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A type of Internet connection. A broadband connection provides very rapid connection to the Internet with fast download and viewing of web pages, online forms, etc. Widely available in urban areas and spreading into the countryside. Broadband connections may use the telephone line, but in any case do not block the line for other types of use (e.g. phone calls).

A type of connection to the Internet which uses a standard home telephone connection and a device called a ‘modem’ which allows computers to access the Internet over the phone. A dial-up connection is relatively slow (it takes a long time to download web pages, forms, etc. compared to other types of Internet connection), and it also blocks the domestic phone line for other users.

The process of copying a computer file from the Internet onto your own PC is called downloading. A file such as a music (MP3) file or a document is made available to the Internet by storing it on a server. To download the file, you usually click on a link to it, or else right-click and choose ‘save target as’ (in Internet Explorer) or ‘save link as’ (Mozilla Firefox). A box pops up asking you where on your hard disk you want to store the file. You choose the location for storage, click the button and the file is copied onto your hard disk (or downloaded).

Email: (Electronic Mail)
Email or electronic mail is a service that sends messages across the Internet from one human user to another. Like a letter, email is person-to-person and it stores messages until they are read.

A large collection of computers, connected together to allow them to share information with one another.

A high-speed telephone line service available from Eircom. ISDN allows you to connect to the Internet while still having the telephone free for other use. It also allows faster Internet downloads (about twice as fast as a dial-up connection).

A link, or hyperlink, is a part of a web page that, if clicked with a mouse, opens a different web page. Links are usually shown in blue and underlined on a web page.

(Portable Document Format)
A PDF is a type of computer file (in the same way that an MP3 or a Microsoft Word file is a type of file), which is commonly used on the Internet for presenting documents. PDFs are excellent for printing out – a printed PDF generally looks much better than a printed (HTML) Web page. PDFs are thus mainly used for material which the user is expected to print out (such as Government forms, brochures, reports), rather than material which is meant to be viewed online. PDFs require a specific piece of software, a PDF viewer, to be viewed and printed out. By far the most common PDF viewer is Adobe Acrobat, which is available for free online.

Searching is the process of finding a particular word or topic within a website or on the Internet. When you search, you type in one or more words which describe what you are searching for, and a search engine program looks up a database and shows a list of links to pages that may match what you are looking for. When you search, it is up to you to have some idea of what you are looking for – you have to type in the words to search for. Searches vary in scope – many websites allow you to search the site and all its pages; bigger search engines such as Google allow you to search the whole Internet. Typing CTRL-F lets you search the web page you are looking at.

Search engine:
A program running on a web server computer which creates and maintains a directory of web pages on the Internet. The engine has a web page with a form; you type in words describing what you are looking for; the engine looks up its directory and sends back a list of web pages that it thinks will fit your search criteria.
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