MuffinTerm Help • Dialing Directory

MuffinTerm • Help • Dialing Directory

Table of Contents

The dialing directory

The dialing directory helps you to keep track of the BBSes that you call and provides a place to configure various per-BBS settings, call history, etc.

The user interface for the dialing directory varies somewhat between macOS and iOS/iPadOS, but the features are the same on all platforms. Any relevant differences will be noted in the corresponding sections below.

How to open the directory

You can open the dialing directory via the ⌘O keyboard shortcut. On iOS/iPadOS, you can also tap the “telephone” button at the far left of the button bar; on macOS, you can access it through the Console → Open Dialing Directory… menu command.

Note that you can only open the dialing directory while in terminal mode—that is, while you’re not connected to a BBS. If you’re already online and want to open the dialing directory, either hang up the current call, or open a new terminal window and then open the dialing directory from there.

List view and detail view

The dialing directory interface (on all platforms) has two basic parts, the list view and the detail view. On macOS, these are shown side-by-side in the same window; on iOS/iPadOS, you can move freely between the list and the details, but only one or the other will be shown at a time.

The three lists

[Buttons for selecting which list to view. The telephone button is highlighted.]
The buttons for selecting which list to view. From left to right, the buttons select the full BBS list (telephone icon), the favorites list (heart icon), and the call history (clock icon). The currently selected list is highlighted; in this example, the BBS list is selected.

There are three different lists in the dialing directory: The BBS list, the favorites list, and the call history list. At the bottom of the list view are three buttons for switching between the lists. The dialing directory will remember which list you last viewed and will show it by default the next time you open the directory.

The BBS list

The main BBS list contains entries for all of the BBSes that you’ve registered in MuffinTerm. By default, these will be listed alphabetically by BBS name, but you can also sort them by date added, last call time, number of calls, total minutes online, or arrange them in a custom order. The dialing directory interface will remember the sorting order that you last used.

You can swipe right on a BBS in this list to mark or unmark it as a favorite. Swipe left to delete the BBS from your directory. (On macOS, you’ll need a mouse or touchpad that supports swipe gestures for this. You can also perform these actions through the details view instead.) Note that even after deleting a BBS, it may still appear in your call history if you called it recently (unless you delete it from there also). Deleting a BBS will also remove it from your favorites list, if applicable.

If the sorting mode of the list is in the “custom list order” mode, you can also drag entries to reorder them in the list. On iOS, you can also put the list into edit mode by tapping the corresponding button in the top bar; see the section below on action buttons for details.

Clicking or tapping on an entry in this list will open that BBS in the details view (described below).

[Status icons that can appear beside a BBS entry. A yellow sunrise, a pink heart, and a teal notepad.]
Status icons that can appear beside an entry. From left to right: Newly added BBS (sunrise), BBS marked as favorite (heart), and a BBS with text on its associated sticky note (notepad).

Along with the name of the BBS, a few key details will be shown: The last date and time when you called the BBS, how many times you’ve called it, your total time spent on the BBS, and the total amount of file data uploaded and downloaded. Up to three special icons may appear beside each entry, to quickly identify recently added entries (yellow sunrise icon), entries that are in your favorites list (pink heart icon), and entries with text stored on an associated sticky note (teal notepad icon).

The favorites list

The second list shows all BBSes that you have marked as “favorite.” This list can be sorted in the same ways as the main BBS list (above). MuffinTerm will remember your sort preferences separately between the two lists.

You can use the same swipe gestures in this list as described for the main BBS list above. Clicking or tapping an entry will open it in the details view.

The call history list

The third list shows a history of calls that you’ve made to BBSes. Up to thirty calls will be remembered; after that, the oldest calls will be discarded to make room for newer ones.

You can swipe left to remove a specific call from the call history. You can also press the red “trash bin” button at the top of the list to clear the whole list at once.

Clicking on an entry will show the corresponding BBS’s details in the detail view.

If you’ve connected to a BBS but haven’t yet added it to your main BBS list (or if you’ve since deleted it from the BBS list), then you can swipe right on it in this list to register it in your BBS list. If it’s already in your list, then swiping right lets you toggle its favorite status, as with the other lists above.

List action buttons

[Buttons for performing list-related actions on iOS]
Buttons for performing list actions on iOS. From left to right, the buttons let you choose a sorting order (lines icon), import BBS listing files (rectangles with plus icon), create a new BBS entry (plus icon), or switch the list to edit mode (three dots). When viewing the call history list, the “add” button changes to a red “empty trash” icon and is used for clearing the call history. The buttons on macOS are similar, except without the “edit mode” button. The functionality is the same on both platforms.

At the top of the list view are four buttons for performing various functions. These vary slightly between macOS and iOS/iPadOS, and also based on which list is being viewed. Refer to the illustration to the right while reading the action descriptions below.

Sort list — Clicking or tapping this button lets you choose how to arrange the current list. As described above, the BBS list and favorites list can be sorted by several different criteria. (The call history list cannot be reordered and will always be shown with the most recent calls at the top of the list.) MuffinTerm will remember the order that you’ve chosen for each list and will use that order the next time you open that list.

Import BBS list — This button lets you import a BBS listing file (downloaded from a site such as The Telnet BBS Guide) or load a previously saved archive file to restore or merge directory data from another system. You can only perform an import when viewing the main BBS list.

Clicking or tapping the button will open a file window where you can select the file to be imported. MuffinTerm will scan it for BBSes that aren’t in your dialing directory yet (based on the server’s hostname and port), and will then prompt for confirmation before adding them. If you’re importing an archive file rather than a BBS list, then MuffinTerm will merge the data with your existing data, including any changes to individual BBS settings, based on the last-update timestamp of each BBS entry in your current directory and in the archive being imported.

Add new BBS — Clicking or tapping this button will create a new, empty BBS entry in your directory, which you can then fill in with the details of the BBS that you’re adding. This is only available when viewing the main BBS list.

Clear call history — This will clear out your entire call history. (You’ll be prompted for confirmation first.) This action is only possible when viewing the call history list.

Enter edit mode — This button is only present on iOS/iPadOS. It will toggle the list between regular mode and the standard iOS edit mode, with grabby handles on each entry for easier reordering, and a delete button beside each entry.

Details view

This is where you can view and edit all of the details for a given BBS in your directory. The interface is arranged a bit differently between macOS and iOS/iPadOS, but all of the details are the same. Note that on iOS/iPadOS, you might need to scroll to see all of the details, depending on screen size.

BBS name — You can set whatever you like for the BBS name. This will be shown in the BBS list, favorites, and call history entries for this BBS, and will be shown in the title bar of the window (macOS) or in the task switcher for the window (iPadOS) when calling that BBS.

On macOS, a heart icon appears beside the BBS name field. You can click this to toggle the favorite status of the BBS; it will be shown as filled in if the BBS is currently a favorite, or hollow if the BBS is not a favorite. If the BBS is not yet registered in your main list, then the heart will be replaced by a “plus” icon, and clicking/tapping it will instead add the BBS to your list.

BBS statistics — Some call history data is shown here; these values are read-only. Details include the last date/time when you called the BBS; the total number of times that you’ve called; the total amount of time spent on this BBS; and the total amount of data uploaded and downloaded in file transfers. (Regular interactive text doesn’t count towards the upload/download tallies.)

Protocol, hostname (server address), and port — These are the key values for connecting to a BBS over the Internet.

The protocol can be either telnet (the default), or you can specify a basic TCP connection (useful for certain network services but not normally used by BBSes).

The server name can be either a regular hostname or an IP address. You can use an IPv4 or an IPv6 address.

The default port number for telnet is 23, but many BBSes will use a custom port instead.

File transfers bypass TELNET — When using the telnet protocol, enabling this option will cause telnet command and data processing to be suspended during file transfers. In most cases, you do not want to enable this, but some BBSes don’t correctly process telnet command bytes during file transfers, causing errors if a file being transferred happens to include certain bytes. If file transfers on a BBS keep failing, you might want to try enabling this option to see if it resolves the issue.

Terminal emulation — You can select from ANSI, PETSCII, TTY, or raw mode. These are described in more detail on the terminal page.

Video mode — By default, the terminal will keep its current video mode when connecting to a new BBS (or, if the emulation mode doesn’t match the video mode, then by default it will switch to a suitable video mode); but you can also specify a particular video mode if you want to always use that mode with a given BBS. For more information about the different video modes, see the terminal documentation. Normally, ANSI connections will use a PC video mode (MDA, CGA, EGA, or VGA) and PETSCII connections will use a VIC-II (C64) mode; but you can use any mode with any emulation setting, if you want to.

Modem speed — As with the video mode, the terminal normally keeps the same modem speed unless you manually change it. If you’d like to always use a specific speed with a given BBS, you can select it here. See the terminal page for more about modem speeds.

Local echo — You can optionally override the local echo setting for the BBS, if desired. By default, the local echo will follow the negotiated value using the TELNET protocol, where applicable; and plain TCP connections default to no local echo. See the terminal page for more details.

Show status line — This option controls whether the status line is shown by default when connecting to the BBS. For more information on the status line, see the interface overview.

Formfeed clears screen — When this option is enabled, receiving a formfeed byte (0x0C) while in ANSI mode will clear the screen; when this option is disabled, formfeed will instead print as its CP437 glyph (♀). Historically, ANSI.SYS printed the glyph; but many BBSes and terminal programs interpret it as a clear-screen command. When in TTY mode, where formfeed always clears the screen, this option instead determines whether a formfeed will return the cursor to the top left corner (option enabled) or simply moves it to the top row while leaving the column unchanged (behavior of historical TTYs). This option has no effect in PETSCII or Raw mode.

Stray ESC prints arrow — When this option is enabled and the terminal emulation is set to ANSI mode, if an an ESC (0x1B) is received that isn’t followed by a recognized escape sequence or command character, then it will print as its CP437 glyph (←). When disabled, such an ESC will be silently dropped (as in ANSI.SYS and historical VT terminals). Some BBSes rely on this printing an arrow glyph, so this option is enabled by default. This option has no effect in non-ANSI terminal modes.

Return sends CRLF — When this option is enabled, pressing Return (or Enter) will send a Carriage Return–Linefeed sequence; when disabled, only Carriage Return (or, in some telnet modes, CR–NUL) will be sent. Most BBSes only require a Carriage Return, but some systems (especially non-BBS servers) require a full CRLF. On macOS, you can also toggle this value while online via the Console → Terminal Emulation → Send CRLF for CR menu option. This option only has an effect in ANSI and TTY terminal modes.

Send CR after DSR/CPR — When this is enabled, the terminal will send a carriage return at the end of a cursor position report (CPR) message, in response to a device status request (DSR). ANSI.SYS did this under DOS, and some drivers and terminals followed this practice for compatibility; but it isn’t part of the actual ANSI/VT/ECMA standards, and can cause problems if a BBS isn’t expecting the extra CR byte. Normally this option should be left disabled unless you know that a specific BBS expects or requires it.

Sticky note color — By default, the sticky note for a BBS will use the default paper color specified in preferences; but you can optionally set a specific color for a given BBS via this option.

Sticky note text — This field holds the text that appears on the sticky note associated with this BBS. See the interface overview page for more about the sticky notes.

Record creation and modification times — At the bottom of the detail view, you can see the date and time when the BBS was first added to your system and when its record was last updated.

Action buttons — Buttons are present for deleting the record and for connecting to the BBS.

Synchronizing between devices

If you have MuffinTerm installed on more than one device, you can synchronize the dialing directory between them. This can be done either manually by saving and loading archive files, or automatically through iCloud.

To synchronize the directory manually, go to the preferences interface on the device that you want to use as the source, and select the option to export directory data. This will save a copy of your dialing directory (including all BBS entries, favorites, and call history) into a JSON file.

You can then import this file on another device, using the same interface that you use when importing a BBS list (described above). MuffinTerm will recognize the archive and will selectively merge the changes, based on the internal IDs and last-updated timestamps of each BBS record.

(Note: Because the exported archive file includes your complete BBS data, sharing the JSON file with others would give them copies of your notes and favorites and could replace their calling history with yours. If you want to share your directory entries with others, see the archive converter tool page for a quick way to strip out personal data and convert the JSON file to a format suitable for sharing.)

To have MuffinTerm keep the directory in sync between devices automatically, you’ll need an iCloud account. (It doesn’t have to be a paid account; the free level will work.) Then, go to the preferences interface and enable the iCloud sync option on any devices that you want to keep in sync; MuffinTerm will then periodically save sync snapshots to iCloud, keeping the dialing directory in sync across all of the devices.

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