Advanced Internet, Sunday, October 15, 1-4PM
Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria
Community, Corporate and Workforce Development
William M. Pegram, Instructor,

In the Introduction to the Internet course, we learned about

Topics for today:

Lesson 1 - Changing the Resolution and Number of Colors Displayed by Your Monitor

Click on the Start button, then choose Settings, then click on Control Panel.  In the Control Panel, click on Display, and then the Settings tab.  You can then change the resolution of the monitor by moving the indicator for Screen Area.  What resolution looks best to you will depend on the size of your monitor and how big you like things to appear.  Most people will set a 14" monitor at 640X480.  I set my 17" monitor at 800X600, although some would set it at 1024X870.  You can also set the number of colors; setting it to a higher number of colors will make pictures on web pages look better.

Lesson 2 - Useful Browser Features

I will teach you how to do things in Internet Explorer since that is the browser now used by the most number of people and probably will remain so for some time.  Most, but not all, of these features can be found in Netscape, which now second to Internet Explorer.  The AOL browser is a simplified version of Internet Explorer.  If you sign on with AOL, you can use other browsers simply by minimizing AOL and launching the other browser.  The order I discuss things will be in the order that the feature appears in the Internet Explorer menu, moving from left to right.  I will only discuss browser features that I think you will find useful:

Opening Up Multiple Windows - Choose File, New, Window to open up a new window.  You can open up another window to follow a link by right-clicking the link and then select "Open in New Window" from the menu that pops up. 

Tiling Multiple Windows - If you have two programs running, for example two windows of Internet Explorer, you can put them side by side by clicking the Restore button (the double boxes at the top right, immediately to the left of the X button) in each application, and then resizing them. 

Saving a Web Page - To save a web page, select File, Save As, and then give it a name and choose the location where you want to save it.  If pictures or images appear on the web page, Internet Explorer will save these as well.  A saved web page will look the same as when you first viewed it in practically all cases.  The exceptions would be where the page includes some dynamic content, such as displaying the current date.  How dynamic content would display in the saved page would depend on the technique used to display it in the original page.

To Email a Web Page - Select File, Send, Page by Email.  For full-featured email programs such as Eudora and Outlook, images and pictures that appear in the web page will be sent and thus the recipient will see these as part of the page.  The same caveats for dynamic content apply here as for saving a web page.

Print Preview - Select File, Print Preview.  Didn't exist in some earlier versions of Internet Explorer.

File, Import and Export -- You can export or import your favorites and cookies to another program, in particular Netscape.  You can also export favorites or cookies to a file on a floppy disk and then import the file on another computer which would be useful if you have multiple computers (home/office, or desktop/laptop) or when using someone else's computer.  If you are using someone else's computer, you could simply create a new folder within their favorites and then import the favorites from the floppy into that folder.  When you are done, you can simply delete that folder.

Copying a Portion of a Web Page to Another Application, e.g. to a Word Processing Program - Highlight the text, and select Edit, Copy (or Ctrl C), and then in the other application, select Edit, Paste, or simply hit Ctrl V.  Ctrl C and Ctrl V are handy since sometimes there won't be a Edit, Copy menu item.

Search for text on a Web Page - Select Edit, Find (on this Page).

View, Go To - brings up a list of recently visited pages

View, Text Size - This allows you to set the default font size for web pages.  Whether this will affect the text of the web page you are viewing depends on how the web page is designed.

Tools, Internet Options -  In this area, you can set a variety of useful options.

Setting Your Home Page - Tools, Internet Options, General -- this is the page you see when you start the browser; setting it to a blank page is an option

Setting Colors of Links and Visited Links - Links you have visited typically have a different color than those you have not -- you can set the default colors for these by selecting Tools, Internet Options, General, Colors.  If a web designer has specified the colors for these, this will override the default setting.

Setting Default Font - You can likewise set the default font for web pages.  However, as with links, if a web designer has specified a different font, that specification will override the default setting.

Ignoring Specified Colors and Font Sizes -- Tools, Internet Options, General, Accessibility, one can override the colors and fonts specified by the designer and replace them with those you specify in a stylesheet.  One would presumably only do this in cases of color blindness or difficulty reading small print that cannot be accommodated by changing the default text size.

Restricting Content - Tools, Internet Options, Content - You can set the permissible level separately for language, nudity, sex, or violence.  You can specify that any site that is not rated is not viewable (without the security password) or specify that it is viewable.  I conducted a brief test of this.  Because there are apparently many sites that are not rated, the former solution ends up being too restrictive and the latter ends up being too permissive.  Internet Explorer provides two solutions that help with this problem. First, one can specify additional rating services to be checked; the disadvantage of this is that it slows down browsing.  Second, specific sites can be added or excluded. 

Autocomplete - Tools, Internet Options, Content, AutoComplete -- I have enabled this for everything except web addresses, where I find the feature annoying. 

Internet Options, Connections - The issue here is whether you want to dial your internet connection whenever you open your browser.  You may not want to, if you are looking at pages offline (without being connected to the internet).

Internet Options, Programs - Allows you to specify the default program to be used for various purposes (e.g., email).

Internet Options, Advanced - Most of these settings will probably be OK as is, although if some feature isn't working properly, you may need to go here.

Help, About Internet Explorer - For Windows programs in general, choosing Help, About is the way you tell what version you are using.

Reloading a Web Page - Browsers keep a copy of web pages you have looked at recently in a cache on the hard drive.  This allows them to quickly reload the page should you visit it again.  The downside of this is that sometimes the version of the page is not the version that is currently on the internet.  Clicking the Refresh button will generally reload the page if it has changed since you last viewed it, but sometimes hitting Shift-Refresh in IE (which forces Internet Explorer to reload a web page) is necessary.

History List - The history list in Internet Explorer is useful because you can view offline, pages that you visited online, and they are grouped by when you viewed them.  You can delete individual items from the history list and or clear the entire history list.  To delete an individual item from the history list, display the history list and right click on the item, and then choose delete.  To clear the entire history list, choose Tools, Internet Options, then General tab, then click "Clear History" button.

Lesson 3 - Downloading Software from the Internet

For inexpensive software where the installation files are relatively modest in size, the internet is the primary way of distributing the software.  It is therefore important to know how to download and install software from the internet.  To download the software, use the browser to go to the download site and follow the instructions.  When you download the software, a box will come up asking you whether you want to save the file to disk or run it from its current location.  Unless the download site has told you otherwise, you want to save the file to disk.  You can save it to any location you like on your hard drive; the key is to put it somewhere where you can find it easily.  I find that putting it in the root directory of the hard drive is convenient. 

Once the file is downloaded, you install the program by opening up Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer), finding the file you have downloaded, and double clicking the file to execute it.  The program will then lead you through the installation process.  It will often advise you to close other programs, so it's a good idea to do this before you start the installation.  Once you have successfully installed the program, the program will be accessible through the Start Menu and you can delete (using Windows Explorer) the file you downloaded.

Exercise: Download

Lesson 4 - Advanced Email Features

Email programs like Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, and Netscape Messenger offer a number of features that are useful once one starts using email a lot.  These features are not available in the AOL mail program.

Multiple Folders in Address Book - Instead of having a single list of names and email addresses, one can organize them into folders.  This becomes very useful when the number of names grows to be large.

2 Different Panes in Address Book - folder list in one and list of contents of folder in a second

3 Different panes -- folder list in one, list of contents of a given folder in a second, and the content of an individual email in the third -- this is very convenient when moving emails from one folder into another and in deleting emails

Rules to sort email - Email can automatically go into a given folder based on words that appear in the email

Ability to access email accounts on other servers than that used to connect to the internet - for example, accessing the email account you use at home from the office

Lesson 5 - Mailing Lists, Newsgroups, Communities, Instant Messaging, Chat

See separate writeup.  Class exercise