Frequently Asked Questions:

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Answers to Your Internet Questions

Is there an Internet question you'd like to see answered in a future edition of Website Compass? Email your question to

To assist him in answering your question as specifically as possible, be sure to include the following: the name of the browser you are using (i.e. Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0, Firefox 2.0, etc.), the name of the email software you are using (i.e. Microsoft Outlook Express 6.0, OS 10.4 Mail, etc.), and the version of your system software (i.e. Windows 98, Windows XP, etc.)

QUESTION: Can you explain the difference between megabits per second (Mbps) and megabytes per second (MBps)?

These two terms and their corresponding acronyms are commonly confused, so thanks for letting me set the record straight.

Megabits per second (Mbps) is a measurement of internet SPEED. Internet speeds (download and upload) will usually be listed with a number, followed by Mbps. For example, you may have a 25 Mbps/10 Mbps internet connection at your home, meaning it provides up to 25 Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed. The more megabits per second you get from your internet connection, the less time it will take to complete an online task such as downloading a file.

Megabytes per second (MBps) is a measurement of file SIZE. MBps refers to the amount of data transferred back and forth, usually as a file or other package. To give you an idea of what's in a megabyte, a short novel would be about one megabyte and a digital X-ray would be about 10 megabytes.

QUESTION: What does "ephemeral content" mean, and what are some examples?

By definition, ephemeral means lasting a very short time. In the social media landscape, ephemeral content refers to photo or video posts that last for no more than 24 hours and then disappear forever.

Ephemeral content was brought into the public consciousness by Snapchat, the app launched in 2011 under its orginal name, Picaboo. Snapchat is popular, especially with young people, partly because of the lack of pressure associated with posting on it. Users didn't have to worry about a future boss, for example, stumbling across an incriminating photo posted a few years ago. Snapchat photos don't stay around.

Instagram added an ephemeral redesign of its direct messaging feature in 2017. Now Instagram users can send disappearing photos and videos alongside text.

The growing use of ephemeral content points to a shift in attitudes toward photos and videos. Studies suggest that millennials, also known as generation Snapchat, rarely look at old photos. They don't see them as a way to remember the past. Instead, they use photos as a quick, disposable means of communication – a way to say "I was here" or "these are my friends" during a particular moment.

QUESTION: Is there a way to stop autoplay videos on YouTube? I don't like it when a video I didn't select just starts playing.

It's easy to disable YouTube's autoplay feature. The next time you play a YouTube video in your browser, simply click on the small blue toggle switch next to "Autoplay" on the right-hand side of the screen above the "Up next" column. YouTube will note this preference and quit automatically playing videos when the one you're watching is done.