Menu basics

The WELL menu system is a tool to navigate and explore the resources of The WELL. It lets you quickly move from one set of features to the next, choose what you want to do, and take part in the life of this community.

  1. Getting started: the Main menu
  2. Getting around
  3. Navigating between menus
  4. Finding your way back
  5. Quick commands
  6. Using the Control key
  7. Navigating with menu names
  8. Getting help

Getting started: the Main menu

If you're a new member, press Return at the OK prompt to see the Main menu. If you've been using The WELL without menus, you can access them by entering wellmenus at the OK prompt.

Every menu screen has the same basic features. Here is the Main menu, the first menu you encounter. Using this menu:

  • You can exchange electronic mail (email) with WELL members and anyone with an email address on the Internet.
  • You can read and participate in conferences.
  • You can get information: lists of conferences, topics, and files.
  • You can see who's online, see members' names and logins, and read the biographies of members.
  • You can navigate: from conference to conference, to your email area, to the Internet utility of your choice, to the muse.
  • You can manage your account on The WELL: set up or edit your favorite conferences list, manage the files in your home directory, change settings.

 THE WELL: MAIN MENU                             .  Menu name : main
                                                 .  Conference: wellcome
  1  Tutorial                                    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2  Conferencing basics...                      .
                                                 .  HELPFUL INFORMATION
  3  Conferencing...                             .
  4  People online...                            .   40  Definitions
  5  The muse                                    .   41  Notes
                                                 .   42  Quick Commands
  6  Email...                                    .
                                                 .   43  Explain a specific term
  7  Internet and Web publishing...              .   44  Help from a real person
                                                 .  GETTING AROUND
  9  File management...                          .
 10  Settings...                                 .   66  Go back one menu
                                                 .   77  Go to the Main menu
 11  Accounting...                               .   88  Go to a menu by name
                                                 .   99  Turn off these menus
 PicoSpan Copyright 1985-2006, The WELL          .  100  Exit from the WELL
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OK (type a number or command):

The left side of the screen shows the menu items unique to this menu. The right side of the screen shows the menu items that are always available. In the upper right corner of the menu, the name of the menu and the current conference appear. You start out in the conference called Wellcome. When you go to another conference, its name is shown on the menu.

See the three dots (the "ellipsis") following the menu items on the left? When you choose one of these menu items, The WELL displays another menu. The menu items on the right have no ellipsis; these items invoke a command immediately.

At the bottom of the menu sits the OK prompt:

      OK (type a number or command):

The OK prompt is where you type numbers to choose menu items or quick commands to operate The WELL.

The numbered items on each menu are commands. You use the item number to choose a menu item and tell The WELL what you want to do. To choose an item, type its number at the OK prompt and press the Return key. The WELL carries out the command, displays another menu, or asks you for further information.

Getting around

The menu system is several levels deep. You can move up through the menus quickly by using the "Getting Around" choices on the right side of the menu.

  • 66 Go back one menu immediately displays the menu that was previously displayed.
  • 77 Go to the Main menu immediately displays the Main menu, with its nine major choices.
  • 88 Go to a menu by name lets you display any of the menus by entering its name.
  • 99 Turn off these menus lets you work temporarily with only the OK prompt and the quick commands. For information about turning menus back on, or turning them off permanently, see Checking and changing settings.
  • 100 Exit from The WELL ends your WELL session.
Navigating between menus

Here is an example of how to navigate from function to function using The WELL menu system. It combines Getting Help and Getting around. This example shows you how to use the menu system to find the email addresses of The WELL support staff.

  1. From the Main menu choose 4 People online… (you choose a menu item by entering its number).
  2. The WELL displays another menu, the People on The WELL menu.

 PEOPLE ON THE WELL                              .  Menu name : people
                                                 .  Conference: wellcome
  1  Who is currently logged on?                 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2  Search the WELL member directory            .
  3  Read a WELL member's online biography       .  HELPFUL INFORMATION
  4  Create or change your online biography      .
  5  Filter posts by a WELL member...            .   40  Definitions
  6  List WELL support email addresses           .   41  Notes
                                                 .   42  Quick Commands
SPONTANEOUS CONVERSATIONS (SENDS)                .   43  Explain a specific term
                                                 .   44  Help from a real person
  7  Send a live message (do a "send")           .
  8  Reply to a live message                     .  GETTING AROUND
  9  Reply to a live message                     .
 10  Review last message                         .   66  Go back one menu
 10  Review all previous messages                .   77  Go to the Main menu
 11  Block live messages                         .   88  Go to a menu by name
 12  Accept live messages                        .   99  Turn off these menus
                                                 .  100  Exit from the WELL
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OK (type a number or command):

  1. From the People menu choose 6 List WELL support email addresses. The WELL displays the email addresses of its support staff.


        Help with general and technical questions  

        Billing questions                          

        Questions regarding Conference hosting issues

        (End) Type b to go back, q to return to the Ok prompt

  1. At the bottom of the list of email addresses, you see the instructions to return to the OK prompt. Press q.

    The WELL displays the OK prompt:
         OK (Return for menu):
  1. To redisplay the People menu, press Return.

This is a typical sequence: you choose menu commands until the information you are seeking is displayed. Then you return to the OK prompt, where you can display the menus again. You can return to the Main menu with menu choice 66 (it's one level above this menu), or menu choice 77 (which always takes you back to the Main menu).

Finding your way back

The OK prompt is your home base — when it appears on a line, you can always press Return to see a menu. But sometimes you start a process that doesn't use an OK prompt. This section describes how to work with other prompts and how to get back to the OK prompt when you need to.

Some menu commands take you to an older kind of menu, with a different set of commands along the bottom. When one of these menus appears, always check the commands to see how to exit from the menu. For example, here's a different kind of menu, used to download files:

        *** WELCOME to The WELL's Menu-Driven Downloading Utility ***

    Set your telecom software to perform the following type of transfer:

        binary mode

    To download File(s)..................type:  d
    To download New Mail.................type:  m
    To download PicoSpan Responses.......type:  p
    To download WELL Manual..............type:  w

    To Change Settings...................type:  c
    For Help & Info......................type:  ?
    Quit.................................type:  q


In this case, you would enter q to quit the downloading program and return to the OK prompt.

While some commands start special menus like the one shown above, other commands start processes that may not tell you how to quit. If you accidentally start a process you don't want to complete, try pressing Return. Often doing so displays the OK prompt again, or The WELL may ask if you want to cancel, or tell you that the command has been aborted.

The following table shows you some other ways to get back to the OK prompt when you need to.

This prompt Means that you are probably Do this to return to the OK prompt
Respond (r), pass (Return) or help (?) In a Conference, viewing responses to a topic Type stop and press Return
FTP> In the FTP facility of the Internet tools Type quit and press Return
IRC> In the IRC facility of the Internet tools Type /BYE, /EXIT, or /SIGNOFF and press Return
& In a Mail program Type exit and press Return
no prompt In The WELLmuse Type QUIT in all caps and press Return

Quick commands

Quick commands supplement the menu system. The WELL menu system allows you to control the combination of software programs that brings you the conferences, email programs, file management system, downloading utilities, Internet access programs, and other features on The WELL. The OK prompt also accepts quick commands that offer all the commands available from the menus and many more.

Both menu commands and quick commands operate a program called PicoSpan, which is the main WELL program. PicoSpan, in turn, calls up the information you want to see, turns on the subsidiary programs that connect to the Internet, and so forth.

If you're an experienced WELL member, you can continue to use any quick command at the OK prompt. When you see the Main menu, for example, you can enter either a menu choice or a command at the OK prompt.

You can enter a 3, which invokes the Conferences menu, or you can enter a quick command directly. The command line accepts either type of entry.

Using WELL Menus lets you navigate The WELL without memorizing commands or having to look them up. However, many quick commands are faster. You will probably find that you will learn a few basic quick commands to supplement working with the menus.

For example, you may begin using the menu system to open your email editor. After a few days, you may decide that you want to get there faster, by entering mail or pine at the OK prompt.

One good way to learn about quick commands is to use the Quick commands item in the Helpful Information section of every menu:

	42 Quick Commands

When you choose 42 you see descriptions of quick commands that are related to the commands on that menu.

Also, whenever you choose a menu item that executes a command, the system displays the equivalent command that it uses to carry out the function. If you pay attention to the information, you can learn how to enter often-used commands directly.

The menu system doesn't give you all the available commands. For some operations, you may find that you need to use the quick commands as well as the menus. For example, if you want to start a conference of your own, you will need to use commands that aren't on the menus.

Using the Control key

The Control key is often designated on screen by the carat (^), as in ^B. This means hold down the Control key and press the B key. Here are two useful Control-key combinations that may come in handy:

  • Control-C
    Stop an operation. Useful when an operation is taking too long to finish.
  • Control-L
    Refresh the screen. Useful when your reading is disrupted by someone sending you a "live" message.
Navigating with menu names

After you have become familiar with the features of The Well, you may find that you want to go directly to certain menus. As long as you know the menu name, you can do so.

For example, suppose you are using the Responses menu to read responses in a particular conference and you decide you want to search for responses about a certain subject. Instead of returning to the Conferences menu, then going to the Search menu, you can go directly to the Search menu by using its name, search.

To go directly to another menu, you need to know the menu name of the menu you want to see.

  1. From any menu choose 88 Go to a menu by name. The WELL prompts you for the menu name.
  2. Enter the menu name. For example, if you want to see the Search menu, you would enter search. The Search menu appears.

Menu                                            Menu name

Main menu                                       main
Tutorial                                        (none)
Conferencing basics                             basics
Conferences                                     conferences
List topics                                     topics
Read responses                                  responses
Search                                          search
Other conferencing commands                     other
        Hide, unhide, or
        scribble response                       hide
        Forget, retire,
        or freeze a topic                       forget
        Personal conference list                cflist
People online                                   people
Filter                                          filter
The WELLmuse                                    (none)
Email                                           mail
Internet                                        internet
File management                                 file
Settings                                        settings
        Conference settings                     confset
                Choose response editor          responder
                Pseudonym                       pseudonym
        People online settings                  peopleset
        Email settings                          mailset
                Choose your email
                   program                      mailerset
                File management
                   settings                     fileset
                Choose file
                   editor program               editor
        Initial menu setting                    menuset
        Terminal settings                       termset
        Choose your pager                       pagerset
Accounting                                      accounting

Note: You can go directly to a menu using a quick command by entering gomenu menuname (use the actual menu name in place of menuname). For example, if you want to use a quick command to go to the search menu, enter gomenu search.

Getting help

Every menu contains the "Helpful Information" section on the right. You can enter any of these numbers at the OK prompt to receive any of the following kinds of help:

  • 40 Definitions describes each option on the menu.
  • 41 Notes provides tips and ideas relevant to the current menu.
  • 42 Quick Commands lets you see quick commands relevant to the current menu.
  • 43 Explain a specific term lets you use a key word to get a definition of commonly used terms.
  • 44 Help from a real person lets you send a message to support staff and volunteers online.

WELL policies and etiquette
Getting connected
Menu basics
Getting and sending email
Starting out in WELL conferences
Working with WELL conferences
People online
Accessing Other Internet Sites
The muse
Managing files on The WELL
Checking and changing settings
Accounting and billing
PicoSpan Command Summary

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