Compiled from many sources on the Internet itself. All material is public domain. Sources are cited where known.


Introduction to the InternetWhat is Gopher?
History of the InternetHow to Search Gopherspace
About the World Wide WebAbout Usenet
Net User Guidelines and NetiquetteTelnet
Electronic MailRecommended Reading
What is FTP?Shentel Home Page

Introduction to the Internet

This guide will help you join the global village known as Cyberspace or the Net. Millions of people around the world already spend parts of their lives in this land without frontiers. With this guide, you will be able to use the Net to:

And you will have become the newest member of this ever growing community. If you stay and contribute, the Net will be richer for it -- and so will you. But it will take a sense of adventure, a willingness to learn and an ability to take a deep breath every once in awhile. Visiting the Net today is a lot like journeying to a foreign country. You know there are many things to see and do, but everything at first will seem so, well, foreign. When you first arrive, you won't be able to read the street signs.

You'll get lost. If you're unlucky, you may even run into some natives who'd just as soon you went back to where you came from. If this weren't enough, the entire country is constantly under construction; every day, it seems like there's something new for you to figure out. Here's where you take a deep breath. Fortunately, most of the natives are actually friendly.

In fact, the Net actually has a rich tradition of helping out visitors and newcomers. With few written guides for ordinary people, the Net has grown in large part one person at a time -- if somebody helps you learn your way around, it's almost expected you'll repay the favor some day by helping somebody else. So when you connect, don't be afraid to ask for help.

You'll be surprised at how many people will try to direct you around. And that leads to another fundamental thing to remember: You can't break the Net! As you travel the Net, your computer may freeze, your screen may erupt into a mass of gibberish. You may think you've just disabled a million- dollar computer somewhere -- or even your own personal computer. Sooner or later, this feeling happens to everyone -- and likely more than once. But the Net and your computer are hardier than you think, so relax.

You can no more break the Net than you can the phone system. You are always in the driver's seat. If something goes wrong, try again. If nothing at all happens, you can always disconnect. If worse comes to worse, you can turn off your computer. Then take a deep breath. And dial right back in. Leave a note for the person who runs the computer to which you've connected to ask for advice. Try it again. Persistence pays.

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