by Derryck Croker
the widest used means of getting an Atari connected
to the internet, IConnect nevertheless has some
great advantages for both beginner and expert.
These features do have a price tag however.
Using IConnect (or PPPConnect as it's sometimes
called) presupposes that the multi-tasking operating
system MagiC is installed.
So the pros
- A full GEM
- Very easy
to set up for the beginner. All settings
are held in a single file, so there are
no confusing "script" files to
- A high degree
of integration with all ASH internet clients.
connection/disconnection to the internet
can be made if required.
- Fully scriptable
with ASH's Scripter, for example automated
dial-up and collection of mail and messages
from several ISPs in turn while still logged
in to the first, and optionally hanging
up when finished.
threads can be active at once, Autosurf
(downloading a specified range of web pages
to disk) and Autodownload (several file
downloads can be active at once) make real
time and money-savers. You can be running
IRC, Telnet, FTP and mail collection sessions
simultaneously while browsing with CAB (memory
permitting, of course).
- Can be used
with Atak's aMAIL client for e-mail and
(very limited) Usenet.
- With the
addition of IFusion (a utility included
with the latest versions of the FTP client
Fiffi), almost all STiK and STinG clients
can also be used.
And the cons
compatibility means buying another product,
otherwise it will only work with ASH clients,
with the exception noted above. With CAB,
that means using the overlay that is supplied
in CAB's MODULE folder.
So where do
All the necessary files are
included on the CAB master disk, so it's just
a question of clicking the right boxes in the
install program and running it. You'll need
to tick the PPP and HSModem options (if not
already installed), and it's worth checking
afterwards that the HSModem components DRVIN.PRG
and either MFP.PRG or SCC.PRG (depending on
your machine) run in that order from your AUTO
folder, with SOCKETS.PRG bringing up the rear.
Now that's done,
open ICONF.PRG and take a look at the dialog
box that opens. It looks pretty daunting, but
there's really nothing to it. Look on your ISP's
technical support page or read its documentation
for the details you'll need to complete the
a totally ficticious ISP as the basis for the
following, so of course you'll
have to insert the right details where necessary!
Don't worry if the following screen-shots look
a little different. I'm using the latest version
which is available as a free download from ASH.
Let's make a
start with a name for the connection - it obviously
makes sense to call it after the name of your
ISP. So click on the New button.
Once you've clicked
on OK, take a moment to review the remaining
buttons. Most of the settings here should work
as-is, but if you want to change any of them
then a pop-up appears when you click on each
option in the main panel. The contents of the
pop-up for the first button "modem port"
will alter depending on which version of HSModem
is installed, Modem1 for the ST range and Modem2
for the Falcon. The second, "Baud",
may also need changing. 19,200 is a good choice
for a standard ST, higher values can be used
with accelerators or faster machines such as
the Falcon or TT. Other settings should only
be changed if your modem needs special initialisation
or hang up strings, refer to your modem's documention
button "Profi mode" is for techies
only, and allows access to parts of the set-up
that might need fine-tuning later on, for now
it's best left strictly alone.
Clicking on the
second icon ACCOUNT in the left panel brings
up this dialog:
entered my user name
but you can leave
these empty if you wish, and IConnect will ask
you for these two strings when it's logging
in. A nice touch - if someone tries to "steal"
your password by trying to copy the input box
to the clipboard with [Control]+[C], the resulting
file reads "You can't copy from a secret
address" should be fine set as shown, as
connections made via a dial-up connection are
assigned an address that changes on each occasion
anyway. It's possible that an entry might need
to be made here in other circumstances, but
that's not something I'll attempt to cover here.
Moving on to
the third icon "LOGIN": This is most
likely the area that will cause the most problems.
Options set here control how IConnect interacts
with your ISP when it's logging in. These work
with many ISPs I've tried so far:
might also be useful. I've shortened "Login:"
as shown, because this will also catch the lower-case
and password have already been entered in the
And if neither
of these work then IConnect's built-in terminal
screen can be used to see
what your ISP is sending as prompts, make a
note of these and the answers
you supply to build a successful connection.
Making a working script
is then a question of using the mouse and key
combinations shown to "build"
a script from the pop-up.
I have no experience
of a SLIP connection, but you should hopefully
find enough information
to be able to get this option working if that's
the only option that your
ISP offers. I dare say that PPP is the most
widely-used protocol though (Yes, SLIP was phased
out in favour of PPP by most ISPs some years ago
"Profi"-only and greyed-out "LOGOFF"
icon brings us nicely to "DNS":
Here you can
enter the address of your ISP's Domain Name
System server. It's made up from four
groups of numbers separated by full stops ("dotted
quad") and can be found
on your ISP's support pages. But IConnect is
quite capable of asking for the
address itself when logging in if this address
is entered as shown. Try this
setting first, and only if it doesn't work (browsing
with CAB doesn't work
unless you use the actual dotted quad address
of the server you're
trying to connect to) enter the DNS address
into this field.
And then to the
don't need to enter anything into this panel
if you're only going to be browsing,
but it doesn't hurt and will remove the possibility
in the future. All details from your ISP as
before, remembering that
this is a totally ficticious example for the
purposes of this article!
If a different password is needed to access
your e-mail you can enter the
details here (in the fields below the POP server
address), or else repeat the
entries made in the ACCOUNT dialog. Not copy
and paste remember!). Some
ISPs require authentication for using their
Enter the details
below the news server address as above. I've
left the "Time server"
address empty in this case. As an option
in this dialog, you can enter the actual dotted
quad addresses of the various
servers. It will speed up the log-in process
a little, but you run the risk
of the actual machine you're addressing being
out of service. Best
to use the names instead.
I'm going to
skip the "PROXIES" icon, as I've never
had occasion to use it, so that brings
us without further ado to "SOCKETS":
Here we're setting
the path to the various networking components
that IConnect needs.
Set an absolute path with "Select..."
to the ETC folder (you'll find
it within the PPP folder) with the resulting
file selector, or as here use an
environment variable in your MAGX.INF file to
point to it.
It looks something
to change that path to the one you're using!
And that's it.
Click on "Save" and "Quit",
and then reboot your computer to activate all
Now you'll be
able to browse the Internet, using ICONNECT.PRG
to dial your ISP.
If you've entered
additional ISPs in ICONF.PRG (hint, the camera
icon above "New"
at the top of each dialog copies the current
setup as a basis for a new ISP), you
can choose between them in the pop-up at the
top of the dialog. The ISP
selected in ICONF.PRG when last saved becomes
the default entry in this