Terminology and History of the Internet:
The Basics

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When using the Internet you will be accessing remote computers by means of Client software. A Client application is an application designed to be operated on one computer (local) and run do it's operations on another computer(remote). This relationship is what is known as client/server. The LOCAL computer in this relationship is said to be the client and the REMOTE computer is said to be the server, as any computer that you access on the internet will be serving html pages, files, mail messages or news articles to clients, you. The protocols used to transmit/accept this information are in different formats. As a result of this different clients are needed to negotiate with the different protocols.
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The major protocols used on the internet by users today are:
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Software Basics

Most modern Browsers such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape Communications Navigator already have these client programs contained within them. Such programs are said to be Internet suites as Microsoft Office and Lotus Smart Suite are suites of desktop Office applications. As in Office Suites, you have typically a Spreadsheet, Database and Word Processor. In Internet Suites you have a www browser, a newsreader and an email client. These are normally the easiest ways for the beginning user to grow accustomed to navigating cyberspace. Everything is accessible from one point, as is virtually everything on the Internet.

This is not to say that this is the best or ONLY way to travel in cyberspace, on the contrary, there are a multitude of companies that may make one or more individual client applications or may simply be more famous for the excellence of one of their products. At one time modern offices used one companies spreadsheet, another's graphics presentation program and maybe yet another database and word processor. That is slowly fading away as a result of interdependence of applications on each other. The same is becoming true on the internet to a lesser, slower degree.


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Terms you will see repeatedly:

anonymous FTP--Using the FTP function of the Internet anonymously by not logging in with an actual, secret login ID and password. Often permitted by large, host computers who are willing to share openly some of the files on their system to outside users who otherwise would not be able to log in. (You can read more about it here)

client/server--Computer technology that separates computers and their users into two categories: clients or servers. When you want information from a computer on the Internet, you are a client. The computer that delivers the information is the server. A server both stores information and makes it available to any authorized client who requests the information. You may hear this one frequently, especially if someone says, "You can't contact us today because our Web server is down."
(You can read more about it here)

dial-in--An Internet account that can connect any stand-alone PC directly to the Internet. The account is used by having a PC-based (most often, Windows-based) software application dial-in to an Internet service provider (ISP). The software connects with the ISP and establishes a TCP/IP link to the Internet that enables your software to access Internet information. The PC that accesses a dial-in connection needs either a modem to connect via a regular phone line or a terminal adapter (TA) to connect via an ISDN phone line. (You can read more about it here)

e-mail--(Electronic mail) Messages transmitted over the Internet from user to user. E-mail can contain text, but also can carry with it files of any type as attachments.  (You can read more about it here)

FAQs--(Frequently Asked Questions) Files that commonly are maintained at Internet sites to answer frequently asked questions so that experienced users don't have to bear the annoying burden of hearing newbies repeatedly ask the same questions. It's good netiquette to check for FAQs and read them. It's extremely poor netiquette--and a good way to get flamed--to post questions that already are answered in the FAQ. (You can read more about it here)

flames--Insulting, enraged Internet messages. The equivalent of schoolyard brawls in cyberspace. Unfortunately, a good schoolyard brawl would be preferable because at least then the only people who suffer are the dummies who fight. On the Internet, everyone suffers as resources are squandered on ridiculous, infantile behavior. (You can read more about it here)

FTP--(File Transfer Protocol) The basic Internet function that enables files to be transferred between computers. You can use it to download files from a remote, host computer, as well as to upload files from your computer to a remote, host computer. (See Anonymous FTP). (You can read more about it here)

gateway--A host computer that connects networks that communicate in different languages. For example, a gateway
connects a company's local area network to the Internet. (You can read more about it here)

HTML--(Hypertext Markup Language) The basic language that is used to build hypertext documents on the World Wide Web. It is used in basic, plain ASCII-text documents, but when those documents are interpreted (called rendering) by a Web browser such as Netscape, the document can display formatted text, color, a variety of fonts, graphic images, special effects, hypertext jumps to other Internet locations and information forms. (This page, for example)
Click the link^ to go to the top of the page.

hypertext--Text in a document that contains a hidden link to other text. You can click a mouse on a hypertext word and it will take you to the text designated in the link. Hypertext is used in Windows help programs and CD encyclopedias to jump to related references elsewhere within the same document. The wonderful thing about hypertext, however, is its ability to link--using http over the World Wide Web--to any Web document in the world, yet still require only a single mouse click to jump clear around the world.(You can read more about it here)

IP Number--An Internet address that is a unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, sometimes called a "dotted quad." (For example: Every Internet computer has an IP number and most computers also have one or more Domain Names that are plain language substitutes for the dotted quad. (You can read more about it here)

IRC--(Internet Relay Chat) Currently an Internet tool with a limited use that lets users join a "chat" channel and exchange typed, text messages. Few people have used IRC, but it is going to create a revolution in communication when the Internet can provide the bandwidth to carry full-color, live-action video and audio. Once that occurs, the IRC will provide full video-conferencing. Even today, while limited for all practical purposes only to text, the IRC can be a valuable business conferencing tool, already providing adequate voice communication. (You can read more about it here)

listserv--An Internet application that automatically "serves" mailing lists by sending electronic newsletters to a stored database of Internet user addresses. Users can handle their own subscribe/unsubscribe actions without requiring anyone at the server location to personally handle the transaction. (You can read more about it here)

mailing list--An e-mail based discussion group. Sending one e-mail message to the mailing list's list server sends mail to all other members of the group. Users join a mailing list by subscribing. Subscribers to a mailing list receive messages from all other members. Users have to unsubscribe from a mailing list to stop receiving messages forwarded from the group's members. (You can read more about it here)

newbie - someone who is new to the Internet and needs instruction on it's use/misuse. (You can read more about it here)

protocols--Computer rules that provide uniform specifications so that computer hardware and operating systems can communicate. It's similar to the way that mail, in countries around the world, is addressed in the same basic format so that postal workers know where to find the recipient's address, the sender's return address and the postage stamp. Regardless of the underlying language, the basic "protocols" remain the same. (You can read more about it here)

SMTP--(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) The basic programming language behind the Internet's e-mail functions. (You can read more about it here)

TCP/IP--(Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) The basic programming foundation that carries computer messages around the globe via the Internet. Co-created by Vinton G. Cerf, former president of the Internet Society, and Robert E. Kahn. (You can read more about it here)

UNIX--The computer operating system that was used to write most of the programs and protocols that built the Internet. The need for Unix is rapidly waning and mainstream users will never need to use a Unix command-line prompt. The name was created by the programmers who wrote the operating system because they realized that while they were developing the operating system they essentially had become eunuchs. (Also the reason a lot of these lines begin in small letters, unix IS case specific: UNIX.txt and unix.txt are 2 separate and distinct files on a unix system.)

url - uniform resource locator- the address of a given file stored on a server in relation to the rest of the Internet. Everything on the Internet has a url. urls are formed by internet address of the object separated by "." or dots and forward slashes.
Using the current document for an example:

WAIS--(Wide Area Information Servers) A distributed information retrieval system that is sponsored by Apple Computer, Thinking Machines and Dow Jones, Inc.. Users can locate documents using keyword searches that return a list of documents, ranked according to the frequency of occurrence of the search criteria. .(You can read more about it here)

World Wide Web--(WWW) (W3) (the Web) An Internet client-server distributed information and retrieval system based upon the hypertext transfer protocol (http) that transfers hypertext documents across a varied array of computer systems. The Web was created by the CERN High-Energy Physics Laboratories in Geneva, Switzerland in 1991. CERN boosted the Web into international prominence on the Internet.(You can read more about it at http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/)



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For More Information, try these sources:

What is.....

McGraw-Hill Internet Training Manual(a Glossary of terms) and a VERY good one.

How do I...

Yahoo Internet Beginner's guides Very Thorough

Learn the Net From The Lauderdale County Home Page

How do I find....

Choose this link and pick a Search Engine and follow the instructions for the one you choose there.

Electronic Freedom Foundation Guidebook

EFF's Extended guide to the Internet(formerly was called The Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet) Available in all formats

To get the Net Guide via email, send any message to netguide@eff.org

How should I react when....

Etiquette on the 'Net
The ASCII version is here

Tour anyone?

Global Village Tour of the Internet - A beginner's Tour of the Internet

How to write effective E-Mail


Don't spread that hoax


Just like it says in the manual, contact the Help Desk...........


Online Dictionary

gopher://peg.cwis.uci.edu:7000/11/gopher.welcome/peg/VIRTUAL REFERENCE DESK

Online Dictionary of Computing Terms


A searchable index of computer terms, a searchable computer dictionary- VERY NICE


Another "newbie" Page



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