Never has so much hype been made by so many as about the internet The potential is astounding , the reality is now that it is quite useful , but it is often more time consuming and difficult than most people think. Here I'll give you information and tricks which will make the internet useful to you.
What is the Internet ?Essentially it's a large number of computers spread across the world permanantly connected together so that you can access the files on one computer from any other. The computers are owned by various governments educational organisations and private businesses. When you connect to the internet chances are you connect your computer via the phone into one of these permantly connected "server" computers through an internet access provider company. They usually charge you a flat fee per month eg $20 for unlimited use and you pay usually local phone charges as well, or they charge you so many cents per minute that you connect.
There are 5 main parts to the internet : E-Mail , The World Wide Web (WWW) (these are like electronic bookpages), Newsgroups (or usenet)(these are like electronic notice boards where you can pin a question or comment and someone can pin answers underneath), FTP (a way of transferring whole programs and files to/from other people), and IRC (programs which let you chat to other people in real time by typing messages)
1. E-MailThis is probably the most useful function of the internet. It's usually much cheaper and convenient than a fax machine. You can send messages to any other internet user in the world almost for free and you can do things like send the same message to hundreds of people in a few seconds with a few keystrokes. Everyone has memory space on the computer of their provider called a mail box. When someone sends you a message the internet computers can tell from your e-mail address where you mail box is and the mail is stored there until you dial up and type in your password and collect it. Most people use a mail program like Eudora to handle their mail, though you can often send mail by clicking on a webpage.
Tricks : The best way to find someones e-mail is to phone them
and ask as there is no really effective internet "phone" book , though
sometimes you can use the search tools on the WWW.
2. World Wide Web (WWW)These are files in the form of electronic pages . They are stored in the memory of the server computers. They are viewed with a program called a web browser such as Netscape. Each webpage has a location address such as http://www.ftech.net/~stewart/internet.htm which tells the internet computers which server computer the page is in the memory of. Each webpage is basically a text document with hidden commands to show links and pictures. Highlighted words usually appear in blue when you click over them the program brings up another page with more information. Links to pages that you have already visited usually appear in cyan If you want to have your own webpages (homepage) you usually pay an internet provider to rent memory space on their server computer. Since it's so easy to make any document already in electronic form into a webpage there are already billions of them , though not every topic is covered . Bear in mind that if you want a lot of information it all has to come down the phoneline you can often spend minutes waiting for documents especially if they have colour graphics Often reading a book is a more efficient way of getting information.
Tricks : There are 3 main ways to get to the page . You can find
the address from a book or magazine You can click on a link of a page you
are already looking at. Or you can use a special page called a search engine
examples of these incude Infoseek , Webcrawler, Yahoo and Lycos. I find
the quickest to be http://www2.infoseek.com
3. NewsgroupsThese are diffrent from webpages and though they can be viewed with Netscape I find it better to use a special news program such as News Express or Free Agent. There are probably over 30,000 diffdernt heading or special interest groups . Each one has a series of notices about the specific subjects eg one is tiltled alt.comp.windows95.problems. So people post questions and other people post replies usually these messages are erased after a couple of weeks
4. FTPTricks :