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Classical mailboxes are normally displayed in the form of a simple, 80 x
20 character text-mode screen. The colors and graphics are rendered
using ANSI codes. Software known as a "terminal program" is required to
make this operate properly. This is, if you will, a kind of text-mode
web browser with dialer. :-) A dialup through the Internet is simple, since
nearly every operating system includes the necessary software. This is
termed a telnet client. In principle, this need only be set to ANSI
emulation, and off you go.
However, there are two problems: firstly, you cannot download anything
with a telnet client, and secondly, most of these clients are incapable
of displaying IBM-PC characters correctly. Thus, the display may not
look so good, and the client also doesn't offer complete functionality.
But it's easy to overcome such difficulties if you use a regular
terminal emulator with telnet capabilities. Or a telnet client that can
use the IBM-PC character set and offers a download protocol such as
z-modem. You'll find both of these available for download on this page.