Internet & Email

[This page was last updated 2009.7.17]

Avatars and Icons

Avatars are icons, sometimes moving, which represent you, your business, or other things. Most often, people use avatars as a sort of graphic “signature” along with their name and perhaps email address, when emailing or blogging or posting.
For those who don’t have quite enough time or talent to create their own avatar, some of the following links may allow you to choose or even create a personal avatar.

portrait_illustration_maker_avatar.gif Here’s an example of one done using Portrait Illustration Maker.

Icons are rather like logos that are usually clickable, and represent you, your website, your business, or whatever you like, but they are usually not as personal. These are often seen as part of a website address.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.


Chat is the term for online conversation in real time.

Email Software & Links

POP3, IMAP, and what is that all about, anyway?

The email service you use may allow you to operate it via a special site using your web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.). However, you are limited to the speed of the web site and your connection. Quite often, you can download your incoming email and send your email without having to go to this site. You can read and compose messages offline, and then download and send messages when you are ready, using an email program and the same login you used at the web site. This is possible at UA Fort Smith’s LionsLink (see the method for doing it using Thunderbird here.) by using another program to work with LionsLink.

The most likely methods used for this are called POP3 (Post Office Protocol version 3), and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol). Some services, such as Google’s GMail, can use either one. IMAP has more features, such as the ability to keep or delete messages on the email server, or upload messages from another email account to an IMAP account.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

See also the section on Thunderbird.

Google Software & Links

Google has become one of the most popular search engines in the world, and is also a source of a number of other services.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

The latest posts on Google are available by clicking here.

Special Google pages, features and techniques:

Personalized Google:

  • Google toolbar for MS Internet Explorer and
    Google toolbar for Firefox, Netscape and Mozilla — you can also add search engines like Google to Firefox’s search box yourself. Click on the search engine symbol presently there, and look at the bottom line for “Manage Search Engines”. Click there, and you can add any from a list of possibilities.
  • GButts add-on for Firefox shows all your Google services in a select-from list
  • Google Gadgets for your Web Page The free tools include the Babelfish translator, the Google conversion calculator, time and date, Google Maps, driving directions, Wikipedia search, and more. From “Neat New Stuff I Found This Week” Copyright, Marylaine Block, 1999-2006.
  • Google Calendar is a scheduling system entirely online.
  • Google Maps is a way to show the location and find directions, and also show exactly where you or some specific place are located.
  • Google Personalized Search is a Beta (experimental) test project that customizes your searching on Google to you. Once you create an account and log on, your searching is examined for patterns that are supposed to make your searching more effective.
    This is very useful for narrowing down searches to selected sites.
  • Google Base allows you to post information which is searchable via Google in an online database.
  • Google Finance handles investment and market information, along with portfolio tracking with your Google account.
  • SafeSearch allows you to customize your search results on Google for use with children or persons who prefer to limit their results.

Google Mail (Gmail)

Google Mail, more commonly known as Gmail, is a free email service. Details are here.

The latest posts on Gmail are available by clicking here.

Google Searching:

  • Google College Life shows college students how to use Google’s services.
  • SortFix is the easy way to use all the specialized searches available — type in a search and SortFix shows the results along with the power terms in the search. You can drag ‘n’ drop to exclude or include the search terms and refine your results.
  • Google Advanced Video Search searches the closed captioning and other text with videos.
  • Google Directory organizes the web by topics
  • Google Groups for Usenet discussion groups searches.
  • Google Images graphics: photos, illustrations search
    This is useful for subjects before the existence of the Web, since Usenet existed before the Web.
  • Google’s Language Tools will translate, search pages in other languages, or even translate an entire web page.
  • Google News news from over 4,000 sources, updated hourly, clustered by topics.
    You can also use the new Newsalerts to alert you to the topics you choose.
  • Google Catalogs mail-order and online catalogs search
  • Froogle (a pun on “frugal” – get it?) shopping via Google
  • Google Local search for businesses locally by terms
  • Google Maps is a way to show the location and find directions
  • Google Product Search for locating specific products – gives one example source and price
  • Google Scholar search for scholarly papers by faculty
  • Soople is the expert search form of Google, with lots of ways to limit searching to just certain things and places.
  • UncleSam does a Google search on U.S. government sites.
  • U.S. Government Search Google U.S. Government Search offers a single location for searching across U.S. government information, and for keeping up to date on government news. You can choose to search for content located on either U.S. federal, state and local government websites or the entire Web — from the same search box. Below the search box, the homepage includes government-specific news content from both government agencies and press outlets. You can personalize the page by adding content feeds on government or other topics that you’re interested in.
  • Universities limits the Google search to the specific website of that institution.
    Unfortunately, it does not cover UA Fort Smith, only the Fayetteville campus, as of July 2007.

Google Techniques:

  • Google will not allow a “wild card” for PART of a word, but it will allow an asterisk * for a whole word. Three * mice will get Three Blind Mice, three red mice, three blue mice, etc.
  • Google will only search up to ten (10) words at most. However, it does not count a wild card asterisk * as a word. Therefore, “In the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is king” would be searched using only the first ten words (stopping at “man”), but “In * valley * * blind, * one-eyed man * king” would be searched using all the words plus whatever might appear in place of the asterisks – which would probably get about the same results as if the complete phrase had been searchable.
  • Boolean logic in searching Google: Google assumes all the words you enter must be in the page. You can search for alternates by using this OR that (you can also enter it with a | pipe symbol instead: this | that. That will turn up any page with either this or that. You can eliminate some sites by using a minus sign: this | that – those to get rid of those sites.
  • inurl: lets you search ONLY in the URL of the possible sites.
  • phonebook: allows you to search for phone numbers. Example: John Doe CA looks for all the John Does in California. It can also be used to look up a known phone number. Note: Google allows people to disable this for their names/phone numbers for security purposes with the Removal form for residential addresses and phone numbers.
  • SOAP? Google has a special batch of tricks for searching and limiting searches using their SOAP Search API.
  • How to add a Google Map to any web page in less than 10 minutes is covered in these instructions. Use after you create a map in Google Maps.

Instant Messaging Software & Links

Instant Messaging, a.k.a. Text messaging, popularly known as “texting” (both a noun and a verb), is increasingly popular. This can be done with computers, mobile (cell) phones, or both (one to the other).

One variation on this is a chat room, which is an online session which covers the text conversation between 2 or more people. However, it is not necessarily required for IM.

Robin Good has a mini-guide to Instant Messengers covering the different services and the ways (such as Meebo and eBuddy) to access multiple IM services in one place, or check the MakeUseOf list of multi-protocol clients.

For all the abbreviations in “texting”, it looks like you’d need a codebook. Webopedia has a guide to Text Messaging Abbreviations.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

Microsoft Internet Explorer Help

Microsoft Internet Explorer is the default browser normally supplied with Microsoft Windows Operating System. A browser is used for access to the Internet and the World Wide Web.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

The latest posts on browsers in general are available by clicking here.

Online (Web-based) Software

Something recent on the web is online software, which lets you work anyplace you can use an Internet connection. Some of these allow you to save your work online and access from anywhere else later, or even collaborate with others online.

Remember: online software is only as secure as the source allows it to be. All materials saved in this kind of service are subject to loss if the source is not dependable, and any materials are subject to search by court order or subpoena.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

P2P Software & Links

P2P or “peer to peer” is a type of computer network using the resources of individual computers as servers rather than a centralized server. It is a popular way to enable file sharing networks.

P2P programs are NOT illegal in themselves, although they may be frowned upon by some companies due to the possibility of illegal use or the load imposed on the bandwidth by large amounts of file sharing. They are being used by an increasing number of legitimate web sites to distribute large files such as audio and video materials, or large software programs in a high speed manner that reduces the loads on their sites.

One of the better known programs for this purpose is called BitTorrent.
In order to download using p2p, you will need to obtain a program. Many of these are available as freeware — try one of the freeware resources links, and search for ‘p2p’.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

The latest posts on BitTorrent are available by clicking here.


Searching for what you want isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard. There are a number of methods, sites and software programs that can make it easier and faster.

For information on searching for books and other library materials, click here.

Windows & Web Page Searching

The easiest way to search for something specific in Windows or on a web page is to use CTRL-F (capital or lower-case “f”) for “Find.” A popup will let you fill in the specific word or phrase you want, and search the file or web page you have open.

Windows has a Search function in the Start menu popup. There are also a number of other ways to search inside files (usually found in the “Edit” menu, if the program has one).

Internet and Web Site Searching

Search engines are used to search the Internet and the World Wide Web. For a list of specialized and general search engines, click here.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

Translation services for languages

In a world where the Internet and the Web cross international borders, it helps to be able to translate from other languages to your own, whatever that may be.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

Web 2.0 Software & Links

“Web 2.0” refers to a second generation World Wide Web, with an emphasis on easy use and web-based applications. Tim O’Reilly wrote a seminal article defining Web 2.0 .

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

Web Browsers

The software you use to get to the Internet and the World Wide Web is called a web browser. Windows computers normally come with a default browser, called Microsoft Internet Explorer, also called “IE.” Other browsers, such as the increasingly popular Firefox, are also available and may offer additional advantages, or work when IE cannot. Both are available for use on Windows and Macs.

Macs usually come with a default browser called Safari (which the Library cannot test due to the lack of a Mac. The Windows version of this browser may or may not be sufficiently compatible with it to properly test pages).

Some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) give you a CD with a browser on it (usually IE or Netscape) when you join their service. These browsers, in the Library staff’s experience, often have some serious limitations, which may not permit you to use Library services. The Library recommends that you get regular versions of the browsers or use the versions listed at the bottom of most pages in the library catalog instead, if you have problems with the browser your ISP gave you. If your ISP has a problem with using another browser (which normally is not the case), please contact both the Library and your ISP about it to resolve the problem.

For the latest links for the browsers which have been tested to work with Boreham Library services such as campus email, Electronic Reserves, and the other online services, check the Library catalog pages and scroll down to the bottom of the page. You’ll see the links for the versions of IE and other browsers that should work with Library services.

Other services on campus, such as WebCT, may have different requirements. However, you can — and should — have more than one browser on your computer. If one browser has trouble viewing a page, or printing a page, you can switch to the other. You can even copy the URL (the web page address) right out of the location bar and copy it to the location bar in the new browser, and go right ahead (although you might need to login again on sites that require that).

Firefox and other useful programs are available to load on your computer on a 1-night checkout CD-ROM of library software from the library for students, faculty and staff, or you may download using one or more of the links on the catalog pages. Remember that downloading directly from the websites may take two hours or more over a standard telephone modem for most browser software, so a high-speed connection is preferred.

Do NOT use earlier versions of these browsers, as they do not work completely with Electronic Reserves or some databases.

Microsoft Windows users ALERT!
Microsoft is known to issue monthly patches and upgrades which may have unforeseen side effects on your Internet Explorer browser, among other actions. You may try using one of the other recommended browsers instead, if you have recently downloaded patches, upgrades, or are using a computer on campus.

The latest posts on Microsoft Internet Explorer are available by clicking here.

Firefox browser information is available by clicking here.

The latest posts on other browsers and this topic in general are available by clicking here.

Web Site Creation & Improvement

Some useful advice from iLibrarian is at A Quick Guide to Website Design.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

A major part of web sites now is using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). These help to give a more uniform look to a web site, and help to avoid repeating a lot of coding on individual pages.

The latest posts specifically on CSS are available by clicking here.

Wireless Access/Advice

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

Wireless Setup explains the latest information on setting up your own wireless connection to the UA Fort Smith campus network. You will need to be a currently registered student or employee and have already set up your network login to use the campus wireless network.

Wireless Access Off-Campus

Wireless Security

WARNING for those using public wireless access: If you think you’re “just” surfing the Web or “just” checking your e-mail at a public hotspot — and therefore don’t need any security — you should know about the latest threats.
These include “evil twins” — hacker Wi-Fi servers that display logon pages that look exactly like the ones your local hotspot displays. You log in, just like you always do, and then surf the Web. Meanwhile, you’re unwittingly handing over your hotspot password and any number of other valuable passwords to the perpetrators.
Wireless clients with WPA and WPA2 prevent this kind of identity theft. Whenever you use a public hotspot, you should always ask, “When will you support WPA2?” The counter clerk may not know what you’re talking about, but you can request that your question be sent upstairs to management. See how to protect yourself in this Windows Secrets article. Another good article is at Daily Cup of Tech.

Unfortunately, most public hotspots have never turned on any security features and probably won’t for some time. One major exception is T-Mobile, which manages hotspots at more than 15,000 locations in 19 countries, including Starbucks, Borders Books, FedEx/Kinko’s, and Hyatt Hotels.

WorldCat Help

Library catalogs on Google: YES! The Boreham Library is a participating library in the Google and Yahoo search engines,, as well as other sites, provided through a library service called WorldCat. If you look up a book on Google or Yahoo, and it gives the option to find it in a particular library, you can get to the Boreham Library catalog information, as well as other libraries in the area. However, the listing may not be a very high priority, and you may have to go through several pages of listings before you get to one for the book, even if you request the exact title.
Use the regular Google or Yahoo search box and type Find in a library followed by the book’s title, author, or a subject.

Here are some of the other services you can use to search for books, videos, sound recordings, and other resources in our catalog:

You can also install tools for your browser for searching on WorldCat. Click here for downloads and instructions.

Yahoo! Help

Yahoo! is one of the better known search sites and web portals.

SortFix is the easy way to use all the specialized searches available — type in a search and SortFix shows the results along with the power terms in the search. You can drag ‘n’ drop to exclude or include the search terms and refine your results.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

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