Transcending the World Wide Web has become a tangled jumble of links and junk information. One can spend endless hours randomly clicking links, but after all that traveling, what has one accomplished?
I have nothing against hoarding sound clips of the Simpsons or downloading images; Wandering aimlessly entertains me, but wouldn't it be great to find instantly all those cool sites or that crucial piece of information for that ten-page paper on mitochondria?
First, I'll assume you have access to a World Wide Web browser such as Netscape's Mozilla or NCSA Mosaic. AcIS extended everyone's basic account so you can head over to Mudd Labs and login there, or just use the X-terminals in Carman or the Macs in Butler. In this article, I'll be using Netscape's Mozilla v1.1N for Unix machines.
If this is your first time, you'll begin on the "new and improved" Columbia University Homepage. To improve your web surfing experience, set your options by clicking on the word "Options" in the menu bar. By selecting one of the following options, you can toggle it on or off. These are my recommendations for maximum viewing pleasure:
Now choose "Preference" from the "Options" submenu. A menu window will appear with the words "Window and Link Styles" on top. Here, you can set your starting page to something other than Columbia's Homepage, but I'd hold off on that. If you're visually impaired, you can pick "Huge" fonts, but the norm is "Medium". Most importantly click off the box for "Underline Links." It's just plain ugly. You can set other options like your mail server and such, but I'll leave that up to you. Click on "OK" and that'll put that menu away. You can save all the changes you made by clicking on "Option" and then select "Save Options". The final adjustment is clicking on the upper right hand box and enlarging your browser window by a third or so.
You are now all set to explore the vast unknown. Anything that makes your mouse pointer turn into a hand is fair game. Those are called links and when you click on them they "link" you to another part of the net. Links are usually blue colored words or images. You are not restricted to follow the links on a page, because you can go to any web page you please by typing in its address or URL. If you have the "Show Location" option on, you can type in URL's right in that box. If not, click on "File" on the menu bar and select "Open Location". Once you've toyed around Columbia's Homepage for awhile, try typing in one of my recommended links. If you ever lose your way, you can always press the Alt-key and the Left Arrow to return to the previous page.
Now you're wondering how do you find these pages, or sites. You could wander randomly hoping to stumble across a neat site, but if you don't have the time you can always resort to search forms. I have provided a list of sites that have indexed the content on the Web or will search the Web for you.
You now possess the knowledge of navigating the digital frontier of the World Wide Web. All you need now is an adventurous spirit and plenty of free time. "Go west, young man..."
Owen's Recommended Sites:
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