Internet: Communication Through Technology Including Video and Audio

Who hasn’t heard about the internet? No one! Unless, of course, you have been living in a cave for the past decade! The internet is the crowning achievement of the Information Age (which is what we call this age we live in). It has completely revolutionized how we communicate and how we live.

But what exactly is this thing we call the internet? In a nutshell, the internet is the interconnection of computers around the world. It allows users of these computers to communicate in a variety of ways: through email, streaming conferencing, website information, file sharing, and others.

For you to connect to the internet, you will need a computer and a connection to an ISP (Internet Service Provider). Your ISP will provide you with a connection and the means to connect to the internet.

The internet started out as a project of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Department of Defense), which was commissioned by the Pentagon to look into the uses of networking for military purposes in 1960. From there, the internet was steadily developed to benefit the whole populace.

In the beginning, the internet could only chug along at a low data transfer rate. Today, ISPs offer speeds from 56 kilobytes per second to 10 megabytes per second or more! This allows people to transfer more data which facilitates better communication.

The internet impacts so much of our daily lives that it has become indispensable to so many people and businesses.

Uses of the Internet

1. E-mail – Gone are the days when people had to wait weeks or even months to receive postal mail! With the internet, an email can be sent and reach its destination instantaneously! E-mails have made the world a smaller place, allowing people separated by great distances to correspond.

2. Instant Messaging, Chat Rooms – Services such as AIM, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, and Skype allow people to send messages instantaneously, much like a phone conversation, but using written messages. There are also “virtual rooms” on the internet facilitated by services developed for this reason. These “rooms” allow many users to chat using written messages.

3. Webpages – Webpages are like virtual homes on the internet. They allow people to post documents on the internet that are easy to browse through and navigate. As time haspassed by, webpages have gained more functionality. Today you can download files, submit files and comments, and do all your shopping online.

Webpages serve many functions: some promote businesses, some are purely informational, and some become money making vehicles. The internet spawned what we now call e-commerce. This involves purchasing over the internet. You can even use online payment methods such as PayPal, Paydot and other methods.

4. Streaming Services and File Sharing – The internet also allows file sharing. This allows you to share files with other users. These files may be large or small. Streaming services allow you to receive data such as radio feeds, or even video feeds over the internet.

A Brave New World

In the past, the internet was limited to large institutions. Now residential internet has become more affordable. Today’s technology even allows mobile internet! You could surf the internet from a mobile device such as a cell phone, or you could surf from your laptop in areas that offer Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity). The internet makes instant communication with the rest of the world possible. In the next few years we will see much more.

Ten Ways to Make Your Life As an Internet Provider Easier

From ISPs and WISPs to networks in libraries, businesses, and universities, Internet use is on the rise. Yet, as the demand for Internet access continues to grow around the world, so do both the opportunities and challenges for service providers. Just as quickly as your user-base grows, the obstacles facing providers begin to emerge.From competition to unhappy customers, the venture that once seemed certain to succeed can quickly test the will of even the most battle-hardened and tech savvy business owners and network administrators. However, for all types of Internet providers, there are ways to make the process smoother.

For All Providers…

1. Set Boundaries from the Start – When starting up a new service, don’t let your users run wide open. You may be OK without putting rate caps on users when you have only 10 users sharing a 10 meg link, but when you get to 100 users sharing a 10 meg link, you’ll need to put rate caps on them all. The problem with waiting is that your original users will become accustomed to higher speeds and will not be happy with sharing as your business expands – unless you enforce some reasonable restrictions up front.

2. Keep Your Network from Locking Up – Many Internet providers believe that if they set maximum rate caps for their users that their network is safe from locking up due to congestion. However, if you are oversold on your contention ratios, you will lock up and simple rate limits are not enough. Don’t make this mistake.

This may sound obvious, but let me spell it out. We often run into operators with 500 users on a 20-meg link. They then offer two rate plans – 1 meg up and down for consumers and 5 megs up and down for businesses. Next, they put rate caps on each type of user to ensure they don’t exceed their allotted amount. Somehow, this is supposed to exonerate the operator from being oversold. This is all well and good, but if you do the math, 500 users on a 20 meg link will overwhelm your link at some point and nobody will be able to get anywhere close to their “promised amount.”

If you are oversold, you will need something more than rate limits to prevent lockups. At some point, you will need to go with a layer-7 shaper such as Packeteer or Allot NetEnforcer. Or, you can use a NetEqualizer. Your only other option is to keep adding bandwidth.

3. Good Tech Support Is a Must – Don’t put all your faith into the local guru who set up your network. There are many good technical people out there and there are many more that will make a mess of your business. This can create some really tough decisions. I like to use this analogy:

I’m not a concert pianist – not even close – so I can’t tell the guy that hacks away playing Beatles tunes in the piano bar at my local pub from a Julliard trained pianist. Since I can’t play a lick, they all amaze me. Well, the same holds true for non-technical business owners hiring network techs or developers. They all seem amazingly smart when in fact they may run you into the ground. The only way to tell is to find somebody with a really good track record of making things work for people. So, ask around.

The good ones have no vested interest in making a custom dynasty of your business (another thing to watch out for). It’s like the doctor who needs the patient to stay sick. You don’t want that. Poor or misguided tech support may be the single largest cause for failed ISPs or issues with selling your business.

4. Don’t Overspend – ISPs and WISPs, remember that on the open market your business is likely only to be valued at three quarters of your revenue, so don’t delude yourself and overspend on equipment and borrowing thinking that a white night will come along. If your revenue is $500,000 per year, you will be in good shape if you get $400,000 for your business. And this may just cover your debt. Yes, there are exceptions and you might get a bit more, but don’t expect two-times your revenue. It’s just not going to happen, so plan your expenses accordingly.

For network administrators in both public and private companies and institutions, funding is not always a given. Budget cuts and funding reallocation can leave administrators in a bind. So, be judicious when planning and managing your network. Take things like recurring costs and licensing fees into consideration when making purchases. Over time, these expenses can add up.

5. Optimize Your Bandwidth – A NetEqualizer bandwidth controller will allow you to increase your user base by between 10 to 30 percent without having to purchase additional resources. This allows you to increase the amount of people you can put into your infrastructure without an expensive build out. Yet, a purchase like this can be a difficult decision. It’s best to think in the long term. A NetEqualizer is a one-time cost that will pay for itself in about 4 months. On the other hand, purchasing additional bandwidth keeps adding up month after month.

For Commercial ISPs and WISPs…

6. Make Sure You Have a User-Base to Grow Into – For ISPs and WISPs, perhaps 500 households before you start building out. Yes, you can do it for less, but 500 is sort of a magic number where you can pay yourself and perhaps some hired help so you can be profitable and take a day off. WISPs and ISPs with 100 customers are great, but, at that size, they will remain a hobby that you may not be able to unload a couple of years down the road.

7. Be the Reliable Alternative – If you are in a dense metro area, and have the resources, you can offer Internet connections to hotel and business customers with pay-as-you-go services. Many hotels and businesses have unreliable connections, or none at all. Obviously you’ll need real estate across the street, but once secured, you can point a directional antenna into the building and give your signal a recognizable name so your users will connect. Then, offer them the connection for a daily fee. For many users, paying a small daily fee for reliable service will be worth it – especially if the hotel or business offers sub par Internet service, none at all, or a connection for an exorbitant price.

8. Make Payment As Easy As Possible – When a customer is delinquent on paying their bill, make sure you have a way to direct them to a payment site. Don’t just shut off their service and wait for them to call. For small operators, you don’t need to automate the payment cycle, just send them to a static page telling them how to pay their bill. For larger operators (3,000-plus users), the expense of automated bill payment may be worth the extra cost, but with a smaller set of customers, a static redirection to a page with instructions and a phone number will suffice.

9. Look for a Competitive Credit Card Processor – Your bank will likely provide a service for you, but they are generally a middle man in this transaction. There are credit card processing agencies that sell their services direct and may be more cost effective. These are no-brainer dollars that add up each month in savings.

10. Cross Market – Don’t be shy about it. Once you have a captive audience, there are all kinds of cross marketing ideas you can do for extra revenue. Done tastefully, your users won’t mind. This could be a special with the local car dealer running coupons for them. Or for something like a pizza place. There is unlimited potential here, and if you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re missing out on easy revenue.

Obviously, these 10 tips won’t apply to every Internet provider, but it’s almost a given that at least some of these issues will emerge over time. While there’s no guarantee that any network will operate perfectly, these tips should help steer Internet providers and network administrators in the right direction.

Internet In The Service Of Mankind

Using the Internet may destroy your faith – this is the conclusion of a study showing that a rapid decline in the number of religious people in the U.S.A. since 1990 is correlated to the ever growing number of people using the Internet.

Allen Downey, Professor of Computer Science at the Franklin W. Olin College, provided an answer to this question. He analyzed data collected through a general social questionnaire which was observing religious attitudes in the U.S.A. since 1972. He concluded that there were several factors that contributed to the fact that there is a decreasing number of Americans who consider themselves religious, the most controversial of which is the use of the Internet. The conclusion was that this was the precise reason why the number of people with religious affiliations had decreased over the last two decades.

The above paragraph is the beginning of an article published on a news portal, which I was heavily surprised with. Allen Downey writes about religion as if it was a shopping item, and the faithful were consumers with holes in their pockets. Faith is not a cold statistical number that can be analyzed through cold statistical questionnaires, but rather the sacred home to the soul, which liberates those who stray through the dark by means of divine light. Faith resides in every person who is a genuinely free individual, and there is no social questionnaire capable of peeking into the human soul. When Mr. Downey and others like him say that the Internet is to blame for the decreasing number of people who go to churches and other temples, he should take a closer look at the scriptures, because the Son of God teaches us that God is in every person that does good to others. A good person is the greatest temple of faith. I am asking this computer science professor whether faith’s holy mission isn’t the spreading of truth, humanity and justice. And the Internet is precisely the place that provides opportunity to many humanists and good-will people to spread those noble values that make us human in the first place. Without the Internet, there would be no Google, no Yahoo, no Gmail, LinkedIn, Amazon Kindle (an oasis to poets and writers), and a number of worldwide liberty-propagating portals. Allow me to prove the validity of my claim through a personal example. Thanks to the Internet, I have created my website containing a multitude of my articles, essays, poetry, as well as books published at e-shop, in which I write about compassion, justice, humanity, ideas towards the greater good, love, dreams, suffering and sorrows (lest we forget that a tear has the same taste and color on the faces of everyone, regardless of race, gender, or religion). These are works – essays, poetry, plays and novels – which embrace all those noble values that faith is feeding on. Of course, those works also discuss greed, insensitivity, vanity, cunning, corruption, nepotism, and all the diseases that are destroying the human soul and faith. Yes, these works might not be “bestsellers”, but they were written from the heart, for the hearts of all good-will people, and they would never stand a chance to get published in pro-regime media controlled by all kinds of dictators and political castes, or in “free” big media owned by magnates whom my works are unmasking.

I shall repeat my question to professor Downey: is the Internet killing faith in people if it provides the freedom to point out greed, corruption, slave trade, dictators, and other evils that dwell within mankind? Life teaches us that the Internet does not destroy faith! (Sadly, there always sick people who will misuse a noble thing like the Internet for their dishonorable and deviant issues, but the Internet is not to blame; rather, it’s weak-spirited people who are using it.) One has the right to ask whether the Internet isn’t a thorn in the side of those who want to kill faith within people and shackle them in dejection, primitivism and the darkness of ignorance. Why don’t they say it out loud, like pope Francis did, that it is greed that is destroying faith? Those who want to monopolize faith, as if it was a shopping item, should know that no one has the right to appropriate faith, because every person, as a free individual, has the freedom to choose, and this is the only way for faith to flourish within people. If I would claim that I am the greatest among the faithful, I would disavow Him, because I too am battling the two selves within, and no matter how mellifluously I stick to my faith, vanity often draws me away from it and into the darkness. By admitting this to myself, I am getting closer to faith.

Sadly, ethics is not as appreciated among people as it used to be, even if we know that it strengthens the human spirit, and a strong spirit is what makes us compassionate and side with those in need. The refusal to fight people trafficking is akin to quietly supporting prostitution! Lust is just as evil as greed! Those who cure their inner emptiness with futile lust are falling! “To love is to place our happiness in the happiness of another.” (Leibniz) We should know that list is an evil that doesn’t just destroy the soul, but also the sacred mission of true love and this is why the evil of prostitution is booming (and child prostitution is mankind’s ultimate defeat). Weak-spirited people (the clients), regardless of whether they are wealthy or poor, are just as much to blame as are those who traffic people. Why? Because if not for the clients, there would be no prostitution! Furthermore, not siding with those in need is selfishness! Shrugging your shoulders in dejection and turning away from those who protest against disempowerment is akin to betraying your dignity and your faith! Life teaches us that faith is a merciful light, filling people with the hope for a better tomorrow, and those who spread dejection fall, as they claim that all institutions (banks, corporations, politicians) are in the hands of greedy people, and that there is no hope for a better tomorrow. There is hope! Silence is a betrayal of one’s freedom! Silence is not golden; it is rust eating away at the truth! There are good and bad people among the poor and the wealthy alike. There are ethical banks that aren’t slaves to greed, as there are commercial banks who are slaves to greed, laundering hundreds of billions of dirty money owned by drug cartels, dictators and political castes (like the political caste in Croatia). There are ethical banks that diligently generate money for the greater good, while commercial banks, which obsessively gamble on Wall Street with their clients’ money, lose the purpose for which they were founded by banking visionaries. There are creative businessmen whose magnificent visions create value for the greater good, and their humane faces are visible to the public through their humanitarian donations. There are political visionaries who do not serve greed, but fight for a better future, creating humane laws that will provide people with opportunities to make their dreams come true. Yes, I still believe that there are still many more dreamers who dream of a better future for everyone on the road of dreams, than there are those who dream of ruling the world. Each person, as a free individual, has a responsibility towards their own lives to base their acts on conscience. From the beginning of their lives, each person is fighting the two selves within. Good and evil are following us more closely than our own shadows. A strong spirit is man’s best ally in the thick forest of temptation. Those who think that by having money and threading across corpses can buy them happiness and faith, are fooling themselves. Isn’t that what the Son of God is teaching us?

Let us return to the distant past. When Christ was walking the streets of Jerusalem wistfully (he knew that Judas would betray him) before Passover, north of the temple, close to the Bethesda pool where he earlier he cured an invalid of 38 years, he stopped next to a broadly smiling old man who was asking a wealthy Pharisee for some food. Instead of food, the Pharisee offered curses, and when Christ asked him in a brotherly voice why he offended an old man who attempted to make him a better person, the Pharisee looked at Christ and arrogantly said that he was genuinely faithful, and a protector of faith, unlike the old man, because he left a fistful of golden coins and lots of food at the temple each week. The Son of God calmly said: “Although you are dressed in silk, and the beggar is dressed in rags, I see more poverty in your eyes than in his. You are a miserable man! I didn’t come here to cure the beggar, but you. His pockets are empty, but his spirit is full. And then, your pockets are full, but your spirit is empty.” And he calmly looked into the Pharisee’s eyes. The Pharisee stood there motionlessly, and then it seemed as if he awoke from a deep dream. He took all the money he had and distributed it among the poor. When he was done with that, he looked at the sky and said: “Thank You, Lord!… I never felt as blessed and fulfilled! Yes, now I know how far away I was from faith!” He admitted, looking at Jesus with a gaze worthy of the Son of God. This short story teaches us real Biblical values, i.e. that money and titles never entitle anyone to misappropriate faith. Yes, the Creator teaches us that we help someone to their feet, we raise ourselves too. And he also teaches us to open ourselves, as His gate shall open for us too! Pope Francis is opening the Lord’s gates by giving to the poor, and I humbly pray that the owners of corporations, banks, and the Bank of Vatican itself shall do the same. I humbly pray that those who blame the destruction of faith on the Internet shall open their doors and give their surpluses to the poor.

Without the Internet, the world would be governed by the monopoly of media magnates, who would create their own “truth”! How much money, gold and diamonds do you think oligarchs, dictators, bankers and political castes would give to shut down the Internet?

Don’t these “guardians of faith” know and feel that faith is not a corporation whose shares keep rising and falling according to secular laws, but a merciful light. The more freedom, dignity, hope, kindness, compassion, humility, tolerance and love there is in a person, the bigger the flame of faith is.