Information on the Internet is a collection of documents from all over the world linked together by computer networks. There are several components to the Internet as outlined in the table below:
|Send and receive mail
||Connect to Web sites
around the world
|Read and post News
||Send and receive files
In order to access the Internet, one needs special computer software called an Internet browser. There are many different types of software for Internet access, however, in this module, we will focus on two multi-component Internet software programs: 1) Netscape (NS) and 2) Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). Netscape and Internet Explorer are the two most popular Internet browsers on the market today. They both have a user-friendly, graphical interface and are capable of performing all of the functions listed in the table above.
The most current version of Netscape (Communicator 4.X) is FREE and features the following components:
The most current version of Internet Explorer (4.0) is FREE and features the following components:
- Messenger - an e-mail client
- Navigator - a web browser
- Collabra Discussion Groups - a usenet news client
- Composer - a web editor
- Conference - a conferencing client
Other browsers include such programs as Opera, NeoPlanet, and NSCA Mosaic. Even though we will be learning about the features of Netscape and Internet Explorer, these features are common to most popular browsers. If you are running an older computer with less than 16 megs of RAM and have a small hard drive, you many find that one of these browser may best suite your needs. Netscape and Internet Explorer also have older versions for older computers.
- IE WWW Browser
- IE Mail or Outlook Express - e-mail Clients
- IE News - a usenet news client
- NetMeeting - video conferencing
- FrontPage Express - web authoring tool (pared-down version of MS FrontPage)
In order to run these browsers on your personal computer you will need the following:
Obviously, if you are using a computer at school or the public library, you need not worry about the connection process. Most of the SCILnet schools and libraries will be connected to the Internet with high speed lines (T1 or 56K) and will be set up by your technology coordinator.
- A computer running a Windows or Mac operating system
- A modem for dialing into an Internet Service Provider (ISP)
- An Internet connection to an ISP or network (usually requires establishing an account with the provider)
- A program for dialing
Your ISP will have all the information you need concerning this.
- Win 95 and 98 usually come with Dial-up Networking (they have their own Winsock software)
- Win 3.1 - you will need to get a Winsock program (ie: Trumpet Winsock)
- most current Macs come with a PPP dialing program and TCP/IP for connecting, or you can get a copy of Free PPP
- The browser software
Note: If you have enough memory, you can have both programs on your computer!
- IE comes pre-loaded with any Windows 95+ operating system. Upgraded versions can be found at MS Internet Explorer
- Some computers come pre-loaded with NS, however, if they only have IE you can download Netscape for free or get a copy from you ISP
Starting and Closing Your Browser
To begin using your browser, double-click the icon on your desktop (or find it in your Programs or Applications folder) to launch the program.
|Netscape 3.X icon
||Netscape 4.X icon
||Internet Explorer icon|
If you are using a modem, this should also launch your dialing program and connect you to the Internet. If you are on a network, you will connect directly through the network. What does the window look like? Well, if you are reading this...you are already there!
|Note: If you are running an older version of the browser, you can download a newer version right off the Internet. Use the links in the Getting Connect section above to go to your browser's home site.
To end your Internet session, make sure to exit the browser by using one of the Close functions of your operating system. Also, if you are on a modem (a dial-up account), make sure to close (disconnect) your dialing program, otherwise you will be connected to the Internet and paying for time.