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A Beginner’s Guide: Essential web technologies to leap you forward …

March 30, 2009

If you are novice on internet technologies and still figuring out how to use internet / spend quality time on internet, maybe this post can help you find a new dimension. This is for the beginners / students who are very familiar with the old way of browsing, (or I will call it as web 1.0 way of browsing) and not yet figured out a techniques which can just escalate their learning process and make a difference in their life(the web 2.0 way). Even if you think you know enough, you may like to scroll through few links / techniques posted here just right for making the best use of your quality time on the internet and driving yourself to achieve better / best and the best.

We will starts from the basic  platforms such as Google, Wiki, Free Email clients etc., and will go till social networking, RSS syndication, blogging platforms etc. Okay…, I am going to cut the introduction short and make things faster, feel free to skip sections below which you already have adequate knowledge on.

Google.com – I had to begin with Google, it’s the search engine which changed the way internet worked, and for sure, it was a new beginning of the internet. Though yahoo.com was good enough a gateway of information in the beginning, but one thing it lacked was the relevance of the content, i.e., google did the trick by trackbacking the links to know the popularity of each url and thus indexing it the same way in its search. Google also was the first one to bring online advertising to common people like you and me which was again trend setting. Above all I love its simplicity and the difference it is making to common user’s life … check out google.org, read google’s history at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Google

wikipedia – popularly called wiki is what I rate as second topmost thing happened to the online world, it’s a multilingual compilation of knowledge for just about any topic. The main feature which makes the difference is that it is built for the people and by the people, which means anyone can edit the information and add to the topic, here public is the one who’s adding the information, public is also the one which edits the information and public is the one which moderates as well for the junk and spammy messages. This was revolutionary and probably the thought provoking idea which enabled Tim O’reilly to term it as web 2.0, and here is a must check introduction of web 2.0 by Tim O’reilly.

RSS or Feeds or Syndication – Earlier! Keeping track on your favorite topics / websites was difficult, as a habit people used to visit their favorite websites on regular intervals to keep track on what’s happening, this problem was resolved by syndication or popularly known as RSS. Syndication as its name suggests, is publishing / or receiving the information of multiple sites / topics. There are multiple of RSS readers available for free, but my personal favorite is Google Reader, but I also like bloglines for its consolidated list of popular blogs while registering. Other feed readers you can check out are myyahoo / newsgator / netvibes / page flakes / feed demon / net news wire (for Mac users)/ news fire (Mac OS X) / news gator outlook edition / RSS Owl / shrook (Mac OS X).

Free Email Clients – This one need no introduction, I am sure by the time you’d be reading this post you will already be having 2/3 accounts floating on multiple names … but, this post is incomplete without introducing few free email clients. Though yahoo and hotmail were the one which became most popular email accounts over internet, but later the game was won by google’s free email account i.e., Gmail, which initially started with giving 2GB of free space when everyone else was giving 2MB kind of space. Gmail also made use of Ajax which facilitated faster accessibility on your browser through Ajax technology which was a very powerful differentiator. Gmail now has also said to be introducing Offline Gmail and Multilingual Username

Making your presence felt online …

Above we’ve checked some essential tools which are must for a beginner of the internet, here we are going to discuss some little advanced user references which can add value to your presence online …

Blog -Cogito, ergo sum” (English: “I think, therefore I am”) is a popular statement by René Descartes. Blog is something which helps you write your views on some topic of your interest or may it be expressing yourself. Whatever little or more, but your thoughts views on the topic will decide your identity online. Most of the blogging engines are free and my personal favorite is wordpress. Other platforms which are easy to use are BlogSpot / movable type / text pattern and many more … Some of my favorite blogs include gaping void, webdesigner depot, digital inspiration, read write web and many more … you can also use google blogsearch to find bloggers on your favorite topics.

Social / Business Networking – is your first step to create your identity online, it is where you will #get #known #better … Social networking sites helps in business networking, where you connect with your friends and build a network of people whom you can update / assist / take assistance from and keep them posted. You also make new friends of the friends of friends, i.e., a friend whose known to you may have a friend who might be an interesting business contact for you. Social network thing comes handy when you have a quick requirement, you just add it to your status message / post it on forums (often called groups) and you’ll get a replies within almost no span of time. It also breaks the barriers of the global boundaries and helps you connect with people from various countries similar to your interests. Over period of time few networks have grown up to specialized in their respective domains, such as, facebook is known to be good for social networking / linkedin.com is good for business networking, Best way to get into these network is to get an invitation from your friends or create an account with inviting your friends on email in order to build your own network. Among others are ecademy, Xing, Orkut, MySpace, Hi5, … and some Indian ones such as bigadda.com / ibibo.com

Micro Blogging or Twitter Off late, there has been a huge craze about micro-blogging, to be more precise twitter. Twitter is a micro-blogging and social networking platform which lets you post info about what you are doing and share it with your friends. It is a good platform for keeping in touch with your friends at the same time you can archive the knowledge of what you have been reading about. In short, its your personal RSS.

Social Bookmarking – If you have visited few blogs, you must have come across tiny little colorful icons below or besides the post which reads something like digg it / redd it / stumble upon. These are social bookmarking sites, where people bookmark their favorite articles and share it with million other people… you can also visit these websites in order to find interesting content, and probably share it further with your friends on facebook / via twitter / or write it on your blog.

Photo / Video Sharing … Among photo sharing Flickr became the most popular platform lately. Another one is Picasa by google, which lets you do some basic editing through their proprietory downloadable software and upload / download / blog on BlogSpot. Among video sharing, YouTube is so far the king.

PPT & Document Sharing : Apart from fun stuff, you can also check some really useful services online like slideshare.com and scribd.com which allows you to share your power point (ppt) and documents.

E-Commerce / Trade Networks … apart from this basic stuff, you will find many site where you can trade (or e-commerce).  These are broadly split into B2C – Business to Consumer and B2B – Business to Business, and example of B2B network is global sources … for B2C, popular ones are Amazon and Ebay, B2B sources are best found in google where you key in specific requirement.

That’s it for now, I will keep writing about more places you can visit which can make a difference to your little life… keep your self posted by subscribing through RSS Or through email… :)

And, leave some comments below if you find this article useful.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2009 5:20 pm

    Very educative.In fact,in case you do regular postings you will definitely build a loyal readership base!

  2. Kartik permalink
    April 2, 2009 5:15 pm

    Hey dude,
    Amazing post… really helpful and not just for complete beginners ;)
    Keep up the good work!

  3. Tulika permalink
    April 2, 2009 7:51 pm

    Hey Sidharth,

    Interesting post will be definitely passing on to some friends/family who are new to internet.

    Would love to see your next post probably on mobile development
    or a Layman Guide to technical jargons.

    • April 2, 2009 8:00 pm

      thanks tulika .. I originally wrote it for my dad, and friends who asked me what’s twitter :), I probably have some more topic to share … will write more ..

      p.s. subscribe to RSS ..

  4. Satrajit permalink
    April 3, 2009 4:47 pm

    Great Post Sidharth. Will def help the beginners.

  5. February 24, 2010 4:27 pm

    Really great informative blog. Keep writing like this. Good luck.

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