The Show Dog Super Site

Browser issues

Many times you will find a message about Javascript error, or sorry you are using a browser which doesn't support frames, or something of this sort. If you bought your computer more than a few months ago, many files on it will already be outdated. Some of the files where this is important are things called ‘drivers’. Drivers run the hardware you are using. You have printer drivers, video drivers, sound card drivers, sometimes things called ‘bus’ drivers, and so on. If you have purchased a ‘new’ model of anything, the drivers supplied may not work optimally and you will find operational errors which can only be alleviated by installing updated versions of the appropriate driver software. It took me 6 DRIVER UPDATES before my last printer worked properly. This is not a good thing, but is a result of manufacturers rushing products to market before all the software bugs are worked out. In effect, the unsuspecting public is the ‘beta-testing’ group.

The drivers of the Internet are the different Browsers we use; examples of browsers are Netscape and Internet Explorer. AOL has always had their own versions of these, often with reduced functionality so that you don’t overload their system, since there are so many people using the resources at once. Typically AOL won’t let you download a large file. Netscape has addressed this problem by formatting a download in small units which AOL won’t automatically block. This is one of the reasons it has always been so difficult for AOL users to upgrade like the rest of the world can. But you can run Netscape even if you are an AOL member.

Why you want an up to date browser. As the Internet becomes more and more essential to every facet of our daily lives, the Browser characteristics can enhance, detract, or limit your functionality and enjoyment of this essential communications equipment. Many important things, such as online purchasing, banking accounts, brokerage accounts, and members only sites require "strong encryption" software for your safety. Many sites require that your browser be able to handle Java, Javascript and frames. Many browsers of one and two years ago can’t do this.

At the Show Dog Super Site, we can offer great things – but your browser needs to be a level 4+ one for you to see them. That means, if you click on the ‘help’ button on the top menu of your browser, and then on ‘About’ Netscape, or IE, or whatever, and you read the version number of your software, it should be Netscape 4.1, or 4.5, and likewise with IE. If not, get it. It’s free.

Here’s how to download the latest version of Netscape (Communicator 4.08)

*Go to:

*Click on "Download Communicator 4.5" in the left hand column

*Go to the second choice, download communicator 4.05 with 128 bit strong encryption. (You want the strong encryption to utilize online purchasing and stock and banking functions.)

*Fill out the required information (no choice here, this is fed. regulatory stuff).

*Click on "I declare this is true".

*Now you save the file nets. 4.05 (or whatever) to your drive in its own directory; to do this, click on the little folder with the left/up pointing arrow until you get to your c drive (or d or whatever hard drive you wish to save downloads to).

*If you don't have a place for your downloads, create a directory on your c (etc) drive by clicking on the little folder with the asterisk; it will open something called 'new folder' - change the name to 'download' and double click on it to open it. Then, create another new folder by clicking on the folder with the asterisk. Call this one 'nets405'.

*Now click save to download the file to this folder. This way you will be able to find where you have put it in order to install it later on. It's a large file, so go away and leave it alone for a while.

*When this is done, go to start, run, c:\download\nets4.05\ and install the new browser.

Sometimes, especially with the large overloaded servers, your internet connection will be cut off before a file the size of a program can be downloaded. When this happens, you have to start again. If you are having this problem, you can download a small program which will assist you by managing this download – it is called a download manager, in fact. One place to get such an item is ‘Tucows’. Tucows stands for The Ultimate Collection of Windsock Software, and is a safe secure site from which to obtain shareware and freeware programs. An example of such a program is ‘Getright’. You download this as shareware, which has a free trial period. If it turns out that you do a lot of downloading of programs from the web, you might want to purchase this kind of software. Generally speaking, this is stuff you’re going to find on the Internet, not in the software stores.

You find Tucows at

choose the nearest location, go to the area for Windows 95/98, find the section called download managers in the ‘Connectivity’ area, choose one which sounds good to you (and has a small file size so that you can get that one downloaded in one piece, download to a new file you create in your download directory, and then install it. Then go back to try your browser download again, or you can download the browser right through Tucows, which is a good option, because Tucows has a lot of redundancy and may be better than the Netscape site at times. Browsers are found just above the connectivity section on the Tucows page.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

What is an ISP? AT&T is an ISP, so are Prodigy, AOL, Compuserve, Mindspring, etc, etc, etc.! So are many local businesses. You can choose from among a vast array of service providers. And, contrary to some advertising, none is easier or harder to install or use than any other one.

Look around and check the yellow pages; ask your co-workers who they use. You have no excuse for using an ISP without a phone number which is a local call for you. There's always AT&T. You may get better service from well run local servers, where the modem to user ratio is lower than with the giant national companies. Or, you may not. There are places to find this information on the web.

You fill in your telephone area code, and it will tell you all the Internet Service Providers in your area. Investigate and find the best value and service for you. And, chances are, that will be with a small local business you've never heard advertised on television.

Telephone Lines and Modems

It seems that a lot of people have it in their heads that it is necessary to have a separate phone line for their computer; they've heard the words 'dedicated line'. A 'dedicated line' is one which is always on, and gets a separate modem at your ISP, which is always available for your use, not shared with other accounts. Well, maybe you do, and maybe you don't need a second phone line. This depends entirely upon the number of calls you are expecting to get while you may be using the computer, and whether you are interested in them or not. If you do your Internet business at 11 or 12 at night, chances are you don't need another line. If you and your spouse and your four teenage children share one phone line, then that computer could indeed be the straw that overloads the camel. But there is no inherent need to have a separate line for the computer.

I get 26,400 to 28,800 speeds on my 56K modem. When I was in another part of the country lately, and plugged my laptop into a local phone line, I thought I was reading the numbers wrong. I was getting 44,000 and 48,000. The computer and modem had nothing to do with it. Only the phone lines mattered here. However, if you live in a metropolitan area, you may be able to get a 'cable modem' which will work on fiber-optic cable wires. These are becoming more available by leaps and bounds at this time. These will be much faster than the telephone lines. Unfortunately, not all cable lines are fiber optic, and out in the remote suburbs and the countryside, there will be places where there are no plans at all to put fiber optic lines in. There are things which schools and businesses may opt to have which are called by names such as T-1 and T-3 lines; by the time you would need one of these you will know what they are all about. If you retire to do the stockmarket online you might want one in the future. Also, you can get the internet by satellite dish, just like you get television. Your requests and commands are transmitted on the phone lines, but the information comes back over the satellite link. This is also much faster than a conventional line. Even if speeds of 28,800 are all you can obtain locally, you will benefit from a 56K modem. Since line transmission capability (also called 'bandwidth' ) is the biggest limiting factor in your use of the Internet and Email, and your phone line isn't going to change anytime soon, you had best make the greatest use of what technology is available to improve performance. Probably the best modem for most of us is a 56K V90 modem, but you should check this with the ISP you choose.


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