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Praise for CompuServe
Which version of CompuServe did you review in your article on service providers in the December 1996 issue? Since when has CIM reminded you to change settings and log on again? If the winsock box is checked in the settings there is no need to do it.
I have seamless access to the Internet under CompuServe. I just click on the globe and Netscape is automatically activated. I have even upgraded to Netscape Gold 3.0 from the supplied version 2.01 without trouble.
I expected better of a magazine which comes from the publisher of Personal Computer World.
Although I would give issue 1 of your magazine a general thumbs up, it was let down by an unfair and incomplete review of service providers. I say unfair from the point of CompuServe. The supplied Web browser has, until recently, been Netscape Navigator, not Spry Mosaic, and local call access is provided throughout the UK via an 0845 number.
The review was also of limited use because you were comparing the latest version of software such as AOL with an old version of CIM - even when the new version was supplied with the magazine.
You make the point that the first 10 hours with AOL are free, but the equivalent information is missing from the CompuServe review. And Netcom, one of the largest ISPs, was excluded altogether - why?
But these are minor criticisms. The magazine was a great read, especially the Peter Dawe interview.
Internet World replies: 'Unfortunately, the software CompuServe supplied to our reviewer, Nigel Whitfield, was out of date. But Nigel reports that some of the software given away with magazines does not come with Netscape 2.0, so it is worth checking before you try to load it on your machine.
Meanwhile, when the testing was done in early October, version 3.0 was not available so we could not include it. Unlike AOL, CompuServe was not forthcoming with updated software.'
Loved the mag ...
I got hold of a copy of Internet World this morning and just thought that I'd write to say how much I enjoyed it. The writing is thoughtful and the design very accessible.
The style seems to be hitting somewhere between The Mac and The Economist - hopefully that's what you are aiming for!
Heading for a crash
You were right! Under the question 'what type of computer do I need?' in your Getting Started section, you recommend a minimum specification of a Pentium 100MHz processor, 16Mb RAM, Windows 95 and a 28.8Kbps modem.
I had a 486DX4 machine with 16Mb of RAM, a 14.4Kbps internal modem and 80Mb of free hard disk space, and it certainly wasn't capable of supporting Microsoft Explorer 3.0 - it repeatedly came up with paging errors in guide.exe. I spent a considerable amount of time trying to restore the original version in consultation with Microsoft's support staff but all to no avail.
Could I also suggest that you warn your readers of the limitations of the serial port on older PCs? I have had to switch to a 386 with the older serial port interface and it refuses to operate above 9.6Kbps. Even excellent interfaces such as those provided by AOL 3.0i creak under the strain. But at least their software runs without crashing the machine!
Who needs #1,000?
In last month's Letters, Alan Cox voiced concern at your assertion in the Getting Started section that you can't get on the Net for less than #1,000.
If Mr Cox were to get out into the real world, he would find people are already getting on the Web for far less than #1,000. I am using a games machine - a Philips CD-i. For just #150 I added a dedicated keyboard and modem. This may not be as good as a #1,000 PC but I'm here, surfing with the rest.
I find your magazine very informative. Keep up the good work.
I'm not stupid, but ...
Having just opened an account with CompuServe, I was keen to learn the basics of the Internet and see what other companies were offering before my month's free subscription ended. I deliberated over the range of magazines on the shelves and finally opted to buy Internet World.
As soon as I got it home, I opened it up at the Getting Started section and found it wasn't about getting started at all - it was just a load of mumbo jumbo that went over my head.
Now, I don't consider myself to be stupid or computer-illiterate. I have graduated from a ZX81 to a PC by way of a Spectrum 48, a BBC B and an Amiga. My current setup is an AMD 486 133MHz with 16Mb RAM, which I upgraded in stages from a 286. I also did a lot of programming in Basic and wrote a machine patch code on the Beeb. So as you can see, I can find my way around a computer quite well.
But it seems to me that most computer magazines are talking to university students who have cut their teeth on the Internet. It's about time you started talking to us fortysomethings at the real starting post and unfolded the Internet and its capabilities page by page.
Internet World replies: 'It is always difficult to know at what level to pitch a beginner's section, but we note your points and will be updating these pages in the near future.'
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