The Internet had started as a research project that was funded by the US Military. There were only three computers that were linked up to this network at this time. After 1969 a total of four computers were linked to this network, but nowadays there are billions. To link onto the internet everybody had a dial up connection which was a connection through your telephone line, when you wanted to go onto the internet a analogue signal would have been sent to your telephone provider and you would have been billed by them according to what your pay package was.

The disadvantage of this was that you couldn't accept telephone calls that were being made to your phone numbers but now the latest technology allows telephone calls to be accepted regardless if you are on the internet and now a new digital signal is being used instead of the old analogue one. Before simple information was displayed on the internet for example reviews and news and membership clubs were common, but now anything can be found on the internet. The internet also has a long way to go before it is 100% safe in the future; internet developers are working on improving the search engines, privacy and the security of the internet.

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Spam

Spam is the name given to unwanted e-mails. This could be things advertising new products, or get rich prize draws, credit schemes and pornography. Spam can cost businesses as much as a couple of million pounds to send out computers. Spam can be sent to home computers as well as business computers. Businesses try to filter Spam by using blockers but these attempts may fail, because Spam is sent out in its millions this can clog up the internet network causing computers to rum slow or even crash.

E-mail

E-mail is short for electronic mail. E-mail is not only for fun but plays a large part in effective communication between major businesses. Almost everybody connected on the internet has an e-mail account. Accounts are free and can be achieved by singing up with companies such as yahoo, AOL and hotmail. Due to e-mail accounts being free storage space is limited. If you wish to have more storage space to keep more e-mails then the providers of your account offer you the chance to purchase a bigger account at a small price which you normally have to pay each month. Depending on how big your upgraded memory is it affects the price charged each month.

E-mail is not only a useful way to send text messages to other computers almost instantaneously, but you can add attachments. For example if I had processed a report using Windows Word I would attach this file to a e-mail and send it to who ever I wanted to receive it and then all they simply have to do is open it regarding that they too have the Word program installed on their computer, they can view what ever I have processed. E-mails are good because:

> It's a great saving on convectional mail

> Allows you to add attachments

> Quicker delivery than normal mail

> Copy e-mails to other people

> Chat rooms are a good way to meet new people.

E-commerce

E- Commerce is the process in which companies sell products via the internet; also known as e-business. There are different types of e-business. B2B is short for business to business and this is where one business purchases from the other, this could be such things as obtaining raw materials. The other is B2C which is short for business to consumer, which is where the business sells products to the public like me and you. As a consumer you can buy almost anything online if it is food to clothes.

Recently internet auctions have been held where you can buy new and use products at competitive prices. Some people are reluctant in purchasing over the internet because they don't feel secure giving their credit card details over the net. Hackers can obtain this information and use it to make purchases for themselves and you will have to pay for them s they are purchasing against your credit card details. This problem can be overcome by identifying the 'padlock and key' at the bottom of a website which reassures that it is a safe internet address.

Hackers

A hacker is the slang term for Computer Enthusiast. A Hacker is a person that gains information without the owners consent. To be a hacker you need a very good understanding of the computer network and a hacker may spend years just studying this. There are two types of hackers, the first type hack computers or internet addresses to cause problems. There are also ethical hackers which are people that hack computers etc to find weaknesses and then report it so that it can be solved. Businesses are starting to employee ethical hackers so that they can identify their weaknesses and overcome them.

Internet Mobile Phones

People are now able to access the internet via a mobile phone that is WAP (wireless application protocol) enabled. Due to the small size of a mobile phone the internet pages that you would view on a computer are nothing like the pages you view on a mobile phone. The pages designed for a mobile phone have any graphics but some mobiles do have small coloured graphics that pop up every now and again. Web pages are normally written as HTLM but for a mobile phone they need to be rewritten to WML (wireless mark up language) the screens on WAP enabled phones normally have a slightly larger screen than normal mobile phones to display as much information on the internet as can be. The internet on a mobile phone is usually used to obtain the following information and updates;

> Sport

> Horoscopes

> Travel

> Shares

> Cinema

WAP phones are now getting upgraded with the latest technology which is GPRS; this is a much faster and more efficient way to surf the internet. Mobile phones are also able to download such items as ring tones and games as you would be able to on a personal computer.

Viruses

Viruses are computer programs that are designed to delete files or corrupt your computer. They often attach themselves to other computer programs. Macro viruses are viruses that attach themselves to documents and spreadsheets such as Word and Excel. One of the most well known viruses is the 'I Love You' one which comes up in your e-mail account as a normal e-mail then the curious receiver opens it and wonders who sent this I love you e-mail, it turns out to be a viruses that deletes all the files on your computer. To deal with viruses that you can get on the internet you should download certain programs that prevent unknown things trying to access your computer. One of the most common internet securities is the Norton collections.

Internet abuse

Many people abuse the internet and what it offers. Paedophiles is a wide spreading problem and they use e-mail to lure people into traps they normally meet up with somebody they met over the net in discreet locations where they sexually assault them. Sexual content is the main abuse of the internet. People now even have virtual sex over the internet and strip in front of web camera just for fun, some of this is highly illegal and severe consequences await offenders.

Advantages of the Internet

> Vast amount of information available about almost anything

> Knowledge of experts is easy to get hold of

> Its good for communicating

> Can access information whenever

> Information is easy to get hold of

> Its always up to date

Disadvantages of the Internet

> Can be costly when you have it for a long time

> Its expensive to buy a computer in the first place hence not getting connected to the internet

> Paedophiles are on the constant roam

> If you are chatting to somebody you don't know for sure who they are

> The internet can promote racism and terrorists can find out how to make explosives on the net

> Spam

Conclusion

Overall the internet is a fast way to obtain information from a lot of different sources it is a good time killer if you are bored as it has billions and billions of different websites to explore. The internet is also a good way of advertising and selling and equally purchasing items. Although there are many draw backs the internet has more advantages than disadvantages. The fact that there are billions of people connected to the internet opposed to four computers when it was first set up means that it must be a good place to visit.