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Mon 20 Jan 1992

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  1. "Norval Smith, An electronic namecard for (some) linguists

Message 1: An electronic namecard for (some) linguists

Date: Wed, 15 Jan 92 12:49 MET
From: "Norval Smith <NSMITHalf.let.uva.nl>
Subject: An electronic namecard for (some) linguists

AN ELECTRONIC NAMECARD FOR LINGUISTS - using the FINGER command

As it is not at the moment feasible to include more information in the
LINGUISTS nameserver at LINGUISTSALF.LET.UVA.NL (HELP to this address if
you are not familiar with this facility) than bare e-mail address information,
for various reasons which we will spare the reader, I would like to point out
that many many users who are on the INTERNET have in fact such a facility at
their fingertips.
 This is the FINGER command available on many systems, which will supply
you with information on users of other systems.
 The beauty of this command is that you don't even have to know a
username, just a name will do. The drawback is that you have to know a MACHINE
name, which is not always the same as a valid e-mail address. Often these are
in fact the same, as with ATHENA.MIT.EDU, or networked computers are so linked
that a partial address will suffice, as with RVAX.CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU, where
CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU will do. An example to the point is a mail address of mine:
 nsmithsara.nl
which is not "fingerable", but steers mail to an account:
 a533onshdiamond.sara.nl
which is a "fingerable" address.
 What is nice about FINGER is that usually (sorry, users on ATHENA)
you can decide what additional information is added to the basic info. that
the computer will automatically generate.
 The standard basic info. reveals whether you are logged on or not,
when you last logged on if you are not logged on at the moment, and (this
is potentially embarrassing) when you last READ your e-mail!
 You can add additional information in a PLAN (standard .plan on UNIX
systems), such as addresses, phone number, fax number, specialities, and
anything else you care to mention, such as periods of absence, where you
can be reached while you are away, etc.
 There are three standard variants of the FINGER command, which you
enter at your default prompt (not the MAIL> prompt).

1. finger machine.name
This will return a list of all the users logged on at that moment.
Replace machine.name with the relevant computer name, e.g. crazyhorse.edu

2. finger surnamemachine.name
This will return a list of all users with that surname, and tell your their
e-mail addresses if different into the bargain.
Replace surname with the relevant name.

3. finger usernamemachine.name
This will give the basic info. on the user, plus any information he has
provided himself in his plan file.
Replace username with the actual username.

 The bare finger command will return a list of local users, and
 finger name or finger username will return the relevant info.

 I propose to add to the e-mail list info. as to whether an address
may be "fingered" (if linguists wish to make this information public).

a. for an existing address that can be "fingered":
 send to LINGUISTSALF.LET.UVA.NL
the following message:
remove surname, firstname: usernameexisting.machine.edu
add surname, firstname: usernameexisting.machine.edu F

b. for an existing address that cannot be "fingered", where there is another
address that can be fingered:
add surname, firstname: usernamenew.machine.edu F

c. in other cases do nothing. Bitnet addresses cannot be fingered, although
there is a limited national registration system available via NETSERV.

Ohio State University has a local nameserver on OSU.EDU which supplies
basic finger info. on all users on any system there. Usage is:
 finger nameosu.edu

Norval Smith
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