"Christians and the Internet" newsletter
CATI, Vol. 1, No. 41:  October 13, 2000.



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.


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:


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."
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:


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 
Insight on the News   
International Wildlife 
Internet World 
Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine 
Ladies' Home Journal   
Model Railroader 
National Review   
National Wildlife   
Natural History   
Psychology Today 
Saturday Evening Post   
School Library Journal   
Science News   
Science World   
Scientific American   
Sesame Street Magazine   
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.

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.

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.)
Science News: Poe's Secret

Sesame Street Magazine   
Check out the games, stories, art, and music.
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!


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:


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

  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


is simply this:


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." 

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

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

For example, you may want to consider trying the following:

Domain Bank, Inc.

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

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

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

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....


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

Family Internet

Christian Character
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"

If you want to know even more about domain names, here are
a few more resources:

LearnTheNet: Domain Names

Web Developer's Journal: The Domain Name Game

WebNovice.com: Reading Internet Addresses


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

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."
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."

Finally, let me let you check out the story for yourself:

John Traver: "The Misunderstood Adolescent Writer"


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!


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

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.

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.