The Internet is a very large worldwide network of computers: servers and client stations. In the past few years, it has literally changed the lives of millions of people.
A offshoot from the High Performance Computing Act of 1991, the main internet backbone in the United States is the National Research and Education Network (NREN). While not quite the inventor of the internet, US Senator Al Gore deserves some credit for spearheading the HPCA's push through congress. The original intent was to help grade schools, high schools and higher education become part of the Internet more easily.
The World Wide Web (also referred to as "WWW," "W3" or simply as "The Web") has become an indispensible part of life and business for much of the world's population. Where other applications rely on your knowledge of Internet addressing, hierarchical directory structures, and the application's own variations of command elements, web applications let you navigate by clicking on words or pictures. These hot links are established through hypertext. Often confused with the internet - in reality, the WWW is only one of many parts of the internet.
Internet: More than Just the Web
In addition to the web, some of the more notable elements of the Internet are:
- Email. An electronic version of traditional mail, email has become a boon and a curse to millions.
- FTP. File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a method of transferring files to or from another computer. Although they may not realize it, anyone talking about downloading or uploading is talking about FTP.
- Usenet. Also referred to as Newsgroups, this element of the Internet started when a few individuals at a small number of university campuses wanted to share information. They wanted to accompllish this with postings that anyone with computer access would be able to read. "Legend has it that way back then (about 20 years ago) you could read every message in every group over a (single) cup of coffee." Needless to say, the explosion of all aspects of the Internet means that you can't read all Usenet messages in a day anymore.