Using Negative Space

What are these “URL” things?

A URL is an address on the information highway. It’s what your real address would look like if the Postal Service had their way: unreadable to humankind.

Most, if not all, web browsers allow you to “Open” URLs. So if someone gives you a URL, you can choose the “Open URL” or “Open Location” item (usually under the “File” menu; it’s just “G” under Lynx) and type the URL in. And off you go.

You can even make up your own URLs:

  • service://sitename/filepath

That’s your basic URL. To get to Negative Space, for example, you could use


My “site name” is If you don’t specify a “filepath”, you’ll get the default home page for Negative Space. So, the first item above gets to my main web page, and the second gets to my personal web page.

Many ‘sitenames’ start with ‘www.’ and end with ‘.com’. They do not have to, however. The site’s name is nothing more than the name of the site’s computer. It could just as well have been called ‘’ or ‘’. (The latter part, the ‘.com’ or ‘.org’ is the ‘top level domain’. Currently there are only a few, but this will change.)

Keeping bookmarks

Bookmarks allow you to keep a collection of useful pages. If you come to a page that you know you’ll want to come back to, you can make it a bookmark, and you won’t have to search the net for it later. You have a “bookmark menu” for keeping track of your bookmarks. One of the items is “add bookmarks” and the rest of the items are your bookmarks themselves.

Bookmarks save you a lot of time if you know you might want to come back to a particular page someday.

Internet Explorer calls these Favorites.

If you have lots of bookmarks, consider organizing them in folders. All major web browsers allow you to do this, in the same way that your e-mail software most likely allows you to organize your archived e-mail in separate folders.

Filling out forms, standing in line…

I’ve taken most of my e-mail addresses off of this site. Those that remain get a lot of spam, so it is usually more reliable to use the comment forms rather than send an e-mail.

Forms have buttons and boxes. You can press buttons, and type in boxes. Boxes have to be selected before you can type in them. Click on the box with your mouse, or move to it with your arrow keys in Lynx.

The on-line comments form is something I’d like you to know how to use. You can find a link to it on the bottom of most every page on Negative Space.

When you’ve finished filling out a form, there’s usually a button named something like Submit this Form or Send it in. You need to select that button to send the form off to us. Click on it with your mouse, or, using Lynx, move to it with your arrow keys and press return.

Very important! Just like in most things on your computer, you use the ‘tab’ key to move from field to field on the form. If you press the ‘return’ or ‘enter’ key, you run the risk of submitting the form incomplete. If there is only one field on the form, of course, you can usually use the ‘return’ key without trouble.

Using Text-Only Browsers

Well, the only text-only browser I know of is Lynx, and it works pretty well. I have, however, noticed that it usually comes with special-character recognition turned off. For example, on a text-only browser, you should see “æ” as “ae”. If you don’t, try this:

  1. In the Options (press “O”), there’s an option called “Character Set”.
  2. Set that to “7-bit approximations”.

This tells Lynx to convert the diacriticals and what-not for you.

Depending on what kind of a computer you’re using, you might be able to find a character set that actually shows the correct characters on your computer, but the 7-bit approximations ought to work for anyone.