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So You Think You Can Tech: The Address Bar

Tech Tuesday with Jacksonville Public Library

#TechTuesday with E-Services

Welcome back to another installment of So You Think You Can Tech with the Jacksonville Public Library. Last time we talked a bit about internet browsers. Today I would like to expand on them a bit more by introducing you to the Address Bar. Before we get started, I want to remind you of the metaphor we used last time to talk about browsers. That they are cars on a road that is the internet. 

What is the Address Bar? 

I’m glad you asked, fair reader. The Address Bar is a critical part of any browser, it is also the part most people miss when they first open a browser. You are probably reading this in a browser right now, if so look at the top of the screen.  See that long bar with jaxpubliclibrary.org followed by what seems like a stream of nonsense? That’s the Address Bar. 

What do I do with it? 

The Address Bar is used, in modern browsers, for two separate tasks: direct navigation and searching. Let’s take a look at both. 

Direct Navigation 

You see them all the time, web addresses. Coke.com, NASA.gov, dcps.duvalschools.org, and more, so many more. Regardless of the .com, .edu, .org, .gov, these all represent locations on the internet, same as your home address is the location of that place. When we want to go to these locations directly we simply click in the Address Bar and type the address followed by the ENTER key. Then, boom, you’re there. It might take a minute, it might be an instant, but as soon as you hit that fabled key your computer does the rest, navigating the ‘roads’ of the internet to reach your destination. 

Searching 

Sometimes though, you don’t know a sites address, or you don’t know that there is even a site for what you are looking for. In those cases, the Address Bar can still be a real asset. Remember how I said under Direct Navigation that, if you know an address you just click on the Address Bar and type it? Well the same is true for when you are searching for something. Want to find out how to change a tire? Then type how do I change a tire and hit ENTER. Need to know where the nearest Thai place is? Type Thai food near me. Gone are the days of complex Boolean logic-based searches. Ask the address bar like you were asking someone where the Library is. 

Is there anything I shouldn’t do with the Address Bar? 

The one thing you really shouldn’t do with the Address Bar is type your email address into it. I know, it sounds counter intuitive. An email address is supposed to be a place on the internet so why can’t someone just type their address there? Good question, I am glad you asked. The Address Bar is not meant for email addresses, it is meant for web addresses. It’s a fine distinction to be sure but remember this, if you are trying to type an address into the Address Bar and you have to type the @ sign then you are not typing the right thing. What you should be typing is what comes after the @, the domain. So instead of typing username@domain.com into your address bar just type domain.com. 

Now what? 

Well if you are asking the Address Bar questions and going to websites then you are off to a great start. Once you get comfortable with that, we are going to talk about Search Engines, which are vital tools in the kit you are building. 

Until then, have fun, find adventure, and stay safe. 

Important Reminder

Don't forget! E-Services will be offering online classes starting July 6th, including Job Searching Online, Creating Resumes with Templates, Creating a Budget, Email and the Cloud, and Web Design for Small Businesses and Side Hustles. Check back soon for more info.

Meet the Author

John Carter, Tech Tuesday, Tech TipsHusband, Father, Digital Artist, and Teacher, these are but a few of the hats John Carter wears. If he is not at one of our many public libraries hosting a computer class or helping someone in an appointment you can find John working in his yard practicing hügelkultur, hidden away sketching and writing, making a pilgrimage to Disney World, or trying new recipes in the kitchen.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Jacksonville Public Library