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Introduction

Introduction

This book is about everything you ever wanted to know about going online and were afraid to ask. Unlike other books of this type, we go overboard and cover everything we can think of: from getting your first modem or DSL connection to selling something using online and email marketing tricks. The book is, simply put, about everything that has anything to do with going online, presented in the most comprehensive manner we can.

The problem with past books about the Internet and the Web is that they are too focused on one or two topics. We noticed that the market lacked a book that covers everything and offers people an introduction to a topic and the ability to decide whether they want to learn more by specializing. This doesn't mean that this book is shallow because it isn't. It means that it is an in-depth primer for every topic that has to do with online, Internet, and Web activity.

The authors have worked closely with computer users and the public at large for decades, and we've all learned that there are gaps in knowledge that do not seem to be addressed by either books or magazines. There are fewer and fewer books for beginners that take a broader sweep than today's specialty book. We've further discovered that most users are neither beginners nor experts but perpetually intermediate users. There is virtually nothing out there for them, either. And finally, the expert users tend to be like the books themselves—expert in limited arenas. Out of this thinking, this book was born. It addresses common gaps in information and introduces people to new and exciting aspects of the online world they may otherwise never discover. The book is designed to be used as a reference, a guide, and an overview of all topics related to the world of online communications.

To make the book even more valuable, we've added a Web site that you can access for more in-depth information and trends that will affect the online world. The site is http://www.onlinethebook.com, and you can use it to discover additional new links and to find more features and articles on new topics of interest. Product listings and free software will be posted on the site, as well as new material written by the authors and others.

Over the next few decades, you and your friends will be spending thousands of dollars just to maintain a connection with the online world. The monthly fees add up over time, and we think it's a shame if you do not get your money's worth. We're all convinced that if you know more about the Net, you'll get more out of it. In fact, you should greatly benefit from efficient use of the Internet, enough so that the cost of being online will be offset quickly. And it's not that we think everyone should run Web sites or online businesses. It's just that the power of the Internet and the Web in particular, combined with the efficiency of email, should make your life easier. And it should also make your work life easier. After all, knowledge is power, and the online world gives you access to more knowledge than you can ever absorb.

So read this book cover to cover or browse it when you have to. But above all, keep it nearby.

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