"Christians and the Internet" newsletter
CATI, Vol. 1, No. 17:  April 28, 2000.
_______________________________________________________________
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. A BRIEF LETTER FROM THE EDITOR:  A PROGRESS UPDATE
2. YOUR OWN FREE WEB SITE:  WHAT'S THE BEST PLACE?
3. PC MAGAZINE: UTILITY GUIDE AND PARENTAL FILTERING
4. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER
_______________________________________________________________
Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2000 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  For
permission to reproduce material from this newsletter, contact
Barry Traver at cati@traver.org.  Permission is hereby granted,
however, to pass along this issue to others, provided that (1)
no changes are made and (2) it is passed along in its entirety.
To subscribe, write to cati@traver.org, including "Subscribe to
CATI" in the Subject line and including in the body your real
name and the email address to which you wish CATI sent.  (To be
removed from the emailing list, also write to cati@traver.org,
but include "Remove from CATI List" in the Subject line.)
_______________________________________________________________
1. A BRIEF LETTER FROM THE EDITOR:  A PROGRESS UPDATE
Well, I'm continuing to improve after unexpected surgery, but
my prediction that I would get caught up with CATI by the end
of May may have been overly optimistic.  As you perhaps have
noted, I'm still two weeks behind on my CATI schedule (partly
because I have been catching up on other responsibilities and
partly because I don't yet seem to have the energy that I had
before, although that should improve with time).
I do want to thank you again for your expressions of concern
and for your prayers.  And I thank you for your patience at
this time.  I have many articles in mind for future issues
that I hope you will find useful or enjoyable, but it takes
time to complete the research and do the actual writing, so
temporarily you may find CATI to be at less than its best.
In the meantime, if you have suggestions as to topics that I
might include or subjects that I might cover in future issues,
let me hear from you.  Perhaps you've found a Web site that
you've found especially useful or enjoyable.  Maybe you've
discovered a profitable use of email.  Or you may be using a
helpful tip, trick, or technique that others would also find
helpful and should know about also.
Even if all that you have is a question, send a note to me at
cati@traver.org and you may be helping me to make CATI better.
(Remember:  even if I use your idea in a future issue, I will
not mention your name unless you have given me permission in
advance to do that).  I try to answer all email, although it
may take a few days for you to hear from me until I am fully
back on track again.  Your understanding and support are much
appreciated!
Barry Traver
_______________________________________________________________
2. YOUR OWN FREE WEB SITE:  WHAT'S THE BEST PLACE?
Are you interested in starting your own personal Web page?  Or
perhaps a Web page for your school, church, youth group, or
other organization?  It's easier than you might think, and if
you have access to the Internet, you can have your own Web
site for free! 
First, check to see whether your Internet Service Provider
(ISP) or online service (such as AOL) has available free Web
space for you.  It probably does, but it may not be your best
option, so keep reading and compare. 
Second, there are a number of places on the Web that offer
free Web pages.  The May 4, 2000 issue (online edition) of PC
Magazine contains a review of such "Personal Web Hosts":
PC Magazine:  Personal Web Hosts (May 4, 2000)
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2560869,00.html
Following is the list of the seven Web hosts considered, as
well as the rating given them by PC Magazine:
Angelfire (***, good)
  http://angelfire.lycos.com/
AOL Hometown (***, good)
  http://hometown.aol.com/
Homestead (*****, excellent)
  http://www.homestead.com/
theglobe.com (***, good)
  http://www.theglobe.com/
Tripod (***, good) 
  http://www.tripod.lycos.com/
Xoom (**, fair)
  http://xoom.com/home/
Yahoo! Geocities (****, very good)
  http://geocities.yahoo.com/home/
The difficulty with Yahoo! Geocities is this:
"...many of the best features on GeoCities..., free at other
sites, are available only to those who fork over $4.95 per
month for GeoPlus, the premium service. Pay up, and you'll
avoid pop-up ads on your page...."
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/pipreviews/0,8827,250657,00.html
Most of the other sites, in fact, include those annoying
pop-up ads, although that's not true of Homestead, selected
as the "Editors' Choice" for "Personal Web Hosts" in this
May 4, 2000 issue of PC Magazine:
"Spend some time at Homestead and you're bound to wonder: 
What's the catch? Well, beats us. You get 16MB of free space,
tools galore, and the most powerful online Web site builder
around. Homestead won't even put an ad on your page...."
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2551208,00.html
Homestead was also chosen by PC Magazine as one of "The Top
100 Web Sites" in their April 26, 2000 issue (online edition):
"...Homestead has [made] it easier than ever for anyone to
set up a small Web site. It’s easy to drag and drop content,
commerce, and community elements right onto your pages; no
coding or form filling is required...."
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2395092,00.html
And the May 4, 2000 issue of PC Magazine makes clear that the
possibilities this "Personal Web Host" offers are rather
extensive:
"You start with a blank page and drag and drop elements
exactly where you want them. Then you can add text, images,
chat rooms, polls, sound, message boards, guest books, effects
like dissolving text, and even streaming video."
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2551208,00.html
You can write your own code, if you like, but you don't have
to do so:
"You won't need to know HTML, but you can add snippets of code
to your page. And for those who prefer templates, there are
400 of them. But Homestead never locks you into a design: You
can delete what you don't like, move things around, and add
new elements. You can password-protect pages, see visitor
statistics, submit your page to search engines, and invite
others to collaborate on building your site."
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2551208,00.html
The June 1999 issue of PC World (newsstand edition) also did a
report on free Web sites. Like PC Magazine, PC World also
liked Homestead the best: 
"What really differentiates these services is the quality of
their site-building tools and the degree to which they plaster
your sites with ads. That's why Homestead is our hands-down
favorite.... [Its] Java-based tools' smart blend of simplicity
and power is unmatched. Want to place animated clip art, a
counter, a guest book, a search engine, or even a chat room on
your site? Simply drag it off the toolbar and plop it anywhere
on your page.... Other...virtues include custom URLs that are
easy to remember (such as www.homestead.com/yournamehere) and
basic security via password protection."
  --PC World, June 1999 (newsstand edition), page 124.
Thus, in comparing various free Web sites, PC World declared,
"There's No Place Like Homestead"! 
Although that particular article is not available online at
present, you can find the PC World home page at the following
address:
PC World
  http://www.pcworld.com/
Homestead was also the "Editor's Choice" a year ago in the
June 6, 1999 issue of PC Magazine (newsstand edition), so
there seems to be substantial continuing agreement on the
matter of which is the best place to find free Web space for
a personal (or organization) Web page.
Yes, not only families, but also schools, churches, youth
groups, and other organizations can make use of Homestead.
Here are some sample Homestead sites to give you an idea of
what can be done at Homestead:
SAMPLE PERSONAL PAGES:
Duane and Sarah's Web Page
  http://www.homestead.com/dugarner/index.html
Greg's Couch
  http://www.homestead.com/gregscouch/index.html
(see also Memorial Presbyterian Church below)
SAMPLE SCHOOL PAGE:
Robinson Township Christian School (PCA/OPC)
  http://www.homestead.com/rtcs/index.html 
SAMPLE CHURCH PAGES:
Presbyterian Church in America (PCA):
Christ's Family Presbyterian (Mesquite, TX)
  http://www.homestead.com/christfamilypresbyterian/index.html
East Gate Presbyterian (Long Neck, DE)
  http://www.homestead.com/eastgatepresbyterian/EastGatePres1.html
Memorial Presbyterian Church (St. Louis, MO) 
  http://www.homestead.com/memorialpresbyterian/index.html
(see also Greg's Couch above)
Providence Presbyterian Church (Sugar Land, TX)
  http://www.homestead.com/providencepresbyterian/index.html
Zion Church (Lincoln, NE)
  http://www.homestead.com/zionpca/index.html
Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC):
Covenant Church (Grove City, Pennsylvania):
  http://homestead.com/covenant_church
Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church (Battle Mountain, NV):
  http://www.homestead.com/battlemountainopc/index.html
Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP):
Redeemer Presbyterian Church (Asheville, NC)
  http://www.homestead.com/Redeemerarp/index.html
Presbyterian Reformed Church (PRC):
Christ Reformed Presbyterian Church (Laurel MD)
  http://www.homestead.com/prcpotomac/prc1.html
(The late John Murray, Westminster Seminary professor, was
involved in the formation of the PRC, a small Presbyterian
denomination committed to exclusive Psalmody.)
Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod (LCMS):
Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran Church (Newport, MI)
  http://www.homestead.com/cosluth/
Peace Lutheran Church (Smyrna, DE)
  http://www.homestead.com/peace_lutheran_church/Peace.html
Lutheran Church of the Resurrection (San Rafael, CA)
  http://www.homestead.com/resurrectionlutheran/lcrindex.html
St. John's Lutheran (Galveston, TX)
  http://www.homestead.com/StJohnLutheranGalveston/
St. Paul's Lutheran Church (Fredericksburg, IA)
  http://www.homestead.com/stpaullcms/home.html
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (Palo Alto, CA)
  http://www.homestead.com/Trinity_Lutheran_Church/index.html
Trinity Lutheran Church (New Orleans, LA)
  http://www.homestead.com/trinitylutheranalgiers/
(As a denomination, the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod seems
to making especially good use of church Web sites.)
Note that all of the preceding sample sites are on Homestead,
which should help you decide whether this top-rated site is
for you also or whether some other option would be better for
you.  The main point is that it's easier than you might think
to have your own personal or family Web site or one for your
school, church, youth group, or other organization.  Since you
probably already have access to the Internet, having your own
Web site need not cost you any money at all.  Check it out!
_______________________________________________________________
3. PC MAGAZINE: UTILITY GUIDE AND PARENTAL FILTERING
Skip to last half of article if you're primarily interested in
software for parental filtering, that is, software that can
help parents protect their families from pornography and other
offensive material on the Internet.  Or skip to last paragraph
for final recommendations.
ULTIMATE UTILITY GUIDE?:
PC Magazine recently published on its Web site what they call
an "Ultimate Utility Guide":
PC Magazine: Ultimate Utility Guide
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2547327,00.html 
It's not really the "Ultimate Utility Guide," but it is a good
collection of reviews of some -- but only some -- significant
software utilities. 
What's it all about?  Here's PC Magazine's description:
"Our annual guide to the best PC and Internet utilities covers
dozens of products in 15 categories, and many of them are
free. Read the reviews, check out our Editors' Choice picks,
and then head to the Download Center to get easy access to
most of the utilities we've evaluated."
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2547327,00.html
Here are the fifteen categories, some of which relate more to
business use (feel free to ignore those), but others of which
apply to home (and church) computing:
Parental Filtering (reviews of CyberSitter and others, BUT
    read my comments later below)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2524260,00.html
Retail Antivirus (McAfee, Norton, and others)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2531526,00.html
Utility Suites (McAfee, Norton, and Ontrack -- see CATI 1/16/3
    for comments on how to get Ontrack's PowerDesk free) 
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2530301,00.html
Disk Utilities (rolling your hard drive back to a previous
    pre-crash state, partitioning, or imaging -- like PC
    Magazine, I also like GoBack, Partition Magic, and Norton
    Ghost)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2524392,00.html
Corporate Antivirus (for businesses with a LAN or "Local Area
    Network")
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2505186,00.html
E-Mail Filters (for businesses, to control employee email)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2530304,00.html
Internet Hard Drives (ways to backup your hard drive online,
    primarily for businesses?)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2526030,00.html
Desktop Migration (moving from one PC to another)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2505219,00.html
Toolbox (the other seven of the fifteen categories)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2550859,00.html
Toolbox: Surfing and Downloading (download managers, bookmark
    managers, browser toolbars, and Zip utilities)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2505229,00.html
Toolbox: Window Dressing (add pizzazz to Windows or to your
    browser)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2531391,00.html
Toolbox: Web Authoring (reviews of only four utilities, though
    I do personally use the free version of WS_FTP to transfer
    files to my Web site)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2505226,00.html
Toolbox: System Diagnostixs (fixing problems "under the hood")
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2531392,00.html
Toolbox: Modem Management (utilities to manage multiple dial-up
  connections or optimize modem speed)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2531360,00.html
Toolbox: PDA Upkeep (Personal Digital Assistant, that is, Palm
    and Windows CE handheld devices)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2505230,00.html
Toolbox: Windows 2000 Tools (Windows 2000 is primarily for
    business, with a price tag to match)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2546289,00.html
PC Magazine reviews, although often short, usually contain very
helpful information on the products reviewed.  The problem is
that the number of products reviewed for some categories is
greater than for others, and you may or may not find a review
of the product in which you are most interested (keep reading).
PARENTAL FILTERING:
Christian parents who want to create a family-safe Internet can
work at that either through choosing a family-friendly Internet
Service Provider (see CATI 1/10/1 and 1/11/3) or through using
parental control software (see CATI 1/6/2).
Here's where you'll find PC Magazines reviews of six recent
content filtering products:
Parental Filtering (2000)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2524260,00.html
Of the six products reviewed, PC Magazine chose two Editors'
Picks:  BAIR (Basic Artificial Intelligence Routine) Filtering
System and CyberSitter 2000, which are good products.  That
does NOT mean, however, that they are necessarily better than
CyberPatrol, which was PC Magazine's Editor's Choice in the
preceding year (1999):
Net Guards: Parental Filtering Software (1999)
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/utilities99/parfilt01.html
Following are the reviews that PC Magazine did in 1999:
Cyber Patrol 4.0 (PC Magazine's Editors' Choice)
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/utilities99/parfilt02.html
Cyber Sentinel 1.6 
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/utilities99/parfilt03.html
Cyber Snoop 3.0 
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/utilities99/parfilt04.html
CyberSitter 99 
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/utilities99/parfilt05.html
Net Nanny 3.1 
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/utilities99/parfilt06.html  
SOS KidProof 1.5 
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/utilities99/parfilt07.html
SurfWatch 3.0 for Windows 98 
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/utilities99/parfilt08.html
Web Chaperone 
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/utilities99/parfilt09.html
Following are the reviews that PC Magazine has done thus far in
2000:
BAIR Filtering System, Version 3.2.1 (rated *****, excellent)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/pipreviews/0,8827,195175,00.html
Cyber Sentinel 2.0 (rated ****, very good)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/pipreviews/0,8827,195150,00.html
CyberSitter 2000 (rated *****, excellent)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/pipreviews/0,8827,195151,00.html
eyeguard 1.02 (rated **, fair)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/pipreviews/0,8827,195174,00.html  
SOS KidProof 1.65 (rated ***, good)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/pipreviews/0,8827,195152,00.html
X-Stop 3.04 (rated ***, good)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/pipreviews/0,8827,195153,00.html
The following products (and reviews?) are "Coming Soon":
"Our Editors' Choice from last year's roundup, CyberPatrol 4.0,
...blocks access to listed pornographic and otherwise offensive
sites or restricts access to a parent-specified list. It limits
online time and blocks outgoing personal information, but it
doesn't monitor Internet access. Version 5.0 is scheduled for
release in the 'spring of 2000.'....
"CyberSnoop 3.0...excels at logging all Internet activity.
The program can run without the user's knowledge and block
dissemination of personal information. But its list-based
site-blocking function requires that you provide the list
yourself. Version 4.0 was just released as of this writing....
"Net Nanny 3.1...blocks offensive sites based on phrases and
URLs in its black list. In our tests last year, Net Nanny
failed to block many objectionable sites, and updating its
list proved awkward. Version 4.0 is in beta....
"SurfWatch 3.0...analyzes sites and blocks those with
pornographic or otherwise inappropriate text. Little
customization is needed, and little is permitted. In last year's
tests, we found the program simple and reliable. A Windows
2000 version is planned, but no specific release date is
scheduled...."
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2505240,00.html
In short, if you're looking for parental filtering software,
a number of options are available.  CyberPatrol (whatever the
latest version is) seems to be the general favorite, but you
may also want to consider the BAIR Filtering System, Version
3.2.1 or CyberSitter 2000 before making a final choice, based
on the latest reviews by PC Magazine.
________________________________________________________________
4. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER 
This is the seventeenth issue of a free newsletter devoted
to "Christians And The Internet" ("CATI," pronounced "Katy," 
but spelled with a "C" and an "I" for "Christians" and the 
"Internet").
Privacy policy:  The information in the "Christians And The 
Internet" mailing list will NOT be sold, rented, or given to
others.  (Let them make their own lists! <grin>)
Past issues:  you'll find archives of past issues of CATI
available online at http://traver.org/cati/ .  ("It's not a
pretty site," but hopefully it may be a useful one.)
________________________________________________________________
Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2000 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  For
permission to reproduce material from this newsletter, contact
Barry Traver at cati@traver.org.  Permission is hereby granted,
however, to pass along this issue to others, provided that (1)
no changes are made and (2) it is passed along in its entirety.
To subscribe, write to cati@traver.org, including "Subscribe to
CATI" in the Subject line and including in the body your real
name and the email address to which you wish CATI sent.  (To be
removed from the emailing list, also write to cati@traver.org,
but include "Remove from CATI List" in the Subject line.)