• I'm Hooked, What Now?

last modified December 17, 2012 by strypey


OK, so you've faithfully followed the hallowed advice of yours truly and now you're jacked in and ready to turn on. But where to start? The first thing you want to do is start to increase your knowledge about computers - hardware, software, configuration, security etc. You also want to get connected to the anarchist presence on the web. I could publish paperbacks of website addresses, half of which would be out of date by the time this went to print, but instead I'll tell you how to find such things out for yourself.

E-MAIL

In my humble opinion there is no more important aspect of the Internet than the ability to send text, graphics, even music to someone half way around the world in a fraction of a second. Once you have an e-mail address you can subscribe to emailing lists at sites like www.onelist.com or www.egroups.com, who host our very own anarchynz list.

Communicating by e-mail allows you to contort free thinkers from around the world and share tips, hints, URLs (website addresses) etc. It also offers the possibility of simple, informal, decentralised and international organisation, witness the events of June 18 and November 30, 1999.

There are two main ways to use e-mail. If you have regular access to a secure computer, you will usually be provided with on off-line e-mail account by your internet provider. This allows you to read and write messages while off-line which are sent and received by your mail program while you are surfing. This is useful if you are paying by time for your access.

If you have only occasional access to the web, or wish to have alternate email avatars (for infiltrating virtual fascist groups etc) you can use an on-line e-mail account. This is a website which receives and stores your e-mail for you until you claim it with a login name and password, much like a virtual P0 Box. Many sites offer free email as a way of attracting more "hits" (the rating system by which commercial servers attract advertisers). Using less popular ones like www.disinfo.com and ratties.zzn.com avoids the slow response you get when more popular servers are busy. Another way to find e-mail servers leads me onto my next topic...

SEARCH ENGINES

These are on-line databases of information about thousands or millions of websites. Some of the more popular are www.altavista.com and www.hotbot.com, but there are subject and locale specific ones like www.disinfo.com.

A tip for using these: pop down to your local library and familiarise yourself with the on-line catalogue. Engines work on the same principle, referring you to websites instead of books. You can also use engines to search for other engine's. Don't be afraid to try lots and see which give the most satisfying results. And make sure you share your findings around.

A final word on search engines: if you have a website or homepage, they have no idea it exists unless you enter it into their database! Also, the more links on your page to other good sites, the higher up the list of search results your URL will be. So it pays to exchange links with other webworkers - viva la mutual aid!

Originally published in Thrall magazine, Issue #12 (Dec 1999, Jan 2012)

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