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By Matt London, Cold Spring Harbor
High School, New York
To that vast league of the technologically challenged (LTC), whose membership extends to me, the Internet may seem to be a frightening thing. It contains both communication systems and colossal amounts of information, all compacted into appealing little icons.
The mystery of the Internet is how to use all of these options, selections, opportunities, and alternatives. If one wishes to talk with a friend in Taiwan, while posting a message to be viewed by the continent of Europe, one can do that very simply.
All one has to do is "point and click." Now, remember that I was once computer illiterate. I still cannot program a computer game, but I can talk with a friend in Poland over the Internet. The way in which I learned to do all this was by implementing one very simple concept that opened up the Internet to my use. This very important concept is a little something called, "point and click." It consists of using the mouse to point on a certain selection and a click to utilize that option.
When I am confronted by a computer screen covered in icons, it may seem overwhelming, but the simplest solution is usually the right one. All I have to do is place my cursor arrow over a certain icon. Soon, a caption will appear describing the intent of that icon or option. If the caption reads "Internet", then the icon is the doorway to the information banks and communication systems of the World Wide Web. Once inside this icon or "window," I can quickly exit by pointing and clicking on an "x" contained in a square in the top right corner or I can explore through the new icons before me.
Fortunately, being a member of the Holocaust/Genocide Project, I am given a "personal mailbox" with which I can send and receive messages. This mailbox is a direct pathway to the communication systems of the Internet, and once inside this mailbox, which is represented with an icon, I can use new options to fulfill my task. The program that I use is called Eudora Light.
Every day, after I have entered my mailbox, I open the icon of a letter that represents the new mail I have received. If I have received any new mail, then I click on the icon that reads "Reply" and I write a message back to the sender. If I feel like writing to someone who hasn't sent me a new message, I click on the icon that reads "Send." From this option, all I have to do is enter the address of the person I am writing to and I can begin my message. In this way I quickly send and receive messages from correspondents all around the world. I can simultaneously send a message to Poland while receiving a message from Australia.
Another useful option of this communication system is the conferences or bulletin board where I can post messages that are viewed by anyone who visits that conference. This, too, is done through the simple concept of "point and click." After, entering a mailbox, I choose the icon which reads "News." From this icon, I am offered three alternatives, one of those being "Read News." Now, I enter into a new window that offers me many different conferences.
Mostly, I will choose the conference, <iearn.hgp>, which is the conference of the Holocaust/Genocide Project, the project I volunteer for. Once inside this conference, I can choose to I read any one of many different responses written by all iEARN members across the globe. If I want to create a message, I may ask for comments on an issue or stories related to Holocaust survivors. In order to do this, I click on the icon "Post Message." From here, I simply write.
At first the Internet and its many applications may be overwhelming, but by implementing the simple "point and click" method and a little common sense, I have gained tremendously from the in formation available on the Internet.
I have also benefited in other ways from being involved in the Holocaust/Genocide Project. Working on this project has not only increased my awareness of human rights around the world and in the United States, but it has also made me proud that I can be a part of making the world better.
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