- Mailing List
Mailing lists are similar to newsgroups in that
messages posted to them are viewed by many recipients.
However, they differ in two key respects. First, a reader must subscribe to a mailing list
if he or she wishes to read messages posted there. For example, a mailing list devoted to
Gospel Music is inaccessible to anyone who has not sent a subscription request to the server that hosts the list. Second, many mailing lists
are moderated and do not allow random pornographic messages nor flames. In essence, a
mailing list merely takes an e-mailed posting from one of its subscribers and forwards it
to the remaining subscribers. From a parental control point of view, mailing lists are a
problem if devoted to inappropriate topics.
- Megabyte (MB)
A megabyte is probably the most commonly used unit of measurement for memory. One MB,
often referred to verbally as one "meg," equals one thousand kilobytes (KB). One thousand MB, in turn, equals one gigabyte (GB). Most computers now come with 16 MB or
more of RAM
and hard drives with more than 1600 MB of capacity.
A modem is the physical device which connects a computer to the Internet. Modems can be internal (installed inside a
computer) or external (connected to the computer by a cable). Most modems connect
computers to the Internet via phone lines, but cable modems and satellite modems also are
coming on the scene.
The speed of a modem is measured by bps (bits per second). The
higher the number, the better. New modems are generally rated at 33,600 bps or faster.
Previous modem generations are much slower. Text-based Internet tasks, such as chat or
e-mail, can be accomplished with slower modems, but web surfing, with its heavy graphic
content, can be painfully slow with modems running less than 28,800 bps.
- MUD (Multi-User Dungeon)
MUD, pronounced "mud," refers to one of the many different interactive
role-playing games on the Internet. Many MUDs are
online variants of Dungeons and Dragons. Some derivatives, such as MUSHs (Multi-User
Shared Hallucination) seek to downplay the Dungeons and Dragons feel. All MUDs are
text-based, with no flashy graphics. Each player uses his or her own computer, connected
to the other players computers over the Internet. A typical MUD has a group of
players cooperating in an effort to survive a multitude of computer-generated dangers.
Monsters attack and the players fight them off to gain "experience points."
While MUDs are Internet-based, they cannot be played from web
browsers, but instead require special client programs, which are usually shareware downloaded for free from various web sites.
MUDs can be addictive and many users find themselves slogging their way through MUDs into
the early morning hours.
Net is popular slang for "Internet."
The informal rules governing etiquette on the Internet are often referred to as
"Netiquette." Users who fail to observe netiquette may be flamed.
Newcomers to the Internet are referred to as
"newbies." A common saying is, "If you dont know what one is, you are
one." Newbies often get flamed when they first
post to newsgroups because they are ignorant of
the informal rules that govern newsgroup etiquette. It is highly advisable that users read
the newsgroups FAQ and a large sampling of messages before posting for the first time to gain a feel for the content
and audience of that particular newsgroup.
Thousands of newsgroups covering almost every conceivable subject are available to Net
readers. For parents, especially parents of young children, newsgroups are a problem. Most
are unmoderated (no host oversees the content) and some contain very inappropriate
material even when the official topic is an innocuous subject such as math homework. This
is because postings offering pornographic services are often broadcast to many newsgroups
on the Net. Given this problem, it is wise to block
access to all newsgroups for young children. Fortunately, it is easy to do so.
Effective database searches require the use of logical operators, words that help the user
specify the information he or she wishes to find. The most common are "and,"
"or" and "not." Some databases also use "near." These words
work as you logically would expect. For example, if someone wants information on tenor
saxophones, he or she could enter a search of "tenor and saxophone not alto."
This search would result in information covering tenor saxophones but not alto saxophones.
Note that this search looks for "saxophone" rather than "saxophones"
because using the plural form would have excluded any information that only referred to a