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March 24, 1995 - Image 3

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-24

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TheMichiganDaily - Friday, March 24, 1995 - 3

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eyand e-m it a a whole f world o In ors n
atio awaits on the

The Internet is not the information
superhighway politicians have been pro-
moting and cable and telephone compa-
nies have been scrambling to create.
The Internet is not merely a network
of computers.
The Internet is not just e-mail.
It is a wealth of, information in the
form of discussion groups, pictures,
sounds and video clips.
It is an interconnection of more than
71,000 computer networks with more than
4.8 million computers directly connected.
No one knows how many computers are
connected to those. Estimates of users are
even harder to calculate.
It is a worldwide computer network
that allows users to quickly communicate
with each other, retrieve data and share
resources.
A computer network is a combination
of special hardware and software that
allows computers to communicate with
each other. The hardware allows the elec-
tronic signals to travel to and from com-
puters, while the software has rules called

How to get
connected
The first step to accessing the
resources of the Internet is to get
a computer account. To obtain a
University account, you must first
have a unigname. Unignames act
as personal identifiers and are
required for access to University
computing resources.
Uniqnames must be three to
eight characters long and may be
obtained at various locations
around campus, including Angell
Hall and NUBS. Engineering
students should get unignames
from the CAEN Hotline Office on
North Campus. At the same time
you get a unigname, you can
choose a password for your
computer account.
You can now access the Internet
by using a University computer
connected to a network or by
connecting to a University
computer running UNIX through a
dial-up modem connection or
Ethernet connection. Web
browsers, such as Mosaic and
Netscape, make it easier to
search for images and
information.

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Top o
Things
Found on
the
Internet
10. David
Letterman's Top
10 List
. Jimmy Buffett's
concert schedule
8. Alcoholic Jell-C
recipes
7. Discussions
about Jake Bake
6. Shopping!
5. The CIA's world
fact book
4. The Dan Quayl
Fan Club's hom
page-
complete with
limericks
3. The virtual
Louvre, direct
from Paris
2. Sounds: from
Pulp Fiction to
Beavis, they're
all here
And the No. 1
thing found on the
Internet...
1. The O.J.
Simpson "home
page.

protocols governing
how the data are
transferred.
The system that
was developed to al-
low many different
types of computers
to communicate is
called the TCP/IP
Protocol Suite -
short for Transmis-
s sion Control Proto-
e col and Internet Pro-
tocol. To the Internet
user, these protocols
work transparently.
°r Each computer
on the Internet has a
d unique name and ad-
dress that distinguish
e it from the millions
e of other computers.
For practical appli-
cations, people use
the names and let the
computers use the
numerical addresses.
History of the
'Net
The present
Internet traces its
roots back to the
e height of the Cold
War during the mid-
1960s, when the De-
partment of Defense
decided it needed a
nationwide commu-

'I;

SEAN CANNON/For the Daily

How E-mail Works
s . G TCP/IP info breakdown
>0
*'0

0
packets

tags

sent from 4; ett

packets and
tag~s are
compiled

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tags and packets are sent through the packet-switched network via routers ( Q) .

When information or documents are
sent, the Internet's protocols, or
instructions, break the files down into
groups called packets. Along with the
packets are tags for identification. Just as
if you were moving a building across the
country, you would dismantle the building
and carefully label the components and
their position. Since the components
would be transported separately, different

routes would be taken. Each component would
arrive at the destination at a different time and
then the building would be reconstructed.
Similarly, the document's parts now ride
the waves of the Internet, guided by
switching centers called routers. Routers
orient the packets to the quickest route to
their destinations, a system somewhat
analogous to air travel. Travel agents find
the shortest flights with the fewest layovers.

Airport hubs, like routers, connect
airlines and are responsible for moving
people from place to place. Thus the
Internet is also called a packet-switched
network. Since all the packets don't take
the same route, they arrive at the
destination disorganized. Once they
arrive at the receiving computer, the
packets are reorganized back into the
document.

Internet
Timeline
1957
The Soviet Unioi
launches Sputnik,
the first artificial-
earth satellite.
The United States
forms the Advanced
Research Prjecth
Agency within the
Defense Department
for science and
technology research
applicableto the,
military.
1989
The Defense
Department
commissions
ARPAnet to research
networking.
1971
Fifteen nodes, with
23 hosts, connected
to ARPAnet include
UCLA, California-a
Santa Barbara,
Utah, MIT, Harvard,
Lincoln Lab,
Stanford, and Case
Western Reserve
1972
Ray Tomlinson
invents e-mail
program to send
messages across a
distributed network.
1973
First international
connections to th
ARPAnet: England'
and Norway.
1976
UUCP (Unix-to-Urx
CoPy) developed At
AT&T Bell Labs aW
distributed with
UNIX one year later.
1977 .
THEORYNET
created at University
of Wisconsin
providing electronic
mail to more thanr
100 researchers in
computer science
(using UUCP).
1981
BITNET, the
"Because It's Time
NETwork," starts at
the City Universityf
New York as a
cooperative network,
providing e-mail and
LISTSERV servers to
distribute
information.
19382
InterNetworking
Working Group
establishes the
Transmission
Control Protocol
(TCP) and Internet
Protocol (IP), as the
protocol suite,
commonlyrknown s
TCP/IP, for ARPAnt.
1984
Number of hosts
breaks. 1,000.
1987
Number of hosts
breaks 10,000.
Number of BITNET
hosts breaks 1,000.
1988
Robert Morris's
Internet worm

burrows through the
'Net.
1989
Number of hosts
breaks 100,000.
1991
Gopher released by
University of
Minnesota.
1992
World Wide Web
released by CERN..t
N umber of hosts
breaks one million
1993

KEVIN WINER/Daily

nications system impervious to nuclear
attacks. The idea was to create a com-
puter network that was not dependent on
the individual members. For this to work,
each computer had to be independent
from - yet able to communicate easily
with - every other computer.
Such a decentralized network requires
that data be stuffed into packets that
bounce around from computer to com-
puter. The packets may travel a variety of
paths to reach their final destination.
ARPAnet was the first off-shoot
project, designed for networking research
and funded by the Defense Department's
Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The Internet added government and
university sites throughout the mid-1970s
and into the '80s. Smaller networks, such
as NSFnet run by the National Science
Foundation, also were added.
Much of the original support for the
Internet came from the U.S. government.
During the 1980s, however, the Internet
expanded into an international network
and gained commercial users. Today, pri-
vate networking facilities - such as Merit
Inc., which connects the University to the
Internet - provide the upkeep of net-
work connections and protocols.
Cyberspace, a term coined by author
William Gibson in his 1984 science-fic-

tion novel "Neuromancer," meaning the
computing community, is witnessing a
population explosion. The Internet now
spans the globe, entering more than 100
countries, and is used, according to con-
servative estimates, by more than 25 mil-
lion people.
With more students entering college,
more businesses getting connected and
private providers rushing to fill the de-
mand for cheap access to global commu-
nication, the Internet is growing at a rate
of approximately 1 million users each
month, with no end in sight.
The World Wide Web
One of the most popular uses of the
Internet is the World Wide Web. Using a
browser such as Mosaic or Netscape, a
user can access information around the
world interactively. The "pages" can con-
tain text, graphics, sounds and video.
Pages are written using a special for-
mat called Hypertext Markup Language.
Hypertext links documents together, al-
lowing a user to jump from page to page
without needing to know the specific
addresses.
Hundreds of new pages are created
every day.
People with University accounts have
the opportunity to create their own "home"
pages. The University's Information and
Technology Division provides documen-
tation for developing Web pages. More
information can be found on the Web
using a browser.

Ethernet: The Need for
Speed
Speed has always been a major factor
driving the computer revolution. As files,
especially graphics and sound clips, have
gotten larger and larger, getting them
takes more and more time. Faster net-
work connections allow higher produc-
tivity.
The most common type of network at
the University is Ethernet, both a net-
working standard and the physical ca-
bling that carries data. Ethernet transmits
data at approximately 10 million bits per
second. In comparison, a top-of-the-line
dial-up modem connection runs at 28,800
bits per second - more than 300 times
slower.
Ethernet is installed in all Campus
Computing and ResComp sites and in
many University buildings, including
Mosher-Jordan, Bursley and Baits resi-
dence halls.
By next fall term, ResComp will in-
stall Ethernet in East Quad, South Quad.
Mary Markley, Betsy Barbour and Helen
Newberry residence halls. ResComp plans
to have all residence halls connected by
fall 1996.
Back to the basics
The four basic things that can be used
on the Internet are electronic mail, Usenet
discussion groups, file transfers and long-
distance computing.
Electronic mail is the most available
and most widely used resource on the
Internet. It allows people all over the
world to send messages quickly and eas-
ily to each other. An e-mail message
originating at the University can arrive at
a European destination in a few hours. A
comparable message sent through the mail
would take up to two weeks.
Usenet discussion groups are gener-

Bill would regulate
Internet's content

Watchdog group alerts
users, providers of
possible censorship
Legislation working its way
through the Senate would expand cur-
rent Federal Communications Com-
mission regulations on obscene and
indecent communication transmis-
sions to cover all content carried over
all forms of electronic mediums, in-
cluding the Internet.
Sponsored by Sens. J.J. Exon (D-
Neb.) and Slade Gorton (R-Wash.),
the bill, formally known as the "Com-
munications Decency Act of 1995,"
would amend the Communications
Act of 1934.
Current law makes it illegal to
make obscene, threatening or harass-
ing telephone calls. The 1934 act also
makes it illegal to "knowingly permit
a telephone facility under (your) con-
trol" to be used for illegal purposes or
to "make an indecent communication
for commercial purposes ... available
to any person under 18 years of age"
by means of a telephone.
The bill would change most of the
paragraphs containing the word "tele-
phone" to include all "telecommuni-
cations devices," which would en-
compass computer networks.
Under the amended act, anyone
who "makes, transmits or otherwise
makes available any comment, re-

quest, suggestion, proposal, image or
other communication" which is "ob-
scene, lewd, lascivious, filthy or in-
decent" using a "telecommunications
device" would be subject to a fine of
up to $100,000 or two years in prison.
Organizations opposed to the Exon
bill see it as a threat to the free flow of
information on the Internet.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
was founded in 1990 as a watchdog
group overseeing legislation and other
matters concerning new communica-
tion technologies. The EFF released an
alert in February saying that the bill
would make Internet service providers
- such as the University -criminally
liable if their network is used in the
transmission of any "indecent, lewd,
threatening or harassing messages."
The alert also said the bill could
cause service providers to severely
restrict activities or completely shut
down Internet access due to the threat
of criminal liability.
The EFF and other special interest
groups believe the amendments could
require carriers to act as private cen-
sors of all public forums, file archives,
discussion lists and private e-mail.
Other organizations that have an-
nounced opposition to the bill include
the American Civil Liberties Union,
the Voters Telecommunications
Watch, the Center for Democracy and
Technology and the Computing Pro-
fessionals for Social Responsibility.

k.~ II

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