From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      Tourbus - 23 Oct 03 - Daily Rotation / Amazon Search inside the Book

TODAY'S TOURBUS STOPS: Daily Rotation / Amazon Search inside the Book

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, located at the point where the Kansas River (also known as the Kaw) joins the Missouri River. :P

Actually, your fearless bus driver is going to be in Kansas City (the REAL city at the intersection of Kansas and Missouri rivers) on Friday and Saturday to speak at the American Association of School Librarians' national conference. Stop by and say howdy if you're in the neighborhood!

TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors. Please take a moment to visit today's sponsors and thank them for keeping our little bus of Internet happiness on the road week after week.

By the way, if you've never heard of LearnKey [the folks who placed the eBay ad above], they're an 800 pound gorilla in the training community. I used LearnKey's A+ Certification training videos [which, oddly enough, I purchased from LearnKey on eBay] to study for and pass the CompTIA A+ core hardware and operating system technologies exams a few weeks ago. I'm even using LearnKey's Network+ videos to prepare for that particular certification exam in a few weeks. So I am a *HUGE* fan of LearnKey. And I thank them, the Business Know-How Small Business Newsletter, and Smart Computing magazine for sponsoring today's post

On with the show ...

Daily Rotation

I'll admit it: I'm a tech news junkie. I subscribe to about half a dozen technology magazines, I visit at least a dozen tech news sites a day, and I am (at least peripherally) associated with an Internet newsletter that pretends to talk about important Internet tools, sites, and issues [like the ever-important "badgers, badgers, badgers" site at ]

So, you can understand my excitement when Steve King at WGN Radio told me about "Daily Rotation," a free news aggregator that collects and displays links to the latest tech news stories from over 250 different sites. Just hop on over to

and behold the wonder that appears on your screen. By default the Daily Rotation shows you the latest stories from two dozen news sites -- CNET, Slashdot, the Inquirer, etc -- on a battleship gray background [ICK!] Scroll down to the bottom of the page, though, and thanks to the wonders of modern cookie technology you can change

1. The tech news sources you'd like to see (so Mac users can make a Mac-only news page, *nix users can make a *nix-only news page, and so on);

2. The number of linear columns the page should display;

3. The page's font size; and (most importantly)

4. The background color.

Daily Rotation shows you the headlines but not the pull quotes that you are used to seeing on most tech news sites, so a CNET story like

Amazon turns a new page on search The online retailer launches a new service that lets consumers search through pages of books available on its online store.

only shows up as

Amazon turns a new page on search

at Daily Rotation. The omission is both deliberate and necessary: Including pull quotes with each headline would make the Daily Rotation page just slightly longer than the US tax code.

I'm still not sure what I think about Daily Rotation. I've kind of grown used to manually visiting Ars Technica and CNET and Slashdot and Techdirt and the rest every day. Having all of those tech news feeds Aggregated in one location is both cool and oddly unsettling.

Maybe I'd feel better if the Daily Rotation also included a link to "badgers, badgers, badgers." :P

Amazon's "Search Inside the Book" Feature

As our friends at CNET pointed out in that last section (and at, Amazon has updated its search engine. Not only can you search for books that focus on a particular keyword, you can now also search for books that CONTAIN a particular keyword. Just hop on over to

and in the orangeish search box choose "Books" in the pull-down list and type in a keyword like, oh, say "badgers." You'll see a normal Amazon search results page with one small difference: Several of the hits include links to excerpts from the accompanying book. Click on an excerpt's link and one of three things will happen:

1. If you have a free Amazon account but haven't been to Amazon in a while, you'll be asked to key in your email address and Amazon password. Once you do, an excerpted page from the book will automatically appear with your keyword highlighted in green. [Think with a different highlight color.]

2. If you've been to Amazon recently and Amazon has stored your email address and password on your computer in the form of a cookie, the highlighted page will automagically appear. No muss, no fuss.

3. If you DON'T have a free Amazon account, you'll be asked to create a new one before you can see anything. Since the material that Amazon is about to show you is copyrighted, Amazon understandably needs to know who you are. Fortunately, the registration process is painless.

Once the excerpted page appears, you can browse through that particular book and even see all that book's references to your keyword. Just look for the navigation bar above the excerpted page.

Amazon currently lets you search through the text of about 120,000 books. That sounds like a lot, but remember that most major university libraries contain in excess of five MILLION books. So, if you are hoping that Amazon's new search feature will save you a trip to your local library the next time you have to do some scholarly research, expect to be disappointed. But, Amazon's new search inside the book feature it is still a wonderful addition and a nice start to what I expect to eventually become a very popular research tool.


Linda from Marlinton, West Virginia recently wrote and said "The next best thing to Tourbus is the Smart Computing magazine that you guys recommend. I've been getting it since last summer and it has solved numerous problems for me and my friends."

Thanks, Linda! We hope other Tourbus riders will discover the Plain English answers to their computing questions that Smart Computing delivers every month. Do you want to speed up your PC? Get rid of spyware and keep hackers out? Try Smart Computing today -- get your FREE TRIAL issue NOW!

That's it for today. Have a safe and happy weekend, and we'll talk again soon.

           .~~~.  ))
 (\__/)  .'     )  ))       Patrick Douglas Crispen
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The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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