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Useful Definitions for
Internet Novices

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For those of you who are just getting started on your Internet journey, there are lots of buzz-words that you'll hear. Here are some basic definitions that may be useful in sorting out Internet and Web terminology. I've stayed away from those terms that will be primarily useful to those of you who are developing your own sites. Instead, this list focuses primarily on non-technical terms that almopst everyone will encounter.

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The Internet is a loosely structured network of computers that cross company, educational and government boundaries. There's no organizing body...there are no rules. There's only controlled anarchy. And that control exists to ensure that my computer can talk to your computer fairly well.

space)Email is the most popular usage of the Internet. It allows short pieces of text to be sent between computers in a semi-private manner. Email was never designed to handle large file attachments, however, so if you're using it to transfer large files, please see the description of FTP.

space)The Web (WWW or World Wide Web) is one piece of the Internet. It is the second most popular piece after E-Mail. It allows documents to be viewed in a semi-formatted manner between computers, regardless of what brand of computer is viewing it.

space)Other pieces of the Internet include Email Announcement Lists, Email Discussion Lists, Usenet Newsgroups, FTP, and Telnet.

space)Email Announcement Lists are what you, as a company, can use to keep your customers, potential customers, and other interested parties up to date with what you are doing. It's different from spam in that you ONLY send email to people who have already expressed an interest in you. These email announcement lists can also be used to educate interested parties about different topics. For example, I participate in many news announcement lists for the computer industry. These lists are usually free.

space)Email Discussion Lists are lists where people educate each other about a particular topic. When you send an email to a specific email address, it goes to possibly hundreds or thousands of people who have subscribed to the list. I might be asking help about a subject or I might be offering help to someone else who has asked a question. These lists are usually free.

space)Usenet Newsgroups are similar to email discussion lists, but use different software. If you want to subscribe to a prticular newsgroup, your ISP must also subscribe to it.

space)FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is how large files get moved between computers. Many people use it for downloading shareware files from the Internet. If you have trouble emailing large files as attachments, you should probably start investigating FTP.

space)Telnet is a method that is used (primarily by geeks and heavy-duty computer people) to connect to other computers and actually work remotely on them.

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space)The NIC or InterNIC, is the company (currently Network Solutions, Inc) that registers all company domain names.

space)Netiquette is a term used to describe informal rules of conduct regarding how people should behave during on-line communications.

space)Spam is a form of junk E-Mail. It is definitely a no-no. When you do business on the Internet, you must understand what spam is, how to avoid doing it, and how to avoid the appearance of having done it.

space)A Domain Name is a name like your-company.com. It is extremely inexpensive and provides your company with a better image on the Internet. With it, you can have a Web Site name like http://www.your-company.com and unlimited E-Mail ID's like sales@your-company.com, marketing@your-company.com, your-name@your-company.com, etc.

space)An Autoresponder is an E-Mail ID like info@your-company.com that, when somebody sends an E-Mail to it, a canned E-Mail is sent automatically back to the original sender with information about your company and its products.


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