Computers

What Does FTP Stand For?

FTP is an acronym for “File Transfer Protocol”. In simple terms, it’s a standard of ways to do things that allows different types of computers and those using different operating systems to send files to each other over the internet.

Before FTP, computer users had to use relatively complex techniques in order to transfer files from one system to another. Different computers and operating systems were not designed to work together. If you wanted to transfer a file, you had to tell each computer how to work with the other one using command line codes. This severly limited file sharing to the very computer literate only.

The ftp protocol was first offered to ARPANET users in 1971 (read more about ARPANET in our article, “Who created the Internet?”). While it did greatly improve the ability to transfer files, it was still not very intuitive, requiring some technical knowledge in its use. By 1973, many changes to the protocol took place and it became much easier to use.

Further improvements have been made since then and, today, FTP can be used to transfer files between computers by simply selecting the file on one computers hard drive, selecting the destination folder on the other computers hard drive, and clicking a transfer button!

The development of links on the internets made this transfer even more available those with little or no technical knowledge of computers. When you click on a link, your web browser uses FTP to transfer the file to your computer with no additional action needed by you!

Thank you for visiting our “What Does FTP Stand For?” page!

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Posted by admin - January 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm

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Who Created the Internet?

Who Created the Internet

Ok … let’s get the Al Gore thing out of the way. To be fair to the former Vice-President, his exact quote from his interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “Late Edition” was, “I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” By that, Mr. Gore meant that he took action as a Senator to promote laws which promoted the development of the internet as we know it today and he definitely did make major contributions to the process. Of course, like most successful politicians, he may have said it using words that glorified his importance. We will talk more about his actual deeds a bit later.

The truth is that no one person created the internet. The internet like Al Gore himself, evolved from something else.

Most “experts” agree that the “seed of life” for the internet appeared in 1969 when the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. The system was simply a way for the computers at various university research laboratories to talk to each other so that scientists could work together for the advancement of computer techologies. ARPANET was actually developed by scientists at BB&N (Bolt Beranek & Newman) – a school in Cambridge, Massachucetts and scientists at Stanford University. But ARPANET, while innovative, was certainly not the internet we know today. If you didn’t have very impressive credentials, you weren’t invited to participate and if you wanted to do anything other than computer technology, you were out of luck.

During the 1970s, Robert Kahn of BB&N and Vinton Cerf of Stanford developed a system that they called TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). That system, for the first time, allowed different computers with different operating systems, to all talk to each other. That protocol would become much easier to use over the following three years due to the development of FTP (see article, “What Does FTP Stand For?”). Access to the ARPANET system, however, was still severely restricted.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, personal computers became readily affordable. Companies like Compuserve, Prodigy, Delphi, and Genie saw a market in providing a computer network for the common man. These services still held little resemblence to today’s internet though because users on one companies’ network couldn’t communicate with the users on another! You also had to be pretty computer savvy to use them! No icons to click on … no sir! You had to learn the code that instructed the other computer to download a file to you. Then, the file might take 3 or 4 hours to download! So while some interconnectivity between pcs was available, it wasn’t usable by much of the public. The learning curve was so much longer than the benefits that most people stayed away.

And now we come back to Al Gore. In 1986, he sponsored legislation that opened up the existing system of inter-connected computers to a wider spectrum of uses. A bill known as the, “National Science Foundation Authorization Act” contained an amendment sponsored by Gore called, “The Computer Network Study Act”. That amendment proposed studying the “needs of computer telecommunications systems over the next 15 years”. In detail, the act was to determine:

1. The quantity and quality of data transmission required.

2. Data security needs.

3. How to make different software on different computers more compatible.

4. Exploitation of Fiber Optic Systems to increase data transfer rates.

5. Any other methods to open up the network to smaller computers (rather than the current huge university computers only)

So while Al Gore certainly didn’t “invent” the internet, his amendment did initiate the progress towards other people turning the ARPANET system into what we have today … the world’s knowledge at nearly everyone’s fingertips; fast, efficient communications for everyone via email; instant banking for the masses; etc.

Prior to 1991, the only way that anyone could access the “internet” was by basic email and FTP (File Transfer Protocol). FTP required the user to know on which computer the file was located and what its “address” was. Then you had to access that computer via username and password and download the file. All of this had to be done manually.

Tim Berners-Lee, a computer programmer at the European Center for Particle Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland developed a way where users could access a file by simply clicking on a link on a web page. The link would be programmed with the address of the desired file, eliminating the need for any knowledge of FTP on the part of the user! Berners-Lee coined his new development with the phrase, “World Wide Web”. He was also the father of “HTML” (HyperText Markup Language), the code used to display web pages in a way that the masses can use with very little instruction.

In late 1991, the ban on commercial use of the web was lifted and the world wide web as we know it today had begun!

So the answer to the question, “Who created the Internet” is:

1. The Department of Defense and scientists connected the first computers to share information.

2. Companies developed very basic and hard to use networks, showing an interest in a system for the masses.

3. Legislators funded studies which inspired others to make the system more pratical and available to the masses.

4. Individuals, institutions, and commercial interests made it happen.

If you asked the question, “Who was most influential in developing the internet?”, I would have to give the prize to Tim Berners-Lee. His contribution in making the world wide web easy for everyone to use transformed it from something used by tens of thousands of “techie” users into hundreds of millions of web surfers.

Thank you for visiting our Who Created The Internet post!

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Posted by admin - January 7, 2012 at 9:32 am

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What Does FTP Stand For?

What Does FTP Stand For

FTP is an acronym for “File Transfer Protocol”. In simple terms, it’s a standard of ways to do things that allows different types of computers and those using different operating systems to send files to each other over the internet.

Before FTP, computer users had to use relatively complex techniques in order to transfer files from one system to another. Different computers and operating systems were not designed to work together. If you wanted to transfer a file, you had to tell each computer how to work with the other one using command line codes. This severly limited file sharing to the very computer literate only.

The ftp protocol was first offered to ARPANET users in 1971 (read more about ARPANET in our article, “Who created the Internet?”). While it did greatly improve the ability to transfer files, it was still not very intuitive, requiring some technical knowledge in its use. By 1973, many changes to the protocol took place and it became much easier to use.

Further improvements have been made since then and, today, FTP can be used to transfer files between computers by simply selecting the file on one computers hard drive, selecting the destination folder on the other computers hard drive, and clicking a transfer button!

The development of links on the internets made this transfer even more available those with little or no technical knowledge of computers. When you click on a link, your web browser uses FTP to transfer the file to your computer with no additional action needed by you!

Thank you for visiting our What Does FTP Stand For page!

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Posted by admin - January 7, 2012 at 8:44 am

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How Does the Internet Work?

How Does the Internet Work

Have you tried answering the question, “How does the internet work?” Are you baffled by all that information out there that you can not seem to make heads or tails off? Is the information found on the internet too complicated and too technical? Then how about letting me explain how the internet works in very simple terms.

Just like your home address, each computer that is connected via the internet has a unique address called the internet protocol address or the IP address. This address is a 12 digit number, wherein every three digits are separated by a full-stop. Thus every IP address has 4 sets of three digit numbers, where each set could range anywhere between 0 and 255. Just like your mailman knows where your home address is, the internet knows where to find your computer by its IP address.

When you choose a particular service provider for your internet, you computer is given a temporary IP address. This address is yours, usually as long as your with the same service provider. The internet then knows that in order to find your computer, it goes to your internet service provider and then follows their cables or fiber optics to your IP address where your computer is located. Now that you know the two most important things about the internet, lets move on to further answer our question, “How Does the Internet Work”.

Usually when your computer is connected over the internet, it tries communicating with other computers or servers based upon your request. So what your computer does is it sends out the information, including the IP address of the website you are trying to visit, in the form of packets (tiny pieces). Regardless of whether you are using a dial-up or broad band connection, these packets are converted into electronic signals that are transmitted through cables. The packets are also used to send information about what items you click on, what you have typed into forms, etc. Once these packets reach the other computer, the user can view them easily, since the computer converts the electronic information into alphabetic information. The information that comes back to your computer to display web pages, show videos, etc. is sent in the same manner, in small chunks rather than all at once.

Now that you know how the information is sent over the internet, let us look at a more detailed answer to, “How Does the Internet Work?” It should be quite easy for you to understand how the information is sent from your computer to your telephone line or cable, but what happens after that?

Your service provider has a lot of modems at their hub. The modems in the hub are controlled by a series of super computers that send the information to a line router that is dedicated. From there on, the information that was sent to your service provider would be sent through other dedicated lines and routers to the destined computer system. If you are looking for particular information over the internet or looking at a particular website, then this is how it works. In other words, your computer doesn’t speak directly to the other computers on the web. Your information goes to the hub at your service provider and the site your looking at sends its information to it own hub or its service provider. Then the hubs shift the data back and forth between each other and the two computers (yours and the website’s).

You computer sends information across the internet to look for the website address that you have requested. This request is sent over the world through routers and dedicated lines. Once the address is located, information is sent back to you in the form of packets to your computer system which is then displayed on your monitor. This particular process is also called the “ping”, wherein your computer “pings” various servers to get the needed information.

If you have been trying to understand, “How Does the Internet Work?”, then I hope that this article was easy and simple enough for you to understand.

Thank you for visiting our How Does the Internet Work post!

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Posted by admin - January 6, 2012 at 10:31 am

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