"Christians and the Internet" newsletter CATI, Vol. 1, No. 41: October 13, 2000. _______________________________________________________________ TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. FIND ARTICLES IN 300+ MAGAZINES AT FINDARTICLES.COM 2. WHAT'S IN A NAME (AN INTERNET DOMAIN NAME, THAT IS)? 3. STORY BY CHRISTIAN ADOLESCENT WRITER NOW ON THE WEB 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com, 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. _______________________________________________________________ 1. FIND ARTICLES IN 300+ MAGAZINES AT FINDARTICLES.COM If you're researching something in recent magazines (say, the last few years), FindArticles.com may be an online alternative (or at least a supplement) to your local public library. Here's where the site is located: FindArticles.com http://www.findarticles.com/ And here is how the site describes itself: "FindArticles.com is a vast archive of published articles that you can search for free. Constantly updated, it contains articles dating back to 1998 from more than 300 magazines and journals. You will find articles on a range of topics, including business, health, society, entertainment, sports and more. Unlike other online collections, each of the hundreds of thousands of articles in FindArticles can be read in its entirety and printed at no cost. For detailed information on how to use FindArticles, consult our Help tutorial." http://www.findarticles.com/cf_0/PI/aboutus/index.jhtml Unlike a regular library, you cannot browse through the latest issue of a particular magazine, but you can search through the last couple of years to find articles on a specific topic. A strength of the site is the variety represented in the "more than 300 reputable magazines and journals" that you can search at the site. A weakness is that few of these are religious in nature (the only evangelical publication I noticed in the list was Christianity Today). You can search the magazines in at least three different ways: (1) "all magazines" at once, (2) magazines by a particular category (Arts/Entertain, Automotive, Business/Fin, Comp/Tech, Health/Fitness, Home/Family, News/Society, Reference/Ed, or Sports), or a particular magazine by title. For the first two methods, you can use the search engine on the home page (just click on the small down arrow to the right of "all magazines" and make your selection). For the third method, you'll need to approach the task somewhat differently. Perhaps the best way to explain the third technique is for me to provide a specific example. Let's assume that we want to search Christianity Today for articles that relate to Charles Colson. Before we can search for "Colson," we need to focus in on Christianity Today. We start as usual at the home page of FindArticles.com: FindArticles.com http://www.findarticles.com/ Instead of filling anything in the search form, note that you can click on "View publication by Subject" or "by Name: A-Z" right below the search form. First, click on "View publication by Subject." You're brought to a page listing the same categories as before, with a few example publications of each. In our case, that's not a lot of help, since Christianity Today doesn't show on the screen and it is not immediately evident which category we should check. "Reference & Education" sounds possible; let's click on that. No, Christianity Today isn't in that category. Use the "Back" button on your browser, and this time let's click on "News & Society." Yes, it looks like that's the category for Christianity Today. But use your "Back" button and we'll try the other approach. This time click on "by Name: A-Z." You'll see the alphabet, A to Z, near the top. Click on "C," since we're looking for Christianity Today. Yes, there it is, along with a number of other magazines, including Christian Century (a liberal Protestant publication), Commentary Magazine (Jewish), and Commonweal (Roman Catholic). So FindArticles.com does have in its collection a number of religious magazines: it just doesn't include many evangelical Protestant publications (other than Christianity Today). Anyway, if you have a specific magazine in mind that you want to check, the first approach ("View publication by Subject") doesn't ordinarily work as well as the second approach ("by Name: A-Z"). Now that you see Christianity Today listed, click on it, and you'll see a description of the magazine ("Published monthly, this evangelical magazine focuses on current religious and social issues within Christianity") and have an opportunity to Search "this magazine" specifically. Click on the box after "for," type in "Colson" (without the quotation marks), and click on the "Find It!" button. When I did it, I found "27 article(s) related to: Colson In the publication Christianity Today," some written by Colson and some written by someone else but mentioning Colson (e.g., Harold O.J. Brown's book review of Colson's book How Now Shall We Live?). Here's a minor complaint I have about how the search engine is set up. Even though you've just searched a specific magazine, the default value for the box is "all magazines" once again. If you want to do another search specifically of Christianity Today, you need to click on the down arrow after "all magazines" and select "this magazine" once more. To give you an idea of the variety of magazines included in the database, here's a list of just some of the titles (and I'm just mentioning titles without endorsing any, since I have not even seen some of these magazines): American Enterprise Baseball Digest Better Homes & Gardens Boys' Life Boys' Quest Christianity Today Computer Weekly Discover Magazine Film Comment Film Quarterly Football Digest Golf Digest Harper's Magazine Harvard Health Letter Hockey Digest InfoWorld Insight on the News International Wildlife Internet World Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine Ladies' Home Journal Link-Up Macworld Model Railroader Mothering National Review National Wildlife Natural History Psychology Today Saturday Evening Post School Library Journal Science News Science World Scientific American Sesame Street Magazine Seventeen Sporting News, The USA Today (Magazine) Writer's Digest Again, I obviously do not endorse all of the more than 300 magazines in the FindArticles.com database, but the site can be a useful one if you want to research certain topics. And here's an additional beneficial feature of the site, a feature that you might not notice unless I pointed it out to you
. If you click on a magazine title, often you'll get not only a brief description of the magazine but also a link to the magazine's Web site, where you may find sample articles of the current issue or past issues (and sometimes even complete archives!). Try it out. From FindArticles.com, you can easily get to the Web sites for some of the magazines, including the following four sites: Christianity Today Click on article title to read the article or click on the "ARCHIVES" link near the top to access past issues. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/current/ Discover Magazine Click on "Current Issue" or "Recent Issues" (to read current or recent articles) or "Archive" (to search earlier articles). Or click on "Web Picks" for science-related Web sites or on "Gallery" for science-related pictures. http://www.discover.com/ Science News Read articles from the current issue or search through the full text of Science News articles back to January 1992. (As someone with an interest in cryptography, I found fascinating the article on "Poe's Secret" in the current issue.) http://www.sciencenews.org/ Science News: Poe's Secret http://www.sciencenews.org/20001111/mathtrek.asp Sesame Street Magazine Check out the games, stories, art, and music. http://www.sesameworkshop.org/sesame/0,1292,,00.html Again, apart from Christianity Today you will not find many (or any?) magazines that are evangelical Protestant in their perspective. Most are secular in orientation, and some are explicitly hostile to traditional Christian belief, so you need to be aware of that in your use of this site. In short, use the resources of the site as an aid to research (such as you might do at your local public library, although with the convenience of being able to do it at home), but be conscious that there may reason at times for Christians to challenge some of the content. That having been said, enjoy! _______________________________________________________________ 2. WHAT'S IN A NAME (AN INTERNET DOMAIN NAME, THAT IS)? First, I need to mention that publication is behind schedule (what's new?), so this article is being written on November 11, 2000. (Otherwise you might think that I have a gift for seeing into the future .) Every Web page has a Web address, and the most important part of that Web address is the "domain name." A Web address is also known as a "URL" (for either "Uniform Resource Locator" or "Universal Resource Locator," depending on the person you ask), pronounced "you-are-ell" (my preference) or "earl." Let's look at a sample Web page link, and see what parts make it up: http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com/columns/abc_domains.html The "http://" at the left simply means that the address that follows is a Web page. The foundation of a Web page is HTML, which stands for "HyperText Markup Language," and http stands for "hypertext transfer protocol," that is, the agreed-upon rules (or protocol) for exchanging (transferring) Web pages (hypertext documents). (Don't ask me what the "://" is for.) From that point on, forward braces are used to separate the important parts of the rest of the address, going from the larger to the smaller. It's sort of the opposite of the order when writing an address on an envelope, where we put the city and state on the last line and the individual person on the first line. Here, however, we begin with what is the most important (and that includes the domain name). Here are the parts of the sample Web page link, from the top down: www.webdevelopersjournal.com/ - the Web server columns/ - a directory or folder on that server abc_domains.html - the specific Web page in the directory So the URL goes to the server location that is represented by www.webdevelopersjournal.com, and then to the columns folder or directory on that server, and then to the abc_domains.html file in that directory. (The html or htm at the end of a Web address indicates that it's a Web page written in HTML.) The top part is made up of two or more pieces separated by periods. The www.webdevelopersjournal.com part thus has three pieces; of these, the two at the right represent the domain name. Actually, this is an oversimplification, but it is a true statement so far as the most common URLs are concerned. The domain name for some Web addresses outside the U.S. may have more than two parts, but I have in mind here the most common domain names, that is, the ones that end in com, org, edu, gov, net, or mil. Thus the domain address for http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com/columns/abc_domains.html is simply this: webdevelopersjournal.com And here's the meaning of that last piece of the domain name: "The United States has several top-level domains (some non-US sites use some of these domains too): .com is for commercial sites.... .net is for hosting services.... .org is for non-profit organizations. .edu is for colleges and universities .gov is for government agencies .mil is for the military." http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com/columns/abc_domains.html Thus webdevelopersjournal.com is a commercial site. That's how it works in the U.S. Elsewhere, as I mentioned a bit earlier, it maay work a bit differently: "Most other countries have a countrywide domain, for example: .de is Germany (Deutschland) .fr is France .ru is Russia .ch is Switzerland (Confederatio Helvetica for you trivia fans)" http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com/columns/abc_domains.html As you may suspect, "Within each top-level domain, there is obviously a finite number of possible domain names." Since I earlier ran a non-profit business called Genial Computerware (it wasn't intended that way, but that's the way it turned out ), I tried for genial.com, genial.org, and genial.net, but they were all already registered. I then tried traver.com and traver.net (which were also already taken) and traver.org (which I was able to get for myself). Incidentally, the cost for having a registered domain name is $35 a year (you no longer have to commit yourself to a minimum of two years, i.e., $70, up-front, as I did), and there are authorized companies that will do it for free. If you are interested in getting your own domain name, here is a list of authorized registrars: InterNIC: Accredited Registrar Directory: Alphabetical Listing http://rs.internic.net/alpha.html For example, you may want to consider trying the following: Domain Bank, Inc. http://www3.domainbank.net/modules/domain_check.cfm I've talked with one of their representatives on the phone (when I first phoned them at their toll-free number, I did not realize they were located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, only an hour away from where I live), and I was impressed by the courtesy, professionalism, and competence with which my questions were answered. (I even asked an "off-the-wall" question about why their URL ended in .cfm, a non-typical file extension that I hadn't remembered noticing before. I learned that the "cf" stands for "Cold Fusion," which is software used for their Web site, just as other companies may use Microsoft Frontpage or Dreamweaver for the same purpose.) If you're curious about WHO IS the person or company holding the rights to a particular domain name, you can use a utility called "WHOIS." Here's one that provides more information than some others: Network Solutions: Who Is http://www.networksolutions.com/cgi-bin/whois/whois A domain name can be very important, so if you have one in mind, if it is still available you may want to register it before someone else takes it. It would appear that this _almost_ happened to Thomas Nelson Publishers, a publisher of many fine Christian books. Here's the copy of an email message I sent them on Saturday, November 4, when I noticed that two domain names mentioned in one of their recent books had not yet been registered: _________________________ Thomas Nelson Publishers, I'm writing a review of A Christian Parent's Guide to Making the Internet Family Friendly (by Brian Lang and Bill Wilson, ISBN 0-7852-7568-1) for my "Christians and the Internet" newsletter, and I have a few questions for you.... The book's back cover says, "Please visit the companion World Wide Web site to this book at http://www.parentsguide.net" (the same URL is mentioned several times in the book, including twice on page 171), but when I try to access the site, Internet Explorer tells me, "Cannot find server or DNS [Domain Name System] error." What's up?... I get the same result when I try to access Brian Lang's site at http://www.familyinternet.org or Bill Wilson's site at http://christiancharacter.org (both of which are also mentioned on page 171 of the book). Again, what's up?... IMPORTANT: I used WHOIS to check the domain names, and I was told that christiancharacter.org and parentsguide.net are not even yet registered, but are still available for whoever wants them! (I did find, however, that familyinternet.org was registered to International Christian Internet Association in Houston, Texas.) Again, what's up? [The] book in many respects is an excellent book, but I'm not sure what to do or say about the inaccessible and/or nonexistent Web sites. According to [the book published by] Thomas Nelson, people can "visit the companion World Wide Web site to this book at http://www.parentsguide.net." According to WHOIS at http://www.checkdomain.com, "The domain that you requested, parentsguide.net is still available! If you would like to use this domain name, we recommend that you reserve it as soon as possible. Please contact ... your local Internet Service Provider to register your domain name." (I got a similar message from another WHOIS I tried.) That means that anyone could register the domain name that you mention on the back cover and inside the book that you publish.... Regards, Barry Traver, Editor of "CATI," a free email newsletter devoted to "Christians And The Internet" _________________________ Well, I sent my email message a week ago and I note that the parentsguide.net domain name _is_ now registered, although christiancharacter.org is at this time (Saturday, November 11) apparently still available to whoever wants it (and is willing to pay $35 for it). Incidentally, parentsguide.net is listed as registered to "Million Dollar Marketing, Inc.," which I hope means that Thomas Nelson now has the matter properly taken care of (and not that someone else now has ownership of that domain name!). I have not yet gotten a response from Thomas Nelson, but if I learn more about this interesting situation, I expect to share it with CATI readers. Anyway, domain names are important. Watch for future issues of CATI for a review of that helpful book by Brian Lang and Bill Wilson and for news on whether the following Web sites mentioned on page 171 of A Christian Parent's Guide to Making the Internet Family Friendly (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999) have in fact become active: [Non-working links as of November 11, 2000] Parent's Guide http://www.parentsguide.net Family Internet http://www.familyinternet.org Christian Character http://christiancharacter.org Here's one final thought about domain names. Computers don't really know one another by name: everything is ultimately numbers to a computer. Thus there needs to be a table (or database) can look up a domain name and find out what are the numbers that correspond to that name. Here is where "DNS" comes in: "DNS - Domain Name System. The distributed database that translates a domain name into an IP address. For example, www.cdt.org translates to 126.96.36.199." http://www.cdt.org/dns/glossary.shtml If you want to know even more about domain names, here are a few more resources: LearnTheNet: Domain Names http://www.learnthenet.com/english/html/84domain.htm Web Developer's Journal: The Domain Name Game http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com/columns/abc_domains.html WebNovice.com: Reading Internet Addresses http://webnovice.com/webaddress.htm _______________________________________________________________ 3. STORY BY CHRISTIAN ADOLESCENT WRITER NOW ON THE WEB First, let me introduce Merlyn's Pen, publisher of "America's Best Young Writers" according to Education Today. Merlyn's Pen has been featured in Seventeen, School Library Journal, English Journal, and Time Magazine. Here's where you can find out more about Merlyn's Pen: Merlyn's Pen http://www.merlynspen.com/ Second, let me introduce John Traver, who was an adolescent writer (although not necessarily that misunderstood) as an eleventh-grader. Or, rather, let me let Merlyn's Pen do the introducing (in the biographical notes accompanying the story "The Misunderstood Adolescent Writer"): "John Traver wrote this story in the eleventh grade at Philadelphia-Montgomery Christian Academy in Erdenheim, Pennsylvania. He is also the author of the short stories, 'The Point is Moot: The Kid Must Take a Paper Route,' and 'Merlin's Malevolence,' both published in Merlyn's Pen. A National Merit Scholarship winner, John graduated from Covenant College, in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, where he majored in English and philosophy. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in English." http://www.merlynspen.com/john_traver.html Third, let me let Merlyn's Pen also introduce the story: "The Misunderstood Adolescent Writer Humorous fiction about a teen writer who loves to assign grim fates to his characters and can't understand why teachers and editors don't share his love of gloom and doom." http://www.merlynspen.com/teensonwriting.html Finally, let me let you check out the story for yourself: John Traver: "The Misunderstood Adolescent Writer" http://www.merlynspen.com/john_traver.html Enjoy! P.S. Although "The Misunderstood Adolescent Writer" is fiction, it is true that John Traver's mother is a high school English teacher (actually, the department chairman at a "blue-ribbon" suburban public high school), and the main incident in his story was in fact partially based on a real-life incident. The story, by the way, was one of those chosen to be included in a book collection published by Merlyn's Pen of stories by eleventh-grade students. John Calvin Traver, of course, is no longer a high school student. He is not only a graduate of Covenant College, but also a graduate student in the M.A.R. (Master of Arts in Religion) at Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia. After graduating this spring, he hopes to enter a Ph.D. program in English literature, perhaps specializing in 18th-century (comic novel, Fielding or Sterne, or satire, Swift) or in 17th century (metaphysical poets, Donne or Herbert). Pray that God will be honored in John's future endeavors! _______________________________________________________________ 4. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER This is the forty-first 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"). To subscribe, write to firstname.lastname@example.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. 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 email@example.com. 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.