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Introduction to the Internet

About the Internet

This is a quick introduction to the basic Internet functions: World Wide Web, electronic mail (e-mail), newsgroups, chat rooms and FTP. Later, we cover the special features you get as a Qwest.net subscriber, including the basics of creating your own Web site. We also include Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), information about software reinstallation, a glossary of Internet terms and an index.

Jargon Cutter
Cyberspace - is the electronic medium of computer networks, in which online communication takes place.

Platform-specific instructions

When we list specific steps for using software applications, Microsoft® Windows® 95/98 is the primary system. If Macintosh® instructions are significantly different, we'll include a Platform icon and a note about the differences.

Exceptions for the Macintosh platform will be noted when there is a significant difference in the steps on the two operating systems.

About the World Wide Web

Most of what you hear about the Internet is about the World Wide Web (Web). The Web gives you around-the-clock access to information on just about any topic you can imagine. And Qwest.net delivers it to your computer.

Jargon Cutter
World Wide Web - An Internet system, created at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland in 1991, that lets you access documents that are linked with the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). It's called a Web because all of its documents are woven together into a single inter-related structure, even though the documents are located all over the world.

As with many inventions, the Web has become more than anyone ever dreamed. The original Internet created the basic technical structure to join us together, but the Web merged the original Internet with modern graphics, colorful screens, sound and animation to create a user-friendly interface. The Web uses a technology called hypertext or hyperlinks.

Web hyperlinks make the Internet widely accessible because they let you access information with simple mouse clicks instead of arcane computer commands. The hyperlinks on the Web have created a system that lets you access the accumulated knowledge in the world's libraries or tap into resources on just about any topic you can imagine. And you have access to this information twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

"In a real sense all life is interrelated All persons are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly... I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

King probably wasn't thinking of the Internet when he wrote about the "network of mutuality," but it's possible—the Internet existed even back then. Whether or not King knew it, today we have a network that has joined together just about every civilization on this planet. That means that, for the first time in history, many of us have the ability to communicate with people throughout the world to share ideas and viewpoints. We're excited about helping you join in this unprecedented, global undertaking. Thank you for letting Qwest.net provide your link to this incredible online world called the Internet.

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We recommend that you use one of the tailored Web browsers that we provided when you subscribed. It is customized with you in mind, so it gives you special advantages as a Qwest.net subscriber. Technically, you can surf the Web with any browser, but you may miss a lot of the fun if you use another browser.

Internet e-mail

Internet electronic mail (e-mail) enables you to swap messages with anyone on the Internet anywhere in the world.

The best part is that it's free through Qwest.net. There are no distance-based or per-message charges for our e-mail. E-mail will revolutionize the way you conduct much of your communication. For "netiquette" details on using Internet e-mail with the Netscape® Communicator™, see the netiquette page in this online guide.

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Be sure to learn about the address book function of your e-mail software so that you can save and organize the e-mail addresses of your Internet contacts. You can even create groups of recipients and send a message to everyone on the list with just one mouse click.


Internet newsgroups—sometimes referred to as the Usenet—are electronic discussion forums. Newsgroups are akin to community bulletin boards upon which people can post notices, but they serve the global community and have no formal membership requirements—anyone on the Internet can read and post messages. No one can accurately count their number, but there are more than 30,000 public newsgroups. There also are private newsgroups, but counting them would be impossible.

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You can use your Qwest.net and browser software to access Internet newsgroups. Be sure to click the Mail & News link on the main menu so you catch our valuable tips on Newsgroups, plus important netiquette tips.

Internet Chat Rooms

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) users convene on "channels" to chat publically in groups or privately. Think of IRC as a virtual gathering place filled with many separate "chat rooms" that focus on specific topics. Currently, IRC chats are conducted using typed, text messages. At any given time, the Internet has thousands of ongoing chat rooms. Chat rooms are available to any Internet user and are increasingly used for business "conference calls." In these chats, meetings are conducted via the IRC that can give each participant an instant written record of the proceedings. Of course, the meeting will proceed smoothly only if everyone involved is a fairly accurate and speedy typist.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

You can use the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to transfer computer files between your computer and other computers on the Internet. You'll use it mostly to transfer files into your computer from larger systems (download or receive), though you also can transfer files from your computer to others (upload or send). The Internet has thousands of FTP sites and millions of files available via FTP, most of which are available via anonymous FTP.

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Anonymous FTP - A computer that lets you connect via FTP without needing a secret login and password. You just use anonymous as your login and your e-mail address as the password.

What can you get using FTP? Just about anything you can imagine that can be stored on a computer: software, drivers for computer peripherals, documents, spreadsheets, maps, photos, audio clips and video clips.

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Perhaps you'll use FTP directly from time to time, but normally you'll see it only as a hidden part of the Web—such as a link on a Web site that uses FTP. And, your Web browser can download files directly from FTP sites, but you can't upload files via FTP with your Web browser.

Changing your password

As further protection, we give you the ability to change your password. So, if for any reason, you suspect that someone may know your password, just change it. Click on the Home button to visit the Qwest.net home page, then select Account Tools, then select the password option. Then follow the instructions you see to select and enter a new password.

Access to localized content

Many Internet service providers merely provide a connection and then leave you on your own—but that is not how we work. We deliver this service to you reliably, at all hours of the day. Consistent with our policy of strong customer involvement, we provide you with access to the Qwest.net home page that links you to local content including weather, sports, and news. Of course we also link you to a wealth of national and global online content as well.

FAQs from Qwest.net subscribers

Have questions? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If you have a question that isn't covered, check our online help system or e-mail our technical support.

Q: What's so special about Qwest.net Internet services?
A: One of the most obvious advantages is customer support. We have enormous resources behind your service and we know what it takes to run a sophisticated communications system. That means you won't face endless busy signals! We provide you with access to online content from our specially-designed personalizable start page.

Q: Will I miss any e-mail messages while my computer is off?
A: Absolutely not. Just like the brick-and-mortor post office, our mail system works around the clock to receive your mail when it arrives. Just as you don't have to be at your mail box when a letter arrives, your computer doesn't have to be on to receive mail. E-mail messages remain in your electronic mailbox on the Qwest.net server until you turn on your computer and check your e-mail. Then your mail is sent to and stored on your computer for you to read, print and delete as you like.

Q: Does everyone in the family have to share the same e-mail?
A: No! We can provide separate e-mail accounts in association with one primary account. For more information and for pricing, call our customer support or check the Qwest.net home page.

Q: Is my identity protected while I'm using the Internet?
A: Qwest.net does not make any of your account information available for public access. We maintain the highest security standards in the industry. But you're free to pass around any information about yourself that you wish to share with other Internet users. We recommend that you exercise great caution when giving out private information because that information can travel quickly.
NOTE: If you add new peripherals and software (a sound card, for example) after your modem is installed, your modem may not continue to function properly. Contact Technical Support if you suspect that new equipment or software is interfering with your access to service.