Date: Wed, 23 Jul 1997 16:47:05 -0400
From: crispen@INTERNIC.NET
Subject: TOURBUS TOP TEN -- 24 JULY 1997 -- DOGPILE

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Hi, kids!  (Actually, considering that I am in Austin, Texas, as I write
this, I guess it would be a little more appropriate if I said "HOWDY, kids"
instead).  :)

Since this is the last of our "top ten" series commemorating TOURBUS'
second birthday ("MINE!"), I figured that I would celebrate this occasion
by sharing with you a bit of e-mail that I thought was hysterical.

This following comes from my dad, who was kind enough to write last
Thursday's TOURBUS post about the Mars Pathfinder.  According to my dad, he
found the following "press release" on a VRML discussion list earlier this


     Valles Marineris (MPI) - A spokesthing for Mars Air Force
     denounced as false rumors that an alien space craft crashed in
     the desert, outside of Ares Vallis on Friday.  Appearing at a
     press conference today, General Rgrmrmy The Lesser, stated that
     "the object was, in fact, a harmless high-altitude weather
     balloon, not an alien spacecraft".

     The story broke late Friday night when a major stationed at
     nearby Ares Vallis Air Force Base contacted the Valles Marineris
     Daily Record with a story about a strange, balloon-shaped object
     which allegedly came down in the nearby desert, "bouncing"
     several times before coming to a stop, "deflating in a sudden
     explosion of alien gases".  Minutes later, General Rgrmrmy The
     Lesser contacted the Daily Record telepathically to contradict
     the earlier report.  General Rgrmrmy The Lesser stated that
     hysterical stories of a detachable vehicle roaming across the
     Martian desert were blatant fiction, provoked by incidences
     involving swamp gas.  But the general public has been slow to
     accept the Air Force's explanation of recent events, preferring
     to speculate on the "other-worldly" nature of the crash debris.
     Conspiracy theorists have condemned Rgrmrmy's statements as
     evidence of "an obvious government cover-up", pointing out that
     Mars has no swamps.

I thought you'd get a kick out of that (personally, I am *still* laughing
about the word "spokesTHING").  Anyway, here is some important information
from the folks who are paying to keep our little bus on the road.  Make
sure to thank them for their support!

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the corner you get PAID.  Click on it and get PAID again, up to $20 a
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Picking my last "top ten" site was pretty difficult.  Looking back on all
of the TOURBUS posts that I have written over the past two years, I was
amazed at how many really cool sites we have visited.  From Mercury Mail
back on August 14th, to cnet on September 10th and 12th, to Seidman's
Online Insider on September 26th, to Peter Langston's Fun_People list on
December 12th . . . we have visited some majorly cool sites!

But my last (and probably favorite) TOURBUS "top ten" site is Dogpile.  If
you have been on the bus for a while, you will probably remember we pulled
our little bus of Internet happiness into the MetaCrawler search engine
( back on April 11th.  At the time, MetaCrawler
was my favorite search engine.  MetaCrawler would send your search query to
ALL of the Web's biggest search engines: Open Text, Lycos, WebCrawler,
InfoSeek, Excite, Inktomi, Alta Vista, Galaxy and Yahoo.  MetaCrawler then
would collate the results and throw away all of the redundant URLs (the
same URLs repeated in different databases).

Well, thanks to a suggestion from a dear friend of mine in Texas (thank
you, Michelle!), your fearless listowner has found a new search engine that
may actually be even better than MetaCrawler (imagine that!).  The search
engine is called "Dogpile" and it can be found on the World Wide Web at

As with most of the advanced search engines, you'll need a forms-capable
Web browser -- like Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Internet Explorer, NCSA
Mosaic, etc. -- to be able to use Dogpile.

Aaron Flin created Dogpile as

     ... the result of one person's search for a better search. It
     started when I got extremely frustrated with searching Yahoo and
     finding too few or no results and then trying AltaVista and
     getting 30000 or more documents.

     Naturally I tried other meta-search engines, some of which were
     very impressive, incorporating powerful features. However none
     would search starting with the search engine that gives the most
     focused results (in my opinion, Yahoo) moving on to search
     engines which, while not as focused, return more results. Further
     those other multiple search engine gateways would not allow the
     use of advanced syntax such as NEAR, which I use all the time, or
     leave in the option to get more pages from any search engine
     which returns more than 10 matches.

     [quoted from]

So, Aaron created a meta-search engine that is both sequential (sending
your queries to specific search engines based on the number and quality of
"hits" that that search engine usually returns) and expandable (if
AltaVista and Lycos each have 100 hits for your query, Dogpile will display
the first 10 from each, and then give you the option of seeing the rest of
those 100 hits from either -- or both -- AltaVista or Lycos).  Best of all,
Dogpile send lets you search the Web ... and Usenet ... *AND* FTP!

Dogpile sends your Web queries to (in order) Yahoo!, Lycos' A2Z, Excite
Guide, World Wide Web Worm, WWW Yellow Pages , What U Seek, Lycos,
WebCrawler, InfoSeek, OpenText, AltaVista, Excite, and HotBot.  Dogpile
also searches through Usenet using Hotbot News,, Dejanews,
Excite News, Infoseek News, AltaVista, and Dejanews' old Database.
Finally, Dogpile uses Filez, FTP Search, and Snoopie to search through FTP
(but only the first word in your query will be passed on to these FTP
search engines).

While Dogpile's interface looks a lot like every other search engine you
may have used, Dogpile does have a few unique features that you probably
should know about.  First, Dogpile lets you choose up to two "media" that
you want it to search in.  For example, you can have Dogpile search for the
word "Squirrel" on the Web and then search for that word in Usenet.  For
most of you, though, you'll probably just want to have Dogpile search
through the Web for your query and then stop.

Also, Dogpile lets you set a "maximum wait" time for your search.  This can
be anywhere between 10 and 60 seconds.

Running a search through Dogpile is pretty easy.  For example, I had
Dogpile search for the word "TOURBUS" on the Web, and Dogpile found:

     - 4 documents on Yahoo!
     - 0 documents on Lycos A2Z
     - 1 document on Excite Guide Search
     - 259 documents on Lycos (Dogpile only showed the first 10, but
       it provided links to where I can view the other 249 documents)
     - 5 documents on the WWW Yellow Pages

Since I had set my maximum wait time to 60 seconds, and since the World
Wide Web Worm search engine did not respond in 60 seconds, Dogpile gave up
on that search.  But, Dogpile did find a HUGE list of links from those
first 5 search engines!  (By the way, at the bottom of the page of links
that Dogpile found was a button that said "Next Set of Search Engines" ...
Dogpile still had *7* more search engines that it could have used if I had
not found what I was searching for in that first batch of search engines!).

Searching for something on the Net can be one of the most frustrating
things you ever do.  With so many search engines out there, and with each
search engine returning different results, it is hard to know where to
start.  Dogpile really does solve this problem.

Folks, I think I have found a new favorite search engine.  :)

WAIT ... there's more!  Aaron Flin has informed me (repeatedly, in fact),
that he has a *NEW* Meta search engine that may even be better than
Dogpile!  Be looking for a post on that in a few weeks!



HEP-DESK (phrase) - A technical support center.
Usage: "'puter's broke?  Call the hep-desk!"

(Special thanks to me for today's word)

[By the way ... that's "you-ay-won-eye-ex"]

  For info on my new book "Atlas for the Information Superhighway"

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