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Welcome to Tom's Computer Course "Refreshing 101".

I've written this article because too often people email or call me asking why they can't see the information that I promised would be on the webpage next week. I've even had clients call me after I've updated their website saying that they're still seeing the old content on their browser, and question whether the updates were ever done. My reply ... hit your "Refresh" button! 

Sometimes I forget I'm a great grandpa when it comes to computers.  Not many great grandpas started working with computers in the 1960s as I did. So please forgive me for my occasional lapses in memory and not realizing that the real computer and Internet revolution actually began in the 1990s.  So I'm attempting to solve this issue by introducing you to Tom's computer course "Refreshing 101"

First, let's first begin with What does Refresh Mean? The word "Refresh" can have a lot of meaning that most of us understood pretty well before the age of computers; with meanings such as revive, cool down, renew Invigorate, restore, recharge, revitalize, to just name a few.  In the English language most of us tend to not realize that we use a lot of the same words, generally in different sentences and/or when telling different stories, to communicate or express ourselves.  The word "Refresh" is no different. 

In the world of computers however, a specific (computer language) meaning for the word "Refresh" has arisen.  In computer language it simply means to "renew" or more precisely defined it means to bring up the most current contents or new contents that the Webmaster has displayed on the webpage you are currently viewing. By the way, a webmaster is the person or persons who produce the content that is displayed on your computer screen when you're searching the Internet.

Let me briefly explained why the word "Refresh" it is so important, in the computer age.  OK, if you are under 40, I am probably going to bore you as my kids who are within that age range (acutely they say Dad, you are boring me to death) when they hear me discussing computers with those closer to my generation.

OK, if you are reading on further after that above silly statement either computers were never your thing (not your generation), but, now you're being forced to use them so you can communicate with your kids on their Facebook webpage, or you have joined the 21st-century organization that finds it more cost-effective to send you emails or have you check their webpage frequently to find out what's happening next week or next month in the organization that you're joined. Whatever happened to the US Postal Service, does it still exist? Okay, enough of the fooling around, the fact is, in some ways computers have made our lives much more efficient and even have brought pleasure to them.

So on with Tom's Computer Course "Refreshing 101".

When it comes to computers and the world wide web and refreshing, what we are actually, in computer language, talking about is browser cache or caching.  Something still of extremely great necessity, especially when it comes to dial-up internet which is a very slow transfer of date the phone lines.  Unfortunately, some of us living out in the sticks can still only get dial-up internet, and will likely remain that way for at least another 20 to 30 years in some of the most remote areas of the United States. In other countries less fortunate that than ours, they're just now experiencing dial-up Internet with high-speed Internet nowhere in the foreseeable future.  And, something else for us to think about, many of us cannot always afford the cost of high speed internet.

Cache or caching is something that has almost from internet day one, and has been built into every common internet browser from the beginning of the PC and internet revolution.  An internet browser is of course the thing (software program) on your computer you use to surf the internet to look for information about our favorite pet, car, or talk to your kids on Facebook*, etc..  Cache or caching is simply a term used to describe an area on your hard drive where your software browser stores the webpage you just looked at, often referred to as browser history. And, without getting into a lot of other information that probably should be featured under a separate article titled Tom's Casher Caching 101. I am not going to talk about how long that information stays there, or how to remove it, were are just today going to talk about how to see the most current information that's available on a webpage.

There are several common popular internet browser out there such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer* (IE*)) Firefox* by Mazola*, Netscape* (now knows as AOL*), Google* or Google Chrome* and a few other Internet browsers out there, used by individuals who seem to live for computers and technology, and are always out there trying to find the newest latest and greatest thing.  And, like with just about everything else since the industrial revolution and the US Patent Office started taking control over our daily lives; everybody's idea, invention, comes with some kind of proprietary stamp on it; such as copyright, trademark, patent pending, etc... Well it's no different with Internet browsers!  Whether it's Microsoft's Internet Explorer*, Firefox*, Google's Chrome*, guess what, each one of them has a different button, or maybe a similar button, but found in a different place on your Internet browser window.  And, they all have a short cut key (a key or combination of keys) you have to push on your keyboard to get the page to "Refresh," bringing out the most current information the webmaster wants you to see.  The webmaster is the individual who creates the web pages you view online. This is where the problem arises, when you open up a website such as www.olympic, the webmaster may have made changes to the webpage five seconds before you opened up the webpage, and guess what you're seeing the old information and not the new information he/she just put up on the website. That's because your browser, in the interest of speed, may load the page from the browser "cache" on your hard disk rather than from the web (a page likely to be stored in your cache if you visited it previously).  You may ask why do webmasters not code into the website and auto refresh.  Well they do but internet browsers do not always respond to that command and I could spend hours complaining to you why this is so, but that is another lesson. Although this isn't much of an issue when you're browsing web sites that are not updated frequently, it can become a problem if you're visiting sites in which having the latest information is important, such as news sites or  Fortunately, there's a simple solution to this: You can refresh the page, forcing your browser to download the latest version from the web. Sorry dial-up users. To do so, click your web browser's "Refresh" button.  If you cannot find your refresh button just Google how to find it when using your internet browser.

You can also use the following keyboard shortcuts that were affective as of November 2012:

EarthLink 5.0 Browser: Press F5.

Microsoft Internet Explorer: Press F5 (Win) or Command-R (Mac).

Google Chrome CTRL+R Netscape Navigator: Press Ctrl-R (Win) or Command-R (Mac).

To refresh in Internet Explorer:  Press F5

Mozilla Firefox: Press Ctrl-R
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