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Long the most popular personal computer in classrooms and schools, the Macintosh is (not surprisingly) many parents' choice as a home computer for the use of the whole family. Whether you already own a Mac or are just thinking about buying one, Macs For Kids & Parents has the answers you need. In this complete book and CD-ROM package, authors Tom Negrino and Wendy Sharp reveal all that's special about the Mac, from its user-friendly interface to its plug-and-play upgradeability. The authors take you through ...
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Long the most popular personal computer in classrooms and schools, the Macintosh is (not surprisingly) many parents' choice as a home computer for the use of the whole family. Whether you already own a Mac or are just thinking about buying one, Macs For Kids & Parents has the answers you need. In this complete book and CD-ROM package, authors Tom Negrino and Wendy Sharp reveal all that's special about the Mac, from its user-friendly interface to its plug-and-play upgradeability. The authors take you through the basics of selecting the Mac model that's right for your family's needs and budget to installing and using software and hardware, going online, and taking advantage of educational, reference, and game programs. Macs For Kids & Parents also offers plenty of ideas on how to introduce your youngest to computing, your oldest to online researching and creating high-quality term papers, and the whole family to building and publishing home pages on the World Wide Web. Plus, on the bonus CD-ROM, you get valuable software, including AT&T WorldNetSM Service for online access, a special version of Netscape Navigator for browsing the World Wide Web, along with trial versions of Fractal Design Painter, Claris Home Page, Surf Watch, and Claris Emailer.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764501579
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/1998
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition description: BK&CD ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.27 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Table of Contents


How to Use this Book
How to Break Our Secret Codes
How We've Organized This Book
Part I: What's in that Box? Or, Dealing with the Hardware
Part II: Getting Friendly with Your Mac
Part III: Doing Your Own Thing: Creativity on the Computer
Part IV: Surf's Up! Using America Online and the Internet
Part V: The Part of Tens
The Appendix
Icons Used in this Book
So, What Are You Waiting For?

Part I: What's in That Box? Or, Dealing with the Hardware

Chapter 1: Macs Are Marvelous Machines
New Beginnings
So how do I turn this thing on?
Starting up!
Mousing around
A window into your Mac
Icon figure this stuff out -- and so con you!
Command key shortcuts
Fun with folders
Dealing with floppies without fumbling
Getting disks out of your Mac
CD-ROMs work like big floppy disks -- with one exception
What's Inside That Computer?
Getting more help
What kind of chip do you like?
Older Macs used different chips
The difference between memory and er . . . memory
How much do you have in there?
Other Computing Options with Your Mac
The Macintosh -- your digital diplomat
Bonked on the head
Your Mac does Windows
Chapter 2: The Mac and Its Hardware, or Fun with Peripherals
Just What Is a Peripheral?
Talking to Your Mac
Catching up with the mice
Making sense of the keyboard
Modifier keys
Functional Function Key
Other input devices
Telling Your Mac about Pictures and Sounds
Digital cameras
Connectix QuickCam
Letting Your Mac Talk Back
Brightness and contrast
Choosing a printer
Using the Chooser
Getting Your Computer to Talk to Other Computers
Connecting two Macintoshes
Connecting two Macs and a printer
Reading and Writing -- Mac-Style
Hard drives
Floppy drives and disks
Removable storage options: Zip, SyQuest, and Jaz drives

Part II: Getting Friendly with Your Mac

Chapter 3: Keeping Your Mac -- and You -- Happy
Keeping Your Macintosh Clean
Cleaning the keyboard
Cleaning the mouse (and trackballs, too)
Cleaning your monitor
Cleaning the floppy drive
Avoiding problems in the first place
Avoiding magnetic personalities
Getting Set to Use Your Mac
Don't let your Mac hurt you!
Put the keyboard and mouse in their places
Use the old "sit up straight" policy with computers, too
Cut down on glare
Take it easy on yourself
Keeping your files and folders straight
Creating new folders
Starting at the root level
Setting up the Applications folder
Organizing your stuff in the Documents folder
Sharing a Mac
Remember to save your work
Don't lose your stuff! Back it up!
Chapter 4: Switching Gears: Modifying the Mac for Kids with Disabilities
Making Your Mac Work the Way You Do
It comes with the territory
Physical disabilities
Visual disabilities
Online Resources for Disabled Kids
Mac Access Passport (MAP)
Other Resources
Chapter 5: Customizing Your Mac, or How to Drive Your Parents Crazy!
Wild and Woolly Desktop Patterns
Working with the Desktop Patterns control panel in System 7.5
Changing desktop patterns when you don't have System 7.5
Uncovering another decorator tip
Color It Fun
Changing the Window colors
Changing the Highlight colors
Changing the colors of labels
Fantastic Icons
Changing icons
Creating icons
Uncovering other icon tips
Messing with Sounds
If it quacks like a duck . . .
Make mine L O U D!
Recording new sounds
Checking out sound tips
More Fun Customizing Tools and Tricks
Startup screens
Practical jokes

Part III: Doing Your Own Thing: Creativity on the Computer

Chapter 6: ClarisWorks, the Program That Does (Almost) Everything!
It's Full of Ingredients!
Creating Your First Database
Saving a database
Feeding info into your database
Using your database
Creating a Letter with the Word-Processing Module
Starting a letter
Using the database info to insert addresses in a letter
Finishing up the letter
Using the ClarisWorks Drawing Module
Making a map
Adding text to a drawing
Adding the map to the letter
Creating a team logo
Adding text to a drawing
Inserting clip art into a drawing
Resizing a graphic
Doing the grouping thing
Inserting the logo into the soccer letter
Printing the finished letter
Want to Know More about ClarisWorks?
Chapter 7: Painting with Your Fingers -- and a Mouse
Getting Used to Palettes
Checking Out Your Art Supplies
Changing Colors: No Rinsing Needed
Pouring on the Paint
Stamping, Sticking, and Stenciling
Shaping Up
Chapter 8: The Amazing Art of Photo Editing
Getting Photos
Editing Photos
Painting weird, wacky, and wonderful things on your photographs
Changing brightness and contrast
Making selections
Selecting more than one area
Combining images
Specializing in Special Effects
Chapter 9: The Power of the Press: Desktop Publishing
Figuring Out Fonts
Choosing the right font for the job
Sizing up fonts
Calling in the serifs
Adding Style
Spacing Out -- Leading, Kerning and Other Weird Words
Line spacing
Character spacing
Tracking and kerning
Having Fun with Publishing
Getting started
Choosing a template
Adding words and other stuff
Chapter 10: So You Want to Be in Pictures: Making Movies and Presentations
Playing Movies on Your Mac
Making Movies on Your Mac
Checking out the hardware
Scoping out the software
Recording a movie
Editing a movie
Adding stuff to your movie
Cutting out the junk
Creating a Multimedia Presentation
Creating your first scene
Using the painting tools
Adding a title
Adding pictures
Adding sounds, video, and action
Wrapping up the presentation

Part IV: Surf's Up: Using America Online and the Internet

Chapter 11: America Online Is for Kids
What If I Already Have AOL?
So How Do I Join America Online?
Getting the software
The top America Online 3.0 features
The Look of America Online
What's Hot
A look at the Channels menu
Sending Mail on America Online
Special AOL Features
Favorite Places
Instant Messages
Online chatting
Using the AOL Buddy List
A Fast Tour of the AOL Kids Only Channel
Getting Homework Help
Ask a teacher
Explore the AOL learning area
Talk about it
Online Chatting
Using America Online's Parental Controls
Chapter 12: So What Is the Internet, Anyway?
What Is the Internet, Anyway?
A little history
A zillion networks
How big is the Internet?
Internet Services
World Wide Web
Electronic mail
FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
Other services
Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
How Do I Get There from Here?
Domain? What's a domain?
E-mail addresses
Web addresses
Installing AT&T WorldNetSM and Netscape
Using Netscape Navigator
The browser window
Location box
Navigation buttons
Directory buttons
The Navigator menus
Opening multiple windows
Contextual menu
Customizing the browser window
Web troubleshooting
Getting and sending Internet mail with Netscape
Creating new mail
Getting and saving mail
Deleting mail
Replying to mail
Using mailing lists
Just for Parents: Keeping Your Kids Safe Online
Software filters
Things that you should teach your children about the Internet
Chapter 13: Using Search Engines to Find Stuff
So How Do I Find Things on the Web? It's Like Finding a Needle in a Haystack!
Prowling through categories
Searching for a particular topic
I Know Just What I Want -- Where Do I Look Now?
Using Ultrasmart
Using Ultraseek
Using Smart Info
Other cool finding places
Chapter 14: Setting Up Your Own Home Page
What Do You Want To Say?
Using Claris Home Page
Starting Claris Home Page
Saving a Web page
Using the Page Templates on the CD-ROM
Where To Get More Info about Building Web Pages
Yahoo's Web Design page
Killer Web sites
Realm Graphics site

Part V: Part of Tens

Chapter 15: Ten Cool Online Places for Kids
The Discovery Channel Online
Sports Illustrated for Kids
Highlights for Children -- The Ability Utility
Marvel Online
Internet Movie Database
Ultimate Band List
Chapter 16: Ten Tricks to Amaze Your Parents and Impress Your Friends
Close all open windows
Open nested folders in one easy step
Quickly backtrack through folders
Use the Application menu
Personalize your Apple menu
Use aliases
Make your computer talk
Get a macro program and use it
Lock your documents
Recover trashed items
Chapter 17: The First Ten Things to Try when Your Mac Acts Weird
Common Problems
Your Mac freezes
You get a dialog box with a picture of a bomb in it
You're out of memory
You can't open a file
Some of your icons suddenly become generic blank icons
The cursor moves jerkily
Quick Fixes
Restart without extensions
Dealing with an extension conflict
Things You Can Do to Keep Problems from Happening
Rebuild your desktop file
Zap your parameter RAM
Use TechTool
Get a surge protector
Chapter 18: More Than Ten Stupendous Software Programs
Chapter 19: Nearly Ten Fun Hints for Making Music on the Mac
Making Music the MIDI Way
Playing MIDI Files
Chapter 20: Top Ten Fun Family Projects
Picture Books
Online Treasure or Scavenger Hunts
Poetry Kits
Learn to Cook
Theme Songs
A Living Family Tree
Vacation Fun
Make Your Own Puzzles

Appendix: About the CD

System Requirements
Installing Support Software
What You'll Find on the CD
Creative Pleasures
Practical stuff
Bonus stuff
Fun 'n games
If you've got problems (of the CD kind)


License Agreement

Installation Instructions

IDG Books Worldwide Response Card

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First Chapter

Chapter 12
So What Is the Internet, Anyway?

In This Chapter

  • Meeting the Internet
  • Getting a handle on Internet services
  • Understanding Internet addresses
  • Installing Netscape Navigator
  • Using Netscape Navigator
  • Sending e-mail with Navigator
  • Keeping kids safe online

There's a world that you may never have imagined waiting for you. It's a world made of ideas, with fast and furious debates; it's made of flashy graphics and wild sounds; and it's made of words and the need of one person to reach out and touch another with thoughts and dreams. This magic world is called the Internet, and all you need to get there is a Mac, a modem, and a little software. This chapter shows you the tools and the basic signposts you need to navigate through this new world, and by the time you're done, you should be pretty comfortable with getting around the Internet.

What Is the Internet, Anyway?

Think about your computer. You've got this computer, and you want to use it to talk with other people who also have a computer. If that other person is in the same building, then it's pretty easy to get the two computers to communicate, or network, with each other. All you need is a couple of $10 network connectors and a length of telephone cable. (Check out Chapter 2 if you want more details.)

If you want to add more Macs to your network, all you need is more cable and another connector. That's how many computer networks in businesses work; they are a bunch of computers all hooked together with cables. But what if someone with a computer on one network wants to talk with someone with a computer on another network? In that case, you could figure out a way that the two networks could talk over the telephone system. And that's just what happened when people started building computer networks in the 1970s and 1980s.

A little history

Uh-oh. You saw the word history and you started to think that this was school or something. Don't worry, we'll get past this stuff quickly, and there won't be a test afterwards.

Back in the 1970s, the United States Department of Defense, along with several major colleges and universities, began the first experiments in computer networking, creating something called the ARPAnet. They were researching how computers could be made to talk reliably to one another. In order to do that, the researchers built high-speed telephone lines connecting the different research centers. After a few years of research, they realized that they needed to make sure that all the computers on the network spoke the same language, so these computer scientists invented a networking language called TCP/IP.

What is TCP/IP? As you may have already seen on TV and in ads, lots of weird language and funny abbreviations are associated with the Internet. There's a simple reason for this: the people who invented all this stuff were super computer geeks, and they never imagined that this stuff would be used by anyone who wasn't a super computer geek. So they named all these things in ways that make sense for geeks but may not be too clear for the rest of us.

Now, if you really want to know what TCP/IP means, we'll tell you, but you'll never need to know it again. TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. Wasn't that a thrill?

After the invention of TCP/IP, the ARPAnet became the core, or what we now call the backbone, of the Internet, which was born in 1983. Things began to happen much more quickly. A common networking language now existed, and a high-speed network became available, so more universities began to hook their networks into the backbone. Scientists, teachers, and students at one university could send information easily to their friends at other universities, which helped everyone's work tremendously.

A zillion networks

The Internet has kept growing since the 1980s, with the biggest growth happening since about 1993. It is now thousands and thousands of separate networks that are all connected together by special digital telephone lines. The United States government got out of the business of running the main Internet backbone connection a few years ago, and it is now operated by big telephone companies, such as MCI and Sprint. But just because these companies operate the backbone doesn't mean that they run or own the Internet. In fact, nobody owns the Internet. Nobody could own the whole Internet, because it is made up of so many separate networks. The best way to think of the Internet is just as a network of networks.

Because no one company owns the Internet, when something goes wrong, there's usually nobody to complain to. If you are trying to get to a certain place on the Internet and a network problem occurs between you and the site that you are trying to reach, you might not get through. All you can do about it is wait and try again later. Chances are the network blockage (it's like a traffic jam) will clear up soon.

Online services, such as America Online, and the Internet are two different things. America Online is owned by one company that has created everything on the service in order to give its customers interesting and cool information. Everything on America Online has been approved for your viewing by the America Online staff. That isn't the case with stuff that is on the Internet. What you see on the Internet, and especially on the World Wide Web, has been placed there by thousands of companies, organizations, or individual people -- anyone with access to a Web server, a computer that is hooked up to the Internet and that provides Web pages.

How big is the Internet?

No one knows just how big the Internet is. Again, that's because nobody's in charge of the whole thing, and it's growing too fast. Some companies and people try to estimate the size of the Internet, but estimates are about all we have -- and people argue about whether the estimates are correct. As of January 1997, about 14 million different machines had Internet addresses. These machines range from super-powerful Web servers to your Power Macintosh sitting under your desk. There are something between 35 and 50 million users worldwide, in 241 countries or other geographic units (some places that aren't countries of their own, such as Puerto Rico, still have their own Internet addresses). There are more than 520,000 Internet groups, called domains (you can read about domains later in this chapter). What we do know is that the Internet is growing at an explosive pace; it is doubling in size every twelve to fifteen months. At this rate, something like 200 million people will be using the Internet by the year 2000.

Internet Services

So far, we've looked at the physical nature of the Internet, the cables that connect all the thousands of computers that, taken together, we call the Internet. But the cables aren't the important part of what the Internet is; what really counts is the information that flows over those cables. That information comes to you through Internet services, such as electronic mail (e-mail), the World Wide Web, and the ability to send and receive files over the Internet. Let's look at each of these services and you can get a good idea of how you can use them for fun and for learning.

World Wide Web

The World Wide Web has made the Internet popular -- so much so that many people think that the World Wide Web is the Internet. But that's not true at all. Lots of information travels over the Internet that has nothing to do with the Web. E-mail, for example, is used more than the Web.

But there's no denying that the World Wide Web is the newest and the most interesting (not to mention the fastest-growing) part of the Internet. The Web has been around only since 1991, when the first Web site was set up in Switzerland to help out physics researchers. Amazingly, the Web grew out of a program that one of the researchers, Dr. Tim Berners-Lee, wrote to help him keep track of his own research. His supervisors saw this program and thought it could be used to share information between research centers.

Because the researchers wanted a system that any kind of computer could read and access, they went for the lowest common denominator, which for computers is plain text. But they didn't want to lose the benefits of styled and formatted text, like boldface, italics, fonts, and so forth, so they took an idea that had been around for some time, called SGML, which added special markers or tags to text to indicate to every computer how the text should be formatted. The researchers stripped down SGML and turned it into a scheme called HTML, which stands for Hypertext Markup Language. With some changes and additions, HTML is still the basis for the World Wide Web. The Hypertext part of HTML is the most important part because hypertext is text that serves as a link to other text, and on the Web, that link can lead you to anywhere else in the world.

Everyone accesses the World Wide Web by using a special kind of program called a browser program. The America Online software has a Web browser built into it, but the browser you may have seen on TV or on a friend's computer is Netscape Navigator from Netscape Corporation (see Figure 12-1). With a browser, you can read Web pages, which have text, graphics, and even video and sound files. We show you how to get around on the Web by using Navigator later in this chapter.

Electronic mail

Electronic mail, usually called e-mail, is the biggest of all the Internet services. More e-mail passes over the Internet each day than all the information in all the Web pages combined. In some ways, e-mail is a lot like letters you send to friends by using the regular U. S. Post Office. Letters have a place where you put the address and a place where you write the message. The difference, however, is that you don't have to find a stamp and go to the post office (or wait for your mail carrier to pick up your letter), and your friends can receive your messages within a minute, no matter where in the world they live. A little later in this chapter, you see how to send and receive e-mail by using Netscape Navigator (it does mail, too!).

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

Besides offering e-mail and Web pages, the Internet has a lot of useful files. These files can be programs that help you with your schoolwork, new games for you to play, or fun bits of clip art that you can add to your own Web pages.

Getting a file from a computer somewhere out there on the Internet to your machine is called downloading. Sending a file to a machine up on the Internet is called uploading. Either way, you need a program that can use the Internet's File Transfer Protocol, or FTP. The good news is that you already have a program that can download files via FTP, because Netscape can do that as well as browse the Web and get your e-mail. Netscape will also tuck you in at night and do your homework for you, too. You wish!

The CD-ROM that comes with this book has Anarchie, the program that we think is the best FTP program available for the Macintosh. This program comes with a Bookmark list of many of the best file collections, which are also called FTP sites. Figure 12-2 gives you a look at Anarchie.

You may have heard about computer viruses, programs that someone deliberately writes to mess up computers. Well, here's my opinion on whether you should worry about getting a computer virus from downloading files from the Internet. While it's true that there are viruses out there that affect the Macintosh, these viruses are rare and more of an annoyance than destructive. For those poor folks who have DOS or Windows machines, it's a different matter; there are lots of viruses (and nasty ones, too) for those platforms.

We've now been using the Internet heavily for almost four years, and we've never had a problem with a virus. Just to be on the safe side, we run a virus-checking program called Disinfectant (on the CD-ROM which comes with this book) about once every month or so.

Other services

Besides the services that are mentioned in the preceding sections, there are other, older Internet services that you should be aware of. You probably won't run into these (except for Usenet) until you're pretty experienced with using the Internet, but at least you should know what each one of them is.


As FTP sites grew over the years, they got too big for any one person to know what was in them. So people got the idea of creating a catalog or index of FTP sites that could be searched quickly by a particular program. That's what Archie is; a search engine that lets you search one or more FTP sites. Web-based search engines, such as Infoseek and AltaVista, have replaced most of the Archie servers. For more about these Web search engines, check out Chapter 13.


The Usenet is the worldwide bulletin board system. It is made up of more than 25,000 subject areas, called newsgroups; and as you can imagine, with that many subjects, there's a newsgroup for just about every taste (and then some!). You can access Usenet with Netscape by choosing Window--> Netscape News.

People on Usenet are famously intolerant of new users, and they can be pretty nasty to people who they think are asking ignorant questions. If you start reading a newsgroup, you should just hang out for awhile and get the lay of the land before you start posting (sending) things yourself.


This service is another casualty of the World Wide Web. Gopher was a way to store and catalog text-based information, especially scientific research. You used a special program, called a gopher client, to dig through subject categories until you found what you were looking for. Because gopher could give you only plain text, it fell out of favor when the Web arrived, because the Web uses text, pictures, sounds, and even video. In the rare case that you run across a gopher server, Netscape can handle and display the information on the server.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

You can chat on the Internet almost the same way you can chat on America Online. The difference is that it's easy on America Online and awfully darn hard on IRC. IRC has a confusing number of weird commands and other things you have to learn in order to hook up to and use a chat server. If you're interested, we've included the IRCLE program. As far as we're concerned, you're better off restricting your chatting to America Online.


Imagine a powerful computer thousands of miles away. Now imagine that you could control that computer from the keyboard of your computer, as if you were sitting in front of the far-away computer. That's what telnet lets you do. You can log on to a remote computer and control it from your machine. You can also run programs on the remote computer. Because telnet is a pretty simple and dumb service, you can do things only in plain text. You also usually need some knowledge of the UNIX operating system, which is so geeky that most normal folks take one look and run away screaming.

How Do I Get There from Here?

If you want to get around on the Internet, then you have to understand how Internet addresses work. Actually, there are two main kinds of Internet addresses -- e-mail addresses and Web addresses. This section presents both kinds of addresses in detail. This stuff gets kind of geeky, but it's important to know so that you can find the things that you want and send mail to your friends.

Domain? What's a domain?

Each time a computer connects to the Internet, that computer is assigned a different address that is made up of a series of numbers. For example, the address (also called the IP address) of one of the computers may be The trouble is that it's not very easy for people like us to remember 12-digit numbers: It's lots easier to remember names. We don't want to have to type or say whenever we want to use our Internet address. We want to use words we can halfway remember, such as

Fortunately, the Internet Service Provider does the dirty work by having a computer called a Domain Name Service (DNS) server convert computer names to IP numbers. So if you type or any other Internet address into your Web browser, the browser program shoots that request to the nearest DNS server, which has a list of all the machines out there, and converts the name to its IP number and then directs the browser to the proper address.

The people who invented the Internet knew that they would have to come up with a naming system that was flexible enough to grow along with the Internet and that would make sense to people. So they decided to split up the names according to the type of organization that they expected would be using the Internet. The researchers came up with six main areas, which they called top-level domains. The following table shows the Big Six top-level domains and the type of organization each one is. With both e-mail and Web addresses, these top-level domains are usually at the end of the address.

Domain Organization Example
.com Commercial; used by businesses
.edu Education; used by schools, colleges, and universities
.org Nonprofit organization
.net Network; used mainly by Internet Service Providers
.gov United States Government site
.mil United States military sites

Sometimes you may see a period and two-letter extensions after the top-level domain, such as or; these are country codes. In the two examples here, the first stands for the United Kingdom, and the second is Italy. The following table lists more of these country codes, so you can tell where people are from when you see messages from them.

Code Country
.ca Canada
.ch Switzerland
.de Germany
.es Spain
.fr France
.il Italy
.jp Japan
.mx Mexico
.nl Netherlands
.uk United Kindom (England)

E-mail addresses

An Internet e-mail addess can take several forms, but it always has at least two characters in it: the @, which in an address is pronounced at, and a (.), which is pronounced dot. You say this e-mail address,, for example, this way: kids at negrino dot com. (If you're wondering, you pronounce Tom's last name as nuh-gree-noh. Oh, you weren't wondering? Okay, fine. See if you're invited to his next party.

Besides the @ and the dot, an e-mail address always includes a person's username (the name they have with their Internet provider), the Internet provider's name, and a top-level domain or country code. If the provider has more than one computer, you can also have a machine name in there, too. Check out these examples. By the way, none of these are real addresses, so don't bother trying to send mail to them.


Even though all these addresses look different, they are examples of mail addresses that would be valid if we hadn't made them up. You can even have more than one dot on the left side of the @ sign, like, but you can have only one @ sign in an e-mail address. Another important thing to know is that you should type all Internet addresses, both e-mail and Web, in all lowercase (no capital letters). That's because some of the computers out on the Internet are so dumb that they think there's a difference between uppercase and lowercase: Some computers think that sean is an entirely different word than SEAN.

If the person you want to reach is a member of an online service, such as America Online or CompuServe, he or she still has an Internet-style address. Both of these services have mail gateways to the Internet, and they have their own domain names. So if you know your friend's America Online screen name, all you have to do to send mail from your Internet account is to type his or her screen name followed by, and your mail will get to him or her. If someone has the America Online screen name Godzilla, for example, the Internet-style address is CompuServe works the same way. You follow a CompuServe user name or user number with

Web addresses

The addressing scheme for Web sites builds on the one for e-mail addresses, but adds a few new twists. Web addresses are one of a type of address called a URL, which stands for Uniform Resource Locator. The nice part about URLs is that they can point you exactly to any Web page or any file on an FTP site. In fact, there's a URL for everything you can get to on the Internet.

A URL begins with a code that tells you what sort of file the URL is pointing to, then the name of the machine that the file resides on, then the directory (a directory is like a folder on your Mac) the file is inside, and then the exact name of the file that you want. Check out Figure 12-3 for a detailed look.

The type code at the start of the figure is the code that tells you that this particular URL is going to take you to a Web page. If you remember the type codes, you'll always know what a particular URL you may run across will lead you to on the Internet. The following table lists the codes and what they mean. The :// after each code are separator characters that set the type code apart from the machine name.

Type Code Leads To
http:// A Web page (and stands for hypertext transport protocol, something you'll never need to know again).
ftp:// An FTP site at which you can download or upload files.
gopher:// A gopher server which will get a page of information for you.
news:// A Usenet newsgroup that has a particular message.
mailto: An e-mail address. Note that you don't use the two slashes on this one. This URL is used mainly in Web pages, as in

Installing AT&T WorldNetSM and Netscape

This is the point where you need to get a little help from your parents. (If your family already has an Internet provider, you can skip this section and leave your hard-working parents alone.) So call your Mom (or your Dad) over to the Mac and ask for help. If she or he gives you that old "But I don't know anything about computers!" line, just point to the paragraph below, say, "It's easy! Just look here!", and then take a break and let the parent-type take care of business.

Hello, parent! If you don't already have an Internet Service Provider and an existing Internet account, you get to install Netscape Navigator and sign up for the AT&T WorldNetSM Services. (If you do have a service provider, chances are that you've already installed Navigator or its close rival, the Microsoft Internet Explorer, and you can skip this section.) Now, this may sound like a hairy process, but following is a list of the highly technical tools that you need to accomplish this feat:

___ Your index finger (to click the mouse button)

___ The CD-ROM that came with this book

___ A credit card (gotta pay for the service somehow)

___ The "CD Installation Instructions" page in the back of this book

___ The Installing AT&T WorldNetSM Service page in the back of this book

Turn to the appendix, which has a listing and description of all the software on the CD-ROM. Follow the instructions there to insert the CD-ROM into your Mac, and then find the folder that has the AT&T WorldNetSM Services installer program. Inside the folder are the instructions that walk you through the installation process.

Thanks for installing the software! Oh, before you go, you might want to read the section at the end of this chapter called "Just for Parents: Keeping Your Kids Safe Online." When you're done, call the kid back to the computer. Okay? Thanks.

Hey, you're back! And just in time to find out more about the Internet, too! So let's get right to it. Now, where were we? Oh, yeah, we were going to start browsing the World Wide Web.

Using Netscape Navigator

Netscape Navigator is the main browser program that you can use to surf the Web, and this section gives you a guided tour of Navigator, letting you know how to use it to get around on the Web. Navigator got its claim to fame as a Web browser, but the fine folks at Netscape hope that you'll use it for all sorts of things -- even your Internet e-mail. Navigator can do all the following things -- you don't need to have separate programs for each function:

  • Web browser

  • E-mail program

  • Usenet newsgroup reader

  • FTP file downloading program

  • Gopher information reader

Although Navigator can do all those things, this chapter concentrates on using it to browse Web sites.

The browser window

The Navigator browser window shown in Figure 12-4 opens whenever you start up the program. Let's take a tour of this window.

When you opened Navigator, chances are that it went automatically to a home page, which is set in Navigator's Preferences dialog box. That page could be almost anywhere on the Web, depending on what URL is listed in the Preferences. In Figure 12-4, it went to the AT&T WorldNetSM home page, which is the page that WorldNetSM sends you to when you sign up for their service.

Location box

This is the input box in which you type the URL you want to access; after you finish typing the URL, press the Return key on your keyboard to tell Navigator to go to the URL. In different versions of Navigator, the label next to the Location input box has been different (can't these programmers make up their minds?). Depending on the version, it may say "Location," "Go To," or even "Netsite" (and was that one ever a geek's dream!). This input box also tells you the URL of the current page that you're on. No matter what it's named, all you have to do is click within the Location input box, type the URL, and press the Return key. In order to try out the features of the browser window and the navigation buttons, let's go to another Web site. Type into the Location input box and press the Return key on your keyboard. Your screen should now look something like Figure 12-5 (don't worry if it doesn't look exactly the same; the folks at Dummies Press are changing their site all the time).

In Navigator, you don't have to type in the entire URL of a site you want to visit. You can always skip typing the http:// part of the URL, because Navigator assumes it and puts it in for you when you press the Return key. In fact, sometimes, you don't even have to type in the www. or .com parts of the URL. Because most (more than 80 percent) of the places on the Web start with www. and end with .com, if you don't tell it otherwise, Navigator slaps these onto any word that you put in the Location box. Try it by typing mtv into the Location box and then pressing the Return key. You end up on the MTV Web site.

Navigation buttons

Right above the Location input box is a set of buttons called the navigation buttons. The buttons help you move from one page to the next, move to your home page, or get around on the Web page that you're currently viewing. Check out Figure 12-6 for a closeup.

Let's look at each of the buttons, and see in detail what each one does.


When you click on the Back button, the browser brings you to the page you were just viewing. You can keep on clicking on the Back button to go to previous pages. It's useful when you're surfing and want to get back to a place that you want to read again. But the Back button works only in the surfing session that you are currently in. You can't use the Back button to get to that cool page that you saw last week. (You can also go back a page by choosing Go-->Back, or by pressing Command Key+[.)


When you use the Back button and then click on the Forward button, Netscape returns you to the original page. Most times, this button is grayed out (which means it is unavailable), because you are at the front of your surfing session. (You can also go forward a page by choosing Go-->Forward, or by pressing Command Key+].)


The Home button brings you back to the home page -- the page that loads automatically when Navigator starts up. When you click on Home, you are required to click your heels together and sing, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home." Not!


The Reload button tells Navigator to go out to the Web and refresh, or redownload, the current page. This reloading is useful with pages that have constantly changing content, such as online news. (You also can reload a page by choosing View-->Reload, or by pressing Command Key+R.)

Sometimes Navigator keeps copies of pages that you have visited recently in a special folder called the cache (pronounced cash). Sometimes the Mac grabs a page from the cache rather than downloading a fresh copy. To make sure that the page you're reloading is squeaky-clean and has that fresh smell, hold down the Option key on your keyboard and choose View-->Super Reload.


Kind of like Reload, the Images button tells Navigator to refresh just the graphics on a page. People with slow connections seem to use this the most because they don't always download all the graphics from a page before they press the Stop button.


The Open button displays a dialog box in which you can type a URL (not commonly used; most people use the Location input box). (You can also open the Open dialog box by choosing File-->Open Location, or by pressing Command Key+L.)


The Print button prints the current page on the printer you have selected in the Chooser. (You can also print a page by choosing File-->Print, or by pressing Command Key+P.)


The Find button pops up a dialog box that lets you search for text on the current page. This is really useful if you're looking on a long page that's packed with words and you just want to find where one word is. (You can also find text on a page by choosing Edit-->Find, or by pressing Command Key+F.)

Looking for the same thing more than once on a page? After you use Find to find it the first time, choose Edit-->Find Again to find the next example of the text in the page. You can press Command Key+G to do the same thing. When Navigator beeps at you, it means that the text doesn't have what you're searching for.


The Stop button tells Navigator to stop attempting to load a page. (You can also stop loading by choosing Go-->Stop, or by pressing Command Key+(.). That's holding down the Command key and typing a period.)

Directory buttons

All the Directory buttons take you to advertiser-supported pages at the Netscape Corporation Web site. These pages change all the time, so we can't be more specific about what happens when you click on one of these buttons.

This Button Takes You To
What's New? A page with links to new and interesting sites around the Web and also what's new with Netscape.
What's Cool? A page with links to weird, interesting, or fun sites around the Web.
Destinations A page that has lots of links to a variety of general-interest sites, broken down by category.
Net Search The Netscape Find page, which gives you a variety of tools with which to search the Web for information. The page includes (when we wrote this) links to Yahoo! and Infoseek. See Chapter 13 for more information about Internet search engines.
People A page in which you can search online white and yellow pages, e-mail address directories, and the like.
Software A page at which you can download the latest versions of Netscape's software from their Web site.

The Navigator menus

We're not going to go through all Navigator's menus -- just the ones that you need for Web browsing. If you need more help, choose Help-->Handbook in Navigator. (If you have System 7.5 or later, that's the menu at the upper right end of the menu bar, with the question mark; if you're running an earlier version of the software, you don't have this menu.)

Bookmarks menu

Bookmarks are a way to store page locations that you may want to use in the future. Rather than remembering the URL for a page, you can set a Bookmark, which stores the URL and puts the name of the page (the name that shows up in the page's title bar, at the top of the browser window) in the Bookmark menu.

To create a bookmark, go to a Web page and choose Bookmarks-->Add Bookmark; Netscape adds the name of the page to the bottom of the Bookmarks menu. To go back to that Web page in the future, simply choose the page's bookmark you want to go to from the Bookmarks menu.

Go menu

This menu keeps a list of the recently-visited pages in the current surfing session. To go back to a page, choose it from the Go menu.

Opening multiple windows

You can open more than one browser window at a time. This is useful because sometimes you want to have one page available and read another page in another window. Browser windows are independent, and you can have as many Web pages open as your Mac's memory can handle (but because Navigator can be a cranky program, we suggest that you limit yourself to no more than three or four browser windows open at any one time). To open another browser window, choose File-->New Web Browser.

Contextual menu

Click and hold down the mouse button on a Web page; after a second or so, you get a pop-up menu. Depending on what you've clicked on, the menu will contain different options, as shown in Figure 12-7. The menu on the left pops up after you hold down the mouse button over a blank space on the Web page, and it allows only Back and Forward options. We think this is the most useful way to use this contextual menu, and we use it all the time. Clicking and holding down the mouse button over a link gives you several options; the most commonly used one is New Window with this link.

Customizing the browser window

You may have noticed that the pictures of the browser window in this chapter look different from the ones in the other chapters. That's because this browser window is the way it looks when you first install it. We customized our browser windows (and you can, too) to gain some more screen space for Web viewing. The two main things you can do are these: You can hide or change the appearance of the navigation buttons (the toolbar), and you can hide the directory buttons. To fiddle with the preferences, follow these steps:

  1. Click on Options.
  2. The Options menu, shown in Figure 12-8, appears. As you can see, three options are checked: Show Toolbar, Show Location, and Show Directory Buttons. To uncheck any of these, just click on the item. Personally, we hardly ever use the Directory buttons, so they're the first things we hide. But we use the Location box and the toolbar buttons all the time. Don't you wish you could make the buttons smaller, though? Well, you can.

  3. Choose General Preferences.
  4. The General Preferences dialog opens, as shown in Figure 12-9.

  5. Click on the Pictures radio button in the Show Toolbar As section of the dialog box, and make sure that the Show ToolTips check box is checked.
  6. Note that this is also where you can change your default home page by typing in a different URL in the Home Page Location input box.

  7. Click on the OK button to save your changes and close the dialog box.
  8. The results of the changes are shown in Figure 12-10. ToolTips (you can see one if you look carefully at the picture; it says Go To Home Page) are pop-up labels that appear when you move the mouse cursor over a toolbar button. That lets you shrink the buttons down to just icon size but still get text that reminds you what the button does.

Web troubleshooting

Following are three tips for times of Web trouble:

  • If you try to get to a Web page and you get a dialog box that says that the page could not be loaded, click on the Reload button or try again later; the Web site you're trying to get to may just be busy.

  • If you try again with no luck, the page you're attempting to access may no longer exist. Web sites change all the time.

  • If you get a weird dialog box that says that the server you're trying to reach has no DNS entry, it's one of two possibilities: a) The site no longer exists; b) there's a problem with the site that could be fixed soon. Try to get to the site tomorrow.

Getting and sending Internet mail with Netscape

If you have subscribed to service from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and have a direct connection to the Internet, then you need an Internet mail program. The CD-ROM that comes with this book has two good ones. One of them is built into Netscape Navigator and is part of the AT&T WorldNetSM Services package. The other is Claris Emailer, which is much more powerful and can get mail not only from your Internet account (or multiple Internet accounts) but also from America Online and CompuServe, another online service. Netscape Navigator is a Web-browsing program, but it can also deal with Internet mail and newsgroups. For now, we concentrate on using the mail part of Netscape.

Creating new mail

It's easy to write new mail to a friend. In fact, it's a lot like sending mail on America Online. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open Netscape and choose File-->New Mail Message.
  2. A blank message Composition window appears, as shown in Figure 12-11.

  3. Click on the Subject field and type a subject for your message.
  4. Just as an example, pretend that you want to send us a message about this book. So type Kids Book into the Subject field and press the Tab key to move to the next field.

  5. Type the Internet address of the recipient of your e-mail.
  6. For this example, type and press the Tab key to get to the next field, the cc: field, which lets you send a copy of the message to a second person.

    The cc: field is there so that you can address and send your message to more than one person at a time. You can add any number of addresses in the cc: field, separated by a single space, and each one will get a copy of the message you're writing.

  7. Press the Tab key to get to the next field.
  8. This example doesn't require the cc: field. Your cursor is now in the message body.

  9. Type your message into the message body.
  10. Your message should now look something like Figure 12-12.

  11. Click on the Send button when you are done with your message.
  12. Don't be surprised if you get a reply from us!

Getting and saving mail

To read your e-mail with Netscape, follow these steps:

  1. If it isn't already open, open the Netscape program.
  2. A Web browser window opens and goes to the page that Netscape has as its base, or default, page.

  3. In Netscape, choose Window-->Netscape Mail.
  4. The mail window opens, as shown in Figure 12-13.

    When you open the Mail window, Netscape automatically gets your unread mail, puts it into the Inbox folder, and displays it in the Message List on the right side of the window. The first message is highlighted and displayed in the Message Body.

  5. After you read the message, you can save it in one of your mail folders, reply to it, or delete it. To do the first two of these things, use the Message menu, as shown in Figure 12-14.
  • To save your mail to one of your mail folders, highlight the message in the Message list, and choose Message-->Move. There, a pop-out menu (sometimes called a hierarchical menu) opens with a list of the mail folders. Keep holding down the mouse button, and select the mail folder where you want to move the message. When you release the mouse button, the message moves!

  • To read the next message, just click on its name in the Message list.

Deleting mail

We get to replying to mail in the next section. But first you should know how to delete mail that you don't want. Follow these steps:

  1. In the Message List, highlight the message you want to delete.

  2. Choose Edit-->Delete Message.

    Netscape won't ask you if you're sure you want to get rid of the message, so be careful! Deleting a message in this way moves it to the Trash mail folder, where it stays until you permanently remove it by choosing File-->Empty Trash Folder within Netscape.

    Did you delete a message accidentally? Well, you can probably get it back. Just click on the Trash folder in Netscape's Mail folder list. You should now see the name of the message in the message list. Drag the message from the list back to the Inbox folder, and your mail is back where it belongs.

Replying to mail

When you want to respond to mail that someone else has sent you, you use the Message menu again, as shown in Figure 12-7. Follow these steps to reply to a mail message.

  1. Highlight the message to which you want to reply in the Message List.

  2. Choose Message-->Reply.
  3. A message form appears, with the subject already filled in in the form of Re:[the name of the message that you are replying to], and the address field filled in with the address of the person who sent the original message. See Figure 12-15. Your cursor will be in the Message Body.

  4. Type in your message, and then click on the Send button to send your reply.

Using mailing lists

One of the coolest things about e-mail on the Internet is its mailing lists. These lists let a group of people all receive the same mail about a particular subject that they're all interested in. Mailing lists are kind of like an ongoing conversation, with people talking and responding to each other. Since anyone can sign up for (called subscribing to) most mailing lists, people on the list are from all over the world. One of the lists that Tom subscribes to has participants from the United States, Norway, South Africa, Canada, and Great Britain. It's really cool to have friends and acquaintances from around the world. It's interesting to see how people in other countries react to things that happen here in the United States and to hear about what is happening in their countries.

Teachers can use mailing lists to improve students' writing skills and to expose them to other cultures at the same time. Although mailing lists are great for learning about a subject and for getting to know people far away, you have to be careful with these two aspects of lists.

  • The volume of the list. No, I'm not talking about how loud the list is, I'm talking about the number of messages that are sent to the list every day. High-volume lists about popular subjects can generate dozens or even hundreds of messages per day. A friend of mine subscribed to the main Internet mailing list that deals with chess, and he was quickly swamped with more mail than he wanted.

  • The type of list. Most mailing lists are for adults, not kids. You should always get your parents permission before you sign up for a mailing list.

Subscribing to mailing lists is outside of the scope of this book, but you can find out more about them by going to the Mail Center area of America Online and double-clicking on the Join a mailing list option.

To make sure that you can unsubscribe to a mailing list when you want to, you should always save the first message that you get from the list. This message is a welcome message that describes the list and gives you the rules for the list. More importantly, though, is that it contains the instructions on how to unsubscribe. Save this message, because you won't remember the instructions weeks or months later.

Just for Parents: Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

Nearly every week or so, newpapers or television stations carry another story about the horrors and dangers of the Internet. If all these stories were true, the Web would be nothing but a festering cesspool of smut, crazed ranting from racists and militia members, and lots of other stuff that you'll do anything to keep away from your kids. Here's the good news; most of those stories are driven more by the need to sell advertising than by the facts. Yes, there are some pretty seedy off-ramps from the Information Superhighway. But there are also books in any bookstore that you wouldn't show young children, either. There are certainly enough movies in theaters and shows on television that are objectionable, too.

In all these cases, parents need to have a realistic view of the dangers and take appropriate action to make sure that their kids are getting the kinds of guidance that the parents desire. In a bookstore, you take a look at the book your child has picked up and make a determination as to whether the book is appropriate. Movies and television shows help you out with a ratings system, but you still make the final decision. It should be no different with the new medium of the Internet. So that leads us to the most important thing that you can do to guard against the potential dangers of the World Wide Web and the Internet: Be involved. Spend time with your child surfing the Web. Check out the Web sites listed in Chapter 15. Find out what sorts of things that your kid is interested in, and then guide him or her to those places. Keep abreast of your child in terms of being able to find things on the Internet (if you need help, check out Chapter 13).

Software filters

Even though you try, in today's busy world, you may not be able to be there all the time when your kids are surfing the Web. That's why there are software filters for blocking your Web browser from going to certain Web sites. The CD-ROM that comes with this book has a demonstration version of one of these filters, called SurfWatch. SurfWatch works with all other Internet programs, so it also protects against racy downloads and e-mail from suspicious places.

SurfWatch uses a list of adult sites to decide which sites your Web browser should not go to. The SurfWatch folks created the list, and they update it on a monthly basis. In order to stay current, you have to download an updated list every once in a while. One of the nice things about SurfWatch is that it has password protection, so younger kids can have one access level, teens can have more freedom, and adults can surf the Web without any restrictions. The demonstration version included on the CD works for a limited time, after which you must buy the retail version of the program.

Remember, however, that no software program can take the place of your wisdom and good judgment. SurfWatch is just a tool that can help you out, but like all such tools, it is fallible. There's still no substitute for the watchful eyes of Mom and Dad.

Things that you should teach your children about the Internet

Like any place, the Internet has rules and customs of behavior. If your kids know about these customs in advance, you can rest easier at night.

  • Never give out personal information. Your kids should never give out an address, phone number, or any other personal information online, anymore than they would give that info to any stranger.

  • Never get involved in sending or receiving nasty messages. Just because an online name may not be a real name, it doesn't mean that a message can't be traced back to the sender. As in the real world, the Internet has jerks who think it's funny to cuss or use other vile language. Teach your children not to respond to these sorts of messages -- and tell them to show you any messages of this sort that they receive.

  • Never, never, never arrange to meet with someone in the real world without permission. There really isn't much more to say about this one. Just remind your kids that in the online world, people can appear to be quite different from what they really are. There's nothing to stop a nutty thirty-year-old man from posing as an eight-year-old boy (or even a girl). Don't take things that people say online as the gospel truth. And if your kid is chatting or exchanging e-mail with someone who suggests a real-world meeting, tell your kid to let you know so that you can decide whether this is a good idea. It may very well be innocent and a new way to meet a friend. But you need to decide, not your child.

  • If you're ever uncomfortable with an online conversation, tell Mom or Dad. Some online conversations might not seem bad, but they still give your kid a funny feeling. If so, encourage him or her to call you whenever he or she feels uncomfortable. You can tell the difference between a conversation that just went a bit astray and one that has veered into dangerous territory.

When all is said and done, the Internet offers much more promise than danger for your kids. Don't think that because the online world is new and unusual that your hard-won parenting skills are any less applicable. They aren't. With just the usual amounts of common sense and care, your children can reap the benefits of Cyberspace.

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