A guide to using the net
What is this thing?
The Internet is more than just one thing. The basic principle of the internet is that it provides information at your fingertips and, as with all information, it comes to you in different forms and formats. Through the many different aspects of the internet you can both learn and inform others. This is a brief guide to the four main areas where new ideas meet.
Where to start
Now when you first sit at the computer you probably want to know what it is that you can do with it. Well, the Internet is a pretty big place and you can do a lot. Right now you're in the World Wide Web application of the 'net. This is the driving force of what is making 'net-surfing so popular. It's through here that you'll find information on almost any topic, from you're favourite tv show, band, artist, to some of the latest research from scientists around the world.
In the old days you used to know all the different commands and programming tips in order to find anything. And even then it was all text based with the only visuals being ASCII drawings using various letters and numbers from the keyboard to make a picture i.e. the infamous smiley :-) (tilt your head to the left if you don't get it.)
Sure you could get pictures in the old days but you had to find where they where, download them, convert them into a format that you could view them in and then you could see if it was worth downloading it or not. These days you'll see graphics almost everywhere you look.
The basic point behind the web though is that you don't need the command codes to be able to move around. The user-friendly side of the net, all you have to do is point the mouse and click(usually something written in blue or surrounded by a blue square). If you want to continue browsing the World Wide Web, try starting at Yahoo!, a directory of topics that covers most of what the net has to offer.
Or if you want to know more about what the Web is and how it works, click here and I'll get a bit more technical.
Impersonal Faceless Computers
Probably one of the most popular things to do on the net is chatting. People all around the world love to do nothing more than type short messages to each other about everything and nothing in general. There are several ways you can chat to people through the computer. The World Wide Web has seen many chat programmes spring up to allow communication.
If you are interested in trying some of these webchats, click here for some reviewed links.
The main way that people choose to chat, however, is another application called "IRC" which stands for Instant Relay Chat(or what ever you want the initials to stand for really). This basicly means that you when you type something and press enter, then everyone else, who is in the particular chat "channel", can read it instantly, unlike the Web based chat, where you have to wait for your message to be sent in to the programme and be gathered with everyone elses before being sent back to you so you can read how they replied.
The Hub uses ircle, a macintosh programme that allows you to be in several chat channels at once. (if you are on a home computer with windows try Mirc )
If you wish to try chatting this way click here for a walkthrough.
The Mail Thing
The main way that people communicate on the internet is through E-Mail. What this basiclly entails is finding somebodies E-mail address. If you have this then you can send them a letter, an encoded picture, or even a computer programme(it helps if you have you're own e-mail account so they can reply to you).
If you've never sent e-mail before you can send a message to me through Netscape by clicking on my Email address: email@example.com Another window will appear and you can write a message. Just click on the "Send Now" button in the upper left corner to send it to me.
If you want to know more about how E-mail works just click here.
Another part of the internet is the newsgroups. These are like bulletin boards where people E-mail in messages where they know people with similar interests can read them. The two most popular newsgroups are the alt.(alternative views) They tend to start off with general topics and then you can get more specific interest groups.(i.e. )
Once agin Netscape can provide you with newsgroup access. If you want a brief run down on how to get them click here.
Any other proplems?
IF you have any other questions don't hesitiate to get one of the Hub staff to help you out.