From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 20 Sep 05 - The Top 22 - Part 2


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, where we welcome our new sea lion overlords. [See ]

On with the show...

Each year or so I create a list--well, it's actually a handout-- titled "The Internet Tourbus Guide to the Most Useful Sites in the World." It's been a while since I've updated my Tourbus Guide, so over five posts we're going to stop at 22 of my favorite internet sites and tools.

Today is the second post in our five post servies. You can find my previous post in the Tourbus archives at

5. Slashdot

Okay, I'll admit I STILL don't understand half the stuff that is posted to Slashdot. But that doesn't stop me from visiting Slashdot several times a day.

Eight years ago this month, Rob Malda created, a free web site that is part technology news summary, part blog, part threaded discussion board, part online community, and part geek snowball fight. In fact, the name "" was specifically chosen to confuse newbies [Read the following full URL out loud and you'll hear what I'm talking about: ""]

Several times a day the Slashdot editors post summaries about and links to technology news stories from around the world. For example, as I write today's post, Slashdot's 20 top news stories include:

  • IT: Computer Security Still Totally Inadequate
  • [Apparently Firefox and/or Mac users are in for a rude awakening in the not-too-distant future.]

  • Wikipedia's New Archnemesis
  • [There is a new online encyclopedia named "Uncyclopedia" that stands for everything Wikipedia opposes: misinformation, satire, and lies.]

  • Linux: Ulrich Drepper On The LSB
  • [Mr. Drepper is less than pleased with LSB.]

    Most of the people who visit Slashdot daily are techies so expect to see a LOT of articles you won't understand [like, for example, that last one about LSB.] But mixed in with the geek stuff are technology news stories that actually apply to everyone [like, for example, that story about Firefox and Mac users not being a secure as they expect.]

    What separates Slashdot from other tech news sites is that in addition to providing you with [relatively] up-to-date technology news, Slashdot readers also have the ability to leave comments about any of Slashdot's news stories. Just click on "Read More" beneath a story's summary to see the comments.

    If you have ever read an online discussion board, you know that the conversation often gets off-topic or even downright inappropriate ["*cough* USENET".] Slashdot tries to overcome this problem by using a moderation system where every comment posted can be "modded" up or down based on the comment's content. Helpful, insightful, or just plain funny comments get a high score [up to a score of 5] and bad comments get a low score [all the way down to -1.] When you read Slashdot's comments, just choose a pretty high "threshold" in the pull-down list before the first comment to weed out the garbage. If you do this, I guarantee you that at least one Slashdot comment will provide you with information that the accompanying news article failed to include. I can't begin to tell you the number of insights [and laughs] I have gained from Slashdot's comments over the past eight years.

    Even with a high threshold, though, be prepared for foul language. The tech community is not the most genteel group. You'll also soon discover that the Slashdot community is violently pro-Linux, pro- Apache, pro-BSD, and anti-Microsoft, anti-RIAA, and anti-SCO. That said, Slashdot is still well worth the trip, especially if you want to stay up-to-date with what is going on in the tech world.

    6. Gizmodo

    Created by Peter Rojas back in August of 2002, Gizmodo is a constantly updated collection of stories and reviews about the latest must-have gadgets. Gizmodo is a little like Slashdot with pictures and fewer flame wars. The site offers one paragraph snippets of gadget information from other sources along with links to where you can find more information about a particular tech product or issue.

    Gizmodo's editors do a great job of finding both neat and weird gadgets to talk about each day, and most of Gizmodo's entries are downright informative. For example,

  • Iogear [one of my favorite hardware companies] is now selling a
  • Wi-Fi detector that can fit on a keychain:

  • LaCie [another cool hardware manufacturer] has made an 8 Gb
  • external USB drive that is no bigger than a credit card:

  • Apple may be integrating web cams into the cases of future

  • laptops:

    7. Engadget

    Gizmodo-founder Peter Rojas left the site in 2004 to create a new blog called "Engadget" that is, in my humble opinion, a touch more family- friendly than Gizmodo. [Gizmodo occasionally links to stories that might offend some people, but that really doesn't happen all that often.] You can find Engadget at

    Like Gizmodo, Engadget offers one paragraph snippets of gadget news and reviews with links to more in-depth coverage. The site also offers some entertaining, informative, and extremely popular podcasts at

    While both Gizmodo and Engadget talk about the latest gadgets, I've discovered that the two blogs complement each other quite nicely.

    8. Woot!

    According to our anonymous friends at Wikipedia,

    The term "w00t" is a slang interjection used to express happiness or excitement, usually over the Internet.

    Updated daily at midnight central time [GMT -6, I think], is an online shopping site that sells one name-brand electronics item a day at insanely cheap prices, hence the site's "one day, one deal" motto. The only catch is that the site has extremely limited quantities. You snooze, you lose.

    You may find a digital camera one day, a data projector the next, and a DVD-burner the day after that. That's one of the cool things about Woot: You have no idea what the site is going to offer next. Even if you never buy anything at Woot, the site's product descriptions are downright hysterical as is the FAQ.

    The Next Best Thing

    Linda from Marlinton, West Virginia recently wrote and said "The next best thing to Tourbus is the Smart Computing magazine that you guys recommend. I've been getting it since last summer and it has solved numerous problems for me and my friends." Thanks, Linda!

    We hope other Tourbus riders will discover the Plain English answers to their computing questions that Smart Computing delivers every month. Do you want to speed up your PC? Eliminate the threat of computer viruses? Get rid of spyware and keep hackers out? Try Smart Computing today -- get your FREE TRIAL issue NOW!

    That's it for today. Next week we'll look at sites 9 through 12. Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon.

    .~~~. )) (\__/) .' ) )) Patrick Douglas Crispen /o o \/ .~ {o_, \ { / , , ) \ `~ -' \ } )) AOL Instant Messenger: Squirrel2K _( ( )_.' ---..{____} Warning: squirrels.

    The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
    Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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