Guide To the Internet

Have you ever wondered what cyberspace, or the internet, is? Do you know what you can do on it? Wonder no more because this non-fiction book teaches you what the internet is and how to get onto it. It also explains how to send e-mail, chat on the internet and use shorthand while chatting. At the end of the book is a glossary of definitions for high-lighted words featured throughout the book.

What is the internet? That is a question most people ask. The internet is an interconnected computer network. It can be compared to a giant invisible system of highways connecting your computer to other computers around the world. Instead of cars traveling on the highway, information does. It is often called "The information Superhighway" or "The Net." There are many forms of information that can travel across the net. Here are some examples: a letter to a friend in Australia, a picture that shows what the world looks like to a single bee, a story about a third grader who gets trapped inside her computer, a video of a volcano blasting lava, and the sound of a moose sneezing. The information that is on the internet is accessible to over 40 million people in the world. The term "on-line" means anything that happens when your computer is connected to a network. To get on the internet you just need three basic things. A computer, a modem, and software. A modem is like your computer's telephone, and software programs tell the computer what to do. When you use your modem to connect to the internet, your computer is talking to another computer. It uses a special computer language called computerese. All computers on the internet speak this language. Also when you are signing up for the internet for the first time you can choose an on-line service or and Internet Service Provider (ISP). An on-line service, such as America On-line (AOL) or the Microsoft Network (MSN) offers access to a number of services such as on-line magazines, educational programs, and entertainment. On-line services can also connect to the internet. An ISP only provides access to the internet. Most people choose an on-line service because they offer easy access to the internet and may offer other services. ISP's and on-line services are wired to the internet differently. In the case of ISP's, the information goes from your computer, to your modem, to the ISP, and then directly to the internet. On-line services are similar but not the same. The information goes from your computer, to your modem, then to the on-line service, then to a gateway, and then to the internet.

Everyone on-line has a user-ID or nickname by which they are called. There are also many different ways to connect to the internet. You can connect through different on-line services, by typing in your user ID and then your password. Once you are connected you can send notes and letters via e-mail which is short for electronic mail. When the person you sent e-mail to signs on to the internet, he/she can read and reply. E-mail has advantages over regular mail, referred to in this book as "snail mail." It is sent instantly over the internet. E-mail is cheap and even a large letter does not take long to send. It can be sent anytime, 24 hours a day, unlike the post office. There are three basic parts to an e-mail address. Here is an example: [email protected] "Annal0" is the user ID, the "@" symbol means "at", which has to be in every e-mail address and "aol.com" is the domain name. You can think of the domain as your street address. Here are some examples: msn.com, warwick.net, nasa.gov. There is many different domain names, such as .edu, which stands for an educational site, like schools and colleges. The most commonly used, ".com" stands for commercial sites and service providers, and large companies. Other examples include ".gov" which stands for government sites like the White House, ".mil" stands for military sites, ".org" for organization sites, and ".int" for international sites. Also when you are sending e-mail you can send more than just words. You can send and receive computer drawings, sounds, games, and pictures that have been scanned into your computer.

When you are on-line you can also join and host your own chat rooms. There can be an unlimited number of people chatting at the same time. For example, you enter a chat room and you see 23 names to the right of the screen. Those 23 names are the user ID's (nicknames) of the people on-line at the same time as you and in the same chat room. Chatting in a chat room has an advantage over e-mail because in a chat room more than two people can talk. As soon as someone types something and presses "enter", it is sent to the channel. Now everyone can read the message and reply just by typing and then pressing "enter". In a chat room you can chat about anything you want. Some chat rooms have specific topics like sports, music, and TV. When you are chatting in a chat room or sending e-mail you can write some phrases in short hand. Some of them are: brb (be right back), bbl (be back later), jk (just kidding), np (no problem), and otf (on the floor laughing). You can also use expressions like :) (smiling) and ref © (having a drink).

This book taught me some interesting facts about the internet and e-mail. I also learned some shorthand for when I am chatting or sending e-mail. I learned the definition of the World Wide Web, which is an enormous collection of electronic pages stored on computers around the world. I also learned the difference between on-line services and ISPs in connecting to the internet.

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