For the "Newbie's" among you:

If you are new to the internet, and don't know quite where to begin, this page is a good place to start.  We cover the most basic terms , but provide a link to a more exhaustive glossary. Hyperlinks, which are essential to web navigation, are covered.  We briefly go over what you can expect to find on the internet, and how to find it.  We finish with Internet Security.  For the most part, our discussion is brief, with links to sites with more extensive coverage.  This is after all, part of the beauty of the web.  Instead of trying to incorporate everything into one "book", we can just sit in the library, and be referred to the material as needed.
 

FAQ Pages:

FAQ stands for "Frequently Asked (or Answered) Questions".  It has become a standard form of communicating information on the web for several reasons.

Information is broken down into small, easily understood chunks

You can lookup the information you need, without wading through a small book

Hyperlinks make it easy to quickly find related, or more detailed information

This page has been set up as a FAQ page, rich in hyperlinks.  If you are unsure of what a hyperlink is, or of how to use them, read the section Navigating Hyperlinks (click here) .  Then browse through our FAQ Section .  Not all of our "questions" are properly questions, but they will do.  Happy navigating!
 

Navigating Hyperlinks:

A hyperlink generally appears underlined, and in a different color, like this.  You have probably already seen several of them, especially if you've read through our FAQ section - see, here's another one.  Hyperlinks are literally links to somewhere else - another part of the page you are currently in, another part of the web site, or another web site entirely.  Click on one, and you've moved to (your screen displays) the document, (or place in the document) pointed to by the link.  They are used extensively in electronic documents and are not limited to the internet.  If you've used online help or online manuals you've used hyperlinks.  Buttons, menu options (such as that on the left of your screen), and even images can also be hyperlinks. 

Properly used hyperlinks make writing electronic documents easier than it used to be.  Information that properly belongs in more than one place can be written once, with hyperlinks to it appearing wherever appropriate.  This is certainly simpler for the reader than having to "See section below"!  Documents can also be written for readers of different knowledge levels.  Write the document for average to advanced readers.  Use hyperlinks to send beginning to average readers to additional information such as definitions, historical background, explanations, etc.

Be warned.  Hyperlinks definitely help to make the internet addictive.  Just about anywhere you go on the net has links to other places of interest.  It can be difficult to resist the temptation to follow "just one more".

Another problem with hyperlinks, is that it can be easy to get lost.  Each link you follow can easily bring you to a page that also contains many interesting links.  Do you follow them, or go back to the page you were just on, to follow some of the other interesting links you found there?  More to the point, how do you get back?  If you're reading this online, than you're using a browser.  Familiarize yourself with two important parts of your browser - bookmarks and the back button.

If you follow a link, then decide to go back to the page you just left, click on your browser's back button.  Clicking on this button multiple times will bring you back through several pages in the reverse of the order you visited them.

What if you come across a page you want to visit again in the future? Bookmark It!  A bookmark records the web page address, and usually a description of the page as well (if the web page author named the page).  Once you add a bookmark, you can always click on it to get back to the bookmarked page, at least so long as it still exists.  The watchword of the internet is Change!
 

FAQ Section:

Glossary of Basic Terms:
(This will get you started.  For a more complete glossary, try http://www.matisse.net/files/glossary.html

The Internet (or Net) 
The World Wide Web (or Web)
ISP
Browser
Cookie
Bps
bps
Domain
DNS
URL
FTP
HTTP
Chat
Email
Spam
News Groups
Download
Search Engines


What can I find on the Web?
Just about anything.  Go shopping.  Take out a book from an online library.  Go to an art gallery, a  museum, even visit NASA.  Get newspapers and magazines via email.  Visit the home pages of the major news stations.  Search the net for a new job, a new car, or a new house.  Take courses online, even get a degree!  Shop at an auction, clip virtual coupons, take surveys, get paid for checking out advertising!  Check out local restaurants, local movie listings, and the online version of the TV Guide.  Need more?  Make airline and motel reservations, download software, invest, make long distance calls, listen to online radio stations, and check on your credit rating.  Still not enough?  There are web sites on virtually any topic.  Gardening, auto repair, parenting, running a home based business, running an internet business, health and medical care, horoscopes, sports, relationships... 
 

How do I know where to go? 
If you are connected through an Internet Service Provider, the chances are that your provider has provided a set of interesting links to get you started.  Check out your provider's homepage.  These may be a fairly comprehensive directory of topics, a listing of "cool and interesting" sites, or simply a list of Consumer Portals.  These act as a kind of directory of sites. 

You might also try your browser's homepage.  Browsers such as Firefox and Microsoft Explorer maintain a directory of sites.  In fact, it seems everyone is getting into the directory act these days, you can find them at all the major search engines as well. 

To find something specific, try one of the search engines.  Which one should you use?  There is no definitive answer.  Each can provide somewhat different information.  With regular use, you will develop a feel for which one is best for the kind of information you're looking for.

Many of the web sites you come to will have their own list of sites that they feel are of interest to their visitors.  A great way to explore the web, is to follow the links!

Here is a list of places to get you started:

Search Engines
Microsoft Internet Explorer Home Page
Yahoo
Newbie Sites
Web Portal
Lucrative Links


Security on the Internet
With all that's available on the internet, security becomes a concern.  We will address some of the issues here.

Filling out online forms
Privacy statement
Viruses   
 

Filling out online forms

Why do they need the information?
Web sites collect information from their users for many reasons.  Knowing who their visitors are helps generate advertising revenue (no its not a bad word, advertisers help keep much of the web free for users).  Some sites want to know more about your interests, to better tailor the site to fit your needs.  Downloading shareware or trialware software?  The distributor may want to know something about you.  Many web sites require you to become a member before giving you access, and require personal information about their members.  You can understand this when sites charge for access.  But even the free sites want some control over their membership.  Any member that is rude, abusive to other members, etc., will find their access denied.  Today, when free email addresses are common,  the same person can easily sign up again, unless you know something more about them, such as their actual name, and perhaps their address and phone number.

What happens to the information?
Having visions of having to replace your mailbox with a wheelbarrow to handle all the additional junk mail?  Most sites are sensitive to this concern, and include a statement regarding their use of the information collected.  While this information is not in large, bold print, it isn't hidden either.  Look for it. 

Privacy has become such a concern, that the internet community itself is working on the issue.  The internet can only continue to grow if consumers have faith in it.  Most web sites now post a Privacy Policy, and many belong to an oversight organization that insures the posted policies are adhered to.  For more information, visit the Online Privacy Alliance .
 

Viruses
You can't catch a virus by visiting a web site, so surf all you want.  You can get virus by opening email attachments, or by downloading stuff from the net.  You can protect yourself in several ways.  First, never open an email attachment if the email is from someone you don't know.  Second, try to download only from well know sites with a reputation to protect, or from legitimate businesses.   As you get more familiar with the net, you'll come to recognize who these are.  Third, invent in some good anti virus software.  Norton  (by Symantec) has a good one.  Make sure your software can handle the internet as well as your hard and floppy drives.  Fourth, start subscribing to email news articles that focus on what's happening on the internet.  These will often alert you to viruses that are going around, and tell you how to avoid them.  They are also full of other useful information as well.  Anchordesk is one good one.