Subject: TOURBUS -- 16 JULY 1998 -- TOURBUS TOP 10: #8 - INFOBEAT

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            TOURBUS TOP TEN -- #8: INFOBEAT

Greetings from sunny Alabama, home of ... well ... ME!  I want to take
a second to thank Nick Zark for helping me rebuild my computer
yesterday.  Thanks to Nick^s help, your fearless bus driver is now
running Windows 98 (which is better known as "Macintosh 87").

As always, I also want to thank today^s TOURBUS sponsors for helping
keep our little bus of Internet happiness on the road week after week.
Make sure you visit all three of today^s sponsors to thank them for
their support.

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For the past couple of weeks, Bob and I have been celebrating TOURBUS^
third anniversary by reposting our favorite TOURBUS posts from the
past year.  Well, here is a post from August of last year that talks
about one of my favorite email resources (yes, I said "email").


If you have been on our little bus of Internet happiness for a while,
you will no doubt remember I am a *HUGE* fan of Mercury Mail (we even
visited Mercury Mail back on August 8, 1995).  Mercury Mail is a
*free*, advertiser-supported service (sort of like TOURBUS) that
delivers only the news and information you want, when you want it.
Think of Mercury Mail as an e-mail-based newspaper with only the
topics that interest you.  Mercury Mail delivers its "stuff" daily,
but you get to choose what time of day you want that stuff to be
delivered.  Best of all, Mercury Mail does all of this through e-mail.

Well, imagine my surprise the other day when I found out that Mercury
Mail has _MOVED_!  Heck, they even changed their name!  How rude!  :)

Fortunately, I found them again.  Mercury Mail changed their name to
"InfoBeat" and moved their Web page to 

According to the folks at Mercury Mail/InfoBeat, "[t]he only change is
our name and the new look of our web site and messages."  Therefore,
if you are one of the 1.5 million people who subscribe to Mercury
Mail, you do not have to do much other than 'enjoy the fun that
Mercury Mail/InfoBeat is having with their new design.'

If you are not a Mercury Mail/InfoBeat subscriber, however, the rest
of today's TOURBUS is for you!  As I said earlier, InfoBeat is a
*free*, advertiser-supported service (sort of like TOURBUS) that
delivers only the news and information that you want, when you want
it.  Here is how to subscribe.

If you have a forms-capable Web browser (like Netscape Navigator or
Microsoft Internet Explorer), hop on over to 

Actually, for those of you who do not have a forms-capable Web
browser, I am willing to bet that it is also possible to subscribe to
InfoBeat's services through e-mail.  Unfortunately, I do not know how
to do it.  [I had this same problem when I wrote about Mercury Mail in
1995.  If anyone knows how to subscribe to InfoBeat's services through
e-mail let me know.]

InfoBeat offers seven "main" services: Finance, Sports, Entertainment,
News, Weather, Snow, and Reminders.  All of these services are free.
InfoBeat is able to fund these services by placing small ads in the e-
mail newsletters that they send to you.

Anyway, if you go to 

and click on "User Profile," you will be taken to the "Enter InfoBeat
E-mail Services" page.  Type in your e-mail address -- NOTE: type in
the e-mail address at which you want to InfoBeat to send you stuff --
and click on the "Enter" button on the screen.

This takes you to a new page that asks you for some personal
information.  Of all of the stuff on this page, the question "Which
application do you use to read your email" is probably the most
important.  If you use Netscape as your e-mail reader, or if you use
Hotmail, RocketMail, Microsoft Outlook Express, or WebTV to read your
mail, you can request that InfoBeat send you your daily news in Web
page (HTML) format.  Everyone else should make sure to check the box
that says "Other Plain Text."  [Personally, I recommend that
*EVERYONE* select "Other Plain Text," but that is just because I am
partial to plain old "vanilla" e-mail messages.]

The rest of this page asks for personal information for InfoBeat's
database.  In particular, the only information InfoBeat requires is

     - Gender
     - Date of Birth
     - Zip Code (Non-US residents can just enter "00000")
     - Mail Application

InfoBeat also asks you for some optional information, including:

     - Your name
     - Your address
     - Your marital status
     - The highest level of educational you have achieved

Now, before you panic, let me assure you that this information will
remain completely confidential.  InfoBeat will NEVER release, sell, or
give your name or e-mail address to any other party or organization,
nor will InfoBeat ever send you any e-mail messages that contain
anything other than

     1. The stuff (news, sports, weather, etc.) you tell InfoBeat to
        send to you, and

     2. Administrative messages (notices of new InfoBeat services,

Once you are registered with InfoBeat -- BTW, I promise not to tell
anyone if you lie about your age or income -- you can start
"customizing" InfoBeat to e-mail you the specific news and

Let us actually "customize" one of InfoBeat's seven services.  Go to
InfoBeat's main homepage ( and click on the
"News" icon.  This will take you to the "InfoBeat News" page.  Click
on the "click here" icon in to top right-hand corner of the screen
[Depending on how smart InfoBeat's computer is at the time you click
on the "click here" icon, InfoBeat may remember you and take you
directly to its News Profile page.  If it does not, you will instead
be taken to a page where you will be asked to type in your email

InfoBeat News is much like The Daily Brief (TOURBUS, April 18, 1996)
in that it delivers a daily e-mail summary of news topics, including
U.S. news, international news, and special events.  Customizing
"InfoBeat News" and, for that matter, the rest of InfoBeat's services
is a lot like customizing My Yahoo!  You are given a page full of topics
you can select, like:

     U.S. News of the Day
     * Front Page Stories
     * Crime and Catastrophe
     * The U.S. Political Scene
     * The Courts
     * U.S. Business & Financial News

     World News of the Day
     * Front Page Stories
     * The World Political Scene
     * The Americas
     * Europe and Russia
     * Africa
     * India & the Middle East
     * Asia and Australia
     * International Business and Financial News

Just select the topics that interest you (you will understand how once
you see the page) and you are set to go.  InfoBeat's services even let
you choose the delivery dates and times for the stuff InfoBeat sends
to you.  Say, for example, you never read your e-mail on the weekends;
you can tell InfoBeat not to send you anything on the weekends!
[Actually, InfoBeat News does not publish on the weekends, so I guess
that point is moot.]  :)

Here is some more information on the other free InfoBeat services:

     InfoBeat Finance sends you a daily e-mail message containing
     closing prices and news for your personalized portfolio of market
     indices, mutual funds and securities from the three major U.S.

     InfoBeat Weather brings you personalized weather forecasts for
     the U.S. cities you want.  Pick as many U.S. weather regions as
     you want, then select the days and times you want the forecasts
     delivered to your e-mail box.

     "InfoBeat Sports " gives you more sports information than any
     human being could ever possibly need.  BTW, Sports Wrap also
     features information on the one pure sport left on this planet:
     NCAA college football!

     "InfoBeat Entertainment" delivers daily horoscopes, lottery
     numbers, movie reviews, TV listings, lists of top selling movies,
     videos and music, plus much more, customized according to your
     wants and needs.

     This is a useful service in Alabama ... especially in
     JULY!  "InfoBeat Snow" gives you current mountain conditions,
     updated daily, on how the skiing and snowboarding really is.

     "InfoBeat Reminders" sends you a reminder e-mail a week before
     and the day before an important date, just to make sure you
     do not forget.

Cool, huh?

That's it for this week.  I hope you enjoy InfoBeat, and I also hope you
will have a happy and productive week!  See ya' on Thursday!



AH-RITE (Adverb, Adjective, or maybe even an Interjection).  An
affirmation; to be in a state of okay-ness; or a request for someone to
stop pestering you.
Usage: "How ya doin, Bubba?"  "Ah-rite."

(Special thanks to ME for today's wurd)

You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at

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

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