Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide

Is the Internet the CB Radio of Our Time?

You heard the lingo before: "Ten four good buddy"; "Keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down." Now it's "Who's your ISP?" And "What's your E-mail Address?"

What's the real story behind the Internet and how do you get involved? First of all, think of computers as big filing cabinets. They store a lot of information, from printed materials to pictures and sound. Various people and governments file information into the computers from all over the world. These machines can then be connected to allow you to get to the information that is stored in them.

Do I need a computer to get onto the Internet?
Today, there are companies producing a product that will allow you to use your television to get onto the Internet. What you really need is a phone line, a device to connect to the Internet (Computer or Web-TV) and an ISP (Internet Service Provider) The ISP provides the telephone connection and the how to manual for your computer or Web-TV (Software), to show you Internet information on your screen. You want to make sure you are dialing a local phone number when you connect your computer to the main computer.

How do I find an ISP?
Would you believe the phone book!! There is now a section for the Internet. What you want to do is find one that has a rate (price tag) you can live with. Also you want to find out if the ISP has a local phone number for your computer or Web-TV to call (I'm sure you don't want to add long distance charges to your bill!). Call around, for about $21.95 or less per month you should now get at least: an e-mail address (possibly three), unlimited access to the Internet and a web page. If not, keep calling. Think of the web page as your ad in the yellow pages. It announces you have arrived!

Once I have an ISP, what do I do?

Your ISP gives you a phone number into their computer and a password that you can use. You then load in software into your computer or Web-TV that will allow you to "browse" the Internet like you would in a bookstore.

How do I find information on the "Net"?
Have you ever wandered into a library and just browsed up and down through the stacks, not quite looking for anything but stopping at whatever catches your eye? That's the first phase of the Internet, the Browser. This allows you to window shop, stopping at whatever catches your eye. Some text on the Internet is shown with underscores, meaning that you can "click" on it to take you to an area with more information. When you are finished you hit the "Back" button and it takes you back to where you were.

The other way to find information at a library is to walk up to a librarian and ask, "How do I find this?" Well, you can do the same thing on the Internet, you just need to find the right librarian. The Internet librarian is called a Search Engine. In most search engines you will find that you can type in key phrases and the Search Engine will list a number of places where you might find what you are looking for. Unfortunately, most people who use search engines will tell you that the one they use is the best. My reply is, "The one that gives me the answer is the best!!" You will have to experiment and find the best one for what you are looking for.

What if I am still confused?
The best solution I can offer, is to take a "hands-on" seminar or course. That way you can ask questions while you are working on the net. The other way is to have a friend come over and work with you and show you the tricks he or she has learned. One problem that I have learned with a neighbor is that it is like teaching your spouse to drive a car. You can do it but you still have to live with them!

Good luck and see you on the net!!!

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