Internet

The Internet
A Long time users perspective & guide:


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The wonder of it all.
Use
Do not believe all you see.
Abuse.
Children & the W³.
Do's & dont's of e-mail.
Netiquette.
Harrassment & Stalking.
Protecting privacy.
Accreditations / Rating
Info - Links
911 who u gonna call.
Is there a limit?
   
       
Welcome To The Internet
A Long time users perspective & guide: Who still remembers ARCHIE & GOPHER?
The 10 comandments of Computing, some good rules to follow.


The wonder of it all.
The most wonderfull part of information technology this past 3 decades must be the interconnection of millions of computers across the globe in the system we call the INTERNET. This network enables companies, co'workers, friends and family's to stay in touch at a fraction of the cost of telephone or normal mail costs.
Today and even more in the future more and more things will be connected to the Wł, soon even your humble refrigerator, stove, microwave and vacuum cleaner may be connected.
Bluetoot homepage technology wil enable any device to "talk" to any other network device and even set up their own networks without human intervention. Truly amazing!

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Use
The range of information available grows by the day (6 billion sites counted by Google.com at the last count.) and access to this is usually just a question of using the appropriate search facility such as:


To name but a few, together with a INTERNET browser and the key words of the subject you seek. (You are viewing this page with such a browser.)
Together with the information a huge range of sevices are also becoming availabe, online banking, shopping malls, travel and accomodation booking, the list is almost endless. I suppose another word for the INTERNET could be IMAGINATION, you imagine something and it is possibly already available online. Truly a virtual reality.

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Children & the Wł
One of the greatest concens for a parent today is the exposure of their children to the INTERNET. Here my advice and question is: Do you browse with them!? Parental supervision is the key! Do not entrust the monitoring just to filter programs. Kids are often more computer savvy than their parents and could easily bypass elaborate password systems. To facilitate supervision the Computer should be in a family area and not in a bedroom if at all possible.
However using the INETERNET to collect and research information for school assignments is a boon, just remember to check that kids do not copy the work verbatim, that is plagiarism. (Already a problem causing concern in some education circles)
Also train your kids to be wary of "strangers", they must realise that any person on the other side of the monitor must be regarded as a stranger the same as one at the front door or over the telephone would be.
Read Protecting one's privacy and Harrassment & Stalking as well.
Here are some relevant links as well:
Report Cybercrime at WiredSafety, the world's largest Internet safety, help and education organization

Parents quide on Yahooligans - Very comprehensive

Yahooligans, Yahoos site for kids.

Computer Associates - Sponsor of Missingkids.co.za

Missing Kids in SA - SAPS Missing Bureau fot Missing Persons - Sponsored by Computer Associates Africa and SA Yellow Online

Sayellow.com - Sponsor of Missingkids.co.za


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Some do's & dont's of e-mail.
This warrants a page of its own but for now I will mention some of my pet peeves:
I hate spamming and all its more innocent forms. (see DO not believe all you see as well.).
I also detest receiving mail I cannot open because the sender has the newest and latest program that generates a form of hyrogliphic code that my poor DOS e-mail program cannot translate. Use PLAIN TEXT please! If you do want to send something fancy ask the intended recipient if they have the programs to utilise your format. This is like sending a canoe to someone in the Sahara or snowshoes to someone in Hawaii.
Attachments are another bone of contention, especialy users with slow connections do not appreciate image files being sent via e-mail, this can tie up their phone line for hours while the file downloads.
Always ask before sending fancy formatted, large files or attachments!
And of course remember DO NOT USE CAPITAL LETTERS, that is regarded to be the same as shouting. However I must admit I was quilty of this for many years myself. :-), my mail recipients were a tollerant bunch.
Watch your spelling, use the spell checker if your e-mail software has it, remember that some words may be spelled differently in certain countries too. For example:USA color = colour UK/SA/OZ/NZ. But generaly for friendly e-mail you will be excused, official e-mail should be thoroughly checked and be sintacticaly correct as well.
Here are some sites that explain this wonderful tool and the proper use thereoff:
See Netiquette Links

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Netiquette

Netiquette on Chatsites & in General. (a lot also applies to e-mail too)
Read the message posted by the OPS when joining a channel, it is done for a reason and to inform new persons on channel of the channel rules and general topic.
The biggest no no is using CAPITAL letters, that is considered to be SHOUTING!
Emoticons are ok if you can remember them all :-). (I cannot, lol), shorthand like u=you, k=ok, j/k=joke etc. are also acceptable, sometimes even neccesary if the channel is very busy and typing the long word takes too much time.
Also do not message/pm someone without asking them first, this is considered very rude.
Some channels even ban on reporting of such behaviour.
Hugging ((((())))) and other emotional displays are also rude if you do not know the person or ask permission beforehand. Asking for asl (age, gender, location) as soon as you join is also bad manners.
One Golden rule is: When in doubt ask. You will not be ridiculed for asking even the most silly sounding question on channel. Experieced users are always glad to help the newbie.
Flooding the channel with a lot of text or scripts is also regarded as bad manners, some channels however are more open minded and even encourage it or specialise in this form of chatting.
Hogging the channel by not giving other people a chance to say something is also very uncool. You wil probably get ignored or kicked! Try and type your message one line at a time or pause to let others catch your drift. This wil also give you time to read the other persons response.
Just be yourself and consider other chatters as well before typing anything that may offend. Do unto others as you would like done to you is the Golden Rule. Just as it is in real life.


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Info Links
Nettiquette, Hoaxes, Urban legend, e-Mail use, Spam, Privacy & related Links
One of the best places to begin.
http://wise.fau.edu/netiquette/net/
http://www.albion.com/netiquette
http://www.songweaver.com/netiquette.html
http://www.clarkmountain.com/netiquette/index.html a Very good site on this topic.
http://www.ciac.iinl.gov CIAC Internet Hoaxes The "bible" on virii and hoaxes
http://cii2/cochran.com/start/guide/netiquette.html
http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html Symantec Virus Hoax Page
http://kumite.com/myths/ Computer Virus Myths Home Page
http://www.urbanlegend.com a Lot of information on hoaxes etc
http://www.nonprofit.net/hoax/hoax.html a Refrence site for Hoax information
http://www.bspage.com/1netiq/netiq.html


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Accreditations / Rating
If you come across any of these on a site you can be assured that the site is regularly scanned for content but even so a link on a site may lead you astray,be careful and read the link description if any is given. Page owners are not responsible for links leading to unwelcome material. One persons fish is anothers poison. If you wish you could always post an
e-mail notifying the webmaster/owner of the offending link.
I have rated some of my pages with a rating button. View these pages at your discretion please, they may contain material harmful to sensitive viewers/readers.
Not many sites do this but I decided to do so as the material has to do with some of my experiences while serving in the South African Defence Force in the '70's & '80's. Not everyone may enjoy them but they serve to document a part of the history of my country that is not very well recorded/documented.
As yet I have not found a BLACKLIST of objectionable sites yet.

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Do not believe all you see.

Urban legends abound as well as plenty of scams and false information as well as fiction, so make sure that the information you are quoting is accurate! I have even found weird versions of history on university sites, all a question of perspective I suppose but sometimes the "facts" are downnright lies. (I myself was there when the events took place and the eminent author was not, in one particular case!)
One particular site I must mention should always be taken with a pinch of salt, they are very good at making their "reports" look like a page from CNN.COM, this is done in a very "proffesional" satirical manner, but they have on occasion been quoted as "gospel" by ignorant websurfers. Although in some of their reports there has even been a bit of truth! THE ONION is the site name, well worth a look and a laugh.
The other prevalent form of disinformation are the e-mail chain letters and similar petitions circulated as bona fide fact! These just clog up the bandwith of the networks and serve no useful purpose. If there is something worthwile in one of these please use them after editing out the unneccesary parts.
Petitions without a definitive sender, recipient and entry number are utterly pointless. These are also not always regarded as valid petitions due to the unverifyability of contributions/signatures.
See Netiquette Links sites for examples


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Abuse.
The proliferation of sites with unsavoury content is a matter of grave concern to law enforcement agency's and parents alike. Likewise are the sites selling and trading in illicit software and music. This is part of the Darkside of the INTERNET. These sites of course hide behind the "Freedom of speech" charter, and to an extent the very "freedom" of the internet has been the driving force behind the development thereoff. Whether legislation will ever curb this blot on the INTERNET will be a matter of contention for some time. Some countries are very strict and others have no laws whatsoever. The very nature of the INTERNET makes the enforcement of any legislation very difficult if not near impossible. Fortunatley many countries are cooperating to bring some of the "traffickers" to justice.
One can set options on the popular browsers but these are not password protected. There are also filter programs that curb access to such sites but these are not foolproof. One uses a scanning technique to scan for skin tones in image files but it does not work on dark colours or some items also get blocked that should not, for example a picture of Farmer Browns prize pink piglett sent by e-mail to his grandson! A classic case of best intentions missing the target. Some of these programs work very well in a test setting but fail in the real world.
The words describing these sites would cause many filter programs to refuse you from accessing this page if they appeared anywhere on the page and are in any case not worth repeating as I am sure you know what I am talking about.

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Harrassment & Stalking.

This is also one of the manifestations of the Darkside as it is called. Predators abound waiting to prey on unsuspecting victims. Once the intended vicim has divulged enough information some even go so far as to phisicaly stalk & abuse the victim. Victims can be children, women and men. Chatrooms are the favourite haunts of this despicable creature.
Anyone could be a stalker, anyone could be a Victim.
Here is how not to become a Victim:
Never give out identifying info
name
address
telephone number
work address
Not in a public message, nor a chat room, nor on a bulletin board.
Never send a photo of yourself
Never send or respond to messages that are flames (intended to start a fight.)
Never send or respond to messages that are obscene.
Never send or respond to messages that make you or someone else feel threatened.
If everyone online did just the last ones, the Internet would be like paradise :)
Don't meet people from the Internet face to face without getting a background check first. Take the same precautions on the Internet as you would with, say, a personal ad.
And if you do decide on that first personal meeting, do so carefully, in a public place, and not alone. Make it a double date with a couple you know already, a sibling, or other adult.
Get to know your online friends just as well as your real life friends and just as cautiously!
Above quoted from the WiredPatrol website.
See 911 who u gonna call also as well as Protecting one's privacy.

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Protecting one's privacy.
Being cautious is the key when surfing the web. You would not give your adress to anyone that called you on the phone, why do it on the INTERNET, be it a website, a person on e-mail or person on a chatroom that ask's for it. Sometimes a innocent series of questions can give a lot of information away. Your e-mail adress can also give away a lot of information, the use of anonomous or web based e-mail susch as Hotmail / Yahoo etc. is advisable for casual e-mail between persons you do not know at all. Most of these are free but do have adverts attached to your mail, a small price to pay for some privacy. One can also read the mail online and thus keep the bandwith to your computer to a minimum. Determined stalkers are however able to crack this sometimes so be warned. The use of anonomous e-mail can also help in curtailing spamming, the spammers usualy avoid sending unsolicted junk-e-mail to such adresses. To sum up, use your e-mail address sparingly! Use a web based e-mail for mail from strangers.
Privacy also involves using common sense, why use a provacative nickname, why provoke attention by responding to flame mail or attacks on a chatsite. Remeber defending your rights may sound good but staying safe may mean backing down and going somewere else.
Very often discretion is better than valour. (He who quits, chat's another day)
To protect yourself from stalking Online, know the online safety rules:
Don't respond to flaming (provocation Online.)
Choose a genderless screen name.
Don't flirt Online, unless you're prepared for the consequences.
This is just like real life. Yes, you have the right to flirt. And you have the right to a sexy nickname. Sometimes it's better just to back off a bit and not exercise all your rights all the time.
Save offending messages and report them to your service provider. Get out of a situation online that has become hostile, log off or surf elsewhere.
Don't give out any personal information about yourself or anyone else.
Don't talk to strangers.
Above quoted from the WiredPatrol website.
See the paragraph on Harrassment & Stalking as well.

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911 who u gonna call.
Here is the solution if you do find yourself being subjected to unlawful harrasment, abuse or stalking.
Click on the icon and you will be transported to relevant page on their site, here you wil be able to get information on what to do.
This organization I highly recommend and Readers Digest has also done an article on their commendable work.
If you are troubled by cyberstalking or any form of online harrasment, go here for help, click on the Cyber 911 button.
Helping online since 1995. Formerly known as CyberAngels.
Report Cybercrime at WiredSafety, the world's largest Internet safety, help and education organization
As the volunteer numbers grow they will be in more and more places on the Internet.

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Is there an end to the Web?
Clearly not... I equate the Internet to the Cosmic Big Bang... it is forever expanding, the same with the Internet. However just as with our contiued exploration of space and the subsequent bits of junk left floating in space so is the Internet... Watch out for Space Junk... and enjoy the view!

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