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                      THE INTERNET EXPLAINED
Q. What, exactly, is the Internet?
A. The Internet is a worldwide network of university, government, 
   business, and private computer systems.

Q. Who runs it?
A. A 13-year-old named Jason.

Q. How can I get on the Internet?
A. The easiest way is to sign up with one of the popular commercial"on-line"
   services, such as Prodigy, CompuServe, or America Online, which will give
   you their program disks for free. Or, if you just leave your house unlocked,
   they'll sneak in some night and install their programs on your computer 
   when you're sleeping. They really want your business.

Q. What are the benefits of these services? A. The major benefit is that they
   all have simple, "user-friendly" interfaces that enable you-even if you
   have no previous computer experience-to provide the on-line services with
   the information they need to automatically put monthly charges on your
   credit card bill forever.

Q. What if I die?
A. They don't care.

Q. Can't I cancel my account?
A. Of course! You can cancel your account at anytime. 

Q. How?
A. Nobody has ever been able to find out. Some of us have been trying for 
   ears to cancel our on-line service accounts, but no matter what we do, the
   charges keep appearing on our bills. We're thinking of entering the Federal
   Witness Protection Program.

Q. What if I have children?
A. You'll want an anesthetic, because it really hurts. 

Q. No, I mean: What if my children also use my Internet account? 
A. You should just sign your house and major internal organs over to 
   the on-line service right now.

Q. Aside from running up charges, what else can I do once I'm connected 
   to an on-line service?
A. Millions of things! An incredible array of things! No end of things! 

Q. Like what?
A. You can ... ummmm ... OK! I have one! You can chat. 

Q. Chat?
A. Chat.

Q. I can already chat. I chat with my friends. 
A. Yes, but on the Internet, which connects millions of people all over 
the entire globe, you can chat with total strangers, many of whom are 
boring and stupid!

Q. Sounds great! How does it work?
A. Well, first you decide which type of area you wish to chat in. Some 
   areas are just for general chatting, and some are for specific interest 
   groups, such as Teens, Poets, Cat Lovers, Religious People, Gays, Gay 
   Teens Who Read Religious Poetry to Cats, and of course Guys Having 
   Pointless Arguments About Sports. At any given moment, an area can 
   contain anywhere from two to dozens of people, who use clever fake 
   names such as "ByteMe2" so nobody will know their real identities. 

Q. What are their real identities?
A. They represent an incredible range of people, people of all ages, in 
   all kinds of fascinating fields from scientists to singers, from writers 
   to wranglers, from actors to athletes - you could be talking to almost 
   anybody on the Internet!

Q. Really?
A. No. You re almost always talking to losers and hormone-crazed 13-year-old boys. But they pretend to be writers, wranglers, scientists, singers, etc.

Q. What do people talk about in chat areas? A. Most chat-area discussions
   revolve around the fascinating topic of who is entering and leaving the
   chat area. A secondary, but equally fascinating, topic is where everybody
   lives. Also, for a change of pace, every now and then the discussion is
   interrupted by a hormone-crazed 13-year-old boy wishing to talk dirty to
   women. To give you an idea of how scintillating the repartee can be, here's
   a re-creation of a typical chat area dialogue (do not read this
   scintillating repartee while operating heavy machinery):

LilBrisket: Hi everybody
Wazootyman: Hi LilBrisket
Toadster:   Hi Bris
Lungftook:  Hi B
LilBrisket: What's going on?
Toadster:   Not much
Lungftook:  Pretty quiet


Wazootyman: Anybody here from Texas?
LilBrisket: No
Toadster:   Nope
Lungftook:  Sorry


UvulaBob:   Hi everybody
Toadster:   Hi UvulaBob
Lungftook:  Hi Uvula
LilBrisket: Hi UB
Wazootyman: Hi U
UvulaBob:   What's happening?
LilBrisket: Kinda slow
Toadster:   Same old same old
Lungflook:  Pretty quiet
Jason56243837: LilBrisket, take off your panties 
LilBrisket: OK, but I'm a man


Wazootyman: UvulaBob, are you from Texas? 
UvulaBob:    No.


Lungftook:  Well, gotta run.
Toadster.- 'bye, Lungflook
LilBrisket: Take 'er easy, Lungster
Wazootyman: See ya around, Lung
UvulaBob:   So long, L


PolypMaster: Hi everybody
LilBrisket:  Hey, PolypMaster
Toadster:    Yo, Polyp
UvulaBob:    Hi, P
PolypMaster: What's going on?
LilBrisket:  Not much
Toadster:    Pretty quiet
UvulaBob:    Kinda slow ...

And so it goes in the chat areas, hour after riveting hour, where the 
ideas flow fast and furious, and at any moment you could learn some 
fascinating nugget of global-network information, such as whether or 
not PolypMaster comes from Texas.

Q. Aside from chatting, what else can I do on the Internet? A. You can join one of the thousands of forums wherein people, by posting messages, discuss political topics of the day. 

Q. Like what?
A. Barry Manilow.

Q. There's a forum for Barry Manilow?
A. There's a forum for everything.

Q. What happens on these forums?
A. Well, on the Barry Manilow forum, for example, fans post messages about
   how much they love Barry Manilow, and other fans respond by posting
   messages about how much they love Barry Manilow, too. And then sometimes
   the forum is invaded by people posting messages about how much they hate
   Barry Manilow, which in turn leads to angry countermessages and vicious
   name-calling that can go on for months.

Q. Just like junior high school!
A. But even more pointless.

Q. Are there forums about sex?
A. Zillions of them.

Q. What do people talk about on those?
A. Barry Manilow.

Q. No, really.
A. OK, they talk about sex, but it is not all titillating. Often you'll 
   find highly scientific discussions that expand the frontiers of human

Q. It is a beautiful thing, the Internet. 
A. It is.

Q. What is the "World Wide Web"?
A. The World Wide Web is the multimedia version of the Internet, where you 
   can get not only text but also pictures and sounds on a semi-infinite 
   range of topics. This information is stored on "Web pages," which are 
   maintained by companies, institutions, and individuals. Using special 
   software, you can navigate to these pages and read, look at, or listen 
   to all kinds of cool stuff.

Q. Wow! How can I get on the Web?
A. It's easy! Suppose you're interested in buying a boat from an 
   Australian company that has a Web page featuring pictures and 
   specifications of its various models. All you have to do is fire up 
   your World Wide Web software and type in the company's Web page address, 
   which will probably be an intuitive, easy-to-remember string of characters 
   like this:


Q. What if I type one single character wrong? 
A. You will launch U.S. nuclear missiles against Norway. 

Q. Ah.
A. But assuming you type in the correct address, you merely press Enter, and
   there you are!

Q. Where?
A. Sitting in front of your computer waiting for something to happen. 
   It could take weeks. Entire new continents can emerge from the ocean 
   in the time it takes for a Web page to show up on your screen. Contrary to 
   what you may have heard, the Internet does not operate at the speed of 
   light; it operates at the speed of the Department of Motor Vehicles.. 
   It might be quicker for you to just go over to Australia and look at 
   the boats in person.

Q. Does that mean that the World Wide Web is useless? 
A. Heck no! If you're willing to be patient, you'll find that you can 
   utilize the vast resources of the Web to waste time in ways that you 
   never before dreamed possible.

Q. For example?
A. For example, recently I was messing around with a "Web browser," which 
   is a kind of software that lets you search all of cyberspace - millions 
   of documents for references to a specific word or group of words. You 
   can find pretty much everything that anybody has ever written on the 
   Internet about that topic; it's an incredibly powerful research tool. 

Q. That is truly beautiful.
A. Yes. And it's just one teensy little piece, one infinitesimally tiny
   fraction, of the gigantic, pulsating, mutating, multiplying mass of stuff
   out there on the Internet. Sooner or later, everything is going to be on
   there somewhere. You should be on there, too. Don't be afraid! Be like the
   bold explorer Christopher Columbus, (E-mail address:
   ChrisCol@nina,pinta&santamaria.ahoy) setting out into uncharted waters,
   fearful of what you might encounter, but also mindful of the old
   inspirational maritime saying: "If you don't leave the land, then you'll
   probably never have a chance to get scurvy and develop anemia, spongy gums,
   and bleeding from the mucous membranes."

So come on! join me and millions of others on this exciting CyberFrontier, 
with its limitless possibilities for the enhancement of knowledge and the 
betterment of the human race!

Wazootyman is waiting for you.