Computers have come a long way since their invention in the nineteenth centruy. By virtue of its high utility and wide versatility this single machine has improved and influenced human existence on an unprecedented scale. Today there is hardly any sphere of life which remains untouched by it. SUBIR SEN highlights pertinence of this revolutionary means of communication

Computers have been in use for just 50 years. From room- sized giants to desktops and laptops, the progress has been incredible. This is commendable in a field where most new things reach. Obsolescence even before they have become really popular. Latest euphoria is over INTERNET which has revolutionized communication and has made the world a smaller place.
The Internet is the Worlds largest and most easily accessible computer network that provides a treasure ol information to anyone who has a PC (Personal Computer), a modem, and an individual Internet address. The network allows millions of computer systems working on different platforms to smoothly communicate with one another in such a way that the individual computers appear to be a part of the network.
 Interestingly Internet  is a conglomerate of small networks and other connected machines spanning the entire globe. lt is a combination of two words lnter connection and Networks. What this means is that every person who makes a connection owns a slice of. the network. The network of computers works much the same way as the phone service, wherein one can converse via computers throughout the world. The Internet  is also a community of people who work together on the NET (Internet ), providing opportunities for education, research, advertising, entertainment, electronic mail (Email), access to commercial activities and a host of other applications.
The Internet evolved about 20 years ago when a group of scientists worked to create a network for US military research. Advancing by leaps and bounds in 1984 and then in 1987 this network became a network of networks.
Used by so many people that a large number of sites got connected to it for which a massive overhaul of infrastructure was required to sustain the load. By 1990, it registered a phenomenal growth and finally developed into what we know it as today. lt is a consequence of unleashing the power of human creativity.
 Internet  is largely being adopted by the people the world over as a utility providing electronic commerce, and a place for advertising and shopping, or availing services such as banking, trading, travel information, merchandisihg, and publishing. The Internet site (www.electronics foru.com site) launched on 1st July, 1997 will be a major information source to keep one abreast of the latest picture of the electronics industry. This will also provide an opportunity to view the latest technologies available around the globe. ln India, Internet  advertising is a new frontier, and agencies are struggling to perfect the craft and develop secure Internet  commerce system.
The reason for Internet s popularity is its brilliant architecture. Neil Weintraut, an analyst claims that the Internet  information services industry will grow from $ 100 million today to more than $ 10 billion by the year 2000. New computers are connected to the Internet  daily, by the thousands. Already potential audiences of 50,00,000 educated people have round the clock access for updating material at their convenience. Which advertising person wouldn’t give his right hand tor this r medium ? The Internet  (in its incarnation as the World-Wide-Web or, www as it is fondly known) is the only such promotional medium available to the World today.
Closer home Simplex lnfotech, Chandigarh is providing Internet -based information for the subscribers in this region. The service includes information on various topics like Punjab politics, culture, and business related issues; lnvestment Scan with information on investment opportunities in India (particularly for NRIs; Beal Estate, for people living abroad who want to sell or buy property in, India; Business and Economy, which includes national  developments on business and economy; and Homepages having information targeting readers or buyers abroad.
 The Internet, in order to keep the whole system easily accessible round the clock around the globe has its own set of norms, technical lingo and jargon. There are certain protocols used by the Internet . A protocol is a formal description or message formats exchanged between Computers, describing the order in which bits and bytes are sent across a wire or the way two programs transfer a file across the Internet . A networking protocol is a set of rules that governs communications among connected computers. lt is like a common shorthand, which has become a popular de facto networking standard since its creation.
A computer system has to convert information from the protocol form to its own form and vice versa. It is necessary to have a static Internet   Protocol (lP) address to send information such as a home page from ones system on the Internet  to the World Wide Web (www). The emphasis is on transmitting and receiving packages rather than connecting computers. The two systems are not d[l:ectly connected to each other, but just appear that way.
Location in the Internet  has two kinds of addresses Domain names and.at mentioned above lP addresses which every computer on the Internet  has When one uses the former, thr computer translates it into the  corresponding lP address. The Domain Name System which makes us able to use English rather than binary math makes us breathe that much easier when we sit down to use the Internet . Today the DNS exists on numerous name sewersall over the Internet, and this allows for unlimited growth potential.
The www is the ultimate information utility on the Internet  responsible for carrying out most of the Nets applications. The Web has become so popular that it is many-a-times confused with the Internet  itself. But being on the Web and on the Internet is not the same thing, in fact, www is a facility available on the Internet . There are millions of documents published on the Web, roughly being as many as the Internet  users themselves. The Web is an important medium for advertising, browsing through which one will find resources as diverse as the Encyclopaedia Britannica, cooking recipes, fashion tips, health medications and a whole lot of newspapers and magazines, even jokes and chat sites. There is a wide variety of information available as text, graphics, sound movies etc.
The Internet  is a global networks system, consisting of millions of local aiea networks (LANs). The www is one of the ways of practical implementation of the Internet . Created just 5 years ago, the Internet  is vast and even changing while the www is a collection of information that is linked together like a web.
 It is one of the most effective ways to make use of the Internet s vast resources through connections called hyperlinks. These links effortlessly transport the users from one document to another, regardless of the physical distance involved. As a mouse helps us to click and select various items, each item is called a hyperlink.
Every time one visits the Web, one can browse through different Web sites, which in turn are a compendium of virtually countless Web formatted documents known as Web Pages.
Connectivity to the Internet  in India is provided by Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited. After getting a government approved modem for use in telephone fines an application form is to be filled up. Students get a special  rebate in this as they are offered the facility for Rs.500 whereas commercial organisations have to dish out Rs. 5000.
 ln order to navigate the Internet  and view its resources we need to use a tool called Web browser which is a Software for surfing the Net. Some Web documents are described by using the term home page which are actually like the reception room of a building where a new visitor can get information about the different floors that he wishes to visit.
The most common method of Communication used by people on the Internet  is through electronic mailing. E-mail as it is more popularly known is a basic service provided on the Internet  to enable users to exchange messages electronically. lt is perhaps the most often used tool on the Net mainly because of its convenience. Being on line, it is easier to send Email than paper mails as it does not involve regular formalities making it cheaper also. -The most basic form of "Offline Internet  Access" is available to anyone with an email address that can receive Internet mail, The basic structure is formed by mailing lists which are collections of E-mail addresses of people who share common intersts. On the Internet , it provides an arrangement where a group of people can discuss matters of common interest via E-mail. The basic idea behind mailing is very simple. lf one memeber wants to convey an oPinion to another list members, it is mailed to all of them This is true tor ,follow UPS and discussions as well. Jt is not mandatory for tist members to actively participate, in discussions etc., they can just sit back and listen.
There are some 2,600 mailing lists on the Net pertaining to a huge variety of toPics, having large membership or as limited as 20- 40 members.
As long as the number of PeoPle on a list is small its fairly simple to implement a mailing list. Each one keeps a track of everyone else. When one member wants to broadcast a message he simply addresses mail to everyone. This is not as tedious as it sounds, but with frequent changes to list membership and large number of members, the system proves unwidely. Centralized mailing lists overcome this difficulty. One member tracks all the listed members and does general  administration like adding and removing people from the list. Such a system has two addresses one usedto submit articles to be read by other members  the other one to talk to the maintainer or the owner. The difference can be minor for example, if the list address is nirvana @music.rock.com then the administrative address most probablycan benirvana-request @ music.rock.com and subscriptions are sent to the latter.
 To maintain a growing list size several software Packages were developed. They are set up to intercept and respond to administrative queries sent in a mail message. These packages send a list of commands they understand in response to mail with the subject "help". ln case of controversial or sensitive topics of discussions all messages are addressed to a nice guy called the moderator who in turn deletes a message if he finds the need to, just to subtly enforce the guidelines set up for the mailing list.
ln case of subscribing to mainly mailing lists the mess in the mail-box is avoided by digests. Digests are 1 collection of messages, so instead of receiving small individual E-mails one receives a big chunk having individual messages. The cumbersome task of finding a list is facilitated by a document called List of Lists containing information on these lists. lt has a brief description on how to subscribe.
 Surprisingly free Email accounts or E-mail accounts without Net connections are also possible. One can do this by getting anindiagate.com E-mail account by logging on to Status Kamus, BBC Chandigarh at 548006/ 007. That way we do not even need to dial STD to check our mail. Just dialling in and registering on this BBS can help us start our E-mail account. Despite all the media hype and the immense potential there are only around 5O,OOO Internet  connections in India. 
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