Notes 1
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Notes 1

Searching the Web

Boolean expressions are used to do Web searches with increased precision.
Boolean: True or False
( Ian AND Allen ) OR ( Ian AND FreeNet )
The precise syntax used depends on the search engine; read the help page!

Understanding a URL

URL syntax for a Network (Internet-style) item:


Examples of common protocols:

Components of a Universal Resource Locator (URL):

http: HyperText Transfer Protocol (standard Web pages)
ftp: File Transfer Protocol (for downloading/uploading files)
telnet: for direct terminal-to-terminal connections to remote computers
gopher: a predecessor of http, largely replaced by http
news: Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) for Usenet-style discussion groups
mailto: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) for sending E-Mail

Note that the host name part of a URL is not case-sensitive.

Understanding an Internet E-Mail address

Syntax for an Internet email address:


Examples of email addresses:

Note that the host name part of a mail address is not case-sensitive.

Computer Addresses and Names

Much of the connecting done between machines on the Internet happens between computers labelled by numbers, not names. These numbers are called "IP" (Internet Protocol) numbers. To establish a connection between the machines, the friendly, human-readable names must be turned into numbers. Tables of these name-to-number maps typically reside on computers that serve as Domain Name Servers (DNS).

Computer names are hierarchical, separated by periods, with the most specific components on the left and the most general, large domains on the right, e.g. "".  There is no fixed limit to the depth of the hierarchy; however, more than four levels is uncommon.
There are a fixed number of "top level" domains, e.g. .gov, .edu, .com, .ca, .hu, .jp, .us, etc.
Each domain gets control of the naming scheme used inside it and can use any naming convention it likes, e.g.,,, etc.
Name servers only need to know how to find the name servers of the next level in the name tree - no server needs to know the whole tree.
IP numbers are also hierarchical; however, the most specific parts of the IP number are on the right, and the most general, large network components are on the left, e.g. "".  The IP numbers written this way are often called in "dotted quad" form.  Two machines on the same network may have numbers such as and
Name servers "cache" name requests for a period of time (the "time to live").  Subsequent requests for the same name are served from the cache until the entry expires, then a fresh request is made to update the cache.

Unix commands

Most Unix commands that handle machine names will accept either the name of a computer or its IP address in dotted-quad form.

ping: sends a request for an "echo" to the remote machine; shows how long it took
traceroute: traces the network route taken by a connection between this machine and a remote machine; shows the route and the time taken to get to each machine along the route
host: for a particular host, displays information about the IP addresses and MX (mail exchange) records stored in the DNS for that host