Lots more on the Internet than just the web and mail.

From SusoSight

Lots more on the Internet than just the web and mail.
Number: 66  
Date created: 2002-08-23 22:03:47
Previous Thought: The reason I don't go to Radio Shack
Next Thought: Nice hotel
Voting results: Yes: 6

No: 4

So many people equate the Internet to mean only what is available from your world wide web browsing client. They seldom think that it is a individual protocol (called http), one of many that are used everyday. Your e-mail is sent through one of these many protocols that exist besides the http protocol. If you have ever used an instant messaging client like MSN messeger or AOL Instant Messeger then you have used a protocol that is not related to the web protocol. When you use file sharing programs like Napster, Morpheus, AudioGalaxy, Gnutella and so on you are using a seperate protocol.

Then there are the protocols that in the past three or four years have almost become entirely unknown to a new generation of Internet users. One such protocol that has existed since 1979 is the usenet news protocol (nntp, port 119). Originally started as a set of newsgroups for discussion by net citizens around the world, usenet has expanded over the years to include forums for nearly any topic, downloadable music, pictures and programs that put file trading services to shame. Chances are, your internet service provider offers some kind of usenet access to you, all you need is a good usenet agent program to use this resource. For windows, I you can setup Outlook Express or Netscape to view newsgroups. Some other good free to download programs are FreeAgent, NewsBin and XNews. For Macintosh your choices are about the same. You might try NewsWatcher though. If you're a Linux/Unix/FreeBSD user, I'd recommend PAN.

FTP is another protocol that's been around for a long time. It's a protocol used for the transfer of files from a remote server to your computer or vice versa. Before the days of the world wide web and before the web became popular, FTP sites abounded as the place to serve information, files and programs. Nowadays, it's used more as a place from which to serve program files or large files for companies or software projects. But there is still some interesting stuff out there still only available through the ftp protocol.

The Simple Network Monitoring Protocol(SNMP), although not useful to everyone, can be useful for gathering information about the router that you use to get information off the network. Some network devices allow you to scan their SNMP information using the 'public' community string (like a password). Sometimes you can even find out the local temperature or your geographical coordinates through SNMP.

If you have an account on a remote server or Unix based workstation, you may be able to login to it through the SSH (secure shell) or telnet protocols. This can be useful if you want to run commands or do development on a remote program. You might be able to receive your e-mail on such remote accounts or run cronjobs, which would allow you to run a command periodically without your intervention.

And the above is just scratching the surface of what is available out there. I can understand that people only want to use the web because it is easier. But so many Internet users out there are taking little advantage of all the interesting things that are available on the Internet.