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The Internet, Explained
Friday, June 1, 2001
Page E12

A lot of how-the-Internet-works help is geared toward either beginners or grizzled veterans, but a site called the Living Internet ( manages to accommodate both constituencies.

Comprehensive, well-structured and graphics-free (for a quick download), it invites both start-to-finish reading and quick skimming for information. The site's home page covers the invention and operation of such diverse online tools as newsgroups, the World Wide Web and plain old e-mail.

The site's author, a systems engineer in Ontario, backs up his writing with well-chosen links to additional resources, such as the Internet Society and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and authoritative documents, in the form of the "RFC" standards that govern the Internet's workings.

It's good material to widen your Internet horizons to things you may not have tried before, such as Internet Relay Chat or Multi-User Dimensions (the distant ancestor of online games like EverQuest).

-- Gabriel Goldberg (

2001 The Washington Post Company