Internet Basics - Getting Started

Jan 18 22:00 2002 Richard Lowe Print This Article

Everyone must be a beginner at ... sometime in his life. And at ... all of us were new to the ... Even the most arrogant ... can create sites with his eyes closed was, once

Everyone must be a beginner at something sometime in his life. And at some
point,Guest Posting all of us were new to the internet. Even the most arrogant webmaster
who can create sites with his eyes closed was, once, struggling with the
concepts of the vast network that now connects most of the planet.

So what's the best course of action when you are a beginner? I mean, most
people want to look like they know what they are talking about. Sometimes
the hardest thing in the entire world is to admit you know nothing or very
little about a subject.

Yet, when you are a beginner at something, that's what you have to do. You
must admit to yourself (at least) that you are a beginner and you must
understand that there is something to learn about the subject. Learning
about the internet is no exception to this rule.

Learning

My advice is to just jump in and start learning all you can learn. How you
learn about the internet depends upon your own preference and style. Also
remember that you can combine learning styles as desired or needed to suit
your taste.

High School or college courses - Some people learn best in a scholastic
atmosphere. Personally, this drives me up the wall, but others thrive on a
campus with lecture halls, teachers, home room and hall monitors. If this
describes how you best like to learn, then by all means go for it. If you
are pressed for time, remember there are night and weekend classes available
at most educational facilities. Not much money? Try community colleges -
they are inexpensive and often have excellent computer curricula.

Informational Web Sites - Our site has a large amount of information
designed to help people learn about the internet. There are many other such
sites and some of them are quite useful indeed. In fact, we learned much of
what we know from many of these sites, and use them to this day to expand
upon our knowledge. Just be careful, however, that you understand the
motivation of these web sites - often they are honest, but sometimes they
are attempting to get you to purchase something that you may not need.

Trade Courses - You can find many trade schools which offer courses. These
differ from college in that they very short (a day to a week), they are
usually very expensive (a few hundred to a few thousand per class), and they
are of limited focus and duration. Courses are great for focused, specific
knowledge or for earning a certification - and they are wonderful when the
bill is picked up by the company you work for. Otherwise, there are cheaper,
better ways to learn your skills.

Books - Don't forget books. Your local library or bookstore is one of your
best friends, if used properly. It never ceases to amaze me to watch people
spend small fortunes on books, courses, tapes, and classes when a book
checked our from their tax-supported library would serve their purposes just
fine. Think about it - how often will you be reading that book on Microsoft
Excel again?

On The Job Training - This is the absolute best way to learn. If you want to
be a webmaster, then pick up a book, learn the basics, then find a client
who will pay you a few hundred bucks to create a web site. If you want to
become a computer specialist, then go get a job as a computer operator. This
is the best way to learn.

Some Information Sources

There are many other ways to learn a subject, but what about when you want
to just find out information?

Search engines and directories - These are some of your best friends. Use
the search engines and directories, and learn how to use them to find what
you want.

Ezines - Subscribe to a few ezines on subjects that you like. I would
recommend that you get a free mail.com email address for each ezine. Forward
the mail to your primary email account. This way, you will find out which
ezines are selling or giving away your email address. Those are the ezines
that you cancel.

Good ezines to start with? Check out zdnet.com, internet.com and cnet.com.
Then expand to smaller ezines as you find them.

Newsgroups and message boards - These can be excellent sources of
information, especially if you need to ask questions. Just be aware that you
should never spam (advertisements, even to look at your web site), and you
should expect an occasional idiot to flame you for whatever reasons suits
their fancy. Ignore the flames.

What do you need to learn about?

Tools - Learn about your tools. Start by learning about your browser
(Internet Explorer, Netscape, AOL, Opera or whatever). Follow with your
email client (Outlook Express, Outlook, Eudora, Netscape and so on), then
your FTP client, newsgroup reader and whatever else you use.

Follow that with the tools which help you do what you want to do. Interested
in graphics? Learn about Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro and so on. Want to
be a webmaster? Find out about web tools such as Frontpage, Dreamweaver and
Notetab.

Now, learn more about how it all works. Internet tips and secrets is a great
place to start, and there are dozens more web sites which can help. If you
are interested in graphics, then learn all about graphics - how they are
stored, created, displayed and optimized. Become an expert on graphics. Want
to be a webmaster? Learn HTML, ASP, PHP or whatever else you need.

Start cheap

There is no need to spend a lot of money at this point in time. You will
need a computer and a connection to the internet, of course. Beyond that, a
free web host will work fine while you are learning how to create a web
site. There are demonstration copies available (30 to 90 day try outs) for
just about everything - take advantage of those before you choose which
tools you want.

Stay Ethical

Follow the golden rules - don't violate copyrights, don't steal software,
don't flame and, well, be good. Remember, what goes around comes around. If
you tend to treat others as you would like to be treated, then you will
generally get treated that way in return.

The Bottom Line

If you are new to the internet, then don't be afraid to admit it. You will
find many people willing and able to help. We've all been new at one time or
another, and we've all needed an occasional bit of help. Just keep learning,
continue communication and start creating.

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Richard Lowe
Richard Lowe

Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets
at http://www.internet-tips.net - Visit our website any time to
read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your
internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.

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