Topic 1: History of the Internet


History of the Internet

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

  • 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, AUP, 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, cgi, and other acronyms that we commonly use stand for? For example you may use Electronic Mail (email) 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 which is an easy way to get familiar with newsgroups and other Internet concepts.
  • Here are two 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.
  • Browsers

    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 home pages and see which one you prefer. You probably have one or the other or both already installed on your computer
  • Sometimes people get confused about what is needed to access the Internet. To "surf the Net" you need:
    • A modem for a dial up connection  using your phone line or an Ethernet card installed in your computer for a direct connection through a network
    • If using a modem connection, a phone line connection plugged into your computer. If you have a direct connection through an ISDN or T1 line a RJ45, CAT 5 connection plugged into your computer. This connector looks like a phone line connector, but is slightly larger.
    • An Internet Service Provider.
      • At work this would most likely be a direct connection through a server
      • At home this could be a phone line, DSL or cable connection through a company that provides Internet access such as AOL, MSN, Earthlink, South Valley Internet,, PacBell, Telis, Ricochet, etc. Costs vary for each of these. Usually, in addition to Internet access, these companies will provide you with an email account. Costs and services will vary. Some will also provide free server space for your web pages. (Free web based email accounts are also available through Yahoo, Hotmail, Netscape, etc, but you must first have access to the Internet to use these free services.)
    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.