Apple Internet Connection Kit
Estimated price: $49.99
Company: Apple Computer
By Adam Karneboge-Icon Master
The Internet. A vast place of information and archives, newsgroups and e-mail. A lot of people are leaving the security of their online service for the unlimited access time of the Internet. One thing people don’t know when they try to make this jump is the diffculty of locating a good ISP, (Internet Service Provider), finding good applications to use with their account, and then configuring their system for it. Apple has made it easy for Macintosh users to get on the Internet and enjoy it.
Start me up
As soon as you enter the CD, you can install either the Internet connection kit itself or System 7.5 Update 2.0, which it recommends if you are going to use Open Transport. Once you install, click on the Apple Internet Dialer and you are on your way. Then, all you have to do is fill out some registration information, and it connects you to a toll free number and launches Netscape. From there you can choose between 5 different Internet Service Providers. All the information you would want to know is right there. After you select a provider, it configures your whole system and all the applications. Then, you are connected to the Internet. Each time that you want to connect, you just launch the Dialer and press “Dial Phone”.
The kit comes with two ways to send e-mail. You can send with Netscape’s Built in e-mail system (see following paragraph) or with Claris E-Mailer Lite. Claris E-Mailer Lite is a great program, with a very graphical and user-friendly interface. The built-in address book is the best that I have ever seen. You can have addresses of single people with multiple addresses, or a group of people. Then, when you go to send the mail, you just type the first letter of the person’s name, and it puts their whole name, address and destination there automatically. Since the kit configures this when you sign up with an ISP, there will be no preferences or configurations to make. You are ready to start sending mail the moment you launch the application. Another great feature of Claris E-mailer Lite is its ability to auto stuff and encode files. There is also a great filing cabinet for all your sent and received files, which you can configure any way you want.
Surf it Up
The kit also comes with Netscape Navigator 2.0. Netscape is by far the best and most popular web browser out there today, and I don’t think that that is going to change anytime soon. I myself use a 28.8 modem, and it is lightning fast. It too has a very graphical interface, which is very configurable. The frames are great, as is the new Java Script technology. Downloading from ftp sites is still kind of shaky, but a big improvement over v1.x.
Netscape also has a built-in mail system and newsgroup reader. The mail system is adequate, but I have experienced nothing but trouble with the newsgroup reader. Netscape is by far the best utility for browsing the web, but I am not about to use it in place of my other internet applications.
The kit also comes with Fetch 3.0, another popular Internet application. Fetch lets you download files off File Transfer Protocol, or FTP. It has a very simple interface, but is very speedy. The main downside is that it is very difficult to connect to different sites. You need to know a lot of info about the ftp sites. The only thing I use fetch for is downloading Apple’s software, as all of its configurations are already set. I myself use Netscape to get most of my files, despite its glitches.
Also included in the AICK are a number of extremely useful applications.
*Apple Internet Status. This utility launches every time that you use the dialer. It keeps track of your time and lets you dial and hang up your modem when you want.
*NewsWatcher. This is a great Newsgroup reader which is very fast, and reliable. It does require some helper programs for downloading files, but they are available at their web site.
*Stuffit Expander. This great utility lets you expand and decode basically any kind of file that you could find on the Internet. Also included is Drop Stuff which lets you stuff files yourself.
*Quicktime VR Player. Though still in Beta testing, Quicktime VR is awesome. It lets you zoom in and out, and move around in any virtual reality movie. This is a great technology that is still developing, and promises a lot in its final version.
*Adobe Acrobat Reader. Adobe Acrobat Reader allows you to read pdf files. (portable document format) If you never do any work with data sheets or technical specifications, then this is useless. On the other hand, if you do work with data sheets, as I do, you will find this a great utility.
I have had a great experience with this product. With all of the best software available included, and a signup system easier than America Online, this will be a great way for people to finally make that jump. I would recommend it to anybody that would like to get on the Internet, but does not know how. More experienced users will want more sophisticated software, that has the capability to make web pages. But if you want to get on the Internet, and make it simple, then the Apple Internet Connection Kit is worth a try.