The Internet For Dummies
Now in its 14 th edition, The Internet ForDummies covers the latest social networking tools, browserfeatures, connection options, safety features, and so much more.Starting out with the basics, it walks you through getting online,picking an Internet provider, getting to know the different webbrowsers, dealing with e-mail and connecting with friends, findingthe hottest sites to share photos and videos - and everythingin between. Includes all formats and all editions
The Internet For Dummies
What's So Great about the Internet?
In This Chapter
What, really, is the Internet?
For that matter, what is a network?
What is the Internet good for?
It's huge, it's sprawling, it's globe spanning, and it has become part of our lives. It must be ... the Internet. We all know something about it, and most of us have tried to use it, with more or less success. (If you've had less, you've come to the right place.) In this chapter, we look at what the Internet is and can do, before we dive into details in the rest of this book.
If you're new to the Internet, and especially if you don't have much computer experience, be patient with yourself. Many of the ideas here are completely new. Allow yourself some time to read and reread. The Internet is a different world with its own language, and it takes some getting used to.
Even experienced computer users can find using the Internet more complex than other tasks they've tackled. The Internet isn't a single software package and doesn't easily lend itself to the kind of step-by-step instructions we'd provide for a single, fixed program. This book is as step-by-step as we can make it, but the Internet resembles a living organism mutating at an astonishing rate more than it resembles Microsoft Word and Excel, which sit quietly on your computer. After you get set up and practice a little, using the Internet seems like second nature; in the beginning, however, it can be daunting.
So What Is the Internet?
The Internet - also known as the Net - is the world's largest computer network. "What is a network?" you may ask. Even if you already know, you may want to read the next couple of paragraphs to make sure that we're speaking the same language.
Where did the Internet come from?
The ancestor of the Internet is the ARPANET, a project funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) in 1969, as an experiment in reliable networking and to link DoD and military research contractors, including many universities doing military-funded research. (ARPA stands for Advanced Research Projects Administration, the branch of the DoD in charge of handing out grant money. For enhanced confusion, the agency is now known as DARPA - the added D is for Defense, in case anyone wondered where the money came from.) Although the ARPANET started small - connecting three computers in California with one in Utah - it quickly grew to span the continent and, via radio link, Europe.
In the early 1980s, the ARPANET grew into the early Internet, a group of interlinked networks connecting many educational and research sites funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), along with the original military sites. By 1990, it was clear that the Internet was here to stay, and DARPA and the NSF bowed out in favor of the commercially run networks that make up today's Internet. (And, yes, although Al Gore didn't invent the Internet, he was instrumental in keeping it funded so that it could turn into the Internet we know now.) Familiar companies such as AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, and Verizon run some networks; others belong to specialty companies, such as Level3 and Cogent. No matter which one you're attached to, they all interconnect, so it's all one giant Internet. For more information, read our web page at net.gurus.org/history .
A computer network is a bunch of computers that communicate with each other, sort of like a radio or TV network connects a bunch of radio or TV stations so that they can share the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory.
Don't take the analogy too far. In broadcast networking, TV networks send the same information to all stations at the same time; in computer networking, each particular message is routed to a particular computer, so differe