A little background info on autopilot Programs

A little background info on autopilot Programs

autopilot Programs

Any program that automates aspects of your CompuServe online sessions is called an autopilot program. Using an autopilot program is kind of like planning an automobile trip well ahead of time. Instead of wasting time on the road fumbling through maps and asking for directions, you do all the preparatory work at home at your leisure.
In general, autopilot programs download message headers (not the full messages) from selected forums so that you can choose which messages you want to read before you go online. The programs go back online and down¬load only the messages you select. You then can read those messages offline, at your own pace and at no charge.

Reviewing autopilot programs for Windows

In Chapter 10, “Making Your Sessions Automatic with CompuServe Naviga­tor,” you learned about CompuServe Navigator for Windows, the most-used autopilot program today. But CSNav isn’t the only program available. Third-party autopilot programs have been available since the early days of

CompuServe. Many of these programs are shareware or freeware, but some of the newer ones are sold commercially. Most are available for download from CompuServe. I’ll discuss the best Windows-based autopilots later in this chapter.

Note that with version 3.0, CompuServe switched to a format called HMI for most of its forums. Older autopilot programs won’t work with HMI forums. Therefore, you’ll want to pick from those programs that are HMI-compatible_ The following table lists autopilot programs that (as of the time of writing of this book) are HMI-compatible.

A little background info on autopilot Programs

NavCIS: The best autopilot program for Windows

Although some may disagree, I think NavCIS (GO DVORAK) is the best third-party autopilot program for Windows. NavCIS is a commercial program from Dvorak Development that sells for $99.95. (Dvorak also offers a trial “timed edition” of NavCIS for free downloading via CompuServe; if you download it and then decide to buy the full edition, you get a $30 discount.)

TIP For you computer gurus, Dvorak Development is a software company run by John Dvorak, noted colurrihist and pundit for several leading computer publications.

NavCIS’ main screen is shown in Fig. 11.1. NavCIS makes consistent and frequent use of the Windows environment and conventions. For example, when you want to add a new forum to your list, all you have to do is drag a forum icon to the desktop. When you want to perform a library search in a given forum, you drag a library search icon over and drop it on the appropri¬ate forum icon.
In addition, NavCIS uses voice support, so you get aural reinforcement for all your actions. You can choose from a number of voices, including John Dvorak himself and Kermit the Frog. (Personally, I prefer Kermit to Dvorak!)

NavCIS is available in its full edition (“Pro”) and in a special timed edition (“TE”). The TE provides a good way for you to try out the program; if you like it, you can download/purchase the Pro edition.

A little background info on autopilot Programs