I'll Help You to Untangle Net; Welcome to Carol@Mirror, a Brand New Section to Help All Mirror Readers Get to Grips with the Internet and the World Wide Web
Vorderman, Carol, The Mirror (London, England)
If you've ever bought a computer magazine hoping to unlock the mysteries of the Internet, I'll bet you were hit with a load of gobbledygook and incomprehen-sible technobabble.
Carol@Mirror isn't like that.
Earlier this year, I brought out a book called Carol Vorderman's Guide To The Internet. It's sold really well and I've been inundated with people saying: "Thank you for making it so easy to understand!"
The whole world of computers, digital television and even telephones is changing so quickly that it's easy to feel you're being left behind.
Read Carol@Mirror every week, and you won't feel that any more.
We'll bring you the latest stories, tell you where go for the best deals, give you the best sites for music, sport, comedy, finance and just about anything else you want to know.
If you need help with anything to do with the Internet, ask us - you can write or e-mail - and we'll get to the bottom of it.
I'm going to make you three promises:
PROMISE No 1: Carol@Mirror is strictly an anorak-free zone. If you like to bore people about the size of your RAM, then this isn't for you.
PROMISE No 2: The best stories from and about the Net.
PROMISE No 3: Help when you need it, with lots of good advice in simple language.
So why do you need to know about the Internet? Well, if you want to know anything about any subject at anytime, it's there at your fingertips.
If you wanted to read the whole truth and nothing but the truth (allegedly) about Bill Clinton and Monica, you could have read the Starr Report on the Internet.
The Internet, which started life as a secure way for the American forces to get information around the world, has exploded in the past few years.
Anyone can get on it, anyone can put information onto it, and anyone can find information on it.
And this revolution is happening all over the world. By 2000, less than 500 days away, over half of all Americans will be on the Net, and about a third of all Brits will have linked up. The reason the Net has grown so explosively over the last few years is because of something called the World Wide Web (you'll see it written as www, or called web for short).
The World Wide Web is an enormous club of Internet sites that are linked together beautifully because they all use the same computer language called HTML.
Think of the Web as a huge city of millions of buildings - or websites - each one with a different address. Web addresses, like the one for the Mirror, all start with www. If you read it out loud, you say "w w w dot".
These buildings have millions of rooms - or pages - which contain words, pictures, video and sound. In a building you open a door to go into another room. On the Web, the doors are called hypertext and these "doors" take you into any other room in any other building on the Web.
When your cursor goes over a piece of hypertext (which is usually underlined or highlighted) the cursor arrow changes to a hand - it's how you know it's hypertext.
Click on it and it will take you to a different part of the website - or even to a completely different website.
But what if you want to look up a particular subject rather than a website address? There are special things called search engines to hunt for whatever you want.
You just go to a search engine website (the best one is www.hotbot.com). Type in anything, like Vorderman (typing in your own name is called "egosurfing") or black puddings or Liverpool - absolutely anything - and it will search millions of pages on the Web instantly and give you a list of sites that have something to do with what you've typed in.
Not only that, but there is that magical door - hypertext - for each page so all you have to do is click on it and you're there.
It's not quite as simple as that. If you ask Hotbot to look for the word Liverpool it will find no less than 70,746 pages about the city - too many for even the most fervent Reds supporter. …