Newbie! Newbie!

Newbie. You can't spend much time on the Internet without hearing this term. And if you don't know what it means, you most probably are one. So what is this newbie thing anyway?

A newbie is, very simply, someone new to the Net. The term can be used by Net.veterans either affectionately or exasperatedly, as in "clueless newbie". A clueless newbie is someone who asks questions like "How do I see Madonna's home page from my e-mail only account?" even after it has been explained--with varying degrees of exasperation--that this is not a viable option.

But take heart! Newbiedom is not a permanent state, and the Internet is the ultimate self-referential medium, in that the Internet is the best possible place to find out more about the Internet. Here are some helpful links to get some newbie-specific information:

These sites not only have exhaustive lists of helpful links, but also contain some good info that will get you up and going on the Net in as short a time as possible.

The terminology you will encounter on the Net may be confusing at first, to put it mildly. Here is an online resource which will help you over come these stumbling blocks.

Here, you will find a glossary of often-used Internet terms.

From here, you can find links to explanations of the Net, and how to use effectively the various search tools available.

Net? What Net?

If you're just starting off on the Internet, you may still be wondering what all the fuss is about. The Internet, very simply, is an arrangement of computers that enables you to access information, wherever it is stored, as though it is actually sitting on your own machine (once you master the appropriate incantations). For a structured, simplified course on what the Internet is about, check out

This will give you some of the background behind the Net as well.

The World Wide Web

The World Wide Web is what has really caused the explosion of interest in the Internet in the past couple of years. This is due to two basic reasons:

The WWW is about multimedia, which means that you can see graphics, hear sound, and view full-motion video. As an example, imagine that you're looking for information on Michael Jackson. On a Usenet newsgroup, for example you would be limited to text-based information on how he started his career, what records he has released, the sales figures of those records, and so on. While this is quite comprehensive and difficult to find elsewhere, it does not have the sheer impact of viewing an actual picture of MJ and hearing him sing--all with a click of the mouse.

Everything on the Web is potentially a link. This is a very powerful notion. In the earlier example, you might click on MJ's picture and hear him sing his latest hit, and also see the lyrics to the song at the same time.
What makes this even more powerful is that the picture might be on one computer, the sound file on another, and the lyrics on yet another. And these computers could be on different continents altogether. All tied together by the magic of the Web.

The Web contains so much information that it would be almost impossible to navigate it without some help. This is provided by search engines, which you'll be hearing a lot about. How should you use these? A good guide to searching the Net is available at

If you want to use the Web without drowning in all the information and the hype about it, the best way is to use the search engines that are available to make your time on the Web productive and enjoyable. This site can start you off on that path by teaching you to use them. Starting from here, you gain the basic knowledge necessary to make "websurfing" a pleasure. And useful, too...

Udhay Shankar N <> is a Random Networking Enthusiast who collects interesting people.