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Connecting To FidoNet (The Worldwide Fido Based Network)

Next to USENET, you are about to connect to one of the largest message networks in the world–FidoNet. Fido is unlike any other net mail technology. It is powerful and flexible. As a result, sometimes it is seen as being a complex maze of technology. The goal of this document is to help you harness the built-in Fido capabilities of PCBoard to connect with FidoNet in the quickest and easiest way possible.

We will take you step-by-step through a set of tasks required to get you up and running. After a major task is completed (e.g., setting up netmail), we will show you how to test the new feature to make sure it is working properly. Attempting to connect to FidoNet one step at a time and make sure each is working properly is the best way to get you up and running. A brief rundown of concepts we will cover in getting you configured follows:

  • Contacting the net coordinator / Get a node number assigned to you
  • Setting up echo areas (message bases)

Before attempting to get FidoNet configured, make sure you are familiar with the concepts behind it. A good source for this information is a guide called the Big Dummy's Guide to FidoNet which is written by Michael Schuyler. This guide is available on Salt Air (the support board for PCBoard and CDC products) under the filename BIGDUMMY.ZIP. A wealth of information regarding the mentality of those participating in the network and also a brief rundown of terminology is included. You won't regret the extra few minutes it will take to look it over.

Once you have a basic understanding of Fido, your next step is to get in contact with the net coordinator so you can have a node number assigned to you. If you do not know what a net coordinator is at this point, stop and read the Big Dummy's Guide (BIGDUMMY.ZIP). It contains this information and more.

| This document assumes you have never connected to FidoNet before. |
| Therefore, if you already have another mailer doing Fido mail for |
| you, the best place to start is by referring to the description   |
| of the Fido menus in PCBSetup (the printed manual), and by        |
| referring back to FIDO.DOC for more information on configuring    |
| events and similar tasks.                                         |

Contacting the Net Coordinator

Why do you have to contact the net coordinator? He is the one who assigns a node number to you. It's just like moving into a new house. How do you expect to receive mail until you know what your address is? An obvious question at this point is who the net coordinator is and how to contact him.

It would be wonderful if it were just a phone number to dial and say “sign me up”. Unfortunately it's not going to be that easy. The way you contact the net coordinator is by sending him Fido netmail. When the request is sent via netmail, the coordinator knows you:

  • Understand Fido enough to at least send netmail
  • Have netmail working with your current Fido Configuration

Being able to do these tasks is proof that you know what you're doing so the coordinator will be more than happy to assign you a node number.

To send the netmail to the coordinator the following steps must be accomplished:

  • Find a FidoNet site in your area
  • Obtain a nodelist (the white pages of FidoNet)
  • Get the address of the net coordinator
  • Configure PCBoard to send netmail
  • Manually send netmail to the coordinator

Once these have been accomplished you have almost finished setting up PCBFido. Let's go find that coordinator.

1. Find a FidoNet Site in Your Area

Although this is just the first step, it can be the toughest to accomplish. To help make this step much easier, you can call our support BBS (see the printed manual for contact information) and execute the FINDFIDO command from the menu. This PPE uses your area code or country code to generate a list of Fido sites close to you.

2. Obtain a Nodelist

Utilizing the list obtained in step #1, contact one of the BBSes and request a nodelist. The nodelist may be located for download in the file directories, so look there before leaving a message to the SysOp.

On the off chance that you do not have much luck getting a nodelist from a local site, you can FTP it from in the /pub/fidonet/nodelist directory. The filename begins with NODELIST but ends with a different extension based on the revision of the list. Therefore, just look for the file beginning with NODELIST.

3. Get the Address of the Net Coordinator

To send netmail to the network coordinator we need to know the proper address where netmail is to be sent. As a general rule, the coordinator is assigned node 0 of the zone and network you want to join. For example, if the zone is 1 and the network is 311, you'll most likely send mail to 1:311/0. CONFIRM this with the SysOp of the Fido system the nodelist was obtained from as this is vital information.

4. Configure PCBoard to Send netmail

Before configuring PCBoard to send netmail, make sure you have the
  • Nodelist
  • Fido address of the net coordinator

Fido Menu Options/Settings

Our next step is to configure the bare essentials of Fido so we can send a message to the net coordinator. Load PCBSetup and select Fido Configuration from the Main Menu. This screen has the following menu options:

A  Fido Configuration
B  Tosser Configuration
C  Node Configuration
D  System Address
E  EMSI Profile
F  File & Directory Configuration
G  Archiver Configuration
H  Phone Number Translation
I  Nodelist Configuration
J  FREQ Path List
K  FREQ Restrictions
L  FREQ Magic Names
M  FREQ Deny Nodelist
N  Origin Conference Range

1. Starting with "Fido Configuration", the first menu option, mark each of the following fields with a "Y":

  • Enable Fido Processing
  • Import Immediately After File Transfers
  • Allow Node to Process Incoming Packets
  • Allow Node to Export Mail
  • Allow Node to Dial Out

also set the following to a value of 0 since mail is imported after file transfers:

  • Scan for Inbound Packets Frequency (min)

2. Press ESC to return to the main Fido Menu and select the "System Address Option".

We need to enter a temporary node address to use during the application process. The zone and net information can be gathered from the address for the echo coordinator. For example, if you were told the net coordinator's address is 1:311/0, the 1:311 is the zone and net information. For the node number enter 9999. Using the example information the entry looks like this:

1) 1:311/9999

Press ESC and save the changes.

3. You're back at the Fido Main Menu. Select "EMSI Profile".

This is the menu option where we fill out all of the information about the BBS, who the SysOp is and so forth. This information is used to identify your system when calling other Fido sites. Fill in all of the fields with the exception of the one titled “Flags”. This information is provided by the net coordinator at a later time. When finished entering the BBS Name, City, State, and so forth, press ESC to return to the Main Menu.

4. Next, select "File & Directory Configuration" from the Menu.

We need to enter valid DOS subdirectories for the all of the fields on this screen. Recommended defaults are:

Incoming Packets        : C:\PCB\FIDO\IN\
Outgoing Packets        : C:\PCB\FIDO\OUT\
Bad      Packets        : C:\PCB\FIDO\BADPKTS\
Nodelist Database       : C:\PCB\FIDO\NODELIST\
Work Directory          : C:\PCB\FIDO\WORK
*.MSG Files             : C:\PCB\FIDO\MSG\
PassThru Files          : C:\PCB\FIDO\PASSTHRU\
Secure Netmail Packets  : C:\PCB\FIDO\SECURE\
Message/Response Files  : C:\PCB\FIDO\RESPONSE\

If you have installed PCBoard on a different drive or subdirectory, make the appropriate changes. Also, you may want to change the location of the work directory to another drive if it has more free space. Press ESC when you are happy with what is entered.

NOTE: The directories you specify are automatically created if they do not already exist.

5. From the Fido Main Menu, select the "Phone Number Translation" option.

The phone numbers stored in the nodelist database will have the extra information such as area code or country code stored in each entry. In most situations, the coordinator will be a local call to you so we need to make the appropriate entries to strip the unwanted numbers from the phone numbers.

For example, assuming you are calling from Utah (area code 801) to a coordinator in your calling area. We need to strip the 1-801- information from the beginning of the phone number. This can be done with the following entry:

   Find                                  Change To
 ─────────                               ───────────

1) 1-801-

We've told Fido to find any number containing 1-801- and replace it with nothing. In essence we've managed to strip it out and now we can place the local call properly. Press ESC and make the selection to save changes when the appropriate entry is made.

6. The last thing we need to do from the PCBSetup configuration is to configure where the uncompressed nodelist obtained earlier can be found.

A good recommendation is to put it in the same directory specified for the nodelist database in PCBSetup | Fido Configuration | File & Directory Configuration. Typically, the filename will end in a number specifying what day of the year the nodelist is for.

In the field on the screen, enter the full path and filename (do NOT specify a file extension) where the uncompressed nodelist can be found. The reason an extension is not specified is because it changes on a daily bases. The following illustrates:

   Nodelist Path (No Extension)                     Diff Filename
   ────────────────────────────                     ─────────────

Press ESC and save changes when finished. You will be returned to the Fido Main Menu.

NOTE. If you need two or more nodelists to be compiled, using ALT-I to insert a second record as the following example shows:

   Nodelist Path (No Extension)                     Diff Filename
   ────────────────────────────                     ─────────────

Compiling the Node List

With each Fido site being referred to by a bunch of numbers, we need some way to look up the actual information for this site. That is how we will know what number to dial. The nodelist contains this information. Early on in the configuration for Fido, one of your tasks was to obtain the nodelist.

Looking at the list, you can see it is a standard ASCII file. To look up a site in this file would take a lot of time. That is why many Fido compatible mailers, including PCBoard, will compile the node list. In compiled form, sites can be looked up quickly by referring to an index file.

Compiling the list is very easy with PCBoard. The “Nodelist Configuration” and “File & Directory Configuration” options from the Fido menu tell PCBoard where the source nodelist can be found and where the compiled nodelist database is stored respectively.

From the PCBoard call-waiting screen, press ALT-F. The following menu will appear in the middle of the screen:

│         Sysop FIDO Menu          │
│                                  │
│   1) Poll a Node.                │
│   2) Request a file.             │
│   3) Transmit a file.            │
│   4) Force next call.            │
│   5) View/Modify Queue.          │
│   6) Scan for outbound mail.     │
│   7) Process inbound mail.       │
│   8) Compile Nodelist.           │
│   9) Send Mail to a Node.        │
│                                  │
│   Enter selection:               │

Notice number 8 on this menu. When you select this option PCBoard shells out and compiles the nodelist. The display you see while the list is compiled resembles the following:

Status : Processing nodelist file: C:\PCB\FIDO\NODELIST\NODELIST.350
Message: Processing Net: 1:251
% Done : ███████░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░

This process will take several minutes to complete. At any time, pressing ESC aborts the compilation and returns you to the call-waiting screen.

Adding a User Record for the Coordinator / Host

PCBFido keeps track of information about other sites you exchange mail with in user records. Let's create a user record for the coordinator since we need to send him some mail to get our node number.

To add the user record for the net coordinator follow these instructions:

1. Select "Users File Maintenance" from the Main Menu of System Manger.

2. Select "Edit Users File". At this point you should see the SysOp record (#1).

3. Press ALT-A to add a new user record.

4. In the "Name" field, enter "~FIDO~" followed by the address of the net coordinator. To create an account for the Fido node 1:311/0, enter the following:


5. Press F3 to view the Fido Form of the user record. The screen resembles the following:

                    Edit User Record (Fido Form)

Name        : ~FIDO~1:311/0

Session        :
AreaFix        :
Packet         :
Phone Override :
Security Level : 0
Uplink         :
Last Date On   :
Last Time On   :
Delete User    : N

6. There are three possible passwords to be concerned with when sending or receiving Fido messages:

Session, AreaFix, and Packet. For now, leave these blank. Once you permanently become a part of the network, you will have at least a session password assigned.

Creating the Netmail Conferences

The final setup step for sending netmail is to setup the netmail conference, where all mail is sent and received, and what is coined as the “Bad Mail” conference, where unplacable mail is stored.

What follows assumes knowledge of how to create a conference in PCBoard. If this topic is unfamiliar, consult the index in the printed manual for additional information.

When adding a new network to the system, many SysOps like to make the starting conference number even. A good example of this is making the first conference number 100, 200, or 1000. Following this type of number scheme provides a good way to group conferences.

For the purpose of this example, let's make the starting conference number 100. We'll make conference 100 the “Bad Mail” conference and 101 will send/receive the netmail.

Create conferences 100 and 101 and configure them to be clones of the Main Board (#0). Once that is done, all that remains is to edit the location of the message bases and configure a few options. The following breaks down all that must be done to configure the two conferences after being cloned.

“Bad Mail” (Conference 100)

  • Change the name/location of the message base to C:\PCB\FIDO\BADMSGS or whatever is appropriate for your system.
  • Press PgDn to edit the conference options.
  • Change the “Type of netmail” option to 5 so PCBoard will know it is a Fido Conference.
  • Press PgDn again to get to the Fido Configuration screen for the conference. In the “Area Name” field, enter “BAD”. This name is referred to as the tag for the area.

“Netmail” (Conference 101)

1. Change the name/location of the message base to ..\FIDO\NETMAIL or whatever is appropriate for your system.

2. Press PgDn to edit the conference options.

3. Using the list below, set the fields listed in the left column to the response in the right column.

Make All Messages Private         Y
Force Echo on All Messages        Y
Type of Netmail Conference        5
Allow Internet (long) TO: Names   Y

4. Press PgDn to get to the Fido configuration screen. As the tag or area name for the conference, enter "NETMAIL".

That's it. We're now ready to test the netmail capabilities and send the message to the coordinator. Exit PCBSetup doing a full save (answering Y to the save configuration question) so that the new message bases are created.

Sending the Netmail Message

Congratulations! The hard part of the configuration has been done. Now, we're ready to put the configuration through the paces and see if there are any problems. The test is sending a netmail message to the hub and in receiving a reply.

1. Log into the system as the SysOp.

2. Join the netmail conference you setup in the "Creating the Netmail Conferences" section.

3. Use the "E" command to enter a message.

When asked who the message is to be addressed to, enter

    SYSOP@(Fido address) +C +D

Replace (Fido address) with the address of the coordinator. For example, to send mail to the coordinator of 1:311, the message is addressed as:

    SYSOP@1:311/0 +C +D

The +C and +D flags tell PCBFido to send the mail out as CRASH (don't wait for an event to tell it when to dial out) and DIRECT (ignore routing information). Don't worry if you do not understand the terms CRASH and DIRECT . As you learn more about Fido and continue on with the setup, these concepts will become more familiar to you.

NOTE: If you happen to know the name of the net coordinator, put that name in place of SysOp. Some sites ignore mail addressed to the name SYSOP because it is so generic.

    Bill Smith@1:311/0 +C +D

4. When prompted for the "subject", enter something meaningful such as "Request to become a new Fido node."

5. Information about you and your system must be entered in the body of the message.

A good format to follow is:

    Request to have a node number assigned to my system:
    Voice Phone---:
    Data Phone----:
    Machine Make--:
    Model - CPU---:
    CPU Speed-----:
    Lan Software--:
    Operating Sys-:
    Disk Storage--:
    Mailer Softw--: PCBoard v15.22
    Mail Tosser---: PCBoard v15.22
    Modem Speed---:
    Modem Mfr.----:
    Modem Supports:
    Modem Model---:
    Online since--:
    BBS Name------:
    BBS Software--: PCBoard v15.22
    Session Passwd:
    AreaFix Passwd:
    Compression---:(ZIP, LZH, ARJ, ARC, PAK)

6. When all of the information has been entered, save the message.

7. Logoff the BBS and return to the call-waiting screen.

8. Press ALT-F to bring up the Fido menu. Select "Scan for outbound mail" from this menu.

9. The screen will flash as PCBoard scans for mail to be exported.

10. Next, check to see if the mail was found to be exported.

Select “View/Modify Queue”. When you do, the Fido window will look similar to the following example:

    │     View/Modify Outbound Queue   │
    │                                1 │
    │   Filename : 28162430.PKT        │
    │   Address  : 1:311/0             │
    │                                  │
    │   F) Flag  : CRASH               │
    │   S) Send This Packet            │

11. Hit ESC until you get back to the call-waiting screen.

Now just wait for about 1 minute or two when the dial timer (PCBSetup | Fido Configuration | Fido Configuration). When the dial-timer goes off, PCBoard checks for any outgoing mail. A call is made to your hub and the message is sent. Expect at least a couple of days before you receive a response via netmail. Before you can receive a response, you must make sure Zone Mail Hour is honored/configured on the system.

Configuring Zone Mail Hour

Now that the mail has been sent to the coordinator, zone mail hour must be setup on your system so a reply can be received and a node number assigned to your BBS. It is during Zone Mail Hour that the mail assigning your node number is sent. Zone mail hour is one hour where every site in the network is set to disallow human callers and netmail is transferred. Utilizing this design, netmail is sent in a quicker fashion.

Setting up Zone Mail Hour is really quite easy. Using PCBoard's event editor, simply add an entry resembling the following:

                    Batch     Begin  End                         Last
     Act  OS/2 Mod  File      Time   Time   SMTWTFS    Date      Date
     ───  ──── ───  ────────  ─────  ─────  ───────  ────────  ────────
1)    Y    N    M   MAILHOUR  02:00  03:00  YYYYYYY            00-00-00

The most difficult step in setting up the event is determining when the Mail Hour is for your area. The POLICY4.TXT file (obtained when using the FINDFIDO command on Salt Air) reveals additional information about when zone mail hour is. If you have difficulty determining the time, contact a node in your area (refer to FINDFIDO.LST if you must); they will have the answer.

Now that the MAILHOUR event has been defined, press F2 to edit the batch file. Enter the words “Fido Hour” into the batch file and save it.

NOTE:* Most likely this event will only need to run on one node. If this sounds like what you need, be sure to rename the MAILHOUR file to MAILHOUR.### where ### is the node number. For example, if node 9 is to run the event, I'll rename the MAILHOUR file found in the event batch file directory to MAILHOUR.009 (the leading zeros are important). Now just wait for a reply for coordinator. Remember, it can take up to two weeks to do all of the processing and assign a node number please be patient. ====== Routing Mail to Your Hub ====== Normally, netmail is sent directly from one site to another. While this is fast, it can also be expensive. A majority of Fido nodes opt to route the mail through their hub on the assumption his hub routes it to the next step and so on. While it is a slower way to pass the mail, it is certainly more cost effective. How do I tell PCBoard to route the mail? To answer that question we must revisit the event setup in PCBoard. You'll recall we setup the zone mail hour as an event. Well, we will do something very similar in order to route mail. Add the following event to your system: Batch Begin End Last Act Mod File Time Time SMTWTFS Date Date ─── ─── ──────── ───── ───── ─────── ──────── ──────── 1) Y F ALLDAY 00:00 23:59 YYYYYYY 00-00-00 Notice the “Mod” column has an F for (F)ido Event. With a Fido event you are defining the way PCBoard behaves during the begin time and the end time of the event (midnight to 11:59pm in this example). In other words, we are going to alter the way PCBoard behaves during this time period. How are these actions defined? Good question and one that is answered by pressing F2 while the selection bar or cursor is on this line. When you press F2 you see a screen like the following: Fido Verb Parameters ─────────────────── ──────────────────────────────────────────── 1) This is the screen where the activities or characteristics of the event is defined. Pressing F2 while the selection bar is in the Fido Verb column brings up a list of valid Fido verbs. Press F2 to see this list. ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ³Allow-Human-Callers³ ³Allow-File-Requests³ ³Allow-Crash-Mail ³ ³Allow-Route-To ³ ³Poll ³ ³Hold ³ ³Crash ³ ³Route-To ³ ³FREQ ³ ³SEND ³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ Cursor down to “Route-To” and press ENTER. Now TAB over to the Parameters column. In this column we tell it how to route the mail by listing what mail will be routed and where it is to be routed. We want to route all mail so we use the wildcard (:/*). The mail will be routed to our hub which for the sake of this example is 1:311/0. Our entry now looks like this: Fido Verb Parameters ─────────────────── ──────────────────────────────────────────── 1) Route-To :/* 1:311/0 Notice how we separated the two addresses with a space. This is IMPORTANT. It is also important to list both addresses. If you do not, PCBoard will not route the netmail. One final change you may want to make helps insure the quickest delivery possible. Since most of the sites in your net will be a local call, you can configure this event to not route any mail within your hub by modifying your entry to resemble the following: Fido Verb Parameters ─────────────────── ──────────────────────────────────────────── 1) Route-To :/* 1:311/0 EXCLUDE 1:311/* See how this makes logical sense? Essentially we are configuring PCBoard to route all mail to 1:311/0 EXCLUDing any address that begins with 1:311. Exit the editor by pressing ESC and choosing to save changes. Also do the same in the event editor. Finally, return back to the call waiting screen where we can begin testing the netmail to make sure it is routing properly. Log in to the system, join the netmail conference and leave the following message: TO: SYSOP@1:999/999 SUBJ: Testing Route Capabilities ——————————– Testing 1…2…3… Exit and save the message. Now logoff. While at the call waiting screen press ALT-F for the Fido Menu and finally select “Scan for outbound mail.” After a brief pause and a screen flash you will be return back to the call-waiting screen. Press 5 to view the outbound queue where and entry resembling the following appears: ┌──────────────────────────────────┐ │ View/Modify Outbound Queue │ │ 1 │ │ Filename : 03172429.PKT │ │ Address : 1:311/0 │ ←– Notice where this packet │ │ is being sent. │ F) Flag : NORMAL │ │ S) Send This Packet │ │ D) Delete │ │ N) Next │ │ P) Previous │ │ C) Clear Failed Connect 0 │ │ │ │ Enter selection : │ └──────────────────────────────────┘ Look at the address where PCBoard will send the packet. Is it your hub? If not, you've misconfigured something in the event; Double check the configuration. Once the address is verified to be correct, go ahead an delete this packet. There is no sense in sending out this message because it really lacks any purpose other than for verification of your configuration. Congratulations on a job well done. ====== Setting Up Echo Mail Areas ====== The procedure for adding the conferences for Fido echo areas include the following steps: - Get a FIDONET.NA file from your coordinator. - Determine what areas you want to carry - Prepare PCBoard to handle the increased conference load - Use FIDOUTIL.EXE to add the additional conferences. That is the shortened list of what you have to do. Over the next few paragraphs, detailed descriptions of each task is given. === 1. Get a FIDONET.NA file from your net coordinator that lists echo areas available. === This is typically done by file requesting the “FIDONET” file from your coordinator or hub. File requests are done by pressing ALT-F from the call-waiting screen and selecting the “Request File” option. Preferably, the copy of the file received contains only those areas carried by the hub. If not, ask for a list of those too. === 2. The FIDONET.NA file is nothing more than an ASCII file with each line dedicated to an echo area. === On the left of the line is the shortened name for the area. This particular name is commonly referred to as the AREA TAG. On the right is a brief description of the area and what topics are discussed there. The next task is to trim down the .NA list to include only those areas which interest you or your callers. Don't be afraid to be picky here as there are costs involved for your hub and maybe yourself for pulling in a feed. Trimming down the .NA list is done by loading the file into a text editor–any editor will do. When you see an area you do not want, delete the line (CTRL-Y usually works). When done, save the file and exit the editor. That's all there is to it. Look at this sample segment of the FIDONET.NA file: ALTMED Alternative Medicine AMIGA Amiga International Echo AMIGAGAMES Amiga Games AMIGASALE Amiga Hardware and Software ForSale Conference AMIGA_CDROM International AMIGA Discussions Deciding I do not want the AMIGAGAMES area, I'll use the text editor to make this section resemble the following: ALTMED Alternative Medicine AMIGA Amiga International Echo AMIGASALE Amiga Hardware and Software ForSale Conference AMIGA_CDROM International AMIGA Discussions See how easy that was! === 3. Next we must confirm the PCBoard setup is properly configured for the hundred or maybe even 700 new conferences. === Make a determination for a starting conference number; most SysOps elect to start at an even number of 100. Say for example the highest conference currently in use is 78. The common thing to do is to start the Fido conferences at 100. For our situation, we'll select the starting number as 102 since the BadMail and NetMail conferences occupy the 100 and 101 slots. Once the starting conference number is determined, find out how many areas you'll be carrying and add it to the starting conference number. As an example let's assume you'll start the Fido conferences at 202 and will be adding 212 areas. This makes your highest conference 414 so check PCBSetup | Configuration Options | Messages to see if the “Highest Conference Desired” is set to the an appropriate value. If you have to change the number, make sure you change the number on ALL NODES. Next, go to System Manager | User Info File Maintenance | Change Conference Allocation to ensure the USERS.INF file is up-to-date and upgraded if necessary. === 4. A utility is included with the PCBoard package called FIDOUTIL. === With this utility, the tedious task of setting up conferences is greatly simplified. Consult the following checklist before continuing: - You have a FIDONET.NA file and have trimmed it down to list only those areas you desire to carry. - An adequate number of conferences is configured in PCBSetup | Configuration Options | Messages. - You know the starting conference number for the Fido conferences. - You have a copy of FIDOUTIL.EXE and know its location. Now you're ready to import the new Fido conferences to your system. The command line for FIDOUTIL is: FIDOUTIL /FIDONET /START:[conf] /FIMPORT:[] /MSGS:[path] The conference number entered after the /START parameter must be your starting conference number for the Fido conferences. The next parameter passed is /FIMPORT. This parameter tells FIDOUTIL where it can find the FIDONET.NA file. The .NA file has information about conference descriptions and tagnames. The tagname is used to generate the message base filenames, while the descriptions of each tag are used for the actual conference names. Finally, the last parameter tells FIDOUTIL where to store the message bases for the new conference. The following structure will be used .-–A\ B\ C\ . . Z\ Therefore, if you tell FIDOUTIL to store the messages in D:\FIDO\, the message base for the ALTMED tag is stored in the D:\FIDO\A\ subdirectory because the tag begins with an A. NOTE: If you run FIDOUTIL and the screen clears but nothing seems to have happened, make sure you are running FIDOUTIL from a directory where a valid PCBOARD.DAT for your system exists. When FIDOUTIL is running, you will see text indicating the progress of the import which resembles the following: Checking conference 102 … Inserting (!CHINESE) as conference 100 …
Checking conference 103 … Inserting (12STEPS) as conference 101 …
Checking conference 104 … Inserting (4DOS) as conference 102 …
Checking conference 105 … Inserting (60S
70S_PROGROCK) as conference 103 … Once a conference is “inserted” by FIDOUTIL, the following has occurred: - The conference name has been updated - The message base location has been updated. The format for the messages file location is the first 5 characters of the tag name followed by the conference number (e.g. TTTTT###). Assuming the MSGS path was specified as D:\FIDO\, the message base for the ALTMED conference is D:\FIDO\A\ALTME109. - The “Echo Mail in Conference” field is set to Y and the “Type of Netmail Conference” field is set to 5. - PCBFido's configuration files has been updated with the appropriate tag information. ====== What AreaFix Is and How to Use It ====== AreaFix is a function of hubs allowing you to subscribe and unsubscribe to Fido areas via netmail. The benefits to using this method are numerous: * The request is handled automatically which means you are not waiting for the coordinator to process it. * A current list of conferences you ARE carrying and those you CAN carry is always available. * You can make changes as often as desired. All that is required is for you to send a netmail message to your hub. There are two viewpoints to look at AreaFix from–node and hub. We will address each viewpoint in this section. From the viewpoint of a node, notice that we mentioned an areaFix request is simply a netmail message. If that is the case, there must be something special that allows the hub to differentiate this netmail message from others. Addressing the message to “AREAFIX” is the key. Because AreaFix requests alter your configuration, they are typically protected by passwords different from your logon password. The AreaFix password is passed in the subject line of the message. It's that simple. The following example illustrates how to address an AREAFIX request to the hub at 1:311/0: TO: AREAFIX@1:311/0 SUBJ: mypassword Now that we know how to get the message to the hub all that is left to understand is how to compose the request to do what we need to do. PCBoard supports the following AreaFix commands: | +<areaname> | Subscribe to <areaname> | | -<areaname> | Stop receiving mail from tag <areaname> | | %HELP | Request a help message listing available AreaFix commands | | %LIST | Request a list of all areas available to you | | %QUERY | Request a list of areas to which you have selected | | %RESCAN <t> <n> | Reset LMR for tag t by n messages (n is usually negative) | | %UNLINKED | Request a list of areas to which you have not selected | | %+ALL | Select all areas available to you | | %-ALL | De-select all areas (stop receiving echo mail) | These commands must be entered beginning on the first line of the message and at the beginning of a line. For example, to get a list of areas which are available to us but we have not selected for importing, send the following netmail message: TO: AREAFIX@1:311/0 SUBJ: mypassword —————————————- %UNLINKED That's all there is to it. See how simple that is. Realize that you can specify more than one command per message. All that is required is for the command to be at the beginning of a line. NOTE: Some AreaFix processors do not like the messages to be addressed in the manner AREAFIX@1:311/0. Instead, they would much rather see the hub information in the message body as shown in this example: TO: AREAFIX SUBJ: mypassword —————————————- (1:311/0) %UNLINKED In short, do not be afraid to try some of the commands out. There is nothing you can do with AreaFix requests that will cause damage. As a hub, there is even less to worry about because AreaFix requests are handled automatically by PCBFido. The only thing you must do is make sure that the Fido user account is registered (R conference flag) for the conferences they will be able to turn on and off using AreaFix. Really, when you think about it from the hub's side, all an AreaFix request does is determine if the selection (S conference flag) is set for a conference. That is why the Fido user must be registered in the conference before they can AreaFix it. Remember, System Manager has some powerful functions for registering a group of users in a large number of conferences. If you are acting as a hub and need to register a large number of users in the Fido conferences, use this feature to help you out. ====== Setting Up The Archivers ====== In our initial steps to get netmail working we skipped over a few of the Fido Configuration screens. It is now time to visit one of these screens if we are to properly transfer echo mail. You see, echo mail is sent in compressed form and therefore we have to configure PCBoard to find various compression and decompression programs and also tell it what compression program is used by the hub. In PCBSetup | Fido Configuration | Archiver Configuration, the programs used for ZIP, ARJ, ARC, and LHA compression can be defined. The following screen captures shows how to setup each compression and decompression program assuming they are located in C:\UTL. ZIP : C:\UTL\PKZIP.EXE Switches for ZIP : -a UNZIP : C:\UTL\PKUNZIP.EXE Switches for UNZIP : -o ARJ : C:\UTL\ARJ.EXE Switches for ARJ : a UNARJ : C:\UTL\ARJ.EXE Switches for UNARJ : e ARC : C:\UTL\ARC.EXE Switches for ARC : a UNARC : C:\UTL\ARCE.EXE Switches for UNARC : LZH : C:\UTL\LHA.EXE Switches for LZH : a UNLZH : C:\UTL\LHA.EXE Switches for UNLZH : e If the location of these programs differ on your system, make the appropriate changes. All of the programs shown on this screen are either shareware or freeware. Copies may be obtained from just about any bulletin board including our support BBS. NOTE: PKZIP has a -m switch to move files. This switch also has a side-effect of physically removing empty subdirectories. Therefore, either do not use this switch or use the closely related -m- switch.

fidonet/start.txt · Last modified: 2024/03/18 11:25
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