Simply put, the Internet is like the interstate highways which link many cities. It is an electronic medium connecting thousands of computer networks worldwide. There is no voice phone number to call someone at the Internet and there is no one central authority on the Internet. It is a network run by the people, for the people --a worldwide computer democracy.
There is no single word to describe the Internet. Ask those who use the Internet and you're likely to get a wide variety of answers. It is a culture, it is a place of business, it is a place of leisure, it is a place of education, it is a place of rese arch, and more.
The Internet was originally ARPAnet, an experimental network started by the United States Government to connect large computers at university, government, and corporation sites. It still does today, with the addition of many more networks. There are an estimated 10 to 15 million people on the Internet , using over 1.5 million computers in 13,000 computer networks. This giant network of networks doubles in size every six to fifteen months.
What is Available On the Internet?
In Zen and the Art of Internet, Brendan P. Kehoe says, "The largest problem people face when first using a network is grasping all that's available. Even seasoned users find themselves surprised when they discovered a new service or feature that they'd never known existed."
There are an endless number of services on the Internet on an infinite number of topics. There are online book reviews, magazine fax delivery services, an electronic Bible, and musical lyrics. Also, there is a huge database of freely distributed softwa re for PCs, Macs, Amigas, Apple IIs, UNIX and more. Recently, the Library of Congress made its entire electronic catalog available on the Internet. There are also daily summaries of the weather in any part of the nation, recent earthquake information, and White House Press releases.
However, the largest use of the Internet is electronic mail (E-Mail). Anyone with Internet mail access can send mail to just about anyone on the network. Users at mayor online services such as GEnie, CompuServe, America Online, MCI Mail, AT&T Mail, and AppleLink can also be reached via Internet E-Mail.
Here are some of the main services available on the Internet.
This is just a brief summary of the Internet. It would take many pages and many researchers to attempt a complete summary of what the Internet can do and what is available on it. More information about the Internet can be obtained at most universities such as Sonoma State and Santa Rosa Junior College. There are also many books such as Zen and the Art of the Internet and Ed Krol's The Whole Internet User's Guide and Catalog.