Meaning of URL

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It specifies the global address of web documents and web resources. The basic reason behind locating or identifying a resource on the web is access or communication. Interaction between web users and the Internet resources is possible, only if each resource on the Internet is identified in a standardized manner. A URL serves this purpose. Let’s look at the different parts that compose it and what purpose each of them serves.
The first part of the address is the protocol identifier. HTTP and FTP are examples of protocol identifiers, which indicate the protocol in use. More rightly known as the scheme, this part of the URL denotes how to connect to the web resource. It is not case-sensitive but the canonical form is lowercase.
The second part of a URL is the resource name that comprises the IP address or the domain name of the web resource. It denotes where to connect. The domain name may be followed by a port number which is separated by a colon. When specified, a connection to that port number is established. If the port is not specified, the browser connects to the default http port which is 80.
The domain name may be followed by a path when a particular resource such as a file or a page needs to be retrieved. This part of the URL specifies what to retrieve. It is case-sensitive. On servers based on Microsoft, it is not. A URL may consist of a fragment identifier which denotes a specific location on the page. If it is a part of the URL, the browser displays that specified part of the page.
A uniform resource locator is synonymous with uniform resource identifier that is abbreviated as URI. By definition, URI is a string of characters that is used to identify resources on the Internet. Either it is the uniform resource locator or a uniform resource name (URN).
Typically, HTTP is the first part of a URL. As you know, it is the protocol identifier. It is followed by a colon and two forward slashes after which comes the domain name of the resource to be located. URLs are commonly referred to as website addresses. To reach any particular website, you need to type its URL in the address bar of your browser, which then retrieves the desired page for you.
An internationalized resource identifier (IRI) is a type of URL that includes Unicode characters. It allows one to create URLs using one’s local alphabet. The domain name is known as an internationalized domain name (IDN). It is converted into punycode, wherein Unicode characters are represented as ASCII characters that DNS supports. When a user specifies a URL in the local alphabet, it is converted to Unicode, and characters that are not a part of the URL character set are converted to English letters using percent-encoding.
Tim Berners-Lee and the URI working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standardized the Uniform Resource Locator in 1994. The Domain Name System created in 1985 was combined with the file path syntax.
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Negative Effects of Internet on Children

Internet has proved to be one of the most innovative inventions for us. It has made its presence felt in every sphere of our life, be it economy, society, health care, spirituality, etc. Prominent among its benefits is the impact it has had on the education sector. Students can now gain access to innumerable research papers, apart from getting latest updates in the field of science and technology. But as they say, “With great power comes great responsibility”, Internet has created new challenges for the society and most threatening among these is the impact it has had on children. Internet addiction has been recognized as a disorder in many countries, and rehabilitation centers have been created to help people to get over it. The sad part of this whole phenomenon is that a large proportion of Internet addicts are youngsters, who are extremely vulnerable to its ill-effects. There are several advantages and disadvantages of Internet but in this article, we will focus on its negative effects.

Internet and Children

Internet Addiction Disorder
Although studies on this disorder are in preliminary stages, it has been established that children who spend most of their time on the Internet, show a peculiar kind of behavior which is marked by an urge to be on the Internet all the time, so much that the child may shun all activities and become immersed in the virtual world. Surveys conducted over the years have found that most people who suffer from Internet addiction disorder are young adults, who easily fall into the lure of exploring everything that is available on the Internet. In America alone, it has been estimated that around 10-15 million people are suffering from Internet addiction disorder, and this is increasing at the rate of 25% every year.

Reduced Physical Activity
There are a host of games that are available on the Internet and this has made most children to shun all outdoor activity. In the absence of physical activity, children can easily fall prey to a lot of lifestyle related diseases such as obesity, apart from failing to develop interpersonal skills. Apart from these factors, sitting continuously in front of a computer screen can seriously damage our eyes, and put a strain on our neck and shoulders. Children are in their developing years and these factors can create life-long problems for them.

Easy Access to Pornography
This is one of the greatest threats Internet poses to children. Internet has provided an easy medium to children to gain access to pornography and this can cause them to either become sexually-deviant or sexually-addictive. This phenomenon has also caused another problem, and that is the increase in prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in children. According to reports, one out of every four teenagers gets infected with a STD every year. The adult content that is present on the Internet promotes irresponsible sex and creates false notions in the minds of students.

Vulnerability to Cyber Crime
If you have been following news lately then you must know what we are referring to. Children have been lured by pedophiles posing as good Samaritans and have been physically abused and molested. Internet has also made it easy for unscrupulous elements to get in touch with children and this has led to an increase in the cases of kidnapping and identity thefts. About 60% young teens in the United States have admitted to responding to messages from strangers. This kind of behavior is extremely risky and has made children extremely vulnerable to become victims of cyber-crime.

The points mentioned above have posed new challenges to teachers and parents. There are demands from various quarters that there should be some sort of regulation to check this issue. However, we believe that instead of making Internet a taboo, we should educate children to use it for their benefit. It is advisable for parents to monitor how much time their children spend on the Internet, and if possible set a time-limit till which they would be allowed to use the Internet. Having the computer in the living-room instead of a child’s bedroom can also ensure censorship on what they are accessing on the Internet. It is also important that you talk to them about ‘the birds and the bees’ because if you do not talk to them, they will turn to their friends and Internet for answers which may not provide authentic information.

Although, this article is foucused on the negative effects of internet, it in no way means that we are undermining the importance of Internet in our lives. We have written this article for the Internet audience, and you are reading it through the Internet, which itself explains the positive side of Internet usage. It is for us to decide whether we use technology for the betterment of our lives or put it to unabated abuse. Children may not be mature enough to understand this, but we as parents, teachers and guardians need to ensure that we inculcate the right behavior in our children.

How Does the Internet Work

When posed with such a question, most of us think that we own a computer, we have a telephone line or a satellite TV cable, and a modem; that’s all there is to know about how the Internet works. But, this answer sums up only a small percentage of the whole story.

The Working of Internet

Working of the Internet is based on a series of protocols. A protocol is a set of rules or a kind of agreement, wherein two parties agree to abide by a set of rules. In this case, these rules govern the transmission and reception of data, to and from a computer.

To know how protocols work, it’s important to understand the protocol layers. The network is firstly divided into various layers and protocols that are set for each of these layers. Let’s see what the protocols are, according to layers:

Application Layer Protocol
The application layer acts as the interface between the user and the system. This layer has application-specific protocols like hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), e-mail, chatting, or file transfer protocol (FTP) for downloading, etc., which communicates with the subsequent TCP layer.

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) Layer
Every application requiring network access communicates with the TCP layer first. This protocol has a set of rules that govern the functioning of the transmission layer, which is between the application layer and the IP layer. While receiving data, TCP directs data to a specific application using the port number.

Internet Protocol Layer
The main job of this layer and the protocols associated with it, are to give the machine an identification on the network. Every computer on the Internet or a local network gets assigned a unique address commonly known as Internet Protocol address or simply the IP address. It is a number of the form, where xxx must be any combination from 000 to 255.

Hardware Layer
This is the layer which physically connects a computer to the data transmission media which may be a phone line, a cellular or a satellite connection. This layer includes modems, ethernet cards and hardware lines which materialize the actual connection process. The protocol governing this layer converts computer readable digital binary data into transmittable analog data (this is not needed, in case an ethernet line is used).

How Does the Internet Work

To demonstrate how data flow occurs through these layers when using the Internet, let’s consider the case of two computers, where computer 1 is trying to access some data on computer 2. Let’s say that user1 and user2, are the respective users. User 1 is using an application, let’s say some browser. Thus, he directly communicates with the application layer only. His actions are relayed through, by application layer to the TCP layer. The TCP layer communicates with the IP layer and the IP layer, then corresponds to the hardware. All this while, the respective protocols take care that these layers function the proper way. Now, the data or the request from user1 is sent to computer 2, via the Internet framework. This is when the importance of protocol is evident. All protocols on the receiver’s end function for the opposite cause. We better not go too deep into the working of protocols, as that is not what we’re looking for.

Till now, we were concentrating a lot on the Internet in the wired world. But, with technologies like Wi-Fi and WiMax giving the cable a run for its money, it’s time to throw some light on wireless Internet.

The Working of Wireless Internet

Before answering this question, let’s find out about the type of wireless Internet connections. They are of two types: a wireless connection using a router, more commonly known as Wi-Fi, and the Internet accessed through a mobile phone network. Now, let’s know the working of wireless Internet, via Wi-Fi and on mobile.

A Wi-Fi capability is achieved by simply making your normal wired connection wire-free. This is done with the help of a router. A router, as the name suggests, is simply a re-routing device. It is equipped with a low-power radio transmitter and receiver, with a range of about 300 ft. It is connected to the normal wired media like a phone line, satellite TV line or the ethernet cables. The router converts the received electrical signals into radio signals, capable of being transmitted through the air. While sending the data on the Internet, it does the exact opposite, i.e converts radio signals into electrical signals. For Wi-Fi compatibility, you need to have computers equipped with a wireless card, which is nothing but a radio transmitter and receiver. Wi-Fi is technically termed as IEEE 802.11 and has quickly evolved to newer versions like 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n being the latest. As a router creates a Wi-Fi hotspot of about 300 m radius, Internet can be accessed in those hotspot areas only.

Mobile Internet
If you own a relatively new mobile handset, then it’s most likely to be equipped with a built-in web browser. Mobile phones with Internet capabilities are based on a system called WAP (Wireless Application Protocols). Those areas, where GSM (Global System for Mobile) phones are in use, General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is available to the users to access the Internet in 2G and 3G systems.

A 2G system, offering GPRS service is often called 2.5G. A typical 2G GPRS system provides a speed of 56-128 kbps. This system works on converting data packets into radio packets using an in-built WAP modem. This method of data transmission is known as packet switching. Packet switching is more beneficial, as compared to circuit switching used in voice transmission over cellular networks. Here, the cell phone connects to the same wireless connection and is used to make calls, but instead of getting re-routed to another cell phone, it connects to a web server. Web content from the web server is downloaded to your Internet phone and the modem demodulates the data to be viewed by the browser.

Internet on CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) phones uses a similar mechanism over a different technology. It has much faster speed, as compared to the GSM-based Internet services.

Protocols and layers similar to those used in computers control all these operations. Now, you have a fair idea of how Internet works in mobile phones.

WAP-based Internet on mobile phones has been slow to take off, mainly because of the numerous disadvantages associated with Internet on mobile phones, like small screen size, lack of windows, lack of ease of navigation and speed. In Japan, newer and faster cellular networks are using a technology called i-mode to access the net from a cell phone.

Things to do on the Internet

The Internet is used for innumerable purposes, such as surfing for the required information, chatting, sending emails, payment of bills, ticket booking and many more. Due to its uses, the Internet has become very popular since its launch. We can get the desired information by using the famous search engines, like the Yahoo and Google search engines, in very less time. Apart from these two, there are other search engines that are popular in the various parts of the world. The number of website owners has increased by millions over the years, due to increasing number of activities on the Internet. Let us discuss the fun stuff to do online when bored, in detail in the following paragraphs.

Surfing For Information and Images

You can get detailed information on a variety of topics by going through the number of concerned websites on the Internet. Some of the categories in which the information available can be classified in, are education and higher learning, health, entertainment, politics, national and international news and finance related information. This information is used by people from varied backgrounds and professions. Surfing helps us update our knowledge and keeps us informed about the things happening around us. It can be a good hobby and a method of recreation. The Internet can help you access and search for many pictures and images, which you are interested in viewing, just by a single click. You can also download the images, by carefully reading the terms and conditions of the website. Internet surfing saves a lot of time, money and energy.

Connecting With People

Sending emails and chatting are cool things to do on the Internet. You can stay connected with your friends and family, even if they are far away from you. You can register yourself on the famous social networking sites and share your views and feelings with people you like. You can make many friends by viewing the profiles of the people, from all over the world. You can improve your relationships with the people near to you by using the Internet. Matrimonial websites are of great advantage for the people seeking a marriage alliance.

Business Transactions Using Internet

The Internet is used on a large-scale, to carry out various business transactions. For executing the business transactions online, you need to have an Internet banking account. You can buy your favorite items by paying the bill online, in a few minutes. This is better than personally visiting the place, to shop. The regular banking transactions can be carried out using the Internet properly. You can transfer money to different accounts, anywhere in the world. You can consider the idea of paying all your bills, filling admission forms of universities via the Internet, etc. for the quick completion of the task. There are many online jobs available, which can fetch you a decent amount of money if you complete the job well and in time. You can also carry out your stock market transactions through online trading, for transactions like placing an order for shares and selling the shares, without much efforts.

Fun Things to Do on the Internet

Writing your own blogs, articles, playing Internet games, watching movies by logging on the concerned website, listening to the latest hit songs of top singers, etc. are some fun things to do on the Internet. These are the best things to do on the Internet. The online games market is increasing with every passing day.

The Internet has an answer for all your queries and difficulties, for it provides with many fun things to do. However, one should avoid misusing the Internet, as it can lead to serious consequences.

Information Infrastructure Design in IT

As life progresses, new information emerges, in turn leading to further progress of mankind. Information remains to be like a limitless ocean. It is infinite and extends till eternity. Information technology (IT) involves the management of information on computer-based information systems. IT deals with the use of computers to store, process, and retrieve information. The construction and design of a safe, reliable, and an always-available information infrastructure is an important constituent of information systems.

Information Infrastructure
It is the collection of communication networks and the software associated with it. It refers to networks and software, which support interaction among people and organizations or the currently available networks and the prospective facilities that they will make available. It includes the Internet, the telecommunication networks, and the embedded systems as also computers.

Internet that is regarded as the network of networks is the information infrastructure of today. It is a collection of interconnected computer networks that transmit data in the form of packets using the Internet Protocol. Each of the networks carries information and services like mail and file transfer. World wide web, a collection of documents and other resources, is a service offered by the Internet.

Information infrastructure design is concerned with issues like privacy, security, translation, right to information, and most importantly, software and hardware compatibilities. Let us look at each of them.
Privacy: Privacy of information is related to the collection of personal information. Many a time, we are asked to furnish our personal details on the web. It might be in case of an online transaction or in the process of a registration. Such information collected over the web has to be kept private and confidential. People should feel safe while letting out such information. For this purpose, it is important to include information privacy in the design of information infrastructure.
Information Security: Securing information is about protecting it from unauthorized access, disclosure, or modification. An unauthorized access to information should not result in the destruction of that information. Information security deals with confidentiality, availability, and integrity.
Confidentiality: It is preventing the information from being disclosed through unauthorized access.
Availability: Computing systems that store information and the communication channels that enable access to it, must function properly. The information in an information system should be available for the users at any time.
Integrity: In information security, integrity means that the information cannot be modified without authorization.
Rights surrounding Information: Citizens have a right to obtain information. They are allowed to access copies of certain official documents. Law allows us as citizens of a country to access information. Information rights pertain to possession of the rights to copy or modify the acquired information. People who create content are logically, its owners. So anyone other than the author cannot modify it. One is not permitted to steal content of another author. Rights to translation of content are as prescribed by law. To organize information in an information infrastructure, it is necessary to manage the rights to information.
Compatibility issues: While accessing information over the web, different users access it in different ways. The software and hardware they use is different. The type of communication network over which they access information may be different. Here arise the compatibility issues. Looking at the pace with which new types of software and hardware are being built, backward compatibility of newer versions with the older ones is a serious concern.
National Information Infrastructure refers to the integrated communication system of the US. It takes into account the high-speed public and private broadband and narrowband networks. It also includes satellite, wireless, and terrestrial communications. It is inclusive of all the information that flows in the infrastructure.

Free Information Infrastructure
It is a term used in Europe and it resembles the National Information Infrastructure. The use of the word ‘free’ is intended to focus on freedom and on the internet which is freely accessible. It comprises no software patents. It sometimes refers to open source software. It is about free access, open standards, network neutrality, and less control by state.

Global Information Infrastructure
It is an upcoming communication framework that is meant to connect the computer and telecommunication networks all over the world. Currently, the Internet is considered as the Global Information Infrastructure.

Information infrastructure in IT is actually a vast subject. It deals with the creation, design, and organization of information. It focuses on an infrastructure that caters to the security and access needs of information. In the words of William Pollard, “Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision-making, it is a burden, not a benefit.” This briefly describes the goal of an information infrastructure design.

Sourcing Pop Culture In an Internet Culture

Pop culture has been around for a few decades. It couldn’t truly exist until the technology was developed, that would make possible the dissemination of so many different forms of media in such a short period of time to so many people. Radio and film kicked the whole thing off, and now here we are, a hundred years later, watching as the industry grows ever larger and beyond the scope of sympathetic definition.

It’s a beast, a monstrous, mechanical beast. But, like any beast that humanity doesn’t understand, it will probably soon be taken down. This isn’t so much idle prognostication though. It’s already happening. Pop culture is evolving quickly, and it’s because, once again, of technology.

Over the years, things change in the world. Pop culture adapts to the mindset of the culture it targets, and while it may seem like the industries are setting the agenda, more often than not, major companies scramble to and fro, trying to put together the next big craze based on what the people want.

What happens is, one company will take a calculated risk, releasing something that no one thought would be successful; something like comic books in the ’30s or video games in the ’90s. Today, it’s hard to think of comic books, as not having been a major force, in pop media. But, in the 1930s, when the kids behind Superman were first publishing their bravado and explosions of pop story telling, a lot of people were skeptical. It didn’t matter though. The kids loved comic books, and soon the industry was booming, and dozens of books were released every week.

You can look at reality television in today’s market. The first network reality TV show was Survivor. With monumental ratings, every other station followed suit. It’s how the industry works. One company takes a gamble and the rest wait to see what happens. When that gamble pays off, they all jump in head first. If it fails, they point and laugh as though they wouldn’t have followed suit.

Which makes today’s developments in pop culture all the more intriguing. Not only is it much more rare for the industry to properly read the consumers these days, anomalies of popularity arise all the time. And it’s because companies can no longer market their goods to the entire population and hope for good numbers. Today’s pop culture is no longer truly “pop culture” in the sense that everything is broken down.

Beyond the presence of a dozen different demographics that no one truly understands, there is the internet, and this is the crux of my point. The internet has redefined how pop culture exists and what is defined as truly popular and important in today’s media. There are no companies online telling people what to like and what not to like. Instead, it is the people online, sorting through millions of videos, songs, books, and movie trailers to decide what they want to watch or listen to.

Websites like YouTube have become so prevalent in the spread of the next big thing and the 15 seconds of fame (or less, these days) that certain video creators have actually found honest celebrity offline as well. The Internet is no longer a giant encyclopedia to which school age children turn for homework advice and middle age men turn to for pornography. It’s the world’s largest forum for the free spread of ideas and new media and that power has started to make the internet a bigger force than television or radio. Already, you see more ‘next big thing’ bands come from the bowls of Myspace and Facebook buzz, instead of MTV. MTV rarely bothers to play music anymore, let alone participate in the dialog over what is good and what is bad.

So, the people are in control of their media then, yes? If only that were the case, the power these companies wield over us could finally start to diminish. Rather, the companies are finding themselves forced to rethink their entire approach to marketing. Because of the sheer volume of new ideas presented on YouTube and the like, the ones that sink in, have to be truly original and exciting. No one wants to see the same old schlock online that they see on TV. They don’t have to. There are thousands of genius videos that go beyond the schlock.

So, it is that everyone from car companies to political figures are taking their messages to the Internet, and trying new and exciting things to stimulate the quarter second attention spans of so many of today’s youth. The end result is a society that relies on brilliant new ideas that can be produced en masse, hundreds at a time, to keep everyone happy. The move to force creativity and intelligent thought out of today’s artists and media executives is amazing, but the problem with that creativity is that, it quickly turns to gimmickry. Everything is now a gimmick instead of a progression, and gimmicks are easily mimed, which only leads us down the same path we’ve been down a thousand times before―that of waiting to see what the next big thing will be.