TOURBUS: Thursday, December 26, 1996
DRIVER: Bob Rankin

Greetings one and all! This is (almost) the final TOURBUS posting for 1996. I do plan to send out a special year-end message on Dec. 31st, but let me just say it's been a great year on the World's Largest Bus. I do enjoy hearing from riders whether it's just a kind word or another reminder that I used "it's" incorrectly. ;-)

Today, we're going to explore audio on the Net, but let me first put in a plug for the sponsors who've helped to make TOURBUS possible this year. If you didn't get what you wanted for Christmas, check out their wares and buy it online!

   FREE Coupons on great apparel brands like Timberland, Duck Head,
  Woolrich, and Calvin Klein. Just sign up at Aardwulf Apparel's web
 store. Since they're electronic, they'll never clutter your drawers!
---------------------( )----------------------

Wave To Me, Midi

My sound card died about a year ago, and I finally got a new one this month. That was the best $35 I've spent in a long time, because it's really made the Web a lot more fun and interesting.

The Net offers a bewildering array of sound formats - AU, WAV, MIDI, RealAudio and more. You can hear sound clips, music or radio broadcasts if you know where to click, but getting it all to work can be tricky. Here are a few tips I've picked up in my cyber-audio journey.

  1. The Hardware
    This might seem obvious, but you do need a sound card in your computer to hear music or other audio sources. I got a Gallant 16-bit sound card from Surplus Direct ( and it sounds decent even with the cheap speakers that came with my PC.

    Installing a sound card and getting it to work with your CD-ROM can be a bit tricky. If you have trouble, these web sites might help:

    Playing audio is compute-intensive, so a '486 or a fairly recent Mac is going to help a lot. You'll get by with a 14.4 modem, but 28.8 is strongly recommended since most sound files are pretty large.

  2. The Software
    Most sound cards come bundled with audio software, but your best bet is to upgrade to either Netscape V3 or Internet Explorer and use the built-in sound players. Configuring a web browser to use your own audio player is possible, but not fun.

    But if you're going to download sound files and play them while you're offline, you might want to check here for a bunch of links to audio software:

    One sound plugin I highly recommend is the RealAudio software available for free at - it's a nifty technology that allows you to hear "webcasts" from radio stations and other online sources without waiting for the entire file to download.

Finding Sound on the Web

More and more Web pages have sound files embedded so they just magically start playing when you arrive. But if you're looking for some cool sound effects, music or broadcasts, try or check at for a listing of RealAudio broadcast sites and times. My favorite: CNET Radio at

Can I Get Sound Files By E-Mail?

You can get anything from the Web using e-mail! Find out how in my free guide "Accessing The Internet By E-Mail". To get the latest edition, send e-mail to: and enter only this line in the BODY of the note:

send usenet/news.answers/internet-services/access-via-email

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Stupid Computer Joke of the Week

   Enhanced DOS: "File not found. Should I fake it? (Y/N)"

See you all on the 31st! -Bob
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