The Internet – A Miracle of Technology

“Internet is like an act that of a magician. The miracle that Internet had made to happen is really mind-boggling. We can find everything on the Internet that has put the world knowledge in a computer box”.

The Internet had its origin in the DOD’s (Department of Defense USA) efforts to build a controller that can get an entry into any network that is very broad, stubborn, and sturdy. A few years back DOD officials were worried because there was no such device to which you can connect almost any other network or computer. The DOD officials wanted to create a fault-tolerant Wide Area Network that could carry, command, and control information in the event of a nuclear war. Thorough research was made and the result was the Internet Protocol (IP) and ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), though the original aim of this research was military, it was soon used for other purposes. Up to the 1990s, the Internet was largely used by Academic, Government, and Industrial researchers. But with the invention of a new application, the WWW (World Wide Web) millions of new non-academic users were added to the Internet.

What is Internet?

Everybody talks about the Internet nowadays, but most people don’t really know, what actually it is. Briefly, speaking, “Internet is a web which has a very large number of computers connected to each other”. These computers are connected with one and another either through wire, satellite, microwaves, or fiber optics cables. They are so programmed using many software browsers, such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator, that one can communicate from one computer to another computer within minutes. No one “owns” the internet service. No one even really runs it. And no one can turn it off or on.

In other words, the Internet is essentially a big network that links smaller networks and individual computers all over the world using modems, phone lines, and satellite links.

Everyone is welcome in the arms of the internet as long as one’s computer runs the communication protocol/ Internet protocol (TCP/IP). This universal standard allows different types of computers to communicate with each other, regardless of their make, model, or operating system. In order to communicate information to travel on Internet, a computer breaks down the information/ massage into smaller chunks of data called `packets’ and sends these packets through ‘Modem’, and through the telephone lines. These packets move separately from one line to another, one network to another, till they reach their final destination, where another computer gathers them all together and reassembles them into the original message. The internet works in such a wonderful manner that even if one or the other phone lines are busy, or a number of individual networks go down, data packets would find another route through different lines, networks, and computers to reach the final destination.

Common people do not understand the differences between online services and the Internet and the world wide web browsers and search engine services. We are giving below a brief description of different terminologies used to understand the Internet.

What is a Modem?

The term “Modem” comes from the word Modulator Demodulator, which actually describes how this essential piece of hardware acts as your computer’s link to the rest of the world. Connected to your computer either internally or externally, a modem transforms (modulates) the digital signals that can travel across regular phone lines into the modems of other computers. When a modem receives a signal, it must reverse the original process and transform the original signal back (demodulate) into a digital one the computer can use.

One of the most important attributes of a modem is the speed at which it can transmit and receive signals. A fast modem makes you get across the Internet and its famous offspring the World Wide Web in no time. You can move from site to site more quickly and download more efficiently, and more cost-effectively, by staying on-line for less time. We measure a modem’s speed in bits per second (bps). Bits are tiny pieces of data. Most of the modems available these days have a speed of 28,800 bps. However, this speed is usually expressed as 28.8 kilobits per second or 28.8 kbps.

What is the World Wide Web (www)?

The Internet contains different parts with the most famous being the World Wide Web. Users of a Web browser can enjoy the graphical interfaces on the Web that are considerably more user—friendly than the text-only sites found throughout Mach of the Internet. By pointing the cursor and clicking the mouse, users can visit individual websites that contain everything from text and images to sound, animation, and video.

It seems that everybody has their own Website these days, from universities to movie studios, advertising agencies to potato chip manufacturers, scientists to the average computer holder. If you want information, useful or not, presented in a visually pleasing way, you need the Web.

The web also gives users the ability to jump from site to site by simply clicking highlighted sections of text, called hyperlinks, that appear on most sites. For example, if you’re reading an online magazine’s review of a current movie, you might notice the director’s name highlighted in blue color within the body of the text. That means the person who created this page has created a link for you. If you click the name, you’ll jump to a related story about the film’s director.

What is a web browser?

Web browsers are the Internet equivalent of a magic carpet that can take you anywhere you want to go. The intuitive, point and click nature of these programs makes them very easy to use, and they’ve had a great deal to do with the popularization of the Internet.

A web browser helps users type in an Internet address and instantly move to that location on the ‘Net’. If it turns out you really like the site, most browsers will help you mark it in memory, so you can return at the click of the button. Other prominent capabilities of most browsers include access to E-mail and newsgroups and the ability to help you download files.

Another handy utility of most browsers is that they can make out where you have been during your Internet trek. By simply clicking the Back button, or your browser’s equivalents you can retrace your route and return to sites you’ve already visited. The major web browsers also offer direct access to a list of search services, which can help you find what you’re looking for on the Internet.

What is a search service or search engine?

Search Service is a company that runs a complex program to keep track of all sites propping up on the Internet. Users can access a service’s listings to try to find sites of interest by using keywords and names. For example, if you wanted to see what types of sites the Internet had to offer on Mark Twain, you might visit the Google site (at www.Google.com). Once you’re there, you simply type ‘Mark Twain’ in the search window, and get away you go. Google was one of the first and is still one of the simple interface and friendly demeanor.

Your request for sites about Mark Twain should bring back a list of possible sites. If they’re not exactly what you were looking for, you might try to narrow your search parameters; most search services make it easy to do.

If you’re having difficulty with a search or if you just want to find an interesting topic, most search services now offer directories for you to browse through. In a directory, you can pick a general topic and work your way down to a specific site. For example, you could pick the general category of health, then pick the subcategory hospitals, and finally pick out a particular hospital’s Website. Directories are very easy to use and can lead to some great discoveries. Some search services even provide reviews and ratings of websites.

It’s usually pretty easy to find a search service (more are popping up every day), and most web browsers offer their own list at the start page or through a button on the browser. These sites work for free, but beware; most sell space to advertisers who want to sell you something

What is a URL?

URL stands for Universal Resource Locator, which is a fancy way of saying “Internet address.” URLs are those long strings of text that are popping up in everything from newspaper articles to television commercials, asking you to visit a certain website. URLs usually start with “HTTP;” have a mess of letters, numbers, and punctuations marks in the middle; and include a three-letter combination such as .EDU or .COM or .ORG at the end.

By typing a complete URL into the appropriate window of a web browser, you can jump instantly to a new site on the Internet. Just like a real-life address, it’s very important to make sure you enter a URL; otherwise, it’s likely you’ll end up in the wrong place.

What is E-mail?

Electronic mail (E-mail) is a letter or document composed, mailed, received, and read through computers. Most E-mail reaches its destination by traveling on the Internet, although office network and commercial on-line services also provide E-mail services to their users.

E-mail provides people to use -written communication (which many prefer) in a timely manner. It combines the qualities traditionally attributed to a letter or document sent through the postal service, with the speed, efficiency, and dependability of placing a phone call. And it usually costs very little.

Most Web browsers have some type of E-mail program, and there are dozens more to choose from on the market and on the Internet. E-mail is the most popular use for the ‘Net’, and in future, almost everyone probably will have two addresses, one where they receive their “real” mail and one where they receive E-mail.

What are commercial on-line services?

Most on-line companies also offer their own gateways to the Internet. The main difference between the Internet and commercial on-line services is that no single person or company owns the Internet, so there is nobody in charge of content.

Since nobody owns the Internet, you don’t have to pay for its use. However, you have to pay to connect to it. This is where Internet Service Providers (ISPs) come into play. They provide the link between your computer and the rest of the Internet. An ISP has absolutely no control over the content of the Internet. Companies own and operate the commercial services. They work to create content, monitor activity, and provide services that users won’t find on the Internet. Commercial services also offer monitored chat rooms, where people can have a real-time discussion under the watchful eye of the company’s sensors. If people in a chat-room get out of line and use forbidden words or phrases, they are checked at once.

What is a PPP connection?

Point-to-Point Protocol is a method for connecting your computer directly to the Internet. A fully connected machine gives you experience with all the vibrant graphics, animation, sounds, and video available on the World Wide Web. Using a PPP connection, you can bypass that second computer and link directly to the Internet. This makes you take full advantage of what is available online. Windows 95 has built-in software for installing a PPP connection on your computer.

What is IRC?

IRC, which stands for Internet Relay Chat, is a virtual area where people gather to use their computers; and modems to chat in real term. To take part in this world wide web, users first must obtain an IRC program called a Client. (The best are available for free on the Internet.) After installing the client, it should be easy for the user to log on to a server that connects in turn to another server where they can find the IRC’s individual channels.

Selecting a channel from the thousands that exist, can be the most difficult part of IRC. You have a range of topics to choose from, including everything from music groups to literature and politics. Once you join a channel, you can communicate with other people thereby simply typing what you want to say. Your statement zooms around the world in an instant, and your international conversation has begun.

What is a newsgroup?

If you’re looking for a place to keep busy about your favorite topics—from hobbies to television shows, personal habits—along with people that share your interests, a newsgroup is the best place for you. Newsgroups are essentially bulletin boards where people can read and post messages about the topics of their choice. When you post a message to a newsgroup, everyone who visits that newsgroup can read your comments and respond if they want to. Usenet is the cyberspace where users can find a collection of thousands of different newsgroups.

If you have one of the major Web browsers, for example, Netscape 2.0, accessing these Newsgroups is as easy as clicking the Newsgroup’s button and following the instructions to set it all up. This amount to connect to an appropriate server and choosing in which topics you’re interested. Once you’re in, mind your manners and remember: whatever you type may be read by a large number of people.

What is FTP?

File-Transfer Protocol is a way to transfer computer files over the Internet. FTP sites house programs that are available as shareware (means you have paid a registration fee to use them) or as freeware (which costs nothing, but the programs remain copyright).

In the past, you needed an FTP client (software) to access FTP sites. Using a client involved learning various commands as well as dealing with site administrators. Today, you can access most FTP sites with your average Web browsers and it will handle the details. For this download the software to your hard drive.

With the improved method of downloading files from the Internet, a commercially viable use for FTP files has arisen. Many software companies have recently begun to offer demonstration versions of the software. You visit a company’s website and download a partial version of its program. For example, you only would get one or two levels of a 10-level scenario if you were downloading a game. And if you were downloading a product such as flowcharting software, the demonstration program might leave out the spelling program or the other important feature. Downloaded the program and then decide whether you want to buy the full version.

What is HTML?

Hypertext Markup Language is a language of the world wide web. You can use HTML to create the instructions that tell a web browser and your computer to display a Web page.

You can add HTML tags to plain text files to create things such as headlines and other page elements. One of the most important elements of HTML is the fact that any browser, on any computer, can read and interpret it.

What is uploading?

One of the most interesting aspects of the Internet is the incredible amount of diversity you can find there. Anyone with access to the Internet can make a contribution through the process of uploading. This occurs when you take files from your computer where users can access them from the Internet.

The worst face of the Net?

With the easy availability of Internet access, the Internet is being misused not only by the youth and kids but also by mature people. The easy availability of Pornography, the lustful chatting is causing havoc in society. The teenage boy and girls can be seen sitting in cyber cafes visiting adult sites, making lustful chats, wasting hours together, and lots of money. Opening cyber cafes wherein provided separate cabins for the individual users have become a lucrative money-making business, at the cost of the young generation. In spite of laws and rules to prevent such misuse of the Internet, no resultant action is taken and that to a great extent responsible for degeneration and disintegration of the youth of today, inviting maturity before date, knowing everything about sex. The increase in sex crimes, the moral degradation of youth, the increase in the cases of young boys and girls involved in sexual relations, due to easy accessibility of adult sites on the Internet.

Every agency, executives, politicians, and parents are well aware of the fact, but find no solution to stop the misuse of the Internet. The Government has to tackle this situation in order to keep the youth away from such sites. At least the cybercafes must be checked and stern action or exemplary punishment must be awarded to such a person running cafes found involved in such activities.

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