The Internet Science:Computers(:Internet) The Internet – By: Matt Garner The Internet, or net, is a vast network of computers that connects many of the world’s businesses, institutions, and individuals. The Internet is composed of many parts, including the World Wide Web, FTP, IRC, Newsgroups, Gopher, WAIS, Archie, and of course Electronic Mail (Email). The Internet is mainly used for communication. Email is the most heavily used resource of the Internet- over 40 million email messages are sent through the Internet a day. The second most used resource, called the World Wide Web, or WWW, consists of pages of words, images, sounds, and video.
The Internet is continuing to grow at 40% a year, with about 20 million users, mainly in USA, Canada, and Australia, but still many all over the world. You can do many things on the Internet, such as shop for just about anything, bank and manage money, watch and listen to live cable televison and radio broadcasts, talk to other users with voice like a telephone, conduct international meetings, and access all kinds of information on any subject imaginable. As mentioned earlier, the WWW consists of pages and pages of text, images, sounds, and video. Unlike pages in a book, there is no maximum size for a page, and there is HyperText Links. If you click on any one of these links, the computer will automatically go to the page specified by the link.
The WWW is programmed in a computer language called Hyper Text Markup Language, or HTML. Searching the Web can be a difficult thing to do, or if you use a search engine, it can be really easy. Since so many new web pages are added to the Web a day, a very good index is hard to keep, and an alphabetical listing of millions of web pages would be almost impossible to navigate through. To help this problem, people developed search engines that search the Web for you. Some search engines, like Yahoo, search in a big web directory they have made of hundreds of thousands of web pages, that is organized like a phonebook. Other search engines, like Alta Vista, or Magellan, search in a list of Web pages it has created as it surfed the web all by it’s self.
People usually access the Internet through a computer using a device called a modem. Modems connect people to the net through telephone lines. Some companies, and the “heart” of the Internet, Use Fiber-Optic cables to connect. Fiber-Optic cabled are made of hair-thin strands of glass that carry information at the speed of light as pulses of light. Fiber-Optics are thousands of times faster than standard copper telephone lines.
The Internet began in the 1960’s. In 1962, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States Department of Defense developed a network of computers called ARPAnet. At first, this network only connected military and government computer systems. The purpose was to make all information safe, so that in disaster or war, if one computer was destroyed, it’s information would not be lost. In 1966, the ARPAnet was expanded to include universities and other institutions. One of the first universities to be added was Utah State University. Soon, large companies and corporations were added, too.
By 1990, anyone with a computer, a modem, and Internet software could connect to the Internet. There are many things in the future of the net, including video conferencing, online virtual reality worlds, and faster Internet connections.