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The Internet

 

Bill Beverley is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and intermediate computer enthusiast.


The Internet is a global TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) network linking millions of computers for communications purposes.  The Internet was originally developed in 1969 for the U.S. military and it then gradually grew to include educational and research institutions.  During the last five years, connections to and the use of the Internet have mushroomed almost beyond imagination.  Commercial industries, corporations, and home users all communicate over the Internet sending messages and information.  Users access the Internet through commercial online services called ISPs (Internet Service Providers).  The most famous aspect of the Internet is the World Wide Web.  It is a system of graphical files saved in a standard format known as HTML (HyperText Markup Language).  Electronic mail (e-mail) is the most popular use for the Internet.

Internet connectivity
If you use a laptop at the office and/or home, you probably have two different options to connect it to the Internet.  One is your office’s LAN (Local Area Network) and the other your home phone line and modem.  To configure Internet Explorer to more efficiently choose the correct type of connection, click the Start button, choose Settings, Control Panel, and then double-click the Internet Options icon.  Next click the Connection tab, then the appropriate radio button for your particular situation followed by OK.

Automatic redialing
Windows has an automatic redialing feature to enhance your chances to connect with an ISP.  To use this feature on your computer, double-click both My Computer and Dial-up Networking, open Connections+ Settings, click on the General tab followed by Redial and dictate how many times you want the redialing (5 to 10 are good times), and finally click on OK.

Internet identity
If there are multiple people using your computer to access the Internet, you may want your own Internet identity.  To reconfigure your very own profile, click the Start button, choose Settings, Control Panel, double-click the Internet Options icon, click the Content tab, and click the My Profile button.  At this point, if you have not already created a profile, you should do so now by clicking the appropriate radio button and then click OK.  Now fill in the blanks.  To change the Display field just type in the desired value.   Be sure to select the correct e-mail identity to go with your particular profile.  Then click the other tabs to add more information to your profile and finish by clicking OK. 

URL from open Window
If you use Internet Explorer (IE) 4.0 or higher, you can jump directly from any Explorer window to a Web site.  Simply replace the current address, at the top of the window and below the icon row, with your Universal Resource Locator (URL) of choice.  If you do not see an Address bar, select View, Toolbars, and Address Bar.  Type in the URL, press Enter, and the desired Web page will show up inside the current window.  In the same manner, you can open a Web page directly into Excel by choosing File, Open, and then type in the desired Web address.  Then click Open or press Enter to continue, and the Web page will appear in Excel. With many browsers you no longer need to type the “http://” part of the Web address or even the “www” or “.com.”  Some sites only respond if you include the “www” while others need “.com,” the “.net,” or some other ending.  For example, with IE and Netscape Navigator you can try just typing the central part of the URL name, without the periods on either side, and then press Ctrl+Enter to add the “www” and “com.”

Microsoft Wallet
Windows 98 has a feature called Microsoft Wallet that makes online shopping easy and safe for computer users.  In Wallet, you outline your mailing and shipping addresses, credit card information, and password. Thereafter you can shop at any site that supports Wallet and it will keep track of your receipts.  To configure Wallet with your aforementioned information, click Start, Settings, and Control Panel. Now double-click the Internet Options icon, then click the Content tab, the Wallet button, the Addresses tab, and  the Add button.  Next, fill in the appropriate information and be sure to give it a descriptive display name.  Finally, click OK, Close, and OK a second time.

Internet web site History list
Many computer users frequently visit numerous web sites but then cannot always remember one later that caught their fancy.  To solve this problem, Windows 98 maintains a history list of the sites you have recently visited on the Internet.  You can access it with the drop-down list on Internet Explorer’s address bar.  To adjust the History settings, click the Start button, choose Settings, Control Panel, double-click the Internet Options icon, click the General tab, change your selections in the History area, and then click OK.

Favorites menu
Similar to the foregoing tip, Windows 98 also includes an integrated Favorites menu that stores your favorite Web pages.  Although this menu, which can be found in the Windows Start menu, is usually used for Web pages you can add Word documents to it, too.  To use this Favorites function, display the Web toolbar in Word by choosing View, Toolbars, Web.  On the Web toolbar click Favorites, Add to Favorites and choose a location to save the Favorite link and then click Add.

Preview a File as a Web page
Microsoft Word 2000 has a Web Layout View option that “approximates” how any document would look as a Web page.  To use this feature click File, Web Page Preview.  Word creates an HTML version of your document and opens it in your default Web browser even if it is something other than Internet Explorer.

Web style tables
If you want your Word documents to look like Web pages, use Web Style tables.  Word 2000 has three table styles that mimic those used on Web pages.  Open the Table AutoFormat dialog box from the Table  menu and use one of the styles at the bottom of the Formats list (Web 1, Web 2, or Web 3).  If you are actually creating a Web page in Word, use these styles to minimize errors.

Errors 403 & 404
Should you experience a “403 Error” when browsing the Web, it indicates the server with your requested page has been instructed not to give it up to your domain.  While a “404” error occurs because you typed or were told the wrong address or the page has moved or been deleted from the Internet.

Banner Ads
Web page banner ads increase the time it takes for Web pages to load on your computer.  To eliminate them you can install AdSubstract and prevent ads from being downloaded and displayed on your computer.  AdSubstract can block cookies, too.  The Standard Edition is free for personal use and works with Internet Explorer, Netscape Communicator, American Online, and Opera Browsers.  You can find AdSubstract at:  <http://cgi.zdnet.com/slink?46968:5295731>.

Because these ads are graphics, you can also customize your browser settings to suppress their display.  To turn off graphics in Internet Explorer (IE)5.0, open the Tools menu and select Internet Options. Now click the Advanced tab.  In the Multimedia section, clear the Show Pictures box by clicking it.  In Navigator 4.7, open the Edit menu, select Preferences, and then click Advanced in the Category area and clear the Automatically Load Images box.

Free web sites
Here are two useful web sites.  Internet Answering Machine allows you to hear who’s calling your phone while online.  They will not get any annoying busy signals while you are surfing the net.  Fax-to-Email Service, also a Call Wave product, gives you a free fax number for receiving faxes in your e-mail.  Once you have the fax number there is no need to pay for a dedicated fax line.  You can retrieve faxes from anywhere where there is e-mail access.  You can even forward the faxes via e-mail. 

Internet statistics
Should you have need to quote Internet use and e-commerce statistics in a presentation, check out CyberAtlas.

Cookies
A cookie is a little bit of information stored in a file on your hard drive.  Some Web sites you visit will send a cookie to your computer so they can keep track of user preference information.  With Windows 98 if you would prefer that Web sites not have access to this information, or if you want to be warned before receiving a cookie follow these steps.   Click the Start button, choose Settings, Control Panel, and double-click the Internet Options icon.  Now click the Security tab, and select the zone to which you want these settings applied.  In this case, choose Internet and then click the Custom Level button.  Next scroll down to the Cookies section and click the radio button selections you feel are appropriate and click OK twice.

Cache
Unlike earlier versions of IE, IE5.0’s cache, known as Temporary Internet Files, is stored in multiple locations on your operating system.  It is located at C:\WINDOWS\TEMPORARY INTERNET FILES and C:\WINDOWS\LOCAL USER\TEMPORARY INTERNET FILES.  Buried folders within these directories, marked as archive and/or system items, contain replicas of IE5.0’s cache files.  Therefore, if you manually delete the Temporary Internet Files from Windows, you are not removing all of the system replicas.  To view the replicas in this latter directory look for the folder called CONTENT.IE5 in the left pane.  Expand this folder and in the right pane you will see the copies of IE5.0’s cookie and cache file replicas.

Internet web privacy
Every time you use the Internet, you leave an electronic footprint.  Here are three ways to safeguard your privacy.  

  • Review privacy policies and carefully read an e-commerce site’s page explaining what information is being collected and how it will be used by this online business.  If a site doesn't have a privacy policy or you are uncomfortable with it, then stop and don’t access any more of its pages.  If a site requires you to enter personal data before giving you access to services or information, don’t fill in the “optional” blanks.  
  • Shop at secure sites.  Reputable online retailers use encryption to protect your data.  Before you transmit your credit card number, look at the lower left corner of your browser.  If you see a locked padlock or an unbroken key, this site has encryption security.   
  • Monitor your “cookies.”  To learn more about them, visit Privacy.net, a consumer protection site, and Cookie Central.


Internet PC security
You can control the kinds of activities your browser can do, such as downloading, running ActiveX, JavaScripts, accepting cookies, etc. by setting a browser security level.  To set this security, click the Start button, choose Settings, Control Panel, and then double-click the Internet Options icon.  Now click the Security tab, highlight Internet as your zone and adjust the slider’s level by either clicking above or below the current mark.  If you do not want to use the built-in levels, use the Custom Level button to change them and finish by clicking OK.

Summary
Unlimited information, resources, and opportunities are on the Web.  As you discover all of the many web sites that provide this data, exercise caution in downloading information and using your credit card.   


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