TEK for Windows: Release Notes

Thank you for trying out an Alpha release of the TEK Search Engine, Version 1.3! TEK - which stands for Time Equals Knowledge - is a low-bandwidth information delivery system that allows access to the World Wide Web using only email. The system is designed for low-connectivity communities where continuous Internet access is unavailable or is too expensive for everyday use.

This package contains the TEK Client, which provides a graphical user interface that runs inside a standard web browser. In order to retrieve web pages, the Client interacts via email with the TEK Server, which is currently based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Upon receiving an email from the Client, the Server retrieves candidate pages from the Internet, selects a representative subset that the Client does not already have, and sends them back to the user in an email attachment. After receiving this email and opening the attachment, the user can then view the results of his search using the TEK Client.

More information about the TEK system is available from the TEK home page at http://tek.sourceforge.net/.

Contents of this file

  1. System requirements
  2. Installation instructions
  3. Getting started with TEK
  4. Intended usage scenario
  5. How to uninstall
  6. Troubleshooting
  7. Reporting Bugs
  8. Helping with TEK
  9. Change log

System requirements

The system requirements for the TEK Client are as follows:
  • Windows 95/98, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, or Windows XP (developed under Windows 2000).

  • Java 1.3.1 or later (optionally included in download).

Installation Instructions

To install the TEK Client, follow these steps:
  1. Download the installer from http://tek.sourceforge.net/. If you do not have Java 1.3.1 (or later) installed on your system (or if you are not sure), then select the "Includes Java VM" option from the download page. Or, if you received TEK on CD, find the installer under the "windows" directory on the CD.

  2. Run the installer, and follow its directions.

Getting started with TEK

Here is a quick guide to getting started with the TEK System. After installing the TEK Client, follow these steps to retrieve a web page via email:

  1. Start the TEK Client from the Start Menu. It should be under Start / Programs / TEK Client / TEK Client.

  2. A web browser should open (it is installed on the first execution of TEK). This should bring up a registration page. You can also open the web browser manually from Start / Programs / TEK Client / Firefox CE TEK.

  3. Complete the registration process according to the instructions on the page. The TEK Client will send a registration email to the TEK Server so that the Server knows where to send search results.

  4. Check your email account for a reply from the TEK Server, which will confirm your registration. Open the attachment to the email (using the default application for opening), and the TEK Client will process it automatically. (If you have trouble with this step, see the troubleshooting section below.)

  5. Go back to your web browser and visit "http://tek/". At this point you should find the main menu for TEK.

  6. From the main menu, click on "Create new query" to enqueue a search request. The first time you visit this page, you will have to create a "new user" account. Then you can login, enter search terms, and confirm the search. Then return to the main menu.

  7. To send your active queries to the TEK Server, follow the "Send Pending Queries" link from the Main Menu. This will prompt you to connect to the Internet, after which an email will be sent to the TEK Server.

  8. Check your email account for a reply from the TEK Server. Open the attachment (with the default application) so that the TEK Client will process it.

  9. Return to the main menu at "http://tek/", and click on "View results". After logging in, you should be able to see the results of your query.

  10. Subsequently, you can search through all of your results using the "Search locally" option from the main menu.

Intended Usage Scenario

The TEK Client is designed for a site that has multiple users sharing a single machine. We expect that there is a site "Administrator" that will install the software, provide an email address for communication with the TEK Server, and use the Administrator menu in the TEK Client to perform other administrative tasks. For the final release, the Administrator page will include the ability to adjust preferences, modify registration information, manage user accounts, etc; it will also be password-protected.

The TEK Server assumes that there is only one machine per email account. This assumption is important since the server keeps track of all the pages that it has sent to a given machine, and avoids sending any duplicate pages in future search requests. Accordingly, if an Administrator uses the same email account for multiple machines, he should be sure to copy the search results to ALL of the machines so that the Server has a consistent view of the pages available to the Client.

The current version of TEK sends email by direct communication with the administrator's SMTP server, and it receives email through attachments that are sent to the administrator's account. However, the system is flexible regarding this transport mechanism, and we are open to other methods. For example, we might prefer to send email on disk via the postal mail in remote communities.

How to Uninstall

To uninstall the TEK Client, go to Settings, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, and select TEK from the list.


Due to variations in email clients and servers, you might experience trouble using TEK to automatically send and receive emails. However, there is an easy workaround whereby you can manually send and receive email for TEK.

If you are still experiencing difficulty, or if you are having other problems using TEK, please contact us at tekbug@mit.edu.

Reporting Bugs

This release contains several known bugs, and a large wish-list of items that we hope to implement in the future. The most recent bug list is available from our website at http://tek.sourceforge.net/.

If you encounter a bug, please send it to us at tekbug@mit.edu so that we can incorporate it into our list and give you credit for discovering it. If possible, please include with each bug report the version of your operating system, web browser, and email program, along with the sequence of steps necessary to reproduce the bug.

Helping with TEK

For those of you who are interested in helping to fix bugs, implement additional functionality, or contribute in other ways to the TEK project, we are very interested in hearing from you - please email us at tekadmin@mit.edu. We hope to release our source code in the near future (under the Lesser GNU Public License) so that everyone can help in developing and deploying the software.

Change log

The following features were added in version 1.3:
  • Includes custom version of Firefox web browser.

The following features were added in version 1.2.1:

  • Fixed unpredictable bug in login for SMTP authentication.

The following features were added in version 1.2:

  • SMTP authentication and HTTP POST are supported.

The following features were added in version 1.1.5:

  • WaveMail is supported.

The following features were added in version 1.1.4:

  • Improved HTML layout, help files, and user interface.

  • Lucene indexing is more robust.

  • Numerous bug fixes.

The following features were added in version 1.0.1:

  • Fixed install bug for Windows 98.

  • Fixed rendering of background images.

  • Fixed rendering of images in uppercase letters.

  • Improved help files.

  • Updated local search to use version 1.2 of Lucene.

May 15, 2005