Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 2 NO. 5 / SPRING 1988


Hanging Out At The Electronic Mall

by Gregg Pearlman

START-and Antic Publishing as a whole-has spent most of its online time roaming CompuServe's corridors. There are several of them, covering a wide range of topics and interests. You could spend hours trying to explore every corner of CompuServe and find that you still have a lot of ground to cover. Lately, however, we've been paying a good amount of attention to GEnie and we've noticed something refreshing: there's less to explore. But don't be fooled by that: they're both labyrinths; GEnie's just the smaller of the two.

But even if you're a die-hard CompuServe user, it's not that hard to find your way around. Type "M100" to Move to page 100 and find out what's new on GEnie. As of December, the Medical, Education, Genealogy, Writers and Science Fiction Round Tables (RTs) had been added.

Another new feature is the Ski Resort Database, a subdivision of the Adventure Atlas which contains information on over 2,100 resorts for downhill and cross-country skiing in the United States and Canada. Type ATLAS at a menu prompt.

On page 400 is the LiveWire CB simulation. Some "reeeeeally strange people await you there," says the sysop, Muffy, in the welcome message. Options include instructions, command summary, enter LiveWire, Muffy's Gossip Corner and National Real Time Conference.

Possibly the most important GEnie service is GEnie Mail (page 200), which lets you check and read your mail, send or upload a text letter, search addresses, enter command mode, send a "QuikGram" hard copy or transfer an XMODEM file.

The Electronic Mall
isn't limited
to software, either-gift
items abound.

The GEnie travel area, starting on page 750, features American Airlines EAASY SABRE, American Express ADVANCE, the TRAVELDATA database, the Traveler's Information Services RT and the Adventure Atlas. American Airlines EAASY SABRE (page 760) lets you retrieve flight, hotel, and weather information and book flights and hotel rooms- all at normal GEnie rates and without surcharges. Choose selection 3 of the menu to log on to EAASY SABRE.

The American Express ADVANCE service (page 765) is a 24-hour source of information on travel, shopping, insurance and investments. Apply for an American Express card and find out about special Cardmember services, such as GLOBAL ASSIST and BE MY GUEST Restaurant Gift Certificates. Or plan a family vacation.

The TRAVELDATA database on page 770 is a comprehensive guide to hotels motels, resorts, airport-to-city transportation, car and limousine rentals, travel advisories, passports and other travel related information for more than 150 major cities worldwide. The system contains over 4,000 hotels, more than 2,000 restaurants and more than a dozen rental car companies, as well as an 800 number directory for airlines, cruise lines and rental car companies. And the Adventure Atlas on page 775 helps you pin down excursion ideas above and beyond the common vacation.

Finance information starts on page 600 and features stock quotes, Dow Jones News Retrieval and hourly business and financial news provided by NewsGrid Headline News, a real-time news service, compiled from the dispatches of seven of the world's largest U.S. and international wire services. Though it mainly focuses on U.S. and international business, NewsGrid gives comprehensive coverage of world affairs, political issues, sports and feature items.

On page 304 is GEnie's USA Today Decisionlines section, which includes current news, advertising, banking, business law, sports, technology and market trends. And Professional Services, page 525, include the photography RT, LEGACY, the law RT, Desktop Publishers (NADTP) RT, the Winchell Typesetting Service Bureau, and the Writers', MIDI/WorldMusic and Medical RTs.

Attention, GEnie shoppers: shopping services begin on page 700 and include product ordering, extensive classified ads (page 740) ranging from boats for sale to announcements to personals to pets to farms for sale, the Computer Express shopping service, American Express ADVANCE, Comp-U-Store Online and Junior Achievement Sales.

The Game Room (page 800) includes the Games RT, several adventures, a show-biz quiz and two football pools. Hobbies & Leisure Interests on page 520 include RTs for genealogy, scuba, and science fiction and fantasy. There's also CINEMAN Entertainment Information, Hollywood Hotline movie reviews and the GEnie Banner Maker. And the Reference Library on page 301 features Grolier's Encyclopedia, CINEMAN, Hollywood Hotline, Rainbo Electronic Reviews, PhotoSource International and the Medical RT.

Now you can download ST software products from a number of different publishers (including Antic Software) through CompuServe - or have them delivered straight to your door Whether you buy your software through CompuServe's new Softex electronic sales and delivery system or through the mail, the price will be the same-but Softex will get it to you in the time needed to download it. If you use Softex, the cost of your purchases will just be added to your monthly CompuServe bill. lf you buy your software through the Electronic Mall the cost will end up on your credit card statement.

Type GO SOFTEX to bring up the following menu:

  1. Introduction to SOFTEX
  2. Instructions for Searching
  3. Search SOFTEX Catalog
  4. Featured Selections
  5. Talk to the SOFTEX Manager
  6. List of Software Publishers

Enter 3 to search the SOFTEX Catalog. The next menu prompts you to search by computer model, software, publisher- stop right there. Enter 3 again to search by publisher, then enter ANTIC at the publisher name prompt. The next menu shows the titles available, which computer they're for and how much they cost. So enter your choice, and again you'll see a short blurb, then a prompt to insert a blank, formatted disk in your disk drive. Then you'll be asked if you want to purchase the software you've chosen, From there, it's up to you.

We've spent most
of our online time
roaming CompuServe.

If you do decide to buy the product, you'll be given an estimate of the download time at your current baud rate. (Download time may vary by up to 25%, depending on telephone line noise and other factors.) Then you'll be asked to confirm your decision to make your purchase.

The Electronic Mall is where you'll find software that requires extensive documentation. The main difference is that if you order from the Electronic Mall, you'll receive the actual package in the mail. To get there, just type GO ANTIC. On the menu, choose 10 to go to the Antic Software Catalog. Then choose 3 for the online catalog of products. The menu has the following choices:

  1. Graphics
  2. Cyber Studio
  3. Telecommunications
  4. Business
  5. Applications
  6. Entertainment
  7. Utilities
  8. Magazine Subscriptions

Enter a number-how about 4 for business software? After the menu pops up with the available software, make your choice. A short blurb about the program will appear, followed by the price and product number. To order, enter the letter 0. There are many points throughout the process where you can change your mind about ordering.

Eventually you'll be asked for a credit card number, and the package is yours.

The Electronic Mall isn't limited to software, either. Gift items abound- records, books and flowers, for example. Whether you're shopping for yourself or a loved one, you'll find these and other items are just a connect tone away.

Gregg Pearlman is the Assistant Editor of Antic.


  • CompuServe, Inc, 5000 Arlington Centre Blvd., P.O. Box 20212, Columbus, OH 43220, voice phone, (614) 457-0802; (800) 848-8199.
  • GEnie (General Electric Network for Information Exchange), General Electric Information Services Co., 401 N. Washington Street, Rockville, MD 20850, voice phone (800) 638-9636.