Internet Questions FAQ
Q: What is the
A: "The Federal
Networking Council (FNC) agrees that the following language
reflects our definition of the term "Internet".
"Internet" refers to the global information system that --
The internet consists of many different aspects. The ones that
you may be familiar with or will use most often are:
Web Browsing, Sending E-Mail, Chat, and Participating in discussion
- is logically linked together by a globally unique address
space based on the Internet Protocol (IP) or its
subsequent extensions /follow-ons;
- is able to support communications using the Transmission
Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite or its
subsequent extensions/follow-ons, and/or other IP-compatible
- provides, uses or makes accessible, either publicly or
privately, high level services layered on the communications and
related infrastructure described herein."
A: One of the spaces in
which Internet is subdivided (shortly defined WWW or
Web). Its permits to establish hypertext connections among documents
kept in memory on computers, also different, called Web servers. In
this way during the consultation a user can pass from a document to
the other without taking care of the place where the respective
servers physically are. The protocol for this aim is HTTP. The
WWW documents are usually called pages; and can contain both
text and graphics, the whole co-ordinate by a specific language,
called HTML, codifying the different objects. The reading
program is called browser;. A connection present on a
Web page can also point, besides another document, at a file in any
shape (images, audio, video, and so on); at the
"click" of the mouse it will be automatically reproduced or
by the browser or by external applications. The World Wide
Web was born in 1991 of the European Committee for Nuclear Research
(the Italian CERN) laboratory in Geneva, as a tool by which scientists
could easily divide the results of their researches. The three
main components of World Wide Web are hypertexts, Internet and
multimedia contents of documents.
Q: What is the World Wide
A: There are 2 main programs out
there that may be used to browse the internet. The first is
distributed by Microsoft and is called the Microsoft Internet
Explorer. This program comes with most versions of Windows 95 but can
be downloaded for either Windows 3.1x or Windows 95 from http://www.microsoft.com.
The other option is Netscape Navigator. This program can be downloaded
for many different operating systems including Windows 3.1x, Windows
95, UNIX, Linux, Solaris, and many others at http://home.netscape.com.
Q: What programs can I use
to browse the WWW?
Q: I keep hearing about a
'PPP' connection. What is it?
A: PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol)
is a communications protocol used to transmit network data over
telephone lines. It allows you to connect your computer to the
Internet itself, rather than logging on through an Internet Service
Provider's host computer and using UNIX commands through a shell. This
type of connection lets you communicate directly with other computers
on the network using TCP/IP connections. It is part of the TCP/IP
suite of programs necessary to connect to and use the Internet.
With KansasNet, you are using either PPP or SLIP to make
your connection to the Internet. PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) is
rapidly replacing SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol) as the more
common standard. Where as SLIP is easy to install and to use, it does
not provide error correction or certain negotiation features that are
built into PPP.
Q: What is 'TCP/IP'?
A: Stands for Transmission Control
Protocol/Internet Protocol. This is the language governing
communications between all computers on the Internet. TCP/IP is a set
of instructions that dictates how packets of information are sent
across multiple networks. Also included is a built-in error-checking
capability to ensure that data packets arrive at their final
destination in the proper order.
IP, or Internet Protocol, is the specification that determines
where packets are routed to, based on their destination address. TCP,
or Transmission Control Protocol, makes sure that the packets arrive
correctly at their destination address. If TCP determines that a
packet was not received, it will try to re-send the packet until it is
You must be running TCP/IP to have full Internet access. In
Unix, TCP/IP is a part of the operating system. In the DOS and Windows
world, the functionality of TCP/IP is handled by Winsock. This piece
of software takes care of your TCP/IP configuration information. On a
Mac, you would use Apple's TCP/IP.
Q: What is Email?
A: Email is a way for people to
communicate between each other almost instantly over the internet.
Email is similar to mailing a letter to someone, however the person
can receive the letter almost instantly, therefore making the
communication much faster and easier. With email, you can also attach
files that may be pictures, text, or almost any other form of media.
Q: Do I have an email address?
A: Yes. All accounts on KansasNet
come with an email address. Your email address would be your firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, for example, if you picked the username 'johndoe' upon signing up an
account, your email address would be 'email@example.com'.
Q: What programs can I use to
A: There are many programs out
there that you can use. The software we provide for Windows 3.1x comes
with it's own Windows mail program. Modern versions of Windows already
have a built-in email program called Outlook Express. You might
also choose to use a different email program such as Netscape Mail,
Lotus Notes, or Outlook 2002. You can download various email programs
from the internet, however the email clients we mentioned above such
as Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express are trusted and tried
programs. Please visit our downloads
section for possible email client downloads.
You can also check your internet from anywhere in the world
where you have internet access by visiting KansasNet's
Q: What is a URL?
A: URL is an acronym for Uniform
Resource Locator. URL is the address for a resource or site (usually a
directory or file) on the World Wide Web and the convention that web
browsers use for locating files and other remote services.
Here are some examples of URL's:
The first part of a URL tells you the type of resource
(or method of access) at that address.
- http - a hypertext document or directory
- gopher - a gopher document or menu
- ftp - a file available for downloading or a directory of
- news - a newsgroup
- telnet - a computer system that you can log into from
across the Internet
- WAIS - a database or document on a WAIS (Wide Area
Information Search) database
- file - a file located on a local drive (like your hard
The second part of a URL is typically
the address of the computer where the data or service is located.
Additional parts may specify the names of files, the port to connect
to, or the text to search for in a database. The second part of a
URL is typically the address of the computer where the data or
service is located. Additional parts may specify the names of files,
the port to connect to, or the text to search for in a database.
Here are a couple of other important things to remember
- A URL has no spaces.
- A URL always uses forward slashes (//).
- If you enter a URL incorrectly, your browser will not
be able to locate the site or resource you want.
- You can find the URL behind any link by passing your
mouse pointer over the link. The pointer will turn into a hand
and the URL will appear in the browser's status bar.
Q: What does HTTP stand for?
A: HTTP stands for Hypertext
Transfer Protocol -- the method by which hypertext files are
transferred across the Internet. Let's examine these terms one at a
time. "Hypertext" was coined by Ted Nelson in 1965 to mean
"text which is not constrained to be linear." When used with
the web, it is text that is linked to something else. When you click
on a word and you are shown another page (or a sound file or a
picture), you are using hypertext. Hypertext allows you to jump around
between files, following your own interests and train of thought.
World Wide Web pages written in HTML use hypertext to link to other
Hypertext transfer is simply the transfer of hypertext files
from computer to computer. When you are reading a hypertext document,
say, at the Library of Congress site, you can click on a link that
takes you to the NASA page. Of course, you haven't actually gone
anywhere. A document simply has been transferred from NASA's computer
to your computer, across the Internet.
Now what on earth is protocol? In computers, a protocol is a
set of standards used by two computers to communicate and exchange
information with each other. To put it all together, Hypertext
Transfer Protocol is the set of standards used by computers to
transfer hypertext files (web pages) over the Internet.
Q: I keep hearing about
'cookies'. What are they?
A: A cookie is a file sent to a
web browser by a web server that is used to record one's activities on
a website. For instance, when you buy items from a site and place them
in a so-called virtual shopping cart, that information is stored in
the cookie. When the browser requests additional files, the cookie
information is sent back to the server. Cookies can remember other
kinds of personal information --your password, so you don't have to
re-enter it each time you visit the site; your preferences, so the
next time you return to a site, you can be presented with customized
information. Some people regard cookies as an invasion of privacy;
others think they are a harmless way to make websites more personal.
Most cookies have an expiration date and either reside in
your computer's memory until you close your browser or they are saved
to your hard drive. By the way, cookies cannot read information stored
in your computer.
You can use a text editor to view cookie files. For Windows
users of Navigator, the file is called cookies.txt and is located in
the the same folder as Netscape. Mac users can find it in the Netscape
folder in the System/Preferences folder. Explorer creates separate
files for each cookie and stores them in folders named
"Cookies" or "Temporary Internet Files."
Q: What is 'cache'?
A: When you download a web page,
the data is cached, meaning it is stored temporarily on your computer.
The next time you want that page, instead of requesting the file from
the web server, your web browser just accesses it from the cache. That
way, the page loads quickly. But if the web page is updated
frequently, as may be the case with news, sports scores or financial
data, you won't get the most current information. By using the Reload
button on your browser, this timely data is updated by downloading
fresh data from the server.
Q: What is IRC?
A: An acronym for Internet Relay
Chat, a program that allows you to carry on "live"
conversations with people all over the world by typing messages back
and forth across the Internet. You can talk in groups or in private
with only one person. IRC consists of "channels," which
usually are devoted to specific topics. Anyone can create a
"channel" and any message typed in a given channel is seen
by all others in the channel.
There is no limit to the number of people who can chat on a
particular channel. Because of this unique feature, IRC channels have
served as unofficial "news" sites during times of crisis,
such as the Gulf War and the 1994 southern California earthquake.
Mostly, though, you will find the same thing as on the Net - people
talking about things they are interested in, from Aardvarks to
IRC can be difficult to get the hang of at first, but once
you get past the initial learning curve you may come to love it. How
else can you talk to someone in Brazil for an hour without paying a
dime in long-distance charges?
You may be able to find an IRC program available for download in our downloads
Q: What are newsgroups?
A: Electronic discussion groups
consisting of collections of related postings (also called articles)
on a particular topic that are posted to a news server which then
distributes them to other participating servers. There are thousands
of newsgroups covering a wide range of subjects. You must subscribe to
a newsgroup in order to participate in it or to track the discussion
on an on-going basis. Unlike with a magazine or newspaper, subscribing
to a newsgroup does not cost anything.
Newsgroups are found primarily on Usenet. Usenet is the
collection of computers that participate in a global conferencing
system that make newsgroups perhaps the largest distributed bulletin
board system in the world. Newsgroups are one of the oldest and most
widely used services on the Internet. There are more than 13,000 of
them, with new ones coming online all the time. Not all newsgroups are
carried by Usenet, and Usenet is carried by networks that are not on
Newsgroup topics cover the entire range of human interests,
from Autos to Zaire. Some newsgroups are "moderated," which
means that a person decides which postings will become part of the
conversation. Most are unmoderated, which means that any posting sent
to the list is automatically added to the group.
Before you post to a newsgroup, do yourself a big favor and
read other postings carefully for a few days. Newsgroups are famous
for "flames" (viscous haranguing for an innocent mistake or
a breach of netiquette). Read the FAQ about the newsgroup if there is
one. It is considered a major breach of netiquette to ask a question
that is clearly answered in the FAQ. It is also considered a poor use
of bandwidth to post a reply to millions of users saying "me
too!" Replies of this sort can and should be directed to the
sender directly by e-mail.
Q: What programs can I use to
A: There are a variety of
programs available for reading newsgroups, however if you have a
modern version of windows then you probably already have Outlook
Express which you can use. You may be able to find other
newsreader programs in our downloads section.
Q: What is SPAM?
A: Spam is unsolicited bulk
email or inappropriate
material posted to one or more Usenet News groups. Spam or spamming is prohibited. Any
person that sends SPAM email or spams a newsgroup from KansasNet will be terminated.
Unfortunately this course of action is necessary because when a user
spams, our system administrators have to answer many complaint emails
about the incident.
If you are unsure that what you may be posting is Spam or
not, do not post it. A good rule of thumb before posting to *any*
newsgroup is to read the posts for 2 weeks to be sure that you know
the nature of the newsgroup. It is also important to read the FAQ of
the newsgroup if there is one available. These usually contain rules
of posting to certain newsgroups. If you are still unsure, you may
wish to mail your posting to someone in the newsgroup first,
explaining to them that you are not sure if the nature of your post is
welcome or not.
Also, the mailing of unsolicited commercial email (UCE) is
forbidden under any circumstances. If you are caught posting any UCE
to any newsgroups or sending it to any users, your account will be
terminated without refund and without question.
Q: What is FTP?
A: An acronym for File Transfer
Protocol -- a very common method of transferring one or more files
from one computer to another. FTP is a specific way to connect to
another Internet site to retrieve and send files. FTP was developed in
the early days of the Internet to copy files from computer to
computer. With the advent of the World Wide Web, and web browser
software, you no longer need to know arcane FTP commands to copy to
and from other computers. In your browser, you can use FTP by typing
the URL into the location box at the top of your screen. For example: ftp://name.of.site/directory/filename.zip
will transfer filename.zip to your computer's hard disk. You can also
use ftp://name.of.site/directory/ which
will give you a listing of all the files available in that directory.
If you are using a web browser that doesn't have built-in
FTP capability, or if you want to upload files to a remote computer,
you will need to use an FTP client program to transfer files. To use
FTP you need to know the name of the file, the computer where it
resides, and the directory it's in. Most files are available via
"anonymous FTP," which means you can log into the machine
with the user name "anonymous" and use your e-mail address
as your password. You may be able to download an FTP client
program from our downloads section.
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Last modified: April 17, 2007