CeePrompt! Computer Connection

Internet: History in the Making

by Cathi Schuler

Internet...World Wide Web....browsers. You maybe tired of the media hype surrounding these topics and weary of seeing the cryptic http://www.blah.blah.com references popping up everywhere, but sooner or later you'll need to face the facts: The Internet is here to stay and is rapidly insinuating itself into the very fabric of our everyday lives.

This extensive and complex computer network is, at the very least, going to assume the same importance as a universal yellow pages directory. The advantage is...it isn't printed just once a year. It is updated, modified and published throughout the world 24 hours a day --- seven days a week.

At the very best, the Internet will change our lives in the same ways telephone and television has. It will spurn a re-thinking of how we do business, gather information, explore resources and communicate with co-workers, associates, prospective clients, friends, family and more.

It is the instantaneous, fluid nature of this medium that constitutes its primary allure. Information can be transmitted via the Net faster and more efficiently than with most traditional venues. It's also affordable and easy to use, since the advent of the World Wide Web. It's still unfathomable, however, to most people that they can gather and exchange information instantly from down the block or across many oceans with a local connection and a few mouse clicks.

Certainly there are many areas that need fine tuning, but this is history in the making. At present the Internet is an amorphous entity that is evolving hourly. Small businesses and Wall Street companies alike are scrambling and positioning themselves on the Web, poised and ready for the future.

Currently, the only folks who are doing any real business on the Net, are those who have traditionally done business via mail order or telemarketing strategies. The rest are using this venue as a new wave sales and marketing tool. But as soon as financial institutions can solve issues of "net cash" and security and the federal government settles on an encryption standard, the Internet will become much more than a bunch of billboards on the Information Superhighway.

Your job between now and the very near future is to arm yourself with the tools necessary to be competitive in this new world: knowledge and information. Traditional mediums of books and magazines are a good starting resource.

"The Whole Internet", by Ed Krol has long been considered the number one primer for the Internet. While this is an excellent publication, it can still be a little too technical for novices. I like all the books published by Osborne and particularly The Internet Complete Reference by Harley Hahn and Rick Stout. This book is as understandable as the "Dummies" series of books, but much more informative and extensive. Rick Stout additionally authors "The World Wide Web Complete Reference" which also provides a wealth of easy-to-follow information.

In magazines, PC Novice Guide to the Internet offers a great overview for $4.95. Look for Vol 4, Issue 5 published until June 95. Online Access is still my favorite regular online magazine. Each month there are articles on the latest technologies and listings of hundreds of interesting web sites.

For those who already have online connectivity, check out Larry Magid's Essential Internet Online Home Page at http://www.paradesa.com/teionline/home/home.html This is an excellent resource for beginners to find tips on everything from netiquette to creating your own web page.

Internet classes are also available locally in many flavors ranging from free Saturday sessions sponsored by InReach Internet (800-4InReach) to hands-on sessions offered by U.O.P. or training programs such as UpGrade Computer Training (951-5000).

Beginning April 12th, U.O.P. Westgate Center for Management Development is offering a three-part, hands-on class focusing on Doing Business on the Internet. This class will cover Internet basics, business strategies and home page development. Call Myrna Vick at 946-2478 for information and registration. On Saturday, May 4th U.O.P. LifeLong Learning is offering a hands-on Netscape class. Call Consuelo at 946-2424 to register.

Of all the tools you can acquire in ready preparation for the future, knowledge is the most important of all.
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