The Internet is "a worldwide network available via modem that connects universities, government laboratories, and individuals around the world. Users of the Internet can send each other electronic mail, copy files from one another, break into other people's computers and electronically transfer funds from poorly defended computers owned by worldwide banks." (Computer Dictionary for Dummies. Gooklin, Wang & Van Buren, IDG Books)

Table of Contents

  • Buy a computer.
  • Find an Internet Service Provider.
  • What's a virus?
  • The World Wide Web.
  • Search The Internet.
  • Use E-mail.
  • Build a WebPage.
  • A little history.
  • The Internet and the Law.
  • Where can I get more information?
  • Interesting Links

  • Articles from PC Magazine
  • (local provider to Ithaca, N.Y.)
  • McAfee Virus Library
  • Homer's Web Guide
  • Yahoo's Searching the Web list
  • Hotmail
  • The Hypertext Markup Language
  • The Hobbes Internet Timeline
  • High Technology Criminal Investigation Association
  •'s Webopedia

  • The Internet Worm was "A string of self-replicating computer code that was distributed through the Internet in November 1988. In a single night, it overloaded and shut down a large portion of the computers connected to the Internet at that time by replicating itself over and over on each computer it accessed, exploiting a bug in UNIX systems. Intended as a prank, the Internet Worm was written by a student at Cornell University." (Computer Dictionary. Microsoft Press, 1997)

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    Buying a computer

    • When buying a computer you should keep a few in things in mind. Primary considerations include the company which produces the computer. Vendors vary in the parts that they use in their computers, their technical support and their history. From a hardware standpoint:
      • The faster the processor the better...Intel and AMD produce good processors.
      • The more memory the faster the machine.
      • The hard drive requirements will vary according to your needs.
        • Most people could probably get by with a 4 gigabyte hard drive, but present machines include hard drives that are much larger..
      • The modem should be at least 56K and support v90 and/or x2 technology.
        • Winmodems are not recommended.

    Computer Companies
    Dell produces good computers.
    Micron produces good computers.
    Compaq produces reasonable computers.
    Acer produces reasonable computers.
    Hewlett Packard produces reasonable computers.
    Gateway produces some good computers.

    Mail Order Companies
    PcConnection has fast, reliable service with great tech support.
    TcComputers has good service and good tech support.. I built a computer with parts purchased from this group... if you're into that type on thing. (-:

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    Getting an Internet Service provider

    • Getting an Internet service provider or ISP can be almost as important as purchasing a computer. An ISP with good service and fast connections can make the Internet experience very rewarding. Conversely, a provider with a slow connections and frequent disconnects will probably have you hating computers. A good connection is generally determined by the available bandwidth that an ISP has to share and the number of operational modems that he/she currently has online. As of late a new standard has developed which affords the home user faster modem connection speeds. The upgrade known simply as v90 must, however, be supported by your chosen internet provider. You must also have support from your local telephone service. 3com Corporation who produce exceptional modems has a line test which will provide you with information about the status of your telephone line. Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention the arrival the the cable modem which travels over television lines. The RoadRunner service offered by Time Warner is one such example. Careful thought should be spent on the choice of an ISP to make the Internet experience as rewarding as possible. The national/international services offered by America Online may be adequate if you are a weekend warrior, but the lines frequently become busy, and as often as naught a third party provider may be a wiser choice.

      Local (to Groton, N.Y., USA) Internet providers
      Lightlink (Ithaca, N.Y.)
      Clarity Connect (Ithaca, N.Y.)
      Odyssey Networks (Cortland, N.Y.)

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    What's a virus?

    • Internet/Computer viruses are programs that copy themselves from one computer to another automatically. They are based on a lines or lines of programming code. You may not gain a virus from an e-mail message. The only exception to this rule arises when a creative programmer attaches a   Macro or JavaScript attachment. A virus generally does bad things to your computer. It may flash words across your screen at some predetermined time, or it may delete all the information on your hard drive. Virus protection is highly recommended and is offered from several sources.

      Virus Protection Software Companies
      Symantec (Norton AntiVirus)
      Dr. Solomon's (Total Virus Defense)
      Mcafee (VirusScan)

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    The World Wide Web

    • The World Wide Web is a huge network of computers that are frequented by anyone owning or with access to a computer or similarly advanced connection device. I view the Web as a great city. There are many places to visit... some safe and appropriate for everyone... while others are interest specific and possibly dangerous to the young and/or novice viewer.. At Groton Central School we do our best to direct the efforts of the students in their search for information and recreation.

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    Searching the Internet

    Use E-mail

    • The ability to send e-mail is probably one of the greatest incentives for connecting to the Internet. Mail which had formerly taken days or even weeks to deliver can now be sent and received in a matter of seconds. There are, however, drawbacks to adding this service. While an individual can send and receive both text and files from friends and family through the Internet, they may also receive "junk or spam mail" as well. To complicate things further, unscrupulous individuals can send viruses to your computer embedded or attached to an e-mail message. I highly recommend using extreme caution when opening a document from an unknown sender. I usually delete these messages without ever have read them. Young people may also be lured into uncomfortable and/or even unsafe situations if the use of their e-mail is not supervised by a computer literate adult.

      Recommended third party e-mail services
      Hotmail (by Microsoft)
      Blue Mountain (

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    Building a WebPage

    • Almost everyone who connects to the Web attempts to build a WebPage at one time or another. Services like Tripod, Geocities, or Angelfire represent businesses which have developed almost exclusively for the construction of WebPages. I am not sure their motives are entirely altruistic but... To begin, it is important, if not essential, to have an understanding of how the HTML works. I can highly recommend HTML for Dummies by IDG books as they present most of the important details in a manner which is easily understood. I can also recommend a HTML guide which is a site devoted to presenting examples of the hypertext markup language in action. The best advice I can offer, however, is to create numerous WebPages using notepad or a similarly simplistic text editor as this method afford the student an opportunity to understand exactly the HTML tags which may be used. As an alternative, a current GCS administrator provided with me with a link to where aspiring web developers can create a simple but attractive webpage with little to no experience with HTML.

      Recommended HTML reference sites.
      HTML Goodies (Intermediate)
      The Web Developers Virtual Library (Advanced)
      Echoecho (Advanced)
      HTML Color Chart
      Microsoft Sitebuilder Gallery

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    A little history

    • It is not entirely clear, at least to the the author of this WebPage, who built the Internet or for what purpose. I say this only because of conflicting reports from various sources stating that the Internet was originally built for military or academic purposes. The Hobbes Internet Timeline by Robert H'obbes' Zakon which is a fantastic reference for most, if not all, of the events which happened on (or as a result of) the Internet suggests that it was created by an agency in the interest of national security. However, the book entitled Where Wizards Stay Up Late by Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon suggests that the Internet it was originally created for academic/research purposes. I believe that the best definition is that the Internet was built to provide a form of high speed communication which was dependent on no one single computer. This would provide the military with a defense mechanism where, in the event of a nuclear attack, a network of computers would still be operational if a single computer was eliminated. It would afford the academic community the security that, in the event of an unfortunate mishap such as the Internet Worm Attack, a network (or at least part of a network) would exist so that they could continue to communicate.

      Recommended Internet History Sites
      The Hobbes Internet Timeline
      The Living Internet

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    The Internet and the Law

    • The bank robberies of today happen less frequently in the manner of the Old West. Technology has afforded the unscrupulous with the luxury of attempting to steal large sums of money from the comfort of their own home. It has also provided the option for the less ethical to steal information from the same environment. Additionally, I would be remiss if I did not include the option to dispense illicit  substances and/or pornography again from the comfort of their own home over the Internet. It is enough to make one wonder why anyone would wish to immerse themselves into a virtual Sadam and Gamora. The opportunities listed above as well as the luxury of shopping online continue to convince new users to flock to the Internet at exponential rates. There is also hope. The Telecommunications Act presented by the US governement, though too restrictive, was an attempt to control the darker side of the Net. There are also a number of agencies whose sole purpose is to catch the bad guys. Unfortunately, because the Internet is international, they are sorely undermanned (no sexist slant intended) and I daresay, at this point in the game, outgunned.

      Recommended Legal Sites
      The High Technology Crime Internet Agency

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    Where can I get more information?

    • The resources available to secure additional information are too numerous to list in the confines of this data cell. I have taken the liberty of  connecting several of the examples in this page to Sandybay's outstanding online encyclopedia, PcWebopedia, in an effort to present the terminology in an understadable manner. However, there are numerous periodicals and reference manuals available at your local bookstore. There are also innunerable websites devoted to a particular facet of computer technology. Many feel overwhelmed at the of purchasing a new computer and "surfing the net". My two comments to them would be: nothing risked, nothing gained and ... it not as tough as it appears. I have been working with computer for fourteen years, have been an active user of the Interent for probably half of that time and consider myself a novice. I guess it all comes down to how and when you want to get in the game. It would also perhaps be a good time to to quote the immortal Albert Einstein in stating "Imagination is more imrtant that knowledge."

      Recommended Computer Technology Information Sites
      PC Magazine (assuming you use an IBM compatible computer... sorry)

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