Doing the Internet Shuffle

Doing the Internet Shuffle

By the End of This Tutorial. You’ll Be Able To;

Ø Describe the Internet in 25 words or less

Ø Name three ways you can connect to the Internet

Ø Poke around in computers all over the world

Ø View pictures, movies, and sounds

Ø Write a complete sentence using only Internet acronyms

Unless you’ve set up permanent residence in the New York subway, you’ve probably heard the terms “Internet” and “information superhighway.” The Internet is a massive computer network connecting thousands of computers all over the world, including computers at universities, libraries, businesses, government agencies, and research facilities.To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
GTBank (Guaranty Trust Bank)
Account Name – Chudi-Oji Chukwuka
Account No – 0044157183
Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.  

By connecting to the Internet, you can tap many of the resources stored on these com­puters. You can copy files from them, use their programs, send and receive electronic mail (e-mail), chat with other people by typing messages back and forth, get information about millions of topics, shop electronic malls, and even search for a job or a compatible mate.

Finding an Entrance Ramp

Before you can navigate the Internet, you have to find an entrance ramp—a way onto the Internet. You have several options:

Online service connection   The easiest way to connect to the Internet is to use an online service. All the major online services (Prodigy, America Online, CompuServe, and The Microsoft Network) offer Internet access. However, you can usually get a better monthly service rate from a local Internet service provider.

Permanent connection   – If your company or university has a network that is part of the Internet and your computer is connected to the network, you have access to the Internet through the network. This is the least expensive (and fastest) way to go. Your network administrator can tell you if you’re connected.

Internet service provider –  One of the least expensive ways to connect to the Internet is through a local service provider. Most local Internet service providers charge a monthly fee of about $15 for unlimited connect time (or for a huge chunk of time, say 200 hours). You use your modem to connect to the service provider’s computer, which is hooked in to the Internet.

I’ll explain more about how to access the Internet using an online service or an Internet service, but first, I want to introduce you to the World Wide Web because this is the method you’ll use in this book for accessing the Internet.

Browsing the World Wide Web

The easiest way to do the Internet is to connect through the World Wide Web (the Web for short). The Web is a collection of “documents” stored on computers all over the world. Each computer that has Web documents is called a Web server; it serves up the documents to you and other users on request. (The other computer, the client, which is your com­puter, acts as a customer, demanding specific information and complaining about the prices and service.)

What makes these documents unique is that each contains a link to other documents contained on the same Web server or on a different Web server (down the block or overseas). You can hop around from document to document, from Web server to Web server, from continent to continent, by clicking these links.

And, when I say “document,” I don’t mean some dusty old text document like you’d find in the university library. These documents contain pictures, sounds, and video clips, animations, and even interactive programs. When you click one of these multimedia links, your modem pulls the file into your computer, where the Web browser or another(helper) application “plays” the file (more about helper applications later in the tutorial). All you have to do is tilt your chair back, nibble on popcorn, and watch the show.

To do the Web, you need a special program called a Web browser, which works through your service provider to pull documents up on your screen. You can choose from any of several Web browsers, including Mosaic, Netscape Navigator, and Internet Explorer. You also need the helper applications that play the picture, sound, movie files, and animation clips. All these helper applications and a browser are provided as part of the “package” when you access the Internet through an online service, such as America Online, or Prodigy. If you choose to use a local Internet service provider, your service provider usually supplies a free Web browser and shareware helper applications.

Connecting to an Online Service

The easiest way to connect to the Internet is to use an online service. Go Connecting to an Online Service, find the list of online service phone numbers, and call for a free trial membership. Install the software, sign on, and then take one of the following steps to tap into the


Ø In America Online, display the Main menu (it appears when you sign on), and click the Internet Connection button. The best way to surf the Internet is through the World Wide Web. Click the World Wide Web icon.

Ø In CompuServe, open the Services menu and click CompuServe Mosaic. This establishes the CompuServe connection and hooks you into the World Wide Web.

Ø In Prodigy, bring up the sign-on screen, and enter your user ID and password. Click the Web Browser option; then click the Connect button.

Ø To connect with The Microsoft Network, you need another program (called Internet Explorer). Read on.

Internet Explorer is included on the CD at the back of this book. It comes with a nifty program called Internet Setup Wizard, which (if you have Windows 95) leads you through the process of setting up Windows 95 to establish an Internet connection. In short, with Windows 95 and the CD at the back of this book, you can connect to the Internet right now! Simply skip ahead to “Using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer,” later in this tutorial for details.

Using a Local Internet Service Provider

Although an Internet service provider is the least expensive in terms of money, it’s a little more complicated than simply signing on to an online service. However, most service providers give you the software you need to connect to the Internet, and they will help you get up and running. If you don’t know of any service providers in your area, ask at a computer store or users group in your area, or check in the phone book.

When you call to set up an account, you’ll need to supply some information and specify just what you want:

Ø The service provider will want to know the maximum speed of your modem (for example, 14,400bps) and the COM port it is connected to (COM1 or COM2 usually).

Ø The service provider will also ask if you’re using a Macintosh or PC, and whether you are running Windows. 95 or Windows 3.1.

Ø The service provider will ask if you want a SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol) or PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) connection. PPP is better, especially if you’re using Win­dows 95. Friends don’t let friends set up SLIP connections in Windows 95.

Ø If you’re using Windows 3.1, make sure your service provider suppliessoftware. With configured software, the provider enters all the settings required to establish the connection. You simply install the program.

Ø If you’re using Windows 3.1, the service provider should supply a program c Winsock — a TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) pro gr dials into the service provider’s computer and establishes the Internet connection. Windows 95 has its own, built-in TCP/IP.

Ø The service provider should also supply a program called a Web browser. This program allows you to tap into most of the features of the Internet. However, the CD at the back of this book contains Microsoft’s Web browser, Internet Explorer. For more information, see the earlier section “Browsing the World Wide Web.”

Setting Up Your Internet Connection in Windows 95

Some service providers will help you set up the Internet connection in Windows 95. Some expect you to do it on your own, but they will provide you with a list of settings you need. Once you have the connection settings from your service provider, you can use the Internet Setup Wizard (from the CD at the back of this book) to set up connection yourself:

1.              Insert the CD Sampler disc into your CD-ROM drive, and follow the instructions at the back of this book to run CD Sampler.

2.              Click on the I.E. 2.0 button. A dialog box appears asking you to confirm the installation.

3.              Click Yes. The installation utility displays a license agreement.

4.              Read the agreement and click I Agree. The Browse for Folder dialog box appears, prompting you to select a parent folder.

5.              Click on the icon for the drive on which you want Internet Explorer installed (usually the C drive). Then click OK. A dialog box appears telling you to restart your computer.

6.              Click OK, exit all applications (including CD Sampler), and restart your computer.

You should now see an icon on the Windows desktop labeled The Internet. Double-click this icon to start the Internet Setup Wizard. If the Internet Setup Wizard does not start, click the Windows 95 Start button, point to Programs/Accessories/Internet Tools, and click on the Internet Setup Wizard.

Setup Wizard displays a series of dialog boxes, asking you questions. The big question is whether you already have a service provider or whether you want to use the Microsoft Network. If you choose Microsoft Network and you don’t have a Microsoft Network account, the program will help you establish the account. Respond to the remaining dialog boxes.

The Internet Setup Wizard configures Windows 95 to automatically display a Connect To dialog box whenever you try to run the Web browser (Internet Explorer). This dialog box contains all the information you need to dial into your service provider’s computer (or The Microsoft Network) and establish a connection. You simply double-click The Internet icon on the Windows desktop. The Connect To dialog box appears. Supply anyof the requested information, and click the Connect button. If you’re using your own service provider, after you connect you should see the following dialog box, and you can use Internet Explorer to start wandering the Web. For details about using Internet Ex­plorer, see “Using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer,” later in this post.

Setting Up Your Internet Connection in Windows 3.1

Windows 3.1 doesn’t come with its own Internet software. Your service provider should give you a copy of Winsock that’s configured for your computer. If Winsock is not set up specifically for your computer, you might be able to cheat your way to a quick connec­tion. Try the following steps. If they don’t get you connected, you may have to call your service provider for help. Here’s what you do:

1.      Follow your service provider’s instructions for installing Winsock. This should place the program in the Winsock directory.

2.      Open Program Manager’s File menu and select Run. You need to run a program called System Editor to edit one of your startup files.

3.      Type sysedit, and press Enter. System Editor appears, displaying the four system startup files.

4.      Change to the Autoexec.bat window, and look for a line that starts with Path=.

5.      Move the cursor to the end of the Path= line, and type ;c: winsock. This tells your computer where to look for Winsock.

6.      Open the File menu and select Save.

7.      Exit Windows, reboot your computer, and restart Windows.

8.      In Windows, double-click the Winsock icon. If Winsock is not configured, a dialog box appears, prompting you to enter the connection settings (which your service provider should have given you).

9.      Enter the settings, and click OK. Many settings are already entered for you. If your service provider did not give you a particular setting, leave the setting as is. Don’t worry about what all these settings mean—just enter the settings you have.

10. Open the Dialler menu, and click Login. This displays a series of dialog boxes, asking you to enter the phone number to dial, your user ID, and your password. Ineach dialog box, enter the requested information and click OK. (This is the only time you’ll be asked for this information.)

Winsock dials the phone number you entered and tries to connect to the service provider. Watch the screen. If a message appears indicating that the connection has been estab­lished, you’re in luck. If you see something like “Script aborted,” you’ve run into prob­lems. Call your service provider and cry for help.

Now, You Need To Run Another Program

When you connect to the Internet for the first time, you expect fireworks, but all you get is a dinky dialog box telling you that you’re connected. When you dial into the Internet, all you’re doing is opening a connection between your computer and the Internet. If you want to do something on the Internet, you need to run a specialized program that taps into specific features of the Internet:

Ø Web browser   (such as Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer) lets you tap into the World Wide Web, which is sort of a global multimedia library. You can view pictures, play sounds and video clips, and even view animations. See the next section, “Using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer,” for details on how to install the Web browser from the CD at the back of this book.

Ø E-mail program   (such as Eudora) lets you check your electronic mailbox and send mail to anyone in the world who is connected to the Internet.

Ø Newsgroup reader   allows you to read and post messages in newsgroups (electronic bulletin boards).

Ø FTP program   lets you copy files and programs from the Internet.

Ø Gopher Program Is a menu system that lets you move around the Internet by selecting items from Gopher menus.

Ø Telnet Program lets you connect to other computers and use their resources just as if you were sitting at their keyboards.

Ø Chat Program allows you to connect to chat rooms on the Internet and talk to other people “live.”

If your service provider supplied you with any of these programs, follow the instructions to install the program on your hard disk, but don’t try running the program until your computer is connected to the Internet. Before using any of these programs, you must connect using Dial-Up

Networking (in Windows 95) or your Winsock program (in Windows 3.1), as explained in the previous two sections. Once connected, you can then run one of your Internet programs and start using it to access the Internet.

Do-Everything Web Browser

You can tap most of the resources on the Internet using Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer (both popular Web browsers). It allows you to send and receive e-mail, access newsgroups, copy files, and use Gopher menus. If you were on a deserted planet and you could have only one Internet program, pick a Web browser.

Using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer

Gopher program is a menu system that lets you move around the Internet by selecting items from Gopher menus.

Telnet program   lets you connect to other comput­ers and use their resources just as if you were sitting at their keyboards.

Chat program   allows you to connect to chat rooms on the Internet and talk to other people “live.”

In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft has recently declared war in the battle over control of the Internet. Its strategy is to make its online service (The Microsoft Network) more of an Internet service provider. Fortunately, Microsoft has made it fairly easy to connect to the Internet with its own Web browser, Internet Explorer.

If you have Windows 95, you can use Internet Explorer to explore the Web. Follow the instructions in “Setting Up Your Internet Connection in Windows 95,” earlier in this tutorial, to set up your Internet connection and install Internet Explorer. To run Explorer double-clickThe Internet icon on the Windows desktop. Or click the Start button, point to Programs, Accessories, Internet Tools, and click Internet Explorer. A dialog box appears, prompting you to connect to a service provider. Complete the dialog box, and click the Connect button.

Your modem dials the service provider or Microsoft Network, and establishes the connec­tion. The Internet Explorer window appears, and it loads Microsoft’s home page. You car-start to wander the Web simply by clicking links (highlighted text or pictures). Click the Back button to flip to a previous page, or click Forward to skip ahead to a page you’ve visited but backed up from.

Using URLs To Find Specific Pages

You’ve seen them on TV, in magazines, maybe even in your daily newspaper: bits of odd looking text, such as or What are these things? They’re addresses of specific Web pages. These addresses are called Uniform Resource Locators (or URLs, pronounced “you are ells”). You enter the address in your Web browser, usually in a text box called Location or Go to, at the top of the screen, and your Web browser pulls up the page.

URLs Dissected

To give you some idea of how these addresses work, let’s dissect one. First, all Web page addresses start with http;//. Gopher sites start with gopher://. FTP sites start with ftp://. You get the idea. The rest of the address reads from right to left. For example, in the URL, .gov stands for government, whitehouse stands for White House, and www stands for World Wide Web. Addresses that end in ,edu are for pages at educational institu­tions. Addresses that end in .com are for commercial institutions.

All you really have to know about a URL is that if you want to use one, type the URL exactly as you see it. Type the periods as shown, use forward slashes, and follow the capitalization of the URL. Any typos and a message will appear telling you that the page doesn’t exist.

Using Internet Search Tools

How do you find information on the Web? Many Web sites have search tools that filter through an index of Internet resources to help you find what you’re looking for. You simply connect to a site that has a search tool, type a couple words that specify what you’re looking for, and click the Search button. Here are the URLs (addresses) of some popular search tools on the Web:

Doing Electronic Mail

Because the Internet connects computers all over the world, it’s ideal for transmitting messages electronically. You can sit in front of your computer and jot notes to your friends across town, across the country, or in exotic foreign lands. And these messages arrive in a matter of minutes or hours rather than days.

The procedure for sending messages over the Internet varies, depending on the e-mail program or online service you’re using. In most cases, however, you get a dialog box that asks you to enter the person’s e-mail address, a description of the message, and the message itself.

The e-mail address typically consists of two parts: the person’s login name and domain name. The login name is the name that the person uses to connect to the Internet. The domain name is the address of the computer the person connects through. Type the address in all lowercase characters, and use an @ sign to separate the login and domain names.

If you’re sending messages from a commercial online service, such as PRODIGY or America Online, you have to specify that the message is going to someone outside the service. For example, on CompuServe, you type INTERNET: before the e-mail address.

If you were sending a message from CompuServe to a member of America Online, the address might look something like this:

Sharing Interests in Newsgroups

A newsgroup is a discussion group, an electronic bulletin board on which users exchange messages. For example, you might post &message on a body-art newsgroup asking the best way to remove the tattoo of your ex’s name from your left bicep. Another user (more experienced in such matters) will read your message and post a reply, which you can then read.

The Internet supports over 10,000 newsgroups covering everything from gardening to desktop publishing. Whatever your interest, you can find a newsgroup (maybe three or four) where you can swap information with others.

To read newsgroup postings (and post your own messages), you need a newsgroup reader. When you connect to the Internet with the reader, it displays the names of all the newsgroups your service provider subscribes to. After you pick a newsgroup, the reader displays a list of recent postings from which you can choose.

Fetching Files with FTP

When the Internet started out, it wasn’t much more than a gigantic file warehouse. Businesses and individuals stored files on various Internet servers, where other people could come and copy (download) those files. It was like a huge swap meet for computer nerds.

As the Internet grew and diversified, it had to assign specific jobs to different servers. World Wide Web servers were given the task of storing hyperdocuments, news­groups were set up to act as bulletin boards, and FTP ser­vers became the file warehouses. What does this have to do with you? You can connect to many public-access FTP servers and copy programs, text files, graphics, and any­thing else that can be stored electronically.

As with most Internet sites, you can access FTP sites most easily by using a Web browser. When you connect to the site, you get a list of files and directories that appear as files, To grab a file you click on it, tell your computer where to store it, and then give your final okay.


Short for File Transfer Protocol, FTP is a set of rules that govern the transfer of filesbetween computers. True nerds use this acronym as a verb. For example, “You can ftp to the NSCA site and download the latest Mosaic.”links. To grab a file, you click your final okay.

If the Web browser idea doesn’t appeal to you, you can use a special FTP program to transfer files. These programs are usually set up something like the Windows File Man­ager, allowing you to copy files by dragging them from one window to another.

Using Gopher Menus To Navigate

Gopher is an indexing system that enables you to access various Internet services through menus. Whenever you connect to a Gopher site, it presents you with an opening menu. When you select a menu item, the server presents you with another menu containing additional options and/or files. These options may send you off to another Gopher site, an FTP site, a newsgroup, or other Internet sites. You proceed through the menus until you find the file or information you want—or reach a dead end.

Telnetting (When Your Computer Just Isn’t Enough)

Have you ever tried using someone else’s computer? You never know what you’re going to find. Maybe a menuing system, maybe some fancy graphical interface like Norton Desktop. Maybe you even get…horror of horrors…a DOS prompt! That’s sort of what telnetting is like. You connect to another computer, and you enter commands just as if you were sitting at its keyboard. However, you’re never sure what you’re going to encoun­ter—a texty menu system, a prompt, or a spiteful warning explaining what will happen to you if you go any further.

With most Telnet sites, you can log in as a guest. The site then displays a crude menu system that allows you to ferret out the information you’re looking for.

Chatting Away

Commercial online services offer their own chat rooms, where you can rack up huge charges talking to other members all night. The Internet also has a chat feature. You use a special chat program to connect to a chat server (a computer that lets people use it for chatting). You then tune into a channel, which is sort of like a virtual coffee house, where other users are talking. As you type messages, they appear on the screens of all the other users on your channel. And, as they type messages, those messages appear on your screen. If you land on a channel with a bunch of fast typists, things can get pretty chaotic.

The Least You Need To Know

This tutorial provides a mere smattering of what you’ll find on the Internet. To experience this vast resource, get a fast modem and an Internet connection, and start playing. Here are some tips:

Ø Use a 14,400bps or faster modem.

Ø Try the World Wide Web first; you can do most of the other stuff from the Web. (You’ll need a Web browser.)

Ø URLs are addresses that indicate where each item on the Internet is stored.

Ø Internet e-mail allows you to send messages to anyone who’s connected to the Internet.

Ø Use newsgroups to read and post messages on an electronic bulletin board.

Ø You can ftp using your Web browser much more easily than by using an FTP program.

To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
GTBank (Guaranty Trust Bank)
Account Name – Chudi-Oji Chukwuka
Account No – 0044157183
Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.  

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