Topic 1: History of the Internet


History of the Internet


Visit each of the following histories of the Internet, then read one in depth:


The Internet has a language of its own. The Internet has brought us a new vocabulary full of acronyms, new words, strange spellings, and new ways to use capital letters such as bookmark, browser, hyperlink, Internet, keyword, search, site, ISP, EULA, URL and WWW. This specialized vocabulary is gradually creeping into everyone's lives through television, radio, magazines, newspapers and bill boards. We now speak of .coms, Web site addresses, etc.

Have you wondered what URL, html, http, TCP/IP, and other acronyms that we commonly use stand for? For example you may use Electronic Mail (e–mail) to send messages and documents to other people. Some of you may have used Telnet, an application which allows you to connect your computer to another computer and look through the information stored there. If you have ever uploaded a web page to a server you may have used File Transfer Protocol (FTP), an Internet operation that is used to move files from your computer to another, or from a remote computer to yours. Another useful tool you may have used is Gopher, an Internet tool developed at the University of Minnesota (home of the Golden Gophers,) that lets you read information databases such as online catalogs and electronic texts, and download software. Usenet Newsgroups is a discussion forum consisting of thousands of topics arranged in a hierarchical manner. To learn more about these you might want to check out Learn the Net or Internet 101 which are an easy way to get familiar with newsgroups and other Internet concepts.

Here are more sites that will help you “get with” the lingo and become articulate when discussing the Internet. Take a look at these sites and familiarize yourself with the vocabulary of the Internet.

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A Web browser is the software that transforms the WWW into a user-friendly, graphical environment for us. It allows us to point and click, and to move easily from one area to another.

There are several Browsers available that will allow you to surf the Net (access the Internet). A Browser is a computer program or application. It is a piece of software that is loaded onto your computer that allows you view Web sites. Two frequently used browsers are Netscape Communicator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Although there are differences between them, they are quite similar, and are available for free both on disk, and by downloading them from the Internet. You can visit their download pages and see which one you prefer. You probably have one or the other or both already installed on your computer, however if you decide to download one or both of them, note that, depending on the platform (Windows or Macintosh) and Operating System (Windows 2000, Windows XP, OS 9, or OS X) you use, you will be advised to install specific version of a browser that will work the best on your computer.

Browsers come in many versions. The versions are numbered. Version 1.0 would be the first version of that browser. 4.5 would indicate a tweaking of the 4th version of the browser. The newer the browser, the larger the software program is the more space on your hard drive it will occupy, and the more RAM (random access memory) it will require to run. In general, older computers may not be able to run newer browsers. Newer browsers allow you to use the more recent Internet tools such as Java, Flash (animations) and QuickTime movies. All of which are very cool, but do work best if you have a fast Internet connection (DSL, ISDN, T1) and  a newer high powered computer with lots of RAM.

Take time to look at the following Web sites which will give you more information about Browsers. Choose the one that best fits your needs to explore in depth.

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Sometimes people get confused about what is needed to access the Internet. To “Surf the Net” you need:

At work:

  • In most cases you just need to plug in an Ethernet Cable into Ethernet Port of your computer, while the other end of the cable should be connected to the wall jack (RJ45).
  • Some work places are switching to wireless network. In this case you virtually don't need to do anything: your computer will connect to the network on its own.


At Home:

Depending on the kind of connection you have, following should be done to be able to surf the Web:

Cable Modem, DSL, or Satellite Connection:
Plug in Ethernet Cable (Ethernet connector looks like a phone one, but bigger) into the Ethernet port of your computer. The other end of the cable should be plugged into ISP gate: the box that you Internet Provider installed at your house ( for either DSL, Satellite or Cable modem ).
Wireless Router:
Do nothing if you have a wireless router. As soon as you open a browser your computer will be connected.
Plug in a phone cable into a modem port for a dial up connection. 


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