Jargon Junking © A.S.Hepworth
This is my personal interpretation of
the Internet that I hope some might find useful in understanding more
about it. Some may think its too simple while others might still find
it too confusing. If anything is not clear, left out or is definitely
wrong, then please let me know. You do not need to know any
of this so that after reading it you can rest peacefully knowing you
can forget it all.
It is meant
to be in logical order but if you want to find a particular word,
use "find on this page" in one of the pull down menus in
the bar above, usually 'edit'.
The Internet - began life as a network
of telephone lines around the world that linked universities, research
centres and government departments etc. Independent of public telephone
networks, it was designed so that important messages could be sent
around the world independent of political unrest or physical damage.
If one direct link was broken the message would be relayed via others
linked on the network.
When the cold war ended and other means of
communications like radio and satellite (now too expensive) improved
it became redundant. Then someone suggested linking computers on this
'network'. Where once, single conversations or coded messages each
needed to use individual wires to transfer messages, the speed at
which computers could make calculations and interpret code, meant
that thousands of messages could be sent along the same wire at the
same time. No telephone exchanges needed to separate messages means
that not only do millions of messages go down single wires but all
messages travel over the entire network at the same time. A coded
message can only be 'picked out' by the computer that it is 'sent
Wires are now being replaced with glass fibre
strands, along which pulses of light can be sent as they reflect off
the outside walls of the fibre. Light travels faster than electrical
impulses. The new 'cable' network is predominantly made up of bunches
of glass fibres. One possible advantage is the difficulty of tapping
into the system as there is no electrical activity along the fibre
that could be detected as a magnetic pulse.
If you imagine the messages as ants walking
about on a tennis net, if one strand of net is cut, they go another
way. If too many try and use the same strand, they go another way.
An Internet Service Provider or ISP
is a company that owns huge computers, known as servers, that
handles all these messages. Some ISPs rent from larger ISPs.
These companies enable millions of individuals to have access the
Individuals, companies or families need to
have an account with an ISP. Some are free to the account holder
but make their money by both taking a share of the money you pay to
settle the phone bill, and charging by the minute for using their
help line. Imagine ISPs as the owners of your local library
(websites) and post office (e-mail).
A server is one of the computers owned
by an ISP. If a server is 'down' or 'goes down' it just means
E-mail or electronic mail is a way
of sending text and images to another computer as a stream of electronic
bleeps like a high speed morse code. This text would include code
to tell the recipients computer how to display the message. As not
everyone is using the same make or age of computer, there is no guarantee
your e-mail or website will look the same on different
This coded text became known as hyper text,
sending it to another computer was to transfer it and how you
did this was its protocol so we get hyper text
transfer protocal. Hyper text allows a text message
to include images, colours and sounds. All website addresses begin
The code used to create website pages
is html or hyper text mark up language.
An e-mail address is like having a
box number down at the post office but instead of your messages being
delivered you have to collect them. While your e-mail message
travels down the same wires that form the internet, it is handled
by a different server.
A website is like having a shelf at
a reference library where you can put your own family albums or posters
to let the world know about your family or business. No one can remove
the books but anyone can look at them. The servers are like
the bookcases at this library or the racks of post boxes at the post
A website address is the location
in the library of a particular 'shelf' so others know how to get there.
The jargon for this is a user resource locator or URL
A domain name is your own personal
shelf name. Instead of using numbers and letters as a librarian might,
you can call your shelf something like "thesmithsfamilyshelf". Your
e-mail address might then be josmith@thesmithfamilyshelf. At
a basic level early computers only ever read code so did not need
to know about spaces or punctuation.
As you do not need a domain name to
enjoy the Internet or send e-mail messages, most
Internet user's address is at the address of their ISP.
Most members of the public are happy with an e-mail address
like thesmiths@internetserviceprovider and most ISPs give free
webspace to each account holder. To have a domain name means
you can have your own personal mail box at the library and not use
one at the post office. Some believe a domain name looks more
To show the computer you want to contact a
website address and not an e-mail address, a website
address begins with www and has no @. Both types of address
end in something like .co.uk (UK based families or companies), .com
(usually USA families or companies), .org (usually charities and educational)
and .gov for government depts. There are many others and not all comply
to this general rule.
The World Wide Web or www is
basically the same as the Internet but refers to the 'library'
side rather than the 'post office' side. A mail server will
handle the outgoing mail while another will handle the incoming mail
and a third might handle the Internet enquiries.
Browsers are specialised computer programs
you have on your home computer that know how to communicate with the
ISPs. If you know the 'book title' or URL, like the
card file index at the library they can tell the computer on which
'shelf' the book is.
Web space is the memory you use on
the server. Imagine it as the length of the shelf you have
at the library. This memory is counted in bytes which very
roughly equals one character of text. A kilobyte or kb is about
a 1000 bytes but most memory is in megabytes or mb
about a million bytes or even gigabytes or gb about a billion
Many ISPs will offer free webspace
but it is only meant for private use. If you use it for a business
they will charge you accordingly!
A hyperlink or link is hidden
code that when you click the mouse button with the cursor over it,
will tell your computer to go to another URL or open up your
e-mail program with someone's address already typed in the
relevent box. Often hidden in text,
it is underlined and in a contrasting colour but can also be hidden
in part of an image. The cursor will change from an arrow to a hand
as it travels over one. A bit like putting a business card or note
on your library shelf to direct someone to another book or to ask
them to leave a message for you.
Hotspots are not popular holiday resorts
but hyperlinks hidden in an image. Either the complete image
or a selected portion like a place name on a map.
Hosting is what the ISPs do
to a website. They look after the memory much like the local
authority maintains a library and lets you keep books on a shelf there.
Hits are the number of times someones
browser has read the information from a website. Each
block of text and each image, whether a photograph or decorative heading,
counts as a hit. One page with text and two images, seen once
becomes three hits. Its like a librarian counting the number
of times a book gets picked up but not necessarily opened. There are
also robots automatically going through the Internet, looking for
new information. These bits of software usually belong to search
engines (see below) that continually look for new web pages to
catalogue them ready for someone to search for them. Every time one
of these visits your page it also counts as a hit.
A Web page is a collection of text
and images that are meant to be seen at the same time.
A Home page is like the cover and title
page of a book that displays the content and a synopsis of the book.
Some websites only have a single home page.
A Website visitor is someone who looks
at the home page but then visits other pages on the site ie
opens the book after reading the cover.
A pixel (a derivitive of 'picture cell')
is the smallest piece of a digital image. If you look closely at a
newspaper photograph, you will see small dots of different sizes.
Each one is like a pixel. In a black and white image with no
greys, the computer could use as little as 1 byte of information
per pixel. Most images you see on the Internet are at
72 dpi or dots per inch. A confusing idea when an image
will be in proportion to the monitor size. An 'inch' or say 100 pixels
on one computer screen will be different on another. In a colour image
with perhaps thousands of shades of possible colours for each pixel,
you can see how much memory is used for a photograph compared with
Logging on is asking your computer
at home to phone a server and getting it to do something for
you. This could be sending an e-mail you have just typed, collecting
those sent to you or visiting the web to search for some information.
Search Engines are specialized programs
stored on the Internet somewhere that behave like researchers.
They visit all the 'libraries' in the world, read all the books and
then report back to you which books contain the words you are looking
for and where they are. All in a matter of seconds.
Submitting to search engines
is to ask the librarian to make sure your URL or card is near
the front of the box in the card index so it always get picked first.
Cheats will repeat words or phrases deliberately so that you get nearer
the front of the queue when a search engine is looking for
specific words. A bit like names like aardvark and aaron getting to
the front of a dictionary because there are two 'a's in the word.
If spotted some ISPs will ask for them to be removed.
Java script or Flash is specialised
html used to create animation and special effects on a webpage.
CGI script or common gateway interface
is a program on the server that allows people visiting your
website to leave messages or fill in a form that then gets
e-mailed back to you. Like a note pad you might leave on your
shelf to collect messages.
Cookies are bits of code put on to
your computer by a server that let you know you have visited
a certain website. When you next visit the site the text of
the URL will be a different colour to remind you that you've
been there before. They might also include commands to log on
and send you to a certain website. A bit like the librarian
watching until you look at a certain book and then dragging you by
the elbow to go and look at another one. Extremely irritating.
Web authoring is writing the
code to create a web page.
Registering a domain name is like telling
the library that you exist and what you want to be called but they
haven't given you any shelf space. This will cost you about £25 at
the moment and is a once only payment. However you will be given several
POP3 (point of presence) accounts which are your special
mail boxes. (No one could tell me what was wrong with POP1 & POP2
but we agreed they must have been no good). These will cost you about
£15 for three years and if you fail to renew them you could loose
your special domain name. If you send a message using a POP3
account name, the recipient can ask the browser to reply without
knowing your address. You can also encypt your message to prevent
others reading it and ask for a receipt. If it is not collected it
will be returned. Like putting a wax seal on a letter and asking the
postman to wait for a reciept.
Alias's are another way of giving
yourself different e-mail addresses at your domain. If you
receive a message sent to your alias or POP3 name you
can ask your browser to put it in a special folder so you know
where it is. Like sending a note to a business that then gets put
in someone's in-tray. You know where it is but anyone can read it.
Activating a website is what happens
after you have registered your domain name. It is simply asking
the librarian to clear a shelf ready for all the albums and leaflets
you plan to put there. The ISP will make sure there is space
available on the server(s) and put your domain name
and e-mail adresses next to it. This will cost about £125 per
year for 25mb of space for businesses but is free for private use.
Two or three pages of text are unlkely to use more than 2 or 3mb.
Uploading is putting information on
a website. Only you or your webmaster can do this. You either
take the albums to your shelf at the library or get someone (the webmaster
or librarian) to do it for you.
Downloading is copying information
from someone's website. Like photocopying books down at the
library. Some of this is allowed but much is frowned upon but cannot
be stopped. Copyright and plagiarism is the major problem with the
Internet. If you do not want anyone copying your family photos to
use elsewhere, keep them off your website. Safer to send them
to individuals attached to an e-mail.
Maintaining a website is like you replacing
photos on your shelf because you have more recent ones or adding some
Anchors are like book marks hidden
in a website. You leave the bookmark so someone can find a
specific point on a page. Hyperlinks to a URL will take
you to the top of a particular page, usually the home page
of another site but can also specify a page, while a hyperlink
to an anchor will take you to a specific word or image on a
Surfing the web is allowing yourself to go
to any links you find or searching for all sorts of different
information with no particular aim in mind. Very easy to do and can
get distracting (and expensive).
I hope you found this useful. Let me know what you
thought - firstname.lastname@example.org
This site was designed by Sue Hepworth and put together
by myself, Adrian Hepworth, using Macromedia's Dreamweaver. We can
design and build websites for the budget conscious. If you would like
Hepworth Workshops to quote for a simple website, cost of domain names
(or how to get one free) and all other associated charges then e-mail
. If you want one with flashing lights, sound effects or music we
can do that too but the more complicated websites are, the slower
and sometimes the less effective they are. It would always be a help
if you can tell us about your favorite sites so we know the style