Surfing Tips and Tricks
Surfing Productivity Improvement
Cut and Paste URLs
Using the Back button
Errors Loading a Web Page
Problems Loading a Web Page
Slow Internet Access
Adding Bookmarks or Favorites
Organize your Bookmarks or Favorites
Quick Search in Navigator
Autocomplete in Internet Explorer
Emptying your Cache
Internet browsing or ‘net surfing’, as it is often called, is the process of visiting different web sites on the Internet hosted by the various companies, organizations, educational institutions, magazines, individuals, etc. The Internet contains a wealth of information that can help your business. Armed with a good Internet browser, you can easily get around to the myriad of sites, gathering competitive information, conducting market research, reading publications, and staying in touch with what’s happening at your business associations.
There are many interesting sites out there, so don’t let technology hold you back. Look for an Internet browser that lets you experience the best of the Web. It can be either a graphical browser or a text based browser. You go to a particular site by typing-in the URL of the site. Then you can go to the different pages in the site by clicking on the hypertext links. The site may contain links to other sites and you can visit them just by clicking on the hypertext link. Surfing is fun when you have time and it is the easiest way to explore the vast resources available on the Internet.
When you are new to the Internet, you will definitely want to surf the net and soon this will become an addiction. There are computer ‘geeks’ who spend more than 12 to 18 hours a day surfing the net. While in the beginning this will be fun at some point you will have to stop the aimless wandering in the Internet. Once hooked to the net you will soon forget how much time has elapsed. So one should try to make the best use of the time spent on-line.
The most important point while surfing is to be patient, the web is almost always slower than we would like it to be. Do not click more than once on any button or link.
SURFING TIPS AND TRICKS
Here are some tips and tricks for increasing the value of your web surfing experience:
- After you have clicked on a link or button, you should see some kind of indication that the browser got your request and is trying to download the next page. These indicators include an animation in the top right corner of the browser window and progress messages and indicators in the button left corner of the window.
- If you do not get these indications that something is happening, then click the button or link again. If you get impatient and you want to click on some other link or button, click the Stop button first. If you feel that the information retrieved by the browser is incomplete or wrong, click the Reload or Refresh button.
- First of all, remember that the Internet or the Web is a time waster; that is if you don’t know how to manage your time. You start searching for something in a site, then follow the links to other related sites and from there follow the links to others and so on … and before you realize, you must have spent hours on the net. So set a specific time, say 1 hour, before starting your research and stop when the time is over. Stay focused on the subject you are searching, don’t jump to other links just because they appear to be interesting.
- While searching for a particular subject on the Net, before actually getting connected, spend some time with paper and pencil. Write down the possible key words that you are going to search. Write down the URLs of all the sites that you are going to visit. Then use a good search engine and efficient searching techniques.
- The difficulty of finding specific information is often the biggest complaint we hear. Although dozens of search engines are available, pick any two, then spend the time to learn them well. In case you’re interested, my favorites are Google and AlltheWeb.
- Make use of the ‘Favorites’ or ‘Bookmarks’ feature of the browsers. This will save a lot of time because you don’t have to type-in the URL every time you need to visit a site that is book-marked. So if you think that you will be coming back to a particular site, then add it to the ‘Favorites’ or ‘Bookmarks’. Most browsers provide the facility to organize the book-marked URLs under different categories. A well-organized bookmark is a definite time saver.
- When you access a web site, what you are actually doing is downloading a set of files. You can see how the download is progressing if you look at the status bar located in the bottom of your web browser. If you get tired of waiting, click the Stop button to view the files that have already been downloaded. Then you can decide if you want to continue. If yes, click the Reload or Refresh button.
- Another time and resource saving technique is called off-line browsing. Most of the new browsers now have the off-line browsing feature. You just have to enable the off-line browsing option and the browser will download and store all the pages that you have visited in your computer’s hard disk (cache). So once you have visited all the sites that you wanted to go, you could disconnect from the net and review the documents or pages off-line. So when you are on-line, you can just skim through the contents and move on. This will save you a lot of time and money.
- Files you download are stored in a cache on your hard disk. That way when you want to return to a site, you don’t have to download the files again, just pull them up from your cache. After a while, though, the cache becomes full. Your web browser automatically deletes old files as you continue to surf the Web. But if you visit many of the same sites regularly, you can speed up access by caching more of them. To do this, you must increase the size of your cache. 10MB is optimal. If you use Navigator, go to the ‘Options’ menu, choose ‘Network Preferences’ and increase the cache’s size. With Explorer, go to the ‘Views’ menu, select ‘Options’, then click on the ‘Advanced tab’, choose ‘Settings’ and use the slider to increase the cache.
- Once you have downloaded a document, the Find button can quickly locate a particular term in which you are interested. Why take the time to scroll through the entire document?
- With the number of users increasing at an exponential rate, getting connected to Internet is a big challenge these days. If you are trying to get connected during the peak hours, it will take hours and many retries, before you get a connection. So you can save a lot of time and energy (and avoid lot of frustration) by connecting during the non-peak hours (early mornings and late nights are the best).
- If you are still using a 33.6 modem, perhaps it’s time to consider an upgrade. Most people these days are accessing the Web at twice that speed. Recently however, new modems offer access at 56 Kbps. You can also think of a DSL connection if you spend more than 20 – 30 hours a week surfing the web.
- Let’s learn the Right Click-Ever wonder what that button on the right side of your mouse is for? If so, you’re missing out on some great stuff. Right clicking your mouse presents many new options to you just when you need them most. For example, here are some great ways to right click when surfing the web… Right click on a picture or image and you can save it to your computer. Right click on any hyperlink and you can open the linked web page in a new browser. (You can usually surf with 4 or 5 open browsers windows!). Right click on a blank area of a web page and you can print the web page, view the source code or html, refresh the page, bookmark the page or make a shortcut to it. By the way, right clicking is not just for web surfing. A few more popular right click uses for Windows users are…
SURFING PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT
Here are more tips and tricks for increasing your web surfing productivity:
- Cut and Paste URLs from email or other documents. You can cut and paste URL’s (web page addresses) into your browser rather than typing them into the address or location field. Just select the URL in your e-mail or word processing document, copy it (control-C), open a browser window, click in the address or location field, paste the URL (control-V) and then press return or enter. If you get a “file not found” error, check to make sure you didn’t copy and paste more than the URL. A valid URL may start with “http://” or “www” or just the domain name (i.e., “about-the-web.com”). The URL will usually end with either “.htm” or “.html” but may contain other characters as well. Another common ending character is the slash ( / ). It will not contain quotation marks or commas or these (< >) characters. So if you see these, you probably copied the URL incorrectly.
- Load a new page while another one is still loading. Downloading, or just loading, generally refers to the acquisition of content (text, images, etc.) from a server by the browser. Unless you have a very slow connection, you can load more than one web page at a time into separate browser windows. Rather than just clicking on a link, right click (or hold the mouse down on the link if you’re using a Mac) and select “open link in a new window” from the popup menu. This menu item may be slightly different in your browser (i.e., “Open Link in New Window”). Then you can click back on the original page, read some more, or even open another link in a new window, while the other page is still being loaded. There is a practical limit to the number of windows you can have open at one time. Usually two or three windows will provide plenty of things to read about or look at while the other windows are downloading their content.
- Using the Back button. The Back button (in the upper left corner of the browser window) will usually take you back the last page you were on. Sometimes when you click on a link, a new window is opened and the Back button won’t work. The Back button always takes you back to the previous page that was opened in that browser’s window. So when a new window is opened, the Back button doesn’t have anywhere to go back to. Get used to using multiple browser windows and selecting them either from the Window menu or by clicking on the window’s borders. Another thing you can do with the Back button is to go back to a page other than the last one opened in that window. If you hold the mouse down on the back button for a couple of seconds (in most browsers) or the little down arrow next to the back button (in some other browsers) you will see a popup menu of all the pages you have opened in that window. Then you may select one of the pages from the menu. After selecting a menu item, you will be taken to that page. The difference between this menu and the History menu (in Internet Explorer), or the Go menu, is that the Back Button menu only lists pages that have been opened in that browser window. The Go or History menus list pages opened in any browser window. The Forward button works the same way. If you have gone “back” to previous pages in a browser’s window, then you can go “forward” again. You can also jump several pages forward (provided you have gone several pages back), by holding the mouse down on the Forward button or the down arrow next to it.
- Errors loading a web page. There are a number of errors you might encounter when trying to load a web page. The first problem might be “The specified server could not be found.” This means that you either have a bad URL or the server is off line or no longer exists. This could be the result of an outdated link, a server that has been discontinued or a mistake in typing or pasting the URL into the address box. If you get a “file not found” error, check to make sure you didn’t type or paste the URL incorrectly. A valid URL may start with “http://” or “www” or just the domain name (i.e., “about-the-web.com”). The URL will usually end with either “.htm” or “.html” but may contain other characters as well. Another common ending is the slash (“/”) character. The URL will not contain quotation marks, commas or any of these ( < > ). The other possibility is that the page you requested no longer exists. Other errors usually have to do with not having authorization to view the page. If it is a page you think you ought to have access to, check with the system administrator for that server and find out what you need to know.
- Getting Disconnected. Disconnections are a source of frustration and can usually be prevented. Poor phone line quality is the main source of disconnect problems. When phone lines are noisy, the modem has trouble transmitting and receiving data accurately and may just disconnect. To test for noisy phone lines, disconnect from the Internet and call someone on your modem line. After they answer, ask them to be quiet for a minute so that you can listen for noise on the line. If you hear pops or clicks or any kind of noise, first try wiggling the phone cables. Sometimes the problem is a bad telephone cable. Here are some things to try in order to lower the noise level on your phone line: Disable call waiting, keep phone cords as short as possible, both from the wall to the modem and from the modem to the computer, install a separate phone line for the modem or get ISDN or DSL service, remove any cordless phones, FAX machines or answering machines from the modem line, check with your ISP for possible initialization string, modem script or configuration changes. You may be able to compensate for noisy phone lines by lowering the modem speed slightly. For 28.8 or 33.6 modems, try setting the port speed to 38400. For 14.4 modems, try 19200 and for 56k modems, try 57600.
- Slow Internet access. There are several reasons why your Internet access might be slow on a particular day. Traffic is the most common cause of pages that load slowly. The more people on the Internet at any given time there are, the more traffic. Surfing during the day or late at night may be faster than in the early evening. Noisy phone lines are another major cause of slow Internet access. See Getting Disconnected for more information. The latest browser software, faster modems, faster computers and faster Internet connections (i.e. ISDN or DSL) will all create a more pleasurable Internet surfing experience.
- Adding Bookmarks or Favorites. You can save the name and address of any web site or page you visit by adding a Bookmark. Internet Explorer calls these Favorites but they’re the same thing. Here’s more information on this important feature.
- Organize your Bookmarks or Favorites. You can create folders and separators, and organize your Bookmarks or Favorites in any way that suits you. In Internet Explorer choose “Organize Favorites” from the Favorites menu. Then choose New Folder, name it whatever you want, drag it to the position you would like it to be, and finally drag the bookmarks into that folder. In Navigator, choose “Bookmarks” from the Window (or Navigator) menu and then “Add folder” from the Item (or File) menu. You can drag any Bookmark, Favorite or any folder into any position you like. You can change the name of the Bookmark or Favorite too. In Internet Explorer, you can just click on the name of the Favorite and change it right there. In Navigator 3, choose “Edit Bookmark” from the Item menu. In Navigator 4, choose “Get Info” from the Edit menu.
- Quick Search in Navigator. Netscape Navigator lets you initiate searches directly from the address box. Simply type two or more words and press Enter. Navigator automatically searches Magellan, Yahoo, Lycos, Infoseek, or Excite. If you want to search just one word, type a plus sign (+) and a space before the word.
- Autocomplete in Internet Explorer. If the AutoComplete feature is turned on, as you type the address of a site you’ve been to before, Internet Explorer searches your favorites list and history list, and then displays matching addresses. This works for page titles as well as address. For instance, to go to my favorite TV Guide page, all I need to do is type “TV” in the address box and the rest is filled in for me. Then I just hit return and I’m there in an instant.
- Emptying your Cache. The first thing a browser does when loading a web page is to check for that the page’s text and graphics files are in the browser’s cache folder on your hard drive. If the text and graphics for that page are not found, the browser stores all the text and graphics in the cache folder. Then when you revisit that page, it can just read the files from your hard drive rather than downloading them again off the network, which is usually much faster. If you have your cache set to a large number, you can store a lot of files on your computer without really realizing it. The more files on your computer there are, the harder it may have to work to do some things. If your computer is running unusually slowly, you might try emptying the browser’s cache to speed things up.
- Downloading Graphics, Sounds, Videos or Programs. To download a graphic to your computer, either right click on the graphic if you’re using a PC, or hold the mouse down on the graphic if you’re using a Mac. A menu will appear that will allow you to “Download” or “Save” the file to disk. If there is a hyperlink on the page that plays a sound or video, or loads a program, you can usually download the file the same way you would a graphic. If there is no hyperlink then you might check your cache folder for a large, recently downloaded file that you can save to another directory on your disk. The name of the cache file will not be easily recognized, so you’ll want to change it.