Trainer's Outline for User Training 2 - Email, Editor and News
- List of topics covered
- Copy of "A Primer on How to Work with the USENET Community"
Instructions for Trainers
Email a welcome message to participants so they have some mail to read.
Please mail any comments on length of material, content, etc. to aa043. I am wondering
if there is too much material to cover in an hour. If so, we should consider
moving some topics to another course or leaving them out altogether.
Time Limit: 1 hour
What we'll be covering in this session:
- If users not familiar with concept of email, explain
that email is a way of sending messages electronically, from
one computer to another through a computer network. Mention
that CFN users can mail to anyone in the world with an
Internet mail address.
- Text editor
- "As a registered user of CFN, you have a place to store
your files on the system. This is your home directory.
You can create and modify files by using the text
editor on CFN. We will be learning more about managing
your files in next week's session, User Training 3."
- "What is news?
Not the same as in news on the radio, TV, or newspaper,
USENET news, sometimes called Net news, refers to a
number of 'discussion groups' on the Internet. People
write articles, or messages, to the newsgroups, which
are distributed to computers all over the Internet.
There are thousands of newsgroups, each having its own
main topic of interest.
CFN gives you access to many Usenet newsgroups through
a program called TIN. You can both read and post (i.e.
Email - The basics of PINE
Have participants log into their own CFN accounts. To start
the mail program, [go mail].
Note that when they start mail, they are in the INBOX,
which is where the incoming mail is put. Pine displays
a list of messages they have received.
N indicates New mail (you haven't read it yet).
+ indicates the mail was addressed to your user id
directly (i.e. not as part of a mailing list or as a CC
from someone else)
You can use the cursor keys (up and down arrows) to
move your highlight (cursor) from one message to the
next. When you press return, the mail message is
Type I to get back to the Index (the list of messages).
Type C for Compose.
Fill in the To: field with the email address of the
person you're writing to. If the person is on Chebucto
Freenet, just use the user id (e.g. aa043). If the
person is elsewhere on the Internet, you would type in
something like "email@example.com" (without
the quotes). Note that you can put more than one
address in here if you separate them with commas.
Have the participants address mail to each other.
The CC: field indicates who will get a copy of the
letter. Again, you can put in more than one email
address in this field, if you separate them with
Now fill in the Subject: field. Picking the subject
line is important in good communication. You want the
subject line to be informative but short.
Now write the body of the message (it goes below the
------ Message Text----- line). Type at least a couple
of lines of message.
Some useful editing commands:
As you edit, you may create lines that are longer than
the screen is wide. The $ at the end of the line means
continuation (the line is longer than the screen is
wide). If you type a space in the middle, it will
- Arrow keys for cursor movement (up, down, back,
- ^y Up a page or to the top of the message
- ^v Down a page or to the bottom of the message
- ^a To the beginning of the line the cursor is in
- ^e To the end of the line the cursor is in
- Backspace key (and the delete key too!) backspaces
- ^^ (i.e hold down the ctrl key while pressing the
"^" key) Set a blocking mark. Use cursor control
to highlight a block. ^^ again to un-mark and/or
- ^k to cut block
- ^u to paste block
^j Justify paragraph. Wraps and fills the current
paragraph. Observe that Pico interprets a paragraph as
having a blank line or tab before and after the
Sending the message
^X to send: When you are satisfied with your message,
you can type ^X to send it. It asks for confirmation
(in case you were a butterfingers and didn't mean to
hit ^X). Type "y". It sends the message.
^C to cancel: Note that if you decided not to send the
message after all, and you want to cancel out of
composing the message, type ^C to cancel the message.
Again, it asks for confirmation.
The Main menu in PINE
While we wait for the mail to arrive, we can have a
look at the main menu in Pine. Type M for main menu.
This shows you some of the main commands available in
Pine. We have already mentioned C for compose message
and I for folder index. We'll just mention that you
can create folders to organize your mail messages. If
you have a look at the folder list, you'll see that you
already have a folder called "sent-mail" which contains
a copies of all the mail messages that you send.
Back to the main menu. One more thing to mention is
that Pine has an address book. This is where you can
record the email addresses of people that you write to
frequently. We don't have time to go over the full
functions of the address book just now, but if you go
into the Address book and type ? for help, you will
be able to read about how to use it.
More things to do with a mail message
Let's go back to the INBOX. Type I to see the list of
Read the message that your classmate just sent you. If
you wanted to reply, you type R for reply. [Go through
what happens when you reply]
You can also forward a message by typing F for forward.
[Go through forwarding a message.]
Now that we've replied and forwarded this message, we
may want to save it. What this does is move the
message from your inbox into a folder. Press S to
save. It will ask where you want to save it. You can
either accept the default folder name "saved-messages"
or type in another folder name. PINE will create a new
folder if you give it a name of a folder which doesn't
One more thing you can do with this message: You can
put the address in your address book. Press T for Take
address. [go through this procedure]
If you don't want to save a message, you should delete
it. Press D for delete.
To quit PINE, type Q.
Text Editor - PICO
The next part of the session deals with text files. The
text editor on CFN is called PICO and it has almost the same
commands which are used for editing email. In this session,
we'll edit a file called "signature". The signature file
contains text which is automatically added to the end of
your email messages. Usually what you want to put into your
signature file is your name and email address. Some people
also put their business affiliations, or their geographical
location (e.g. Halifax, Nova Scotia).
To edit your signature file, [go files] to get to the File
Manager. Choose the link labeled "signature". It will
display a blank page because the file is empty. Now type E
for edit. Now you are in the PICO editor. This uses the
same commands as when you were composing a message in PINE
(except for a few exceptions, which we'll go over).
Type in a signature for yourself.
The commands are the same as for PINE, except for
When you are ready to exit, type ^X to exit and write out
the file. When it asks you to save modified buffer, type Y.
Accept the file name it gives you by hitting return.
- ^X exits in PICO (sends message in PINE)
- ^C shows cursor position in PICO (cancels message in
- ^O saves edited file without exiting in PICO
(postpones message in PINE)
Now if you view the signature file, you should see what you
The next time you compose or reply to mail, this text will
be automatically inserted into your message.
The newsreader on CFN is called TIN. To get to it, [go
Once you're in TIN, you will see a list of the newsgroups
that you are subscribed to. This means the newsgroups that
you can read the messages for. There are thousands of
newsgroups available to you, if you want. We'll have a look
at how to subscribe to them in a moment.
To look at the contents of a newsgroup, use the arrow keys
to move your cursor to the newsgroup name and then press
[return]. This will show you a list of which subjects are
currently being discussed. These are known as 'threads'.
If you move your cursor to the name of a thread and press
[return], it will show you the articles (messages) in that
(Read a few articles) Note that the next time you read
news, you will not be shown the articles you have already
read. If you want to save an article, press s for save. (Go
through an example)
Pressing h will give you a brief help screen.
Back up to the newsgroup list by hitting the left-arrow a
couple of times, or type q a couple of times.
To see which other newsgroups you can subscribe to, press y
To subscribe to a particular newsgroup, move your cursor to
the name of the group and type s for subscribe.
To unsubscribe to a newsgroup, move the cursor to the name
of the group and type u for unsubscribe.
To post a message to a newsgroup, pick that newsgroup and
type w. You can use the PICO editing commands as you compose
Post to a test newsgroup like misc.test. Point out
- When you exit from PICO in a posting, accept
all defaults (i.e. DO save contents of modified buffer,
accept the suggested name), otherwise your message won't be
- for a test posting, put 'ignore' or 'no reply' in
subject line, otherwise you will be receiving confirmation
mail from all over the world.
- it takes a little while for postings to show up, so don't
post again if you don't see your post immediately. Wait a
day or so.
TRAINERS NOTE: YOU MUST COVER THE BASICS OF NETIQUETTE!
A generally accepted code of polite behaviour on Usenet.
What happens if you violate Netiquette?
It depends. If you are just nasty in your postings, you
may just get nasty email. If you post some commercial
advertising in inappropriate newsgroups, you may get a *lot*
of nasty email and the system manager will get a lot of
complaints. If this happens more than once for you, you
could possible lose access to the system (i.e. be denied the
use of your account).
Explain the term "waste of bandwidth".
- be polite in your postings
- don't post to multiple newsgroups. If you absolutely
must post to more than one, cross-post (specify more than one
newsgroup, separated by commas, in the newsgroup field) instead of multiple-
- make sure you post to the appropriate newsgroups
- do NOT post advertising except in .forsale newsgroups
and even then, commercial postings are frowned upon
(controversial subject, but many people don't approve of it
and will let you know)
- do not create a long signature - limit it to 4 or 5 lines