In This Chapter
Selecting an Internet service provider (ISP)
Understanding how your MacBook gets on the Internet
Setting up your Internet connection
I'll be honest — the Internet is a terribly complex monster of a network. If you tried to fathom all the data that's exchanged on the Internet and everything that takes place when you check your e-mail for Aunty Joan's fruitcake recipe, your brain would probably melt like a chocolate bar in the Sahara Desert. A shoebox full of arcane things is tucked under the Internet: communications protocols, routing addresses, packets, servers, and other hoo-hah that are beyond the grasp of just about everyone on the planet.
Luckily for regular folks like you and me, Mac OS X Snow Leopard closes the trapdoor on all these details, keeping them hidden (as they should be). You don't have to worry about them, and the obscure information that you need to establish an Internet connection is kept to a minimum. In fact, the happiest computer owners I've met think that the Internet is a little blinking light on their DSL or cable modem: If the light blinks in the proper manner, all is well. (I don't argue with them.)
In this chapter, I provide help and advice to those who are searching for an on-ramp to the Information Superhighway — and I lead you through the procedure of adding an Internet connection under Mac OS X. (In other words, you'll get your light blinking properly.)
If you entered your Internet configuration information ...