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The Internet: The Missing Manual by David Pogue, J.D. Biersdorfer

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Chapter 2. Surfing the Web

No doubt about it: the Web has transformed the world. From its humble beginnings as an information-sharing system for scientists and academics, the Web has rapidly developed since the early 1990s into a complex collection of sites and services that have changed the way people interact with each other.

It’s safe to say the World Wide Web has something for everybody. It’s a massive reference library, photo archive, software center, radio station, television network, music store, movie distribution system, and repository of such giddy weirdness as a page of dancing hamsters or a live video camera transmitting pictures of corn growing in Iowa. This chapter shows you how to set up your own personal window into this world: your Web browser.

Your First Web Page

Start up your computer, get on the Internet, and open up your Web browser program, like so:

  • If you’re a Windows person, open your Start menu and click the name of your Web browser. Unless you’ve installed an alternative browser like Fire fox or Netscape, that probably means Internet Explorer because that’s what comes with every version of Windows since the last century.

  • If you’re a Macintosh maven, open your Applications folder and double click Safari, Apple’s own Web-browsing software. If your Mac’s really old, you may find the Mac version of Internet Explorer or Netscape on your computer instead of—or in addition to—Safari.

  • If you use America Online or a similar service, open the software bearing its name; ...

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