A Newcomer's Guide to the Internet

"It's all very simple, or else it's all very complex,
or perhaps it's neither,
or both."
-- Ashleigh Brilliant

The Beginning Is A Good Place To Start

For those of us already on the Internet, the quote above just about sums up how easy it is to pin down this magnificent -- and often infuriating -- new medium.

Trying to describe the Internet is like trying to put a cat in a washing machine. Just when you think you've got one part stuffed into place, something else pops up.

As a newcomer to the Internet (otherwise known as a "newbie"; see also: novice; tyro; beginner.) you have wisely chosen to start at the beginning --

Newbies Anonymous

-- a 12-step (or maybe 13...or even 14 or 15 steps. Hey, who's keeping count?) program to help you learn to navigate the Internet.

We'll try to instruct you at each step of the learning process, answer your questions, point you to valuable tools you can use, and maybe teach you a few tricks to give you an advantage in using the Internet.

What The Heck IS The Internet?

The first question that arises is, "What the heck IS the Internet?" You will often hear the standard answer, "Well, the Internet is a series of computer all connected together by a network...blah, blah, blah." Which is pretty much the sam e as trying to describe driving by saying, "Well, of course, driving is a series of towns and cities all connected together by highways...blah, blah, blah."

The Internet is...information.

It's as simple as that

But the Internet is not so much a "what" as a "how." Just as there are a number of types of information and an almost infinite number of ways of obtaining it, the Internet is also a huge repository of information, some of it priceless, some of it as wor thless as the electrons it is written on.

Eventually, it is up to you to decide what is of value to you and what is not. That is not the purpose of this training. Instead, we are going to try to teach you how to obtain the information you need. What you do with it is up to you.

Things You'll Need To Know

In any endeavor, there are certain skills you need to master, certain processes you need to understand, and certain tools you will need to learn to use in order to survive on your own.

The Internet is no exception.

In order to teach you how to use the Internet most effectively, we are going to use analogies to thing you already understand. That is, we are going to compare the Internet to thing you with which you are familiar.

Since we mentioned highways and transportation above, for the sake of consistency we will continue with that metaphor throughout.

In fact, one of the most valuable training tools -- mentioned in almost every lesson here -- is a series of documents called The Internet Roadmap Series by Patrick Crispen. Origi nally offered as lessons by mail, they are now stored on the Internet (quite appropriate!) and accessible anytime by you.

[TIP: The highlighted words above -- The Internet Roadmap Series -- are called a hypertext link. Think of a hypertext link as a highway sign pointing to a location of interest off the main route. All you have to do is click on it with your mouse and Voila!, you are there! It could be transporting you to the Smithsonian Museum or it could be touting the location of Uncle Willard's Used Petshop and Diner. In these lessons, we will try to maintain the tone of the former, while in the last entry, WUFF!, there will be more than a little of Uncle Willard and the gang!]

[TIP: When visiting a hypertext link, in order to return to the original topic, just click on the Back button on your browser's toolbar and it will return you to the document you were reading before taking the detour.]

Driver's Ed For The Internet

Just as you need to take a driver's education course before taking that new sportscar out for a spin on the Interstate, so also you need to acquire some basic information about Internet before jumping into the deep end.

Consider these lessons -- and the links to which they point -- as Driver's Ed for the Internet.

In these lessons you will learn about:

Reviewed by Magellan!1996 Pujol Award Goes To American Comedian Limbaugh / Rush wins "Artsy-Fartsy Cup"!

NEW!Homepages Made Easy: HTML Training and Resource Links

. . . as well as discovering a world of links in:

HUNH?WUFF -- the Weird, Unusual, Freaky, & Fun!

NEW!Son Of WUFF! ...Just Folks! The Adventure Continues! Selected as a Seven Wonders Site of the Day.

If the "gobbledegook" is getting you down, see:

AND ... if you are a consumate technophobe, here's a place you need to visit, where the explanations are in English, and the "propeller-head" mentality is mercifully absent!

NEW!FolksOnline: Fun Support for Newbies and Technophobes

So don't touch that dial! Repeat after me,

"I'm a Newbie . . . and I'm proud!"

And now, off to the Emerald City.



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Revised 12/8/96.