Roadmap96: MAP01 - Welcome | WebReference

Roadmap96: MAP01 - Welcome


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"What hath God wrought?"
-- Samuel F.B. Morse, in the first telegraph message ever sent (1844).

WELCOME TO ROADMAP!! "A recent CNN and Time magazine poll reported that 85 percent of the general population believes the Internet is good for the U.S. economy, but 57 percent could not explain what the Internet was" (1).

That's where this workshop comes in. Over the next few weeks I am going to:

How am I going to do all of this? Well, each one of these daily lessons will give you a glimpse at one small part of the Internet. We will talk about particular tools and sites, show you some traps to avoid, and even show you some basic commands that will help you use the tools to your own advantage. In the end, I hope that you will gain a better understanding of the individual parts and pieces that, when put together, make up the Internet.

While my goals are lofty, I also have to be realistic. There are so many computer systems out there running so many different software packages, all with their own unique commands, that there is absolutely NO way that I will be able to teach you everything you need to know about the Internet in six weeks. Instead, I will teach you the basic commands that are common on most systems and point you in the direction of someone who can help you with your questions about the system that you are using.

Count on the fact that the one system that I will fail to give commands for will be yours. Remember a little while back when I asked you to find the name and telephone number of someone at your local Internet Service Provider who can answer your questions? If I leave anything out of a lesson, if you have ANY questions, or if you are frustrated or confused, call this person!!! I am going to show you the basics, but your contact at your local Internet Service Provider will be there to give you the specifics for your system and to answer most of the questions that you may have.

Now I am perfectly aware that some of you will still want to post your questions or comments directly to me or to the list. For goodness sakes, resist this urge!! With several thousand people enrolled in this workshop, there is absolutely NO WAY I will be able to respond to your letter. If everyone on this list wrote to me, there would be a rather good chance that the incoming mail volume would crash the mainframe computer that my mail program is running on. I do not want this to happen. Besides, the people at your local Internet Service Provider are much better equipped to answer your questions about your system than I am, and they will even be able to provide you with some individual attention (something that, because of this workshop's size, I cannot do).

Before I send you on your way this lovely Thursday, there is a rather humorous story that I want to pass on to you, a story that actually has some relevance to this workshop. Most of you know by now that I am at the University of Alabama. You should also know that the University of Alabama is quite famous for the Crimson Tide football team, which has won twelve national championships, for our women's gymnastics team that is consistently ranked as one of the best teams in the country, and for our undergraduate business school which is ranked in the top 5% in the nation.

You may not know that the University of Alabama is also famous for our squirrels (yes, I said "squirrels"). It seems that the squirrels living in the trees on the campus of the University of Alabama have developed quite a taste for power lines -- especially for the power lines leading into the University's mainframe computer center (for those who are not electrically inclined, let me just add that energetic squirrels and power lines do not mix well).

Why do I tell you this? Well, since our mainframe has been "squirreled" four times recently, I just wanted you to be aware that there may be a slim chance that the University of Alabama mainframe may go down sometime during this workshop. If this happens, please DO NOT PANIC, and please do not write to me! Instead, be patient, and try to keep from laughing yourself silly as you picture a char-broiled squirrel shooting across the University of Alabama campus at Mach two.

In short, if a particular Roadmap lesson is late, enjoy a good laugh. Seriously, if the computer does go down you won't lose any lessons -- you may get the lessons a little later than usual, but the lessons will be sent to you as soon as I am able to get back on line.

Tomorrow, we will start the lessons, and I will give you your first REAL homework assignment (gasp!). Thank you for enrolling in the Roadmap workshop. I hope you will have as much fun traveling the Internet as I will have teaching it to you.




Start Lesson Two | Go to the Roadmap96 Syllabus | Go to the Roadmap96 Homepage

Originally written by Patrick Douglas Crispen