From bobrankin@MHV.NET Thu Oct 30 23:20:00 1997
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 23:11:18 -0500
From: Bob Rankin 
Subject: TOURBUS - 30 OCT 1997 - THE WIRE

[ Patrick asked me to forward this to y'all.  --Bob ]

This post contains inline ASCII graphics which look best in a monospace
font like Courier.  Text-to-speech readers should turn off punctuation now.
    _________ ______________ ______ ________________________ ___ _
   /         |              /      |               |        /   | \
  |  Fun For | the Over-50 / Set at|! |       /    |  \
  |__________|____________/________|_______________|______/     |   \
 /                                                       /______|----\
|  Want to chat with celebrities? Participate in debates |//////|    |
|    and lively discussions? Buy fine wines from Napa    |//////|    |
|    Valley? Plan a vacation? Maybe even find romance?   |//////|    |
|    Visit A fresh look at life after 50.  |//////|    |
|       Go to -->      |//////|    |
    /   \  /   \                                             /   \
    \___/  \___/  T h e   I n t e r n e t   T o u r B u s    \___/


Howdy, y'all!  :)

It looks like I have a little 'splaining to do!  Last week's Southern word
of the day

     BALMER (noun): The biggest city in the State of Maryland

seems to have generated an awful lot of confusion (especially from TOURBUS'
Yankee contingent).  For the record, "Balmer" is Southern for "Baltimore."
Why is "Balmer" such an important Southern city?  Well:

     1. Your fearless bus driver really was born in Baltimore (my dad
        was a student at Johns Hopkins at the time); and

     2. The British use of "rockets' red glare" and "bombs bursting in
        air" during their attack on Baltimore's Fort McHenry on
        September 13th and 14th, 1814, was forever immortalized by
        Francis Scott Key in the lyrics of his haunting interrogative
        poem "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida."

Talking about the Southern Word of the Day, I am happy to announce that the
Southern Word homepage has (finally) been updated.  You can now find a
complete list of _every_ Southern Word we have used since our journey
started back in 1995 on the _new_, official Southern Word homepage at

By the way, this is a brand new address.  Now that it appears that I am
actually going to graduate from college sometime this century (GASP!), I
figured it might be a good idea to start moving my Web pages off of the
University of Alabama's servers and onto my ISP's server in flannel-land
(a.k.a. "Seattle").  So, for those of you who are keeping score at home, I
live in Alabama, I have accepted a job at the InterNIC in Virginia, and my
Web pages reside on a server in Washington state.  Any questions?  :)


Last week, I asked our overseas (and over-border) TOURBUS riders to

     1. Go to the San Jose Mercury News' "Breaking News" page at

     2. On the "Breaking News" page, click on the Associated Press'
        "The Wire" icon.

     3. Tell me if you get a three frame newspaper on your screen.

Thanks to the help of about 1,000 of our non-US riders, I am happy to
announce that the Associated Press' "The WIRE" site is indeed available
world-wide!  Three questions, however, remain:

     1. Why did Patrick make us go through such a convoluted route to
        get to ?

     2. Why did Patrick think that The WIRE was blocked to rest of the
        world in the first place?

     3. *WHEN*, exactly, is Patrick going to graduate from college?

This last question is probably the most important, so I will ignore it

As for the first two questions, their answers are identical:  you can't go
straight to .  Well, you can, but you won't end up
with any news stories.

The Associated Press (AP) provides news and information to hundreds of
professional news organizations around the world.  These member
organizations (mostly commercial radio stations, newspapers, TV stations,
etc.) pay AP a pretty hefty annual fee (sometimes in excess of
US$100,000.00 a year) for the right to access and redistribute AP's news
stories, pictures, and features.  As a matter of fact, if you are in the
United States, it is a pretty safe bet that a good chunk of the news in
your daily newspaper comes straight from the Associated Press.

The big thing to remember here is that the AP's goal is _not_ to provide
news directly to the public.  Rather, the AP provides news stories for
professional news organizations who then turn around and redistribute those
news stories to the public.  That's why when you try to directly access
AP's "The Wire" page at

you _don't_ see any of the AP's news stories.  Instead, you see a page that

     If you're looking for the latest news, hot off The WIRE, you've
     come to the right place ...

and that contains a collection of links to AP's member news organizations
here in the United States.  Since the AP doesn't want its online content to
compete with the online content provided by its member news organizations,
the _only_ way that you can read the AP's news stories is to first visit
the homepage of one of the AP's member news organizations, and then click
on "The WIRE" link on that organization's homepage.

In other words, The AP's "The WIRE" Web page is actually two pages in one.
If you try to access "The WIRE" page directly at , you
get a list of the AP's member organizations here in the United States.  If
you access "The WIRE" by clicking on a link to it on one of the AP's member
organization's homepages, however, you'll be taken to a site overflowing
with the latest news stories from around the world.

Confused?  Don't be.  Try this ...

     1. Point your Web browser to and see what

     2. After you have tried to access The WIRE directly, go to the
        San Jose Mercury News' "Breaking News" page at (you can also
        go to the Web site of any of the Associated Press' other
        member organizations)

     3. Click on the Associated Press' "The Wire" icon and see what

Cool, huh?  The Web pages that you accessed in steps 1 and 3 have exactly
the same URLs, but their content is _COMPLETELY_ different.  :)

Just remember: to actually see and read the news articles that are
available at The WIRE site, you have to access the site from an AP member
organization's homepage.  You CAN'T go to The WIRE directly (so don't
bother bookmarking it).

Is The WIRE worth all this aggravation?  In a word, YES!  You'll need a
frames-capable Web browser like Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet
Explorer to be able to be able to navigate through The WIRE's content,
though (some IE3 users reported getting a "Microsoft JScript runtime error"
on The WIRE's main page, but I think you can just ignore this).  The reason
why you need a frames-capable Web browser is that The WIRE site relies
_heavily_ on frames.

In fact, The WIRE's front page has three frames:

     * A fixed-size top frame, which has

          - a pull-down menu which helps you navigate through The
            WIRE's various sections,
          - another pull-down menu which lets you navigate through the
            referring member organization's various sections,
          - a javascript window which shows the latest headlines, and
          - the icon of the member organization that you went through
            to access The WIRE.

     * A scrolling middle frame, which is a constantly updated
       collection of the top news stories from around the world.  This
       is the "meat and potatoes" part of The WIRE's main page.

     * A fixed-size bottom frame, which usually contains an ad.
       Actually, I have discovered that this bottom frame doesn't
       always load properly, so instead of an ad you may just see a
       "greater than" sign (>).  Personally, I like the greater sign
       better.  :)

As you can see on The WIRE's main page, The WIRE has 5 "main" sections

     - U.S. News
     - World News
     - Business
     - Sports
     - Weather

and six "special" sections (scroll down to bottom of the middle frame to
see them) which change from time to time.  As I am writing this, the AP's
special sections are:

     * Black Monday, The Crash of 1987 -- a look back at the U.S.
       stock market crash October 19, 1987.
     * Space News -- the latest news, audio, and imagery from Mir,
       Hubble, and the Space Shuttle.
     * Sputnik -- a collection of stories about the 40th anniversary
       of the launch of Sputnik.
     * News to US -- off-beat stories that might not be big news, but
       are still pretty cool.  If you like "News of the Weird" or
       those silly stories that your local TV newscasters read at the
       end of their broadcasts, check this section out.
     * Route 66 -- stories about and from the famous U.S. highway.
       You might want to take a look at this, if only to read "Rox,"
       the WIRE's webzine.  Pretty impressive stuff, folks.  :)
     * AP Panoramas -- 360 degree Quicktime VR images from events such
       as the crowning of Miss America and Princess Diana's funeral

As neat as The WIRE's main page is, I have found that the best way to
browse through The WIRE is to go to The WIRE's main page and then click on
the "Index" button.  The Index page gives a much more complete listing of
The WIRE's sections than can be found on its front page.

As a matter of fact, the Index page adds a 4th frame to the page -- it
breaks the middle frame into 2 frames:

     1. A static collection of The WIRE's 17 sections ranging from
        U.S. News to Weather to College Sports.

     2. A scrolling, alphabetical list of all of The WIRE's sections
        and features.

Finding stuff on the Index page is pretty easy.  The only confusing part is
that The WIRE doesn't have an "entertainment" section.  Instead, they call
their "entertainment" section "The Arts."

Now for the bad news:  while "The Wire" is chock-full of the latest news
and information, it is _not_ identical to the AP news wire that your local
news organizations pay all that money for.  For example, "The WIRE's"
entertainment section doesn't include the "segues" (entertainment news) and
"kickers" (funny news stories) that your local morning radio disc jockeys
read on the air every morning.  You can find similar stories in The WIRE's
"News to Us" section, but it isn't the same.

Also, "The Wire" Web site also doesn't seem to include Oscar Wells
Gabriel's "CyberCorner" column, an absolutely wonderful Internet-related AP
feature that too few news organizations reprint  [By the way, if you know
of an AP member organization that reprints CyberCorner online, let me know].

Still, it is hard to beat the Associated Press for the latest news and
information from around the world.  If you are a news-junkie like me, you
really should take a few minutes to check out the Associated Press' The
Wire site.  I think you'll be impressed by what you see.



T'-EM (noun).  Short for Timothy.
Usage: "Hells bells, Martha ... you sing like Tiny T'-EM!"

(Special thanks to me for today's wurd)


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

=====================[ TOURBUS Rider Information ]===================
   The Internet TOURBUS - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2238
      Copyright 1995-97, Rankin & Crispen - All rights reserved
            Archives on the Web at


 PROMOTE your business on the Internet TOURBUS.  Reach over 80,000
    people in a Net-friendly way.  Our sponsors say "It works!"
   Make it work for you - contact for details.

 Editors: Reprint TOURBUS in your publication for free - Ask me how.
    Send this copy to 3 friends and tell them to hop on the Bus!

            .~~~.  ))
  (\__/)  .'     )  ))          Patrick Douglas Crispen
  /o o  \/     .~        Network Solutions Inc. / The InterNIC
 {o_,    \    {          Business E-mail:
   / ,  , )    \        Personal E-mail:
   `~  '-' \    } ))
  _(    (   )_.'
 '---..{____}                    Warning: squirrels.

, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
TOURBUS Site Search