This page has been designed to teach you very quickly about where to get started on the internet.
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If you're completely new to the internet, then you're probably wondering where to go first, or maybe what is there to see in the first place. You should know this; the internet is a huge place to find information. Almost any topic, of any origin, is covered in detail in someone's web site. If you ever wanted to know more about something, this is the perfect place to start. As more time passes, it is also becoming a wonderful place to purchase items at discounts over retail restores. In this lesson we will attempt to point you in some valuable directions to get started.
- Most definitely one of the best locations on the internet to find deals on all merchandise. Originally known as Amazon Books, they have grown into the world's leading provider of nearly every thing on your holiday shopping list. You will find great pricing and one of the most reputable customer service organizations online.
PayPal - Need to send money to a friend or family member for free? PayPal is an excellent service to do just that. It's also a safe alternative for paying for items online. If you want to ensure that the product you've purchased is indeed the same product you receive, you can "register" payments that are verified once you have received and confirmed the transaction.
- Need to send that special gift for Mother's Day? Birthday? Anniversary? Get well? Look no further. Owned and operated by the famous 1-800-Flowers folks, this web site offers one-click shopping with door to door delivery.
- When choosing a provider to access the internet, we recommend that you go with a name that is noted for true internet technology and great customer service. Since the debut of America Online their tactics for trapping customers into subscriptions accounts with few means of canceling is legendary. Due to the courageous act of one New York customer, we now have a taped recording of an actual conversation of a man trying to cancel his account. This recording has been substantiated by not only AOL Time Warner but CNN who also ran a cover article. Our wholehearted recommendation is to avoid AOL at all costs, and if possible, get your family and friends off of their service immediately. AOL is more expensive and offers nothing more for a customer than solid internet providers like Earthlink.
Where to go to find information
If you've been on the internet for even a minute, you've probably heard that there are places where you can go to find web sites with information. These sites are better known as "Search Engines." These are web sites that connect to huge computers that have incredible amounts of information indexed for easy retrieval. Similar to a Dewey Decimal system in the library, these search engines don't necessarily contain the information, but have "indexed" the location of where to find the information.
Like any commercial business, these sites must make money. So they offer a service to you for free, while they sell advertising space to companies that are then viewed by you before and after you search for something. There are several search engine web site companies on the internet. Each company tries to index their information more efficiently than the next. Some sites contain indexed information about all topics, while other companies index only specific information, like people's names and addresses.
Here is a list of search engines you can use to find information. Note that most search engines provide a means of cross referencing results between them. Meaning, if a particular search engine doesn't find exactly what you're looking for, they provide links to competitive search engines to see if you can locate the information at other sites.
Google - This is the newest leader in search engines world-wide and the main muscle behind search engines like Yahoo.com. They have a very simplified interface that gets right down to the point.
Yahoo! - This is an all purpose search engine that provides a wide range of indexed links. This is a good location to start, because they have the most comprehensive system to cross-reference their lesser results with other more up to date search engine services.
Excite - Similar to Yahoo!, this is an all purpose search engine that is very up to date and very easy to add a URL to. The search results are very effective and come with a percentile rating of how close their results match your search words.
Alta Vista - This was the premiere search engine of all time. Created by the Digital Corporation, Yahoo! uses their index databanks for some of their information, although it would appear that Yahoo! no longer uses their services. Alta Vista is a very large source of information. Results vary in accuracy, but you can usually find what you're looking for. Expect to sort through several links that don't apply, but this is the price of a huge database.
Webcrawler - has a slightly different spin than other all purpose search engines, in that it offers links into Yellow Pages, Stock Quotes, Classified's, Weather, People Finding, and many other interesting services. If you don't find what you're looking for, they have a cross-reference link to Excite for more searching. Webcrawler also provides a service that allows you to enter a profile of your favorite type of web sites to surf to. Each time you visit, you can view only the pages that you like. Webcrawler will continue to find new web pages that match your interests.
HotBot - is another all purpose search engine that provides similar services like Webcrawler. Unlike other engines that allow cross-referencing, this service is a one try searching experience with no cross-reference helper links.
Lycos - is a very nice search engine that contains all the stimulus.com results you'll ever need! (laugh) There aren't any cross-reference features, but it does provide a large amount of pre-determined search categories to search from.
Yellow Pages - Looking for a company that produces a particular product? Then this search engine is for you. Just like your local Yellow Pages, this book contains everything. Owned and operated by Yahoo, this service can come in handy if you're looking for specific products.
City Map - Have a party to go to, but you don't know how to get there? This search engine will use an incredible amount of city map information to find exactly how to get there. You can even find data on to and from routes. This site is owned and operated by Yahoo!.
Get Local - Looking for local news and weather? This is the place to find it. Simply enter what state and city, and a complete listing of all information in your local area is displayed. This site is owned and operated by Yahoo.
Buying over the internet
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If you've been watching TV, you've probably heard that consumers are leery about buying items over the internet. Although not completely warranted, there is reason for some hesitation. When you purchase over the internet, there are a couple things to consider:
1. Is the company reputable? Since some companies have only existed on the internet, it is sometimes very difficult to determine this. Here are some questions to help you.
Now that you've been warned, try finding a product on Amazon.com. They are a well respected and founding internet company. If you can't find a book or product you're looking for, it probably doesn't' exist anymore.
- Have you ever heard of them before?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have money back guarantees?
- Do they have telephone numbers that you can call in case you have a question about your billing or shipping information?
NOTE: One common scam on the internet is the existence of services that start up for a couple of days, take your money, and then disappear. You can never get your money back, and 9 times out of 10, you'll never see them again or be able to trace them.
2. Is the web site protected? Even though it is very rare to encounter any theft of sensitive information over the internet, it is always a good idea to make sure that the internet server that you're purchasing from is protected. This is best determined by looking at the small Lock icon in the bottom left of your web browser. If the lock isn't secured, then you're open for people to read your credit card number. If its closed, then only God (or very smart aliens if you're not religious) can get your credit card via the internet.
It should be noted that it is more likely that someone would steal your credit card number via a cordless phone or in a retail store, than to steal it over the internet, but since it's possible, you should be careful. The good news is, most web servers are protected nowadays.
Getting software updates for free
One of the most widely used methods of the internet for computer natives is to find updates to current applications you own. Often times companies will create new versions of their software that are free to the public for downloading and installing. Take Adobe Photoshop for instance; when they initially released their version 6.0 for the Macintosh, it had some small bugs in the application. Over the course of a few weeks, most of the remaining bugs were reported and fixed by Adobe. Instead of distributing the update via a costly process of sending new CD's out to everyone, they simply offered the update to the public for free over the internet from their web site. Version 6.0.1 update can be downloaded to update those customers who first purchased version 6.0. It is a good idea to check in on your software manufacturers to see if you have the latest updates. If the company name doesn't work, like in the case of Adobe at http://www.adobe.com/, you might be able to find the company's site on one of the many search engines listed above.
Other areas will be added so if you're still looking for more places to start, check back with this lesson later.