Grains Research and Development

Date: 01.03.1996

Ground Cover on the 'Net

Ever a trend-setter, Ground Cover has now staked out its turf on the World Wide Web through the Internet. You'll find the first 13 issues of Ground Cover behind the GRDC home page on the web. With this issue, we're also bringing you an index, so it will be easier than ever to look up things and cross-file the research information.

It's taken the news desk a number of nail-biting months (the exact number shall remain undisclosed) to take the plunge into networld and electronic mail. Now we've done it and can report that it's harmless and easy to operate. We can legitimately pass on a few hints about getting connected to the Internet. The best tool is undoubtedly a savvy teenager (but watch out for downloads of games with pictures and pin-ups of Cindy Crawford — that's the expensive part). More info below. Happy networking. ...Maria Taylor.

Getting connected to the Internet

You can connect to the Internet from your own home computer. Here is some information to help you become one of the 50 million Internet users:

  • You need a computer with enough RAM and storage space. If you have a PC it must be at least a 386, with a minimum of 4 MB of memory and 100 MB of disc space. It needs to be running Windows 3.1 or higher. If you have a Mac, it needs to be capable of running System 7 or greater, with a minimum of 8 MB of memory and 100 MB of disc space.
  • You need a fast modem (minimum 14.4 KB/sec). The faster the modem, the faster the response. The faster the response, the less frustration for the user (you!) while you wait for the next screen to appear. A faster modem might also save you money if your service provider charges you for connection time.
  • You need to find yourself an Internet service provider. The magazine Internet Australasia publishes the most current list of Internet service providers in Australia, You can buy this at newsagents ($5.95 per issue) or find it in your local library. Telecom/ Telstra, or the nearest Telecentre should also be able to give you information about the service providers that cover your area. Costs can vary widely between service providers, so shop around. To keep costs down as a rural telephone user, you will probably want to find a provider offering free-call access or one, like Pegasus Networks, which will connect to you for the cost of a local call.
  • You need a communications software package to link to the Internet service provider. The dial-up connection has to run Internet standard protocols such as SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol) or PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) to connect you to the Internet service provider's computer, which in turn is linked to the Internet. Most service providers will recommend software for handling the connection. Trumpet/ Winsock is commonly used.
  • You also need to have Internet software to handle your navigation, communication and information retrieval (downloading) from the Internet. Again service providers can recommend a software package. There are a number of free packages available on the Internet itself. You could ask a friend connected to the Internet to download them for you. For accessing the World Wide Web (which is where you will find Ground Cover), the most popular pieces of software are Mosaic and Netscape.
  • All major Internet services can be made available through the kind of home connection described above. This includes electronic mail (e-mail), which requires its own software, Internet News, and the World Wide Web (WWW).

You need access to the Web to be able to read the electronic version of Ground Cover. The Web address, or URL, for Ground Cover is: http://www.dpie.gov.au/grdc/grndcvr.html

(The above includes information supplied by the PIENet team of the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industries and Energy.)