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Internet term paper

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"Wonderful as they may be, these electronic resources are only as good as the answers they provide and only as efficient as the data they return. The essential question, therefore, is whether they provide access to public information, general opinion, specific data, and other resources that we as individuals need? Do they offer "citizen news," one that couples the official word and the public voice? Put another way: Are messages available through this medium that are unavailable elsewhere? Increasingly, the answer is... yes. That is why so many people are turning away from traditional news and going online for help and data. It is also why mystery writers and moviemakers see in the online world a set of resources as compelling as the fictional subjects who use them. These days, the final, fatal clue is no longer hidden in a twist of tobacco or a bit of shag carpet carelessly carried from the crime scene in the pants cuff of the murderer. But then, the self-confident, physically adept heroes who pursued such links between the murderer and his work--a pantheon of detectives stretching from Sherlock Holmes past Sam Spade and Philip Marlow to Robert B. Parker's Spenser-similarly are becoming pass". In their place, the gawky and socially inept computer genius is becoming the crucial agent to crime's solution and, in the process, a centerpiece of our fiction. In murder mystery stories like Patricia D. Cornwell Cruel and Unusual, the crucial evidence is not found on the corpse left in the alley or even the one in the bedroom; it instead is hidden in the hexadecimal code of the state's computer system, a fact that is concealed to all but the maladjusted, teenage niece of the heroine, Dr. Kay Scarpetta."
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"A cookie is a crumb of software stored in the computer of a visitor to a web site. The web site provides the cookie, and the visitor's web browser installs the cookie on the visitor's hard drive. The cookie permits the web-site operator to track the movements of the visitor on the operator's web site. Another analogy is that the cookie "brands" the user's computer with profile information. Netscape and Microsoft browsers allow cookies. America Online does not. Netscape and Microsoft, however, do limit the number of cookies on a hard drive, kicking the oldest out first or kicking them out by the expiration dates they contain. Cookies come in two flavors - persistent and session. Persistent cookies remain in a visitor's hard drive after a session of visiting a web site is over, versus session cookies that end with the session. The view that cookies are only beneficial and benign is half-baked, as is the view that they are inherently evil. Not all cookies are created equal. Some could be beneficial, and some could be toxic. One commentator categorizes cookies as "the good, the bad, and the ugly" (Hertzoff, 1996). The good cookie allows the web site operator to customize the web site for the visitor's convenience. The bad, according to the commentator, permits the web site operator to track the visitor's movements, collecting data to use for marketing and for sharing with other marketers."
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"The first category of information that troubles users is misinformation, information judged to be false, out of date, or incomplete in a misleading way. Because there are so many providers of information and opinions on the Internet, in so many forums, and because there is no practical check on people putting out whatever they might, there is sure to be a high percentage of unreliable content mixed in with what may be more credible. The problem is when a user cannot distinguish which is which. It is hardly a new issue to wonder about the accuracy of the information one can encounter in texts (books, newspapers, television, or whatever) or in the discourse of everyday life. There is nothing unique about the electronic universe in this regard, except that the people who are creating and putting out the information are usually even more invisible. People generally assume the reliability of certain providers of information (the Encyclopedia Britannica or the local telephone directory). In some areas, they may know enough to evaluate that credibility against their own expertise in certain matters. But often they will rely on indirect proxies of credibility, such as a professional degree, an institutional identification, or--in face-to-face encounters--elements of style, appearance, or manners. In the context of the Internet some of these indicators may still be usable; others have little meaning at all. The providers of information on the Internet, even more than in other media, operate through surrogates of representation. Users see of them only what they choose to represent about themselves and users may have very little additional information against which to judge their claims."
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