Essay Selection for Reading as a Stimulus for Writing
Hackers of Today
Hackers, having started as toy railroad circuitry designers in the late fifties, are completely new people now. Once turned to computers, they became gods and devils. Nowadays holders and users of the World Wide Web hide their PCs under passwords when the keyword “hacker” is heard. When and how did this change take place? Why are we so frightened of Hacker The Mighty and The Elusive?
One of the legends says that hackers have changed under the influence of “crackers” – the people who loved to talk on the phone at somebody else's expense. Those people hooked up to any number and enjoyed the pleasure of telephone conversation, leaving the most fun – bills – for the victim. Another legend tells us that modern hackers were born when a new computer game concept was invented. Rules were very simple: two computer programs were fighting for the reign on the computer. Memory, disk-space and CPU time were the battlefield. The results of that game are two in number and are well known: hackers and computer viruses. One more story tells that the “new” hackers came to existence when two MIT students that attended the AI Lab found an error in a network program. They let people, responsible for the network, know but with no result. The offended wrote a code that completely paralyzed the network and only after that the error was fixed. By the way, those students founded The Motorola Company later.
Today, when the Internet has entered everyone’s house there’s no shield between a hacker and your PC. You can password yourself up, but then either hackers will crack your PC anyway or nobody will enter your site, because passwords kill accessibility. If your PC is easy to access no one can guarantee what’ll happen to your computer – hackers, you know them.
Monsters? Chimeras? Not at all! Every hacker is a human being and has soft spots: good food, pretty girls or boys (it happens both ways), classical music, hot chocolate at the fireplace, apple pie on Sunday. Hacker is first of all a connoisseur, a professional with no computer secret out of his experience. And what is the application for skills depends on him, God, and Holy Spirit.
Part 2. The Internet
Unit 1. The Internet in general
Task 1. Before reading the text decide whether the following statements are true or false, then read the text and check.
1. The Internet resources are not so important to people as the telephone and the post office.
2. The Internet is the first global forum.
3. The Internet has laws and policy.
4. The Internet has no army.
5. The Internet appeared in the last decade.
What is the Internet?
If you have watched the news much in the past years, undoubtedly, you’ve noticed all the hoopla over the Internet. Although the Internet, or its forerunner ARPAnet, has been around since the late 1960s, you would think that the worldwide network of computers magically became connected during the last decade. The Internet has been the hot topic lately, and it doesn’t seem likely that the topic will cool down in the near future.
In the past few years the Internet has experienced phenomenal growth, not only in the amount of information and services that are available online, but also in the number of people accessing that information. However, there’s more to the Internet than just information, facts, and figures. The Internet has been invaded by entertainment promoters and entrepreneurs. Hundreds of businesses are now investigating ways of advertising their names and products online because of the potential audience they can reach.
Today, just about everyone wants to get on board the Internet express. A decade ago, it seemed like you would need a doctoral degree in computer science to figure out the vagaries of connecting to the Internet. You had to know UNIX and how to set up and configure TCP/IP protocols, SLIP/PPP connections, and IP addresses. Thank goodness those days are long gone.
Task 2.Do you agree with everything that is written in the text? Aren’t there controversial sentences?
Task 3.Find in any sources of information what the following abbreviations mean: PPP , SLIP, TCP/IP
1. In networking, the Point-to-Point Protocol, or PPP, is a data link protocol commonly used to establish a direct connection between two networking nodes. It can provide connection authentication, transmission encryption privacy, and compression.
2. The Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) is a mostly obsolete encapsulation of the Internet Protocol designed to work over serial ports and modem connections.
3. The Internet Protocol Suite (commonly known as TCP/IP) is the set of communications protocols used for the Internet and other similar networks. It is named from two of the most important protocols in it: the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), which were the first two networking protocols defined in this standard.
Task 4.Match the words/phrases (1-6) to the definitions (a-f)
1. the Internet (ñ)
a. moving from one document or web site to another, to find information
2. the Web(å)
b. copying information from a web site to your own computer
3. a web site(d)
c. a network of computers all over the world, joined by phone lines, satellite or cable
4. surfing the net(a)
d. a system linking millions of documents stored on Internet computers around the world
e. the place on the Internet where a company/organization/etc stores its documents.
f. electronic messages sent to someone over the Internet
Before reading the text answer the questions:
1. How many parts of the Internet do you know?
2. Which of them are used more often?
3. Which of them do you use most of all?
Pieces of the Internet: How They Fit Together
The Internet is a worldwide series of interconnected computer systems and a series of several different types of computer services. While many of you might already be fairly familiar with the World Wide Web, you may be less familiar with Gophers, newsgroups, or FTP sites. The following sections outline some of the most popular services available on the Internet.
E-mail is the oldest Internet service, dating back to the mid 1970s (the exact date of the first e-mail message is in dispute). Then and now, the basic concept behind e-mail is fairly simple: You log in to a computer system and write and address a text message to a user on another system. The message is then routed through the maze of interconnected computer systems until it is delivered to its intended destination.
While the concept might be the same, the e-mail products you use now bear little resemblance to the early e-mail systems of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
E-mail still allows you to send text messages, but you can also attach other types of files.
UseNet refers to a service somewhat similar to e-mail, except that instead of sending a message to one person, you post the message in a common area for many users to view and reply to. UseNet began in 1979 as a service connecting computers at Duke University of North Carolina. Today, UseNet is an immensely popular Internet service that has grown to include more than 4,000 topics that users post messages and responses to, ranging from computer and technical topics to social, religious, and political discussions and to music, books, and movies. Newsgroups can also be a good source of information from other users who have used certain products, have seen certain movies or shows, or have had experiences with certain companies.
The Internet service FTP (File Transfer Protoñol) is a series of computer file servers that archive and distribute files. Many FTP sites are operated by computer hardware and software manufactures who use their FTP sites to distribute their software updates. Netscape, one of the major Internet Web browser companies, uses its FTP site to distribute its Web browser, Netscape Navigator.
FTP sites are also run by colleges and universities that use them to make shareware and software utilities available to a broad range of users.
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is another immensely popular Internet service. As the name implies, IRC is a system that allows users to get together in a common area, in the case, an IRC server, and chat with each other. It’s not vocal chat, though – you communicate by typing your contribution to the conversation. Whereas some time ago chat rooms comprised a totally separate service on the Internet, now chat rooms are starting to crop up on the Web.
Don’t expect to find too many highbrow discussions among Rhodes scholars and rocket scientists in IRC. A considerable percentage of the discussion groups (called chat rooms) center around popular and adult topics. However, occasionally, when there is a hot topic in the news, you might find several newsgroups that banter the subject around.
The World Wide Web
Even though the World Wide Web, often referred to simply as the Web, is the newest service on the Internet, it is without a doubt the most popular. The Web went online in 1992, a creation of Tim Berners-lee of CERN, the European laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, Switzerland. By October of 1993, there were more than 200 Web servers up and running, and by June, 1995, the total number of Web servers on the Internet totaled more than 6.5 million.
Part of the Web’s attraction is the fact that it is the only multimedia service on the Internet. The Web began as a text-only system, as did FTP, Gopher, and e-mail. The Web now is a cacophony of text, graphics, sounds, animation, and virtual reality.
The Web also seems to have no boundaries for the type of information you can find on Web sites. A lot of it may seem to be trivial, but now the Web has become a very influential cyber marketplace.
Task 5.Make up True-False sentences according to the text.
Task 6. Retell the text.
Unit 2. Connecting to the Internet
Before reading the text answer the questions:
1. What kind of Internet connection do you have?
2. How many types of Internet connection do you know? Which of them are available in your city? What’s the difference between them?
3. What is the difference between an internal and external modem?
By connecting local, regional, national and international networks, the Internet forms the world’s largest network of networks. Computers connected to the Internet work together to transfer information around the world using servers and clients. A server is a computer that manages the resources on a network and provides a centralized storage for programs and data. The server, also called a host, “serves” files and services out to clients, computers that access the contents of the server. The speed at which data can be transferred between the sender and receiver in a network is called the data transfer rate. Transfer rates are expressed in bits per second (bps). When calculating Internet-access speeds, it is important to recognize the difference between bits and bytes. There are eight bits in a byte. The small “b” stands for bits, and the big “B” stands for bytes. Transfer speeds are often shown in kilobytes per second (KB/s), and connect speeds are usually quoted in kilobits per second (kbps). For example, if the Web browser is downloading a file at 100 KB/s over a cable modem connection, that is equal to a speed of 800 kbps. Bandwidth is the width of the communication channel, the total volume of traffic that can be transferred across a given transmission line in a given period of time, usually measured in bits per second.
There are four ways of connecting a client computer to the Internet: a dial-up connection using a telephone line or an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), a cable TV connection and a satellite connection.
A dial-up connection uses the analog telephone line for establishing a temporary communication. Computer’s digital signals must be converted to analog signals before they are transmitted over standard telephone lines. This conversion is performed by a modem, a device that modulates (changes into an analog signal) and demodulates (converts an analog signal into a digital signal). Both the sending and receiving ends of a communication channel must have a modem for data transmission to occur. Using a dial-up line to transmit data is similar to using the telephone to make a call. The client computer modem dials the preprogrammed phone number for a user’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) and connects to one of the ISP’s modems. After the ISP has verified the user’s account, a connection is established and data can be transmitted. When either modem hangs up, the communication ends. The advantage of a dial-up line is that it costs no more than a local telephone call. Computers at any two locations can establish a connection using modems and a telephone network, to include wireless modems and cellular telephone connections. The limitation of a connection using the ordinary telephone line is a low speed, 28 kbps. There are dedicated telephone lines that can transmit data at 56 kbps. Most 56 kbps modems connect at a speed less than 46 kbps because of the limitations of analog phone lines and telephone company switches.
ISDNs are special digital telephone lines that can be used to dial into the Internet at speeds ranging from 64 to 128 kbps. These types of connections are not available everywhere, telephone companies have to install special ISDN digital switching equipment. ISDNs require use of a special “digital modem” that sends and receives digital signals over ISDN lines. To use the ISDN access to the Internet, an ISP has to offer the ISDN access. ISDN lines cost more than normal phone lines, so the telephone rates are usually higher.