TOURBUS: Tuesday, September 10, 1996
DRIVER: Patrick Crispin

It seems that my fear of Tuscaloosa's impending "thunder sun" attack caused me to make a little mistake in last Thursday's bus (GASP!). To subscribe to CNET's "News-Dispatch," you should actually send an e-mail letter to

(note: there is no "e" at the end of "listserv") with the command

subscribe news-dispatch YOURFIRSTNAME YOURLASTNAME

in the body of your e-mail letter, replacing YOURFIRSTNAME and YOURLASTNAME with your first and last names.

Talking about Laura Palmer, I am proud to introduce today's TOURBUS sponsor (and yes, that abrupt "Laura Palmer" segue is an obscure Twin Peaks reference) ...

*----------------------*  Be A CyberGourmand! *----------------------*
    Twin Peaks Gourmet Trading Post - a Cornucopia of Pleasurable
  Edibles. Sauces, Spices, Salsas, and Sweets. Indulge your Desires.
*------------------------( )-----------------------*


Trying to describe CNET ("see-net") is a little like trying to describe United Technologies (that mega-company that owns Pratt & Whitney, Otis Elevator, Sikorsky Helicopters, Carrier Air Conditioners, the State of Montana, etc.). CNET: The Computer Network is a content-driven technology company that offers both television programming and a bunch of really cool sites on the World Wide Web.

CNET's Web sites include:

  • CNET.COM, one of the best sites on the Web for the latest news, product reviews, and information about computers and the Internet;
  • SHAREWARE.COM, an online software library with over 190,000 freeware and shareware programs;
  • NEWS.COM, the first online service devoted entirely to technology news; and
  • SEARCH.COM, a huge collection of pointers to pretty much every search engine on the Net.
Since CNET is so huge -- you could literally spend all day in any one of their Web sites and still not see everything on that site -- we're going to break our tour of CNET into several different TOURBUS posts. Today, we are going to pull our little bus of Internet happiness into CNET's main Web page.

CNET is a free, advertiser-supported service, but you do have to be a "subscriber" to be able to access some of CNET's files and services. The subscription is free, and you just need to click on the "Join now for FREE" link in the upper left-hand corner of CNET's page (or go to to subscribe. You will need a forms-capable browser to do this, though.

CNET's main Web page ( is broken into three sections. The left-hand side of the page (the yellow part) is a directory of all of CNET's "departments." The middle part of the page has links to CNET's newest or most popular articles and pages. The far right-hand side of the page contains links to other stuff. (CNET updates its pages on an (almost) daily basis, so it is kind of hard to describe what you are actually going to find in the middle and right-hand parts of the page). :)

For now, let's take a quick look at what CNET has to offer by focusing our attention on the left-hand (yellow) part of CNET's page. CNET has ten major departments, and we're going to visit the first three today.

CNET's first major department is NEWS (, which has two sections:

Now that CNET has launched NEWS.COM, clicking on the "Top Stories" link will take you to NEWS.COM (which we talked about in last Thursday's TOURBUS). The CNET radio link takes you to a page that offers three new technology-based Real Audio "radio" interviews or audio clips each day that you can play on your browser.

CNET's second major department is REVIEWS (, and this department alone could fill a single TOURBUS post. The REVIEWS department has 6 sections:

  • Hot list - reviews of the absolute best hardware and software that the folks at CNET have seen. The Hot List is updated every Friday.
  • Just in - the latest reviews of the best (and worst) hardware and software.
  • All comparisons - comparative reviews (i.e., Netscape vs. Internet Explorer; the best Internet Service Provider; etc.). Hands-down my favorite part of CNET. Check it out and you will see why.
  • CD-ROM central - in-depth reviews of pretty much every CD ROM ever made. Before you head out to the computer store, visit this page!
  • Best of the Web - reviews of the best Web sites on the Net. CNET only reviews 5 pages a week, so they are pretty exclusive. Make sure that you visit both the "new reviews" and the archives of the old "Best of the Web" winners.
  • List all - a collection of reviews from the "Just in" and "All comparisons" pages.
The last CNET department that we are going to visit today is FEATURES. FEATURES is a little like an online magazine, and it has four sections:
  • Techno - articles about the latest technology (JAVA, Mbone, Digital satellite TV, etc.)
  • How to - how-to tips on everything from improving Netscape to upgrading your processor.
  • Digital life - articles telling you how to take all of this Internet stuff and improve your REAL life (remember that?).
  • List all - stuff from each of the above sections.
I'm going to end today's tour here (I think I have given you plenty of pages to check out). Before I go, though, I do want to say that when I first started using CNET I found it easier (and a little bit less confusing) to go directly to each department's sections instead of going to that department's main homepage. For example, try going to the FEATURES department main homepage at

and then try going to the FEATURES department Techno section at

It may be just me, but I think that the sections are a little easier to understand :)

*--------------------------*  ONLINE COURSES  *----------------------*
 Do you want to keep your job AND take courses?  Univ. of Wisconsin-
  Stout provides facilitated & self-paced courses online.  For info
   visit "" or e-mail "".
, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
TOURBUS Site Search