The Cutting Edge: Computing / Technology / Innovation : POSTCARD FROM THE INTERNET : Spelunking the Internet? Bring Lynx Along


If you’re looking for the University of Minnesota’s famous peanut noodle recipe or want to browse an on-line dictionary of computing or desperately need information about California lighthouses, you can sit down at your computer, issue an arcane series of commands and eventually find this data on the Internet.

Or you can use the Lynx program to plug into the World Wide Web (WWW), a library of data stored on the Net and arranged according to the conventions of hypertext. Hypertext lets you jump from a highlighted word or sentence to other relevant information, thus making it easier to find what you’re looking for.

To use Lynx, you’ll need to dial into the Internet using a communications program capable of VT-100 terminal emulation, since Lynx assumes you’re using that kind of terminal. Then simply type “lynx” at the prompt. Lynx will take you to its opening page and present a menu of exotic islands of Net resources to explore. When traversing the WWW, the arrows on your key pad take on a special significance: The left and right arrows move you between levels of content (from the general to the very specific), while the up and down arrows move you between topics (recipes, books or software, for example).


As you spelunk the deepest recesses of the Net with Lynx, you can place bookmarks in places you want to return to by typing “a”, and you can view these bookmarks later by typing “v”. To get help while using Lynx, type “?”.

If the service you use to access Internet doesn’t have Lynx, you can ask your provider to obtain a free copy of Lynx via anonymous ftp from in the /pub/lynx directory.