In many ways the Internet is much like a telephone network system.
However, instead of transmitting point-to-point voice conversations, Internet
pathways are used to exchange digitized computer data. But, you can use
the Internet to place phone calls.
For computer users who have a DSL or cable modem, you know that it
provides near instant messaging and Internet access. You can quickly jump
around on the Internet. Unfortunately, with all that extra speed, there
are some problems. These modems have a feature that makes them "always
on." This means that even if you're not currently downloading or uploading
information, your connection is live and open. This open status provides
an access path for hackers to get into your system. There are a couple
of things you can do to minimize your exposure. First, in the Control Panel,
go to Networks and clear the Print Sharing and File options. Second, purchase
a firewall software package. A firewall acts like a guard for your personal
computer (PC). It lets things out, but, depending upon how you set things,
limits access into your PC and protects vital Internet protocol information.
Unfortunately none of these programs tells you exactly what they filter
out. Their idea of what's appropriate or inappropriate may not match your
Several companies sell software that filters out Web pages that are
inappropriate for kids. These programs run on your computer and block children
from seeing questionable sites without restricting
your access to them. Some popular vendors include:
Using Win98/Me/XP, Internet Explorer maintains a History List that
contains a link to each page that you have visited while on the Internet.
If there is a need to return to a particular Web page and one not saved
in your Favorites list, you can use the History List to locate the URL
for the page. To view the History List, click the History button or select
View, Explorer Bar and History.
Slingshot is an Internet access software program. To use it, connect
to a telephone jack, put Slingshot's $10 CD into your PC, type in an access
code, and you're on the Internet for 600 minutes on a local access number
or 120 minutes anywhere in the U.S. using a toll-free number. Slingshot
resides peacefully with any other ISP and browser you already have on your
computer. It's a stand-alone arrangement. You can connect to the Internet
with Slingshot and not have another ISP, or you can use whatever browser
is on your computer. You can even get an e-mail box and address. Install
the Slingshot CD in a couple of minutes and you never again need the CD
to access the Internet from anywhere there’s a telephone hookup. When you
run out of minutes, recharge your account online with a credit or debit
card, or buy more time from a number of major retailers. Slingshot
even provides a free trial if you want
to use it.
Internet Links to the Desktop
With Win98/Me/XP there are a few quick ways to create links to the
Internet right on your Windows desktop. To begin, go to the Web page or
hyperlink you want to add to your desktop. Now, do any of the following
steps to add a hyperlink to your desktop:
A shortcut to the Internet hyperlink will appear on your desktop. By double-clicking
it, the Web page you linked to will open in your browser. If you no longer
want the desktop shortcut, simply drag it to the Recycle Bin.
- To add a link to the current page, choose File, Send, Shortcut to Desktop from the IE menus.
- To drag-and-drop a link to the current page, be sure you can see the desktop. Then, drag the little icon shown next to the
URL in the Address box to your desktop and release the mouse button.
- To drag-and-drop a link that's somewhere on the current Web page, point to the link so the mouse pointer changes to a pointing hand. Now drag the
link to your desktop and release the mouse button.
Links to Your Favorites Folder
If using Win98/Me/XP, you can add a favorite link to the current Web
page to your Favorites folder by dragging the Web page icon that appears
before the page's URL in the Address bar to the Favorites button on the
Standard Buttons toolbar. You also can move this Web page icon to the desired
subfolder of the Favorites folder.
Internet Links in Word Documents
When you send someone a Word document via e-mail, it's very easy to
imbed any Internet link in this communication. All you have to do is type
a URL (use http://) in the document. You will notice that the link appears
in underlined blue. If you or your recipient(s) click the link, your system
will dial the ISP, if necessary, and navigate to that link. If this action
fails to work for you, then that Word option has been disabled. To enable
it, choose Tools, AutoCorrect. When the AutoCorrect dialog box opens, click
the AutoFormat As You Type tab. Select the check box labeled "Internet
and networks paths with hyperlinks,” click OK to close the dialog box,
and record your selections.
There are several companies that will trace your stolen computer over
a phone or Internet connection. For this service, you pay a yearly fee
and install special monitoring software on your laptop. When a thief logs
on to your computer/Internet, the company uses this software to trace the
call to the originating phone number which reveals his/her location.
Two providers are:
If you see a URL that includes the %20 symbols, it is an indication
of a Web page that was made and named on a Macintosh. This URL allows blank
spaces in names and is served up through a system, such as Windows, that
does not allow blanks. Unix computer systems sometimes use a tilde ~ in
place of spaces.
Modem Connection Test
Even if you have a 56Kbps modem, you won't connect at 56K every time.
In fact, every time you connect to your ISP, it will probably be at a different
speed. There's not much you can do about this because your modem connects
at the fastest speed that your ISP and the phone connection allows at the
time. But, if curious, you can check your dial-up ability with 3Com's
LineTest tool. This site helps you figure out your phone line's capability.
You can also try Net.Medic,
a browser companion that helps monitor, isolate, diagnose, and correct
Internet or intranet performance problems. Net.Medic helps you identify
the source of your network bottleneck, offers solutions for any problems
with your computer, and often fixes them automatically by using software
found at the sites listed above.
Online Service Programs
Microsoft makes it easy for users to sign up for Internet access with
software installed on Win98/Me/XP for several major online services. If
Internet service(s) is already set up on your computer, you can remove
the software for the ISP(s) that won’t be used by clicking Start, Settings,
and Control Panel. Double-click the Add/Remove Programs icon and then click
the Windows Setup tab. Finally locate the Online Services group, click
Details, remove the ISP(s) you do not use, and click OK.
Phone-to-Phone Calls via the Internet
on your browser. You register for each service and download free
software. In Dialpad’s case, the software is an applet or small application
of less than 200 kilobytes, which downloads each time you log on to your
computer. To call you need a pair of speakers and a microphone. However,
a headset with earphones and built-in microphone is a better investment.
All of these devices will plug into the back of your computer in the microphone
and speaker connection ports. You will also need a fairly up-to-date computer
with a sound card, preferably a full-duplex card that permits both parties
to talk at the same time, at least a 28.8 kilobyte modem, and Internet
access. Most services work with an ISP. It’s important that you pay attention
to the system requirements and help screens.
You can make free phone-to-phone long distance calls using your computer and the Internet. Go to
If people are to visit your Web page, you have to let them know about
it. Almost all Web search sites and directories let you register your page
with them. You should look for a button that says something like "Add URL."
Some search sites only need your URL while others ask you to fill out a
form with site name, URL, site description, and possibly other info. You
can save some time by using a Web site submittal service. Although these
services used to be free, most now charge a fee, such as
Search Engine Terms
When using search engines, the key to obtaining the most relevant Web
sites is to use correct commands. Commands use the + (plus) and – (minus)
signs to modify search terms to focus results. The plus sign tells a search
engine to find pages with all the words you enter into its search box.
For example, if you want to find pages with references to TRUCKS and PICKUPS
on the same page, type: +TRUCKS+PICKUPS. The minus sign tells a search
engine to find pages that have one word on them but not another word. For
example, if you want information about TRUCKS but not pages relating to
PICKUPS, type: TRUCKS-PICKUPS. Combining both symbols VEHICLES+TRUCKS-PICKUPS
tells the search engine to return pages relating to VEHICLES that mention
TRUCKS but not PICKUPS.
Finally, there are countless Internet tips. However, the most important
may be those concerned about your Internet privacy. Here are a few dos
and don’ts to use when accessing the Web. One, do not maintain a browser
cache. Anyone with access to your computer can check the sites you’ve visited
on the Internet. To clean out your cache trash in IE5, select Tools, Internet
Options. With the General tab, click Delete Files in the Temporary Internet
files section. Two, do not enable file sharing even when you are not on
a network setup. In Windows 9x, select Start, Control Panel, double-click
Network icon, and choose the Configuration tab. Now click the File and
Print Sharing button, and uncheck both boxes in the Dialog box. Three,
do not preserve a history. Your browser maintains a history log that identifies
each Web address visited by you. To clean out the history log in IE 5,
select Tools, Internet Options. In the General tab, click the Clear History
button. Fourth, do not accept cookies from strangers. Cookies are stored
in \Windows\Cookies folder. You can delete its contents by highlighting
one file and then pressing Ctrl-A followed by Delete. Fifth, use an anti-virus
software program to scan all e-mail attachments. If using DSL or cable,
you can stop intrusions with a firewall program. For confidential correspondence
with people, you really should use encryption software.