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PCs: The Missing Manual by David A. Karp, Andy Rathbone

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Chapter 13. Surfing the Web

The Web offers you a combination library, entertainment center, and social club—none of which ever closes. Your Web browser is your window into this busy world. This chapter explains how to choose between the two most popular browsers, Internet Explorer and Firefox, as well as how to set them both up, navigate between Web sites, and get the most out of their many frills. You’ll also learn how to pinpoint which sites contain the information you need, and then how to print, save, or forward pages from the sites you visit. And since most sites nowadays force you to create a user account and password, you’ll learn some timesaving tricks to cut down on your digital form-filling chores.

Choosing and Setting Up a Browser

All browsers, including Internet Explorer and Firefox, can handle the basics, helping you move from site to site. But just as some cars include drink holders and extra suspension, some browsers offer extra features that smooth out your ride from one site to another. The differences lie mainly in how they manage tasks like these:

  • Compatibility. Web pages are written in a special programming language (called HTML, or hypertext markup language, if you’re interested in that sort of stuff); it’s basically a series of code words that browsers read in order to display a page’s contents. All Web pages and browsers speak the same language when it comes to the basics—putting words and images onto a page. But some support special dialects; others don’t. That’s ...

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