"Christians and the Internet" newsletter CATI, Vol. 1, No. 43: October 27, 2000. _______________________________________________________________ TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. IGNORE THAT DATE: CATI HOPES TO DO BETTER IN 2001 2. SAFER SEARCHING OF THE WEB WITH GOOGLE'S SAFESEARCH 3. CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS, COLLEGES, AND SEMINARIES: AN UPDATE 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. IGNORE THAT DATE: CATI HOPES TO DO BETTER IN 2001 This newsletter began the year 2000 with the hope of coming out on a weekly basis, but "man proposes; God disposes." So CATI instead of coming out weekly sometimes came out weakly or not at all. Thus this issue is dated October 27, 2000, but it is actually being sent out on December 22, 2001. So ignore that date at the beginning of this issue (and at the beginning of any other issues that may come out in 2000). The revised plan for 2001 is to date each issue according to the date it is actually sent, but we'll stay with the old format for the remainder of 2000. I hope that you have been finding CATI to be both helpful and enjoyable. If you have suggestions on how the newsletter may be improved (or ideas for subjects or topics that you'd like to see covered or included in future issues), please pass them along. (Just send a quick email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.) Thank you for your support and encouragement during 2000. We have dealt with a lot of maters, as you can see by browsing through the archives of past issues at http://www.traver.org/cati/archives.htm or by browsing through the partial index at http://www.traver.org/cati/pindex.htm (either one will demonstrate that even if CATI was not able to come out on a weekly basis, it was able to provide a lot of material that should be useful to Christians ... and, for that matter, to anyone who uses the Internet). If you have found CATI to be helpful and enjoyable, to God be the glory, for that is the aim of this publication! --Barry Traver, Editor _______________________________________________________________ 2. SAFER SEARCHING OF THE WEB WITH GOOGLE'S SAFESEARCH The World Wide Web is a library of information (some good, some not), but one difficulty is finding the information you want. Search engines are "engineered" to help you with your searching. For an introduction to search engines (and information on how to find search engines that are "family-friendly" rather than pointing you to sites that may perhaps contain offensive or objectionable material), check out these articles in previous issues of CATI: FINDING INFORMATION ON THE WEB: USING SEARCH ENGINES http://www.traver.org/cati/archives/cati12.htm#3 FINDING INFORMATION: FAMILY-FILTERED SEARCH ENGINES http://www.traver.org/cati/archives/cati13.htm#3 Of the many search engines available, I (as well as many other people, such as Fred Langa of The Langa List newsletter) most often turn first to Google: Google http://www.google.com/ Google -- rather than presenting a random collection of sites that have to do with your query -- presents its results based on how frequently a particular site is referenced by other Web sites. Yes, in a sense this puts sites into a "popularity contest" (and sometimes a lesser-known site that will not appear in Google's list may be able to provide better information than more popular sites), but it's impressive how often Google does provide you with exactly the site you're looking for, right at the top of the list. Google, in fact, is so sure of itself that it offers a "I'm Feeling Lucky" button which gives you the opportunity to take a chance and go immediately to the first site on Google's list. Well, Christians don't believe in luck or chance, but in the providence of God. Similarly, in this case it's really a matter of trusting in the likelihood of Google's providing you with the destination you most want. Perhaps surprisingly, it usually does work quite well. Put "Westminster Theological Seminary" in the query box, click on "I'm Feeling Lucky" (rather than the normal "Google Search" button), and you'll be brought directly to Westminster's home page. (Even so, I use the regular "Google Search" almost all of the time, because I like to see some of the other choices that are available to me.) For families, one weakness of Google, however, has been that some of the sites it presents may not be "family-friendly." "Adult" sites could show up in the results list, which is a disappointment for Christians and others who want to avoid the seamier side of the Web. But there's good news: you now can have your Google and family-friendliness too. Many of you are familiar with the "... for Dummies" books. In spite of the title, many intelligent people find many of the titles to be quite helpful. Well, the same people who put out the "... for Dummies" books put out many "quickie" (one-paragraph) daily newsletters as well: Dummies Daily http://www.dummiesdaily.com/ Unfortunately, they do not make past issues available online, so I can't provide you with a Web address where you can check out the archives (you'll have to subscribe and make your own archive?), but the November 24, 2000 issue of their "Internet Search" newsletter contained this useful news: "Google now has a SafeSearch option. When you search for Web pages in Google's famously large list, you can turn on the SafeSearch to automatically exclude pages that have keywords, phrases, or URLs (domain names) that are 'adult.' SafeSearch also checks to see if the pages are in an Open Directory category recognized as not always suitable for children, and applies the filtering from SurfWatch to finish the job. If you find a Google listing that you think should have been filtered out by SafeSearch, Google invites you to e-mail it to their attention." Here's how Google describes its SafeSearch filtering, a feature that should be of interest to families: "Many Google users prefer not to have adult sites included in their search results. Google's SafeSearch screens for sites that contain this type of information and eliminates them from search results. While no filter is 100% accurate, Google's filter uses advanced proprietary technology that checks keywords and phrases, URLs, and Open Directory categories for more than 200 million web pages. Moreover, Google uses data licensed from SurfWatch, an industry leader in content filtering, to augment the filtering process. "When SafeSearch is turned on, sites and web pages containing pornography and explicit sexual content are blocked from search results. Google strives to keep the filtering information as current and comprehensive as possible through continual crawling of the Web and by incorporating updates from SurfWatch editors. If you find sites that contain offensive content in your results, even with SafeSearch activated, please send an email with the site's URL to email@example.com and we will investigate it." http://www.google.com/intl/en_extra/help/customize.html#safe So the good news is that Google (which is perhaps the best general search engine on the Web) is now "family-friendly," so that you can do safer searching with Google's SafeSearch. Enjoy! By the way, if you want to know more about search engines of various types, one place where you may find much information is the following site: Websearch.About.com http://websearch.about.com/ _______________________________________________________________ 3. CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS, COLLEGES, AND SEMINARIES: AN UPDATE The following is an update to the following article published in the previous issue of CATI: CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS, COLLEGES, AND SEMINARIES: SOME WEB SITES http://www.traver.org/cati/archives/cati42.htm#2 Not one, not two, but three subscribers sent me additional information that may be of interest to other CATI readers. First, one subscriber gently took me to task (and rightly so) for having omitted from my list Erskine College and Erskine Seminary. Since these schools are related to the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, a denomination that is part of NAPARC (North American Presbyterian And Reformed Council), I should definitely have included Erskine in my list even though my list of some Christians schools, colleges, and seminaries made no pretense of being complete. Here's the Web address for Erskine College. Erskine College http://www.erskine.edu/ You're supposed to be able to get to the Erskine Seminary pages also if you begin at that address, but I had little success (well, no success) in doing so. There's probably a way to get there from here, but it certainly was not obvious (at least to me). I did, however, find not one, not two, but three front doors to Erskine Seminary through use of a search engine: Erskine Seminary http://www.erskine.edu/seminary/ Erskine Seminary Information and History Home Page http://www.erskine.edu/seminary/administration/seminary_information.htm Welcome to Erskine Seminary http://www.erskine.edu/seminary/erskine_index/erskine_index.htm Second, another subscriber informed me that there is a new Web address for Mid-America Reformed Seminary: Mid-America Reformed Seminary (old Web address) http://www.m-ars.com/ (new Web address) http://www.midamerica.edu/ For now both addresses seem to work fine. By the way, I'm told that "women may come from Venus, but real men come from MARS" (whatever that means). Third, another subscriber suggested my making this addition to my lists of colleges and seminaries: Reformation Christian Ministries: College and Seminary Information Page http://www.refcm.org/education/homed.html Reformation International College/Christ College (RIC/CC) http://www.refcm.org/education/ricweb/ricatweb.html Doctrinal Information http://www.refcm.org/education/ricweb/ricatweb.html#doct Reformation International Theological Seminary (RITS) http://www.refcm.org/education/ritsweb/ritscatweb.html Doctrinal Information http://www.refcm.org/education/ritsweb/ritscatweb.html#doct Again, my lists were not intended to be comprehensive and I'm sure there are other fine schools that I omitted, but you can use the other resources I provided to locate other Christian schools, colleges, and seminaries. Enjoy! _______________________________________________________________ 4. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER This is the forty-third 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.