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How to use the internet

Quote - "640K ought to be enough for anybody." Bill Gates, 1981

The central feature of your ability to navigate around the world wide web is a piece of software called a browser. There are many available, by far the most popular is Microsoft's Internet Explorer. This is probably due to the fact that it is installed with the Windows operating system rather than it being the best for the job.
Which browser you use is purely down to personal choice, most are free and all will translate and display web pages for you (although not all in the same way).
The next section looks at browsers in more detail, as they are not only your computers gateway to the internet, they provide lots of little features to simplify your surfing.

It is advisable you spend some time clicking around whichever browser you prefer to use, this combined with a 'Home page' (The page that opens when you first connect to the net) you will use as a starting point to navigate round the web.
You can choose virtually any web page for your home page, most people use their internet service provider, or MSN (which comes with Windows)  or their favourite search engine.
You can change your home page in the Internet properties box, to open it click Start > control panel, (or Start > Settings > Control panel depending on your version of Windows) XP users will need to view the control panel in Classic View.
You can also click tools on your Internet explorer browser, then internet options from the drop down list that appears.

In the control panel, double click the icon for Internet options.

Type in the address of the page you wish to use, e.g., or click use current to use the web page you are currently viewing.

On an Apple Mac, click the apple (top left) > System preferences > Show all > Internet. In the 'home page' box, type in the URL of the page you wish to use, e.g.

By clicking on the icon for your internet service provider on your desktop, or from Start and Programmes the software connects you to the internet.
Once connected you can access any of the billions of web sites. You can also download into your computer, programmes or software and communicate with others.

So how do you find what your looking for?
One thing is for certain, if you can think of it, someone will have a web page about it somewhere.
The most popular way of finding stuff is by using a search tool. It will either find you a specific web site, or a list of sites about a particular topic, or sites containing specified words. Our Search engine section looks at this area in more detail, as too many people get quickly disillusioned with having to sift through thousands of web sites offered as results to a search, and still not find what they are actually looking for.

In order to download programmes or applications, you will need sufficient space in the computers memory. The data is stored in a file at a location you choose during the process of requesting the download. It is a good idea for beginners to choose the 'my documents' section or 'desktop' as they are easy to locate.

Some downloads will arrive in a zipped file. This compacts the data to speed up the download and will be seen in 'my documents'( if that is where you put it), as a file with a zip across it.
The data needs to be extracted before it can be used. Computer operating systems usually come with a programme installed to unzip these files, simply follow the onscreen instructions that appear when you run the programme for the first time. If for any reason your computer does not have this facility you can download it from Here Winzip. Once it has been unzipped you can run the programme anytime you choose.

Communicate with others
The internet introduces new ways of communication. Electronic mail, or E-mail, message boards, chat rooms and instant messaging, are available to everyone, and are all free.

E-mail is the internets most popular use. You can sent text and pictures from one e-mail address to another. Many companies and ISP's will offer you free e-mail addresses, and sending them is simple.

Message boards, also called Forums are everywhere, someone begins a topic or subject and others respond. Often a source to answers or suggestions to an issue or problem, no matter what the issue, someone will be discussing it somewhere, a search engine will offer you a route to them.

Chat rooms, are also in abundance, most have a tendency to target a particular theme. and people type in input as if chatting. Chat rooms are increasing coming under fire because most are unmonitored, and freely available to anyone, no matter who they are, and the animosity does raise safety issues. It is unfortunate that they are being misused, because the do offer another social avenue to many.

Instant messages, are faster than e-mail and more private than a chat room. The most popular are made by AOL, MSN and Yahoo, they are free and you can chat to anyone else who has one. Get them here, AOL, MSN. Yahoo
IMSpeak, is a programme which will, amongst many other things, read your instant messages to you. You can assign different animated voices to all your buddies. It is available as an instant download, HERE, it costs just £11.99($24).

The next button will talk you through browsers

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