BY ANDY EDDY
Now that we are on the homestretch to summer, many people have a full slate of chores and recreational events: the final touches of spring cleaning, warming up for the local softball league, waxing the car, etc. This only means that there is that much less time for telecomputing. For this reason, we have to become more efficient in our sessions, so we still have time to do all the other things that hold our attention this time of year.
Last month we started talking about the Using DELPHI section in an effort to help you make the most of your use of the service; this month we'll finish up our coverage of this helpful area. This menu is located off the main menu, and Figure 1 shows what it will look like.
If you aren't at the main menu, you can get to the Using DELPHI area by typing "GO USI."
Let your fingers do the walking
The Past Bills/Invoices selection lets you review your bills for the last 12 months. This is particularly helpful if you have a number of associate accounts and want to keep track of the overall account usage, such as a business that uses DELPHI to keep in touch with its salespeople. This information is cursory, giving daytime and evening-time usage recaps, as well as surcharged premium-service usage. Similar to the Past Bills/Invoices selection, the Review Bills/Invoices choice lets you look through the latest bill for DELPHI usage.
Speaking of premium services, the next selection on the Using DELPHI menu, aptly titled Premium Services, details the costs for the extra-charge segments of DELPHI. The menu is brief, but contains a lot of information as you can see in Figure 2.
As we noted in Database DELPHI in the March 1989 issue of ST-LOG, Dialog is a service available on DELPHI that lets you search online through various magazines, newspapers and other research materials for even the slightest tidbit of data. It uses a different user interface than the rest of the DELPHI system, so they've included a sample session in the Premium Services menu that will show you how to use Dialog to your benefit—but without breaking the bank, because searches can cost up to $300 an hour! The Files and Rates on the Dialog selection is handy for searching through the various databases available through Dialog and for finding their per-hour costs.
The Premium Services menu also contains rate data on FAXing or telexing messages through DELPHI, as well as surcharge info for using the various financial segments of the system. These include access to stock quotes, classifieds and the News-A-Tron Market Reports, among others. The VESTOR financial service has its own information packet under the Premium Services menu.
Rates and Prices is fairly self-explanatory: It gives the up-to-date charges for using DELPHI, depending on what network you use to access it, when you call, and your discount if you are an Advantage Plan member (which we discussed in the March 1989 column). This menu selection also goes over many of the extra-cost items on DELPHI.
A choice off the Rates and Prices menu called Policy Notes is also a "must" to read. It will update you on the basics of the system, such as what times are considered office time and home time (for rate changes), what holidays DELPHI discounts usage on, various billing data and workspace charges.
We discussed the Settings menu in the July 1988 column, This menu can actually be accessed from any SIG, such as the ST-LOG SIG, by typing "SET SET." This menu lets you check on your operating status, such as where you default to after log-in, screen length and width, even your prompt character. This is also where you can change your password, which is something that you should do every once in a while for safety's sake.
Another helpful area is the Software Changes menu, which is shown in Figure 3.
DELPHI is constantly growing and is constantly changing the programming of the system to help its growth. You can scan through some of the most recently documented changes to see how it might affect your use of DELPHI. For example, if you want to see all the changes made to the Forum, you would type "PRO" (short for "PROGRAM COMPONENT"), then type "forum" as the keyword. You could then READ each listing, or, to save time, SCAN for items of particular interest.
Telex-Codes lets you pick the desired country and get the code number to facilitate your sending a message properly. Keywords can be entire country names (or pieces thereof) for wide searches as seen in Figure 4.
Terms of Agreement is simply a copy of the "contract" that you agree to as a member of DELPHI. It assures that you understand all the requirements of being an account holder, such as payment, credit, age limits, etc.
Update Credit Card is another easy-to-understand process, and is important that you keep DELPHI informed of any changes or updates to your credit card, so it can assure that there are no lapses in your DELPHI account. The menu prompts lead you through what type of card you are using, the expiration date and other related information.
Usage History provides a detailed listing of your account, rather than the simplified data on the Past Bills/Invoices selection. You'll be prompted for a user ID (you can check only your own and your associate IDs' accounts) and a date to display. What you'll get back is second-by-second list of where you went while you were online. If you suspect that someone is using your accout, this is a good way to verify what sections were accessed.
As we mentioned previously, DELPHI is growing, and there's no better way to keep up with the changes than the What's New On DELPHI section. You can READ through all the items on the What's New listing, or, better yet, SCAN through the article names and pick items of interest.
The last choice on the Using DELPHI menu is Worldwide Access Info. If you decide to link up to DELPHI from somewhere outside the United States, this selection will clue you in to what you might expect for surcharges and who to contact for more information.
Any questions? As always, if you don't understand how a certain feature works, you can drop a note to me in Electronic Mail at user ID ANALOG2. For a source of DELPHI help on your bookshelf, you should pick up a copy of Michael A. Banks' DELPHI: The Official Guide. You can find it at most major bookstores, or you can order it online by typing "GO GUIDE." Of course, the accompanying sidebar will tell you how to sign up for DELPHI and get you the book for a low combined cost.
Till next month, C U online.
USING-DELPHI Menu: Advantage Plan Advice From DELPHI Boston Membership Plan Change Address Credit Policy Feedback Guided Tour Index Mail To SERVICE Manuals Member Service Network Info Past Bills/Invoices Premium Services Rates and Prices Review Bills/Invoices Settings (PROFILE) Software Changes Telex-Codes Terms of Agreement Update Credit Card Usage History What's New On DELPHI Worldwide Access Info HELP EXIT
PREMIUM SERVICES Menu:
To see all changes, enter DATE BEFORE TOMORROW. To seach for a specific change, select the TXPE of change (NEW, BUG, ALL) or the PROGRAM (FORUM, CONFERENCE, DATABASE, etc.) or a MISCELLANEOUS keyword (such as DOWNLOAD or YMODEM). Search Criteria Menu: TYPE OF CHANGE PROGRAM COMPONENT MISCELLANEOUS DATE OF CHANGE Search on what criteria?
Enter country to search for, * for entire list. Search for> mon