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The internet is pretty much a collection of computers connected together using fiber optic cables to create a electronic/virtual network.  It can mainly be defined as a public cyberspace that allows people to share information and data using computers and phone lines.  There are three things that one needs in order to use the internet: a computer, subscription with an internet service provider, and a web browser. 

In the mid 1960s, the government needed a way to communicate safely and efficiently.  Due to the cold war, it was feared that an atomic bomb would disrupt communication for the United States Military and the Federal Government, rendering the American forces disorganized, uncoordinated and leaving America vulnerable to a foreign invasion.  To counter this problem in advance, the government created what is now termed the internet to continue communicating critical information even if a large region of America is taken down.  Put simply, the internet was initially a backup plan (similar to a disaster recovery plan) that would serve as a substitute to the phone system.  Another reason the internet was put in use was to boost the military’s efficiency and effectiveness at communicating information.   In addition, using an internet to pass on secret messages would be more spy-proof than using the traditional telephony system.  The U.S. Department of Defense was entrusted with administering the internet.  From the 1960s to the 1980s, the Department of Defense granted other government branches to use the Internet such as Public Universities, and non-combat Government entities.  Universities most of all benefited from the internet through the combination of research and information sharing.  It was only until the 1990s the internet was used for commercial and personal reasons.  By then, the cold war had long been over and the U.S. government relaxed regulations on internet use.  In 1994, two Stanford University students named Jerry Yang and David Filo were tinkering around with the internet.  They used the Internet as a hobby to post information and links to specific websites that they thought were useful and nifty.  The popularity of their web page grew and their website traffic exploded.  As a result, the two Ph.D. students started what we now know as YAHOO (Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle).  Since then and onwards, the internet became a near trillion dollar industry that will feed the American economy along with other world economies for centuries to come.   

In order for information to be displayed on a web page, shared by people, and sent from one computer to another, a system of electronic information must be used.  The internet of course relies on a system that facilitates communication between computers located across the globe.  This system is known as the World Wide Web.  By definition, the World Wide Web is a hypertext language that can transport internet users from one webpage to another. As the name hypertext indicates, people can click on text to virtually transport from one location (known as an IP address) to another in order to view information located on a web page.  Additionally the Word Wide Web  These Protocols that the World Wide Web uses are called Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP).  Using HTTP, content creators can share information back and forth using hyperlinks and electronic requests.  The platform on which the WWW, HTTP, etc. are all embedded on is a standard web browser such as Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explore.  Lastly and certainly not least, the man credited with putting HTTP, WWW, HTML and the internet together is Sir Tim Berners-Lee, which was in 1991.  requires the support of protocols which are rules and procedures that define how transmission of data will occur and what form the data will take.

Today, we use the internet in different ways.  The first form the internet takes is what’s known as the Intranet.  The intranet is a private network of computers that can only be accessed and used by employees working for an organization.  For example, San Jose State University uses an intranet so faculty and staff can work online and share information without an unauthorized person, intruding or accessing that information.  The second form of the internet is called the extranet.  An extranet is also a collection of computers that are linked together to form a private network.  The difference between an extranet and an Intranet is that supplies, customers or other authorized parties are given permission to share information private information of a corporation.  A great example of this is how Walmart allows its suppliers to access its corporate database to check if inventory is running low.  Both the intranet and the extranet are the major driving forces behind supply chain management.  The last form of the internet is actually just plain internet.  This is a cyberspace full of information that anyone can access without restrictions or authentication.  It is information open to the public to view such as a local library’s homepage.