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Basic Internet Terms
Louise Crist

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If you are looking for a specific term, select the first letter of the term from the alphabet above.
Or you may scroll through the terms using the scroll bar to the right.


If you tilt your head to the left to look at this term, you will see that someone is smiling at you.

ActiveX is a model for writing programs. ActiveX technology is used to make interactive web pages that look and behave like computer programs, rather than static pages. With ActiveX, users can ask or answer questions, use push buttons, and interact in other ways with the web page.

Short for Web Browser; it's the tool (program) that allows you to surf the web. You probably used your Web Browser to locate this page. The most popular Web Browsers right now are Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer.

Chat Room
A place on the Internet where people go to "chat" with other people in the room. Actually there are thousands of these Chat Rooms. The rooms are usually organized by topic. For example in a Michigan Room you would expect that most of the participants in the room are probably from Michigan or a Gay room, where the participants are usually gay. When you're in a Chat Room you can view all of the conversations taking place at once on your screen. You can also get into a private chat room where only you and one or two others may talk. This can be an inexpensive way to keep up with friends and relatives who are online.

A crucial computer term. Chocolate is what you eat when you get frustrated with web functions such as searching for specific items, writing web pages, or just being a Newbie.

A "cookie" is an Internet site's way of keeping track of you. It's a small program built into a web page you might visit. Typically you won't know when you are receiving cookies. Ideally a cookie could make your surfing easier by identifying you, tracking sites you visit, topics you search, and get a general feel for your preferences. This can make surfing easier, faster, more personal, and more efficient. It can also be used to collect your e-mail address for marketing (spamming) purposes. You can set your browser to warn you before you accept cookies or not accept them at all. Check your (advanced) browser settings. Keep in mind that some secure sites, such as stock trading sites, won't work if you don't accept their cookies.

A number on many web pages that will count the number of hits or count the number of times the page has been accessed. Basically, it counts the number of people that have visited that page.

A person who breaks into a site through a computer's security. While Basically the same thing as a "Hacker", a Cracker is sometimes considered to be more malicious and destructive.

Term used to describe the Internet; the term was coined by science-fiction novelist William Gibson in 1984 in Neuromancer.

Domain Name
The highest level name of the web site. For example, The domain name for USA Today Online is usatoday. If you type usatoday in the location area on your browser, you will be connected directly to USA Today Online. A site does not have to have its own domain name. I use tripod to host my web site and thus their domain name is included in my Internet address:

The transfer of information from the Internet to your computer. Every time you instruct your computer system to retrieve your mail, you are downloading your mail to your computer. You may also download programs to your computer. However, be careful about downloading files or programs from a site in which you are not familiar. You could download a virus and never know it until it's too late.

Electronic-mail. This tool is usually provided by your ISP. It allows you to send and receive mail (messages) over the Internet. Through e-mail you can write your friends, ask your ISP a technical question about your service, or even receive an Internet birthday card.

An acronym for Frequently Asked Questions. FAQ is exactly what it sounds like: Frequently Asked Questions, with the answers of course. FAQ usually serves as a mini-help file.

An acronym for File Transfer Protocol. It's the tool you would use to transfer files through the Internet from one computer to another. For example, you would use an FTP to upload your web page from where you built it (like your computer at home) to a web site (like this one) so that all of your friends and neighbors can look at it.

Invented at the University of Minnesota and named after its mascot, this is the direct precursor, in both concept and function, to the World Wide Web.

Hypertext Mark-up Language. HTML is not really a programming language, but a way to format text by placing marks around the text. For example HTML allows you to make a word bold or underline it. Early word processing programs used to work this way. HTML is the foundation for most web pages.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol. A protocol that tells computers how to communicate with each other. You will notice most web page locations begin with "http://"

Also known as a "Cracker", a Hacker is a person who breaks into a site through a computer's security.

Text on a web page that links the user to another web page. The hypertext, or links will usually be a different color than the other text on the page and is usually underlined.

Media (such as pictures, videos, and audio), on a web page that links the user to another web page by clicking on the media.

The computer on which a web site is physically located.

An acronym for Internet Relay Chat. Worldwide real-time conferencing on the Internet, There are hundreds, maybe thousands of IRC channels, also called chat rooms. These chat rooms typically focus on specific topics, issue or commonality.

Internet Service Provider. This is your connection to the Internet. You use an ISP to connect onto the Internet every time you log on.

Originally called ARPANET after the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. This electronic network connects the hosts together so that you may go from one web page to another efficiently. The electronic connection began as a government experiment in 1969 with four computers connected together over phone lines. By 1972, universities also had access to what was by then called the Internet.

A programming language that developers use to create applets, small programs that are embedded in Web pages and that run when a user accesses the page or clicks on a certain area. If you have visited sites that play sounds, have animated figures trotting across the screen, or display scrolling text, you have already seen Java.

A word you might use to search for a Web site. For example, searching the Web for the keyword "Dictionary" or "Terms" might help you find this site.

An acronym for Laugh Out Loud. Look for it in your e-mail, or chat rooms.

A computer small enough to sit on your lap. The laptop computer's small size allows you to take it almost anywhere and access the Internet. Great if you travel a lot and don't want to go too long without your e-mail.

A link will transport you from one Internet site to another with just a click of your mouse. Links can be text or graphic and are recognizable once you know what to look for. Text links usually will be underlined and often a different color than the rest of the text on your screen. A graphic link usually has a frame around it. For example at the bottom of this page the mailbox is a link as well as the text in the yellow boxes.

Short for download and upload. If someone asks how long did the page take to load? He/She is referring to the time it takes a page to appear on your screen. If a web page is loading slow it means that it's taking a long time to fully appear on your screen. You can often scroll through a page and look at the parts that have loaded while the rest of the page continues to load. Also, you can usually click a link on the page you are loading and link to another page without waiting for the current page to fully load.

An Internet address. While you are in your browser (which you are probably in now) you will see a section at the top of the page that is titled "location". If you look right now you will see that the location of this web page is If you type in the address of someone's web page and hit enter, your browser will take you to that page. However the address you type in the location bar must be an exact match.

Short for Modulator-demodulator devices. Modems allow computers to transmit information to one another via an ordinary telephone line.

Short for Internet.

You! (Louise Crist)

Also called usenets, they are groups that often have nothing to do with news. Newsgroups are ongoing discussion groups among people on the Internet who share a mutual interest.

Having access to the Internet. You are online right now. Often people will say they are online meaning they have access to the Internet and have an e-mail address, but may not necessarily be connected to the Internet at that moment.

What you need while surfing the web. Some web pages seem to take forever to fully appear on your screen.

What you often need to learn anything, including becoming proficient on the Internet.

A set of rules that lets computers agree how to communicate over the Internet.

To look at the parts of the page that fall below (or above) what you see on your screen. The long bar at the far right of this screen is a scroll bar. The small square in it will allow you to scroll through the rest of this page. Just place your mouse pointer over the square, hold down the left click button on the mouse and slide the square up or down. You will see this page move. You are now scrolling.

A place on the Internet. Every web page has a location where it resides which is called it's site. And, every site has an address usually beginning with "http://."

Spam (or Spamming)
The Internet version of junk mail. Spamming is sending the same message to a large number of users, usually to advertise something. E-mail address may be collected using cookies or a mailing list from a newsgroup.

The process of "looking around" the Internet. You're doing it now.

Trojan Horse
Like the Trojan horse of mythology, Trojan horse viruses pretend to be one thing when in fact they are something else. Typically, Trojan horses take the form of a game that deletes files while the user plays.

An acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. It's the address of each web site. It usually begins with "http://"

The process of transferring information from your computer to another computer through the Internet. Every time you send e-mail to someone you are uploading it.

A collection of so-called news groups that have nothing to do with news. Usenets are ongoing discussion groups among people on the Internet who share a mutual interest.

User ID
This is the unique identifier (like your logon name) that you use to identify yourself on a computer. You probably typed your User ID (and password) when you logged onto the Internet today.

Your computer can get a virus just like your body can be invaded with a virus making you (or your computer) sick. A virus can wipe out information on your computer and create major havoc. Viruses usually originate from malicious people. You can unintentionally download virus from a web site or get it from a disk that someone has lent you. There are virus-checking programs, but there are new viruses popping up every day. So the best defense against a virus is to be very careful not to download programs or data from a site you're not familiar with.

An acronym for Wide Area Information System which basically means lots of large databases you can search through. It was designed by WAIS Corp. as a way of accessing very large databases.

An acronym for the World Wide Web.

Short for the World Wide Web.

Web Browser
The tool (program) that allows you to surf the web. You probably used your Web Browser to locate this page. The most popular Web Browsers right now are Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer.

Web Page
Every time you are on the Internet, you are looking at a Web Page. Yes that includes this page.

World Wide Web
A full-color, multimedia database of information on the Internet. Like the name implies the World Wide Web is a universal mass of web pages connected together through links. Theoretically, if you clicked on every link on every web page you would eventually visit every corner of the world without ever leaving your computer chair. Of course you would also have to live until you were about a million years old and computers were antiquated technology.




Created by Don Levi

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