Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd. Today, with home computers and
modems becoming faster and cheaper, the home front is on the break of a new
frontier of on line information and data processing. The Internet, the ARPANET
(Advanced Research Programs Agency Network) spinoff is a channel of
uninterrupted information interchange. It allows people to connect to large
computer databases that can store valuable information on goods and services.

The Internet is quickly becoming a tool for vast data interchange for more than
twenty million Americans. New tools are allowing Internet presence an easier
task.As did the gold miners set out to California on carriages to stake
their claim in the gold rush, business and entrepreneurs are rushing to stake
their claim on the information superhighway through Gopher sites, World-Wide Web
sites, and electronic mailing lists. This article explains how businesses and
entrepreneurs are setting up information services on the Internet that allows
users to browse through picture catalogues, specification lists, and up to the
minute reports.

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Ever since Sears Roebuck created the first pictorial catalogue, the
idea has fascinated US that merchandises could be selected and ordered in our
leisure time. Like any cataloging system, references make it easy to find what
user seeks. Since its inception, The Internet has been refining its search
tools. Being able to find products through many catalogues is what make the
Internet shine in information retrieval. This helps the consumer find
merchandise that they might other wise probably cannot find. The World Wide Web
allows users to find information on goods and services, pictures of products,
samples of music (Used by record Companies), short videos showing the product or
service, and samples of programs. Although a consumer cannot order directly from
the Web site, the business will often give a Voice telephone number or an order
form that costumer can print out and send out through the mail.

Although web sites have the magazine like appeal, storing large
amounts of textual data is often difficult. Gopher (like go-for) is set up like
a filing cabinet to allow the user more flexibility in retrieval. Gopher is
similar to the white/yellow pages in the way information is retrieved word for
word. They are also a lot cheaper and easier to set up which allows small
business an easy way to set up shop. Consumers can find reviews, tech-info, and
other bits and pieces of information.

Each person who uses the Internet has an identification that sets them
apart from everyone else. Often called handles (from the old short wave radio
days). Electronic mail addresses allow information exchange from user to user.

Business can take advantage of this by sending current information to many
users. A user must first subscribe to the mailing list. Then the computer adds
them to the update list. Usually, companies will send out a monthly update. This
informs users of upgrades in their products (usually software), refinements
(new hardware drivers, faster code, bug fixes, etc.), new products, question
bulletins where subscribers can post questions and answers, and links
(addresses) to sites where new company information can be found.

Comments and Opinions
This article pointed out the key information that anyone who is
interested in representing their company on the Internet might find useful. It
then went into explaining the few key elements that comprise the complete and
ever expanding system. It was also a fair lead way for the programs that they
explained in the next articles on software used to create web pages, E-mail
lists, Gopher sites and FTP (similar to Gopher). It showed the expanse at which
the Internet was growing, and the use it could serve businesses to expand their
user outreach.

I have personally used these services to find business that sell hard to
find products. Through the world wide web I have found specialty companies that
I believe I would not have found. The article showed essentials of web savvy
such as the availability of video and sound (music) files. For this consumer I
can say that I have purchased at least two compact disks after hearing the
short sample released by the record companies. The video clips are eye
catching and may influence people to buy the companies products.

I was disappointed in the information on Gopher. It mainly showed the
differences between it and the world wide web, instead of explaining what it is.

It also made an irrelevant reference to UNIX (Text based operating system used
on expert systems) books’ search and HTTP (the language that the World Wide Web
reads) cross referencing might mislead the reader. Gopher is a very powerful
tool that businesses with an on-line presence and information worth reading
should be aware.

The business related information on electronic mailing lists did
nothing other then point out a few groups available. It briefly touched
intelligent agents, which are the backbone of E-mail publications. Although it
was detailed in publications, there was little theory of operation that a
business looking into this route of information distribution might find of use.

It did however explain the addressing system.

Overall this article was decent in the overview of the business use of
the Internet. It pointed out the three major areas that companies are racing to
settle. It gave many useful information on the World-Wide Web, which is
currently the business magnet. Reading this is article is a foot in the right
direction for any business seeking to have an on-line presence.


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