Q. Are the Internet and the World Wide Web the same thing? Donna, Mesa.
A. Not really, but many people use the terms synonymously. The World Wide Web is part of the larger Internet.
The snooze-inducing definition of the World Wide Web is "a distributed heterogeneous collaborative multimedia information system." And if that doesn't make you lose interest in the whole thing, I don't know what will.
Setting high-falootin' technical language aside, think of the Web as a vast library, with every book located just a mouse-click away. A friendly, helpful librarian is always available to you through your Web browser software-typically Netscape or Internet Explorer. Click on the Search button, enter a word or phrase to search for, and in seconds the results of the search will be displayed on your screen.
Because the Web is so easy to use, an estimated 600,000 new users begin using the Internet for the first time each month. That's 20,000 people every day, 833 pph (people per hour), almost 14 pps (people per -- well, you know.)
Q. When I start up my computer, I hear the 3.5-inch floppy drive making noises like it's trying to read a disk, but there's no disk there. Any idea what the problem is? Mark, Casa Grande.
A. What you're hearing is your computer going through what is known as POST or Power On Self Test. Don't you just LTA (Love Those Acronyms)? The test is normal and designed to check your computer and report any start-up problems to you.
When you start-up (boot-up), your computer, it looks to your A-drive or floppy drive first for operating instructions. Finding none, it will then look to your hard drive, where it will generally find instructions it needs and continue booting.
This POST test is important to ensure that your computer is looking to your floppy drive first. Should your computer ever fail to boot because of a hard-drive crash, for example, you (or a computer repair person), will be able to start your computer by using an emergency boot disk inserted in the floppy drive, knowing that's where your computer will look first for further instructions.
Q. I was shopping for a new monitor, but I'm confused by the term "dot pitch." Can you explain that in plain English? Steve, Scottsdale.
A. If I recall correctly, Dot Pitch was an actress in the silent screen era -- but then again, I could be wrong. Okay, okay, Mr. Modem is just yanking your cable. Dot pitch is a measurement of how closely pixels -- short for "picture elements," the little dots that make up the images that appear on your screen -- are packed together. The closer the pixels the sharper the picture will be. I would recommend a monitor with a dot pitch of no higher than 28. The lower the number, the more cozy the dots. A dot pitch of 26 is therefore preferable to 28. Photographic images look great even with a dot pitch above 28, so always test the sharpness of a monitor's display with text instead of graphics.
Mr. Modem's Web Sites of the Week:
Simply type in the initials that have you baffled, and this site searches more than 200,000 known acronyms and returns its results. It's so much fun, it will make you feel AOK, PDQ.
Road Construction Database
Enter the state(s) in which you plan to travel, plus the highway or route number, and you'll be presented with a table that lists construction projects, along with corresponding dates of construction.
Taste the Pain
A site dedicated to the masochistic purveyors of some of the world's spiciest and most exotic hot sauces. Hundreds of sauces, marinades, and mustards innocently present themselves for your consideration and purchase. With names like "Nuclear Hell" and "Mad Dog Inferno," you won't be mistaking these for Aunt Mindy's strawberry jellies.
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