Internet Without Graphics? Access the World of Telnet with MacTelnet
May 1st, 2000
MacTelnet 3.0a13 (Freeware)
Although the graphical nature of the Mac OS doesn't lend itself well to command-line interaction, there are other systems, most notably the many flavors of UNIX, that still provide services via the Telnet protocol. A Telnet client is also useful for debugging other types of services, if you know what port they are on. Until Mac OS X comes along, Mac OS users need a separate Telnet application.
MacTelnet is one of the latest Telnet clients for the Mac OS. One thing you can use it for is to access the Telnet information sources that still seem to be out there on the Net. If you do a search of any popular search engine and specify 'telnet resources' you should get quite a few matches. The available info is beyond the scope of this review, but suffice to say there are government, education and commercial offerings.
One Example of a Service Available via Telnet
But the fun is just beginning. You can also interact with many text-based Internet services that reside on other ports. After entering the name of the computer to connect to, follow it with a colon and the number of the port to connect to. Some common ones are SMTP e-mail on port 25, and NNTP news on 119. You'll find others if you do some digging. This is a great way to understand the inner working of Internet protocols.
Interacting Directly with a News Server
To round things out, an FTP server is in the works. This software is still a work in progress, but new versions have been coming out on a frequent basis, so we hope to see this functionality working soon.
Have any other Mac OS Internet Gadgets you'd like us to look at? Let John know via e-mail, or share it with the rest of us in the Mac Gadget Forum.
Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.
John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at