America Online for Dummies: Covers E-mail, the Internet, and AOL Version 5


America Online has long been one of the most popular commercial online services, and now this service provides one of the easiest ways to access the Internet. But because AOL and the Internet have so much content -- so many chat rooms, forums, online publications, and services -- finding what you want can be frustrating. That's why so many people turn to America Online For Dummies, Fourth Edition. Now in an updated and revised third edition that covers Version 4.0, America Online For Dummies not only gives you a ...
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America Online has long been one of the most popular commercial online services, and now this service provides one of the easiest ways to access the Internet. But because AOL and the Internet have so much content -- so many chat rooms, forums, online publications, and services -- finding what you want can be frustrating. That's why so many people turn to America Online For Dummies, Fourth Edition. Now in an updated and revised third edition that covers Version 4.0, America Online For Dummies not only gives you a quick and clear introduction to what's available but also gives you insiders' tips on everything from downloading and sending e-mail to the "netiquette" you should follow when posting to newsgroups. A complete package, America Online For Dummies, Fourth Edition, even includes the software you need to get online as well as 50 free hours of access time.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764506703
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/24/1999
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 7.37 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Table of Contents


Who I Think You Are
It's All English -- Except for Parts in "Geek"
Frolicking (Briefly) through the Book
Part I: Driver's Ed for the Digital Traveler
Part II: The Basics of Online Life
Part III: Diving into the Fun Stuff
Part IV: Going Your Own Way
Part V: Secret Tricks of the AOL Gurus
Part VI: The Part of Tens
AOL Channels For Dummies
Icons, Icons Everywhere
It's Time to Get Started!

Part I: Driver's Ed for the Digital Traveler

Chapter 1: What You've Gotten Yourself Into (And What You Need to Get Out)
What Online Really Means
All It Takes Is a Bunch of Stuff
First, you need the right software
A computer is a must
A modem enters the picture
What about a phone line?
Chapter 2: A Brief Romp through an Average Day
First, You Need to Sign On
Checking the E-Mailbox
Reading the Morning Paper (And a Magazine or Two)
Eyeing the Markets
Internet On-Ramp, Next Right
The Joys of (Nearly) Free Stuff
Let the Fun and Games Begin!
Shopping without the Crowds
Having a Little Chat
When Problems Come Up (As They Usually Do)
Handling the Rude, the Crude, and the Socially Maladjusted
But Wait -- There's More!
When It's Time to Say Good-Bye
Chapter 3: Surviving the Software
Revealing the Toolbar (And Its Way-Cool Menus)
Mail Center
My Files
Sailing around the Navigation Bar
Running through the Menus
Chapter 4: Making Yourself at Home
What's in a (Screen) Name?
Dealing with Screen Names
Creating a new screen name
Deleting an old screen name
Changing a screen name
Restoring a deleted screen name
Turn a Bit and Let Me See Your Profile
Making Your Preferences Known
Finding the preferences
Automatic AOL
Marketing Preferences
Personal Filing Cabinet
WWW (World Wide Web)
Parental Controls: Taking Away the Online Car Keys
Custom controls
Chat controls
Instant Message controls
Download controls
Newsgroup controls
Mail controls
Web controls

Part II: The Basics of Online Life

Chapter 5: Navigating the System and Marking Your Favorite Destinations
Your Windows on the World
The Welcome window: Hi there -- thanks for signing on today!
The Channels window: Road map, cheerleader, and commentator rolled into one
Individual content windows: The heart of America Online
Organizing the Places of Your Heart
Using folders in the Favorite Places window
Adding a favorite place
Adding a folder
Moving folders and favorite places
Modifying folders and favorite places
Deleting folders and favorite places
Chapter 6: E-Mailing the World, One Mailbox at a Time
Sending E-Mail to an America Online Subscriber
Sending Internet E-Mail
E-Mailing with Panache
Linking with Ease
Incoming Missive, Sir!
Organizing Your E-Mail Mess(ages)
Catching People with Your Address Book
Adding Address Book entries
Deleting Address Book entries
Changing Address Book entries
Doing E-Mail the Automatic AOL Way
Chapter 7: Chatting the Day (And Night) Away
Ambling into a Chat Room
Chat Room Addiction Counseling: Enter Here
Beware the Password Scammers
Enjoying a Little Private (Room) Time
Attending Lectures (And Enjoying Them)
Recording Your Conversations
Chapter 8: Dropping a Quick "Hello" with Instant Messages
Online Telepathy with Instant Messages
Turning Off Instant Messages, Because Sometimes You Just Want to Be Alone
Catching a Password Scammer
Chapter 9: Cogitating, Consternating, and Conflagrating in the Discussion Boards
Winding Your Way through the Discussion Folders
Reading, Replying To, and Generally Browsing the Messages
Chapter 10: Where's Your Buddy, Where's Your Pal?
Who's Your Buddy?
Adding someone to a Buddy List
Creating a new Buddy List Group
Deleting someone from a Buddy List Group
Deleting a whole Buddy List
Renaming a Buddy List Group
Privacy Preferences: Please, I Vahnt to Be Alone
Setting Your Buddy List Preferences
Building an Online Treehouse with Buddy Chat

Part III: Diving into the Fun Stuff

Chapter 11: Finding People, Places, Things, and Information
Finding the Big Search Kahuna Toolbar Button
Finding People: Sniffing Out Friends, Acquaintances, and Other Novel Folks
Locating folks to see who's around
Searching the member directory
Finding friends with Switchboard
Finding Places: Tracking Interests and Meeting Informational Needs
Find It on AOL
Browsing through some great resources
Finding Things Like Programs and Files
Chapter 12: Tracking News, Weather, Markets, and More
Getting the News
Rolling Your Articles into a Log
The Weather Outside -- Is It Frightful?
Watching the Markets
Quotes (keyword Quotes)
Portfolios (keyword Portfolios)
Chapter 13: Frolicking in the Games
Perhaps There's No Free Lunch, But Are There Free Games?
Exposing a Well-Kept Secret: Some Big Games Play for Free!
Hopping into the Best Free Games
Chapter 14: Cruising the Internet
Internet Connection Basics
So Just What Is This Internet Thing?
E-Mail the Internet Way
Join a Mailing List for Fun and Full Mailboxes
Finding and joining a mailing list
Sharing your wisdom with everybody else
Unsubscribing from a list
Topic Hopping in the World Wide Web
A quick stop at the terminology shop
Taking the Web browser for a spin
Opening a specific page
Newsgroups Talk about the Craziest Things
Finding and subscribing to a newsgroup
Reading messages
Contributing something
Unsubscribing from a newsgroup
Automating your newsgroups
A brief word about Parental Controls
FTP Downloading for the Nerd at Heart
Chapter 15: Loading Up, Loading Down, and Zipping All Around
Locating Likely Candidates
Forum and service libraries
File library search
Downloading a File Right Now
How Do You Manage This Many Downloads?
The Joys of Stuffing and Zipping
Donating Your Own Efforts
Logging Isn't Really Downloading, but It's Close

Part IV: Going Your Own Way

Chapter 16: Stuff to Do When You're New
Finding Your Way Around
Tracking Special Interests
Getting a Helping Hand
Becoming Adept at Online Life
Hearing the Online Heartbeat
Chapter 17: The Student's Guide to Online Life
Places to Start
Getting Help When You Need It
A Trip to the Virtual Library
Dressing Up Your Reports
Thinking about That Job
As If One School Weren't Enough
Time to Relax and Recharge
Chapter 18: Parenting Your Offspring (In Diapers, Online, or In Between the Two)
Keeping Up with the Kids
A Few Thoughts about Control
Protecting Your Online Kids
Have Some Fun? What's That?
Doing the Work-at-Home Thing
Chapter 19: The Well-Connected Teacher
The Ultimate Learning Resource Center
Bringing School Home to Meet the Kids
It's an Online Louvre
Taking Your Classroom to See the World
The Involved Teacher
Peering into the Future
Chapter 20: Big Help for Small Business
Starting at the Source
Taking the Pulse of Business News
Resources to Relish
Blowing Your Online Bassoon
Discussion Builds Business
Self-Help for the Computer
Joining the Information Superhighway
Trading on an International Scale

Part V: Secret Tricks of the AOL Gurus

Chapter 21: Making a Truly Cool Profile
It's All in the Wrists (And the Tabs and Colons)
Profile Remodeling for the Do-It-Yourselfer
Chapter 22: Dressing up Your Software with Fresh Buttons and a New Menu
Dancing the Toolbar Tango (Or Is That the New Button Bop?)
A Menu to Call Your Own

Part VI: The Part of Tens

Chapter 23: Ten Things Everyone Looks for Online
Scoping for a Particular Chat Room
Finding People Like You
Tripping through the Coolest Online Areas
Sifting through Sites on the Internet
Seeing Your Favorite Celebrities
Downloading the Best Software
Finding Obscure Online Areas
Locating Your Online Buddies
Ferreting Out Your Long-Lost Friends, Wherever They May Be
Tracking Packages throughout the World
Collecting Free Stuff from the Government
Chapter 24: Ten Common Things That Go Wrong (And How to Fix Them)
America Online Won't Answer the Phone
The Computer Almost Signs On
The Host Isn't Responding to You
The System Rudely Kicks You Off
America Online Doesn't Talk to You
Your Computer Locks Up While Downloading Files or Using Automatic AOL
File Downloads Take Too Long
Automatic AOL Mail Goes Undercover
Your Internet Mail Is Undeliverable
The New Item in Your Go To Menu Goes to the Wrong Place
Chapter 25: Ten Internet Resources Worth Checking Out
alt.folklore.urban (Newsgroup) (Newsgroup)
The OCF Online Library (Gopher)
The Mother of All Gophers (Gopher)
InterText Magazine (Mailing List)
NETHUMOR (Mailing List)
Trojan Room Coffee Machine (World Wide Web)
World Wide Web Site Indexes
MS-DOS, Macintosh, and Windows Software Archives (FTP)
Chapter 26: Ten Terms for the Chat Room­Challenged
Away from the Keyboard (AFK)
Back at the Keyboard (BAK)
Drinks and Glassware
Emotion and Action -- ::Smiles and Waves::
Hugs {} and Kisses*
Laughing out Loud (LOL)
Rolling on the Floor Laughing (ROFL)
Swatting IMsects

AOL Channels For Dummies

Chapter 1: Getting Started with AOL Channels
Chapter 2: AOL Today Channel
Chapter 3: Computing Channel
Chapter 4: Entertainment Channel
Chapter 5: Families Channel
Chapter 6: Games Channel
Chapter 7: Health Channel
Chapter 8: Influence Channel
Chapter 9: Interests Channel
Chapter 10: International Channel
Chapter 11: Kids Only Channel
Chapter 12: Lifestyles Channel
Chapter 13: Local Channel
Chapter 14: News Channel
Chapter 15: Personal Finance Channel
Chapter 16: Research & Learn Channel
Chapter 17: Shopping Channel
Chapter 18: Sports Channel
Chapter 19: Travel Channel
Chapter 20: WorkPlace Channel


Book Registration Information

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First Chapter

Chapter 5
Navigating the System and Marking Your Favorite Destinations

In This Chapter

  • Looking through the digital windows
  • Staying organized with Favorite Places

You don't need to travel much before you start collecting a mental list of places that you enjoyed, locales that you disliked, and restaurants that you never quite found, despite splendid directions from the hotel concierge. It's human nature -- we know what we like and, when in doubt, we usually choose the known instead of the unknown (particularly because we can go there without getting lost).

Human nature being what it is, by now you wandered the highways and byways of America Online, got lost among the windows a few times, and probably discovered several (perhaps many) likable haunts on both America Online itself and the Internet. Remembering your favorite spots and finding your way back to them, though, is a problem sometimes -- after all, computer monitors only have so much physical space for little sticky notes before you can't see the screen anymore.

That's where this chapter fits into your life. It looks at the main windows of your online world, explores the gentle art of navigating the system, and then explains how to rid your monitor of sticky notes thanks to the built-in Favorite Places option. If you're tired of stumbling across something cool and then losing the note that got you there (or if you're just tired of getting lost), then kick back, put your feet up, and flip through this chapter. It's here to help.

Your Windows on the World

Everywhere you go in America Online, you're faced with windows. Welcoming windows, channel windows, information area windows -- sheesh, spring cleaning around here must be a total nightmare.

Although the windows are a little confusing at first, they make America Online the special place that it is. Unlike other online services, America Online was designed with the Macintosh and Microsoft Windows graphical way of life in mind. And it shows.

This section introduces and explains the basic America Online navigation windows. It's designed to make you comfortable with the service's look and feel. The details of the content areas themselves come later, in Part III. For everything you ever wanted to know about the channels, turn to AOL Channels For Dummies in the dark-bordered pages near the back of this book -- that's the special book-within-a-book that's all about channels. For now, though, sit back, grab a bottle of spray cleaner, and head for the windows of your digital world.

The Welcome window: Hi there -- thanks for signing on today!

Every time you sign on to America Online, the Welcome window hops right up and offers a great big Hiya -- welcome to the system! This window is like an electronic version of the Wal-Mart door greeter, only better. This greeter doesn't just wish you well; it even knows the news and keeps tabs on your e-mail box. Not even Californians have it this good.

Figure 5-1 shows the Welcome window on an average day. It's a pretty straightforward affair with three different areas: navigation buttons, highlighted services, and anchor services.

  • Clustered on the left side of the window are the navigation buttons, your shortcuts to the rest of America Online.
    • The mailbox button tells you whether you have mail or not. Clicking this button either opens your mailbox or sends you on a jaunt to the Mail Center (depending on whether you have unopened e-mail).
    • Channels displays the Channels window (discussed in the section entitled "The Channels window: Road map, cheerleader, and commentator rolled into one").
    • Finally, the People Connection drops you into a chat room (nothing like a grand entrance, eh?).
  • Along the bottom center of the window are brief descriptions of the highlighted services, along with little buttons that take you to each one. These entries change all the time, so don't worry if your screen doesn't show exactly the same items as Figure 5-1.
  • Cascading through the upper center and right side of the window are the anchor services, places that send you hither and thither on your quest for hot AOL happenings, the weather forecast, the leading news stories. The remaining anchor services (What's New, Parental Controls, Member Services, and others) are on the right.

For a special treat, click the America Online logo in the upper-left corner of the Welcome window. Who knows what might happen? (Okay, so it really leads to the Daily Delights area, but keep it to yourself. We don't want everyone to know.)

In Windows, you can't make the Welcome window go away -- ever. The best you can do is minimize it, so instead of being an annoying window in the middle of the screen, it's only an annoying icon cowering in the corner. To do this in Windows 3.x, click the down arrow button on the right side of the window's title bar (the bar that says Welcome and your screen name). The window pops down to the lower-left corner of the screen, never to bother you again. In Windows 95, click the minimize button (the left-most of the three little buttons at the right end of the title bar) to accomplish the same thing.

The Channels window: Road map, cheerleader, and commentator rolled into one

If you're looking for the right place to start your online expedition, it just doesn't get any better than the Channels window, shown in Figure 5-2 with the AOL Today channel open and alive. From here, any of America Online's 19 channels is a quick jump away.

Occupying the left side of the window are the channel buttons, offering single-click connections to the 19 content channels in America Online. Each button displays the menu of services available in that channel area. In another new development, the Channels window in the America Online 4.0 software includes not only the channel buttons, but also a big space where the channel window itself shines through.

To make things ever more consistent and easier to understand, the 19 channels look significantly more alike than ever before. Each channel window includes buttons for its various departments, plus some links to featured areas within the channel. The featured area buttons change periodically, but unless something groundbreaking happens, the departments remain the same.

In the lower-right corner of the channels window is the keyword for this particular area. See the sidebar "Psst -- what's the keyword?" later in this chapter for more about these useful little thingies.

Because I have your attention, here are a few other things you should know about handling the channels before I let you go:

  • Getting back to the Channels window is never hard. Just click the Channels button on the Toolbar, select the channel you want to see, and {poof!} you're there.
  • You can also get to the Channels window from the Welcome window, thanks to the cleverly named Channels window button (but you probably knew that already).
  • If your Channels window has a bunch of colorful buttons strewn all over it instead of the high-tech look shown in Figure 5-2, then you're not using the newest software. Refer to Chapter 1 for more about the whole software thing and how to get the latest version.

To pick up a lot of detailed information about what each channel contains, flip to AOL Channels For Dummies -- a special book-within-a-book in the gray-bordered pages near the back of this book.

Individual content windows: The heart of America Online

The digital foot soldiers of America Online are the individual content areas. Hundreds, if not thousands, of them are out there, and each one has its own unique interface window. Some of the windows have lots of artwork and feature buttons (like Figure 5-3). Others are plain to the point of being utilitarian (see Figure 5-4 for a to-the-point example). Both do basically the same things, except the fancy ones do it with more panache.

Psst -- what's the keyword?

Almost every service in America Online has a keyword. It's like a magic carpet that whisks you wherever you wish to go. Using keywords saves you time, and that saves you money.

To use a keyword, press Ctrl+K in Windows or Command key+K on a Macintosh. Doing so brings up the Keyword dialog box. Type the keyword and then click OK. If everything is working as it should, you'll immediately jump to that keyword's window.

Jot down the keywords for your favorite services on the Cheat Sheet in the front of this book and then use that list as a memory jogger or to plan your online sessions.

A fancy service window always contains some feature and function buttons. These graphic buttons lead you to special parts of the service, help you search the service's archives, or otherwise do something truly fun for you. Read the button descriptions carefully -- don't rely too much on the picture to tell you what the button does.

Somewhere on the window (sorry I can't be more specific -- it migrates all over the place) is the service's keyword. If you're not familiar with keywords, you should be. Look in the sidebar entitled "Psst -- what's the keyword?" for more information.

Last on the tour is the list of service areas -- see Table 5-1. Most of the time, both kinds of content windows contain this list, but not always (fancy content areas sometimes replace the list with a series of buttons). The list is in whatever order the service feels like using (in other words, don't bank on things coming up in alphabetical order). To get into an area on the list, double-click its entry.

Don't expect every service to look just like every other service. Some are very plain; others are quite fancy. Just relax and go with the flow -- you're doing fine.

Table 5-1 Service Areas

Name Meaning
File Folder Leads to an individual service window, which in turn contains still more icons.
Chat Takes you into a conference chat room within a content area.
Document Shows a document explaining something about the service.
Open Book Displays a searchable database (mostly found in the various Reference sections).
Disks Opens a library of downloadable software.
Globe Usually points to an item on the World Wide Web.
Bulletin Board Opens up a window of discussion boards.
Special Might be just about anything -- it defies description.

Organizing the Places of Your Heart

There's a new button in town -- and it's appearing on a Toolbar near you. Say hello to Favorites and its sidekick, the Favorite Places window -- both of them riding hard to organize the online areas you know and love.

The Favorite Places system won't bring any law into your digital life (hopefully Congress won't either), but it promises a lot of order. Instead of having just ten favorite places socked away in your My Shortcuts menu (see Chapter 22 for the details about that), you can store as many favorites as you want! Is that just too cool or what?

Figure 5-5 shows a hard-working Favorite Places window in action. The heart entries link to services within America Online or to Web pages and gophers on the Internet. For instance, the item highlighted in Figure 5-5 is the Card Collecting forum on America Online. The entry right below it, Intertext, is a Web page. Manila folders (such as Support Areas, Gaming, and Fun Spots) apply some order to the impending chaos.

Figure 5-5 also shows a new feature of the America Online 4.0 software: The Favorite Places menu item list that automatically appears underneath the Favorites button on the Toolbar. When you add an online area to your Favorite Places, it automatically appears in both the Favorite Places window and the menu list under the Favorites Toolbar button. (Life's getting better all the time, isn't it?) Items in both places work the same way, so I end up in the Collectable Cards forum whether I double-click its heart entry in the Favorite Places window or just select it from the Favorites drop-down menu.

Here are a couple other random musings about the Favorite Places system that wandered out of my brain at the last moment:

  • To use the new Favorite Places system, you must have Version 2.5 or later of the America Online access software for Windows. Any older America Online software just isn't this cool.
  • Even though all the items in your Favorite Places window are also displayed in the Favorites drop-down menu, you can make changes to the entries only through the Favorite Places window. The Favorites drop-down menu notices the changes on its own, so don't worry about that.
  • You're not limited to the folders shown in Figure 5-5. I created those myself to meet my exceedingly peculiar needs. You have the freedom -- yes, even the right -- to create equally peculiar folders for yourself.

Using folders in the Favorite Places window

I almost forgot to mention this, but luckily two of my brain cells, spurred into action by the caloric heat of a half-digested Oreo, reminded me to mention that double-clicking is the key to using the Favorite Places window:

  • To open a folder, double-click it.
  • To close the folder when you're done with it, double-click the folder again.
  • To take off for a favorite place, double-click it.

Flip back into single-clicking mode when using the drop-down menu under the Favorites Toolbar. Because it's a menu and not a list of items in a window, you single-click to select destinations there.

Adding a favorite place

Including a new favorite place is a cinch. You can do so in two ways: the Easy Way and the Other Way. This section tells you how to handle them both.

The Easy Way is for areas inside America Online or Internet-based Web pages and gophers that you've browsed your way into. Here are the steps:

  1. Display an area that you're fond of, either inside America Online or on the Internet.
  2. Click the heart-on-a-document icon in the window's upper-right corner.

    A little dialog box appears (see Figure 5-6), demanding to know what you intend to do with the link to this online area.

    Not every window in America Online has one of those cute little heart document icons. It's unfortunate, but true. If the window you're looking at doesn't have one, you can't add it to the Favorite Places list.

  3. In the little You have selected a Favorite Place dialog box, click Add to Favorites to include an entry for this online area in your Favorite Places list.

    Your new entry takes up residence at either the top or the bottom of both the Favorite Places window and the drop-down menu under Favorites, just like Figure 5-7 shows. (Which end of the list it lands on seems to depend entirely on how your America Online software feels at the moment. Strange, isn't it?)

    If you click Insert in Instant Message, a new Instant Message window appears, complete with a ready-to-use link to this favorite place. Clicking Insert in Mail does much the same thing, except that a blank e-mail message pops up, with the link in the body and a friendly Check this out notice in the Subject line.

Use the Other Way when someone dashes up and says, "I just found the neatest Web page -- you've gotta check it out!" The Other Way assumes that you have the address of a Web page and want to include it manually in your Favorite Places. Here's how it's done:

  1. Select Favorites-->Favorite Places from the Toolbar.

    The Favorite Places window appears.

  2. Click the folder in which you want to store the new item.

    If you don't know where to put the item, click the Favorite Places folder at the top of the window. That's as good a place as any -- and you can always move the entry somewhere else later.

  3. Click New at the bottom of the Favorite Places window.

    The Add New Folder/Favorite Place dialog box (designed by the Use No Articles Programming Team) appears.

  4. Type a name for this entry in the Enter the Place's Description box, press Tab, and then type the entry's address in the Enter the Internet Address box.

    Figure 5-8 displays a finished entry, ready to be saved for posterity.

  5. Click OK to add the entry to your Favorite Places window.

Adding a folder

Adding all kinds of favorite places to your system is great, but you need some organization to keep everything in order. That's why those clever America Online programmers included folders.

Folders can live in the Favorite Places area or inside other folders (see Figure 5-9). Either way, creating a folder is easy. Here's how (assuming that you already have the Favorite Places window open):

  1. Click the Favorite Places button on the Toolbar.

    The Favorite Places window pops to attention.

  2. Click the Favorite Places folder at the top of the window.

    The Favorite Places folder is highlighted (this is a good sign).

  3. Click the New button.

    The Add New Folder/Favorite Place dialog box appears on your screen (yet another good sign).

  4. Click the New Folder radio button.

    The dialog box suddenly shrinks to half its previous size, shedding those unwanted pounds and inches in no time at all.

  5. Click in the box under Enter the New Folder's Name, then type the name of your new folder. Click OK when you're done (see Figure 5-10).

    Your new folder appears at the bottom of the Favorite Places list.

  6. Move the folder wherever you want it in the list.

    If you're not sure how to move the folder, look in the next section.

Moving folders and favorite places

Creating folders and favorite places is one thing, but organizing them is another. The little buggers tend to land wherever the America Online software feels like putting them. Moving them around is easy, though, once you get the hang of it.

The technique is the same for both folders and favorite places. After you open the Favorite Places window, here's what to do:

  1. Decide which item you want to move and where it's headed.
  2. Put the mouse pointer on the chosen item, and then press and hold the mouse button.

    The technical term for this maneuver is click and drag, but there's no reason to mention it, so I won't.

  3. While holding the mouse button down, move the item to its destination (see Figure 5-11) and then release the mouse button.

    The item settles down, safe and sound in its new home (see Figure 5-12).

Modifying folders and favorite places

There comes a point in every life when it's time to make some changes. When that time in the life of your Favorite Places window arrives, have no fear. Although change is never fun, at least it's easy in the Favorite Places window. Open the Favorite Places window and then follow these steps:

  1. Click the folder or favorite place and then click Edit.

    For a folder, the Rename dialog box appears. For a favorite place, the description and Internet address dialog box appears.

  2. Make your changes (usually to the name of the item) and then click OK.

    If you change your mind and don't want to make any changes, double-click in the upper-left corner of the box.

Deleting folders and favorite places

Favorite Places entries, like other impetuous flashes in the dark sky of fading youth, have a limited life span. When it's time to delete one, just do the deed and go on as best you can. Solemnly open the Favorite Places window and then morosely proceed through the following:

  1. Click the item you want to delete.
  2. Click Delete and then OK in the pop-up dialog box.

The entry is no more. Remember, ask not for whom the Delete button clicks -- it clicks for thy once-favorite place.

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Interviews & Essays

On Wednesday, July 15, welcomed John Kaufeld, author of AMERICA ONLINE FOR DUMMIES, 4th EDITION.

Moderator: July 15, 1998, barnesandnoble@aol was pleased to welcome monthly guest John Kaufeld to our Authors@aol series. John Kaufeld is an online guru, expert computer troubleshooter, and nationally recognized trainer with more than a decade of experience helping people and computers live together in simple peace and harmony. His newest Dummies book is AMERICA ONLINE FOR DUMMIES, 4th EDITION.

DiannaBN: Hi again, John...always a pleasure to have you with us!

John Kaufeld: Thank you, Dianna...and welcome, everyone! It's a big night here at AOL Central, lots to talk about...lots of questions to answer, I'm sure.

DiannaBN: I take it you're ready to get started, then?

John Kaufeld: Let's do it!

DiannaBN: Okay, here we go.

John Kaufeld:

Question: Hi. I read the transcipts from the last time you were on AOL live, and just wanted to know if there is any new information about the release date for the full AOL 4.0? Thanks.

John Kaufeld: Oh boy...I somehow knew that this would be the first question. Last month, I said that I anticipated that AOL 4.0 would come out in four to six weeks. Of course, that's what the AOL developers promised me -- and have been promising me since last June. So tonight I'm pleased to report that the new AOL 4.0 software should be available in four to six weeks. No, I still don't know...and, if it's any consolation, I'm frustrated too. When it arrives, though, it'll definitely be worth the wait. Faster Web access, better chat rooms, and some very cool email features are coming your way in 4.0! (Provided, of course, it ever arrives.)

Question: John, is there a way to make a private row in the Auditorium? Every time I make a new row because the text moves too fast, sure enough, people follow me! Aghh!

John Kaufeld: Nope, there isn't. You could make a row with a really odd number, like something in the hundreds, but you can't do a private row. I guess you could try putting everyone in the row on "Ignore"...(but that's kinda hermitlike). [grins]

Question: John, is AOL on some kind of Parental Control spaz attack? My teen and young teen find virtually everything blocked, as opposed to getting almost anything two months ago. The places they block are real stupid, too, e.g., reminder service, AOL Rewards.

John Kaufeld: Hmm...well, I think they've been taking their medication regularly, but I haven't seen them at therapy much lately. The question of who governs the "teen" and "youth" accesses is a bit of a mystery. Truth be told, I'm still trying to find out who it is so that I can ask them how they decide. It's frustrating to me as a parent, because it's a control that I want for my kids, but I also want some control over it. I might have more info on that next month, because I'm going out to AOL-Land for a bunch of meetings. Stay tuned for developments.

Question: How does Windows 98 affect the way AOL works?

John Kaufeld: It shouldn't affect AOL, but there's no guarantees. Since they ship the AOL 3.0 software right there on the Windows 98 system, it should work just fine. They're frantically testing 4.0 on it to make sure that everything works right. I've heard of a few glitches between 3.0 and Windows 98, but honestly I expected that. Anything Microsoft does in what we call a "dot-zero" version (like 98.0, in this case) always has problems. In the industry, we call that a "feature."

Question: My sound waves echo. Any suggests on how to stop it?

John Kaufeld: Sounds like the mixer settings for your sound card are a little off. I'd suggest a phone call or email to the sound card maker, or to the computer maker if the sound card shipped with your machine. They'll probably tell you to download a new driver for the card, which is just the software that helps your machine understand and use the sound card. Don't worry -- new drivers are usually free.

Question: What gave you the idea to start to write all of your "for dummies" books?

John Kaufeld: [sheepish grin] Well, truth be told, I was tired of asking my boss if I could attend trade shows and having her say no. So I struck out on my own, because I find myself much more agreeable when approving travel expenses. That and the fact that I wanted to help people understand their computers. [shrugs] I'm kinda odd that way (well, and in several other ways, too) but I enjoy helping people with computer problems. And my Dummies books give me a great way to do it!

Question: I have a Mac. I also have AMERICA ONLINE FOR DUMMIES, 4th EDITION. I'm stuck because your profile trick doesn't work on my Mac (Ctrl-Backspace just deletes a letter). What can I do?

John Kaufeld: Oh wow...there's a different trick key on the Macintosh, but I don't know what it is. You might ask in the Mac users forum -- particularly the forum staffers -- because they'll know off the top of their heads.

Question: Do you use Netscape or Explorer?

John Kaufeld: Wow...loaded question [grins]...I'm a Microsoft Explorer kind of guy. All of my machines use MSIE 4.0. I thought about downloading a copy of Netscape Navigator, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

Question: Why can't I scroll up in the chats with Windows 98?

John Kaufeld: Sounds like a "feature" to me...expect it to be fixed within the next week or two, probably through one of those little "Thank you for waiting while AOL takes all the time in the world to update your software" dialogue boxes when you sign off.

Question: What is your favorite PC game?

John Kaufeld: Hmm...well, since I'm in the process of updating one of my other books, GAMES ONLINE FOR DUMMIES, I'm kinda knee-deep in games right now. My current favorites are UltraCorps (on the Internet Gaming Zone), Capitalism Plus (from Interactive Magic), and a racing game that's temporarily slipped my mind. And a tank game from Ripcord. Sheesh...I can't even keep the game titles straight! [laughs]

Question: I would like to make a list of all the web sites I would like to check out in my spare time, hundreds of them. What is the best way to do that?

John Kaufeld: The easiest way to do it (assuming you're reading the addresses somewhere and then planning to check them later) is to jot them down in a text file on your computer (use the File>>New command here in AOL). If you're online and wander across an interesting-looking site, you can use AOL's Favorite Places feature (the little heart-on-the-piece-of-paper icon in the upper-right corner of your web browser window) to store a link to the site. Then just browse your "favorite places" list at your leisure.

Question: Dummy question If we compose an email message offline, how do we find it to send after going online or at a flash session?

John Kaufeld: Not a dummy question at all! I couldn't find a whole slew of messages that I wrote offline when I started using AOL (so I retyped them all...14 of them). In AOL 3.0, look in the (I'm doing this one from memory, so forgive me if I'm not exactly right) Mail menu, under either Flashsessions or Mail waiting to be sent. Something like that...if you email me after the event, I'll get the exact command for you. Sorry I can't remember it offhand! In 4.0, it's under Mail Center>>Read Offline Mail. [grins]

Question: When will Internet Explorer 4.0 be compatible with AOL 4.0....even the trial version? I cannot upgrade because of IE4. Any suggestions?

John Kaufeld: They're testing that right now. Actually, the current test revision of AOL 4.0 does work with MSIE 4.01, which is the "fixed" version of Internet Explorer (remember that "dot-zero" thing? Note the "dot-oh-one" on the one that works.) By the time AOL 4.0 comes out, it will include MSIE 4.01 as part of the deal. Or, at the rate they're going, it'll include MSIE 5.0. [laughs]

Question: Why can't I connect to AOL via the dial-up networking on MSIE 4.0?

John Kaufeld: You can, but there's a trick to it. Tell your AOL software that you want to connect using TCP/IP instead of dialing a phone number. Before you sign on, go into the area where you usually enter phone numbers and create a new location. Call it something like "Internet access." In there, when you get to the area where you normally enter the phone number, look at the Network Settings box. Change that from "AOLNet" to "TCP/IP." You can also try searching the CNET web site ( for a tips article I did for them, because the article contains step-by-step instructions on how to set up AOL that way.

Question: Will we have to wait for the final AOL 4.0 before Personal Publisher is up and running?

John Kaufeld: I'm afraid so. They can't seem to decide what to do about Personal Publisher these days. Last word I had was that the new Personal Publisher would bear an amazing resemblance to a certain web programming tool from a large company somewhere in Washington State, but I haven't heard anything more since then. Keep an eye on the Personal Publisher area for updates in the meantime.

Question: My Personal Publisher Page will never publish! What can I do?

John Kaufeld: Oh no -- I hate it when that happens. It might be due to the current traumas in Personal Publisher's life, so don't panic just yet. If you absolutely positively must create your web page soon, try using the AOL Press program at Keyword AOL PRESS. It's a full-featured web development tool that's actually pretty easy to use. It works very well with AOL (even though the window it's in talks about AOL's PrimeHost feature, AOL Press still works with regular AOL). You can also use Keyword MY PLACE to manually upload web pages if you're particularly desperate.

Question: I have had a few problems with Trojan horse viruses. Is there any way that AOL could scan for viruses before an item is downloaded?

John Kaufeld: There's no scanner built directly into the AOL software. You need to pick up a good antivirus program to do the scanning for you. Check Keyword VIRUS for some suggestions and for a file library filled with antivirus software. And remember Never, never, never download files emailed to you by people you don't know. It's a golden invitation for a hacker program or virus to invade your computer!

Next month, I'll have some very cool news about my mailing list (which is finally going to be up and running!).Stay tuned...the event is at 8 30 next month, so mark your calendars. Same Wednesday, different time. And on that note, we close for tonight...thank you all for coming! And special thanks to Dianna from Barnes & Noble (my esteemed sponsor!).

DiannaBN: [blushing] Thanks, John! I always enjoy moderating for you! See you next month! )

John Kaufeld: [waving to the crowd] G'night!

DiannaBN: Goodnight!

John Kaufeld:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2001

    AOL for life

    This book has improved my AOL life completly. Before i read this book, I was a cyber outcast, i didnt know how to check my email, or surf the web. I tried to teach myself but i just couldnt get it. After i read this book, I got 3 cyber dates! Now that i can check e mail, i think i will try to earn an MCSE. they say if you can use AOL you can do anything. Thanks for everything AOL!

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