Network Basics

Zen and the Art of the Internet

Go to the Table of Contents. Visit Gifcom

Network Basics
 
We are truly in an information society.  Now more than ever, moving
vast amounts of information quickly across great distances is one of
our most pressing needs.  From small one-person entrepreneurial
efforts, to the largest of corporations, more and more professional
people are discovering that the only way to be successful in the '90s
and beyond is to realize that technology is advancing at a break-neck
pace---and they must somehow keep up.  Likewise, researchers from all
corners of the earth are finding that their work thrives in a
networked environment.  Immediate access to the work of colleagues
and a ``virtual'' library of millions of volumes and thousands of
papers affords them the ability to encorporate a body of knowledge
heretofore unthinkable.  Work groups can now conduct interactive
conferences with each other, paying no heed to physical
location---the possibilities are endless.
 
You have at your fingertips the ability to talk in ``real-time'' with
someone in Japan, send a 2,000-word short story to a group of people
who will critique it for the sheer pleasure of doing so, see if a
Macintosh sitting in a lab in Canada is turned on, and find out if
someone happens to be sitting in front of their computer (logged on)
in Australia, all inside of thirty minutes.  No airline (or tardis,
for that matter) could ever match that travel itinerary.
 
The largest problem people face when first using a network is
grasping all that's available.  Even seasoned users find themselves
surprised when they discover a new service or feature that they'd
never known even existed.  Once acquainted with the terminology and
sufficiently comfortable with making occasional mistakes, the
learning process will drastically speed up.