Attention American Online users! Surfing the Internet is now easier than ever since their World Wide Web browser came online. The World Wide Web is a project that started in Switzerland in an effort to link the enormous, gangly Internet into a form that was manageable and maneuverable. The key to the Web is a tool called hypertext. Hypertext creates links between computers all over the world related to a particular subject matter.
Have you used any of the Help facilities in Windows applications? You'll notice areas of green text in the help menus. When you point and click on this text using the mouse, you are taken to another, related area of the help menu with additional information. This is hypertext. The Web works in the same way. Point and click on text, phrases or graphics, and you are quickly whisked away to computers around the country and globe, in search of information, graphics, sound, video and animation.
Using the Web browser in America Online does have a hitch, however. You must download a newer version of AOL, version 2.5, in order to use the browser. This is a "Preview version" (fancy for beta) which is still under development and has some bugs. I honestly haven't encountered any bugs yet nor have many other users I know who have upgraded to version 2.5.
With this caveat in mind, go to the Internet area of AOL and click on the World Wide Web icon. You will be prompted to download the new software if you want to use the Web browser. Should you choose this option, start the download process. Your download time will vary with your modem speed. A 14.4 baud modem requires 27 minutes, whereas a 2400 baud modem takes 257 minutes. This is a "free" area for you and your online time will not accumulate during the download process.
When complete, exit America Online and go to the Windows file manager. Open the download subdirectory in your C:\AOL20 or C:\WAOL directory. Double-click on the file icon AOL2_5.EXE Follow the onscreen instructions to load the new version, then start AOL 2.5.
Now, when you go to the World Wide Web area of the Internet, you'll land on the America Online home page. A home page is like the main menu or index for the various Web sites. All Web sites have an address, called a URL or uniform resource locator. Notice the America Online URL, http://www.blue.aol.com/ in a text box near the upper left of the page. To move to other locations on the Web, you must enter a new address, or URL, in this area.
Delete the AOL URL and type http://www.yahoo.com/ Press Enter. This will take you to Yahoo, a great starting place for beginners. Yahoo provides an index of Web sites categorized by topics, what's new, what's cool and what's popular. It also has a search function to locate specific subjects.
As you move your mouse across a Web page, the pointer will change to a finger each time hypertext is encountered. Each mouseclick in this mode takes you to a new Web location and a new URL. Another good starting point for beginners is the WebCrawler Top 25, http://webcrawler.cs.washington.edu/WebCrawler/Top25.html This list of the most popular Web sites includes everything from Microsoft Corp. to weather maps.
America Online has added a new feature to version 2.5 called Favorite Places, represented by a yellow folder icon with a heart. You can add Web sites to your Favorite Places in AOL by clicking the folder icon in the title bar. In this way, bookmarks are created so that you won't have to type the cryptic URL addresses again. During future sessions, simply click the icons in your Favorite Places folder to quickly move to various Web sites.
The Web is meaty it many ways and runs best with a fast processor (486 or Pentium) lots of memory (8 MB or more) and a fast modem (14.4 minimum). If you find your Web sessions are too slow, consider disabling the graphics. Choose Set Preferences from the Members menu and choose No Graphics from the WWW menu.
Wax up that mouse and get ready to surf. The Internet awaits you through the ease of the
World Wide Web!
America Online 1-800-827-6364 (Free software) $9.95 per month AOL Software also free with many computer magazines.
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