The Internet for Busy Peopleby Christian Crumlish
Whether you set aside an evening or a lunch hour - or just reach for this Busy People guide as you need it - you'll soon be on the fast track with the Internet. Explore Windows 95's seamless Internet connection or follow simple instructions for using other versions of Windows. Delve into the World Wide Web in mere minutes. Master the mysteries of e-mail, mailing lists… See more details below
Whether you set aside an evening or a lunch hour - or just reach for this Busy People guide as you need it - you'll soon be on the fast track with the Internet. Explore Windows 95's seamless Internet connection or follow simple instructions for using other versions of Windows. Delve into the World Wide Web in mere minutes. Master the mysteries of e-mail, mailing lists, and Usenet newsgroups faster than you thought possible. Discover the power of FTP, Telnet, and Gopher in a flash. Understand how to search the Net and find fascinating new sites. Organized for a quick orientation, The Internet for Busy People offers exceptional timesaving features, including fast forwards: quick reference sections at the beginning of each chapter that demonstrate all the essential commands and features - an ideal way for more experienced users to explore the Internet in no time; shortcuts: accelerated routes to completing a task or solving a problem; habits & strategies: timesaving tips and convenient techniques; definitions: fast and clever ways to learn and remember the jargon; and cautions: known pitfalls and problems to avoid to save you time and headaches.
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Chapter 1: Living on the WebIn the past few years, most of us have been getting busier and busier, feeling more stress from work and family and relationship obligations, and maybe even feeling that we're falling further behind in some areas. I'm sorry to report that the Internet will probably not alleviate your pressure. It won't put more hours in the day or help you prioritize. It can easily become a time sink, an always-ready source of low-level self-distraction. If you thought solitaire or Tetris was addictive, then approach the Internet with care!
Now, I don't want to paint myself as some sort of whistle-blowing naysayer. I'm a card-carrying Internet addict, and I have trouble imagining how I could conduct my life without it. Then again, I work in this business, and I learned long ago that my enthusiasm is not universal. The fact is, I'm part of the Internet-hype economy. Much as I'd like to deny it, I'm out in front in a barker's uniform ushering you in. Fine, that's my role and it pays the rent, but as you enter the tent let me just warn you to keep your wallet tightly gripped and be careful with your time.
The Internet: A Network of Networks
Most of us are too busy to spend all day discussing the history and technology of the Internet and all the fascinating trivia associated with it. You can get those anecdotes anywhere. (For that matter, you can get them for free once you're on the Net.) Suffice it to say, the Internet is not really a coherent network in the same sense as a local area network, such as you might find in an office, or a wide area network, like you might find on a university campus.
Actually, the Internet is a loosely and redundantlylinked collection of smaller networks and individual computers, all of which agree to share (some) information using the various Internet protocols as a lingua franca.
If you ask what the Internet is like or how it works, you'll get a range of answers obtainable from blind men touching different parts of an elephant. The Internet is like a cloud. The Internet is like a web. The Internet is like a tree. I suggest you think of the Internet as a black box. Stuff goes in one end and comes out the other. Forget trying to figure out what happens in the middle. Why did the chicken choose a particular path through the Internet? To get to the other side.
The most important advance in making the Internet easy and convenient to explore has been the development of the World Wide Web (a method for viewing much of the Internet) and elegant programs called web browsers that enable you to view and thumb through the myriad sources of information, communication, and software out there.
Browsing the Internet is a simple matter of running one of these programs and jumping to a destination. Because of the flexibility of the web medium, you can even use a web browser to gain access to items that are out there somewhere on the Internet, but not directly on the Web. The web browser acts as a sort of umbrella interface for the entire Internet.
If CNN and ESPN have some of the most popular, most expensive, most close-to-supporting-themselves-via-advertising web sites, does this mean that the Web is really a new kind of TV? No, it doesn't, but those who have thrived in the one-to-many media model would like to emphasize those capacities of the Internet. Others would argue that the Net is inherently many-to-many and must naturally evolve differently from TV...
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