History of the Internet

Internet Addiction


Search Engines

Evaluating Websites


Discussion Forums and Social Networking

Internet Content




Global Viruses

Threats to Privacy Online

Access Issues

Responses to Access Issues

The History of the Internet

The World Wide Web in Plain English

Internet, Intranet and VPN - what is the difference?

The Internet is a worldwide, publicly accessible series of interconnected computer networks that transmit data by packet switching using the standard Internet Protocol (IP). It is a "network of networks" that consists of millions of smaller domestic, academic, business, and government networks, which together carry various information and services, such as electronic mail, online chat, file transfer, and the interlinked Web pages and other documents of the World Wide Web.

An intranet is a private computer network that uses Internet protocols, network connectivity to securely share part of an organization's information or operations with its employees. Sometimes the term refers only to the most visible service, the internal website. The same concepts and technologies of the Internet such as clients and servers running on the Internet protocol suite are used to build an intranet. HTTP and other Internet protocols are commonly used as well, such as FTP. There is often an attempt to use Internet technologies to provide new interfaces with corporate "legacy" data and information systems.
Briefly, an intranet can be understood as "a private version of the Internet," or as a version of the Internet confined to an organization.


There's one major distinction between an intranet and the Internet: The Internet is an open, public space, while an intranet is designed to be a private space. An intranet may be accessible from the Internet, but as a rule it's protected by a password and accessible only to employees or other authorized users.

From within a company, an intranet server may respond much more quickly than a typical Web site. This is because the public Internet is at the mercy of traffic spikes, server breakdowns and other problems that may slow the network. Within a company, however, users have much more bandwidth and network hardware may be more reliable. This makes it easier to serve high-bandwidth content, such as audio and video, over an intranet.

Simply put, a VPN, Virtual Private Network, is defined as a network that uses public network paths but maintains the security and protection of private networks. For example, Delta Company has two locations, one in Los Angeles, CA (A) and Las Vegas, Nevada (B). In order for both locations to communicate efficiently, Delta Company has the choice to set up private lines between the two locations. Although private lines would restrict public access and extend the use of their bandwidth, it will cost Delta Company a great deal of money since they would have to purchase the communication lines per mile. The more viable option is to implement a VPN. Delta Company can hook their communication lines with a local ISP in both cities. The ISP would act as a middleman, connecting the two locations. This would create an affordable small area network for Delta Company.

Remote Access VPN's
Remote access VPNs enable mobile users to establish a connection to an organization server by using the infrastructure provided by an ISP (Internet Services Provider). Remote access VPN allows users to connect to their corporate intranets or extranets wherever or whenever is needed. Users have access to all the resources on the organization’s network as if they are physically located in organization. The user connects to a local ISP that supports VPN using plain old telephone services (POTS), integrated services digital network (ISDN), digital subscriber line (DSL), etc. The VPN device at the ISP accepts the user’s login, then establishes the tunnel to the VPN device at the organization’s office and finally begins forwarding packets over the Internet.

Internet Addiction

What exactly is Internet addiction?
Defining Internet Addiction

Are you addicted??
Take the test to see if you are addicted to the Internet
Internet addict?

What signs of addiction are out there?
Addicted to World of Warcraft?

Addicted to Facebook?

Facebook: What Is Facebook Addiction?

5 types of Internet addiction
Types of Internet addiction
Companies grapple with Web use and abuse
Men, Women and Cybersex
EBay shoppong - a hard habit to break
Internet addiction may just be one click away

What are the effects of Internet addiction?
Internet addicts need help
Teenagers at risk of Internet addiction
Internet-addicted teens are aggressive
Science study links Internet addiction to aggression in teens
Is Internet addiction just like any other addiction?
Kids and computers - Internet addiction and media violence

Handling Internet addiction
Tips for fighting Internet addiction
Beijing clinic treats Web addicts
Detox for video game addiction
Dealing with Internet misuse in the workplace
China Internet addiction rehabilitation video


Ways to track a hacker: -
Alarm Raised on Teenage Hackers

Hacking on the increase in developing countries such as Brazil: -
What Makes a Cyber-Criminal?

Hackers who have a wealth of data are now selling it on the Web: -
Thieves Set Up Online Supermarkets

Hacking has also given rise to hacktivism: -
Hacktivists take sides in war

Search Engines

Web Search Strategies in Plain English

How good is Google?
How do search engines make money?
How does Google make money?

Evaluating Websites

Is there a need to be skeptical about information published on the Web?

How do you go about evaluating Websites to be more discerning about the information that you read and digest?

The guide below from the University of California, Berkley, is an excellent start.
Techniques for Evaluating Websites

How reliable is Wikipedia?
The debate has raged on for some time, see what the articles below have have to say, including what Wikipedia have to say about themselves.
Wikipedia's Viewpoint - How reliable is Wikipedia?
Wikipedia as accurate as Britannica Encyclopedia
Wikipedia survives research test
Professors discourage students from using Wikipedia
Education Minister criticised for recommending Wikipedia
Wikipedia founder says students should use Wikipedia
Wikipedia founder discourages academic use of his creation
Snared in thw Web of a Wikipedia liar

Solutions to assisting us judge whether Wikipedia text is reliable. How do you know if what’s in Wikipedia is trustworthy? Researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz’s WikiLab have a created a color-coded system that they believe reliably answers that question. The system, called WikiTrust, colors suspect words orange. The deeper the orange the less trustworthy the author who added the words.

New tool offers reliability gauge for Wikipedia


Netiquette, a portmanteau of "network etiquette", is a set of social conventions that facilitate interaction over networks, ranging from Usenet and mailing lists to blogs and forums. (Source Wikipedia, 2009). There are several guides and publucations about appropriate behaviour when participating in online communities or exchange email etc. These guide do vary, however, depending on the online community that one may be participating in. There are, however, some general rules that tend to be the norm between communities.

According to the Australian government (2009), Netiquette describes the rules for online behaviour especially in newsgroups, forums and chat rooms. It is derived from the two words Internet and etiquette. Members of an online community usually enforce netiquette and moderators of the community often set the ground rules to use.

Examples of netiquette include:
  • not typing in capitals (LIKE THIS) as it is seen as shouting
  • not sending bulk email or spam

  • not defaming people online
  • responding appropriately to requests
  • using Internet acronyms or emoticons.

Social Networking: How To Behave On An Internet Forum
Macquarie University in New South Wales has published guide for online behaviour rules for its students.
Student Guide: Netiquette

Struggle with the language of the Internet? Here's a quick immersion course.

Social Networking: How To Speak Geek

Dealing with Discussion Forums and Social Networking sites

What is Social Networking?

What do you know about Facebook?

Is Social Networking Dangerous?
Online Friends are Offline Friends too

Staying safe on Facebook

Facebook: How To Stay Safe On Facebook

The Twitter Revolution

What is Twitter?

Listening to Twitter Users - it's amazing the information that you can get

Will Facebook ever make money?

Internet Content

Appropriate Content
What inappropriate Web content is out there - Australian Government
Identifying what is harmful or inappropriate for minors
Which Freedoms do we want online?

Impact of Web content
Web content 'disturbing' children
Parents put children at risk by failing to monitor Internet usage

Response to Web content
The Great Firewall of China
Which Web sites has China blocked?
Australia Trials National Net Filters
China's battle to police the Web
Web censorship around the world
Pakistan stands by YouTube ban
Global Net Censorship Growing
Internet Saftery - a Parent's Guide
Australian Government Guide to Internet Safety
China bans under 16's from cyber cafes
Internet Filtering
Content Blocking versus Content Filtering - advantages and disadvatages

Cyber stalking
Cyberstalking: Pursued in cyberspace
Cyberstalking - Radio Interview

Cyber bullying

Children plagued by cyber bullies
Cyber bullies haunt young online
Ways to respond to cyber bullying

Other safety issues
Sex Offenders to face Web site bans

Internet Filtering

  • What arguments are there for internet filtering to occur? Are they valid?

How Parental Controls Work - TechStuff

  • Distinguish between 'site' blocking and 'keyword' blocking.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of internet filtering?
  • Should Australia have national Internet filtering?

Content Filtering Essay
Advantages of having Internet access reguations


Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is an Internet standard for electronic mail (e-mail) transmission across Internet Protocol (IP) networks.

One of the limitations of the original SMTP is that it has no facility for authentication of senders. Therefore the SMTP-AUTH extension was defined. However, the impracticalities of widespread SMTP-AUTH implementation and management means that E-mail spamming is not and cannot be addressed by it.
Modifying SMTP extensively, or replacing it completely, is not believed to be practical, due to the network effects of the huge installed base of SMTP. Internet Mail 2000 was one such proposal for replacement.
Spam is enabled by several factors, including vendors implementing broken Mail Transfer Agents (MTA's) (that do not adhere to standards, and therefore make it difficult for other MTAs to enforce standards), security vulnerabilities within the operating system (often exacerbated by always-on broadband connections) that allow spammers to remotely control end-user PCs and cause them to send spam, and a lack of "intelligence" in many MTAs.
There are a number of proposals for sideband protocols that will assist SMTP operation. The Anti-Spam Research Group (ASRG) of the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) is working on a number of E-mail authentication and other proposals for providing simple source authentication that is flexible, lightweight, and scalable. Recent Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) activities include MARID (2004) leading to two approved IETF experiments in 2005, and DomainKeys Identified Mail in 2006. (Wikipedia, 2009)

What is Spam?

What is not Spam?

There is a difference between spam and legimate commercial email: spam is sent without permission of the recipients and most of the time it contains many tricks to avoid e-mail filtering while legimate commercial email is sent with permission only when you have agreed to receive the mail. So email from Apple advertising new iPhone is not spam, but the legal email since that mail wouldn't have come if you had not agreed with Apple.

Why is Spam a problem?
  • Junk mail essentially is a violation of one's privacy
  • Waste of time having to screen messages for junk mail
  • Some email accounts have limited space and can get clogged up with junk mail. This can also mean that legitimate e-mail can 'bounce' because the mailbox is full of spam
  • Cost to the user in money - if they are paying a fee for time spent checking e-mail or how much disk space their e-mail account uses
  • Cost to ISP's in providing spam filtering services, dealing with undelivarable mail for incorrect email addresses. ISP's have had to upgrade their servers to handle the load of spam.
  • Cell phone spam causes the owner to pay, in many, instances for incoming messages
  • Spam email may often contain malware

Arguments for Spam
  • Cheap advertising - exposes consumers to products that they may otherwise not buy.
  • Freedom of speech - asking / requiring that spam not be sent is violation of someone's freedom of speech, however, if a company / user decides to employ a filtering system they are, not essentially, denying that freedom. Interestingly, some companies that have been responsible for sending spam have sought injunctions against filtering systems because they violate people's freedom of speech.

Arguments against Spam
  • It uses the recipient's resources (hardware) against their wishes to deliver the spam
  • Imposes a cost upon the recipient of the spam
  • It brings costs to third parties e.g. ISP's that are unwarranted

Grey area
Some organisations such as Amnesty International have pre-written letters for their members / supporters to use to canvass the support of or to berate politicians with in light of particular issues e.g. Japanese whaling. Should a large number of these typeset emails be sent to politicians, would this classify as spamming?

  • Filtering
  • Access services that provide lists of spammers to block
  • Evaluate the ISP's for their willingness or ability to filter spam
  • Payment system for spam - sent spam costs the sender, the recipient could also have the option of billing the sender
  • Anti-spam laws - very difficult with conflict with Freedom of Speech. Few laws that exist have any strength. Major problems in the definition - does unsolicited e-mail mean unwelcome e-mail. If spam is e-mail sent without consent, how does one go about getting consent? The has a major impact on e-commerce. Spammers will move from country to country depending on the legal system.
  • Have several email accounts, one specifically for online registrations / purchases


The new Australian Anti-Spam legislation comes into effect on 10 April 2004. Here's how it will affect sending and receiving email.

There's two sides to this story. How the legislation will affect sending emails, and how it will effect the amount of spam that arrives in your Inbox.
First, the sending of emails. The legislation only covers emails of a commercial nature. So personal emails aren't covered, but if you want to send a commercial (business) related email after 10 April, you are not allowed to do so without the recipient's consent.
That's right. A bit harsh isn't it? After 10 April it will be illegal to send someone a commercial email unless you know that the person has consented to receiving it. Now this of course has huge ramifications for any kind of business email communication, but before you panic too much, the legislation does say that consent can be IMPLIED.
What does this mean? It means that you can imply that the person has consented to receive your email. This could mean, for example, that if you already have a business relationship with the receiver, that it could be implied that they are happy to receive emails from you. Another situation of implied consent would be when someone has subscribed to your email newsletter. There could be other situations where consent could be implied, but you really do need to be careful, especially when sending an email to someone "unannounced".
The legislation also goes further to say that all emails of a commercial nature must have the following:
  • Accurate information about who the sender is (ie. you can't pretend to be sending from someone else).
  • A functional way for the recipient to unsubscribe. This does not need to be an automatic system - it could simply be a message along the lines of "If you do not wish to receive emails from us in the future, please reply to this email and advise us".
The legislation will also make it illegal to "harvest" emails off the Internet, or to purchase email lists that have been obtained in that way (eg. the ones you sometimes see for sale - 1 million email addresses for $50).
It is important to note that the legislation covers all emails of a commercial nature. It does NOT matter if it is a single email, or part of a bulk mailout. The legislation also covers SMS messages on mobile phones.
The penalties? Up to $220,000 for a single day's contraventions, or up to $1.1 million for ongoing breaches. Obviously these maximum penalties would be reserved for the most serious of cases.
Now, how will this legislation affect the amount of spam that arrives in your Inbox? In our opinion, it will have almost no effect. The reason for this is because the legislation is only applicable in Australia, and some studies show that over 90% of spam comes from overseas. In fact, a recent survey by the United Nations showed that 60% of spam comes from America, with China second (6%) and the United Kingdom third (5%). Australia wasn't even in the top 5.
Not only does this legislation not apply to spammers in (for example) the United States, but in the US spam is almost perfectly legal, due to their laws relating to Freedom of Speech etc. So, unfortunately, expect spam to continue arriving.
So, in summary, this legislation has a BIG effect on how Australian businesses can communicate via email. But if you're hoping that it will reduce the amount of spam you get, we don't think it will have much effect (we hope we're wrong!).

Viruses, Hackers & Spam: What Is Spam?
US still leads global Spam list
Could Spam Kill Off E-mail?
Bad E-mailHabits sustain Spam
Spamming Spammers, is this ethical?
Fighting the rising tide of Spam

Viruses, Hackers & Spam: How To Get Rid Of Annoying Spam Emails


What is Phising?

E-mail Phishing

Teenage Rebellion: Understanding Your Child's Gaming Habit


There are many arguments for and against the use of Cookies. Read the article through the link below to define what Cookies are, explain how they work and evaluate their impact.

How Cookies Work

How to enable Cookies

Internet: Useful Tips: How To Enable Cookies

Threats to Privacy Online

What is the greatest threat to your privacy online? - TechStuff

Global Viruses

Top 5 viruses

The Ten Worst Computer Viruses - TechStuff

Access Issues

Relationship between GDP and Internet Users

The Digital Divide



Map of World Internet Usage



Surfing the Net in Iraq

Responses to the Digital Divide

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)

OLPC Mission (Part 1) The Vision

OLPC Mission (Part 2) Why give a laptop to a child?

Nicholas Negroponte on the Vision for One Laptop Per Child

Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop Per Child, two years on

David Pogue from the New York Time Reviews OLPC

Do we actually need OLPC?

Learning to Bridge the Digital Divide
How to make the web go worldwide
Need to bridge the digital divide
Mobiles narrowing digital divisions

Laptops for Africa

Donating Compute