources:

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Instant Messaging

In the beginning AOL , ICQ (I SEEK YOU), and CompuServe offered a service called instant messaging. Instant messages are an online conversations between two or more people. Instant messages are private and free. It's a whole new way of communicating that's fast, simple and totally addictive.

Now there are many other instant messaging services including:

The basic idea is that you download a program that runs on the background on your machine. Then when someone wants to contact you, a window pops up on your machine with the message. If you're not online or the program is not running, you'll get the message, next time you sign on.

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E-Mail Lists

The following sites have lots of e-mail lists that you can sign up for. You can find a list on virtually any subject. Some lists are sent out every day, others once a week or even less frequently.

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