This page has been created as a “jumping off” point to encourage learning about the digital world. I hope you benefit from this, and find the humor as intended.
Q. What is a URL? How is it different from a “web address”?
A. Actually, the two are used interchangeably, although they are two different things. The URL is a Uniform Resource Locator (sounds military doesn’t it?) and a web address is a URL that is pointing to a web server (www) with a domain name such as firefox.com. The search engines have begun to spoil us by doing our searches without our having to enter a full URL, such as http://www.firefox.com. Today, we can simply enter firefox.com and the search engine takes us to that address.
It is extremely important to understand what a web address and a domain name are because the way many people fall into the black hole of identity theft and having their computers hacked and taken over is by visiting websites that are not genuine. For example, you want to visit Dell Computers and you see a link on a website that say that “Dell is having a special sale, computers for only $50!” Well, that’s a pretty amazing deal, right? Too good to be true?? Yes, it is and what you have to look for is where that link is actually taking you. When you “mouse over” the link, your browser will show you where it is taking you. In the case of Dell Computers, their domain name is simply dell.com, not dellcheapcomputers.com and not dell.goingtobecomputers.com, etc. The crooks are clever so we have to be, too. You must never click on a link that you do not verify you are going where you think you are.
When you “mouse over” meaning when the mouse finger points at this url, at the bottom of your screen you will see what the REAL url is, in this case they are the same, but anyone can write anything as a URL or domain name but unless you see it at the bottom of your screen, you do not know for sure. That is part of the security built into the browsers.
Q. What is a domain name?
A. It is your web street address and to own one, you must purchase it from a Domain Registrar, such as Go Daddy or Network Solutions.
Q. Do i need a domain name to use the internet?
A. No, you only need internet access and a search engine.
Q. What is a search engine?
A. It is specially designed software that uses very complex algorithms (mathematical formulas) to respond to your “search terms” and go “fetch” for you the results that most closely mirror your desired information. Examples of search engines are Chrome, FireFox, Bing. Internet Explorer is not a “search” engine but it is a browser.
Q. What is the difference between a browser and a search engine?
A. A browser is software that is specially designed to allow you to “view” websites and conduct business on the internet but you must give it the address you want to visit (the URL).
A search engine is a highly complex advanced browser that allows you to do the same functions as a browser but is also able to retrieve information for you. It is a combination.
Q. How important is anti-virus software?
A. It is as important as the door to your home.
Q. Do i have to use it all the time?
A. Only if you want to keep out uninvited guests, criminals and vandals.
Q. What is the difference between the free and the paid anti-virus software?
A. Good question, and big difference, not in the quality of the software, most of the vendors are quite clear about what they are adding to the paid versions, but here’s what really matters: the free version does NOT update automatically.
Q. What does “update” mean?
A. Updating software is a critical component of having a healthy and safe computer. The software vendors such as Symantec and others are in a constant battle against the hackers and others attempting to either gain control of your computer or to retrieve information from it. This is why there are so many updates to software and you want keep your software current.
Q. What is a computer?
A. It is a blend of hardware and software. Hardware means something physical that you can touch. Software means something that exists but you only “see” it when it is running or operating.
Q. What is a portal?
A. A portal is a term used to describe an entrance.