The Information Superhighway

The Internet 

The information superhighway or the Internet is one of the most important development in the history of information systems. It is also on of the most overhyped topics in today’s business world. In 1994 and 1995, the number of users on the Internet grew by an average of 15 percent per month, or more than 400 percent per year. The number of companies with Internet connections grew from about 3000 in 1992 to more than 40,000 by mid-1995. This burgeoning growth also means huge changes.
 
Strictly, speaking, the Internet is not one network, but thousand networks linked together. It was started by the US Department of Defense in the 1969 as a network of four computers called ARPANET. Its goal was to link a set of computers operated by several universities doing military research. The original network grew as more computers and more computers networks are linked to it. In 1988 and 1991, the National Science Foundation built several additional high-speed sections of the Internet to connect major research centers. Since the late 1980s, many additional networks have been added to the original Internet. Many new users are businesses, and commercial online services offering connections to anyone willing to pay. The growth in the commercial portion of the Internet has been so rapid that in 1994, the government stopped funding its few remaining circuits. The Internet is now open to commercial traffic.
 
Because it is a collection of networks, the Internet has no central administration. Each network has it own administrative structure, and most networks have their own acceptable use policies that define what behavior is permitted. The Internet was intentionally designed to be very decentralized, and very amenable to new ideas because many of its creators and initials users openly distrusted any central authority.
 
Internet provides four basic functions to its users: e-mail, remote login, discussion groups, and information resources. One type of information resource that is growing even faster than Internet itself is the World Wide Web.
 
 
Information Resources
 
One of the biggest uses of Internet is to find information. There is so much free information available on the Internet that there is something for just about everyone.
 
 
Netiquette
 
Netiquette is slang for net etiquette. Netiquette covers the rules generally accepted code of behavior on the Internet. Some netiquette pointers:
 
a. When you first join the net, listen and learn before contributing.
 
b. Read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) information.
 
c. Always double-check the address of your message. Even experts sometimes send private message to public mailing list by pressing wrong key.
 
d. Keep your message brief.
 
e. Don’t make private messages public without permission.
 
f. Don’t send test message.
 
g. Don’t include complete copies of others messages in your message if the recipients of the message have already seen them; small excerpts of other messages are fine.
 
h. Don’t waste other’s time by sending “me too” or “I agree” messages.
 
i. In general, spelling doesn’t count.
 
j. Don’t send unsolicited advertisement. Brief announcements and instructions for interested people to request more information are acceptable.
 
k. Don’t type in ALL CAPITALS unless you want to SHOUT.
 
l. Always include your name and address in messages; some systems delete them.
 
m. Don’t’ send messages where they don’t belong (e.g., don’t discuss the Brady Bunch in a Star Trek discussion group).
 
n. Remember that the libel laws apply to the Internet.
 
o. Copyright laws also apply. Don’t send copyrighted material over the Internet without permission from the copyright owner.
 
p. You can use symbols to indicate the felling you would normally communicate with your vocal tone. For example, to indicate you’re joking, you could type : )
 
q. Don’t believe anything you read. Not everyone knows what they are talking about, and people can put on fake personas (some celebrities do send messages but most messages from famous people are fake).
 
 

The Good, Bad and the Ugly of the Web

 

The Good     

 
It is easy to create pages and publish information.
 
It is relatively inexpensive to start and maintain a page.
 
Navigating from page to page is simple.
 
There is a browser for almost every type of computer and operating system.
 


 

The Bad

 
Because of immature technology, some browser and server software have bugs.
 
Graphics take a long, long time to transfer over the Internet, particularly when there is a traffic.
 
Addresses change regularly, so you never really know what is out there.
 
Largely untested software and unknown network capacity requirements so the impact on individual Web servers and the Internet as a whole is unknown.
 
Weak or non-existent server security means anyone can visit your site.
 
Weak or non-existent browser security permits some Web servers to track and build mailing lists from user ids of every who visits.
 

The Ugly

 

Not all browser display HTML the same way, so what looks with one browser may not with another.
 
Not all browser support all types of graphic files, so some graphics may not display.
 
Graphics require a large amount of network capacity, so some users cannot view any graphics.
 

Until next time… logging  off.. 🙂

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