Internet Guide

Skin Diver on line's Internet Crash Course

Contents:

Introduction to the Web What are the internet and the web? Connecting to the Web What is an Internet Service Porvider (ISP)? Which ISP should I use? Where else can I access the internet? Surfing the Web What is a browser? Locating a site by its URL Searching the Web Bookmarking sites Other Resources More Information about the Internet Browser Troubleshooting Internet Guides and Search Engines Glossary

Introduction to the Web


What are the internet and the web?
The Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW) are closely related but not the same. The Internet is a decentralized global network of computers. Think of the Web as the illustrated version of the Internet. The Web is a collection of documents, or Web sites, that you can access using the Internet and your Web browser. The Web comprises the vast majority (but not quite all) of the content available over the Internet. You can learn, shop, find crucial information, and to participate in communities, whether they're local, global, or simply virtual all on the ever-enlarging World Wide Web.

Connecting to the Web


What is an Internet Service Porvider (ISP)?
An Internet service provider (ISP) gives you the telephone access and software you need to connect to the Internet, along with some technical help. Many ISPs also include an electronic-mail account, host customers' Web pages, and offer services to companies that do business on the Internet. You can choose from local or national ISPs (such as America OnLine [AOL], WebTV, Microsoft Network [MSN], Prodigy and Compuserve).

Which ISP should I use?
They say that if the Internet were a bicycle, using America OnLine, or a similar "online service", is like having a bike with the training wheels on. It's not such a bad thing if you are a beginner. In fact we recommend it! AOL, WebTV, MSN, Prodigy and Compuserve are easy to use (relatively).

Once you get some Internet experience you may decide to "go it on your own" and hook up with a local Internet Service Provider (ISP). You may find that the service is just as good or better and the monthly fee is just as much or less. To identify ISPs and online service providers in your area, look under "Internet products and services" or a similar topic in your local yellow pages, or search for them online through Microsoft's MSN Web Search. Then call their customer service number and ask the representative about these aspects of their service.

Where else can I access the internet?
If you don't have Internet access at home, check with your local library to find out whether it provides personal computers and Internet access for public use. Many provide these, along with instruction on how to access the Internet, free to visitors with a library card.

Cybercafés, or Internet cafés, also provide (for a fee) computer and Internet access to customers, along with coffee and other refreshments. These establishments have been springing up all over the country in the past few years.

Surfing the Web


What is a browser?
The first step to using the Web for business or for fun is learning how to work a "web browser." A browser is the program which allows you to (relatively) easily view the information on the web. If you're new to computers, it may take awhile before you are completely comfortable with your browser. Be patient. There's no time limit on web surfing. Give yourself a chance to explore the browser itself while you explore the Web.

For the basic, no hassle, Internet experience all you really need is either Microsoft's Internet Explorer or the Netscape Navigator. In addition to displaying Web pages they also include options for email. They can also serve as news readers. For the best experience on the Skin Diver web site, we strongly reccommend you use the newest version of either of these browers.

Download Internet Explorer     Download Netscape Navigator
click on a logo to go to the a site where you can
download the newest version of these browsers



Searching the Web
One of the great features of the Internet is the amount of information it contains. Information that used to be limited to regional distribution via newspapers, televisions, and flyers is now available on a national or even global basis. But all this newly available information comes at a price: confusion. The interconnected and dynamic nature of the Net prevents it from being organized like a traditional medium, such as a book or a newspaper. But don't worry, another great thing about the Internet is that it comes up with solutions, Internet Guides and Search Engines, for its own problems.

If the Internet were a book, Internet Guides would be the table of contents and Search Engines would be the index. Internet Guides organize web sites into related categories or topics, just like a table of contents organizes the chapters in a book into different sections. Of course, in the case of the Internet, the "book" is so big that even the table of contents needs its own table of contents. That's why most Internet Guides start with top-level categories and let you "drill down" to more and more specific topics.

In order to combat the dynamic nature of the Web, Search Engines are constantly running software called "robots" or "crawlers" that read entire web sites and update the index entries for that specific Search Engine. Search Engines save their data alphabetically, just like a book's index. But, again, due to the incredible amount of information, you don't browse through a Search Engine's listings, you search through them by entering a word (or words) that captures what you're looking for. Enter the words or phrases and the Search Engine should provide you with a set of "results pages," depending on the number of successful "hits" that your search produces.

You can view examples of Internet Guides and Search Engines in the Other Resources section of this document.

Locating a site by its URL
URLs (Universal [or Uniform] resource locators) are the Internet equivalent of addresses. If you know the URL of a website you do not have to comb through an Internet Guide or run a Search to access the site. At the top of your web browser, there is a text area that allows you type in the URL and go directly to the specific site. For example, to go directly to the Skin Diver site, type our URL (http://www.skin-diver.com) in the space named "Address" (if you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer or "Location" if you are using Netscape Navigator) and click enter.

Bookmarking sites
The way to store and retrieve favorite sites is called bookmarks in Netscape or favorites in Internet Explorer. If you come to a web page that you find particularly interesting or useful (like Skin Diver on line), you'll probably want to come back to it again and again. The easiest way to do this is to have your browser "remember" the address. Different browsers have different ways of creating bookmarks -- some use pull-down menus and others have buttons right on the screen.

Once a bookmark is created, you can then easily return to that web page by pulling down the bookmark menu and selecting the appropriate entry. Another good skill to learn is how to edit the text of a bookmark. The default text for a bookmark is contained in the web page you're bookmarking, and it's not always the most useful title. By editing the bookmark text, you can make sure that your bookmarks are clear and effective. The point is: Take the time to learn how bookmarks work in your browser.

Other Resources

More Information about the Internet

Browser Troubleshooting

Internet Guides and Search Engines