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HomeNewsArchivesWWW 102: SEARCHING AND SETTING UP A START PAGE

WWW 102: SEARCHING AND SETTING UP A START PAGE

Part 2 of a series
Many people have asked me how I find "all the good stuff" on the Internet. The choices may seem endless. In fact, the largest new category of customers for online services today is people who are intelligent but not necessarily computer-savvy.
The phrase "Where do you want to go today?" is more than an advertising slogan. There is so much information on the World Wide Web that finding the "stuff" you are interested in can be a challenge. Well, where do you want to go?
Decide that first. Then, with your destination in mind, launch any search engine (most Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, provide one on their home pages) by typing in key words of your topic. You can just type "Search" into a search engine window and press "Start" or "Go." The engine will then engage a "web crawler" to fetch any web links available. The amount could be anywhere from none to hundreds of thousands.
You should realize that some parties place invisible HTML (HyperText Markup Language) tags, or "handles," on their web pages so that they can be grabbed more easily. So, while you may receive links to search engine sites, you may also receive links that invite you to purchase the services of companies that can help your web site get listed in search engines. You may also receive links that invite you to "search" for explicit content. This can be confusing.
A fairly new search engine at http://www.northernlight.com provides your search results grouped by categories like "Celebrities" and "Commercial Sites." For example, the word passport could yield results from national and foreign passport agencies as well as references to a "free passport to international cuisine" from Butterball, the turkey people. Northern Light creates a set of folders into which your thousands of "hits" are filtered, simplifying your search.
Along with seeking information via search engines, you can let information find you. Several online communities like Yahoo and Tripod allow you to create a "personal start page" with the news headlines, stock market information, sporting news, showbiz/gossip, technology, horoscopes, humor links, and a search engine window right there on the page itself. News sites like cnn.com and many ISPs also offer this as a free service. Utilizing it from the time you go online, you will have links to the information you want every day. The degree of content control varies from site to site, so look around for a start page program that works for you.
This personal start page is not meant to be accessible to the surfing public; some pages require password authentication before they can be viewed. Registration for such a start page probably means that your personal information will become part of a database. Most online companies do not share this information; those that do offer users the option to keep such information out of advertisers' hands.
A "browser" is any program that enables you to translate the HTML code into documents, pictures, sounds and/or video images. I'll use the Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator browsers as examples here because they are the most common and because I have personal experience with them. Applications in either Netscape or Explorer vary in layout depending upon the versions used. Your browser may have other commands than those given here for these functions; if you are unsure of how to perform them, click on the "Help" button and follow the instructions.
To make your start page, look under "Tools" for the "Internet Options" in Internet Explorer or under "Edit" for "Preferences" in Netscape.
In Explorer, the "General" tab will appear with a field titled "Home page" first. Type the URL (Uniform Resource Locator, or address), such as http://www.startpage.net or select "Use Current" if you are already on that page. Click "apply," then "ok."
In Netscape, elect to have Navigator start with "Home Page," then type in the URL of your start page in the next field. If you have already navigated to the page, click "Use Current Page" then click "OK."
The use of the term "home page" in some browsers can be misleading. These are not personal home pages. Let's save those to talk about next time around!

Editor's note: Anita Davis, a longtime Virgin Islands resident who now resides in Georgia, is a member of Internet service provider MindSpring's technical support staff. She welcomes questions and suggestions for future articles. E-mail her at nita.2@mindspring.com.

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Part 2 of a series
Many people have asked me how I find "all the good stuff" on the Internet. The choices may seem endless. In fact, the largest new category of customers for online services today is people who are intelligent but not necessarily computer-savvy.
The phrase "Where do you want to go today?" is more than an advertising slogan. There is so much information on the World Wide Web that finding the "stuff" you are interested in can be a challenge. Well, where do you want to go?
Decide that first. Then, with your destination in mind, launch any search engine (most Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, provide one on their home pages) by typing in key words of your topic. You can just type "Search" into a search engine window and press "Start" or "Go." The engine will then engage a "web crawler" to fetch any web links available. The amount could be anywhere from none to hundreds of thousands.
You should realize that some parties place invisible HTML (HyperText Markup Language) tags, or "handles," on their web pages so that they can be grabbed more easily. So, while you may receive links to search engine sites, you may also receive links that invite you to purchase the services of companies that can help your web site get listed in search engines. You may also receive links that invite you to "search" for explicit content. This can be confusing.
A fairly new search engine at http://www.northernlight.com provides your search results grouped by categories like "Celebrities" and "Commercial Sites." For example, the word passport could yield results from national and foreign passport agencies as well as references to a "free passport to international cuisine" from Butterball, the turkey people. Northern Light creates a set of folders into which your thousands of "hits" are filtered, simplifying your search.
Along with seeking information via search engines, you can let information find you. Several online communities like Yahoo and Tripod allow you to create a "personal start page" with the news headlines, stock market information, sporting news, showbiz/gossip, technology, horoscopes, humor links, and a search engine window right there on the page itself. News sites like cnn.com and many ISPs also offer this as a free service. Utilizing it from the time you go online, you will have links to the information you want every day. The degree of content control varies from site to site, so look around for a start page program that works for you.
This personal start page is not meant to be accessible to the surfing public; some pages require password authentication before they can be viewed. Registration for such a start page probably means that your personal information will become part of a database. Most online companies do not share this information; those that do offer users the option to keep such information out of advertisers' hands.
A "browser" is any program that enables you to translate the HTML code into documents, pictures, sounds and/or video images. I'll use the Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator browsers as examples here because they are the most common and because I have personal experience with them. Applications in either Netscape or Explorer vary in layout depending upon the versions used. Your browser may have other commands than those given here for these functions; if you are unsure of how to perform them, click on the "Help" button and follow the instructions.
To make your start page, look under "Tools" for the "Internet Options" in Internet Explorer or under "Edit" for "Preferences" in Netscape.
In Explorer, the "General" tab will appear with a field titled "Home page" first. Type the URL (Uniform Resource Locator, or address), such as http://www.startpage.net or select "Use Current" if you are already on that page. Click "apply," then "ok."
In Netscape, elect to have Navigator start with "Home Page," then type in the URL of your start page in the next field. If you have already navigated to the page, click "Use Current Page" then click "OK."
The use of the term "home page" in some browsers can be misleading. These are not personal home pages. Let's save those to talk about next time around!

Editor's note: Anita Davis, a longtime Virgin Islands resident who now resides in Georgia, is a member of Internet service provider MindSpring's technical support staff. She welcomes questions and suggestions for future articles. E-mail her at nita.2@mindspring.com.