From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 14 Jan 03 - THE NEXT 21


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 beautiful Irvine, California, a salmonid food and sport fish that is mostly smaller than the typical salmons and are anadromous or restricted to cool clear fresh waters.

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.

On with the show ...

A few years ago, back when Bill Gates only owned 97% of the solar system, I was invited to speak at a tech conference in historic Galena, Illinois. So I put together a really cool PowerPoint presentation on Internet basics, fly up to Chicago, drive over to Galena, and discover, THE NIGHT BEFORE MY PRESENTATION, that every last person at this conference is a cyber-GURU. These people not only know more about the Internet than I do (which isn't all that difficult), they know more about the Internet than Vint Cerf does ... and Vint Cerf co-designed the TCP/IP protocol that gave birth to the modern Internet! I swear the conference sessions had titles like "TCP Performance Implications of Network Path Asymmetry" and "Layer-Two Tunneling Protocol Extensions for PPP Link Control Protocol Negotiation."

I think my session title was something like "Our friend, the Internet."

Long story short: I stay up all night working on a new presentation, one that you and your fellow TOURBUS riders are sick of hearing about: the Internet Tourbus Guide to the Most Useful Sites in the World. NO, we're not going to talk about all 21 of those sites again. We did that last year. And, besides, you can always nab an Adobe Acrobat version of my top 21 list from .

What we're going to do today and over the next couple of weeks is share with you some of the sites that I didn't put in my top 21 list but should have. [I had to cut my original list off at 21 because I ran out of room .]

So, here are the first five sites of what I call "the Next 21." :)


Our first stop is at the Web site for what is hands-down the best Windows-based Internet newsletter in the world: Fred Langa's "LangaList." Every Monday and Thursday, Langa -- former VP/Editorial Director for Windows Magazine's and Editor in Chief for Byte Magazine -- writes and distributes a free, email newsletter that offers the best "tips, tricks, and other information you need to make the most of your hardware, your software, and your time online."

Sound interesting? You can find an HTML-formatted version of the latest LangaList issue at

and you can subscribe to the LangaList for free at .

If you are a Windows user, I *STRONGLY* recommend that you subscribe to the LangaList -- it is short, it is free, and it is a must-read. And even if you aren't a Windows user, I still recommend that you subscribe. While Fred's articles about Windows patches, tips, and tricks probably won't help you much (other than to give you something to chuckle at when you see all the problems we non-Mac users are having with our OS), Fred also writes about topics that are important to EVERYONE who is part of the digital domain.

2. Slashdot

Okay, I'll admit that I don't understand half the stuff that is posted to Slashdot. But I still visit the site every day.

Slashdot is a constantly-updated online community that offers the latest news, reviews, and commentary about technology in general and information technology in specific. Stories are posted to the Slashdot homepage, and then members of the Slashdot community comment about those stories on subsequent pages. Just click on "Read More" beneath any story to read the comments.

Since most of the people who visit Slashdot daily are the same people who were at that conference in Galena, expect to see a LOT of articles that you won't understand. [You'll soon see that the Slashdot community is violently pro-Linux, pro-Apache, pro-BSD, and anti- Microsoft.] Still, Slashdot is worth the trip, especially if you want to stay up to date with what is going on in the tech world.

For those of you who "compute with fruit," you'll also want to pay a visit to MacSlash at And if you enjoy the news stories and commentary posted to Slashdot, you'll probably like as well.

3. Yahoo Whats New

Let's say that you write an Internet newsletter that talks about neat sites on the Internet. You have a deadline looming, but you have absolutely NOTHING to write about. What do you do? :P

Head over to Yahoo's What's New section! Every day, our friends at Yahoo add a couple dozen new sites to their directory. The What's New section shows you which sites have been added, by category, each day. And you can go back as many days as you want.

Yahoo What's New is a great way to kill some time and, if you're lucky, find some really cool sites you wouldn't otherwise know about.

4. Google Browser Buttons

I can honestly say that Google's free browser buttons have changed the way that I surf the Internet. In fact, I have been a Google browser button evangelist since Christmas of 2000.

Drag a special link onto your browser's links toolbar (IE) or personal toolbar (Netscape) and you can search Google simply by highlighting a word or phrase on any Web page and clicking on the link. No, really.

Say you are at a Web page that talks about Abraham Lincoln and that also mentions Lincoln's second inaugural address. Highlight the words "Lincoln's second inaugural" on that page, click on the special Google Search link on your toolbar, and Google will automatically search its database of over 3 billion Web pages for every page that matches. You don't have to go to the Google Web site first nor do you have to type in ANY keywords. Google does it all for you automatically. Just highlight and click.

Best of all, this special link to Google *ISN'T* software. There is NOTHING for you to download or install. It is just a BOOKMARK! All you have to do is drag and drop this bookmark onto your toolbar. It couldn't be simpler!

By the way, if the page confuses you, I have an Adobe Acrobat handout at that also shows you how to get and use Google's free browser buttons.

5. PopCap Games

All work and no play ...

Our last stop of the day is at Pop Cap games, a collection of free, online, Java-based games that you can play on any Internet-connected PC or Mac. Just go to and click on the game you want to play. Insaniquarium is my favorite Pop Cap game, although they are all really cool.

That's it for today. Have a safe and happy week and I'll be back soon with some more of "the Next 21." -- Patrick Crispen

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