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17 What is the internet and how do i get onto it? (Backgammon)

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This article is from the Backgammon FAQ, by Mark Damish damish@ll.mit.edu with numerous contributions by others.

17 What is the internet and how do i get onto it? (Backgammon)

[This is copied verbatim, with permission, from OK.FAQ. References to
'OK' are referring to the bridge server.]

[Permission from mclegg@cs.ucsd.edu (Matthew Clegg) for use here.]

In addition to having access to a Unix system, you must also be
connected to the Internet. The Internet is a worldwide computer
network which was founded for the sake of promoting research and
education. Recently, the Internet has been broadening its mission and
it's likely that soon the Internet will be open for commercial as well
as educational uses.

Already it is possible for the general public to obtain access to the
Internet for a modest fee in many metropolitan areas of the US. A few
representative Internet providers include:

   Area Served    Voice No.     Email                Organization
   -----------    --------      -----                ------------
   West Coast     408-554-UNIX  info@netcom.com      Netcom Online Comm. Svcs
   Boston         617-739-0202  office@world.std.com The World
   New York City  212-877-4854  alexis@panix.com     PANIX Public Access Unix

Many OKbridgers play from home using a PC or Mac and a modem.
Frequently, these people have obtained access to the Internet by
purchasing an account from a "public access Unix system connected to
the Internet," which is the jargon describing the service provided by
the above companies. Having obtained such an account, it is usually a
simple matter to obtain OKbridge and begin playing (see below).

If you will be searching for a means to use OKbridge, it is important
to remember the wording, "public access Unix system (directly)
connected to the Internet." There are a number of BBS operators who
have Email connections to the Internet, but this is not sufficient.
Also, there are several network services which provide access to the
Internet but which are not Unix based (Delphi is a notable example).

For more information about the Internet, which is an amazing and
wonderful resource, see the books:

Krol, Ed, The Whole Internet: User's Guide & Catalog,
O'Reilly & Associates, 1992.

Kehoe, Brendan P., Zen and the Art of the Internet: A Beginner's
2nd ed., Prentice Hall, 1993.

LaQuey, Tracy, with Jeanne C. Ryer, The Internet Companion:
A Beginner's Guide to Global Networking, Addison-Wesley, 1993.

These books are filled with useful information about Unix and the
Internet, including how to send electronic mail, how to download free
software, and how to access some of the many information services
which are available on the Internet.

The World Wide Web (WWW or 'Web' for short) is a system by which text,
pictures, audio files and movies can be transmitted across the
internet. Old resources you may have heard of -- telnet, news, gopher,
ftp -- can all now be regarded as part of the Web.

Many of the 'pages' on the Web are written in a language called HTML.
This language allows basic formatting of the text, and images to be
included within the text, but also it allows 'links' to other
documents which may be local or on the other side of the world. For
example, I could say 'I have information about cows' and the word
'cows' would be highlighted somehow (underlined or in a different
colour). If you select that word -- typically by clicking your mouse
on it or pressing Enter if you have no mouse -- you will be taken to a
page about cows which could be another page of mine or of someone in
Australia. It does not take much imagination to see how I can then hop
all over the world, following these links and reading all manner of

In order to access the Web, you need a so called 'client program' or
'browser'. The two most popular are called Mosaic (for graphical
terminals) and 'lynx' for text based terminals. If you have got one of
these programs, you can start browsing the Web immediately. If not, do
what you can to get one!

[The Netscape browser is also now worth a mention. It was only in beta
test at the time I originally wrote this, and a bit buggy, but now
it's my preferred browser. You can get it via anonymous ftp from
ftp.mcom.com in the directory /netscape : it's free for academic and
non-profit use. S.T. 30/1/95]

Stephen R. E. Turner

e-mail: sret1@cam.ac.uk
WWW: http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~sret1/home.html


Good places to find local internet providers are listed at the
following web sites:


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