How to Surf the Internet


The term "Internet," or "The Net" as it is commonly in
known in the computer business, is best described as an
assortment of over one thousand computer networks with each
using a common set of technical transfers to create a
worldwide communications medium. The Internet is changing,
most profoundly, the way people conduct research and will
in the near future be the chief source of mass information.
No longer will a student have to rely on the local library
to finish a research essay - anybody with a computer, a
modem, and an Internet Service Provider can find a wealth
of information on the Net. Anybody with a disease or
illness and who has access to the Internet can obtain the
vital information they are in need of. And, most
importantly, businesses are flourishing at this present day
because of the great potential the Internet holds.
First of all, for a person to even consider doing research
on the Internet privately they must own a computer. A
computer that is fast, reliable, and one that has a great
deal of memory is greatly beneficial. A person also needs a
modem (a device that transmits data from a network on the
Internet to the user's computer). A modem's quality and
speed are measured as something called a baud rate (how
fast the modem transmits data in bits and kilobits -
similar to grams and kilograms). A kilobit is a term simply
used to describe the speed of a modem. For example, if
somebody was to go out and purchase a 2400 baud modem, they
would be buying a modem that transmits data 2400 kilobits
per second which is definitely not the speed of a modem you
want if your thinking of getting onto the Internet. The
speeds of modems then double in the amount of kilobits that
can be transmitted per second going from 4800 baud to 9600
baud and so on eventually getting up to 28800 baud (which
is the fastest modem on the market right now). To surf the
Internet successfully, a person will have to own a 9600
baud or higher, and with recent advancements the Internet
has offered, the recommended speed is a 14400 kilobytes per
second modem. A modem ranges in price, depending on the
type of modem you want, the speed you need, and if it is an
external or internal type, modems range from as low as $20
to as high as $300. If a person is unequipped with a
computer most local libraries and nonprofit organizations
provide Internet access where research can be done freely.
Having Internet access in libraries is extremely beneficial
for citizens who do not have access to the Internet as it
gives them a chance to survey the vast amount of
information available on the Net. And it is absolutely true
the Internet is evolving as the greatest tool for searching
and retrieving information on any particular subject.
Searching for information on The Internet using libraries
and other nonprofit organizations can be a bit
uncomfortable. For those people who already own a computer
and a modem, and are ready to take hold of the highway of
information the Internet provides, they might want to
consider getting a commercial account with an Internet
Service Provider or ISP (a company or organization that
charges a monthly a fee and provides people with basic
Internet services). Choosing your ISP may be the most
difficult thing you must decide when trying to get on the
Net. You must choose a service that has a local dial-in
number so you do not end up with monstrous long distance
charges. You must also choose an ISP that is reliable,
fast, and has a good technical support team who are there
when you're in trouble or have a problem. Typically, most
ISP's charge around $25 to $30 per month and they allocate
approximately 90 hours per month for you to use the
service. You must be aware that even though there are some
ISP's who charge only $10 to $15 per month for unlimited
access, they may not meet up to your expectations; so it
would be advisable to spend the extra $15 or $20 per month
to get the best possible service. No matter how a person
gets connected to The Internet, they will always be able to
search for information about any topic that enters their
minds. And it is the Internet that is changing the
traditional methods of how people research specific topics.
The tools that simplify the research processes make the
Internet another invaluable method of obtaining information.
Most people who already know how to surf the Internet
properly have no trouble finding information quickly and
logically. However, for new people who are just starting to
use the Net, the process can be quite troublesome. Some of
the tools used for searching the Internet include
Electronic Mail or E-mail which is a Messaging system that
allows you to send documents, reports, and facsimiles to
users on the Internet. Every user on the Internet has their
own E-mail address and can send messages to anyone as long
as they know another person's E-mail address.
One easy way of obtaining information about any topic is to
join a mailing list where mail sent directly to one user
will cause the information to be distributed to all members
of that particular list. Mailing Lists are a fun and an
easy way of gaining the important information a person may
find on the Net. This also shows another way of how useful
the Internet is and can be.
Another way a person can gain information through
Electronic Mail is by people exchange messages publicly
over the Net and these messages are sorted into different
areas called News groups or often referred to as Usenet
News. There are currently over 13,000 news groups for which
any user with access to the Net can use. People send and
receive messages about what kind of topic the news group is
devoted to and is an excellent way of gaining information
quickly and easily. Usenet news is also a way to receive up
to the minute information about timely topics.
A further tool for exploring The Internet is a tool called
gopher which is perhaps the most popular non-graphic way of
searching the Internet. It provides interconnected links
between files on different computers around the Net. Gopher
provides access to an enormous amount of text files,
documents, games, reference files, software utilities, and
much more. Gopher is menu-oriented making it fun and easy
to search for information because the only thing the user
has to do is point and click.
The World Wide Web is a lot like gopher in that the only
difference is that it uses a mixture of text and graphics
to display a wide assortment of information. The Web is one
of the most effective methods to provide information
because of its visual impact and multimedia foundation.
Many search tools are available on the Web to help the user
more easily search for materials that are of interest to
him or her.
There are some users who fret about having an information
overload. They see themselves surfing a sea of random
facts, information of varying quality, humour and
entertainment references, people and places. The on-line
world contains chaos as does the real world. Although some
say the Internet World contains too much information for
people to make sense of, there is tremendous proof people
will find their place on the Internet with plenty of help.
And everybody will grow up to make sense of the information
available just as millions of users already do. 


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