Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 20:08:14 -0500 From: Bob Rankin
Reply to: TOURBUS-REQUEST@LISTSERV.AOL.COM To: Multiple recipients of list TOURBUS Subject: TOURBUS - Jan 09 1996 - Alta Vista, Baby! /~~~~~~~~~|~~~~~~~~~~~~/~~~~~~~~|~~~~~~~~~~|~~~~~~~~~~/~~~|~\ | "Why | Surf When / You Can | Ride The | Bus?" / | \ |__________|__________/__________|__________|________/ | \ / /______|----\ / Send INFO TOURBUS to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.AOL.COM ///////| | | Or visit http://csbh.mhv.net/~bobrankin/tourbus |//////| | | |//////| | ~~~/~~~\~/~~~\~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~/~~~\~~~~ \___/ \___/ T h e I n t e r n e t T o u r B u s \___/ TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP: ALTA VISTA TOURBUS ADDRESS ----> http://www.altavista.digital.com Move over, Lycos! There's a new kid on the block and he's bigger, better and faster than you. Oh, by the way... this is Bob. Patrick and I switched days *again* due to the LISTSERV problem last week. Just for the record, we tried to send out a Tuesday post last week, but LISTSERV was frozen solid and we had to use the 6000-amp TOURBUS battery to jump start it. Everything appears to be working now, but there's a massive snowstorm assaulting the eastern US, so I hope this Bus makes it through... Patrick will be with you every Thursday now, but he did want me to make one very important announcement: --> Due to the overwhelming demand (six people - all Yankees no doubt), --> Patrick has created a SOUTHERN WORD OF THE DAY archive on the Web! --> Check it out at http://ua1vm.ua.edu/~crispen/word.html Webis Caninus ------------- And just one more little thing - remember that crack Patrick made about my face in the last issue? Little does he know, I am actually a Shetland Sheepdog. You can see my face and decide for yourself whether or not it poses a risk to society. (Go to http://csbh.mhv.net/~bobrankin and click on the sketch to see the "real" me.) Alta Vista, Finally ------------------- Alta Vista is a tres cool Internet search tool developed by Digital. This newcomer to the field boasts a database of over 16,000,000 web pages and some 13,000 Usenet newsgroups. Just feed it a search word or two and Alta Vista hits you with the results before you can lift your finger from the mouse button. According to Digital, "ALTA VISTA is the result of a research project started in the summer of 1995 at Digital's Research Laboratories in Palo Alto, California. By combining a fast Web crawler with scalable indexing software, the team was able to build a large index of over 16,000,000 pages. Since announcing the site about three weeks ago, they are handling over two million requests per day using some high-powered hardware and software developed by researchers at Digital. One-Stop Shopping ----------------- The really nice thing about Alta Vista is that it can query both the Web and Usenet newsgroups. And my testing shows that it finds 5 TO 10 TIMES the number of hits that Lycos, InfoSeek or WebCrawler can muster. And the Lycos home page STILL says they are "10X larger" than any other web searcher almost a month after Alta Vista's arrival - Oops. I got a kick out of the fact that Webcrawler and InfoSeek didn't even know about Alta Vista when I ran queries there! Some other notable features of Alta Vista are: * Boolean searching with AND, OR, NOT and NEAR operators * Case-sensitive and quoted-string searching * Ability to search on portions of a URL And though this is not advertised, it appears that Alta Vista will do a Usenet search if your Web search comes up empty. That's really slick. Attach Drool Bibs Securely, Please ---------------------------------- In case you're interested in the technical details, the Alta Vista system consists of 5 networked computers. (Rumors that a squirrel-powered generator supplies power to the site could not be substantiated.) * The AlphaStation 250 4/266, (with 4 GB disk and 196 MB memory) handles all the HTTP traffic to the site, running a multi-threaded Web server. * The AlphaServer 8400 5/300, (with 210 GB RAID disk, 4 GB memory, 8 processors), the largest machine built by Digital, builds the index using pages sent by Scooter. It currently serves a Web index of 30 GB, but most requests take under a second. * Scooter is a DEC 3000 Model 900 (30 GB of RAID disk, 1GB memory). The "super-spider" runs from this machine, fetching pages from the Web and sending them to the Web Indexer. * Two additional computers, sporting 37 GB of disk and 350 MB of memory handle the Usenet spool and indexing for the system. If you don't know a gigabyte from a garden burger, let me translate the preceding information for you from the original Geek: "YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOoooooowwww! This is one hot little number." It makes the 486 on your desk look like the "+" key on one of those cheap solar-powered calculators. Roughly speaking, this getup has about 400 times the capacity of the lump of plastic and silicon that graces my desk. But hey, I've got got a nice blue "INTERNAUT" bumper sticker on mine! Squealing Off The Lot --------------------- Let's take this baby for a test drive and show off what it can do. I ran a simple query on "TOURBUS" at four different search sites and found the number of hits varied widely: --> Alta Vista=800+, Lycos=186, Infoseek=70, WebCrawler=24 Not bad, but can this thing find any hits on "snarch" (the funniest word in the English language)? Sure enough, there are two: - Evelyn Snarch, BA'33, McGill University - Law Firm "Snarch & Allen", Vancouver BC The other guys were positively Snarch-less. OK, here's one more that illustrates several of the fancy features in one shot... Let's say we want to find all the web pages that contain "Boardwatch Magazine" but are NOT resident on the Boardwatch web site. Kind of a "who's talking" scan. Try: "Boardwatch Magazine" AND NOT www.boardwatch.com Tick, tick, tick... three seconds later we have another 800 hits. And just in case you're wondering how many web pages contain the word "the" - Alta Vista authoritatively answers: "about 10,000,000". Sky So Blue ----------- This kind of technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we deal with information. We're on the brink of being able to make the sum total of written human knowledge available and searchable by ordinary schmucks. (Gee, I hope that's not a cuss word anywhere.) The mere fact that you are reading this means you have a tremendous advantage over your friends and colleagues who are not "wired". Access to scientific data, government records, and historical documents; recipes, art, news, and the collective wit and wisdom of the online community empowers you in a way you can probably not begin to imagine. Make it a personal goal to start realizing that potential this year! +-------------> Earn Transferrable College Credit Online <---------------+ | Seven University of Wisconsin-Stout courses begin 2/5/96 on America | | Online. Register now for "Critical Thinking and Issues Analysis". To | | visit UW-Stout's virtual campus on AOL use keyword "EUN". | +-------- Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-232-2693 ----------+ ====================================================================== SUBSCRIBE : Send SUBSCRIBE TOURBUS Firstname Lastname to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.AOL.COM unSUBSCRIBE: Send SIGNOFF TOURBUS to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.AOL.COM Web Site : http://csbh.mhv.net/~bobrankin/tourbus (stop in for back issues and the logo contest) Advertising: E-mail BobRankin@MHV.net w/ Subject: SEND TBRATES ====================================================================== TOURBUS - (c) Copyright 1996, Patrick Crispen and Bob Rankin All rights reserved. Redistribution is allowed only with permission. Send this copy to 3 friends and tell them to get on the Bus!