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It's amazing how the internet has changed! Room-sized pieces of equipment that only sent code from one lab to another have "grown" into laptop computers that send business presentations, photographs, games, music, greeting cards, video and more over telephone lines.

The internet has even sprouted a whole new language. Everywhere people talk about e-mail, downloads, web sites, and search engines. Billboards, TV and magazine ads — even the sides of buses — show web site addresses for businesses as diverse as investment bankers to Nike shoes. And no wonder...it's estimated that 150 million people will log onto the internet in the next year alone!

For newcomers to the "net," we've compiled a list of some common terms to help you get around in "web speak." Read each word, check out the links and other sites we've listed, and don't be afraid to poke around a little. You can stumble across some fun and useful things out there on the World Wide Web. But don't worry, you can always get back to where you started by using the "Back" key in your browser (definition below).

Acrobat
A program that keeps the original formatting of any text or graphics document you send over the Internet.. The recipient will see your document exactly as it originally appeared. Many of the ready-to-use forms and tools we feature on the Trade Secrets Web Site need Adobe Acrobat Reader to be opened and printed. The program is free and is available to download at www.adobe.com.

Browser
The "translator" that lets your computer take the information from the Internet and turn it into Web pages and graphics like the ones you see here. Think of it as the dashboard of a car. Some popular browsers are Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer .

Cookie
Cookies are small data files placed on your hard drive by some Web sites when you visit. The site can use cookies to track such things as lists of pages you've visited and the date when you last visited. The Trade Secrets site sends a cookie to your computer so that you don't have to type in your log-in name and password each time you visit.

Dot Com (.com)
Com is short for commercial. Commercial sites, designated by the .com on the end of their address are just one type of Internet location. There are also Dot Org (.org) for non-profit organizations, Dot Gov (.gov) for government sites and Dot Edu (.edu) for educational institutions.

Download
You've probably installed software on your computer by using diskettes or CDs. Online you can get software and other information by "downloading" it directly, without disks or CDs, over the telephone lines. A sample of a downloadable file is the Menu Item Costing Worksheet.

Emoticon
Emoticons are a form of punctuation used to convey emotions. ;)

Home Page
The first page of a web site is its "home page." Like the cover of a magazine or the front of your menu, a site's home page sets the tone for the site and gives you a glimpse of what's inside.

Hyperlink
A mode of transportation that lets you move to another page or site with a click of your mouse. Without them, you'd be stuck on the same page forever, which kinda takes the fun out of surfing. Links are usually bright blue and underlined like this: click here. But hyperlinks can be graphics and buttons too. You'll know you've found a link when your cursor changes from an arrow to a hand with a pointing finger.

ISP
An ISP, or Internet Service Provider, is a company that connects you to the Internet. There are national ISPs like America Online, and local companies in your home town. Many local cable companies now serve as ISPs and offer internet access.

Netiquette
It's a combination of the words "network" and "etiquette," but it's more than a cute play on words. This informal code of manners governs online conduct. One example: DON'T USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS while typing e-mail messages. Upper-case words are perceived as shouting and everyone knows it's rude to shout.

Operating System (OS)
Your operating system runs your computer. Macintosh and Windows 98 are two different Operating Systems. And who can forget the original, and user-unfriendly, DOS operating system!

RAM
Random Access Memory; the main memory of a computer. The more RAM you have, the more (and faster) programs you can run. You can install more RAM to your computer as your needs grow.

Search Engine
Your own personal private detective. Search engines search the World Wide Web using your keywords. It then compiles a list of individual web sites that have what you're looking for. Yahoo and Google are examples of search engines.

URL
Universal Resource Locator. This is the address for a Web page. www.restaurant.org is the URL for the National Restaurant Association.

Web Page & Web Site
The World Wide Web is filled with thousands of Web sites. Web sites are divided into lots of pages. For example, Trade Secrets is a Web site and you are now reading one of the Web pages on the site.

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