Sorry we can't do a mind meld or direct computer to brain transfer yet. You just have to read. We've done our best to make this information as concise as possible, yet cover all of the important terms you are likely to encounter on the Internet.
Internet - A bunch of computers that range from personal computers to minicomputers, mainframes and supercomputers interconnected by communications systems that range from copper telephone wires and television cables to fiber optic cables and microwaves. Microwaves are a range of communication frequencies used as a carrier of digital data (one's and zero's) that are beamed from broadcasting stations and bounced among terrestrial and satellite repeaters to receiving stations. When two or more computers are connected such that they can communicate with one another, they are known as a network. When one of those computers is dedicated to providing information to the other computers, it is known as a server. When it or another computer in the network is dedicated to interconnecting with another network, it is known as a hub. Each intermediary network or computer between a server and an Internet hub is known as a jump. The normally incompatible computers of the Internet can communicate with each other because they all support TCP/IP. The Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol is the key to the Internet.
It helps to separate the Internet into three functions: Supply, Intermediary and Demand.
- Supply makes things available to the communications media and standards known as the Internet.
- Intermediary helps you find Web sites using words instead of numbers.
- Demand is everyone and everything, including computer programs that want things.
To see what these things are graphically, view the definitions diagram, which is an image map.
- Information Provider (IP) - Anyone who performs one or more of the following functions:
- Text author - Uses word processing program to create text files (.text, .txt)
- HTML author - Uses word processor or HTML development program to create HTML files (.html, .htm). A lead HTML author will organize all of the various files into a Web site.
- HTML (HyperText Markup Language) - character sequences, e.g. <P>text</P> that tell a browser what to do with "text" or what it references using a Uniform Reference Locator (URL), which may use its HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) command to access a different location in the same file as you are doing here, access a file on the same computer as you did to get here, or access a file on another computer somewhere on the Internet, or its File Transfer Protocol (FTP) command to move a file from one computer to another computer via the Internet, or its MailTo command to convert the data in a form to an email message.
- Image Map - An image that has URLs associated with areas thereof such that when clicked, take the user to another file related to that area.
- Form - Provides input fields so data can be collected from Internet users and emailed or collected in a database. The fields on a form correlate with fields in a database.
- Graphic artist, - Uses graphics program to create two-dimensional (2-D) diagram and image files (.giff, .gif, .jpeg, .jpg) from scratch or modify digitally scanned or photographed images.
- Modeler - Uses modeling program to create three-dimensional (3-D) model files (.iges) from scratch or modify digitally scanned or measured real object.
- Virtual reality (VR) developer - Uses image correlation program to create files (.mov) views of 2 and 3-D scenes from the perspective of users and under the direct or indirect (game) control of users
- Video developer - Uses video capture hardware and software to convert analog video to digital data for modification by editing software and publication of the result in files (.mov).
- Sound developer - Uses sound capture hardware and software to convert analog (tape) and digital (CD) sounds to digital data for modification by editing software and publication of the result in files (.aiff, .aif).
- Animation developer - Uses specialty software to control the apparent motion of 2-D graphics and 3-D models and publish the result as files (.gif, .mov).
- Programmer) - Uses text editor or specialty program to create commands (CGI), data (Cookies), or programs (Applet) used by the Web site on your behalf.
- Common Gateway Interface (CGI ) - The specification for communication between an HTTP server and server gateway programs, which is supported by most servers. CGI tells other programs, like database management systems and email programs what to do with information your supplied, or what to search for and return to you as new content for the HTML file or as a new HTML file
- Cookies - Data sent to your computer for storage and future reference by other pages of the same site or the same page should you return to it in the future.
- Applet - A small application program, usually written in the Java programming language that provide special effects from dynamic images to monitoring real-time data from a browser. Java Applets can be downloaded from a Web server and run on most computers without the knowledge of computer users unless they have set their browser preferences such that it will notify them of such events.
- File - Data organized on a computer disk or CD according to file names that is used by a computer program. Files may have any of a number of formats that are peculiar to the program that created them. Some file formats are understood by more than one program. Text files limited to the ASCII character set (a-b, A-B, 0-9, !@#$%...) are understood by many programs. Files are usually a collection of ASCII characters. Each character is defined by two bytes of data. Each byte is comprised of four bits. A bit is on or off (1 or 0). It's the basic element of digital computers and communications. The size of a file is described in Definitions of bytes, kilobytes (KBytes = KB = 1,000 bytes) or megabytes (MBytes = MB = 1,000 kilobytes). That's why disks are defined in Definitions of kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes (1,000 megabytes) and terabytes (1,000 gigabytes). Files are communicated between computers as a string of bits. The speed of the communications is described in Definitions of bits per second (b/s), kilobits per second (Kbits = Kb/s = 1,000 bits per second) and megabits per second (Mbits/second = Mb/s = 1,000 kilobits per second).
- File name - A human-readable tag for a file that uniquely identifies it within a folder (Apple Macintosh terminology) or directory (IBM, Unix, Microsoft terminology). The same file name may be used for other files as long as they are in different folders or directories. What is displayed as the name of a Web page on the top of a browser window is HTML file header information called a Title. It is not necessarily the file name.
- Folder/Directory - Metaphorically a container of files that can also contain containers of files. It provides a method of hierarchically organizing files on a computer disk or a partition thereof, both of which are known as a volume. A computer may have many volumes integral to it, connected locally to it via SCSI or FireWire cables, or connected remotely to it by way of a network.
- Site - A set of files on a server that manifest a topic or theme. Topics and sub topics are usually organized in a hierarchy of folders/directories. Each site has a home page.
- Home page - The default file in a site to which browsers default if a file name is not specified by their user. The Home page is usually associated with a unique Internet Address and domain name.
- Server - A computer that has data communication software (TCP/IP) that enables it to communicate with other computers over data communication hardware, like a modem, Ethernet or AppleTalk that enable the computer communications software to communicate over wires or microwaves. Servers may host a number of Internet services like host email programs, forums, chat rooms, stores and malls.
- Modem (MODulator/DEModulator) - Converts digital data to modulated signals on a carrier wave so it can be transmitted via wires, FM, HAM, light or microwaves to another modem that converts the signals back to digital data, and vice versa.
- Forum - One or more files that comprise a collection of topics related to some subject. Messages related to each topic are posted by customers and stored for reading and response by subsequent visitors. Discussions may last a month or more. Access can be limited to subscribers. (There is a forum system for use and for sale.)
- Chat Room - One or more files that comprise a "real-time" conversation related to some subject. Statements are typed by customers for immediate viewing by others in the same "room." Discussions among the same participants seldom last more than an hour, but others may continue the conversation for days. Access can be limited to subscribers.
- Mall - Allows customers to take a shopping cart with them to different stores (databases or Web sites) and fill it will products. Product quantity can be changed prior to "checking-out" and paying for the products with one of various methods. (Bill Holmes Consulting) can reactivate a Mall for use and for sale.)
- Database - Anything from a file to a complex data management system of related files that stores data, facilitates complex searches for specific data and can collect data from Internet visitors. Often known as a backend database because it is front ended by HTML files that use CGI to translate database data into something viewable by Internet users. HTML forms are used to communicate data to databases. Most search engines are databases.
- Information Service Provider (ISP) - ISPs provide servers to IPs and make the servers available to the Internet via an Internet Access Provider (IAP). ISPs range from teenagers with a personal computer in their bedroom to corporations with rooms full of shelves full of specialized computers.
- Internet Access Provider (IAP) - Connects servers to Internet. The servers are either remotely located at the ISP or collocated in an IAP room. Special communication hardware and leased telephone lines are typically used to connect remote servers to the IAP and thence they are treated like collocated servers. Typically each collocated server is connected by way of an Ethernet cable/protocol to an Ethernet multiplexer that gives the dozen or so servers connected to it a 10 Megabit per second (Mb/s) time slice of a much faster communications medium (T1/T3/ATM). that connects to hierarchy of networks of specialized computers dedicated to passing the information along to one or more Internet hubs somewhere in the world. Expensive IAPs connect to multiple hubs in multiple ways so if a major Internet failure occurs, its servers remain connected to the Internet. Expensive IAPs are fewer jumps away from an Internet hub than less expensive IAPs. IAPs are often also ISPs and IPs. Each IAP has one or more primary and secondary Domain Name Servers
- Domain name - Unique text address (billholmesconsulting.com) reserved by an IP or IAP on behalf of an IP from Network Solutions for a fee ($35/year).
- Network Solutions (InterNIC) - A government granted monopoly business that keeps domain names unique, correlates the textural domain name (billholmesconsulting.com) with its actual IP Address (184.108.40.206) and posts that mapping on number of computers connected to the Internet as primary Domain Name Servers. There is no reason why there shouldn't be multiple competing domain name providers as long as they connect their primary domain name servers such that all domain names are unique.
- Primary Domain Name Server (DNS) - Any of a number of usually dedicated IAP servers throughout the Internet that periodically communicate with the Network Solutions computers to get the latest mappings and translate domain name (se1.com) requests from browsers to their actual numeric IP Address (220.127.116.11). The TCP/IP setups on the computers of Internet users usually list a number of Domain Name servers in addition to those of their IAP for any browser or FTP program on the computer to use to get the actual IP address of a domain and connect to the Web site. If the first DNS on the list in unavailable, the next one on the list is accessed for the mapping.
- Secondary Domain Name Server - In the event a primary Domain Name Server is not operating, a secondary Domain Name Server will notify the user that the domain name is valid, but the server of the domain is not operating or is too busy to respond.
- Virtual Domain Name Server - Originally each domain had to be on its own server. One domain per server is expensive, so means were devised to trick the Internet into accommodating multiple domains on one server. ISP as well as IAPs provide Virtual Domain Name services. Good providers map each domain name (billholmesconsulting.com) to a unique IP address (18.104.22.168), which allows search engines to supply its location to their users. Cheap providers map every domain to one IP Address, leaving search engines nothing unique to use for an IP Address.
- Search Engine - A program on a server used to find sites of interest. It's usually driven by a database with data about Internet sites supplied by IPs or Web Crawlers.
- Web Crawler - A program that searches the Internet for Web sites and extracts descriptive information from them for use by search engines.
- Internet Access Provider - Connects client to Internet via analog (modem) or digital (ISDN) telephone lines
- Client - Your computer if it has TCP/IP and a browser, assistant, or other program that can use it.
- Browser - A program that interprets information in files and displays it on your monitor or television (WebTV), e.g., Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Explorer and NCSA Mosaic. Most browsers retain a cache of downloaded files from visited Web sites and allow users to go Back to previous files and Forward to again more recent files. They also include a Go button or equivalent that lists the Titles of the HTML files in the order they were visited during the current session. Selecting any file in the list returns the user to that point in their Internet adventure. Some browsers are more capable than others. Savvy IPs design sites that accommodate older widely used browser versions as well as current versions.
- Versions - Earlier versions are less capable than later versions.
- Options - Users may disable some options like image display to minimize response time.
- Helper applications - Programs browsers trigger to display certain file formats. Not everyone has them all.
- Plug-ins - Adds interpreters to browser. May not be available for some browsers or computer types. Users may exclude plug-ins to minimize response time.
- Assistant - Program used to automate searches throughout the Internet for products or information.
The Internet is passive. The supply just sits there waiting for you to ask for it. When you enter a Uniform Reference Locator URL in your browser, it asks the first DNS listed in your TCP/IP setup for the IP Address of that domain name in the URL. The DNS responds with the IP Address (four sets of 1-3 digits). Your browser connects to the server at that address and asks for the default file name of the domain. If you supplied a pathname (folder/folder/filename) in addition to the domain name, your browser asks for that specific file.
The server finds the HTML file and supplies it to your browser. Your browser examines its HTML and presents a formatted view of the file to you on your monitor. If the HTML file references graphic, sound or other non-HTML files, your browser uses their URLs to ask the server for those files. As they are supplied by the server, your browser displays them to you where and how the HTML dictates.
Imbedded in the HTML may be URLs to other HTML files. These normally appear as underlined blue text, but may be associated with a button or graphic or a portion of a graphic. When you select these links, your browser asks the server for the file if the link is local to it, else it asks a DNS for the IP Address of the domain name in the link URL. If the actual IP Address is supplied in the URL, your browser skips the DNS lookup step and goes straight to the designated server. (You too can supply IP Addresses directly to your browser and skip the domain name lookup process.)
The URL may include CGI, Cookies or Java code.
Purpose of Web Site (Contents)
Expand market for product or service, reduce labor costs by off-loading repetitive information requests, or make information or opinions available to people throughout the world.
Range of Media (Contents)
- Text - Basic information for old browsers, serious shoppers and new assistants. To appeal to the widest possible market and provide substance for assistants, every important piece of information must be represented as text, even if it is redundant with that which is in images, video or audio, because some people disable graphics, Java and other features to improve response time.
- Hypertext (A.K.A., hyperlink) - Customer selection causes jump to another file on the same server on another server. Gives customer control of navigation and sense of power.
- Graphic - Two-dimensional (2-D) images used to increase interest and understanding. Should be informative or invoke a desired emotion as well as provide visual relief.
- Image maps - Graphic with areas that behave like hypertext. Useful for spatially dependent information like linking a location on a map with a building or a room on a floor plan with details about the room. Unfortunately, image maps of text are often used as "sexy" navigation tools. They take much longer to download.
- Video - Use to increase interest and understanding by providing an example of what can be seen or done.
- Virtual reality - Position, orientation and direction under customer control within simulated 3-D scene used to increase interest, understanding and comfort. Should use three concurrent views:
- Position on map or floor plan - x, y, z.
- Orientation on map or floor plan - pointer(s), yaw, pitch, roll.
- Display at that position and orientation in world view.
- Sound - Use to increase interest or provide solace, i.e. comfort with pleasant music. Should correlate with graphic, video or animation.
- Animation - Multiple, vectored or rotated 2-D and 3-D images used to increase interest and understanding.
- Language - Should have Spanish, French, Polish and Russian versions of every page to appeal to the international market.
Range of Patience (Contents)
If something is not displayed within five seconds or something interesting is not displayed within ten seconds, the customer will move on. To maximize performance:
- Graphic files should be kept small (<50KB).
- Larger graphic, video and animation files should be interlaced (alternate lines display as the graphic file is downloaded) or threaded (first part of sound file is played before entire file is downloaded).
- Discourage background patterns (image that is repeated as mosaic to fill page).
- Limit page to three screen scrolls on 13-inch monitors.
Navigation Aids (Contents)
To avoid that "Where am I?" feeling, all of the pages must have a style consistent with their theme in the form of a background color, graphic (logo), arrangement and navigation link color.