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Pulmonary & Critical Care Bulletin
Vol. VII, No. 3, July 15, 2001
In this issue :
From Editor's Desk
INTERNET FOR THE UNINITIATED - GENERAL INFORMATION
We are truly in an age of fast expanding information. The Internet is a communication revolution. It has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for institutions, companies and individual users. You can use the Internet to look for a job, research a project, get free software, make friends worldwide, send electronic greeting cards or messages and much more.
For some doctors, the Internet is a place of hope and unbounded potential; for others it is a seductive waste of time. Many doctors see the Internet as unfamiliar territory, with strange customs, and impenetrable jargon. However, for all medical practitioners, whatever be their speciality, the benefits of using the Internet are growing very rapidly. The medical profession will not be able to do without Internet and the sooner you get accustomed to it, better it will be.
It is NOT necessary to know the electronic "Anatomy" and "Physiology" to intelligently operate the power of Internet. Not many of us have more than a superficial knowledge of internal working of our cars and scooters. Yet we all are enjoying their use for our benefit. You have just to know the position of ignition key, brakes and clutches of Internet & you will be on your way surfing the net.
Imagine a working environment where, without moving from your desk in, say, your clinic/hospital, you could:
- Consult colleagues worldwide on a clinical problem at the click of a mouse
- Send a draft of a paper to co-authors half the world away and receive their amended versions of the paper later the same day.
- Read dozens of journals without paying a single subscription charge.
- Hold real-time discussions with researchers from all over the world and hold Net meetings.
- Know about conferences, seminars, and register online.
- Visit various hospitals online, and
- Retrieve addresses of your lost friends
What really is the Internet ?
The Internet is only a large number of smaller networks of computers (some very large, some as small as 2-3 computers) connected via telephone lines, cables, microwave, and satellite systems.
All the things found on the Internet are sitting on the hard drives of millions of host computers connected to the Internet.
Identification of Computers
1. By Numbers : Each computer connected to the Internet has to be identified and has an address known as the IP Address to identify it to all the other computers.
- Numbers are just like Telephone Numbers, e.g. 202, 24.25.1
2. By Words : Naming of a Computer is also done by a string of words.
They are separated by dots-such as Indmedica.com or microsoft.com
How do I get connected ?
First, you need a computer. Any computer can be connected to the internet, the latest internet features generally require the latest computers.
Second, you will need a modem. Again, any speed modem can connect you to the Internet, but the faster the modem the better it is.
Third, you need a telephone connection and,
Fourth, an Internet Service Provider (ISP). In our country, there is one major service provider, the vsnl and 50 odd other private ISP's. The current charges range from Rs.2500/- to Rs. 9000/- per year for 100 - 500 hours of surfing.
The three most important services include :
* E-mail or Electronic mail
* World Wide Web (www) / Web/Net
* BBS/Newsgroups/Mailing Lists/Chat
1. Email : The biggest advantage of Internet has been Email. It is
* Cheap, No envelope, No postage
* Easy storage and retrieval
* Recipient need not be present
* Attachments-audio, video, pictures
* Easy to send
* Easy to reply or forward
* Easy to send to more than one person.
2. World Wide Web
All informatiion on the www is presented as pages, called web pages. There are files, like those created on a word processor or spreadsheet, identified by the extension HTML. Companies, institutions or individuals put up web sites, which are collections or web pages about themselves. Web documents are stored on computers connected to a network.
To use the Web, you must first connect to the Internet. After the connection is made, you can type in the address of a web page or a whole website that you want to visit. Here's what happens next:
(i) Your browser (a type of software) goes to the address mentioned, connects to the computer that holds the information (the server computer) and requests that page.
(II) The server hands over the page and the browser puts the page into the right formal and displays it to you on your computer screen.
Since your computer is requesting the information, it is called the client computer.
All this happens within seconds.
In the entire process, the computers communicate in a language called Hyper Text Transfer Protocal (HTPP) : the method of sending a page containing hypertext from one computer to another. A special feature of the Web is hypertext. This is a piece of text or a picture that has 'connection'; it contains the address of another web page. The connection is called a hyperlink or link. Clicking your mouse on this link takes you straight to that web page. This follows you to find what you are looking for very quickly. All this makes the Web a very powerful medium.
Some Important Medical Websites
British Medical Journal www.bmj.com
New England J. Medicine www.nejm.org/
CNN Health News www.thelancet. com
Reuters Health Info, Ser www.cnn.com/HEALTH/index.html/
India's Medical Site : www.indmedica.com
Dr. O.P.Sharma, Eye Specialist & Chief Executive INDMEDICA
SCO 827, Sector 22-A,Chandigarh
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