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AOL Tips & Tricks Part 3
(v1.1 - 8/13/94)


* Internet Mail Management
While Internet e-mail is a wonderful and remarkable thing, it is also sometimes a bit strange in how it handles correspondence. While there are sometimes problems on the AOL end of the mail pipeline, it can be difficult to know where the mail problems are. Here are some tips for managing Internet mail effectively:
-  Copy yourself on all outgoing Internet mail twice, once staying within AOL and once bouncing off the Internet back to AOL. To copy yourself within AOL, put your own screen name in the CC: field. That way you receive a copy the *instant* your mail departs. To copy yourself via the Internet, use the following screen name to send a copy to yourself that first goes out into the Internet before returning:
   <yourAOLscreenname>%[email protected]
Mail sent to and from the Internet will not arrive instantaneously, but when it does you will know that your mail has left AOL successfully.
- Tracing problems with incoming mail can be more problematic, since there is nothing to tell you that mail bound for you did not arrive. If your correspondents' mail will permit carbon copies, give them the Internet bounce address mentioned above. This will give the mail an additional chance of getting to you.
- If you receive error messages on mail you have sent, you can report the errors, complete with the headers, at Keyword: MAIL GATEWAY. Click on the Write to Mail Gateway Staff icon and ask them to analyze the error messages on bounce mail. Similarly, if your correspondents receive mail bounced from AOL, if they can manage to send you the bounce messages, you can have those analyzed there, also. This area is accessible through the free area. Go to keyword: CSLIVE > Info About Sending & Receiving Mail > Mail Gateway.
--===*Thanks to BenF7 for this entry!*===--

* Gopher Veronica Searching
The Internet Gophers available are vast and can be quite difficult to navigate. For this reason, a search function called Veronica is available to help you find what you seek. The Gophers are available at keyword: GOPHER and the search feature Veronica is accessible through the icon titled "Search All Gophers" near the bottom of the Gopher/WAIS window. There are a few tricks to make searches with Veronica faster, better and more accurate. 
- Normal searches will return no more than 200 items. You can circumvent this limitation by typing "-m" after your search parameters. "-m" will return all items that can be found; "-mx" will return as many as you request (where x = requested number). For example: "trees-m" will return 1017 items and "trees -m500" will return 500 items.
- Use the standard search words AND, OR and NOT in your searches. For example: "chicken and wine" returns a list of the items that have both chicken and wine in them; "chicken or wine" returns items that have either chicken or wine in them, but not both; "chicken not wine" returns items with the chicken in them, but not wine.
- Use parentheses and wildcards in your searches. Parentheses allow infix queries for more complicated searches. For example: "chicken (wine or curry)" returns items with the word chicken and either wine or curry. The metacharacter, an asterisk (*), also known as a wildcard, searches for anything at the trailing end of a search word. For example: "wine*" will search for all items with the word "wine," such as "wine, wines, wineries," etc. 
For more information on Veronica searching, do a Veronica search for "veronica."
--===*Thanks to NumbersMan for this entry!*===--

* TCP/IP Connection
--> Mac and WAOL users only <--
If you have an Internet TCP/IP connection, you can apply to beta test new software which will permit you to connect to AOL via TCP/IP. Use Keyword: INTERNET APPLY. 
--===*Thanks to BenF7 for this entry!*===--


* Stock Portfolios and Tracking
If you track stocks, you'll find these tips useful:
-  Multiple portfolios:  Using StockLink, you can only have one portfolio per screen name. If you use TradePlus, you can have up to 75 to track a wide variety of scenarios. If you open a brokerage account, you can have trading and real-time quote options (at an extra cost.) Keyword: STOCKLINK 
- Bulls and Bears:  A Stock Market simulation game that is fun and a good way to learn more about selling and buying stocks and options. You can win free time if you are good, too. Keyword: BULLS AND BEARS
--===*Thanks to BenF7 for this entry!*===--

* Starting a New Forum or Service
If you're interested in starting a forum or new area online or a new service, put your idea in the Suggestion Box for the appropriate department. The same suggestion box may be located in the free area (Keyword: FREE). Be sure to include the following information:
 - What will the forum consist of?
 - What will you require in terms of resources?  (message boards, libraries, chat rooms, etc.)
 - What will your focus be?
 - What experience do you have in the field?
 - What can members gain from this area?
 - How many people do you think this would attract?
If you prefer, you can leave a voice mail message at 1-703-883-1548 ext. 7900 and an AOL representative will get back to you regarding your suggested addition to AOL.
--===*Thanks to BenF7 for this entry!*===--

Many of the tips and tricks in other sections are also money savers, look for the ($) symbol!

* Features Available in the Free Area
   - Write a new memo (<Ctrl> + n on the PC, <Cmd> + n on the Mac)
   - Read the keyword list (call up Keyword window and click on Keyword List button)
   - Search the directory of services (call up "Directory of Services" menu item)
   - Locate a member online (<Ctrl> + f on the PC, <Cmd> + f on the Mac)
   - Get a member's profile (<Ctrl> + g on the PC, <Cmd> + g on the Mac)
   - Search the member directory (pull up "Search Member Directory" menu item)
   - Edit your profile (pull up "Edit Online Profile" menu item)
   - Create or delete screen names (pull up "Edit Screen Names" menu item)
   - Members Helping Members message board (Keyword: MHM)
   - Mail Gateway Area, including message board. (Keyword: CSLIVE > Info About Sending & Receiving Mail > Mail Gateway)

* Give Yourself Some Credit:  Credited Time Options
You can gain back some time online through special programs, contests, and conferences! Here is a list of some of them, although it is by no means exhaustive:
1. Sign on a Friend Credits. Details at Keyword: FRIEND.
2. Credits randomly awarded for participation in some forums. Many software forums award time at random to conference attendees. Others give time for participation and contests. For example, there is an Art Quiz from time to time in the National Museum of American Art. Keyword: NMAA. 
3. Credits won in competitions in Center Stage. Keyword: CENTER STAGE.
4. Credits from random free time awards from the Games Parlor in the People Connection. Keyword: PEOPLE or PARLOR.
5. Time awards for contests online. There was a contest during the Oscars, for example.
6. Time awards for successful competition in Bulls and Bears. Keyword: BULLS AND BEARS.
7. Credits for failed downloads or problematic connections. Apply a Keyword: CREDIT
Note that the credits mentioned above differ from the monthly free time in that they *will* carry over from month to month if not used; the free five hours you get each month do not carry over. If you are near the end of your billing cycle and you've still got some of your free monthly time left, you could upload a file to a library to allow this time to carry over. All time spent uploading to an AOL library is credited back to you at the rate of 1:1. So while you won't gain any time by uploading, having the time credited back to you will allow you to use it later. If you use this upload trick, please only upload legitimate files and follow the library guidelines. Uploading files in e-mail will *not* qualify you for this credited time.

The information and software listed here is not endorsed by America Online. It is all used at your risk. AOL Technical Support staff cannot troubleshoot problems arising from the use of these files.

* AOL Information
There is a virtual goldmine of information on AOL out there just waiting to be discovered. Here are some of the highlights:
- Keyword: SUPPORT - Members' Online Support (free area). Information on navigating, downloading, message boards, contacting AOL and much more.
- Keyword: SERVICES -- AOL's Directory of Services
- The Ultimate Keyword List -- a *complete* list of all keywords available online. Two versions are available, one alphabetical, the other by department. Search for "keyword surf" at keyword: FILESEARCH.
- VirtuaLingo: AOL Glossary -- an information-packed glossary of lingo, slang and terms on AOL. Includes a Keyboard Shortcut Chart. Search for "VirtuaLingo" at keyword: FILESEARCH.
- AOL FAQ [Mac only] -- a detailed FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about AOL in an easy-to-use format. Search for "AOL FAQ" at keyword: FILESEARCH.

* Add-On Libraries Available
AOL's Computing & Software department has established special Add-On Libraries where you'll find many useful utilities and programs. Here are their locations:
On the Mac:
   Keyword: MUT > Software Libraries (icon) > AOL Add-On Programs
On the PC:
   Keyword: WINDOWS > Software Libraries (icon) > WAOL Add-On Programs

Below are some of the more popular or useful add-on utilities and programs. If I've left one out you think members need to know about, just let me know!

* General Enhancements
--> WAOL 1.1 or higher users only <--
Whale Express is a scripting utility that allows you to create scripts to sign-on, sign-off, retrieve and send mail, send and capture text and posts, and more. A trial version is available online by searching for "WHALEX" at keyword: FILESEARCH. Supplemental utilites for WHALEX are also available.

Another WAOL enhancement is Sweetalk, an add-on that provides a button bar in WAOL with several features, some of which are the ability to easily send a sound, send pre-typed text, save e-mail or posts, tell you if your friends are online, turn IMs on or off, keep track of your time online, etc. This add-on requires Windows 3.1 or higher and VBRUN300.DLL, a Visual Basic for Windows runtime module in your  C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM subdirectory in order to install and run. Both Sweetalk and VBRUN300.DLL are available online by searching for them at keyword: FILESEARCH.

* Chat Enhancements
--> WAOL 1.1 or higher users only <--
C-Room is a utility that enhances AOL chat rooms and conference rooms without modifying your AOL software. Features include the ability to highlight screen names in colors, change chat fonts, change background colors, use special styles or fonts in chat, send text macros, and more! C-Room is available online by searching for "CROOM" at keyword: FILESEARCH. Supplemental utilites for C-Room are also available.

* Control Enhancements
--> Mac users only <--
There are times when windows in AOL are wrested from your control, be it due to an error or another function in process. While there is little that can be done to help "freezes" or "time-outs," you can do something if the problem is a window at the front that can't be closed or moved behind another. The "Window To Back FKey," available in the FKeys library of MUT, will allow you to move the window to the back, letting you save or continue your work. QuicKeys will also work -- use the "Select Rear Window" item under Specials. 
Please note that while this trick may allow background downloading, it should be done with caution. If you try to open a long message while file transfers are taking place, you stand a chance of aborting or corrupting the file. This may also slow down file transfers when active in other windows, and disconnects and damaged files are more likely using this technique. Under no circumstances should you start another download or upload when one is in progress. AOL will *not* support background downloading and you cannot apply for credit for damaged files resulting from use of this trick.

* Download Enhancements
--> Mac users only <--
AOL DM Assist enhances and complements the Download Manager, allowing you to rearrange and delete individual files from the queue, put queue entries on hold to hide them from FlashSessions and rename the local filename for partial download and more. Located in the "AOL Add Ons" library of MUT.

* Mail Enhancements
--> WAOL 1.1 or higher users only <--
YOU'VE GOT MAIL! is an add-on for reading and writing e-mail and text easier. It captures documents to your hard disk and allows you to write replies while you're offline. YGM will also will save some or all of your outgoing and incoming mail from session to session. It also includes several file-handling tools for organizing information, an easy-to-use address book editor, utilities for pasting quotes from your incoming mail or documents, date/time stamping and storage/playback of up to five different signatures per screen name. This add-on requires Windows 3.1 or higher and VBRUN300.DLL, a Visual Basic for Windows runtime module in your  C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM subdirectory in order to install and run. Both YGM, which is shareware, and VBRUN300.DLL are available online by searching for them at keyword: FILESEARCH.


This Tips & Trick file was made possible through the help of many friends, both old and new, and lots of time spent online finding easier, faster ways to do things. Special thanks go to the folks who read through this and offered additional tips: NumbersMan, BenF7, Patterner, Jamie 1990, Todd, You, FlowFazer, BoatLover, Varian, SF Frank and ScFiMarci.

If you've got a tip or trick that I've left out or find an error, please send the information on it via e-mail to "Jennifer." This file will be updated as often as possible. Suggestions welcome!

You may distribute this file *within* AOL if it remains intact. If you upload it to another library on AOL, please send me e-mail so I can track it.

Update History
1.1 (8/13/94) - Updated "Updating AOL Software" entry; updated "The Name Game" entry; updated "The Art of Logging" entry; modified the "Control Enhancements" entry; added the Help Desk, MHM and Help menu to the "SOS:  Getting Help" entry; added the "Changing Your Default Directory" tip; added the "Ban Hard Returns!" tip; added the "Chat Enhancements" entry; removed the PC/GEOS e-mail trick.

Version 1.1 - 8/13/94.  Produced and written by Jennifer Watson (screen name: Jennifer). Permission is granted to distribute AOL Tips & Tricks electronically if kept completely intact. Copyright 1994 Jennifer Watson.