In what may come as a surprise to many of you, beyond the real world of work, play, love, and television is a shadowy “virtual” world—a loosely joined electronic realm known to its inhabitants as The Internet. In service to my readers I thought it time to sit down at my personal computer and, via a series of carefully wrought keystrokes, explore and evaluate The Internet's many frontiers. Here’s what I found.
First steps: The Internet Box
Before you can visit The Internet you have to connect your personal computer to it, much like you can’t enjoy TGIF’s delicious buffalo gristle poppers without taking a left on Main and then the first quick right into the Harmony Mall parking lot, just over by the Terrific! Kutz. In order to do this you have to get an Internet Box.
Obtaining and setting up the Internet Box is complicated and not something you should do yourself. Like an exacting bunion surgery this requires a paid specialist who works about a week—climbing power poles, drilling large holes through your walls and ceiling, eating your food, and using your toilet. (Hint: Stock up on bathroom freshener strips!)
When he’s finished you’ll find a box about the size of a Magnavox Hi-Fi planted next to your personal computer. Emerging from the left side of this box will be two large cables about as thick around as a kielbasa. These should go through your wall and then disappear into the ground. Another, thicker, gray cable comes out the right side and is attached to the Internet port on the back of your personal computer. If you were to slice this cable lengthwise (Hint: Don’t!), inside you’d find one very large green wire (for In) and another large red wire (for Out).
With the Internet Box plugged in you’ll discover that your electricity bill increases dramatically. This means it’s working properly. (Hint: Never unplug it or you could break The Internet!) While this is an unpleasant surprise for most new Interneters it does have an upside. The Internet Box will heat an entire three-storey home, so unless you use an awful lot of hot water, your gas bill should almost entirely vanish.
First Steps: The Internet Program
Now that the necessary hardware is in your home and set up (until it breaks in the next couple of weeks), it’s time to install a computer program that will let you use The Internet. This program is aptly called The Internet Explorer. For people with existing computers the only way to get The Internet Explorer is to copy it from The Internet, which is mostly impossible because you can’t get on The Internet without it. This helps explain why so few people are using The Internet. But that doesn’t mean you’re entirely out of luck.
Your first option is to go to the Microsoft Computer Store, purchase a new personal computer, and, just before you check out, whisper “Bing!” to the salesman. He will wink twice with his right eye and tell you to return in two weeks to pick up your new personal computer. During those two weeks the store’s technicians will install The Internet Explorer.
The second option is tricky, though free. Every so often, the people who make The Internet Explorer will pick 100 random individuals from the phone book and mail them the two-volume set of instructions for creating The Internet Explorer on their personal computers. This requires that when you first start your personal computer you immediately press the F8 key and, when the blinky thing appears, type in the contents of these books, starting on page 7 of the first volume where it says START TYPING HERE (Hint: Don’t type START TYPING HERE or you’ll break The Internet! Type everything that comes after, except for the index and the second volume’s dedication.) If you choose to pursue this path, type very carefully. If you make a mistake all the phones within 100 miles of you will ring for freaking ever and won’t stop until they’re submerged in warm water.
Next up: Exploring The Internet Explorer